Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People  (Read 12374 times)

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Richard Myers

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The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« on: September 12, 2000, 07:39:00 AM »
God has a "chosen people" today and as we read this chapter we shall learn how God is dealing with us as He did with Israel of old.

The Chosen People


Listen to    The Chosen People 

 






    For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour's coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them "as a root out of a dry ground;" He had "no form nor comeliness;" and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Isaiah 53:2; John 1:11.
     Yet God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men. 
     In the call of Abraham the Lord had said, "I will bless thee; . . . and thou shalt be a blessing: . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:2, 3. The same teaching was repeated through the prophets. Even after Israel had been wasted by war and captivity, the promise was theirs, "The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Micah 5:7. Concerning the temple at Jerusalem, the Lord declared through Isaiah, "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7, R. V. 
     But the Israelites fixed their hopes upon worldly greatness. From the time of their entrance to the land of Canaan, they departed from the commandments of God, and followed the ways of the heathen. It was in vain that God sent them warning by His prophets. In vain they suffered the chastisement of heathen oppression. Every reformation was followed by deeper apostasy. 
     Had Israel been true to God, He could have accomplished His purpose through their honor and exaltation. If they had walked in the ways of obedience, He would have made them "high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor." "All people of the earth," said Moses, "shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee." "The nations which shall hear all these statutes" shall say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Deuteronomy 26:19;  28:10; Deuteronomy 4:6. But because of their unfaithfulness, God's purpose could be wrought out only through continued adversity and humiliation. 
     They were brought into subjection to Babylon, and scattered through the lands of the heathen. In affliction many renewed their faithfulness to His covenant. While they hung their harps upon the willows, and mourned for the holy temple that was laid waste, the light of truth shone out through them, and a knowledge of God was spread among the nations. The heathen systems of sacrifice were a perversion of the system that God had appointed; and many a sincere observer of heathen rites learned from the Hebrews the meaning of the service divinely ordained, and in faith grasped the promise of a Redeemer.   
     Many of the exiles suffered persecution. Not a few lost their lives because of their refusal to disregard the Sabbath and to observe the heathen festivals. As idolaters were roused to crush out the truth, the Lord brought His servants face to face with kings and rulers, that they and their people might receive the light. Time after time the greatest monarchs were led to proclaim the supremacy of the God whom their Hebrew captives worshiped.   
     By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. During the centuries that followed, they suffered from the oppression of heathen foes, until the conviction became fixed that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But with too many of the people obedience was not prompted by love. The motive was selfish. They rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to national greatness. They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry. In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but this teaching had been misinterpreted. It was intended to prevent them from conforming to the practices of the heathen. But it was used to build up a wall of separation between Israel and all other nations. The Jews looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles. 
     After the return from Babylon, much attention was given to religious instruction. All over the country, synagogues were erected, where the law was expounded by the priests and scribes. And schools were established, which, together with the arts and sciences, professed to teach the principles of righteousness. But these agencies became corrupted. During the captivity, many of the people had received heathen ideas and customs, and these were brought into their religious service. In many things they conformed to the practices of idolaters. 
     As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.
     With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,--that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law. 
     While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor's power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour.   
     At the time of the birth of Christ the nation was chafing under the rule of her foreign masters, and racked with internal strife. The Jews had been permitted to maintain the form of a separate government; but nothing could disguise the fact that they were under the Roman yoke, or reconcile them to the restriction of their power. The Romans claimed the right of appointing and removing the high priest, and the office was often secured by fraud, bribery, and even murder. Thus the priesthood became more and more corrupt. Yet the priests still possessed great power, and they employed it for selfish and mercenary ends. The people were subjected to their merciless demands, and were also heavily taxed by the Romans. This state of affairs caused widespread discontent. Popular outbreaks were frequent. Greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy, were eating out the very heart of the nation.
     Hatred of the Romans, and national and spiritual pride, led the Jews still to adhere rigorously to their forms of worship. The priests tried to maintain a reputation for sanctity by scrupulous attention to the ceremonies of religion. The people, in their darkness and oppression, and the rulers, thirsting for power, longed for the coming of One who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ's first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming. Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2000, 08:22:00 AM »
This chapter was a little scary to read, actually.

(1) She starts off by saying that the Jewish people had been waiting for God for more than a thousand years. They rested their brightest hopes on the event. They enshrined His name in their temple services and household prayers. (Does this sound familiar?) And then when He came, they didn't know Him. They even had the Scriptures and they still didn't know Him. I think that is scary!

(2) God's purpose for Israel was to reveal His character to men. EGW says if they had been faithful, God could have accomplished His purpose through Israel's honor and exaltation. But honor and exaltation was what they were seeking, what they were focusing on. So they were not faithful, so God had to accomplish His purpose through Israel's continued adversity and humiliation. Interesting how God can accomplish the same purpose through either avenue.

(3) "Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God."

Then Satan charged that the law obviously could not be kept - and it could not, not the rabbinical law. But that wasn't God's law - they didn't have a proper perception of God's law...do we?

(4) "They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry." (Does that sound familiar?) "In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but THIS TEACHING HAD BEEN MISINTERPRETED."

Gee, if they could misinterpret Scripture, why are we so sure we have it all right?

(5) "While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans."

Do we really long for the redemption from sin at the Second Coming? Or are we looking forward to deliverance from this world and God finally giving the wicked what they deserve! (speaking sarcastically, of course)

This is perhaps the most scary:

(6) "The people, in their darkness..., longed for the One who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom. They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ's first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming."

And I really wonder if we're doing that again today. Are we overlooking Scriptures and misapplying others?? Of course, if you try to say that we are, what happens? People dig in their heels ("Pride obscured their vision") and insist we have always had The Truth and it shouldn't change now.


Joan Rügemer

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2000, 03:52:00 AM »
Chapter 2
"The Chosen People"

The Son of God came as Jesus and his people didn't receive him for 'why' he was sent.

Go had chosen Isreal to preserve among men the knowledge of His law and the shadow symbols of the coming Deliverer, as well as the prophecies of the coming Redeemer. The purpose of the chosen people was to reveal God to mankind.

These chosen people were of rebellious nature. Instead of being true toward..they departed from the commandments of God; instead of turning their backs on the worldly ways they followed the ways of heathen; instead of applying the warnings of the prophets to ther lives they ridiculed or killed them; each time some reformation happened they went back into apostasy. Then came the exile and the living of the chosen ones in the diaspora.

Affliction at times did help many of the chosen ones to renew their holy commitment of faithfulness to God's will. The percecutions caused many of the steadfast in the commands of God to give up their lives. Especially in the Sabbath question.

Oppression by Babylon brought the teaching thru the Godly chastizement to give up idols.
Oppression by heathen foes over centries long was a chastizement to bring them to learn that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God.

Over time instead of learning the law of giving...they got to be introverted with the gifts of God and got very ghetto-like in keeping the plan of salvation for themselves believing it was only to be applied to the chosen ones where were members and no outsider dare partate of the grace of God.

Departure among the chosen ones started up each time they got to bringing in heathen learned practices into their worship services. Love of God to the people became vague as the love for God from the people grew cold and instead the do's and don't became middle point of religious life. They got to a plateau of measuring their number of good deeds as justifying their right to godly inheritance and the evidence of holiness (which God did expect of them) while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.

Discouragement nagged many who felt helpless to fulfill the churches requirements. Satan had manipulated the chosen ones to this point. He was out to bring the character of God into comtempt by instilling claims that the requirements of God were injust, and could not be obeyed.

In the long run the chosen ones were not interested so much on inner peace from a clean heart as from outward freedom from outward constraints or moral controls. They wanted to forster their own interpretation of outward 'freedom'.

The chosen ones of the Jewish times were seeking a Messiah to free them politically from the outward Roman restraints of oppressive rule. Because of lacking true spiritual insight the chosen ones misinterpreted scripures and twisted them to mean what they wanted them to mean. They ignored the proper portrayal in prophecy of the nature of humility of the coming Messiah and missapplied the timeframe of the prophecies of the 2nd coming of the Lord for being the 1st coming event.

-------------------------------------------


Joan Rügemer

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2000, 03:55:00 AM »

Each time we read the word 'chosen people' substitute it for the word 'Adventists' and get the feel of whether or not a parallel between 'them' of those times is just the same with 'us' of these times.


...Joan...


tami strand

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2000, 10:36:00 AM »
Richard, from paragraph 5 we read this tiny sentence, that to me reveals so much and at the same time asks a profound question.

"If they had walked in the ways of OBEDIENCE, He would have made them "High above all nations...."

What is the "way of obedience"?

This makes me think of the response Jesus gave the lawyer in Lk 10 when asked about securing eternal life.

Jesus answered him,
"What is written in the law? how readest thou?" vs 26

The lawyer responded,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thy self." vs 27

Each one of us must answer the Lord, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?"

Tami

[This message has been edited by tami strand (edited 09-17-2000).]


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2002, 06:07:00 AM »
Yes, Sister Tammy, "pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires."

Does God have a "chosen people" today?

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2002, 07:45:00 AM »
And what selfish desires can we see today? I am reminded of Job's great trial. After he had lost his children and all earthly possessions, and after he had been afflicted from head to toe. His greatest trial was yet to come. Even Moses, like Job, was not beyond falling from grace and manifesting selfishness. When he took the glory to himself by striking the "Rock" he was not giving glory to God.

Job was tired and sick and lost his connection with Christ. When his three friends began to attack his doctrine and his character, it was more than humanity could endure while separated from divine power. Job manifested self-righteousness as he battled for respect in the eyes of his friends.

Is there a similar danger today within Christianity? Are the trials of a similar nature for some?

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 07:11:59 PM »
You can find the full chapter at the top of the page and if you wish to listen rather than read you can find it here  Desire of Ages

Here is something from chapter 2 that stood out to me.

With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,--that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law.
     While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor's power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour. 


In their effort and desire to please God they created harsh rules for themselves, proving satan to be the tyrant that he is. They found no rest because they had a misconception of God. There is another misconception today that one can have sin on their record and still be saved. A different form of tyranny but tyranny none the less. That a person is stuck in sin and has to bear it until Christ returns. But I much prefer to believe in this promise.

Mat_1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Being saved from our sins is what Jesus does best and desires for all. A lot of Christians want to think that this means that Christ will save us only from the consequence/s of sin but Jesus saves us from our sins not in our sins. In a later chapter she says this.

The heaviest burden that we bear is the burden of sin. If we were left to bear this burden, it would crush us. But the Sinless One has taken our place. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6. He has borne the burden of our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us to cast all our care upon Him; for He carries us upon His heart.  {DA 328.5} 

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 07:41:17 PM »
Amen, Jim!

Imagine, the chosen people of God putting their Messiah to death!  How did it happen? They perverted the truth and turned it into a lie so much that the disciples at the time of Christ first advent did not know Lamb they were sacrificing represented Christ and His death for their sins.

"As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy."

They had no idea Christ came to cleanse their hearts, to give them new hearts. How is it today? Do we understand a Christian who has made a full surrender to Christ has a new heart?  Not many. It is actually verbally taught that one may be in a converted state and retain pride in the heart.    :(
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 08:09:00 AM »
Somehow I got a chapter ahead yesterday.  Let's pick up chapter 2, The Chosen People.

The history of the world is not very long, only 6,000 years.   Of that 6,000 years, Israel occupies the center 2,000 years. That is 1/3 of the earth's history. The Bible tell is Israel is ensample for those of us who the ends of the world has come upon. Then, we ought to learn from their experience that we not repeat their sins.

In fact, we have not been good students and have repeated many of their errors. They wandered in the wilderness on the way to the Promised land for 40 years. We have wandered for far longer.

God has always had a people who love Him and keep His commandments. At times this group has been very small. When God destroyed all living creatures off the face of the earth, except what was in the ark, there were only eight. Elijah thought himself to be the only one, but God said there were 7.000. On the other hand, God has called the nation of Israel His chosen people, yet they were largely Laodiceans, unconverted. What made Israel God's "chosen people" when most often they were disobedient and finally cut off?

This current chapter opens with an explanation as to what God had hoped for in Israel. So, it is today with His church. Sadly, we have not done much better than Israel of Old. We have brought much reproach upon God's name, His church, and His Word. But, unlike Israel, this church will not remain in a Laodicean condition. There will be revival and reformation, and His church will reveal His character to the world.

  Yet God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men.  pg 27. 


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2016, 10:39:54 AM »
For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour’s coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them “as a root out of a dry ground;” He had “no form nor comeliness;” and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Isaiah 53:2; John 1:11.

What a deception! That God's own people would not know Him! How could this have happened?

"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams." 1 Sam. 15:22. 

And from Isaiah:

1:11   To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 
 1:12   When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 
 1:13   Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 
 1:14   Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them]. 
 1:15   And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 
 1:16   Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 
 1:17   Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 
 1:18   Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 


The loveliness of Jesus as revealed in the sanctuary and its services had been perverted by the priests. The nation of Israel, as a people, had been taught their sacrifices made them acceptable before God. While they were required, the blood of bulls and goats has no power to make anyone acceptable before God. Only His grace can transform the life of a sinner so that he or she is acceptable to God. Having lost sight of the meaning of the slain Lamb, the nation as a people were destitute of the Spirit. Thus, the chapter closes with this sad statement.

     The priesthood became more and more corrupt. Yet the priests still possessed great power, and they employed it for selfish and mercenary ends. The people were subjected to their merciless demands, and were also heavily taxed by the Romans. This state of affairs caused widespread discontent. Popular outbreaks were frequent. Greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy, were eating out the very heart of the nation.
     Hatred of the Romans, and national and spiritual pride, led the Jews still to adhere rigorously to their forms of worship. The priests tried to maintain a reputation for sanctity by scrupulous attention to the ceremonies of religion. The people, in their darkness and oppression, and the rulers, thirsting for power, longed for the coming of One who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ's first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming. Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2016, 06:13:09 PM »
As I read this chapter I was thinking about how history repeats itself. It sounds like it is describing our day. How is God ever going to save us yet we know He is coming for a people that will reflect His character fully and vindicate His name.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2016, 06:33:52 PM »
I appreciate your post, Richard! And sister Dorine--so wonderful to have you join us in this forum! While it may seem impossible for Jesus to ever have people who reflect His character fully, I am encouraged to know that He has provided the way for it to happen in our lives personally--by beholding the loveliness of Jesus daily in that "thoughtful hour" upon Christ's life, which Desire of Ages does so beautifully.

I love how good God is, and how merciful He is to us as a people. He clearly reveals the condition of the Jews at the time of Christ so we can take heed and learn, for Paul, writing under the Holy Spirit, said of Israel of old:

"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." 1 Corinthians 10:11

"While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor's power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour." 


Parallels emerge here with the Laodicean condition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If God reveals sin to us in our life, do we renounce it and confess it, realizing that sin separates us from Jesus? The Bible clearly teaches this:

Isaiah 59:2
"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."


Until we realize our continual need of Jesus, we find sin's allurements too strong. Jesus is the only one who can keep us, and it is by beholding Him that we are changed. I pray that we will not reject the living Savior today who is knocking on the doors of our hearts if we sin against Him. I pray that we will allow Him to abide in our hearts through a living-faith connection!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2016, 05:53:18 AM »
By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. During the centuries that followed, they suffered from the oppression of heathen foes, until the conviction became fixed that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But with too many of the people obedience was not prompted by love. The motive was selfish. They rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to national greatness.

This reminded me of this text...

Matthew 15:8 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” .

Isaiah 29:13 “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

It is love that should motivate us. Not reward or punishment. We can not truly render obedience unless it comes from a heart full of love for Christ. And this is accomplished once we truly see our need of Christ and His righteousness and surrender all. Then we can say...

1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.” 
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2016, 07:38:05 AM »
Amen, Jim.  We do not follow Christ so we will gain heaven or escape hell, but because we love Him supremely. And, as you shared, it is because He first loved us! That we might remember this each day. It is the only way we may have power to overcome our evil fallen nature. We need Jesus so very much.

What caused the people to loose sight of the truth? They had the Sanctuary and its services.

     They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ's first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming. Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires. 


How is it with God's chosen people today? Jesus speaks to us, the last of the seven churches in Revelation:

 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 


He loves us, else He would not reprove us and remind us of His promises for His people. How can we keep Him in our thoughts continually?


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2016, 08:39:26 AM »
What a blessing to reflect upon your posts, Jim and Richard! I heartily say, "Amen!" And I appreciate the question you asked, Richard:

"How can we keep Him in our thoughts continually?"

No two people have the same experience, but the principle is always the same. We need to be ever in an attitude of prayer and allowing the mind and heart to appreciate the great love of God for us. It was in such an experience that Enoch walked with God. I am encouraged to think of a way that has immensely helped me in having my mind stayed upon Christ. Let me share:

In the morning, I first arise and pray, and read Scripture and The Desire of Ages. It has been a blessing to take statements from both of these sources, as well as other portions of the Spirit of Prophecy, and compose them into original songs. Then throughout the day I can listen to them, meditate upon them, and reflect upon Jesus' loveliness. But even in the midst of a business engagement, if I am involved with a person to whom I desire to reflect Christ, I need to heed the injunction in Isaiah 26:3: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."

When driving, it is often easy to look at the billboards and advertisements, but why not look at the bigger picture? Look up at the beautiful sky and reflect on Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork."

We each have a unique character building experience--but the need we have is always the same--we need to behold the loveliness of Jesus each morning, and then throughout the day allow the mind to reflect upon and appreciate the goodness of God that has been revealed to us. As we spend this "thoughtful hour" with Jesus each day, our hearts and minds are being softened by divine influences!

I love how today's chapter makes apparent our need:

With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,--that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law. 
     While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor's power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour.   


These lessons are for us as well, and the deception that Satan has practiced upon those professing to look forward to the second coming of Christ is very similar. While it may not be "burdensome injunctions" that are leading so many to turn away from the genuine experience of continually abiding in Christ and having a righteous, perfect character, it is true that since many do not believe it is possible to obey God's law, that they have accepted a counterfeit version of righteousness by faith. They believe that Christ's character stands in the place of their character even while they sin. This is a great deception. When we sin a known sin, a separation is revealed between God and the soul. We have not eternal life when we choose another master than Christ, for such is the service of sin.

John 8:34 "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

And in our time, while people are not desiring "deliverance from the Romans," many professed Seventh-day Adventist Christians may really be looking forward to the second coming mainly from selfish motives--the desire to escape the worldly oppression, the sickness, disease, and trials of this life. While it is true that the second coming will bring great deliverance, it will not be a glorious experience for those who have not received and experienced the transforming work of God's grace in the heart and life. Only with Jesus in the heart is one truly ready for the second coming--and such a preparation is to be made day by day by storing up the words of life into the mind and heart.

Let us pray that we ourselves and those in the Seventh-day Adventist Church will realize that unless we continually have the mind stayed upon Christ, refusing to allow our minds to wander from Him, that we separate from Jesus and revert back to a Laodicean condition. Such a condition is not ready for the second coming. But Jesus, in love and mercy, invites us to behold Him, be changed in character, and so crave His abiding presence that we can know immediately if we have separated from HIm--because only as we abide in Him will all the fruits of His Spirit be seen in our lives without one missing. If we choose to let the mind wander to a place where there is not His abiding love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, we can recognize the lack of these fruits as an invitation to repent, to invite Jesus to again indwell the heart, and to go forward in faith.

Oh, what a glorious loving God who has placed on record blessed lessons in light of Christ's first advent, that we may learn from them and be spiritually enriched by heeding our continual need to behold, abide in, and grow in Christ Jesus!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2017, 08:44:13 AM »
Recently the Holy Spirit impressed me with a thought from this chapter that I had not seen in its significance:

Had Israel been true to God, He could have accomplished His purpose through their honor and exaltation. If they had walked in the ways of obedience, He would have made them "high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor." "All people of the earth," said Moses, "shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee." "The nations which shall hear all these statutes" shall say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Deuteronomy 26:19;  28:10; Deuteronomy 4:6. But because of their unfaithfulness, God's purpose could be wrought out only through continued adversity and humiliation. 

It strikes me that there is a lesson for us as Seventh-day Adventists. If we will behold Jesus daily and spend that "thoughful hour" with Him, if we will follow the laws of health relative to temperance in eating, drinking, and sleeping, if we will choose to follow the mission entrusted to us in sharing the everlasting gospel with the world, God can bless us. But when we sin against God and reveal self rather than Christ, the last part of this paragraph comes into fulfillment: "But because of their unfaithfulness, God's purpose could be wrought out only through continued adversity and humiliation." God will fulfill His purpose. Let us choose the way of faithfulness instead of rebellion and unbelief.

It strikes me that the choice lies with us. Which will we choose? Will we choose to spend time with Jesus daily and become more like Him in character? Or will we let this poor, dark speck of a world eclipse His loveliness so that we walk in blind unbelief and reject the plainest statements of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? Each day we are forming character--we are choosing our eternal destiny by the thoughts, habits, patterns of life, and experiences we choose to engage in. But whatever our situation, and no matter how unchristlike and weak we are, if we will make an entire surrender to Jesus Christ now and let Him purify our hearts and minds by a living faith, He will imbue us with all of the fruits of His Spirit so that not one is missing (this is what it means to be a partaker of the divine nature!)--and then whether in blessing or adversity, we will be enabled to reflect Him and point souls to the only answer in the times in which we live: "Behold the Lamb of God!"
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2017, 10:21:33 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  It is very sad to see what Satan had done with Israel, and the success he has had today. The "great controversy" rages on. Satan continues his battle to make God appear as unjust. There were those who desired to keep God's law, but Satan had perverted the law so that it was impossible to keep it. He cares not which way he leads, as long as poor sinful man does not see the true character of our loving and just God.

With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,--that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law. 

Today, he is just as successful at getting many who profess to serve God to believe the law cannot be kept. He has two paths that lead away from the truth. Either we are saved in sin because we are sinful and cannot keep the law, or we must keep the law, but it is only outwardly, the heart cannot be cleansed.....until maybe the last generation. This is Phariseeism.

Our only hope is in Christ. And, as Pastor Sean has pointed out, we must have Jesus before we can keep the law. Our work is to first go to Jesus just as we are, poor, helpless, and sinful. As we behold His goodness we will be changed, converted. Then, we will keep the law to the degree we know it. Also, when the Spirit takes possession of the heart, then as the pastor said, all of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life. What a God we serve!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2017, 11:07:09 AM »

It makes me wonder today just how big of an impact we would have in the world if modern day Israel were walking with God as we should. Abortion clinics is not a good witness. While the reports from LL give the SDA health message good press our overall witness is someone negated. just think of the impact our people would make on the world were the overwhelming majority seriously following the health message and passionately following all the light we have. We have much more light than had ancient Israel.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--2--The Chosen People
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2017, 12:22:34 PM »
Yes, cp the church would give glory to God by reflecting His character. But, few are willing to spend a thoughtful hour a day learning of Jesus. So, we remain a church in a lost condition. We cannot do good unless we have Jesus in our hearts. It is a hard lesson to learn. We can do no good thing until we give Jesus our hearts.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.