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.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The blessing of probation and the second atonement

“I will forgive, but I won’t forget!”
 
We can ask for forgiveness to those we have offended, but that doesn’t guarantee their immediate forgiveness. Is this altogether unlike God?
 
True, there are many who love to hold a grudge; and this God never does. There are many who love to fight and complain and feed on self-pity. This is wholly unlike the infinitely selfless God of love.
 
But, for them all, we have to admit that we broke their implicit trust in us. And being in the image of God, He allows for some of their unwillingness to forgive. There is some of Him in everyone’s self-defense mode against the breaking of trust. Until the sinner has passed the threshold of hating forgiveness God does not hold their lack of forgiveness against them completely. But, the moment they pass that threshold the sin of unforgiveness is on their own head.
 
But, until then we must bear up under their condemnation of our sin against us. And if we see the similarity with God’s atonement we can bear up. “Charity...beareth all things.”

 
In the Old Testament times God revealed two atonements. The first was the atonement that took place throughout the year.
 
“And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. …and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Lev. 4:27,28,35).
 
But, even though atonement had been made for his sin and God had forgiven him, he was still on probation. He had broken the covenant of trust with God and that would not be immediately repaired. Time would be required to heal all wounds. This is reasonable of God; a probation is reasonable. We require it of others, and of Him. Why should it be unreasonable for God to require it of us, whose image comes from God?
 
Probation. Not a nice part of atonement vocabulary. Not a welcome word. Sinners don’t want God to hold their sin over their head. They don’t want to stay under God’s thumb. If they are to come to Him with repentance, they don’t want to walk under His reminders of their failure, especially if those sins were multitudinous. But, while sinners refuse to walk humbly before God, saints don’t mind it at all. Their hearts have been humbled, and they are accepted by God. They are “in Him.” They have opened the door to God and when He came in the devil had to leave and take with him all of his hard-heartedness and spitefulness toward God. God has given them a spirit from His Spirit to reside in their new hearts, His cloud sitting on their new mercy seat.
 
Saints don’t mind probation, not at all. They know that they deserve much worse than walking under God’s thumb. They enjoy His company. God has accepted them through the help of His Son, and they are also OK with needing a Mediator between them and God. They are humbled and see themselves as they really are. Therefore, they are willing to accept any terms in order to keep being accepted by the only good God on earth. After the torments that Satan put them through from this world of sin, any and every requirement of God is good in their minds. They accept the implication that goes with probation, that while they are accepted and justified (forgiven), they are not fully sanctified and acceptable to God, and still need more of His acceptance and justification (forgiveness). They can never forget what they did to hurt God and His children. Thus, they can recognize the need for further atonement. And ultimately, with patience, they will have a complete atonement.
 
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.…
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.…
Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people,
And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:
And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not…
and bring [the LORD’s goat’s] blood within the vail...and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness….
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.” (Lev. 16:2,9,15,12,13,15,16,29-31).
 
Not until the end of the ceremonial year did each individual, or leader, or priest, or the congregation as a whole, receive full atonement. The Day of Atonement kept everyone in suspense, and this was not psychological abuse. Probation kept Israel genuine. The purpose of the Day of Atonement was to keep their hearts truly repentant, truly humbled, and truly forgiven.
 
Many cry out that God has changed because of the cross. They say that He has blotted out our sins already when He blotted out His Son on Calvary. And I would say that that could have been the case, and for some it was the case.
 
The early apostolic church, while the Testimony of Jesus continued with the apostles, the church was pure and their sins were blotted out. But, God foreknew a mass departure from the strong Testimony of Jesus. He sent His Testimony through Jesus to Daniel and John to reveal the apostasy of His earthly bride following after another husband, a devious and unholy husband.
 
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan. 8:11-14).
 
Here we see that Satan would attack the gospel and cast down the church of God. The devil would take away the powerful presentation of the wrath of God against sin and His damnation of His Son for our sakes. All the power to sanctify us through the Son’s ministering Spirit would be trodden down under the Dragon’s unholy feet. In the place of the Son he would put his own manipulative spirit, the “third person of the Godhead”.
 
Then in 1844, Christ’s power to atone fully would begin to be restored. In the restoration of the powerful Testimony of Jesus sinners would be truly condemned for their sin and see themselves as exceedingly sinful. With that special condemnation of sin they could again access Christ for a special repentance. The fruit of that special repentance would be the special blotting out of their sin. But, this sealing process would take time, for the people of God would need time to accept the powerful Testimony of Jesus. Once the Testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy, would be received in full faith, then the blotting out of sins could happen, and also the special work of purification, as it had in the early church under the apostle’s leadership.
 
They would have the promise in full: “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17), because “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb. 10:16).
With the Law in their hearts, “the Holy Ghost  [would] also [be] a witness to [them]” (Heb. 10:15).
Their “hearts [would be] sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22). “There [would be] no more offering for sin” (Heb. 10:18) because they would have “no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10:2).
 
This is the sealing that the early church had, and it will return to the last church, the Advent movement 144,000 and the innumerable multitudes which the 144,000 garnered during the final warning and preaching of Jesus to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
 
Probation requires patience. The requirement of patience is built into probation. “But, I don’t want to wait! I want God’s full acceptance and atonement now! I don’t want to have to be purified before He can accept this sinner! I’m a pretty good person!” Good person, do you love to be corrected? But Christian, do you love the Law of God? Do you love to have your sins condemned? Do you love to have Jesus wash you? Are you ready for the great wedding of Christ and His church? Are you prepared for your own Gethsamane, to walk in the steps of your Master, and pass through the great tribulation? Are you ready for the time of trouble such as never was upon the earth? Are you ready for Inquisitions that will exceed the terrorism of the Dark Ages and the Counter-Reformation?
 
 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Dan. 12:1).
 
“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).
 
Christian, do you have Christ’s robe of righteousness to shield you from the assaults of Satan, such as Christ suffered in the garden? Are you atoned for? Are you specially justified and sanctified? Through afflicting your soul, have you sent your sins ahead of you into judgment? Has God put His Law into your heart? Or does He say of you, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)? “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” (Rom. 2:24). “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23)?
 
Has He put His laws into your hearts through the writings of Ellen White, and in your minds has He written them? This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord.
 
Aren’t we glad for a time of probation in order to be specially purified before Jesus comes?

Part of our Deuteronomy

Importance of Seeking True Knowledge
 
      Far more than we do, we need to understand the issues at stake in the conflict in which we are engaged. We need to understand more fully the value of the truths that God has given for this time and the danger of allowing our minds to be diverted from them by the great deceiver.  {8T 312.1} 
     The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.  {8T 312.2} 
     As the sacrifice in our behalf was complete, so our restoration from the defilement of sin is to be complete. There is no act of wickedness that the law will excuse; there is no unrighteousness that will escape its condemnation. The life of Christ was a perfect fulfillment of every precept of the law. He said; “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” John 15:10. His life is our standard of obedience and service.  {8T 312.3} 
     God alone can renew the heart. “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure.” But we are bidden: “Work out your own salvation.” Philippians 2:13, 12, A. R. V.  {8T 312.4}
 
The Work That Requires Our Thought
 
     Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Sanctification is the work, not of a day, or of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.  {8T 312.5} 
     The strongest evidence of man’s fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour. By a momentary act of will, one may place himself in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice.  {8T 313.1} 
     Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered. Should we come to the close of life with our work undone, it would be an eternal loss.  {8T 313.2} 
     Paul’s sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. He said: “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his own nature.  {8T 313.3} 
     God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.  {8T 313.4} 
     No one will be borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in this warfare for themselves. Individually we are responsible for the issue of the struggle; though Noah, Job, and Daniel were in the land, they could deliver neither son nor daughter by their righteousness.  {8T 313.5}
 
The Science to be Mastered
 
     There is a science of Christianity to be mastered,--a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded, that one may become a learner in the school of Christ. Our hearts must be educated to become steadfast in God. We are to form habits of thought that will enable us to resist temptation. We must learn to look upward. The principles of the word of God--principles that are as high as heaven, and that compass eternity--we are to understand in their bearing upon our daily life. Every act, every word, every thought, is to be in accord with these principles.  {8T 314.1} 
     The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God’s power to save, are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right the children of God are to seal their destiny.  {8T 314.2}
 
No Time to Lose
 
     We have no time to lose. We know not how soon our probation may close. Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted. Christ is soon to come. The angels of God are seeking to attract us from ourselves and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain. {8T 314.3} 
     When Jesus rises up in the most holy place, lays off His mediatorial robes, and clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance, the mandate will go forth: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: . . . and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:11, 12.  {8T 315.1} 
     A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?  {8T 315.2} 
     We need not say: The perils of the last days are soon to come upon us. Already they have come. We need now the sword of the Lord to cut to the very soul and marrow of fleshly lusts, appetites, and passions.  {8T 315.3} 
     Minds that have been given up to loose thought need to change. “Girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: but like as He who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16, A. R. V. The thoughts must be centered upon God. Now is the time to put forth earnest effort to overcome the natural tendencies of the carnal heart.  {8T 315.4}
     Our efforts, our self-denial, our perseverance, must be proportionate to the infinite value of the object of which we are in pursuit. Only by overcoming as Christ overcame shall we win the crown of life.  {8T 315.5}

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Come out of our Babylonian cities

“And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And He answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods He hath broken unto the ground.” (Isa. 21:9).
 
“Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.” (Isa. 52:11).
 
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:2-4).
 
“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.” (Jer. 51:7-10).
 
The call to come out of Babylon has been an ancient one. The first was to Abram to leave Ur, a suburb of the original metropolis of Mesopotamia, at the center of the earth.
 
“And He said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” (Gen. 15:7).
 
The call to leave Babylon and all of its trappings has been a continuous call because humanity has continuously flocked to Babylon, and His people continuously backslide to it. What is Babylon? It is everywhere that idolatry concentrates—mainly the cities of the world. Babylon is where the Creator cannot be seen or heard or considered. It can be in any nation. It can be in any state. It can be in any city or family or religion or culture. It can be in every school and business.
 
Satan moves Babylon into every place where God has established His Law and His will upon a people who have accepted a covenant with Him. The devil lays claim to this whole world, but God never gave him that power. God never abdicated His sovereignty over Earth. so His work has ever been to reclaim every son and daughter of Adam, and to call them to Him. But they must leave their Babylonian toys and games, religion and love. They must come out empty, and God will receive them and fill them up again with pure things—the original constitution of Adam and Eve.
 
How quickly we lose the blessedness of faith! How quickly we return to the wretched life under Satan.
 
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Gal. 3:1).
“I marvel that ye are so soon ermoved from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” (Gal. 1:6) The pull of sin is ever around us when we are in Babylon. In order to accept the offer of Jesus for our redemption, we must necessarily separate from those things which fight against our conversion and cleansing.
 
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (1Pet. 2:11).
 
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30).
  
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:9-11).
 
Corinth was an affluent city. And with the love of money and ease always come wickedness and idolatry. It would have been asking too much for Paul to require the Corinthian believers to leave the city. But as long as the believers stayed there they and their children would be continually faced with the corrupting influences of “the great goddess Diana” (Acts 19:27). This is why Abram and the children of Israel had to leave their metropoles of Babylon and Egypt. Later on, the Corinthian Christians would need to leave for the Alps.
 
When the younger prophet (1 Kings 13:1) went from God-fearing Judah to pagan Israel, to begin a revival of primitive godliness, he was entering enemy territory. He had a dangerous mission to accomplish for the eternal sakes of King Jeroboam and the people who were quickly caving to the flesh-pleasing religion, which the king had brought with his administration. The unholy influences of the country where the prophet was going would war against the holiness of the prophet’s divinely inspired mind. His hold on God would be put to a constant test. He must keep constant vigilance in order to prevent his faith from being conquered and destroyed by Satan who claims to be the god of this world, and who, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8). For the sake of Christ’s mission to save His Israelite people and for his own sake, the young prophet must not be overcome by the pagan atmosphere, the carousing society, the grace-only religion, the threatening king who was so violent against anyone who would speak out against his new regime built upon a pagan platform. If the prophet were once overcome by the spirit driving the northern kingdom he would lose every help from the Spirit of Jehovah and Jehovah’s protective providences. He would fall from grace. All the powerful Spirit that Jehovah had given him would disappear; and then, surrounded by unholy influences, he would not be able to pray to Jehovah to have it back. And as surely as he got distracted by the unholy spirit of that country, and did not hold fast his crown from above, he was killed by a lion.
 
Likewise, Elijah must be sober and vigilant.
 
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” (Jas. 5:17). Therefore, after delivering his message he fled, as the Lord commanded, to a refuge east of Jerusalem across the Jordan. There he stayed surrounded by his Creator’s works of nature. There he could be ever mindful of the One who commissioned him to speak the message from the same spirit that was given to the prophet approximately 75 years before him. Hadn’t Elijah learned of that terrible judgment upon his former brother prophet? Wouldn’t he let its lesson keep him strong and faithful while giving a similar judgment from God?
 
“After delivering his inspired message, the courageous prophet was commanded by God to hide himself in the eastern wilderness by the brook Cherith. There God arranged providentially for ravens to deliver food to the isolated fugitive during the predicted years of famine.

As the land baked and cracked under the withering heat of the sun, every green plant died for lack of water. But Elijah was well supplied, morning and evening, by the miraculous ministry of the ravens. In addition to the bread and flesh brought by the birds, God provided plenty of refreshing water from the splashing brook that flowed nearby.

What a perfect picture of God’s power and willingness to care for the physical needs of His faithful servant! With pleasure we contemplate that scene of restful abundance. The prophet had no problems. Everywhere else the people were suffering from the terror of the drought, but God would not let His obedient child lack for anything. Without fail, the ravens flew in twice a day with their fare of food and the brook was always yielding its life-giving supply of water.” (Borrowed from http://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/62/t/the-brook-dried-up.)
 
In nature is where we are safest from the wiles of Satan. John the Baptist could not have stood so strongly against his Imperial Ahab if he had not spent his life living away from civilization, like Elijah had in Tishbe of Gilead. Faithful to all that had been written in the unerring, holy scriptures, John was super-absorbent to the Spirit of the Creator speaking to his spirit through the natural world. The voice of Him who laid the foundation of the earth opened John’s mind to not only deep lessons of His ways, but kept John’s conscience ever sensitive against the worldly, wayward people of the Lord. Year by year the truth of God’s character settled increasingly deeply into his heart; and year after year the settling in of the truth gave John wisdom and peace surpassing the power of every temptation from Satan.
 
“John was to go forth as Jehovah’s messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God’s requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness. 
     In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time….
     In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature’s God. 
     It was a lonely region where he found his home, in the midst of barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. But it was his choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of Providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.” Desire of Ages, p. 100-101.
 
We need to get out of today’s Babylons, as John did, and be strengthened by the angels to give the bold message of the Latter Rain. No one living in Babylon can cry out against Babylon. They are under the spell of Babylon. If you live in Babylon you become as weak-willed as Lot, who was afraid to follow God’s direction before its all-consuming judgment from heaven.
 
“As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed…. Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:28-30,32).
 
Before the great and terrible day of the Lord, let us prepare to leave when the call comes.
“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isa. 60:2). “The wicked shall do wickedly.” (Dan. 12:10).
“At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matt. 25:6).
 
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee…. the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isa. 60:1).
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” (Dan. 12:10).
“None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).
 
Jesus foresaw many fleeing from the “abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24:15). “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.” (Luke 17:31). But, these must be those who preached “the gospel of the kingdom…for a witness unto all nations.” (Verse 14). Every Adventist who did not give this last call were still in Babylon and must not have been among the 144,000 wise virgins who boosted this last call of mercy of Matthew 24:14.
 
More than a century ago (Ms 76, 1905 Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 334) Jesus made the call to the Advent movement to leave the cities “ripe for destruction” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 97. Those Adventists who join the call of the final Johns, “The Bridegroom is coming”, are the future 144,000, who have mourned to the Lord over the exceeding sinfulness of the abominations overspreading the earth. They have previously removed from the cities, and have applied themselves to the wisdom of the scriptures. But, all who heard the command to leave and did not obey it, became swamped in debt and hooked by the devil’s seductive counterfeit revival, and have no will or finances or time to make the move. They hear the call from the 144,000 that Jesus’ coming is truly soon; but, too late they awaken from their woeful emptiness of repentance and severe lack of spirituality.
 
Today it is still not too late, if people will act now. We are very soon to see the final moves by the first Beast of Revelation 13 (the papal power) from “the bottomless pit” (Rev. 11:7). Its Jesuits have all but already subjugated the second Beast of Revelation 13 (America), and will soon use America to subjugate the rest of the world for the papal power.
 
Are we preparing for the “storm [that] is coming, relentless in its fury”? “Are we prepared to meet it?” Testimonies for the church, vol. 8, p. 315.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

True holiness, holiness as it is in Jesus

 
“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep My sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:2-4).
 
“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” (1Pet. 1:15-17).
 
God waits for the restoration of the faith of Abraham, “My friend” (Isa. 41:8). Abraham had a holiness that loved excellence of character and was filled with affection. He longed to have a son of his own developing who he could fill with love to God and to man. And Isaac was given when Abraham was capable to accomplish his deepest desire. Isaac became just what his father had always envisioned—holy and just and full of tender love.
 
This is what God considers holiness. Anything less than a holiness filled with love is self-generated. It is not from above, but even devilish. It is self-righteousness. The God of powerful justice is the same God of powerful mercy. His strong justice is perfectly balanced with strong mercy. Never justice without mercy; and never mercy without justice, Abraham reflected our Father in heaven. Likewise with Christ, the seed of Isaac, was filled with truth and grace. He was filled with the affection of His Father in heaven, and the oil of His anointing was without measure. “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever…. And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things…. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:2, 4, 7).
 
Like His Father, there was four things that Jesus didn’t know: 1) there wasn’t a sin that He did not hate; 2) there wasn’t a sinner that He did not love; 3) there wasn’t a sin that He would not forgive; 4) there was never a better time than now.
 
He had the oil of joy above His disciples, and His infectious joy spread among them all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Johnny Lingo

A while back I believe I wrote a post on Johnny Lingo. I didn’t know much about YouTube, so maybe it had appeared there. Nevertheless, I just thought to look, and behold there it was, since five years ago. But, I recommend the oldest version, since it is the version I saw as a teenager at school just seven years after it came out.
 
It is a beautiful 24 minute movie, based on a true story, about how a young business-savvy islander (probably of the south Pacific) married a degraded (and by their standards, ugly and old) 20 year-old, only daughter of a crotchety widower and turned her into a princess, simply by letting her know how much he loved her. While all the other women on her island boasted of being 3- and 5-cow wives, Johnny offered 8 cows for Mahana, and she turned out to be reckoned as a 10-cow wife!
 
I love this movie because it showed what the Son of God did for the children of Adam. We were detestable to the angelic hosts. To them we were cockroaches, every one of us. Kill them, don’t let any of them get away! They will multiply if they escape destruction! The kingdom will become infested with them! They are made to replicate incessantly! They will be everywhere!
 
But, Jesus loved us anyway, and paid the highest price possible to marry us and have us for Himself forever. Maybe you will see the comparison and relive the thoughts of God and Christ in the distant past of eternity when They made up the plan.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfahoLfrddU

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Predestination

Many Calvinists see in the next 5 texts proof of a damnation and salvation that are beyond the control of the fallen human recipient.
 
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
 
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
 
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” (2Cor. 4:3).
 
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
 
“It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (Matt. 13:11).
 
These texts sound firmly decreed by a heavenly Dictator. Does God not have a Congress or a Parliament? Did He not set up 24 elders for backup mediation after His Son, after which example David appointed 24 priests under Zadok and Ahimelech (see 1 Chronicles 24:3-9)?
 
Yet, the above texts appear to show that it is by God’s arbitrary act alone that we are saved or lost. These verses make God look like a totalitarian despot who keeps creature choice and consequence on the sidelines while He calls all the shots regardless of their desire to live with Him forever. Similar to how the NIV says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says…”
 
Nothing at first appears to lean toward cause and effect. Does God’s creation have a part in causing Him to act? Do we have a part in our salvation or damnation? Does the law of cause and effect apply to salvation and damnation, so that “righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5) means by our faith? “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4). Thus by our faith God can make us righteous, and without our faith He cannot. By our faith we are entered into the Lamb’s book of life; and by our permanent loss of faith we are blotted out of the book. Faith is at least part of the cause; and the righteous life is the effect.
 
We see cause and effect in our world. We demand cause and effect among ourselves. How can any physician heal a disease without first finding the root cause of it? Without that knowledge, a faulty diagnosis will probably be determined and faulty prognosis given. And no patient would accept such a diagnosis and prognosis; he would get a second opinion. To believe that there is no cause means the disease is predetermined, and that death is inevitable and unavoidable. This falsehood has left many infirmed from a wrong habit, and they died needlessly because either the doctor was trained wrong or the patient refused to hear the cause and to fight his sinful self-indulgence that craved to remain untouched. But, the self-indulgence must go, or the wages of sin is death. The effect is death and the cause is sinful self-indulgence.
 
The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isa. 32:17).
 
“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13).
 
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).
 
“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2Chron. 16:7-9).
 
The effect upon King Asa was God lifting His leadership and protection; and the cause was King Asa not relying on the God of heaven, but rather his reliance on the god of this world for protection and security.
 
“Because” meant the cause was lack of reliance on the Lord; “Therefore” meant the effect was Syria escaping. “Herein” meant “because the king knew true reliance on God when attacked by the Ethiopians and the Lubims”; “Therefore” meant the effect in wars for the rest of his life.
 
“He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” (John 3:33). This statement means that only the person who has decided that God is true can receive the testimony of Christ. God and His Law is the Schoolmaster that, once submitted to, can bring us to Christ for His justification.
 
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” (Ps. 91:14). Obvious cause and effect here.
 
“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.” (John 3:16). God’s love caused Him to give us His only-Begotten.
 
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1Jn 4:19). The effect of our love to God is caused by His love for us.
 
But, everyone who the Father and Son haven’t called to repentance doesn’t like the principle of cause and effect. They know their need of right standing before God, but they don’t want the correction and reproof that go with it. They don’t like to be judged—even by God. They don’t want to change their habits, or their desires and wants. To rid their characters of those habits will require stern battles against self. And not many are willing to make that kind of sacrifice—even for health and life. They have not yet learned the principle of the gospel, that by the cause—not of our willpower or our behavior—but of setting our love upon Jesus, the effect till be His deliverance and our victory over the sins that so easily beset us. It’s all cause and effect, but it must be the right cause—faith, which gives us the victory.
 
“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.” (Tit. 3:5).  Yet, Paul in another place stated that God’s mercy and salvation requires our faith. “By grace are ye saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8).
 
From the beginning there had been a cause for the effects of sin. Sin is not arbitrary in the cause of its inception or its existence. Sin resisted much wrestling and many appeals by God and His angels to Lucifer’s heart.
 
So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator.… But a change came over this happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him… 
 
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation.… 
 
“In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law.… But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined…. 
 
“In great mercy, according to His divine character, God bore long with Lucifer. The spirit of discontent and disaffection had never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; for a time he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of his mind; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that ‘the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works’ (Psalm 145:17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust. 
 
“A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. But His mercy was misinterpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. Thus it was that Lucifer, “the light bearer,” the sharer of God’s glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, “the adversary” of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship. 
 
“Rejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves….
 
“Still the loyal angels urged him and his sympathizers to submit to God….” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 35-40.
 
Predestination might look like God’s predisposition, as if God foreordains sin or salvation; but that isn’t true at all. He gives His creatures their part to choose who they will serve.
 
“From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.” Desire of Ages, p. 22.
 
Although the Godhead can foresee the future, that shouldn’t assume that They alter the future. Rather they leave it in place, unaffected of Their total manipulation. However, They do have an input, of which they take full advantage. But, that advantage doesn’t alter our choice or the future, it simply keeps the future on track against Satan’s efforts to derail it for his unfair grasping for undue power.
 
Could Satan have the freedom, no flesh would be saved. He would destroy even the very elect, were it not for God’s protection and providential engineering.
 
We can be thankful for our freedom of choice, not because of the devil, but because of God. And, that freedom includes choosing to follow the devil. If we so choose to enlist on Satan’s sinking ship, God must let us close our eyes and shut our ears, and allow our heart to wax gross, “lest at any time [we] should see with [our] eyes, and hear with [our] ears, and should understand with [our] heart, and should be converted, and [the Spirit of the Lord] should heal [us].” (Matt. 13:15).
 
So, God predestinates all our transformations into the image of His Son by foreseeing all of our choices in life. And then He works in every way possible to improve our potential for salvation. The battle between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of Satan rages over the head of every soul. God is not willing that any should perish, but to come to repentance. How many will repent?
 
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Rev. 13:3; 18:3).
 
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” “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. 17:18;18:7).
 
Many will not repent, but will follow after the Beast and the woman riding on it. They will sell their soul for her wine, which speaks peace when there is no peace from God. And therefore they will never need repentance. They will be the “ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:15).
 
But, what about Paul repeating what God said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy”?
 
“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:15-23).
 
None of Paul’s arguments ever deviated from the principles of Old Testament scripture. Paul counseled Timothy:
 
 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2Tim. 3:16).
 
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15).
 
Paul was not an anarchist, a proponent of Law abrogation, or a blasphemer. He knew that life was dependent on our obedience to the laws of God.
 
“(As we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Rom. 3:8).
 
“Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (for all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” (Lev. 18:2-28).
 
 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31).
 
The above argument from Romans 9 of Paul agrees perfectly with cause and effect that we see in the Old Testament. Both Old and New Testament lawgivers agreed. “What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:22,23).
 
“See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.
For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me.
I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:39-43).
 
The picture we see here is that of cause and effect, not arbitrary decrees from heaven. Pharaoh had fitted himself for destruction long before God destroyed him. And Pharaoh’s chose for himself to be destroyed, by abusing the helpless captives under his keeping, which abuse—though oblivious to him—purified the flock, so that a polarization occurred. By God letting go the reins of human passion, because the empire strove for so long to be free from His convictions that for God to continue restraining them would break the law governing choice, then quickly pride went unrestrained, abuse mounted, the helpless were purified, the wicked did more wickedly, and in short time two diametrically opposed people were created—the very wicked and the very righteous. Until the Spirit loosed the cords of divine intervention into human affairs three groups existed. 1) a very small group of half-hearted wicked, 2) the vast majority of those who did not know right from wrong, and 3) a very small group of half-hearted righteous.
 
But, God giving Satan full charge while God protected everyone’s choice, all who were not seeking to know Jesus persecuted those who were seeking Him. The more the half-hearted wicked persecuted, the less half-hearted, and the more wicked they became. The more the half-hearted righteous were persecuted, the less half-hearted and the more righteous they grew. In the end the Lord could say, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:12).
 
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).

 God’s judgments are righteous because we deserve more than what we receive from Him. The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that anyone should perish. 
 
“For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for My praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.” (Isa. 48:9-11).
 
For the sake of the half-hearted, double-minded people seeking God, whose hearts were divided between Jesus and their idolatry, God let the calamities of the wicked loose on them. Because only thus could He move them and us to choose His laws and eternity with the God of life.
 
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil [râ ‘âh “vexing” “wretchedness” from “affliction”, “adversity”, “calamity”]: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isa. 45:7).
 
Jehovah’s light would follow His darkness; His peace would follow His vexing calamitous captivities. The evil empires, which vex and pruify His people, commit themselves to destruction. And God’s people are delivered. Not by arbitrary decree, but by cause and effect.
 
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4).
 
Once His wife is wholly reconsecrated to her Husband in the heavens, then He is her Saviour. He waits for cause to deliver her from her consequences. That cause is her restoration to fidelity.
 
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” (Isa. 43:11,12). The church reconciled with her former Husband, she calls Him the only true God. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” (1Pet. 3:6).
 
“Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isa. 43:10).
 
In the end the church is His powerful witness. They witness with all their heart because the Lord did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves; rid themselves of their half-hearted love. Then He can rid them of their enemies who have become wholly wicked.
 
“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.” (Isa. 43:9).
 
Of course, the nations have no argument for their abuse against those who they have helped prepare for paradise. All they can do in judgment is to say that God’s judgments upon them “is truth”.
 
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel” (1Thess. 4:16) saying, “Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).
 
“And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31), “and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:16,17).

In the end, the wicked cooperated with Satan to be lost and they cooperated with Satan to save the purified, who also cooperated with God in their salvation.  “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! hos unsearchable are His judgments, and His wasy past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).
 
“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.
And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.
Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet.
He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was Thine anger against the rivers? was Thy wrath against the sea, that Thou didst ride upon Thine horses and Thy chariots of salvation?
Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even Thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.” (Hab. 3:3-9).
 
The destruction of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous was the product of cause and effect, not arbitrary predestination.
 
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor. 4:3,4).
 
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
 
Yes, we were predestinated; but not without cause. We first trusted in Christ after we heard the word of His truth and grace.
 
“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,” (Eph. 1:12,13).
 
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
 
God does predestinate us, but not without first watching all of our decisions from the dawning of our intelligence, even while still in our mother’s womb, and not to mention decisions made later under the influence of this sinful world. At that time He foreknew us and predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Were we setting our love upon Jesus? Here lies the cause of our predestination for salvation or damnation.
 
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).
 
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matt. 13:11,12).
 
They don’t want to see with their eyes, or hear with their ears. They don’t want to understand and be converted. Therefore they deafen and blind themselves. This was stated before the parable of the seed and ground.  Each plot of ground was responsible for its own end result.
 
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matt. 13:13-17).
 
Altogether what we’ve looked at explains the following statement by Jesus.
 
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
 
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28).
 
Who will hear His voice and come? Whoever is tired of their heavy load and chooses to let Him take the yoke off their necks. “Whosoever will.” (Rev. 22:17).

Picnic in a warzone


Near Centreville, Capt. John Tidball witnessed a “throng of sightseers” approach his battery. “They came in all manner of ways, some in stylish carriages, others in city hacks, and still others in buggies, on horseback and even on foot. Apparently everything in the shape of vehicles in and around Washington had been pressed into service for the occasion. It was Sunday and everybody seemed to have taken a general holiday; that is all the male population, for I saw none of the other sex there, except a few huckster women who had driven out in carts loaded with pies and other edibles. All manner of people were represented in this crowd, from the most grave and noble senators to hotel waiters.”
 
London Times correspondent William Howard Russell observed, “On the hill beside me there was a crowd of civilians on horseback, and in all sorts of vehicles, with a few of the fairer, if not gentler sex .... The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera glass who was near me was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood — ‘That is splendid, Oh my! Is not that first rate? I guess we will be in Richmond to-morrow.’”

 
 
Manassas civil war battle with bystanders eating their picnics a few miles away. They quickly became part of the battle and they had to scramble to flee.
 
My niece’s soldier boyfriend decried the new mandate for the Army that female soldiers must be given a shower once every 10 days. The troupes had to stop the fighting, surround the showers and protect the females from the enemy, so that the ladies get their mandated showers once every 10 days.
 
War is hard. Historically, showers were not part of a soldier’s enlistment contract. I’ve seen photos of soldiers sleeping in desert holes maybe dug out by them for some cooler place to sleep. My uncle Bill told my dad to go into the Navy where he would have a dry bed and a warm meal. During WWII too many times he had slept in the rain and scrounged for food when the MREs ran out.
 
We are in a war. But, are we aware of it? Or are we in a stupor? Shootings growing closer together, bombings, gay rights, legal and illegal drugs everywhere. The end of America. The collapse of society.
 
Entertainment that desensitizes us to pain and suffering, so that in our livingrooms we can have a picnic while we watch the killing. “There is another death. Wow, look at our American military might! Please pass the mustard. Are there any chips left? Look at the missile blow up that building! That’s terrible! Those poor civilians! Is there anymore potato salad? Do I have to choose between ice cream and homemade apple pie, or can I have a little of both?”
 
“The command is: ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’ These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.  
     In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.
     The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’” Testimonies for the church, vol. 5, p. 210,211.
 
How can we wake up? how can we prepare for the storm that is coming in all of its fury? We can pray for the Lord to wake us up. We can seek a Saviour from our sins. Then we can go and, in faith, work our prayers. Praying will keep before our conscience the utterly essential necessity of soberness to eternal realities.
 
Jesus had a war coming—a major battle with the devil over our redemption. All the hosts of darkness would amass against Him to prevent His death for you and me. So He prayed with all that was within Him. And He was heard.
 
“His prayer is heard. While He is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Saviour’s form. Divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above. Arising from His prostrate position, Christ stands in godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines “as the sun,” and His garments are ‘white as the light.’” Desire of Ages, p. 421.
 
“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:28-31).
 
Do we want the glory of God shining out of us? We will have to be greatly humbled first.
 
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isa. 53:3,4).
 
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey [hupakouō, “conform to”] Him.” (Heb. 5:8,9).
 
Paul, the apostle and prophet, the unique dynamo of God, was daily crucified with Christ before God on his knees every morning. Only then could Paul receive the daily dying that came at him from all directions.
 
“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily…. after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus….” (1Cor. 15:31,32).
 
“…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2Cor. 11:23-28).
 
We are the church militant, not the church triumphant. This is no time for a picnic in the park. The picnic is yet to come, and it will be well worth the battle to get to it.
 
“And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa. 25:6).
 
“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest.” (Isa. 25:9,8,7,6,10).