Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17

384/469

Ms 135, 1902

Instruction to the Church

NP

October 31, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 14MR 150-157. +Note

I cannot sleep past one o’clock. Things have been presented to me that make me wide-awake. There are dangers that we must avoid. The great principles that Christ has laid down are valid for all time, and from age to age they shed a clear, steady light on the pathway of God’s people. Through all eternity these principles will abide. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 1

These principles we are to follow in our work for God, and we are not to mingle with them worldly opinions and practices. We are not to be bound about by worldly plans. The line of demarcation between God’s people and the people of the world is ever to be kept unmistakably distinct. But there is danger that this line will become indistinct, that those professing to serve God will allow worldliness to steal into their lives. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 2

We are not to be guided by those who for years have known the truth for this time, but have not yielded to its claims. There is danger that professing Christians will come to think that it is necessary for them to conform to the world to a certain extent, in order to have influence with worldlings. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 3

The church is to be built on Jesus Christ, the only true foundation. Let us beware that it is not marred in the building, by the introduction of worthless material that will not bear the test of trial. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 4

Those who desire to possess characters that will make them laborers together with God, worthy of receiving His commendation, must separate themselves from the enemies of God and in all places stand firm for the truth. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 5

Our Message

The Lord has given us a message for the time in which we are living. This message is to be given with clear, distinct utterance. To proclaim this message demands all the talents and capabilities that God has given us. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 6

The fourteenth chapter of Revelation outlines the work that is to be done by God’s people. The everlasting gospel is to be preached and practiced. True missionary work is to be done, not in the wisdom of men, but in the wisdom of God. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 7

John writes, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever, and ever, and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” [Verses 6-11.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 8

“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” [Verses 13, 14.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 9

The third angel’s message increases in importance as we near the close of this earth’s history. Since the beginning of the proclamation of the first angel’s message, many believers have fallen asleep in Jesus. Faithful standard-bearers have laid off their armor. But the work advances. Fresh workers are brought in as those who fall are laid away to rest until the coming of the Lord. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 10

God has presented to me the dangers that are threatening those who have been given the sacred work of proclaiming the third angel’s message. They are to remember that this message is of the utmost consequence to the whole world. They need to search the Scriptures diligently, that they may learn how to guard against the mystery of iniquity, which plays so large a part in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 11

There will be more and still more external parade by worldly powers. Under different symbols, God presented to John the wicked character and seductive influence of those who have been distinguished for their persecution of His people. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation speaks of mystic Babylon, fallen from her high estate to become a persecuting power. Those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus are the object of the wrath of this power. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 12

John writes: “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” [Verses 1-8.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 13

This terrible picture, drawn by John to show how completely the powers of earth will give themselves over to evil, should show those who have received the truth how dangerous it is to link up with secret societies or to join themselves in any way with those who do not keep God’s commandments. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 14

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire to come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” [Revelation 13:11-13.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 15

Religious powers, allied to heaven by profession, and claiming to have the characteristics of a lamb, will show by their acts that they have the heart of a dragon, and that they are instigated and controlled by Satan. The time is coming when God’s people will feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day. Satan has caused the change of the Sabbath in the hope of carrying out his purpose for the defeat of God’s plans. He seeks to make the commands of God of less force in the world than human laws. The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, and who has always oppressed the people of God, will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him. And the Lord will work in their behalf, showing plainly that He is the God of gods. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 16

God made the world, and then on the seventh day He rested, satisfied with His work. He blessed the day of His rest and set it apart as holy; and as He did this, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people—an evidence of His love and kindness, and assurance that He will bless them in obedience. By the observance of this day they are distinguished from the disloyal who refuse to honor God. God has taken His people into covenant relation with Himself and has pledged Himself to fulfil His purposes for them. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 17

On the Sabbath no servile work is to be done. God has given man six days on which to work. He claims the seventh day as His own. On this day men are to worship Him. They are to contemplate the wonderful works of the Creator, praising Him for His goodness and love. By giving them the Sabbath, it was God’s design to preserve among men a clear, definite knowledge of Himself as their Creator. He declares, “It is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Exodus 31:13.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 18

Christ declared to the Pharisees, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise 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.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 19

Thus Christ rebuked the pretentious piety of the Pharisees, and by His manner of working He corrected their erroneous ideas regarding the law of God. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 20

From the beginning there has been opposition between the forces of good and evil. God declares, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 21

Man had vainly attempted to exalt himself by following his own way, in harmony with Satan’s temptation, and in opposition to the will of God. He had thus gained a knowledge of evil, but he had gained it at the cost of his loyalty; and his disobedience opened the floodgates of woe upon our world. Ever since, men have been trying to exalt themselves by the same means. When will they learn that the only way to true exaltation is the path of obedience? Men’s plans may seem to them to be exceedingly wise, but there is no safety in them unless they walk in accordance with a “Thus saith the Lord.” 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 22

How hard it is for man to walk humbly with God, to believe His Word and accept His plans. Satan’s propositions appear to present great advantages, but they end in ruin. Over and over again men have found out by experience the result of refusing to walk in the path of obedience. Will not others gain wisdom from their experience? Let us think of the experience of our first parents, and be afraid of any plans that are not based on obedience to God’s will. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 23

When will men learn that God is God, not man, and that He does not change? Every calamity, every death, is a witness to the power of evil and to the truth of the living God. The Word of God is life, and it will abide forever. Through all eternity it will stand fast. How can man, knowing what God is and what He has done, choose Satan’s way instead of God’s way? There is only one path to Paradise restored—the path of obedience. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 24

The message given man to proclaim in these last days is not to be amalgamated with worldly opinions. In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy. God has bestowed on man great light and many blessings. But unless this light and these blessings are received, they are no security against apostasy and disobedience. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from Him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness; and how great is that darkness! Their entrusted capabilities are a snare to them. They become an offense to God. There can be no mockery of God without the sure result. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 25

There always has been, and till the conflict is ended, there always will be a departing from God. Sins have a close connection. One act of disobedience, unless repented of, leads to another. He who justifies himself in sin is led on step by step in deception, till at length he sins with impunity. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 26

Often the professed followers of Christ are found with hearts hardened and eyes blinded, because they do not obey the truth. Selfish motives and purposes take possession of the mind. In their self-confidence they suppose that their way is the way of wisdom. They are not particular to follow the path that God has marked out. They declare that circumstances alter cases, and when Satan tempts them to follow worldly principles, they yield, and making crooked paths for their feet, they lead others astray. The inexperienced follow where they go, supposing that the judgment of Christians so experienced must be wise. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 27

Those in positions of responsibility who follow their own way are held responsible for the mistakes of those who are led astray by their example. “Shall I not judge for these things?” God asks. [Jeremiah 5:9.] 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 28

It is a departure from the ways of the Lord that brings perversity that will not be humbled or corrected. Many, when reproved for their wrong course, harden their hearts and continue to follow wrong principles. Holding fast their own wisdom as precious, they sullenly pursue their own way. This is the reason that the Holy Spirit is not manifested with greater power in our churches. If those who have been corrected by the Spirit of God would humble themselves before the Lord, and gladly reform, Christ would bestow upon them rich gifts, answering their contrite prayers, and helping them to understand themselves. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 29

There are those who think that they can improve upon the plan that God has made, that they can mark out for themselves a course better than the course He has marked out for them. Such ones, choosing the things that be of men, harden their hearts against God’s leading and follow their own way. Unless they repent, the time will come when they will look upon the utter failure of their lifework. Man’s wisdom, exercised without Christ’s guidance, is a dangerous element. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 30

Any recognition or exaltation gained apart from God is worthless; for it is not honored in heaven. To have the approval of men does not win God’s approval. Those who would be acknowledged by God in the day of judgment must here listen to His counsels and be governed by His will. Only thus can they receive the rich blessings that will fit them to receive His commendation. They must hold fast to the truth until the end, refusing to be drawn from their allegiance by ambitious projects. They must put away from them every vestige of prevarication, because God will acknowledge no falsehood. 17LtMs, Ms 135, 1902, par. 31