The Home Missionary

16/38

November 1, 1893

Christ Our Helper in the Great Crisis

[This reading sent from Australia for this week of prayer, was made up from manuscript already prepared, as the time was too limited to admit of Sister White's writing anything especially for the purpose. It will be seen, however, that the matter is especially fitted for the present crisis, and contains the very counsel which the Lord evidently has for us at this time. In reading, it may be borne in mind that the first portion of the article was written in 1887.]

Reading for Sabbath, December 30

EGW

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 1

It is through one who is “a brother and companion in tribulation” that Christ reveals to his people the fearful conflicts which they must meet before his second coming. Before the scenes of their bitter struggle are opened to them, they are reminded that their brethren also have drunk of the cup and been baptized with the baptism. He who sustained these early witnesses to the truth will not forsake his people in the final conflict. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 2

It was in a time of fierce persecution and great darkness, when Satan seemed to triumph over the faithful witnesses for God, that John in his old age was sentenced to banishment. He was separated from his companions in the faith, and cut off from his labors in the gospel; but he was not separated from the presence of God. The desolate place of his exile proved to him the gate of heaven. He says: HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 3

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book.... and I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man .... And he had in his right hand seven stars .... and he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 4

Christ walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Thus is symbolized his relation to the churches. He is in communion with his people. He knows their true state. He observes their order, their vigilance, their piety, and their devotion. Although he is High Priest and Mediator, in the sanctuary above, yet he walks up and down in the midst of the churches on earth. He goes from church to church, from congregation to congregation, from soul to soul. He is represented as walking, which signified untiring wakefulness, unremitting vigilance. He observes whether the light of any of his sentinels is burning dim or going out. If the candlesticks were left to mere human care, the flickering flame would languish and die. But he is the true watchman in the Lord's house, the true warden of the temple courts. His continued watchcare and sustaining grace are the source of life and light. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 5

Again the prophet says, “Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.” The rainbow of God's promise, which was a token of his covenant with Noah, was seen by John encircling the throne on high,—a pledge of God's mercy to every repentant, believing soul. It is an everlasting testimony that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It declares to the whole world that God will never forget his people in their struggles with evil. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 6

Once again the Saviour was presented to John, under the symbol of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” and of “a Lamb as it had been slain.” These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-sacrificing love. As the Lion of Judah, Christ will defend his chosen ones and bring them off victorious, because they accepted him as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Christ the slain Lamb, who was despised, rejected, the victim of Satan's wrath, of man's abuse and cruelty,—how tender his sympathy with his people who are in the world! And according to the infinite depths of his humiliation and sacrifice as the Lamb of God, will be his power and glory as the Lion of Judah, for the deliverance of his people. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 7

To John were opened the great events of the future, that were to shake the thrones of kings, and cause all earthly powers to tremble. “Behold” he said, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” And he heard Christ's promise to the overcomer, “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 8

John was now prepared to witness the thrilling scenes in the great conflict between those who keep the commandments of God and those who make void his law. He saw the wonder-working power arise that was to deceive all who should dwell upon the earth, who were not connected with God, “saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Read Revelation 13:14-17. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 9

The prophet heard the solemn warning against the worship of this blasphemous power: “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.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 10

Of the loyal and true, who do not bow to the decrees of earthly rulers against the authority of the King of heaven, the Revelator says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Read Revelation 14:1-3, 5; Revelation 15:2-4. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 11

These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God; for there is just before us a time that will try men's souls. Christ upon the Mount of Olives rehearsed the fearful scenes that were to precede his second coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars .... Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application in the last days. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 12

Already the restraining Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they may not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 13

The important future is before us. To meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require great faith and perseverance. But we may triumph gloriously; for all Heaven is interested in our welfare, and awaits our demand upon its wisdom and strength. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 14

In the time of trial just before us, God's pledge of security will be placed upon those who have kept the word of his patience. If you have complied with the conditions of God's word, Christ will be to you a refuge from the storm. He will say to his faithful ones: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejecters of his grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of cloud will speak terror and wrath to the transgressor of God's law, but light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept his commandments. The Arm, strong to smite the rebellious, will be strong to deliver the loyal. Every faithful one will surely be gathered. “He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 15

Brethren, you to whom the truths of God's word have been opened, what part will you act in this momentous time of the closing scenes of earth's history? Are you awake to these solemn realities? Do you realize the grand work of preparation that is going on in heaven and earth? Let all who have received the light, who have had the opportunity of reading and hearing the prophecy, take heed to keep those things that are written therein, “for the time is at hand.” Let none now venture to tamper with sin, the source of every misery that has come upon our world. No longer remain in a state of lethargy and stupid indifference. Let not the destiny of your soul hang upon an uncertainty. Know for yourselves that you are fully on the Lord's side. Let the inquiry go forth from sincere hearts and trembling lips, Who shall be able to stand? Have you, in the precious hours of probation mercifully granted you, been putting the best material into your character building? Have you been purifying your souls from every stain? Have you followed the light? Have your works corresponded to your profession of faith? HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 16

It is possible to be a formal, partial believer, and yet be found wanting, and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions, and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character. If the warnings which God has given are neglected or regarded with indifference, if you cherish or excuse sin, you are sealing your soul's destiny; you will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Grace, peace, and pardon will be withdrawn forever; Jesus will have passed by, never again to come within the reach of your prayers and entreaties. While mercy still lingers, while Jesus is making intercession for us, let us make thorough work for eternity. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 17

God's Word must be Held Supreme

The adherents of truth are now called upon to choose between disregarding a plain requirement of God's word or forfeiting their liberty. If we yield the word of God, and accept human customs and traditions, we may still be permitted to live among men, to buy and sell, and have our rights respected. But if we maintain our loyalty to God, it must be at the sacrifice of our rights among men. For the enemies of God's law have leagued together to crush out independent judgment in matters of religious faith, and to control the consciences of men. They are determined to put an end to the long-continued controversy concerning the Sabbath, to prohibit all further spread of the truth upon this point, and to secure the exaltation of Sunday, in the very face of the injunction of the fourth commandment. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 18

The people of God will recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and will by precept and example teach obedience to it as a sacred duty so long as its authority is exercised within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must choose to obey God rather than men. The word of God must be recognized and obeyed as an authority above that of all human legislation. “Thus saith the Lord,” is not to be set aside for a Thus saith the Church or the State. The crown of Christ is to be uplifted above all the diadems of earthly potentates. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 19

The principle which we are called to uphold at this time is the same that was maintained by the adherents of the gospel in the days of the great Reformation. When the princes assembled at the Diet of Spires, in 1529, it seemed that the hope of the world was about to be crushed out. To this assembly was presented the emperor's decree restricting religious liberty, and prohibiting all further dissemination of the reformed doctrines. Would the princes representing the states of Germany accept the decree, and consent that the blessed light of the gospel should be shut out from the multitudes that were still in darkness? Mighty issues for the world depended upon the action of a few heroes of faith. Those who had accepted the truths of the Reformation met together, and their unanimous decision, was, “Let us reject the decree. In matters of conscience the majority has no power.” And they drew up their protest, and submitted it to the assembled states. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 20

“We protest by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatever to the proposed decree in anything that is contrary to God, to his word, to our right conscience, or to the salvation of our souls.... We cannot assert that when Almighty God calls a man to his knowledge, he dare not embrace that divine knowledge.... There is no true doctrine but that which conforms to the word of God. The Lord forbids the teaching of any other faith. The Holy Scriptures, with one text explained by other and plainer texts, are, in all things necessary for the Christian, easy to be understood, and adapted to enlighten. We are therefore resolved by divine grace to maintain the pure preaching of God's only Word, as it is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, without anything added thereto. This word is the only truth. It is the sure rule of all doctrine and life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 21

The banner of truth and religious liberty which these reformers held aloft, God has in this last conflict committed to our hands. Those whom he has blessed with the knowledge of his word are held responsible for this great gift. We are to receive the word of God as supreme authority. We must accept its truths for ourselves, as our own individual act. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 22

And we shall be able to appreciate the truth only as we shall search it out for ourselves, by personal study of the word of God. Then as we accept it as the guide of our lives, the prayer of Christ is answered for us, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” The acknowledgment of the truth, both in word and by example, is our confession of faith, and it is only as we thus acknowledge the truth that others can know that we believe the Bible. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 23

God will hold men accountable who have the plain teachings of his word, but disregard them and accept the sayings and customs of men. And yet how many are doing this! They reject the light in regard to the Sabbath, and trample upon God's holy day. Ministers and people, with the Bible open before them, show contempt for the words of God in his holy precepts, while they exalt a spurious Sabbath, which has no other foundation than the authority of the Roman Church. The claims of this spurious Sabbath are to be enforced upon the world. The Protestant churches, having received doctrines which the word of God condemns, will bring these to the front, and force them upon the consciences of men, just as the papal authorities urged their dogmas upon the advocates of truth in Luther's time. The same battle is again to be fought, and every soul will be called upon to decide upon which side of the controversy he will be found. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 24

When men are not willing to see the truth and receive it, because it involves a cross, they are opening the door to Satan's temptations. He will lead them, as he led Eve in Eden, to believe a lie. The truth through which they might have been sanctified is set aside for some pleasing delusion presented by the destroyer of souls. It is often the case that the most precious truth appears to lie close by the side of fatal errors. The rest that Christ promised to all who should learn of him lies close beside indifference and carnal quietude, and multitudes overlook the fact that this rest is found only in wearing Christ's yoke and bearing his burden, in possessing his meekness and lowliness. The great truth of our entire dependence upon Christ for salvation lies close to the error of presumption. Freedom in Christ is by thousands mistaken for lawlessness; and because Christ came to release us from the condemnation of the law, men declare that the law itself is done away, and that those who keep it are fallen from grace. And thus, as truth and error appear so near akin, minds that are not guided by the Holy Spirit will be led to accept the error, and in so doing place themselves under the power of Satan's deceptions. In thus leading men to receive error for truth, Satan is working to secure the homage of the Protestant world. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 25

Every soul needs to be on guard against his devices. We must be Bible readers, and obedient to the Scriptures. However much it may inconvenience us, every question is to be settled by the law and the testimony. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 26

The inquiry should rise from every heart, What is truth? If we would stand against the deceptive teaching that now meets us on every side, that is turning the truth of God into a lie, we must have the heavenly anointing. The Holy Spirit alone will enable us to distinguish truth from error, sin from righteousness. It is of the greatest consequence that we avail ourselves of every means and every facility for learning what is truth. And if we seek for the truth as for hid treasure, we have the assurance that our light shall shine more and more, unto the perfect day. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 27

Those reformers whose protest has given us the name of Protestants, felt that God had called them to give the light of the gospel to the world, and in doing this they were ready to sacrifice their possessions, their liberty, and their own lives. Are we, in this the last conflict of the great controversy, as faithful to our trust as were the early reformers to theirs? In face of persecution and death, the truth was spread far and near. The word of God was carried to the people; and all classes, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, eagerly studied it for themselves; and those who received the light became in their turn messengers to impart it. In those days the truth was brought home to the people through the press. Luther's pen was a power, and his writings, scattered broadcast, stirred the world. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 28

The same agencies are at our command, with facilities multiplied a hundredfold. Bibles, publications in many languages, setting forth the truth for this time, are at our hand, and can be swiftly carried to every part of the world. We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls. The preaching of the word will have power in reaching a class who would not receive the truth through reading; but the ministers are few, and where the living preacher cannot come, the published truth can reach. Personal effort will accomplish far more than could be accomplished without it. HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 29

The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and those who know the truth should make mighty intercessions for help now. The love of Christ must be diffused in their own hearts. The Spirit of Christ must be poured out upon them, and they must be making ready to stand in the judgment. While they are consecrating themselves to God, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others. We must sleep no longer on Satan's enchanted ground, but call into requisition all our resources, and avail ourselves of every facility with which Providence has furnished us. The last warning is to be proclaimed “before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings;” and the promise is given, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” HM November 1, 1893, Art. B, par. 30

Mrs. E. G. White