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JimB

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The Desire of Ages--64--A Doomed People
« on: March 19, 2016, 04:30:03 PM »
Chap. 64 - A Doomed People




Listen to A Doomed People

 







     The triumphal ride of Christ into Jerusalem was the dim foreshadowing of His coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory, amid the triumph of angels and the rejoicing of the saints. Then will be fulfilled the words of Christ to the priests and Pharisees: "Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matthew 23:39. In prophetic vision Zechariah was shown that day of final triumph; and he beheld also the doom of those who at the first advent had rejected Christ: "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." Zechariah 12:10. This scene Christ foresaw when He beheld the city and wept over it. In the temporal ruin of Jerusalem He saw the final destruction of that people who were guilty of the blood of the Son of God.
     The disciples saw the hatred of the Jews to Christ, but they did not yet see to what it would lead. They did not yet understand the true condition of Israel, nor comprehend the retribution that was to fall upon Jerusalem. This Christ opened to them by a significant object lesson.       The last appeal to Jerusalem had been in vain. The priests and rulers had heard the prophetic voice of the past echoed by the multitude, in answer to the question, "Who is this?" but they did not accept it as
the voice of Inspiration. In anger and amazement they tried to silence the people. There were Roman officers in the throng, and to them His enemies denounced Jesus as the leader of a rebellion. They represented that He was about to take possession of the temple, and reign as king in Jerusalem. 
     But the calm voice of Jesus hushed for a moment the clamorous throng as He again declared that He had not come to establish a temporal rule; He should soon ascend to His Father, and His accusers would see Him no more until He should come again in glory. Then, too late for their salvation, they would acknowledge Him. These words Jesus spoke with sadness and with singular power. The Roman officers were silenced and subdued. Their hearts, though strangers to divine influence, were moved as they had never been moved before. In the calm, solemn face of Jesus they read love, benevolence, and quiet dignity. They were stirred by a sympathy they could not understand. Instead of arresting Jesus, they were more inclined to pay Him homage. Turning upon the priests and rulers, they charged them with creating the disturbance. These leaders, chagrined and defeated, turned to the people with their complaints, and disputed angrily among themselves. 
     Meanwhile Jesus passed unnoticed to the temple. All was quiet there, for the scene upon Olivet had called away the people. For a short time Jesus remained at the temple, looking upon it with sorrowful eyes. Then He withdrew with His disciples, and returned to Bethany. When the people sought for Him to place Him on the throne, He was not to be found. 
     The entire night Jesus spent in prayer, and in the morning He came again to the temple. On the way He passed a fig orchard. He was hungry, "and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet." 
     It was not the season for ripe figs, except in certain localities; and on the highlands about Jerusalem it might truly be said, "The time of figs was not yet." But in the orchard to which Jesus came, one tree appeared to be in advance of all the others. It was already covered with leaves. It is the nature of the fig tree that before the leaves open, the growing fruit appears. Therefore this tree in full leaf gave promise of well-developed fruit. But its appearance was deceptive. Upon searching its branches, from the lowest bough to the topmost twig, Jesus found "nothing but leaves." It was a mass of pretentious foliage, nothing more.   
     Christ uttered against it a withering curse. "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever," He said. The next morning, as the Saviour and His disciples were again on their way to the city, the blasted branches and drooping leaves attracted their attention. "Master," said Peter, "behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away."   
     Christ's act in cursing the fig tree had astonished the disciples. It seemed to them unlike His ways and works. Often they had heard Him declare that He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. They remembered His words, "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:56. His wonderful works had been done to restore, never to destroy. The disciples had known Him only as the Restorer, the Healer. This act stood alone. What was its purpose? they questioned.   
     God "delighteth in mercy." "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Micah 7:18; Ezekiel 33:11. To Him the work of destruction and the denunciation of judgment is a "strange work." Isaiah 28:21. But it is in mercy and love that He lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin. 
     The cursing of the fig tree was an acted parable. That barren tree, flaunting its pretentious foliage in the very face of Christ, was a symbol of the Jewish nation. The Saviour desired to make plain to His disciples the cause and the certainty of Israel's doom. For this purpose He invested the tree with moral qualities, and made it the expositor of divine truth. The Jews stood forth distinct from all other nations, professing allegiance to God. They had been specially favored by Him, and they laid claim to righteousness above every other people. But they were corrupted by the love of the world and the greed of gain. They boasted of their knowledge, but they were ignorant of the requirements of God, and were full of hypocrisy. Like the barren tree, they spread their pretentious branches aloft, luxuriant in appearance, and beautiful to the eye, but they yielded "nothing but leaves." The Jewish religion, with its magnificent temple, its sacred altars, its mitered priests and impressive ceremonies, was indeed fair in outward appearance, but humility, love, and benevolence were lacking.
     All the trees in the fig orchard were destitute of fruit; but the leafless trees raised no expectation, and caused no disappointment. By these trees the Gentiles were represented. They were as destitute as were the Jews of godliness; but they had not professed to serve God. They made no boastful pretensions to goodness. They were blind to the works and ways of God. With them the time of figs was not yet. They were still waiting for a day which would bring them light and hope. The Jews, who had received greater blessings from God, were held accountable for their abuse of these gifts. The privileges of which they boasted only increased their guilt.   
     Jesus had come to the fig tree hungry, to find food. So He had come to Israel, hungering to find in them the fruits of righteousness. He had lavished on them His gifts, that they might bear fruit for the blessing of the world. Every opportunity and privilege had been granted them, and in return He sought their sympathy and co-operation in His work of grace. He longed to see in them self-sacrifice and compassion, zeal for God, and a deep yearning of soul for the salvation of their fellow men. Had they kept the law of God, they would have done the same unselfish work that Christ did. But love to God and man was eclipsed by pride and self-sufficiency. They brought ruin upon themselves by refusing to minister to others. The treasures of truth which God had committed to them, they did not give to the world. In the barren tree they might read both their sin and its punishment. Withered beneath the Saviour's curse, standing forth sere and blasted, dried up by the roots, the fig tree showed what the Jewish people would be when the grace of God was removed from them. Refusing to impart blessing, they would no longer receive it. "O Israel," the Lord says, "thou hast destroyed thyself." Hosea 13:9.
     The warning is for all time. Christ's act in cursing the tree which His own power had created stands as a warning to all churches and to all Christians. No one can live the law of God without ministering to others. But there are many who do not live out Christ's merciful, unselfish life. Some who think themselves excellent Christians do not understand what constitutes service for God. They plan and study to please themselves. They act only in reference to self. Time is of value to them only as they can gather for themselves. In all the affairs of life this is their object. Not for others but for themselves do they minister. God created them to live in a world where unselfish service must be performed. He designed them to help their fellow men in every possible way. But self is so large that they cannot see anything else. They are not in touch with humanity. Those who thus live for self are like the fig tree, which made every pretension but was fruitless. They observe the forms of worship, but without repentance or faith. In profession they honor the law of God, but obedience is lacking. They say, but do not. In the sentence pronounced on the fig tree Christ demonstrates how hateful in His eyes is this vain pretense. He declares that the open sinner is less guilty than is he who professes to serve God, but who bears no fruit to His glory.   
     The parable of the fig tree, spoken before Christ's visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught in cursing the fruitless tree. For the barren tree of the parable the gardener pleaded, Let it alone this year, until I shall dig about it and dress it; and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Increased care was to be given the unfruitful tree. It was to have every advantage. But if it remained fruitless, nothing could save it from destruction. In the parable the result of the gardener's work was not foretold. It depended upon that people to whom Christ's words were spoken. They were represented by the fruitless tree, and it rested with them to decide their own destiny. Every advantage that Heaven could bestow was given them, but they did not profit by their increased blessings. By Christ's act in cursing the barren fig tree, the result was shown. They had determined their own destruction. 
     For more than a thousand years the Jewish nation had abused God's mercy and invited His judgments. They had rejected His warnings and slain His prophets. For these sins the people of Christ's day made themselves responsible by following the same course. In the rejection of their present mercies and warnings lay the guilt of that generation. The fetters which the nation had for centuries been forging, the people of Christ's day were fastening upon themselves. 
     In every age there is given to men their day of light and privilege, a probationary time in which they may become reconciled to God. But there is a limit to this grace. Mercy may plead for years and be slighted and rejected; but there comes a time when mercy makes her last plea. The heart becomes so hardened that it ceases to respond to the Spirit of God. Then the sweet, winning voice entreats the sinner no longer, and reproofs and warnings cease.   
     That day had come to Jerusalem. Jesus wept in anguish over the doomed city, but He could not deliver her. He had exhausted every resource. In rejecting the warnings of God's Spirit, Israel had rejected the only means of help. There was no other power by which they could be delivered.
     The Jewish nation was a symbol of the people of all ages who scorn the pleadings of Infinite Love. The tears of Christ when He wept over Jerusalem were for the sins of all time. In the judgments pronounced upon Israel, those who reject the reproofs and warnings of God's Holy Spirit, may read their own condemnation. 
     In this generation there are many who are treading on the same ground as were the unbelieving Jews. They have witnessed the manifestation of the power of God; the Holy Spirit has spoken to their hearts; but they cling to their unbelief and resistance. God sends them warnings and reproof, but they are not willing to confess their errors, and they reject His message and His messenger. The very means He uses for their recovery becomes to them a stone of stumbling.   
     The prophets of God were hated by apostate Israel because through them their hidden sins were brought to light. Ahab regarded Elijah as his enemy because the prophet was faithful to rebuke the king's secret iniquities. So today the servant of Christ, the reprover of sin, meets with scorn and rebuffs. Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ's day. Christ did not fulfill men's expectations; His life was a rebuke to their sins, and they rejected Him. So now the truth of God's word does not harmonize with men's practices and their natural inclination, and thousands reject its light. Men prompted by Satan cast doubt upon God's word, and choose to exercise their independent judgment. They choose darkness rather than light, but they do it at the peril of their souls. Those who caviled at the words of Christ, found ever-increased cause for cavil, until they turned from the Truth and the Life. So it is now. God does not propose to remove every objection which the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God's word remain such forever. From them the truth is hidden. They walk blindly, and know not the ruin before them. 
     Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.   
     Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course. The Lord declares, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it." Hosea 13:9; Jeremiah 6:19. 
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 05:24:55 AM »
          The parable of the fig tree, spoken before Christ's visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught in cursing the fruitless tree. For the barren tree of the parable the gardener pleaded, Let it alone this year, until I shall dig about it and dress it; and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Increased care was to be given the unfruitful tree. It was to have every advantage. But if it remained fruitless, nothing could save it from destruction. In the parable the result of the gardener's work was not foretold. It depended upon that people to whom Christ's words were spoken. They were represented by the fruitless tree, and it rested with them to decide their own destiny. Every advantage that Heaven could bestow was given them, but they did not profit by their increased blessings. By Christ's act in cursing the barren fig tree, the result was shown. They had determined their own destruction. 

I remember back when I still didn't understand the purpose of Christ cursing the fig tree. It just seemed so out of character. But now that I understand it. It is a most solemn warning to all who claim to be followers of Christ.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 06:57:18 AM »
Amen!  But, while God is just and will not excuse sin, look at how much He loves us while we were yet sinners. He came to this wicked world in the "likeness of sinful flesh". He came as a helpless baby subject to the weakness of humanity to fight the battle of life as each of us have to, at the risk of failure and eternal loss! Such love!!

He speaks to His church today words of warning. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev. 3:15,16. As with the tree that did not produce fruit, He does not spue us out of His mouth without first warning, give us the solution to our lost condition, and then actively drawing us to Himself. He stands at the door knocking. He blesses and blesses and warns and warns. There is no excuse for continuing in sin. His Words are clear, and His love is strong. Grace surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe.

As you point out, Jim, we each hold our destiny in our own hands. Will we yield to His love, or will we as a people continue to resist it and bear no fruit (the fruit of His Spirit)?   When we make a full surrender, the Spirit takes possession of the heart and the fruits of the Spirit are revealed in the life, not one is missing. And, that peace spoken of in Galatians, it is a peace that passes all understanding even in the middle of the storm. This is evidence of true conversion.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2016, 06:34:37 AM »
The leaders in Israel had opportunity to avert the doom awaiting them, but did not accept the free Gift offered. How about today? Is there a parallel? 

     The prophets of God were hated by apostate Israel because through them their hidden sins were brought to light. Ahab regarded Elijah as his enemy because the prophet was faithful to rebuke the king's secret iniquities. So today the servant of Christ, the reprover of sin, meets with scorn and rebuffs. Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ's day. Christ did not fulfill men's expectations; His life was a rebuke to their sins, and they rejected Him. So now the truth of God's word does not harmonize with men's practices and their natural inclination, and thousands reject its light. Men prompted by Satan cast doubt upon God's word, and choose to exercise their independent judgment. They choose darkness rather than light, but they do it at the peril of their souls. Those who caviled at the words of Christ, found ever-increased cause for cavil, until they turned from the Truth and the Life. So it is now. God does not propose to remove every objection which the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God's word remain such forever. From them the truth is hidden. They walk blindly, and know not the ruin before them. 
 

Is there clear evidence when we are fighting against God?
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 04:30:29 PM »
"Is there clear evidence when we are fighting against God?"


Yes, Richard!! The clearest evidence that we are fighting against God is that the Holy Spirit cannot abide in our hearts, because we have chosen self, sin, and Satan over the lovely Jesus! I want to always stay near to Jesus and abide in Him, and if I do not, the evidence is that the fruits of the Spirit will not be seen in the life without one missing.

I appreciated the reading today and have been thinking about it, especially since Seventh-day Adventists have more light than did the Jews. Are we bearing the fruits of the Spirit? Not if we are not having a living connection daily with Christ that is made stronger each day as we behold Jesus' loveliness! We need Jesus constantly!!

Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.  

Oh, I pray and earnestly intreat the lovely Jesus to not only give me a new heart daily, but to keep it new so that I may ever be open to His divine light! Jesus makes a way!! May we not be hopelessly impenitent! Look and live!!
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 06:42:30 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. Some think God too good to reprove sin, or to punish the wicked. But, this is a strange delusion. God's justice is no less His character than is His grace.

But, how does God feel when He destroys the wicked?

God "delighteth in mercy." "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Micah 7:18; Ezekiel 33:11. To Him the work of destruction and the denunciation of judgment is a "strange work." Isaiah 28:21. But it is in mercy and love that He lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin. 


Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it. It was already condemned. This cursing of the fig tree seemed out of character to His disciples. And, this chapter is not as encouraging as most in this book. But, God does not allow the sinner to destroy himself without warnings. And, we ought not either. We are cautioned, though, to remove the beam from our own eye before we attempt to remove the splinter from our neighbor's eye. We need to be filled with the Spirit of God love as we minister to a world soon to perish. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under her wings...." Luke 12:34.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 10:28:36 AM »
Thank you, Richard, for what you shared. We see our need of Jesus in this chapter, and that there is a limit to His divine forbearance:

The parable of the fig tree, spoken before Christ's visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught in cursing the fruitless tree. For the barren tree of the parable the gardener pleaded, Let it alone this year, until I shall dig about it and dress it; and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Increased care was to be given the unfruitful tree. It was to have every advantage. But if it remained fruitless, nothing could save it from destruction. In the parable the result of the gardener's work was not foretold. It depended upon that people to whom Christ's words were spoken. They were represented by the fruitless tree, and it rested with them to decide their own destiny. Every advantage that Heaven could bestow was given them, but they did not profit by their increased blessings. By Christ's act in cursing the barren fig tree, the result was shown. They had determined their own destruction. 
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 06:00:34 AM »
This is a very powerful chapter, and reveals an aspect of the lovely character of Christ that is not as often dwelt upon--the reality of divine retributive justice that will be visited upon those who reject His overtures to repent. God would not be love if He did not deal with sin or warn us of the danger of such a course. What a chapter, and what an illustration! If our lives are only profession, and there are not the evidences of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing, then we need to truly hear the voice of the True Shepherd in these words:

Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.

Every sin we commit brings with it infinite loss--not just to Christ, but to the soul itself. Praise God there is forgiveness available as our probationary time is open, but if we continue to harden our hearts by committing even one known sin, then we are silencing the voice of the Holy Spirit, resisting His love, and following a course that will lead to a more terrible ruin than that experienced by Jerusalem, for the second death is the ultimate result of a life of sin.

But we have better things to speak if we are willing to behold the loveliness of Jesus and surrender our hearts unreservedly to Him. He desires us to know that these warnings are for us, but it is the constraint of His divine love by which He seeks to bind us to Himself. Let us look to Christ and ask Him to save us from ourselves, our weak unchristlike selves. He will make such a transformation possible!
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 08:15:15 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. It is a very sorrowful chapter. It is prophetic of most who occupy a space in this world today. Many are called, but few choose the way of Christ. While many are warned of the necessity to make a 180 degree change in their lives, I like you, found encouragement in the chapter.

    The disciples saw the hatred of the Jews to Christ, but they did not yet see to what it would lead. They did not yet understand the true condition of Israel, nor comprehend the retribution that was to fall upon Jerusalem. This Christ opened to them by a significant object lesson.       The last appeal to Jerusalem had been in vain. The priests and rulers had heard the prophetic voice of the past echoed by the multitude, in answer to the question, "Who is this?" but they did not accept it as
the voice of Inspiration. In anger and amazement they tried to silence the people. There were Roman officers in the throng, and to them His enemies denounced Jesus as the leader of a rebellion. They represented that He was about to take possession of the temple, and reign as king in Jerusalem.
     But the calm voice of Jesus hushed for a moment the clamorous throng as He again declared that He had not come to establish a temporal rule; He should soon ascend to His Father, and His accusers would see Him no more until He should come again in glory. Then, too late for their salvation, they would acknowledge Him. These words Jesus spoke with sadness and with singular power. The Roman officers were silenced and subdued. Their hearts, though strangers to divine influence, were moved as they had never been moved before. In the calm, solemn face of Jesus they read love, benevolence, and quiet dignity. They were stirred by a sympathy they could not understand. Instead of arresting Jesus, they were more inclined to pay Him homage. Turning upon the priests and rulers, they charged them with creating the disturbance. These leaders, chagrined and defeated, turned to the people with their complaints, and disputed angrily among themselves. 


What was reproof for some, was grace for others. Where is the heart today? Is it being subdued or hardened?

     In this generation there are many who are treading on the same ground as were the unbelieving Jews. They have witnessed the manifestation of the power of God; the Holy Spirit has spoken to their hearts; but they cling to their unbelief and resistance. God sends them warnings and reproof, but they are not willing to confess their errors, and they reject His message and His messenger. The very means He uses for their recovery becomes to them a stone of stumbling.   
     The prophets of God were hated by apostate Israel because through them their hidden sins were brought to light. Ahab regarded Elijah as his enemy because the prophet was faithful to rebuke the king's secret iniquities. So today the servant of Christ, the reprover of sin, meets with scorn and rebuffs. Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ's day.


Like Job, we shall meet with great trial. And, like Job, if we repent of our sins, Christ will not only forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, He will bless us mightily.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 05:47:25 AM »
I'll be honest. This is not one of my favorite chapters in the Desire of Ages however, it does have a message of hope.

The parable of the fig tree, spoken before Christ's visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught in cursing the fruitless tree. For the barren tree of the parable the gardener pleaded, Let it alone this year, until I shall dig about it and dress it; and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Increased care was to be given the unfruitful tree. It was to have every advantage.

This fig tree was to have every advantage and the utmost care before it would be cut down and burned. What a wonderful Savior we have that has such great patience and kindness for even fruitless trees!! Now is the time to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith and act accordingly while probation is still open!

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

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 06:20:49 AM »
Yes, Jim! God is good, and the loveliness of Jesus is still seen even in His denunciations of judgment--that we might realize more fully how sinful is a course of leaving unimproved the light shining upon us. It is not enough to profess--we are to behold Christ, abide in Him, and reveal Him in mind and character. We need Jesus, and may we see our constant need of Jesus!

  Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.  

We need Jesus to respond to the precious light shining upon us, for if we neglect so great salvation, we are without excuse. May our hearts be more fully humbled and subdued by divine influences as the preciousness of Jesus gives us the opportunity to bear fruit--all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing will be seen as we live by faith upon Him!
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 09:40:06 AM »
Yes, Jim, you are right, it is not one of the chapters that blesses our hearts with the great love God has for us. On the other hand, if we want to see many of the lost saved, there needs to be a better understanding of the gospel of grace and the great deception that has taken much of professing Christianity captive.

Sinners are transformed by the grace of God, but first the law must do it appointed work. Many do not understand the wages of one sin is eternal death. To Jesus the cursing of the fig tree was a strange work. But, in love for His people who had been deceived, He gave the living parable. So, we appreciate the added truth will help many of the blind to see their continual need of Jesus.

     It is in mercy and love that He lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin.
     The cursing of the fig tree was an acted parable. That barren tree, flaunting its pretentious foliage in the very face of Christ, was a symbol of the Jewish nation. The Saviour desired to make plain to His disciples the cause and the certainty of Israel's doom. For this purpose He invested the tree with moral qualities, and made it the expositor of divine truth. The Jews stood forth distinct from all other nations, professing allegiance to God. They had been specially favored by Him, and they laid claim to righteousness above every other people. But they were corrupted by the love of the world and the greed of gain. They boasted of their knowledge, but they were ignorant of the requirements of God, and were full of hypocrisy. Like the barren tree, they spread their pretentious branches aloft, luxuriant in appearance, and beautiful to the eye, but they yielded "nothing but leaves." The Jewish religion, with its magnificent temple, its sacred altars, its mitered priests and impressive ceremonies, was indeed fair in outward appearance, but humility, love, and benevolence were lacking.


We too, must continue to explain that when the fruits of the Spirit are not in the life, then the professing Christian does not have salvation. This chapter helps to clarify this. And, yes, there is grace revealed, for God is long-suffering toward the children of men, and He suffered and died that we might live.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2017, 08:31:48 AM »
In previous readings of this chapter I remember having come away with a sense of having not clearly seen the grace of God, or not having been as blessed as in reading other chapters. But as I was reading (and creating songs from some of the key paragraphs) I was blessed, and came to more fully appreciate God's love and goodness even in this manifestation of judgment--which revealed a purpose of mercy.

If God wanted to be arbitrary and vindictive as some have falsely thought God is in destroying sin and the wicked, then we have failed to see how PATIENT He has been, and that He did much more than simply send a messenger or two to reach impenitent Israel. He sent many messengers, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, and He had Christ do all that was possible to reach the hearts of His professed people.

 God "delighteth in mercy." "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Micah 7:18; Ezekiel 33:11. To Him the work of destruction and the denunciation of judgment is a "strange work." Isaiah 28:21. But it is in mercy and love that He lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin.

Some have come to believe that God is simply saying, "Love and obey Me or I'll kill you." That is so far from the reality. If we do not come to love and obey God, then we have so placed our lives out of harmony with what life is, that in the presence of God who is the Author of life and joy, we would be miserable and destroyed. God calls for us to see the application of this chapter to our own experience, and to come to sincere repentance of sin that would separate us from the lovely Jesus.

While the Jews did not repent as a people, and Christ foresaw this, I am encouraged to foresee by faith the revival and reformation that will come to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We need Jesus in our hearts, and if we do not have all the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, then whatever our profession, we are not abiding in life, and we have not the experience of salvation.

Jesus' love is so strong as to show us the care and concern He has over the lost (His own people). He has tears to shed for those whose hearts are too hard to shed any tears. What love! Repentance is a gift if we will behold the depth of repentance Christ wrought out for us in His life as a man of sorrows, who bore our sin, so that we may have eternal life--not someday in heaven merely--but today in our present experience when we surrender entirely to Christ so He can take our guilt away and make us new creatures in Him! The complete picture of the love of God in mercy and justice helps us better understand the heinousness of sin cherished, and the cost that Christ paid for sin in Gethsemane and upon the cross of Calvary.

I join with the Psalmist in singing of God's character: "I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing" (Psalm 101:1).
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2017, 09:26:11 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  Mercy and truth are met together at the cross. We understand the issue. "The work of destruction and the denunciation of judgment is a 'strange work'" for God. We better understand it when we look upon Jesus hanging upon the cross. He suffered and died that we might not. There is destruction and judgment coming, but it need not come upon any who will learn of Him who gave all for us!
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2017, 03:58:23 AM »
Jesus desires all to come to repentance, but those who refuse to repent and to accept His grace harden their hearts so that God's grace is of no avail for their salvation. Many accept an intellectual faith, but if the heart is not cleansed from all selfishness and made holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit revealing all of the fruits of the Spirit in the life, as made manifest in living the unselfish law of love to the extent that they understand it to bless others, then such are not converted Christians. May we realize our continual need of Jesus in our hearts to do any good thing. He alone can keep us from sin, but we alone are the ones who will choose to either yield our hearts or harden them by refusing to "behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29), believing that His grace has the power to transform OUR characters in Christlike loveliness, separating from every known sin by His grace and strength made perfect in our weakness!

 "Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is 'thou, even thou,' who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence."  {The Desire of Ages, page 588, paragraph 1}
     "Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course. The Lord declares, 'O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.' 'Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it.' Hosea 13:9; Jeremiah 6:19."  {The Desire of Ages, page 588, paragraph 2}
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 03:36:16 AM »
There is great need for us to realize how much God loves us so it changes our lives. As the Jews rejected Jesus, so today the Christian world is rejecting the law of God. And many who profess to accept the law of God and the Savior are still committing known sin with the thought that Christ's righteousness covers them. They look at Romans 7 and think that this describes a converted experience of everyday "struggle" with sin. But to be in bondage to sin is not struggling so much as it is being overcome by it. Christ came to deliver us from the bondage to sin and self (read of the power of the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion in Romans 8!). We are in a continual need of Jesus to do any good thing, that by becoming partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4) we may understand and live the light that shines upon us from Jesus. When we have Christ abiding in the heart by faith we will reveal all of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives and live up to all the light that God has revealed to us--because we love Him!

"Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence." {The Desire of Ages, page 588, paragraph 1}   
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2017, 05:54:18 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  It is by grace we are saved, but more important for the church today is what you bring out. it is God's grace that transform the sinner into a saint. The character is changed when the sinner sees God's great love.

The lesson today, is not a pleasant one. It reveals the result of impenitence. It is not good to shield the guilty from what is going to come upon them if they do not turn. It is a strange act for our God to destroy, but destroy He will. It is the result of the choices made by those who reject His love. Justice is just as important as God's mercy. Both together are the foundation of His government.

     Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course. The Lord declares, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it." Hosea 13:9; Jeremiah 6:19.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 05:29:19 AM »
What fruit does Jesus desire to see manifest in our lives? The fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). "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, page 676, paragraph 4} Like an orange with nine sections in it, all comprise the fruit that makes up that orange, and each of these traits will be in us when Christ has full possession of the heart. Jesus desired to see the traits of the divine nature all manifest in His people when He came for their salvation to this earth the first time, but alas--they rejected Him, and manifested the works of the fallen nature that controlled them, which led them to crucify Him. But by our sins, we also have crucified Christ. We need His gift of true repentance, which we receive as we are drawn to Him by beholding His goodness. The Jews would not come to Christ that they might have life. We have no life apart from Jesus. We are in a continual need of Jesus to abide in our hearts by a living-faith surrender. Real righteousness (right-doing from a new heart) is only possible with real faith (a full surrender to Christ). But we see the warning in how Christ cursed the fig tree, that we might learn how dangerous it is to slight His call to repentance and full surrender:

  "The warning is for all time. Christ's act in cursing the tree which His own power had created stands as a warning to all churches and to all Christians. No one can live the law of God without ministering to others. But there are many who do not live out Christ's merciful, unselfish life. Some who think themselves excellent Christians do not understand what constitutes service for God. They plan and study to please themselves. They act only in reference to self. Time is of value to them only as they can gather for themselves. In all the affairs of life this is their object. Not for others but for themselves do they minister. God created them to live in a world where unselfish service must be performed. He designed them to help their fellow men in every possible way. But self is so large that they cannot see anything else. They are not in touch with humanity. Those who thus live for self are like the fig tree, which made every pretension but was fruitless. They observe the forms of worship, but without repentance or faith. In profession they honor the law of God, but obedience is lacking. They say, but do not. In the sentence pronounced on the fig tree Christ demonstrates how hateful in His eyes is this vain pretense. He declares that the open sinner is less guilty than is he who professes to serve God, but who bears no fruit to His glory." {The Desire of Ages, page 584, paragraph 1}

God loves us too much to leave us deceived as to our continual need of Jesus. It is a heart of love that utters such strong warnings, that none need be lost who will take heed and come to Christ for the healing balm of salvation, for by grace we are saved through faith.
"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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2018, 05:59:46 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. Jesus loves us as He loved Israel. This chapter offers much light for His church today.

     The prophets of God were hated by apostate Israel because through them their hidden sins were brought to light. Ahab regarded Elijah as his enemy because the prophet was faithful to rebuke the king's secret iniquities. So today the servant of Christ, the reprover of sin, meets with scorn and rebuffs. Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ's day. Christ did not fulfill men's expectations; His life was a rebuke to their sins, and they rejected Him. So now the truth of God's word does not harmonize with men's practices and their natural inclination, and thousands reject its light. Men prompted by Satan cast doubt upon God's word, and choose to exercise their independent judgment. They choose darkness rather than light, but they do it at the peril of their souls. Those who caviled at the words of Christ, found ever-increased cause for cavil, until they turned from the Truth and the Life. So it is now. God does not propose to remove every objection which the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God's word remain such forever. From them the truth is hidden. They walk blindly, and know not the ruin before them. 

It is a strange work for God to deal with sin (Isaiah 28:21). It was not easy for Christ to reprove the sinner, but in love He  did so. It caused His death. So it will be today. Those who will not allow sinners to go to their ruin without warning will be hated. But, we may be encouraged that Jesus went before us and is the One who leads us to where ever He sees  is best for us, for His glory, and for those to whom we minister.
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--64--A Doomed People
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2018, 07:11:31 AM »
"Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.   
     Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course. The Lord declares, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it." Hosea 13:9; Jeremiah 6:19."


When we know and understand the conditions of salvation how can anyone justify their own selfish thinking and actions and be at peace believing that all is well. Yet that is the condition of many. It's a counterfeit, a false sense of peace. We can hide our heads in the sand by not reading our bibles and spending time in prayer but that does not erase truth. As our reading pointed out today; there is more hope for those who have never professed Christ than those who profess but do not 'do'.  Such a sad state of affairs. It all has to do with the choices we make and our willingness (or not), to give all to Christ and follow Him completely. He is the best friend we could ever hope to have.
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