The Review and Herald

666/1902

April 18, 1893

Address to the Church

(Concluded.)

EGW

Jesus identifies his interest with his chosen and tried people. He represents himself as personally affected with all that concerns them. He reproved the errors and actions of the Jews with the indignant sensibility of one who felt himself personally misrepresented, accused, and dishonored. Every wrong done to his followers, or to the weakest of humanity, is regarded by him with intense interest. After presenting his relation to his people in various lights, he finally declares that in the great day he will judge of every action as if it had been done unto himself. His sympathy with his people is without a parallel. He will not simply remain a spectator, indifferent to what his people may suffer, but identifies himself with their interests and sorrows. If his people are wronged, maligned, treated with contempt, their sufferings are registered in the books of heaven as done unto him. RH April 18, 1893, par. 1

He says, “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” But now the irrevocable sentence must be passed, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” Past opportunities, privileges, and blessings rise up before him. He could see Jerusalem as she might have been,—holiness unto the Lord. For ages Judah had been the repository of sacred truth. Here the knowledge of Jehovah had been cherished and preserved, when God had not been acknowledged among the nations, and his worship was lost in the earth. The streets of Jerusalem had been trodden by angel feet, and its very soil had been sacred to God. From its temple prayer and praise had ascended to God. From its altar the bleeding sacrifice had testified to human guilt, pointing to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. The Lord had sent them messages of warning and reproof, of consolation and promise, by his prophets, rising up early and sending them, but they had beaten one and stoned another, and it could not be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem. Finally God had sent his Son, and from the highest bough to the lowest he had searched for fruit, and had found none. For their sakes he had clothed his divinity with humanity, made himself of no reputation, fled before the feet of his accusers and haters, and yet carried a rebellious people upon his heart. He had done all that could be done, but they turned from him, demanding still more evidence. His life was one continual miracle, but they knew it not, and demanded that he should show them a miracle. But in the face of their utter rejection of his love, their unbelief in his mission and divinity, when he knew that the representative men of the nation were plotting for his destruction, he wept over the city of his love. His prophetic eye read the history of the past, and the woe and the guilt of the future, and his heart was breaking with agony because the people of God knew not the time of their visitation. Hell moved by a power from beneath, that the guilty inhabitants of Jerusalem might carry out the will of the prince of darkness. Stirred with enmity they would yield themselves to the control of the malignant foe, and make the Prince of life their victim. Clouds of wrath were gathering over the doomed city; for they called down upon themselves judgment, crying, “His blood be on us and upon our children.” That blood by virtue of which the repentant sinner might be forgiven—that blood by which a guilty world might be saved, by which the Jewish nation might be saved and purified, which was paid a ransom for the sins of the world, was to them the final guilt in the cup of their iniquity. Jesus knew that his chosen people were to put him, the Prince of life and glory, to an ignominious death. He knew what was to be their doom. With prophetic glance he saw the Roman legions, he heard the tramp of armies, saw the city encompassed and in flames, and the temple a smoking ruin. The miseries of the people whom he longed to save, rose up before him. He beholds their guilt and agony, but they are as unrelenting as was Satan in his rebellion against God. RH April 18, 1893, par. 2

The heart of Jesus was pierced with agony, and from his pale lips came forth the words, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” In their blind unbelief they would not know the Prince of life; if they had known him, they would not have crucified him. RH April 18, 1893, par. 3

In the Jewish nation we behold a chosen nation divorced from God because of unbelief. Jesus, the lover of humanity, was called upon to pronounce sentence against the people for whom he had lived and labored, but from whom he had borne insult, mockery, and rejection. He had borne everything from them, he had done all that was possible that he might save them from ruin. He knew the history of sin. He had watched its unfoldings from the beginning. He had seen the heavenly angels bewitched by its evil power until they were led to sympathize and to join with Satan in his rebellion against God. He had passed through the terrible scenes when there was war in heaven, when Satan had been expelled from the abode of bliss, and before his vision were all the consequences of sin. O if he could but do one act of mercy by which they might be led to abandon their rebellion, and come to him that he might save; but he had exhausted the resources of infinite love. The last arrow had been drawn from his quiver; he could do no more. The salvation of the Jews would have been the joy of Christ, the rejoicing of the angels, but they would not. No man will be saved against his will. RH April 18, 1893, par. 4

Will those who profess to believe the truth listen to the words of Jesus? He has said, “I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.” “I am the bread of life.” “I am the good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Will those who are called by his name believe that the children of God are very precious in his sight? Let us consider what the lord has done for us. Shall not the love manifested toward us be appreciated, shall it not be permitted to melt our hearts, to humble our pride to the dust? Such was the breadth and length and height and depth of the Saviour's love, that he willingly laid aside his honor, his high command in heaven, and clothed his divinity with humanity, in order that he might become man's substitute and surety.. RH April 18, 1893, par. 5

“He took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” RH April 18, 1893, par. 6

Under the mighty impulse of his love, he took our place in the universe, and invited the ruler of all things to treat him as representative of the human family. He identified himself with our interests, bared his breast for the stroke of death, took man's guilt and its penalty, and offered in man's behalf a complete sacrifice to God. By virtue of this atonement, he has power to offer to man perfect righteousness and full salvation. Whosoever shall believe on him as a personal Saviour shall not perish, but have everlasting life. RH April 18, 1893, par. 7

Those who in sincerity and truth believe the words of Christ sent to them through his ambassadors, will understand what is the import of those words; but those who have intrenched themselves in unbelief, will be as were the Jews, blinded to the light. By rejection of evidence, they lost their spiritual eyesight, and could not discern between good and evil, between truth and error, light and darkness. Those who are filled with unbelief can discern the least thing that has an objectionable appearance, and by beholding the objectionable feature, they can lose sight of all the evidence that God has given in manifesting his abundant grace and power, in revealing precious gems of truth from the inexhaustible mine of his word. They can hold the objectionable atom under the magnifying glasses of their imagination until the atom looks like a world, and shuts out from their view the precious light of heaven. But instead of placing that which appears objectionable beneath the eyes, why not bring before the soul the precious things of God? Why make the things of priceless value of little esteem, while the worthless things are made much of? Why take so much account of that which may appear to you as objectionable in the messenger, and sweep away all the evidences that God has given to balance the mind in regard to the truth? RH April 18, 1893, par. 8

With the history of the children of Israel before us, let us take heed, and not be found committing the same sins, following in the same way of unbelief and rebellion. RH April 18, 1893, par. 9

“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” RH April 18, 1893, par. 10

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry, I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.” RH April 18, 1893, par. 11