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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« on: September 12, 2000, 07:51:00 PM »
Chap. 10 - The Voice in the Wilderness


Listen to    The Voice in the Wilderness

 






    From among the faithful in Israel, who had long waited for the coming of the Messiah, the forerunner of Christ arose. The aged priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were "both righteous before God;" and in their quiet and holy lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness of those evil days. To this godly pair was given the promise of a son, who should "go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways." 
     Zacharias dwelt in "the hill country of Judea," but he had gone up to Jerusalem to minister for one week in the temple, a service required twice a year from the priests of each course. "And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord."
     He was standing before the golden altar in the holy place of the sanctuary. The cloud of incense with the prayers of Israel was ascending before God. Suddenly he became conscious of a divine presence. An angel of the Lord was "standing on the right side of the altar." The position of the angel was an indication of favor, but Zacharias took no note of this. For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now heaven had sent its messenger to announce that these prayers were about to be answered; but the mercy of God seemed too great for him to credit. He was filled with fear and self-condemnation.
     But he was greeted with the joyful assurance: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. . . . And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years." 
     Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised. But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform. What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel's wonderful announcement was, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word"! Luke 1:38. 
     The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. 
     To the question of Zacharias, the angel said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings." Five hundred years before, Gabriel had made known to Daniel the prophetic period which was to extend to the coming of Christ. The knowledge that the end of this period was near had moved Zacharias to pray for the Messiah's advent. Now the very messenger through whom the prophecy was given had come to announce its fulfillment. 
     The words of the angel, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God," show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince." Daniel 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." Revelation 1:1. And to John the angel declared, "I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets." Revelation 22:9, R. V. Wonderful thought--that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.
     Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words. He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. "Behold," said the angel, "thou shalt be dumb, . . . until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for the pardon of public and national sins, and for the coming of the Messiah; but when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not utter a word.  {DA 99.2} 
     Coming forth to bless the people, "he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless." They had waited long, and had begun to fear, lest he had been cut down by the judgment of God. But as he came forth from the holy place, his face was shining with the glory of God, "and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple." Zacharias communicated to them what he had seen and heard; and "as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house."  {DA 99.3} 
     Soon after the birth of the promised child, the father's tongue was loosed, "and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!" All this tended to call attention to the Messiah's coming, for which John was to prepare the way.

     The Holy Spirit rested upon Zacharias, and in these beautiful words he prophesied of the mission of his son:


     "Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest;
      For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;
      To give knowledge of salvation unto His people
      By the remission of their sins,
      Through the tender mercy of our God,
      Whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
      To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of
       death,
      To guide our feet into the way of peace."
     "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." Before the birth of John, the angel had said, "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men. In order to accomplish this work, he must have the Lord to work with him. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he heeded the instruction of the angel. 
     John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.
     In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven. 
     In childhood and youth the character is most impressible. The power of self-control should then be acquired. By the fireside and at the family board influences are exerted whose results are as enduring as eternity. More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life. Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.
     As a prophet, John was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming. 
     In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature's God.   
     It was a lonely region where he found his home, in the midst of barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. But it was his choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of Providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.

"John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness."
     Dedicated to God as a Nazarite from his birth, he made the vow his own in a life-long consecration. His dress was that of the ancient prophets, a garment of camel's hair, confined by a leather girdle. He ate the "locusts and wild honey" found in the wilderness, and drank the pure water from the hills.
     But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him. 
     Although in the wilderness, he was not exempt from temptation. So far as possible, he closed every avenue by which Satan could enter, yet he was still assailed by the tempter. But his spiritual perceptions were clear; he had developed strength and decision of character, and through the aid of the Holy Spirit he was able to detect Satan's approaches, and to resist his power. 
     John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.
     Alone in the silent night he read God's promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, gilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as "the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." 2 Samuel 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isaiah 40:5. 
     With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,--the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, "the peace giver," who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born. 
     Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,--the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging "with equity for the meek of the earth;" "a covert from the tempest; . . . the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" Israel no longer to be termed "Forsaken," nor her land "Desolate," but to be called of the Lord, "My Delight," and her land "Beulah." Isaiah 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision. 
     He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. 
     John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,--


      "To remember His holy covenant; . . .
      That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies
      Might serve Him without fear,
      In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our
      life." 
     He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.
     God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"   
     When the ministry of John began, the nation was in a state of excitement and discontent verging on revolution. At the removal of Archelaus, Judea had been brought directly under the control of Rome. The tyranny and extortion of the Roman governors, and their determined efforts to introduce the heathen symbols and customs, kindled revolt, which had been quenched in the blood of thousands of the bravest of Israel. All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power. 
     Amid discord and strife, a voice was heard from the wilderness, a voice startling and stern, yet full of hope: "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." With a new, strange power it moved the people. Prophets had foretold the coming of Christ as an event far in the future; but here was an announcement that it was at hand. John's singular appearance carried the minds of his hearers back to the ancient seers. In his manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah. With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins. His words were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many believed him to be one of the prophets risen from the dead. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.
     John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan. Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah's kingdom.
   Princes and rabbis, soldiers, publicans, and peasants came to hear the prophet. For a time the solemn warning from God alarmed them. Many were brought to repentance, and received baptism. Persons of all ranks submitted to the requirement of the Baptist, in order to participate in the kingdom he announced.
     Many of the scribes and Pharisees came confessing their sins, and asking for baptism. They had exalted themselves as better than other men, and had led the people to entertain a high opinion of their piety; now the guilty secrets of their lives were unveiled. But John was impressed by the Holy Spirit that many of these men had no real conviction of sin. They were timeservers. As friends of the prophet, they hoped to find favor with the coming Prince. And by receiving baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher, they thought to strengthen their influence with the people. 
     John met them with the scathing inquiry, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
     The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favor to Israel: "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:33, 34.
     To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessings. 
     These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Corinthians 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin. 
     John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service. Their hearts might now appear as lifeless as the stones of the desert, but His Spirit could quicken them to do His will, and receive the fulfillment of His promise. 
     "And now also," said the prophet, "the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people. 
     Under his heart-searching words, his hearers were convicted. They came to him with the inquiry, "What shall we do then?" He answered, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." And he warned the publicans against injustice, and the soldiers against violence. 
     All who became the subjects of Christ's kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen. Otherwise they are like the chaff that is given to the fire.
     "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance," said John; "but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Matthew 3:11, R. V., margin. The prophet Isaiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." The word of the Lord to Israel was, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." Isaiah 4:4; 1:25. To sin, wherever found, "our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them. Jacob, after his night of wrestling with the Angel, exclaimed, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Genesis 32:30. Jacob had been guilty of a great sin in his conduct toward Esau; but he had repented. His transgression had been forgiven, and his sin purged; therefore he could endure the revelation of God's presence. But wherever men came before God while willfully cherishing evil, they were destroyed. At the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed "with the Spirit of His mouth," and destroyed "with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked. 
     In the time of John the Baptist, Christ was about to appear as the revealer of the character of God. His very presence would make manifest to men their sin. Only as they were willing to be purged from sin could they enter into fellowship with Him. Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence.
     Thus the Baptist declared God's message to Israel. Many gave heed to his instruction. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope that he might be the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come. 





_________________________________________________ _______________________________________
A lesson for us today who are to prepare a people for the second coming of Christ.

"John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness."

Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2000, 05:22:00 AM »

(1) I think it funny (and not so funny) how Zacharias had prayed for years for the coming of the Messiah, and upon finally hearing the news that He was coming and Zacharias' son was to be a part of the whole thing, he didn't believe.

That brings to mind the text in Habbakuk where God says "Hey, I'm gonna do something so great, that you wouldn't even believe what it was if I told you!" How often doesn't He tell us things because we wouldn't believe Him?

(2) "Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words. He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled."

I have wondered for a long time why God made Zacharias mute. What purpose did that serve? And then this morning, a couple of thoughts came to me. I thought, perhaps God did it because it would be one more sign that He really was in control of everything - if He could cause me not to speak a word for nine months, it would truly be a miracle!  :) I also thought that God made Zacharias mute because He would rather have us say nothing than to speak of things which we don't really believe in. Sort of a slight variation on that "If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all" idea. If Zacharias didn't really believe in what he was asking for, he wasn't going to ask for anything at all!

(3) "John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God."

Ever notice how God never does anything in secret? He always let us know exactly what He's doing! And He does it in such a way that the word can reach the greatest number of people. This is further evidence that what God desires most is a relationship. Jesus came publicly, lived publicly, and died publicly. If the only problem with sin is its offense to God which require sacrifice, Jesus could have died in heaven and would never have needed to come here. But men needed a knowledge of God, and wherever God will be going, the Spirit goes before to prepare the way. You know, kinda like the Secret Service Agents who go and do a sweep of the premises before the President enters.  :)

(4) "It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness."

I prayed just last night for more understanding about the message of Righteousness by Faith. And then to find such a clear statement in this morning's readings! As we saw in an earlier chapter, God truly anticipates all of our needs and meets them in astonishing ways!

(5) "In childhood and youth the character is most impressible."

This is the main reason I think Jesus said we must become like little children if we want to enter the kingdom. Little children are not only dependent, but they are so open and trusting. If God is to come into our life and completely transform us, we need to be as children who are most impressible. But, boy does it take work to be able to open up and let God come in - at least it does for me! I'm a control freak when it comes to my own life, and I'm a little scared about lettin' God in - just what does He plan on doing while He's in there? It is a daily choice to submit to Him. It would be much easier if I was a child!

(6) "He [John the Baptist] was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world...With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven."

We should follow this example much more often than we do. How often do we feel proud to be "taking the gospel" in to an unreached people (even to our own neighbor!) without first spending time observing those people, asking God the best way to touch their hearts. If we would cast off some of our own pride in having "The Truth" and realize that God reaches different people in different ways, we might be much more effective! So often we barge onto a situation and ignore the guidance that God would give us about reaching the hearts of the ones He has sent us to. God knows how to reach their hearts, but how often do we say "No, no. That would never work for me, so therefore, it must not be a holy avenue." And we miss the great opportunity God has called us to.

All you have to do is open the Bible to see that God speaks to different people in different ways at different times. This does not mean that our experience is any less important or valid than somebody else's. It should not intimidate us that God may not call us to reach others in the same way He reached us. Instead, it should excite us that God is the kind of God who is not limited by human society and culture, but can work through all events and circumstances to bring to men a knowledge of Himself!

(7) "He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy."

Back to the subject of Righteousness by Faith, I see that we really cannot gain righteousness on our own. Of my own will or power, I can produce nothing good. However, as I behold Jesus, I see two things: the truth about God and the truth about my own sinful nature. And as I realize I can do nothing and I let go into the awesome power of God, He is able to change me. He is able to do everything I cannot do! By BEHOLDING we become changed! Just like everything else from God, righteousness is a gift. We can never, NEVER go wrong if we invest all our energy into beholding God and coming to know Him. If our entire focus is on God, there will not be room for anything else! God said HE would be faithful to finish the good work in me that He started - and I believe Him when He says it!

(8) "All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power."

Here is a perfect example: the Jewish nation has their telescopes focused on the wrong place. Thus, they misinterpret the Messiah's mission. If they had been focusing on God, they would have seen the truth about who they were, and they would have longed to be freed from sin, not Rome.

(9) "His words were plain, pointed, and convincing."

And probably short as well! I sure wish this could be said of the pastors of our time!  :) Stop talking religious gobbly-gook and feed me! Talk plainly. For heaven's sake, just say what you mean. Don't use the words and terms of others that you yourself can't define. One of the things I love most about Jesus was that He spoke in ways that anybody could understand. (Which, ironically, greatly infuriated the "religious" people.)

(10) "But He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."

If I am being baptized with fire right now, perhaps I'm experiencing the second death from sin in a very real way. As God comes into my life and changes me, He "burns up" all the sin that's there, all the self, until there is nothing left but His presence. If I refuse to let Him in now, sin will continue to change me until I am sin personified. And then God's glory will "burn me up" in the end along with sin.

(11) "In all who submit to His power, the Spirit of God will consume sin."

I am "consuming many days," even as we speak!

(12) "But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it."

Sin must really have some power over my life to change me, to fully separate me from God, to close off any avenues to the healing and salvation He provides.

(13) "Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them."

Notice it's the sin which is destroyed by the glory of God. God does not ordain that His wicked children should suffer and die, but it will happen whether God prefers it or not. They have chosen to identify themselves fully with the one thing that is destroyed in the presence of God. What other choice does God have? To keep His presence veiled forever?

(14) "The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked."

Did you notice how impartial that is? Both the righteous and the wicked experience the very same God with very different results. It's like clay and butter in the presence of sunlight. Expose clay to the sun and it will harden. Expose butter to the sun and it will melt. Do we say that the sun is treating the clay any differently than the butter? No the difference is not in the Son, the difference is in those which are exposed to it!


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2000, 09:46:00 AM »
Sister Kellee, this chapter is very instructive on the character of God and the plan of salvation. It speaks very pointedly to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in regards to what is expected from the ministry and the church member. It points out that John was a type of those that will be in God's church today. Do you agree? And if so, what was it about John that Jesus wants us to know? The devil has been at work to deceive us and Jesus is desiring that we might see this deception. You have been pointing out many things that are true, but it appears to me that you have left out some points that are absolutely necessary for our salvation.  I say this in the light of where we are as a people. If the teaching in the church were not so contrary to this chapter, I would not be so plain in my statement, but because the error is so gross, we must take the opportunity God has given in this chapter to point out what is being said. We will have many other opportunities throughout the book, but this chapter is in particular so plain that none need misunderstand.

Do you have no comments on the opening post or what followed in the book? I would be very interested in your thoughts on what is being said. It will do a lot to bring us into closer understanding and I pray many others.  :)   I am saddened there are many who will not comment on the passages for it will reveal their opposition to the "righteousness of Christ".
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Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2000, 11:09:00 AM »
Richard,

I guess I'm not sure what you're asking... but if you want to know if I agree with what you posted at the top, yes I do.

We ought to be a controlled people. But I am controlled through God's power as I move into a relationship with Him. It is God's responsibility to change Me. At least He said He would, and I believe Him.

My responsibility is to seek Him and Him alone each and every day. To come to know Him, and in so doing to love and trust Him. If I trust Him, He can teach me anything. If I trust Him, He can save me. That's what seems important to me.

By the way, I sit down and write in the morning as I read the chapter. I won't necessarily have come to the forum to read what you posted at the top of each thread. So if I don't happen to comment on what you posted, sorry  ;D It's just that so many things jump out at me every day.....


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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2000, 11:27:00 AM »
Thanks, Sister Kellee. I understand. Jesus leads us each individually and speaks to our minds as we have need and are open.  Do you have any thoughts on the passage I quoted and the page after?
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Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2000, 02:30:00 PM »
Richard,

Like I said, I agree with what you posted. It seems like you're looking for a particular response from me, and I'm not sure what that is.....

Reading the page after what you quoted, these are the major points I gleaned:

(1) The majority of the world is in gross sinfulness. (So what else is new)

(2) God's people will be different, self-controlled, obedient, etc.

(3) This state of obedience issues forth from a deep love of God, nothing else. It is God's power working in me as I come to love and trust Him.

(4) To learn about God, we go straight to the source and not to so-called "teachers of theology."

(5) We may be different from the world, but we are not to be isolated from it.


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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2002, 08:16:00 AM »
I am sorry that we did not continue on this chapter back then. Sister Kellee made some most important points about beholding Jesus and thus obtaining the power to do works of righteousness. This is right on.

Today, my mind was led to see that there were faithful "priests" in the church even at the time of the coming of Christ. Israel was soon to be cut off, but there were faithful ones, even in the ministry. Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were "both righteous before god."

We ought to strive to encourage those who are faithful ministers today. There are many who have not bowed the knee to Baal. It is true that like Zacharias they may lose their faith from time to time, but this is even more reason why we should be encouraging them. The church is to function as a means to edify its members including the ministers.

John "denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins" as we are to do, but let us also encourage the faithful.

Richard

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2002, 12:48:00 PM »
Dear Richard,

I am glad that you resurrected this thread. It speaks very clearly to the priority that must be given for health reform.

Dugald


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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2002, 08:52:00 AM »
Yes, Dr. Dugald. Christians consider it a blessing to possess power to do what is right in all areas. When we excuse our passions and appetites that harm ourselves and others we cannot claim the righteousness of Christ in our own lives. It is a most important trust that has been given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to not only teach health reform, but to be examples of what obedience to the laws of our being will do for a people.

The only way we can overcome perverted appetites and passions is to allow Christ full reign in our lives. Only His grace will make us partakers of His divine nature.

Richard

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2002, 04:19:00 AM »
In regards to my last statement, a verse of Scripture came to mind; "To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

At the 1990 General Conference I learned a lesson that I pray I will never forget. My days there were very busy, but I took time each morning to establish a close connection with my Saviour. I knew what He would have me do each day and I was doing it. But, it is not good enough to establish the connection in the morning, we must maintain it throughout the day. We must seek our wisdom from above, not from our own minds.

The blessing of doing television interviews with our leaders from around the world was important. I was seeking to find those who had a living relationship with Christ. They then were asked to share a testimony about Christ as well as discuss the world-wide work they were a part of. The interviews were taped for broadcast the following day.

Twice during the session, I did live broadcasts. Each were for about three or four minutes. Things were going so well, because God was blessing that I grew careless. The first live broadcast was from center stage with all the flags in the background. I did not pray first and I did not ask God what to say or for grace. I just got up and was ready to speak what came to my mind regarding the events taking place at the session. I did not anticipate any difficulty.

Well....when we depend upon our own strength and not God's we are in trouble. There was a technical difficulty and I could not hear the feed so someone was to cue me as to when to come in. Elder Richards was doing the program and he would introduce me. I was calmy waiting and when the time came I looked into the camera and began to speak. My concentration was interupted and after the first couple of sentences my words got stuck in my throat. I choked.

I could not find the lense of the camera to look into. It was a couple of hundred feet away and 40 or 50 feet up in the air on scaffoling. This, I had neve done before and I was thinking about having to focus into the camera, but the distance was so great that I could not find it.

After the broadcast I ran into the control room to view the tape to see how badly I had represented Christ. It was not as bad as I had thought. What seemed like an eternity to me, was only a brief moment. Jesus had covered for me. Why do I share this experience at this time? The next live broadcast, you can be sure that I learned from my mistake. I would not do so without my Saviour's help. I needed His wisdom as well as His strength. Before each taped interview I would always pray with the guest and God was blessing. I would not again forget to pray when I had no interview. The light God gave for the next broadcast pertains to this chapter.

Richard

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Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2002, 10:11:00 AM »
The hour was drawing near when I would have the next opportunity to speak live to God's people who would view the broadcast. The day before I had met a consecrated worker who I had discussed my situation with. She asked if she might pray with me before the next broadcast. We agreed. The night before I was in intense prayer regarding what to say. The picture was becoming very clear. God had a message for His people during this General Conference session. It was my privilege to present it. Self was not to be mingled into the words. I was to read a portion from my Desire of Ages.

The session was a painful display of worldliness, but God was there in the midst of His people. He was working through those who loved Him with whole heart. It was at that session that I was moved by heavenly music when the angels sang with us. But,
God had a strong message to give to awaken His people around the world. What could that message be?

The church remains in a Laodicean condition and she is called to "repent". But, for many who see themselves as "rich and increased with goods" for what can they repent? The message God had put in my heart to share was one that would begin the process of opening closed eyes. Let us hear this message.

We had earnest prayer just before the broadcast and my heart was fully surrended and Christ was my strength and my wisdom. I began by saying that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a world-wide health ministry and that some may have wondered why. To explain why, I would read from a book called The Desire of Ages by Ellen White. I began to read from the book--

"John (the Baptist)was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.

In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love ofluxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time; Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven....

As a prophet, John was 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.' In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he ws a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming."

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Mimi

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 09:59:39 AM »
Quote
In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.
I think of the parallel between John the Baptist and those standing in our day. The health message is there, embedded in the Three Angels' Messages for a reason. Strength of body as well as clearness of mind to stand unmoved by surrounding circumstances to give the Word to the world.

   
Quote
In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven.
As we are to prepare the way for the Second Coming, how does this fit in with the rebuke coming from the Faithful and True Witness to the Laodiceans? John the Baptist purposefully dressed simply as a rebuke to the richly dressed - we are told to do the same. John the Baptist ate simple foods - we are told to do the same these days just to keep us alive, healthy and alert for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The parallel for John's mission and ours is quite uncanny when studied.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2008, 12:00:27 PM »
Yes, John's experience is to be ours. As a prophet, he was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming. Try explaining this to most professing Christians. They see no relationship between what they eat and their religious experience. They see no need for a righteous character that obeys the Word of God. :(
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Mimi

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 07:06:45 AM »
Amen, Richard!

Although in the wilderness, he was not exempt from temptation. So far as possible, he closed every avenue by which Satan could enter, yet he was still assailed by the tempter. But his spiritual perceptions were clear; he had developed strength and decision of character, and through the aid of the Holy Spirit he was able to detect Satan's approaches, and to resist his power.

     John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.

     Alone in the silent night he read God's promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, gilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as "the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." 2 Sam. 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isa. 40:5. 

     With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,--the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, "the peace giver," who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born. 

     Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,--the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging "with equity for the meek of the earth;" "a covert from the tempest; . . . the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" Israel no longer to be termed "Forsaken," nor her land "Desolate," but to be called of the Lord, "My Delight," and her land "Beulah." Isa. 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision. 

     He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. 

     John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,--

      "To remember His holy covenant; . . .
      That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies
      Might serve Him without fear,
      In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our
      life." 

     He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin. 

     God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"  104.1

  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2008, 07:13:34 AM »
  When the ministry of John began, the nation was in a state of excitement and discontent verging on revolution. At the removal of Archelaus, Judea had been brought directly under the control of Rome. The tyranny and extortion of the Roman governors, and their determined efforts to introduce the heathen symbols and customs, kindled revolt, which had been quenched in the blood of thousands of the bravest of Israel. All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power. 

     Amid discord and strife, a voice was heard from the wilderness, a voice startling and stern, yet full of hope: "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." With a new, strange power it moved the people. Prophets had foretold the coming of Christ as an event far in the future; but here was an announcement that it was at hand. John's singular appearance carried the minds of his hearers back to the ancient seers. In his manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah. With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins. His words were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many believed him to be one of the prophets risen from the dead. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness. 

     John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan. Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah's kingdom. 

     Princes and rabbis, soldiers, publicans, and peasants came to hear the prophet. For a time the solemn warning from God alarmed them. Many were brought to repentance, and received baptism. Persons of all ranks submitted to the requirement of the Baptist, in order to participate in the kingdom he announced. 

     Many of the scribes and Pharisees came confessing their sins, and asking for baptism. They had exalted themselves as better than other men, and had led the people to entertain a high opinion of their piety; now the guilty secrets of their lives were unveiled. But John was impressed by the Holy Spirit that many of these men had no real conviction of sin. They were timeservers. As friends of the prophet, they hoped to find favor with the coming Prince. And by receiving baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher, they thought to strengthen their influence with the people. 

     John met them with the scathing inquiry, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." 

     The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favor to Israel: "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jer. 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31:33, 34.  106.1
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2008, 12:30:24 PM »
To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessings. 

     These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin. 

     John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service. Their hearts might now appear as lifeless as the stones of the desert, but His Spirit could quicken them to do His will, and receive the fulfillment of His promise. 

     "And now also," said the prophet, "the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people. 

     Under his heart-searching words, his hearers were convicted. They came to him with the inquiry, "What shall we do then?" He answered, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." And he warned the publicans against injustice, and the soldiers against violence. 

     All who became the subjects of Christ's kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen. Otherwise they are like the chaff that is given to the fire. 107.3
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2008, 12:32:26 PM »
Quote
John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service.

In the "Christian" church, how often do we see this?
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2008, 08:58:41 PM »
"John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged."

Seems that too often the churches throughout the ages repeat this sad experience.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2008, 10:19:11 AM »
     "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance," said John; "but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Matt. 3:11, R. V., margin. The prophet Isaiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." The word of the Lord to Israel was, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." Isa. 4:4; 1:25. To sin, wherever found, "our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them. Jacob, after his night of wrestling with the Angel, exclaimed, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Gen. 32: 30. Jacob had been guilty of a great sin in his conduct toward Esau; but he had repented. His transgression had been forgiven, and his sin purged; therefore he could endure the revelation of God's presence. But wherever men came before God while willfully cherishing evil, they were destroyed. At the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed "with the Spirit of His mouth," and destroyed "with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thess. 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked.

     In the time of John the Baptist, Christ was about to appear as the revealer of the character of God. His very presence would make manifest to men their sin. Only as they were willing to be purged from sin could they enter into fellowship with Him. Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence. 

     Thus the Baptist declared God's message to Israel. Many gave heed to his instruction. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope that he might be the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come.  108.2
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2008, 03:25:20 PM »
Quote
The prophet Isaiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." The word of the Lord to Israel was, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." Isa. 4:4; 1:25.

I have never read a better description of what this quote means than that given in The Desire of Ages shown above. "Our God is a consuming fire." Amen and praise the Lord for it! For without that consuming fire, how could we be cleansed of all the dross, made ready to stand before a holy God!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89