From Trials to Triumph


Chapter 58—A Glorious Future Is Before Us

More than eighteen centuries have passed since the apostles rested from their labors, but the history of their sacrifices for Christ is still among the most precious treasures of the church. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed. To every nation was the gospel carried in a single generation. TT 310.1

At the beginning, some of the apostles were unlearned men, but under the instruction of their Master they gained a preparation for the great work committed to them. Grace and truth reigned in their hearts, and self was lost sight of. TT 310.2

How closely they stood by the side of God and bound their personal honor to His throne! Any attack made on the gospel was as if cutting deep into their souls, and with every power they battled for the cause of Christ. They expected much, and they attempted much. Their understanding of truth and their power to withstand opposition were proportionate to their conformity to God's will. Jesus was the theme of every discourse. As they proclaimed Christ their words moved hearts, and multitudes who had reviled the Saviour's name now confessed themselves disciples of the Crucified. TT 310.3

The apostles encountered hardship, grief, calumny, and persecution; but they rejoiced that they were called to suffer for Christ. They were willing to spend and be spent, and the grace of heaven was revealed in the conquests they achieved for Christ. TT 310.4

On the foundation that Christ had laid, the apostles built the church. Peter says, “Come to Him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5, RSV. TT 311.1

In the quarry of the Jewish and the Gentile world the apostles labored, bringing out “stones” to lay on the foundation. Paul said, “You are ... built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21, RSV. TT 311.2

“I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11, RSV. TT 311.3

The apostles built upon the Rock of Ages. To this foundation they brought the stones that they quarried from the world. Their work was made exceedingly difficult by the enemies of Christ. They had to contend against bigotry, prejudice, and hatred. Kings and governors, priests and rulers, sought to destroy the temple of God. But faithful men carried the work forward; and the structure grew, beautiful and symmetrical. At times the workmen were almost blinded by the mists of superstition around them or were almost overpowered by the violence of their opponents. But with faith and courage they pressed on. TT 311.4

One after another the builders fell. Stephen was stoned; James was slain by the sword; Paul was beheaded; Peter was crucified; John was exiled. Yet the church grew. New workers took the place of those who fell, and stone after stone was added to the building. TT 311.5

Centuries of fierce persecution followed, but always there were men who counted the building of God's temple dearer than life itself. The enemy left nothing undone to stop the work committed to the Lord's builders. But God raised up workers who ably defended the faith. Like the apostles, many fell at their post, but the building of the temple went steadily forward. TT 311.6

The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others, brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity. And those who have so nobly promoted the circulation of God's Word and in heathen lands have prepared the way for the last great message—these also have helped to rear the structure. TT 312.1

We may look back through the centuries and see the living stones of which God's temple is composed gleaming like jets of light through the darkness. Throughout eternity these precious jewels will shine with increasing luster, revealing the contrast between the gold of truth and the dross of error. TT 312.2