“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, March 25, 2020

Super-heated on the outside, 0° kelvin super-cooled on the inside

The science of the everlasting gospel:

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom. 2:28,29).

We see this outward religion in all of the rebukes from Jesus, which He had spoken subtly during His ministry on earth, but which, at the end, He made public.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt. 23:25-28).

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matt. 23:14,15).

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matt. 23:23).

It was His mercy to the religious leaders, priestly and lay Pharisees alike, that His rebukes were not made openly, although His rebukes veiled in parables were constantly kept before them. Jesus wanted to keep the Jews—priests, Pharisees, common people—all the ones to give the gospel of the Messiah. What a witness they might have given! Through repentance, they would have been, “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15)!

But, the gospel was life from the dead by those Jews who did hear the blessed truth of the Law of God from John the Baptist and later from the Master Teacher. A motley crew of fishermen, who were cold on the outside, but warm on the inside, became bold, world class evangelists who were then as warm on the inside as they were on the outside. The turnabout was astonishing, and convicting.

“When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).

This condition hot on the outside/cold on the inside is the everlasting religion of Satan. From the beginning it was a religion that counterfeited Christ’s only true religion from the only true God, by substituting exciting, but empty, emotion in the place of the fullness of God’s redeeming love and immutable Law. We see this happening later in Early Writings, p. 55,56.

“Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, ‘My Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.
I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, ‘Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace.”

This religion has its headwaters in pride. But, for His children’s sake, the lord God would administer the test.

“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.… And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:9,16,17).

The tree of life gave Adam and Eve a vastly different effect compared to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The difference was life and death. It was either heart, mind, and body rested and revitalized, or heart, mind, and body over-stimulated and enervated. They consumed the fruit of the forbidden tree, and God’s quickening presence and His lively divine nature forsook them, Thus, they assumed a new nature that lusted for over-stimulation and suffered constant enervation.

“In a state of strange, unnatural excitement, with her hands filled with the forbidden fruit, [Eve] sought [Adam’s] presence, and related all that had occurred.
An expression of sadness came over the face of Adam. He appeared astonished and alarmed. To the words of Eve he replied that this must be the foe against whom they had been warned; and by the divine sentence she must die. In answer she urged him to eat, repeating the words of the serpent, that they should not surely die. She reasoned that this must be true, for she felt no evidence of God’s displeasure, but on the contrary realized a delicious, exhilarating influence, thrilling every faculty with new life, such, she imagined, as inspired the heavenly messengers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 55,56.

But, “it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). Only the Spirit of truth and righteousness result in life, and the spirit of deception and pride always result in death.

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.…
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Prov. 3:13,17,18).

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” (Prov. 8:12). “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.” (Prov. 8:6-8). 

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. 
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:34-36).

The tree of life was a tree of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness. The tree of life was a tree of wisdom from the only wise God and Jesus, whom He sent. Far from berserk and irrational, the tree gave “instruction; to perceive the words of understanding... justice, and judgment, and equity... knowledge and discretion...; and...wise counsels.” (Prov. 1:2-5).

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Tim. 1:17).

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53).

“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” (John 6:57).

“He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:56).

“Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:54,55).

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7).

This is what Paul so boldly taught in the message his own experience, which he coined, “my gospel.” (Rom. 2:16). It was the Spirit of Christ in His wise words of righteousness, humbling the heart that could hear reproof of sin, even if only barely. The words of life come not to the soul whose moral condition the tempter makes appear to be “Ok” while feeding its dying conscience daily entertainment of self-congratulations and accolades. The life-giving words come to the soul that can learn how God sees that his sin is exceedingly sinful, infinite sinfulness, as God’s Law presents it in the living conscience. It’s our God! The words are our loving Father speaking through His divine Intercessor, Jesus!

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2), so that “with [Christ’s supercharging, newly imparted] mind [nous, ‘thought’, ‘will’] I myself serve the Law of God” (Rom. 7:25). I can now choose to keep the commandments, but the work is done by His undying love for me, empowering me.

Henceforth, I refuse to attempt obedience without looking at His love. I have a rapport from the High Priest that I don’t have from the great Judge. My dying Saviour’s Spirit, heard in His words, gives me power to love and to obey the Father, and His holy Law.

“For 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, and for sin, 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. 
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. 
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:3-8).

But, just what is “the flesh” and the “carnal mind”? Is it not the degradation caused by the absence of God’s divine nature, that leaves a craving for applause and standing ovations? Is it not the sin nature that Christ experienced when His Father withdrew from Him His divine presence and nature, and the degradation which remained in the Father’s absence, but which Christ resisted until letting it kill Him, He thus never being infected with sin?

Is it not the flesh and carnal mind believing that its condition needs no repentance, no renunciation of the life of sin, no recognition of sin’s gross criminality, no hatred of sinfulness? And no need for deliverance from its condition, or a whole-hearted reformation of life? Isn’t the flesh just plain rebellion, the incorrigible state of mind that rejects correction, condemnation, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness? Is it not the source of self-exaltation? Is it not “your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5)?

So the carnal mind naturally gravitates into the foolishness of imaginary greatness and a profuse religion of intense emotion, “enflaming yourselves with idols” (Isa. 57:5), material idols and intellectual idols, erroneous theories and theologies and spiritualities, “to add drunkenness to thirst” (Deut. 29:19). “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:11). The endless grasping for untried solutions is never satisfying. The emptiness is never filled. The anxiety is never removed. The “chastisement of our peace” is never healed. The efforts to keep on with the endless program is exhausting.

It was the false prophets’ old religion of Baal worship. “They [the prophets and the priests] have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jer. 6:14).

“Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured.” (Isa. 47:13-15).

So, possessed by demons, the fire rages in their rebel mind, while making the universe one and connecting everything together in love. But, after flying high the brain is drained and lifeless. In all the mental and spiritual exercises of occult religion, the devils did none of the work. “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matt. 23:4).

All the strain of exercising the intellectual and spiritual faculties was left to the devotes. Whether the votives claim kinship to Christ or Satan, such self-empowered sprituality comes not from above, Rather, it is earthly sensual, devilish, and leaves a toxic residue of Satan’s spirit stuck in the soul, thus making them all, whether Evangelical or pagan, the seed of Cain and not of Eve. And ready for the command to persecute God’s children. “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” (Gal. 4:29).

Baal-Asthoreth worship and dull humanism-New Age spirituality, both being identical, are works oriented. Its spirit needs to force the conscience to believe that it is righteous by seeing its hands do good deeds, especially when people applaud its good hearted soul and it gets a pat on the back. New Age spirituality and humanism need to hear its mouth speak ethically, so that others will hear and proclaim a witness to it. Without those advertisements Satan’s kingdom would cease to be popular. And this sensual nature of the mind can’t be convinced of its self-made goodness until it feels the sensation of right standing before “God”, by self-flagellation or cutting itself crying, “O Baal, hear us” (1Ki. 18:26). Or, it must sit in “the silence”, waiting for “God” to “show” up since he always has. The new millennial Baal-Ashtoreth worshipper is driven to prove itself before “God”, whoever “God” is, devils and/or priests/pastors.

Nevertheless, deep in every conscience that was made in God’s image, a purer reality presents itself—that everything is not right before the Creator. The conscience just knows. Something’s just not right because their conscience misses perfect peace, the wrath of Satan is upon them, his root of bitterness in them. But, the spirit of Satan keeps the lost soul determined to override the Spirit of Christ who is still in the conscience until the close of probation. So Satan continually keeps up his barrage of presenting all the fun and pleasures and excitement of self-congratulation and self-indulgence, in order to silence the voice of Christ in the soul. As long as self-exaltation reigns, the power of God cannot come to preeminence in the conscience and hold sway over it, the throne of the soul. Instead, emptiness, hunger and thirst remain, but schmoozed by hoping in the usurper’s praises. This is the wine of Babylon,

“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).

It was the spirit of Satan in the Pharisees that fueled fanaticism and enflamed their consciences. It was forced, self-manufactured enthusiasm, rather that natural animation from the Life-giver. It was bubbly on the outside, smiling on the outside but bitter on the inside, loving on the outside and ready to kill on the inside.

They had “peace, peace” on the outside, but “there [was] no peace” on the inside. Their zeal is all pretense, it’s all guile, it’s all fomented from within. And such religion becomes a contest of who can get worked up the most, “comparing themselves among themselves.” (2Cor. 20:12). “They zealously affect [warm] you, but not well; yea they would exclude you, that ye might affect [warm] them.” (Gal. 4:17).

And this is just what the message of the 3rd angel of Revelation 14 exposes.

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

The 3rd angel’s message comes from the 5th trumpet. And its first manifestation is in the torment and unrest and search for death.

“And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Rev. 9:2,3).

Bear in mind that this plague comes only upon “those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” (Rev. 9:4).

“And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Rev. 9:5,6).

The fifth trumpet concerns the mark of the beast, and its about leaving the only true God and serving the other gods—Baal (the Lord) and Ashtoreth (the queen of heaven).

“And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron.” (Rev. 9:9).

For a while the heard-hearted rebellion suffers stabbing depression and loneliness under Ashtoreth’s fun and games. But a harsher control is yet to arise from the dark spirits of the bottomless pit.

“And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon [G3 Abaddōn, ‘a destroying angel’], but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon [G623 Apolluōn, ‘a destroyer’].” (Rev. 9:11).

Worse, than the fifth trumpet five month, following the 150 literal year, time prophecy, the 6th trumpet results in greater severity for the unsealed hearts, and ultimately ends in the filthy Beast claws’ deep marking of all who refused Jehovah’s condemnation of their sins through His protective Law. The wrath of Baal moves in to devour the sousl that sold themselves to the Trinitarian third person “Holy Spirit”.

Their foreheads become “breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.” (Rev. 9:17,18). “All ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: …ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:11).” “... there shall not be a coal to warm at.” (Isa. 47:14). “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary” (Jer. 51:64).

In other words, the first effect was a hardening the conscience by the painful subjugation of the pitch blackness of Satan’s presence, and his earthly representatives (during the fifth trumpet). But, the later, worse condition came by an endless enflaming and final enervation of the conscience (during the sixth trumpet). These conditions in the hearts of humanity are coming by the smoke-propelled locusts who are driven by the destroyer to devour all trace of God’s presence in the souls of God’s Protestant people. They were able to accomplish this by keeping the fun and excitement and pleasures of the industry of idolatry and paganism blooming and dazzling as the world-view of Protestant America. Too busy with fun and games, and receiving advice from the spirits of the New Age, they lost all desire to go to the holy and just and good Law to hear the “Wonderful, Couselor”, as the great apostle Paul did.

“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: Behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” (Jer. 6:10).

Later, the whole world infected by apostate Protestantism, would ultimately worship “the beast and his image”, which will soon be apostate America, and the image of the Dark Ages papacy that it will make, the New Age religion of the New World Order Jesuit Vatican. Then it can be said that the Abomination of desolation sits in the holy place of humanity. Everyone loving the new spiritual arrangement will have the mark of the beast and be cut off from their Creator and Life-giver.

“Fire, and…jacinth, and brimstone” (Rev. 9:17) will rule their hearts, instead of the law that “is … holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). The only true God finally driven from their consciences, Satan is fully seated there. “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image.…” (Rev. 14:11).

The everlasting gospel of Christ reigning in the conscience is the only remedy for the drunkenness of self-exaltation in the carnal mind that is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. There exists only one way to avoid this imprisonment in drunken self-exaltation. Jesus and His self-sacrificing love is the way; He must reign in our being. In order for Christ to reign in us, we must first expose ourselves to the Law of Jehovah presented by a verified, reputable human mediator—a prophet of Jehovah. The latest prophet that He has given must be our resource in this Day of Atonement period for hearing His holy Law. And that prophet was Ellen G. White.

If we go to the Spirit of Prophecy we will learn how the Almighty Judge views our self-convinced righteousness. We will see our sinfulness as “exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13). We will see that our acts of righteousness aren’t “pretty good” or “as good as the next person’s” or even “good enough”, as the locusts have taught us through every form of the media. Instead, we will see all our righteous acts as filthy beyond all hope. But the testimony of Jesus is more than just a “mighty cleaver of truth”. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 455. It is also “the perfect Law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25).

Will we follow the locusts’ media blitz, or will we take the Schoolmaster’s scourging, from whom we hear wise love and loving wisdom, that is, “doctrine, … reproof, … correction, … instruction in righteousness” (2Tim. 3:16), and the Word, His Son, the Tree of life? Will it be the wise Schoolmaster and the wisdom of life? Will it be the great God, the Schoolmaster, who gave humanity the justice and mercy through the prophets, and then grace and truth through His Son? 
Won’t we accept His torments to our arrogant self-sufficiency, “the chastisement of our peace” (Isa. 53:5)? Won’t we suffer our pride to die and get through it by going to His Son, rather than keep a broken condition that never gets reset and remains painful forever?

The great Schoolmaster scourges us and humbles us into the dust until we crumble and surrender our self-will. And then we need a great, big Deliverer from huge, gross sinfulness. So, the Schoolmaster brings us to His Son to be justified by the faith that comes from the sight of His sacrificing an eternity with His Abba. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). Then we are God’s again. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6).

Will we follow the great enervator and destroyer, or the great giver of rest, life and peace, the GREAT God?

“For [Jehovah] your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” (Deut. 10:17).

 “And Ezra blessed [Jehovah], the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped [Jehovah] with their faces to the ground.” (Neh. 8:6).

“For [Jehovah] is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psa. 95:3).

“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Dan. 2:45).

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Tit. 2:13).

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Tit. 2:11-14). 

Monday, March 23, 2020

When is the truth not the truth?

When is a boy not a boy? When he turns into a store.

But, seriously, when is a doctrine a true doctrine and when is it not? When is scripture interpreted correctly? When is it “walking in craftiness, … handling the word of God deceitfully” (2Cor. 4:2), “hold[ing] the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18)? This next quarter in the adult Sabbath School we study the rules for interpreting scripture.

Supposedly, there are 33,000 denominations. Who knows how accurate that allegation is. But, no doubt, there are many non-denominational churches that do not affiliate themselves with the old standard-bearer, mainline denominations. And maybe the non-denominational churches were all counted as “denominations”. But, what does Protestantism stand for? They all claim sola scriptura, “The Bible and the Bible only”. But they are all conflicting with each other, or else there would be one denomination.

So, how could there be such conflict among the children of the great Reformation? How did it get to this point where it seems anything goes? “In those days there was no king in [Protestantism]: every [church does] that which was right in [its] own eyes.” (Jdg. 21:25). Could the confusion come from the interpretation methods they hold of the Bible?

Don’t get me wrong—I love to see people, even Sunday churches, reading and studying the Bible. But, how does the Bible get understood by such a broad spectrum of interpretations, and leave the descendants of the Reformation so divided? The old enemy of the Dark Ages is coming back to life. We need to be united—and not around only a few doctrines. We need to be united around “every word of God” (Luke 4:4).

Maybe you’ve had this problem. I might read a Bible statement and interpret it metaphorically. But another person uses a literal interpretation for the same statement. I saw this happen after an Adventist funeral. I knew the Catholic sister of a deceased Adventist member of our church. This sister had a deep knowledge of Catholic doctrine. As is typical, the Adventist pastor used the funeral for an opportunity to explain the biblical understanding of the state of the dead. I sat next to her because I wanted to ask her, after the service ended, what she thought of the pastor’s explanation of Job 14:12-15 (“till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep”), and Luke 16:19-31 (the rich man and Lazarus). The pastor’s sermon was very well put together and clear that Job understood the true state of the dead, and Christ’s parable of the rich man was just that, a parable of a deeper lesson that the Jews were on the verge of committing the unpardonable sin that would result in a “great gulf fixed” (Luke 16:26) between them and the Lord God of Israel.

But, I turned to the Catholic woman to hear her say, “I now understand what the Bible says about the dead! Praise the Lord!” And, she simply said, “Job is a parable. And the rich man and Lazarus is literal.”

We have these statements:

“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. In thus leading people to receive error for truth, Satan is working to secure the homage of the Protestant world.” Christ Triumphant, p. 324.

Later on, as I read Job I could see why the Job account could be seen as a parable. There was a lot of repetition of statements that sounds like an Aesop’s fable.

For instance:

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1).

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8).

A little change-up of wording by the writers of Job would have avoided the rote-like, fairy tale effect. It can give the impression of some uncultured, undeveloped narrator’s lines of a skit from medieval times. But, is this necessarily correct conclusion? There are other repetitiveness with a similar effect elsewhere in the Bible.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 
Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” (Dan. 3:2-7).

The repetition of exact phrases gives the impression that Nebuchadnezzar was a character reading a script that had a lot of copy/pasting going on in it. And some other, not so blatant examples, such as,

And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.” (Dan. 2:1).

And [Jesus] said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:” (Luke 22:15).

Maybe the repetition made the account of Job sound like a fable with a moral at the end, but, as we can see, repetition was a common practice in Israel. In fact, almost everywhere in scripture you see parallelism poetry spoken.

 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isa. 46:9,10).

Does our Creator really speak in poetry all the time? I can’t say definitively, but in scripture it happens everywhere. Was it a form of reverence or formalism to make the declarations of God’s word like that? What it Holy Spirit driven? Look at Isaiah 55. Every single verse contains parallel thought, even multiple parallelisms. It is beautiful. It flows so nicely, you can make a song out of it. And the parallelisms make scripture easier to memorize.

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 
Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee. 
Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: 
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:1-13).

So back to Job. I’m not sure why else it would be taken allegorically. Satan in heaven? That could be hard for some to wrap their mind around. An enlarged understanding of the great controversy would certainly be helpful here. And, folks, I believe we have this great need out there now, and coming in the Latter Rain. There’s a lot of misconceptions and vast holes in the bigger picture that we have the resources to fill. We have a huge blessing to share with a protestant world that still has a lot of ignorance concerning the scriptures. And all the doctrinal holes we can fill, we have a lot to learn about imbedding Jesus and the loving character of God in all the truths and doctrines. It must not be straight facts and figures and proof texts. In that case, the letter killeth unless the Spirit maketh alive. Let’s not be guilty of that heinous crime. We have a Bible study reform to start in Adventism. Jesus must be central, and I think we have lost that reform that began in 1888. Even the preachers of righteousness by faith too often keep Jesus out of it. It seems that, for them, it’s all about Paul. But, Paul would have chastised us for that.

“Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.” (1Cor. 1:13-16).

But, it seems we are back to baptizing in the name of Paul or James or Moses or Ellen White. But every one of them would have had something so say against that.

“ If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.” (Deut. 28:58,59).

What are some other issues in Bible interpretations?

Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. As understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness.” The Great Controversy, p. 599.

If we all had singleness of purpose, wouldn’t we all be united around Jesus, the Spirit of truth? Now this is a major obstacle to hurdle. Singleness of purpose, as in, Is our mind fully dedicated to the will of God?

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil [skewed], thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matt. 6:22,23).

This is a big source of confusion. Everyone deciding truth by what is deemed right in their own eyes. That’s why Israel needed a king. But he had to be a godly king, who had a constant love for communion with the heavenly King of kings. Thus the king would have a love of the truth, and escape the lusts of the flesh and the pleasures of unrighteousness.

So, justification and sanctification have a lot to do with understanding the Bible correctly. When people join the church without being born again and being transformed by the renewing of their mind, without renouncing their old conforming to the world, they are bound to misinterpret the word of God.

So, if I refuse to take off my jewelry, what am I going to do with 1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price”? I’m going to rationalize and call it a metaphor when it is a literal exhortation.

If I couldn’t live plainly in the image God created me to have, what would I do with Genesis 35:1-5? Rationalize again?

“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 
And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 
And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 
And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.”

But, after so many witnesses of the truth of God’s will, if I don’t conform to God’s instruction in righteousness, then I will have to throw out the Bible altogether. Or, I will find a Bible version that suits me just fine by glazing over my personal idols. There’s a lot of Bibles to choose from these days. It seems a new and improved NIV comes out every several years, 1973, 1978, 1983, 2011. And new version of other Bibles are coming out every year. Will that add to or subtract from the disunity among the supposedly defunct Reformation?

So what’s the harm with a few idols? Are we better off than Rachel?

And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 
And Jacob answered and said to Laban,…
With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 
And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 
Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 
 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.” (Gen. 31:30-35).

If we don’t want to do what the Bible says and warns us away from, yet we want to be counted in the kingdom, then we will not know the whole counsel of God. Idols are devastating to knowing the Bible and the God of the Bible. We want to have certainty of salvation. We want to know that “Thou God seest me.” (Gen. 16:13). We want an experience in the things of God We want to know that He hears our prayers. But, His conditions for all that are made clear. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9). “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33).

Let’s be single-hearted and single-eyed and we will see the salvation of the Lord. The Bible will make sense. It will come together as one great masterpiece of a treatise on how to build the approaching kingdom of God. Let us go to the Spirit of Prophecy, even the testimonies for the church, to see ourselves as God sees us. Let the mighty cleaver of truth square and fit us up. At the first, we will be offended, but after all the “shaking among God’s people” by “the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans”, the “agonizing cries, pleading with God” “with strong faith”, the “pale” “countenances” “marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle”, the “firmness and great earnestness”, the “large drops of perspiration”, the “solemn, earnest, anxious look” that “would settle upon them, the “deep repentance”, “the severe conflict”, “the agonizing struggle”. Early Writings, p. 269, 270. But after that exercising of faith we will have “the peaceable fruit of righteousness”.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:11).

For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psa. 30:5).

If we find truth unwelcome, all is not lost for us. Divine grace has a caveat for that.

If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” (2Cor. 8:12). Give God what you do have. Choose to be a Christian. Hope thou in God.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psa. 42:11).

If we are willing to be made willing, then Jesus will work with our reticence to obey. But, we must follow through by going to the perfect law of liberty, and stand before it in hope that despite its searing and blinding light upon our idols, yet, the God of love, the Spirit of truth, will not give us more than we can take. Give Him what gifts of obedience you have, and hold it out that there will be more expected in His timing. And He will meet you more than half way. There needs to be a coming together of earnest seeking after God. And if we knock in hope and faith He will open the door, if we ask in all seriousness He will answer, if we seek in total desperation to have Him, then we will find Him. for He has promised,

And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jer. 29:14).

Only an authentic prophet can correctly handle the word of God. Only they are “holy men [and women] of God…moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet. 1:21). However, in the same breath, the very next verse says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2Pet. 2:1).

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Killed with Jesus

“I am crucified....” (Gal. 2:20).

Not simply a ceremony, baptism means the soul turned white with death, struck dead with the centurion.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?…
Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;… 
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. ” (Matt. 27:46,50,51,54).

This goliath hardened by years of warfare, what, in regard to commonplace death, could awaken in him anything noteworthy? Yet, his cry ejected from a mouth framed in abject astonishment and horror. Caught in his own death grip, not a hydraulic plug could have stopped the expressed dying within the centurion. “Aaghhh! My God! Truly this was the SON OF GOD!

This was no silent knee jerk reaction, but total loss of composure and whole body convulsions.

“These words were said in no whispered tones. All eyes were turned to see whence they came. Who had spoken? It was the centurion, the Roman soldier. The divine patience of the Saviour, and His sudden death, with the cry of victory upon His lips, had impressed this heathen. In the bruised, broken body hanging upon the cross, the centurion recognized the form of the Son of God. He could not refrain from confessing his faith.” Desire of Ages, p. 770.

“What hath God wrought!” (Num. 23:23). Conviction! From the Holy Ghost, the power of the Most High! When He cometh He will convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment! The centurion saw through his objective eyes what resistant priestly eyes would feign see. He saw a principled Prince, a well-mannered, merciful Commander. He saw a conquering King in the final throes as a victim of collateral casualty while His loyal soldiers would all take the battle forward without Him, and in honor of Him. The centurion was floored.

Could we be there with the centurion, what would our own death to pride and emptiness of self sound like, look like?! What testimony would eject from our mouths before we could think to keep it in? “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40). I’ve been hit by hornets before and my feet took me away without my consent or command. Before I could tell them, “Giddy up, now, pronto, hurry!” (and my brain did catch up with my feet), I was quite a distance from ground zero. But, in a spiritual sense, when the soul is shell-shocked by a long blitz of evidence, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34), heart stony or not. Though sound bytes and bits of stone come hurling out of the mouth, God will be praised.

Could we be there with the centurion, what would our own death sound like, look like? What demolitions of soul and slaughter of pride?! Total devastation, total wreckage. “Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke” (Joel 2:30)?

“Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He hath made in the earth.” (Psa. 46:8).

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3).

Were you ever baptized with death, “baptized with the baptism” (Matt. 20:23)?

Were you ever baptized into Jesus death like the centurion was? Have you ever died beside Jesus?Have you been crucified with Christ? Have I been? Lately? And nevertheless live? Is this what drove Paul to the ends of the Mediterranean world and to the height of the Imperial government? Is this what gave the apostles boldness and courage in the face of often deadly situations? The image of the dead, victorious Son of God branded on their minds, just behind the skin of their foreheads? Is this what made the Reformers lay down their lives? Is it what will bring in the Latter Rain? Baptized into dying with the crucified King?

The knife of the Passover was to take the life when the second hand of the hourglass on the 14th of Nisan moved across the singular moment that the last gleam shined forth from the sinking Sun into the shade of Nisan 15. Timing ranked high for this unique sacrifice. It was exactly the very, very, very end of the day, simultaneous with the very, very, very beginning of night.

That requirement must have signified our focus on the very point of death for the Prince of life, slipping under eternal separation from His beloved Daddy. At that moment with all heaven looking on in stunned awe at their High Priest, He still maintaining mercy for all His murderers who potentially could be struck with fear and repentance, and might accept His gift, His greatest pleasure and joy with the holy Father “for ever, even for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:18). The beginning of a dark, everlasting end for the Son of God would mean the beginning of unending day for His grateful, beloved children.

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.
With amazement angels witnessed the Saviour’s despairing agony. The hosts of heaven veiled their faces from the fearful sight. Inanimate nature expressed sympathy with its insulted and dying Author. The sun refused to look upon the awful scene. Its full, bright rays were illuminating the earth at midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. Complete darkness, like a funeral pall, enveloped the cross.” Desire of Ages, p. 753.

“At the ninth hour the darkness lifted from the people, but still enveloped the Saviour. It was a symbol of the agony and horror that weighed upon His heart. No eye could pierce the gloom that surrounded the cross, and none could penetrate the deeper gloom that enshrouded the suffering soul of Christ. The angry lightnings seemed to be hurled at Him as He hung upon the cross. Then ‘Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ As the outer gloom settled about the Saviour, many voices exclaimed: The vengeance of heaven is upon Him. The bolts of God’s wrath are hurled at Him, because He claimed to be the Son of God. Many who believed on Him heard His despairing cry. Hope left them. If God had forsaken Jesus, in what could His followers trust?” Desire of Ages, p. 754.

“Christ did not yield up His life till He had accomplished the work which He came to do.” Desire of Ages, p. 758.

In utter insentient hopelessness, but filled with the scripture promises, He cried with a loud voice, “IT IS FINISHED!”, and died.

And so did the centurion’s atheism and unbelief die.

And so will mine and yours.

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5).

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6).

“For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:7).

“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.” (Rom. 6:9,10).

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” (Rom. 6:8).

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:11).

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom. 6:18).

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom. 6:12,13).

A text to the question, “Do you think this is an end times plague?”

David: I think this is an end time deception. Protestant America is reaping what it has sown. It has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind. God has loosed our old enemy from the Dark Ages. Revelation 17:8. Happy Sabbath!

Carroll: Can you explain the deception? What do you mean they reaped the wind?

David: Hosea 8:7. Protestantism is in apostasy. America was the protector (for it) with a U.S. Constitution that was civil and Protestant. It was civil in that it had no state religion blessing its laws or controlling its laws. It was a Protestant document in that it separated religion and state, it gave the people freedom, it gave the power to the people, and it was based on self-government. It was everything opposed to papal despotism. The Bible and Bible Christianity was our religion, which, through conversion and the Spirits foundation of self-government, was the only way that so much liberty could be entrusted into the hands of the people. The people had to be new creatures in Christ. They had to be pure. They had to be self-denying. They had to have the God of Abraham and Moses and David and Paul for their God. Only He was all wise and a God of justice and mercy. The love of that God expressed in the damnation of God’s own Son as a shelter for Adam’s precious race would make them love Him, His immutable Law, and all law.

Persecution would cement that covenant and produce strong minds and good consciences. It would produce fidelity to their government’s righteous laws and to one another. Marriage would be strong. Family would be strong. Society would be strong and the nation would be strong. The only Bible Christianity has been Protestantism since the days of the apostle John. 1John 2:18 says that the church’s foe was already in the church. In Acts 20:28-31, Paul gave a similar warning. But America has completely given up its only connection to the Creator, and our protection against Satan.

Now for the deception: “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. 28:15).

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be [judged] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:11,12).
“Then shall that Wicked [one, the son of total depravity] be revealed…: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (vs.8-10).
“Whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (vs. 2:8).

But read the whole chapter of Deuteronomy 28 to get a feel for what’s coming to our once peaceful, peace-making nation. It will cause us to get serious about eternal things. All in all it will be good for us. His promise is: “I will make a man [and woman] more precious than fine gold; even a man [and woman more precious] than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:12).

Carroll: I don’t understand…. You think the virus is a deception? It seems more a curse. Thanks for all that. I’ll read it over again tomorrow. Thanks.

David: it is a curse, yet not a plague, as in last plagues. The curse is in the fact that is represents a new and greater manifestation of Satan’s foothold on humanity. That is a bad thing. But remember that god is allowing it for our submission to Him, for those who will accept the punishment for their iniquities. Read Leviticus 26. It was the precursor to Deuteronomy 28. Especially note verses 39-42.

This is the crux of God’s method to save. If we turn away from the good life that He gives in return for our obedience and love, then He turns away from us. But there is only one other spiritual being that we can turn to besides Jesus. And that other power devours his children. But we don’t want self-sacrifice and self-abasement. So we leave the self-effacing, self-forgetting, pure God for the self-satisfying, self-important, self-gratifying, impure god. And the “only true God” (John 17:3) lets us go. He mourns over our separation like Samuel mourned over his permanent separation from King Saul (1Sam. 15:35).

But to all who have desired to know God He promises that the separation isn’t forever (Leviticus 26:44). Yet they still must endure a long service to the devourer and separation from the life-giver. We see this many times in sacred history. Adam spent 130 years without enjoying the blessing of raising an heir of righteousness by faith and reconciliation with the God of peace. He was so stunned by the results of his sin and its punishment. Finally he resolved the change of relations with the God who he learned he needed more than life; and he submitted to the consequences. He trusted God to help him do better in raising his family. So he knew Eve again. Their child Seth grew up in a strict, godly home, and married a godly wife. He had a son who he raised in strict godliness. 235 years after being expelled from God, Adam, and Eve and their righteous community in the mountains could finally, fully reconnect with the God of heaven (Gen. 4:25,26; cf Gen. 5:3,6).

It was a high day. And Adam literally lived happily ever after because he learned the great lesson in life—obedience to the “only wise God” (Jude 25) is the only way to real happiness. In the back of his mind Adam could never forget the loss of his first two sons and his world going awry, but the God of love was his again and that helped his painful losses. God wrote His Law into Adam’s heart, He gave Adam a new heart and put His Spirit into Adam. (Eze. 36:25-31).

Redemption is messy business. It involves a lot of pain and self-loathing. For a long time it’s a lose-lose situation, but in the end it’s a win-win situation. “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to [your name], 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).

That is the gospel that Jesus preached when He begin His ministry (Mark 1:15). After 600 years of punishment under foreign rule, some of the Jews were humbled and hungry for the God of Abraham. They came to God’s Son and got Adam’s reconciliation and joy like Adam got when he came to God’s Son.

If we can be corrected and humbled, then in the middle of all the horrific troubles, we will be able to exclaim, “It’s our God!”