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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The filthy, the tempted, the disciples, and the holy

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Rev. 22:11).

Four groups will comprise humanity when Jesus returns. 1) They are those who knowingly and lustfully come under sin; 2) those who are tempted into sin; 3) those who Jesus encourages, cajoles, woos, intercedes for to leave and stay away from sin; and, 4) “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).

Until the close of probation, God weighs between those who premeditatedly dive into sin, and those who are tempted into sin. There is a difference. Adam and Eve were tempted, but Lucifer was not. He tempted himself and deceived himself. Lucifer knew God and who He was, yet he placed evil before himself. The highest covering cherub, who intimately knew the God of humility and purity, gladly threw his Creator’s gift of power against his Creator. He loved the gift more than the Giver. “Yea, Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me.” (Ps. 41:9).

“For it was not an enemy that reproached Me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated Me that did magnify himself against Me; then I would have hid Myself from him:
But it was thou, a man Mine equal, My guide, and Mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” (Ps. 55:12-15). Lucifer had no one tempt him to spread every conceivable lie about God in order to steal from Him His throne in the hearts of His creation. He deceived himself. He sought to usurp from God His “first dominion” (Mic. 4:8).

And through the manipulations of the Godhead’s adversary, not only through the occult, but beginning with all who partake of the goodness of God yet refuse to give Him their love, honor, and obedience in return, eventually become His outright, avowed enemies and open, determined lovers of every form of lust. “They set their heart on their iniquity” (Hos. 4:8).

But, Eve and all her children are sinners because they have been tempted. God therefore blends His justice upon them with mercy. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Rom. 8:20). Each child born into this world will have 70 years of probation to find out who will come to his senses and hope in something better than this sinful and temptation-filled world. God has lowered them all down into the pit of this hell, yet only partially. But, if after 70, 80, 90, 100 years, they never surrender to the fear of God and His Law, so that He could give them to His Son (see John 6:37; Galatians 3:24), then they have proven beyond any doubt in heaven that however politely they turned down His righteousness, their ethics and politeness were only a thin veneer of rebellion. When they lay down into death, their mercy ends. They will come up in the resurrection of the wicked. They were as good and polite as King Saul, who wanted nothing to do with God and His holy kingdom. Even if they had thoughts and desires to come to Jesus, temptations kept them buried in sin. Even if they were “not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34), they never entered into it.

The third group is comprised of all who have surrendered to the Law of God and to the grace of His Son. But, God cannot have them back into His pure home if they never pass the baby stage of their Christian walk. They can still die in infancy. Jesus loves to keep them in His bosom, but if they stop growing in grace, then they have stopped being His friend and feeding from His life. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12).

And “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18). If we are truly connected to the vine, then we will grow and eventually produce fruit. If we don’t grow, or if we don’t produce fruit, this is sure evidence that we were not connected to His Spirit, the soul of His life. If we examine ourselves daily, dying to self by accepting the conviction from the Spirit of truth, then we will keep coming back to our High Priest for grace. We become dependent on Him like a child does its parent and we grow into the fourth group.

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23). This disciple had in Christ what Isaac had in Abraham. Love.

“And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” (Gen. 22:2).

John was the youngest disciple of Christ, and the one who most fully understood Him. John was the first to stand in awe of Jesus, the foremost disciple to fear Him and the first to come under the sanctifying power of His love. But, John had had serious defects of character that could not permit His eternal entrance into heaven.

“Even John, the beloved disciple, the one who most fully reflected the likeness of the Saviour, did not naturally possess that loveliness of character. He was not only self-assertive and ambitious for honor, but impetuous, and resentful under injuries. But as the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, he saw his own deficiency and was humbled by the knowledge. The strength and patience, the power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, that he beheld in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration and love. Day by day his heart was drawn out toward Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. His resentful, ambitious temper was yielded to the molding power of Christ. The regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit renewed his heart. The power of the love of Christ wrought a transformation of character.” Steps to Christ, p. 73.

“God takes men as they are, with the human elements in their character, and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. They are not chosen because they are perfect, but notwithstanding their imperfections, that through the knowledge and practice of the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may become transformed into His image. Judas had the same opportunities as had the other disciples. He listened to the same precious lessons. But the practice of the truth, which Christ required, was at variance with the desires and purposes of Judas, and he would not yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from Heaven.” Desire of Ages, p. 294.

Eventually though, we see John cuddled next to Jesus, as the twelve lay inclined on cushions on the floor, forming a circle around the supper table. This customary arrangement caused one’s neighbor to his right to be placed such that his neighbor’s head came up to his belly or chest, and his head did the same to the neighbor on his left. Thus, John’s head was on (in) Jesus’ bosom, and Jesus’ head was on (in) Judas’ bosom. There was nothing impure or sexual about this ancient, middle-eastern custom, any more than dancing hand-in-hand in a circle of people holds anything illicit. Homosexuality was horrifically disdained by the Hebrew people. The social eating and dancing circles were a time of fellowship and brotherly love, especially with the God of love among them. The same tightly knit friendship between John and Jesus was a replica of the tight bond between Jesus and His heavenly Father. Jesus’ apostles never lost the tight bond of pure love that they gained from their discipleship, sealed in the bosom of Jesus and in the righteousness of God. But, eventually Judas’ first love for Jesus would ebb away as he fell behind in the training to overcome self. The fullest love for Jesus faded before Judas became a full-fledged apostle.

“Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Ps. 45:7). “They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Isa. 9:3). Jesus’ disciples, His fellows, joyed before Him as He joyed before His Father. It was from the context of His dwelling in His Father’s bosom that Jesus made the following statements:

“I proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42).

“For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:27, 28).

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was…. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me.” (John 17:5,8).

“I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30).

While Jesus remained on earth in His weakened, human nature, He was all in all to John, just as a mother is to her young. But when Jesus left and was exalted in heaven, John matured into an adult follower of Christ, an apostle. He then joined the fourth group. When Jesus was glorified, He became the authoritative voice of a father to John, and under that powerful authority was His disciple sealed. “I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Rev. 5:6). The Spirit, which was the power radiating from the glorified Son of God which was no longer being hidden in a fallen Adam’s finite body, spoke to the apostles throughout the book of Acts in the same strong authority that the Son had spoken to the Old Testament prophets. His infinite, pre-incarnate Spirit (see Revelation 4:5) restored, the Son was the same yesterday, today, and forever. No longer in the third group, His disciples graduated into apostleship, the fourth group.

While John loved to abide in Jesus’ bosom, under His loving view, and although the close bond entered into by Jesus and John turned John into the truest representative of Christ, formed perfectly in His image, the days were coming when all the joy of this fellow of Christ would be put to the test. “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Matt. 9:15).

Visible separation from Jesus, persecution, trial, suffering would harden into his character the loving memories of his discipleship. Although John was the last of the original twelve to die, the seal, which he had set to his heart that God was true, remained in his forehead to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.

“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). The love that existed between the Prince of princes and this favorite of His favorites, kept John protected in the bosom of Jesus, as Jesus Himself “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18) had been protected by all the hosts of heaven. “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35).

In those days the fourth group, the children of Jesus would become of full age, and “as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man…they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Ps. 127:3-5).

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps. 8:2). While the apostles would speak and think like men, their hearts would forever retain the childlike love from their Mother of all living, their Parent now passed into the heavens to live in the bosom of the Father.

Fearlessly they spoke “with the enemies” of God. Fearlessly they dealt with the invasion of Satan’s infiltrators, “them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan”, “them which say they are apostles, and…found them liars.” (Rev. 2:9; Rev. 2:2).

No longer a disciple cuddled by the Saviour, each must carry the burden that their Master had carried for them. “Greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” (John 14:12). Each must stand alone in God, averse from temptation, as “the soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan.” Desire of Ages, p. 324. They are made to fly without a mother eagle carrying them. They must sink or swim, drown under the storms or walk on water. This is what the Spirit of Christ did with King Hezekiah. “God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31).

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.” Great Controversy, p. 425.

They are no longer tempted because Jesus has sealed them into righteousness. They are “in Him” (Eph. 1:10), strong to fear the Lord; and the “the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them…and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7). They are lost in His love, surrounded by His arms of infinite love, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made [them] accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:6). Therefore He “is able to keep [them] from falling, and to present [them] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24).

They are the full-fledged “children of God” (Matt. 5:9), “the children of the living God” (Rom. 9:26), “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:17). They are the purified “sons of Levi, …as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:3). They abide forever in Their bosom, joint-heirs with the Heir of God “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” (1Tim. 6:16). They are the earthly complement of the angelic armies, and they love the holy rivalry with the angels, and their godly saber-rattling and jousting with the sword of the Spirit keeps each other and the whole redeemed race wholly loyal to the Law and love of God. They are the 144,000 army of the living God, mature in Christ, able-bodied and ever ready to defend His kingdom. “From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel.” (Num. 1:3).

Jesus is their commander, “the God of the armies of Israel” (1Sam. 17:45), “captain of the host of the LORD” (Josh. 5:14) to thwart any possibility of another Goliath adversary to defy the God of Law and love. They are His special guard contingent to never again lose “the first dominion”. (Mic. 4:8). “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” (Rev. 7:15), finally at peace in His kingdom that is strong again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The opposite of an opposite isn’t always the opposite

The opposite of error isn’t necessarily the truth. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
 
Never does Satan use pure error. He is a deceiver, and he will always mix in truth; or he wouldn’t be the father of lies. Even into spiritualism he brings a little bit of truth. He will use the names of God, Christ, the Spirit, the cross, sacrifice, and even Bible excerpts. But, the substance behind the names are gutted. The devil used the Holy Scriptures to overthrow Christ in the wilderness. But, Jesus exposed his chicanery.
 
“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” (Matt. 4:5,6).
 
But, what did the Bible really say?
 
“For He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways.
They shall bear Thee up in their hands, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” (Ps. 91:11,12). Where was the deceiver’s deviation from the truth? Two places. First, he omitted “to keep Thee in all Thy ways”, that is in the way of obedience to the God of truth, the only true God.
 
The Lord knew the full intent of the scriptures. “He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Ps. 23:3). “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.” (Prov. 6:23,24).
 
Secondly, Satan added the phrase “lest at any time” to “…Thou dash Thy foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:12). Jesus knew His Father and He knew the ways of His Father. God promises to protect us from suffering, but that doesn’t presume that He will protect us from all suffering. Living in the devil’s territory, pain is best for us. Pain was even good for the holy Son of God on the cross.
 
“Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; 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 Him.” (Heb. 5:-9).
 
Satan couldn’t tempt Jesus because Jesus knew the truth. In communion He had sat at His Father’s feet every day of His life and learned of Him. Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecy: “Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Isa. 7:15). Jesus knew the scriptures too well for the mastermind of deception to mislead Him.
 
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Prov. 3:5-7).
 
“Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths.
Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” (Ps. 25:3-5).
 
The same will be for all who sit at the Son’s feet. They will know the Son and the Father who sent Him to be their almighty helper. Their Comforter is the Spirit of truth, and will keep them from Satan’s many traps of error and the paths of sin.
 
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name.
And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” (Mal. 3:16-18).
 
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11).
 
The path to hell lies right next to the path to heaven. This is not so because God made it that way, but because we live in Satan’s territory and he has made it that way. Satan keeps his path to hell right next to the path to heaven as long as he can. Nevertheless, God has left it that way for our sakes. It would keep His true children from indolence, which is the inheritance of sin.
 
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.” Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 202.
 
“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.” Christ Triumphant, p. 324.
 
359.999° is not the opposite of 180°. It is close, and in pure math it sometimes might suffice. But, the apparent opposite of a falsehood is not necessarily the truth. 000° is the only true opposite of 180°.
 
Over time, over the eons, the difference of 0.1% is enormous. Fly a spacecraft out millions of miles and 0.3° deviation could miss the Sun. Likewise, keep an error regarding the character of God or the Godhead for thousands of years and you could miss the Son when He comes near. It has been done. He came to reveal His Father’s character, and as a result it revealed to us His own character, which was the Father’s character. But, after 2,000 years of waiting for the Son, wrong expectations of His character caused the waiting people to completely mistake Him when He showed up. We can’t afford to miss the next appearing of the Son of God. We can’t afford to misjudge God or the Son. Neither can we afford to misjudge the truth about Them.
 
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6,7).
 
Missing the highest point in history has already happened once before. But, an even bigger event, and higher point in history has yet to come. All that Christ accomplished came the first time, which brought God the Father infinite release, was to set the stage and prepare the case for the even bigger atonement, and final closure of sin and suffering in the great controversy. To be deceived and miss the soon-coming, highest of all events in history is to call for the mountains to fall on us.
 
“And when He [the Comforter] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; …of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:8,9,11). Many will fail in the coming conviction of the world when the Lamb of God returns because they would not trust in Him to help them overcome their idols; and because they would also fail to know God, whose exoneration in judgment condemns His adversary, the father of idols and lies.
 
The bigger atonement unveils the full disposition of God upon sin and Satan, and upon all who persist in clinging to sin and loyalty to Satan’s regime. The final judgment will be on all who refused to trust in the Son of God, after all that He did to win their trust away from this world that Satan rules, and to receive them to Himself if they could trust Him. His cross prepared for the final showdown between a holy generation and a completely depraved race of men.
 
Knowing a counterfeit doesn’t overcome the counterfeiter. Only knowing the true catches the counterfeiter in the fraud. And only the one, true God opens the windows of heaven to throw light upon the great deceiver. Only His power and unvarnished truth can undeceive our charmed flesh.
 
All who are lost in the end would not turn away from the fun and games, toys and entertainments, self-exaltation and self-indulgence offered from the god of this world. “Babylon … made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Rev. 14:8).
 
Are we close to Jesus’ return in judgment? Will I be destroyed in this global Gomorrah when Jesus destroys it at His coming? Or, will I come out of Sodom and never look back? God’s gift of the Protestant Reformation is nearing its close. Satan has conquered the denominational institutions. The glory of the one true religion has departed; the crucifixion and heavenly ministry of “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession” (Heb. 3:1) are taken away and supplanted by a funeral to Nimrod, the apostate high priest of spiritualism, and his resurrection to the Sun.
 
“The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.” (1Sam. 4:22). The heavenly kingdom, whose foundation is the just Law of God and its throne a mercy seat, has disappeared from our sermons, our Sabbath Schools, and our minds. Without justice bonded to mercy and righteousness kissing peace, who can be converted and saved? No one. The eternal union of justice and mercy, or truth and grace, are the womb in which wispy hope births the true substance of real faith, strong trust in a real Person, the only begotten Son of God. When the Son of man cometh will He find real, substantial faith in us? During this investigative judgment, this is His question to us that we are to be afflicting our souls to answer. Not social or scientific or political issues are to be our main focus. The chief issue must be Christ and His perfect righteousness imputed and imparted to us so that we obtain His character before the great Time of Trouble arrives.
 
The human solution to a wrong concept is often another wrong concept. Another good example of this is that the solution to spiritualism is Spiritual Formation. But, spiritualism and Spiritual Formation are one and the same, although the first is 100% darkness and the other is 99.999% darkness. The first is for bad witches and the second is for good witches. Satan advertises the black magic as evil, then he hands us the good magic, which is just as evil. But, divine spirituality and Spiritual Formation both sound spiritual, don’t they? Rather, they serve two opposite and opposing spirits, the Spirit of our Creator and the spirit of the destroyer. Not a trace of Jehovah’s union of justice and mercy into divine love and redemptive spirituality can be found in Spiritual Formation any more than it can be found in spiritualism. Yet, multitudes upon multitudes are flocking to Spiritual Formation to find God. And “God” is talking to them. But, this “God” is not putting the Law into their inward parts because that is the last thing this “God” would ever want.
 
But, we have the hope that “when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 59:19,20). The Lord will win this war in the end, along with His army of overcomers who have turned away from sin.
 
The opposite of a sin isn’t always the cure. The opposite of error isn’t necessarily the truth, and two wrongs don’t make a right. Man-made taboos and sacred cows never put their finger dead on the issues of sin. Only the pure righteousness of Christ’s words and actions can expose and overthrow rebellion, pride, deception, temptation, darkness, and every other weapon in Satan’s arsenal.
 
“Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30).

Monday, November 14, 2016

The ant object lesson


“Go to the ant.” (Prov. 6:6).

Among other lessons from the ants, their size speaks to us.

Not all ants are created equal. Some are bigger than others where we live. In Africa and South America some are gigantic like the 1 inch long, Dinoponera australis. But, others are eensy weensy.

They all have a mind of their own. They don’t think exactly like we do, but they are individuals and God has given them life.

But, no matter how much bigger one ant is compared to another, we tower over them. We could step on them and squash any one of them. We don’t want to do that just because we are bigger, but we could.

One ant can’t boast if he is twice or ten times the size of another ant. All it has to do is look up and see the larger world, the bigger picture. Likewise, I might be stronger than you, you might be richer than the next person, he might be smarter than me, but none of us can gloat because there is a world that makes this eensy weensy world compare to nothing, even less than nothing.

Yet, all heaven went into emergency mode to deliver us from destruction. Even the greatest of all, the Father, the Almighty, the Ancient of days, He who Michael the Prince said, “is greater than I” (John 14:28), who “liveth for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:14), died to ensure we could be legally and experientially saved.

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” (Rom. 3:27).

Without knowing what God has done to have us  safely in His home again, we naturally look around on our level and compare/contrast ourselves to others. We boast and we sink in dejection; yet either way we are being destroyed. But when the Spirit of God can put aside all our petty earthy mindedness and we let Him open our eyes to bigger and better things than this little world speaks of, faith will never let us gloat about how great we are, or worship another human and praise him for how great he is. “With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life.” Great Controversy, p. 463.

What does it profit a man if he gains the highest place in the human pecking order, and lose his place in eternity.

“As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1Cor. 2:9).

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” (Isa. 64:4).

Friday, November 11, 2016

From crown of thorns and infinite cursings to crown of horns and infinite blessings

Thorns and thistles stood in symbolic opposition to the butter and honey of God’s justice and mercy character. The Garden of Eden had no stickers because the Father filled Adam’s world with beautiful grace and beautiful obedience to His Law. But, the rebellion of Adam and Eve resulted in a permanent infestation of their world with painful pricks to remind them of their rejection of God. Yet, Christ had redeemed them and they gladly accepted those prickly and painful spiritual reminders as the true characterization of their new fallen nature. But, without His redemption and the impartation of His Spirit of peace, the thorns and thistles would bring Adam and his descendants exhausting aggravation and anger until each soul must decide to fall in repentance and confession of God’s righteous punishment, or shake its fist at Him forever.

“Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.” (2Chron. 33:11).

Dragging Manasseh through the agonizing bramble was a perfect reflection of God’s perspective upon his reckless and destructive life. Yet, his father’s earlier training, combined with the torture he endured by his heavenly Father’s thorns and briers, turned him around. Thank God for His merciful justice! His mercy endureth forever.
 
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember My covenant with Jacob.” (Lev. 26:40-42).

But, most do not turn around at the visitations of God’s judgments. Manasseh’s was a rare conversion. Most resist the strong convictions of their wrongs, which “the Father of mercies” (2Cor. 1:3) and truth presents to their conscience, conviction of sin which He combines with assurances of forgiveness and the blessedness of His promised, restored Spirit. Convicting consequences of our own sin is the only method that our Schoolmaster, “the God of all comfort” (2Cor. 1:3), can provide to create repentance in His people (see Acts 5:31). Yet, with many their uncircumcised hearts will not let them accept the punishment for their iniquities. As the interesting prophecy of Isaiah revealed:

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand [pieces of silver], it shall even be for briers and thorns.
With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.” (Isa. 7:14-25).

Looking carefully at this prophecy we see that the “butter and honey” diet of Jesus was the diet of other Israelites, but not for most of them. The northern kingdom’s apostasy away from the redemptive covenant of the God of their father Abraham ended in Israelite hearts filled with the spirit of Satan and possessed of his bitterness, “briers and thorns”. As the Lord’s prophetic song to Moses foreknew:

“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. 32:32,33).

Paul gave a detailed description of every child of Adam who Satan controls.

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom. 1:29-32).

Another description of the Roman world by Paul supplements the one above, and is commented on by Ellen White: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19,20). “The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust.... Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven.” Desire of Ages, p. 36.
 
At their crucifixion of the Son of God, the people shook their fist at Jesus just as they had always been shaking their fist at God and at each other. They providentially adorned the head of the Prince of peace with a visible metaphor that represented their own malignant minds. Each thorn of the bramble crown screamed the anger and hatred, the pride and revenge enthroned in those outraged hearts of Satan’s possession. Once again, at the height of Roman prosperity, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and…every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5). Every thought of their wicked minds they projected onto the Son of God. And, by the crown of thorns, their animosity toward Himself Providence displayed mercifully in parable form for them all to learn from.

Without the manifestation and conviction of their hostility toward the world’s best Friend, Jesus could not be their Saviour. He must not only share in their affliction from Satan, He must take it away from them. He must absorb their abusive hostility toward God and release them from it. Jesus became the present focus of Jew and Gentile, the good and the bad, the “holy” Sanhedrin and their “righteous” execution of a Criminal, and the vulgar Romans and their aggressions against everything holy. In complete, glad submission to the forbearance and love of God toward a world that the Godhead came to regain, Jesus said, “Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour.” (Isa. 63:9).

“In all their affliction He was afflicted.” (Isa. 63:9). Jesus felt their pain because He came for the very purpose of letting them unleash all their pain upon Him; and His infinite charity bore it all. “In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Isa. 63:9). He let them cast all their abuses upon Him, because He knew that without their unburdening the gall and wormwood from their Beelzebub-controlled minds, they could never be delivered from Satan’s control. He did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. They must witness, for the first time in their lives, someone who would take all their godless, venomous, inner wrath, but would not and could not throw it all back on them in greater measure. Only the goodness of the divine One toward their worst vengeance could bring them to repentance.

This was His method and His goal. “They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced” and “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.” (Zech. 12:10).

God’s living parable in His providential crown of thorns represented the thorny hearts of the Jewish and Gentile world and their barbed epithets which He was absorbing through His Son, though now with His Father’s ear no longer near to weep into He could not have their aggressions all washed away from His memories. All the world’s offensive sins adorned the Son of God until sin was all that His offended Father could see. The Son was a captive in the eye of a hurricane of hate, anger, and evil that pricked and ripped Him by both human and demonic personalities. Thus, the Father made Him to be sin for us, in our place and for our sakes. The crown of thorns symbolized the Son caught in the crosshairs of  the world’s concentrated resentment toward God and irritation toward His holy will.

“Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons…. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed.” Desire of Ages, p. 36.

Faith and mercy had departed from the world. And, day after day, all that the expressions of those assaulting, angry hearts ever received from everyone around them came from other platonic, violent, fallen natures in their brothers, neighbors, soldiers, and the state. Earth had become a world where each man’s hand was against everyone around him (see Genesis 16:12). No mercy was accorded to humanity in its frustrations and emotional suffering derived from the lack of unending love and affection. Without a Saviour who was filled with supernatural love, all the venomous wrath of human hearts could only be expressed in more tumultuous venom reflected back on them by others like themselves. Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind! Blessed is the man who trusts in the omnipotent love of the unchanging God! Unrelenting, pure justice without mercy is the foundation of Satan’s kingdom, and that was the inescapable, tormenting enslavement in which the despotic Roman Empire trapped its people during their  70 year human existence.

By rejecting service to God and His eternal, selfless and self-denying Law, they must serve Satan and his abritrary, selfish and self-indulgent laws. Humanity was serving under their possession by hell because they had unanimously voted for hell to reign over them.

“When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened…. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers….” (Rom. 1:21,28,29).
 
These are the wretched and miserable, thorny character traits that filled the world in Christ’s day and which was demonstrated by the thorny crown jokingly platted and mercilessly and carelessly jammed upon His head. On Christ alone could they heave unrestrained fury with all their insults, and hear in return the only feeling aroused in Him, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Yet, without all the hatred that they could unfurl abounding upon their Victim, without the unlimited railing expressions of the violence that raged in their unholy hearts toward God, Jesus could not regain their trust and stanch their violent hatred, “nailing it to His cross.” (Col. 2:14). His willing absorption of everything they could throw at Him was their only victory over Satan; and it was God’s only victory also. And under the same conditions our High Priest is still wrestling with His murderers today until He can gently remove the knife out of our repentant and surrendered hands.

For some who Satan could fully imbue with his self-exaltation and vehement belligerence, Christ’s absorption of their rage made them even angrier, emboldened to do more evil. But, for others the stark difference between the world’s wicked norms, and the muted love streaming from the blood running down Christ’s head, struck their conscience with lightning force. They saw Him as the precious berry in the wretched bramble. To them the infamous laurel of thorns became the famous diadem of His omnipotent Spirit of grace and supplication, as seen in Revelation 5:6. “Lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns… which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

The mercy and faith of self-sacrificing love displayed in the crown of thorns loudly preached the effort and message from Jesus and His Father. Humanity’s unforgettable, undeniable demonstration of its wickedness upon a Victim possessing unforgettable, undeniable forgiveness was the only powerful reality that could overthrow the corrupted norms from Satan and present to mankind a new paradigm of loving and being loved. If they could taste and see the difference between all that earth has to offer contrasted with all that heaven offers, they would receive an irresistible drawing to righteousness and holiness. Messiah’s willingness to sacrifice Himself to deliver us from our angry torments condemned their haughty self-righteousness which was against humanity, “which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way.” (Col. 2:14).

“That which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Heb. 6:8). In the parable from Isaiah, the promise was that world empires would subjugate Israel until all the Israelites could see their worthless Baal-Ashtoreth, self-made righteousness as God sees it— being thorny to themselves and to everyone around them, irritating, upsetting, unsettling, abrasive, destructive to others as well as self-destructive.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand [silver pieces], it shall even be for briers and thorns. With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.” (Isa. 7:18-25).

Each Israelite would become caustic and abrasive, just like the pagan.  “He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” (Gen. 16:12). And the reality of Assyrian punishment would declare to each Israelite conscience their thorny character that dishonored God. But, some who, like their Saviour, ate of the milk and honey that surrounded them in God’s earthly resting place found that the approaching world empires would give them an increasing need to drink deeper of the sweetness and fatness of God’s gracious mercy and truth. By faith through the sacrificial and ceremonial system that Jesus gave them they continued to see the glorious offering of their God to save them from satanic oppression. They were “enlightened, and…tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and…tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” (Heb. 6:4,5). Of them Paul could use the similitude, “the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God.” (Heb. 6:7).

Likewise, the Messiah would come ever feeding on an exalted, princely, heavenly diet of His Father’s butter-and-honey Law and grace, “meat to eat that ye know not of.” (John 4:32). His mental, spiritual, emotional food, was far different from the forced, abrasive, painful, enervating and unsatisfying diet from Baal and Ashtoreth that harassed the world’s hearts every moment with a constant jab.  “You worthless idiots! You should have never been born.”

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ;
If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:17-24).
 
The crown of thorns probably did not have the excessive spikes that Hollywood has shown in movies. Nevertheless, a more accurate crown of bramble is still “nigh unto cursing”. It was designed to add to the torment of the “King of the Jews”; and it still is the reversed picture at Calvary which Jesus gave to win a thorny, rebellious humanity back to His Father’s righteous requirements. Won’t we go to ground zero of our redemption —Calvary— where the greatest battle was ever fought against our Lord, with all the “contradiction of sinners against Himself” (Heb. 12:3)? Won’t we see our Lord driven to endure everything unclean that comes with an eternal ministry to win and sanctify the world God so loved in order to “fetch home again His banished” (2Sam. 14:13)? “I will be surety for him; of My hand shalt Thou require him: if I bring him not unto Thee, and set him before Thee, then let Me bear the blame for ever” (Gen. 43:9). Won’t we see the joy from “the eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14, cf Zech. 6:13) that compelled the Son to take up His cross, “despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2)? Won’t we survey the wondrous cross where One “was marred more than any man... more than the sons of men” (Heb. 12:2)? Won’t we see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor. 4:6)?

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The glory from the face of Jesus


2Co 3:3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart….

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter [alone], but of the [letter and the] Spirit: for the letter [alone] killeth, but the Spirit [through the letter] giveth life. [Paul had just sent them an epistle of letters, called 1 Corinthians, and it gave life through their death to self. Now in this epistle he can add more mercy to the truth in his communications with them because they bowed to the heavy “letters” of hard sayings from his previous epistle.]

2Co 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance [The Old Testament had glory, great glory; it was as glorious as Moses’ face; Moses’ glorious face represented the glory of the Old Testament]; which glory was to be done away [at the close of the Old Testament]:

2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious [the glory shining from the face of the Lord, Christ in us, His Spirit in us, the hope of glory]?….

 2Co 3:13  And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished [They were too scared too keep looking at the divine presence on Moses the whole time that he led them]:

2Co 3:14  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. [The veil was not taken away from most of them but to some it was taken away (see Romans 11:7,14,25). And it is taken away from us only if we don’t need Jesus to be veiled, as most of them needed. But, if we have to veil Christ as we read of His self-sacrifice and then His leadership throughout the rest of the New Testament, or if Satan veils Him to us, so that we can’t see Him throughout, then we don’t have the Spirit. And if we can’t see Jesus and are unable to reveal Him to others because we have nothing to say about Jesus, then we don’t have the Spirit. If we can preach about everything except Jesus, then we have not studied Jesus; and as a result, we have not the Spirit.]

2Co 3:15  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail [of unbelief, being offended, a stubborn resistance, a supernatural prejudice, an unholy presence] is upon their heart. [They didn’t want to see or have Jesus; they didn’t need a personal Saviour. But, at a future time a full, perfect removal of the veil will happen to all the redeemed, completely and forever. We will no longer see Jesus by faith through a glass darkly, but then face to face. “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.” (Isa 25:7).]

2Co 3:16  Nevertheless when it [the heart] shall turn to the Lord, the vail [of offense] shall be taken away.

2Co 3:17  Now the Lord [“Christ Jesus” (4:5)] is that Spirit [“of the living God” (3:3)]: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [This sounds confusing. It sounds like Jesus is the living God, which is not exactly true. Paul explains later that the one, true, living God gives the light of His own glory, which is His Spirit, through the knowledge of His only begotten Son. Therefore, the Lord Jesus is the Spirit and wherever His own Spirit is, there is liberty from the bondage of sin. Truly the gospel is all about Jesus and His Father who sent Him.]

2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. [The Spirit of Christ causes the glory and the freedom when we turn to Christ.]

2Co 4:1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

2Co 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2Co 4:4  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. [“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.” (Matt. 13:14,15). This is why the hardened path never had a single seed take root before the birds came and devoured them.]

2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

God shines in our hearts by giving the bundle of Christ’s Spirit (see Revelation 5:6) that shines in our hearts and minds and consciences. God shines in us using Jesus’ light. “Direct from the throne issue the beams of His glory. The heavens are opened, and upon the Saviour’s head descends a dovelike form of purest light,--fit emblem of Him, the meek and lowly One.” Desire of Ages, p. 112. God, who is Spirit, doesn’t send a third person of a trinity to us. Neither does He send His own glory to us, just as Jesus said that His Father (the Spirit) would not speak of Himself, but he would speak of whatever He hears from His Son. “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive [G2983, lambanō] of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He (the Father) shall take [G2983, lambanō] of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:14,15). “‘Holy Spirit…another Comforter…the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless’ (John 14:15-18)” 14MR 23.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). “I will manifest Myself to him [that hath My commandments and keepeth them].” (John 14:21). “We will come unto him and make Our abode with him [that will love Me,... and keep My words].” (John 14:23). God, the UNKOWN GOD, whom the world cannot see or know (see Acts 17:23; John 14:17), and His glory, is beyond our sinful natures’ ability to grasp and appreciate. His glory is abstract values written in letters and carved in slabs. “What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh: God sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3,4). We could not obey God because of our weak flesh. Rather, God sends the glory of a human like us. God sends One in the likeness of sinful human flesh so that we can identify with His Son and with the righteousness shining from Him, not just His face, but in all His actions, in all His words. God shines in our hearts the whole person of Christ, the life and death of Jesus. God, sending His Son in our image, pictorially played out the truth in the letters and slabs of stone and abstract values. The Son was the Law of God incarnated, the truth as it is in Jesus. God gave the light of the knowledge of His glory shining from the face of Jesus Christ, which was brighter and better than the glory shining from the face of Moses and his Old Testament.

Yet the truth of the Father sending the mighty presence of His Son, “the Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6)--not a third person of a trinity, but His own dear Son in Spirit--has been veiled from the minds of the post-apostolic church, from the time of the church’s lost first love and falling away, all the way down to the present Laodicean church. But, when we turn to Jesus and study Him as seen all through the people of the Old and New Testaments, then the veil of a third person of a trinity will be taken away, and we will see Jesus shining forth clearly in every glorious work of the Spirit seen in the Bible. We will see the Father personally working through His Son, both getting Their hands dirty, to comfort sinners, to change our hearts, and to lead us into all truth. We will understand that God and Christ both have a Spirit, as we have a spirit because we are made in Their image. The Spirit of God and Son are one Spirit, and They invite us to join Them in Their one Spirit when we will submit our will to Their commamdments, and They can give us a new spirit and a new heart to know Them (see Ezekiel 36:26). “I in them, and Thou in Me.” (John 17:23). “In that day [of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out] ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.” (John 17:20). “Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But, he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:16,17).

 

Christ was about to depart to His home in the heavenly courts, but He assured His disciples that He would send them the Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all may implicitly trust. He is the Spirit of truth; but this truth the world can neither see nor receive. . . . {OFC 127.1}

Christ desired His disciples to understand that He would not leave them orphans. “I will not leave you comfortless,” He declared: “I will come to you” (John 14:18, 19). . . . Precious, glorious assurance of eternal life! Even though He was to be absent, their relation to Him was to be that of a child to its parent. . . . {OFC 127.2}

The words spoken to the disciples come to us through their words. The Comforter is ours as well as theirs, at all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all affliction, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing and we feel helpless and alone. These are times when the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. {OFC 127.3}

There is no comforter like Christ, so tender and so true. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His Spirit speaks to the heart. Circumstances may separate us from our friends; the broad, restless ocean may roll between us and them. Though their sincere friendship may still exist, they may be unable to demonstrate it by doing for us that which would be gratefully received. But no circumstances, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always there, one given in Christ’s place, to act in His stead. He is always at our right hand, to speak soothing, gentle words, to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer. The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. This Spirit works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of this Spirit reveal its fruit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. {OFC 127.4}

Friday, November 04, 2016

Joy, the greater part of His sustenance

“In the mean while his disciples prayed Him, saying, Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have [food] to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him ought to eat?” (John 4:31-33).
 
Christ’s satiation of appetite resulted from the response and actions of the Samaritan woman. The new hope that sprung up in her like a fountain, the new direction of her heart and mind and new life, all brought Jesus wonderful joy and satisfaction. In this humbled Samaritan outcast Jesus saw a predestinated life in eternity. Even before proving a long, future life of righteousness, He counted her actions as a perfect life before God. The Father and Son saw her seed and prolonged her days and Their pleasure would prosper her all her days. Her response to Christ’s truth and kindness was enough proof to call this sinner a saint and to declare that she had never been involved in a life of sin. As our minister in the heavenly temple today, doesn’t Jesus have the same fullness for us when we surrender to Him? He is the same yesterday and today and forever.
 
“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” (Heb. 1:9).
 
Her joy, as great as it was, did not exceed His. This new Samaritan “fellow” clung to the Saviour of the world, with the oil of gladness. He had given her “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that [she] might be called [a tree] of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isa. 61:3). The glory of the Lord is His joy. It is a scene of united joy that we see in Revelation 10:3. At that future event, time will be almost “no longer”. Just before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet the Godhead is about to bring the Latter Rain preaching to the world in order to gather to Them Their children sprinkled around the globe, “them that mourn in Zion” (Isa. 61:3). At this anticipation, the glorified Christ energetically roars like a lion; and the Father, even more energetically, thunders in response.
 
Christ’s joy was entwined with duty to His Father. “Jesus saith unto them, My [food] is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34).
 
Jesus loved righteousness; He loved pleasing His Father and doing His will. The Father’s will was the plan for our redemption, for the restoration of His eternal kingdom and the destruction of Satan’s rebellious kingdom of iniquity. The greatest joy of the Son of God has ever been to see His Father’s plans materialize, to cooperate with His Father, and to have a part in the redemption of His kingdom.
 
Joy was Jesus’ strength. One of the ways that Jesus revealed to us His Father, was in His ability to be sustained by very little food. Many today “comfort eat”. Others don’t eat for strength, but for desserts and drunkenness. Others overeat to please their belly. In this scene between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, we see demonstrated what truly kept Jesus energized. It wasn’t food and water. No doubt He hadn’t eaten all day and was in need of water also. He sat patiently by the well hoping for someone to be gracious enough to share some water from the deep well. He was truly thirsty and it was high noon. Only at the hottest part of the day did that socially unaccepted woman always come to the well. Yet, when the Lord finished opening to her the eternal principle of His love for her, and the disciples returned from the city with food, He wasn’t hungry or thirsty anymore. His thirst and hunger were met in His soul as He envisioned a great work started by this one rejected prostitute. She had been rejected by the world, but now was received up into glory. She was in paradise with the Saviour of the world.
 
There was rejoicing in heaven as this one sinner, who for long time was dissatisfied with a life of sin and had heard the straight testimony from the True Witness, now believed God’s acceptance and His forgiveness toward her. “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1,2). There was rejoicing in heaven as the angels of God beheld the rejoicing in the heart of Christ and His Father.
 
He had said some hard things to her. But they were necessary wounds. She needed to be confirmed in where she stood before God. Her own mere conjecture of her disobedience to God’s will wasn’t enough; and she needed to hear clearly how disobedient she was from someone who loved her. Fellow Samaritans like the three men who came to counsel Job, for years had already spoken to her of God’s wrath upon her. But, the people’s selfish concept of truth was as humanistic as their mercy was platonic. All that their condescension did was drive her into a deeper rebellion against God. But, in Christ’s pointed, yet warm, presentation of truth she saw a conviction of sin that she could accept.
 
Jesus’ mercy was built upon His exposure to the Law of His Father. He sucked “honey out of the rock, and [olive] oil out of the flinty rock.” (Deut. 32:13). He was leading the woman to do the same by first convicting her of her sins and then showing her His mercy.
 
All the days of His life the Prince would drink “the best wine…that goeth down sweetly” (Song 7:9), and eat only the oil and honey of joy. But that sweet fatness, which was “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10), would only come from the granite slabs of the Law. Studying and striving to obey His Father’s Law ended in Christ’s purest joy. With all His heart Jesus could say, “His commandment is life everlasting.” (John 12:50). His oil and honey joy never superseded the continued watchfulness of right and wrong, but only heightened His discerning righteousness and sin. “Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Isa. 7:15).

The same will be for us. If we expose ourselves to the blinding, grinding Law of God, even if the reality of our “sin by the commandment [appears] exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13), then we will have cause for repentance, and He will bring us off more than conquerors over sin. His joy of obedience will become ours. We will see the holy standard in Jesus, and He will inform us how He, as a weak man like us, obtained the power to keep it. By beholding Him we will be changed into the same image.
 
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness.” (Mic. 7:9).
 
We will need less physical food to eat because through the Spirit of Jesus our perverted appetite is converted to His redeemed appetite in body, mind, and soul. Our stimulation coming from grace and truth will exceed the stimulation that comes from food, and will bring our flesh into subjection to “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9). His character will be reproduced in us, His mind influencing His strong righteousness upon our weakened conscience.
 
“Be of good cheer;” Jesus says to all His children,  “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A Deuteronomy closing appeal from the last day prophet

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}