Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 72, 1897

Extracts on the Life of Christ


July 1897

Previously unpublished.

In common with the Jewish teachers, the disciples expected to see in the Messiah a personage altogether different from the one that appeared. The rulers looked for Christ to come as a conquering prince, to sit on David’s throne, and gather the nations under His rule. They declared that a conqueror, one riding forth in the greatness of His strength, was to come. The Scriptures concerning His second advent, when He will come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, they applied to His first advent. They boasted of the promises made to Israel, but they made no account of the conditions upon which these promises were made—entire obedience and loyalty to the will and Word of God. But the reason of their subjection to heathen rulers is plainly stated. The Lord could not favor or bless them because of their sins. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 1

Had the Jews preserved their piety and purity, they would by searching the Scriptures have seen that they had been entirely misled by the rabbis. This misapplication of the Scriptures was the foundation of the desire of the disciples to be first. Notwithstanding the lessons Christ had given them, the desire for self-exaltation appeared whenever circumstances were favorable. Christ’s instruction did not effectually subdue or change their spirit. For this reason, as the hour of his trial drew near, Christ thought that the time had come to open before them His future suffering, shame, and death. Peter was so stirred at the revelation that he rebuked his Master, whom he had just acknowledged as the Son of God. “Be it far from thee, Lord,” he said, “this shall not be unto thee.” [Matthew 16:22.] 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 2

Several times Jesus opened the future to the disciples in plain language, but they did not care to think about what He said. Because of this, the events came to them as a surprise. And afterwards, as they reviewed the past and saw the result of their unbelief, they were filled with sorrow. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 3

After Christ was crucified, the disciples did not believe that He would rise. He had stated plainly that He was to rise the third day, but they were perplexed to know what the rising from the dead might mean. This unbelief left them in utter hopelessness. When Christ was buried in the tomb, their hopes were buried with Him. They were bitterly disappointed. All they knew was that the One they had hoped would deliver Israel was dead. Their faith did not penetrate the shadow that Satan had cast athwart their horizon. Despondency, sorrow, and despair crushed their souls. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 4

The rabbis could not interpret to suit their position the Scriptures referring to the scenes through which they had passed. All was mysterious to the disciples; but if they had believed the Saviour’s word, how much sorrow they might have been saved. When they saw the great precautions that were made lest they should steal Christ’s body from the grave, strange impressions, that they dared not frame into words, were made upon their minds. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 5

As Christ ascended to heaven, He was seen by the disciples and glorified before them. Then they remembered the words He had spoken. If, when He lay in the tomb, they had searched the Scriptures to see what was written concerning Him, they would have found comfort and hope. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 6

It is important that we at this time search the Scriptures with humble hearts, that we may know what is truth. We are not to bring to the Scriptures, as many do, traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation, and try to interpret the Scriptures by them. We must know what the Word of God says. Then we are to receive the Word gladly, without measuring the result. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 7


It was at the time of the feast of Passover that the offering of the only begotten Son of God was made. He was the antitype of all the sacrifices that the Jewish nation had offered. His life was given for the life of the world. His sacrifice, full and complete, enables God to pass over the repentant sinner. The Father let His wrath fall upon His only begotten Son. Although innocent He pronounced Him guilty. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 8

The publicity attending the events of the crucifixion was appointed by God. At the time of the passover the Jews assembled at Jerusalem from all the countries whither they were scattered. The city could not hold the people that came together. And on this occasion, thousands who had heard of Jesus came to behold Him, and what they saw led them to search the Scriptures as they had never searched them before. The actions of the priests and rulers, and their very words, had been traced in prophetic history, and all fell into line, as prophecy declared that it would. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 9

Multitudes saw Christ hanging on the cross. They beheld the heavens, the earth, the rocks, and the very atmosphere declaring that the Son of God was dying on Calvary. A great earthquake opened the graves of the dead. The graves of Israel’s prophets and judges were torn open. At the temple the worshipers saw the veil which hid the most holy place from view torn from top to bottom. These events would never be forgotten. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 10

“O Lord,” writes the prophet, “I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” [Jeremiah 10:23.] The Almighty hand was directing events. One scene of deep significance followed another. The result was that many did not rest till they had settled for themselves what these things meant. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 11

These events meant much to the world. Scenes were taking place that decided eternal truth for future ages, truth that affected heaven and earth. But this world is to small to compass the entire question. God requires more space than this speck of a world. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 12

Today men and women fail to appreciate the events of God’s providence. They think that they are merely happen-so’s. We would present the fact that God places men and women in positions, and then removes them, putting others in their places. These reveal their true character, and then others come in to act their part. Thus the work will continue till the close of time. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 13


Those who acted out their satanic cruelty by abusing the body of Christ were not willing to remain near the scene of the crucifixion, for a dread horror of the wrath of the Lamb haunted them. 12LtMs, Ms 72, 1897, par. 14