The Home Missionary, vol. 3

The Home Missionary, Vol. 3 (1891)


November 1891

“How the Word Came” The Home Missionary, 3.

E. J. Waggoner

Keeping in mind the text which we read last month,-“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,”-we will place by the side of it the following from 2 Peter 1:21: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” HOMI November 1891, page 243.1

In a later article we shall consider more fully the scope of the word “prophecy;” but here it is sufficient to note that the statement made in regard to the prophecy, must be applicable to all Scripture, since it is all given by the inspiration, or breathing, of God. The Scriptures, therefore, did not originate from men, but from the Holy Spirit. this must settle the question as to whether or not the Scriptures are in any degree the reflection of the ignorance or the prejudice of the men who wrote them; for he who would claim that they are, must take the position that the Holy Spirit is capable of being moved by human prejudice, or that it cannot utter words of perfect, divine truth through an imperfect instrument. But that would be to degrade the Holy Spirit to the level of man. HOMI November 1891, page 243.2

It is not our business to inquire how the Spirit of God could speak through a human instrument without destroying his individuality, and still the message be wholly divine. That is a mystery that rests only in the power of God. We accept it just as we accept the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, without attempting to explain it. HOMI November 1891, page 243.3

When we have our attention specially directed to the fact that the Scriptures proceed wholly from the Spirit of God, we cannot fail to be struck with the frequency with which the statement occurs in the Bible, let us not a few instances. HOMI November 1891, page 243.4

“Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” 2 Samuel 23:1, 2. David spoke the word, but it was the word of God. HOMI November 1891, page 243.5

Again, 1 Peter 1:10, 11: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Who was it that testified? It was not the prophets themselves, but the Spirit of Christ that was in the prophets. The prophets did not understand the full import of the things that the Spirit testified through them, but had to study their own writings. HOMI November 1891, page 243.6

Notice in the following scriptures how carefully the distinction is made between the men who were used as instruments, and the source whence the revelation came:- HOMI November 1891, page 243.7

Acts 28:25, 26: “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.” HOMI November 1891, page 243.8

Acts 1:16: “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Jesus, which was guide to them that took Jesus.” HOMI November 1891, page 243.9

Acts 4:24, 25: “Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?” HOMI November 1891, page 243.10

Luke 1:68-70: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, ... as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” HOMI November 1891, page 243.11

Acts 3:20, 21: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoke by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” HOMI November 1891, page 243.12

In all the preceding texts the prophet is mentioned as the mouthpiece of the Spirit of God; but in the following quotation from Jeremiah 31:33, the prophet is ignored, and the credit is given directly to the Holy Spirit:- HOMI November 1891, page 243.13

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” Hebrews 10:15, 16. HOMI November 1891, page 243.14

Who gave this witness?-The Holy Ghost. The prophet Jeremiah was used as the instrument of transmitting it to the people; but it came so directly from the Holy Spirit that Jeremiah could without injustice be ignored in giving credit for the words. And so we learn that, since the Scriptures came not by the will of man, but that “men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost,” the word which they spoke is not the word of man, but is indeed the word of God. HOMI November 1891, page 243.15

“How Shall We Reach the Jews?” The Home Missionary, 3.

E. J. Waggoner

This question is doubtless one of the most difficult to solve of any that are presented to the Christian missionary. There is probably no other class of people so indifferent to Christianity as are the Jews. While I have had, personally, no experience whatever, even in attempting to reach them with the gospel, I give, in response to a request, a few thoughts that have suggested themselves to me as I have studied the Bible. HOMI November 1891, page 248.1

First, however, a word as to the reasons why so little has been accomplished in the past. It is true that the mass of the Jewish people heard him when he came; yet “the common people heard him gladly,” and after the apostle received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, thousands of Jews believed. Systematic persecution was carried on by the Jews against Paul, and yet in nearly every place where he went, if any Jews were there, a few of them believed. This should convince us that when the gospel goes with the same purity and power, it will again have the same effect. HOMI November 1891, page 248.2

But the mystery of iniquity that worked even in Paul’s day, soon developed into the papacy, the sentiment of which was that expressed by Constantine, the great apostle of the papacy; namely, “Let us have nothing in common with that detestable people, the Jews.” Now when we remember that for hundreds of years Catholicism stood before the world claiming to be Christianity itself, it is no wonder that the Jews in Europe have an aversion to Christianity. Even to this day they are hated and persecuted, instead of sought after, by a large portion of the professed Christian church. HOMI November 1891, page 248.3

In America the Jews have always had the fullest liberty, yet the Jew rarely becomes a Christian. And the reason for this is not difficult to find. There are two classes of Jews-those who hold to the writings of Moses, and strictly observe the Sabbath, and those who are practically infidel in regard to the entire Old Testament, whose synagogue service is little more than a club arrangement. The latter, having repudiated everything except money-making, naturally scoff at Christianity; and the former well know that that which presents itself to them as Christianity, ignores some of the plainest doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, notably the Sabbath. Indeed, the entire Old Testament is so largely ignored, or considered as obsolete, by so large a portion of professed Christians, that it is no wonder that orthodox Jews are not attracted toward Christianity. The type of Christianity with which they are most familiar, does not recommend itself to them. HOMI November 1891, page 248.4

But from the gospel record, as already to, it seems as though something might yet be done for this people, especially in Europe and Asia, and the following seems to me to be the line to be followed for success. HOMI November 1891, page 248.5

Those who labor for them must recognize the Old Testament as the word of God. They must not consider it as an incomplete, vague, or shadowy revelation, but as being indeed the “Scriptures of truth,” containing everything necessary to make the one who believes it perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. They must recognize the fact that the New Testament contains no new revelation, but that it only gives the life of Christ, of which the prophets wrote, as a living reality. HOMI November 1891, page 248.6

The successful evangelist among the Jews must be a thorough student of the Old Testament. The apostles preached the gospel from the Old Testament. At Thessalonica, Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures (the Old Testament), proving from them that Jesus Christ exactly fulfilled their requirement. So we, from the light that the Spirit gives us, must be able to preach Christ from the Old Testament as clearly as from the New. Jesus says that Moses wrote of him; we must learn to recognize Christ throughout all the writings of Moses. When we learn to recognize the “gospel of the kingdom” as clearly in Isaiah and the other prophets, as in the Gospels and the Revelation, then we may hope for more success among the Jews. HOMI November 1891, page 248.7

The life of Christ as described in the Gospels, has never been impeached as a matter of history. Infidels admit the record as authentic; for the first infidel writer, who lived in the third century, did not attempt to deny the record. “This thing was not done in a corner,” and we may tell the story of Christ’s life and death and resurrection as boldly as did the early disciples. But to this end we must be as familiar with it as they were. Christ must be revealed in us, and must appear openly crucified among us, as he did to the Galatians. His life must be a living reality to us, so that we can walk with him over the hills of Judea, and by the Sea of Galilee, beholding every act, as did the early disciples, and by the aid of the Spirit seeing in them that which they did not see until after Pentecost. Then Christ can be preached with power. HOMI November 1891, page 248.8

Further, we must recognize the fact that to preach “Christ and him crucified” is the sum of the “gospel of the kingdom,” or, as it is commonly known among us, the third angel’s message. We must show to the Jews more in the Sabbath of the fourth commandment than they have ever seen. We must show them its relation to the life of Christ, that they may learn from it to know God who sanctifies them. HOMI November 1891, page 248.9

We must ourselves realize as never before the meaning of the statement that God is the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” We must remember that “the hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers” is our only hope, and must be able to show from the covenant that God made with Abraham, the sacrifice of Christ, justification by faith and not by works, the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. We must see so clearly that it is a reality to us, that the work of this message is the same work that He began to do by Moses and Aaron, when he sent them to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage; that in this work he is simply setting his hand the second time to lead his people into the promised land. Recognizing this, we shall be in a position to learn from God’s dealings with Israel just what he wanted them to learn. HOMI November 1891, page 248.10

Standing with the thousands of Israel at the base of Sinai, and listening anew to God’s voice as he declares his law, we must be able to show them that in the giving of that law the gospel was preached in thunder tones. They must be made to see that all the circumstances of the giving of the law show that by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. They must see that the law has only condemnation and death, and that the righteousness of God which is assured to believers in the promise and oath of God to Abraham, must come as a free gift from God. HOMI November 1891, page 249.1

These suggestions simply point out briefly the general line to be pursued. It is the line that gave the apostles all the success that they had; therefore it is not presented as an untried plan. It will be seen that few, if any, possess at present the necessary preparation for such a work; but the God of Abraham and of Israel is with us in the work, and he is waiting to clothe his servants with the Holy Spirit of power, even as in the days of old. HOMI November 1891, page 249.2