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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Shooting stars, beautiful stars

Bonnie Casey and Jesus Christ

Take 3 was an amazing Adventist song group from the early 1970s. Beautiful songs from vibrant, dedicated young people. Below is the address for a perfect copy of the full 29:41 minute album, Songs of the Morning. Copy/paste address into search engine.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-adk-adk_sbnt&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&hspart=adk&p=songs+of+the+morning+take+3#id=1&vid=5d6d8a3bdaa5fd6147626185326eece4&action=click

I believe that her songs were inspired by the Spirit of the Lord, and flowed from an honest heart that sought Jesus with all that was in her. But, of course, Satan can’t have that...

Bonnie Casey, the soprano, and the three others of Take 3, I believe, were the outgrowth from the revival of Righteousness by Faith by Jesus, under the leadership of Elder Morris Venden, which took place in Seventh-day Adventism in the 1960s and 70s. Bonnie was interviewed by Spectrum Magazine in 2012. In that conversation she reveals some heartache, Adventism-related heartaches, that drove her to express her sorrows in beautiful music for the Lord. Bonnie’s experience bears a resemblance to Jesus in Gethsemane, when infinite mercy was pressed out of a pure, spotless soul by the infinite justice from His Father. There, crushed under the wine-press of Jerusalem the Son of God was “made an High Priest” (Heb. 6:20).

Like charcoal that adsorbs, that is, collects poisons on its surface rather than drawing the poisons within itself, Jesus did the same with the sins of the world at large as God revealed them to Him, and with the unbelief and sinfulness of the surrounding people of Israel. His soul tucked deeply in the bosom of His holy Father’s just and merciful love, the Son adsorbed the world’s sin day by day. Thus He retained a life separate from sin every day as His soul was assaulted by the slowness of heart among His friends, and His heart abused by the animosity among His enemies. Hour after hour and day by day, He must witness the rebellion and lust of the multitudes, and the rampant carelessness toward His Father and carelessness between each other. The rebellion and its diseases that the Son of God healed, were representative of all humanity’s plight.

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses (Matt. 8:17).

All day, every day Jesus gladly carried humanity’s sin, while denying its incursion into His sorrowing heart. And then He gave it all to His Father in a flood of repentance night after night. “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin…. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin —; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written”, because, without them “what good shall my life do me?” (Exo. 32:31, 32; Gen. 27:46, cf John 5:39).

A man of sorrows….  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows (Isa. 53:3, 4).

To sin, wherever it exists, “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). Nevertheless, He mercifully refrains from desolating a sinful world so long as His Son can bring it regret and repentance, pains of their conscience for the exceeding sinful of their sins committed and utmost fear of judgment for those sins. Let no one doubt that the great Judge of all the earth resists the presence of our sins, which are ever before Him and constantly beg His notice. But His mercy is forthcoming because the companionship and fidelity of His Son have helped Him to hold the hated presence of sin in continual abeyance for thousands of years.

Night after night, God graciously received the world’s sin from His repenting Son so that His Son would not be weakened or destroyed by bearing the loathsome burden, or be distracted from freely ministering to our needs. The Son of man could agonize under the presence of sin only for a day at a time, but His Father, the great Ancient of days, had done so for four thousand of years. Graphically had the world’s murdering, unrest, enslaving, and abusing played out before the inescapable vigilance of our holy Father. Tragically had the autoimmune nature of sin voraciously devoured the special creation of His image. Vividly had humanity’s demise repeated in His eternal, unfailing memory; and still it does. Yet, for His Son’s sake the Father has withheld our eradication and continued to endure His ages-long crucifixion. The Son’s infinite, disinterested love for childbearing has been the Father’s help-meet to stay His wrath against our sin problem.

Thus, revealing to us the perpetual work of Christ to intercede before God with groans that don’t exist in man to utter, Jesus unburdened His soul to His Father nightly. Knowing the pains that unrepentant hearts caused His Abba, Christ fearfully interceded before God for Himself and then for us. He found no relief for His daily adsorbed sins until He received from His Father again the promise to accept the sin-burdened children of His rearing. But, His sinless nature also comprehended the appreciation and joy that His Abba gained by suffering together with His Son’s necessity to know that Their children were acceptable before the Law of the kingdom.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world….  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:24, 26).

Each night, shut in with His God and assured that the almighty Father of all had accepted His own weak humanity and that of His human race, then Jesus could sleep in perfect peace. Love, in the context of saving mankind from the enslavement to sin and from its sure destruction, was the sole motive driving every act and look and word from His Majesty, the Anointed from heaven.

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high (Isa. 52:13).

Thus Michael, the world’s Messiah, day by day patiently carried our absorbed weakness, infirmity, and guilt. And then each night He exchanged our guilt for His Father’s pardon. And in the place of our infirmity and weakness He gladly absorbed His Abba’s excellence, righteousness, and strength. It was this fellowship of like minds that completely rejuvenated Christ every morning after often receiving only a little sleep, and sometimes none. Jesus went forth from those precious vigils fully rested and invested to convince the people that their God was still merciful, and to continue to route the adversary from His kingdom.

And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all (Luke 6:17-19).

His voice was the first sound that many had ever heard, His name the first word they had ever spoken, His face the first they had ever looked upon. Why should they not love Jesus, and sound His praise? As He passed through the towns and cities He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy wherever He went The Desire of Ages, p. 350.

He met humbled men and women, broken and degraded by the tempter, and gave them the message of His Father’s acceptance and their life of sin forgiven. He healed hearts and minds as He took the diseases from their bodies. He gave them the Holy Spirit of union with His Father. With contained exhilaration He proclaimed the long awaited time for His good God’s acceptance, “the acceptable year of the LORD” ( Isa. 61:2).

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins (Isa. 40:1, 2).

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).

Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him (Isa. 57:14-19).

He brought the peace of heaven to a world hostile to heaven.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

He proved God’s love through a life of blessing, not to Israel alone. But in them He proved His strong desire to bless the whole world.

Then, after having fully gained our love and confidence by thirty-three years of consistent faithfulness and blessing, thirty-three years of going about His Father’s business without falling to the tempter’s devices, thirty-three years of living on a far-flung outpost from His heavenly home, while day by day publicly or subconsciously speaking to His God, and openly rejoicing and confiding with that “certain householder” in “a far country” (Matt. 21:33). He always knew that His Father was only as far away in Spirit as the next thought that They would share together. He had had constant two-way flow between His Spirit and His Father’s. After thirty-three years of that unparalleled faith, then the blessed communion would suddenly end. And with that a complete reversal of Christ’s badly needed remission for sins that He had been carrying for the purpose of blessing the repentant.

Beginning gradually at the last supper, like the dull pain from an epidural wearing off, all the sins that Christ had adsorbed God must refuse to take from Him, with all of its associated spiritual agitation. All the selfishness and idolatry, beheld by His senses and by revelation, each sin for which since Eden He had beseeched His Father for forbearance and mercy, must remain His burden. All this His Father would lay upon Him in an exponentially increasing, multiplying knowledge of wretchedness that had characterized the whole race, and not only of its past and present, but also of its future. For a world, which has sworn moment by moment that, if it could, it would overthrow the holy government of heaven, the Son must bake under the heat of divine wrath.

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness…
Destruction and misery are in their ways (Rom. 3:14, 16).

Our treason would become Christ’s responsibility, and His Father’s hot wrath would be His due until He must necessarily be consumed by it, obliterated by His own Father. All this might sound like a strange action from His Father, but it was necessary in order to intercept our avowed determination to desolate Their kingdom of righteousness.

The human race has proven that in its very nature it harbors a ready longing to topple its self-sacrificing, benevolent Creators. Our hearts and hands are blood-stained with regicide of the King and His Prince, regicide of the highest order. At the cross, we demonstrated that the Father is not safe around us. From our deepest soul we proclaim, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). At birth separated from the presence and power of God’s grace, we are at irreconcilable odds with our Maker. “The carnal mind is enmity [antagonism] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). The serpent’s venom has spread deeply into humanity’s hearts. “The poison of asps is under their lips” (Rom. 3:13). The holy Law of God demands the extermination of our determined contumacy. Heaven’s retribution for this world’s harvest of sin and moral darkness must be satisfied. Unless the offenders of the divine Law of God are destroyed forever, the eternal kingdom could never survive the degradation and disintegration inflicted by the insidious spores of our lawlessness. If Satan and his demonic hosts were blotted out, we would succeed them to finish the demolition of the firm foundation of God’s government of peace and righteousness.

What do ye imagine against the LORD? He will make an utter end (Nah. 1:9).

The whole race would be destroyed, unless the divine Representative of humanity would accomplish His vow to be the substitute for all who could be brought to deep repentance and contrition, so that He could give them a new heart to receive His Spirit again and so that He could subvert their natural destruction of everything good. This was the Father’s plan to which Jesus whole-heartedly agreed long before the great controversy erupted under Lucifer. In the Spirit from His Most High God Christ had declared to Him, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

An immovable, impenetrable barrier needed to be erected to prevent sin and sinners from ever again threatening the Creator and His kingdom. This barrier will forever act as an immense pillar of witness against humanity repeating their experiment with exalting self above the selfless Father. The immense pillar will continually remind the redeemed human race of the death and desolation that self-worship bequeathed the Creator’s kingdom. This stone of witness is the mark for us to come up to today, for the Father can never admit a single sin-loving heart into His vulnerable kingdom of trust and love. In us there must result from Lucifer’s controversy so voluminous consternation and pain in the conscience that the whole family in earth and heaven abjectly fears a return of the sin plague.

The Godhead have created such a visible stone of witness. That stone against our rebellion is the repaired Law of God, complemented with the crucifixion scars covering the whole frame of the Son. This Mizpah Stone of witness will never be forgotten by the redeemed. And per 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, that Citadel Stone of the Son (see Daniel 2:35) will become His Father’s everlasting Everest that will fill the whole earth “for ever”, “even for ever and ever” (Dan. 2:44; 7:18, 22). Then the children of the kingdom must forever behold the affliction that they brought against their most high King and His only-begotten Prince. No one will be truant in that classroom; all who would contemn it won’t be there. After all that the most holy King and Prince had done for us, this judgment will be fair. But, the children of the kingdom will gladly study the offering that the Father and Son Godhead poured out for Their beloved offspring—humanity, rehabilitated and restored.

Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).

And,

Affliction shall not rise up the second time (Nah. 1:9).

His earthly ministry concluding, Jesus’ agony was His Father’s retribution on account of all the sins for which He had ever requested pardon. He alone had been standing between fallen man and God since the day that our first parents chose to rebel in Eden. And alone He would continue to represent us before God until the day of His second advent.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied (Isa. 53:11).

The ages-old plan to spare humanity said that the Son of God must not adsorb, but absorb, His Father’s full agony and wrath against our tyranny, which had so absorbed the Father’s attention. We need to comprehend our Father’s difficult circumstance—the King must see perfect righteousness. The Most High God, who is most holy, can behold only constant perfect selflessness.

Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy (Prov. 20:28).

A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes (Prov. 20:8).

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend (Prov. 22:11).

With every creature that lives in His eternal kingdom of self-forgetfulness God must hold ceaseless, holy communion. The most holy Father could be satisfied only by continually witnessing self-sacrifice in all of His creations. There could be no other option. And, of all His precious children of Adam, the Father could see that perfection only in His Son, begotten and incarnated into Adam’s fallen creation. Only His Messiah could satisfy His Law. The Son’s supreme act of accepting humanity’s damnation, the Father would forever pronounce to be the Law’s ultimate definition of obedience.

We must understand our heinous condition and see its horrific remedy only in light of Christ’s cross and ours. Our cross begins with deep repentance, which can only come through Christ’s cross. We cannot die to self unless we behold the Son dying to self in a way that is higher than the highest human thought. Then, by comprehending divine love in the Lamb’s substitutionary sacrifice, our death to self is doable by beholding His.

The Father must unburden upon His Son all the reality of our world’s willful trampling upon the Law of love, a poisonous reality which the Father had been adsorbing and holding in suspense since our Eden eviction. If the Son failed here then the King must break forth in a retributive plague upon our loveless, lawless race, obliterating it by fire. And then the Father must consummately cleanse Himself from His contact with our filth. But, this retribution, as correct as it is, simply could not be an option without a plan—the eternal plan—to restore us to Himself through His Lamb. Jesus must permanently hold our abominable self-love plus the Father’s unburdened tonnage upon that defiling cursed thing, until His Lamb would be swallowed up by “overmuch sorrow” (2 Cor. 2:7), and “striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4). In vain Jesus would seek His Father’s help and His mercy for humanity, the prayer which had always been His only faithful outlet.

The chastisement of our peace was upon him (Isa. 53:5).

Jesus “took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (Matt. 26:37).

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face (Matt. 26:38, 39).

As He neared Gethsemane, He became strangely silent. He had often visited this spot for meditation and prayer; but never with a heart so full of sorrow as upon this night of His last agony. Throughout His life on earth He had walked in the light of God’s presence. When in conflict with men who were inspired by the very spirit of Satan, He could say, “He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29. But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of God’s sustaining presence. Now He was numbered with the transgressors. The guilt of fallen humanity He must bear. Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father’s love. Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.”
     … Every step that He now took was with labored effort. He groaned aloud, as if suffering under the pressure of a terrible burden The Desire of Ages, p. 685.

He went a little distance from them — not so far but that they could both see and hear Him — and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it The Desire of Ages, p. 686.
   
He … prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me (Matt. 26:39).

There, staggering into that hill garden, Jesus collapsed to the ground emotionally nerve-racked and mentally confused. His ever present Help had left Him and, instead, wrath hit Him with blinding force. He could not see His Father’s mercy past the enormity of His justice. Like never before, Jesus experienced sin’s dreadful total separation from His King upon whomever sin diseases. The Son went where no man had gone before; and neither had He ever been there. In the soul of the eternal Son of God, infinite mercy had always rejoiced for His Father’s tremendous scourgings in the work of His perfect upbringing (see Proverbs 8:30; James 2:13; Hebrews 12:6; Galatians 4:1, 2). But the Father’s infinite burden from man’s sin required of His soul greater scourging from His Abba than those personal, developmental judgments.

He … offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death…; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Heb. 5:7, 8).

Now, in Gethsemane He strove to cope with His Father’s own infinite dying, which was being laid upon Him. By this deep void of mercy from above, He must know all of His Father’s horrific misery from sin-bearing. With all of Christ’s power scattered, the Prince of life struggled to accept this infinite death.

Spiritually uncertain, physically exhausted, and in emotional upheaval, the Son of God grappled over whether He could reach the cross. Could He get to the place of His public offering? How could He be lifted up on a cross so that all men might be drawn to Him if He were to continue losing the measureless Spirit from His Father’s previous, blissful presence?

Jesus must absorb, not adsorb, all of His Father’s disposition toward our sins, and His judgments upon them. Since the beginning of the controversy, the Son had always yearned to allay all the agony of sin that His Father had been carrying. His Father’s infinite dyspepsia from our aversion to perfect excellence, together with His loss of communion with our preferred world, had left the Father in unending turmoil. None except the Son of God realized the Father’s brokenness brought about by Lucifer’s attack on Adam’s race. Like a weakened, older tree fallen into the boughs of a strong, younger tree, upon His own soul Jesus would support His beloved Abba’s need to unburden Himself fully. Absorbing His Father’s infinite consternation, the Ancient of days would thus be relieved of His awful burden.

The Father’s own excruciating anxietal convulsions could never cease until sin and rebellion were destroyed from Earth. This the Son would accomplish in order to spare both His Father and Their human children the anxiety from the God-man alienation. Then in His Father’s revived hope and relief and satisfaction of the sin problem resolved, at Pentecost His Father could anew send to His beloved humanity communications from His reconciled Spirit.

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).

… that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4).

And it was only right for God to lay onto His trusted Mediator all the accumulated consequence of sins committed. God’s powerful pardons, by trusting in His redeeming mercy, “the righteousness of God without [apart from] the law” (Rom. 3:21), could not forever unbalance His enforcement of a broken Law. God’s perfect gift of grace must have its equivalent complement of His perfect justice. God can never enable sin; by His mercy He will not give Satan that advantage over His vulnerable family of heaven and Earth. From the beginning God’s withholding full justice upon Adam and his children, and the over-accumulation of His mercy, had continued long enough. Sin had been adjudged a cancerous tumor disintegrating the foundation of love and life in everyone it infects. Under the control of the most powerful opiate the subjects of Satan had proven themselves irretrievably addicted to sedition and murder. Sin must be removed; sinners must receive execution. The postponement of judgment upon sin must now end. The limit of borrowed grace was maxed out; repayment must now commence. The equity of justice and mercy must return to equilibrium. The government of mercy and justice must come back into balance.

Intercession would be suspended until this other form of intercession could be accomplished. The dependable, burden-bearing God must evade His beloved Son’s pleas to forgive, until the King’s disgust and anger toward sin would utterly destroy His most blessed One. Like an over-wound clock that could not be winded any more, the time had come when the Great Judge could no longer suspend His capital punishment upon a world of demon-driven, run-away rebellion, and unceasing self-exaltation. “As the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man”, the Father had been tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 9:5; 14:10).

The Law of God demanded our destruction. The Law of the kingdom must be satisfied; transgression must be dealt with. The justice of the Father must be satisfied so that all the danger of sin to His pure kingdom would be removed. The sanctuary of the Father’s soul must be cleansed and no one else but divinity could successfully and properly carry God’s infinite, infinite load. That crushing punishment, which was due us, Christ must accept, and His Father must feel every ounce of His pain.

But, His blessed and holy One who He had never been without could the Father go through with it (see Genesis 22:2)? Could He risk the eternal loss of His only Son of His bosom who would be weakened under His infinite wrath, and in the grasp of devious and powerful Satan, all for regaining His beloved humanity? Yet, His original provision from eternity past would remain His determination.

His Father’s abounding presence, ever powerful in justice and righteousness, wholly blotted from His sight, the Lamb felt the aggravated, assaulting malignity between the King and sin. Jesus was made to be the wicked who “shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 4:3). It was wrath like the only Begotten had never known to exist in His God. His Father’s angry thunders of offense against each rebellious and unclean thought, word, and act, conscious and subconscious, even against our self-serving nature coalescing within the very beginnings of our prenatal months, all forced the Lamb to live the destruction of “Sodom and Gomorrha … set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7, cf John 5:39). Jesus heard His Father’s thunder and saw Himself forever remaining cursed for our sakes, dying alone and forgotten by His Abba throughout perpetuity.

The Lord … hath put him to grief (Isa. 53:10).

Before any man was ever pepper-sprayed with judgment, the lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) had Himself pepper-sprayed all over, again and again, ten billion times. Before the Father would ever drop a Judgment Day bomb of reproof on any sinner, the Son must first accept the hydrogen bomb from His Father’s continual offense at man’s disregard of His laws. Father and Son both have been slain since the foundation of the world, both laying down Their lives for Their children. We have a Mediator before God who is touched with the torment and plagues and sicknesses that we suffer. Our Advocate knows the smoking ruins of our lives. He knows the pains of the cancer patient, the drug addicted, and the clinically depressed. He knows the abused and the neglected.

(To be continued…)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Wisdom of men, foolishness with God

Minute 1:07:56

In this is statement by Augustine we have an example of what was deemed great, or deep, wisdom during the post-apostolic church era. But it was nothing but foolishness.

“No dead man can raise himself. He [Christ] only was able to raise Himself, who though His Body was dead, was not dead. For He raised up that which was dead. He raised up Himself, who in Himself was alive, but in His Body that was to be raised was dead.”—Augustine.

Convoluted, confusing, contradictory. This is ancient “wisdom”. But really it is foolishness, by God’s standards. Yet, this fraud of biblical truth took the early church by storm. Similar convoluted, contradictory concepts were the trinity—one in three, three in one; transubstantiation—by the command of a man God becomes a wafer that resembles the Sun, and His blood becomes intoxicating wine that opens the priest’s soul to the spirit world. Then, there are all the myths of the gods who each played many roles that are as hard to follow as tabloid gossip.

All of this nonsense became the foundation of the church, as for ages it had been the foundation of paganism. Why base Christianity on such a nonsensical foundation? What is the draw? What is the incentive for such a false, faulty foundation?

The [pagan trance. The mind busied on nothing of reality, nothing that could result ina blessing to others or service to God, brought a semblance of peace. The devil-possessed mind is a bitter, unsettled mind.

“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isa. 57:19-21).

Satan kept the leaders and people on an endless search for peace of mind. They chose another ruler besides the Law-loving Son of God, and that other ruler, that other mediator besides Christ, chained them to his car in his daily victory parade.

“The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,--to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world's Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!  
     Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world.” Desire of Ages, p. 36, 37.
  
Rather than true, wholesome peace, they had fake peace, empty of the power to obey the righteousness of the Law or to produce fruits of the Spirit. It was peace. Not from heaven, but rather from hell.

“For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jer. 6:13,14).

The trance Satan designed to distract the conscience from its great need. If sin were to be fully recognized as a huge problem, if sin were exceedingly sinful, as Paul discovered by looking into the Law of liberty, then the church of Christ would end up in complete despair, as Paul ended up in. And the church would fall on their faces, as Paul ended up doing. The church would end up totally humbled at their condition, and prepared to accept a Saviour from sin.

So as a distraction from all that… the contradictory doctrines. A system of “salvific” or “salvational” beliefs that must be held as truth, that could not be rational, but only accepted by “faith”. I’ve heard it myself today in our denomination concerning the trinity. “It’s a mystery! No one can understand it! You just have to accept it. You can spend all eternity, but never put a dent in beginning to understand it!

Truth takes time to learn and understand, yes. The true mysteries of redemption will be our study for endless ages, yes. But, those truths will be gradually grasped, unlike the false mysteries that never begin to be grasped, because they are not truth.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:8-12).

These delusive mysteries purport to be truth and revelation. They lead to an access to supernatural revelation, but not of a heavenly origin. Therefore, everyone caught up them are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. …men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2Tim. 3:7,8). Yet, what happened with these serial episodes of truth-nontruth, yin-yang, yoyo mental exercises, is that the mind was kept in a state of ever thinking but never arriving at any sound conclusions. But, that was believed OK because it gave the mind peace. It gave a supposed salvation, but it came from the devils

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (John 14:27).

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at My mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.” (Isa. 30:1-3).

This “deep, theological ruminating” was deemed piety, meditation, renewing of the mind. It brought a subtle peace simply by intellectual exercise, but it didn’t come from above. Souls were trapped in such a doctrinal deception because such pious exercises were pervasively accepted as Christianity. It eventually led to deeper enslavement in the form of Jesuitry.

Jesuit mental reservation was just another exercise of “peace”. And anyone who touched that “blessed” idol would be killed. In fact, all of these intellectual idols, very sophisticated idolatry, were so effective to give a sort of peace to the ravaged bitter minds of the deceived Catholic world, that, as in all ages of paganism, anyone who rebuked such religion, and thus threatened to take away such a precious resource for peace, was excommunicated and executed. Really, any idol is simply a resource for peace of mind, be it a physical or an intellectual image or spiritual as in Spiritual Formation, be it a secular or religious concept (doctrine), a substance (alcohol, drug of choice, even sugary and fatty foods), or the circular irrational method. And all of them are deemed ever so sacred for their peace giving, renewal component.

This will be the trap of the final delusion before Christ returns. It will look so right because the demonic peace will override the true requirement for peace from God—conviction of sin, faith toward God and repentance toward Jesus, God’s only approved intercessor. Only the religion from God, the Father leads to God, the only true God, the Father. But to turn away from His Law is to preempt salvation.

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9).

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1Cor. 1:18-25).

“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a Stone of stumbling and for a Rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Bind up the testimony, seal the Law among My disciples.
And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.
Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:13-20).

“But before faith came, we were kept under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:23,24).

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:1-5

Saturday, August 31, 2019

God, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: An Interview with Alice Cooper

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_GW7JL0-0k
Minute 13:00 to 18:03

This video should have been entitled, “Saved by a love, from both God and spouse”. Alice Cooper came from a multi-generation Christian family, his father had been a pastor, his grandfather an evangelist. Alice Cooper was a “jock”, a cross country runner in high school: innocent, but unconverted and somewhat worldly. He got into rock music by realizing how easy it is to just start a band. The rest is history, but not a good history. Even though his intentions for a while remained relatively “innocent”, he led millions to their demise. I’m not condemning him. Thats between him and God. But I’m super-happy that he came to terms with God, because so many, even church people, don’t come to terms with their Maker. So many don’t surrender to Him. So many have never met Jesus. So many never know the Spirit of a reconciled Father, who enabled Himself to die with His Son on the cross, so that the immutable Law of His kingdom could be satisfied. So many don’t have what Alice Cooper had—the fear of the hard Law and the tender mercy shining from the cross.

The cross is the ground zero for the salvation of not only humanity sunken in the pit of sin, but also of the angelic hosts who lost their perfect trust in the Creator. The cross also saved God Himself from the loss of that perfect trust. And the cross saved the Law from its potentially loss of a foundation in love. Lucifer rigged his conspiracy so deep and convoluted that everything was at stake and everyone would lose. Nothing would ever be as happy with vulnerability and trust as it had been. Everything would have been associated with a past problem that couldn’t be rectified and a future repeat of the same. God’s Law would have remained insufficient to define the elements of happiness. God would have remained less than trustworthy. If it hadn’t been for infinite wisdom and infinite love….

Back to Alice Cooper. Eventually, his famous career led him into drugs,even though it took a while to get there. He was just having fun for many years—nothing wrong with that, right? What’s wrong with having fun? If moderated and safe and lighthearted, you can’t go wrong. Right?

Alice Cooper is lighthearted, even now after his genuine conversion. But, it is tempered with the knowledge of the bad that he is capable of doing. He could be more serious. We live in a different world and country than the 70’s. things were bad then, do doubt. But undoubtedly, everything is more corrupt today. Truly nothing will be 100% good until Jesus returns in destructive power to lay the land low. But, there needs to be a preparation for His return. There needs to be a deep repentance, a full surrender of the soul to the Law of God, and a genuine conversion to Christ.

And Alice Cooper got that genuine conversion through the fear of God’s Law, and the mercy of Christ’s self-sacrificing love.

He said, “I totally understood that hell was not getting high with Jim Morrison. Hell was going to be the worst place ever. In fear i came back to the lord. But i went to another church, and that pastor preached the love of Christ, which now you put the two together and it was exactly right.”

Not so amazingly, his conversion came from the same two part program laid out in the book, The Great Controversy, the chapter, “Modern Revivals”, pages 461, 462.

The testimony of Alice Cooper, like so many others on YouTube, follows the same footprint as the quotation from, The Great Controversy, quoted at the bottom of this post. Alice Cooper has a ministry now and attests to the work of the Spirit. He and the other YouTube witnesses have proven that the Spirit of Prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

So, starting at minute 13:00, without any further adieu,

Alice Cooper: …that [Elvis Presley’s theme park, “Graceland”] was his [Elvis’] only contact with the outside world…. The Colonel wouldn’t let him go left, right, up, down. He couldn’t go to a movie, he couldn’t go play pool, he couldn’t go to a bar. Because that was… his little life was in that…He could have anything he wanted in that room, or Graceland, but he couldn’t leave. So, right then I realized, if anybody puts you in a mansion or no matter what, and gives you anything you want, you will find a way to kill yourself. Cause it’s not natural to be held up in a place like that. And he [Elvis] did. I mean, he ate himself to death, he drugged himself to death, and he died early.

Pastor Greg Laurie: And that’s happened to so many…

Alice Cooper: Michael Jackson…

Pastor Greg Laurie: Exactly, who ended up marrying Elvis’ daughter.

Alice Cooper: Yeah.

Pastor Greg Laurie: But it’s happened to so many Rock stars. Going back to the so called, “27 Club”, Brian Jones and…

Alice Cooper: Oh, we knew all those guys

Pastor Greg Laurie: You knew these guys. But, yet your life didn’t go that way. i mean it did for a while, didn’t it.

Alice Cooper: Could have. Could have.

Pastor Greg Laurie: And you were starting to go in that direction. You had a serious alcohol problem. And I remember hearing that you like had a big rock of cocaine. And you were like bleeding out of your eyes. It was insane.

Alice Cooper: Yeah. You know, after about two weeks, Cheryl had gone. She had gone to Chicago and said, “I can’t watch this.” But the cocaine was speaking a lot louder than her. And finally, I looked in the mirror, and it looked like my makeup. But it was blood coming down—I think. I might have been hallucinating. I don’t know. Flushed the rock down the toilet, and went to bed for three days. And I woke up and I called her, and said, “It’s done.” And she goes [incredulously], “Right!” She says, “You’re going to have to prove it.” And that was the beginning of our relationship coming back. Of course, one of the deals was we start going to church. And we started going to North Phoenix Baptist. And there was a pastor there, Jackson, who was a Hell’s fire pastor. And there’s 6,000 people there, and he was talking to me. Because I was the prodigal son. Remember I grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor. My granddad was an evangelist. And when the band happened it took me as far away as you could possibly go…. I was a poster boy of everything wrong. And then when I got sober and everything, came back to the church, realizing that’s where I belonged, there. So we started going… you know, a lot of people say that I “came to Christ because of my love of Jesus.” I came to Christ because of my fear of God.

Pastor Greg Laurie: Wow.

Alice Cooper: I totally understood that hell was not getting high with Jim Morrison. Hell was going to be the worst place ever. In fear I came back to the Lord. But I went to another church, and that pastor preached the love of Christ, which now you put the two together and it was exactly right.

Pastor Greg Laurie: well, you know, The Bible even says, “…some saved by fear.” You know, there’s a point where some people they need the hell scared out of them.

Alice Cooper: I’m telling you, because I knew if I died, and , I knew in other words, I knew who Christ was, Jesus Christ was. And I was denying him. Because I was living my own life. I was living my life without Him, I knew that there had to either come a point where I either accepted Christ and start living that life, or if I died in this, I was in a lot of trouble. And that’s what really motivated me.

Pastor Greg Laurie: What does that mean when you say, “accepted Christ”? What does it mean to accept Christ?

Alice Cooper: Well, I don’t think we accept Christ. I think we accept the fact that He accepted us. and I just got to a point of saying, “I’m tired of this life. And I know that this [seeking Christ] is right.” When people say, “Well how do you know that? Put that into words.” I go, “You can’t put that into words. Its because God opens your eyes, and He says…” you know, its supernatural.

Pastor Greg Laurie: That’s right.

Alice Cooper: And you try to tell that to people, and they go, “Well yeah, but so is voodoo. And so is this…” and I would say, “You don’t understand. And I could never explain it to you. But when the Lord opens your eyes and you suddenly realize who you are, and who He is…Oh, it’s a whole different world. And right then, I was baptized, and I went to my pastor, and I said, “I think I’ve got to quit being Alice Cooper now. And he goes, “Really? Do you think God makes mistakes?” and I went, “No.” He said, “Look where He put you.” He said, “He put you in the exact camp of the Philistines. And you were basically the leader! So now, what if you’re Alice Cooper, but what if now you’re following Christ. And you are a Rock star, but you don’t live the Rock star life. Your lifestyle is now your testimony.” And that made total sense to me….

That last part reminds me of something Paul wrote,

“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” (1Cor. 7:17-24).

In closing I quote from Great Controversy to let it and Alice Cooper’s testimony validate each other.

“Wherever the word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message of His servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The ‘light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come. They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cried out: ‘Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions; this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had ‘remission of sins that are past.’ 
     These souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance. They believed and were baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life--new creatures in Christ Jesus; not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now loved, and the things they once loved they hated. The proud and self-assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent, the drunken sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid aside. Christians sought not the ‘outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but . . . the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.’ 1 Peter 3:3, 4. 
     Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls. The fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. The community was benefited by their influence. They gathered with Christ, and sowed to the Spirit, to reap life everlasting. 
     It could be said of them: ‘Ye sorrowed to repentance.’ ‘For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.’ 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.” The Great Controversy, p. 461, 462.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Could I be a troubler of Israel?


“And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.” (1Chron. 2:7).

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” (Josh. 7:1).

The grandson of Judah coveted at a time when Israel was holiness to the Lord. Achan committed this self-indulgent act knowing that it was so unacceptable that he did it secretly. But it was exposed by providence, when a small battle ended in much loss to the armies of the living God of Israel.

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” (Josh. 7:10-13).

“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it….
And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.” (Josh. 7:21,25,26).

“When at Oswego, New York, June, 1855, I was shown that God’s people have been weighed down with clogs; that there have been Achans in the camp. The work of God has progressed but little, and many of His servants have been discouraged because the truth has taken no more effect in New York, and there have been no more added to the church. The Messenger party has arisen, and we shall suffer some from their lying tongues and misrepresentations, yet we should bear it all patiently; for they will not injure the cause of God, now they have left us, as much as they would have injured it by their influence had they remained with us.” Testimonies for the church, vol. 1, p. 122.1.

What was Achan’s sin? It was loving this world. It was loving the creation more than the Creator, who is blessed forevermore. What was his sentence? Could this ever happen again when the people of God are truly dedicated to His will and purposes?

“     God’s frown has been brought upon the church on account of individuals with corrupt hearts being in it. They have wanted to be foremost, when neither God nor their brethren placed them there. Selfishness and exaltation have marked their course. A place is now open for all such where they can go and find pasture with those of their kind. And we should praise God that in mercy He has rid the church of them. God has given many of these persons up to their own ways to be filled with their own doings. An excitement and sympathy now leads them, which will deceive some; but every honest one will be enlightened as to the true state of this company, and will remain with God’s peculiar people, hold fast the truth, and follow in the humble path, unaffected by the influence of those who have been given up of God to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. I saw that God had given these persons opportunity to reform, He had enlightened them as to their love for self and their other sins; but they would not heed it. They would not be reformed, and He mercifully relieved the church of them. The truth will take effect if the servants of God and the church will devote themselves to Him and His cause.
     I saw that the people of God must arouse and put on the armor. Christ is coming, and the great work of the last message of mercy is of too much importance for us to leave it and come down to answer such falsehoods, misrepresentations, and slanders as the Messenger party have fed upon and have scattered abroad. Truth, present truth, we must dwell upon it. We are doing a great work, and cannot come down. Satan is in all this, to divert our minds from the present truth and the coming of Christ. Said the angel: “Jesus knows it all.” In a little from this their day is coming. All will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. The lying tongue will be stopped. The sinners in Zion will be afraid, and fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites.” Testimonies for the church, vol. 1, p. 123.1.

It appears that the troubling was happening at the beginning while the Advent Movement was still relatively pure. The 1844 Great Disappointment with William Miller was still in the memories of a few. But in 1855 many accessions to the truth had never been tested and proven as were the original 50 of the ‘44 Disappointment. What about our day, 170 years later? Shouldn’t I be trembling before God, because this very testing and trying came again at other times of purity among God’s people? Could it come to me?

This no-questions-asked/ thunders from God came at purer times in the misty past.

“And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?...
And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:10,11,17-19).

“And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.
And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” (Gen. 4:9-16). Do I fear a second driving away?

Such correction and reproof came again later at another pure time.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1Sam. 15:22,23). Could this happen to me?

And again at a purer time.

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.” (Acts 5:1-5).

And,

“Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1Cor. 4:18-5:5).

And,

“When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Gal. 2:11).

And,

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1Jn. 2:15-19).

Do all of these desolating rebukes point at me?

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, p. 57.3.

Will the straight testimony happen again? Yes. If it happened at earlier times of purity in the church, then one more time, when the church will be purer than ever before, then the rebuke of God will happen again, this strong calling sin by its right name. Will I be ready? Who shall be able to stand?

“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:1-3).

This greatest want in the church will be removed among the 144,000 sealed servants of God. And they will receive it because they will have wrestled for it. They alone will be worthy to have the seal of God in their forehead. And it won’t come by accident or arbitrary endowment.

“But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.” Education, p. 57.4.

Who are these? When will they come??

“I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them.  
     Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God and murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness.” Early Writings, p. 269.2.

“… As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances.” Early Writings, p. 270.1.

“The angels of God … went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance.” Early Writings, p. 270.1.

“Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these … His angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them.” Early Writings, p. 270.1.

“I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” Early Writings, p. 270.3.

What caused the strong faith, agonizing cries, pleading with God, pale countenances, deep anxiety, struggle, and perspiration?

“The straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver….” Early Writings, p. 270.2.

“This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” Early Writings, p.  270.3.

What happens next?

“The True Witness to the Laodiceans …will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.” Early Writings, p. 270.2.
     
Doesn’t this make us shake? And will shaking now cause us to avoid the next shaking.

“Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” Early Writings, p. 270.2.

What caused Achan’s tragic death? The love of the world. What caused Ananias’ death? The same thing. What caused the Corinthian fornicator to be cast out into darkness? The same. (But, the environment of the church was not pure, and therefore his sentence was not as severe as Ananias’ and Sapphira’s, and he was ostracized for a while and let back in.) What caused the event at the apostolic general conference building at Jerusalem? Fearing those who loved the world. What caused the apostates to leave John’s church? Those who loved the world and the love of the Father was not in them. It was the same that troubled the early Advent movement, and still troubles it. So, what will cause the final pouring out of the straight truth by those who previously wrestled and were shaken? Won’t the cause of the shaking be the love of the world? The carnal mind. The flesh. Achan’s sin. Isn’t it the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? Isn’t it self-medicating our empty hearts by comfort eating/ comfort drinking/ comfort smoking/ comfort drugging/ being entertained/ reading but not doing, etc. instead of seeking the Spirit of truth/ Comforter with all our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies, for true comfort?

“Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1Cor. 3:3).

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7).

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.” (Rom. 8:5).

How do we measure up to the pure ancient standard, and the purer apostolic standard? How do we measure up to the sealing, and the Latter Rain that will be purer than the apostolic Early Rain, the purest of all times of reformation? Who shall be able to stand?