Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7

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Lt 45, 1891

Brother

NP

December 28, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in LDE 237; 6MR 321.

Dear Brother,

Your letter is received, but I cannot answer your question without taking more time than I can possibly give you now. I will say that you are in error, most dangerous error for your soul. Those who receive and advance such erroneous sentiments will not be tolerated to minister in word and doctrine. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 1

You put the question hesitatingly, as though you were feeling your way, desiring to know what I would say. I have no hesitancy in replying, Place your feet on a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” There will be no probation after the second coming of Christ. A great, all-sufficient sacrifice has been offered for us. Every provision has been made that we may have eternal life. God gave His only begotten Son to us, and in that one gift He gave all heaven. He determined to make His gift so great that it would not be excelled. “What more could I have done in my vineyard that I have not done in it?” Christ asks. [Isaiah 5:4.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 2

The vineyard is the whole house of Israel. But the natural branches, the Jewish people, were broken off because of unbelief. The Jewish people closed their eyes lest they should see. Christ came to His own, and His own received Him not. In their ostentation and pride they refused the only One who could save them, and Christ broke forth into lamentation over them, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” [Matthew 23:37.] With quivering lips and breaking heart He said, “O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace.” But the irrevocable sentence was pronounced, “Now they are hid from thine eyes.” [Luke 19:42.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 3

Jerusalem symbolizes the world. Just as Jerusalem received her doom, so will the world receive its doom. Christ bore long with the nation He wished to save, but they disappointed all His hopes. After cleansing the temple, driving out the buyers and sellers, He declared, “My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” [Matthew 21:13.] Yet He longed with an intense longing that the Jewish people might recover themselves from the snare of the enemy. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 4

On one occasion as Christ was on His way from Bethany to Jerusalem, He saw a fig tree covered with leaves. He searched its branches for fruit, but in vain. It bore nothing but leaves, and Christ pronounced on it a withering curse. “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth forever,” He said. “And presently the fig tree withered away.” [Verse 19.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 5

This fig tree represented the Jewish nation. Christ knew that the downfall of the nation was sure. The tears He shed on the crest of Olivet were not for Himself. He wept for those who ere long would weep for themselves. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 6

My brother, there will be no probation after the coming of our Lord. Those who say that there will are deceived and misled. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 7

Before Christ comes, just such a state of things will exist as existed before the flood. And after the Saviour appears in the clouds of heaven, no one will be given another chance to gain salvation. All will have made their decisions. Before the close of this world’s history, those who are willing to accept evidence will have the dark veil removed from their minds. Hearts will be cleansed through accepting Christ during the time that the whole world is lighted by the glory of the angel that comes down from heaven. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 8

The Saviour’s denunciation of the fruitless fig tree is a warning to all who claim to be Christians and yet remain in blind unbelief. Thus from age to age the Lord would teach the danger of rejecting light. Christ has worked for and invited all. He will enlighten all who will search the Scriptures candidly and with sincerity. Today He is knocking at the door of the heart. Shall He have to say of those who claim to open to the people the living oracles of God, “In vain do ye worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men”? [Mark 7:7.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 9

The words spoken to the fig tree are applicable to all whose lives, though pretentious, are fruitless. There are false shepherds who feed themselves instead of feeding the flock. The churches are fast being converted to the world. They have beautiful music and splendid decorations. But they are fruitless trees, bearing nothing but leaves. As the Lord unmasked the fig tree, so He will unmask these pretentious hypocrites. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 10

The tree may have every outward indication of prosperity, but the Lord takes not its luxuriant foliage as an evidence of fruitfulness. His search is close and critical for the good fruit which alone makes a tree of any value. How is it with those who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists? What of the people of God in this our day? Can they bear the critical search made by Him who never makes a mistake? Or do they bear only the leaves of profession? Outward profession is worth nothing if it only masks spiritual barrenness. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 11

Paul writes, “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. ... Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.” [2 Timothy 3:1-5.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 12

The time is right upon us when every kind of deception will be practiced. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing.” [Matthew 7:15.] They speak fair words, but all the time they are watching to see how they can get gain for themselves. They are full of selfishness and work at cross purposes with God, misappropriating His goods. “Ye shall know them by their fruit,” the Saviour declares, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, and figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Verses 16-20.] 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 13

Thus the deciding line is drawn. Claiming to be righteous without manifesting the fruit of true conversion is utterly worthless. No external forms, even though they be much as God has commanded, are of value unless accompanied by an inward work of cleansing. Outward works alone will never make a man perfect before God. Nothing but repentance and faith can make an impure heart pure. 7LtMs, Lt 45, 1891, par. 14