|THE THREE ANGELS OF REVELATION 14 - (Part 8 of 12) [message #3030]
||Fri, 23 April 2021 16:36
Registered: September 2015
THE THREE ANGELS OF REVELATION 14
(Part 8 of 12)
THE THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE REJECTED
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (7) Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (8) For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. (9) And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
2 Timothy 1:8-10
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
The Third Message Rejected
As those who first received the third angel's message saw the beauty and harmony of the system of truth that opened to their understanding, they desired that the light which appeared to them so precious might be imparted to all Christians; and they could not but believe that it would be joyfully accepted. But truths that would place them at variance with the world were not welcome to many who claimed to be followers of Christ.
Obedience to the fourth commandment required a sacrifice from which the majority, even of Adventists, drew back.
As the claims of the Sabbath were presented, many who had endured reproach and persecution for the Advent faith, began to reason from the worldling's standpoint. Said they: "We have always kept Sunday, our fathers kept it, and many good and pious men have died happy while keeping it. If they were right, so are we. The keeping of this new Sabbath would throw us out of harmony with the world, and we would have no influence over them. What can a little company keeping the seventh day hope to accomplish against all the world who are keeping Sunday?"
It was by similar arguments that the Jews endeavored to justify their rejection of Christ.
Their fathers had been accepted of God in presenting the sacrificial offerings, and why could not the children find salvation in pursuing the same course? So, in the time of Luther, papists reasoned that true Christians had died in the Catholic faith, and therefore that religion was sufficient for salvation. Such reasoning would prove an effectual barrier to all advancement in religious faith or practice.
Many urged that Sunday-keeping had been an established doctrine and a wide-spread custom of the church for many centuries. Against this argument it was shown that the Sabbath and its observance were more ancient and wide-spread, even as old as the world itself, and bearing the sanction both of angels and of God.
When the foundations of the earth were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath. [Job 38:6, 7; Genesis 2:1-3.] Well may this institution demand our reverence: it was ordained by no human authority, and rests on no human tradition; it was established by the Ancient of days, and commanded by his eternal word.
As the attention of the people was called to the subject of Sabbath reform, popular ministers perverted the word of God, placing such interpretations upon its testimony as would best quiet inquiring minds. And those who did not search the Scriptures for themselves were content to accept the ministers' conclusions. By argument, sophistry, the traditions of the Fathers, and the authority of the church, opposers endeavored to overthrow the truth.
Its advocates were driven to their Bibles to defend the validity of the fourth commandment. Humble men, armed with the word of truth alone, met and withstood the attacks of men of learning. With surprise and anger, popular ministers found their eloquent sophistry powerless against the simple, straightforward reasoning of men who had but little of the learning of the schools.
In the absence of Scripture testimony in their favor, many with unwearying persistency inquired,-- forgetting how the same reasoning had been employed against Christ and his apostles,--"Why do not our great men understand this Sabbath question? But few believe as you do, and even these are uneducated persons. It cannot be that you are right, and that all the men of learning in the world are wrong."
To refute such arguments it was needful only to cite the teachings of the Scriptures and the history of the Lord's dealings with his people in all ages. God works through those who hear and obey his voice, those who will, if need be, speak unpalatable truths, those who do not fear to reprove popular sins. The reason why he does not oftener choose men of learning and high position is, that they trust to their creeds, theories, and theological systems, and feel no need to be taught of God. Only those who have a personal connection with the Source of wisdom are able to understand or explain the Scriptures. Men who have little of the learning of the schools are called to declare the truth, not because they are unlearned, but because they are not too self-sufficient to be taught of God. They learn in the school of Christ, and their humility and obedience make them great. In committing to them a knowledge of his truth, God confers upon them an honor, in comparison with which earthly honor and human greatness sink into insignificance.
As the majority of Adventists rejected the truths concerning the sanctuary and the law of God, many also renounced their faith in the Advent movement, and adopted unsound and conflicting views of the prophecies which applied to that work. Some were led into the error of repeated time-setting. The light of the third message would have shown them that no prophetic period extends to the coming of Christ; that the exact time of his coming is not foretold. But, turning from the light, they continued to set time after time for the Lord to come, and as often were disappointed.
When the Thessalonian church received erroneous views concerning the coming of Christ, the apostle Paul counseled them to carefully test their hopes and anticipations by the word of God. He cited them to prophecies revealing the events to take place before Christ should come, and showed that they had no ground to expect him in their day.
"Let no man deceive you by any means," are his words of warning. Should they indulge expectations that were not sanctioned by the Scriptures, they would be led to a mistaken course of action; disappointment would expose them to the derision of unbelievers, and they would be in danger of yielding to discouragement, and would be tempted to doubt the truths essential for their salvation.
The apostle's admonition to the Thessalonians contains an important lesson for those who live in the last days.
Many Adventists have felt that unless they could fix their faith upon a definite time for the Lord's coming, they could not be zealous and diligent in the work of preparation. But as their hopes are again and again excited, only to be destroyed, their faith receives such a shock that it becomes well-nigh impossible for them to be impressed by the great truths of prophecy.
The more frequently a definite time is set for the second advent, and the more widely it is taught, the better it suits the purposes of Satan. After the time has passed, he excites ridicule and contempt of its advocates, and thus casts reproach upon the true time movement of 1843 and 1844. Those who persist in this error will at last fix upon a date too far in the future for the coming of Christ. Thus they will be led to rest in a false security, and many will not be undeceived until it is too late.
The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body.
God led his people in the Advent movement, even as he led the children of Israel from Egypt.
In the great disappointment their faith was tested as was that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea.
Had they still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen of the salvation of God. If all who had labored unitedly in the work in 1844 had received the third angel's message, and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts.
A flood of light would have been shed upon the world.
Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of his people.
It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; he desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But "they could not enter in because of unbelief." [Hebrews 3:19.]
Because of their backsliding and apostasy, they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the promised land.
In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed, and his people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which he had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays his coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning, and find in him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out.
Now, as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the errors and sins of the times, will call forth a storm of opposition. "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." [John 3:20.] Those who cannot sustain their position by the Scriptures are stubbornly determined that it shall be sustained at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they attack the character and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. Though very unbelieving in regard to the sure word of prophecy, they manifest the utmost credulity in accepting anything detrimental to the Christian integrity of those who dare to reprove fashionable sins.
This spirit will increase more and more as we near the close of time.
And what is our duty in view of this? Shall we conclude that the truth ought not to be presented, since its effect is so often to arouse men to evade or resist its claims? --No; we have no more reason for withholding the testimony of God's word because it excites opposition than had Martin Luther. Luther declared himself to have been urged on, compelled by the Spirit of God, to battle against the evils of his time; and in the same manner must those labor who still carry forward the work of reform. To the servants of God at this time is the command addressed, "Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
The true followers of Christ do not wait for truth to become popular. Being convinced of their duty, they deliberately accept the cross, and thus remove the greatest obstacle to the reception of truth,--the only argument which its advocates have never been able to refute.
It is weak, inefficient world-servers that think it praiseworthy to have no principle in religious things.
We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God.
To men of principle, faith, and daring, is the world indebted for its great reforms.
By such men must the work of reform for this time be carried forward.
Thus saith the Lord:
"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;
fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool;
but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation."
[Isaiah 51:7, 8.]
THE RESULTS OF REJECTING LIGHT
Christ's lament over Jerusalem was for those also who today have had great light, and who have seen wonderful manifestations of his power and goodness, but who have not fulfilled God's purpose for them. Those who hear the voice of God and co-operate with him, using their capabilities in his service, will receive his blessing.
But those who forget his instruction, and follow their own way, are a dishonor to him.
A time will come when their wrong course of action, with its results and consequences, must be met.
"Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine," Christ declared, "and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Christ uttered a fearful denunciation against those who, though privileged to have him among them, did not profit by his ministry. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
The calamity that was soon to come upon the Jewish people was no greater than they deserved. They had been given the best of opportunities,but they did not accept the truth that would have made them wise unto salvation.
They heard the message of John the Baptist,but it did not lead them to repentance.
They trifled with the things of eternal interest.
Christ made every effort to bring them to a realization of their true position, that they might repent and be saved.
But, filled with proud conceit, they rejected his warnings and despised his entreaties.
The Jews misrepresented Christ, and John his forerunner, saying of John, "He hath a devil." They imputed his severe denunciation of their sins to satanic inspiration, saying that he was not in his right mind, that he was a poor hypochondriac, full of fancies, led by a crazed imagination. And of Christ they said, "Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners."
Salvation Offered to All
In sorrow Christ wept over those who, having the plainest evidence of his divinity, turned from him.[/b] His heart was filled with sadness as he thought of the result of their rejection of the message he came from heaven to bring to them. But he rose above his painful thoughts, and offered God thanksgiving, saying,"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
Christ looked up to heaven with gratitude for the security of the covenant of redemption. Looking round on the people, beyond the priests and Pharisees, he made an offer of salvation to all the children of men, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned.
To all he offered a balm for the sorrow and pain that are brought by sin.
All are invited to unite with God in the covenant of grace.
In our work today we shall meet with the same spirit that Christ met in his day.
The world is filled with the same baleful influence that led the Jews to reject Christ.
Transgression is developing in a most marked manner.
We shall meet with those who have received light and evidence, but who in their perversity reject all that does not harmonize with their own plans, persisting in the determination to follow their own way. They refuse to receive truth themselves, and do all in their power to lead others to regard with indifference the word of the Lord.
The greatest scholars, the greatest statesmen, will in these last days turn from the light, because the world by wisdom knows not God.
"The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. . . . God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are."
Men who are learned in the wisdom of the world may think that they can explain the mysteries of the world; but in the explanation of the mysteries of the gospel, babes and children in Christ are far in advance of them. Those whom the world account unlearned and ignorant men may be chosen by the Lord as teachers, because he sees that they are willing to learn as well as to teach.
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
The power that brings success is of God.
The truth is to be placed before the great men of the world,
that they may choose between it and the world.
God is not the author of their ignorance.
He sets everlasting truth before them,
--truth that will make them wise unto salvation,
--but he does not force them to accept it.
If they turn from it, he leaves them to themselves,
to reap the fruit of their own doings.
Your brother in Christ
[Updated on: Fri, 23 April 2021 17:49]
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