The Review and Herald


September 22, 1896

Our Advocate and Our Adversary


“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” Zechariah 3:1. RH September 22, 1896, par. 1

The third chapter of Zechariah contains truths that can be dwelt upon with benefit. There are lessons that are profitable for all. Here are represented the people of God, as it were a criminal on trial. Joshua, as high priest, is seeking for a blessing for the people, who are in great affliction. While he is thus pleading before God, Satan is standing at his right hand as his adversary. He is an accuser of the children of God, and is making the case of Israel appear as desperate as possible. He presents before the Lord their evil doings and defects. He shows their faults and failures, with the hope that they will appear of such a character in the eyes of Christ that he will render them no help in their great need. Joshua, as representative of God's people, stands under condemnation, clothed with filthy garments. Aware of the imperfections of Israel, he is weighed down with discouragement. Satan is pressing upon his soul a sense of guiltiness that makes him feel almost hopeless. Yet he stands there as a suppliant, with Satan arrayed against him. RH September 22, 1896, par. 2

But let us see what position Christ takes toward Joshua and the accuser: “And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord who hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” RH September 22, 1896, par. 3

Satan would cover the people of God with blackness, and ruin them; but Jesus interposes. Although they had sinned, yet Jesus took the guilt of their sins upon his own soul. He snatched the race as a brand from the fire. With his long human arm he encircled humanity, while with his divine arm he grasped the throne of the infinite God. And thus man has strength given him that he may overcome Satan, and triumph in God. Help is brought within the reach of perishing souls; the adversary is rebuked. RH September 22, 1896, par. 4

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And 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 mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments.” Then the angel with the authority of the Lord, made a solemn pledge to Joshua: “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. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at.” RH September 22, 1896, par. 5

Notwithstanding the defects of the people of God ever since the fall, Jesus will not turn away from the objects of his care. He has the power to change our raiment, to remove the filthy garments, to place upon the repenting, believing sinner his robe of righteousness, and write pardon against his name. RH September 22, 1896, par. 6

Satan commenced his work as an accuser in heaven. This has been his work ever since the fall, and it will be his work in a special sense as we approach nearer to the close of time. He is aroused when he sees a people on the earth, who, even in their weakness and sinfulness, have respect unto the law of Jehovah. He has no intention that they shall obey God. He delights in their unworthiness, and has devices prepared for every soul, that all may be ensnared and separated from God. He would accuse and condemn God, and all who strive to carry out his purposes in this world, in mercy and love, in compassion and forgiveness. Every manifestation of God's power for his people arouses the enmity of Satan against them. Every time God works in their behalf, Satan with his angels is aroused to work with relentless vigor to compass their ruin. He is jealous of every soul who makes Christ his strength. His object is to instigate evil, and when he has succeeded, throw all the blame upon the tempted one, presenting him before the Advocate, clothed in the black garments of sin, and endeavoring to secure to him the severest penalty. He would urge justice without mercy. Repentance he does not allow. The penalty, he argues, can never be remitted, and God be just. RH September 22, 1896, par. 7

The sinner cannot contradict or answer the charge of Satan against him, but our Advocate presents his wounded hands, and makes an effectual plea in behalf of the repenting one who has placed his case in the hands of Jesus. Our Saviour silences this bold accuser by the unanswerable argument of the cross. Jesus stands to plead his own blood in behalf of the sinner. He has unveiled the disguised tempter, and shown him in his true light, as a malignant enemy to Christ and man. The condemnation and murder of the Son of God were brought about by Satan's false accusations, and that against one who was pure, holy, and undefiled. This work has forever alienated from Satan the affections and sympathy of the heavenly world. Not one thought of sympathy remained in their hearts for him who had been an exalted angel. This same work he is carrying on in the world today in the children of disobedience,—those whose minds are subject to his control. The cross of Calvary shows how far Satan will carry his work. RH September 22, 1896, par. 8

This counterfeit justice that Satan advocates, God abhors; it must not come into the experience of the sons and daughters of God. Satan's censuring must not be imitated by any one who is a partaker of the mercy and the love of God. Let not one of his professed children climb upon the judgment seat to accuse or condemn another. Guard your own soul; watch closely for the first jealous thought, the first suggestion to question or judge others. God has not set you to be a judge over your brethren; and while you do so, your own soul will be as destitute of the Spirit of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. Those who are ready to accuse and find fault with others, commit sin against their own souls. Those who would bring others to justice, should be the embodiment of spotless purity themselves. Never disparage one soul for whom Christ has died; for when you accuse and condemn his followers, you accuse and condemn Christ. Be instruments in the Lord's hands of saving souls “with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” We must not be severe with the infirmities of others, but attend zealously to our own individual case. RH September 22, 1896, par. 9

Angels of God are watching the character you develop, they are weighing your words and actions; therefore take heed to your ways; examine closely your own heart, prove whether you are in the love of God. When Jesus is abiding in your heart by faith, when his love controls the heart, you will have love for your brethren and sisters. When you see, or think you discern a defect or error, you will not blaze it abroad; but tell him his fault between thee and him alone. By the blood of Christ he may be cleansed. It was this blood, the mighty argument of the cross of Calvary, that broke the power of Satan as an accuser. RH September 22, 1896, par. 10

Those who are connected with, and are laboring for, the church of God, stand in the same position as Joshua is represented as occupying. As God's servants see the defects of Israel, as they see the sins that are not put away, it calls forth from their sorrowful hearts the prayer, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” But God is not pleased, he is not glorified by many who claim to believe the truth. He calls upon his church to arouse. Look not to the ministers to do your work; sleep not as did the foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps. Have your lamps supplied with the oil of the grace of Christ. Should every one in the church let his light shine forth to others as God designs he should, what a work would be done. A living church will be a working church. Bring your powers to Jesus; put them into exercise. Think, meditate, watch, and pray. A close connection with Jesus will increase your power of accomplishing good, your intellect will be strengthened. The time that will try men's souls is just before us. We shall then have no advocate to rebuke the devil, and plead in our behalf. RH September 22, 1896, par. 11

Every soul must resist the discouragement that Satan will surely suggest, that our sins are too many and too grievous to be pardoned. Sinner, Jesus loves you. He has thrust his own arm into the burning to rescue you. Then let faith take the place of doubt, hope and courage the place of fear and unbelief. Daily confess your sins, and hope for pardon. Let not the careless or indifferent attitude of any one dishearten you, or dull the life current flowing through your soul. If you see that those who ought to be wide awake, who ought to be ensamples to the flock, do not meet their high and holy responsibility, then feel to the depths of your soul that there is more need for you to meet the requirements of God and keep his charge. You must act like living men; work with fidelity. RH September 22, 1896, par. 12

The Lord proclaimed from Sinai, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Do you keep the Sabbath according to the commandment? Do you command your children and your household after you, as did Abraham? Parents have not done their work with fidelity in their families. They have not felt a burden for souls, even for their own children. They have not restrained them, but have indulged them, neglected their eternal interests. The books of heaven testify against them. When you see your children out of the ark, without God, and without hope in the world, make haste; for the storm of God's wrath is coming upon the children of disobedience. God has committed to each sacred trusts. He has given talents to each to be improved, not buried; these talents he will demand of you ere long. Do not wait for some one to do your work. If our life is hid with Christ in God, Satan's miracle-working power, already being manifested, will not deceive us. RH September 22, 1896, par. 13

But there is a more important feature in this lesson. Its full meaning will be experienced by those who shall be alive at the coming of the Lord. There are those who will keep God's charge to the very close of time. They will know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. Satan's malignity will be intensified toward them, as he sees that his time is short. He knows that he is sure of those who are under his delusions, but those who will not be deceived by him, he will persecute until the final rebuke of God is put upon him. He will perform miracles to fasten the deception upon the already deceived, and to deceive others. I wish to impress upon you the necessity of a close and holy walk with God. To say that we believe on the Son of God is not enough. We must have Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. “If” is the temptation that strikes against Jesus. In fullest confidence we must accept Jesus as our Saviour, and reveal him in our life and character. Thus may we stand amid the perils of the last days. RH September 22, 1896, par. 14