Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 29, 1898

The Great Supper


March 3, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in RH 01/17/1899.

“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding.” [Matthew 22:1-3.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 1

All the preparations have been made. Long before the feast the invitations had been given, and when the gospel feast was ready, the servants were sent to call them that were bidden to the feast. But there were those who did not appreciate the invitation. They refused to come. They excused themselves from coming to the royal banquet prepared. Let us read those excused, and let each soul consider how forcible they will appear when the judgment shall sit, and the books, shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, and the things written in the books: 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 2

“And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” [Luke 14:18-20.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 3

These excuses are not echoed by many, for they are very trifling; but the parable is applicable to every case. Minds are absorbed in just such things. Temporal matters are exalted above the eternal. Men do not understand their relation to God; they do not realize that they are bought with a price, that obedience and whole-hearted service is required of them. Jesus has come in person to our world, but how few heed His call. The great blessing bestowed is not recognized as such. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 4

Again the king sent to those who had refused his invitation, giving them every opportunity to reflect, and accept the gracious call. “Tell them which are bidden,” he said, “Behold I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.” [Matthew 22:4-6.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 5

“So the servant came and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said unto his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the lame, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” [Luke 14:21, 22.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 6

Then the third call was made, in the highways and hedges—a compelling call to the marriage supper of the Lamb: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.” [Verses 23, 34.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 7

Here we see the necessity of improving every opportunity to urge the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready.” [Verse 17.] With what joy Christ looks upon every man of high degree who accepts the invitation. He has a work for those to do who will co-operate with the heavenly intelligences to carry the message to others. Jesus also looks upon the poor, those in a lowly condition of life, and rejoices in every guest brought in. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 8

In the work of the servants in the highways and hedges is represented the call of the Gentiles. The Jews had despised the message, and cruelly treated the messengers, yet the wedding was furnished with guests. Paul and Barnabas afterward declared to the Jews, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” [Acts 13:46-48.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 9

But the scene changes. The king comes in to examine the guests and he sees one who has come to the table without the wedding garment which he himself had provided. He is clothed in his old citizen dress; the garment provided for him has not been deemed essential. Why should he insult his lord by refusing to wear the dress he has prepared for him? Addressing the one who has thus dishonored him, the king says, “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” [Matthew 22:12.] This man had accepted the call merely to advantage himself. “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” [Verses 13, 14.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 10

The greatest privilege of the Jewish nation lay [in] their possession of light concerning the kingdom of God. To them had been entrusted the oracles of God. When others were in the darkness, and knew not God, they were entrusted with a revelation of God’s will. The truth was committed to them in clear lines to be committed to others; but in the place of feeling their great need, and the obligation they were under to God to impart to others all they had received from Him, they were filled with self-complacency. They made the boast that they were the only favored people of God, and were therefore more exalted than their neighbors. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 11

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord that I will punish all them that are circumcised with the uncircumcised.” [Jeremiah 9:23-25.] 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 12

The outward sign is of no value with God, if the heart and mind and strength are not devoted to Him. If these are used to exalt and favor self, all claims to superior wisdom will be as nothingness in His sight. Notwithstanding their claims to be children of God, they will be found the circumcised among the uncircumcised; for the heart not given to God is not clean; it is full of selfishness, impurity, pride, and deceit. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 13

Christ sent forth His disciples, first twelve, and later seventy, preaching the Word, and declaring, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 10:7.] But the invitation was not accepted. They would not come. These servants were sent out later to say, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are now ready. Come unto the marriage.” [Matthew 22:4.] This was the message borne to the Jewish nation after the Lord was crucified, but the nation that claimed to be God’s peculiar people rejected the gospel brought to them in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many did this in the most scornful manner, while others were so exasperated by the offer of salvation, the offer of pardon for rejecting the Lord of life and glory, that they turned upon the bearers of the message, stoning Stephen, killing James by the sword, and haling men and women committing them to prison. But in the arrest of Paul by Christ lies a wonderful lesson for us all. It teaches that even if those who taunted Him upon the cross, who abused Him in the judgment hall, had repented as did Saul, they would have been forgiven. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 14

When the Jews were seeking to put Christ to death, they said, “If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe in Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” [John 11:48.] But it was because the Jews did not receive Christ that the Roman army did these very things. He was their only hope, and they knew it not. Titus’ army was permitted to storm Jerusalem, and the temple which the nation had exalted and adored above the Lord of the temple, was given to the flames. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 15

I do not by any means present this subject in its fullness; for I cannot in the limited time I have make an appropriate application of it. This subject concerns us as a people in these last days. All who have had the light of truth are being tested as were the Jews. Our privileges are far greater than were theirs. We have the assurance of a Saviour who has come, a Saviour who has been crucified, who has risen, and has proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [Verse 25.] That which was type and symbol to the Jews in reality to us. They had the Old Testament history; we have that and the New Testament also. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 16

In our knowledge of Jesus and His love, the kingdom of God has been placed in our very midst. Christ had been proclaimed to us in sermons, and chanted to us in songs. The spiritual banquet has been set before us in rich abundance. We have had presented to us by the messengers of God the richest feast, the righteousness of Christ, justification by faith, the exceeding great and precious promises of God in His Word, the free access to the Father through Jesus Christ, the comforts of the Holy Spirit, the well-grounded assurance of eternal life in the kingdom of God. We ask, What could God do more for us that He has not done, in preparing the great supper, the heavenly banquet? 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 17

All who have accepted the truth in the heart will have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. They will live in loving, spiritual communion with one another and with God. As a people, we have been exalted to the highest privileges. The Lord has been revealed to us in every increasing light. We have not only the great light committed to ancient Israel, but we have the increasing evidence of the great salvation brought to us through Christ our Advocate in the heavenly courts, and that He is prepared to set all the heavenly agencies at work in our behalf. The work to be done is not for those who know the truth. This has been our mistake in the past. We are to set before every soul his responsibility to practice and communicate the truth by giving the invitation to others; and in this work the human and the divine must co-operate. 13LtMs, Ms 29, 1898, par. 18