_______ April 20 ______
HOLD THE BANNER HIGH
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. __Matthew 15:8__
I saw that at last the standard was lowered, and that the heathen were uniting with the Christians. Although these worshipers of idols professed to be converted, they bought their idolatry with them into the church, only changing the objects of their worship to images of saints, and even of Christ and of Mary His mother. As the followers of Christ gradually united with them, the Christian religion became corrupted and the church lost its purity and power. Some refused to unite with them; such preserved their purity and worshiped God alone. They would not bow down to an image of anything in the heavens above or in the earth beneath
Satan exulted over the fall of so many; and then he stirred up the fallen church to force those who would preserve the purity of their religion either to yield to their ceremonies and image worship or be put to death. The fires of per¬secution were again kindled against the true church of Christ, and millions were slain without mercy.
It was presented before me in the following manner: A large company of heathen idolaters bore a black banner, upon which were figures of the sun, moon, and stars. This company seemed to be very fierce and angry. I was then shown another company bearing a pure white banner, upon which was written, “Purity and holiness unto the Lord.” Their countenances were marked with firmness and heavenly resignation. I saw the heathen idolaters approach them, and there was a great slaughter. The Christians melted away before them; and yet the Christian company pressed the more closely together, and held the banner more firmly. As many fell, others rallied around the banner and filled their places. (Early Writings, 211-212)
I would rejoice with all my heart to see all who have been connected with done places take their places to hold high the banner of Jesus, that when their work shall be have, they may say as did Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord,the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (The Review and Herald, July 26, 1892)