Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18

413/524

Ms 95, 1903

The Contending Forces of Good and Evil

NP

August 28, 1903 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1119; SD 100, 105. +Note

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. ... Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” [Jude 1-7, 9.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 1

“In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long; and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and His face as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as lamps of fire, and His arms and His feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of His words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of His words: and when I heard the voice of His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 2

“And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before the Lord, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me: and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” [Daniel 10:1-13.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 3

In these Scriptures scenes in the heavenly courts are brought to our view. Angels of the highest rank in the kingdom of God are represented as taking an interest in the affairs of men. Both the good and the evil angels take an active part in matters connected with earthly kingdoms. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 4

Daniel afflicted his soul before God. His earnest prayer moved a mighty angel from heaven to come to his relief. But satanic forces were working upon the mind of the king of Persia, to prevent him if possible from doing the work that would answer Daniel’s prayer. Michael Himself—the Archangel—came to the assistance of Gabriel. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 5

A similar scene of controversy is portrayed in the third chapter of Zechariah: “And he showed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 6

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for behold, I will bring forth My servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.” [Verses 1-10.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 7

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God; that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Ephesians 6:10-18.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 8

In the Word of God are represented two contending parties that influence and control human agencies in our world. Constantly these parties are working with every human being. Those who are under God’s control and who are influenced by the heavenly angels will be able to discern the crafty workings of the unseen powers of darkness. Those who desire to be in harmony with the heavenly agencies should be intensely in earnest to do God’s will. They must give no place whatever to Satan and his angels. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 9

But unless we are constantly on guard, we shall be overcome by the enemy. Although a solemn revelation of God’s will concerning us has been revealed to all, yet a knowledge of His will does not set aside the necessity of offering earnest supplications to Him for help, and of diligently seeking to co-operate with Him in answering the prayers offered. He accomplishes His purposes through human instrumentalities. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 10

Mercy Tempered With Judgment

“Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as uncleanness. ... Wherefore I poured My fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it.” [Ezekiel 36:16-18.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 11

What was the result of their wicked course?—“And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned My holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 12

“But I had pity for Mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 13

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and I will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord God; in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the Lord.” [Verses 19-38.] 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 14

Some whom God has called out of the world have lent themselves to the service of Satan and have done the same unprincipled works that the men of the world are doing. To bring them to repentance, the Lord chastises them, humbling them in the eyes of the world. But He is merciful. Though His unfaithful people deserve only disgrace and punishment, because they have sinned in the face of great light and opportunities, He continues to bear with them. If they consent to part with their sins, He will cleanse them. Heartfelt repentance and the doing of righteous works bring a return of God’s favor. Having forsaken their evils works, the members of the church will reveal their love for God by manifesting love toward one another. No longer will God permit their enemies to triumph over them. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 15

All true reformation begins with soul-cleansing. It is by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the mind through the power of the Holy Spirit that a change is wrought in the life. God’s power alone can change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh and cause the mind to render willing obedience to the commandments of heaven. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 16

In His great mercy, God has spoken words of encouragement to the children of men. To all who repent and turn to Him, He offers abundant pardon. But how often have His messages of warning and mercy been misunderstood, misinterpreted! Some who receive these messages, instead of humbling their hearts before God, and loathing themselves for pursuing a course that has hindered His work, have used every word of encouragement to justify themselves in their works of unrighteousness. By their treatment of the Lord’s workers, they have put their Master to open shame. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 17

If the church members would put away all self-worship, and would receive in their hearts the love for God and for one another that filled Christ’s heart, our heavenly Father would constantly manifest His power to the churches in every place. Let His people be drawn together by the cords of divine love. Then the world will recognize the miracle-working power of God and will acknowledge that He is the Strength and the Helper of His commandment-keeping people. 18LtMs, Ms 95, 1903, par. 18