Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15

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Ms 28, 1900

Obedience or Disobedience

NP

May 10, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4BC 1148-1149; 5MR 82.

The Lord Jesus represents the whole of heaven’s treasures which have been committed to Him to impart to the church in rich, full currents of love and grace and power. If an earthly father, being evil, gives his hungry child bread, not a stone; a fish, not a serpent; will God, being good and righteous, deny His children the gift of the Holy Spirit? Upon His children He bestows His blessings abundantly. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” [Isaiah 59:1.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 1

The reason why the churches do not understand the Word of God is given in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. In this chapter are laid down the conditions of receiving God’s blessings. “If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like springs of water, whose waters fail not. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 2

“And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Verses 9-14.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 3

If men would receive the Word of God just as it reads, power from on high would be given them. Instead of working against God by their disobedience, they would seek to win souls to obedience. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 4

“But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. ... None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. ... Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. ... Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.” [Isaiah 59:2, 4, 6, 9.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 5

The Lord’s ambassadors have a message to bear to the world. They are to lift up their voice like a trumpet, even as John the Baptist lifted up his voice in the wilderness, crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his path straight.” [Matthew 3:3.] A decided testimony is to be borne. We must not serve with the sins of the people, for in so doing we shall minister to sin. Whatever the standing or position or the transgressors may be, we must let it be understood that we keep the law of God. By precept and example we are to give the message of truth, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 6

In our work we shall find a high profession of piety, and much outward exactness bound up with great inward wickedness. The people represented in (Isaiah 58) complain that the Lord allows their services to go unnoticed. This complaint is the expression of hearts unsubdued by grace, rebellious against the truth. Those who receive the truth which works by love and purifies the soul are loyal to God, honoring Him by obedience to His law, which is holy, just, and good. The spirit of true fasting and prayer is the spirit which yields mind, heart, and will to God. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 7

Ministers of God have been guilty of the sin of disregarding a “Thus saith the Lord.” They have led the members of their churches to observe rites which have no foundation in the Word of God, but are in direct opposition to His law. By perversion and misrepresentation of the Word of God, they have caused the people to commit sin. God will reward them according to their works. Even as did the priests and rulers in the time of Christ, they have caused the people to err. Christ says of them as He said of the Jewish leaders, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” [Matthew 15:9.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 8

If in this their day men would humble themselves before God, showing true contrition of heart for their disloyalty, God would greatly bless them. They would not longer stand under the banner of the first great rebel, who when expelled from heaven led a third of the heavenly host to unite with him in rebellion. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 9

Precious light from the Word of God is shining upon us. Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 10

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. ... 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.” [John 14:15, 21.] “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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 15:7-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 11

“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do 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. He that saith that he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” [1 John 2:1-6.] How sad it is that religious people will not come to the light in their examination of the Word. There is no safety for the churches except as the ministers enjoin upon the members of necessity of keeping the commandments. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 12

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandments of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey in the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:7-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 13

The Word of God is our guide, the foundation upon which we must build. One statement regarding the immutability of the law of God should be all sufficient for us; but God has assured us over and over again that His law is unchangeable, and that obedience to it is the only hope of the human family. God gave His law for the government of all human intelligences, and He desires men and women to obey it. Their prosperity in this life and their eternal interests depend upon their obedience. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 14

Satan was expelled from heaven because he rebelled against the law of God. Adam and Eve transgressed the law, and the flood gates of woe were opened upon our world. Christ died upon the cross of Calvary to give men and women an opportunity to gain back what they had lost. Now is our day of test and trial. Shall we not stand before the fallen sinful world, in union with Christ, striving with hearts and mind and voice to persuade sinners to keep God’s commandments and live? Shall we not exalt the law and make it honorable in the sight of the heavenly universe and in the sight of the fallen world? Shall we not do all in our power to restore the moral image of God in man? 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 15

Remember that Christ died to save the human race from hopeless sin and misery. By dying in order to give sinners an opportunity to gain eternal life, He bore witness that God’s law is immutable, and that all who would be saved must render to it reverence and obedience. Those, who after hearing the warning message refuse to obey, must bear the penalty of transgression, even eternal death. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 16

Those who say that Christ by dying on the cross abolished the law state the matter exactly opposite to the way in which it is stated in the Word of inspiration. The cross of Calvary will condemn every man and woman who having broken God’s holy law has refused to repent. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 17

God gave the Sabbath to man as a memorial of creation. The world has disregarded the Sabbath, because of those claiming to be God’s stewards have taught error in the place of truth. The Christian world has accepted a spurious Sabbath, dishonoring God’s memorial of creation. Thus men and women eat of the fruit of a forbidden tree, confirming themselves in disobedience. Thus Satan gains in the fallen world that which he failed to gain in heaven—power to change God’s law. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 18

The law of the Lord is immutable, enduring forever. It is perfect, converting the soul to perfect obedience to the Lawgiver, binding man up with his Creator, the owner and preserver of all things. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 19

Those who come to the study of the Scriptures remembering the words God spoke to Moses, “Take off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,” will see the truth. [Exodus 3:5.] But upon those who do not want to see it, spiritual blindness comes as their own choice. They have chosen their own way and disregarded the way of the Lord. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 20

“In the beginning” the Word states, “God created the heavens and the earth.” “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his works which God created and made.” [Genesis 1:1, 31; 2:1-3.] God has set us an example of what He wants us to do. He rested on the seventh day, sanctifying it and setting it apart as holy time. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 21

He says to us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” [Exodus 20:8-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 22

By this commandment God is pointed out as a God above all other gods, for He is the Creator of all things. As we rest upon the Sabbath, we are to look at the work of His hands, remembering His mighty power and wonderful goodness. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 23

The song of Miriam was inspired of God. Led by her the children of Israel sang, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchest out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hath led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation. ... Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them on the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.” [Exodus 15:11-13, 17.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 24

When in awful grandeur the Lord proclaimed His law from Mount Sinai, it was His purpose to impress the people with His majesty. It is impossible for the human intelligence to form too high or too pure a conception of God. Who is the God the Hebrews worshiped? The answer comes back, The God who created the heavens and the earth, who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. He is not a god of wood or stone, the product of men’s hands, but a living God, and His memorial of creation is the Sabbath. This is a sign between Him and His people. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 25

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations: that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore: for it is holy unto you. Everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done, but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” [Exodus 31:12-15.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 26

How positive, how definite are these words. By the observance of the seventh day, we may show that we are the people of God. God designed the observance of the Sabbath to be a means of keeping His people separate from the world and of preserving a knowledge of Him. Christ prayed, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whim thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] A right knowledge of God is everything to the human family. Men and women become holy as they gain correct views of their Creator. The observance of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to God, and a pledge of His power and willingness to sanctify. “That ye may know,” He says, “that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Exodus 31:13.] This is His covenant of peace with all who obey Him, His pledge that He will do as He has promised. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 27

The Lord passed by before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 28

If men and women would acknowledge the true Sabbath, they would not as they now do despise the Word of God. The observance of the seventh day would be a golden chain binding them to their Creator. But the commandment which points out who the true God is—Creator and Ruler of the earth—is dishonored and disobeyed. This is the reason why there is so little stability in the world. The churches have refused God’s sign and misrepresented His character. They have torn down God’s sacred rest day, exalting a spurious sabbath in its place. O, that men would cease to lock themselves out of heaven by their own perversities. 15LtMs, Ms 28, 1900, par. 29