Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

407/457

Ms 143, 1897

Christ’s Mission to Earth.

NP

December 9, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in 16MR 115-125.

In heaven Satan had declared that the sin of Adam revealed that human beings could not keep the law of God, and he sought to carry the universe with him in this belief. Satan’s words appeared to be true, but Christ came to unmask the deceiver. He came that through trial and dispute of the claims of Satan in the great conflict, He might demonstrate that a ransom had been found. The Majesty of heaven would undertake the cause of man, and with the same facilities that man may obtain, stand the test and proving of God as man must stand it. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 1

Christ came to the earth, taking humanity and standing as man’s representative, to show in the controversy with Satan that he was a liar, and that man, as God created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every requirement of God. Speaking through His servant He declares, “His commandments are not grievous.” [1 John 5:3.] It was sin that separated man from his God, and it is sin that maintains this separation. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 2

What a sight was this for heaven to look upon. Christ, who knew not the least moral taint or defilement of sin, took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. He was the Majesty of heaven, but in the divine plan He descended from His high and holy estate to take humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity, combined with humanity, take hold upon divinity. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 3

God was manifest in the flesh. He humbled Himself. What a subject for thought, for deep, earnest contemplation. So infinitely great that He was the Majesty of heaven, and yet He stooped so low without losing an atom of His dignity or glory. Christ stooped to poverty and to the deepest abasement and humiliation among men. “For our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9.] “The foxes have holes,” He said, “the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” [Matthew 8:20.] 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 4

Christ submitted to insult and mockery, contempt and ridicule. He heard His message, which was fraught with love and goodness and mercy, misapplied and misstated. He heard Himself called the prince of the devils because He testified to His Sonship with God. The circumstances of His birth were divine, but by His own nation, those who had blinded their eyes to spiritual things, it was regarded as a blot and a stain. But these insinuations and charges were but a small part of the abuse He endured in His life. There was not a drop of bitter woe which He did not taste, not a part of the curse which He did not endure, that He might bring many sons and daughters to God. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 5

When we contemplate the fact that Jesus was on this earth as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; that in order to save fallen man from eternal ruin, He left His heavenly home, we should lay in the dust all our pride. This fact should put to shame all our vanity, and reveal to us our sin of self-sufficiency. Behold Him making the wants, the trials, the grief and suffering of sinful man, His own. Can we not take home the lesson that God endured these sufferings and bruises of soul in consequence of sin? 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 6

By taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses of the flesh with which humanity is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the prophet Esaias, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” [Verse 17.] He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He was without a spot. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 7

There should not be the faintest misgivings in regard to the perfect freedom from sinfulness in the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice. This is essential, that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness. This holy Substitute is able to save to the uttermost, for he presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God. Divine power is placed upon man, that he may become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. This is why repenting, believing man can be made the righteousness of God in Him. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 8

The purity and holiness of Christ, the spotless righteousness of Him who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, was heavens light in contrast with satanic darkness. In Him was a perpetual reproach upon all sin in a world of sensuality and sin. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 9

The enmity referred to in the prophecy in Eden was not to be confined merely to Satan and the Prince of life. It was to be universal. Satan and his angels were to feel the enmity of all mankind. “I will put enmity,” said God, “between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15.] The seed of Satan is wicked men, who resist the Spirit of God, and who call the law, as did their father the devil, a yoke of bondage. “Sin is transgression of the law,” said Christ. “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” [1 John 3:4, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 10

The enmity put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman was supernatural. With Christ the enmity was in one sense natural, in another sense it was supernatural, as humanity and divinity were combined. And never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became a resident of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, causing them to revolt, and all His powers were enlisted against Satan. In the purity and holiness of His life, Christ flashed the light of truth amid the moral darkness with which Satan had enshrouded the world. Christ exposed his falsehoods and deceiving character, and spoiled his corrupting influence. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 11

It was this that stirred Satan with such an intense hatred of Christ. With his hosts of fallen beings he determined to urge the warfare most vigorously, for there stood One in the world who was a perfect representation of the Father, and in His character and practices was a refutation of Satan’s misrepresentations of the character of God. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 12

It was the purity and sinlessness of Christ’s humanity that stirred up such satanic hatred. His truth revealed their falsehoods. Satan saw God, whom he had charged with the attributes which he himself possessed, revealed in Christ in His true character—a compassionate, merciful God, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to Him in repentance and have eternal life. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 13

Intense worldliness has been one of Satan’s most successful temptations. He designs to keep the minds and hearts of men so completely filled with worldly attractions that there will be no room for heavenly things. He controls the minds of men in their love of the world. The inordinate attachment to earthly things eclipses the heavenly, and puts the Lord out of the sight and understanding of men. False theories and false gods are cherished in the place of the true. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 14

Men are dazed and charmed with the glitter and tinsel of the world. They are so attached to the things of earth that they will commit any sin in order to gain some worldly advantage. Satan thought to overthrow Christ on this point. He thought that the humanity of Christ would be easily overcome by his temptations. “And the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and said unto him, All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8, 9.] 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 15

But Christ was unmoved; and he used only the weapons justifiable for human beings to use—the word of Him who is mighty in counsel, “It is written.” 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 16

Had there been the least taint of sin in Christ, Satan would have bruised His head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. But Christ “knew no sin.” [2 Corinthians 5:21.] He was the Lamb “without blemish and without spot.” [1 Peter 1:19.] 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 17

With what intense interest was this controversy watched by the heavenly angels and the unfallen worlds as the honor of the law was being vindicated. Not merely for this world, but for the universe of heaven and the worlds that God had created, was the controversy to be forever settled. The confederacy of darkness were watching for the semblance of a chance to rise and triumph over the divine and human Substitute and Surety of the human race, that the apostate might shout, Victory, and the worlds and its inhabitant forever become his kingdom. But Satan reached only the heel; he could not touch the head. Now he sees that his true character is clearly revealed before all heaven, and that the heavenly beings and the worlds that God has created would be wholly on the side of God. He sees that his prospects of future influence with them will be entirely cut off. Christ’s humanity will demonstrate for eternal ages the question which settled the controversy. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 18

What was it that moved His own nation to throw such scorn upon Jesus? The Jews were expecting an earthly prince, who would deliver them from the power which God had declared would rule over them if they refused to keep the way of the Lord, and obey His statutes, His commandments and His laws. They had made their proud boast that Israel’s king, the star arising from Judah, would break their thraldom, and make of them a kingdom of priests. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 19

But it was not the absence of external honor and riches and glory that caused the Jews to reject Jesus. The Sun of Righteousness shining amid the moral darkness in such distinct rays revealed the contrast between sin and holiness, purity and defilement, and such light was not welcome to them. Christ was not such an one as themselves. The Jews could have borne their disappointed hopes better than they could the righteous denunciation of their sins. In parables Christ laid bare their professed sanctity. He compared them to whited sepulchers, deceiving the people by their pretensions to piety. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 20

That which Christ had specified would be His work was fulfilled. The sick were healed, demoniacs were restored, lepers and paralytics were made whole. The dumb spake, the ears of the deaf were opened, the dead were brought to life, and the poor had the gospel preached to them. Had a man in the common walks of life done the same works that Christ did, all would have declared that he was working by the power of God. Every miracle wrought by Christ convinced some of them of His true character, which answered to the specification of the Messiah of prophecy; but those who did not receive the light of heaven set themselves more determinedly against this evidence. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 21

In His youth Christ was subject unto His parents—an example of obedience to all the youth. In His youth He learned the trade of a carpenter, and earned His bread by the sweat of His brow. Thus He honored physical labor, and gave it as a lesson in His practical life. It should be an encouragement and source of strength to every human being in the performance of the commonplace duties of life to know that Jesus labored and toiled to provide for His own temporal wants. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 22

The teachings of Christ, in precept and example were the sowing of the seed, to be afterward cultivated by His disciples. He scattered the heavenly grain like precious pearls, which minds and hearts that desired light and knowledge might skillfully gather up as precious treasures sent from heaven. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 23

Christ set forth truths more spiritual and deep than had have ever before been heard from rulers, scribes, or elders. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He declared. [John 14:6.] The rich treasures of truth opened before the people attracted and charmed their senses. They were in marked contrast with the dry, lifeless, spiritless expositions of the Old Testament Scriptures by the rabbis. And the miracles which He wrought kept constantly before His hearers the honor and glory of God. He seemed to them a messenger direct from heaven, for He spoke not to their ears only, but to their hearts. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 24

After listening to Christ, the doctrines of the priests and rabbis were dry and painful to the ears of the people. These dignitaries of the temple saw that they could not hold the people, and they were filled with jealousy and hostility. Christ stood forth in His humility, yet in dignity and majesty, as one born to command. A power attended Him wherever He went, and hearts were melted into tenderness. An earnest desire was created to be in His presence, to listen to the voice of Him who uttered truths with such solemn melody. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 25

The sayings of Christ are to be valued, not merely in accordance with the measure of the understanding of those who hear; they are to be considered in the important bearing which Christ Himself attaches to them. He took the old truths, of which He Himself was the originator, and placed them before His hearers in heaven’s own light. How different was their representation. What a flood of meaning and brightness and spirituality was brought in by their explanation. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 26

After His resurrection, Christ opened the understanding of His followers, that they might understand the Scriptures. Everything had been transformed by the working of the arts of Satan. Truth was covered up by the rubbish of error, and hidden from finite sight. When Christ referred to His humiliation, rejection, and crucifixion, the disciples could not take in His meaning. It had been a part of their education to expect Christ to set up a temporal kingdom, and when He spoke of His sufferings they could not understand His words. He reproved them because of their slowness of apprehension, and promised them that when the Comforter should come, He would bring many things to their remembrance. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 27

Christ had many truths to give to His disciples of which He could not speak, because they did not advance with the light that was flashed upon the Levitical laws and the sacrificial offerings. They did not embrace the light, advance with the light, and follow on to still greater brightness as Providence should lead the way. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 28

And for the same reason Christ’s disciples of 1897 do not comprehend important matters of truth. So dull has been the comprehension of even those who teach the truth to others that many things cannot be opened to them until they reach heaven. It ought not to be so. But as men’s minds become narrow, they think they know it all, and set one stake after another in points of truths of which they have only a glimpse. They close their minds as though there were no more for them to learn, and should the Lord attempt to lead them on, they would not take up with the increased light. They cling to the spot where they think they see a glimmer of light when it is only a link in the living chain of truths and promises to be studied. They know very little of what it means to follow in the footsteps of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 29

The harmonious relation of truth, like links in a chain, will, just as fast as the mind is quickened by the Spirit of God to comprehend light and in humbleness of mind appropriate it, be dispensed to others, and give the glory back to God. The development of truth will be the reward to the humble-hearted seeker who will fear God and walk with Him. The truth which the mind grasps as truth is capable of constant expansion and new developments. While beholding it, the truth is seen in all its bearings in the life and character, and becomes more clear and certain and beauteous. As the mind grasps it in its preciousness, it becomes elevated, ennobled, sanctified. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 30

The entire system of Judaism was the gospel veiled. Far, very far, are human minds from grasping the teachings of Christ. These are old truths in new settings. I have been shown that those who will not consider are like the Jews. It is humbling to their dignity and pride to work the mines of truth. The Light of the world is sending His divine rays back to enlighten the entire Jewish economy, and the minds that have been accepting the sayings of men as the commandments of God are now educated [to] look to God Himself as the Author of all truth. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 31

Man’s inventions and traditions are not only unreliable, but dangerous, for they place men where God should be. They place the sayings of men where a “Thus saith the Lord,” should be. The world’s Redeemer possesses the key, and unlocks the treasure house of the Old Testament. He explores hidden things. He separates the precious truth from superstition and error and the devisings and imaginings of men. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 32

Christ’s habits and customs and practices were not after the standard of the world. What a lesson He gives to the Christian churches throughout the world not to exalt themselves above the Majesty of heaven, their Redeemer. What do men find in the example of Christ to justify their feeling of superiority, keeping themselves apart from their fellow men, hiding themselves from their own flesh, because [they] have obtained more of this world’s goods than [their] neighbor? Because the world honors the wealthy and despises the poor, shall those who claim to follow jesus do the same? Whose leading and example are such following? Certainly not the example of Him who said, “He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” “to preach the gospel to the poor.” [Luke 4:18.] 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 33

Very many teachers are content with a supposition in regard to the truth. They have crude ideas, and are content with a surface work in searching for truth, taking for granted that they have all that is essential. They take the sayings of other men for truth, being too indolent to put themselves to diligent, earnest labor, represented in the Word as digging for hidden treasure. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 34

Sharp, clear conceptions of truth will never be the reward of indolence. Investigation of every point that has been received as truth will richly repay the searcher in finding precious gems. In closely investigating every jot and little which we think is established truth beyond controversy, in comparing Scripture with Scripture, searching to see if there is no flaw in their interpretation, errors may be discovered. Christ would have the searcher of the Scriptures sink the shaft down deeper into the mines of truth. If the search is properly conducted, precious jewels of inestimable value will be found. The Word of God is the mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 143, 1897, par. 35