Under the most intense scrutiny

I never dreamed I’d see the day when a Seventh-day Adventist would be a front-running presidential candidate. In the past, Adventists’ aversion to political campaigning would likely have been enough to preclude such a development. Yet even in today’s diverse gamut of Adventism, that one of our number should be elevated before the public eye as the next prospective leader for the United States of America seems stranger than fiction. In fact, it could be the fulfillment of prophecy in the making.

In those timeless and living Testimonies, God tells us that although “our people have been regarded as too insignificant to be worthy of notice …a change will come” (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, 546). 


Could Dr. Ben Carson’s bid for the presidency be the beginning of that change? Whether or not you agree with his decision to run for president, it is an interesting addition to the current milieu of political, social, economic, religious and environmental factors that seem to be rapidly converging for the final climax outlined in Revelation chapters 13 through 18. Carson’s candidacy may indeed be a very effective method to call national and even international attention to the last message of mercy for a world soon to face the Creator. The question is, are we ready for this kind of attention? 


While some Adventists may welcome the publicity, knowing that God can use it to call attention to the truth, others view the inevitable scrutiny by the media and the general public as nerve-wracking at best. Frankly, many of us are ashamed of our brethren. We are painfully aware of the apostasy and hypocrisy among us. Others are embarrassed by the plain and cutting nature of present-truth and wish to avoid unsavory labels such as fringe, fanatical, and cult. They would choose to update historical Adventism to be more “culturally relevant” and “user-friendly”. 

Although the recent attention Adventism has received due to Carson’s candidacy
is interesting and significant, the testimony from the Lord signals a different factor as responsible for bringing God’s people to center stage: “The Christian world is now making movements which will necessarily bring commandment-keeping people into prominence” (Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, 546). Actions by the Christian world will turn the spotlight, not on Adventists per se, but rather on faithful commandment-keepers. 

What action, other than Sunday legislation, could make Seventh-day Adventists more conspicuous? Indeed, both prophecy and current events point to just such an event: “Movements are being set on foot to enslave the consciences of those who would be loyal to God. The lawmaking powers will be against God's people” (Ibid). When God’s faithful children find themselves at odds with the law of the land on points of faith they will find themselves under scrutiny as never before. 


The prophet continues: “Every soul will be tested. Oh, that we would, as a people, be wise for ourselves, and by precept and example impart that wisdom to our children! Every position of our faith will be searched into; and if we are not thorough Bible students, established, strengthened, and settled, the wisdom of the world's great men will lead us astray” (Ibid). Sadly, too many of us are unprepared to answer the difficult questions concerning our faith. If we are ambivalent and hesitating now, how will we fend when the mark of the beast is enforced? 

However, sobering as these warnings are, there is a meticulous investigation of much greater significance underway. Each of us is personally subjected to the most intense Divine scrutiny in this judgment hour. Unfortunately, we often fear people and what they have to say about us more than we fear the living God. What does our Creator have to say about us today? We don’t have to guess (Rev. 3:15-21). We are, even now, under the intense and searching gaze of our Creator, Lawgiver, and King. Are we clothed in the wedding garments He has so graciously provided, or do we yet cling to our scanty fig leaves and filthy rags? At what moment will the heavenly court pass from the cases of the dead to those of the living to examine our every word and action? Am I ready for my name to be read before the Judge of all the Earth? Are you? Do we understand the great principles of the atonement and are we daily gaining a personal, practical experience in what it means to have the righteousness of Christ? 


Praise God for His precious promises! Without them all would be lost. I love the encouragement of the apostle Peter: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (King James Version, 1 Pet. 3:13-15). Notice that if we wish to be ready to give answers for our faith, there is a sanctifying heart-work we must have done by Christ our righteousness. That is because the best answers will be those that are backed by the hard facts of truth. If nothing else, the current inspections underway should serve to awaken us to our need to prepare for what is to come and to our truly deplorable condition so we may cast ourselves on the mercy of the only One who can save us. 

Through it all, let us always remember that this spotlight that is coming, that is starting to shine even now, is not for us, nor is it about us. This is about the final vindication of the character of God before the universe. Oh, would to God that we would awaken to the truth that “we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9). What a wonder that He puts Himself at risk allowing us to represent Him in these solemn and awesome times! By the grace of God, let us not fail Him again. 

Kody Kostenko is a high school history and language teacher at a mission boarding school in northeastern Bolivia, South America.