TruthInvestigate

“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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Atonement

I realize that I have written on this before, pretty often. But it keeps being forcefully brought back to my attention, and needs to be, if for no other reason, for my sake.

Being a friend to me doesn’t atone for abusing my friends. Neither does being nice to me today atone for hating me yesterday.

I must forgive you for hating me for you to be atoned. My grace alone can atone for your grievous treatment of me. You can’t undo the past by being good from now on. You cannot prove yourself by present or future good treatment toward me because I’ve already seen your real feelings of me.

If you hated me once, there stands a good chance you will hate me again. Your past actions have revealed the true character of your heart. And you will not change your mistrust and displeasure in me unless I trust you and show you I love you. But how can I show you love when you have proven yourself untrustworthy?

Nevertheless, even though being my friend today can’t atone for past abuses, it is only by your seeking my friendship that I can bring you into a knowledge of the pain you have caused me. Once you see what you did then you can be sorry. And when I see that you admit to yourself the pain you inflicted, then I can justly forgive you because I know that you know and feel my suffering. You are truly sorry.

This was the right way for me to make everything better, because if I forgave you without showing you what pain you caused, I will be hardening you in your abuses. But with the truth out in the open and accepted in your mind, now I am safe to forgive you, and you are atoned; and reconciliation and redemption are accomplished.

We have rebelled against God’s kingdom and have proven ourselves noxious to the rest of the holy universe. How can rebels ever be reunited and restored to a holy God and His pure kingdom? Can we be restored to heaven’s truth by determining today, from now on, to never sin again? How will today’s obedience atone for our past malicious destruction of our Creator’s character? It simply can’t. We have proven our real selves and demonstrated our real intent.

When Moses struck out at the people with the foul, unsanctified words, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” he revealed a trait of character the people had never seen in him—a hatred toward them (as they perceived it) that must have always been there. (Num. 20:10). They saw him diminished in their sight—less of a man. He had not only showed that he hated them, but he showed hyprocrisy in that he took the glory of God in claiming that he had been bringing water from sun-baked earth for them all that 40 years of wilderness wandering.

What could Moses do then, after proving himself evil that one time? He had negated all the previous decades of good works. He proved that all that time he had must been faking goodness—in the minds of the people. And God must be this way too because Moses represented God.

In the eyes of the angelic hosts we have infinitely proven ourselves unsafe to be restored to God’s eternal kingdom of sinlessness. Even today’s world knows they are not candidates of an eternal world of righteousness. “Why bother to even try to be holy?” they say.

But God wanted us in with Him forever. His home wouldn’t be the same without us. It’s true, our past cannot atone for any amount of good living today and forevermore. We must be forgiven of our past. And we could never produce good behavior without that knowledge of acceptance. There would be no incentive to try to be good. True good behavior only comes from true goodness. And we can’t have true goodness without seeing true goodness in God. True goodness springs from humility and unselfish love. This we must first see in God.

Jesus was the Word of God—God’s thoughts made audible. He had been revealing the Father in every aspect prior to the great controversy. As Son of God, He was the spokesman for the King of kings. Once sin entered Earth, He did not try to escape His role as revealer of God, and He assumed the burden of showing the love of God in a deeper way than He had ever done before—through the sacrifice of Himself. This because it has always been His greatest pleasure to reveal His Father.

He came to man when man was fleeing God. He stood in God’s place. If we would accept His friendship—His everlasting covenant—then we could be ushered into a training program in which He could show us what damage we had done to God, and then trust in our Advocate to not hurt us if we admitted to wrongdoing. Then He could baptize us with repentance and raise us up converted and reconciled to His Father again.

Thus atonement would be made, not by our “trying to be good from now on” (which even we know is a joke) but by seriously getting with Someone who could bring us to repentance for our past ugliness and wretchedness, and being led into humility and contrition. Love was the very beginning of the process to our redemption, and love is the governing principle in every step of our restoration.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rebuking the devil in us

“But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:23-28).

These words were addressed to Christ’s disciples when they were alone with Him; and they were more pointed at Peter than the rest. It was the sternest rebuke Jesus ever gave His beloved follower.

He had just blessed them with the promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the new movement of truth and grace. And this emboldened Peter to be used by the very enemy Christ was fighting. The disciples did not understand the true issues of the spiritual warfare raging over their heads. Peter, never afraid to express himself, took Jesus as if to shake the nonsensense of self-sacrifice coming out of His mouth. Once again, he was operating from a human compass. He was speaking for Satan.

The situation called for drastic measures—a sharp rebuke that would cut deeply into Peter’s pride and impetuous nature. Out of Jesus’ mouth went a sharp sword that slew the wickedness the devil was prompting. Nothing from the adversary could be permitted into the young church, and especially to derail the Son of God from His appointed mission to be the propitiation, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He would not give Satan one inch of foothold.

But Jesus was not just rebuking Peter. He was speaking through Peter to Satan and warning him off. Jesus was killing two birds with one stone. Peter had the unfortunate position as medium from Satan to Christ, and then from Christ back to Satan. Jesus’ method was the perfect one. He smashed the driving serve right back into the devil’s court. And forward, outspoken Peter got to be the screaming ball.

What if Adam had remained so firmly to principle when Eve first acted the same part as Peter later did? What a long, bitter history of trouble and sorrow would have been avoided! It was right for Jesus to rebuke Peter, even sternly so.

Yet, once Jesus had made His point very clear, He slowly brought instruction into the conversation to dilute the highly charged atmosphere, but without removing the importance of the present strong lesson He had just taught them. He wasn’t hateful to Peter, but needed to make a point and sink a seed of truth down deep into Peter’s processing, and through Peter to the others. It was all in mercy that He came on so strongly. He never stopped loving Peter for a moment through the whole episode. He scourges and then receives His willful children to His bosom. This is why “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Is. 9:6,7).

Peter was not cast out; he never left. Within a week we see him climbing a mountain with his Master on a collision course with the transfiguration of Jesus and another opening of his mouth in foolishness. Yet, this small band of men had become his family, with Jesus as his father. Nothing his Master could say to him would ever destroy the growing attachment and sense of unending acceptance he found in his Lord.

The Son is ever merciful and lendeth

“He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and His seed is blessed.” (Ps. 37:26).

Hello D____,
It’s the middle of the night and I awoke thinking of you with a strong desire to see you loving Jesus. There is no one better to trust in. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. Blessed is the man whose sin He covers and forgives and to whom He imputes no iniquity.

I remembered the man who brought his son to be healed of a terrible psychological malady. The son would go into fits of rage and throw himself into fire and water. His father loved him and was in desperate straits to deliver his boy from this. Then he heard of the great Healer and brought his son to Jesus.

He first met disciples who lacked faith to cast out the devil because they had lost their connection with the Master. Finally, Jesus Himself arrived and now the man could go directly to the Wonderful Counselor. He poured out his heart to Christ but mingled doubt into his request. Satan had taught the man his own blasphemous “if”. “If Thou canst do anything….” At this, Jesus threw the unbelief back on the father by saying, “If thou canst believe ….” Immediately, the man realized that his “If” was sinful lack of trusting and that his own insulting the divine Physician could forever jeopardize his son’s deliverance. Then from the depth of conviction and brokenness he cried the amazing words which will echo through all time, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” (Mk. 9:24).

The Son of God spoke with authority that shook the man out of his natural-born pride and sinful apathy. But because Jesus also spoke with compassion, and His goodness was detected by this father, He led the man to repentance. Now the cry of the child’s father was heard; and, with true faith present, the devil was forced out by the power of the Highest. Satan can never remain in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit can never remain away whenever real faith is present.

D____, more than anything I want you to see Jesus as the Good Shepherd and full of compassion, even for you. The Good Shepherd and full of compassion even for you. Even for D____. Why should He be good for everyone else but you? Come let us be reasonable; though your sins be a scarlet they shall be as white as wool. You have not offended Him beyond measure. You have not snuffed out His love for you. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men….and whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him.” (Matt. 12:31,32).

His mercy endureth forever. He is not a part-time Savior. There is no respect of persons with Him. Isn’t His mercy for even the worst of us? Yes, even for the worst. And the worst shall be first. The worst cases are Christ’s highest concerns. Where sin abounds, grace so much the more.

He was the one who David loved to talk of and praise. It was the Son of God of whom David wrote, “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.” (Ps. 45:1, 2).

Speaking of Him it was said, “He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the [sons and] daughters of Jerusalem. Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King [Jesus] with the crown wherewith His [Father] crowned Him in the day of His espousals, and in the day of the gladness of His heart.” And “My Beloved is...the chiefest among ten thousand….Yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.” (Song 3:10,11;5:10,16).

It’s our stubbornness and pride that keep us from believing His love for us. But if it hadn’t been for love, why did He come to take our place in hell fire? Why suffer under His own Father’s infinite wrath against sin? If He didn’t love us infinitely? Did He die for you for nothing? He sacrificed Himself in order to convince the whole world of the extent God will go to in order to turn our hearts back to Him. But did His propitiation lack the power to change your misunderstanding toward Him? Will you instead believe Satan, that Jesus has no love and gentle care for you? “Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of [the Son] leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). If you’ve see the Son you’ve seen the Father.

The Son is good; and with His goodness there is no variableness between sinners. The Son is ever compassionate, not just toward the multitudes who followed Him when on earth, but on whoever reads about the compassion He displayed and then appropriates His compassion for them.

D____, the Son is blessed for evermore, and so is everyone who trusts in Him. This is sound doctrine if there ever was any. But trusting Him must be more than mere theory. It needs to happen. “And whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44). Do you recognize Satan’s grinding on you until you surrender to Jesus’ love for you?

We must see His mercy and grace, or the devil will have full control of us. “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40). Read, seek, knock, ask Him to see His love for you, and it will slowly materialize right before your wondering eyes. We must study His loving movements. We must watch His loving words and actions. Its only by beholding that we can become changed into the same image.

Go and confess to Him, “I believe in Your compassion; help Thou mine unbelief.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

EGW article in Review and Herald, November 4, 1890

As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at his word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, “Lord, thou hast promised to save all who come unto thee in the name of thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish.” His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God.

But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place;
and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.

James writes of Abraham and says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.


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. Desire of Ages, p. 466.

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.” (Ex. 23:27-30).


I never thought of justification was something to be maintained by me. I knew it was assured by Jesus, but I just thought of it as something that I had until the next time I blew it. But it must be possible to keep it and live justified by faith. I think what it boils down to is that through faith in Jesus we have a right standing with God our Father and the Holy Spirit is given because of that. Thus, while we have faith we have justification and the Holy Spirit to give us freedom and to lead us up to the sanctified life.

For certain, when we are reconciled to Jesus, we are reconciled with His Father's Law and life is very good. Through the reconciliation with God's Law and will, we are enabled to be happy people, good and loving parents and children, caring neighbors, even to strangers. Even our enemies get our love. We are finally able to do all this because God has worked to bring us to repentance and conversion, and once past that hurdle, it easy running. Christ was so true that His yoke is easy and His burden light.

I quoted from Exodus because Christ seemed to be giving us a lesson on how immediately He expects His children to measure up to Him. "Little by little" was how Israel conquered the promised land. Gradually, but persistently, God will work in us by embuing our soul and choice to obey Him with the divine energy of His Spirit.



Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ’s perfect obedience instead of the sinner’s transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to his unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Again: it is written, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jesus declared, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” It is not a low standard that is placed before us; for we are to become the children of God. We are to be saved as individuals; and in the day of test and trial we shall be able to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. We are saved as individual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many are losing the right way, in consequence of thinking that they must climb to heaven, that they must do something to merit the favor of God. They seek to make themselves better by their own unaided efforts. This they can never accomplish. Christ has made the way by dying our sacrifice, by living our example, by becoming our great high-priest. He declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” If by any effort of our own we could advance one step toward the ladder, the words of Christ would not be true. But when we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Time of Trouble




















“God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Ecc. 7:29).

The Judas Cradle

The Judas Cradle, a terrible medieval torture where the victim would be placed on top of a pyramid-like seat. The victim's feet were tied to each other in a way that moving one leg would force the other to move as well - increasing pain.

The triangular-shaped end of the judas cradle was inserted in the victim's anus or vagina. This torture could last, depending on some factors discussed below, anywhere from a few hours to complete days.

Death Factors

The time it took someone to die varied enormously from individual to individual. Torturers would sometimes add weight to the victim's legs as to increase pain and hurry the victim's death. Other torturers would place oil on the device which increased pain considerably.

This device was rarely, if at all, washed. If the victim did not die quickly enough, or their painful execution was interrupted, they would invariantly die from an infection.

The victim was sometimes rocked or made fall repeatedly onto the "pyramid". This was done so torturers could acquire vital information from the victim. If he or she refused to talk, the torturer would either add more weight to the victim or make him or her fall repeatedly on the device.

Other information

The Judas cradle was called the culla di Giuda in Italian, the Judaswiege in German and The Wake in French.

The victim was usually naked when subject to the Judas Craddle. This was to increase humiliation.

To prolonge the victim's life and cause more pain, torturers would sometimes rise the victim with ropes for the night and continue the torture during the morning.

A common variant of the Judas Cradle was the Impalement Torture - equally painful.


Water torture

Dunking

Dunking is a form of punishment that was mainly reserved for supposed witches. The victim was tied to a chair which was elevated or lowered by the torturer. If he noticed that the victim was going to pass out, he elevated the chair. When he needed information and the victim was unwilling to cooperate, he lowered it. This method was widely used during the Spanish Inquisition and in England and France. The victim was usually intermittently submerged for many hours until he or she revealed information or death occurred.

While witches were commonly tortured using this method, thieves and murderers could be subject to it in order to extract a confession. This was more common when other more sophisticated torture devices were not present.

Drops of Water

A very painful method of torture consisted of fixing a victim's head under a small tube that constantly filtered drops of water. These fell on the same spot of the victim's head leading to, in prolonged periods of time, perforation and eventually death.

The Cauldron

The unlucky victim was placed inside an empty cauldron attached to chains. The cauldron was filled with cold water and beneath it, a fire was set. Eventually the water began to boil cooking the victim alive. This was more frequently a way to execute a prisoner rather than to extract a confession.

Freezing with water

In the winter, the naked victim was forced to stand outside in full view of everyone. Slowly, the torturer poured water on his head which eventually became frozen making the victim die slowly and painfully. Sometimes the body was left for the whole winter to terrify the population and dissuade any further crimes, as punishment was imminent.

Force Drinking

This torture was mostly used in more recent times, but some historians believe that its origins date to the Middle Ages. The effect is this: the victim is forced to drink much water until his confession or death.


Exposure

As its name implies, this method consists of exposing a victim to the elements. The victim could be buried up to his neck letting any animals, insects or other people kill him slowly.

In some towns there were chains, stocks or ropes used to quickly restrain someone. In many cases, the victim was simply left to die of hunger and thirst.

Due to its cost efficiency and cruelty, the exposure torture was very widespread in medieval Europe. The victim's remains often served as a warning to the population.

In many cases, the victim was sentenced to a short period of exposure, depending on the crime. However, death was frequent since they were completely defenseless.


The Chair of Torture

Also known as the Judas Chair, the Chair of Torture was a terrible device of the Middle Ages. It was used until the late 1800's in Europe.

There are many variants of the chair. They all have one thing in common: spikes cover the back, arm-rests, seat, leg-rests and foot-rests. The number of spikes in one of these chairs ranges from 500 to 1,500.

To avoid movement, the victim's wrists were tied to the chair or, in one version, two bars pushed the arms against arm-rests for the spikes to penetrate the flesh even further. In some versions, there were holes under the chair's bottom where the torturer placed coal to cause severe burns while the victim still remained conscious.

This instrument's strength lies primarily in the psychological fear caused on the victims. It was a common practice to extract a confession by forcing the victim to watch someone else be tortured with this instrument.

The time of death greatly varied ranging from a few hours to a day or more. No spike penetrated any vital organ and the wound was closed by the spike itself which delayed blood loss greatly.


The Pear of Anguish

The Pear of Anguish was used during the Middle Ages as a way to torture women who conducted a miscarriage, liars, blasphemers and homosexuals.

A pear-shaped instrument was inserted into one of the victim's orifices: the vagina for women, the anus for homosexuals and the mouth for liars and blasphemers.

The instrument consisted of four leaves that slowly separated from each other as the torturer turned the screw at the top. It was the torturer's decision to simply tear the skin or expand the "pear" to its maximum and mutilate the victim.

The Pear of Anguish was usually very adorned to differentiate between the anal, vaginal and oral pears. They also varied in size accordingly.

This torture very rarely provoked death, but was often followed by other torture methods.


The Rat Torture

A cheap and effective way to torture someone was with the use of rats. There were many variants, but the most common was to force a rat through a victim's body (usually the intestines) as a way to escape. This was done as follows:

The victim was completely restrained and tied to the ground or any horizontal surface. A rat was then placed on his stomach covered by a metallic container. As the container was gradually heated, the rat began to look for a way out - through the victim's body.

Digging a hole usually took a few hours of agonizing pain for the victim. This almost invariantly resulted in death.


The Breast Ripper

Used as a way to punish women, the breast ripper was a painful and cruel way to mutilate a woman's breasts.

This instrument was mostly reserved for women accused of conducting a miscarriage or those accused of adultery.

The claws were used either hot or cold on the victim's exposed breasts. If the victim wasn't killed she would be scarred for life as her breasts were literally torn apart.

A common variant of the breast ripper is often referred to as "The Spider" which is a similar instrument attached to a wall. The victim's breasts were fixed to the claws and the woman was pulled by the turturer away from the wall; successfully removing them.


The Head Crusher

The head crusher was widely used during most of the Middle Ages, especially the Inquisition. With the chin placed over the bottom bar and the head under the upper cap, the torturer slowly turned the screw pressing the bar against the cap.

This resulted in the head being slowly compressed. First the teeth are shattered into the jaw; then the victim slowly died with agonizing pain, but not before his eyes were squeezed from his sockets.

This instrument was a formidable way to extract confessions from victims as the period of pain could be prolonged for many hours if the torturer chose to. This could be done by repeatedly turning the screw both ways.

If the torture was stopped midway, the victim often had irreparable damage done to the brain, jaw or eyes.

Many variants of this instrument existed, some that had small containers in front of the eyes to receive them as they fell out of their sockets.


Saw Torture

The Saw was widely used throughout the Middle Ages, mainly because the tools required were found in most houses and no complex devices were required. It was a cheap way to torture and kill a victim who was often accused of: witchery, adultery, murder, blasphemy or even theft.

The victim was tied to an inverted position. This had several "benefits": first, it assured sufficient blood diverted to the brain, second, it slowed down the loss of blood and third, it humiliated the victim.

Depending on the victim and torturer, this torture could last several hours. When a confession was required, the victim was frequently forced to watch someone else be subject to this method. If he didn't confess, he'd be slowly cut in half.

During the Inquisition, this method became even more popular as the inquisitors traveled from village to village often without any torture devices at their disposal.

While some victims were cut completely in half as a symbolical gesture, most had only up to their abdomen cut, this was done to prolongue the time of death.


The Virgin of Nuremberg (The Maiden)

The Iron Maiden, otherwise known as the Virgin of Nuremberg, was a device used from the XVI century to torture criminals.

It stands 7 feet tall and is able to accommodate a man. The victim was tied inside the Maiden and one of the two doors was shut, penetrating the victim's flesh with the strategically-placed spikes that didn't penetrate any vital organs. When completely closed, the screams from the victim could not be heard outside, nor could the victim see any light or hear anything. This increased the psychological pain. Additionally, the spikes blocked the wounds so it took many hours - or even days - for death to occur.

If the door was opened, the victim would stand in the exact same position so if the torturer chose to close the door again, the spikes would penetrate the exact same wounds. Sometimes the door was intermittently closed to maximise the victim's pain without delivering death.

The Inquisitional Chairs

This instrument of torture comes in different versions. We are first going to examine their common features and, then, their differences. All of them have common features, in that they are covered with spikes on the back, on the arm-rests, on the seat, on the leg-rests and on the foot-rests. The chair exhibited at the museum of San Gimignano has 1300 spikes, a real "carpet" of spikes . One version has a bar screwed on the lower portion of the chair, by the victim's feet, which by a screw mechanism forced the back of the legs against the spikes, thus penetrating the flesh of the victim. Another version had two bars immobilising the victim's wrists forcing his forearms against the arm-rests resulting in the flesh being penetrated by the spikes.

Another version had a bar at chest height, to immobilize the victim's bust, while the spiked seat had holes to allow the victim's bottom to be 'heated" by hot coals placed under the seat, causing painful burns, but still keeping the victim conscious.
The strength of this instrument lies mainly in the psychological terror it causes and the threat that the torture will get increasingly worse, conforming to a model where the pain starts off easy and then gets progressively worse. The idea is that the Inquisitors can interrupt it at any stage, upon visual inspection of the damages that have been inflicted.

This instrument was used in Germany up to the 1800s, in Italy and in Spain up to the end of the 1700s, in France, in Great Britain and in the other central European countries, according to certain sources, up until the end of 1800s.


The maiden of Nuremberg

The name of this instrument seems to have originated from a prototype that was built in the town of Nuremberg. It is also said that this sort of sarcophagus had the face of a maiden carved on its front door, probably with the aim of making this horrible container look more refined.

This instrument has four main features, whose wickedness, I think, deserve to be analyzed. The inside of the sarcophagus was fitted with spikes designed to pierce different parts of the body, but miss the vital organs, so that the victim was kept alive, in an upright position.

Its second feature is that the victims were kept in an extremely confined space to increase their suffering.

Its third feature was that the device could be opened and closed without letting the victim, who had been pierced from the front and the back, get away.

Its fourth feature was that the container was so thick that no shrieks and moaning could be heard from outside unless the doors were opened. When the sarcophagus doors were shut again, the spikes pierced exactly the same parts of the body as before, and thus no relief was ever possible. This instrument can be defined both a torture and a death instrument.


The Garrotte

This instrument bears a Spanish name because it was "improved" in Spain, where it became the official instrument of capital punishment. It remained in use until 1975, when the last person to be executed was a young student who was later found to be innocent. This incident was one of the arguments used for the abolition of death penalty in that country.

This instrument has very ancient origins. Simply put, a pole was driven into the ground and a rope was tied around the victim's neck. But if the pole was not very thick and the rope was tightened behind the pole, the neck of the victim could be tightened more gradually and easily released.

This sort of torture was used all over the world as testified by etchings. The string tying the victim's neck to the pole could be made of a material that would shrink once wetted, so that the victim would slowly suffocate as it dried. The "improved" Spanish version of this instrument was used for executions. It had a steel collar, larger in size than the victim's neck to prevent strangulation, but, at the same time, tight enough to immobilize the head and the neck.

Preventing neck and head movement was necessary because it allowed the victim's cervical vertebrae to be penetrated by a steel tip, moved by a screw mechanism positioned in the rear of the pole. In theory, such penetration was to be quick and precise, thus, able to administer a rapid and certain death.

Actually, though, the possibility of error and failure is so high that I leave it to the imagination of the reader to consider the suffering it actually inflicted.


Branks

These devices had two main features: They exposed the victims to ridicule by forcing them to wear a ridiculous likeness, and, at the same time, they inflicted mortification and physical torture by occluding the victims' mouth or nose and covering their eyes. As we can see in the picture number 3, the victim's mouth was stopped up with a ball to prevent her from screaming and moaning.

The long ears represented the ears of an ass. In Europe, many negative characteristics were attributed to this animal. Even today, donkeys are considered to be the stupid version of horses and the epithet "ass" is still used, in Italy, France and Spain, to define a stupid person.

The version with a pig nose or even a pig head, symbolizes someone dirty. The word pig, when referred to a person, is considered offensive in all European languages.


The heretics fork

This instrument consisted of two little forks one set against the other, with the four prongs rammed into the flesh, under the chin and above the chest. A small collar supported the instrument in such a manner that the victims were forced to hold their head erect, thus preventing any movement.

The forks did not penetrate any vital points, and thus suffering was prolonged and death avoided. Obviously the victims' hands were tied behind their back.



The above paragraphs came from various websites. I'm sorry that I used such graphic samples of torture, but I felt the need to see these things and share them because we have a time of trouble on the way which will be much worse than even the days when these Medieval tortures were in use. No doubt, all these tortures have been updated and perfected.

Its good to take a brief glance at what Satan can come up with, in order to "count the cost" as Jesus counseled. We need to go into the coming calamities without being surprised at what the spirit of darkness has in store for his arch-enemies.

There is one consolation: the Latter Rain, which is the only preparation for the tribulation, will be ringing in our ears from the wonderful experience we had expressing to the world what the kingdom of God is, while we were and continue to be surrounded by angelic hosts and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. The Pauls, Peters, Stephens, and Johns, the Marys and Marthas, the Tabithas and Priscillas of the 144,000 champions of Law and grace, will be free to speak like never before.

We will have what Paul wrote about when he was in his dungeon on death row, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7). Whether running from the devil-possessed wicked or backed into a corner and facing our murderers, our hearts will be burning with love to Jesus, our Friend and Savior, and like our Master, we will be full of pity and love and sorrow toward our persecutors.

For "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A new name and a new song

“And [I] will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Rev. 2:17).

The name, in biblical times, said something about the person, and its meaning reflected back on him. The names of ancient Hebrews described them or their experience or the experience of others close to them.

“And she [Leah] conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” (Gen. 29:35). Judah means “Praised.”

“And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.” (Gen. 30:6). Dan means “Judge.”

“And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.” (Gen. 30:22-25). Joseph means “He shall add.”

But there were people who got a much better, powerful name in the way of salvation—because they were named by God Himself.

Abraham—“A father of many nations,” and Israel—“He who wrestles with God,” both got their new names decades after being called by God for His great purposes for them. They didn’t receive their new title immediately after being called; but God who sees the end from the beginning knew their ultimate end of faith in Him.

Predestination? Impossible to fall away from God because of His sovereign will? No, neither. But, certainly, divine foreknowledge of their yearning for the God of heaven and earth, that, despite the falling and failing of their human nature, would keep looking to God for mercy and love and righteousness until faith laid hold of Him. The Lord God, the Master Teacher used those men who were subject to like passions as we are to show the after generations and to all the world that He doesn’t give up on anyone if they don’t give up on Him.

But Isaac was named differently than everyone else. He was named before conception. His father Abram and son Jacob were renamed as a result of surrender to God late in life. Isaac was named as born holy, having surrender at conception.

Isaac was to represent the Son of God, the one seed of Abraham. He, like Samson who represented His power and strength to vanquish Satan, must be named before he was conceived. Thus, “while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20,21). “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” (Lk. 2:21).

Isaac means “Laughter”—both to laugh at and mock, and also to laugh with and rejoice. This is exactly what many did to the Messiah when He came. He was dogged and derided by the religious leadership, and kept at arm’s length by the people as if He might be afflicted and stricken by a delusion, and they finally publicly denied Him and hung Him up to die the most gruesome and brutal of all torturous deaths, the Holy One to die the death of a common criminal.

But afterward many priests were obedient to Him, and multitudes were converted in a day and daily multiplied in number. “Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” (Lk. 2:34).

Don’t we all still do the same? We don’t trust Him when He at first reveals Himself to us. We mock Him. But when we finally bow to the truth of what He says, we see His great love in it all, and in the end we laugh with Him—a wonderful laughter, singing a new song, walking humbly with our God.

“Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the Bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the Bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.” (Mk. 2:19). All they can do is rejoice.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Condemnation

The woman told me that she as not under the condemnation of the law because Christ became a curse for us.

No more condemnation in the New Dispensation? That sounds pretty good. Let’s party down! Let’s celebrate!

But please, let me respectfully disagree. Because there is condemnation in the New Dispensation and it’s aimed at the church just as much as to the world. Here are some New Testament verses; you tell me if they don’t sound menacing.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” (Rev. 14:6,7).

“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (Jn. 5:14).

“But He answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matt. 15:13).

“Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit…. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn. 15:2,6).

“While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Let us therefore fear
, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 3:15-4:1).

“For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (Jas. 1:7).

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (Jn. 8:11).

Ye adulterers and adulteresses , know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4).

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
“Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain.” (Gal. 3:3,4).

“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” (2Pet. 2:20).

“I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee .” (Rev. 3:1-3).

“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs.” (Rev. 22:14,15).

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

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Tim. 4:2-4).

Ye fools and blind : for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?” (Matt 23:17).

And there are many, many more. Ananias and Sapphira received the same consequence as the man who was found breaking the Sabbath after hearing the commandment boomed from Mt. Sinai—death.

Truth is condemning. It hurts the pride and the arrogance of sin. It rudely opens our eyes to wrong doing and awakens the conscience. And as Paul counseled Timothy, sinners need to keep hearing the truth—even the churched sinners—or they would very quickly begin to gather about them leaders who would tell them only what they want to hear.

Is this any different from what Moses said, “Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.
And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended….” (Deut. 31:28-30).

We don’t like condemnation. We take offense to it and to the person delivering it. So we take the attitude of Babylon and ignore heaven’s voice of authority. “Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.” (Is. 47:8).

“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 18:7).

“How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman.” (Ez. 16:30).

Thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” (Jer. 3:3).

Moses told Israel, “For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?” (Deut. 31:27). How different is this from what Paul said to the Galatians, “From henceforth let no man trouble me.” (Gal .6:17).

So, is there condemnation in the New Testament? Yes, and rightly so. We need to be shamed when we do wrong and when we care little that we did. We need to stand guilty before God in order for faith to grab a hold of us.

“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Lev. 19:17). But we need to remember that it must be done out of love.

“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2Cor. 10:6).

“For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor. 7:8-10).

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19).

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Condemnation, our friend

“And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.” (Ju. 4:3). The whole church in repentance. Imagine it today! Not just guilty individuals, but the whole congregation was in repentance. Then God acted to save them.

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mk.1:14,15). Repentance always precedes God’s help. It must. Our pride makes us unsafe to save. If He were to save us in our proud state, we would become imprisoned in a malaise where need would be non-existent; and that’s the last thing He wants. For an unconverted person to believe God has saved when the requirement of desperate need was not satisfied is to encase that person’s soul in unbelief, possibly forever. Yet, this is going on all over Christendom.

For good reasons “the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” (Gal. 3:24). When God has worked sorrow for sin and the turning away from it into our hearts, “godly sorrow” that “worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of” (2Cor 7:10), then He can take the next step of pulling us out of sin. But not until then.

If we claim God’s blessing while denying His requirement of repentance, then Satan takes control and leads us to himself. “Salvation” without repentance is spiritualism. Self is showcased. Service to God is corrupted with self-exaltation. Self is woven into our offerings to Christ. We are doomed to self-destruction.

But how to bring a whole church to repentance? How to bring a whole denomination? a whole remnant movement? We can’t make ourselves repentant. There is only one way to repentance—the law of God; where thus saith the Lord, “SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW!” (1Jn. 3:4).

The Law of God defines sin and is the cause of guilt and shame. The condemnation and pain of the Law and the prophets is His arrow to break down our proud tough exteriors. He can’t deal with sin until He has called out sin and called it by its right name.

The covenant/gospel sets the tone for God’s grace and love toward the helpless, ignorant sinner. The Law sets the tone for God’s condemnation and hatred for sin. Together, the Law and the gospel save us. Separated, they each are the strength of sin and they each work death.

Soldier mother



Please click on this photo and study it carefully. Take a minute to let it sink down into your mind. What do you see? Desperate, grieving love? Do you see an infinitely deeper love for the child than the child can have for the parent? Do you see the image of God? the Prodigal's father? A God of love weeping to have a sinner back?

Oh, how our Father has missed us in His kingdom! Oh, how He has missed His Son who has been numbered with us since man fell! But, since 1844 the gap between Them has been closing in an accelerating fashion. Soon, They will be right back side by side again like They were before Earth was created.

Then the Father will bring redeemed man back into His arms, never to let him go again. Do you see Him in the soldier mother?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Conversion and wisdom

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30).

Bible wisdom is not Greek wisdom and is far from modern technology and philosophy.

Bible wisdom is the product of surrender to God’s love and authority. There is no truer wisdom, and this wisdom cannot come without a childlike conversion. “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.” (Jn. 6:45). To be taught by God means that the natural born pride has been bowed before Him.

But how is this accomplished? How do we surrender our pride? Do we accomplish it? No. No one can bow his pride. No one can crucify himself, just as no one can baptize himself. Self-crucifixion and self-baptism are physically impossible and they both represent the death of pride. These must be administered by someone else; otherwise, righteousness comes by works—our own. But, self cannot kill itself.

Rather, we must trust God to do that for us. And He will if we avail ourselves to Him. Is the whole religious world converted? No. “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet” “a very small remnant” “shall be saved.” (Is. 10:22;1:9;Rom. 9:27).

Why only a very small remnant saved? Because most sinners never make themselves available for God to do His work of conversion and sanctification and wisdom; “because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14).

So, why is salvation so hard to find? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Our sinful condition blinds us to the help that only God can provide. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matt. 6:34). Self-sufficiency exalts us to self-dependence of God-like proportions. Our self-esteem is in the stratosphere lest we be reproved and be made guilty and be humiliated. Our humbler is our adversary. Stubborn pride shakes its fist at God or anyone else who compares us to a better example of goodness. Pride is at the core of our resistance to reproof and humility and conversion.

Pride’s false hopes in its own morality form the barrier to a sound mind and true wisdom; to true joy and to real life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7). Backing down from God in humble fear is the only access to being taught. But, pride cannot be taught because it already knows everything. Pride knows it all, lest it become the object of scorn and a mockery at its ignorance. Scorning others and exalting itself is what it has witnessed and done to others, and it believes that that is all everyone else will do to it, including God. We come out of the womb with hearts wired for pride.

The fallen souls of men have been so abused by satanic hosts because their captors know zero love. An existence in such a sterile environment without eternal, constant mercy slowly, imperceptibly encases us in bitterness. Cut off from God, the devil and his angels can only be abusive in their control of the captive race of Adam. Thus, they aggravate our fallen natures and provoke our bitterness into self-defense. Finally, pride says, “I have been hurt enough; I have lived in a loud, loveless, unsparing world long enough. I close my heart to any more torture. No more guilt for me! No more rebuke, no more correction will ever be acceptable to me again. I refuse it all! I’m a pretty moral and upstanding citizen! There are plenty of people worse than me!” Then egotism and ignorance reign supreme. And the devils laugh at us and at God.

How does God rescue us from this pit of hell? First, He must overpower our self-exaltation. We must back down from our superiority complex and bow to His superiority. He must do it slowly and kindly and gently, but He must shut us down. He must convince us of our real condition and our deficient standard, and of His perfect will and His divine standard. He must show us how He sees us:

“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.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-19). “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (vs. 19).

God must boom down from Mt. Sinai and put us on the ground. He must stop every mouth. Our whole life long He works to prostrate us to reality. And if that doesn’t work, He must finally let death convince us, if it can. Rom. 5:13,14. If we remain umoved from our self-sufficiency and refuse to weep at our loss before the great Judge (and this refusal happens on thousands of death beds around the world every hour) then each person’s life of thousands of opportunities to break and repent passes away, our probation closes, and we sleep on death row awaiting the great Judgment Day.

But if the heavy hand of God does humble our pride, then He brings us to the next step. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Rom. 2:4). “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24).

God must stop us in our tracks, and let the light of eternal realities seep into our darkened egotistical minds, or we are lost. Once startled by His power and authority and reset, then we gain a need of a Savior, and faith is riveted onto Him. Finally faith is born and is able to receive the salvation Christ has to offer. Then He can give us His adoption and apply His healing grace.

This is why Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.” (Jn. 6:45). They learned of the Father through His unforgiving creation, through the consequence to sinning and the daily bumping into other sinners who were as careless and uncaring as themselves, or straight through His sky-high standard—the Testimony of Jesus, His word.


Wherever the word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message of His servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The “light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come. They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cried out: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions; this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had “remission of sins that are past.” Gerat Controversy, p. 461.


Is there anything I can do to assist God in this process and be saved? It is evident that I cannot help God in the production of saving faith in me. “Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…For we are His workmanship.” (Eph. 2:8,10). If I can’t help God save me, what then? What must I do to be saved? Even though salvation is wholly by the power of God, we can cooperate with Him in His work of catching up with us and working conviction into us.

All that man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Selected Messages, Vol. I, p.343.

This is where His word comes into play, and prayer and sharing what we already know or hope of God for the uplifting of those around us, loving them and giving to them. All this not to prove to God or anyone else that we are holy or great, but they are deliberate efforts that give God permission to open our hearts to know Him better.

Look what this effort toward godliness did for King Josiah. He launched into seeking God at an early age and making determined efforts to please Him.

“In the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.
And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered....
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses.
And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.” (2Chron. 34:3-15).

All the reforms that Josiah accomplished led him to a deeper discovery of truth and heavier experience of conviction. Before the discovery of the precious book of Moses, his heart was already prepared to respond in deep contrition, and that discovery infused his consecration with divine power. This working in of truth into him was all planned by God. The Lord, seeing the strength of the king’s desire to turn Judah’s worldliness around, knew where the law was located in the shambles of the temple, hidden under age-long dust, and commanded His angels to lead the workers right to the place that the book of the law was laying. Then we see the strong reaction of Josiah at its presentation to him.

“Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes .” (vs. 18,19). For the first time king Josiah heard of the Lord’s original requirements in detail and Moses’ authentic voice of authority. He heard of the threats and warnings of disobedience to it and he awoke to the great danger of divine wrath.

By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process. Desire of Ages, p.172.

The king discerned from this discovery that the Lord was still with His people and it propelled him to seek out a reputable prophet. This he did and was confirmed of the Lord’s wrath, which spurred him on to greater reforms and to the work of leading the people to pledge themselves wholly to obedience to the God of their fathers.

Josiah’s was a personal revival that led to reform that led to greater revival which led to more extensive reform—from faith to faith, from grace to grace. Here we see reform that led to revival because it was founded on the right motives—seeking to know God.

At first we might be dismayed that the Jews of that time had never had the law of Moses read to them before. They had heard of it, but they had never really read it themselves, nor had they heard it read to them. But Providence led them to this buried treasure which caused the king to see the will of God much clearer. He also saw the hand of God in its discovery and this led to the empowering of resolution and the downfall of the last vestige of his self-sufficiency which his early seeking had not removed.

By the ripping of his royal garment King Josiah openly expressed the repentance and grief of his heart which was casting down every high thing in him that had exalted itself against God, and it revealed the new freedom which was captivating his every thought to obedience to Christ—a demonstration of the power of the word of God to a soul made ready to receive it.

And in the final breaking down of the ego and the full reception of the written word of God through the Holy Spirit, the humbled soul received the wisdom of God and the righteousness of God—the Word of God—God Himself who had sent it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth

“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).

King Hezekiah had been a wonderful tool in God’s hands to bring about a revival in Judah and to offer it to the ten northern tribes as well. This revival was accomplished through a Passover, the greatest of which that had ever been known. It lasted a whole week, and the visiting Israelites from the north had been so many generations without witnessing the heart-wrenching sacrifice of a little lamb, with all the historical significance that attended it, that the new-comers asked for another week of ceremonies and fellowship.

Those were glorious days. God in His great mercy inspired Hezekiah to provide this opportunity of repentance to Israel because He foresaw the soon destruction of the corrupted ten northern tribes by the Assyrian empire.

When Sennacharib arrived with his armies to destroy Israel and to conquer the southern kingdom of Judah, Hezekiah’s faith was put to an extreme test. At that time he took the written threats of the Assyrian king and laid them out before the Lord. His heart rent, he beseeched his God for protection from the innumerable hosts of his powerful enemy.

But, once the danger had passed, Hezekiah lapsed into a Laodicean state of lukewarmness with the God who had so summarily been his help. For many years he reigned riding on the successes of the past, and without seeking to renew the faith he had known during those difficult times. God blessed Hezekiah tremendously in an effort to bring him to repentance. But after these volumous blessings would not awaken him to his precarious stance of self-sufficiency, the Lord allowed disease to begin a terrible work on his body.

A boil appeared which no doctor could cure. It is likely that the physicians of Egypt were looked to for their professional knowledge of science mixed with sorcery. But when nothing else worked to heal him, the ailing king received a call from his most trusted servant and proven prophet, Isaiah.

The message from the prophet was for the king to put his things in order because he was going to die. At this word, the king wept to the Lord. Repentance finally came to him and he was accepted by God again. Not far from the king’s room, the word of the Lord came to Isaiah to turn around and go back to the king with a new message. King Hezekiah would live another 15 years, as evidenced by the miracle of the sundial’s shadow retrogressing. A simple lump of figs brought the needed relief, reproving the king and his counselors for inquiring of the Egyptians instead of to the Creator God of heaven which they professed to serve.

The word got around that Hezekiah had been healed miraculously. Over in Babylon was a well developed organization of astronomy and astrology mixed together. Long had they followed the heavens for wisdom and foreknowledge. Very surprised were they when they saw the shadow cast by the sun move in the opposite direction on their sundial. Impossible! Yet it happened.

When they also heard of the miracle of the king of Judah, and the word that this sundial occurrence was associated with it, the king of Babylon immediately dispatched an embassage of high ranking men to see this Hezekiah.

The spirit of Christ had long remonstrated with the Jewish king evoking little response from him. During his dire condition close to death, he had promised “I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul… Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.”

Yet, once on the way to recovery, he forgot his God who had redeemed his life from destruction. And thus it was that when the official visitors of Babylon arrived, instead of declaring the power of the true God of heaven, the Creator of the ends of heaven and the earth; instead of giving those carnal men what they needed to hear, Hezekiah told them what their unconverted hearts wanted to hear.

The perfect host, he showed them all his treasure—his—treasure, and let them feast their eyes on a museum of golden and silver objects, precious gems, highly valued spices and ointments in his palace and throughout the land.

Loyalty to God was shaken from him as he was awed by the obvious prominence which these men had in their country. Their rich robes and the costly gifts they brought him to show their condolences revealed their own personal wealth and that of the government which they represented. Desirous to make an alliance with them, the ruler of Israel lost his already weak hold on God and groveled in their presence.

And Satan created those circumstances, calculating just such results. Those proud men basked in the control they had over the weakling who was outnumbered before them. “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.” (2Pet. 2:13,14).

“My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” (Gen. 6:3). Hezekiah had this failure coming to him. God, “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” left this ruler over Judah and example to the world. He separated Himself from him to test him and to see all that was in his heart. And it also was for Hezekiah to see the condition of his heart.

The king failed the test because he failed the connection with his God. He had been failing to cultivate piety and the union and communion which had made his father David strong to resist temptation, brave to face danger, and to daily live in the very atmosphere of heaven. And he didn’t recognize this characteristic in one of the greatest prophets to ever live, his own counselor, Isaiah.

And thus, Christ sent this king’s counselor back to the king with another pronouncement—that all of the gold which he had displayed would be carried away into Babylon, along with all the people under his direction and protection. Nothing would be left in the land.

Is the Son of God, Yahweh of the Old Testament, mean and overbearing, “an hard man, reaping where Thou hast not sown, and gathering where Thou hast not strawed”? (Matt. 25:24). Why can He assume the right to be “the Judge of all the earth…?” (Gen. 18:25).

“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Jn. 5:22). Why is this? Is it simply due to His divine status as Son of the Highest? No, although it could be!

But, no, He doesn’t accept His Judgeship simply due to His Sonship; because, notwithstanding that His divine place in the Godhead should suffice His claim to the office of Judge, yet He went further to prove His authority by putting Himself in our circumstances. Each failure of ours, He passed through and overcame. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8). “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6).

As the Lord God left Hezekiah, so God the Father left His only beloved Son to try Him and to see all that was in His heart. Did He truly love this world of revolting sinners? Would He remain numbered among them, at all cost? Was His resolve to save them all that He claimed? Did His faith in them withstand their murderous hatred of Him? Would He reveal God’s love for sinful man and show the universe how God deals with sin? His only help left Him, to tread the winepress alone.

Thus, “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (vs. 10-12).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The patience of God

Today, I was invited to a friend’s Sunday school and I went. I’ve been to other Sunday Schools when I have been able to go. I have found every experience without exception to be just like Sabbath School.

The different church’s worship services I haven’t really enjoyed; but I have always enjoyed the Sunday Schools because the Bible was opened and discussed. I could express my understanding of scripture and try to steer the group to a deeper knowledge of the Bible, as Jesus has helped us learn through His messenger.

It’s like giving a Bible study to a group, except that they invited me, not the other way around. Nevertheless, I can open a fuller understanding of the word of God to them by bringing in the Old Testament and the purpose and authority of the Law of God, which gives the gospel such fullness and power, and which the Sunday-keepers need. And I have found many of them to be receptive to more truth. There are many converted Christians and others genuinely seeking that experience in the other churches.

Today the topic of study was Luke chapter 8, where Jairus asked Jesus to heal his daughter who was on the brink of death. Then as Jesus went to heal her, the crowds slowed Jesus incredibly. Then to make matters slower and even later in getting to the dying girl, a woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus and was healed.

The teacher mentioned that Jesus was never hurried or stressed because of being delayed. He was always committed to God’s will, and that even when Lazarus was sick “unto death” Jesus tarried. It was all in His Father’s will that the delays happened. Jesus never got impatient or raised His voice with the crowd of jostling people. He just moved at their speed, quietly and caringly, gently enjoying the company and being in God’s will. He wasn’t on His own agenda. His principle of life was, “I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.” (Jn. 5:30).

The newly converted and peace-filled Israel, speaking to Esau, revealed the gentleness of God. “And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.” (Gen. 33:13,14).

“Thy gentleness [as a virtue of the Lord] hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:35). “Ye…have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (Jas. 5:11).

If the Son of God is gentle and patient with His Father’s will, what a loss of stress and a boon to health would we enjoy if we would also follow His example! “The Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Is. 30:18). And if the Son is gentle and patient with sinners, so is His Father, our Father, the “Father of all.” (Eph. 4:6).

Great is Thy [gentleness], O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy [gentleness]! Great is Thy [gentleness]!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy [gentleness], Lord unto me.

The mind of Jesus

Americans use many idioms that come straight from the King James Bible, and many atheistic secularists don’t even realize that this is the case. “Skin of my teeth”—Job 19:20. “Safe and sound”—Lk. 15:27. “In his right mind”—Mk. 5:15. Et cetera, et cetera. There are many more.

It seems evident to me that the English language that has spread around the globe, which came largely through America’s influence, has littered biblical phrases into an English speaking world. I think we can owe this to America having been raised the King James Bible. We just don’t realize how fundamental the Bible teachings play in our way of thinking, as proven by our King James idioms. While we have lost much of the original reverence for the Book, we still retain some of its spirit. Like a person can never lose the bond with its mother and father which it gained from infancy—even, despite later conflicts with the parents, Americans retain the deeply seated roots of mercy and peace which God gave us from the establishment of our nation while it was still a colonial refuge from the harassment of papal and feudal Europe.

This is not to say we must claim ourselves a Christian nation. When we began as a state and established our Constitution, we built into it the principles we gained from the Bible—that we would never do what Europe did with its governments and the church. We would never join them together as “Christian” Europe had done and was the cause of murdering hundreds of millions of people who believed in the Bible and dissented against the so-called “Church” of Christ. It is never safe to unite the church and the state. It never has been and never will be. When the day comes that America repudiates its original Constitution which separated the church and the state, the whole world will be in for a horrific time of trouble such as the world has never seen. And Rome is waiting on the wings, manipulating world events and stirring up world conflicts—even financially, in order to re-establish herself once more as supreme world leader, governor over every aspect of our lives.


But, here is another idiom: the “Word of God.” We call it the Bible. But where did that idiom come from? We throw it around all the time, and never give thought to tracing its roots back to their first usage. Not that that is essential in this case, but a deeper look at it will broaden our understanding of the phrase. And knowledge is good.

To look at all the references for the biblical phrase, “word of God,” copy/paste into your web browser the website from BibleGateway,
http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/index.php?search=word%20of%20god&version1=9&searchtype=phrase&startnumber=26. There, you can see all the instances where the idiom is used. There some very familiar verses are listed, so we can see what the original intent was when the phrase was used in the Bible. This is good exegesis. Maybe we’ve had it wrong? Maybe we’ve misunderstood it or lacked the full understanding of it? It never hurts to investigate truth. If what we believe is true, then we have no reason to fear a relook and an investigation. And a fuller knowledge of God’s wisdom is always a blessing.

But what spurred me to study this phrase is the verse that came to me yesterday, “He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).

Jesus was blind and deaf. Did you know that? The Bible says so. “Who is blind, but My Servant? Or deaf, as My Messenger that I sent? Who is blind as He that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s Servant? Seeing many things, but Thou observest not; opening the ears, but He heareth not.” (Is. 42:19,20). What was He blind and deaf to? The sin that daily surrounded Him. He was cut off from the temptations that Satan pushed on Him through the people that crowded Him every day from His childhood Nazareth all the way to Satan’s crescendo at Golgotha.

How did He escape from the tempter’s snares? The word of God—every word of God. His mind swam with the Old Testament scriptures and their deepest meanings. It all made perfect sense to Jesus, and He reveled in the beauty and wonder of the truth and wisdom and inspiration in those holy pages.

In their ignorance of truth, the religious teachers and doctors of the law quizzed themselves of Him, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (Jn. 7:15). Yet His comprehension and depth of understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures was infinite. He was so far ahead of them that they were lost in His dust. His every thought came from those scriptures. He brought out of them wonderful meanings attached to already well-established truths, in keeping with His parable: “Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matt. 13:52).

In early childhood He had plumbed the depths of the holy Writ, and in later life had brought into that understanding ever newer wisdom gained from daily experiences, from hard labor, and from nature. Daily His mind churned with the glories of truth and grace, as He chewed the cud of the word. He was appropriately called, the Word of God.

Thus He could say, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (Jn. 14:30). And “He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” (Jn. 8:29).

Better than David, the Son of David had the experience of this truth: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Ps. 119:11).
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” (vs 9).
“Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” (vs. 104).
“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (vs. 111).
“I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love.” (vs. 113).
“O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes!” (vs. 5).
“With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.” (vs 10).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Lord's Law of love

Love is the unfolding of the Law. Thus, the Law must be the foundation of love. God’s Law is the law of love. Satan, the deviant genius, has turned the Christian world away from the authority of God’s Law of love by focusing them on love—love apart from the Law of love.

This devious love is nebulous, at the least; and proud and self-centered at the most. But rather than what Satan has pawned off to humanity, many millions of people around the world have been led by the Spirit to look for love with more detail. They seek more assurance of God’s love and in their search have come to see the need for the Law of God.

The Law gives definition to love. And the King of love, Jesus, the Son of God receives wonderful features when we view Him through the Old Testament. That Law which came from the craggy precipices of Mt. Sinai illuminates “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” (2Cor. 4:6), whose “visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Is. 52:14).

David wrote, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Ps. 1:1-5).

David knew what the victorious life in Christ was all about. And he declares that it happens through “the Law of the Lord.” It’s not just about “the law”; but about the Lord’s Law. It’s two, not one. It’s the Lord and His Law.

He declares that the ungodly don’t meditate in the Lord’s Law day and night. Therefore they cannot stand in judgment, but are blown away by every wind of doctrine.

The Law of God makes a man out of us. Grace alone is not enough. Our sanctification and glorification requires the acceptance of both the mercy of Christ and His justice, His Law; we must receive Him both as “God my Saviour” and “the Lord our righteousness.” (Lk. 1:47;Jer. 23:6).

As it was prophesied of Christ, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, the Lord our righteousness.” (Jer. 23:5,6).

Both law and grace give the church the access into the knowledge of Christ. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name .” (Jn. 1:12). “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.” (Jer. 33:16).

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” (Is. 4:1). This prophecy speaks of the glorious day when the Law will finally rule in the lives of Christ’s followers. And multitudes of disillusioned people without the loving Law will desperately seek out the people of God to hear a word of grace and truth; they will want to call themselves commandment keepers and owners of the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy, to dissolve the painful anxiety that has come to them from Satan’s presence in their hearts.

“In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (vs.2).

His love will be their law of life—His righteous love, His loving righteousness. We have nothing to fear from the righteousness of the Law of God. But we have everything to fear from a Law without love and also from a love without the Law .

It is love without the distinction and guidance of the Law that leads people to commit the most heinous acts in God’s name and in the name of love. “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (Jn. 16:2). Those evil days were experienced by the early Christians by a humanistic religious world; and that day will come again. It is just this lawless “love” that will compose the big time of trouble before Jesus returns. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:21,22).

Lawless love is not love at all—it is satanic. We see it in a unique vision by the Lord’s messenger.

I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, “Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children. Early Writings, p. 56.

Notice again that lawful love makes men out of us. This doesn’t destroy our gender and make us all the same that way. But what lawful love does is strengthen us with a resolve and makes Samsons out of everyone who trusts in the Lord.

This happens because we see the Law in Jesus. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:4,5).

He becomes our total focus, and we see the majesty of the Law of God shining in Him. Then “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). Thus He gives us “power to become the sons of God,” “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 1:16).

We become sons, we become men. We have a courage that Deborah had more than Barak did. She was the manlier of the two. Adam was the name of man, male and female. “Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam.” (Gen. 5:2). And, while in the garden, they were both courageous and manly in their faith and ardor for their Creator.

Law-filled love makes men. This is the great need today.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. Education, p. 57.

This is love. This is Christ our righteousness.