The Signs of the Times


May 8, 1893

A Lesson for Our Day


“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” ST May 8, 1893, par. 1

In these words of denunciation a solemn warning is given to the churches of today. It will make every difference with us as regards our eternal future whether we receive or reject the message and the messenger that God sends. All truth originates with God, and according to its character is invested with influence to move men. Spiritual truth is above all else, and Christ came to reveal this manner of truth to the world. The Father came in vital connection with the world through his well-beloved Son, and the revelation of divine truth through the Son was designed to draw men to the Father. ST May 8, 1893, par. 2

Satan has been the central object of the world's worship; but where stands Satan's seat, the throne of God should have been planted. Christ purposed that his cross should become the center of attraction, whereby he should draw the hearts of men to himself. Taking upon him human nature, he became one with the fallen race, and by virtue of the divine nature he laid hold of the throne of the Infinite, and enlisted the cooperation of every heavenly instrumentality to carry out his plan for redeeming a lost race. He sends down upon the hearts of men the bright beams of his righteousness in order to dispel the shadow which Satan has cast upon the world. To counteract his work, Satan and his hosts combined their forces with evil men, and sought to overthrow the work of Christ; but heavenly agencies, united in their great Head, advanced to meet the confederacy of evil, and evil and error were in conflict with goodness and truth. ST May 8, 1893, par. 3

The love of God was to be revealed to the world in the death of his beloved Son, crucified on Calvary for the sins of the world. He was to present to the world the gospel, which was to be the power of God unto salvation. This was not a new truth, but through the traditions of men it had become obscured, and the original truths, by separation from their Author, had lost their meaning to the world. When Christ came, a flood of light was to be shed upon the utterances of patriarchs and prophets. Through this revelation, neglected obligations were to be taken up. Obedience was to take the place of rebellion, and the truth would work a transformation of character in all who should receive it. The great atoning Sacrifice was to be the central and supreme truth, about which all other truths were to cluster. And Christ himself came to the world to bear this truth to his rebellious subjects. ST May 8, 1893, par. 4

Before the coming of Christ, prophets had been sent, and message after message had been delivered to the people of God; but they had beaten one and stoned another, and at length the loving Father said, “They will reverence my Son.” But when he came with the message of divine love, their hearts had grown so hard through their rejection of light, their resistance had become so stubborn, that they said, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” The work of rejection of light was to result in the murder of their Lord. Among the most diligent enemies of Jesus were the scribes and Pharisees. They were ready to bear false witness, and in their blindness even thought that they were doing God service. Jesus went through all the land of Canaan, and mighty works were wrought in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum; but notwithstanding all his mighty works in these cities, they did not believe on him. The great mass of the people would and did listen to the great Teacher, and they would have taken their position with him had it not been for the counterworking of the scribes and Pharisees and those who sat in Moses’ seat. But the priests and teachers, filled with intense hatred and unreasonable prejudice, made every possible effort to make his words and works of no effect. They saw the fruit of his doctrine and the results of his work, but when they had exhausted all their objections, they inquired for a sign of his authority. ST May 8, 1893, par. 5

The lessons that Jesus taught, the work he wrought, gave unanswerable evidence that he was the Son of God. Abundant evidence was given of the most conclusive character, but they closed their eyes lest they should see, and their ears lest they should hear, and refused to listen to his appeals. What sadness it brings to the heart as we read that “he came unto his own, and his own received him not”! He had to leave his own, and go from city to city, and from place to place, in order to preserve his life until his work was done. We read, “He walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” ST May 8, 1893, par. 6

At one time the people came to the priests and asked, “When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” And so enraged were the Pharisees at the evident conviction that had settled upon the people, that they immediately dispatched officers to arrest him. He was teaching the people and healing the sick, and when the officers came within the sound of the melody of his voice, and heard his gracious words, they stood as men entranced, and forgot what had been their errand. Hardened as were their hearts, they were melted under his words of truth and compassion; and when the chief priests and Pharisees inquired, “Why have ye not brought him?” they answered, “Never man spake like this man.” Then answered them the Pharisees: “Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.” ST May 8, 1893, par. 7

The Pharisees charged the people with ignorance of the prophecies, and yet it was themselves who were willingly ignorant that Jesus met in his life and works and character every specification of the Scriptures. There was no want of evidence of his Messiahship, no dimness of light concerning his divine claims; but they did not wish to believe, and permitted prejudice to blind their eyes. ST May 8, 1893, par. 8

The Man of sorrows, who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, who was bruised for our iniquities, and wounded for our transgressions, by whose stripes we are healed, was indeed without form or comeliness to the Jews; and yet he was the predicted Messiah, who was to shine before the ancients gloriously, to reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. As he came in his humiliation to our earth, no conquering armies were visible to mortal eyes, and the unbelieving Jews decided that he could not be the illustrious King for whom they were looking, as there was no outward display. And why did the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem reject the Lord of life and glory? Why did they keep up a continual controversy with him? It was because those who claimed to believe and teach the word of God interpreted its utterances to suit their own preconceived opinions, so that the word of God might seem to harmonize with the traditions and commandments of men. It was because the people did not see the necessity of searching the Scriptures for themselves, of comparing scripture with scripture, that they might know the truth. They gave credence to what the priests and Pharisees taught, in place of seeking to understand the true meaning of the word of God for themselves, instead of using the reason and judgment which God had given them that they might understand. They placed the priests and rulers where they should have placed God, and rejected the truth of God, that they might keep their own tradition. Let us take a lesson from the mistake of the Jewish people, and not be found committing a similar error. ST May 8, 1893, par. 9