Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 87, 1896

Olsen, O. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 25, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in ChL 58; Ev 20-21, 195-196; SD 68.

Elder O. A. Olsen
Battle Creek, Michigan, U. S. A.

My Dear Brother:

Earnest work must be done if a people is prepared to stand in the day of the Lord. Those in America who have been given so many privileges and opportunities of hearing the truth are accountable to God for all the light that they have received. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 1

All who are preparing to meet the Lord at His coming should make the book of Revelation the subject of their earnest study and prayer. This book is just what its name signifies—a revelation of the important events that are to take place in the last days of this earth’s history. John because of his faithful trust in the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, was banished to the isle of Patmos. But his banishment did not separate him from Jesus Christ. The Lord knows all about His faithful servants, who for His sake are lying in prisons and dungeons, or who are banished to lonely islands; and He comforts them in their affliction. Christ visited John in his exile and opened to him the closing scenes of this world’s history. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 2

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” writes John, “and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” The Lord of the Sabbath had important messages for John, for He said to him, “What thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” [Revelation 1:10, 11.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 3

“And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass. Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand.” “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out if the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” [Revelation 22:6, 7, 10, 18, 19.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 4

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,” writes John, “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 5

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, whosoever receiveth the number of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:6-12.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 6

These things which were presented to John are of the greatest importance to us, for we are living in the very last days; soon we shall enter upon the fulfillment of those events which Christ opened to John on the isle of Patmos. As the messengers of God present these solemn truths, they must realize that they are handling subjects of eternal interest, they should seek for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that they may speak, not their own words, but words given them by God. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 7

The book of Revelation must be opened to the people. Many have been taught that it is a sealed book; but it is sealed only to those who reject light and truth. The truth it contains must be proclaimed, that people may have an opportunity to prepare for the events which are so soon to transpire. The third angel’s message must be presented as the only hope for the salvation of a perishing world. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 8

We read still further in this book: “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.” [Revelation 12:17.] The commandment-keeping people of God are here contrasted with the world at large. They are persecuted because of their faithful adherence to the Sabbath of the Lord. This is God’s test, and we bear a testing message to the world. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 9

There are only two classes of people on this earth when Christ comes—those who worship the power represented by John as the dragon, and those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus. The Lord has defined these two classes that they may be known by the messages they bear, and by the words inscribed on their banners. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 10

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” [Revelation 22:16.] God would have the messages of Revelation presented before all. Let the students in our schools hear them. Teach them of the things which are shortly to come to pass. Do not let the teaching be done in a dry, abstract way, which has been the manner of teaching in too many cases, but present the truths of God’s Word in a fresh, impressive way. And in all the instruction that is given, let Christ be uplifted as the “bright and morning star.” 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 11

We have a most solemn, testing message to give to the world. But too much time has been given to those who already know the truth. In the place of spending time on those who have been given many opportunities to learning the truth, go to the people who have never heard your message. Hold your camp meetings in cities where the truth has not been proclaimed. Some will attend the meetings and receive the message. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 12

The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed, be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed by John, such a reformation would be made in our churches, that many more would believe our message. We are God’s messengers, and we have not time to lose, for He calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword working both ways. But do not be too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Present the truth as it is in Jesus. Let Daniel speak, let Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, “the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” [Revelation 22:16.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 13

The words God has given His servants to proclaim are words of solemn import. We hear the voice of the angel of God as we listen to the message proclaimed by the servants of God, who are sounding the trumpet note of warning and giving the last message of mercy to a perishing world. God’s angels may not be visible, but the messengers through whom God works are visible; and those who reject their words, who strive to counteract the messages God sends, place themselves in a position similar to that of the Jews who rejected Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 14

In past ages there have been those who have exercised their capabilities and powers in doing a work, by the help of the Holy Spirit, which constituted them laborers together with God. But there have also been those who have criticized their work, and rejected the messages which they bore. So it is today. There are those in responsible positions who, by their words and actions, sow seeds of doubt and unbelief. This seed is called tares by our Lord; and those who sow it are under the guidance of evil angels. They are at work both openly and secretly, seeking to counteract the work which God has appointed His divine agencies to perform through human agencies. All who do this work see with defective and perverted eyesight. Their imagination is inspired by satanic agencies, and they see many things in a false light. Unless they repent, they will soon, like Esau, find no place for repentance, though they seek it carefully with tears. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 15

I would say to all those who by their attitude have stood for years in the way of the work of God, endeavoring to counteract it by hidden methods, God has seen your work. He sees every secret thing, and reads the thoughts of the heart as an open book. Could your eyes be opened, you would not triumph in your work of hindering the message which God has sent. You would be afraid, and terribly ashamed of the work you have been doing. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 16

Could those who have for so long stood in opposition to the work of God, take a retrospective view, could they see the spirit that prompts them to action as God sees it, could they see the effect which their resistance to the Holy Spirit of God has had upon their religious life, they would tremble before the Lord. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 17

Those who reject God’s messengers reject Christ. They turn from the truth to a dish of fables, deception, and delusion. Some partake largely of infidelity, and instead of following Christ, the Lamb of God, they follow the great deceiver; and this works their eternal ruin. By their stubbornness, their unwillingness to change wrong for right, they sow seed which they will not care to harvest. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 18

In the history of the children of Israel we see how often their march through the wilderness was hindered by their murmurings and disputings. God had appointed Moses to lead them through the promised land, but often he was discouraged and disheartened by the envy and jealousy which they manifested. God Himself often displayed His glory in the tabernacle, but still the people murmured. Yet Moses did not lose his faith in the Lord, or his love for the people. Mark how earnestly he pleads for them. “And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 19

“Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee If I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; and consider that this nation is thy people.” “And the Lord spake with Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” [Exodus 33:12, 13, 11, 14.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 20

Even so will the Lord honor His people in 1896 if they will honor Him as did Moses, and serve Him with a perfect heart. God does not require His servants to carry their burdens in their own strength. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 21

Encouraged by the assurance of God’s presence, Moses draws still nearer to him, and saith unto the Lord, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goeth with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” [Verses 15-17.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 22

Moses asked for an assurance that the Lord would go with him, saying, “So shall we be separated, I and thy people, (in practice) from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” [Verse 16.] Today this earth is as corrupt as it was in the days of Noah, and those who are faithful sentinels, will guard their charge as a shepherd guards his flock. As they earnestly seek the Lord with all their heart, they will find Him, and instead of leading those with whom they are connected into close connection with the world, encouraging them to seek selfish gratification by practicing the customs of the world, they will educate them to render undivided service to God. No sacred trusts will be betrayed by them. The greatest care to practice right principles will be observed. No effort will be made to bring earthly and selfish principles into the work of God. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 23

Encouraged by God’s willingness to take him into favor, and to grant the requests he urges upon His notice, Moses draws still nearer to God, and ventures to ask for further blessings. “He said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” [Verse 18.] Think you that God reproved His servant for his presumption? If so, you are mistaken. Moses did not make this request from idle curiosity. He had an object in view. His whole soul was drawn out after God; he longed to know more of Him, that he might commune with Him, and feel His presence near in every emergency. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 24

He saw that ambition for worldly distinction could not be brought into the service of God; and he knew that if he could obtain a clear view of the glory of God, he could carry it with him on his important mission, which at times appeared so discouraging to him. It was not selfishness that led Moses to ask to be shown the glory of God. If God revealed His glory to him, he purposed to communicate this blessing to all with whom he came in contact. In this earnest supplication, his whole object was to honor and glorify God, and He who understands the intents of the heart knew the thoughts and motives of His faithful servant. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 25

God answered Moses, saying, “I will make all my glory pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” “And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen.” [Verses 19-23.] “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” [Exodus 34:6.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 26

By showing Moses special honor, by giving him a sight of His glory, the Lord designed to give him such views of God, that though elevated, he would still be humble, and though trustful, yet childlike in his faith. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 27

“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” [Exodus 33:11.] What a lesson is given us in this experience! Is it not one of the most valuable and important lessons that we can study? It reveals a treasure of light and knowledge to every soul who values the favor of God. Let those who desire an education of the highest kind learn from this experience that God is nigh unto all who seek Him with the whole heart. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 28

The more one sees of the character of God, the more humble he becomes, and the lower his estimation is of himself. This indeed is the evidence that he beholds God, that he is in union with Jesus Christ. Unless we are meek and lowly, we cannot in truth claim that we have any conception of the character of God. Men may think that they possess superior qualifications. Their splendid talents, great learning, eloquence, activity, and zeal, may dazzle the eye, delight the fancy, and awaken the admiration of those who cannot read beneath the surface; but unless humility and modesty is linked with these other gifts, self-glorification and self-exaltation will be seen. Unless each qualification is consecrated to the Lord, unless those to whom the Lord has entrusted gifts seek that grace which alone can make their qualifications acceptable to God, they are looked upon by the Lord as unprofitable servants. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 29

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O Lord, thou wilt not despise.” “Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering.” [Psalm 51:17, 16.] “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] “To this man will I look,” declares the Lord, “even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word.” [Isaiah 66:2.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 30

Those whose hearts are melted and subdued, who have seen the glorious manifestation of God’s character, will show no heedless presumption. They will not exalt themselves, or mingle common fire with the fire of God’s own kindling. Self will be lost in the consciousness they have of God’s wonderful glory, and their own utter unworthiness. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 31

All who value a happy and holy walk with God, and prize the comfort and the blessing that a knowledge of Him brings, will leave nothing undone if only they may gain a glimpse of His glory. In every place, and under every circumstance, they will pray to God that they may be allowed to see Him. They will cherish that meek and contrite spirit that trembles at the Word of God. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 32

There is much spurious, fitful humility in this world. Some place themselves very low, determined to conquer self. But they try in their own strength, and the next wave carries them almost out of sight. Moses had genuine humility, and all who truly desire to see the manifestation of God’s glory, will cherish this grace. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 33

Christ came to this world for no other purpose than to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. His whole life was one of pure, disinterested benevolence. His purposes were full of love and sympathy, and He rejoiced that He could do more for His chosen ones than they could ask or think. Yet He came in great humility, and when He was here upon the earth He pleased not Himself. And to those who reveal His meekness and lowliness, living lives of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and submitting themselves in humble obedience to His will, he will manifest the glory of God. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 34

All power and grace was given unto Christ. His heart was a well-spring of living water, a never-failing fountain of love and compassion, ever ready to flow in a rich, clear stream. His constant prayer for His followers was that they might be sanctified through the truth, and He prayed with assurance, knowing that an Almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in all nations for a witness. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil. He knew that the bloodstained banner would one day wave triumphantly over His followers. With His prophetic eye, He saw the company of which John writes. 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 35

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.” “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” [Revelation 19:6-9.] 11LtMs, Lt 87, 1896, par. 36