Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

297/457

Ms 41, 1897

Words of Comfort

NP

April 29, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in HM 7/1897. +Note

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” [John 14:1-3.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 1

These words were spoken during the last moments that Christ spent with His disciples before the power of darkness came to rend His soul with superhuman anguish. Words of heavenly sympathy flowed from His sacred lips. He did not call upon His disciples for sympathy. His heart was drawn out in love for them, for He knew that they would be grievously disappointed by His crucifixion. He knew that they would be assailed by the enemy. Satan’s craft is most successful when carried on against those who he sees will become depressed by difficulties. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 2

Christ’s intercourse with His disciples when sitting around the communion table was of intense interest to Him, and was the opening of a most earnest conversation. He was soon to pass through scenes which would be the severest test to His disciples. He would not leave them in darkness regarding His work and mission. Not only did He see distinctly His own humiliation and suffering; He saw also the effect that it would have upon His disciples. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 3

While sitting around the table Christ gave His disciples an evidence that although Judas had been among them as one of the twelve, although he had been treated as courteously as the other disciples, yet he would betray his Saviour. All the work of Judas was known to Christ; none of his secret, underhand work was concealed from Christ’s eyes. By telling Judas that he would betray Him, Christ gave another evidence of His divinity. He had already told Peter that before the cock crew, he would deny Him thrice. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 4

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you,” Christ said. “Ye shall seek me, and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” [John 13:33.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 5

Christ, who can read the hearts of all, knew that this was a great shock to His disciples, and in answer to Peter’s inquiry, “Lord, whither goest thou?” He said, “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” [Verse 36.] These words were remembered when Peter himself was crucified. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 6

Peter said unto him, “Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” [Verse 37.] These words were indeed fulfilled. After Peter had denied his Lord [and] had been converted, he remembered them. When He was called up before His persecutors he remembered his shameful denial of Christ, and urged that he be crucified with his head downward. He did die for the Master he loved; and even in the manner of his death, he followed his Lord. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 7

During these last sorrowful hours, Christ told His disciples that on the night of His trial they would all be offended because of Him. He would not be left alone. He told them that for a little while after His death they would be sorrowful, but their sorrow would be turned into joy. [Mark 14:27; John 16:32, 20.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 8

He told them that the time was coming that they would be put out of the synagogue, and that those who killed them would think that they were doing God a service. [Verse 2.] He stated plainly why He told them these things while He was with them—that when they should transpire, they would remember that He told them of them before they came to pass and believe on Him as their Redeemer. [John 13:19.] Thus is expressed the great love and tender compassion of the Son of God. In prefiguring His future He was plain and definite that in their coming trials and difficulties, the disciples might know that the Most High would not forget or forsake them, but would send them the Holy Spirit, to remain with them always. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 9

The statements made by Christ were saddening to the disciples. They were amazed. But they were followed by the comforting assurance, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know, and the way ye know.” [John 14:1-4.] “For your sakes I came into the world. I am working in your behalf. If I go away, I shall still work earnestly for you. I came into the world to reveal myself unto you, that you might believe. I go to my Father and yours, to co-operate with Him.” 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 10

How plain are these words! How simple the language! A child could understand it. But the disciples were perplexed. Thomas, always troubled with doubts, said to Him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” [Verses 5-7.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 11

The object of Christ’s departure was the opposite to that which they feared. It did not mean a final separation from Him; He went to prepare a place for them. Then He would come again and receive them unto Himself. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 12

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [Verse 6.] When the apostle Paul, through the revelation of Christ, was converted from a persecutor to a Christian, he declared that he was as one born out of due time. [1 Corinthians 15:8.] “For me to live is Christ,” he declared. [Philippians 1:21.] This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood that which many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was. His words show that his mind was centered on Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Christ. Christ was the author, the source, and the support of his life. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 13

In the last scenes of this earth’s history, war will rage. There will be pestilence, plague, and famine. The waters of the deep will overflow their boundaries. Property and life will be destroyed by fire and flood. This should show us that the souls for whom Christ died should be fitting up for the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for them. There is a rest from the earth’s conflict. Where is it? “That where I am, there ye may be also.” [John 14:3.] Heaven is where Christ is. Heaven would not be heaven to those who love Christ if He were not there. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 14

Are we individually fitting up characters which well be meet for the society of Christ and the heavenly angels? Philip said to Christ, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believe thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” [Verses 8-10.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 15

Philip’s doubt was answered with words of reproof. He wished Christ to reveal the Father in bodily form; but in Christ God had already revealed Himself. Is it possible, Christ said, that after walking with me, hearing my words, seeing the miracle of feeding the five thousand, of healing the sick of the dread disease leprosy, of bringing the dead to life, of raising Lazarus, who was a prey to death, whose body had indeed seen corruption, you do not know me? Is it possible that you do not discern the Father in the works that He does by me. Do you not believe that I am to testify of the Father? “How sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” I am the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person. “How sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” [Verses 9-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 16

Christ emphatically impressed upon them the fact that they could see the Father by faith alone. God cannot be seen in external form by any human being. Christ alone can represent the Father to humanity. This representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 17

As Christ was speaking these words, the glory of God was shining in His countenance, and all present felt a sacred awe as they listened with rapt attention to His words. They felt their hearts more decidedly drawn to Him, and as they were drawn to Christ in greater love, they were drawn to one another. They felt that heaven was very near them, that the words to which they listened were a message to them from the heavenly Father. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 18

The wonderful works which Christ had done, which were so full of convincing power, ought to have removed prejudice, unbelief, and malice from the hearts of the Jews. Christ had given a convincing proof of His divinity in raising Lazarus from the dead. Through Christ, the Father had been revealed to believers and unbelievers. If the disciples believed this vital connection between the Father and the Son, their faith would not forsake them when they beheld Christ’s sufferings and death to save a perishing world. He desired them to see that their faith must lead up to God, and be anchored there. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 19

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” [Verse 11.] Their faith might safely rest upon the evidence given by Christ’s works, works that no man had ever done or ever could do. They could reason that humanity alone could not do these wonderful works. Christ was seeking to lead them up from their low state of faith to the experience that they might have received by seeing what He had done in giving a higher education, and in imparting a knowledge of what He was, God in human flesh. How earnestly and perseveringly our compassionate Saviour sought to prepare His followers for the storm of temptation that was soon to beat about them. He would have had them hid with Him in God. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 20

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to my Father.” [Verse 12.] Christ’s work was largely confined to Judea. But though His personal ministry did not extend to other lands, people from all nations listened to His preaching, and carried the message to all parts of the world. Many heard of Jesus by hearing of the wonderful miracle He performed. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 21

When Christ said that His disciples should do greater works than He had done, He did not mean that they would make any more exalted exertion of their powers; He meant that their work should have greater magnitude. He did not refer merely to miracle working, but to all that would transpire under the working of the Holy Spirit. The scenes of His suffering and death, to be witnessed by the large numbers in attendance at the Passover, would be spread from Jerusalem to all parts of the world. The apostles, used as His representatives, would make a decided impression on all minds. Being humble men would not diminish their influence, but increase it. The minds of their hearers would be carried from the men to the Majesty of heaven, who though unseen, was still working, and performing miracles upon the suffering and diseased. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 22

The teaching of the apostles, the special doctrines taught, their words of trust, would assure all that it was not by their own power that they did their works, but that they were continuing the same line carried forward by the Lord Jesus when He was with them. Humbling themselves, the apostles would declare that the man the Jews had crucified was the Prince of Life, the Son of the living God, and that in His name they did the works He had done. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 23

“Greater works than these shall ye do, because I go to my Father.” [Verse 12.] He would then intercede for them, and would send them His own Representative, the Holy Spirit, who would attend them in their work. This Representative would not appear in human form, but by faith would be seen and recognized by all who believe in Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 24

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye will ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [Verses 13-15.] “This is the confidence that we have in him,” writes John, that, “if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” [1 John 5:14.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 25

These promises are all given on conditions. The Ten Commandments, Thou shalt and Thou shalt not, are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15.] Here is the sum and substance of the law of God. The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 26

“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto Him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] Here it is plainly stated that the condition of gaining eternal life is obedience to the commandments of God. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 27

The whole universe is under the control of the Prince of Life. Fallen man is subject to Him. He calls upon them to obey, believe, receive, and live. He has paid the ransom money for the whole world. All may be saved through Him. He will present all those who believe on Him to God as loyal subjects of His kingdom. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 28

He will be their Mediator as well as their Redeemer. He would gather together a church embracing the whole human family, if all would leave the black banner of rebellion and apostasy, and place themselves under His banner. He will defend His chosen followers against Satan’s powers, and will subdue all their enemies. Through Him they will be conquerors and more than conquerors. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 29

Paul writes to the Ephesians, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” [Ephesians 1:18-20.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 30

“Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” [Daniel 12:10.] “I will be as the dew unto Israel; He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as the Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall receive as the corn, and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him; I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.” [Hosea 14:5-9.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 31

Those who dishonor God by transgressing His law may talk sanctification, but it is of that value, and just as acceptable, as was the offering of Cain. Obedience to all the commandments of God is the only true sign of sanctification. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 32

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [John 14:16.] Christ was about to depart to His home in the heavenly courts. But He assured His disciples that He would send them another Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all who believe in Christ may implicitly trust. He is the spirit of truth, but this truth the world can neither discern nor receive. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 33

Before He left them, Christ gave His followers a positive promise that after His ascension He would send them the Holy Spirit. “Go, ye therefore,” He said, “and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father (a personal God) and of the Son (a personal Prince and Saviour), and of the Holy Ghost (sent from heaven to represent Christ); teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 34

“The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you these things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:26-28.] This positive assurance was given to the disciples, to be given to all who should believe on Him to the close of this earth’s history. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 35

Christ desired His disciples to understand that He would not leave them orphans. “I will not leave you comfortless,” He declared; “I will come unto you. Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.” [Verses 18, 19.] Precious, glorious assurance of eternal life. Even though He was to be absent, their relation to Him was to be that of a child to its parent. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 36

The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as in another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the spirit reveal the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 37

“Ye have an unction from the Holy One,” writes John, “and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. ... If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” [1 John 2:20, 21, 24.] 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 38

“At that day,” said Christ, “ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” [John 14:20.] Christ sought to impress the minds of the disciples with the distinction between those who are of the world, and those who are of Christ. He was about to die, but He would impress on their minds the fact that He would live again. And although after His ascension He would be absent from them, yet by faith they might know Him and see Him. And He would have the same loving interest in them that He had while with them. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 39

Christ assured His disciples that after His resurrection, He would show Himself alive to them. Then every mist of doubt, every cloud of darkness, would be rolled away. They would then understand that which they had not understood—that there is a complete union between Christ and His Father, a union which will always exist. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 40

“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.” [Verse 21.] Again Christ repeated the conditions of union with Him. This promise is made to every sincere Christian. Our Saviour speaks so plainly that no one need fail to understand that true love will always produce obedience. The religion of Jesus Christ is love. Obedience is the sign of true love. Christ and the Father are one, and those who in truth receive Christ will love God as the great center of their adoration, and will also love one another. 12LtMs, Ms 41, 1897, par. 41