“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.

Friday, February 25, 2011

We will be gods

“I will praise Thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto Thee.” (Ps. 138:1).

What David means here is that he will praise God in the presence of powerful human leaders. Verse 4 clarifies this. “All the kings of the earth…”

We see a similar usage in Exodus chapter 22. “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.” (vs. 28). The Lord expected the people to respect the elders and captains of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands, and the priests whom He had anointed.

The whole nation was to be leaders over the world. Under God’s blessing they would develop into a dominating empire; the Lord promised that they would be masters of the world if they would be benevolent and stay free from idolatry. “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: … And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.” (vs. 1,13).

The Lord’s hope for Israel was a high one. “Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Ex. 19:6).

Jesus told the Jews, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (Jn. 10:34). He quoted from Asaph in Psalm 82, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” (vs. 6). The Lord God, the Lord of lords, King of kings, and God of gods, wanted to raise His whole chosen nation to heights they could hardly conceive of. Through obedience to His laws of love He could have exalted them in the earth.

Moses promised them that other peoples would seek out Israel saying, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” And then he explained to them, “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?
And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” (Deut. 4:6-9).

But they kept denying their heavenly King, and they lost everything. As Asaph appealed,
“How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt inherit all nations.” (Ps. 82:2-9).

Today we have been given the testimonies of the last prophet that delineate God’s high standard and condemn sin in all its chameleon-like ever-altering look, which rebellious hearts devise to dodge conviction. Our Law, the holy Bible, and those red books, provide the path to exaltation of Adventists if we will be sanctified by them.

But we have been disobedient to His Law, as Israel of old, and the Advent movement now suffers the desolations threatened on the ancient Jews. Backbiting, confusion of face, irresolution to prepare the world for Jesus’ coming, all declare our infidelity. “And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.” (Lev. 26:37-39).

Yet God will be merciful to His people. The light through ancient Israel’s darkness sheds light and hope on the modern Israel of God. “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (vs. 40-42). God is not done with us yet. He will yet send His latter rain for us like He sent His early rain on the Jews.

To His repentant Adventists come the promises of Isaiah, 61.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Is. 61:1-3).

Christ, in His most holiness, with the Investigative Judgment finalized and His eternal kingdom in hand, will save His Adventists who have been striving to stay with Him and obey His law.

“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” (vs. 4).

The 144,000 will quickly repair their old, paltry consecration and will rapidly ripen in faith and sanctification. They will have mercy and truth to bring to their Protestant brethren, and then out to the rest of Christendom, and to the non-Christian world. The empowered Adventists will serve humanity salvation and deliverances from a world steeped in sin and in ignorance of the true character of God and His Son. The revival will be unspeakably joyful and full of glory. “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Is. 11:10).

Those who receive the gospel will be so grateful that they will be forever indebted to their Adventist benefactors. “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.” (Is. 61:5,6). The Loud Cry and Latter Rain will form a hierarchy of gratitude. Hearts will gush out thankfulness to the Adventists. No longer will there be a disconnect between Adventists and the rest of Protestantism as it was between Judah and the northern kingdom; no longer will non-Christians be prejudiced toward Christians, as it was with the Ammonites and Edomites toward Israel.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with His mighty wind shall He shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” (Is. 11:11-16).

As it was in the apostolic church it will be again. “If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (1Cor. 14:24,25). This Nebuchadnezzar did to Daniel, “King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.” (Dan. 2:46). For the great relief Daniel served his king and was treated as a god, we will serve and uplift those who are striving to know God, and they will hold us in high regard, and they will want to give us their whole heart and everything they have. We will give the world the genuine bliss with which the apostles gave it. “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” (Gal. 4:15).

Not that we will act as dictators, ruthlessly taking advantage of our benefactors. No, we will take their gifts and distribute them to the needy. We will walk as Paul did. “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” (1Thess. 2:8-10).

Paul strictly obeyed the Lord Jesus, who said, “Give.” And he received the results, “…and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Lk. 6:38). Having received their love, we will give them more in return. And they will cleave to us as the believers did to Paul (Acts 17:34) and as Ruth did to Naomi (Ruth 1:14).

“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.
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. 4:1-4).

“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,” ”and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 1:5,6;5:10).

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” (Is. 60:1-5).

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” (Matt. 24:14). Then Jesus will return and receive us to Himself in the air to take us home, that where He is we may be also.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Jesus-driven life

“Mercy shall be built up for ever.” (Ps. 89:2).

April 4, 2009 we looked at a vision of Christ on His throne breathing the Holy Spirit on His disciples on earth. The effect that had on them as listed in EarlyWritings, p. 56, was “light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.” Then Satan came and sat in the seat Christ had vacated and Satan breathed on those who were still worshipping the throne. The effect on those devotees was “light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace.”

The mercy Christ always mixes with His truth was missing from Satan’s influence on his worshippers. The imposter provided a great source of light and power, but produced none of the sweeter aspects of spiritual things. It may be said of his light, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).

What would be the source of the sweet love, joy and peace for the true followers of God? The mercy seen in Christ, His gift of justification through the Spirit which heals the heart and mind, and transforms the life. Overarching every other purpose of God in the Great Controversy—Mercy shall be built up forever.

But in those religions that lack Christ’s generalship, which is full of order and good discipline, there exists nothing to upset the pride and convict of wrong. Acts 5:31 says that Christ is “Prince” “for to give repentance to Israel.” There can be no forgiveness of sin without repentance, and the proud human heart can never bring itself to real, deep-seated repentance, which throws out all love of sin. He must be a strong law-enforcer to convict us; and then we must see His acceptance, apparent and on the ready, in order for our guilty heart to trust Him to judge aright in our case. He is a Prince and “a Saviour” combined, weighing in heavy on law at first and then heavy on mercy as we begin to back down in our arrogant self-will.

But when a faith system dismisses Christ’s role as convicter of sin; when a religion denies or avoids Christ’s office of reprover of disobedience; then no one in that religious order can know the “sweet love, joy and peace” that comes with the working of the Holy Spirit.

They may retain an appearance of holiness through light and much power, through being purpose-driven, through dramatic feats of supernatural gifts, or expressions of emotional experiences with “God”. Or they may cut themselves to let blood flow or purify their flesh by contact with some painful object. They may advertise that their path to God is the true one. But it’s all Babylon—the original “gate of the gods.”

Satan has them in an ever constricting grip. Controlling every fiber of their being, and all the while keeping them convinced that peace will come one day. But those who have accepted God’s place as a tender, yet firm, Father who commands good things from His children, they will have a love, joy, and peace that the world at large can never have. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” (1Jn. 1:7).

They have a communion that settles their nerves and heals the mind and body. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Tim. 1:7). Through His laws and ministry God provides us His liberty and life. The great King has established His laws, Christ has opened the lines of communication to His Father for us and administers His Father’s laws, and the Holy Spirit works in us to receive Christ’s work of reconciling us to God and to flourish in Him.

The gospel is not purpose-driven. It is not social program-driven. It is not driven by any other locomotion than sweet love, joy and peace. And out of those three comes great light and power to know goodness and to do it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hating God's people

To curse God’s people, to hold them in contempt, is to curse God Himself and to hold Him in contempt. And those who hate God hate God’s children. His people bear a resemblance to Him in character that naturally assiociates them with Him. So His enemies become their enemies. This is why David could be so adamant about and almost arrogant for Israel during the time of the nation’s great revival of grace.

Psalm 123
Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 129
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
The Lord is righteous: He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the Lord be upon you: we bless you in the name of the Lord.

“This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy face, O Jacob. Selah.” (Ps. 24:6).

This is hardly to say that Israel was inherently good, as eventually they came to think, after departing far from the Lord. They were no different in their fallen human natures than anyone else. Then how could they have been given a higher status in the Bible? “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?” (Rom. 3:1).

“Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (vs. 2). It was the light God had shed on them, altering their nature, which changed the hearts of those who believed. For those who sought Him with all their heart and would catch a glimpse of His agape love for them, His salvation came. Power to be like Him filled the mind and volition, to will and to do of His good pleasure. They gained His same agape love; the natural-born selfishness and bitterness fled from their hearts and a fellowship seen in innocent children became their characters.

This enraged Satan and he enraged this earthly hosts. He inflamed the nations with his envy that the followers of Yahweh should be able to enjoy a peace not given to the followers of Baal. Every evil surmising did they imagine against the nation espousing the living God. Israel’s self-righteous form of worship, their restrictive law, their unsightly intimacy between friends, their unfair victories at war and prosperity, and on and on… it just couldn’t be, in the prejudiced minds of the wicked, that the God of heaven was blessing Israel.

In serving Baal, the heathen served Satan. Fellowship with the devil perpetuated hatred toward Israel and Israel’s laws. The natural bent to hate God already made them hate the Hebrews; but by acting on their hatred toward Israel they essentially sealed their eternal fate, as nations, in their hatred of the living God.

The living God is the only true God, the real owner of power to redeem the sinful human heart; Christ is the only God who is seen in the lives of genuinely godly people. To hate them is to hate Christ’s redemption. To hate the righteousness of Christ displayed in His people is to hate His character—to ultimately hate Him.

Though the heathen neighbors professed higher morality than Israel, God saw their bitterness toward Him, which was encouraged by Baal worship. To the whole world, not to Israel alone, came the second commandment

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.”

In exact fashion, Cain resented Abel for the freedom he had. Abel was free from malice, free from impatience, full of tenderness and forbearance. Abel’s affable and unselfish nature aroused the painful anxiety and unsettling spirit of his brother’s soul. Cain’s heart was surrendered to Satan, and Satan fought to retain his first prized possession. Cain was strategic in the conquest of the new world that the prince of evil had just gained. The evil one must keep this first son of Adam, and make him the progenitor of his character and his human agent to conquer the planet under his dictatorship.

Satan filled him with resentment toward God for having to live under such difficult condition just outside the Garden of Eden where could still be seen the peace and glory within. So Cain was infused with satanic zeal toward Abel, who seemed to have the same peace and glory of Eden. His younger brother wasn’t daunted by the difficult life under the curse of God, and he hated Abel until he held his brother in such contempt that he had to murder him. And let us not overlook the place that his new form of worship played into his hate-filled mind, character, and personality.

Cain’s possessed soul refused the humbling effect of the helpless, dying victim of the lamb central to the religion the Lord God had required of their parents. Though subconsciously, he had fully rejected the light of the Holy Spirit to his soul. He turned down his Creator when he refused the revelation of God’s holy nature displayed in the visible lessons in the ritual sacrifice. Cain’s minchau substitute could not humble him and break his heart and heal his alienation from God.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” “Though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (Jn. 10:38;14:11). As accepting Christ’s works led to accepting their Source, Cain’s rejecting the visible works of Christ resident in the dying of the little animal meant a start of the turning away from Christ Himself.

Let us look to His works; let us be changed by His life. He ate with thieves and prostitutes. If they offered Him entry into their lives, He accepted and sought to relieve them of their misconception of His Father that they had gained from the Pharisees and scribes. Simply because they had welcomed Him in, He overlooked their lack of scruples and paltry living. As they touched His person, He was touching their hearts and healing them.

He was taunted by the religious leaders for His quick acceptance of these unsanctified urchins, the cockroaches of the community and nation; the Pharisees vented their devil possessed hatred by the accusation that Beelzebub inspired His actions; but He unburdened His aching heart and mind night by night, as He repaired to His Father’s bosom.

Thus He was always of good cheer in the presence of the animosity inspired from below. Bruised reeds would He continue to heal, and enfeebled ardors would He strengthen. He would not be discouraged until He had reestablished righteousness in the earth. Mercy grace and peace for the needy; theirs was the kingdom of heaven. The banner over His glorious head was love.