The Signs of the Times, vol. 23


September 30, 1897

“Editorial. The Great Sacrifice” The Signs of the Times, 23, 38.

E. J. Waggoner

The Great Sacrifice. —The great Sacrifice of divine love was not an after thought, coming in after man sinned. It was not a new device to meet an exigency. There are no surprises to Him who is infinite in knowledge and wisdom. Jesus Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8. SITI September 30, 1897, page 593.1

Character a Matter of Choice. —In the very plan of God the possibility (not the necessity) of sin was involved. That creature enjoying the greatest bliss must obtain it by choice; he must be free because he chooses freedom. That which man is compelled to do brings him little joy. The chafing chain of compulsion destroys all the pleasures of what if of choice would be a delightful occupation. The only pleasure sin ever brings, evanescent as it is, comes because men choose it; and the pleasure which comes from choosing good and doing good is as much greater and higher as eternity is more than time. God therefore gave to man free choice, with the possibility of sin. But God set before man the end of the evil way, and the eternal fruitage of good, desiring him to choose the good way and making it possible for every one so to do. SITI September 30, 1897, page 593.2

Man’s Choice. —Man’s choice was evil. He walked by sight not by faith. God’s way was in his Word. He warned man, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17. Faith is based on God’s Word. Romans 10:17. But man “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,” he chose the way of sight, and sinned, and died. Genesis 3:6. Choosing by sight was the way of temporary pleasure and selfishness, the very way in which millions barter eternal life and bliss. Choosing by faith in God’s Word, it would have forever led man out toward God, like whom he would have continued to grow. Infinite Love gave to man the way of faith, that it might be the way of infinite blessing. SITI September 30, 1897, page 593.3

Love’s Infinite Gift. —Yet, knowing that man would sin, God provided (not for the sin) but salvation from the sin. He gave his only-begotten Son. Not eighteen centuries ago did he give him, but he “verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” 1 Peter 1:20. The gift was made-God gave his Son (John 3:16), that Son “gave himself” (Titus 2:14)-in the beginning, the gift of God’s infinite love. As that gift involved the very Godhead, the person of him who with the Father made the worlds, all the purposes of God are found in him. With respect to that great center of love and power has all the plan of God through all the ages been wrought out. Every sacrifice ordained of God was efficacious only as it expressed faith in God’s great sacrifice of his Son. Every kid, every lamb, every offering of first-fruits, every one of the first-born, pointed to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29. SITI September 30, 1897, page 593.4

“Manifest in These Last Times.” —The Sacrifice was eternal; its greatest manifestation was when Jesus Christ was given into the hands of the powers of darkness, condemned without a trial, mocked and scourged, and crowned with thorns, made to bear the instrument of his own suffering till bodily strength failed from sheer exhaustion, and then nailed to the cruel tree. During all this time mindful only of others, admonishing the women of Jerusalem that were weeping for him, gently reproving Peter with a look, placing his mother in the care of a loved disciple, praying for those who tortured him, and comforting the repentant criminal at his side-was there ever sacrifice and love like this? The cross was the climax of the manifestation of his suffering; but he suffers still. He was a present Saviour to Abel, to John who stood beside the cross, to us who live in the nineteenth century. For as truly as to the Gauls of old, so to us, before our eyes, “Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you.” Galatians 3:1. His death is for us to-day. Our sins are to-day laid upon him that we may sin no more. SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.1

An Eternal Sacrifice. —His is not a sacrifice of a day, or for three and one-half years, or for thirty-four years; it is an eternal sacrifice. When he left heaven’s glory, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, he became one of us, a “brother in adversity;” and when he ascended, we triumphed with him; but he is one with us still; and forever is he one with us-God, yet man-a brother to all men, for all eternity. And the pain is not over yet. He is touched with the feeling of all our infirmities, suffers with his body, the church, a crucified yet risen Saviour. What love is this? As he has made the eternal sacrifice for you, O soul, will you not yield yourself, your all, to him, “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. There is cleansing, there is blessing, there is power and life and salvation in Jesus Christ, even “to the uttermost.” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.2

Taste and See. —One of my friends offers me some food which he says is very good and nourishing, and asks me to adopt it as an article of diet. But I am skeptical, and do not believe that it is good, and so I say, “Prove to me that it is good, and I will take it.” “That I can not do,” he replies: “I know it is good, and can assure you of the fact; but you must prove it for yourself; taste it, and you will know it too.” Well, that is certainly reasonable; for I can’t expect to know that a thing is good, unless I taste for myself. Even so, when my friend does not believe me when I tell him that the Lord is good, and asks me to prove it to him. I can not; I know that he is good, for I have tried him; I can assure others of his goodness, but I can not prove it to them. I can only say, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Why will not people be as reasonable in regard to spiritual food as with the mere physical? Taste, and you have the proof. E. J. W. SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.3

“Imagining Difficulties” The Signs of the Times, 23, 38.

E. J. Waggoner

“O, I can’t sleep at night, I can’t sleep!” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.4

“Poor fellow, you must cease your overwork, and at once make use of soothing remedies!” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.5

“O, that will do no good; the trouble is not with me; I could sleep well if I had an opportunity, but there is no time in which to sleep; I can never sleep any more!” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.6

“Why not? How can that be?” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.7

“I have just learned that the earth is round, and that it isn’t night at all places on the earth at the same time, and that therefore it is impossible for people to sleep.” SITI September 30, 1897, page 594.8

“Foolish fellow! Who has been telling you that?” SITI September 30, 1897, page 595.1

“Nobody; but my pastor, who is a learned man, has told me that it is impossible to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, because it is not the seventh day all over the world at one time; and I have sense enough to see that if we can’t rest on the seventh day, then we can’t sleep on the seventh night; and if we can’t sleep on the seventh night, we can’t sleep on any other night. What shall I do?” SITI September 30, 1897, page 595.2

“Do! why, go to bed to-night, when the night comes to you, and sleep where you are, instead of thinking you must sleep where you are not. Didn’t you sleep well last night?” SITI September 30, 1897, page 595.3

“First-rate: never slept better in my life; but then you see I had not heard the parson’s theory.” SITI September 30, 1897, page 595.4

“Well, don’t let a theory run away with the fact. The fact is, you can and do sleep every night when it comes to you; when the night is on the other side of the earth, you do not need to sleep. So with the Sabbath-the seventh day-which God made for man-for all men-to keep. Keep it when it comes to you; when it is not present with you, then you are not required to rest on it. Let your soul rest in the assurance that God has never given a commandment that it is not possible for all men everywhere to obey.” E. J. W. SITI September 30, 1897, page 595.5