Ms 105, 1893

Ms 105, 1893

Limit to Evil Doer's Probation By Mrs. E. G. White


Circa 1893

Previously unpublished.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13.] As Christ pronounced this woe, he was looking into the faces of those who were thirsting for life. He dared to lay bare the true condition of their hearts. Divinity flashed through humanity as he stood before them defenseless and despised, yet unmasking their hypocrisy with a power and eloquence that held the large assembly spellbound. No one ventured to interrupt him or sought to stop his words which he uttered with tremendous power. Every syllable of the pronounced woes reached the ears of all and seemed to be echoed from the temple walls. The scribes and Pharisees were charged with the most terrible guilt, inasmuch as they shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, refusing to enter themselves and hindering those who would venture in. The responsibility of Israel was fearfully great; for Jesus had come unto his own and his own received him not. He was the light of the world, and all were required not only to receive the light, but to practice the light; for the only hope for Israel was to believe and obey the truth. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 1

How solemnly and diligently should we guard the sacred way that leads to the city of God. The nations of old were charged to keep the well spring in good condition along the public ways for the benefit of thirsty travelers. In the land of Palestine the roads to the cities of refuge were to be kept in perfect condition in order that he who was fleeing for his life might find nothing to obstruct his flight to the city of refuge. But the way of life and righteousness was not thus preserved by the religious teachers of the Jewish nation. Christ pronounced the most terrible woes upon those who would not receive the truth themselves nor permit those who were entering the kingdom of heaven to follow out their determination. They perverted the words of him who taught as never man taught, and who did in their cities and villages the works which no other man did. They misinterpreted, misconstrued, and misplaced every statement the great Teacher made which could in any way be perverted, thus turning the feet of those who were entering the path of life into false paths. As a judge he pronounced these teachers false and poured upon them the most terrible denunciations. He read their hearts as the pages of an open book, and laid bare their deceptive course of action. Even when they said to the people, “Come, walk in safe paths,” through subtlety as the serpent beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden they made of none effect the word of God. The words addressed to Job were highly appropriate to the religious leaders of this time where it is said, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” [Job 38:2.] 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 2

The controversy between the scribes and Pharisees and Christ was the old controversy that we find in the garden of Eden, where the Prince of life and the prince of darkness came into contact on the earth. Satan then construed the words of God, which threatened the transgressor with death, to mean that the sinner should not surely die, but should be as gods, knowing good and evil. How many at the present day are on Satan's side of the controversy. The whole Christian world have taken up with the interpretation which Satan has put upon the words of God addressed to the sinner and have declared that death was but the gate to life, or that death meant an eternally burning hell. Satan cast contempt upon the law of God and men have so followed his train of reasoning and have termed it a yoke of bondage. But Christ has said to the world as he said to the young man, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” [Matthew 19:17.] “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1 John 5:11-13.] 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 3

It was Satan that was the moving agency to pervert the minds of the Jewish leaders and through them turn the people away from the Son of God. It was the purpose of the prince of darkness to make them satisfied with a religion of forms and ceremonies; but true spirituality, sincere worship of God was not cherished. They had separated from God by wicked works, and when Christ, the way, the truth, and the life came to the world, Satan declared in his counsels that every agency and power that was at the command of the powers of darkness, must be employed to keep man from accepting Jesus Christ. Satan was the destroyer and Christ was the restorer and the kingdom of darkness was brought into stern conflict; for Christ came to take the captives out of the hand of the destroyer. All who believed in Christ should have life, eternal life. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 4

Since Satan's apostasy in heaven, his malice has lost nothing of its malignity. For thousands of years, he has been gaining in experience in devising methods whereby he might continue to keep the human race in the same deception by which he caused the fall of Adam—keep them from believing the words of God. The Lord Jesus came to our world and laid the foundation of his kingdom, but at every step he was opposed by the powers of darkness. Satan ruled in the hearts of men, and cause that his falsehoods should be accepted by the Jewish nation. The traditions, maxims, and falsehoods of men were placed in the framework of religion. The meaning of the clearest prophesies was subverted, the significance of truth was shadowed and the people that were blessed with great light and power were led to teach for doctrines the commandments of men, and thus exercise a baleful influence. The character, mission and works of Christ were so interpreted that prejudice blinded the eyes of the people and the shadow of unbelief became impenetrable. Satan is deep in cunning, and has a thousand resources by which he seduces the people, leading those who profess to be the children of God to accept of errors and doctrines that have not the slightest foundation in the word of God. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 5

There is as much need today to beware of the devices of Satan as in the days of Christ. The scriptures declare him to be a liar from the beginning of his apostasy. [John 8:44.] He is able to transform himself into an angel of light. He deceives the whole world. He hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of the invisible God should shine unto them. Satan knows that all who will believe in Christ will be lost from his kingdom and that men whom he hated because they were beloved of God, would have the eternal life which he lost through his apostasy. He is constantly planning to ruin human souls. He works upon the pride of heart and presents to the sinner the thought that much will be gained by exercising independent judgment by cutting away from dependence upon God, by not asking his guidance, strength, support, and protection. When he induces men to thus seek to walk in independence, he can take measures by which to bind them fast to his chariot, and lead them as slaves that are captive to his will. Those who are made free by Christ are the only freemen, and have the only freedom that human beings can exercise. Christ alone can make men free. By his delusive fictions, Satan has obscured the glory of the gospel to men's eyes, has made the power of Christianity weak to reach the soul in leading men to deny the divinity of Christ, the only source of eternal life. Satan has belittled the work that Christ came to do in man's behalf and is holding the minds of men in his overmastering deceptions. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 6

The true character of the scribes and Pharisees, the deceitfulness of the Jewish nation, was all open to Christ, and in words of eloquent denunciations, he presented before the people the doom of those who perverted his words, and hindered those who were entering into the kingdom of God. He had been engaged in public ministry three years and a half, and he claimed that he had given abundant evidence for faith in the works which he had wrought; for they were a divine endorsement attesting the verity of his claims. He had exalted truth as above human reasoning; but he found that the minds of the people were loaded down with the exactions and traditions of men to so great a degree that it was almost impossible to reach them with divine oracles. Men exalted reason above truth, and clung to theories which they thought within their conception. Christ the source of all true wisdom, found truth darkened, its light almost extinguished by the perverted reasoning of human philosophy. But he clears away the rubbish and recovers the lost treasures and resets the jewels of truth, and surrounded by divine credentials, he presents a system of truth exalted in loveliness, and demanding the credence of the people. He spake as one having authority and although Satan opposed his influence through the cooperation's of his agents, yet the divine seed was sown and took root in the hearts of men who were clothed with humility and who having become acquainted with the will of God, purposed to walking in the light. They took accepted the sayings of Christ as they were—as spirit and life. His words revealed principles which are the foundation of the sacred science of salvation to all who believe. There was no uncertainty in his utterances, and he had a message for every soul. In solemn voice, full of pathos and melody he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you.” Then a message would follow impressed with the stamp and seal of God. As he denounced the scribes and Pharisees, he felt solemnity and power of his condemnation; for was ever touched with human woe and was meek and lowly of heart. As he surveyed the hypocritical and guilty throng that surrounded him, and noted the cold, lowering brows and stubborn faces that told their intention to resist him to the last, he clothed himself with zeal as with a garment and was filled with consuming indignation for the insulted honor of his Father, and pronounced judgments against the rejecters of his mercy. But the national guilt was not yet full. He bids the nation fill up the measure of their guilt was not yet full. He bids the nation fill up the measure of their guilt, and points them to the example of their fathers, saying “Fill ye up the measure of your fathers.” [Matthew 23:32.] Their fathers had slain prophets and through their precepts and example had cast their influence in such a way as to produce at last the ripeness of iniquity which was to end in the withdrawal of the long suffering patience of an insulted, dishonored God. Instead of being softened by the patience of which they had so long been the objects they encouraged their hearts in persistent resistance; but Christ gave them to understand in his last discourse that there was a limit to the forbearance of God and that it was possible to pass the boundaries as did Judas. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 7

God allows to all nations a certain period of probation, of grace, but if all his goodness mercy and compassion are trifled with they can expect nothing but an outbreak of indignation, a demonstration of judgments such as fell upon the Sodomites and came up the world in the time of Noah. The truth concerning the Jewish nation is depicted as Jesus gives his last message to a gain-saying and rebellious people. His denunciations are most awful because they came from lips that never reviled. He said, “Behold, I send unto you prophets and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” [Verses 34, 35.] He bids the rejecters of his mercy and love to fill up the measure of their hatred; for when their last murderous act should be done in putting him to death, the day of repentance would be ended. When the judgment fell it was seen that their past wickedness was not forgotten though the day of its visitation was long put off and they acknowledged that it was a terrible mistake in them that they continued in wickedness and obstinately opposed the truth that was presented to them by the Son of God. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 8

God keeps a reckoning with nations, with churches, and with individuals and when a certain amount of guilt is reached, the sum is made up and retribution is visited upon the transgressors. Mercy steps down from the golden throne, and judgment is meted out without mercy; and the rejecters of God's love learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of heaven. 8LtMs, Ms 105, 1893, par. 9