Manuscript Releases, vol. 4 [Nos. 210-259]


The Body as the Temple of God

We profess to believe a very great and solemn truth; we profess to believe that we are living in the very last scenes of this earth's history, and if we practice our faith we shall have a telling influence upon all that are around us. But if while we claim to believe this great and divine truth while our works do not correspond with our faith our influence is far less than though we made no profession to believe the sacred and important truths. 4MR 363.1

The apostle continues “I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away” [1 Corinthians 9:27]. Everything in regard to his appetite, his words, his practices, and his passions, all his members were brought under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God and sanctified intellect. He shows to those who are around him the advantages of the knowledge that he has gained through the Scriptures and the living oracles of God. By living in connection with God, he shows the advantages he has gained by having right principles and by practicing them in his daily life. He will deny himself; he will not indulge himself. 4MR 363.2

Every temptation and every suggestion that he has to gratify his inclination and passion, he meets and overcomes with his resolution: “I keep under my body and bring it into subjection.” Then he gives the reason, “lest that by any means when I have preached to others I myself should be cast away.” What a tremendous result is here brought out! How clearly it is presented before us that he must carry out the principles of truth which he has accepted, and claimed to believe; must carry out these principles when he sits down at another's table, or when he engages in conversation with others. There is one principle to be kept ever before him, and that is as a representative of Jesus Christ, he must gather the divine rays from glory. He must reveal that the light which he grasps with his intellect has reached not only the chambers of the mind but has taken possession of the inner sanctuary of the soul. He must exhibit all the aptness, all the advantages of this kind, that he may elevate these ennobling truths, and the light which is of heavenly origin.... The influence of the Spirit of God is brought to combine with human agencies. The power is all of God but there must be a cooperation. The God of heaven does not work for man without his cooperation. The Spirit of God unites with the human effort. Thus it is that we become laborers together with God.—Manuscript 3, 1888, 1, 2. (“Living for God,” September 25, 1888.) 4MR 363.3

Day by day the human structure performs its work under the great Master Architect, who superintends every function of the body, seeking to make it into a glorious temple for Himself. This is beyond the comprehension of any physician unless he has a knowledge of God, the great Master-Builder. If he does not seek to know God, and to become intelligent in regard to His constant and ceaseless miracle-working power, he will abuse God's building. When God works so wondrously, man, the human agent, should become intelligent in regard to the machinery of his body, that this temple of God shall not be misused, and become the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. But thousands upon thousands are ignorant of the house they live in. David exclaims, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Then let us consider this matter carefully, exercising self-denial and temperance in all things.”—Letter 17, 1895, pp. 7, 8. (To Brother Caldwell, September 6, 1895.) 4MR 364.1

The question is sometimes asked, “Why, if we have the truth, do we not see a greater manifestation of the Spirit of God?” God cannot reveal Himself till those who profess to be Christians are doers of His word in their private lives, till there is oneness with Christ, a sanctification of body, soul, and spirit. Then they will be fit temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.... 4MR 365.1

“We are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 4MR 365.2

God has given man land to be cultivated. But in order to reap the harvest, there must be harmonious action between divine and human agencies. The plough and other implements of labor must be used at the right times. The seed must be sown in its season. Man is not to fail of doing his part. If he is careless and negligent, his unfaithfulness testifies against him. The harvest is proportionate to the energy he has expended.—Letter 139, 1898, p. 16. (To Elder A. T. Jones, December 16, 1898.) 4MR 365.3

If the truth were comprehended and practiced, licentiousness would not be allowed to destroy the physical and mental powers. The apostle Paul writes, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them: and I will be their God and they shall be My people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty,” “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 4MR 365.4

There is no mystery in these words. If the human agent is a doer of the word he will be a laborer together with God in keeping his body free from defilement. If he loves God with all his heart and mind and soul and strength, he cannot defile his body, which is the temple of God. 4MR 366.1

Abuse of the temple of God has brought upon men and women suffering and misery which no human tongue can describe. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor light. Let us walk honestly in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.” 4MR 366.2

Those who will open their understanding to comprehend these things, will make wonderful reforms in their lives. The apostle writes, “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Those who are perfecting Christian characters will make decided changes in their lives that they may present themselves to God holy and blameless, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.—Manuscript 143, 1899, 10, 11. (“Co-workers With Christ,” typed October 4, 1899.) 4MR 366.3

Three nights before the Review office burned, I was in an agony that words cannot describe. I could not sleep. I walked the room, praying to God to have mercy upon His people. Then I seemed to be in the Review office, with the men who have the management of the institution. I was trying to speak to them and thus to help them. One of authority arose and said, “You say, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we; therefore we have authority to do this thing and that thing and the other thing. But the word of God forbids many of the things that you propose to do.” At His first advent, Christ cleansed the temple. Prior to His second advent, He will again cleanse the temple. Why? Because commercial work has been brought in, and God has been forgotten. With hurry here and hurry there somewhere else, there was no time to think of heaven. The principles of God's law were presented, and I heard the question asked, “How much of the law have you obeyed?” Then the word was spoken, “God will cleanse and purify His temple in His displeasure.” 4MR 367.1

In the visions of the night, I saw a sword of fire hung out over Battle Creek. 4MR 367.2

Brethren, God is in earnest with us. I want to tell you that if after the warnings given in these burnings, the leaders of our people go right on, just as they have done in the past, exalting themselves, God will take the bodies next. Just as surely as He lives, He will speak to them in language that they cannot fail to understand. 4MR 367.3

God is watching us to see if we will humble ourselves before Him as little children. I speak these words now that we may come to Him in humility and contrition, and find out what He requires of us. 4MR 368.1

God wants us to learn what it means to be temples of the Lord. When we learn this, His saving grace will come to us, and the terrible dissension that is doing so much to weaken our efforts will no longer be seen among us. 4MR 368.2

Think of these words; pray over them. Come to the Lord as little children. Plead with Him for His salvation. If we receive His salvation into our hearts, His power will be with us, and success will crown our efforts.... 4MR 368.3

Let us begin our work on correct principles. And when you go home, take your Bibles, and read the law that you must meet in the judgment. Read the specifications given regarding the law. Come near to God, and He will receive you. Exercise the simple faith of a little child.—Manuscript 11, 1903, 6, 6b. (“Words of Counsel,” March 26, 1903.) 4MR 368.4

The three great powers of heaven pledge themselves to furnish to the Christian all the assistance he requires. The Spirit changes the heart of stone to the heart of flesh. And by partaking of the word of God, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of His Son, Christians obtain an experience that is after the divine similitude. When Christ abides in the heart by faith, the Christian is the temple of God. Christ does not abide in the heart of the sinner, but hearts that are susceptible to the influence of Heaven's instrumentalities, and have been sanctified by obedience to the truth, are representatives of His righteousness.—Letter 53, 1904, p. 6. (To W. W. Prescott, January 26, 1904.) 4MR 368.5

“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 4MR 369.1

As you learn how to care for the sick, and how to conform to the laws that will preserve the body in health, carry out the instruction you receive. Remember that you are not to yield to the temptations of appetite, or in any way defile or mar the body that God desires for the habitation of His Spirit. By a conscientious care of your health, show your appreciation of the price that Christ has paid for you.—Manuscript 8, 1905, 3, 4. (“Growing in Grace,” September 23, 1904.) 4MR 369.2

Released May 14, 1970.