The Signs of the Times


December 11, 1893

Truth Revealed to the Humble


“Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” The Lord Jesus presented the heavenly treasures to the Jewish people, but many of them would not receive them. The educated men thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too well honored to need the honor that Jesus would confer upon them in making them laborers together with God. In the scribes, Pharisees, and rulers, Jesus found not the bottles for his new wine. He was obliged to turn from them to humble men, whose hearts were not filled with envy, covetousness, and self-righteousness. The lowly fishermen obeyed the call of the divine Teacher, while the scribes and Pharisees refused to become converted. ST December 11, 1893, par. 1

The disciples that Jesus called were uneducated, and were far from being perfect in character when Jesus united them with himself; but they were willing to learn from the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. They were truly converted men, and became the new bottles into which Jesus could pour the new wine of his kingdom. But though they were converted to Christ, yet, because of their limited earthly comprehension—the result of the teaching they had had from the Jews—they were unable fully to understand the spiritual nature of the truth he could impart. The burden of his instruction was the necessity of his followers having pure and holy hearts, for holiness alone would fit them to become subjects of his heavenly kingdom. ST December 11, 1893, par. 2

The divine Sower scattered grains of precious seed, which we cannot see until a skillful laborer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, gathers them together and presents them to us as a complete system of truth, unfolding the depths of divine love. For all ages Jesus, the author of truth, through prophets and people, had presented truth upon truth to the Jews, from the pillar of cloud and fire. But the truth he had given had become mingled with error, and it was necessary to separate from the companionship of heresy and evil. It was necessary to readjust it in the framework of the gospel, in order that it might shine forth in its original luster and illuminate the moral darkness of the world. Wherever he found a gem of truth that had been lost from its setting, or had been marred with error, he reset it, and stamped upon it the signature of Jehovah. He proved himself to be the word and the wisdom of God. ST December 11, 1893, par. 3

The commonplace matters of time and earth had engrossed the minds of the people at the time of Christ, just as Satan had designed that they should. Sin had expelled from the heart the love of God, and instead of the love of God there was found in the heart the love of the world, the love of sinful indulgence of evil passions. Christ alone could adjust the claims between heaven and earth. Man's vision had become blinded, because he did not keep in view the spiritual and eternal world. But the kind of teaching that Christ gave to the world did not harmonize with the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees; for their religion consisted in a round of forms and ceremonies, and the offering of sacrifices, which had been designed by Christ to keep his sacrifice in mind, had lost its significance. Unless the sacrifices were offered in faith, accompanied with contrition and humility, they were valueless in the eyes of God, and even an abomination to him. God repeatedly had declared that the sacrifices acceptable to him were a broken and a contrite heart. He said, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” ST December 11, 1893, par. 4

In Christ's perfection of character was found the ransom for the sinner, the way in which the rebel against God might be reconciled to God. Those who will submit to the drawing power of Christ, may be justified by a just God. Jesus is the ladder which Jacob saw. The base of this ladder rests upon the earth, in the human nature of our Lord, and its top reaches the throne of God, in his divinity. The light of the glory of God illuminates the whole ladder, and that light shines into every believing heart, enlightening, strengthening, encouraging. Angels of shining brightness ascend and descend upon this ladder, and minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Through the merit of Christ, intercourse between heaven and earth has been opened, and the system of sacrifices instituted at Adam's fall had no virtue except as they showed forth the great Mediator between God and man. Jesus was the true Sacrifice, who was to die for man's transgression. The sacrifice of Cain was rejected because it was not an offering that acknowledged the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. In Cain's offering there was no confession of sin, no acknowledgment that he was in need of a Saviour. Today there are thousands and tens of thousands who are making the same mistake as did Cain, and as did the Pharisees in the days of Christ. They are trusting in self, and depending upon their own wisdom, and do not realize their own spiritual poverty. To them comes the Laodicean message: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” ST December 11, 1893, par. 5

As in the days of Christ, the Pharisees do not know their own spiritual destitution. The Lord says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Faith and love are the gold tried in the fire. But with the Pharisees the gold has become dim, and the rich treasure has been lost. To them it is said: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” ST December 11, 1893, par. 6

But while these messages of reproof are addressed to those who have backslidden, and who have left their first love, yet He who knows all things has given us this precious promise: “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” One who has been anointed with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, is able to lead every soul who will submit to be led, and He has trodden every step of the way before us. “If any man lack wisdom,” let him lean upon his fellow-man?—No; “let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” ST December 11, 1893, par. 7

In the person and work of Christ the holiness of God is revealed; for Christ came to reveal the Father. Satan had cast his shadow athwart the pathway of humanity, and misrepresented the character of God. The controversy of Satan did not end when he was expelled from the courts of heaven. He hated Christ for his position in the courts of God, and he hated him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated him when he came to a ruined world, to show mercy and manifest his compassion toward a race of sinners. Through the chief priests and Pharisees the hatred of Satan was manifested toward the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. ST December 11, 1893, par. 8