The Signs of the Times


November 13, 1901

The Divine Guardian of the Church


Satan's work is represented in the third chapter of Zechariah. We read: “He showed me Joshua the high priest standing beside the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” ST November 13, 1901, par. 1

Satan comes to God's people with temptation, the temptation gains the victory, and those claiming to follow Christ fall a prey to the devices of the enemy, giving him an excuse to point at God's people as clothed with filthy garments. He points to the defects of such ones as a sample of what is done by God's commandment-keeping people. ST November 13, 1901, par. 2

The Lord may seem to have forgotten the perils of His church, and the injury done to her by those who follow principles which He can not indorse. But God has not forgotten. Nothing in this world is so dear to the heart of God as His church. He marks every action of the members. It is not His will that worldly policy shall corrupt her record as a representative of heaven. Nothing so offends the heart of Christ as injury done those whom He died to save. His heart of love is grieved when the lame are turned out of the way by the crooked paths made by others. God does not leave His people to be overcome by Satan's temptations. He will chastise those who misrepresent Him. But He will be gracious to all who sincerely repent. ST November 13, 1901, par. 3

“He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” ST November 13, 1901, par. 4

Standing before God in filthy garments, Joshua well represented the condition of God's ministers and the lay members of the church. They need to be revived and reformed. They need to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. But God will rebuke Satan, refusing to hear his accusations against His church, even tho she is far from what she should be. ST November 13, 1901, par. 5

Those who continue in the service of God will, through the revival of God's appointed agencies, return to whole-hearted obedience, depending on the merits of a crucified Saviour, and trusting in His atonement for salvation. The righteous will continually follow righteousness, because Christ, who is formed within, is righteousness and truth. They will be imbued with a pure, fervent love, a love begotten by the love of God. Their transgressions will be forgiven, and their sins pardoned. And God will look upon them with pleasure. ST November 13, 1901, par. 6

Christ loves His church. He will give all needed help to those who call upon Him for strength for the development of Christlike character. But His love is not weakness. He will not serve with their sins, nor give them prosperity while they continue to follow a wrong course of action. Only through faithful repentance will their sins be forgiven; for God will not cover evil with the robe of His righteousness. He will honor faithful service. He will abundantly bless those who reveal to their fellow-men His justice, mercy, and love. Let those who are engaged in His service walk before Him in true humility, following faithfully in His footsteps, cherishing the holy principles which will live through the eternal ages. Let them in word and action show that they obey the laws which are obeyed in heaven. ST November 13, 1901, par. 7

Remember that those who are truly united to Christ will show Christlike sympathy for one another. Are they not members of His body? Should they not show a kindly interest in their fellow-laborers, and rejoice in helping them? Such believers will exert an influence which produces the fruits of righteousness. Their light will shine forth to others, and the church will feel the benefit of the sanctifying power of the grace of Christ. ST November 13, 1901, par. 8

The way of the world is to begin with pomp and boasting, exalting human agents. But all this will come to naught. God's way is to make the day of small things the beginning of the glorious triumph of truth and righteousness. Bear in mind that human power and human inventions did not establish the church, and neither will they destroy her. The Holy Spirit will keep every one who in faith and trust is committed to His charge. The overflowing fountain of life is for God's servants to enjoy. It makes them more than conquerors, victorious over all opposition. ST November 13, 1901, par. 9

I present the following scripture to those who claim to respect the law of Jehovah: ST November 13, 1901, par. 10

“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far: The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name. And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Tho Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldst be My servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of Salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.” ST November 13, 1901, par. 11

God means every word that He says. He continues to carry forward His work of redemption in the hearts of those who will repent and be converted. The church has failed, sadly failed, to meet the expectations of her Redeemer, and yet the Lord does not withdraw Himself from His people. He bears with them still, not because of any goodness found in them, but that His name may not be dishonored before the enemies of truth and righteousness, that the Satanic agencies may not triumph in the destruction of God's people. He has borne long with their waywardness, unbelief, and folly. With wonderful forbearance and compassion He has disciplined them. If they will heed His instruction, He will cleanse away their perverse tendencies, saving them with an everlasting salvation, and making them eternal monuments of the power of His grace. Under His superintending care, they will carry forward His work without misrepresenting Him in any line. His glorious work, founded on eternal principles, will never decay. It will shine with the light of the Sun of Righteousness, and there will be shoutings of Grace, grace unto it. ST November 13, 1901, par. 12

Mrs. E. G. White