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

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Moses and Paul, the two lawgivers

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29).

The secret things. Did the Lord withhold light to Israel? Yes, He withheld the things that remained secret to Him alone. Why did He not divulge all His secrets to them? Because the Israelites coming out of slavery weren’t able to responsibly bear what He wanted to give them, “the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began.” (Rom. 16:25). But the time would arrive when a generation could reverently and humbly bear it—a “seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal. 3:19). That seed was the predestinated seed (Eph. 1:11), the chosen generation that was born out of the Messiah’s ministry. 1Pet. 2:9.

Paul, the Moses for the church, was given some of the secrets that Christ held back from Moses for ancient Israel. The new light through Paul emphasized grace, which the Lord through Moses only briefly touched on. But Moses emphasized the law because God’s people and the world were not able to accept a knowledge of His grace without trampling upon His laws. They proved this with the celebration worship at the base of Mt. Sinai. “The law…was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Gal. 3:19). It would require fifteen centuries of schooling, much of it in captivity, before Israel could be humbled enough to live by faith under grace while holding the law exalted, sealed in their hearts. Only the life and death of the Messiah could finalize this sealing process.

Paul never marginalized the Law, but he brought out and magnified the hidden truth of the power of the Messiah’s grace for humanity. This had been included in the old covenant, but not emphasized and rarely searched out by the people. The apostle wrote, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” (Rom. 3:21,22). Now the followers of Christ were no longer under the tutelage of the Law because they had become submissive and innocent children of God by faith, even “dead to the law by the body of Christ.” (Rom. 7:4).

The new present truth for the apostolic church was the compassion of Christ, that the Lawgiver is come in the flesh to exemplify His Law in majesty and in His personableness . “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled , of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it…)” (1Jn. 1:1,2). “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Is. 42:3). “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” (Rev. 1:5,6).

The grace of God was not excluded from the first covenant; on the contrary, it was plainly declared. “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,…shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:5, 6) “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6,7).

“Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for My servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.” (Is. 65:8). “Thus saith the Lord; If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.” (Jer. 33:25,26).

God’s grace was given and taught to Israel but it was crowded by the Law and needed special discernment to see it, which all the judges and true prophets did see, along with some kings and priests. Listen to some of their testimonies:

“How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.” (Ps. 36:7).

“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.” (Is. 63:7).

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3).

“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Dan. 9:9).

But the vast majority of the nation did not grasp it; few searched for it and fewer found it.

Given that the first Israel first experienced a law emphasis through Moses and “now” a grace emphasis with Paul; and given that all scripture is profitable for doctrine, (2Tim. 3:16), why should we be surprised if we see this same pattern repeated at the time of the end when Christ is preparing people for the heavenly land of promise, flowing with milk and honey?

In 1888 Ellen White wrote of the Millerite Adventists: They expected Him to come to earth, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8.
But the people were not yet ready to meet their Lord.
Great Controversy, p. 424.

Then in 1901 she wrote of the Adventists in her day: We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel. Evangelism,p. 696.

Many more years, indeed. Those waiting for the Second Advent must be disciplined until their insubordination disappears, before they can be given a knowledge of the fullness of the grace of Christ, in His person. Giving the Adventists the knowledge of grace before their disciplining is complete would tempt them to trample the Law as it would have ancient Israel.

Has human nature changed since the days of the Egyptian bondage? No, not at all. Then Christ’s method to sanctify His people today, to give them His mind and have His character perfectly reflected in theirs should likely mimic His method used with the Hebrews in the past. The conditions have not changed; our deceitful and desperately wicked condition hasn’t changed, neither has Satan the old serpent’s, and certainly neither has He who said, “I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal 3:6).

This being the case, we can say that Ellen White, our modern Moses, was inspired to write testimonies that were heavy on law and, by comparison, almost silent on grace. Do a word count of her writings; I dare you. You will find that she minimized Christ’s grace and took it for granted that we must know how to access His grace; and the high standard, like a huge slab of stone, was always being pushed over on us and grinding us to powder. Yet, this was heaven ordained.

This was necessary because Adventists, having come so recently out of a papal darkness that had not been fully purged from Protestantism, could not accept an emphasis on grace without presuming upon the law of God. We can see this happening among the Protestant denominations today. We can also see it among those Adventists who have “liberated” themselves from the Spirit of Prophecy; we also see the deadly fruit of such liberation, “uncleanness” and “iniquity unto iniquity”, and “the end of those things”—apathy and spiritual death. (Rom. 6:19,21).

So, until time and trouble will finish their patient work on the Adventists pastors and people, and we be indelibly branded a cult, we must endure the Lord’s discipline and the consequent fruit of our own insubordination while we wander.

But inevitably the Adventists must surrender their will to the will of their heavenly Leader; and then their chosen generation will appear, the final Remnant seed “to whom the promise was made,” that promise being the Holy Spirit, in the great Latter Rain and Loud Cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him”! (Matt. 25:6).

Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.
When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look “forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10.
Great Controversy, p. 425.

How can we get to the Latter Rain? How can we be ready for that Judgment day event? By going back to the writings of EGW and gathering up all the data on Jesus, and the burden He had for His disciples and all who were in need of help; by hunting for Him throughout the Bible, in the characters of the Old and New Testaments, but especially in His own person in the gospels, and let Him begin to materialize in our minds through the inspiration of His Spirit.

Before we dare continue to try using our “own diligent effort” to overcome anything, let us heed her counsel to receive “the blood of sprinkling.” Let’s stop assuming we know what “the grace of God” is all about. When we see His life, then even the personless principles of the law and Spirit of Prophecy will begin to describe Him as the Spirit helps us connect the dots of His features.

Many today are crying out with Mary, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” (Jn. 20:13). Multitudes are so distraught that they will do anything to see His grace; and they will find it when they see Him through vision inspired by the Holy Ghost. As the first disciples received power to become sons of God because the Word was made flesh and blood to them and dwelt among them, so may we.

It was thus that the early disciples gained their likeness to the dear Saviour. When those disciples heard the words of Jesus, they felt their need of Him. They sought, they found, they followed Him. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. They were with Him as pupils with a teacher, daily receiving from His lips lessons of holy truth. They looked to Him, as servants to their master, to learn their duty. Those disciples were men “subject to like passions as we are.” James 5:17. They had the same battle with sin to fight. They needed the same grace, in order to live a holy life.
Even John, the beloved disciple, the one who most fully reflected the likeness of the Saviour, did not naturally possess that loveliness of character. He was not only self-assertive and ambitious for honor, but impetuous, and resentful under injuries. But as the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, he saw his own deficiency and was humbled by the knowledge. The strength and patience, the power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, that he beheld in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration and love. Day by day his heart was drawn out toward Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. His resentful, ambitious temper was yielded to the molding power of Christ. The regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit renewed his heart. The power of the love of Christ wrought a transformation of character.
Steps to Christ, p. 72.

When we follow and watch Jesus this closely we will have the Latter Rain, “the times of refreshing” that “come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.” (Acts 3:19,20).

As Paul wrote of his baptism of the Holy Spirit, “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1Tim. 1:14). We have this to look forward to when we catch the same vision of Jesus the apostles had.

“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. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (Is. 4:2-4).

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