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JimB

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The Desire of Ages--66--Controversy
« on: March 19, 2016, 04:43:36 PM »
Chap. 66 - Controversy


Listen to  Controversy[/url]



 




     The priests and rulers had listened in silence to Christ's pointed rebukes. They could not refute His charges. But they were only the more determined to entrap Him, and with this object they sent to Him spies, "which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor." They did not send the old Pharisees whom Jesus had often met, but young men, who were ardent and zealous, and whom, they thought, Christ did not know. These were accompanied by certain of the Herodians, who were to hear Christ's words, that they might testify against Him at His trial. The Pharisees and Herodians had been bitter enemies, but they were now one in enmity to Christ. 
     The Pharisees had ever chafed under the exaction of tribute by the Romans. The payment of tribute they held to be contrary to the law of God. Now they saw opportunity to lay a snare for Jesus. The spies came to Him, and with apparent sincerity, as though desiring to know their duty, said, "Master, we know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest Thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?" 
     The words, "We know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly," had they been sincere, would have been a wonderful admission. But they were spoken to deceive; nevertheless their testimony was true. The Pharisees did know that Christ said and taught rightly, and by their own testimony will they be judged.
     Those who put the question to Jesus thought that they had sufficiently disguised their purpose; but Jesus read their hearts as an open book, and sounded their hypocrisy. "Why tempt ye Me?" He said; thus giving them a sign they had not asked, by showing that He read their hidden purpose. They were still more confused when He added, "Show Me a penny." They brought it, and He asked them, "Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's." Pointing to the inscription on the coin, Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." 
     The spies had expected Jesus to answer their question directly, in one way or the other. If He should say, It is unlawful to give tribute to Caesar, He would be reported to the Roman authorities and arrested for inciting rebellion. But in case He should pronounce it lawful to pay the tribute, they designed to accuse Him to the people as opposing the law of God. Now they felt themselves baffled and defeated. Their plans were disarranged. The summary manner in which their question had been settled left them nothing further to say. 
     Christ's reply was no evasion, but a candid answer to the question. Holding in His hand the Roman coin, upon which were stamped the name and image of Caesar, He declared that since they were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed, so long as this did not conflict with a higher duty. But while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God.   
     The Saviour's words, "Render . . . unto God the things that are God's," were a severe rebuke to the intriguing Jews. Had they faithfully fulfilled their obligations to God, they would not have become a broken nation, subject to a foreign power. No Roman ensign would have waved over Jerusalem, no Roman sentinel would have stood at her gates, no Roman governor would have ruled within her walls. The Jewish nation was then paying the penalty of its apostasy from God.   
     When the Pharisees heard Christ's answer, "they marveled, and left Him, and went their way." He had rebuked their hypocrisy and presumption, and in doing this He had stated a great principle, a principle that clearly defines the limits of man's duty to the civil government and his duty to God. In many minds a vexed question had been settled. Ever after they held to the right principle. And although many went away dissatisfied, they saw that the principle underlying the question had been clearly set forth, and they marveled at Christ's far-seeing discernment. 
     No sooner were the Pharisees silenced than the Sadducees came forward with their artful questions. The two parties stood in bitter opposition to each other. The Pharisees were rigid adherents to tradition. They were exact in outward ceremonies, diligent in washings, fastings, and long prayers, and ostentatious in almsgiving. But Christ declared that they made void the law of God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. As a class they were bigoted and hypocritical; yet among them were persons of genuine piety, who accepted Christ's teachings and became His disciples. The Sadducees rejected the traditions of the Pharisees. They professed to believe the greater portion of the Scriptures, and to regard them as the rule of action; but practically they were skeptics and materialists.   
     The Sadducees denied the existence of angels, the resurrection of the dead, and the doctrine of a future life, with its rewards and punishments. On all these points they differed with the Pharisees. Between the two parties the resurrection was especially a subject of controversy. The Pharisees had been firm believers in the resurrection, but in these discussions their views in regard to the future state became confused. Death became to them an inexplicable mystery. Their inability to meet the arguments of the Sadducees gave rise to continual irritation. The discussions between the two parties usually resulted in angry disputes, leaving them farther apart than before. 
     In numbers the Sadducees fell far below their opponents, and they had not so strong a hold upon the common people; but many of them were wealthy, and they had the influence which wealth imparts. In their ranks were included most of the priests, and from among them the high priest was usually chosen. This was, however, with the express stipulation that their skeptical opinions should not be made prominent. On account of the numbers and popularity of the Pharisees, it was necessary for the Sadducees to concede outwardly to their doctrines when holding any priestly office; but the very fact that they were eligible to such office gave influence to their errors.   
     The Sadducees rejected the teaching of Jesus; He was animated by a spirit which they would not acknowledge as manifesting itself thus; and His teaching in regard to God and the future life contradicted their theories. They believed in God as the only being superior to man; but they argued that an overruling providence and a divine foresight would deprive man of free moral agency, and degrade him to the position of a slave. It was their belief, that, having created man, God had left him to himself, independent of a higher influence. They held that man was free to control his own life and to shape the events of the world; that his destiny was in his own hands. They denied that the Spirit of God works through human efforts or natural means. Yet they still held that, through the proper employment of his natural powers, man could become elevated and enlightened; that by rigorous and austere exactions his life could be purified. 
     Their ideas of God molded their own character. As in their view He had no interest in man, so they had little regard for one another; there was little union among them. Refusing to acknowledge the influence of the Holy Spirit upon human action, they lacked His power in their lives. Like the rest of the Jews, they boasted much of their birthright as children of Abraham, and of their strict adherence to the requirements of the law; but of the true spirit of the law and the faith and benevolence of Abraham, they were destitute. Their natural sympathies were brought within a narrow compass. They believed it possible for all men to secure the comforts and blessings of life; and their hearts were not touched by the wants and sufferings of others. They lived for themselves.  {
     By His words and His works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life beyond the present, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God. 
     This teaching the Sadducees were determined to discredit. In seeking a controversy with Jesus, they felt confident of bringing Him into disrepute, even if they could not secure His condemnation. The resurrection was the subject on which they chose to question Him. Should He agree with them, He would give still further offense to the Pharisees. Should He differ with them, they designed to hold His teaching up to ridicule.
     The Sadducees reasoned that if the body is to be composed of the same particles of matter in its immortal as in its mortal state, then when raised from the dead it must have flesh and blood, and must resume in the eternal world the life interrupted on earth. In that case they concluded that earthly relationships would be resumed, husband and wife would be reunited, marriages consummated, and all things go on the same as before death, the frailties and passions of this life being perpetuated in the life beyond.
     In answer to their questions, Jesus lifted the veil from the future life. "In the resurrection," He said, "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." He showed that the Sadducees were wrong in their belief. Their premises were false. "Ye do err," He added, "not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." He did not charge them, as He had charged the Pharisees, with hypocrisy, but with error of belief.
     The Sadducees had flattered themselves that they of all men adhered most strictly to the Scriptures. But Jesus showed that they had not known their true meaning. That knowledge must be brought home to the heart by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Their ignorance of the Scriptures and the power of God He declared to be the cause of their confusion of faith and darkness of mind. They were seeking to bring the mysteries of God within the compass of their finite reasoning. Christ called upon them to open their minds to those sacred truths that would broaden and strengthen the understanding. Thousands become infidels because their finite minds cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. They cannot explain the wonderful exhibition of divine power in His providences, therefore they reject the evidences of such power, attributing them to natural agencies which they can comprehend still less. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them all the presence and power of God. Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things. They need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies. 
     Christ declared to His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures which they professed to believe would be of no avail. He said, "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him. 
     By the words of Christ the Sadducees were put to silence. They could not answer Him. Not a word had been spoken of which the least advantage could be taken for His condemnation. His adversaries had gained nothing but the contempt of the people.   
     The Pharisees, however, did not yet despair of driving Him to speak that which they could use against Him. They prevailed upon a certain learned scribe to question Jesus as to which of the ten precepts of the law was of the greatest importance. 
     The Pharisees had exalted the first four commandments, which point out the duty of man to his Maker, as of far greater consequence than the other six, which define man's duty to his fellow man. As the result, they greatly failed of practical godliness. Jesus had shown the people their great deficiency, and had taught the necessity of good works, declaring that the tree is known by its fruits. For this reason He had been charged with exalting the last six commandments above the first four.   
     The lawyer approached Jesus with a direct question, "Which is the first commandment of all?" The answer of Christ is direct and forcible: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." The second is like the first, said Christ; for it flows out of it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." 
     The first four of the Ten Commandments are summed up in the one great precept, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." The last six are included in the other, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Both these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. The first cannot be kept and the second broken, nor can the second be kept while the first is broken. When God has His rightful place on the throne of the heart, the right place will be given to our neighbor. We shall love him as ourselves. And only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially.   
     And since all the commandments are summed up in love to God and man, it follows that not one precept can be broken without violating this principle. Thus Christ taught His hearers that the law of God is not so many separate precepts, some of which are of great importance, while others are of small importance and may with impunity be ignored. Our Lord presents the first four and the last six commandments as a divine whole, and teaches that love to God will be shown by obedience to all His commandments.   
     The scribe who had questioned Jesus was well read in the law, and he was astonished at His words. He did not expect Him to manifest so deep and thorough a knowledge of the Scriptures. He had gained a broader view of the principles underlying the sacred precepts. Before the assembled priests and rulers he honestly acknowledged that Christ had given the right interpretation to the law, saying: 
     "Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 
     The wisdom of Christ's answer had convicted the scribe. He knew that the Jewish religion consisted in outward ceremonies rather than inward piety. He had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings, and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. The readiness of this man to acknowledge the correctness of Christ's reasoning, and his decided and prompt response before the people, manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to face the frowns of the priests and the threats of the rulers to speak the convictions of his heart. "And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."
     The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins. 
     The Pharisees had gathered close about Jesus as He answered the question of the scribe. Now turning He put a question to them: "What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?" This question was designed to test their belief concerning the Messiah,--to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, "The Son of David." This was the title which prophecy had given to the Messiah. When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, "Is not this the Son of David?" The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, and many others had cried to Him for help, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David." Matthew 15:22. While riding into Jerusalem He had been hailed with the joyful shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matthew 21:9. And the little children in the temple had that day echoed the glad ascription. But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. They did not understand that the Son of David was also the Son of God. 
     In reply to the statement that Christ was the Son of David, Jesus said, "How then doth David in Spirit [the Spirit of Inspiration from God] call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions."
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 06:32:16 AM »
  By His words and His works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life beyond the present, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God. 
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 06:09:01 AM »
Sometimes when reading in Desire of Ages, I am tempted to discouragement. But, how can one be discouraged when He is being so blessed with a view of Jesus! Why the temptation? Because a Laodicean church will not take time to read what is written within this most beautiful Book. If, as a people we would spend a thoughtful hour each day to do so, we would not remain in a lost Laodicean condition. Then, we would become prepared to receive Jesus! How long before the church awakens to its blessings?

Not only are we presented with a most accurate revelation of Christ and His loveliness, but we are told so plainly what we must be in order to enter heaven. We are time and again presented with the truth of our continual need of the power of an indwelling Savior that we might escape the corruption in our flesh. This is the power of grace, to transform a sinner such as myself into a saint. Do we not want this? Do we abhor the thought we deny Jesus His reward for all He has suffered when we sin? I will share a few such statements from this chapter. We know that one day before long, there will be many reading along with us where now there are very few.

He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God..... 

When God has His rightful place on the throne of the heart, the right place will be given to our neighbor. We shall love him as ourselves. And only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially.....love to God will be shown by obedience to all His commandments..... 

 The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.   


Jesus loves us, He has proved that beyond any doubt if we will learn of Him. His love, grace, is what transforms sinners into saints, but we must behold it daily if we will be changed by it. What a blessing it is to be able to share with those who understand!
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 07:27:32 AM »
When we look at the life of Christ, Richard, we see that His ministry at times seemed to produce little apparent fruit--but He was laying the foundation of the temple of the Lord, and souls who would be willing to be made willing, if not converted under His ministry in His lifetime, might later come to repentance. We see many come to repentance as they responded to the truth of the gospel, realizing their need of Jesus, at Pentecost.

I desire Jesus and I know there are others who do, too. We can pray that God's Spirit will lead us to encourage one another daily as we unitedly look to Jesus for spiritual life, constantly sensing our utter inability to do any good thing apart from Him.

This chapter clearly shows how controversy is to be met--by pointing people to the word of God, and in the case of Christ, He was seeking for those seeking to entrap Him to realize their need of Him. That is why the scribe was "not far" from the kingdom of God--he needed Jesus, not just an understanding of the law and the truths of the word of God.

The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.

The law points us to our need of Jesus, and the gospel is the power of grace (seen so clearly in the loveliness of Jesus) to transform the life! What a beautiful Savior we have, who is powerful and able to change the heart from enmity towards God to have instead enmity towards sin (only possible when Christ abides in the heart, and all the fruits of the Spirit are present without one missing).
"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--66--Controversy
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2016, 06:08:48 AM »
There are a couple of things I noticed and even one question I have in and from today's chapter.

Speaking of the Sadducees she said this....

Yet they still held that, through the proper employment of his natural powers, man could become elevated and enlightened; that by rigorous and austere exactions his life could be purified.
     Their ideas of God molded their own character. As in their view He had no interest in man, so they had little regard for one another; there was little union among them. Refusing to acknowledge the influence of the Holy Spirit upon human action, they lacked His power in their lives.


Here is the another example of the principle that by beholding we become changed. They prided themselves in their own views and ideas and looked to man to help himself. Believing that God took no personal interest they became the same way to their fellow man. How important it is to get the correct view of God. A personal God who desires a direct personal and intimate relationship with each of us. One who stepped in filled the gap between Heaven and earth when Adam & Eve failed their test. One who became a poor helpless baby in a world of greed, vice, and violence in order to save us. One who no fault of His own took on our sins and suffered the wrath of God so we don't have to. One who voluntarily allowed Himself to be wounded so that we could be healed. This is the kind of God that I desire to behold and be changed by.

And speaking of close intimate relationship between us and God here is a passage that for some reason though I've read it many times had not really noticed before.

There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him. 

This is a very interesting and compelling thought to me. I've always wondered about this verse... Luk 20:38  For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. I'm not sure but this seems to give the same idea. I'm ask for the thoughts of others here.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 06:21:10 AM »
Jim, I really appreciate your post this morning. I see that you honed in on the essence of the truth--the character of God, and how by beholding we become changed. While we need to continually behold the loveliness of Jesus, it is also true that if we are beholding errors about the character of God, it will affect our life and character adversely, as it did for the Jews in Christ's day who did not accept Him as the Messiah.

I appreciated your thought and interest in how God regards the dead in Christ as already alive to Him. Quoting the whole paragraph, let us see some things clearly:

 Christ declared to His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures which they professed to believe would be of no avail. He said, "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him. 

One thing that stands clear to us here is that God sees the picture of reality in a larger frame than we do. We EXPERIENCE a separation from our loved ones when we die, but God SEES the end from the beginning and already beholds them enjoying the bliss of heaven. We also realize that Christ spoke of death as sleep, as do many passages of Scripture. When we think of sleep, it is a temporary unconscious interruption to continuous thought. But if you have ever thought of a small child going to sleep and then waking up, even for a nap, and the parents are still awake, they know exactly what that child is like when he or she wakes up, and they already anticipate such an experience. While we cannot fully grasp how God experiences reality, it is a comforting thought to know that He sees the dead as already alive because He sees from a larger frame of eternal reference. This is why I find so much encouragement when I think of losing a loved one who went to sleep in Jesus. God already sees them resurrected--He sees them made new, and it will be so soon! May we continue to meditate upon the marvelous love of Jesus today!
"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--66--Controversy
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2016, 06:42:13 AM »
Pastor Sean, as I was reading your response this verse came to mind...

Rom 4:17  (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

You're correct when you say that we don't have any idea of how God experiences reality and your example of a child taking a nap I believe fits very closely to this idea. The parents of the child anticipate that he or she will wake up and resume the relationship where it left off when the child fell asleep. How God sees His saints that currently sleeping as living as a current reality though escapes me. But that is ok. There are a lot of things about God that escape my understanding.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2016, 09:47:56 AM »
What a beneficial subject of study! I have enjoyed reading  both of your thoughts on "the dead" living unto Christ.  A thought that came to me is that when we are "in Christ" Christ is "in us."  Jesus said "abide in me, and I in you." It is a living reality that Christ is in us. This is a very difficult truth for many to understand, especially since Christ cannot be everywhere at one time. He is our Brother, and as such is limited by His human body. Today, He is in the heavenly sanctuary ministering to us. He is a living Savior.

Back to "the dead in Christ." When Jesus came forth from the grave, what was it that responded to the call that came forth "Thy Father calls Thee" ? And, what is it that responds to the call that comes forth at His second coming? Those who died in Christ, had Christ in them. The dead in Christ are the only ones in the grave that will hear His voice, just as Jesus heard His Father calling to Him in the tomb. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

A little more light, speaking of those who were brought forth at the time of the crucifixion of Christ: "The voice that cried from the cross, "It is finished," was heard among the dead. It pierced the walls of sepulchers, and summoned the sleepers to arise. Thus will it be when the voice of Christ shall be heard from heaven. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs, and the dead in Christ shall arise. At the Saviour's resurrection a few graves were opened, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth to glorious, immortal life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Him, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come."  DA 787.

The dead in Christ, are alive in Christ in the grave. They do not die. They only sleep. This may be a little confusing to many, but it ought not be to us. We know death is only a sleep for both the wicked and the righteous. When we become partakers of the divine nature, the Spirit indwells the heart. This does not stop when the righteous are laid to rest. They are Christ's. We don't understand how this can be, the living dead, but we know it to be true. Jesus said so as recorded in the book of John:

 11:11   These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 
 11:12   Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 
 11:13   Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 
 11:14   Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 


Some without discernment may think because we believe we are partakers of God's divine nature we are as gods. Such a mistake! We are not just like Jesus, who is God. Neither is Jesus just like us, no matter who or how many may teach this. We are evil by nature and will retain sinful flesh until the second coming. It is through the Spirit that we are empowered to reflect the character of Christ. It is through the Spirit that Jesus abides in us. It is the Spirit that cleanses the heart. As hard as it is to believe that one may be cleansed of all sin, in the heart, this is what happens at the moment an entire surrender is made to Christ.

"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." Isaiah 1:18.

"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin....If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7,9.


I like the truth you and Pastor Sean have shared. What our character is at death, is what we have when we come forth from the grave. Our relationship does not change when we go to sleep in the grave. The holy Spirit will be falling in latter rain power, but those who are not abiding in Christ, and Christ abiding in them, through the Spirit, will not know the latter rain is falling. So it is in the grave. The wicked not possessing Christ will not hear the call to come forth at His second coming.

Jesus did not perceive Lazarus to be dead, but only asleep. He had to correct His statement so the deceived disciples would understand his sleep was not the normal sleep. But, God looks upon the end result. At His soon coming, the dead in Christ will come forth bearing the character of Christ and without sinful flesh.

"This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him."

This is the best I can see, Jim. Hope this helps to clarify the statement. If I err, I am surely open to correction.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2016, 10:23:02 AM »
This is the best I can see, Jim. Hope this helps to clarify the statement. If I err, I am surely open to correction.
Richard, I won't say you err because this is the first that I've ever really considered this but what you've said make sense. I've typed and retyped a response but each time I do and I re-read it, it comes across as the normal response you hear in a Seventh-day Adventist Bible study about the dead but it's a  more than that to me now and I'm struggling to put into words. I may be back.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2016, 03:48:34 PM »
I was listening to a song of DA 388.1, and this thought came to me more clearly--may this help us understand this more clearly:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” Through the beloved John, who listened to these words, the Holy Spirit declared to the churches, “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. And Jesus said, “I will raise him up at the last day.” Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal. – {DA 388.1}
"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}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--66--Controversy
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 03:51:53 PM »
Thank you pastor Sean for this. This indeed sheds more light on the topic (at least for my mind). 
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2016, 07:57:32 AM »

Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.

Amen, Pastor Sean!  We must be born of the Spirit in order to have life. And, unless Christ continues to dwell in the heart, we do not have life. He who hath the Son, hath life. He who hath not the Son hath not life. A simple truth which has been perverted in as many ways as a clever devil can present. "The great controversy" is involved in this great deception.

Today's reading opens up the truth in such a simple way, a child may understand the relation between salvation and the works of the law.

      By His words and His works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life beyond the present, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God.
 

The power of the Spirit of God is to transform the character. The law has no power, it reveals sin and points out our need of a Savior to keep it. It is the "schoo-master".

     Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.
 

The law will save no one, but unless we are born of the Spirit and keep the law, we will not enter heaven. We must be born again of the Spirit. And when we have the Spirit, we have life. And "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9. 

There is much more in this chapter that nails this down so nicely, but we will leave it for others to share.   :) That is an invitation to those who are reading to share what God is revealing to you. Others need to hear the simple gospel truth from many in the church. The more often we share these truths, the more they will be understood.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 09:16:57 AM »
Amen, Richard. I love to share the gospel and what Jesus is doing in my life, and I love how this chapter reveals Christ to us.

I appreciated the thought about how we must have God's Spirit indwelling us and working through us to have life, for apart from God's Spirit we are none of His. But how do we know we have His Spirit? When we live by faith upon the Son of God as our personal Savior to keep us from sin, all of the fruits of His Spirit will be manifest in our lives--without even one missing! There will be His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Apart from Christ we cannot have these fruits springing from a new heart renewed by divine grace; but abiding in Christ we may flourish and bear much fruit!

Christ revealed the way that controversy is to be handled in areas of religious discussion. His focus was not on merely answering questions that would satisfy curiosity, but He sought to reach the heart. So we should do.

    The wisdom of Christ's answer had convicted the scribe. He knew that the Jewish religion consisted in outward ceremonies rather than inward piety. He had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings, and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. The readiness of this man to acknowledge the correctness of Christ's reasoning, and his decided and prompt response before the people, manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to face the frowns of the priests and the threats of the rulers to speak the convictions of his heart. "And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

This man was allowing Jesus to reach his heart--but we do not see from the passage that the man yielded to the divine influence speaking to him as to his need to have such love implanted in his own life. So it is with us. We may think we know the "right answers" but we have no power to do the good we ought to do if our focus is not upon the loveliness of Jesus, and actually letting His Spirit make this possible in our lives when we surrender entirely to all that God's Spirit reveals in yielding all the mind and heart to Jesus. Let us see the loveliness of the Savior in the above paragraph--Christ's heart went out to him in pity--may we, abiding in Jesus, love those who seek to put us in a hard spot, and then seek to win the heart to Christ as Jesus did. Let us pray that we may win souls to Christ!
"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--66--Controversy
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2017, 05:05:14 AM »
Thousands become infidels because their finite minds cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. They cannot explain the wonderful exhibition of divine power in His providences, therefore they reject the evidences of such power, attributing them to natural agencies which they can comprehend still less. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them all the presence and power of God. Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things. They need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies. 

I suppose this is the natural result of believing that humans are at the "top" of all things living in the universe. Too afraid to look to something bigger and better they bring darkness in on themselves. This counsel also explains the antidote to their problem...  They need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2017, 05:40:58 AM »
Amen, Jim!  Our minds are dull after 6,000 years of sin. We do not half understand our position. It is through a knowledge of God that we can be saved. I am sure angels wonder at our dullness of mind. Look at the disciples after being taught by Jesus for 3 1/2 years, they still did not understand the Lamb had to die.  :(

Another 2,000 years and we ought to understand Satan has not been resting in regards to deceiving the children of men, especially those in God's church. I like your quote this morning. "Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things." God is in absolute control of all that happens. He does not cause all to happen, but nothing happens that He does not allow. There is a line that Satan may not cross until God allows. He is but a created being, and a fallen one at that. We do indeed "need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies."

It is by beholding His character that we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). What a blessing to have you and Pastor Sean studying His character daily!!  Others will join with us as we near the end!


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--66--Controversy
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2017, 06:18:06 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard! We gain a broader view as we behold the loveliness of Jesus--His pure love expands the soul for higher attainments and greater knowledge of divine things. Oh, may we rejoice in Him always and realize that our finite wisdom if unaided by divine power is but foolishness! We need a living connection with Jesus and continual surrender to His will!

I appreciate how the law and the gospel go hand-in-hand:

 The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins. 


We have no power in and of ourselves to obey; we must have Christ at work in us continually, and then He enables us to do the deeds of omnipotence by the mighty agency of His Spirit! What a joy to know that we can go beyond the scribe--not just be near the kingdom of God, but actually have Christ in us, the hope of glory, where the kingdom of God is at work within us by the implanting of the divine nature! When we have this experience, we will, like Jesus, not enter into controversy, but point souls to the truths of God's word as we reveal all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing--such an experience is a great miracle--but one that divine grace is well able to accomplish!!
"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--66--Controversy
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2017, 05:09:57 AM »
The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him. 


Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

This section from today's chapter this text means a lot to me today. Last week an dear elderly saint from my Sabbath School class passed away. He was in his mid 80's and a retired pastor. He was a humble man always interested in the lives of others how they were doing and concerned about new members. His wife was an inspiration to me. She praised the Lord as the last communication from her dear husband was a very hard to read (because of a stroke) hand scribble note that said "I am at peace". She said between that and all the support she received she was blessed. She said that while her heart will be aching for the missing companionship she couldn't be more thankful. He will be missed.

Sorry, if this doesn't seem like the normal post here.
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--66--Controversy
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2017, 06:15:21 AM »
Jim, what a blessing to read what you shared--we have hope in Christ! The dead are only sleeping a short while until the resurrection morning! It seemed very appropriate to share it here, as it helps us realize that the truths we read in our "thoughtful hour" with Jesus bring us direct comfort for what we face in our day-to-day lives, and the experience of the death of those whom we love.

    The first four of the Ten Commandments are summed up in the one great precept, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." The last six are included in the other, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Both these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. The first cannot be kept and the second broken, nor can the second be kept while the first is broken. When God has His rightful place on the throne of the heart, the right place will be given to our neighbor. We shall love him as ourselves. And only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially.   

I was impressed by this thought of how God's presence in our hearts means we can love others--and if we do not love others unselfishly, this simply shows that God is not really upon the throne of the heart, for His love by nature is selfless. I think of what Jim shared, and I realize that in the church family, and in the relation of husband and wife, it is when unselfish love reigns that one experiences a foretaste of heaven. Oh, how blessed will be that day when all created beings will manifest and reveal the truth that "God is love" (1 John 4:16).
"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--66--Controversy
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2017, 10:05:58 PM »
Amen! Such beautiful important truths we are reading every day. How very sad, some do not understand the blessings that come from so doing. He is the bread of life!!

Jim, your post was right on. Death is only sleep. Your friend is at rest. What a blessing he had peace. And that his wife, while she misses him, has peace also!   Faith looks beyond what we see with our eyes to the things which are invisible, but eternal.

When we are fully surrendered, then the "supernatural" power that transforms a sinner into a saint takes place. The Holy Spirit brings into the repentant sinner's heart, all of the fruits of the Spirit, not one is missing.

   By His words and His works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life beyond the present, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of 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--66--Controversy
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2017, 06:35:01 AM »
I love the simplicity and power of the gospel. Jesus Christ and Him crucified abiding in our heart is the only one who can truly transform our character to love Him with all the heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

And since all the commandments are summed up in love to God and man, it follows that not one precept can be broken without violating this principle. Thus Christ taught His hearers that the law of God is not so many separate precepts, some of which are of great importance, while others are of small importance and may with impunity be ignored. Our Lord presents the first four and the last six commandments as a divine whole, and teaches that love to God will be shown by obedience to all His commandments.   {The Desire of Ages, page 607, paragraph 3}
"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}