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

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The sin of forgetfulness, the prostration of pride before the love of Jesus

“Forgetfulness is sin. It leads to many blunders and to much disorder and many wrongs. Things that should be done ought not to be forgotten. The mind must be tasked; it must be disciplined until it will remember.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 12.

One morning before Sabbath School I was conversing with a woman and mentioned my bad memory. Her answer was, “Forgetfulness is a sin.” Point blank with a wry smile. But, speaking heartlessness truth is a sin, too. Where was the love of Jesus? Where was His truth that should be joined with grace? Where was the “tears in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes”?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about the loss of memory. She said that her thyroid medication made her feel less depressed and healed, but that she didn’t like the idea of medicating it.

This morning I woke up with something I should have said to her, but I forgot! It’s on this front that our sin of forgetfulness has eternal ramifications. “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). Will we stand before God’s throne and ever forget something that needs to be said or done? Never. Before Jesus returns to bring us to His Father, we must be sanctified and among other sins, all forgetfulness must be removed. But how? By “the ministration of condemnation” (2Cor. 3:9)? Or “the ministration of the spirit” (2Cor. 3:8)?

“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; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” (2Cor. 3:7-9).

So I texted my atheist friend, who works as a school librarian.

“Jesus speaks of losing our first love. The context was losing love in a marriage, but we can just as well lose our child’s love, our love we had as children. You look at little children and they have a lust for life, which makes them wide open to experience everything there is around them and gives them a love to learn. Their love to learn gives them the ability to remember what they focus on, even if they are slow on some things. They become experts in the subject that they love. Real experts. It’s apathy that causes our poor memories, which affects our aptitude.

I believe if you watch the little children that surround you, and you ask Jesus to build a wall of protection around you against the unloving co-workers around you that your memory will begin to strengthen because your subconscience will be opening to love what the Bible calls ‘quickening’, which means bringing to life. Love revives us. Hate, emotional and psychological abuse, belittling others, insulting especially subtle insinuations, etc kill our subconscience and subsequently our memory, and thus the aptitude. If we will take all our abuses to Jesus and ask Him to help, He will. He will give us His love and that will give us the power to deny or reject the hard-heartedness around us and keep us young and alert and lusting to learn.

“We will receive a new meaning for life. We will have a new life. This is the new birth that Jesus talked about. He gives His Spirit which is full of His love like a mother’s kiss. The new birth is the new heart that comes from surrendering to the righteousness and love that His commandments represent. Surrendering to His standard of love and rejecting the world’s gross standard of love opens us to Him and His recreating power. This is the essence of the Bible message from beginning to end. It is the everlasting gospel. He changes us not only spiritually, but also intellectually and physically. We become stronger in every respect from love.

“We don’t have to get old like everyone else. So watch the little ones’ zest for life and ability to learn, knowing that it comes from being loved, and tell Jesus you want that. And He will give His love to you, and much, much more. Love is the most powerful, motivating force in this world. That’s what I’ve experienced. God’s love will make a believer out of the strongest atheist. It will make us jump tall buildings in a single bound.”

That is the ministry of the Spirit. But we need the ministry of condemnation also. Sin will always need to be pointed out.

“Many think it a sufficient excuse for the grossest errors to plead forgetfulness. But do they not, as well as others, possess intellectual faculties? Then they should discipline their minds to be retentive. It is a sin to forget, a sin to be negligent. If you form a habit of negligence, you may neglect your own soul’s salvation and at last find that you are unready for the kingdom of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 358.

“My husband’s mind should not be crowded and overtaxed. It must have rest, and he must be left free to write and attend to matters which others cannot do. Those engaged in the office could lift from him a great weight of care if they would dedicate themselves to God and feel a deep interest in the work. No selfish feelings should exist among those who labor in the office. It is the work of God in which they are engaged, and they are accountable to Him for their motives and the manner in which this branch of His work is performed. They are required to discipline their minds. Many feel that no blame should be attached to forgetfulness. This is a great mistake. Forgetfulness is sin. It leads to many blunders and to much disorder and many wrongs. Things that should be done ought not to be forgotten. The mind must be tasked; it must be disciplined until it will remember.

My husband has had much care, and has done many things which others ought to have done, but which he feared to have them do, lest, in their heedlessness, they should make mistakes not easily remedied, and thus involve losses. This has been a great perplexity to his mind. Those who labor in the office should learn. They should study, and practice, and exercise their own brains; for they have this branch of business alone, while my husband has the responsibility of many departments of the work. If a workman makes a failure, he should feel that it rests upon him to repair damages from his own purse, and should not allow the office to suffer loss through his carelessness. He should not cease to bear responsibilities, but should try again, avoiding former mistakes. In this way he will learn to take that care which the word of God ever requires, and then he will do no more than his duty.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 12.

We May Attain Almost the Excellence of Angels.-- The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels.--RH, June 20, 1882. (HC 218.) Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 9.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Another testimony with lessons from Tiffaney's anointing

Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches The Great Controversy, p. 464.

Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light The Great Controversy, p. 390.

There are now true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion, who honestly believe that Sunday is the Sabbath of divine appointment. God accepts their sincerity of purpose and their integrity before Him Ibid., p. 449.

It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed access to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth Ibid., p. 565.

“Hi guys, welcome back to my channel. OK so today I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to share my testimony with you guys. If you don’t know I am a Christian and I’m also a pastor’s wife. That’s kind of scary to say out here on the interwebs because there are, unfortunately, some Christians that kind of give the rest of us a bad name. So I just wanted to go ahead and tell you guys my testimony and kind of, I don’t know, what I came from and where I’m at. And just all of that stuff. If you want to hear my testimony, just keep on watching.

So, I didn’t grow up in a Christian family. We went to church maybe a couple of times. My mom is…she was raised Catholic. And she kind of raised us what I call ‘Catholic light’. Like we observed a lot of the Catholic holidays and just some of the Catholic based things—I don’t really know how to explain that.

And we had Catholic Bibles and whatever. But we never read as a family. I’ve never really did any of that stuff. I’ve gone to Mass a few times, but I’ve never gone to confession and I’ve never done any of that stuff. My dad, he went to a Seventh-day Adventist church whenever he went to church, but he didn’t—like I said we never really went to church. We went to church probably, we started to go to church... I don’t know…I want to say I was like, seventeen maybe.

We went to church a couple times. I think it was a non-denominational church in a really small town away from the small town I graduated from. And I don’t know that I ever really paid attention. The music was cool. But I didn’t really care to like hear whatever the preacher was saying because I just didn’t care.

My family life was really, really hard growing up. A lot of abuse. And my dad worked a lot, so he wasn’t really there. We just moved around a lot. I’ve been homeless a few times. We’ve lived in motels. We’ve lived in other people’s houses. My life was just really kind of crazy.

I got kicked out (of my home) when I was seventeen years old. Me and my mom got into it, and she threw me through a table. And I told her that that was it, she wasn’t going to do that to me anymore. And she kicked me out, and wouldn’t let me take anything of mine. I eventually got to get some of my clothes, but she kept all of my other belongings, including stuff that my biological dad bought for me. And I moved in with my boyfriend because I had nowhere else to go.

So I was seventeen, a junior in high school, and I was living with my boyfriend. Now, I…this is really, really hard to talk about. Life was just weird. I was 17 years old, I wasn’t supposed to be out on my own yet, I was a junior in high school, I wasn’t supposed to be on my own yet, but I was. And I’m thankful for everything that was going on in that time, and who my boyfriend was—at that time, which our relationship was really, really weird, but I was safe. That’s all that really matters—I was safe. And I went to school, I made amazing grades, and I graduated, and I went to college. Then me and h… he was my fiancé, we broke up and I moved out and moved to a friend’s house.

And during this time I had done a lot of drinking, a whole lot of drinking, lots of drinking, lots of partying, lots of dancing, lots of drinking, lots of partying, lots of dancing. Lots of drinking, Oh my goodness. And even when I was younger, like I started cigarettes when I was eleven. I started smoking pot when I was fourteen. I started drinking when I was fourteen. I started having sex when in was fourteen. And it was all right. I mean, there was no [parent to advise me] really like, “I want better for you. You can have better”.

I didn’t know. So I just went around with my [strayings?], all my friends were doing it. So I was doing it. So I didn’t see what the big problem was. So all of this stuff kind of led me to…I moved back in with my mom for when I was in my second semester, my freshman year. And she ended up kicking me out again because I had a dog, and I was gone a lot with working and college. And I wanted to be out. I had already been out, not under rules and having to check in, and all of that stuff, that I was used to it. I was twenty, I wanted to be gone. So my mom kicked me out because my dog urinated on the floor and she had new carpet.

So I moved in with a friend. And me and another friend of mine we worked together. And we went and drank and danced all night at a club, at least 3 or 4 times a week. And through her I met Brad. Her friend was dating his friend, and that’s how we met. He come from a really, really good family, really good Christian based family, good values. But he was kind of a ‘hood [neighborhood] rat. He was drunk when I met him and we got drunk together and we started dating. And that’s what we did, we would drink and party. I’d go sing and he’d play pool and darts. And we just had a good ol’ time whatever.

Well, we started dating in March 2008 I believe it was. And I was pregnant by August with our oldest daughter. (So, you know we weren’t really doing the Christian things there.) And it was really, really, really rough. He had a really good job, but we were wanting to move closer to his family, he’s got a huge family, a huge amazing family, and he wanted to raise our kids out there where he was raised. And I thought that was a great idea.

So we moved in with his mom…his parents…my last month of pregnancy and we lived there for probably the first 6 months or more of our oldest daughter’s life. And that was really hard because I didn’t really know them [before moving in] and then I was living with them. And my husband was gone all the time, partying or working. And I was home with the baby. And we had a really, really hard relationship. It was very tough. I chalk it up to the grace of God why I stayed because it was really, really hard. He didn’t want to stay home and play dad, or husband, which we were just boyfriend-girlfriend then. But I was living with his parents, and he was just gone all the time.

So, yeah, we were together, blah, blah. April of 2010 we got married. By that August we were pregnant with our second daughter. And she was born June 2011. And the January before she was born I asked my husband, ‘Hey, let’s make a new year’s resolution that we start going to church,’ because his parents had invited us to church. And we had gone a couple of times, and I really liked it. The preacher was amazing. I believed everything he said. He didn’t talk at you. He didn’t talk down to you. He didn’t make you feel like what he was saying was personal. Everybody in the church knew that when we just started coming around I was unmarried and pregnant with our oldest daughter. And they all knew who we were and what we were doing. They knew that we were drinking the Saturday before we came to church, and just everything else like that. And nobody in the church made me feel like I was a terrible person. They wrapped their arms around me and hugged me and loved me and encouraged me to come. I wanted to be around those people. There was something different about those people. Why were they so happy all the time?

I struggled with depression; I have since fifth grade. It’s genetic, but I also count it up to my life circumstances, why it was brought on so early. So I have craved joy, true joy. I want to be happy too.

So, like I said I had asked Brad if we could start going to church more. And he was like, ‘Yeah, I was raised in church. I want to raise my kids in church. That’s great.’ Well, through all this it was still really, really hard. Because he was not a good man. He was faithful to me, but he wasn’t ever there (at home). He was always out drinking with his friends, and partying, and leaving me, and I was taking care of the kids and pregnant, or whatever. Like he would, if me and him were out on a date, and his best friend called and would say, ‘Hey, come to the bar’, he’d take me home and go to the bar. [She holds back tears.] Sorry, old wounds!

Anyway, so we started going to church. And through that we started, you know, talking and praying and doing all these things, and getting involved in church. And about four (actually a couple of) months after our middle daughter was born I was sleeping in the living room with her because I was not allowed to sleep in the bedroom because the baby kept him awake. And me getting up to feed her and change her and stuff kept her awake so I had to sleep in the living room. (I told you he was not a good man.) And I was praying, ‘God please, I can’t do this anymore. You have got to do something because I’m going to leave him. I’m going to divorce him.’ I didn’t believe in divorce because that’s just not something I wanted ever to do. I never wanted to be in that situation. I never wanted to enter marriage with the thought, ‘Oh I can just divorce him.’ But it was getting too much. I couldn’t do it anymore.

So he came in one night [from the bedroom]. I guess he had not fallen asleep or had woken up, or whatever. And he was like, ‘I want to talk to you.’ And he had gotten saved, and all of this stuff. And his testimony is amazing, by the way. But, we’ll leave that for another time if you guys want to hear his testimony. You let me know down in the comments.

But, from that moment I saw true change. Like he stopped drinking. He stopped cussing, he stopped going out and partying. He stopped a lot of the stuff and started praying more and reading the Bible more, and doing all this stuff and trying to be a godly man. We never missed church from that moment on.

And I was still struggling, and I didn’t understand why I was still struggling, because I thought I had gotten saved when I was seven at a VBS (Vacation Bible School, a summertime church event for the children). They would bring a bus to the apartment complex I lived in. And all of us kids would pile on the bus and go to VBS at this Baptist church. And I thought I had gotten saved there. I thought I was fine.

But I was really, really struggling with…now I wanted to kind of ‘sow my oats too’, I guess you can call it. Like, he had all his time partying, and getting all that out, and getting to go do and just be…, and whatever, and I had been stuck taking care of the kids most of the time while he was out doing whatever he wanted. I wanted to go out too. And he was like, ‘Something’s not right. Are you sure [you want to go back to the nightclubs]? Blah blah blah.’ But [to me] it [(going to church)] was like rules, rules. I don’t want to be under rules, blah, blah, blah.

So I had started leading worship in church and I was singing and all of that stuff. The following November, it was a year after, almost 2 years later ‘Master’s Voice’ [a singing group] was there and they were there singing, doing revival or whatever, or it was a special night or something, and he did this analogy [about what]…God is like…he was telling a story.

And his story was as if a person came up to me and said, ‘Hey. I’m going to die. I’m dying. And there’s no cure for me. Please can you help me?’ And he’s like, ‘Yes, I can help you.’ And he goes to his daughter, and he’s like, ‘Honey, this man is dying, and there is no way for him to be saved. But your blood is secure [correct type and disease-free], would you give your life to save this man?’ And she says, ‘Yes daddy. Of course I will.’ So he is sitting by her side, and holding her hand, and as her body drains of this blood, he’s telling her how much he loves her, and how thankful he is to have her. And she says, ‘Daddy I will do anything to save this man. For you I will do this. It’s OK.’ And [she dies.] Then he takes her blood, and he says, ‘This is my baby’s blood and it’s what’s going to save your life.’ And the man says, ‘Never mind. I don’t need it anymore. I found something else. I’m going to be fine.’ And he’s sitting there with this gift that cost his daughter’s life but the man who said he needed it rejected it.

And that opened my eyes. That was an analogy to what God did for us through Christ. And how so many people all the time just reject Him. And it was His only Son. And all that blood is what covers us and washes our sins. And he was like, ‘You need to know that you know that you are saved.’And I turned to my husband and I was shaking, and I couldn’t say any more. And I [said] like, ‘Honey, I don’t know that I know! I don’t know that I know! And he was like, ‘OK, well then come pray with me.’

So I prayed. And I truly, I truly asked God into my heart. And I stood up a completely different woman. Everything was just completely different. I no longer had the selfish desires that I had. I no longer thought of it as rules and regulations. And things and guidelines that I had to do by this dictator dude who was like making me do it, or else I was gonna…whatever. It wasn’t like that anymore. I stood up realizing what He had done for me, and how much it had cost.

And I am so unworthy of it because I screw up all the time. I am still unworthy of that gift because I screw up every day, every day I sin. I do something wrong. I screw up. But I desire to live for God. I desire to live for Him. My wants completely changed. My desires completely changed. My life is no longer my own; it is His. He will do whatever He wants through me. And that’s perfectly OK with me. He’s moved us out here to where we are because of my husband’s job, and my calling and his calling through this. And that’s why I’m here on YouTube. And so I know what joy is.

That’s another big thing. I truly know what joy is. And it lies in the salvation and the strength and the peace and the comfort of my God. and I’m so thankful for that because I can’t do it on my own, I couldn’t do it on my own. I tried to fill the hole and change the depression that was in me that I had been struggling with for years, with alcohol and pot and cigarettes and boys and men and partying and dancing, and you know all of this stuff. And it’s only through Christ and God’s love and strength that I know what joy is.

Now I’m not going to say that I don’t struggle with depression sometimes or anxiety sometimes, because I do. But its nothing, not at all anything like it used to be. I completely opened myself up and said, ‘God, you can all of me. Have all of it, have everything. Take it over, because I can’t do it. You have to do it.’

And I let Him in every part of me and let Him take control of absolutely everything. And through that He has done an amazing work in me, an amazing work in me. I no longer desire to go out and drink. And drown my sorrows and life and stuff because I don’t need to do that. Whenever I have issues that I cannot handle I turn to God and I give them to Him and He handles them for me. And I just go along with whatever it is. And I know that if there’s a storm that happens, like there was a storm where I lost a child. And this is after I had been a born again Christian. But I knew that through that something was going to be amazing and happen. And if one of the things it taught me is it taught me that I had more faith in God than I thought I had. And heaven just sounds sweeter all the time because I know that my child is up there and one day I’m going to get to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. And I’m excited for whenever that day happens, and I will get to be there with my Jesus and everyone that has passed on before me.

And I’m not going to say that my life has been perfect since I got up from the ground after I said my prayer. And it’s way more than just praying a prayer. It is way more than praying a prayer. It’s completely surrendering everything you are. And everything you have at the feet of Jesus, saying, ‘Just take it all. Just come into me and take it all. It’s all Yours.’ And I have not regretted it, not a moment since then. And it’s been about 4 years since I’ve become a Christian.

And I’ve never been so happy and had so much joy. And just had the peace and the comfort and the strength that I’ve needed for anything. My God has provided me a life that I could never have dreamed of. And never imagined. My God has provided me a husband who is an amazing husband. You heard earlier in this that he was not a good man. And he was not a good significant other. But he has become an amazing husband and a wonderful leader and partner and best fiend to me because of who he has become in God.

And I also want to like say this: I am a Christian. I am striving every day to become more like Jesus. And Jesus loves everybody. He had dinner with the tax collectors. He went to Zaccheus’ house who was the head honcho of tax collectors. And they were like really bad people way back in Old Testament times. Like they were just like, pretty much thieves. And He was with everybody, and He loved everybody. And His desire was to love them and show them His love. So I don’t want you to think that because I’m a Christian that I’m going to hate you or discriminate against you for whoever you are, whatever you believe in, because I fully believe that you can’t see Christ’s love if I am judging you or if I’m putting out any hate.

You won’t see who Christ is if I do that. And that’s not who my God is. My God is not hateful, my God is forgiving. My God judges those who are to be judged. And that’s not my place. I cannot judge you for anything that you do because I’m no better. The only reason I would go to heaven is because my God has saved me and forgiven me of my sins. But don’t think, please, please do not think that because I’m a Christian I would hate you or discriminate against you or judge you for anything. Please don’t because that’s not who my Christ is to me. And I want to show everybody around whom my Christ is. And show Him through me.

So if you guys have any questions or comments, and please be kind, please leave them down below and I will make sure to reply back to them as fast as I can. And I thank you guys so much for watching this if you are still here. I know this is becoming a very long video and I hope I did my testimony justice.

Just I want to leave you with this little bit… If you are sad inside and you are dark inside, find the nearest church. Or find the nearest Christian, a Christian that you know is a Christian, not a person who says they are a Christian and doesn’t act like one. Going to church on Sunday mornings, makes you no more a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. So if you have questions and you want to know something, ask me. Or ask somebody in your life that you know is a real Christian. And let them tell you who God is and what God’s love can do for you. Because it can change your life for the better.

All right. I love you guys so, so much. And I can’t wait to see you guys again in my next video. Don’t forget you can follow me on instagram, twitter, and facebook, all at Tiffaney and co xo. Please hit the exscribe… blublublub. Tch tch tch (tongue and teeth noise) See my nerves are all jacked up! [(because she meant to say subscribe”)] So don’t forget to hit that subscribe button if you aren’t subscribed already and give this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. And we’ll see you next video. By guys! (Waving hands good-bye)”

You can watch this testimony at

Friday, August 24, 2018

The relentless love of God

“And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18).

This verse is my favorite in all the Bible. I love it more than I do John 3:16.

But the above verse wasn’t always my favorite. It seemed too harsh for me. It made Jesus appear self-centered, self-exalted. It made Him seem violent and forceful, overbearing. He didn’t look like a God of love.

Now I know why His is the God of love. It is because He is a Father.

“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” (Jer. 31:9).

You see, the background to Jeremiah 31 is a belligerently rebellious children, the children of Israel. They weren’t just Israel’s children, they were God’s children. They were the group that were privileged with His gifts—the gift of His laws, the gift of His presence in all of the Sabbaths He gave them. They were given freedom from idolatry and self-destructive, superstitious fears. These basics of life were given to them to place them high above every empire Satan could devise.

“In the day that I lifted up Mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken unto Me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
But I wrought for My name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.
Moreover also I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” (Ez. 20:6-12).

“Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” (Ps. 68:18).

As a result of the forefathers’ obedience, great temporal prosperity came to them. Jesus opened the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing that they could not contain it all. Jesus gave and He gave and He gave.

From His heart He gave. He was happy to give to them, and all that He wanted was to see His love and righteousness in them, and spreading to all those around them, to the uttermost parts of the earth. He loved them. He provided for them and protected them. He pleaded with them and trained them and showed His pleasure in them. He was their Father. His love wasn’t just so-so love, it was powerful love.

But, they wanted what the Jones’s next door had. They looked at all the fun and glamour and toys and games that the heathen gods allowed their people to have, and the Israelites thought it would all be fun and glamorous to have all the same things. Israel wasn’t allowed to have the corruption, the greed, ambition and unscrupulous trading, the pride of life, the hoarding of wealth, etc. that all the nations had. The religion of the heathen nations didn’t call for self-denial, so Israel thought self-indulgence would be a good thing also. The beauty of holiness that their father Abraham exhibited had lost its charm. Now the wickedness of the self-pleasing world charmed them.

“But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.” (Eze. 20:13).

So what was Jesus to do? Get rid of the nation? Abandon them like the world does to its own? No, He must punish His children. He would give them a spanking that they could not run from. Through His providences He empowered Nebuchadnezzar the Great, and made him invincible. Then He sent him over to kill the incurably rebellious, and to take captive all would surrender to poverty and enslavement.

It was punishment. And the punishment was to be seen as that. Punishment from a God of love? Yes!

Yes, punishment is not a bad word. Spanking and other forms of punishment are not politically correct, but they are good when done with love. But, here is the point that leads to salvation or to damnation. Would Israel see the punishment as love? Or would they see it as hate?

Prior to, during, and ever afterward, Jesus never left them. He and His love remained faithful and true. “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent me. Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” (Isa. 48:16-18).

The punishment was meant to show the difference between the God of relentless love and the gods that the world loved. Their gods were devils and didn’t have love to give. Love suffereth long and is kind. Infinite kindness was in the heart of Jesus. But Israel had become too darkened by serving the gods of hate and self-service, that that characterized the Israelites and colored their concepts of their fathers’ God.

They needed to see that their God could be angry with them, yet remain with them. He could be furious without losing His love for them as a father does. They would say of Him, “God my Father loves me.”

In the end they would grasp the fullness of His love, and go out evangelizing the heathen nations by comparing their God of love with the self-centered gods of the other nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.

And they would know what righteousness is. They would be humbled and willing

“The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness….” (Ps. 110:2,3).

The lesson would be messy, but He would confirm their trust in Him. They would be happy again. In their minds He would be altogether lovely again. They would be the joy of the whole earth. He would be exalted again in their understanding, as the Father of relentless love.

“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isa. 51:11).

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever.
To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever.” (Ps. 136:1-4).

Jesus blessed Jesus

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A clearer word on Romans 7 and 8

Rom 2:29  He is [an Adventist Christian], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit [of the Lord], and not in the letter [of the Law while devoid of the Spirit]; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

For a long time I have noticed a huge disconnect between Romans chapters 7 and 8. The issues of chapter 7 are between the Law of God and the flesh. But, the issues of chapter 8 are between the Spirit of God and the flesh. But, is this switch between Law and Spirit only the appearance and not reality? I say this because chapter 8 is the amazing solution for the chapter 7 troubles. So, how is it the solution?

After looking at it more closely, I believe we have not connected the two chapters together correctly, and seen the common thread running through them both. That common thread is that Jesus is and, from the beginning has always been, the Spirit of the Law. It was His Spirit from His Father that was in the prophets of old. It was the Father’s Spirit in them as it was in the disciples of Jesus’ day then and now, who would speak before governors and kings. “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matt. 10:20, cf 1Pet. 1:11). But, it was the Son of God who has always been the Minister of the Father’s Spirit to fallen mankind. And it has been Christ’s Spirit that meets with our spirits as we comprehend Him in the written letters, as we hear His voice and see His face in His sacred scriptures. So that we can say literally, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.

Please accept the liberty I took in the following insertions that I borrowed from other parts of the Bible to add consistency and clarity and connection to the widely disparate transition verses, Romans 7:25 and 8:1, and their context. And see with me what thought Paul was communicating, even though he left words out for brevity or for whatever his reason was to do so.

Rom 7:1  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
Rom 7:2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Rom 7:3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. [Likewise, if a person has not wrestled with the Law, its guilt and shame and condemnation, and bowed to its claims like Paul wrestle with it and bowed, slain at its almighty hand, but then claims to to marry into Christ, that person has broken the law of the gospel and God calls that person an adulterer. That persons pride has never been humbled into the dust and convicted of his dead heart and his filthy, unslain good living. Before marrying into Christ that person must receive an exceeding conviction of sin in order to see himself as God sees him, and then he must lift up his voice and cry for mercy. His desperate prayer from the whole heart brings him to Christ for His justification.]
Rom 7:4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another [that is, the Spirit of Christ that comes from His quickening, spiritual body], even to him who is raised from the dead, [our spirit married to His Spirit, walking with God as Enoch walked, freed from our dead disposition to God’s will and our humanistic relation to His Law, and bound to the will of our godly Deliverer] that we should bring forth fruit unto God. [“And so it is written, … the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1Cor. 15:45, cf John 20:19-26,30,31)].
Rom 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the Law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. [Death is the Judge’s sentence upon everyone who is spiritually an adulterer for seeking a relationship with Christ but never ending the old relation to carnal, mindless, heartless, loveless, humanistic religion from not wrestling with the almighty conviction of God’s Law, per verse 2.]
Rom 7:6  But now we are delivered from the Law [“the Law”, our dead relation to God’s will and full of the world’s humanistic relation to His written Law], that being dead wherein we were held [we, in our fallen, rebellious state, our spirit that had been under the control of Satan’s manipulations against God’s Spirit, creating in us a spirit loyal to Satan, now delivered from Satan’s spirit of self-indulgence and self-centeredness and under the control of a holy power by the slain, spotless body of Christ]; that we should serve in newness of spirit [our new spirit married to Christ’s holy Spirit (vs. 4)], and not in the oldness of the letter [fully divorced from Satan’s dead spirit of humanism].

[Paul here finishes his chapter 7:2-6 introductory outline and now begins the details of his science of salvation.]

Rom 7:7  What shall we say then? Is the Law [of God] sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Rom 7:8  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the Law sin was dead.
Rom 7:9  For I was alive without the Law once: but when the commandment came [to my conscience], sin revived, and I died.
Rom 7:10  And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
Rom 7:11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. [Sin (and Satan) in Paul caused him to distort the aims and purposes of God in His Law and, therefore, to rebel against it. And because the righteousness of God and His Law had that kind of power over his carnal confidence and hope and peace he says…]
Rom 7:12  Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Rom 7:13  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. [God is righteous to use our sinfulness and Satan as His pawns, as He also used many enemies of Israel, including Nebuchadnezzar as His tools to destroy the incurably rebellious Jews and to purify the curable rebels. “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.” (Deut. 32:41).]
Rom 7:14  For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin [and Satan].
Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the Law that it is good.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh [Paul is distinguishing between flesh and spirit, between the lively, justified saint and the dead, unconverted soul; between the effort to serve the convicting Law of righteousness and serving the deadening law of empty religiosity, going through religious motions, and keeping up with conflicting human moral standards for the sake of human approval only],) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin [and Satan] that dwelleth in me. [I am forced to admit that I’m not an overcoming child of God.]
Rom 7:21  I find then a law[, that is, another powerful spirit dominating me], that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. [This wasn’t just a statement of intellectual discovery, but a statement of reality in nature. To Paul, the Law was a living force from above in everyone who God was preparing for His kingdom.]
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man: [Thats good, but not good enough. To be a victorious son of God there must be more than a delight in righteousness. Paul has a heart that has surrendered to, and delights in, the authoritative Law of the Schoolmaster, and assents to its goodness; but it has not yet surrendered to the power of conviction and grace in Christ’s cross, per Galatians 3:23,24]
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members [another powerful, dominating spirit weakening my will to obey the Law of God], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [i.e. the other dominating spirit from the previous verses 14 and 17,] which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death[,to the rulership of sin and its attendant curse of God]? [By that helpless plea, surrender to Christ just happened in Paul. He made his first true prayer to God through the Minister of Gods Sanctuary. Paul’s cry into space was caught by Jesus and given to His Father. It was the first prayer from Paul that he made with all his heart, a true prayer of faith that went all the way to the ear of the Lord of sabaoth. For without faith it is impossible to please Him. The only Deliverer from sin was God through Christ.]
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord [Paul’s victory comes from previously surrendering his heart to the authority of the holy, just, and good Law of God, and now surrendering to the mangled and Spiritless body of the Lamb of God, per verse 4. At last, Paul is saved!] So then with the mind [a repentant and humbled mind now transformed by the new heaven-sent, powerful spirit of faith from the resurrected Spirit of Christ] I myself serve [the Spirit of Christ streaming from] the Law of God [per verse 6]; but with the flesh [that is, my mind, if or when I fall away from faith, I serve] the law of sin.

Jesus is and has always been the Spirit of the Law. Now, with Jesus controlling Paul’s heart and mind, he has a new relation to the righteousness of the Law.

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [of Christ Jesus through surrendering to the Law of God and to the expired body of Christ Jesus]. (Revelation 5:6 shows the seven Spirits leaving the expired body of the Lamb of God and pouring down “unto all the earth”.) This is what Paul experienced— by faith receiving the living Spirit of Christ from the dead body of Christ.]
Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus[, the power of Christ’s Spirit in the Law] hath made me free from [the personless letter of] the law of sin and death [and from a life devoid of the Spirit]. [Paul is married to another Law than the Law without the Spirit; he is married to the Law of faith in the Spirit of Jesus coming through His Ten Commandments, per Romans 7:4. “The [dead] Law” has become “Thy [living] Law”.Paul is married to the original Law in heaven before sin was born in Lucifer; Paul is married to the everlasting covenant, the everlasting gospel.]
Rom 8:3  For what the [stone] Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [without God’s Spirit], God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [like us, weakened by thousands of years of sin], and for sin [sin was in His crosshairs as His target], [Jesus] condemned sin [while] in the [weakened] flesh:
Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh[, and who work not], but after the Spirit [of Christ and His Sabbath rest].
Rom 8:5  For they that are after the flesh[, who humanistically work for righteousness apart from the Spirit of Christ,] do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [who work not, but who have wrestled with the Law until they surrendered to its infinite claims and who abide in Him trusting in Christ for righteousness, they think of, they entertain, they love] the things of the Spirit[, Christ’s Spirit].
Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded [to ignore the condemnation of God’s Law and to mindlessly work for acceptance and obedience to God] is death; but to be spiritually minded [in the communion of the Holy Ghost, them in Christ and Christ in them, through bowing to His Father’s powerful condemnation and trusting in Christ’s justifying grace,] is life and peace.
Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. [Through faith the spiritually minded don’t make void the Law of God. Yea, they have bowed to His Law and trust in His Son are the only ones on earth who establish God’s Law.]
Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [Without faith in the Son it is impossible to please His Father. “if ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb. 12:7,8). The carnally minded have no part with Christ.]
Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [Hence the definition of “the Spirit” is both “the Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20) and “the Spirit of His Son…crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6).]
Rom 8:10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness [If the Spirit of Christ is in us, we are dead, our bodies are dead to sin, but we have life and our spirits, receiving His Spirit, are alive to righteousness].
Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. [“God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24). Made in Gods image, we have a spirit as God has a Spirit. “For what man knoweth the hings of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1Cor. 2:11)]
Rom 8:12  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13  For 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 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
[“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.… And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” (1Jn. 3:20,21,24).

By His SPIRIT God abides in us. By His Spirit Christ abides in us. The SPIRIT of the Father endues the Son, for Christ does nothing of Himself. The Father and Son abide in us by Their one united Spirit, the Spirit.

 “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:21-23).]

Judas--the Father and Son manifest Themselves to us spiritually, in Spirit.]

Rom 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [The unconverted are need the redemption of their spirit. But all who have already received that redemption, their robe of salvation, await the end of redemption, the redemption of their body, to wholly remove the presence and pull of sin, when He will change their vile bodies to be fashioned like His own glorious, sinless body.]
Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [“The Lord is that Spirit” (2Cor. 3:17) who ever lives to make intercession for us before God and in His Law. The Lord gives us the groanings which we cannot utter, while Him in us keeps our hearts and minds as we pray to the Father and study His Law.]
Rom 8:27  And He that searcheth the hearts [God] knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [Christ in us], because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [The word of God, the great Judge, is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, and discerns the thoughts and intents of our heart. And through the intercession of Christ the spiritually minded receive from Him thoughts and intents of the heart that operate according to the will of God.]
Rom 8:33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Rom 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Let Jesus, and not ourselves, be our God

“Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” (Ps. 100:3-5).

One of the greatest reasons for the investigative judgment and a second, greatest atonement is that it gives us assurance of His acceptance. A second atonement assurance of salvation may seem counter-intuitive because it causes us to afflict our souls by constantly questioning our salvation. To many Evangelicals it would look wrong to fear that we aren’t right with God. If you’ve said the sinner’s prayer, then you’ve gone to the cross and Jesus there settled your salvation forever. More than any other reason to say that salvation isn’t completely settled at the cross is why they call Seventh-day Adventism a cult. But, Paul agreed with us about questioning our stance with God.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5).
“If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1Cor. 11:31,32).

Judging ourselves, examining ourselves to see if we are or are not reprobates is the Bible mandate. It would not be wise to think that such good counsel was only for the Corinthian believers. So there can be condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23.24).
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:2,3).

If we bow before the Most High in repentance He confirms in us that we are approved of Him. To not repent is to only assume that we are approved. Is assuming wise? What if we are among those to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you”? Jesus was Jehovah to Old Testament Israel. Like a lion He was strong against all disobedience, even against the nation to whom He said, “I am married unto you” (Jer. 3:14).

“Behold, [Jehovah’s] hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.” (Isa. 59:1-8).

Jesus Jehovah, the mighty Cleaver, judged and condemned the sins of His people for their sakes, because He loved them. And the outcome was hearts humbled and complicit to His mission for them, to bring to the world His Father’s glory. “Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and Thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.” (Hos. 6:5).

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not My word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:28,29).

His adamant stone must break their stony hearts. his truth must endure to all generations. But that is how His judgments could be a light in them to go forth. That is how they were His people, His humble children. By His sifting and shaking He would closing probation on individuals who were determined rebels, and corrupters, and He would bring forth all who surrendered to His will and who fell on the Stone with hearts broken. That seed would continue His lineage of the children of Abraham, and be the new nation to endure to all generations.

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 31:35-37).

His readiness to forgive the ten tribes, extended to even the furthest reaches of the earth.

“Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed My voice, saith the LORD.
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:12-15).

Paul projects this sifting and winnowing of rebels onto the Israel of his day.

“… at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
…[as a nation] Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election [of Israel] hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
I say then, Have they [the nation] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
… some of the branches be broken off, …
… because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith….
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.” (Rom. 11:5,7-15,17,20,22,23).

As a nation Israel “was blinded” (vs. 7), “was given … the spirit of slumber” (vs. 8), “stumbled” (vs. 11), “[was diminished]” (vs. 12), was “[cast] away” (vs.15), “were broken off” (vs. 17, 20), “fell” (vs. 22) “abide … still in unbelief” (vs. 23). Upon the nation came God’s just “severity” (vs. 22). But, each individual who would not remain in unbelief “shall be graffed in…again” (vs. 23). Yet, He must hold out the possibility that they could fall again.

Six hundred years before Paul wrote this the Lord God brought His judgments upon Israel, even though long before that He had accepted them and atoned for them and boasted in them.

“Thus saith the LORD, Israel is My son, even My firstborn.” (Ex. 4:22).

“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.” (Num. 23:21-24).

“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!
As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.
He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” (Num. 24:5-9).

“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.
Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Num. 24:17-29).

“Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.
Strong is thy [the Kenite’s] dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.
Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.
… Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!
And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.” (Num. 24:20-24).

After all His blessings upon them, they proved unfaithful in the end. It was time to cleanse the temple, purifying every soul who demonstrated loyalty to righteousness and to removing from the book of life all who sided with the scapegoat.

“The LORD said unto him, 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.
And to the others He said in mine hearing, 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.
And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.
And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt Thou destroy all the residue of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem?
Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.
And as for Me also, Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.
And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as Thou hast commanded me.” (Eze. 9:4-11).

“For the LORD will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you His people.
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.
But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” (1Sam. 12:22-25).

“And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: and thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee….” (Deut. 28:13-15).

All of the Lord blessings upon Israel were always supplemented with warnings against disloyalty and disobedience. “And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:27).

The Day of Atonement was simply an extension of these blessings and desolations from Jehovah upon Israel. He would be pleased to forgive, convert, and heal each Israelite individually. But if the sinner didn’t keep coming back for each sin, repent and thus regain conversion and the faithfulness to Jehovah, His recourse of judgments for him would begin.

Thus, under the regime of condemnation of sin in a future judgment, Jehovah Jesus kept His Israelites’ redemption current, and their faith real, tangible, and true. As strong as was Jehovah’s justice, His mercy was equally everlasting. For the LORD is good. So, every honest heart could accept the fairness of that regime. The honest Israelite could not venture off into vanity, imagining that Jehovah would be happy with him if he should begin to forget Him. The Day of Atonement when Jehovah would judge His people was perfectly fair to the honest hearted Israelites. But to those unbelieving, untrusting hearts, it was unbearable. They balked at the possibility of condemnation and rebuke and correction, and sought to overthrow Moses and David and every other leader Jehovah raised up.

Jesus has not changed His methods. He knows how mischievous is the human heart. He also knows how devious are Satan and his tormenter-tempters. Therefore Jehovah devised the only real safeguard against rebellion. And that fix was the Day of Atonement ceremony and the larger truth and arrangement that every sinner that gives up on all of their rebellion and sin and iniquity can be carte blanche forgiven. They can receive a new heart and new Spirit that leads to a new life. But they must remain faithful with their new life. If they turn away and backslide, which they are always prone to do, then they are no longer in God’s grace. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still in Jesus’ grace. They are under God’s provision in His Mediator, if they have a relationship with His Mediator. If they retain the warm desire to be friends with Jesus then He will take their case before His Father, crying, “Father, My blood! My blood! They are My friends!”

They must return with admission of their guilt and confession of their sin. They must come with sorrow toward God against whom they have joined Satan to lift up their heel to attack the Law of His throne. They must come with the determination to obey God, the great Judge, and with faith in the Son of God for the sacrifice He made to pay for His gift of forgiveness.

And then they must begin again to examine themselves continually in the light of His hewing Law and prophets to make sure that they remain in the faith and haven’t been slowly creeping toward being cast away and reprobate. In relapse of breaking health laws, every disease is quick to come back with a vengeance. Any backsliding of moral laws results in the same sure return of enslavement to sin. Genuine rebellion is never curable. Is my rebellion genuine? Is it genuine and am I a castaway? Some will betray the Holy One; is it I? Is it better that I, like Judas, wasn’t born? All who have received “the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:5) must not trust in themselves to stay good. He has given His strong, clear description of His truth for a mirror into which they must continually look and continually be slain. They must let Him continually hew and square them by His prophets; they must continually be scourged.

We will often be swept under the distress of the fear of eternal loss, as our High Priest’s waves and billows go over us. We are often baptized in a new vision of past failings and present sinfulness and the possibility of the unpardonable sin, yet in His faithfulness He will pick us back up to walk beside Him again above all the storms of life. As often as we are baptized in guilt and shame, we are again baptized in His acceptance and humility and faith.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.” (2Cor. 3:17,18).

“And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16).

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16,17).

At each cycle of disobedience, conviction from God, repentance, and restoration His redemption roots, and our love grows, more deeply, “from faith to faith”, “grace for grace”, “from glory to glory”. Thus, in His true religion, we can never save ourselves. It must be Him, and Him alone under the only regime that works for our salvation—the Day of Atonement, with its the second greater atonement upon the end of the lifetime. It is the “everlasting covenant” (Isa. 24:5), and the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6).

It is He that saves us and not we ourselves.

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:6,7).

But, the world and the Sunday denominations hate to ever be scourged. Their rebellion despises rebuke and correction. They hate to give God the authority to condemn their sin and treat their sinfulness as it deserves. They are estranged from Him because they never allowed for His condemnation the first time. Therefore they remain estranged from Him. He knows them not and they know not His Spirit of peace. And therefore not only do they hate the notion of a second atonement, but they develop a doctrine for their self-preservation. Satan moves them to make their rebellion into a law.

They conceive, “Once saved always saved.” They preach, “Salvation was finished at the cross!” And they brand as a cult the Seventh-day Adventist church because Jesus faithfully gave us His last day prophet, Ellen G. White, who made it clear that our sins can be atoned for, but there is yet a larger atonement, which to fail in means eternal loss. Yet despite their cult branding, the single truth of the investigative judgment is the reason Jesus has a group that fears before Him, a group that He is saving today and that He is keeping saved. “Wisdom is justified of all her children.” (Luke 7:35. By His Spirit they are humbled, and they question their salvation and fear before God as they look at the sky-high standard that He showed them through Ellen White. Why should we be ashamed of the truth from her when it is the only reason we are able to return to God with genuine deep repentance and be strengthened in the path leading to the great tribulation that is looming before us?

So, let us happily go to the Spirit of Prophecy and be hewn and squared. Let us trustingly be cut down to size and chiseled. If your right eye causes you to offend God and others, let Him chisel it out. Your right hand causes you to be offensive, let Jesus chisel it off; your right foot likewise. Let’s go with Jesus down into the pains of death, knowing that God will not leave our souls in hell, but will raise us up tied to Jesus. It’s always better to question our salvation until we hear Him say we are saved than to assume it and try to convince ourselves of it, even though Jesus never bore witness to our spirits. If we seek His face He will tell us we are saved. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Rom. 8:15,16).

“For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning….
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be Thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. ” (Ps. 30:5,10,11).

Even if the sometime terror of being lost doesn’t feel good, it’s always better to be least in our sight that we might hear the King call us great in His sight. It’s better to go sit in the corner and then hear Jesus invite us, “Come up higher.” It’s always better to be humbled grasshoppers in Israel than to be proud Anakim among the Canaanites or high  Chaldeans in “Babylon the great” (Rev. 18:2).