Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 89, 1897

Waiting and Watching


August 20, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in RH 04/12/1898.

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:13, 14.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 1

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward unto these things which are before, I press forward toward the mark of the prize for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have as for an ensample. And many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” [Philippians 3:13-18.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 2

This warning in regard to the perils of the people of God is given by One who knows. The enemies of the cross of Christ will put on the garments of light. So it was in Paul’s day. And as the apostle saw the influence that these had, he warns the people with weeping not to give them encouragement; for they were enemies of the cross of Christ. “Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things.” [Verse 19.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 3

“For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” [Philippians 3:20-4:1.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 4

“Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 24:42-44.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 5

Our part is not to wait in idle expectancy, but to act in accordance with our faith in the Word of God. In Christ soon to come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory? Is the end of all things at hand? Then those who claim to be followers of Christ must have works in proportion with their faith. Vigilant waiting is to be combined with earnest watching. In view of the solemn events soon to take place, every soul who has been privileged to hear the truth is to work earnestly. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 6

The Christian life is the life of a faithful servant, not only a life of waiting and meditation, not alone a life of prayer, but a life also of work. We pray for strength to do that work that God has given us. We are to wait and watch and work for Christ. Thus we can attain to the full stature of men and women in Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 7

No one who is in Christ’s service can be at rest, doing nothing. “We are laborers together with God,” is the inspired declarations. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] While we search the Scriptures to learn God’s plan, we are to strive to carry out this plan. Not only are we to seek strength from God in order to know His will, but to do that will. As His earthly agents, we are to co-operate with divine intelligences in carrying out God’s plan for the salvation of those for whom Christ died. As we work under the great Captain of our salvation, faithfully obeying His orders, our characters are developed. Through His merits we are enabled to work in harmony with God’s great plan. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 8

Those who merely profess to be Christians—the subjective part of religion—and who do not do faithful service for Christ, will fail of obtaining that experience that makes them of value in God’s sight. While we are to guard against all hurry and bustle that would lead us to neglect to form characters after the divine Pattern, we are to heed the Scripture, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] We are to guard against the devices of the enemy which lead to spiritual declension, that the day of the Lord shall not come upon us as a thief. Those who realize the necessity of working for the Master, communicating to others the light and knowledge that the Lord has given them, will be growing Christians. Waiting, praying, watching, and working, they are prepared to bear witness to the truth. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 9

Heart work will reveal itself in actions. Those who appreciate truth and righteousness will show their zeal by their efforts to give the light to others. Paul said to Timothy, “Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] Those who are chosen vessels must reflect the character of Christ. Through these the grace of Christ flows in rich, pure streams from the river of the water of life, enabling them to bless all with whom they come in contact. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 10

Golden instruction is given us in the fourth chapter of Zechariah. “The angel that talked with me,” the prophet writes, “came again, and waked me, as a man is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 11

“Then the angel that talked with me answered, and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered, and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. ... And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches, which through the golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” [Verses 1-6, 12-14.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 12

There is a work for all to do for the Master. Every human being who has a vital connection with Christ will earnestly strive to carry forward the work committed to him. But no selfishness can enter God’s service. The most splendid service, if it originates with self, is useless. Unless the root is holy, no fruit can be borne to God’s glory. We are to be justified by faith and judged by works. God’s law claims obedience from all, and condemns disobedience. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 13

The Lord has a people on the earth who follow the Lamb whither soever He goeth. He has His thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Such will stand on mount Zion. But first they must stand on earth girded with the whole armor, ready to engage in the work of saving those who are ready to perish, hunting for lost sheep. Heavenly angels conduct this search, and spiritual activity is demanded of all who believe present truth, that they may join the angels in their work. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 14

We will follow the Lamb in the courts above only if we follow Him here. Following Him in heaven depends on our keeping His commandments here below. In daily life we must follow His example, as a flock trustfully follows its shepherd. We are not to follow Christ fitfully or capriciously, only when it is for our own advantage. We are to follow Him by suffering for His sake, saying at every step, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” [Job 13:15.] We must choose to follow Him. His life practice must be our life practice. And as we thus seek to be like Him, and to bring our wills into conformity to His will, we shall reveal Him. We need not wait till we are translated to follow Christ. This God’s people may do here below. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 15

God calls upon every true worker to be an ambassador of love. The Lord is at the door, and all the manhood and womanhood of our spiritual being is to be called into activity. All are tested and proved to see if they will keep the law of the heavenly courts. At this time, when universal contempt is shown by the professed Christian world to the royal law of Jehovah, God’s witnesses are to arise, and show their loyalty to Him by keeping His law. Their prayer will be, “It is time, O Lord, for thee to work; for they have made void thy law.” [Psalm 119:126.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 16

“Ye are my friends,” Christ said, “if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” [John 15:14, 15.] For what purpose? That they might make it known to others. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” [Verses 26, 27.] 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 17

We are not in a dreamland of inaction. We are soldiers of Christ, enlisted in the work of showing our loyalty to Him who has redeemed us. What we are to be in the heavenly home, when saved, eternally saved, is the reflection of what we are now in character and holy service. Shall we not show our loyalty by keeping God’s commandments here, in this our place of probation? Shall we not raise the standard of loyalty to the God of heaven, irrespective of consequences, not heeding the reviling and hatred of the churches that have apostatized from the service of their Creator? 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 18

God has said, Remember, do not forget, that thou keep holy the sabbath day. If we are loyal to God’s commandments, if we follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, we will hold as sacred the day He has sanctified and blessed as commemorative of His work of creation. He has set the Sabbath as a sign between us and Him through all our generations forever. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 19

“He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:21-23.] Precious assurance, to be realized as true by those who are obedient. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 20

“He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [Verse 24.] “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.” Shall we not continue in God’s love by obeying implicitly all His commandments? “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. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:9-11.] Full and entire obedience brings joy, not mourning, doubt, and uncertainty. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 21

All who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, working out His commands as loyal subjects, can claim the words, “Hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. ... Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” [1 John 2:3-5, 7.] It is here stated definitely that it is the law given in Eden to which John refers, and that it has binding claims upon all mankind. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 22

Are we following Christ with unwavering loyalty, seeking to bring our wills into harmony with the will of our Captain, keeping His life of perfect obedience, of purity and self-sacrifice, ever before us, that by beholding we may be changed into His image? Do we strive to follow His unswerving fidelity? If we educate ourselves now to say, “Be thou my Pattern,” if we behold Him now by the eye of faith as a living Saviour, we shall be strengthened to follow Him. Then with the undefiled we shall follow Him in the future life. As eye and heart witnesses we can bear testimony to His majesty, for by faith we have been with Him in the holy mount. 12LtMs, Ms 89, 1897, par. 23