Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 9, 1896

The Divine Teacher


March 23, 1896

This manuscript is published in entirety in FE 397-404. +Note

Those who are daily learning of Jesus Christ are fitted to take their position as laborers together with God, and whatever their trade or business may be, they may exert their God-given powers after the similitude of Christ’s character, while He tabernacled in the flesh. The young will carry with them just the influence they received in their school education. God holds teachers responsible for their work as educators. They must learn daily in the school of Christ, in order to uplift the youth who have had a lax training at home, who have not formed studious habits, who have little knowledge of the future immortal life, for which the highest price was paid by the God of heaven in giving His only begotten Son to live a life of humiliation and die a most shameful death, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 1

God has given us a probation in which we may prepare for the higher school. For this school the youth are to be educated, disciplined, and trained by forming such characters, moral and intellectual, as God will approve. They are to receive a training, not in the customs and amusements and games of this worldly, polluted society, but in Christ’s lines, a training which will fit them to be co-laborers with the heavenly intelligences. But what a farce is that education obtained in literary lines, if it must be stripped from the learner if he is counted worthy to enter upon that life which measures with the life of God, he himself saved as by fire. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 2

In the past, education has consisted in laboriously loading the minds of the students with material which cannot be of the least value to them, and which will not be recognized in the higher school. The teachers of the Jewish nation professed to educate the youth to understand the purity and excellence of the laws of that kingdom which is to stand for ever and ever, but they perverted truth and purity. Though they said of themselves, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we” [Jeremiah 7:4], yet they crucified the Originator of all the Jewish economy, Him to whom all their ordinances pointed. They failed to discern the veiled mystery of godliness; Christ Jesus remained veiled to them. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 3

The truth, the life, the heart of all their service was discarded. They held, and still hold, the mere husks, the shadows, the figures symbolizing the true. A figure for the time appointed, that they might discern the true, became so perverted by their own inventions that their eyes were blinded. They did not realize that type met antitype in the death of Jesus Christ. The greater their perversion of figures and symbols, the more confused their minds became, so that they could not see the perfect fulfillment of the Jewish economy, instituted and established by Christ, and pointing to Him as the substance. Meats and drinks and divers ordinance were multiplied until ceremonial religion constituted their only worship. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 4

In His teaching Christ sought to educate and train the Jews to see the object of that which was to be abolished by the true offering of Himself, the living sacrifice. “Go,” said He, “and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” [Matthew 9:13.] He presented a pure character as of supreme importance. He dispensed with all pomp, demanding that faith that works by love and purifies the soul as the only qualification required for the kingdom of heaven. He taught that true religion does not consist in forms or ceremonies, outward attractions or outward display. Christ would have taken these to Himself if they had been essential in the formation of a character after the divine similitude. But His citizenship, His divine authority rested upon His own intrinsic merits. He, the Majesty of heaven, walked the earth shrouded in the robe of humanity. All His attractions and triumphs were to be revealed in behalf of man, and were to testify to His living connection with God. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 5

Christ’s prediction regarding the destruction of the temple was a lesson on the purification of religion, by making of none effect forms and ceremonies. He announced Himself greater than the temple, and stood forth proclaiming, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” [John 14:6.] He was the One in whom all the Jewish ceremony and typical service was to find its fulfillment. He stood forth in the place of the temple; all the offices of the church centered in Himself alone. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 6

In the past, Christ had been approached through forms and ceremonies, but now He was upon the earth, calling attention directly to Himself, presenting a spiritual priesthood, and placing the sinful human agent at the footstool of mercy. “Ask, and it shall be given you,” He promised; “seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] “If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ... and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:14, 15, 21.] “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” [John 15:9, 10.] 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 7

These lessons Christ gave in His teaching, showing that the ritual service was passing away, and possessed no virtue. “The hour cometh,” He said, “and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” [John 4:23, 24.] True circumcision is the worship of Christ in spirit and truth, not in forms and ceremonies, with hypocritical pretense. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 8

The deep necessity of man for a divine teacher was known in heaven. The pity and sympathy of God was exercised in behalf of man, fallen and bound to Satan’s chariot car; and when the fulness of time was come, He sent forth His Son. The One appointed in the councils of heaven came to the earth as an instructor. He was no less a being than the Creator of the world, the Son of the Infinite God. The rich benevolence of God gave Him to our world, and to meet the necessities of humanity, He took on Him human nature. To the astonishment of the heavenly host, He walked this earth as the Eternal Word. Fully prepared, He left the royal courts to come to a world marred and polluted with sin. Mysteriously He allied Himself to human nature. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” [John 1:14.] God’s excess of goodness, benevolence, and love was a surprise to the world of grace which could be realized, but not told. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 9

That Christ, during His childhood, should grow in wisdom and in favor with God and man, was not a matter of astonishment, for it was according to the laws of His divine appointment that His talents should develop and His faculties strengthen by exercise. He sought neither the schools of the prophets nor the learning received from the rabbinical teachers; He needed not the education gained in these schools, for God was His instructor. When in the presence of the teachers and rulers, His questions were instructive lessons, and He astonished the great men with His wisdom and deep penetration. His answers to their queries opened up fields of thought on subjects in reference to the mission of Christ, which had never before entered their minds. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 10

The stores of wisdom and the scientific knowledge Christ displayed in the presence of the wise men were a subject of surprise to His parents and brothers, for they knew He had never received from the great teachers instruction in human science. His brothers were annoyed at His questions and answers, for they could discern that He was as an instructor to the learned teachers. They could not comprehend Him, for they knew not that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they knew nothing. He ever possessed a peculiar dignity and individuality distinct from earthly pride or assumption, for He did not strive after greatness. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 11

After Christ had condescended to leave His high command, step down from an infinite height and assume humanity, He could have taken upon Him any condition of humanity He might choose. But greatness and rank were nothing to Him, and He selected the lowest and most humble walk of life. The place of His birth was Bethlehem, and on one side His parentage was poor, but God, the Owner of the world, was His Father. No trace of luxury, ease, selfish gratification, or indulgence was brought into His life, which was a continual round of self-denial and self-sacrifice. In accordance with His humble birth, He had apparently no greatness or riches, in order that the humblest believer need not say Christ never knew the stress of pinching poverty. Had He possessed the semblance of outward show, of riches, of grandeur, the poorest class of humanity would have shunned His society; therefore He chose the lowly condition of the far greater number of the people. The truth of heavenly origin was to be His theme: He was to sow the earth with truth; and He came in such a way as to be accessible to all, that the truth alone might make an impression upon human hearts. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 12

Christ’s contentment in any position provoked His brethren. They could not explain the reason of His peace and serenity; and no persuasion of theirs could lead Him to enter into any plans or arrangements which bore the impression of commonness or of guilt. On every occasion He would turn from them, plainly stating that they would mislead others, and were unworthy of sons of Abraham. He must set such an example that little children, the younger members of the Lord’s family, would see nothing in His life or character to justify any evil deed. You are altogether too particular and peculiar, said the members of His own family. Why not be as other children? But this could not be, for Christ was to be a sign and a wonder from His youth, as far as strict obedience and integrity were concerned. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 13

Always kind, courteous, ever taking the part, of the oppressed, whether Jew or Gentile, Christ was beloved by all. By His perfect life and character He answered the question asked in the 15th Psalm: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” [Verses 1, 2.] In childhood and youth His course was such that when engaged in work as a teacher, He could say to His disciples, “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” [John 15:10.] 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 14

As Christ grew older, and work commenced in His childhood went on, and He continued to increase in wisdom, and [in] favor with God and man. He did not take the part of His own family merely because they were related to Him by natural ties; He would not vindicate their case in a single instance where they had been guilty or injustice or wrong, but He ever vindicated that which He knew to be truth. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 15

Christ applied Himself diligently to a study of the Scriptures, for He knew them to be full of precious instruction to all who make it the man of their counsel. He was faithful in the discharge of His home duties, and the early morning hours, instead of being wasted in bed, often found Him in a retired place, meditating and searching the Scriptures and in prayer. Every prophecy concerning His work and mediation was familiar to Him, especially those having reference to His humiliation, atonement, and intercession. In childhood and youth the object of His life was ever before Him, an inducement for His undertaking the work of mediating in behalf of fallen man. He would see seed which should prolong their days, and the gracious purpose of the Lord should prosper in His hands. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 16

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race which is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at [the right hand of] the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:1, 2.] These subjects Christ studied in His youth, and the universe of heaven looked with interest upon the One who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 17

By offering Himself to make intercession for the transgression of the human race, Christ executed the office of priest. As a reward, He was to see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. His seed should prolong their days on the earth for ever. “Honor thy father and mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:12.] By His obedience to His father and mother, Christ was an example to all children and youth, but today children are not following the example He has given, and the sure result will be a shortening of their days. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 18

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” [Ephesians 1:3-5.] Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the covenant was made that all who were obedient, all who should through the abundant grace provided become holy in character, and without blame before God, by appropriating that grace, should be children of God. This covenant, made from eternity, was given to Abraham nineteen hundred years before Christ came. With what interest and what intensity did Christ in humanity study the human race to see if they would avail themselves of the provision offered. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 19

“This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] These words are an eye-opener to all who will see. The knowledge of God is a knowledge which will not need to be left behind when our probation closes, a knowledge which is of the most lasting benefit to the world and to us individually. Why, then, should we put the Word of God in the background when it is wisdom unto salvation? “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” [Hebrews 2:1-3.] 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 20

We are neglecting our salvation if we give authors who have but a confused idea of what religion means the most conspicuous place and devoted respect, and make the Bible secondary. Those who have been enlightened in reference to the truth for these last days will not find instruction in the books generally studied today in regard to the things which are coming upon our world. But the Bible is full of the knowledge of God, and is competent to educate the student for usefulness in this life and for the eternal life. 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 21

Study carefully the first chapter of Hebrews. Become interested in the Scriptures. Read and study them diligently. “In them ye think ye have eternal life,” Christ said, “and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] It means everything to us to have an experimental and individual knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, “whom he hath sent.” [Verse 38.] “For this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] 11LtMs, Ms 9, 1896, par. 22