Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 20, 1899

The Second Advent


March 8, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in FLB 288; HP 34. +Note

The people of God are to bear in mind that the great day of the Lord is at hand. The signs which Christ declared would be given just prior to His second appearing are now being fulfilled. Speaking of this time the Saviour said, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 24:37-44.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 1

“Of that day, and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” [Mark 13:32-37.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 2

Christ gave this information, these cautions and warnings, for us. He has told us the signs which are to herald His second advent, and now He calls for faithful watchmen who will give their attention to the fast-fulfilling prophecies and stand, not in idle contemplation, but watching and waiting for the second appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven. The events taking place in this world will be recognized by these faithful watchmen. They will not be found surprised and unready. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 3

The day and hour of Christ’s coming is unknown to the people of God. By lips that never make a mistake it has been declared, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven.” For this reason the solemn charge comes to each of us, “Watch.” “Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 24:36, 42, 44.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 4

“Who then,” Christ asks, “is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season.” Who will be on the watch and, tracing the signs of Christ’s coming point by point, give the right message to the people? “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” [Verses 45, 46.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 5

There is a great work to be done, and those who are doing God’s service must not employ their time in preparing a variety of foods for the table. They are not to be slaves in the kitchen. Christ exhorts all: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” [Luke 21:34-36.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 6

The Gift of God’s Grace

The parable of the talents presents a most important truth, which all should understand. God has not distributed His talents capriciously. To every man are given abilities which will fit him for the work God calls him to do. There is to be no sleeping at the post of duty. Every soul is to understand that he has work to do for God. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 7

Study carefully the fourth chapter of Zechariah, and learn what the two olive trees there referred to mean. Read it carefully verse by verse, for in this chapter the features of the work in which we are engaged are plainly set forth. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 8

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that 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, and 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 one upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, 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.” [Verses 1-6.] Our power and efficiency are not in ourselves; we receive them from a higher source. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 9

“The answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches, which through the two 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 11-14.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 10

“Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for everyone that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and everyone that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.” [Zechariah 5:1-4.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 11

The events that are taking place on earth are critically watched in heaven; for by them human beings are being tested and proved. Every individual soul, if he would receive the seal of the living God, must hear the Word of the Lord, and do it with exactitude. There must be no such thing as haphazard religion if men would have a place in the family of God. All who are brought into connection with God will be pure and holy. They will receive the holy oil from the heavenly messengers, and will impart it to their fellow men. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 12

The talents entrusted to men are not to be employed to please and glorify self, but to honor Him from whom those talents come; and as these gifts of God are appreciated and valued and used, they will increase. The fulness of Christ awaits every receiver. Of our own selves we are poor, but if we come to Christ, and ask Him in faith, we shall receive eternal riches. Christ stands waiting for us to ask Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I may say, You will receive; but my word is not enough. You must take the words of Christ, and understand his willingness to bless and strengthen and give to you the fulness of his riches. The more the precious treasures of grace are discovered and drawn upon, the more anxious will we be for all to enjoy these heavenly riches. According to our capacity for understanding and appreciating these great gifts of God will be our ability to communicate, to enlighten the minds of those who are in the darkness of error. We are to draw from the inexhaustible source, and gladden hungry starving souls by presenting to them the living bread which comes down from heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 13

Every man should consider himself of value with God, because he has been entrusted with the richest gift that can be obtained. The soul is thrilled with the love of Christ as it drinks deep from the inexhaustible fountain. “This is the will of God concerning you, even your sanctification.” [1 Thessalonians 4:3.] Although our sins may be as a mountain before us, if we humble our hearts and confess our sins, trusting in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, He will forgive, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. As the soul yearns after God, he will find more and still more of the unsearchable riches of His grace. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 14

The salvation of one soul reveals the depths of a Saviour’s matchless love. If all church members who have known the truth would accept this salvation, they would bear the testimony, “We have redemption through his blood. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us and gave himself for us. Believing in him, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” [See Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:2-4, 37; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:8.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 15

This should be the expression of every soul whose name is on the church books. But many are not in communication with God, and therefore they cannot give life to the church. It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. When God’s people occupy this position, light will shine forth to the world, and blessed experiences will be made known. Confessions of Christ will be made which will reveal that hearts are burning under the reception of the holy oil that comes from the two olive trees. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 16

It is here, right here in this world, that our talents are to be used in helping the souls who need help, those who desire to be led by the Lamb of God. It is not enough that we ourselves enjoy the riches of God’s grace. We are to lead others to the fountain of living waters. We are to point souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is the work which God designs shall come first. And when Christ shall come, He will gather the redeemed from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and lead them Himself to fountains of living waters. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 17

The talents God has given carry with them an accountability. It is the work, and should be the pleasure, of every one who believes in Christ, to present to the world, in his own life, the unsearchable riches he finds in his Saviour. We may make daily progress in the upward path to holiness, and yet we find still greater heights to be reached; but every stretch of the spiritual muscles, every taxation of heart and brain, brings to light the abundance of the supply of grace essential for us as we advance. The more we contemplate these riches, the more we will come into possession of them, and the more we shall reveal the merits of Christ’s sacrifice, the protection of His righteousness, His inexpressible love, the fulness of His wisdom, and His power to present us before the Father without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 18

The words of the apostle Paul to Timothy, “Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine,” may be addressed to every member of the church. [1 Timothy 4:16.] The golden oil is the pure, unadulterated truth in doctrine and practice. Received, believed, and practiced, this truth forms character that will prepare us to do the great work to be done in this life, and will give us a fitness for the service we shall render to God in eternity. Again the apostle exhorts, “Wherefore, my beloved, ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world holding forth the word of life.” [Philippians 2:12-16.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 19

“As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth. ... And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:12-14, 16.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 20

Man can do nothing of himself. He cannot advance or retard the work. The work must be done through the power of the Spirit of God. The Spirit’s grace is imparted to the church to be given to the world. Zerubbabel could not understand this mystery, and as a little child he confessed his ignorance. He longed to understand, and he placed himself where he could understand. Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” [Zechariah 4:6.] 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 21

The work is the Lord’s, and man must be His faithful instrument. If he will cease to look at appearances, and trust in the living God, he will have all the help he needs. He is to go forward in faith. Man’s weakness is no obstacle in this work, for God can perfect his strength out of weakness. He can save by many or by few. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 22

This is a representation of the work of the truth. Zerubbabel is represented as the chief authority in directing the work. Man is to do his appointed work, but he must move forward in faith; for a lack of faith will leave his work incomplete. Mountains of difficulties will be removed, and the work will be completed, but it must be acknowledged as wholly of grace. We are living amid the perils of the last days. That period of time is no longer in the future; it is right upon us. There is need of men who will not fail nor be discouraged. There must be no negligence now. Every attention must be given to the spiritual necessities of men and women, lest the day of God shall overtake them as a thief. We must be diligent in using the talents entrusted to us, that we may give back to God His own with usury. All are to be workers. On every soul rests the most solemn responsibility to use his opportunities and privileges for the glory of God. 14LtMs, Ms 20, 1899, par. 23