“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, May 30, 2009

The high places

“For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.” (Num 21:28).

“Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree.” (Deut. 12:2).

“And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.” (1Ki. 3:3).

“And he [Jeroboam] made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.” (1Ki. 12:31).

“But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”(vs. 14).

“Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.” (vs.4).

“And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.” (2Ki. 17:9).

“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign…. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” (2Ki. 18:1,3,4).

“And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.” (2Ki. 23:13).

“Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.” (2Ki. 23:15).

“And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.” (2Ki. 23:19,20).

“He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” (Deut. 32:13).

“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!” (2Sam. 1:19).

“He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” (Ps. 18:33).

“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” (Is. 41:18).

“That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.” (Is. 49:9).

“Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”(Is. 58:14).

Were the high places good or bad? For David, Samuel, Habakkuk, Moses, and even from the mouth of the Lord through Isaiah, they could be good. They could be a desirable place to worship, and acceptable to the Lord before the temple was built. But they were evil for the Canaanites and for Israel who desired to copy the ways of the inhabitants of Canaan.

What made the difference? It sounds arbitrary. Does God contradict Himself? Does He allow a practice for His favorites, His pets, and not for His odious enemies?

Let’s take a look at this most important issue. Was there anything inherently wrong with a high place? That must not be the case if He promised to give them to us, as Isaiah related above. What was a high place? According to E-Sword commenting on 2Kings 17:16:

In 2Ki. 17:10 there is a reference to the old high-place worship, which was professedly a worship of Yahweh, but with unauthorized rites and emblems; here the reference is to Ahab’s setting up a grove to Baal in the city of Samaria (marginal reference).
And worshipped all the host of heaven - Astral worship has not hitherto been mentioned as practiced by the Israelites. Moses had warned against it Deu. 4:19; Deu. 17:3, so that it no doubt existed in his day, either among the Canaanite nations or among the Arabians Job 31:26-28. Perhaps it was involved to some extent in the Baal worship of the Phoenicians, for Baal and Astarte were probably associated in the minds of their worshippers with the Sun and moon. Later in the history we shall find a very decided and well-developed astral worship prevalent among the Jews, which is probably Assyro-Babylonian (2Ki. 21:3 note).

The problem with high places wasn’t with high places. God made the mountains which were the most primitive “high places.” The high places weren’t the problem, but rather with what happened on them. False worship to Satan was what was wrong with their use.

The same happened with the brazen serpent that Moses made. It ceased to teach the lessons God had associated with it, lessons of dependence and reliance on Him. The lesson behind the object, looking to Him by faith and utter helplessness, was replaced by adoration of the object itself. The object lesson became degraded into an expression of self-absorbed, self-generated worship of self. Once its treatment was altered, it no longer should exist. Yet the serpent on a pole had been made at the command of the Lord Himself. Its place in Israelite history was an important one. Now it no longer accomplished its purpose; Satan had succeeded in destroying its real meaning in the minds of the people.

The ephod played a central part of the true worship. It adorned the High Priest as a sleeveless waistcoat and attached to it hung the beautiful breastplate with 12 precious stones and two stones called the Urim and Thummim. “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.” (Ex. 28:2).

Simplicity and beauty shone out from this holy garb and God was pleased. Yet, when Gideon chose to make a replica of it out of pure gold, it ensnared the people into idolizing it. How quickly we fall into idolatry! How prone to false worship!

Idolatry is Satan’s method of vandalizing and altering the things of God into things against God. Idols take on the shape and appearance of His gifts of love. Even abstract things, such as His promises, His grace, faith, ect. can be altered when the correct understanding of them fades away. Then a devious look-alike takes its place. When the devil can lead people to be careless with their relationship with God, then he can lead them into a worship of a different kind. Self becomes the object of worship. Intoxicating emotion replaces the enjoyment of quietly sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning from Him.

The problem wasn’t with the ephod or the brazen serpent which Christ later compared to Himself dying on the cross. The trouble resulted from the wrong relation to those objects. The people needed a new heart in order to discern the beautiful truth Providence intended in them. Humbled by God’s love the human heart can responded properly to the objects and precepts god has given this world. We must be “turned into another man.” (1Sam. 10:6).

Repentance must take control and sorrow for sin and the hatred of it must bear sway. Any other state of heart and mind is an abomination to God, and idolatry. King Saul had been given a new heart and a changed life. But when he walked away from that and went on his own moral compass, his stubbornness and rebellion were rebuked and called “idolatry” and “witchcraft.” (1Sam. 15:23).

Likewise, but from the other end of the spiritual spectrum, we cannot approach the Law of God and hope to obey it without a new heart. If we try, we only end up despairing and discouraged, or angry and full of contempt for the Author of law. It is the height of arrogance to take on the hard labor of being a moral person without first getting the gift of God, a new heart, conversion. Unless the change is a total one, affecting every aspect of the life: physically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, socially, in the family circle, in the workplace, in our civil relationships to the neighborhood, the city, the state, the national government; then our change wasn’t made by God. He works in us a harmonious development resulting in a balanced character.

No other change in us, except that coming from our justification to God by faith through repentance and trusting in Him to be full of mercy, is of any merit before the Law. And no other state of soul prepares us to obey the Law. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Rom. 7:7). “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7:12).

The problem with the Law of God is not with it, but with us. We are the big problem. We have the wrong relation to it. We see it in the wrong light. If it reproves us, pride rises up and says, “How dare you! Who do You think You are to reveal my lack of morality! I’m a pretty good person! Compared to everyone else!” The carnal mind can never obey the Law of God because it naturally sees itself as already satisfying another law of life. But this standard is a faulty and low man-made standard.

And even if I assent to the Law of God that it is good, I still am unable to obey it. (Rom. 7:16,23). My relation to it is still flawed. I need a new heart and mind in order to want to obey it. I need a gift from heaven. That comes when we get to know the Person behind the Law. Its only when we become attached to Him that we can fulfill It. He is where we find the power to obey It. It’s all about Him. His love, His righteousness. When I know Him, then I will obey Him. He will become my full focus. And thus by obeying His will, without knowing it the Law is obeyed.

This is why those who have found victory over evil, destructive habits through getting better acquainted with Jesus, get surprised, when at some point, it dawns on them that the sin which had for so long harassed them was gone, and it had been gone for some time. We don’t overcome sin by stomping it out. We get with Jesus and He crowds sin out. This is righteousness by faith in Jesus. Every other method to victory over sin is a fake, and too often, an endless pursuit of anger and frustration. As it is written, “and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.”(Rev. 14:10,11).

In the right relation to the brazen serpent the worshiper would have discerned the Messiah, the Most Holy, the Anointed One. In the righter relation to the ephod, the worshiper of God would have exclaimed with David, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:4).

In the right relation to the high places we can sing, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” (Ps. 121:1).

And if we will come to Jesus, just as we are, and spend time with Him, getting better acquainted—Him getting better acquainted with our needs, and us with His hopes and desires and needs—then our willingness to walk in step with Him will come naturally because He will transfer His character to us.

He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. Steps to Christ, p. 62.

In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited, and such prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them, and to make them His sons and daughters. Desire of Ages, p. 189.

Then we will walk in our high places because “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet.” (hab. 3:19).

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31).

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Jesuit army of priests

“Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.
O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (Is. 33:1,2).

A series I trust, on the work and growth of the Jesuit army of Roman priests around the world, is found at the following website. It is a 10 part series of 10 minute videos, the first of which launches the other parts as you place your cursor over the video popups and select the next video.

The essence of the videos reveals that the Jesuit priesthood has created every war in Europe and then every war in America beginning with the American Civil war and including the last two world wars. Their purpose is to violently conquer the world for the Pope and bring it into subservience to him. They have used the slave system to control the conquered peoples in South America, and encouraged it in the American south. Because America, being established by divine providence, has stood in the way of Satan-driven world dominion, the United States have become the object of Satan’s greatest, most complex effort to control from the inside out.

The last nation the Lord would use to show the glory of His righteousness, where Protestantism and civil liberty flourished for almost a century, is essentially Catholic today, even though it still bears the name and character mold of Protestantism.

The last breaths of life-giving air America fights for, but the Jesuit constrictor has the final nation that protected freedom firmly in its grip and periodically tightens its sufficating hold. Each new financial crisis and fall of the stock market shows the sign of the further choking out of the life of freedom and the closer march of despotism.

Lucifer is their real inspiration. The mystery of iniquity comes from his genius. He moves so peacefully and quietly. He was aptly allowed to use the serpent as his guise in the garden. With permanent plastic smile and easy movements he convinces the unwary of his way of seeing reality.

Likewise do the persons he trains in the art of deception. They smile, they act friendly. But really they are “sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you.” (2Pet. 2:13). Listen to Peter’s whole indictment against the apostate church which would magnify “himself even to the Prince of the host.” (Dan. 8:11).

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children…
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.” (2Pet. 2:1-3,10-14,17-19).

There is no better discription than Peter’s of the devil-possessed, war-fomenting order of all Catholic priestly orders, and especially the Jesuit order, the so-called Order of Jesus.

Yet, though these agents of Satan intend to subjugate the whole world, and Bible prophecy says that they will in the very soon, final great time of trouble, yet, I love the way the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, through His servant Habakkuk, teaches us to ultimately respond to persecution of unheard of proportions.

“When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble….
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” (Hab. 3:16-19).

We can still rejoice in Jesus our Savior, the friend of sinners, and the power of God unto salvation from sin and from this evil world. His love endures forever, His mercy, His goodness, His gentleness to stoop down and uplift destitute, ignorant slaves like me.

Let us be wary of our adversary, the devil. But let’s not let him ever rob us from faith in our eternal friend and High Priest in the Most Holy Place, Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord God of the Old Testament who became flesh in order to tabernacle among us.

We can either look at the snakes coming to bite us, or look up to the One hanging from a cross, who became sin for us, but who knew no sin. He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What the gospel isn't

Brother D_____,
I wrote out my thoughts concerning our difference of understanding. Please, correct me if I misunderstand what you were saying Tuesday night. As I understood you to say:

1) The Law of God is in everyone’s heart when they are born.
2) Everyone is in the Book of life when they are born and remain there until they disqualify themselves and get blotted out.

Here is what I came up with. There might be more, but I just can’t think of it now. Please, let me know of your answer to my statement.

When we say the law is in the heart what does the Bible mean? Does it mean that we are all obedient to God? Converted? Saved? Is every soul not really lost until finding the Savior, but just in need of some refining? Or are they all lost the day they are conceived?

Or, does the Law in the heart mean that I love the Law? I love to serve God and man? Do most people love to serve God and man? Or some people? Or is it a very small remnant that ever has the love for the truth?

Are we born with obedience in our hearts, or are we born rebels, grabbing our twin by the foot? If everyone were born obedient, why the need for the second birth? The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked—at birth. We were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. How can the Law be in every desperately wicked heart?

When David said, “I delight to do Thy will, Thy law is in my heart,” as I understand it, he was speaking for himself as the standard for the world to attain to. In other words, the world was not there. Even then, he was more accurately speaking of Christ (the holy seed) rather than himself.

While Christ told the apostles that their names were written in heaven because they were responding to the Redeemer from sin, the religious leaders and careless multitudes heard different words addressed to them. “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? … and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matt. 3:7-9). Their names had never been written in heaven. The Law had never been in their heart.

They might have been born “Jews by nature” (Gal. 2:15), but they knew “not the scriptures, neither the power of God.” (Mk. 12:24).

The Reformers’ issue on the condition of human nature differed sharply with the humanist Papists. The Reformers said that there was nothing in us to recommend us to God. We were in the pit of sin and that only through the special work of the Holy Spirit through our appropriating by faith Christ’s robe of righteousness could we ever be acceptable to God. The Romanists said, No, we are pretty bad but there is a little bit of natural goodness in us and that just needs to be refined and sprinkled with a little holy water and blessed with a few hale Marys. The two views represent righteousness by faith, and righteousness by works. Neither side could be reconciled because they held two opposing doctrines.

The Lord describes human nature thus:

“There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Before being saved by God’s kindness and love, Paul struggled to put the Law of God in his heart and it got him nowhere. “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good….
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not….
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

All Paul’s effort to put the Law in his heart was only intellectual assent, which can never save the soul. The heart was unregenerated despite his most pious efforts to be obedient. This has been the plight of so many thousands of souls enslaved by false religion through the ages.

It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, “I consent unto the law that it is good.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but one answer, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Steps to Christ, p.19.

It took a personal experience with Jesus to open his heart to receive the Law of God and the power of God to overcome sin. Until he was reconciled to God by the death of His Son, he could not be saved by His life as he saw it in the Law. (Rom. 5:10). Once reconciled and justified, then Christ’s living example of divine love for fallen man was a powerful force to sanctify and seal Paul.

As concerns the blotting of names from the book of life:

The work of the investigative judgment and the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated. But the apostle Peter distinctly states that the sins of believers will be blotted out “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ.” Acts 3:19, 20. When the investigative judgment closes, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be. Great Controversy, p.485.

At the time appointed for the judgment—the close of the 2300 days, in 1844—began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins. All who have ever taken upon themselves the name of Christ must pass its searching scrutiny. Both the living and the dead are to be judged “out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Great Controversy, p.486.

Here we see that the names in the book of life are only those who have ever been converted under the influence of the Holy Spirit. For example, King Saul, Balaam, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira, etc. will fail in the investigative judgment and be blotted out of the book into which their names had been written when they were first converted to Christ. As far as we know, Ham, Cush, Nimrod, Pharaoh of Moses’ day, all the people who abandoned the church in John’s day, etc. were never in the book of life. “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. 2:19).

Its wrong to believe that everyone can enter or be born holy without striving for the kingdom, laboring to enter into its rest. We must all wrestle like Jacob wrestled in order to receive the new God-given name of Overcomer. True, many outside the Advent message are converted and in the book of life. But, that doesn’t mean everyone is born loving obedience. We are all born rebels at heart, and we are born without the Law of God in our hearts.

But having said that, there is something we have retained since our fall into sin—that is, the longing to be loved. This has been tarnished, but still remains. And from this the Spirit works to develop in us the longing to love and to purify our longing to be loved. To love and be loved is the one last vestige of God’s image naturally in us at birth, and it is this faculty that the Spirit manipulates for our redemption, and has since the fall of man. If we will focus all our effort toward learning how we are loved by God, first and foremost, and then, secondarily, how we can love others, then the Spirit will eventually create surrender in our corrupt hearts and transform our heart through the gift of full faith in Jesus’ love. Our devil will flee away and pride will flee with it; peace will flood into its place; submission and obedience will finally be doables. Reconciled and justified, we are on the path to sanctification and glorification.

The law alone could not accomplish this miraculous change from rebellion to child-likeness. “What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” worked His power into us when we cooperated with Him. Its not until we receive Him that we have the power to become the sons of God; and the religious leaders and moral multitudes proved that searching the scriptures and being lawyers and putting the law in their hearts did not guarantee that Jesus was received with the law.

Its not about how beautifully or earnestly the sinner worships God that saves him or her. Its not about how much scripture we memorize or how well we keep the laws of health that save us. Its not about the natural-born love to be good that puts us in a right standing before God and saves us. Everything of salvation depends on God’s work to save, our patient waiting for Him to get through to us, and on the right action of our will. That right action is in our seeking out the great love of God for us in our study of His word and nature and life experiences; it is through talking and listening to Him, through serving others with Him—all in the one and only effort to learn of His great love for us, for me personally—and then responding in kind to Him and to those around us.

D_____, please respond in writing if you have the time. I don’t think we’ll be able to give the subject its proper study if we try to talk after the prayer meeting is disbanded. I love you, brother, and N_____ and S_____.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Email to another sister

Hi C_____,

Next time maybe I can go to the beach with you. Cold days are nice because no one is laying around almost naked. On cold days, its all the beach and the Lord. I go when I’m in Georgia just to take my little dog, Pingo, for a nice walk. He runs off, chasing the birds and barking at people once in a while, and I just walk along, deep in thought and laughing to myself at my dog. Everybody loves him, especially me. I miss him.

I’m going back down in about a couple of weeks. Since the kids have grown up he’s my midget adolescent. He sure knows how to bark orders! As soon as I walk in the door after 11 hours of driving to get home, he lets me know I need to take him for a walk. If he knows I’m getting ready to leave again to come up here (and he always knows) and he can get in the car, he’ll bite me if I try to drag him out by hand. I have to lasso him with a leash. He’s something else.

Sister, I’m sorry you are going through such a hard time with the devil. He’s the opposite of Jesus who came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. Satan wants to destroy us. But those who have been most faithful in the worst situations will stand the closest to Jesus in heaven and on the Earth made new. The last shall be first. You’ve had a taste of what God has to offer and you are going to go all the way until you lay your eyes on it all. Don’t let Satan’s harassment make you lose all heaven.

We are seeing the Roman beast rising and the Protestant world uniting with it. We are seeing spiritualism move into the churches through the Charismatic movement. I believe this financial crisis is setting the last stage before the big trouble comes. Everyone in debt will be the deepest in slavery. In this anti-typical Day of Atonement, when no one was to work, but rather to rest and afflict their souls, (Lev. 23:27-32) working just to work and get ahead is the most dangerous sidetrack. Three times Moses told Israel they were forbidden to work on the Day of Atonement, and twice he said to afflict their souls.

Today, every Adventist who disregarded our place in the end of the world, and now has a huge debt over their head, will be greatly tempted to keep working when the Latter Rain begins to fall. The same will be true for those whose heart is set on the stock market. It will go up and up and up and then catch the world off guard and fall to the bottom again. Each time coaxing millions to invest their trillions of dollars, and each time those $Trillions will end up filling the Vatican’s coffers to fund its world budget as king of nations and lord over all priests, pastors, and witch doctors.

All this just as the Lord told the Adventists. We aren’t much, but we hold the truth for these last days. I keep feeling like we are on the verge of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit when Jesus will seem very close because we will understand His love so fully and be telling the whole world about Him, His love and His coming judgments.
Take care, sister. I love you much.

Email to a sister

Wow, that [20 newcomers to a prophecy seminar] sounds like a good group. I will pray for you and maybe get a chance to get up there before its all over. Maybe in that last week. Did Dad go last night?

Today we hear the evangelical Protestants and Catholics talk about this being a Christian nation. It seems there is a fine line between saying that and telling how our country has departed from God’s commandments in its state and federal laws. Were we ever a Christian nation? If we can say that, how can we counter the push to make Christianity (and of course, Rome is the prime representative of Christendom) the official religion of the United States, as the evangelicals are trying to make happen?

This is why I think it wise to be very careful how we, as Adventists, use that approach to today’s fallen society and the remedy for it. The 3 angel’s messages talk about the fall of Protestantism in this country and the deviation of Protestantism from true conversion. Conversion is the real point of the 3rd angel’s message. Heart conversion which keeps the line of communication open with Jesus through prayer and His word, and wants to keep every single one of God’s commandments. Its all about the faith of Jesus and the Law of God.

This is where our preaching should be aimed. The message of a fallen nation is easily misinterpreted by the masses who are being geared up by their pastors to force a national religion and day of worship. Conversion is the stumbling stone which divides God’s children from Satan’s. Here is where we need to focus our attention. This will be the sword that brings the offense of the cross.

Blessings, sister.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why did God leave Hezekiah?

“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31). Why did God leave Hezekiah?

“Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” (2Chron. 32:25).

Hezekiah had left God. Its not God’s plan to ever give up on us. He works day and night to save us. He wants us for eternity. But if we will persist in neglecting Him or in not responding to His promptings, (Hey, wake up! Here I am!) then He finally leaves.

But why does He? I thought He would never leave me nor forsake me?

1.) He must. We are no longer able to hear Him call to us. It is a physical law that prevents Him from communicating to us and keeping us near Him. We are deaf. There is nothing else He can do for us.

2.) He desires to leave. He doesn’t want to stay if we don’t want Him around. When we’ve cluttered our thoughts with this world and placed it all above Him; when we’ve spent our time pleasing ourselves, gratifying self, feeding self, He is of too pure a character to share the territory of our heart and too meek to complete. So He bows out.

3.) He should. He must leave us, He desires to, and He should. He should depart because of His loyalty to the freedom of choice. We must serve Him only and always because we want to. God has never overstepped this bound. The long movement of restoring Eden is due to His never forcing us to return to Him. He has had some success stories, people who allowed Him to restore them to Eden and give them again the Holy Spirit. But He wants more than a few individuals scattered here and there; He wants a multitude, which no man can number, to surround Him and whom I can indwell. A great convocation of love.

But the state of heart where other-centeredness is its truth has not yet become pervasive among His professed people. “There remaineth … a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9).

There are two realities. One reality is a new kid on the block, a new experiment to rival the old-school original. This new experiment is sin. Sin is the reality of self. It’s thinking I can’t serve my Creator and glorify Him because of what others might think of ME. ME. I is my focus. I must dress nicely and act right for ME, to ensure MY acceptance; to please others without destroying their self-centeredness because that would hurt them and they would resent ME and reject ME.

But there is another reality—the original from eons in the infinite past. So it is well-founded—well-proven. This original says, “Happiness comes from self-forgetfulness, self-sacrifice, living oblivious to self.”

Self-sacrifice is the victim of self-interest. From its inception, self-interest has proven itself the predator of self-forgetfulness. Christ, in the light of His Father’s loving, holy presence, had self thrust into oblivion. Self thrust into oblivion will always be the prey of self-serving. Humility will always be offered up to pride—unless God steps in to protect, which He does in His own timing and according to His plan.

If He has someone willing enough to be an offering and there are some present who could be swayed to leave the service or indulgence of self by the exhibition of self-sacrifice, then He will temporarily lift His protection over His elect, and join His self-denying servant in the fires of sacrifice. Together They will become burnt offerings, as the creature strives to hang on to his Father and Friend, and the Creator strives to keep His son or daughter aware that He is near and infinitely sympathetic and glorified.

These two realties co-exist—not on friendly terms, but by necessity.

Sin was an aberration introduced by a hate-filled rebel. Loving-kindness had always been. And the God of righteousness and love must permit the incursion of sin, once created by the enemy, until He can wisely deal with it and destroy it without destroying sinners who love Him and seek His help to be removed from sin.

This explains why Satan was permitted to continue his existence. The originator of the new experiment of sin must be allowed to come into the heart and mind and body when God is forced to leave those He loves but who lose their love for Him. There must be an active principal player who destroys, and destroys immediately. This is only to help an unfallen universe and a fallen Adamic race to see what is better—which do they prefer—self-sacrifice and self-denial or self-gratification and self-exaltation?

This whole world is in a school and no one graduates—not in this life. The great Master Teacher is trying to train us and to strengthen our faith in Him whenever He must depart in accordance with the laws of choice, the physical laws, and the law of His hatred of the presence of sin.

His departure feels cruel; but our departure from Him is equally cruel to Him. But in all His cruelty and scrourgings, His only motive is not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Is. 63:9).

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Is. 45:7).

Even in the evil that comes in as soon as He leaves, He only permits it because He love us and wants to develop our resolve to never part again. He doesn’t completely abandon us. Romans 11 brings to us insight to His purposes and hope of His great mercy toward us. It speaks of Him casting away, eyes being darkened, stumbling and falling, a being bowed down and a diminishing. But the blindness is in part until a certain time, and then salvation returns. All this havoc and pain in order for our Redeemer to have mercy upon us. (Rom. 11: 2,10-12,25,26,32).

Let us learn our lessons of dependence on Christ. Let us learn to keep Him in all our thoughts, trusting in Him, giving Him glory, losing sight of self in love for the Master and Lamb of God, the original burnt offering since the foundation of our sinful world.

The visit of the ambassadors to Hezekiah was a test of his gratitude and devotion. . . . Had Hezekiah improved the opportunity given him to bear witness to the power, the goodness, the compassion, of the God of Israel, the report of the ambassadors would have been as light piercing darkness. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts. He "rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” . . .

The story of Hezekiah's failure to prove true to his trust . . . is fraught with an important lesson for all. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience, of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour's love. When mind and heart are filled with the love of God, it will not be difficult to impart that which enters into the spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will find expression in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure.

Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. What is our influence over these fellow travelers?

What have your friends and acquaintances seen in your house? Are you, instead of revealing the treasures of the grace of Christ, displaying those things that will perish with the using? Or do you, to those with whom you are brought in contact, communicate some new thought of Christ's character and work? . . . O that those for whom God has done marvelous things would show forth His praises, and tell of His mighty works. But how often those for whom God works are like Hezekiah—forgetful of the Giver of all their blessings.
Courage and Conflict, p. 241.

The rise and fall of the Lord's one-time beloved but apostatized Protestant America

The rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire is rich in lessons for the nations of earth today. Inspiration has likened the glory of Assyria at the height of her prosperity to a noble tree in the garden of God, towering above the surrounding trees.
“The Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. . . . Under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. . . . All the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.” Ezekiel 31:3-9.

But the rulers of Assyria, instead of using their unusual blessings for the benefit of mankind, became the scourge of many lands. Merciless, with no thought of God or their fellow men, they pursued the fixed policy of causing all nations to acknowledge the supremacy of the gods of Nineveh, whom they exalted above the Most High. God had sent Jonah to them with a message of warning, and for a season they humbled themselves before the Lord of hosts and sought forgiveness. But soon they turned again to idol worship and to the conquest of the world.
The prophet Nahum, in his arraignment of the evildoers in Nineveh, exclaimed:

“Woe to the bloody city!
It is all full of lies and robbery;
The prey departeth not;

“The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling
of the wheels,
And of the prancing horses, and of the jumping

The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword
and the glittering spear:
And there is a multitude of slain. . . .

“Behold, I am against thee,
Saith the Lord of hosts.”
Nahum 3:1-5.

With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps account with the nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account remains open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf.

“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.” Nahum 1:3-6.

It was thus that Nineveh, “the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me,” became a desolation, “empty, and void, and waste,” “the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid.” Zephaniah 2:15; Nahum 2:10, 11.

Looking forward to the time when the pride of Assyria should be brought low, Zephaniah prophesied of Nineveh: “Flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for He shall uncover the cedar work.” Zephaniah 2:14.

Great was the glory of the Assyrian realm; great was its downfall. The prophet Ezekiel, carrying farther the figure of a noble cedar tree, plainly foretold the fall of Assyria because of its pride and cruelty. He declared:

“Thus saith the Lord God; . . . He hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness. And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches: to the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height. . . .

“Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: . . . and all the trees of the field fainted for him. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall.” Ezekiel 31:10-16.

The pride of Assyria and its fall are to serve as an object lesson to the end of time. Of the nations of earth today who in arrogance and pride array themselves against Him, God inquires, “To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth.” Verse 18.

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end” of all who endeavor to exalt themselves above the Most High. Nahum 1:7, 8.

“The pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart away.” Zechariah 10:11. This is true not only of the nations that arrayed themselves against God in ancient times, but also of nations today who fail of fulfilling the divine purpose. In the day of final awards, when the righteous Judge of all the earth shall “sift the nations” (Isaiah 30:28), and those that have kept the truth shall be permitted to enter the City of God, heaven’s arches will ring with the triumphant songs of the redeemed. “Ye shall have a song,” the prophet declares, “as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard. . . . Through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps.” Verses 29-32.
Prophets and Kings, pp. 362-366.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The final authority

To man’s perspective the Lord God of the Old Testament was final authority. But as powerful as was the God of ancient Israel, He wasn’t the final authority. Said He, “My Father is greater than I.” (Jn. 14:28). And He respectfully referred to His Father as God. “I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” (Jn. 20:17).

But the Son of God, from eternity past, has had such infinitely close contact and such a powerful bond with His Father that it created an incomprehensible intensity of loyalty to Jehovah’s will. If His Father’s Law caused such deep and broad love for Him, He would forever furiously defend that Law and His Father’s honor. Since eternity, His Father’s government would be His government.

Human terms have expressed so beautifully the bond between the Godhead, as if confessed since the dim eternal past. “Whither Thou goest, I will go; and where Thou lodgest, I will lodge: Thy people shall be My people, and …where Thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to Me, and more also, if ought but death part Thee and Me.” (Ruth 1:16,17).

The Son would always carry the burden of His Father’s government, and joyfully so.

“Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:2-7).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freedom in Christ

“All things are lawful for me.” (1Cor. 10:23).
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Cor. 6:12).

What freedom does Paul speak of? Freedom from sin? Yes. Imagine it. Paul wrote, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14).

Under the power of grace we are free to praise God, free to walk humbly, free to love sinners and to hate sin, free to cry, to rejoice, to be the full image of God and to know the full purpose of our creation.

“They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn 8: 33-36).

Here we see that true freedom consists of being loosed from the hold sin has had on us. How is this accomplished? Through faith in the power and operation of God alone. Faith that brings us to justification, which in turn brings us to sanctification. Faith that trusts in God’s mercy out of which comes the thrill to obey Him. Free from self-indulgence. Free from temptation and thus free to serve God.

We cannot serve two masters; and while we are captives under Satan’s delusions we cannot know and serve God. We are all His, or we are none of His and all of His enemy’s. We are not our own.

But He yearns to receive us to Himself, and His Spirit follows us and gets our attention all the time. And when we’ve had quite enough of the lusts and the self-indulgence and the descent into the animal kingdom that characterize the service to Satan, then it is that we consider the Lord’s loving offer to our soul, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (Jn. 5:6).

It’s a high standard and a high privilege we can have.

In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. DA p. 466.

Freedom from sin brings freedom from self. Self is no longer in control; God is in control. In this loss of control of self we find the greatest self-control because then self’s control which we surrendered to God, He gives back to us purified and enabled through His love. It is the very principle, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).

Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from the soul. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets us “free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. DA p. 466.

When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end. DA p. 324.

That last part scares me. Does it scare you? But His language must be strong, because “the fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” (Prov. 14:27).

There is another freedom with the power of the Holy Spirit that comes as a byproduct of justification and reconciliation: freedom from unholy fear.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14,15).

“In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps. 56:4).

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Ps. 118:6).

Like our Master we walk above the stormy seas that sink others around us. We stand up a Rock. All fear of man, all his prohibitions are gone, and all our inhibitions are gone. Walking humbly with God, His prohibitions now rule us and our inhibitions are to Him alone. God’s children exude a confidence that others see and feel the need to follow. We have a boldness that pushes back the influence and armies of the adversary.

“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (Ps. 18:29).

“He maketh my feet like hinds’ [deer’s] feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” (vs. 33).

Those who abide in Christ and His words abide in them are filled with all the fullness of God. They walk with God.

“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31).

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:33-38).

It’s a high standard and a high privilege we can have.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Adding drunkenness to thirst

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:18-20).

Everyone is dying of thirst. Their souls have dried up. The invitation stands, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17).

The land is full of burning hearts. “The whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath.” (Deut. 29:23). Why? Because the love of God, faith in His love, is almost non-existent.

We could have perfect fellowship with Him, being led beside the still waters and green pastures. Our souls could be “well watered…even as the garden of the LORD.” (Gen. 13:10). We could have a river of life flowing through us and be full of beautiful fruit as was Eden when the first Adam traversed its paths. The second Adam could indwell us and leave His glory on all our thoughts, hallowing all our meditations. We could know the richness of He acceptance and the beauty of His character of righteousness. We could be lost in love as Jesus was when He walked this earth.

But, alas, this is not our experience. Instead, we have “terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart” because we have despised His statutes, our soul abhorred His judgments, so that we did not do all His commandments—we have lost our first love and neglected His Law and gospel. (Lev. 26:16, 15).

And then, to add to our misery, we have gone to the charismatic churches and learned their method of forgetting God’s commandments through the introduction of celebration , the world’s fix since the most ancient of times and found in the most ancient religions, to help mollify our aching souls. Like them, we are adding drunkenness to our thirst. Rather than doing like the prodigal son who “came to himself,” and recognizing our destitution and torment, we dodge our sin and our duty to repent to God, and strike out for a different path to peace and happiness. This is a “smoke” in His nose “a fire that burneth all the day” “and shall burn unto the lowest hell.” (Is. 65:5;Deut. 32:22).

“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they [Israel] went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats.” (Zech. 10:2,3).

But drunkenness doesn’t quench thirst. It only adds to the trouble. Drunkenness puts an extra demand on the body for a greater need of water; and accepting the world’s intoxicating method of laughing and joking in the effort to forget our problems and ignore sin only compounds our destitution of spiritual dehydration.

We must take our sinfulness seriously. We must take our sinfulness to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21). Why call Him, “Savior,” if you aren’t going to own up to your sinfulness and then bring them to Him?

Doesn’t all this sound all too familiar to Seventh-day Adventists? What I allude to is the 3rd angel’s message:
“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

Sound familiar with God’s warning to Israel first quoted above?

Shouldn’t we as SDAs start to look a little more closely at this angel’s message and apply it to ourselves? Shouldn’t we start preaching to the mirror? We should also begin to see our reflection in everything EGW wrote about the Jews.

Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. Desire of Ages, p. 35.

“Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46). And what did Jesus say? “Jesus…said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?” (Matt. 20:32). He offers a blank check, all-sufficient provision for the blackest of sins. All we need do is cry out to Him for the help which only He can give.

“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
But ye said, NO; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Is. 30:15-18).

The blind beggars cried out for mercy. And when that got Jesus’ attention and He asked them specifically what they wanted, “they say unto Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” (vs. 33). “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” (vs. 34). If He did that for them, why wouldn’t He take away our anxiety and stress and fill us full to the brim with the gift of His faith, love, and grace? With His grace comes power to keep His Law. Sound good? Do I have any takers? Anyone tired of their sin? Would you like something better than gall and wormwood gagging you, springing up in bitterness and anger every day?

“Hearken to Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged,” “the pit wherein is no water.” (Is. 51:1;Zech. 9:11).

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Hearken unto Me, My people; and give ear unto Me, O My nation: for a law shall proceed from Me, and I will make My judgment to rest for a light of the people.
My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth, and Mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust.” (Is. 51:3-5).

“Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (Jn. 7:37-39).

“Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” (Zech. 10:1). “And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” (Ez. 34:26).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The law of kindness

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Prov. 31:26).

Among the many qualities of goodness of this virtuous woman is kindness. She remembers her husband and children, but her heart goes far beyond the boundaries of her beloved home.

Verse 20 says that among all her enterprises she never forgets to help those in worse condition than she is. “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” She even plays a part in the local economy with her small business and investment of a modest piece of property. Thus the Lord makes her a blessing to a thousand people of all ranks of the community.

Kindness—isn’t it beautiful? Who will spurn a kindness? Who will turn down the love and open-heartedness of anyone, whether from friend or stranger? I know I wouldn’t and I’m not different from the rest of humanity in this respect. We are all starving for love.

Kindness is gentle; kindness is thoughtful of others’ need. It remembers my hurt and works to heal me. Even in observing a kindness to others brings healing to our soul; and by beholding we become changed into the image we see in it.

The proverbist equates kindness to wisdom. Verse 26, as quoted above, uses the parallelism of typical Hebrew poetry when it describes the words that flow from the mouth of this virtuous lady.

Truly, “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:17). True wisdom is kind. It works to soften reproof and correction because it is borne out of love, self-sacrificing love. This was the essence of Christ’s work while He was on earth, and it has been His ministry for us in the heavenly sanctuary from the foundation of the world. “Christ Jesus…is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30).

This woman has forged kindness into a law. The Holy Spirit has so impressed upon her soul the Father’s righteousness, that wisdom and kindness shine out in all her words and actions. She “feareth the Lord.” (Prov. 31:30). She heeds all His injunctions, “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy… And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God…. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD…. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:2,9,10,18,33,34). His Law is in her heart. His law of kindness—His kindness . The wisdom of kindness.

She demonstrates that the Law is not our enemy. The Law of kindness means serving and uplifting those around us and those far away. The demands of the Law of God—purely objectively speaking—are a blessing, not a curse to be inoculated against nor destroyed. It is when we get subjective that the Law seems to be our enemy. “The law worked wrath” (Rom. 4:15) because it unrelentingly exposes the sinner’s weakness and faultiness. Sinners see the Law as overbearing and unforgiving. They are at odds with the Law of kindness because kindness to all, even to the sinner’s enemies, is too high a standard. Love is required of the Law’s standard of morality—perfect love, all-encompassing love; and this the sinner cannot manufacture. The Law creates anger in sinners because sin takes pride in its great morality, loveless and self-centered, though it is.

But just because the sinner is too proud to accept the Law in all its glory doesn’t change the beautiful character of the Law. Its rejection simply further exposes the ugliness of sin in the sinner.

Nevertheless, the Law is all about kindness. It isn’t about good words and deeds that we have to do, but rather, it is about blessing others that we have the privilege of doing. It isn’t about righteousnes that we are burdened to perform. The Law of God isn’t bondage when the Spirit of God has changed a sinner into a saint and given him the willingness to keep the Law. Actually, sin is the real bondage. “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”(Jn. 8:34-36).

The only way to get to the mindset of willing, perfect kindness, the desire to be a blessing to everyone is through justification by God. We must bow to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit through repentance, and surrender, and let the redeeming power of God reformat our brains. Then we will see righteousness and perfect kindness in all its true glory. Satan’s delusions will have fallen from our eyes through the redeeming power of God and we will be reconciled to God and to His Law.

The Law is kindness. God is a God of kindness. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.” (Titus 3:3,4). “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:35).

Friday, May 08, 2009

In the mind of Christ

To: “David Burdick”

Hi David,
It was good to see you in church tonight. I left early because the Spirit moved me to. I don’t always know why, but the Spirit keeps me safe so I do it. I was remembering 13 years ago now when Christ called me and told me to take my happiness now or follow him, which I did. follow him that is. Anyway, at first I had forgotten what being moved by the Spirit was like so it had to be proven to me that it was a good thing. I remember being told to do things that one is not supposed to do, like leave church early, and then I would be shown what happened as a result. One time I even got to witness to a friend who was never at the location I found her, but if I hadn’t gotten off the bus and gone the “wrong” way because of the Spirit, I wouldn’t have run into the friend with the perfect words for witnessing. Then evil attacked and I became a mess and I was already a big sinner with big sinful ways so as you can see from my hairstyle it’s been a rough 13 years.

Anyway, there is such poverty of Spirit now people are so trained to do as normal or should would have it. Personally, I recommend praying angels move you any way they have to. They have saved me many a time and protect me well, but I had to prove to them I was trustworthy too. Sometimes you have to do what heaven says whether people will think you’re weird or not. I give up on my image with people and it’s been a blessing actually.

Anyway, I hope the prison ministry keeps you in town. I would miss having you around. And I hope you didn’t think I argue with you at church. I just like discussing what you say so the finer points emerge. Don’t worry, after Christ comes and they fix me up I’ll be perfect and we can study the finer points of God better! God is angry tonight. I’d better go pray but i wanted to e-mail you with what I was thinking first. Oh, and what are the names of the people at prayer meeting? I never know. And Luke--when Christ is tempted to turn the stone to bread, what is the significance in Christ’s retort? I don’t remember the details of that and I was told once.
Your sister in Christ,

Blessed email, as usual, sister!
It was good to see you last night too. I don’t know if I said I had been thinking of calling you. But I had. I think at the time I thought it was too early or late and then I got caught up in bla-bla-bla-bla, etc.... I could have emailed you. I’m sorry.

I hope you and the others understood what I remarked about repentance. Too often our public prayers take on only formality in this area. The blanket statement, “Father forgive us for all our sins,” sounds like the Lord’s prayer, which was only meant to be an outline of prayer; but Jesus didn’t teach formality. The disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray like John had taught his disciples. Jesus prayed earnestly. “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.” (Heb. 5:7). I don’t mean for us to fake crying to God. But in the absence of the real thing, we need to heed the Father’s advice to jabberwokky Peter and keep silence on the matter. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” (Matt. 17:5). Many denominations use the Lord’s prayer as some kind of magic formula to keep away the evil spirits, making it a gargoyle. The gargoyle prayer.

There will come times when corporate repentance will happen. But the Spirit of God will be in charge of that and those in the group will truly be sorry for what they did.

This is not to say that when Arthur asks God to forgive when he is giving the pastoral prayer, that this is wrong. Because he is doing it to lead others who may be silently seeking God’s forgiveness. But Arthur speaks in a way that is conducive to repentance, as opposed to just rattling off the request, “Forgive us for all our sins, of commission and of omission.” If someone came to me with the request, “David, forgive me for all my sins toward you, of commission and of omission,” what should I say? “Omni domni, you’re forgiven?” That’s so ludicrous that its funny! I believe its equally ludicrous to our Father in heaven. He prizes genuineness and honest. Jesus all the time condemned the pretence of the Pharisees. “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20). And all the time He was accused of blasphemy because of His earnest, honest obedience to His Father’s will and Law. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” (Is. 42:4).

I agree with you that we have to follow the Spirit’s leading. Although it was Jesus’ custom to meet with other worshipers before God. If we will join with and encourage His professed followers and receive the blessing He has for us, then He will bring us to those who don’t profess Him but need to hear of His love and blessings. We are exhorted to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb. 10:25). This comes from the ancient command of Moses to Israel,

“Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:
And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.
Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:
But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.” (Deut. 12:11-14).

And C_____, don’t ever think I see you arguing just because you disagree. As Dad would say, “Heavens no, child!” I’m just glad to have someone to talk faith and the Bible with! I miss the old days when we sat in a circle and studied together with R_____ . Oh, how I miss that! Wouldn’t that be great to have again?

In my next email I’ll write about Christ’s first temptation in the wilderness. I need to get ready for work. Love you, sister.


To: “David Burdick”

Yours was a blessed e-mail too, David. Please do tell me about Christ’s first temptation in the wilderness. And yes, I miss those days when Sabbath was a day of spending time together learning of God and knowing His love. The fellowship I think was a strong foundation for both of us, and we should love R_____ for his bringing us together, or should we thank God? Both! I hope R_____ is well and hasn’t lost his face. I know he was well loved to move so many people. As to what you wrote, repentance is such a tricky thing. God generally warns me when I need to repent the big stuff. He explains to me and then I see it. I ask Him a question and then one day I realize the question is answered. That’s how I put my life in his hands. I ask Him what to do and he leads me. It works!

I know there are teachings on this, but I feel more blessed to have had the relationship with God that He taught me how to follow Him. I am so blessed, even with the persecution I have faced. But of repentance, I believe when we know the truth that we repent out of hand. I think truth and honesty cure a lot of sin. For instance, people see the ten commandments as a scurge, but they are a blessing to help us, not hurt us. When we see God’s law as it is, an act of love and perfection, who cannot help heed it? Alas, some don’t repent. In the end, I don’t understand not loving God and being healed by the truth. I think judgment day will heal even the evil because they will come face to face with the lies they believed and maybe not repent but they will get what they need. I think the second coming is an act of love.

Hi C____,

Yes, its all in love. Self-sacrificing love. Incomprehensible self-sacrificing love. But if we don’t strive to comprehend it, we will fail in judgment. If we don’t strive to understand it the Holy Spirit can’t force it on us. But if we strive to understand it, we cooperate with Him in teaching us about it. He can’t work against our will.

But the day Jesus comes, which will be horrendous and earth-shattering, will be a mini Judgment Day. Imagine the actual day of judgment! Universe-shattering! Then we will see the infinite depths of the great Creator’s hatred, wrath, anxiety, and anguish toward sin and rebels. The flood was a pre-figure of that great day of judgment, and it is written, “It repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” (Gen. 6:6). We see all the rage and woe in the Son of God’s repentance. The day is coming when all those who did not strive to see God’s mercy and love Him will come up unprepared to face the fullness of His righteous love and it will destroy them. They were given every opportunity to fall on the Stone and be broken, and they self-gratifyingly refused it all. Therefore, the Stone will fall on them and grind them to powder. (Matt. 21:44).

I need to understand His love much better. That is the victory over Satan and sin. (1Jn. 5:4).

Jesus in the wilderness. He went there, Matthew says “led” by the Spirit, but Mark says “driven” by the Spirit. He was there for 40 days to show that He could punish Israel with tough discipline for 40 years and punish the antedeluvian world in wrath for 40 days of deluge because He would pass through similar punishment. All previous and afterward punishment/discipline He had/has authority to give because He suffers it all too. He suffers worse. He didn’t even have manna, like Israel had. He would have loved it. All He had was stones for physical food. But He had much, much more than physical food to live on. He dwelled in such a fullness of communion with God that that deep communion was all satisfying to Him. C____, try to imagine such a wonderful comfort and peace contemplating the righteousness and love of His Father recorded in the Old Testament, that all physical needs were met.

His soul satisfaction superceded His need for food or water. He didn’t need protection from the elements or a roof over His head. He didn’t need a pillow and mattress. Nothing could disturb the fulfillment in His Father’s presence. His Father was His refreshment. He lived in full trust and love through the power of the scriptures. He lived by every word of God.

“The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4). We can also have the experience Jesus had. But we have to be made right with God first. Then it all falls into place. When we have responded to the call of the Spirit to renounce and repent of living apart from God in sin, and we fall on the Stone and are broken, then we are enabled to live by every word of God. Nothing will appear more pleasant and better than His righteousness, and all competition will disappear. By beholding Him we will be changed into the same image. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18). “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6).

Its not by fighting sin and Satan that we are victorious over them. Jesus didn’t even use that method. He used only what we can use—letting the word of God mold us through our exposing ourselves to it. The Spirit of truth is our only hope against sin and Satan through His holy scriptures. We must give up the fight of sin and take up the fight of faith. We must follow Christ’s example in this. Its precisely because the church has chosen the fight of sin that “there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9).

And thus Paul exhorts us to give our willpower in only one direction—that of getting to know Jesus—and to escape the dire repercussions. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest , lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (vs. 10,11).

This is the Latter Rain message to the world. It should come as no surprise that our Lord laid the foundation for that final great message to the world by restoring the seventh day Sabbath of holy communication all day with our Savior. We can learn what holy communion every day is like by using the Sabbath as the training ground for that wonderful experience. For 165 years the Advent movement has been trying to get off the ground to go to heaven. We’ve been rolling down a long, long runway, lifting up a thousand feet of elevation when Ellen White was still alive, but now we’re barely getting off the ground for a few seconds each Sabbath.

But the day is coming, and hasteth greatly, when God’s people will know victory over every cultivated and inherited tendency to evil. Self-indulgence will evaporate among the people of the Lord because they will finally have admitted their utter failure to “keep the commandments of God,” and to have “the testimony of Jesus” in their heart. (Rev. 12:17). They will give up the proud notion that they can overcome their sins, and will finally come to Jesus just as they are. Then the church will have power. Until then we are dead corpses, walking around with very dry bones. (Ez. 37:1-10). We are without hope in God because we have spent our strength on fighting our sins, and nothing left to serve Him. Its egg on every face. We’ve been feeding on chaff; worse, on mud pies. Its mud on every face. We try to look happy eating mud! But it isn’t enduring happiness. As soon as no one is looking we fall into depression! And who out in the world would want to join us in eating mud pies? I don’t blame them for relegating us to cultism or insanity.

Let us do as Jesus did, get right with God by searching for His love and falling on the Stone and being broken, and then living life to the fullest through communion with the God of love. This is what Jesus’ first temptation was about.

Love you sister. I’ll be in WV this Sabbath. So have a nice Sabbath wherever you end up.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Beautiful Jesus, inside and out

The other night at prayer meeting, in the middle of reading Isaiah 53 that Jesus’ heart was like a tender plant, we paused for a minute to talk about the facial featuers of Jesus. was He handsome or homely? Was He attractive or not? I said that He was handsome, but everyone else said He wasn’t. They emphasized the verse we had read, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Is. 53:2).

They said even Ellen White said He was not handsome because that would attract attention away from His mission. But I’m not convinced. I certainly don’t like the way Hollywood uses a gorgeous man to play the part of Christ, and who makes the women giddy. However, based on my reading of scripture He was still a handsome man. I will list scripture and then Spirit of Prophecy to show my point.

Jesus was the son of David, and David was a good looking fellow. “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he [David] was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” (1Sam. 16:12). David means, “Beloved.” David was a type of Christ. Sarah and Rebecca, His matriarchs were also beautiful women. Isaac must have been handsome, and a type of Christ.

David, however, was not a tall or muscular youngster. He was called a stripling . “And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is.” (1Sam. 17:56). He didn’t present a kingly image as Saul did, nor as his brothers did. This makes me think that Jesus wasn’t tall and gallant, with the typical large-framed bearing of a king as the world loves to see it. They love to see a football or basketball player as their leader. Maybe Lucifer is bigger than the Son of God?

There is a good reason Isaiah said that the Messiah would have no comeliness. He referred to it just a few verses before this one. “As many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men:
So shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (Is. 52:14,15). Our King was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus was typified by a red heifer burnt offering (Num. 19) because His face was red, swollen, and bleeding from the bludgeoning and abuse He took in Caiaphas’ hall, then later in Herod’s palace, then once more at Pilate’s court.

“This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:
And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:
And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn.” (Num. 19:2-5).

Along with a bruised and bleeding body, the Lord of glory was stripped naked when He was crucified, in keeping with the Roman practice of crucifixion. It was for these reasons that “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

Now let’s read what EGW said about His appearance.

This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The symbol chosen for the representation of the Deity was a lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions. This enshrined the Infinite. The all-merciful God shrouded His glory in a most humble type, that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God communicated with Israel, revealing to men His will, and imparting to them His grace. God’s glory was subdued, and His majesty veiled, that the weak vision of finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Philippians 3:21, R. V.), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. Desire of Ages, p. 23.

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour’s coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them “as a root out of a dry ground;” He had “no form nor comeliness;” and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Isaiah 53:2; John 1:11. Desire of Ages, p. 27.

The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. His glory was veiled, that the majesty of His outward form might not become an object of attraction. He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow Him. The character of the Messiah had long been foretold in prophecy, and He desired men to accept Him upon the testimony of the word of God. Desire of Ages, p. 43.

Worldly associations attract and dazzle the senses so that piety, the fear of God, faithfulness, and loyalty have not power to keep men steadfast. The humble, unassuming life of Christ seems altogether unattractive. To many who claim to be sons and daughters of God, Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, is “as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness.” Aventist Home, p. 461.

The world’s Redeemer did not come with outward display, or a show of worldly wisdom. Men could not see, beneath the guise of humanity, the glory of the Son of God. He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was to them as “a root out of a dry ground,” with “no form nor comeliness,” [Isaiah 53:3, 2.] that they should desire Him. But He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” [Isaiah 61:1.]
Christ reached the people where they were. He presented the plain truth to their minds in the most forcible, simple language. The humble poor, the most unlearned, could comprehend, through faith in Him, the most exalted truths. No one needed to consult the learned doctors as to His meaning. He did not perplex the ignorant with mysterious inferences, or use unaccustomed and learned words, of which they had no knowledge. The greatest Teacher the world has ever known, was the most definite, simple, and practical in His instruction. Gospel Workers, p. 49.

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had waited the coming of the promised Saviour. Their brightest hopes had rested upon this event. For a thousand years, in song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, His name had been enshrined; and yet when He came, they did not recognize Him as the Messiah for whom they had so long waited. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11. To their world-loving hearts the Beloved of heaven was “as a root out of a dry ground.” In their eyes He had “no form nor comeliness;” they discerned in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. Isaiah 53:2.
The whole life of Jesus of Nazareth among the Jewish people was
a reproof to their selfishness, as revealed in their unwillingness to recognize the just claims of the Owner of the vineyard over which they had been placed as husbandmen. They hated His example of truthfulness and piety; and when the final test came, the test which meant obedience unto eternal life or disobedience unto eternal death, they rejected the Holy One of Israel and became responsible for His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross. Prophets and Kings, p. 710.1,2.

My research into the Spirit of Prophecy was not comprehensive. But so far from what I read, it was the beauty and purity of His character that made Christ aborrent to the sin–loving people, not His physical appearance.

If anyone finds different words, please enlighten me. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to envision the Lord as a beautiful man, the second Adam resembling first Adam, the Lord God’s first perfect work of the human race. When I read of the requirements of the Levitical priest being unqualified to serve if he was missing body parts or having unsightly features, I will interpret this to mean that the Lord is visually acceptable, perfect in all respects.