Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18

443/524

Ms 124, 1903

A Personal God

NP

October 14, 1903 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5BC 1145; 6BC 1079-1080; 9MR 122-124. +Note

The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all things is not, as some men of science represent, merely an all-pervading principle, an actuating energy. God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being; for men were made in His image. As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, “and the express image of His person,” was on earth found in fashion as a man. [Hebrews 1:3.] As a personal Saviour, He came to the world. As a personal Saviour, He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour, He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers “One like the Son of man.” [Daniel 7:13.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 1

God Revealed in Christ

As Jehovah, the supreme Ruler, God could not personally communicate with sinful men, but He so loved the world that He sent Jesus to our world as a revelation of Himself. “I and My Father are one,” Christ declared. [John 10:30.] “No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” [Matthew 11:27.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 2

And Christ is also the revealer of the hearts of men. He is the exposer of sin. By Him the characters of all are to be tested. To Him all judgment has been committed, “because He is the Son of man.” [John 5:27.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 3

Taking humanity upon Him, Christ came to be one with humanity and at the same time to reveal our heavenly Father to sinful human beings. He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of men, and yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was a stranger and sojourner on the earth—in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from spot or stain of sin. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] In His strength men and women can live the life of purity and nobility that He lived. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 4

Christ came to teach human beings what God desires them to know. Just before His trial and crucifixion, He said to His disciples, “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs, but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” [John 16:24, 25.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 5

“At that day ye shall ask in My name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 6

“His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we are sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee; by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 7

“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [Verses 26-33.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 8

The disciples had asked many questions that revealed their ignorance of God’s relation to them and to their present and future interests. Christ desired them to have a clearer, more distinct knowledge of God. I will show you the Father and will make you better acquainted with Him, He said. It is this knowledge that Christians today need. This knowledge, which Christ alone can give, is the highest of all education. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 9

When on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples, they understood the truths that Christ had spoken in proverbs. The teachings that had been mysteries to them were made clear. The understanding that came to them with the outpouring of the Spirit made them ashamed of their fanciful theories. Their suppositions and interpretations were foolishness compared with the knowledge of heavenly things that now came to them. Their confused ideas were gone; they were led of the Spirit; and light shone into their once darkened understanding. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 10

While with the disciples, Christ had revealed to them all the knowledge of God that they could bear. The complete fulfilment of the promise that He would show them plainly of the Father was yet to come. Thus it is today. Now we know in part only. When the conflict is ended, and the Man Christ Jesus acknowledges before the Father His faithful workers, who in a world of sin have borne true witness for Him, they will understand clearly what now are mysteries to them. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 11

Christ took with Him to the heavenly courts His glorified humanity. To those who receive Him, He gives power to become the sons of God, that at last God may receive them as His, to dwell with Him throughout all eternity. If during this life they are loyal to God, they will at last “see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” [Revelation 22:4.] And what is the happiness of heaven but to see God? What greater joy could come to the sinner, saved by the grace of Christ, than to look upon the face of God and know Him as Father? “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 12

Some today are coming to hold false ideas of the invisible God and are presenting these ideas to others. Let those who do this know that their childish portrayal of God is a misconception. They know not God. Before the world, before angels, and before men, they are giving a false representation of Him. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 13

To those to whom these fanciful interpretations are presented, I would say, Let not these sentiments charm your senses and lead you into paths of Satan’s making. Beware, beware of spiritualistic ideas of God. Those who entertain such ideas greatly dishonor Him. Let every one humble his heart before God. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 14

Personality and Individuality

The seventeenth chapter of John speaks plainly regarding the personality of God and of Christ and of their relation to each other. “Father, the hour is come,” Christ said; “glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” [Verses 1-3.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 15

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me, and they have kept Thy word. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 16

“They have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came from Thee, and they have believed that thou didst send Me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me; that they may be one, as We are.” [Verses 5-11.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 17

Here is personality and individuality. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 18

*****

There is no new gospel to be preached. Christ revealed all of God that sinful human beings could bear without being destroyed. He is the divine Teacher, the Enlightener. Had He thought us in need of revelations other than those made in His Word, He would have given them. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 19

Christ revealed God to His disciples in a way that performed in their hearts a special work, such as He has long been urging us to allow Him to do in our hearts. There are many who in dwelling too largely upon theory have lost sight of the living power of the Saviour’s example. They have lost sight of the brightness and glory of His transfiguration; lost sight of Him also as the humble, self-denying worker, bearing up under the weariness of constant effort, walking through the dusty streets to secure in the thoroughfares of travel a position from which His voice could reach the multitudes passing to and fro, that some souls might be helped to walk in the narrow path of holiness. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 20

*****

God’s handiwork in nature is not God Himself in nature. God uses nature to reveal His power and His love. But no one is authorized to say that God Himself is in leaf or flower or tree. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 21

Who By Searching Can Find Out God? 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 22

Human talent and human conjecture have tried by searching to find out God. But guesswork has proved itself to be guesswork. Man cannot by searching find out God. This problem has not been given to human beings. All that man needs to know and can know of God has been revealed in His Word and in the life of His Son, the great Teacher. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 23

Let men remember that they have a Ruler in the heavens, a God who will not be trifled with. He who puts his reason to the stretch in an effort to exalt himself and to delineate God will find that he might far better have stood as a humble suppliant before God, confessing himself to be only an erring human being. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 24

God cannot be understood by men. His ways and works are past finding out. In regard to the revelations that He has made of Himself in His Word we may talk. But other than this, let us say of Him, “Thou art God, and Thy ways are past finding out.” [See Psalm 90:2; Romans 11:33.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 25

There is a knowledge of God and of Christ which all who are saved must have. “This is life eternal,” Christ said, “that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 26

The question for us to study is, “What is truth” [John 18:38]—the truth for this time, which is to be cherished, loved, honored, and obeyed? The devotees of science have been defeated and disheartened in their effort to find out God. What they need to inquire is, What is truth? How many of those who profess to minister at the altar of God have asked this question? How many of those who search the heavens have inquired, as they have beheld the wondrous works of God, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” [Hebrews 2:6.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 27

Let us learn from the representation made in the sixth chapter of Isaiah the greatness of our God. The prophet writes: “In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 28

“Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 29

“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” [Verses 1-7.] 18LtMs, Ms 124, 1903, par. 30