“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, August 22, 2012

Free will

 Often, free will is seen as self-will. In other words, I get to do whatever I want. To the sinner, self-indulgent and willful as we are, doing whatever we want seems to be the greatest freedom.

That is what the children of Israel expected once there were delivered from Egypt. But, they found that the Lord had something different in mind when He thought of their freedom. Statute after statute, law after law, religious ceremony after ceremony came forth from Christ to Moses to the people. And they hated it; at least most of the adults did. So Jesus made them spend their lives doing donuts in the desert sands until (if ever) they would surrender to His will instead of their own.

To them, freedom meant eating all the fatty, juicy flesh food with all the trimmings which they had in Egypt, but 10 times more of it. Oh, freedom in Canaan would be heavenly!! And they never lived to see Canaan. If they had entered in they would have polluted it worse than the Canaanites had. Therefore, free-will was not to be.

Jesus never lived for Himself. “For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on Me.” (Rom. 15:3). He was made under the Law. “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 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. 4:3-5). Our Savior, the Lawgiver, was made to live under the Law.
Ellen White, in Desire of Ages, p. 466, wrote of the only true freedom.

These words offended the Pharisees. The nation’s long subjection to a foreign yoke, they disregarded, and angrily exclaimed, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free?” Jesus looked upon these men, the slaves of malice, whose thoughts were bent upon revenge, and sadly answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” They were in the worst kind of bondage,—ruled by the spirit of evil.
Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from the soul. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets us “free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.
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.
The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ. “The truth shall make you free;” and Christ is the truth. Sin can triumph only by enfeebling the mind, and destroying the liberty of the soul. Subjection to God is restoration to one’s self,—to the true glory and dignity of man. The divine law, to which we are brought into subjection, is “the law of liberty.” James 2:12.

David wrote, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” (Psa. 68:17,18). Little did the Israelites at Sinai know that the only way to remain free from Satan was to be held captive to Christ. Christ liberated them and immediately took them as His captives! They thought that freedom from Egyptian slavery meant living however they chose. But, they got the shock of their lives! Captivity under Christ was harder for them than Egyptian slavery, even though they had been beaten every day there. Only a few of the adults ever surrendered to the captivity of Christ. The vast majority died fighting against subjection to Christ and never saw the land flowing with milk and honey, the beautiful land, where the necessarily heavy hand of the Lord would rest.

As sinners, we are poisoned with sin. We immediately fall to Satan’s temptations to be like him. Our only hope is to be fully under the control of Jesus, to learn of Him and be charmed by His grace and truth, His Law and His love.

This is why Paul called himself, “the prisoner of the Lord.” (Eph. 4:1). And he strove to be the Jesus’ prisoner. That was his life goal.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:8-14).

Perfect conformity to Christ was Ellen White’s goal, as it was for all the apostles and prophets. Free-will subject to the Law of God and the grace of Jesus—the only true freedom of the will. This is why she had no problem with the Law of God, and neither has any other of the Lord’s saints. “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” (Psa. 119:126). “The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” (Psa. 119:72). “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor. 10:4,5).
But, the unreconciled and unsurrendered always are repulsed by the Law and make up their own rules for salvation . “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” (Psa. 94:20). “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:8-9).

Jesus told the parable: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” (Matt. 12:43-45). Notice, that the mind and will of the person freed from Satan had been cleaned up by the Holy Spirit, but no attempt was being made by the saved person to fill the mind with the knowledge and power of God. That’s when Satan lawfully claimed that soul as his property.

Free will apart from the Law/Bible/Spirit of Prophecy is closely akin to the eastern mystical practice of meditation—emptying the mind of everything in order to communicate with the personalities that exist in the astral planes. To the extent that we are not filled with the word of God, Satan can control us. We are not our own. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1Cor. 6:19). Our natures are born ready to live apart from God and His righteousness. Left to our own, we are captive to demons.

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord….
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” (Rom. 6:11,13-20).

Of course, the yielding to righteousness must come through first yielding to our Friend and sacrificial Lamb, Jesus. As we read above, “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.” Only under the power of His love and grace toward me can I ever yield myself to Him, and then to His righteousness.

The steps to a free will are so simple, even a child can understand them. 1) Daily open the Bible and pray (Jn. 5:39;Rom. 10:17); 2) Slowly but surely be overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit’s rendition of the love of God for sinful man seen in His word to us and be imbued with deeper yearnings in prayer (Jer. 15:16;Dan. 9:2-11); 3) In obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, surrender the will to the love of the Savior (Mk. 10:50;Heb. 4:10,11); 4) Receive the Spirit’s power to want to obey (Jn. 1:12;2Thess. 2:13,14); 5) then, Choose to obey as you are resting in Jesus’ love and in His own beautiful life of obedience to His Father (Ruth 1:16,17;1Sam. 17:48-50;Rev. 22:14).

Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith. Steps to Christ, p. 48.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Email on self-defense

Hi Bill,
  I see many parallels between the book of Jeremiah and the Jews of his day with Ellen White and God's people whereever they are found, within Adventism, Protestantism, atheism, etc. Jeremiah's message was EGW's message and she has likened herself to him. Babylon is building its siege towers all around us in many forms and has been for many decades. I believe that the Lord arranged for Babylon to play largely then and at the end of Revelation. Thus we should hear Jeremiah's message and apply it today.
  The Jews didn't think they were all too bad. They had the temple and revered it like good Jews should. They didn't heed the Law very well, but they professed to, which they thought was good enough. But, this is what would cause the tragic discipline that Moses warned them of in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28,29. God would punish them for their disobedience by bringing in pagan armies. Have the Protestant denominations departed from the Lord's laws, statutes, judgments and covenant? Most certainly, and its getting worse every day. The ten northern tribes compare with the Protestant denominations. And how did the Jews do? How have the Adventists done? We compare with the Jews.
  All twelve tribes were threatened with punishment, which means that SDAs disobedient to all the light they have been given are just as due for punishment as are the Protestants for all the light they have forsaken. How are we doing with the Spirit of Prophecy, even the spiritual parts? We are due for a big spanking of omnipotent proportions, just like everyone else.
  Should we defend ourselves against the global fascism that is on the move, and making daily strides in America? Should we take up arms, when this is all from God and for our repentance and purification? For this purpose Nebuchadnezzar was knocking on Judah's door, but the sons of Josiah sought to fight God's discipline. God had raised up Nebuchadnezzar to purify Israel one last time in order to extend their existence until the day of this world's Messiah.
  The Vatican has come back with a vengeance, has siphoned off Protestantism's wealth and inserted itself into the power positions of their government, religion, and private sector. We are sitting ducks and helpless. Before this is all over the prophecy will be fulfilled, "When He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." (Dan. 12:7). "All these things" are all the mysterious visions that made no sense to Daniel. Those visions foretold the work of Satan in heaven and his identical work on earth, down to our day, "At the time of the end shall be the vision." (Dan. 8:17).
 "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." (Dan. 8:26). "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days." (Dan. 10:14).
  "And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be." (Dan. 8:19). The indignation refers to many statements by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the minor prophets. Do a study on the word "indignation" and you will understand what's coming and why.
  Something big was coming on the earth because of pervasive disobedience and the spiritualism that spawned it all. Four gigantic empires and their inescapable pagan influences were on the way, even though Babylon was the only label the prophets gave the coming plague (except for what Daniel was told).
  The captivity lasted much longer than 70 years. Aren't we told that we need a faith that can withstand a delayed tribulation? I believe we've seen the 5 prophetic month plague of locusts of the 5th trumpet which began in 1849 and the death period of Adventism seen in Rev. 11:7-10 and are in the 6th trumpet. The only thing left is the revival and shaking/Latter Rain of Rev. 11:11-14. Then when God has His people sealed so that their faith cannot be moved, the third woe will commence with the 7th trumpet, when Satan will assert his last stand in a global fascism and time of trouble for all dissidents/protesters, and the heavenly sanctuary will be finally cleansed, per Rev. 11:15-19. Then we will lift up our heads for our redemption will draw nigh.
   Happy Sabbath!

Tears of self-pity

“And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.” (Mal. 2:13).

We’ve looked at this before in an earlier post. But I’ve run across some new scriptures to reinforce this topic.

There is real sorrow and there is fake sorrow. There are God-given, natural tears and there are humanly manufactured, imitation tears. And the human heart which “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9) cannot discern the difference and believes it to be genuine.

And thus, as truth and error appear so near akin, minds that are not guided by the Holy Spirit will be led to accept the error and, in so doing, place themselves under the power of Satan’s deceptions. In thus leading people to receive error for truth, Satan is working to secure the homage of the Protestant world. Christ Triumphant, p.  324.

The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error.  Review and Herald, October 22, 1903 par. 2.

 “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:3). “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor. 2:14). But, while we don’t realize the self-deception, Christ sees it all and His word will reveal it to us as we open our heart to Him. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:12,13). “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14). “We are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] devices.” (2Cor. 2:11).

Mary Magdalene had the true, repentant, humbled heart. Jesus cast seven devils out of her and after that she was Christ’s most trusted follower. So when she wept for her dead brother Lazarus, her sorrow was true and acceptable to God. She didn’t cry just to make herself feel good, to look loving toward her dead, to do her duty to mourn, or to pretend that she was a moral, godly mourner; nor did she weep to prove to herself that she was circumcised at heart. When she went out of the house and the mourners saw her leave they surmised that she just went to cry about her sad state of affairs, her poor self. But instead she went to see the Lord; something that hadn’t crossed their mind.

In Jesus’ presence, where trust was never offended, she could unburden her heart, which she couldn’t do surrounded by all the clamor of the hired and voluntary mourners. And in response to this He was overcome with sympathetic grief. “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping…He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” and “Jesus wept.” (Jn. 11:33,35). The Son of God, the Word from the Father and our great Intercessor before the Jehovah, is the quintessential empathizer and personification of the principle, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another.” (Rom. 12:15,16). He did more for her than she could ask or think; before she called, He answered her.

The pagan mother of the girl possessed by Satan wept and pleaded with Jesus in perfect faith. Her genuineness outshone the best faith the pharisaical Jews could conjure up. But the disciples just thought this Canaanite was being light and weepy rather than strong in true consecration to Jehovah. “He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.” (Matt. 15:23). They called her a cry-baby. Jesus tested her faith because He knows them that are His, and she passed His test with flying colors. So He honored her faith and her request. She sought Jesus in a faith which she had received through experiencing the horrors of her daughter’s captivity. Her faith was the gift of God; it was genuine. It was heard by Jesus even before He walked those 40 miles to help her.

Those who receive the seal of God will also pray and weep in true faith because they “sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” in the land. (Eze. 9:4). Their tears will be heard because their sorrow will be born of a love for truth and displeasure toward unrighteous-ness, as iniquity abounds around them.

But could it be said, that to conjure up tears, to fake repentance, is to lie to God and to conjure up Satan? Based on scripture, yes. That is what the rest in Christ precludes. If we will come as we are, helpless, sinful, dependent, Christ will give us the gift of true sorrow, selfless sorrow. “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.…
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.
And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest….
For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb. 4:1,3-6,10,11).

The grief displayed by the unconverted, whose hearts have never been humbled, whose sorrow never recognizes their character deficit, is a grief that has no holy, spiritual sincerity from a personal acceptance of God’s authority as loving father and wise dispenser of justice on our desperate sinfulness. It comes from a heart that refuses to submit to God’s power to condemn and to surrender to His righteous love.

“But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” (Jer. 5:23,24). “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the LORD our God.
Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.
For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us.” (Jer. 3:20-25).

Their weeping was a perversion of the genuine sorrow. Sorrow for sin and the renunciation of sin had no part in their tears. True sorrow repents, either for its own faults or for the abominations being done around them. And true repentance sorrows for sin and turns away from it. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2Cor. 7:10,11).

“We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us.” Confusion set in because their grief was self-made, thus they expected God to hear them and relieve them of the bitterness of serving self and Satan. But not a single word from heaven came to them; the peace of the Holy Spirit didn't visit them. Therefore, this self-righteous imitation sorrow was the product of spiritualism, which God can never honor with any answer to prayer. “Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (Jas. 1:7).

The horrible angry presence of Satan through separation from God that results from false religion, or–in Old Testament terminology—serving other gods, which Moses accurately likened to bitter gall and wormwood. “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse [warning], that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:18-20).
“For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (Deut. 32:31-33). And this very warning to ancient Israel still bears repeating to our generation, because nothing has changed: Satan hasn’t changed his tactics to draw us away from God to trap us in his service, a subtle, look-alike Christianity.

In the 3rd angel’s message Moses’ fearful warning to Israel is repeated again to the last generation before this great controversy ends and Christ returns. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

While we spurn the submission under the almighty hand of God through the power of His Law and testimonies, our religion is spiritualistic, occultic; “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9). Satan has stolen away our heart. “We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.” (Isa. 59:11).

As we saw in the gospels, the counterfeit weeping aspect of false religion so resembles the true, that it insidiously deludes the half-hearted devotees into believing God is blessing this unholy behavior, when it is the god of this world that visits them with peace. This is the trap of New Age Christianity and praying to the “Holy Spirit”. They are stuck in self-deception. “Her wound is incurable.” (Mic. 1:9). “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living [rather than] to the dead?
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (Isa. 8: 19-22).

They are sealed in service to the devil, “a great gulf fixed” between them and the Spirit of God. (Lk. 16:26). “Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto Me, even to Me?
And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?” (Zech. 7:5-7).

By disregarding the wholesome and righteous words of the prophets of Jehovah, even after their return from Babylonian captivity, when they attempted obedience to the Law of God, the unconverted hearts could not escape the façade, the pretentious, works-oriented religion of the ancient Baal religion that they believed they had overcome. Thus, the opening verse, “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.” (Mal. 2:13). This kind of religion, which compares today with the veneration of Mary, only perpetuates the most ancient form of vainly serving God. “And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made…. And they cried aloud….
And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” (1Ki. 18:26-29).

But God has a remedy for this imitation crying from rebellious human hearts—trouble, lots of trouble. Jeremiah informed the Jews, “And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.” (Jer. 3:11). A century earlier Assyria had taken the house of Israel captive and dispersed them throughout the empire. Jeremiah said the northern ten tribes had justified themselves because they finally got what they needed—a spanking of heavenly proportions. God gave them something to cry about. A self-absorbed, pouting child will often be calmed down when the parent gives the youngster a good paddling on the behind. Pain. Then the child will have something to really cry about until the pain subsides, and the self-centered pouting ends with the real crying.

This is what the Lord did for the house of Israel and what He would do for the house of Judah if they didn’t heed His warnings through His messenger—real weeping and wailing. “Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.
And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.
Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
Though ye offer Me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Have ye offered unto Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.” (Amos 5:16-27). “And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.” (Amos 8:10). Celebration churches are soon to reap this same destruction from the Lord for their disregard of the just condemnation of the Law of God.
And this is what He did for Israel and Judah He will do for us to get our attention again if we’ve ever sought Jesus and found Him after searching for Him with all our heart, and then departed from Him. He still remembers our love for Him and knows He can reclaim that love, so He sends us trouble. This is what He did to His disciples when they tried to force Him to be an earthly king. “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king,” “straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.” “And He saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them.” (Jn. 6:15; Matt. 14:22; Mk. 6:48). Once the twelve were sufficiently humbled, and feeling their total helplessness and need for Him, then He came to them.  “About the fourth watch of the night He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea.”

Yet there is an easier, less painful way, and preferable to the Lord. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). Our own self-invented faith Jehovah cannot accept. The kind of hearing acceptable to Him is the kind that accepts faith in response to the convicting word of God. As we read earlier from Zech. 7:7, “Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?”

“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.… But the way of transgressors is hard.” (Prov. 13:14,15). “Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire.” (Isa. 30:27). “Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.” (Isa. 46:1). The paths of transgression is hard and the service of Satan is heavy; but, Jesus’ yoke is easy and light and all who are heavy laden may come to Him and find rest under His direction and help.

Will we not hear the strong language of Ellen White, our former prophet, which Jesus cried to us through her? Won’t we genuinely come to the Lord by coming to His word and His Spirit of Prophecy? Or will we avoid what He has so graciously provided for these last days, and turn to the world’s Spiritual Formation, seeking peace without first facing the Lord’s chastening? Will we be found crying empty tears and end up with the Mark of the Beast as the third angel warns, having no rest day or night? “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). “The Lord GOD of hosts is He that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn.” (Amos 9:5).

Rather, let’s dispense with false emotional religion, the ritualistic Jezebel-“Bloody Mary” papal service to a modern Ashtoreth-Diana-Venus, “Queen of heaven”. (Jer. 7:18;44:17). Let us open the books of the Law and patiently let truth have her perfect work, no matter how painful it gets for our willful, stubborn hearts. If we will bear up under the fire of the Lord’s presence in our conscience, He will seal us for Himself ; He will heal us and give us the peace that comes with His forgiveness and acceptance.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.” (Hos. 6:1-5).

He wounds to heal. It’s the only working formula for salvation. And we must believe this.

“But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:2,3).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Many saved

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28).

The word “many” used by the writer of Hebrews sounds restrictive in that the writer didn’t say, “everyone” or “the whole world”. It’s the same word used by Isaiah and Daniel.
“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.” (Isa. 53:11,12).
“And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:27).
Yet, John clearly says that Christ’s sacrifice was for the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Jn. 3:16-18).
But, John also gives a caveat for all who are saved, that is, “whosoever believeth in Him.” The apostles gives another description of this saved group. “And this spake he [Caiaphas] not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (Jn. 11:51,52).
John also earlier narrowed down the saved group with this description, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37). “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen Me, and believe not.” (Jn. 6:36). Evidently then, not everyone that the Father calls, comes to Jesus.
This must connect with the limitations put on salvation given by the writer of Hebrews.
“And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:15).
Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14). Why is this? Hebrews explains this. “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he  [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Heb. 6:11-15). “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14).
So, the gospel isn’t cheapened by the idea that, all I have to do is some mental gymnastics for a few seconds, or that some ethereal epiphany of imagining Jesus in heaven qualifies as faith in Him. Rather, it has everything to do with daily walking with Him as Abraham did, striving to stay in communion with Him against all of Satan’s  distractions away from Him, patiently enduring the difficult path to surrender and victory over our inborn distrust in God, and falling on Him and having our natural hardened heart, self-pity and opinion that we “deserve better in life”, and self-will broken into shivers.
We also can see that the fullest blessing of salvation doesn’t come immediately; and also, that many lose it before receiving it. This concept destroys the prosperity gospel that is sweeping through the church like wild-fire. It makes us accountable before the truth, as we live through our investigative judgment in this anti-typical Day of Atonement. (“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD…. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.”) (Lev. 23:27,29). This also destroys the celebration churches sweeping through Christianity today.

“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” (Rev. 14:7). Fearing God, standing before Him in judgment, has always been the condition of His people, and always will.

“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And,” for some “He shall be for a sanctuary; but” for others, “a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.” (Isa. 8:13-16).
“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. 4:1).

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” (Heb. 2:1-3).
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:26-31).
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29).
“Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jer. 2:12,13).

Know your Bible, or you will be caught up in the final delusions before Jesus returns. Fear Godits only for your own eternal good. Fear God and fall on Jesus and be broken, or you will fall into Satan’s hands and be forever ruined. Fear God enough to come to Jesus for His mediation and mercy. Patiently endure the hardships God permits through Satan; let your inherited wretchedness keep you needing a Savior from sin; and you will finally inherit the promises of God.
One last word: Abraham didn’t receive the promises on his last day of life. And obviously, he received them during his life, or Hebrews 6:15 would have been written in the future tense, that is, after the great, final resurrection. But ,he “rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad,” (Jn. 8:56) and received the blessing from God when he passed his final test of whether to hold back Isaac from God or give him up.
So, we don’t have to wait until we drop into the grave to receive God’s promise of full salvation; but we do have to strive for it and patiently wait on God for it.

The early church had received it.
“That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:12-14).

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:6-8).

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19).
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7).
We can have it as soon as we finish our course and learn full faith and surrender to Jesus.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:9-17).