The Signs of the Times


August 22, 1900

Resistance to Light—No. 2


Christ looked with sadness upon the deceived multitude who, while rejoicing in the representation of the light which had led them through the wilderness, were rejecting and turning from the true Light. What pitiful blindness! What strange inconsistency! Standing as He did in the very shadow of the cross, Christ longed to save the people from the doom to which they were hastening. But as He lifted up His voice in earnest accents of entreaty, the Jewish leaders watched Him with cruel malice, hoping to hear Him say something by which they could condemn Him. They had departed from the Word of God, and when the truth revealed itself, they were ready, under Satan's direction, to attack it. ST August 22, 1900, par. 1

Why did not the priests and rulers recognize Christ? Simon took the infant Jesus in his arms, and said, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 2

Why did not the Jewish teachers search the Scriptures, beginning at Moses and the prophets, and carefully studying the types and shadows which pointed to Christ? How easily they could have traced out the prophecies concerning His mission! But they read God's Word as those who understood it not; and the prince of darkness helped them not to see in Jesus the promised Messiah. Under the guidance of Satan they drifted into darkness and unbelief. ST August 22, 1900, par. 3

The world's Redeemer was not to come the first time surrounded by the host of heaven; for human beings would not have been able to bear the sight. It was necessary that Christ should humble Himself and become a Man of sorrows. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 4

Thus plainly had the Messiah been set forth in prophecy; but the Jewish leaders did not want to understand these words. They believed not in the Christ represented in the Scriptures, but in a Christ of the imagination, who, they claimed, would come with great power, to conquer every nation, and put down all authority but the authority of the Jews. They looked for a Messiah who would reign as a temporal prince in Jerusalem, and who would exalt the Jews above every other nation. Christ did not come according to their ideas, and therefore they refused to receive Him. ST August 22, 1900, par. 5

“Ye can not tell whence I come, and whither I go,” Christ said to them. Virtually He told them that they had no desire to know whence He came. They had closed the eyes of their understanding to the evidence which again and again He had given them. You have allowed prejudice and imagination to control you, He said. You may claim to have authority over the people by virtue of your piety, you may pride yourselves on your superior knowledge of God, but you do not know the Father, and therefore you do not know Me; for to know the Father is to know Me. It is your lack of a true knowledge of Me that destroys your spiritual eyesight. ST August 22, 1900, par. 6

“I lay down My life, that I might take it again,” He said. “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” The Saviour could have avoided the suffering and death which He endured. Had He so chosen, He might have left the human race to the consequences of their apostasy. But in counsel with the Father He pledged Himself to secure the salvation of every human being. An irrevocable covenant was made between the Father and the Son. Christ must go forward and finish the work which He had undertaken, or all the world would perish. ST August 22, 1900, par. 7

Christ's death on the cross was one of willing obedience, else in it there would have been no merit; for justice would not punish in the place of the sinner an innocent being who was unwilling to bear the penalty. It was the Saviour's full and free acceptance of the penalty that made His sacrifice wholly acceptable in every point. So the sinner must freely surrender his own will to God, and accept Christ as his substitute and surety. He must rely upon Him as the only one who can change a sinner to a saint. God calls upon us to acknowledge our guilt and accept pardon from Christ, revealing our sincerity by copying His way and doing His will. Of the one who does this the words are spoken, Ye are complete in Him, not having your own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of Christ by faith. ST August 22, 1900, par. 8

“Whither I go, ye can not come,” Christ said. “Then said the Jews, Will He kill Himself?” The answer came, clear and decided: “Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 9

The wily spies upon Christ's track were determined to make Him state in specific terms that He was the promised Messiah. The false ideas of the Messiah with which Satan had filled their minds they had presented to the people, so that the general idea of what Christ should be was very different from the representation given in prophecy. If they would provoke Him to make a claim that He was the Messiah, they could work upon the minds of the Jews to pronounce Him an impostor. “Who art Thou?” they asked; and Christ answered: “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you; but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 10

Christ read the thoughts of His enemies, and did not answer as they wished Him to answer. He did not attempt to prove His Messiahship, but spoke of His relation to God. He accused the Jews of not knowing the Father. Their opposition to His work was the result of this lack of knowledge. ST August 22, 1900, par. 11

“They understood not that He spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. As He spake these words, many believed on Him.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 12

His words made a deep impression upon many minds; for as He spoke, divinity flashed through humanity, and a convincing power attended the truths He uttered. Many were unconsciously imbued with the heavenly influence which surrounded Christ. ST August 22, 1900, par. 13

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ST August 22, 1900, par. 14

Truth never brings the soul into bondage. It is turning from truth to error that brings the soul into captivity. The one who is bond up in close relationship with Christ is freed from the slavery of sin. ST August 22, 1900, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White

(Concluded next week.)