“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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Suddenly, like a thief in the night

“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).

The Lord came to His temple suddenly, even after sending someone to prepare the people and forewarn them. Suddenly, there He was, casting out the thieves from the temple court. Was this really allowed by the Sanhedrin? How, when they knew the Messiah was coming?

Yet they were surprised to see the Anointed One when He appeared.

But did He simply pop out of thin air? No, actually, He “grew up” among them. Is. 53:2. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Jn. 1:10,11).

He had spent 30 years with them. The residents of Nazareth knew of Him intimately. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (Matt. 13:55,56).

Nazareth was a small village and everybody knew everybody, and everybody’s business. They watched everyone, even the Son of Joseph. He came and went under their purview without ever raising a suspicion that He was special. The people busied themselves in righteousness. They were so busy in the work of the Lord, they had no time for the Lord of the work.

For their good, everyone was sized up and their future predicted. “Poor Mary and her struggling brood! It’s too bad their all just a root out of dry ground! So stricken, afflicted by God, and afflicted! It was in the cards, I guess! Someone 3 or 4 generations ago must have made God really mad! Oh, well! Tisk, tisk!”

Their community was named after the Nazarite vow. They took special pride in their obedience to God. If all the other towns’ synagogues got caught up in Greek and Roman ways and no one else would look for the Messiah, they would. They made a fair show of rejoicing in expectation of seeing Him. You couldn’t blame them for not trying to raise the children up in the right tradition. If the kids went awry and had no interest in spiritual things, it wasn’t the leaders’ faults.

Yet they missed Him, “the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.” When He began painting a picture heaven for them, the paradigm shift was too traumatic. “All bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?” “And they were offended in Him.” (Lk. 4:22;Matt. 13:57).

Thus they received another warning. “The days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Lk. 19:43,44).

Suddenly. For 120 years Noah, a fiery “preacher of righteousness” warned the world of the coming desolation. 2Pet. 2:5. But the record is clear. “He condemned the world,” with “the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (Heb. 11:7;2Pet. 2:5).

Suddenly, in one day, catastrophe worldwide. It took a whole antediluvian generation by surprise. “What! All our wise philosophers and scientists were wrong?! God would destroy us and this beautiful world?!”

The gracious Lord gave them an extra week for the stragglers to make their final, last minute decisions for holiness or for the folly of copying the faulty wisdom of men. Then, in one day, devastation hit.

“And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Gen. 7:10,11).

After a protracted probation, even going into overtime, without further notice, Noah was vindicated against all the ridicule and wisdom of that amazing pre-flood race. “He condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Is. 33:14).

Recently, a few weeks ago on June 16th, a phenomenon of nature, a high gust of wind, passed through Northern Virginia. An 80 mph burst continued for approximately 15 seconds, and then lesser winds, accompanied by rain and hail, broke large, heavy branches, and toppled trees. The photo above was outside my brother’s home. He told me it was the most beautiful tree with the densest verdure and best shade; and how he could hardly believe it, when it blew over, that it was completely hollow in its core!

Rotten to the core, except for an inch of wood around its surface! It had been only a shell of a tree, and apparently in perfect health. Without a storm it would have stood for many more years, boasting a great profession of health and life, brandishing a lie. Then one day, it would have fallen over and killed an innocent passer-by, maybe a child. In God’s mercy, He brought the storm to prune the forests, as He has done for eons.

Soon we will see another kind of a storm coming, a storm beyond all human conception, a storm “such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” (Dan. 12:2).

The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. –Counsel for the Church, p. 335

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.
In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord’s servants will be tried. –Great Controversy, p.608

Our Duty in the Moment of Respite.--Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture. . . . –Evangelism, p. 704

A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of heaven is to be used in doing the work assigned us by the Lord for those who are perishing in ignorance. . . . –Evangelism, p. 704

The storm of God’s wrath is gathering; and those only will stand who respond to the invitations of mercy, as did the inhabitants of Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, and become sanctified through obedience to the laws of the divine Ruler. The righteous alone shall be hid with Christ in God till the desolation be overpast. –Conflict and Courage, 231

The storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it? Are we one with Christ as He is one with the Father? Are we heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ? Are we working in copartnership with Christ?--Manuscript 32a, 1896. – Evangelism, p. 199

The storm is coming, the storm that will try every faith, of what sort it is. Believers must now be firmly rooted in Christ, or else they will be led astray by some phase of error. Let your faith be substantiated by the Word of God. Grasp firmly the living testimony of truth. Have faith in Christ as a personal Saviour. He has been and ever will be our Rock of Ages. The testimony of the Spirit of God is true. Change not your faith for any phase of doctrine, however pleasing it may appear, that will seduce the soul. – Evangelism, p. 361

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2Pet. 3:3-10).


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