General Conference Daily Bulletin, vol. 8

General Conference Daily Bulletin, Vol. 8 (1899)

1899

February 17, 1899

“Bible Study. Spirit of Prophecy” General Conference Daily Bulletin 8.

EJW

E. J. Waggoner

Synopsis of Address by Dr. E. J. Waggoner.

Survey of the Work of John the Baptist - Revealing God - The Testimony of Jesus Is the Spirit of Prophecy - The Loud Cry - Now Is the Accepted Time. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.1

In the third chapter of Luke, second verse, we read, “The word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.2

That word has wonderfully impressed itself on me in our work during the last summer. The word of the Lord came to John the Baptist. If we take but a brief survey of the scope of John’s work, we shall see that this same message may be a wonderful comfort for us all. Remember that when John came preaching, he came (Isaiah 40:4) as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, saying: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.3

The word of God came to John, and he was the voice. The word of God is a living word. The word of God is a living entity, - a real thing. The word of God came to John, and uttered itself by his mouth. He was only the voice. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.4

Now let us read the message, as in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, that we may see our relation to it: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. [In another place it says, “The salvation of God.”] The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. O thou that bringest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; ... Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.5

Keep fixed in your minds this thought, that the work of John the Baptist was not a circumscribed work. It was not a work limited to one place, to one time, or to one man. John the Baptist was not a man simply who had a work to be finished when he died, but he was a voice, the embodiment of the word of God. And that message by John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord. The angel who foretold the birth of John said that he would go before the Lord in the spirit and the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the Just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. From this we see that the way of the Lord is prepared by preparing a people. And when the way of the Lord is prepared, as spoken by Isaiah, “the crooked shall be made straight.” Mark that, and “make straight paths for your feet”; then “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” The Lord makes known his way to his people, and his way is in his people. So when a people shall be prepared for the Lord, the glory of the Lord will be revealed: God’s way is prepared when his people are prepared. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.6

Why did not the Lord come years ago? Why does he not come to-day? There must be a reason for it. What is it? We are not ready. There are many people who are not ready, who will yet be ready; many people who do not now know anything about the Lord will yet say, “This is our God.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.7

The Lord can not come, because his way is not prepared. Mark this, brethren and sisters: there is more to this work than the mere saving of a few souls on this earth. That is a mighty thing, - a thing which is more than our minds can grasp, - but God’s mind is infinitely greater than that. The glory of the Lord is to be revealed; and that glory is to be revealed to all on this little planet as they have never seen it before. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles [heathen] the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Here the earth is to be made known, through the church, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, the manifold wisdom of God, - the glory and power of God. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.8

When the Lord Jesus comes from heaven in a flame of fire, the heavens will be covered with his glory. This message, however, prophesies that the glory of God shall be revealed preliminary to his coming. The way of the Lord is prepared when his way is seen in his people; then the glory of the Lord is revealed. It shines forth from his people. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.9

Many people will be saved, who have not yet heard God’s truth. Thousands have died with just a glimmering of the light. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.10

The questions may arise, Why should we in the last days have so much more light than somebody else? and why should more be required of us in the very last days than of somebody else? If persons formerly were saved with only a glimmering of light, why should it be necessary for a great flood of light to come on the people of the last days? GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.11

As I said, the gospel of God means more than the salvation of a few souls: it is the revealing of his glory. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, the Word was made flesh; and this was the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. The Son of Man is like unto a man gone unto a far country, who gave authority to his servants, and “to every man his work.” That work is to go and preach the gospel to every creature. In sending us out he says, “Lo, I am with you;” for his name is Immanuel - God with us. If we could only grasp these simple truths, and put them into practice, a mighty work would be done. I am not saying anything new when I tell you, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself.” The question is, Who are “us”? - Those whom he has reconciled. How many are us? - All. The next verse tells who, and how many, these are: “Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.” Who are “we”? - Every one who is reconciled. You can not make the pronoun unlimited in one case, and then narrow it down to a few in the other. When we read that God has reconciled “us,” we do not want to limit the “us” to Peter, Paul, James, and John. We do not want to leave ourselves out of that. He has reconciled us. Thank the Lord! Not imputing unto us our trespasses, not counting us guilty, he has put into us - the same “us” whom he reconciled - the word of reconciliation. How did he reconcile us? By the word of reconciliation. He sent unto us the word of reconciliation, and that reconciled us; so that we - all who are reconciled - are ambassadors for Christ; as if God were beseeching by us, we pray you, in Christ’s stead, Be ye reconciled to God. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.12

It does not need a multiplication of words for one who takes that text, and believes it, to see that, in the purpose of God, every soul who receives the message of reconciliation from God is to be a reproduction of the Lord Jesus Christ. The work and the life of Jesus of Nazareth are to be reproduced in every one who receives the message of reconciliation; and they will be, if he receives the message of reconciliation in its fulness. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.13

The message of John the Baptist reaches clear down to the coming of the Lord, when he comes with his reward. The same work is going on now to prepare a people for the Lord. Therefore, just as the word came to John in the wilderness, so to every one who receives the reconciliation of God, the word of God comes. We do not appreciate our privileges; we do not appreciate the gift of God to us. The word of the Lord came to John, and he knew it, and spoke it. Even so is it to be with each one of us. Christ is the Word, and we are to present him. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.14

Look again at this text in Corinthians: “He ... hath put in us the word of reconciliation.” What is that but that which he said in the first chapter of Acts: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me”? It is Christ reproducing himself, - the Spirit of God speaking through each individual directly to the people. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.15

Now when Christ spoke, it was as by one who had authority. The word came from him as direct from God. He was a prophet like unto Moses, - a great prophet, raised up to speak God’s word to the people. He said, “I speak not of myself.” His Father gave him a commandment, what he should speak. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.16

This testimony of Jesus is in the church. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation we read something about this: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.” How many of the people there spoken of keep the commandments of God? - All. Is commandment-keeping a denominational affair, an individual matter? It is an individual matter. All have the same righteousness, because each one will have the righteousness of God. How many are to have the faith of God? - All. Do they have it simply as a mass, or will each person have the faith of Jesus for himself? - Each one will have it for himself. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 13.17

We read that the manifold wisdom of God is known to the principalities and powers by means of the church. But the church is composed of units, individuals; the church is the house of God, the temple of the living God, because each individual member is also the temple of the living God. Just as the human body is composed of an infinite number of cells, each cell having life, the life of God, and the life of the body is the united life of all these, so the church of God is composed of a vast number, each one having life from God; and the life of the church is the union of all those units. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.1

This is simple enough. “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God.” Does the dragon make war with the church as a whole, or with individuals? - He comes pretty close to us as individuals sometimes; and the fact that somebody in the church has successfully resisted him, while it is an encouragement to us, is not resistance for us. I like to hear the testimony of how brethren have met the enemy, and conquered him in the faith of Christ; but that does not conquer him for me. I also must resist, steadfast in faith. “Here are they [the individuals] that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” They all keep the commandments of God, and they all have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Each individual of the body keeps the commandments of God, and each individual has the testimony of Jesus Christ. That is not a rash statement; we all believe that. It is not anything new; just simply what we read here. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.2

Now read in Revelation 10:10 what the angel whom John was about to worship said to him: “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.3

You have made the application already. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God,” “and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Can we not substitute for that last phrase the divine synonym, “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy”? Thus we read, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the Spirit of prophecy.” How many have the Spirit of prophecy? - All who keep the commandments of God. Is that so? Now, brethren, do not be afraid to say amen to this, because it is not presumption. If it depended upon us, it would be presumption to say, “My sins are forgiven,” or “I am a child of God.” If it was from me, it would be presumption to say, “I am a servant of God;” it would be presumption to come to God’s throne to pray. I would not dare to do that if he had not told me to come; but when he has told me to come, I dare not stay away. It is not presumption for me to come directly to the throne of God. There is no door keeper to bar the way. God has not put an intermediary between himself and us, but he has a Mediator to bring us to him; for through him we have access to God by the one spirit. Sometimes a fanatic will make a rush to get into the presence of an earthly king, but that is presumption; he has no authority, no right to do so. How much greater presumption it would be for us to come into the mighty presence of God for ourselves, if we had no right there, and we have no right there, unless he provides the way. But thank God, he himself is the way. Even so it is not presumption for us to believe that God has given us the spirit of prophecy, when he himself says so. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.4

Now I know this is a stupendous truth, but I thank God that salvation is a stupendous thing. If we should speak out bluntly at first, and say that the Spirit of prophecy is for every individual, somebody would think it was almost blasphemy. But here when we read ourselves into it, we can not back out; and why should we want to? Why should we want to reject, or hold away from us, any good thing that comes from the Lord? It is not presumption to take anything that God gives to us, because we get it only as we are humble; and no presumptuous soul ever receives the gift of God. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.5

“Here are they that keep the commandments of God.” Now would you feel as if that scripture were fulfilled if we could point but to one or two, or even a dozen, among us, and say, They are good people; they keep the commandments; therefore we are a commandment-keeping people. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.6

We must have the same righteousness that Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul, and John had; we must be those men. God reproduces himself in his works; but O, what infinite variety there is! God reproduces himself in his people, but each individual is to get his fulness from the Lord; for the Spirit divides to every man severally as he will. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.7

Some one will think, - I know the thought that is in some of your minds, - when we come to this matter of the testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of prophecy, and when we come to making the substitution which the angel himself has made for us, that we are treading on sacred ground, because we have got one among us who has the spirit of prophecy, and therefore we must not have that as individuals. The idea is that we have the Spirit of prophecy because there is one among us who has it. That is to say, we are keeping the commandments of God because we have got a good man among us, who keeps the commandments of God. Some of you think that the reading of this, and the saying of this, must necessarily put a slight on the one who has been chosen for a special work, - a work that no other person in the world has or will have. Does it? - No. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.8

In the eleventh chapter of Numbers we read of seventy who were chosen, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon them. “But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the Spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.” They did not put on a clerical coat and collar, but they were right there among the common people, as a part of them, and they prophesied. “And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!” Well, the last part of that thing has been done. More than eighteen hundred years ago, after a little period of waiting, there came the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, and filled all the place where the people were; and they began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance, and were counted mad by some. Then Peter, filled with the same Spirit, rose and said: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” How many are left out? - Not one. Moses, the man of God, was filled with the Spirit. He uttered this prayer, “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!” Why do not all have the Spirit of prophesy? - Because they haven’t received it. That is the only reason. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.9

This prayer has been answered: the Lord has poured out his Spirit upon all; for he is no respecter of persons. And this is that they might all prophesy. But we have a narrow, circumscribed idea of what prophesying is. We have our minds fixed upon one thing, and we imagine that everybody must do just that way, or it is not the Spirit of prophecy. Now mind this: God reproduces himself in an infinite variety of ways, and never twice in the same way; therefore it is utterly useless for any one to think to impose upon God or upon God’s people by copying somebody else. So when we find a person coming up, and professing to have the testimony of Jesus, and modeling that testimony as nearly as possible after the real, because that is the way - O, that is not the way! GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.10

Coupled with that prayer of Moses, and the fact that the Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh, waiting only that everybody shall receive Him, take the words of the apostle Paul in the first epistle to the Corinthians, fourteenth chapter: “Follow after charity.” Who shall do this? - just a few? - No, everybody. “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” He does not say that some should follow after charity, and that others may prophesy. No; the one is as broad as the other: all should walk in love, and all should have the Spirit of prophecy. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.11

In this same chapter we read: “If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” Who do the prophesying? - All the church. If one comes in, he is judged of all, convicted of all. Thus the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is in you of a truth. This will be the case when God is in his people. But if God is not in the church, - in each individual member of the church, - something is wrong. But when God is truly in the church, these things will be manifest. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.12

What is a prophet, - A speaker for another. We have it plainly illustrated in the Bible. When Moses was called by the Lord to go down and speak to Pharaoh, he objected, demurred, refused, saying he could not speak. Then the Lord rebuked him, and said, “Who hath made man’s mouth?” Then Moses still demurred, and God said, as recorded in the 14th verse, “Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” Exodus 4:14-16. Now read Exodus 7:1: “The Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Thus we see that a prophet is simply a mouthpiece. He does not originate anything, but is the instrument through which another expresses himself. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.13

In Jesus of Nazareth we have the restoration of that which was lost through the first man Adam. Now Adam was not simply one individual; but God made them male and female, and called their name Adam. Genesis 5:1. Christ is the second Adam. Why, there is only one seed; but if we are Christ’s, then are we Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Then the second Adam is not simply one man, Jesus of Nazareth, but all males and females who are in him. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.14

There have been faithful men in all ages who have not known all the truth, or had the power that God was willing to manifest in them; yet they will be saved. We are bringing no accusation or condemnation against any man in whom all the power of God has not been manifest. The fact that there will be some people in the last days who will keep, not a part, but the whole of the commandments of God, - who will have the complete faith of Jesus manifest in them, in whom the testimony of Jesus will be perfectly reproduced, - does not prove that they are any better than some of these others. If we, by the grace of Christ, shall be among the number in whom that testimony shall be reproduced, that will not give us the right to boast over some who are less favored; neither will it give us any higher place in the kingdom. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.15

But God must show, not only to the world, but also to the angels, what he can do with poor, fallen, humanity, so that the perfect life of Jesus may be reproduced in all the true church for a testimony to the power of God. The glory of God must be revealed, and all flesh shall see it; it must be so, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.16

You remember that in the account of Saul’s going to consult Samuel, it is written, “Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.” Now read the message to the Laodicean church: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.17

To whom does this message come? - To everybody. Each one needs the eye-salve, that he may see. And when he sees, what will he be? - A seer. What will he see? - God, and the things of God, the message comes, Go, and tell what thou hast seen. That is the whole thing. Then it will be the testimony of Jesus, will it not? Christ said, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father.” When we get our eyes open, that we may see, we shall be seers, and we shall simply go and tell people what we have seen. We shall be speakers for God, the Holy Spirit filling us, and speaking through us. Our mouths will simply be the mouths of God. O, when God speaks with multitudes of mouths, yet with but one voice, what a mighty voice it shall be! I can not speak loud enough, neither is there any person who can utter the voice loud enough; but when that one voice has utterance through ten thousand - yea, ten thousand times ten thousand - mouths, what a mighty sound it will be! GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.18

A. T. Jones: It will be the loud cry, then, will it not? GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.19

What a mighty cry! “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.20

Some may have feared that this meant a depreciation of the Spirit of prophecy as we have known it in the church. The Spirit of prophecy is there; but until the Spirit of prophecy is in every individual in the church, the Spirit of prophecy, as it is there, will never be appreciated. The reason the message that has come to us again and again has been slighted, though nominally accepted, - has been printed, and marked, and put into our pockets unheeded, - is because we have not the Spirit of prophecy ourselves. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11. Therefore when the Spirit of God takes the things of God, and gives them to us, it is only as we have the Spirit that gives them that we are able to receive them. GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.21

May God hasten that day! Hasten it? - O, it is here now! Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation. Here is the message. I say, Hasten the time when all who profess to be among the number who keep the commandments of God shall have the testimony of Jesus, so that they will speak as if God were beseeching through them, - as if it were Jesus of Nazareth. O, what a marvelous thing it is! “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” But, thank God, he has revealed them to us by his Holy Spirit. Shall we take them? They are ours; he has given them to us. O, let us receive them just as freely as he hath given them! GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.22

“The best wine has its lees. All men’s faults are not written on their foreheads; and it is quite as well they are not, or hats would need very wide brims; yet as sure as eggs are eggs, faults of some sort nestle in every bosom.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.23

“There’s fire in the flint, cool as it looks; wait till the steel gets a knock at it, and you will see.” GCDB February 17, 1899, page 14.24