The Destiny of a Movement

 

by

 

Fred T. Wright

 

 

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This is a book every Seventh-day Adventist should read as soon as possible.—rb

 

 

 

 

COVER PICTURE

 

         The sun hangs low on the horizon on this wintry day in Wisconsin, U.S.A. The study of religious history confirms that no spiritual revival has ever maintained the pure principles of truth beyond the third and fourth generations. In Joshua's day, "Israel

         served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, ." Joshua 24:31. Then came the repeated apostasies of the period of the Judges.

         Samuel's uplift of God's people was followed by the dark days of Saul's reign, while those of good King David gave place to the Baal worship of his successors. How short-lived was the noble work of Ezra and Nehemiah, while the wonderful spiritual life infused into the church through Christ and the apostles, did not survive even the lifetime of John the Beloved. See the tragic pattern repeated in the ministry of the Reformers, Wycliffe, Luther, and Wesley.

         In every case, in the most subtle way, the heart was taken out of the great truths which had, at the outset, separated them from Babylon. They returned again to antichrist's fold and fellowship. Yet, all the while, the appearance of separation was carefully sustained, together with the most solemn and earnest avowals that God still led and blessed them, even though in no sense whatever was God any longer among them.

 

         In the light of what, without exception, befell those movements before us, it would be stupidly and dangerously foolish to assure ourselves that it could not happen again today, especially when it is seen that this self-assurance featured in every previous collapse. This is the unbroken pattern of the past. It is also the history of the present. In the middle of the last century, there arose like the glory of the morning sun, a movement described by Inspiration as being the most free from human imperfection since the days of Pentecost.  See The Great Controversy, 401.  The founding fathers fought with urage, faith, and prayer for the faith once delivered to the saints. But, glorious as was the rising of that sun, the day for its sad setting has come. Great and compromising changes have been made, turning the movement of promise back into the fold and fellowship of antichrist. Deciding to believe that this is not so, will not change e fact that it is so. Our only eternal safety lies in seeing and relating ourselves to things as they actually are.

 

 

Contents

 

1. First Words    1

2.  Last Day Deceptions       3

3.  The Test Of Deception    19

4.  Try Those Spirits   25

5.  We Can Obey To Perfection    31

6.  What The Incarnation Proves  44

7. Christ Is Truly God          49

8. Christ Is Truly Man         59

9.  His Tent And Ours 73

10.  From The Depths 84

11.  The Two Deaths  97

12.  Seeming Contradictions         109

13.  The Papacy Is Antichrist        119

14. Why It Is So          130

15.  The Modern Protestant Churches Are Antichrist       134

16.  More Than A Mere Confrontation 143

17.  More On The Real Issues At Minneapolis        156

18.  Waggoner Misrepresented     164

19.  Waggoner Was Not In Error  171

20.  One Giant Step Too Far         180

21. Adventism Identified With Antichrist      195

22.  Teachers Of The Immaculate Conception         204

23.  The Wine Of Babylon  211

 

 

 

 

1

 

First Words

 

         The whole world  is on the  move,  socially,  morally,  politically, materially, scientifically, and religiously. The pace is so rapid, the trends so radical,  the abandonment of the old moral values and standards so irresponsible,  defiant,  and carefree, that there is every justification for seeing in all this the harbingers of that final disaster which will bring about the end of the world.

 

With the open pages of the prophetic Word before him, the child of God observes these developments with intense and watchful interest. He knows that, on one hand, they are the stern warnings of the need of the closest personal preparation for the events which are coming, and, on the other, they are the glad tidings of the coming end of sin and the revelation of the Saviour and Deliverer. Everything depends on his ability, through the study of the Word of God under the guidance and tutelage of the Holy Spirit, to rightly evaluate and analyse the happenings in the world. Failure to do so is to be caught off-guard, with all the attendant fatal consequences. The final and coming conflict will be the last great show-down between the powers of light and the forces of darkness. It will be essentially religious in character and nature. Therefore, the true child of God will understand that the events which need to be watched most closely are those in the religious world, not only in the fallen churches but also in the church of God itself.

 

         It is beyond the scope of this publication to examine all today's thrilling developments  which  are  portentous  of the  coming  glory  of Christ's appearing in the clouds of heaven. Rather its purpose is to examine one such event, to rightly analyse its significance, and thus be led to understand more distinctly the point reached in the order of last day events. This event is the publication of a volume by the Review and Herald Publishing Company, entitled Movement of Destiny, by LeRoy Edwin   Froom. It contains 672 pages and was released during 1971. The author was a leading Seventh-day Adventist researcher, scholar, and writer. The

 

 

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book has been fully acclaimed by the church as being a very reliable reflection of its thought on the subject under consideration. It is to be understood  by the  readers  of this booklet that this  analysis  does not

consider Movement of Destiny to be the thought only of its author but of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as an organization and the majority of its membership.

 

         It is doubtful that any loyal Seventh-day Adventist would question or challenge the universal acceptance and endorsement of Movement of Destiny within the ranks of the church, yet it is important that we make the point nonetheless. The facts are that it is published by the leading publishing house of the organization, which does not publish any but the literature which is the thought and belief of the church; it is sold throughout the world by the Seventh-day Adventist Book and Bible houses, which are the sales outlets of the church and its publishing houses; it is enthusiastically received and  acclaimed  by  Seventh-day  Adventist  leaders  and  members everywhere; and there is no evidence of objection to it, or protest against it arising anywhere in the church. These facts leave only one conclusion: the book is a statement of the present position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is not merely the thought and belief of the one man who wrote it. He is but the spokesman for the church at large.

 

The publication of Movement of Destiny is an event of considerable interest and significance. It is either an advance step in the right direction, bringing the church to where she is better placed to play her role in finishing the work, or it is a retrograde step which will diminish or even cancel her appointed place in God's plan. Either way, the event is significant to the point where its appearance cannot be dismissed as of no consequence. Naturally, the total significance of any development cannot be seen and appreciated until the matter is carefully investigated in the light of Bible prophecy. Failure to carefully study an event such as the appearance of this book, will leave a person unaware of what has taken place, and he will fail to take such steps as are his consequent responsibility. Ultimately this will lead to the loss of his soul;  the blame resting upon  himself for his carelessness  and  inattentiveness.  The  more  significant  the  event,  the greater the peril involved in a failure to be aware of its vital implications. This analysis is to show that the appearance of this book is of such significance that every person interested in his eternal welfare should be alerted to it. Even though bound not to be appreciated by too many, it is an effort to  give  the  trumpet  a  certain  sound,  warning  of the  danger threatening. This work is entered upon prayerfully and carefully. It is not in any sense an attempt to criticize or to condemn. The facts are that certain things have happened and it is the duty of each true child of God to carefully investigate them to see just what they mean, so that he can rightly relate himself to them, and thus be able to answer to God in the end as a faithful watcher for truth.

 

 

2

 

Last  Day  Deceptions

 

         At this stage of our investigations, the opening of the book itself would be premature. The ability to correctly evaluate the contents of Movement of Destiny is not possessed by any but those who are soundly grounded in certain vital principles of the Word of God. Therefore, it will be vitally necessary to lay down these principles first as a reconfirmation of the message of living righteousness. Then and only then can a true and accurate evaluation of the book be obtained.

 

We shall begin with a study of the warnings of the fearful subtlety of the last day deceptions, which will sweep the vast majority of this world's inhabitants into eternal loss and ruin. It is all too easy to be deceived. A little carelessness; a failure to watch unto prayer; a neglect to study for one's self; or a willingness to let the preacher do all the thinking, all open the door to one's being carried forever captive by the deceptions of the enemy. All too late will come the fearful awakening; all too late will come the dreadful realization that we have been seduced into eternal, irrecoverable ruin. Then how each one will wish that he had been watchful and careful. In spite of the copious and clear warnings given in the Word of God, there seems to rest upon the vast majority the firm assurance that, while others around them may be deceived, they, being a member of what they firmly believe to be the church of God, are secure. Such do not realize their peril, yet so deep is the stupor upon them that it seems impossible to rouse them to an awareness of the danger in which they stand. Well and truly written are the warning words of Scripture, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12. Satan's last desperate effort to overthrow the church of God will be the masterpiece of deception. It will not be sprung upon the world or the church in a moment, but will be woven with masterful subtlety, thread by binding thread, until it is impossible to extricate one's self from its deceptive power. The fact is that this work is already well advanced and thousands of those who think themselves secure, are even now enmeshed in the snares

 

 

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of Satan's final delusion. If already partially deceived, how can it be

expected that they will escape the final masterpiece of deception when it is fully formed?

 

         Let us turn to some of the Scriptures which reveal something of what is to be faced. Revelation 13:4 prophesies the rise of the beast and his image in these last and closing events of this world's history. Chapter 13 begins with the leopard-like beast with the mouth of a lion, the feet of a bear, and the body of a leopard, declaring with infallible certainty, that once again he is to rule over every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Then comes the eleventh verse, which introduces the image of the beast.

         "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

 

         "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

 

         "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

 

         "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

         "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not           worship the image of the beast should be killed.

 

         "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

         "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 

         "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

 

         Notice that he does great wonders and deceives those who dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do. These miracles are not mere pretensions and trickery. They are real miracles, for he has the power to do them. The comment on these verses as found in The Great Controversy, 553, reads thus: "No mere impostures are here foretold. Men are deceived by the miracles which Satan's agents have power to do, not which they pretend to do."

 

That is well worth remembering. Satan's miracles in the last days will be genuine  miracles,  real  miracles,  and  they  will  be  incontrovertibly supernatural. But God's people are not to be deceived by this, because such evidences are not the test of truth. Let the warning words of Christ ever ring in our ears, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets,

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          5

 

 

and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24.

 

What are these signs and wonders? Naturally we tend to look for miracles of a spectacular nature such as healing the sick, bringing down fire from heaven, etc., as the kind of things which Satan will do, and be assured that he will do these things, but not these alone. The deception is to come much closer than this. The counterfeit is to be of the message and work which the Lord Himself will do in these last days, so that it will be made to appear that Satan's work is the work of God. It will be shown from the Scriptures that the counterfeit always comes before the true. Those who are not able to distinguish the false or counterfeit message of righteousness by faith from the true, will be deceived into following the false, and will reject God's righteousness as the work of the devil. Having been deceived into giving their allegiance to a false god, they will follow his dictates and

directions. Yet, they will be fully persuaded that they are doing the will of God and serving the Lord Himself.

 

         Let us gather the evidence which declares that this is so. That Satan comes to us as an angel of light is clearly shown by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15. "But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off         occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

 

         "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

 

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. "Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." An angel of light speaks the truth of God and brings with him the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Satan is to come as an angel of light, then he must appear to speak the truth of God. To every appearance it must look like it, and sound like it, just as a counterfeit banknote looks like, and feels like the real thing. But, just as the counterfeit note is not the real note, despite its deceptive appearance, so the message of the false Christ can never be the message of the true one. It takes skilled and minute examination by the investigator to discern the counterfeit note from the true one, and so likewise it takes skilled and painstaking investigation on the part of God's children to distinguish the false from the true message in the gospels being presented in these last days.

 

Let no mistake be made in regard to this. Do not suppose that because there are some clear-cut doctrinal differences such as the Sabbath versus Sunday, infant baptism versus adult baptism, soul sleep versus immortality, and so on, that this clearly distinguishes the false from the true. The test will run deeper than this, and, in the end, it will be found that you can hold any of the above doctrines and still be on the wrong side, deceived and lost. When antichrist is abroad in the earth, he is there to all appearances as

 

 

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Christ, Himself. He will appear to bring the very gospel of Christ, without it being the actual gospel itself.

 

         "The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true,  that it will be impossible to distinguish between them ..." The Great Controversy, 593.

 

         Did the full impact of those words break upon your mind? "So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true ..."

 

         Here is brought to light the revelation of a counterfeit so nearly perfect that its differences from the true cannot be discerned.  So reads the statement quoted above. If the sentence stopped where we left off quoting it, there would be no hope of any one of us escaping deception. But the statement goes on to make the one and only exception, "except by the Holy Scriptures."

 

This means that our eyes will tell us that Satan's counterfeit is the work of God; our ears will declare the same; every sensory organ will believe it to be the work of God, and all too many will tragically depend upon the witness of their senses. But not so with that little company, the very elect. They will take a second look; this time, not through their senses, but through the witness of the Word of God. When it tells them differently, they will believe the Word and not what they see and hear. By the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, "every statement and every miracle must be tested."

 

ibid.

 

         As the average Adventist reads those words, he tends to think to himself, "Well, I believe in the Seventh-day Sabbath; I belong to the S.D.A. Church; I understand that Sunday is the mark of the beast; I understand that when the time comes, anybody who bows to the image will lose his eternal life as he receives the mark of the beast. So I'm secure. I'm sure I won't be deceived."

 

         As we go forward in this series of studies and read what has been written in Movement of Destiny, we will be sobered as we realize that this comes much closer than we think. Already thousands upon thousands of people who think they are secure have been deceived; and if deceived today, then what will be their fate tomorrow when the greater deceptions come? As the Word of God says: "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5.

 

In  the  statement  under consideration,  we  have  reference to the counterfeit and the true. As each one living in these last days is to be tested by this counterfeit, it is important for us to understand what it is going to be. If we know just where to look, then we will be better able to see it when it appears.

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          7

 

 

         An illustration giving point to this argument is when counterfeit money is in circulation and the warning goes out. That warning will specify which notes have been counterfeited.  Should they be ten dollar notes, then everyone carefully inspects each ten dollar note they are handed to see if it is true or false. Likewise, if we are warned what area of the truth is being counterfeited, we can watch that area with special care.

 

         The revelation of which area is to be the special subject of counterfeiting in the last days is brought out in the following statements. "Notwithstanding the wide-spread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time, to prepare a people for

the Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it, by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power, he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world." The Great Controversy, 464.

 

         Note the facts brought to view in this statement. The events described here are to take place "before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth . . . " The final visitation of God's judgments are the seven last plagues which do not fall until after the close of human probation at the end of the loud cry period. That which is to take place before that time is "such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children." This will result in the coming out of ministers and people from the fallen churches to take their stand with the true people of God.

         There is nothing Satan desires less than to see this happen. He hates the work of salvation because it delivers souls from his power and deceptions, so he will muster every skill and power he has to counter this work and make it of no effect. This is how he has worked from that very time when he confirmed himself in his rebellion against the Lord in heaven, and it is how he will work until the end.

 

It is  not enough to  know that he  will work against truth  and righteousness. We must be aware of what tactics he uses in this warfare. Note the words in the previous quote which reveal how he will go about it.

 

 

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         Let the full impact of them sink into the mind so we shall never forget them. "... before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it, by introducing a counterfeit."

 

There, for every student to read, is the revelation of the method Satan

will use to circumvent the loud cry.  He will introduce a counterfeit.  A ounterfeit is never an original. It is always an attempted reproduction of the real. But it is not the real. It is only designed to look like it. The aim of the counterfeit is to lead away from the real loud cry. Therefore it would have to be a counterfeit of the true loud cry. In every aspect it would have to appear to be the true loud cry itself. It must look like it; it must sound like it; and it must be attended with a power like it. No other conclusion can be drawn from this statement. The remainder of the paragraph makes this very clear.

 

         "In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power, he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world." ibid., 464.

 

Let it be clear in the minds of all who would escape the delusions of the antichrist, that the counterfeit work of the devil will be a counterfeit of the loud cry itself.  Therefore the message of the false loud cry will be a counterfeit of the true, in which it will so "resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures." This is a fact which must be very sobering to every child of God. We cannot expect to find obvious differences between the message to be preached by God's true people and the false teachers during this critical and climactic period. Not only does it impose upon us the danger of deception for ourselves, but it will make the work of preaching the truth so much harder. To many minds, we will be but preaching the same as the rest, and they will deride us as deluded fanatics for making such an issue at the time when that mighty protest is given.

 

Thus it is established in our knowledge that the message of the false loud cry will be a counterfeit of the message of the real loud cry, and that the resemblance will be so close that only those who are truly diligent students of the Word will be able to discern the wolf in sheep's clothing. To know what the counterfeit is to be, we have only to ask what the message of the true loud cry will be. This is revealed in Revelation 18:1-5, from which we will quote the first two verses. "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

 

         "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of          every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          9

 

 

         The average Bible student reads these words and sees in them a description of a message which is a direct pronouncement of the fall of Babylon the Great. Thus to him, it is essentially a message of exposure and denunciation, to be followed by a call to come out of those churches. With this concept, the principle involved in the work of revealing the presence and character of the last masterpiece of deception is overlooked.

A deceiver cannot be effectively exposed just by someone declaring that he is one. This is even true of God. If He could have exposed the real nature of Satan's work by simply declaring it, then the whole problem could have been solved as soon as it started. Lucifer could have been isolated and destroyed. But this was not possible. There is only one way to fully expose iniquity and that is by the presentation of righteousness. Only by the light shining in the darkness can the character of the deception be fully and truly revealed to all. Only where righteousness shines at its best, can sin be seen at its worst.

 

         First  and  foremost,  the  message  of the  loud  cry  must be  the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ at its brilliant best. Only by this means can the sins of Babylon be exposed and the conviction be carried to earnest hearts that Babylon is fallen, is fallen.

 

         Not only is the above conclusion consistent with the principles involved in the great controversy, but it is also the plain declaration of the Word of God itself. We have only to read the first verse of Revelation 18 to see this. The angel is described as having great power and the earth is lightened with his glory. The power which this angel has is the power of God. According to Romans 1:16 the power of God is the gospel of Jesus Christ unto salvation from sin. Furthermore, the earth is lightened with his glory. The glory of the angel is God-imparted; it is primarily the glory of God. The glory of God is the character of God, as is revealed in the experience of Moses. When he asked the Lord to show him His glory, God did not reveal a wonderful outshining of mighty power and splendour, but rather the essential nature of His character. See Exodus 33:18-23. Again the evidence of God's glory is shown in John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." When Christ was upon the earth, the glory of God was seen in Him. That which was seen was not the wonderful outshining of a radiant light. The glory

referred to here is something other than physical radiance. What men saw was the character of God, which is the righteousness of God. When the Bible says that the earth is lightened with the glory of God as the Revelation 18 angel comes down, then we know that the earth is lightened with a presentation of the righteousness of God. This means that the message of the loud cry is the message of righteousness by faith, and, as that is preached, it discloses the fact that Babylon the Great is fallen.

 

 

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         This is the testimony of the Word of God showing the message of the real loud cry. With such a concept, the Spirit of Prophecy is in perfect accord. In the year 1888, two men sent of God to the Adventist people brought a living presentation of righteousness by faith which was described as being the very message of the loud cry. The names of those two men were E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones. After they had preached for four years and the message had taken effect on the hearts of some, the Lord    through His messenger declared as follows:

 

         "The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.

         Note that this statement does not say that the loud cry had begun with the direct declaration of the fall of Babylon, but with the presentation of the righteousness of Christ. The following statement is equally clear. "The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus.  They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." Testimonies to Ministers, 91, 92.

 

         These statements, along with the witness of the Word of God in the Bible, leave no doubt that the message of the loud cry is the revelation of Christ's righteousness. It will be the clearest and most powerful presentation of righteousness by faith ever given in this world's history. Those who believe that this message will be essentially the presentation of the Sabbath versus Sunday issue, may object to this point. It will be an issue, but not in the sense of merely proving which day is the Lord's day. The contest will go much deeper than that. It will be a controversy over the principles for which these days stand. The Sabbath is the symbol of the power of God which is the righteousness of God, and Sunday is the symbol of the power of Satan which is the unrighteousness of our mighty foe. Thus it will not be the Sabbath as a cold, legal requirement that will be preached by God's true people during the loud cry, but a living Christ in the Sabbath as the revelation of God's righteousness.

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          11

 

 

A little time and space has now been consumed in establishing that the true loud cry will be the presentation of the message of righteousness by faith which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why was that necessary? Because we are anxious to know the nature of the counterfeit to be presented as the masterpiece of Satan's deception in the last days. Having found that the true message of the loud cry will be the presentation of righteousness by faith, we can know the counterfeit message will be a presentation of a counterfeit doctrine of righteousness by faith. This will be so like the real that it will be impossible to distinguish between the true and the false except by the Holy Scriptures. Of this, we must be thoroughly aware and fully

persuaded.

 

         This revelation should be a very sobering thought to us, but is it? Rather, the reaction of the average person will be one of false assurance for it is the common belief that, if there is one thing we are established upon, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that there is little danger of being deceived by a counterfeit.

 

         The only purpose of this publication is to alert all to the danger which threatens us individually, to sound the alarm in the face of the present and coming peril. Therefore, we say in the most earnest and solemn manner that anyone who thinks he knows the gospel and is in little danger of being deceived by a counterfeit, is in a most dangerous position. All too many are already deceived by the counterfeit gospel.

 

The appearance of Satan's masterpiece is no longer a thing of the future. It is here already. As surely as you believe that the loud cry is in the immediate future, so surely must we know that the counterfeit is already among us, and the witness of this time is that the majority are deceived by it.

 

         The  statement  quoted  earlier from  The  Great Controversy, 464, describing the mighty power of the coming latter rain and loud cry, told how Satan desires to hinder this work and how that before the true came, the counterfeit would be presented. Evidence upon evidence tells that the loud cry is the very next great event in the history of the true church of God. As surely as that is so, the counterfeit must already be here. Yet the average person is not even aware of this. He is still expecting in the future that which has already come upon us. Nothing could please Satan more; nothing

could be more dangerous to ourselves. Already so many are deceived in the very area where it is thought that we are most secure. The assertion that so many are already deceived by Satan's counterfeit is one which many will challenge. But it is a fact nonetheless and clear proof of it can be tendered. It is urged that the most thoughtful, prayerful, and serious consideration be given to the evidences which follow. The loud cry of the third angel by which the work in all the world will be finished is an event, at the time of this writing, still in the future. It is generally and correctly understood that it can be expected at any time now.

 

 

12     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         According to The Great Controversy, 464, before that message goes forth, the counterfeit will appear. Therefore, the false is already here. There is no excuse for failure to recognize this counterfeit now that it is actually present. Detection is assured simply by applying the tests provided in the Scriptures. However, some may feel uncertain about just how to apply the tests. This can be a problem, but we are greatly assisted by the fact that the present is a re-run of the past. The loud cry began once before. Therefore, the final counterfeit has also been in the world. That preview took place back in the years 1888-1893 for then, for the first and what should have been the last time, the true "loud cry of the third angel" had "already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer." The Review and Herald,  November 22, 1892. As surely as the true loud cry did begin back there, even though it was to be lost for many years, the false had to precede it. This is what prophecy said would happen, and it did. The counterfeit was in the fallen          churches in the years immediately preceding the loud cry in 1888. Thus, we have a perfect preview of what is happening in our own time. It is always easier to see the true identity of each side in the struggle when it is all in the past. Thus, we are provided with the means not only of readily identifying the character of the counterfeit in the present, but also of seeing how easily the professed people were deceived in the past. This will serve, hopefully, as a warning to save us from being deceived today in like manner. Let us search to find the appearance of the great counterfeit back there. Where shall we look for it? "In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power"—in other words, the Sunday keeping churches, who, having rejected the third angel's message, will be the instruments through whom Satan will manifest his final deceptions.

 

         What shall we find there? We shall expect to see in those churches, the preaching of what had every appearance of being a truly Christ-centred message, attended with what appeared to be the power of God itself, and received with tremendous religious interest and fervour. Was there such a movement in the fallen Protestant churches in the period immediately before the appearing of the message of the loud cry in God's true church of that time? There most certainly was! What was that movement?

 

         It was the mighty evangelical tide which rolled over the western world under the leadership of D. L. Moody, between the year 1873 and the year of his death in 1899.

 

In making this declaration, we are quite mindful of the fact that D. L. Moody is almost universally regarded throughout the Adventist Church as well as the Protestant churches as being a great man of God. It is firmly believed that he was filled with the Spirit of God and that he won thousands of souls to Christ. Just because this is so firmly believed by so many does not prove that it is true. Rather, as the evidence about to be tendered will

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          13

 

 

         show,  those  who  believe  that  are  already  deceived  by  Satan's masterpiece—the counterfeit loud cry and message—which came before the real one. If you have been deceived into believing that Moody was a man of God, then before you is the evidence that your present knowledge and experience has not been sufficient to keep you safe from the deceptive work of Satan. Unless you are able to take a lesson from this and work and study thoroughly until you are so grounded in the great principles of the advent message that you can detect the deceiver in his disguise, you can be assured that in the closing scenes you will be so deceived by the counterfeit message of righteousness by faith, that you will be on the wrong side of the controversy and will lose your eternal life. We are not discussing incidentals in this book. We are discussing things which concern your present and eternal welfare; things which only a foolish person would choose to ignore and pass by as being inconsequential.

 

Some clear-cut and decidedly strong statements have been made above. It is essential that they be substantiated. Consider the argument used in support of D. L. Moody as being called of God, the story of which is as follows:

 

" The world has yet to see,' remarked Henry Varley in 1867, as with some friends attending a conference of Christians he walked in a Dublin garden, 'what God will do with, and for, and through, and in, and by, the man  who is  fully and wholly consecrated to Him.'  One visitor from America, a young man of thirty summers, overhearing, reasoned with himself thus: 'He did not say a great man, nor a learned man, nor a rich man, nor a wise man, nor an eloquent man, nor a smart man, but simply 'a man.' Then in his heart he responded: 'God helping me, I will be that man.' " The Man Who Moved Multitudes, by R. D. Johnstone, page 9. Over and again this story is told as a challenge to young people to give their lives to God as did young Moody, so that they might be used by God as was Moody to win many souls to Christ. Thus it is, by uttering these sentiments, that Moody is presented before the church as God's great man of that hour. "There," it is declared, "is a demonstration of what 'God can do with, and for, and through, and in, and by the man who is wholly consecrated to Him.' "

 

         Some clear thinking must be done about this proposition to see whether such a position is consistent with God and His way of doing things. The date when D. L. Moody began his ministry is extremely important as far as we are concerned, the year being 1873. It is important because 1873 was at a time after 1844 when God had given His people the first, second, and third angels'  messages.  The second angel's message had declared that Babylon is fallen, and boldly, plainly, and distinctly named the fallen denominational churches of Protestantism as being the Babylon of that day. Any professed Seventh-day Adventist who does not believe this, is not really a Seventh-day Adventist.

 

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          15

 

 

         Those churches had become fallen Babylon because of their hostile rejection of the special truths of the advent message which had been sent to them by messengers of God's own appointment, as a test on the one handand on the other as an opportunity to take a giant step forward. At first, those truths were those of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 in connection with the sanctuary, which truths developed after 1844 into the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the final atonement in the sanctuary, dress, health, and educational reform, and the Spirit of Prophecy.

 

         Those who had rejected the first presentations of truth went on to reject the later developments and in so doing they fell lower, and still lower. This is plainly stated in  The Great Controversy, 389.  "The second angel's message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid."

 

         There is fact number one. The fall took place at that time because the warning of the judgment was rejected. That was serious enough, but it did not stop there. Things did not get better; they became worse. "But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfilment in 1844.  The churches then experienced a moral fall,  in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they have fallen lower and lower."

 

         There is fact number two. There has been a continuation of this rejection and the churches have fallen lower and lower and thus have departed further and further from God. What is more, the message of Revelation 14:8 becomes increasingly applicable to them and should be preached with unfaltering certainty.

 

         Thus, the situation as it was then, is laid out before us in crystal clear terms. Out of the test and crisis of that time emerged two distinct groups. The smaller loved and respected the great advent message and advanced in it. They were the Seventh-day Adventist people. The remainder hated and rejected that message. Furthermore, the prophecies make it clear that the time will never come when they will accept it. Those who rejected it are the fallen denominational or Protestant churches.

 

In the light of these facts, in which of these groups is the Lord to be found? It is evident that He will be found with those who have accepted His truths. In which of these groups will His power be manifested for the conversion of souls and the presentation of the message? Again it will be among the people of the advent message.

 

What shall be said then if mighty power is manifest among those churches which have rejected the special truths of this time? The only answer is that it cannot be the power of God, but has to be the power of

 

 

16     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

Satan, for the Lord does not give His power to the promulgation of error. There are those who will protest that this is too partisan an attitude, for it is too much a confining of the presence and power of God to a select people. It will be argued that the Lord does have faithful people in all the churches, and statements can be quoted to prove this. It will be emphasized that the true people of God are not only to be found among the Adventists of that day. Therefore, it will be argued that you cannot say that D. L. Moody was not a man of God, for he could well have been one of those faithful ones in the churches.

 

Such thinking is so weak it would not deserve answering except that so many seem to accept it without second thought. There is no doubt that there are faithful ones in those churches, people who are honest and true. But never let it be argued that because there are these faithful few, the whole movement is still of God. Let this distinction be seen. The movement is one thing. The individual experience of a person here and there can be something quite different. One cannot be held accountable for the other. Here we are concerned with the movements and the leading men who formed and directed the thinking of those movements as D. L. Moody did. Consider the place to which the movements had come in the years after 1844. The crisis had come; the churches had rejected the truth; the Spirit of God had left them, and God had directed the Advent people to go forward and clearly and loudly declare that the fallen denominational churches were Babylon and that the Lord was not in them.

 

         What D. L. Moody did would not have surprised any Adventist who knew the prophecies, for the Word had warned that just such men would arise with mighty power to preach in the fallen churches under Satan's direction.

 

         If we are to regard Moody as being a man of God, then there are some very serious implications. It would mean that God had revealed to His people the condition of the fallen churches, and had commissioned them to expose the state of those rejecters of truth, warning them that God was not walking with those who failed to accept the special truths for that time. But now something goes wrong with the settled programme. Here is a young man who declares that as the world has yet to see what "God can do with, and for, and through, and in, and by, the man who is wholly dedicated to Him"—he will be that man. The story has it that the Lord is so delighted with this consecration to Him, that He goes into the midst of Babylon  to  empower  this  Babylonian  preacher  to  preach  Babylon's doctrines, to build up the churches of Babylon for the whole of his life. Never at any time did Moody accept and preach the Sabbath, the true doctrine of the state of the dead, the Spirit of Prophecy, the sanctuary doctrine as it encompasses the judgment of the dead, and the living, and the final atonement. At no time did he preach these things, therefore, he

 

 

LAST DAY DECEPTIONS          17

 

 

was a rejecter of these truths which were known and preached during that period.

 

         Does God work this way? Does He first of all direct His people to declare that certain churches are Babylon and then, when they are in the midst of that very work, go right over into those churches and fill them with His power? Is the God whom we serve so unreliable and capricious? Never! Yet, in the light of all this there are so many Adventists today who believe that Moody was a great man of God. He was the masterful counterfeit sent forth by the devil. Moody was so successful that Adventists who thought they were the very elect believed that he was of God exactly as Satan aimed that they should. In the light of this sobering and frightening fact, how careful we should be not to grow complacent, assuming that we shall never be deceived by the false gospel latter rain. If you believe Moody to be a man of God, then you are already ensnared.

 

         A further consideration is, if the Lord went into the fallen churches and gave Moody this kind of power because he was a man wholly consecrated to Him, then there must have been no men in the Advent Church who were totally consecrated. What an impeachment this is on those dedicated pioneers of the Advent Movement. Think about that! Was there ever a man more consecrated to God than James White? No! He gave his money, strength, time, energy, and skill in undivided consecration and dedication to God's service. Nothing was too hard, too humiliating or too strenuous to do for God. He did the work, we are told, of three men, and killed himself serving the Lord.  Never was there greater consecration.  Yet we are encouraged to believe that God by-passed this man,  went over into Babylon because He heard this young man Moody speak, and gave him a tremendous measure of power which James White did not appear to have. Then He sent that young man forth to preach Babylon's doctrine in the Babylonian churches to build up the strength and power of Babylon for the rest of his life. Is that logical? Is this the way God works? Of course not! God does not give His commission to a man like James White and then abandon him and go to another church, the very church which James White was called upon to expose and declare to be Babylon, and give His power in the midst of that church. God does not do that; and those people in the Seventh-day Adventist Church who say that D. L. Moody was a great man of God are denying the mighty power of the second angel's message. This argument should be sufficient, but it is not all the evidence which can be presented. As stated already, the real loud cry began in 1888. We have read the declaration from God that the counterfeit will come before the true. Therefore the counterfeit message of righteousness by faith came

before 1888. It had to, or else the prophecy of The Great Controversy would be false.

 

         A study of the life and work of D. L. Moody shows that he fulfilled every specification of this prophecy. His work was within the churches

 

 

18     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

which, having rejected the Advent message, were under Satan's power; there was manifested what appeared to be the pouring out of God's special blessing; multitudes exulted because they thought that God was working marvellously for them; but it was the work of another spirit. The counterfeit was so like the true that it was impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures.

 

         Yet despite the fact that he fulfilled every specification of the prophecy; despite the fact that the Lord had specifically warned that such a message and such a movement would arise in the very churches where Moody appeared, the Adventist people have been deceived by this counterfeit as if they had never been warned at all. This is a very sobering thought, for if they were deceived, what assurance do we have, that in these last times we will not be deceived.

 

         Do  not  forget  that  today  we  are  working  against  the  master counterfeiter of all time—that being who is so crafty as to be able to make black appear white. He was able to deceive one-third of God's loyal angels into following him completely. You know that you and I do not compare to the glory of a wonderful angel. We do not have their strength, intellect, or wisdom. We have not lived as long. We have never stood in the light of the glory of God's presence. Therefore, how much more susceptible are we than they!

 

         If the angels, with all their power and strength, were deceived by Satan, and if Adam and Eve with all their power and strength were deceived, then what about the situation in which we find ourselves today? Can we afford to be confident? Self-assured? Hardly!

 

         Now  we  can  raise  the  question.  Has Satan's mind grown  weaker through the years? I read now from page 10 of the introduction to TheGreat  Controversy:

 

"For six thousand years that master-mind that once was highest among the angels of God, has been wholly bent to the work of deception and ruin. And all the depths of Satanic skill and subtlety acquired, all the cruelty developed,  during these struggles of the ages,  will be brought to bear against God's people in the final conflict. And in this time of peril the followers of Christ are to bear to the world the warning of the Lord's second advent;  and a people are to be prepared to stand before  Him at His coming, 'without spot, and blameless.' 2 Peter 3:14. At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days."

 

         In other words,  Satan now has behind him six thousand years of experience—six thousand years of training, six thousand years in which satanic skill and subtlety have been acquired. So he has more now than he had then, and all this is to be brought to bear upon God's people in these last days. We are facing a struggle with satanic and deceptive agencies the like of which cannot be expressed.

 

 

3

 

The Test Of Deception

 

         The purpose of the chapter just closed is to lay out in some of its reality the fact that there is coming upon each man, woman, and child in these last days, the fearful test of deception. It must be a self-evident truth that anyone who fails to penetrate the deception will pay for this with his eternal life. This makes us realize that the pathway from here to the kingdom is a perilous one indeed. Let none tread this path with complacency and easy confidence. The stakes are far too high.

 

One may well wonder why it is that each person who is to find a place in the heavenly land, must successfully endure such stringent and close testing; for there is no doubt that a counterfeit of the master qualities involved will not be easy to recognize and reject. Surely, one would suppose, if an individual is faithful to the truth of God, then he ought to have his place in the kingdom. There is nothing more certain than that, but in order to be faithful to the truth of God, one must be able to reject the counterfeits which are designed expressly to lead one away from the truth. There was a time in the distant history of the universe when there was nothing in existence but truth. At that time, there were no alternative theologies or beliefs. One great pulse of perfect harmony existed in the whole of God's kingdom. They had no knowledge of evil. All that the angels and the inhabitants of the worlds afar needed to do to maintain their place in the kingdom was to hold to the truth they had—the knowledge of good only. But the time came when a new element was introduced. The masterful power of deception, coming as it did, clothed in the shining garments of the brightest angel in heaven, gave God the appearance of being the evil one, and Lucifer the appearance of being the saviour of the situation which was supposedly in existence.

 

With great cunning and skill, Satan professed to have found serious fault in the law of God. He declared that there was error and imperfection, that God was partial and unjust, and that there had to be a reformation in

 

 

20     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

God Himself. With a profession of his most self-sacrificing interest in the well being of the heavenly beings, he sought to enlist their support and cooperation in a campaign to have God change things as he thought they ought to be. So skilful, so subtle, so persuasive was this master of lies and counterfeiting, that he was able to win a full third of the angelic host to his side while the remainder, in order to maintain their positions in the kingdom of God, had to discern the nature of the deception. If they did not,

they were lost.

 

         What does this mean? It means that there is a difference between the condition of things as they were in heaven before the fall, and the condition of things as they are after the fall. Before the fall they had to have only the knowledge of good in order to have heaven, but after the fall it was a case of having the knowledge of good and the ability to detect the deceiver in his disguise so that they would know what was truth from error. When Lucifer and the angels who rebelled with him were cast out from heaven, this left a large gap in the heavenly kingdom which had to be refilled. As angels neither marry nor are given in marriage (Matthew 22:30), they do not have the power of reproduction. The gap could not be filled by this means. The only way to overcome this was to bring into effect a work of creation, and it was for this purpose that the world was created and man placed upon it.

 

         "God created man for His own glory, that after test and trial the human family might become one with the heavenly family. It was God's purpose to re-populate heaven with the human family, if they would show themselves obedient to His every word." Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1:1082, Ellen G. White comment.

 

         "All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made 'in the image of God,' and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth." Review and Herald, February 11, 1902.

         As a new and distinct order, the human family had a power the angels did not have—the power of reproduction. It seems evident enough that the necessity of giving man this power was created by the different conditions involved at this time in maintaining a place in the kingdom. Now there was the test of deception which had not been there before. If, with that risk there, the Lord had directly created the exact number of replacement angels and set them on the earth for their training period before their filling up the vacated positions, and the evil one had succeeded in seducing even a portion of them into sin,  God's work would have been frustrated, necessitating a further work of creation and in turn, a further risk of losing a portion.

 

         But, by creating man with the power to reproduce, this problem is solved, though not without the intervention of the plan of salvation. Even

 

 

THE TEST OF DECEPTION       21

 

 

though the vast majority of the people of this earth in all its history have been deceived by the great counterfeit, there has always been a faithful minority in each generation who have escaped the power of this deception.

 

It is only a matter of waiting till the numbers are fully made up by this faithful remnant for God's purpose in re-populating heaven to be achieved. It also explains why there will be no marrying and giving in marriage in heaven. The redeemed will take the places of Lucifer and the angels who fell with him, so the original perfect arrangement and balance of heaven will be restored.

 

In order for man to ascend to that position, he must have more than the angels had in heaven before the fall. What they had was a knowledge of, and loyalty to the truth, without it having been subjected to any test. But, since the appearance of the great deceiver, conditions have changed. From that time on, no one could remain in heaven and no one can enter there again, unless he has proved by experience and demonstration that he can hold the truth in the face of the most delusive arguments to the contrary. This knowledge gives a new angle to the aim of achieving a place in the heavenly kingdom. We should all awaken to a far more careful, prayerful, and watchful attitude as we face the insidious temptations coming our way from day to day.

 

         Never could the need for watchfulness be greater than it is today, and from here on into the final scenes. The reason for this is that the time in which we now live is the time of all times for the appearing of many false Christs and false prophets. Of this the Scriptures are very plain in their warnings. Matthew 24:21, 22 speaks of the great tribulation: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

 

         "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

         The tribulation referred to is the long night of papal persecution which lasted from A.D. 538, till almost the end of the one thousand, two hundred and sixty years in 1798. This is made clear in the same chapter by the text which says: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven . . ." Matthew 24:29. These strange phenomena occurred around the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, confirming that the tribulation preceding these signs was the long night of the Dark Ages.

 

         Having referred to this period in the verses quoted above, Christ warns as follows: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

 

         "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

 

22     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

"Behold, I have told you before.

 

         "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the

west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:23-27.

         The ones against whom we are warned, appearing in plural numbers in these last days are false Christs and false prophets. They come not as open enemies of the truth, but as counterfeits of the real.

 

         Amongst those who are opposed to God's living truth are men so polite, courteous, helpful, calm, and nice, that you would ask yourself: "How could such a person ever be the enemy of God? Outwardly he bears all the marks of conversion. Surely from all I can see of this man he is a true child of God?" But do not be deceived. That is not the test—the ministers of unrighteousness come amongst us as angels of light to deceive and draw back  God's people.  In  this connection there  is a  most enlightening statement which has been omitted from the record of the vision as given in Early Writings, * but which appeared in the original version of the vision and reveals that the miracles which the devil works are actually miracles of apparent conversions. The subjects of his power appear to have been truly converted.

 

         The unabridged version of the vision is to be found reproduced in facsimile form in Ellen G. White and Her Critics by F. D. Nichol, page 222, of the original article in Present Truth, August 1849, pages 21, 22. "I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapt about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever."

 

         Let every soul who professes to be a child of God recognize the warning given. Those who are Satan's agents will appear to be really converted for a definite and specific purpose—to deceive and draw back the people of God from the truth. Devilish indeed is the work of Satan. He has neither mercy nor scruples and delights in the cruel destruction of the people of God in particular. Be warned and on guard.

 

         When a person appears to be truly converted, will he be courteous? Certainly! Will he be kind and patient? Certainly! He will bear outwardly all the  apparent marks of conversion.  Satan is able to give people the

 

___________

         *No attempt whatsoever is being made here to infer that the omission from Early Writings, 45, of the greater part of the statement quoted above, is the ulterior work of the publishers or such like. Rather it seems to be the work of the author herself, for some reason or the other. The omitted part begins with the words, "but from bad to worse," and con

tinues to the end of the selection quoted above.

 

 

THE TEST OF DECEPTION       23

 

 

appearance of conversion, but "if their hearts could be seen they would appear just as black as ever." If you could be with them constantly they would appear as they really are—just people who have wrapped around themselves the deception of apparent conversion.

 

         In the last days we will have miracles—genuine, undeniable miracles of apparent conversions—worked by Satan's ministers. They will teach a message which appears to be the doctrine of Christ. It will look the same and sound the same, but God's folk will know by His Word that it is not the same because there are distinct differences.

 

         It would be serious enough if there was only one false prophet or one false Christ to contend with, but the Scriptures speak of them in the plural.

         "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1.

 

         Each one of these will come with the appearance of righteousness. They will be kind, courteous, sincere, zealous, and loving, but we are not to accept them on these merits alone. We must first test their credentials from the Word of God and then make our decisions.

 

         A prophecy which pinpoints the conditions of the time in which we live is found in The Review and Herald, December 13, 1892.

         "After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, 'Lo, here is Christ, Lo, He is there. This is the truth, I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.' Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false Sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. This false Sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law."

 

         It is not difficult to see that this statement is being fulfilled. Already, some of it is in the past. It begins at that point of time when the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations. That was achieved in the early 1950's. You may recall the declarations in the Review and Herald in which the Adventist leaders showed that the message had gone to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, Tibet being one of the last countries to be entered by the truth. What should happen next? The prophecy says that every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation. Do we not recognize that immorality, vice, and wickedness were released in the fifties as never before?

 

         What comes next? "Minds will be confused by many voices" all claiming to have the message and great light. Were there ever so many voices heard as in the 1950's,  a man rising up here or a group there, or a man somewhere else, many of them, every one saying "I have the message

 

 

24     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

from God, He has sent me with great light and truth for this very time." Elijah, it would seem, has appeared again and again although always with a different and contradictory message. The words of Testimonies 5:80 are no longer a prophecy. They are present truth.

 

         "The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing."

 

         These days are no longer fast approaching for they have already arrived. Are we not experiencing these things? Today there are "gods many and lords many." Every wind of doctrine is blowing, with each and every man claiming that he has the message from God for this time. Do all these men, and all these movements, have the message of present truth? Is God the author of confusion, division, and scattering? Of course not! Yet somewhere in it all, God has a voice. God has a movement to whom He is teaching His truth, not just an individual here and there. To find and to stand with that people to whom the Lord is teaching His truth, and to hold to that truth and that people, is the task of all who are truly concerned with eternal life. That there are so many voices claiming they have the truth most seriously complicates the task, making it much more difficult and dangerous. But it can and must be done if we would be saved. It is not enough to have only what the angels had in the kingdom before the fall. We must have that and the victory over the power of deception. This is the great test which all must successfully pass. Failure will cost eternal life, while success guarantees the bliss of an eternity in the earth made new. Do not rest satisfied. Check your present position. You may already be the victim of deception. Even now you may be heading into the folds of a net from which there is no escape.

 

         It is not enough for this book to warn of the present and increasing peril. It must also show the way of deliverance. It must show how to detect the deceiver in his disguise, so that every honest soul will be able to escape. We pray that in the chapters to come this will be spelled out from the Word of God in words so clear and convincing, that every reader will be able to endure the test and be found among the happy throng upon the sea of glass.

 

 

4

 

Try Those Spirits

 

         This book will help you as it directs you to the plain truths of God's Word. The recognition and acceptance of God's evaluation of events presently still developing will be a powerful factor in our salvation. Failure will assure eternal destruction.

 

         "Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all, the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation, the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His Word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life, and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief." The Great Controversy, 625, 626.

 

         If "only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive," there must be in the Scriptures that which will give them the power and ability "to detect the deceiver in his disguise." The Lord has laid down measuring lines and detection tests whereby we can know with certainty whether the teaching being urged upon us is of God or Satan.

 

It is our task to search out these guide lines and become so familiar with them that we can apply them quickly and successfully. In doing this it must be remembered that the test in each case is a test of the teaching being offered to us, not a test of the character or the motives of the individuals involved. Only God can judge character and motive, but we are required to

 

 

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test and judge the teachings of men, and to be able to evaluate the positions which they have taken, together with their implications. God's requirement is: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the

spirits whether they are of God." 1 John 4:1.

 

         To try,  means to test and examine. We must do this and decide whether the man who claims—be it verbally or simply by inference of his activities—to be sent of God, speaks the truth.

 

         We did this earlier in regard to D. L. Moody. We tried his credentials and declared on the basis of the information given in the Word of God that he was not of God. Doing this is not outside the command of God. We did not say that he was a bad man with evil motives and character. We only said that he and his message were not of God.

 

         To many this will have come as an unacceptable assertion. They will object on the grounds of the command of Christ, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."  Matthew 7:1.  The  Word  of  God  does  not  contradict  itself.

         Therefore, there can be nothing in this verse to nullify the plain command of God, to "try the spirits whether they are of God." Looking a little further we find that when the early church obeyed that command, they received a strong word of commendation from God for having done so. "I know thy works," the Lord said, "and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." Revelation 2:2.

         These evidences leave no doubt that the Lord not only expects us to test and try those who claim they are of God, but has actually commanded this. If we do not follow this command and become deceived by the counterfeits and deceptions in the world today, the loss of our own soul will be our fault entirely. When testing these teachers and their teachings, let us be careful to stay within the limits set down by Christ when He said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." It is not given to us to judge their motive, their character, their zeal, or their sincerity. That is the province of God alone. Observe that the very people who charge us with having no right to declare that Moody was not a man of God are condemned by their own fallacious reasoning. In the very fact that they adamantly declared Moody to be a man of God, they have judged him. It is true that most folk think of judging as condemnation, but a judgment is any conclusion drawn as a result of an investigation. If, in a court of law, the judge declares a man to be innocent and therefore free, he has passed judgment just as certainly as if he had declared the man guilty.

 

         When those who support Moody declare that he was a man of God, they have passed judgment on him as surely as we have when we declare that he was not a man of God. If the text they use has condemned us, it condemns them also.

 

 

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         At this point, we wish to emphasize some facts which must be kept in mind. There will be some straight things said in regard to the teachings of certain men and churches in the coming pages. To many, these declarations will be unacceptable. However, they will only be the conclusions drawn from the careful application of the tests given in the words of Scripture. What we do, will be done in strict obedience to the command, "Try the spirits," and see "whether they are of God."

 

         We will not judge the character, motives, sincerity, or the heart of any man or church. We leave the Lord to take care of that. If the reader remembers this and understands these principles, the book will be a blessing, even though the words may apply: "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" John 6:60. Otherwise the heart will rise up against the message and condemn it.

 

         We are commanded to "try the spirits," to see "whether they are of God," or not. Let us obey! There is nothing the devil fears more. There is nothing we need to do more urgently than this.

 

         The Bible gives a series of tests whereby we can identify the antichrist and detect the deceiver in his disguise.

 

The first mentioned here is the one spoken by Jesus. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:15, 16. Another test is given in the Old Testament. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.

 

         Then there is the witness of the prophetic word which traces the development of antichrist and shows us where to expect him to arise and operate.

 

The careful application of these tests will enable any honest seeker for

truth to identify the antichrist in his disguise, and thus be preserved from the delusions of these last days. We could do well to spend time and space on each of these tests, but there is yet another with which we are more concerned in this study, because it is the one especially applicable in this case. It is found in 1 John 4:1-3.

 

         "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

 

         "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."

 

         It is vital to establish that the test here given is valid for all time. This observation is made because there are those guilty of teaching the very doctrine of antichrist, who, when faced with this test, immediately leap to

 

 

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the defence that it was only applicable to a situation which existed in the    days of John, and does not apply now.

 

         Such an objection is so obviously self-defensive that it is hardly worth a reply, but as it is made it must be answered. The statement itself makes it plain that the test is for all time. The declaration that Christ does not come in the flesh, is the revelation of the spirit of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist is the very nature of that God-hating power, which has never changed from earliest times when it was first manifest in the heart of Lucifer whilst yet in heaven, to this moment. The spirit has not changed, the tactics have not changed, and the warfare and its objectives have not changed. They are the same in every age and generation.

 

"The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christ-like garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest

 

         ages  are  still  held.  Let  none  deceive  themselves.  The  papacy  that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity.  She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty, and slew the saints of the Most High. . . And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes." The Great Controversy, 571, 581.

 

         This is the reason why the Bible calls the antichrist of the New Testament by the same  name as it called the antichrist of the Old Testament. That name is Babylon. The Babylon of Daniel's day was the Babylon of John's day, and it is the selfsame Babylon today. True, the geographical boundaries have changed; the political powers which gave her their support have passed away to be replaced by others; her disguises and subterfuges have become even more subtle, but in spite of all, she is still the same, she still possesses and manifests the same spirit. In the days of John, the beloved apostle, it was the outworking of that spirit to deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. To gain the full force and implications of that fact, let it be remembered that like produces like, so wherever that spirit is to be found, it will still produce the same result, and will still deny the same truths. In John's time, it denied the truth that Christ had come in the flesh. Today it will do the very same still. The spirit of antichrist has not changed in the least.

 

The Spirit of God has not changed either. He is "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8. In the days of John, the Spirit of God declared that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Not only was this the truth then, but it was the means whereby the Spirit of God could be identified

 

 

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then. That truth has not altered since that time and the Spirit of God still speaks the same truth now. If it was the means of identifying the true Spirit of God then, it will most certainly be the means of identifying the true Spirit of God today.

 

         In John's day there were just two spirits in the world. The Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist. Those two spirits are still here today and they have not changed. What they did and taught then, they do and teach today. What they denied then, they deny today. The means by which they were identified then, are the same means by which they can be identified today. Then, it was true that "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." Today it is equally so.

 

         Then, it was true that "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." And today, it is just as reliable and infallible a test. There is no exception. "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist..." It does not matter how clearly a church may have been called of God in the first case, how zealous she may be in her efforts to preach her message, how vocal and definite her claims, and how widespread her influence; she must measure up to that test to have the spirit of God. If she denies in the least that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then she has the spirit of antichrist and not the spirit of God. She is Babylon and God's people must separate from her. How kind and all-providing is our Heavenly Father, who, when looking down the ages and seeing the counterfeit and deceptive work of the great antichrist, supplied us with a test whereby we can know the true from the false spirit. He has given us a measuring line, by which we are to measure the claims and teachings of every spirit which comes our way. This is a God-given test, therefore it is an infallible one on which can be placed the fullest and most trusting reliance. It will never fail us provided that it is applied with the care and thoroughness required by the Word of God. So infallible and accurate is this criterion that it can be truly said "Hereby know ye . . ." We will know, if we have faith in God's Word and if we take and use that measuring line.

 

         This test and the requirement to apply and live by it is not to be regarded lightly. The Word of God does not so regard it. John, writing again in his second epistle, verses 7-11, spoke out in very strong language. "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

 

         "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 

 

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"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

 

         "For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." These verses, dealing with the means by which antichrist seeks to deceive the world, are worthy of the closest and most careful consideration. Verse seven declares again that the teaching that Christ has not come in the flesh, is the work of a deceiver and an antichrist. God knows that this eaching represents a real danger to the believers, for they could lose the message which they had been taught. "Look to yourselves," John warned, "that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."

 

         Does it not follow that this teaching of antichrist, that Jesus did not come in the flesh, is a very subtle one indeed when even the believer in the true doctrine of Christ is in danger of losing it? It must not appear to be an evil teaching, but rather the very truth itself. Mark it well. This doctrine does

not deny that Christ came. It does not deny that Christ came in flesh, but that He came in the flesh. Being, as it is, the doctrine of antichrist, it will be a counterfeit and therefore as like the real as it is possible to be. Only those who can apply the test as a result of being careful and honest Bible students, and because they have a personal experience in the power of God, will be able to know the true from the false.

 

Having warned of the danger of losing those things which are the truth, John  makes  clear  the  consequences  of  such  a  loss.  "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." It is plain that the doctrine of antichrist is the teaching that Christ did not come in the flesh. This "doctrine of Christ" is the teaching that Christ did come in the flesh. There is the measuring line which will distinguish the counterfeit from the true. Let us learn to use it for the salvation of our souls, and for the finishing of the work in all the world.

 

 

5

 

We Can Obey To Perfection

 

         Discerning and distinguishing the doctrine of Christ from that of antichrist, or in other words, applying the test of Christ and of antichrist, requires more than a technical or theoretical approach to the problem. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can  he know them,  because they are spiritually discerned. . . . If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

         In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image God, should shine unto them." 1  Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4.

 

         When Christ had asked the disciples who men said that He was, and they had replied that some declared Him to be John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah,  or one of the prophets,  Christ then asked them who they thought Him to be. When Peter had shown by his reply that he recognized that Christ was God in the flesh, Jesus said to him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 16:17.

 

         Peter saw and understood the doctrine of Christ.  He knew, even though it may have been dimly, that Jesus was not just a mere man as most people thought, but that He was God in the flesh. Jesus assured him that this understanding did not come as a result of human reasoning, but by spiritual illumination. Likewise today, the true understanding of the nature of Christ is gained by the illumination of God's Spirit. It brings more than mere theoretical or technical knowledge that He came in the flesh. There has to be point and purpose to His coming in that fashion, giving such an understanding to the nature and the objectives of the incarnation that we shall be able to understand why the denial of the truth that Christ came in the flesh, signifies the spirit of antichrist and hostility to Christ and His Word.

 

 

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         To develop such an understanding we must look into the very nature of the great controversy, to see what Satan is seeking to achieve and what Christ in turn must do to "destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8. "From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven, it has been Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God. It was to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator; and though he was cast out of heaven, he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God's law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether this be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same. He that offends 'in one point,' manifests contempt for the whole law; his influence and example are on the side of transgression; he becomes 'guilty of all'.

 

"In seeking to cast contempt  upon the  divine  statutes,  Satan  has perverted  the  doctrines  of  the  Bible,  and  errors  have  thus  become incorporated  into  the  faith  of thousands  who  profess  to  believe  the Scriptures."

 

         Now we will pause a moment before we quote the next sentence. So far we have learned that from the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven, it has been Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God, and he has continued that work upon the earth. That takes care of the past. What about the future? It reads:

 

         "The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering,—a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition." The Great Controversy, 582.

 

         Here we are warned that the last great conflict between truth and error is the final struggle of the long-standing controversy over God's law. This battle is between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah. It is between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.

         Previously, we have read that the last great conflict is to be fought out on the issues of the message of Christ and His righteousness which to some appears to contradict the statement that the last great conflict is an issue between the law of God and the laws of men. To them this suggests two different areas of battle altogether. But this is not so. The law cannot be separated from the gospel. The purpose of the gospel is to produce perfect obedience to the law of God, and its work begins with the assumption that the law can be kept by human beings who have been transformed by the creative power of God into newly born creatures and who depend upon the sustaining power of God to keep them every day.

 

When, in the last times, Satan goes out to war against the doctrine of Christ, he is assuredly and directly warring against the law of God which he desires everyone to break. So far, this study makes it plain that Satan's

 

 

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work is effective through the power of deception. He deceives in order to overthrow the law of God, but we need not be in ignorance of what that deception is.

 

         Christ declared the character of Satan to be that of a liar and a murderer. This character is laid bare as we understand and see his workings in the world of sin. Said Jesus to the Pharisees of His day: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44.

 

         A counterfeit is a lie. A deception is also a lie. Satan is the great counterfeiter, he is the great deceiver, and therefore he is the great liar. It follows that every lie which Satan seeks to perpetrate upon the human family is designed to deceive and bring about the counteraction of God's work. Jesus came to give God's children life! "I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly." If Jesus came to give us that, and Satan seeks to destroy the works of Jesus Christ, then what does Satan seek to bring us? He seeks to bring us death! Death is the portion of those who are deceived by his sophistry.

 

         Satan seeks to seduce the human family with many deceptions. But we wish to take up the one at the very heart of the controversy which began back in heaven and which has continued here upon this earth ever since. It will be the subject of the last great battle between good and evil. This controversy concerns the law of God which is inextricably related to the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

 

         " 'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.' If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore, he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome." The Great Controversy, 489.

 

         Read this last sentence again to get the full impact and meaning. Satan knows that if known defects of character are retained, then he can control the entire mind and overthrow the soul completely. In order to achieve this, he is constantly seeking to deceive or to perpetrate a lie upon a certain class of people. Who are they? The followers of Christ! If you profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ,  then you are the specific target of Satan's deceptive work. You are the one whom Satan is continually endeavouring to deceive with this fatal sophistry.

 

         The work of deception is to be carried forward by a sophistry, and it is a fatal one. Consider what a sophistry is. It is a lie of the most cunning and

 

 

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plausible kind, looking and sounding like the real thing. Of all things evil it is the most likely to pass as the truth. To be deceived by such a lie is always costly. It is costly enough when it robs us of money, loved ones, reputation, or the like. But when it robs us of life itself, that is the end of the road. There could be a no more dangerous kind of sophistry than this. Fatal means ending in death, and the death referred to here is not just the first death, but the eternal death from which there shall be no resurrection. If, as a child of God, I am the continual target of Satan's deceptive work,  designed to bring about my eternal destruction,  could there be anything more important than knowing what that lie is? No! This deception, this fatal sophistry, is the teaching that it is impossible for us to overcome sin or to keep God's law. It is Satan's lie that it is impossible for you to be kind, loving, patient, generous, forbearing, the victor over appetite, passion, lust, affection, and so on. I know from my own experience, and you can testify to this too. When you have been held in the grip of some habit for ten, twenty, or thirty years and at last come face to face with it, recognize its sinfulness and desire to put it away, and in working to get rid of it, realize its power, its grip, and its strength, then what do you find yourself thinking? "I can't give this thing up, it's so much a part of me; it's been a part of me so long; I've fought against it so hard, and yet fight and pray as I will, this thing comes back again." And there comes to your mind this suggestion, this belief: "This is one thing which I can't give up, it will remain with me    forever."

 

You will know who the author of that thought is. Satan! It is Satan's lie that you cannot be perfect, Satan's lie that you cannot overcome sin. God declares that there is no temptation, no sin, no weakness, no frailty, no defect, and no deficiency, which cannot be overcome through the mighty power of the gospel of Jesus Christ—not one! As believers, we are to know that. Whenever you hear a man stand up and preach that the law cannot be kept in its entirety and perfection, you can know that that man is echoing Satan's sentiments.

 

         An experience which opened my eyes took place in the late fifties. On this particular Sabbath morning I was the teacher of a fairly large Sabbath School class, the lesson for that day containing the text, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. Because of the revival of the message of true righteousness by faith as brought by  Waggoner  and  Jones  in 1888,  there  was  quite  a  deal  of controversy over this text, so I determined to approach the question with care.

 

When we came to it in the lesson, I said to the class, "Here is a Scripture which is the centre of some debate and controversy. But it is here in the Word of God and therefore contains a message for us. What do you think it means?"

 

 

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         Instantly one of the brethren, a leading church elder, spoke up. "Every day we are going to do battle with the devil, and every day we're going to be defeated. Every day you can expect to commit sin. It's inevitable. But the fact that you have committed sin does not mean that you have changed sides; you're still loyal to God; He understands, He forgives you, and gives you a fresh start every day."

 

This reply was so typical of all those who rejected and resisted the message of Waggoner and Jones, that I could not restrain myself from asking him what certain other Scriptures meant when they said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." "Awake to righteousness, and sin not." "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it." "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 10:13; Jude 24. Then I paused and waited for their answer.

 

         The class had become deathly still. After a moment or two the church pastor began to speak in a low voice without looking up. "We must be very careful not to uphold a standard so high as to discourage God's people." I found it very hard to believe that someone actually said the words I heard next, and I will never forget them. He said, "I don't know exactly what those Scriptures you have quoted mean; but this I do know: they do not mean just what they say." I was so stunned by that reply that I did not know what to say. I passed from that text to the rest of the Sabbath School lesson, and it ended when the bell summoned us back to the main assembly. It does not matter to me from whom those words come. When I find a man declaring that every day I am going to commit sin inevitably, and the Word of God does not mean just what it says, I hear a man who says it is impossible to keep the law of God. As surely as I hear that man, I know on whose behalf he is speaking. Satan's lie, his fatal sophistry, is this—it is impossible for us to overcome. This we have already read in the Word of God, but there are further texts and statements to this effect. "Satan represents God's law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts." The Desire of Ages, 24. Note what Satan says. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. In order to convince us of this, he points to the sins of the house of Israel, the people to whom the law of God had been given and who claimed to be obedient to it. If they could not obey it, was not this clear proof that the law could not be kept? This argument is a false one. It would be well if the children of God could better penetrate the falsity of such assertions. It was true that Israel had not kept the law. But the fact that Israel did not keep it was not proof that they could not have kept it. This

 

 

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distinction should be kept in mind. For millenniums man never flew through the air like a bird, but because he did not was not proof that he could not, as was finally demonstrated.

 

         On the other side of the argument though, the fact that the law was kept, even if by only one man, is sure proof that it can be kept by mankind.

 

While Israel as a nation had failed the Lord, God was not without His

witnesses that the law could be kept. In the Old Testament there are lives against whom there exists no record of disobedience. In this connection we refer to men like Joseph, Daniel, Enoch, and Job. Of these men, Job was given the high privilege of proving to the Lord's satisfaction and the devil's dismay that the law could be kept even under the most trying and forbidding circumstances. This story is a great blessing and encouragement to us. It is especially helpful as it records an occasion when Satan came right out and declared his position on the keeping of the law. God's evaluation of His faithful servant is found in the book of Job. "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." There follows a description of his substance, his sons and daughters, his cattle, lands, and houses, and how great a man he was because he had received the marvellous blessings of obedience. In Job 1:6 the drama begins.

 

         "Now there  was  a  day  when  the  sons of God  came to  present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

         "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."

 

         Apparently there was a council meeting when all the sons of God, the first-born sons of each planet, came together to meet with God somewhere in the universe. Satan had become the prince of the earth since Adam's fall         and came to present himself as the representative of this earth. So God asked him "Whence comest thou?" Satan answered, "From going to and fro in the earth."

 

         "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

 

         "Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

 

         "Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

 

         "But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face." Job 1:8-11.

 

 

WE CAN OBEY TO PERFECTION     37

 

 

         This is a serious declaration and it needs more than another declaration to counter it.  Otherwise it would only be one person's word against another's.   A  demonstration  though,   cannot  be  countered.  This fundamental principle is easily recognized in man's quest for flight. For thousands of years the majority of men did not believe that man could ever fly. But finally two young men went to work and proved forever that man could fly like the birds and even higher. These two young Americans were the first to pilot a heavier-than-air machine. How did they prove that flight is possible—by making speeches and producing formulae on a lecture tour around  the  country?  No,  they  simply  went ahead  and flew.  Their demonstration proved forever that it could be done.

 

Job kept the law of God and was a perfect and an upright man; this constituted a daily demonstration that Satan's assertion was a deception. God's question amounted to this proposition: "Satan, you're spending all your time and energy going to and fro to promote this lie that the law cannot be kept, but here is the exposure of your lie in the life of My servant Job. What do you have to say about that?" God was not gloating over Satan. He was not saying, "Aha, I've won the argument." He does not work that way. Rather, God was extending a loving appeal to Satan to save him from causing more trouble for himself and for the human race. But Satan's reply, "Doth Job fear God for nought? ..." further embedded him in his course of evil.

 

         Here Satan referred to his own experience in heaven. He is saying, "I know that Job is giving You very faithful service, but didn't I do that too? I served You for millenniums until I discovered Your real character, then I found it impossible. You are prospering Job as You once prospered me. You are giving him all his heart desires. He is blinded by these gifts and does not see Your oppressive, self-centred character. But," Satan said to God, "You just take away these blessings; show Yourself as You are, and just as I ceased to obey You, Job will do the same."

 

         Curiously enough,  God did not take away Job's possessions.  He allowed Satan to do it. Job of course, could not see behind the scenes. It appeared that it was God who had taken away these blessings and brought this fearful and terrible calamity upon him. In this way Satan seeks to cover his destructive work.

 

         In one day Job's sons and daughters were taken away. Those of you who have lost just one son or daughter in death, or a husband or wife, know the sorrow which comes from a bitter blow like that, especially if they are taken away in the prime of life without warning of any kind. Job lost more than that. There were seven sons and three daughters—the children all died in one day. His flocks, herds, servants, and buildings were also taken, leaving nothing. Can you imagine a more terrible and devastating experience? Yet he said patiently, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

 

 

38     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

That was faith to be envied, and faith to be copied.

 

         Satan  came  again  and  persistently  refused  to  acknowledge  Job's integrity, so God permitted him to smite Job from head to toe with terrible boils.  We have all experienced boils at one time or another.  What a discomfort they are! We can sit or lie only in certain positions and long to be released from the continual agony. But here was Job with boils from head to toe. No matter how he sat, lay or stood, he had to bring pressure upon some of those awful inflammations. What unspeakable misery and suffering he went through. All he could do was gather a pile of soft ashes to sit on and get some relief in that way.

 

         In the depths of his misery, his children, possessions, and health gone, three ministers of religion, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar  the  Naamathite  came  to  him.  These  men  were  respected theologians of the day. They should have been the mouthpiece of God as they professed to be. But God's evaluation of these men is found in the closing chapter of the book, where God speaks to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath." Job 42:7. If those three men had not uttered that which was right in regard to God, the God of truth, what had they spoken? A lie. If these men spoke a lie,  whose  servants were  they?  Satan's servants.  They claimed to be preachers of religion; they displayed a great knowledge of God's Word; they were respected by the people.  But that did not make them God's servants. No one can ever be God's servant while speaking the lies of Satan. Such would be a witness, not to God's, but to Satan's power. The words of God to Eliphaz show where that man stood and who his master was. That being established, his words in Job 4:12-21 can be better understood. This man claimed that he spoke, not his own words, but words of inspiration.

 

         "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

 

"In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on

men, "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

 

         "Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: "It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, . . ." Naturally, he claimed his inspiration as being from the God of heaven and would want all who heard him to think likewise, so that his words would carry more weight. While we know that Eliphaz claimed inspiration, the words of God in the last chapter of Job prove that God had not spoken by Eliphaz. If it was not the Spirit of God which had spoken to Eliphaz in the

 

 

WE CAN OBEY TO PERFECTION     39

 

 

night vision—for a spirit did speak to him—whose spirit was it? It could only have been the other spirit, the spirit of Satan.

 

         Eliphaz's words are Satan's words.  They are  his sentiments,  his message, his philosophy, his lie. As such they give the earnest student of the Bible an insight into Satan's lie so he can recognize and avoid it like the plague. Here is that lie.

 

         "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?"

 

         This is the rendering of the Authorised Version of the Bible. Most translations render it "Can mortal man be righteous before God?" Such a question is not an inquiry but rather a theoretical question designed to scorn any but a certain answer which would be, "Of course not, for that would be an impossibility."

 

         The intent of this question becomes clear when Eliphaz answers it himself. "Even in His servants He puts no trust, and His angels He charges with error; how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth." Revised Standard Version.

 

         When Eliphaz said to Job, "Can mortal man be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?" he was really saying, "Job, do you mean to tell me that you could possibly believe that a man can be pure and righteous? Surely you are not that far removed from the truth as to entertain such ideas and thoughts! Look and see that even the angels were charged with folly and expelled from heaven as a result. If angelic perfection failed to meet the standards of God's requirements, then how much hope does mortal man have of keeping up to the standards of God's expectations?"

 

         Such  arguing  presents  God  as  being  a  hard  taskmaster  whose capricious desires could never be satisfied by anyone. There was some truth in the evidences presented in this argument. Certain angels were charged with folly, but that was because they had entered a path of sin. This they need not have done, but once they had moved out of the realm of obedience and co-operation into rebellion and deceit, their course of action so endangered the whole kingdom of God that the Lord had no choice but to expel them from heaven.

 

That they had done this did not prove they had to do it. It did not prove that they had to enter upon a course which God would have to condemn, not because it offended Him personally, but because their behaviour was such as to bring ruin upon themselves and all others who might join them. Notice that Satan made no reference to the "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of angels" who remained loyal to God and that in them the Lord found no fault and did not charge them with error. The fact that these had not fallen into sin, proves that the rest could have stood likewise.

 

 

40     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

In the light of these facts which reveal the fallacious nature of Satan's argument through his servant Eliphaz, let the question be raised again, "Can mortal man be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?"  How  would  you  answer?  Would  you  hesitate,  uncertain, undecided? Would you answer quickly as most people do, that a man could not be pure before His maker? Or could you, with strong and living faith in the transforming, keeping power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, declare  that a  man  can  be righteous in  God's sight according to  His requirements? What would you honestly say? This is an excellent test of your faith and belief and of your identification with Christ or antichrist.

 

"Can a man be righteous before God, can a man be pure before his

 

Maker?" He certainly can if he wills to, and if he has the faith to believe the promises of God to take away the old stony heart condition and give him a new life in place of the old. It is not in man of himself to do it, for that is an impossibility. But the question before us is whether man can do it at all. The answer is that he can through the means made available by virtue of Christ's sacrifice upon the cross.

 

         It is Satan who says that it cannot be done. But what is he? He is a liar and has been from the beginning when he rebelled against God. If he is a liar, then we will find no safety in believing him. He declares the law of God cannot be kept, that it is impossible for us to overcome, that we cannot be perfect in this life, and that we will sin every day. The Lord has never said this but declares the contrary. As He is the truth and never speaks a lie, our only safety is in believing Him and Him alone.

 

         Lay  the  Word  of  God  beside  Satan's  charges  to  see  what  the controversy is about. It is well expressed in Deuteronomy 30:11, 12, 14.

         "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

 

         "It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? "But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart,

that thou mayest do it."

 

The commandment referred to here is the ten commandment law given by God through Moses to His people at Mt. Sinai. At the beginning of Moses' discourse, he quoted it to them as found in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The wording is almost identical with the rendition in Exodus 20. Having quoted the commandments, Moses, in his last great sermon, proceeds to explain and amplify those laws to them. Here is the standard which the Lord has laid down as the only rule for success and for life itself. It is the very code which Satan says cannot be kept by any created being. But, in Deuteronomy,  Moses,  as  God's  mouth-piece,  declares  that  this  very commandment "is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off."

         Being "not hidden" from us, indicates that it is not beyond our reach, and it is not too difficult for us to keep. The Revised Standard Version

 

 

WE CAN OBEY TO PERFECTION     41

 

 

reads: "For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off." This message declares that the law of life and liberty can be kept to perfection. It is not beyond the reach of the bornagain Christian. We can do it.

 

         This is not the only place in the Word of God where the Lord has declared that His commandments can be kept. Again and again He has said that they are to be obeyed and that we are to be perfect. Such

commands suppose that what the Lord calls us to do is not beyond

possibility.  Consider how 'unjust and unloving God would be if He continually expected us to obey a law which could not be obeyed or kept, and then condemned us as disobedient when we failed to keep a law which could not be kept anyway.

 

         There are those theologians today who dwell much upon the love of God. This is a favoured sermon theme. Yet, at the same time, they declare that the law of God cannot be obeyed, that it is a yoke of bondage, that we are all imperfect, and that we must and will sin every day. Consider how great a contradiction such preaching is. In the first case, there is no love in making a law so tough that it cannot be kept. Then, as in the case of Lucifer and those who followed him, to be thrown out of heaven because of failure to keep this unkeepable law, manifests even less love.

 

         For the human family the situation is the same. By transgressing the law we have been expelled from Paradise, and we shall not return until we have passed the examination of a judgment designed to discover whether we have learnt to keep the law or not.

 

         "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

 

         "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: "To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and

honour and immortality, eternal life:

 

         "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

 

         "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

 

         "But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

 

"For there is no respect of persons with God.

 

         "For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

         "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified . . . )" Romans 2:5-13.

 

         "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10

 

42  DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die,  but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27.

 

         Every  man,  woman,  and  child on  earth  must pass the  searching scrutiny of the judgment in which their deeds will be examined and they will be judged according to what they have done, whether it be good or evil. The ten commandment law will be the standard of that judgment, the means by which every case will be examined. How much love would there be in God if it was impossible for man to keep the law by which he is to be judged? Absolutely none. Such a God would be sadistic and cruel. God is not like that, yet that is the character attributed to Him by those who declare the law cannot be kept.

 

         Let it be understood by all who profess to love the Lord that the law can be kept to perfection by every child of God who has been delivered from the bondage of sin and transformed in nature, in order to bring forth the good fruits of righteousness. This is God's declaration in the matter, which runs completely counter to the declaration made by Satan. These are the two sides of the great controversy. While God not only claims that the law can be kept in its entirety and seeks to bring men back into full obedience to it, Satan claims that it cannot be kept and seeks to maintain man in a continual state of disobedience.

 

         Satan  uses various devices in this warfare.  One of his favourite weapons is to suggest that we can do certain things, but that it is not possible to obey in every thing. The average person is able to keep clear of the major open sins such as murder, theft, and the like, but the supposed little things like impatience, appetite, and malice are different. Thus, Satan seeks to fix in mind the concept that the law cannot be kept. This is the belief in which he desires to see all firmly grounded.

 

         This is a most successful tactic, for if you believe that it is impossible to keep the law,  you will not have the faith that it can be done.  All righteousness, which is perfect law-keeping, is attained only through faith; if you do not have the faith, you will not be able to be righteous.

 

         All hope of achieving righteousness begins with the firm conviction that the law can be kept, even though you may not have found the way to keep it and may not succeed in your quest for quite some time. Whatever happens, it is essential during that period of searching, that you never surrender the firm conviction that the law can be kept. If success has not come, it is only because the knowledge of how the law can be kept is still lacking.

 

Before everyone stands the choice. We can believe and live the lie of Satan or we can believe and live the truth of God. On which side shall we stand? Shall we believe Satan's lie and suffer eternal death, or shall we accept God's great truth and, through His saving power, be led into that obedience which brings eternal life. That is the question—the question each

 

 

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has to face, the question which will be the great issue in the final controversy. That is what began the great controversy in heaven, and with that it will culminate in the closing scenes of this earth's history. There are men who have been ministers for many, many years, men who have given their lives in service for the church,  devoted men, apparently sincere men,  men with an obvious breadth and depth of knowledge in many things who can express that knowledge and yet stand up and boldly say that the law of God cannot be kept. Am I to believe them? Are you to believe them? Does their position carry any weight in this argument? Does their long experience, their knowledge and devotion, carry any weight?

 

Never!

 

         Whosoever in any way declares or even suggests that the law of God cannot be kept, is not a messenger of God but of Satan. While there are times when these men will say in so many words that it cannot be kept, more often the denial is somewhat disguised. They will even begin the sermon with the statement that we must be perfect and close it with the assurance that it cannot be done anyway. They will stress the imperfections of the human nature, state that every day we will fall under the power of sin, but that is no cause for concern for it does not mean that we have passed to the enemy's side.

 

         There are some fragments of truth woven through such sentiments, but the overall message is one of defeat and death. Know for sure that such breathings are the voice of Satan, they are the mark of antichrist.

         At this stage in our study it may seem that we have drifted far away from the test outlined in 1 John 4:1-3. As we proceed further, the intimate relationship between this question of the great controversy and the subject of the nature of Christ in the incarnation will be shown. The ground work laid down here is very necessary.

 

         It would be well to reflect upon the facts so far shown. It is the mark of antichrist to deny that Christ came in the flesh. It is the mark of Satan, who is the great and principal antichrist, to declare that the law of God cannot be kept. Rightly understood, it will be seen that these two distinguishing marks of antichrist are not two separate and different identifications. They are one and the same.

 

 

6

 

What The Incarnation Proves

 

         Satan can point to the unnumbered hosts of this world who do not obey God's law, as sure proof that his claim is right. To make matters worse, he can also point to the professed people of God who likewise fail to manifest the true Christian spirit in all their dealings. He argues that these people, who profess to be God's children, do not keep the law of God, claiming this as certain evidence that it cannot be kept.

 

         The fact remains that the majority who stand on Satan's side are a deceived majority and therefore do not constitute a vote in favour of his position.

 

But God has done far more than simply make a declaration. He knows that nothing can be proved by this alone. If so, God could have declared His case when Lucifer, with a perfect mind, perfect body, and perfect spiritual life, in the perfect environment of the kingdom of heaven, was tempted and fell into sin. Adam and Eve with a "perfect human nature and the divine life of God in that human nature, with perfect minds and a perfect environment, likewise were tempted and fell into sin and apostasy. If the declared Word of God had been sufficient at that time to keep angels and men from sinning, then the Word of God would be sufficient today. One would expect that the declared Word of God would carry such finality and authority as to settle the matter once and for all. But this is not so. If it could have been settled just by God saying what is right and what is wrong, the matter would never have become a controversy in the first case. But there came a time when Lucifer lost faith in God's word, so it no longer held authority for him. He deceived a third of the angels and then man, with the result that the declarations of God are insufficient to settle the question. Something more is needed—the evidence of an irrefutable demonstration. According to the laws of aerodynamics—as far as scientists understand them—the bumble bee has no hope in the world of flying, but it flies anyway. What do we believe—the declarations of the scientists or the demonstration by the bumble bee?

 

 

WHAT THE INCARNATION PROVES       45

 

 

         God  has provided the  demonstration  of perfect obedience  in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come only to die for the lost. That, though a most essential part of His work, was not His whole mission. He came to live a life of perfect obedience in the selfsame flesh and blood as you and I, so that the question of whether it can be done is eternally settled and our salvation is assured; for if the devil is able to prove his point that the law cannot be kept, the kingdom of God is destroyed and there will be salvation for none.

 

         " 'God with us' is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven." The Desire of Ages, 25. To gain something of the force of this statement, we need to understand the expression "God with us". It is another way of expressing the idea of God in the flesh. Inasmuch as it is "God with us", the flesh must be exactly the same flesh as ours, otherwise He could not truly and fully be with us. Over and again this thought is repeated in the revelations of God's Spirit. Jesus Christ as both God and man, having placed Himself on the same footing as man, gave a perfect example of the obedience which God expects from us. The whole point of that demonstration as given by Christ in this situation is that we too, in the same flesh and blood, and in the same situation,  can  render the same  obedience to  God to  our profit and advantage.

 

         "Satan represents God's law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience." The Desire of Ages, 24.

 

         This paragraph is too clear to be misunderstood. First it states Satan's claim that the law cannot be obeyed by the sons of men and further, that this claim is a deception. Jesus came to "unveil this deception" and it immediately tells how it would be done. "As one of us He was to give an example of obedience."

 

         Every word in that last sentence is meaningful and important. Each word means just what it says. "As one of us" states the same truth as "God with us" in both cases the truth of it being that Jesus was not different from human beings. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (flesh and blood as the children). "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17.

 

As "one of us" He gave an example of obedience. For whom was it given? For the human family which is struggling to overcome sin problems so as to be admitted into heaven. Unless Christ had in fact been made in all things like unto those whom He came to save, His life, no matter how

 

 

46     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

perfectly He may have lived it, could never have been an example of obedience for the struggling ones. This is further revealed and emphasized in the continuation of the paragraph partly quoted earlier. "As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He

took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. 'In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.' Hebrews 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was 'in all points tempted like as we are.' Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He says, 'I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.' Psalm 40:8. As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God's law and the nature of His service." Note the next sentence:

 

         "His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God." The Desire of Ages,   24.

 

 

         The  statement  previously  quoted  from  The  Great  Controversy establishes that the war in heaven began over the keeping of God's law. From the very beginning, Satan had declared it could not be kept. If the controversy began with that contention, with that charge against the justice of God, where must the work of Christ begin? With refuting that lie. To do this, Jesus must come down to this earth as a man, possessing all the weaknesses, frailties, and tendencies toward sin of the same human nature which we have at this present time. This shows that the law of God can be kept to perfection, by God's dwelling in the flesh.

 

         There  is  an  inseparable  connection  between  the  subject  of the incarnation of Christ and the question of obedience to the law of God. The previous chapter closed with the thought that it is the mark of antichrist to declare that the law could not be kept, and it is the mark of antichrist to declare that Christ did not come in the same flesh and blood as the children.

 

Contrawise, it is the mark of God's truth that the law can be kept and that Jesus did come in the flesh. It is impossible to believe that Jesus did not come in the flesh and at the same time uphold the law as the attainable standard of obedience. The inseparable connection between these truths is apparent. The law of God can be kept to perfection and Jesus came in the selfsame flesh and blood as the children to keep the law, proving that it can be kept by anyone who has the faith to keep it through God's power in God's own way.

 

"God's ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is  perfect.'  This  command  is  a  promise.  The  plan  of redemption

 

 

WHAT THE INCARNATION PROVES       47

 

 

contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning. "The tempter's agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christ-like life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.

 

"The ideal of Christian character is Christ-likeness. As the Son of man

was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life. Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours. The Lord says of those who believe in Him, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' 2 Corinthians 6:16. "Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the gate of heaven, to the very threshold of glory. . . ."

 

         Now we read these important words: "If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are."

 

         It does not say Christ reaches us where Adam was. It says Christ reaches us—where?—where we are.

 

         "He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made 'in the likeness of sinful flesh,' He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our 'Father which is in heaven is perfect.' " The Desire of Ages, 311, 312. It follows then that the upper half of this ladder is the divinity, while the lower half is the humanity of Christ. The test of Christ's doctrine is that Christ, and this applies directly to His divinity, came in the flesh. Think of a ladder, say a fire-escape ladder on a tall building. It may reach to the top floor, but if someone comes and disconnects the bottom half, what will happen to the unfortunate folk in the building when a fire breaks out? They cannot reach the ground and the ladder does not save them. If, on the other hand, it only reaches half way up the building, again they will perish. The ladder, in order to be an effective means of salvation, must reach from the point of need to the point of safety.

 

There are churches today which cut off one or the other half of this ladder, but seldom, if ever, both halves. The Roman Catholic Church cuts off the bottom half by denying the complete humanity of Jesus Christ. She

 

 

48     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

does teach that He came in flesh, in human flesh too, but not in the flesh stipulated in the Word of God. The Jehovah's Witnesses cut off the divinity of Christ by declaring Him to be a created being with a beginning, unlike God, the eternal Father, who has no beginning.

 

The effectiveness of this holy ladder is destroyed if one end or the other is wholly or even partly cut off. The true presentation of the doctrine of Christ by which alone we are clear of the charge of being antichrist, involves teaching the fullness of the divinity of Christ as well as the fullness of His humanity. Nothing less than this is laid down in the specification that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Only those who teach that Christ has come in the fullness of the flesh, teach the truth. It was fullness of divinity which dwelt in fullness of humanity. Christ was both God and man in the fullest sense of what each of those beings are. This is how it had to be. What if Jesus Christ as God, had not taken humanity fully and completely as it was when He came to this earth? What if He took humanity as it was when man was first created? Then He could never have been tempted in all points like as we are tempted, could never have overcome as we have to overcome, and could never have been the complete and perfect example we need to refute Satan's lie.

 

         Today the controversy is not centred on whether or not Christ is God as it was in the days of His sojourn among men. The churches generally, including the Roman Catholic Church, believe in the eternal pre-existence of Christ as God. Only certain sects such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the modernistic churches deny the full divinity of Christ. The controversy generally centres around the humanity of Christ. While all will acknowledge that He came in flesh, they will not believe that He came in the same flesh         and blood as the children of Adam.

 

         Therefore, in the subject of the divinity of Christ, we are passing over ground on which there is general agreement and it may seem superfluous to deal with it. However, it is important that we state what we believe, and it is essential to stress that it was God who came in the flesh. The subject must be viewed in the whole of its scope and not in some one-sided and meagre way before proceeding to study the humanity of Christ.

 

 

7

 

Christ Is Truly God

 

         Jesus Christ is truly God. He is the Creator, distinct from the creature which is the product of His creative power.

 

No truth is more clearly revealed or more firmly established. It is essential that it be understood. It is taught in the Old Testament as well as the New, giving full authority, power, and effectiveness to the mission of Christ as the Saviour of the world. This theme, even within the limits of what has been revealed in the Scriptures, is still infinite, thus precluding any possibility of exhausting it in this series of studies. The only need is to establish the fullness of the divinity of Christ.

 

         An outstanding Scripture in this connection is Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government

shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,

Counsellor,  The mighty God,  The everlasting Father,  The Prince of Peace."

 

         There can be no question to whom this refers. It says, "For unto us a child is born." These words settle the identification of the One who is the subject of this prophecy. Jesus Christ is the One who is born unto us. Without the least hesitation this Scripture ascribes to this same Jesus, the titles of the deity, Mighty God and Everlasting Father. These titles we tend to associate with the Father only, but here they are equally ascribed to Christ. This leaves no doubt that Jesus Christ is really and truly God. Thus the great, wonderful, and essential truth of the full deity of Christ is taught in the Old Testament and just as fully in the New. Paul sets it forth again and again. Here is his teaching to the Colossians. "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature." Colossians       1:15.

 

 

If this text was the only one in the Bible on this subject, we might be confused into thinking that Jesus Christ was not a Creator, but a creature. The expression, "firstborn" seems to convey the idea that He was the first

 

 

50     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

one to be born into God's universe. There is such a teaching, generally termed Arianism after the man who had propagated this in the years following the crucifixion of Christ. He taught that Christ was the first created being and therefore was not and could not be the Eternal God. But Paul clarifies what he means by, "the firstborn of every creature." "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." Colossians 1:16,       17.

 

 

         Paul was not teaching that of all creatures, Christ was the first to be born. In that case He would have been a created being. He taught that every  creature  obtained  its  first  birth  through  Christ.  No  other understanding could be obtained from his words. If all things were created by Christ and He was also a created being, He would have had to create Himself. This is an impossibility.

 

The Apostle John witnesses to the same truth.

 

         "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

"The same was in the beginning with God.

 

         "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:1-3.

 

         If Jesus Christ was not a created being but was indeed the great Creator, He is without beginning even as His Father. To the finite human mind, it is impossible to understand how anything has no beginning. But even though we cannot understand it, the Scriptures declare that God, and herein is included Jesus Christ, is absolutely beginningless. He is as eternal in the past as He will be in the future. There never was a time when God did not exist and there will never be such a time.

 

         While our minds cannot grasp the fact that God has no beginning, we can appreciate that this must be. If God did have a beginning, who gave it to Him? There has to be somebody who has no beginning in order to give all other things their beginning. The being is God. Let us not try to fathom this. Let us accept it because the Word of God says it and in the nature of the situation that is how it must be.

 

         There is abundant testimony of the eternity of God in the Bible. In the Old Testament Micah speaks of it in his prophecy of the coming of Christ to be born in Bethlehem.

 

         "But thou,  Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel;  whose goings forth have been from of old, from

everlasting." Micah 5:2.

 

         The marginal reading renders this, "from the days of eternity". "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived." The Desire of Ages, 530.

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY GOD   51

 

 

         Such declarations make plain the eternal pre-existence of Christ. "In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him." The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900.

 

         In The Desire of Ages is a wonderful chapter entitled "God with Us", based  on  that  precious  text from  Isaiah,  "His  name  shall  be called Immanuel, . . . God with us."

 

         "By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,—God's thought made audible. In His prayer  for  His  disciples  He  says,  'I  have  declared  unto  them  Thy name,'—'merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,'—'that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.' " Page 19.

 

         The point here is, if Jesus Christ was to reveal the glory and the fullness of the Father both to men and angels, He must Himself be the expression of God's own character. He must be God in order to reveal God completely. It is true that the work of creation and the ministry of the angels reveal the character of God to an extent, but only dimly and inadequately, just as the moon reflects but dimly the glorious light of the sun. "But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give." Page 21.

 

         He who had been with the eternal God from the days of eternity was in actual fact equal with the Father. So much is Jesus Christ God, that to see Christ is to see the Father. The disciples were slow to understand this truth, as we read: "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. "Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." To this Jesus made reply, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" John 14:7-9. Thus, Jesus made it forever clear that to see One was to see the Other; so equal and identical is Each to the Other.

 

         Paul continues to make this clear in Hebrews. His first chapter deals exclusively with the deity of Christ, setting forth His equality with the eternal God and then comparing Him, as the Creator, with the creatures He has made.

 

         "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

 

         "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;

         "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had

 

 

52     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Hebrews 1:1-3.

 

These three initial verses lay the groundwork for all that follows by first establishing the full deity of Christ. He is "the brightness of" God's "glory", which glory is His character, "and the express image of His person". He is the One by whom the eternal One made all the worlds. His sustaining power also maintains them in their life and course moment by moment. Paul realized he was speaking to the Hebrews who had a prejudice against Christ as the Messiah. To give support and force to his argument, he drew heavily on the evidences of the Old Testament in which the faith of the New rests. This proves that there is a great distinction between Christ who was to be born in Bethlehem, and the angels who came to worship Him there.

 

         "Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

         "For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?

 

         "And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him." Hebrews 1:4-6.

         Angels never worship angels. They would not even receive worship from human beings. Revelation 19 records how John was about to fall down and worship the angel who had given him the revelation of Jesus Christ. The angel quickly checked him with the caution that he was to worship God, not another creature like himself.

 

         "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10.

 

         Here then is a rule by which it is possible to distinguish the angels which appeared to men as angels and the Angel,  who is Christ,  when He appeared to men. If the angel refuses to receive worship from men, then he is an angel only, but if the Angel does receive the worship of men, He is Christ, the Archangel. For instance, we know that the Man who appeared to Joshua was Christ, for He accepted Joshua's worship: "And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant?" Joshua 5:14.

 

The Old Testament verse quoted declares that all the angels of God were to worship Christ when He appeared a helpless babe in Bethlehem, which proves that even then, in human form, Christ was God. The contrast between the strength and physical glory of the angels and the absence of strength and glory in Christ as a babe at this time, gives added force to the truth of the divinity of Christ. To all outward appearances He was a being

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY GOD   53

 

 

infinitely inferior to the angels at that time. It is a rule of life that the inferior worship  those  whom  they  think  to  be  superior  to  themselves.  The distinction, however, is only apparent. The spiritual eye sees God dwelling in that tiny baby body, and recognizes that even there in that state, in Bethlehem, Christ was truly and eternally God, the Creator and Sustainer of all. Therefore, He received the worship of all, including the holy angels who gathered around the manger in Bethlehem.

 

         Thus, on the basis of the worshipper and the worshipped, the evident superiority of Christ as Creator above the position  of the angels as creatures, is established. But this is not all. Christ is a King. The angels are servants as it is written:

 

"And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His

ministers a flame of fire.

 

"But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom." Hebrews 1:7, 8. The contrast is evident. The angels are ministers; they are servants of God. But Jesus Christ is King; He reigns up a throne, and that throne, "O God, is for ever and ever". Paul is preaching a very fine sermon from the Old Testament and quotes it liberally and freely to build up the strength of his argument.

 

         "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.

 

         "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands:

         "They shall perish; but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

 

         "And as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail." Hebrews 1:9-12. Once again the contrast between creation and Creator is stressed. Paul refers to creation passing away, waxing old like a garment, decaying and finally  disappearing.  But  while  created  things  disappear  through  the marring of sin, the Creator Himself is untouched by sin and can never and will never pass away. "Thy years shall not fail." Because He is God, He possesses eternity in the past. His eternal existence is neither changed nor marred by the entrance of sin, even though He came to earth, accepted fallen, sinful human nature and thus died upon the cross. Whatever sin has touched fades away and dies, but He cannot be touched by sin and will never fade away and die. He is as eternal in the future as ever in the past. The closing argument of the chapter declares that the angels have never been commanded to sit on God's right hand as has Jesus Christ, for "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Hebrews 1:14.

 

54 DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

The whole intent and purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews as with

every other message in the Bible, is to set forth knowledge essential to

knowing Christ. We must know Him, as He is. It is vital that Christ is

understood to be truly God and equal with God. He is as eternal as God; as powerful as God, as wise, wonderful, just, and true. He is the Creator, distinct from all the creatures in the universe, possessing within Himself the power to give life, for He has within Himself "life, original, unborrowed, underived."

 

Knowledge of the deity of Christ is an essential truth because "The

divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life." The Desire of Ages, 530. It is the assurance of life to the repentant because He who would bring salvation must be equal with the law to be able to pay the debt owed to the law. There was no- life other than the life of God which was equal to the heights and depths of that "law, which is the transcript of His character". (Review and Herald, January 28, 1909.)

 

Only the life of Christ measures with the life of God, and therefore only the life of Christ equals the debt to the law. He who would be our Saviour also required the power of a Creator God to replace the life which was lost through sin. It required this power in the first creation and no less in the second. Therefore "the divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life."

 

The whole work of sin has been to separate man from God. It is the

work of Jesus to bridge that gulf to bring God and man together again. To do this He must be able to reach both. This is beautifully expressed in Ephesians 2:12-15.

 

"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the

commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,

having no hope, and without God in the world:

 

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

"Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of

commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace."

 

It might seem that Paul is speaking only of the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. In a larger sense it must be realized that the partition between Jew and Gentile is only symbolic or indicative of the partition between God and man. It is only because God and man are separated, that man and man are separated. In order for Christ to make peace between man and man, He must first make peace between man and God. If one does not have peace with God, one certainly cannot have peace with man. Once peace with God is made, then the rest will take care of itself. This thought is well expressed by A. T. Jones in sermon number eleven as recorded in the 1895 General Conference Bulletin. "All men

 

CHRIST IS TRULY GOD   55

 

 

were separated from God, and in their separation from God, they were separated from one another. True, Christ wants to bring all to one another; He was ushered into the world with 'Peace on earth; good will to men.' That is His object. But does He spend His time in trying to get these reconciled to one another, and in trying to destroy all these separations between men, and to get them to say, 'Oh, well, let all bygones be bygones; now we will bury the hatchet; now we will start out and turn over a new leaf, and we will live better from this time on'?

 

         "Christ might have done that. If He had taken that course, ther2 are thousands of people whom He could have persuaded to do that; thousands whom He could persuade to say, 'Well, it is too bad that we acted that way toward one another; it is not right, and I am sorry for it; and now let us just all leave that behind, and turn over a new leaf, and go on and do better.' He could have got people to agree to that but could they have stuck to it? No. For the wicked thing is there still that made the division. What caused the division? The enmity, their separation from God caused the separation from one another. Then what in the world would have been the use of the Lord Himself trying to get men to agree to put away their differences, without going to the root of the matter and getting rid of the enmity that caused the separation? Their separation from God had forced a separation among themselves. And the only way to destroy their separation from one another, was of necessity to destroy their separation from God. And we ministers can get a lesson from this, when churches call us to try to settle differences. We have nothing at all to do with settling difficulties between men as such. We are to get the difficulty between God and man settled; and when that is done, all other separations will be ended." No. 11. page 5.

 

         How does Jesus break down that middle wall of partition which separated God and man and thus separates man from man? He does it by abolishing the enmity and making, "in Himself of twain one new man." Who were the two of whom Christ makes in Himself one new man? It was certainly not a Gentile and a Jew. Christ was never a Gentile. He was a Jew. The two of whom Christ was made are God and man. He fused His eternally pre-existent divinity with the body of sinful,  fallen man, making a new man altogether. He became one with the human family, thus making it one with the heavenly family, so making peace between God and man, and man and man.

 

This chapter has examined certain evidences indicating that Jesus Christ was God from the fullness of eternity. He is the omnipotent Creator, whose life equals the Father's and the high standards of the law. This Being came down and dwelt in human flesh to demonstrate that the law could be obeyed even by men and women still dwelling in fallen, sinful flesh. It is a self-evident and Bible truth that Christ's demonstration would be valid only

 

CHRIST IS TRULY GOD   57

 

TOGETHER

IN ONE PERSON

 

 

"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and

hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of

         commandments contained in ordinances;

FOR

 

TO MAKE IN HIMSELF

         OF TWAIN

ONE NEW MAN,

SO MAKING PEACE."

Epheslans 2:14, 15.

 

         When the answer is understood it will be seen that, far from possessing an advantage over us by virtue of the fact that He was actually God, it was a

         serious disadvantage which made the task more difficult for Him than it is for us. Jesus laid aside that divine power and refused to use any other than is freely available to us. Yet He knew that that omnipotent power was right within His reach all the time. The temptation to lay hold upon it was constantly before Him. If He had used it in the least degree, He would have broken the contract and. ceded the victory to Satan with all the fearful consequences. This temptation was ever before Christ, pressing upon Him something of which you and I know nothing.

 

         Of us Jesus truthfully said, ". . . without Me ye can do nothing." John 15:5. We are in a position of helplessness and are dependent upon a Saviour to rescue us from the power of evil surrounding us every day. But of Himself He said, "The Son can do nothing of Himself... I can of Mine Own Self do nothing." John 5:19, 30. This was the position of helplessness and dependence in which He placed Himself in this world of sin so that temptation was as real and terrible to Him as to any of us. Further evidence of this is found in the following words: "When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as

the 'Master of earth and sea and sky' that He reposed in quiet. That power

         He had laid down, and He says, 'I can of Mine own self do nothing.' John 5:30. He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith—faith in God's love

and care—that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the

         storm was the power of God.

 

         "As Jesus rested by faith in the Father's care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour." The Desire of Ages, 336.

 

"The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have

 

through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers

         may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was." The Desire of Ages, 664.

 

What a picture of the most marvellous condescension ever to be seen in the entire history of eternity! It is beyond the mind of man to fathom such love and sacrifice made for the salvation of the kingdom of God. How plain and explicit those words are; "Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him." As He went out to battle with temptation, He carried, on His divine side, no advantage over

 

any who will lay hold upon the divine attributes and aid offered. Therefore,

 

 

58     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

"His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was."

 

It is to be understood that in his unregenerate state, man does not

 

possess the divine nature and is not in the position where he has the same

         qualities and powers which Jesus had. To him must be fulfilled the promise contained in 2 Peter 1:2-4.

 

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of

 

God, and of Jesus our Lord,

 

         "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

 

         "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

 

 

8

 

Christ Is Truly Man

 

         The Scriptures teach that Christ is essentially and eternally the preexistent God. This was a quality He had to possess if He was to save

         mankind from the power and penalty of sin. But it is only one quality and alone it was not and never could be enough. He who was eternally and

truly God, must also become truly man, for only He who was God and at the same time was able to reach all the way down to man, could be the

         Saviour of the world. Therefore, the incarnation of Christ is the appearing of God in the flesh, not just of God alone.

 

         "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." John 17:3. To know Christ only as

         God, is not to fully know the Christ sent to the world. A church may spell out in clear terms her belief in the divinity of Christ and yet not know the Christ that was sent to the world. Such do not know Christ at all. They teach His divinity without fully presenting His humanity. Only a church

which presents both the fullness of His divinity and the fullness of His

         humanity can claim to be of God and secure from the charge of being

 

antichrist.

 

         In this connection it is worthy of interest to note that both E.  J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones who were sent by God with the true message of

         righteousness by faith in 1888, spelled out the fullness of both the divinity and the humanity of Christ. Christ and His Righteousness by the former

and The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection by the latter are two

         books where this has been done with great care and clarity. In the previous chapter,  Christ was presented as the eternal, preexistent Creator God—He whose name is "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6. It is now essential to present the fullness of His humanity.

 

         A rich source of study on the deity of Christ is in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.  However, the revelation of Christ does not stop

 

 

60     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

with that chapter. It continues in the second chapter with the revelation of

 

His humanity. The two chapters are complementary, the first laying the

 

basis for the second.

 

         "The first chapter of Hebrews reveals that Christ's likeness to God is not simply in form or representation, but also in very substance; and the second

chapter as clearly reveals that His likeness to men is not simply in form or in

         representation, but also in uery substance. It is likeness to men as they are in all things, exactly as they are. Wherefore, it is written: 'In the beginning

was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .

         And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' John 1:1, 14. "And that this is likeness to man as he is in his fallen, sinful nature, and not as he was in his original, sinless nature, is made certain by the word: 'We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.' Therefore, as man is since he became subject to death, this is what we see Jesus to be, in His place as man.

 

         "Therefore, just as certainly as we see Jesus lower than the angels, unto the suffering of death, so certainly it is by this demonstrated that, as man, Jesus took the nature of man as he is since death entered; and not the nature of man as he was before he became subject to death. "But death entered only because of sin: had not sin entered, death never could have entered. And we see Jesus made lower than the angels

for the suffering of death. Therefore we see Jesus made in the nature of

         man, as man is since man sinned; and not as man was before sin entered. For this He did that He might 'taste death for every man.' In becoming man that He might reach man, He must come to man where man is. Man is subject to death. Therefore Jesus must become man, as man is since he is subject to death." The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, by Alonzo T. Jones, 21, 22. Emphasis original.

 

Jesus Christ is truly man, possessing the same nature as man, the same body, the same mental powers, the same flesh and blood exactly—not just "in the likeness of" as that text is normally understood, but in the very same nature and substance as man is,  here upon earth.  This thought is particularly developed from the tenth verse of Hebrews 2 and onwards. There, perhaps more than anywhere else in the inspired Word, the true extent to which Jesus accepted human nature is revealed. Nobody who is prepared to read the Word of God and to accept it as it reads will have

 

         difficulty  in  knowing just  what  kind  of flesh  and  blood the  Saviour possessed during His life on earth.

 

         " 'For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.' Hebrews 2:10.

 

         "Thus, in becoming man, it became Him to become such as man is. Man is subject to sufferings. Therefore, it became Him to come to the man

where he is, in his sufferings.

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY MAN  61

 

 

         "Before man sinned, he was not in any sense subject to sufferings. And for Jesus to have come in the nature of man as he was before sin entered, would have been only to come in a way and in a nature in which it would be impossible for Him to know the sufferings of man, and therefore impossible to reach him to save him. But since it became Him, in bringing men unto glory, to be made perfect through sufferings; it is certain that Jesus, in

becoming man, partook of the nature of man as he is since he became

         subject to suffering, even the suffering of death, which is the wages of sin." The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, 22.

 

         The argument advanced by A. T. Jones in this paragraph is well worth special consideration, for the truth of it must not be lost or overlooked. "And for Jesus to have come in the nature of man as he was before sin entered, would have been only to come in a way and in a nature in which it would be impossible for Him to know the sufferings of man, and therefore impossible to reach him to save him." This is the truth. Today, a doctrine is abroad that Jesus came in the nature of man as it was before man fell. Yet the proponents of this teaching declare that Jesus was,  in fact,  tempted in  all points like  as we are  and experienced, vicariously,  all that the tempted  ones experience.  That such a self

contradictory doctrine could ever be accepted by intelligent people who

         profess to love and serve the Lord is indeed a great mystery. Yet the same people would never think it possible to experience the sensation of flying

         high above the clouds without actually flying; experience marriage without being married, or suffer the sorrow of bereavement without having lost a

 

loved one. Only those who have actually passed through these experiences

 

can truly and fully know what it is to be in such situations. This is aptly

         illustrated by Eric B. Hare in his book Fullness of Joy, 208, 209. "Many, many years ago a young man and his wife were appointed to a certain mission field. It was not the field of their own choice, but they gladly accepted the call, left father and mother and brothers and sisters for Christ's sake, and went across the seas to the distant land. For a year and a half all went well. They were busy with language study and preparation for greater responsibilities. Then suddenly their first baby died, and they followed its little coffin to its resting place in the cemetery on their second wedding

 

anniversary.

 

         "It all seemed too cruel. The darkness of despair fell upon them. In discouragement they cried, 'O God, why? Why did this happen to us?' In the bitterness of their souls they could not pray. There seemed no comfort

from any source. Their fellow missionaries could only say they were sorry,

         for they had not known the sorrow of the death of a child. And this young couple needed no pity; they needed sympathy.  Three weeks went by.

Their hearts were cold, bitter, and dark, and then one Sabbath afternoon

         there came a knock on the door.

 

 

62     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         "The young man opened the door and said, 'Come in.' A humble little sister from the church entered and sat down. Within his heart the young

         man said, 'All right, say it. Preach at us, and get it over with as soon as you can. Then go and leave us alone.'

 

         "But the humble little sister didn't begin to preach. She didn't begin to read  the  Testimonies to them.  She  sat quietly for a  moment,  then overcome with emotion, she cried, 'I can't say it. I don't know what to say. But my heart has been bleeding for you for three weeks. I want you to know that I know how you feel, for I lost my first baby.' "Oh, what wonderful words! The poor heartbroken young mother who for three weeks had been too bitter for tears, threw her arms around the humble little sister and sobbed her heart out. Here was someone who knew how it felt. In just a minute the cold, hardhearted young husband was kneeling at her knee, and that little woman prayed them back to faith and

trust in, and love for, God again. The preacher couldn't do it. The fellow

         missionaries couldn't do it, but that little sister who had gone victoriously through the valley herself brought them comfort and assurance." It is our comfort to know that Jesus Christ was not made as man was

 

before he fell, when he was not subject to sufferings, but as man was after

         the fall. Jesus Christ knew for Himself what it meant to possess fallen humanity. He experienced in that humanity all that we experience in the selfsame humanity—fallen, degenerate, and sinful.

 

         To teach, as the doctrine mentioned above, that Jesus Christ was tempted in all things as we are tempted, and yet declare that He came in the nature of Adam as that nature was before the fall of our first parents, is to teach a doctrine which initially has the appearance of truth, but which actually denies what it appears to teach. This is the peculiar characteristic of Satan's deceptive doctrines. His strategy is to bring the wolf clad in the garments of the sheep so that every appearance suggests that the wolf is a sheep. Thus the unsuspecting victim who fails to keep careful watch for the wolf in any garb, welcomes the wolf in the expectation that he will serve as a sheep would, only to find himself torn and destroyed in the end. This teaching gives the deceptive appearance of being the truth by testifying that Jesus was tempted exactly as we are. That satisfies the average mind which does not look any deeper, or that somehow is able to do such mental gymnastics as to reconcile the unreconcilable. Beneath the appearance is the fact which is the true measure of the doctrine. The teaching that Jesus did not come as we, subject to sufferings and in the same flesh and blood as we have, is a declaration that Christ was not in all points tempted like as we are. It would be impossible for Him to come in the nature which Adam had before he fell and, at the same time, be tempted in all points like those who have a very different nature from the one Adam enjoyed before sin entered his life. No amount of conjecture or

argument can change this fact. Therefore, it is vitally important that no one

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY MAN  63

 

 

         searching for the truth with a desire to obtain salvation, rests content with the appearances of a doctrine. Search out the implications which underlie

the declarations. Then it will be found whether things really are as they

         appear to be. Either the declaration and doctrine related to it are in harmony and thus support each other, or they are in opposition, so that one destroys the other together with those who become deceived by it. For example, the following two statements, the first relating to Christ's human nature, the second to the temptations it was subject to, must be in harmony and support each other. "Forasmuch then as the children are

partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the

         same; [flesh and blood as the children]" and "For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 2:14; 4:15. But the following theory and Scripture are not in harmony for they do not and cannot support each other. One of them is the wolf; the other is the sheep's clothing: "Jesus Christ took the nature of the first Adam as it was before he fell" and "For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as  we  are,  yet  without  sin."  Hebrews 4:15.  These  two  ideas  are

         incompatible. The first can only use the second as a deceptive garb to deceive and destroy the blind and unwary.

 

         The only way Christ could be tempted in all things like as we are tempted, was to be made, "in all things" "like unto His brethren." Hebrews

         2:17.

 

         "If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been." Selected Messages 1:408. How true this is. If

         He only partook of Adam's nature before the fall and not of "our nature" as it is after the fall, He could be tempted as Adam was, but "He could not have been tempted as man" after the fall.

 

"For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Hebrews 2:11. To gain the full message in this verse it is necessary to identify the parties to which reference is made. These are "He that sanctifieth," and "they who are sanctified." There should be no difficulty in seeing who the Sanctifier is. It is the Saviour, Jesus. While the Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Sanctifier (Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11), this office is primarily that of Jesus, whereas the Holy Spirit carries into effect the work of the Saviour.

 

The sanctified ones are those who have been made holy. In no sense can it refer to Adam as he was before he fell. It refers to Adam and his children after they had fallen and been redeemed by the saving power of Jesus. It does not refer to the unregenerate for they possess a different origin from Christ, nor to the mere professor of religion, but to those who have experienced the transforming miracle of the regeneration. They are

 

 

64     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

those who, having actually been born again, are made in heart into the

         likeness of God and are described by the Lord as being holy or sanctified. This is not to say they have holy or sanctified flesh for this they do not possess, but their hearts have been made new and they are truly children of

 

God.

 

Here then are two readily identifiable persons, the Sanctifier and the sanctified. They are both of one, or as the Revised Standard Version puts it, "have all one origin'. It is for this cause that He, the Sanctifier, is not ashamed to call them brethren. Only when men have common parentage are they able to claim they are brethren. When two men have different parents, they certainly cannot claim this. Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day, "Ye are of your father the devil," to show plainly that they were not His brethren for the simple reason that they had a different parentage. They had no common origin. They were born of Satan; He was born of God. The origin of the sanctified ones and Christ is identical. They are all of one. Therefore they are brethren, as the Pharisee could never be while he remained as he was, a son of Satan.

 

The measure of brotherhood in this instance is common spiritual

 

parentage. This does not deny that Jesus Christ is, in a sense, brother to all

 

         men even in their sinful condition; for on the human side, He does share a common origin. All men are born of earthly parents and possess fallen,

         sinful, degenerate flesh; as did Christ to the extent that He is brother to all men everywhere and in every era.

 

While all men can claim brotherhood with Christ in the physical sense alone, they cannot claim fullness of brotherhood as can the sanctified ones, who are of one origin with Him. Their identification with the family of Christ is not limited to oneness of flesh; they have oneness of spirit too. A study of the origin of Christ as the Incarnate One in comparison with the origins of the truly sanctified, will reveal the wonder of the commonness of their origins, so that it can be seen how full and complete is the identification of Christ with the human family, "for which cause He is not ashamed to call

 

them brethren".

 

Before this study is begun however, it is important to note that the use of the word, "origin," in connection with Christ, does not deny the thought of His eternal pre-existence as set forth in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Jesus Christ was always God, but He was not always man. As man, He did have a beginning, an origin. Nowhere in the chapter dealing with the fact that He is God do we find any such word as origin being used, but here in the second chapter of Hebrews dealing with His humanity, the word is used. In Christ Jesus we find the combination of divinity and humanity. Both had their origins, the divinity from the fountain of its eternity in the courts of heaven above and the humanity from the sinful, fallen, degenerate flesh of an earthly parentage. That was His origin

 

 

 

66     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

as He appeared upon this earth, and that is the origin of every truly born again Christian, for they "have all one origin".

 

         In studying the origin of the Sanctifier and sanctified and comparing their humanity and divinity, we are bound by the strict law expressed in the

         words of Christ to Nicodemus. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:6.

 

         Like begets like. What is born of the flesh will be a replica of that flesh. It cannot be a different, higher, or purer kind of flesh. We know this by our own experience as we are burdened and handicapped with the same

weaknesses and tendencies to sin which beset our parents. When we marry

         and our children come into the world, we can discern in them the repetition of our own flesh and its weaknesses and tendencies to sin. The truth of Jesus' words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," is before us every day. We know the origin of our flesh and we know the kind of flesh which came from that origin.

 

         The Word of God declares that the origin of Christ's flesh is one with the brethren whom He came to save. His flesh came from the same origin

         as theirs. This being so, it must be the exact same flesh as theirs, weak, fallen, degenerate, sinful, and subject to suffering and death. No other

         conclusion can be drawn. Yet the teaching is widespread that Jesus came with a different flesh and blood from that which His brethren, the sanctified ones, have.

 

The Roman Catholic Church does this, but as far as Christ's birth was concerned, they do not ignore the principle that what is born of the flesh is flesh. They achieve their desired result by giving the mother of Jesus a different flesh and blood from any other woman ever born, so that she could impart to Christ a holy, immaculate flesh. Giving Mary a different and holy flesh is termed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. While they recognize the principle that what is born of the flesh is flesh, so far as the birth of Christ is concerned, their teaching violates that principle in the birth of Mary. Though born of the flesh, she did not have the same flesh and

 

blood as her parents.

 

         For the sake of the teaching that Jesus came in a different kind of flesh and blood, they must break the principle that what is born of flesh is flesh. The  average  professed  child  of  God  today  rejects  the  immaculate conception doctrine in regard to the birth of Mary but believes it in regard to Christ. However, what is the resulting difference? There is none. They are

just two variations of the doctrine of antichrist. What does not appeal to one

         mind will be readily accepted by another.

 

But what saith the Scriptures, the one reliable guide to truth? "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," and "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." The Bible is completely silent on any suggestion that Mary had a different flesh and blood from those around her.

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY MAN  67

 

 

         She had the same flesh as any other person and as surely as that which is born of flesh is flesh, the flesh of which Christ was born was exactly the

         same as any of ours; fallen, sinful, degenerate, human flesh and blood, subject to sufferings and death.

 

         Clear, convincing, and final as these arguments are, the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews does not leave the matter there. As if foreseeing the controversy to rage over the question in future generations, especially in the last days, he goes on to spell out further the certainty that it was the

same flesh and blood, acquired in the same way, with which Christ was

         handicapped and burdened during His earthly sojourn. So he wrote further. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." (Flesh and blood as the children.) Hebrews 2:14.

 

         A. T. Jones notes in The Consecrated Way, 22-23, that this text is one in which all the words that could be used to make clear and positive that Christ in His human nature took the same flesh and blood that men have, are put there in a single sentence. This is an observation well taken. No

other verse expresses this vital truth more emphatically.

         "And so it is written: 'Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.' Verse 14. He, in His human nature, took the same flesh and blood that men have. All the words that could be used to make this plain and positive are here put together in a single sentence.

 

         "The children of men are partakers of flesh and blood; and, because of this, He took part of the same.

 

         "But this is not all: He also took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children are partakers.

 

         "Nor is this all: He also Himself took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers.

 

         "Nor yet is this all: He also Himself likewise took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which men are partakers.

 

         "Thus the Spirit of inspiration so much desires that this truth shall be made so plain and emphatic as to be understood by all, that He is not content to use any fewer than all the words that could be used in the telling of it. And, therefore, it is declared that just as, and just as certainly as, 'the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part

of the same' flesh and blood.

 

         "And this He did in order 'that through death He might . . . deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.' He took part of the same flesh and blood as we have in the bondage of sin

and the fear of death, in order that He might deliver us from the bondage of

         sin and the fear of death.

 

 

68     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         "And so, 'Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.' " The

         Consecrated Way, 22, 23. Emphasis original.

 

         Thus, in Jones' characteristic way, he has emphasized the point until no doubt can be left in the mind of what the Scripture is saying. Perhaps the strongest word in the verse is, "likewise". It is the word used to declare the way in which Jesus acquired the same flesh and blood as the children, meaning in the same manner, or by the same procedure. The children, as distinct from the father,  Adam,  who was not born but created direct, received their flesh and blood by the normal process of a natural human birth, strictly subject to all the laws of human heredity. In fact it is impossible

to be born of the flesh and, at the same time, to escape the laws of heredity.

         This is the way in which the children receive their flesh and blood, and it is forever certified by the words of Scripture that Jesus partook of the same flesh and blood in the selfsame way.

 

         "Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life." The Desire of Ages, 49. "Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it.  He did in reality possess human nature.  'As the children are

partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the

         same.' He was the son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent." The Review and Herald,  April 5, 1906.

         "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on

 

Him the seed of Abraham.

 

         "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things

         pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:16-18.

 

These verses leave no room for the teaching that Jesus came in the

 

flesh of Adam as it was before the fall, or any other flesh different from

 

         ours. The only teaching admissible in the light of these verses is that Jesus received in the same way as every child of Adam, the selfsame flesh and

         blood which every child of Adam has. He was tempted in that flesh and blood, and was subject to both sufferings and death as every child of Adam is subject. Adam was never subject to this until he sinned and fell. In  an  effort  to  deny  the  truth  of  the  Redeemer's  marvellous condescension to the only level at which it was possible to save us, it has been argued that if Christ accepted sinful flesh. He would have been under eternal condemnation and would have needed a Saviour. As no one else could be a Saviour, it would mean that both He and we would have been lost.

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY MAN  69

 

 

         This argument is an example of taking a part-truth too far.  The conclusions drawn from it would never be possible if the proper distinctions were understood. Jesus came into a flesh and blood which was subject to

the condemnation of death, as can be most readily proved. The question

         has but to be asked, Which comes first, sin or death?

 

The answer is that sin comes first and, until it appears, death certainly does not appear. There was no death in Adam until he sinned, but, when he did,  death appeared,  to reign over the human family ever since. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12. If Jesus had come in the same sinless and holy flesh as Adam before his fall, death could never have touched Him. He could not have died. But He did. He came into sinful flesh which was under the condemnation of death. This was effected at Calvary. His sinful humanity went down into the grave and it never came out again. When Jesus rose, He was invested with immortal, sinless, holy flesh as will all the redeemed on the glad day when He shall return to take His faithful ones home to the kingdom above. No one could save that flesh from the sentence of death. It died eternally to rise no more.

 

         The objection mentioned above so far and if taken no further, only supports the message of truth. It becomes an objection only when it fails to recognize the distinction between sinful flesh, which is obtained by heredity through birth to man, and the carnal mind which is inherited from Satan. The latter, Jesus never had or took as His own. He was born of God, and was sinless and holy on that side, and as such could be the Saviour of men. In the first instance, we are all born of Satan and man. We are born into Satan's kingdom and are under his power and dominion. It is not the fact that we are born of man, or that we have sinful flesh that makes this so, but

that we are born of Satan. One can be born of man and have the sinful flesh

         of humanity,  without being under the dominion of the kingdom of darkness. This is the distinction which must be borne in mind when dealing with the nature of Christ in the incarnation.

 

Every born again child of God in whom the presence of the eternal life has been placed,  still retains the sinful, fallen, human flesh until Jesus appears in  the clouds of heaven to confer on  him  incorruption  and immortality. This does not mean that he is under Satan's dominion or the condemnation of eternal death. We are not lost because we dwell in sinful, fallen, human flesh. Human flesh is only a vessel. It is what is in that vessel;

 

it  is  what  dwells  in  fallen,  sinful  humanity  that  determines  our

 

condemnation or justification before God.

 

         The state of the sanctified ones is exactly that of the Sanctifier when He was upon the earth. Divinity dwelt in humanity and that divinity is sinless, holy, perfect, and immortal. As such it can never die, while humanity is

fallen, sinful, and unholy, and as such it cannot live.

 

 

70     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         This is true in regard to the sanctified ones and is made plain in Scripture. Speaking of the divine life, born in all those who come to receive the living presence of the Word in the soul, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed

from death unto life."

 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting

life.

 

 

"I am that bread of life.

 

         "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may

eat thereof, and not die.

 

         "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of

this bread,  he shall live forever." John 5:24; 6:47-51.

 

 

         The promise is that if we shall eat of this bread, which is partaking of the divine nature, we shall never die. This does not point to a time when this will be so, but to the present, for Jesus did not say we shall have everlasting

life but that we have it. This is the present tense and we believe it in that tense.

 

The  Protestant  churches  have  taken  these  verses  to  teach  the immortality of the soul as a conscious entity regardless of whether the life that is in us be sonship with Satan or sonship with God. They overlook that the soul, as they refer to it, cannot have any life if it is not of God. If our inner life is a son of Satan, then it has no eternal life in it. Christ was not

 

referring to that life, but to the life born of God. It is immortal and incapable

 

         of dying. Those who believe in the soul being immortal as a conscious entity forget that the soul cannot find expression or activity except through the

         instrument of a body mechanism which is the means of thinking, deciding, and acting.

 

         A splendid illustration is the electric current supplied through wires to the light which illuminates a room. If there is no globe in the socket, the

         current cannot produce light. Put a globe in and light is produced as the current finds a mechanism through which to work. Smash the globe and the light goes out, but the current does not cease to exist. This illustrates well the eternal life which Christ gives us when we lose our sonship with Satan by having the old life taken from us, and gain sonship with God. The life which we then receive from God is His own. It is a sinless, holy, and eternal life which cannot die. The moment it takes up residence in us, it begins to produce activity which continues as long as the body survives. The moment the body dies, consciousness ceases completely and the life of God returns to Him. Like the electric current it does not cease to exist, but ceases  to  find  conscious  expression  because  the  means  it  used  for expression have been destroyed.

 

 

CHRIST IS TRULY MAN  71

 

 

In the great resurrection day when the body mechanism is recreated, God will give back the life which He has held for us till that time. In that moment, memory will be returned and conscious activity will begin again. This is the life which will not die, and Christ's words as quoted above do not mean that there is a conscious continuance of our lives apart from the body

 

         after death. After the body of a faithful one dies, the eternal life God gave him continues unconsciously in God's hands, until the resurrection day.

         Divinity in us cannot sink and die for it is sinless and holy. It is the life of

 

God, immortal and eternal.

 

         This point has been stressed to assist in understanding the dual natures of Christ. His disciples lost much by their failure to understand this great truth. "Looking upon Him in His humiliation, as He walked a man among men, they had not understood the mystery of His incarnation, the dual character of His nature. Their eyes were holden, so that they did not fully recognize divinity in humanity." The Desire of Ages, 507.

         Christ was, as is every born again Christian, a combination of two different natures each with its own character. The one nature, His divinity, was sinless, holy, immortal, and eternal. While upon this earth, that nature found its expression through the other nature, the human, fallen, sinful, and mortal. The former, being sinless, could not be touched by death. At the cross of Christ, it was not His divinity but His humanity which died eternally, never to rise again. A sinless, holy flesh arose on the resurrection morning which death could never touch. "Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person—the man Christ Jesus.

In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was

         crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible."

 

         "When the voice of the angel was heard saying, Thy Father calls Thee,' He who had said, 'I lay down My life, that I might take it again,'

         'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,' came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Deity did not die. Humanity died, but Christ now proclaims over the  rent sepulchre of Joseph,  'I am the resurrection, and the life.' In His divinity Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He had life in Himself to quicken

whom He will." S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1113.

 

         The objection that Jesus could never have been our Saviour and would have needed one Himself if He had had sinful, fallen, degenerate human

flesh, ignores the dual character of His nature. It is not the sinful flesh Christ

         dwelt in which brought Him under eternal condemnation. Cross or no cross, the flesh does not condemn anyone even though it is under the condemnation of eternal death. The indwelling sin nature of the devil is the condemning factor. That sin nature Jesus never had, just as every child of God is free from that condemnation.

 

 

72     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         So it is written, "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also  Himself likewise took part of the  same [flesh  and blood  as the children]; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of

         death, that is, the devil."

 

         "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.

 

         "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

         "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to

 

succour them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:11,       14,    16,    17,         18.

 

 

It has been emphasized that any true presentation of the doctrine of Christ must include His eternal pre-existence and equality with God as God, and His complete identity with humanity. To present one without the other, no matter how lucidly, or to present one with but a limited view of the other, fails to present the doctrine of Christ as a saving reality for the believer and is being guilty of preaching the terrible doctrine of antichrist. The writer of Hebrews could never be charged with this.  He has mustered the strongest arguments based on the most reliable evidences to show the fullness of Christ's divinity. With equal emphasis he shows that

 

Christ was fully and truly man, sharing a common origin with His brethren,

 

partaking of the same flesh and blood as they. He was made, not in some,

         nor in many, nor even in most, but in all things like unto His brethren, subject exactly as they to temptations, suffering, and death. In doing this, Paul shows us the model of the teaching which we are to follow and present. It is small wonder that when Elders Waggoner and Jones came with a message from God, which was justification by faith in very truth, both of them presented not only the fullness of Christ's divinity,

 

but the fullness of His humanity also.

 

         Any teaching today which fails to present the subject of the incarnation in this way and to this fullness, is a deception of Satan designed to mislead

         and destroy souls. With such we must have no part.

 

 

9

 

His Tent And Ours

 

         The great fact of the incarnation then is that the eternal, pre-existent, self-existent, sinless, and holy God, came down to dwell in the fallen,

 

mortal, sinful flesh of a common human being.

 

         To most, it seems incomprehensible that the sinless God could unite Himself with a sinful human nature. More than that, the idea is positively repulsive to them. The concept of God held by such is that He is so pure and immaculate that He must remain forever at a distance from sinful humanity, thus making it impossible for Him to dwell in sinful flesh.

Therefore,  they believe that He must and did come in a holy and

         immaculate flesh and blood such as none of the fallen children of Adam have.

 

         This concept is so strong in their minds that they will persist in believing it despite the clear declarations in God's Word to the contrary. "Forasmuch

then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself

         likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood as the children]." "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.

 

"Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His

 

brethren.   ..." Hebrews 2:14,        16,    17.   

                   "He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature          ..." Medical

Ministry,   181.                    

 

 

         All these statements are from the New Testament period. The New Testament is the book of declarations of truth, while in the Old the great

truths are in pictorial form. There is no declaration of truth in the New

         Testament which does not have its corresponding picture in the Old. Therefore, the great truth of the incarnation is not new to the New Testament, but is also found in clearly pictured form in the Old. Amongst other places, the sanctuary stands forth as the clearest picture to be found of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. To my mind, the picture

 

 

74     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         given here is so simple, so clear, and so convincing, that it stands as an anchor to my soul in this question. When I am assailed by arguments to the effect that Christ came in sinless flesh; when it is made to appear that the words of Scripture testify that He did, I have only to recall this picture to

allay all doubts and uncertainties. It provides an anchor immovable, a

         fortress of truth impregnable.

 

         God, in His great wisdom, understanding the difficulties encountered by the human mind, provided the sanctuary as a lesson book in pictorial form,  so that men  would  have every assistance in  understanding the wonder of the incarnation of Christ. To Moses He said, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25:8. God did not, as He might well have done, make the sanctuary Himself and hand it down to man. There is coming a time when He will do this. The

New Jerusalem will be the work of His hands, but the sanctuary in the wilderness was to be the work of man s hands. The Lord said "Let them

 

make          ..."

 

 

         In obedience to these directions, the people made the sanctuary. Every part of it was the product of human bodies. True, the powers and the skills were those given them by God, but God did none of the work Himself. All of it was committed to the hands of men and they made the building after

the pattern given to them through Moses. This, then, is the first important

         point to remember in regard to that building.

 

 

HIS TENT AND OURS       75

 

 

         The second is that the building was constructed entirely from the dust of the earth. Make a list of all the materials used in the building—gold, silver, linen, timber, skins, and so on, and it will be seen that all are from the dust of the earth with no exceptions. But this is not all. The dust from which those materials were made was the same dust from which their bodies were made. It was the dust upon which the curse of sin rested. It was not the same immaculate and pure dust found in the Garden of Eden from which

the earthly bodies of Adam and Eve were made.

 

         It is evident that it would have been a very simple matter for God to have given them materials direct from heaven for the construction. Again, in His wonderful foresight, He could have preserved materials from the Garden of Eden, and given these to them for building the sanctuary. But He purposefully did not do either of these things. The sanctuary was designed to teach a certain lesson. For God to have provided for its construction, materials upon which no curse of sin rested, would have destroyed any possibility of the desired lesson being taught. It would have made the sanctuary not a teacher, but a contradictor of reality. To teach the lesson the Lord desired, it had to be entirely the product of human bodies

and had to be made from materials formed from the dust of the earth upon

         which rested the curse of sin.

 

         It is worthy of note that the materials from which the sanctuary was made were taken from that part of the earth upon which at that time the greatest curse of sin rested. They were direct from the land of Egypt.

         To summarize:

 

1. The sanctuary was built by human bodies;

 

         2. It was built from materials upon which the curse of sin rested; 3.  The materials came from the most sinful nation on the earth at that

 

time.

 

         The building therefore, could only be temporary. It would wax old and decay and in due time pass away to be replaced by another. Yet, within

that building dwelt the presence of God Himself. Here is the picture of the

         One who is eternal, sinless, pre-existent, and self-existent, dwelling in that which was temporary, sinful, and of human origin.

 

         In doing this, God provided a picture of what each and every child of God is to be. In the first instance, no one should have any difficulty in seeing that each person is made by a human body through the powers of reproduction given to man by God. Not one of us today is a direct creation

from the hand of God as was Adam. Nor are we physically born of God.

         We do not have any kind of immaculate conception due to the intervention of the Holy Spirit at the point of our conception.

 

Secondly, our bodies are made today from the dust of the earth upon which the curse of sin is resting so heavily. Therefore, they are temporary, sinful, and of human origin. They wax old and will inevitably pass away.

 

 

76     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         There was a decided difference between the soil in the Garden of Eden and the soil as it was in Moses', Christ's, or our own day. After the fall, sin's curse rested not only upon man,  but upon the whole of the earth's kingdom. It may be questioned, "Why did all nature have to suffer because of Adam and Eve's sin?" Adam ruled this earthly kingdom. The moment Satan overcame him, the whole kingdom naturally passed into Satan's

possession. The evil of the devil then lay with heavy weight upon all he

         touched. Thus, inevitably, the whole of creation suffered on account of man's sin.

 

         God declared to Adam and Eve the changed conditions which were the result of their course of action. "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow

         shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

 

         "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat

the herb of the field." Genesis 3:17,      18.

 

 

The curse is the curse of sin. It is only there because of the sin committed. As the dust of the earth has on it the curse of sin, it is changed from that of the garden of Eden. It now lacks the vitality of the original soil and its predominant tendency is to produce thorns and thistles with ease and abundance. It has to be disciplined and worked with great and diligent

 

effort to bring forth the good fruits essential to human life.

 

So it is with our flesh. It is very different from the flesh of our first

 

parents before the fall. Weak and frail, lacking the wonderful vitality theirs

 

         had, it has a prevailing tendency or disposition to sin rather than to do righteousness. Without discipline or control, our flesh will produce only

         evil, but if subjected to control and discipline, it can be made to obey the will of God.

 

         We know by first-hand knowledge the flesh we are afflicted with. Even after we have been born again, we still have the same flesh, weak, sinful, mortal, and prone to do evil. We know it is made from the dust of the earth

as it now is, and is not free from sin's curse as in the Garden of Eden.

         Yet, within this earthly tent or tabernacle, God is to dwell just as He did back there in the wilderness. This is what the Christian is during the period of this earthly sojourn. It is to be emphasized that reference is made here to those who have become true Christians, not to those who merely profess to

 

be such.

 

         That this is so is made plain in these words: "Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol—that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshiping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His

purpose for the human soul. It was the same purpose long afterward set

         forth by the apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit:

 

 

HIS TENT AND OURS       77

 

 

" 'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.' 1 Corinthians

 

3:16,          17." Education,  36.

 

 

         This is further confirmed by these words: "In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering

         upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator." The Desire of Ages, 161.

 

         These two statements make very clear what the temple of God is. That temple is the human body, which, as we have seen, is made as was the sanctuary of old. Within that body temple is to be the very presence of God even as God dwelt in the building made by human hands in the past. But it was not only as a representation of the Christian that the sanctuary was built. As surely as God tells us through Paul that Christ took

the same flesh and blood as the children, that He took on Him the seed of

         Abraham and was made in all things like unto His brethren, the sanctuary also provides us with a picture of the incarnation of Christ.

 

This is fully confirmed by Inspiration.

 

         "God commanded Moses for Israel, 'Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them' (Exodus 25:8), and He abode in the

         sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them." The Desire of Ages,

         23.

 

         Thus is described in brief the building of the sanctuary back there. Having made this description, the next sentence begins with the word "So ..." The appearance of this word at this point conveys the expectation that what follows will be a parallel of what has just been stated and so it is. As the sanctuary was made by human hands from the sin-cursed dust of the earth, "so . ."—in like manner—by the same procedure—in the same

         way—not in any different way—"Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only-begotten from the Father),

full of grace and truth.' John 1:14, R.V., margin." ibid.

 

         Jesus Christ is the eternal God who has shared the throne of the universe with the Father from the eternity of the past. He needed to come

down among men in order to save them. To do that, He needed a tabernacle or tent in which to dwell just as He had needed one in the

         wilderness in the days of ancient Israel. That tent was a human body even as our bodies are the temple either of the true God or of the devil.

 

 

78     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         A timely reminder here is that there is no dispute over the fact that Christ did come in a tabernacle or tent which was His humanity. Even the Roman Catholic Church believes that Christ came in human form. The question is what kind of humanity it was in which He came. He came either in the sinless flesh and blood of Adam as Adam was before the fall, or in the

fallen, sinful flesh of the sons of Adam as that flesh was under the curse of

         sin. .

 

The object lessons provided by God are not vague, loose, or indefinite.

 

         They are accurate and to the point. Therefore, had it been God's plan for Christ to come to this earth to tabernacle in the sinless flesh of the unfallen Adam,  He would have instructed Moses,  and provided him with the materials, to construct the tabernacle so as to accurately picture that. This would have involved the Lord's preserving from the Garden of Eden materials upon which the curse of sin had never rested. In that case, the statement quoted above from The Desire of Ages, 23, could never have truthfully been written.

 

         But it was written and plainly states that, exactly as the wilderness tabernacle was built, so the human body of Christ was prepared for His

         abode while upon this earth. The body of Christ was formed in the body of another human being according to the natural operations of the flesh. That body was built cell by cell of the sinful, cursed dust of the earth and was not in the least different from the flesh and blood of any other human being this side of the fall. But into that tabernacle came the presence of God. No one,  in looking back to the ancient sanctuary,  will have any difficulty in seeing the distinction between the tabernacle, and the presence of God in that tabernacle. The tabernacle was of this earth, was temporary, and had no holiness of itself. But the God in that tabernacle was from heaven, was and is eternal, and is holiness itself. It was a combination of the heavenly and the earthly,  exactly as Christ upon this earth was the combination of divinity and humanity.

 

         Many find difficulty in making the clear distinctions necessary to correctly  understand  both  Christ's  incarnation  and  true  Christian experience. This is in spite of the clarity shown in the sanctuary illustration. They are unable to see the distinction between the fallen, sinful flesh and the evil nature which dwells in that flesh. Consequently, when it is

taught as in this book, that Christ tabernacled in sinful flesh, they conclude

         this to mean that He therefore was unholy and a sinner. The sanctuary exposes the falsity of this reasoning. There, God came and dwelt in a building made by human hands from the cursed dust of the earth. But this did not make the God of heaven unholy or a sinner. If God did not become unholy and sinful by dwelling in the wilderness sanctuary, then Christ did not become unholy and sinful by dwelling in sinful flesh. On the contrary, the building—even though its materials were not changed by

 

 

HIS TENT AND OURS       79

 

 

God's presence—became a sanctified place when God was there. The combination of the heavenly with the earthly resulted in a building which was entirely devoted to the service of God and revealed in a most marvellous way the beauty, the power, and the perfection of the gospel. Likewise, when Jesus came to the earth, the combination of divinity with humanity produced a life entirely and perfectly devoted to the service of God. It was a life in which the beauty, power, and perfection of the gospel was fully revealed.

 

         That is clear enough. However, the sanctuary clarifies the problem even further. There were times when God had to leave that sanctuary because of the apostasy of the people. When that happened, the building did not remain empty. The presence of Satan filled it. One such occasion for instance, was when Christ came to the temple at the beginning of His ministry. When He found the courtyard to the temple filled with the din and

bustle of commercial activity, He knew, and we know, that there was

         nothing of God's presence there at all. We likewise know that Satan was very much there, activating those selfish men in their work of extortion. As surely as that building was filled with Satan's presence, so surely were the hearts of those present filled with the unholy traffic of sinfulness. "The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts." The Desire of Ages, 161.

         Here then are two possible situations,  both of which represent a condition in the human life. The first is when the presence of God is in the sanctuary and the second when the presence of Satan is there. What must not be overlooked is that while the presence of God is exchanged for the presence of Satan, the building itself does not change. The same building is either a tabernacle for God or for Satan. Even though it was made by human bodies from the cursed dust of the earth, this does not make it unholy or sinful. That condition is determined by who is dwelling in the

 

building.

 

         However, while the building does not change, the defiling presence of Satan in the sanctuary and in our flesh does have an effect. Reference to the days of King Hezekiah shows that after a period during which the presence of Satan was in the sanctuary, the building was in a bad state of disrepair and uncleanness. It required from the first to the eighth day of the first month to restore the building for God's service. The story is found in 2 Chronicles 29:1-9. But the building in disrepair and uncleanness was still the same building. It had not changed into another at all. So the presence of Satan in the human life has a corrupting effect upon

the human body. It becomes unclean, falls into the disrepair of ill health,

         and loses its effective powers, but it does not become a different body. It is still the same fallen, sinful, mortal flesh and blood. In the change from the

 

 

80     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         life devoted to Satan's service to the Christian life there is no change in the flesh except for its improvement. The change is in the power which resides

         in that flesh.

 

         We obtain the presence of the life of God in our mortal bodies by the process of spiritual birth. This is not the birth of the flesh and therefore does

         not change it. Rather, "It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature." The Desire of Ages, 324.

 

         This does not mean that God personally and bodily resides in the believer. God is a Person. He dwells in the heavens above. What happens is that His nature and character are reproduced in the individual so that the very  same  life  and  spirit  which  is  the  basis  for  God's  actions  of righteousness, become the directing force in the Christian. This explains how God can be an individual and yet, at the same time, dwell in the hearts of all His children. The law of reproduction makes this possible. How often we hear someone remark, "I can certainly see your father in you." At the same time the father may be standing by, listening to the statement which no one takes literally as meaning that the father is bodily in the son. It is understood that the father has transmitted to his son the life which is in himself. There is the same nature, disposition, talents, and general appearance. This reproduction is physical or human. The

father cannot impart to him the spiritual life of God. That is as far beyond

         human power to do as it was for the Israelites to put God into the sanctuary. But, just as the humanity of a person is the result of the law of physical reproduction, so the spiritual nature in man is the result of the law of spiritual reproduction. "By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature." The Desire of Ages, 391.  "When the character of Christ shall be perfectly

         reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." Christ's Object Lessons, 69.

 

         What seems to be generally overlooked is that the law of spiritual reproduction works in two directions—good and evil. Just as surely as the Christian has in him the spiritual life of his Father, God, so the unregenerate have in them the spiritual life of their father, the devil. This means that every one of us was born into the world with a physical parent and a spiritual parent. From the physical parents, our earthly father and mother,

we obtained the tent or tabernacle in which the spiritual dwells. From Satan we obtained the evil spiritual nature with which we are born.

         Christ recognized and taught the truth of this. To the Pharisees He said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He

was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because

         there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44.

 

 

 

82     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         Every one of us enters this world with both the human heredity from sinful fallen man, and the spiritual heredity from Satan. For those who have

         been born again, the satanic heredity has been removed and replaced by the divine heredity. It must be clear that the old spiritual inheritance from Satan must be eradicated for Satan and God are never in the sanctuary together. For God to be there, Satan, if he has been there previously, must be evicted first. Only then can the presence of God come in. In the case of Christ, at no time was Satan ever His father. He, the only-begotten Son of the sinless God, came down to tabernacle in a body which was not the work of the Holy Spirit or of God, but the product of human reproduction. He came to this earth as a new born man—the Son of God by spiritual, and the Son of man by human reproduction. It was God tabernacled in human flesh. The two natures were quite distinct. They did not fuse into one.

 

         The divine nature in the person is one thing. The human temple in which that spiritual nature is resident, is another. In the sanctuary, the

distinction can be clearly seen. It is a distinction vital to understanding the

         incarnation  of  Christ,  and  the  kindred  and  inseparable  subject  of righteousness by faith.

 

         In the experience of Christ, this distinction is made plain. "Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of  God?  No;  the  two  natures  were  mysteriously  blended  in  one

person—the man Christ Jesus. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. . ." The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1113.

 

         "Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that human beings might be raised from their degradation, and placed on vantage-ground. Christ could not have come to this earth with the glory that He had in the heavenly courts. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but He did not part with His divinity. A divine-human Saviour, He came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood.  That human beings might be

partakers of the divine nature, He came to this earth, and lived a life of

         perfect obedience."  The Review and Herald,  June 15, 1905.

         "In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity by being united to divinity, withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness." ibid.,

 

February   18,    1890.

 

 

         These statements show that the picture of the sanctuary is accurate when it reveals the divine presence of heavenly origin as being distinct from the earthly thing in which it was housed. The divine nature of Christ and the

flesh in which it was found were two different entities. The former was

         entirely of heaven; the latter, entirely of the earth in which He lived.

 

 

HIS TENT AND OURS       83

 

 

         Words convey much. Pictures reveal a thousand times more. Men may and do dispute the  meaning of the statements made in regard to the

incarnation, but the picture of the incarnation of Christ as given in the

         sanctuary is too clear and simple to be misunderstood. The unchangeable and unimpeachable facts are these:

 

         1. The sanctuary was built by fallen, mortal humanity; 2.  It was built from materials on which the curse of sin rested;

         3.  The materials came from the most sinful nation on the earth at that

 

time—Egypt.

 

Those are significant facts. Because the sanctuary is the direct picture of the way in which the body of Christ was formed, they apply to Him too for: 1. His body was made by fallen, sinful humanity;

 

2.  It was made from the dust of the earth on which the curse of sin

         rested;

 

3.  He came to the world to be thus made when sin had reached its

         very height.

 

         Such was the flesh of Christ. It, being of this origin, was fallen, sinful, mortal, and imperfect. But, in it dwelt the very God of heaven, exactly as it

was in the wilderness sanctuary. That divine presence in that mortal,

         human flesh sanctified the body temple for a service to God which was perfect, sinless, and wholly acceptable to God.

 

So too it may be with us.

 

 

10

 

From The Depths

 

         It would have been impossible for Christ to come to this earth with Satan's evil nature residing in His flesh and blood. To have done that would have placed Him where He also would need a Saviour, and thus be unable to save us. If He had come as an evil tree, He could have produced only evil fruit which would have rendered Him, in His entirety, under eternal

and irretrievable condemnation.

 

         It was never the purpose of the incarnation to prove that an evil man, while he remained in that condition, could obey the law of God. If Jesus had come to prove that, He would have made God's Word untrue. He

came  to  demonstrate  that  a  man  who  has  been  freed  from  Satan's

         dominion and given the blessing of sonship with God, can obey every one of God's requirements. For Christ to prove that such a person could keep

the law, He must come to where that man is and be exactly as that man

         and, in that position, demonstrate that it can be done to perfection. This is clearly shown in the Word.

 

         However, this was not enough.  It did not fully meet the need of perishing man, nor does it completely answer Satan's charges that a sinful man cannot find salvation. Christ must, without Himself becoming evil in

His spiritual nature or surrendering His divine nature, descend to where lost

         man finds himself.  In that pit,  He  must experience  all the darkness, discouragement,  despair,  and  hopelessness  of  every  guilty  sinner. Everyone who finds salvation comes out of that pit by faith alone. Christ too, must by faith and faith alone come out of that darkness into the light of heaven. By so doing He shows the way of salvation from the darkest depths of iniquity into the full light of deliverance and leaves no man, however deep and dark the pit, with an excuse for not finding his way to complete deliverance.

 

         The purpose of this chapter is to show the fullness of the depths to which Christ descended in His determined and successful mission to save

         mankind.

 

 

FROM THE DEPTHS         85

 

 

         "Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the gate of heaven, to the very threshold of glory. If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are." The Desire of

Ages, 311, 312.

 

         When Jesus comes to us, He does not come to find converted, born again men and women. He came to save the unconverted. Therefore, if

that ladder reaches us where we are, it must have come down into the pit of

         sin where we stand in an unsaved condition. Christ must have experienced for Himself everything known and understood by a man. This would seem a contradiction to the truth already established that Jesus Christ did not take the carnal mind and the evil heart. If He did not take such and was not born of  Satan,  how  could  He  possibly  experience  what  a  son  of Satan experiences? Yet this statement says He came down to us in the pit of sin. Evidently, this is another one of those apparent contradictions in Scripture, the answers to which are always available to the honest Spirit-taught child of God.

 

         The record that Jesus did actually descend into the pit is stated prophetically in Psalm 40. That these words are pointing forward to an

         experience of Christ is verified in verses 6-10.

 

         "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; Mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required. "Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart. "I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not

refrained My lips, O Lord, Thou knowest.

 

         "I have not hid Thy righteousness within My heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness

         and Thy truth from the great congregation."

 

         A  reading  of  Hebrews 10:6-9,  shows  that  Paul  unquestionably understood that these verses were a direct prophecy of the experience and

         ministry of Jesus.

 

         "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,)

 

to do Thy will,  O God.

 

         "Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which

 

are offered by the law;

 

         "Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second."

 

He did not quote and make an application of every part of the Psalm to Christ for he was concerned with one particular aspect of Christ's ministry. This was spoken of in one part of the Psalm only, which he quoted. The whole of the Psalm is spoken in the first person by the same person. There

 

 

86     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         is no change in the subject matter or in the person of the subject matter. If it is proved that one part of the Psalm is a direct prophecy of the work and

experience of Christ, then every other part is too.

 

         A. T. Jones declares that all the Psalms are a prophecy of Jesus Christ. "We are now to study another phase of this great subject; First in the Psalms,—Christ in the Psalms,—that we may see how entirely the Psalms mean Christ, and that the One whose experience is recorded there is Christ." The 1895 General Conference Bulletin 15:1. This is logical, for the

experiences recorded in Psalms are the experiences of God's dealing with

         man. Inasmuch as there is no experience through which man has passed that Jesus has not also passed, it would be impossible for the Psalms not to be a portrayal of the experiences of Jesus.

 

         "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto Me, and heard My cry.

 

         "He brought Me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set My feet upon a rock, and established My goings.

         "And He hath put a new song in My mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. "Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not

the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."

 

Note especially verse one which reads, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto Me, and heard My cry." We know from our own experience that, when we are down in that pit of sin, we long to be brought out and released. We go through that Romans 7 experience of struggling, searching, and pleading, and we persevere and patiently wait for God to

 

bring us out of the pit. After a period of anguish and agony, we are finally

 

         delivered. We can testify: "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."

With beautiful accuracy these words describe the experience of every

 

         person who, by living faith, is saved from the pit of sin and has his feet placed upon the Rock of God's salvation. This Psalm is not primarily about

         us, but about Christ. It is His experience which is being described. There was a time when He was down in that pit; when He waited patiently upon the Lord until His cry was heard and He was lifted up to have a very

different song put into His heart, and upon His lips. Had He not been, He

         could not have been tempted in all points like as we are, and could not have succoured us from all temptation.

 

         In the light of these Scriptures there can be no question but that He did descend into the pit to suffer those terrible hours of darkness as we must.

         When and how did He do it?

 

         In  The  Desire  of Ages, 685,  in  the  wonderful  chapter  entitled "Gethsemane" is opened before us the picture of Jesus Christ experiencing

         what it actually was to be a lost sinner. The Lord's supper is over; the

 

 

FROM THE DEPTHS         87

 

 

         apostles together with Christ have left the upper room and are walking toward the garden.

 

         "In company with His disciples, the Saviour slowly made His way to the garden of Gethsemane. The Passover moon, broad and full, shone from a

cloudless sky. The city of pilgrims' tents was hushed into silence.

         "Jesus had been earnestly conversing with His disciples and instructing them; but as He neared Gethsemane, He became strangely silent. He had often visited this spot for meditation and prayer; but never with a heart so full of sorrow as upon this night of His last agony."

 

Note these next words:

 

         "Throughout His life on earth He had walked in the light of God's presence. When in conflict with men who were inspired by the very spirit of Satan, He could say, 'He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.' " This describes the experience of Christ's entire lifetime up to this point. It is not the picture of someone who is down in the pit, but of one whose feet are established upon a rock. "Throughout His life on earth He had

walked in the light of God's presence." Is that the pit? Certainly not!

         Throughout that time Jesus had been walking upon the high road and solid ground which every sanctified brother walks.  Constantly He gave a convincing demonstration of how every person who has divinity living in

 

sinful, fallen humanity, can live a sinless life. It was not during this period

 

that Christ was down in the pit, but some time subsequent to this. This is indicated in the next verse which begins with "but".

 

         Introducing "but" as the first word in a sentence indicates that a picture of contrast follows. The previous picture showed Jesus walking on solid ground in the light of God's sustaining presence. In the picture now introduced, He is down in the pit with the transgressors, feeling all that the condemned and lost feel. "But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of  God's  sustaining  presence.  Now  He  was  numbered  with  the

transgressors. The guilt of fallen humanity He must bear."

         Where is the transgressor found? Walking in the light of God's presence, or in the pit of sin? He is in the pit, shut out from the light of God's sustaining presence. Around him is deep, impenetrable darkness, a great sense of hopelessness, despair, and a sense of being totally lost. "Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father's love. Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.' " So real, so personal and so actually His own, did your sin and my sin appear to Jesus, that He felt just as if He were a lost sinner.

 

 

88     DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         "For innumerable evils have compassed Me about: Mine iniquities have taken hold upon Me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than

         the hairs of Mine head: therefore My heart faileth Me.

 

         "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver Me: O Lord, make haste to help Me." Psalm 40:12, 13.

 

         Jesus said, "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon Me." Mine iniquities? Did Christ ever sin? Certainly not! Then why did He not say, their iniquities have taken hold upon Me? Jesus Christ gives us His righteousness as if it were our own and He also took our sins which became His as if actually committed by Him. When He takes something, it becomes His possession.

Jesus could and did say,  "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon Me"

         because, at that time, He felt just as the guilty sinner feels. When the guilty human being suffers the agony of the condemnation of his sins, they are sins committed by himself. This burden of guilt crushes out the life forces and eventually ends in death. When Jesus took upon Himself those iniquities, He was not bearing the sins of one, but of every man who ever lived. Such a burden is beyond the power of the human mind to assess or understand. If the single burden of our own sins means such a weight of discouragement and horror to us, what must the effect of the whole world's accumulated sins have been upon Christ's human frame? His humanity could not long endure the fearful, life-crushing burden before expiring under its sheer weight. Jesus felt the utter sense of separation from God exactly as the sinner, only infinitely more so.

 

         These words poignantly describe the trial and sufferings of Christ at this time.

 

         "As they approached the garden, the disciples had marked the change that came over their Master. Never before had they seen Him so utterly sad

         and silent. As He proceeded, this strange sadness deepened; yet they dared not question Him as to the cause. His form swayed as if He were about to fall. Upon reaching the garden, the disciples looked anxiously for His usual place of retirement, that their Master might rest. Every step that He now took was with labored effort. He groaned aloud, as if suffering under the pressure of a terrible burden. Twice His companions supported Him, or He would have fallen to the earth. . .

 

         "He went a little distance from them —not so far but that they could both see and hear Him—and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by

sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so

         black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of  man's  sin.  As  man  He  must  endure  the  wrath  of God  against transgression.

 

"Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, 'Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man

 

 

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that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.' As the substitute and surety for

         sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

 

         "As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness. In the wilderness of temptation the destiny of the human race had been at stake.  Christ was then conqueror. Now the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle. For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ's ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would finally become Christ's; he himself would be overthrown and cast out. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan's kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God." The Desire of

Ages, 685-687.

 

         These words are a message of life to the perishing. They bring the comfort of knowing there is nothing we can ever suffer in our human nature, tempting us to believe that the power of sin is too great, that Jesus did not suffer more so. His human nature was just as weak and sinful as our own. Where we know real fear, He, too, knew real fear. "As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness." Bearing the full weight of transgression, He felt in Himself the terrible, agonizing fear that He would never see His Father's

face again and that the separation would be eternal.

 

         Is there any experience through which a human being can pass, more terrible than that? The ultimate terror and suffering is the fear of eternal separation from God. When a sin-burdened man sees yawning before him

         a bottomless gulf from which there appears no rescue, and no deliverance, he experiences the worst thing a man can suffer. Every lost soul shall suffer

this at the end of the thousand years when he reads his irrevocable

         sentence of eternal death. He will see that he has lost all this world can give and must suffer eternal oblivion and separation from God. The darkness of

that horror shall come upon every mind, and each will suffer as Jesus did in

         the garden of Gethsemane.

 

It is essential that the sinner in the pit has faith in God's power and willingness to deliver him from that situation. The fearful pressure of temptation is to abandon himself to the apparently hopeless nature of his case. He is tempted to feel that others can be saved but not he; that sin's power is too great to escape and the burden of his guilt too black to be

 

 

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         pardoned. This was the pressure of temptation upon Christ. If He had given up the struggle and surrendered to temptation, all would have been lost. Every sinner would have been forever justified in assuming that sin is

stronger than righteousness and Satan stronger than God.

         If the sinner had only to face the black discouragement of his burden of guilt, that would be bad enough. But wherever a soul seeks pardon and deliverance, Satan aggravates the temptation by relentlessly pressing the hopelessness of the situation upon him. The revelation of Satan in this role of accuser of the brethren is given in Zechariah 3:1-3.

 

         "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. "And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even

the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee:  is not this a brand

         plucked out of the fire?

 

         "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel."

 

         The filthy garments symbolize the sinfulness of the petitioner. His only hope is in Christ. To be saved, he must have faith that the Saviour will forgive his sins and deliver him from bondage. It is here that Satan presents

the sins of the sinner in a magnified and exaggerated light to appall him with

         horror as he views the evil of his nature. The devil seeks to terrify him with the thought that he dare not trust the Saviour to heal and restore him. For the sinner it is a terrible and trying experience. He is battling with a persistent and powerful sin problem from which he longs to be saved but from which there seems to be no salvation. Darkness and hopelessness surround him. His hungry heart searches for a ray of hope and light; a strength and faith that will connect him with the Deliverer. But as he looks up to the Saviour, he finds only a black, impenetrable cloud over his head. Satan has interposed himself between the suppliant and the Master. He argues that the sin is too great to ever be pardoned; that the Saviour has been grieved beyond the point where He could ever consider the man's plea. He reminds him of the experience he once enjoyed; how he received many blessings from God, but now he is labouring under the fearful burden of guilt. He presents a God so pure that He is unable to look upon sin; One who is harsh, just, and exacting. With every devious argument his cunning brain can invent, Satan seeks to make the most of the sinner's situation in a desperate  effort  to  prevent  the  outreach  of  faith  which  will  bring deliverance.

 

         This is what makes the experience of those seeking to escape from the pit, more difficult and arduous. It is the experience described and illustrated

         in the enacted parable of Joshua and the Angel.

 

For Jesus to be a full and complete Saviour, He had to experience, while down in that pit of sin, the added weight of the Joshua and the Angel experience also.  Although the burden already placed upon Him was heavy, terrible, and far beyond what any human being has ever been called

 

 

FROM THE DEPTHS         91

 

 

         upon to bear, He must also take the weight of the devil's special temptation at this time. Satan made the most of the opportunity by presenting the sins

to the Saviour in the worst possible light.

 

Hear his subtle arguments at this time.

 

"And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous followers will deny You. All will forsake You. Christ's whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life."

 

ibid.,          687.

 

 

         The greatest comfort to any Christian is to know that no experience, no temptation, comes to him that Jesus has not experienced. Parents who have laboured for years to raise up children in the truth, suffer the terrible anguish of seeing their sons and daughters go out into a world of sin and turn aside from the faith. This is a bitter experience for parents. How often they are tempted to give up and say, "It's not worth it. I might just as well go with them." When that temptation comes, remember that Jesus suffered that for you. See Him in the garden of Gethsemane, contemplating that one of His disciples would be foremost in betraying Him; their quarrels and contentions; their sleeping when they ought to have been praying. They would all forsake Him and flee for their lives in the hour of His betrayal. See Him contemplating the Jewish nation to whom God had given the light of life, searching for His life; they who ought to have understood His sacrifice, being the very ones to sacrifice Him upon the tree. After three and a half years of self-sacrificing ministry, He looks around and finds not one man or woman in the entire world upon whom He can rely or look upon as the fruits of His labours. Can you think of a more desperate and discouraging situation—a more terrible pressure of temptation than Jesus suffered at this time? A great sense of separation from God; around Him only the awful, terrible darkness of sin; beside Him an evil tempter pressing the whole situation upon Him in its worst and darkest features. There was no man

with Him, but rather, a picture of complete misunderstanding, hatred, and

         total desertion.

 

During all this He is bearing the sins of the world. Think of it! When you are down in that pit, whose sins do you bear? Only your own. Jesus knew all the darkness, discouragement, hopelessness, and separation from God

 

 

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that my sins could bring upon Him. But that was not all. He took the sins of

         the entire world, of the rebellious Jewish nation, of the Gentile Roman world, of the heathen world; sins of every age and generation. The depth

of His pit went far, far deeper than ours—beyond a depth that human

         words can ever describe. He bore and took it all. He experienced it for

 

Himself.

 

         More important still, He triumphed over the fullness of that temptation and came out of that pit by a living faith in His Father's power to save Him. Not only did He experience the full pressure of the temptation as every man must, but He did not have any advantage over us in coping with and

obtaining deliverance from it. As we must wait patiently upon the Lord until

         He hears our cry, Christ had to wait patiently upon the Lord until His cry was heard. By faith alone we are enabled to lay hold upon the deliverance. By faith alone Jesus was saved out of that pit.

 

No matter how dark and discouraging a sinner's situation may be; no matter how great the burden of his guilt and the terror of his condemnation; no sinner can say that it is too much, that salvation cannot be for him. As proof, witness the experience of Jesus who was truly "in all points tempted

 

like as we are, yet without sin".

 

         The victory gained by Christ from that dark and dismal pit, is the greatest ever gained in the history of the universe. It is the assurance that we may have the same victory and triumph over the realms of darkness. Prophetically, the victory is revealed and described in Psalm 22:1-5. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far

from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?

         "O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

 

         "But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. "Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. "They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and

were not confounded."

 

         Jesus, as He hung on the cross, could look back on the experience of the fathers—Abraham, David, Moses, Jacob—and remember the wonderful answers to prayer which those men received. He could remember their

being forgiven and delivered from their sins.

 

         Though understandable and acceptable it was no comfort to Him, for as He measured Himself by them, they appeared virtuous and righteous by comparison. He could only say in despair, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." As such there seemed no hope that He could be saved.

 

In this, He was experiencing what so many of us experience at one time or another. Our sins are real and present to us. Looking on others who seem to have an experience of sunshine and victory, we gloomily believe that they can easily be saved, but that it is different for ourselves. We are to take comfort. Jesus felt this temptation and overcame it to show us how

 

 

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that device of Satan's can also be overcome. We are inclined to argue that

         for Jesus it was different. He was the Son of God; He never sinned. He was faithful and strong; but we are in another class. More and more we see and understand that it was not different with Him. It was not easier but harder. His life leaves us without any excuse for sin.

 

         This is further revealed as we hear Christ's lament over His desperate condition on the cross.

 

"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of

 

the people.

 

         "All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

 

         "He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.

 

         "But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb: Thou didst make Me hope when I was upon My mother's breasts.

 

         "I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother's belly.

 

"Be not far from Me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

         "Many bulls have compassed Me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset Me

 

round.

 

"They gaped upon Me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring

 

lion.

 

         "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels.

 

         "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.

         "For dogs have  compassed  Me:  the assembly of the wicked  have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet.

 

         "I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. "They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture. "But be not Thou far from Me, O Lord: O My strength, haste Thee to

help Me.

 

"Deliver My soul from the sword; My darling from the power of the

 

dog.

 

         "Save Me from the lion's mouth: for Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns." Psalm 22:6-21.

 

While Jesus was down in that pit, He had absolutely no power in and of Himself to escape. He had laid that aside when He left the heavenly courts to fight the battle as man must fight it. He could have chosen to reach out and lay hold upon that power again, thus delivering Himself from the situation, returning to heaven, and leaving us to perish. The pressure to do so was tremendous, and the temptation to adopt this course was terrible. "The awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was

 

 

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         not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the

 

penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink

 

         the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, 'O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.' " The Desire of

Ages, 690.

 

         While He refused to take hold of His Godhead and abandon humanity, He had no power to rise out of that pit. Just as you and I must look by faith beyond the dark cloud and trust in God to deliver us, so Jesus Christ had to

be saved by faith. He testified of His experience in Psalm 40. "I waited

         patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto Me, and heard My cry. "He brought Me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set My feet upon a rock, and established My goings." There is a tendency to think of Christ only as a Saviour and not as one of the saved. But, let it not be forgotten that there is no experience through which we can pass that Christ has not been through. By this we know that He too, experienced salvation from sin—not His but ours. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared." Hebrews 5:7. It was for salvation that Jesus sought and prayed. Only One could save Him—His Father who is in Heaven. He pinned His faith on His Father's promises and love and, by that faith. He obtained deliverance.

 

         In Psalm 22 is pictured the most wonderful and astonishing victory of faith ever recorded. It is both the model for our outreach of faith and the

         assurance of its success.

 

         There is an entirely different note in Psalm 22:22-31 from that in the previous verses. Here is the assurance of triumph, the ringing note of

confidence and victory. When these sentiments were expressed, Christ was

         not yet released from the dreadful darkness and burden of sinfulness. Conditions had not changed from when He had uttered those dismal words at the beginning of the Psalm. He was strung up between the earth and the heavens. Around Him were the mockers; upon Him was the full burden of sin; there was scarcely anyone who expressed confidence in Him. His plight was the most desperate, yet His faith reached out of the depths of darkness, penetrating into the very presence of God. It enabled Him to see beyond the tomb to the certainty of the resurrection and the ultimate defeat of Satan.

 

         "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.

 

         "Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel.

 

"For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

 

 

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         neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard.

 

         "My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay My vows before them that fear Him.

 

         "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.

 

         "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.

         "For the kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor among the nations.

 

         "All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him: and none can keep alive his own

 

soul.

 

         "A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

 

         "They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this."

 

That was victory!

 

It was the victory of faith!

 

         You know when you are down in the dark pit of discouragement and there is a great sense of separation between you and God, that that is the

         most difficult time to praise God and believe in His salvation. Yet, as Christ hung upon the cross and went through the final depths of what He had begun to experience in the garden of Gethsemane, there broke forth from His lips that incredible testimony of praise, thankfulness, and confidence in God that He would rise from the tomb, He would speak the name of God in the great congregation to a people yet unborn, and God's salvation would be experienced by people of every nation, kindred, and tongue. That was faith—living faith. It broke through the visible evidences around Him and, laying hold upon God's word, trusted and believed that word. It gave Jesus the same victory.we must gain to find our part and place in the kingdom of Heaven. In the garden of Gethsemane, and upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ experienced what we shall experience in the dark pit of Jacob's trouble, when human probation has closed and there is no Intercessor.

 

         As we look upon the wonder of the incarnation and see what Jesus did, every excuse for sin is swept away. There is no basis for any doubt that we

could be saved, or that the power of God is insufficient to lift us up from the

         depths of degradation and sin.

 

Jesus took our sinful, fallen, human flesh. Bearing the sins of the whole world, He suffered as every man must. By faith alone, looking up through the dark clouds separating Him from God, He waited patiently for God to save Him and was rewarded. He was delivered from sin to have His feet placed upon a rock. He overcame in the darkest hour of this world's

 

 

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history. " 'God with us  is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the

         assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven."

 

         Listen to His voice in that dark hour when the thief upon the cross said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee today. . ." Which day? That day of darkness and despair with no visible evidence to give Christ the assurance

that He would rise from the tomb. Today, He said, from the very pit of

         darkness I say to you, "Thou shalt be with Me in paradise". That was faith, the faith of Jesus. It is the faith which all those must have who will be finally victorious over sin and the devil. It lifts from the pit of sin, penetrates the darkness around, and denies the charges and discouraging insinuations of Satan. It places our feet upon the rock.

 

We have seen that the human nature of Christ, the flesh and blood

 

body in which His divine nature resided, was sinful, fallen flesh. Every

 

         tendency of that nature leaned in the direction of sin exactly as our flesh does even though we are born again Christians. That flesh represented to Him as it does to us, a terrible handicap in the battle against evil. Jesus did not in the least degree experience any advantage over us. He

felt temptation as a converted man feels and understands it, and overcame

         as a converted man may overcome if he will.

 

But for Christ to be a perfect Saviour or even one at all, it was not

 

sufficient to suffer temptation only as a converted man suffers it. It was the

 

lost whom Jesus came to save. Therefore He must also experience the

         power of temptation as an unconverted man feels it, and gain the victory as that man can if he will. The problem in the minds of many is how this could be  possible  when  Christ  never  had  the  carnal  mind  of  which  the unregenerate in spirit is possessed, controlled, and dominated. Neither had He ever sinned to feel the destructive power of the guilt complex. If He never had the carnal mind, and never sinned, how could He experience what it meant to have those things?

 

         We must consider His experience in Gethsemane to see how this was done. The sinfulness of man was so placed upon Him that He bore it as // it were His own. So actually and really was this done, that He experienced the sinfulness of that evil as every lost person experiences it. He was within

the deadly clutch of fear that victory was impossible, that sinful humanity

         could never endure the pressure of the hour of trial.

 

The nature of Christ upon this earth in these positions is generally incomprehensible to the average person. They cannot see that the sinless, divine nature of God could and did reside in the sinful, fallen, human nature of man. All are aware that we have sinful, fallen human natures which have led us into grievous sins, and it is assumed that it is impossible not to sin while we are in this flesh. But, if this is so, then Christ would have to have sinned, for He had the same flesh and blood as we have. His life proves that no matter how great the pressure of temptation, there is still no

 

excuse to sin even while handicapped with sinful, fallen, flesh.

 

 

11

 

The Two Deaths

 

         Any difficulty in seeing this disappears by recognizing the distinction between two different natures—the carnal mind on the one hand, and the mind of Christ on the other. Failure to make distinctions such as this one is common among religious people. The Jews utterly failed to see two different comings of Christ. The result was their rejection of Him with consequent loss of eternal life. Likewise, the modern Protestant world denies the distinction between the moral and ceremonial laws. Therefore, they discard the moral law along with the ceremonial, thus disqualifying

themselves for eternal life.

 

Either the carnal mind dwells in our fallen, sinful flesh and rules events

 

         or the divine mind of Christ occupies the body temple.  The former sanctions and stimulates every fleshly desire, while the latter subdues and

         controls the fleshly lusts.

 

         The regenerate and the unregenerate both have the same fallen, sinful flesh and blood. Christ stood in the place of the regenerate, thus having the same  flesh  and  blood  as  both  the  regenerate  and  the  unregenerate possessed. But, both of these classes have another power in them apart

from the power of their human natures. With the unregenerate, it is the

         power of the carnal mind, while with the regenerate, it is the power of Christ's divine mind or life. Understanding these distinctions is vital to comprehending the nature of Christ in the incarnation.

 

         In Romans, chapters 6-8, these truths are revealed and confirmed. Consider firstly Romans 8:7. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." What is the "carnal mind" referred to in this verse? There is sufficient information given to establish its identity. It is a power not merely at enmity against God, but which is, in itself, enmity with God. Furthermore, it is not

subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

 

         Some people add that it is only without Christ that it is not possible for this power to be subject to the law of God. But this is adding to the

 

 

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Scriptures. They do not say that it cannot be done except by Christ. They simply assert it cannot be.

 

         The same is true of the thorn bush. It is by nature enmity against fruit bearing and is not subject to this law neither can it be made to be. Not even God will bring forth apples on a thorn bush for this would require His abolition of a law essential for our protection and blessing. Therefore, the carnal mind cannot be our flesh and blood intellectual mind, for this, while it can be at enmity against God, may be brought into peace and harmony with Him. Likewise, while there was a time when it was not subject to the law of God, this passes when it becomes converted to God. Then it does become subject to God's law and will. Thus, there is the carnal mind which is at enmity against God and cannot come into subjection to Him, and the fleshly mind which can be at

peace with God and be subject to the law. They therefore cannot be one

 

and the same.

 

         Romans 7 pictures a man whose natural or reasoning mind and will have been converted to the law of God. He desires nothing more than to serve that law, but he cannot because he is dominated by an indwelling power which is his absolute master. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." He understands what the law of God requires. In it, he sees

justice, righteousness, reason, and beauty and longs to obey and keep it.

         His mind and will have been converted to the truth as he testifies in verse 18, "for to will is present with me." But despite this, there is still no obedience to the law. Why?

 

         Because the presence of another power in his members wars against and rules over the power of his own mind and will. "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Romans 7:23. Study this picture. There is another law in his members which warred against the law of his mind. This other law is not the flesh and blood body

for it is described as being in the members. It is something dwelling in those

         members, just as a sickness or disease dwells within the human organism and rules over it. Neither is it the man's mind, for this power in him warred against the law of his mind.

 

         This verse sets out the existence of three things making up a person at the same time. The law or power of sin resident in the members; the law or

 

the power of his own mind; and the flesh itself. Many fail to see the three

 

distinct things in this verse. This leads to confusion as to what the new birth is and likewise a misunderstanding of the mystery of Christ's incarnation. It was stated earlier that a distinction must be made between the two different natures, and that two must be seen where usually one is seen. The reference to three things here does not contradict that, for the third item is not a nature, but rather the mind or will. Either the carnal mind rules in the fallen, sinful, human nature, or the divine nature rules, just as either the good or evil tree grows in the same soil.

 

 

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         That there are three distinct aspects is shown in the Bible illustrations of God's work in delivering us from the bondage of the old master. That power which wars against the law of the mind and brings us into captivity, is called a law. A law can never go to war, and bring into captivity unless it is a

power to be reckoned with. We can then refer to the law as the power of sin

         which is in our members.

 

         The role of this power is illustrated in the Bible object lessons of redemption. In the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, "The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory." The Desire of Ages, 77. God is a wise and skilful teacher. He knows the dullness of the human mind drugged by the destructive effects of generations of sinning, so He makes His lessons as simple and clear as possible. There is no better method of teaching than by object lessons where the spiritual truths to be

taught are illustrated by objects. The bondage of the Israelite in Egypt is a

         picture of bondage to the sin master. If this is an exact object lesson, and there are three factors involved in the sin problem, we will find them in the illustration of the Egyptian scene.

 

         First there was the flesh and blood body of the Israelite slave. All the talents, skills, and energies of that body were employed in doing the service of Satan for it was his kingdom that their labours established. That service was an arduous one under which the Israelite groaned continually, but the satisfactions for the flesh which went with it, leeks, garlics, and so on, were very desirable. When they were deprived of them, some wanted to return to that bondage so they might have those lusts satisfied once again. Then there was the mind or the will of the man. This was different from

the fallen, sinful human nature of that slave. Think of those who were truly

         conscientious believers and really desired to serve God. This class of person would have a real conviction that what he was doing was against God. He would hate what he was doing and have an intense desire to stop. He would not be a rebel against God any more than is the man in Romans 7, yet, despite the will not to, he would still serve Pharaoh day after day. The reason for this was the third factor; the power of another mind ruling over him. This was the power of the slave master. While he was in bondage to that power, he had no hope of even beginning to do God's service, no matter how much he may have hated the service of sin, nor how much he desired to serve God and set his will to obey Him. This is no sphere for exercising the will because it is not the solution to this problem. In this object lesson of bondage and deliverance, the slave master, Pharaoh, is the counterpart of the carnal mind which is not subject to the law of God. When the Word of God came to Pharaoh, that Word which is the highest and most final authority in the universe, he did not and would not obey it. One dreadful scourge after another was levelled at him. Again and again he promised to obey, but this promise must be distinguished from

 

 

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         actual obedience, for the Bible does not say that the carnal mind cannot promise to serve God. It can and will make such promises. What the Word

         says is that the carnal mind cannot serve God, and this it cannot do, just as nothing would change Pharaoh's mind. Despite everything, he steadfastly refused to serve the God of heaven.

 

How often we see men and women brought face to face with death and disaster, promising to serve the Lord if only He will deliver them from this calamity. The Lord often does, but the promises are forgotten, and the same sinful life is pursued as before. It is one thing to promise—anyone, even with the carnal mind can do that—but another thing to actually do

 

what has been promised.

 

         The solution to this problem is not the setting of the will, for it is powerless  under  the  slave  master's  grip.  Neither  is  it  pleading  for

         forgiveness of sins committed during the day, even though that does have its essential place.

 

         Consider the following situation. At the end of the day's service in the fields of Egypt, the conscientious slave comes home bearing a burden of guilt for the day's work. He kneels by his bedside and confesses that, during

that day, he has spent all his time, talents, and energies in building up

         Satan's kingdom. This confession is as truthful as it is sincere. He pleads to be forgiven for what he has done and, by faith, believes he has received pardon. But, has his problem been solved? It has not. As he goes to bed, he is a slave, to arise in the morning still a slave. He will be forced to do the same  as he did the previous day.  He  will live a  life of sinning and confessing, sinning and confessing, over and over again. A solution must come other than merely seeking to be forgiven for the actions of sin which are the result of his bondage. He must be delivered from sin's power, and this can only be accomplished by the death of one of the three  entities.  Distinguishing the existence of the three entities is essential to understanding the problem. That one of them must die is the key to victory over sin.

 

         This is taught in the procedure by which the children of Israel were freed forever from Egyptian servitude. There were six distinct and essential steps they had to pass before they were free. If just one was omitted they

could never have had their freedom.  It is characteristic of counterfeit

         gospels today to teach all but one of those essential steps. They look like the real  thing,  but  falling  short  on  one  essential,  they  cannot  provide deliverance from sin.

 

         Before any male or his family could partake of the Passover, he had to be circumcised. "And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep

the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him

         come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person  shall eat thereof." Exodus 12:48.

 

 

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         Circumcision was the God-given symbol of the everlasting covenant. It was instituted at that point when Abraham finally ceased from his own

         works in seeking the fulfillment of the promise and accepted God's works by faith. God said to him:

 

         "And  God  said  unto  Abraham,  Thou  shalt  keep  My  covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. "This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and

thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

         "And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you.

 

         "And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with

 

money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

 

         "He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an

everlasting covenant.

 

         "And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My

         covenant." Genesis 17:9-14.

 

         Abraham's efforts to bring forth the child of promise had resulted in Ishmael, whom God could not accept. His own efforts had produced only

         failure. From these he had to turn away and fully and uncompromisingly, accept God's works before success could be his.

 

         The same conditions governed the successful departure of Israel from Egypt. Only God could devise a plan assuring their release. Had they, in any particular, introduced any of their own ways, the plan would have

failed. To ensure that there was no frustration of God's purpose, the people

         had to solemnly covenant to submissively obey every divinely given particular.  Their  reviving  the rite  of circumcision  was their personal dedication to do this.

 

         Likewise, only God has the wisdom to formulate the plan of salvation. Our task is to learn exactly what God has worked out and obey with unquestioning  submission.  This  is  not  natural to  humans  who  have developed a disposition to manage their own affairs. Therefore, a positive decision to surrender their own ways must be taken before salvation can be effected  within  an  individual.  In  the  days  before  the  crucifixion,

circumcision was required as the outward sign that this step had been

         taken. The outward sign is no longer required, but the dedication to utterly forsake our own ways is still just as essential.

 

The next step was to select the lamb, which was done on the tenth day of the first month. Exodus 12:2. This is the symbol that all who would be saved must choose Christ to be their Saviour. There are millions who have done that. But to choose Christ to be our Saviour is not enough to ensure that we have been saved. Was the Israelite free as soon as he had selected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the lamb? No, and he could not be, until certain further steps had been

 

taken.

 

He had to personally slay the lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. This was symbolic of our sins having slain Christ on Calvary to effect our salvation. The slaying of the innocent victim by the sinner himself not only confirms that our sins crucified the Son of God, but was an act signifying the whole-hearted trust in, and acceptance of, that atonement. This point is generally well understood by religious people today and millions

 

have accepted the sacrificial atonement on the cross as being essential for

 

         their salvation. Consequently, it has become the most popular theme in the churches, the subject of countless sermons in unnumbered denominations, the theme of song, chorale, and poem, and the content of earnest prayers. But while this is essential to salvation, it is not sufficient. No Israelite obtained his freedom from Egypt at the moment the lamb was slain. There were further steps yet to be taken. So, trust in Christ's wonderful and allsufficient sacrifice is not enough to bring deliverance from the bondage of sin. There is more yet to be accomplished before this is gained. The Israelites had to sprinkle the blood upon the door so that the death angel would pass over and not destroy those within. Exodus 12:7, 23.

         Today, we need the imputed righteousness of Christ to protect us from the deserved penalty of the sins which are passed. Again, this was not enough,

for those people were not free when they had sprinkled the blood nor even

         when they stood under its protection within their houses. Two more things had yet to happen. There had to be another death; not the death of the lamb, but in symbolic form, the death of one of the three entities. One may object that it was the first-born of Egypt who died, not the individual slave masters specifically. It must not be overlooked that, in those days, the first-born was heir to all the wealth and power of the land, so, when he was slain, that which comprised Egypt was slain. The character and spirit of Egypt is that of the slave master, so it was by death that the power of the land to hold the people was broken. What the Word of God given in direct command could not do, was accomplished by the death of the first-born of Egypt.  When the first-born were dead and not before, Pharaoh called the leaders of Israel and told them they were free; he had no more power to hold them. They went, never to perform another day's service in that wicked land.

 

         It was not enough that the slave master's power should be broken through the death of the first-born. The Israelites, girded to go, must also

         eat the flesh of the Passover lamb, as the death angel passed over them. The life of the lamb became the life of the person, for what we eat today, walks and talks tomorrow. The lamb symbolized Christ. Eating it indicated the receiving of Christ's life in place of the old life.

 

         The Israelites could have done five of those six things without the death of the first-born taking place, but they still would have been forced to

 

 

THE TWO DEATHS 105

 

 

         continue the same life of servitude. One of the three entities had to die and a new life take the place of the old. Only then would the problem have been solved, the old life of servitude ended, and the new life of service to God

begun.

 

Tragically, the people of Israel did not profit from the object lesson. While they experienced physical deliverance from temporal bondage, they did not experience the spiritual deliverance which God designed they should. They took Egypt with them in their hearts. We are to look to the lesson, not what they made of it, in seeking to understand what the Lord designed. Let us learn where they failed by seeing in the lesson what they

 

should have seen.

 

Today, there are churches which say that we must follow God's plan of salvation; accept Christ for our Saviour; put our faith in His death upon the cross; stand beneath the protection of His applied blood; and have Him dwelling in our hearts, but they do not teach the existence of those three entities, that one of them must die, and how it is to be put to death. To

 

preach what they do gives the message a strong Scriptural basis and leads

 

         the hearer to believe that the church and its preachers are of God, but this is a deception, for there is no more salvation in such preaching than there

would have been deliverance for the Israelite if the first-born of Egypt had

         not died.

 

         The object lesson from Egypt teaches exactly what is taught in Romans 7 and 8. Three separate entities are involved in the sin problem and one

         must be put to death before deliverance can come.

 

         Another illustration of this truth is provided by disease. In Bible times the dreadful scourge of leprosy was recognized as portraying sinfulness

         "deep-rooted, ineradicable, deadly, it was looked upon as a symbol of sin." The Desire of Ages, 262.

 

         The explanations of the gospel found in this book, are based upon the truth that there are three separate, though closely inter-related entities

         involved—the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. We have observed their presence and role in both the Romans 7 experience and in the

         Egyptian problem. They are just as readily recognizable in the situation where a person is in bondage to disease.

 

         The sickness is resident in the body though not actually a part of it, just as the sin-nature dwells in the human nature.  The leper knows his condition, longs to be free of it, and desires to return to his loved ones and human society again. But not until the leprosy is erased from his system is

this possible. Likewise, before the slave master in Egypt died, the Israelites

         were powerless to be free from bondage.

 

Another  example  confirming • the  power  of  an  alien  sickness  to dominate a person against his will is the experience of a lad who, for weeks in advance of a special picnic day, prepared for the happy event only to be stricken with illness at the last moment. The night before the long-awaited

 

 

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         day, he went to bed filled with happy anticipation, but with the morning came a raging fever.

 

Knowing the power of sickness,  his heart filled with the dread of disappointment, but his will and mind determined that he would still go. He tried to get up, but found that the presence of that sickness in him was his real master so that he was forced against his will to remain in bed for the

 

day.

 

The difference between the lad's will and the power of that disease is

 

understood by all who have been sick. It cannot be said that the disease is

 

         the human nature, the flesh and blood organism, but something which dwells in those members, feeds upon it, and controls it against the will. So with the sin problem. The indwelling presence and power of sin is not the

flesh itself but something which dwells in,  feeds upon,  and controls it

         against the will of the person.

 

         That lad could not go on the outing unless he was first delivered from that sickness, just as there was no hope of the leper entering human society

         again unless he was first cleansed from the presence of his leprosy. No one can ever cease from sin and do the things he knows to be right, unless he is first delivered from the presence and power of the sinful nature within him. An entity must die and be replaced by a new life. Failure to teach this is literally to teach a cross-less gospel, substituting it with a cross which is merely historical, distant, and unsaving.

 

Christ never had that third sinful entity. He never had the carnal mind or enmity against God and His law. What battle had He to fight against sin? The answer lies in the fact that the removal of the disease, the slave master of Egypt, and the carnal mind, does not take away that other entity, the fallen, sinful, human nature. That will remain until the second coming of Christ when this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality. In that flesh is the potential for every sin, especially as it has been depraved and deranged by the effect of millenniums of sinning. The potential for sin is even in the flesh of sinless beings as demonstrated by the fall of the perfect Lucifer in the perfect environment of heaven.

 

No true Christian will claim that he has holy flesh such as Lucifer had.

 

         As did the holy apostles, he will confess the sinfulness of his human nature and every day battle with its evils. Christ had to do this too. The highest

 

exercises of faith and the determined setting of the will, will be called forth

 

in this real and terrible battle.

 

         Many find this difficult to understand. The objection is raised that, if a person has the divine life of God in him, and has become pure and holy so far as this nature is concerned, how can he ever sin again? They conclude that because Christ was God on earth, He could hardly have sinned; that for Him it was impossible.

 

         The obvious answer is that individuals who were filled with the life of God, and were pure and holy, did fall into terrible sins. Reference is made

 

 

THE TWO DEATHS 107

 

 

         to Lucifer and the vast throng of angels who followed him, and to Adam and Eve. That they had a perfect nature did not save them from sinning. There must be another factor involved. This is the will of the individual. God did not create a universe full of automatons but of intelligent creatures with the freedom to choose whether or not to serve Him. The difference between the man of Romans 7 and that of Romans 8 is

that the former has the carnal mind which is the dominating power of sin

         ruling by force. This power overrides the will, to serve every desire and lust of the flesh. The man is an evil tree and has no hope but to serve sin every day. It is virtually automatic.

 

         The man of Romans 8, being a truly born again Christian, does not possess this carnal mind but has the mind of Christ. This mind is the power,

 

         life, and character of God which has become his own life and character. The man is a good tree and it is assumed that automatically he will produce

         only good fruit. But there is a difference between the carnal mind's nature and the nature of Christ's mind. The nature of the carnal mind is to compel and control against the individual's will with no regard for him whatsoever. This is not the nature of God and Christ. Their nature is to serve, lovingly,

 

freely, and fully. The Lord will do nothing without our co-operation and

 

consent. In a certain sense, the divine nature in us serves the will. We do

         not use the divine nature which is the Spirit of God. That Spirit is there to

 

work His will and deliver us when we, in living faith, look to it in the hour of

 

temptation. The divine nature in us serves the will to subdue, control,

         discipline, and deny the lusts and appetites of the flesh. When one has been delivered from the carnal mind's controlling power, everything depends upon the right action of the will. When Satan brings his terrible temptations against the flesh, the Lord can do nothing unless and until we make a definite decision not to yield to that temptation.

 

         That decision must be made in the power of a living faith in the capacity of God to save from temptation. Just because a person has the sinful, fallen, human nature, is not a guarantee that he will sin. He does not need to sin at all. With the carnal mind he has no choice, but when delivered from the presence of that power, he has the living power of God in him. If he will watch unto prayer to discern the nature of Satan's temptations, and resolutely set his will against them in the sure knowledge of, and faith in, God's power to save him, he will not sin, but have complete victory. Jesus had the selfsame flesh and blood with which we are afflicted. Satan could and did come to Him with every incitement to that flesh to assert itself and lead Him into sin. Christ knew the power and pressure of every temptation as we know it, but He set His will in the knowledge of God's power to save Him. This was how He maintained a complete and

permanent victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil. This is the

         victory the Saviour gained and which we are to gain. He came with no power beyond what is freely offered to us and accepted the sinful flesh with

 

 

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         which we are handicapped. That He triumphed, is the believer's assurance of success in the same battle.

 

         "Some may have thought,  while reading thus far,  that we were depreciating the character of Jesus, by bringing Him down to the level of

sinful man. On the contrary, we are simply exalting the 'Divine power' of

         our blessed Saviour, who Himself voluntarily descended to the level of sinful man, in order that He might exalt man to His own spotless purity, which He retained under the most adverse circumstances. His humanity only veiled His Divine nature, by which He was inseparably connected with the invisible God, and which was more than able successfully to resist the weaknesses of the flesh. There was in His whole life a struggle. The flesh, moved upon by the enemy of all righteousness, would tend to sin, yet His Divine nature never for a moment harbored an evil desire, nor did His Divine power for a moment waver. Having suffered in the flesh all that men can possibly suffer, He returned to the throne of the Father as spotless as when He left the courts of glory. When He lay in the tomb, under the power of death, 'it was impossible that He should be holden of it,' because He 'knew no sin.' " Christ and His Righteousness, 28, 29.

 

 

12

 

Seeming Contradictions

 

The incarnation of the Son of God into fallen, sinful, human flesh and

 

blood, is a sublime and wonderful truth worked out in the minds of the

         Infinite Ones. It cannot be fully expressed within the limited framework of human language, yet as far as possible, it has been revealed to the human

 

family.

 

         It is not surprising if there are certain expressions of this revelation which are difficult to understand and seem to contradict the general pattern. We recognize the existence of this in other subjects. From our previous experience we have learned the care which needs to be taken in the study of the incarnation. An example of this is found in the question of

the soul's mortality. A Seventh-day Adventist knows and understands from

         the overall picture of Scripture revelation, that the soul of man is not immortal and that the lost do not suffer endless torments in hell fire. But some Scriptures appear to teach that the lost do suffer eternal fiery punishings. "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:10. Those who understand Bible teaching on the immortality of the human soul will understand that this Scripture, in the light of all others on the subject, does not mean that the wicked are to burn forever and ever, in the sense given in our modern languages.

 

Tragically, some take a verse like this and build their whole belief on it,

 

despite clear Scriptural teachings to the contrary. Those who understand

 

the subject clearly, are saddened to see this deplorable kind of approach to

         Bible study.

 

The preponderance of Scripture witness shows that Christ came in our

 

sinful, fallen humanity and not in the holy flesh of the unfallen Adam.

 

However, there are several statements which seem to tell quite a different

         story. Those who reject the concept that Christ came in the same flesh and

 

 

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         blood as the children, lean heavily upon these statements. We will see what they really do say, so that it can be understood by all who will, that there is

         no contradiction in God's Word.

 

The Second Adam

 

         Firstly, consider the statements used to teach that Christ came in the same condition of spotless perfection of the flesh as Adam had before he

 

fell.

 

         "Christ came to the earth, taking humanity and standing as man's representative, to show in the controversy with Satan that man, as God

created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every

         divine requirement." The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.

         The key words, "as God created him," refer to unfallen man as he was in the Garden of Eden. Let care be taken not to make this statement say more than was intended. The statement does not directly say that Christ came as man was when first created.

 

         Does the statement infer, or say sufficient to warrant this conclusion being deduced from it? The inference could be taken that as Jesus came to

         prove that man, as God created him, could keep the law, Jesus would have had to come in the same state, to give that proof.

 

         If Christ came as man was first created and kept all the law, it would have proved that this man could also have kept the law to perfection. But if Christ came with the immeasurably greater handicap of sinful, fallen flesh,

and kept the law to perfection under those conditions, would that not, in a

         more decided and emphatic way, prove that man, as God created him, could keep all the law? It certainly would.

 

         This statement does not tell us which condition of flesh Christ was in. It simply states that He gave the proof that man as God created him, could

         keep all the law to perfection. Let no effort be made to have the statement say more than that.

 

         The Lord has not left us in ignorance of the condition of Christ's nature in comparison to Adam's. The Desire of Ages, 117, explicitly states that

         Christ did not come with a flesh and blood body in the same condition of perfection enjoyed by Adam in the Paradise Garden.

 

         "Satan had pointed to Adam's sin as proof that God's law was unjust, and could not be obeyed. In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam's

failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of

         sin  were  upon  him.  He  stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation."

 

 

SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS 111

 

 

         The first statement tells that Christ came to show that the law could have been kept by Adam. The second one shows the great differences between Adam as he was in the Garden of Eden before he fell, and Christ when He came four thousand years later to give a demonstration of

faultless obedience. Jesus proved that man as God created him could keep

         all the law, not by merely coming in the same advantageous situation enjoyed by Adam, but in the perilous position of fearful disadvantage suffered by men and women four thousand years after the fall. This proved conclusively that Adam could have done it in the Garden of Eden.

 

The Difference Between Where and How

 

         "Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began.

Willingly He passed over the ground where Adam fell, and redeemed

         Adam's failure." The Youth's Instructor, June 2, 1898.

 

         "He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory." The Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901.

         "He began where the first Adam began," is immediately interpreted to mean that He began in the same condition. If this was the intended meaning, the statement, to be accurate, would have read, He began as the

first Adam began. The word where, could mean at the same place as far as

         actual condition is concerned, but it is not the only possible meaning. It can

 

also mean the beginning was at the same point in each case with no

 

reference to the comparative conditions of each beginning.

         Illustrating this is the following account of beginning a modern journey as compared to two hundred years ago. "Settling into the air-conditioned comfort  of  the  express,  we  began  the  journey  where  great-great grandfather had begun his trek to his first homestead far to the north." The word "where" indicates nothing more than the geographical point from which each journey began. Beyond this there is little in common, for the two conditions are vastly different. The first journey long ago was under most trying conditions, while the modern one is made in the greatest comfort and convenience.

 

         We must look further than this statement to find if "where" means in the same condition, or something else. Reference to the statement from The Desire of Ages, 117, and others of like nature, shows there is a vast

         difference in the condition of the two Adams as they began their battle with temptation. The statement cannot be interpreted to mean that the second

         Adam began as the first Adam. To take this meaning one would have to ignore other statements given by inspiration, or admit that the Word of God was contradictory.

 

Christ did begin where the first Adam began. This is not a point of geography but an identical spiritual battle ground. Adam's first great test was on the question of appetite and it was on this battle ground that Christ

 

 

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         first met and conquered Satan. On that same point where the battle began for Adam, it began for Christ. "With Christ, as with the holy pair in Eden,

         appetite was the ground of the first great temptation. Just where the ruin began, the work of our redemption must begin. As by the indulgence of appetite Adam fell, so by the denial of appetite Christ must overcome." The

 

Desire of Ages,  117.

 

 

         This statement clarifies the one under consideration and shows in what sense, and in what respect, Christ began where Adam began. In the last statement Christ gained the victory in the same nature over

which Satan triumphed in the Garden. That nature was human nature.

         The statement assures us that Christ did not come to this earth as an

 

angel to fight the good fight of faith, but as a man. The nature He took was

 

the same as that of Adam's in the sense that both natures were human

         nature, but it was not in the same condition of perfection and purity, as other statements show. This distinction is the key to understanding these

 

otherwise difficult statements.

 

The Second Adam

 

         Christ is the second Adam. Of this there is no question. It is a sad error to reason that because He is, He must be exactly like the first Adam. The

         position in which Adam would have continued forever to be father of the human race unto eternal life was very different from where Christ took up

the same work. Therefore, the second Adam had to be different from the

         first. The sanctuary shows that Christ was not made of the same dust of the earth of which Adam was made. When God made Adam He took the dust

         which then was, to make him—a dust upon which lay no curse, no death, and no tendency to produce thorn or thistle or any such thing. This is not the dust from which the second Adam's body was made. His

body was made from the dust of the day in which He lived. The dust had

         borne the curse of sin for four thousand years and was prone to grow every

 

kind of thorn, thistle, and evil thing. The flesh of Christ—not His divine

 

nature, but His flesh—was as prone toward sin as the flesh of any of us.

         During His whole lifetime He experienced the struggle to keep that flesh and blood under perfect control and to deny even to death, every desire for

 

its sinful gratification.

 

         No legitimate argument can be raised to deny that "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took

part of the same [flesh and blood as the children]; . . . For verily He took

         not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2:14, 16.

 

         Every child of God must cling with irresistible tenacity to this truth. To lose this grip is to lose eternal life and join the ranks of antichrist, for " 'God

         with us' is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven." The Desire of Ages, 25. Had Christ

 

 

SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS 113

 

 

come to us as Adam before the fall, then He could never have taken over

         the role of father of the human race unto eternal life. He could do this only by taking upon His sinless nature our sinful nature. Because it had to be done and because He did it that way, we have the assurance of eternal life.

 

No Propensities

 

The next statement is used by those who believe that Christ came in perfect and holy flesh just like Adam's flesh in the Garden. It is one of their strongest supports. "Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in

 

the image of God.  He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing.

 

Because of sin  his posterity was born with inherent propensities of

 

disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took

 

         upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. . . . Never, in any way,

         leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in any way yielded to corruption . . . let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves; for it cannot be." Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 5:1128, 1129.

         This is an extract from a letter written specifically to a certain Evangelist William L. H. Baker of Australia in 1895. No record is available to tell what this man was teaching. It would be much easier to understand what teaching of error was being met by this letter from Sister Ellen White if there was. Hearing this statement is like listening to a person speaking to another on the telephone. You can only hear one side of the conversation and this does not make much sense if any. This places the statement into a different

category from that of straightforward doctrine.

 

         Nevertheless, the statement is worthy of consideration. Thought must be given to the word propensity as it may have application in more than

one area. The dictionary definition is inclination, bent, or tendency. It

         signifies a leaning or drawing in a certain direction.

 

         In dealing with our experience, there are two types of statements setting out the way propensities are to be overcome. One statement speaks of

         doing away with them. The other, of controlling them.

 

"We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity. Christ is the sinbearer; John pointed the people to Him, saying, 'Behold the Lamb of God,

 

 

114  DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         which taketh away the sin of the world.' And Paul declared, 'You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye

walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the

         power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of

 

our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by

 

         nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. .' As we

         partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for

good." Review and Herald, April 24, 1900.

 

         The language in this extract is clear in that the propensity or tendency is not to remain, but to be removed or cut away from the character. This is distinct and different from controlling it. If the propensity is no longer there, it cannot be controlled. It would be contradictory to say that a propensity was to be controlled and at the same time eradicated. It has to be one or the

other.

 

         By contrast, this next statement speaks of control as the way to cope with the problem. "The greatest triumph given us by the religion of Christ is control over ourselves. Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame." Testimonies 4:235. One statement speaks about the doing away of propensities and the second  with  the  control  of  them.  So  there  are  two  categories  of propensities, tendencies, bents, and drawings toward evil which have to be taken care of in the Christian life. A distinction here must be understood,

just as the distinctions between the two comings of Christ, the two laws, and

         other sets of two things called by the same name but which are different. Some will say, "A propensity is a propensity and you cannot go along splitting straws over definitions." The Jews said that the coming of Christ or the Messiah was the coming of Christ and there was no point in splitting straws over definitions of a first and second coming. Those who kept this view point, lost their eternal lives. They provide the warning that we must understand the differences between those things which are different and yet called by the same name.

 

The first of these two, telling us that we need not retain one sinful propensity, indicates that as we get rid of these we become more and more like Christ. "Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we co-operate with God in overcoming Satan's temptations. God works, and man works, that man may be one with Christ as Christ is one with God. Then we sit together with Christ in heavenly places. The mind rests  with  peace  and  assurance  in  Jesus."  The  Review  and  Herald,

 

April          24,    1900.

 

 

 

SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS 115

 

 

         If, by getting rid of these propensities, we become more and more like Christ, it follows that He never had them in the first place. It would also be concluded that Evangelist Baker taught that Christ did have these evil

propensities which we must get rid of, to be as He was upon this earth.

         What such evil propensities need to be eradicated from the life? "Selfindulgence, self-pleasing, pride, and extravagance must be renounced. We cannot be  Christians and gratify these propensities." The Review  and Herald, May 16, 1893.

 

         Such propensities in the form of an active, living spirit of self-pleasing, self-indulgence, and extravagance, will not be found in a true Christian any more than in Christ. If such a spirit had been found in Christ, He would have had the carnal mind, would have been at enmity with God, would have been lost Himself, and therefore totally unable to save us. These listed propensities are the ones we are not to retain. We are to be delivered from them to become like Christ as He was upon this earth. Apart from those to be eradicated, there are those which must be

controlled. "Our natural propensities ..."

 

         In this there is some significant truth. "The greatest triumph given us by the religion of Christ is control over ourselves. Our natural propensities

         must be controlled,  or we can  never overcome as Christ overcame." Testimonies 4:235.

 

         If we control these natural propensities or inclinations to evil, we shall overcome  as Christ overcame.  The word "as"  indicates that we shall overcome in the same way as Christ. What does this mean? If, by controlling our natural propensities, we overcome as Christ overcame, He must also have had natural propensities and must have overcome by

keeping them in perfect control.

 

         "His humanity only veiled His Divine nature, by which He was inseparably connected with the invisible God, and which was more than able successfully to resist the weaknesses of the flesh. There was in His whole life a struggle.  The flesh,  moved upon by the enemy of all righteousness, would tend to sin, yet His Divine nature never for a moment harbored an evil desire, nor did His Divine power for a moment waver. Having suffered in the flesh all that men can possibly suffer, He returned to the throne of the Father as spotless as when He left the courts of glory.

When He lay in the tomb, under the power of death, 'it was impossible that

         He should be holden of it,' because He 'knew no sin.' " Christ and His Righteousness, 28, 29.

 

When Sister White was speaking to Evangelist Baker and admonishing him not to set Christ forth with the propensities of evil, she was speaking of the former category which must be eradicated from us and which Christ never had; not of the latter which must be controlled. The distinction here is as real as the distinction between the two comings of Christ and the two laws. Salvation for the Jews depended on understanding this distinction.

 

 

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         Salvation for the  Protestant world  depends,  among other things,  on understanding the distinction between the moral and ceremonial laws. Understanding the nature of Christ, essential to our present and eternal welfare, depends, among other things, on understanding the distinction

between those propensities which Christ never had and the ones He did

         have.

 

We do not consider it too much for the Jews to have understood that

 

there were two separate comings of Christ,  nor unreasonable for the

         Protestants to understand that there are two separate laws. Therefore, it should not be considered too difficult to understand the distinctions between the two different categories of propensities. While we can never set forth Christ as having the evil spirit of self-pleasing and the like, He did have the natural propensities of the sinful, fallen, human nature. The real problem lies in the inability to understand another distinction, between the carnal mind and the human nature in which that mind dwells. They are generally seen to be one thing, and the conclusion is drawn that the moment the carnal mind is removed, we have sinless, holy flesh. This is not so. Those who have been truly born again, and no longer retain the sinful propensities, know that they do not have sinless and holy flesh, but human nature which they cannot trust.

 

         That Jesus did not possess the evil propensities, does not mean He had holy flesh—anything but that. The incarnation is God dwelling in fallen, sinful human nature, the same nature as the children have. The Roman Catholics and the rest of the antichristian world may teach that God came in

sin/ess flesh, but the true people of God must ever understand and teach

         that Christ came in the same flesh and blood as the children He came to save.

 

Such An One As Ourselves

 

         The statement in the previous section closes with, "Let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such

         an one as ourselves, for it cannot be."

 

         Now once again let it be seen what this statement is not saying. It is not saying that we are to be warned from making Christ's human nature

         altogether the same as our own. If it said this, it would be denying the teaching of the Scriptures which declare, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood as the children]; . . ." Hebrews 2:14. Furthermore, Sister White would have been denying what she had written in other parts of her works. The Lord does not contradict Himself through His earthly messengers.

 

The statement says that we are not to make Christ as a  whole, altogether human. Anyone understanding the message so far will have seen the stress laid upon the fact that Christ was not altogether human. He

 

 

SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS 117

 

 

         was God, and had been so from eternity. In the fullest and truest sense He was, is, and ever will be God; the One of whom it is written, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6. Even though His human nature was altogether such as ours, He could never be altogether such as we, for He is God, the eternal One, which we can never and will never be. He is beginningless: we have a beginning; He

is the Creator: we are His creatures; He never sinned: we have all sinned

         and come short of the glory of God. . It is impossible to make Him

         "altogether human, such an one as ourselves, for this cannot be."

 

Not the Sinfulness

 

         There are further statements which assure us that, while Jesus took the selfsame nature as we have, He never entered into the sin of which all others of the human family have been guilty in lesser or greater degree. "In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. . . . We should have no misgivings in regard to the  perfect  sinlessness  of the  human  nature  of  Christ."  Seventh-day

         Adventist Bible Commentary 5:1131.

 

         Those who want it believed that Christ came in the sinless perfection of Adam's human nature, take these statements to mean more than the author ever intended. They are taken to mean that Christ did not take a human nature in the same condition as any other person, that is, that His nature was not in itself sinful in its condition. But the statement says He

took upon Himself man's nature "in its fallen condition". It assures us that

         despite this, which was a terrible handicap to bear in the hour of temptation and trial, He never committed a single sin. We can believe and know with a wonderful sense of relief and joy, that even though Christ's human nature had every potential for sin, never once did He allow temptation to lead Him to participation in sinful ways and practices.

 

No Real Problems

 

The Word of God is not confused, misleading, or contradictory. Any person prepared to honestly study the subject, first deciding from the weight of evidence to leave the difficult and obscure statements till clearer light comes, will have no real problem in understanding what the Lord wants us to know. It is too much to expect the human mind to grasp all the mysteries of the divine mind in one contact with the living Word of truth. The truth is never really understood in the mind alone. It must be experienced before its power and beauty can dawn upon the mind and its clarity and simplicity be appreciated.

 

         None of these statements justify the belief that Jesus came in a different flesh and blood human nature from the one we have to bear as a fearful

 

 

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handicap and burden in the battle against sin. Only when they are taken to

         mean  more than they say can they appear to teach what was never intended.

 

Jesus Christ, the eternal God who came and dwelt in human nature in

 

its fallen  and  sinful  condition,  did  not participate  in  the sins of that

 

humanity, but, resisting and overcoming, He triumphed over sin, death,

 

and the grave. He lives forever more as our Saviour, Priest, and Redeemer.

 

Understanding and experiencing these truths, is life and salvation to every

         needy soul.

 

 

13

 

The Papacy Is Antichrist

 

         At an early point in this study, it was asserted that it would not be possible to correctly evaluate the issues in the present and final scenes of

         the great controversy, nor would it be possible to penetrate the disguises in which antichrist would finally appear unless first the truth on the doctrine of Christ was clearly understood. For this reason, the space so far occupied has been largely devoted to a study of the doctrine of Christ, which is the study of the natures in which He appeared, and what He accomplished by

coming as He did.

 

         It was God's intention that, in the beginning, man should know only good and be forever blessed in that knowledge. He specifically warned him against entering into an acquaintance with good and evil by admonishing him not to eat of the forbidden tree. It would have been forever well with man if he had limited himself to the knowledge of good. But the situation today is quite different from that which existed in the Garden of Eden. Mankind, in Adam and Eve, chose to enter into the knowledge  of  evil  and  thus  has  exposed  himself ever  since  to the deceptions of the evil one. Man failed on the test of rejecting error in the first Paradise, and not one of us shall ever enter the Paradise restored except we overcome where our first parents failed. In the beginning, man

chose to know good and evil, and therefore from that time forward we have

         to face the test of error and deception. From this there is no escape. It follows then that it is not enough to know the doctrine of Christ. We must also be able to recognize the doctrine of antichrist, and to resolutely reject it because of what it is.

 

 

         If we are not able to do this, then the penalty will surely be destruction, for " 'God with us' is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of

         our power to obey the law of heaven." The Desire of Ages, 25. If we are robbed of that truth, then as surely are we robbed of eternal life, because heaven is for the overcomer, the one who knows a living deliverance from the power of sin.

 

 

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         So important and serious is it that we be able to distinguish between the truth and the error so that no man takes away from us the doctrine, "God

         with us," that it is written:

 

         "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that

Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

 

"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John 4:1-3. Nothing could be more clearly stated than the truth that there is more than one spirit in the world today. One is the Spirit of God, and the other is the spirit of Satan which is the spirit of antichrist. While the former comes to bring life eternal, the latter comes to destroy through the subtlety of gross deception. A clear and vital fact which must be faced is that the Lord does not automatically protect us from the power of deception.  There is a definite and specific part we have to play, which, if neglected or left undone,  will result in our being deceived into Satan's snares and into subsequent eternal death.

 

The specific part we have to play is to test the spirits to see whether they are of God or of the devil.  God supplies the tests. He tells us how to distinguish one from the other, and He will supply the Holy Spirit as the Guide  and  Teacher  in  this  work  to  give  us  spiritual  perception  and discernment, but the actual work of applying the test and coming to a decision is our work and ours alone. Not even God Himself will do the work

 

for us.

 

         It must be faithfully borne in mind that Satan is as much aware of this requirement for us to test the spirits, as he is aware of what those tests

         actually are. He knows that every spirit that confesseth that Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which denies this is of himself. Therefore, it must be expected that he will seek to make it appear that his

agents do fulfil the test of Christ even though they deny that He came in the

         flesh. Let neither the truth of this nor the seriousness of the implications be overlooked by anyone living in these highly critical times. Awareness of this will  lead  each  to  examine  with  close  and  guarded  care  the  enemy's pretensions until the real nature of the teaching is truly seen for what it is. This will require a sense of the danger and subtlety of the deception; it will call for close and careful study;  it will demand much prayer and deep searching of heart; and it will necessitate that we individually have an experience within ourselves of the power of Christ's doctrine. This is time for neither complacency nor self-confidence, but only for the most careful and studied appraisal of the situation as it does exist.

 

         Some object that Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what

measure ye mete,  it shall be measured to you again." Matthew 7:1,

 

 

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         Jesus meant this to be understood exactly as He said it. By the same Spirit the words of 1 John 4:1-3 were written, where we are told to try the spirits

to see whether they are of God or not.

 

         If it is argued that the last statement cancels out the other so that we are to obey it rather than both, then this is charging that the Scriptures are

contradictory. It is saying that God is in confusion, on one occasion giving

         certain instructions and on another, something quite the opposite. He is not that kind of God. If there is any apparent contradiction between these two passages it is not in the Scriptures, but in the reader's mind. We have to understand Christ's words in the sense He meant them, and the words of the other Scriptures in the sense they are meant. This is not difficult, for the Scriptures show what is to be done. Christ's words are concerned with judging the character and motive of other individuals. This involves reading the heart which only God can do. Therefore Jesus said we are not to judge our fellow men.

 

         The instruction in 1 John 4 is not concerned with judging motives or character but with the specific teaching espoused. We are to test and try the teaching, not the individual. When the teaching is found false, the bearer

must be a false teacher also. This does not mean that we question his

         motives, sincerity, or enthusiasm. It means that we cannot entertain that man as a teacher of truth. To do so, is to expose ourselves to the subtle and

eroding influences of false teaching.

 

         Christ's words do not cancel the instruction to test and try the Spirits. God  requires this  and  will  warmly commend  those  who  obey this

instruction. Jesus, in The Revelation, spoke approvingly of the church in Ephesus. "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things

         saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

 

"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." Revelation 2:1, 2. These are genuine words of commendation. They were spoken by the True Witness who never speaks a lie. The impartiality of this Witness is revealed when He told the same people wherein they were walking in error. Therefore, if the Ephesians in their judging of the false prophets' teachings were disobeying Christ's words in Matthew 7:1, 2, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," then Christ would not have commended them for doing so. The fact that He did approve, confirms that they did as they ought to have done.

 

         How would it be possible for those who believe that testing the spirits is unchristian, to participate in giving the last warning message during the

loud cry, when that message is an exposure and denunciation of Babylon

         the Great? To know this, one has only to read the strong and forthright words of Revelation 18:1-4.

 

 

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         "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is

fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of

         every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

 

         "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her

 

plagues."

 

         Are these bold and pointed words? They certainly are! Are they a specific exposure of a specific power at a given time? Yes! Will they be given under the direction and by the power of the Spirit of God? They will be given with a measure of the Spirit's power and a closeness of direction

never before known in human history. It will be right to do this; not a

         contradiction of Christ's instruction to judge not.

 

         What will be said of the exploits of the great men of Bible and church history—Elijah, John the Baptist, Christ, Paul, Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Wesley, and a host of others? In the boldest terms, and without hesitation, they openly declared the apostate leaders of their time antichrist, Babylon, the troublers of Israel, whited sepulchres, a generation of vipers, and the sons of the father of all liars. It would seem that this was passing

judgment upon that generation. But it was not judging the individuals so

         much as the doctrines they held and the teachings they espoused. No one would condemn these men for the declarations they made. Neither were they breaking Christ's command to judge not.

 

         We offer no apology for speaking plainly in regard to certain systems and organizations in the world as those systems are evaluated from the tests given to us in the Word of God. We do this because we are commanded, and must obey, not because of any motive of self-interest or superior

righteousness. It is essential that this command be obeyed for those vast

         systems of religion  make the strongest claims to being God's chosen instrument in the world today. These claims create critical issues which must be settled. The Lord, knowing the need of His people, has handed them a measuring line by which they can know the real nature of these claims. No one needs to be in doubt about these things. This may be illustrated by a situation where two people are arguing about the length of an object. One says it is so long, but the other contends that it is larger or smaller than that. A third person comes with a measuring rule in his hand, which he offers the contenders, with the statement, "Hereby you will know the length of this object."

 

If they take the offered measuring rule and use it to measure the object,

 

they will know exactly how long it is. There will be no argument left.

 

 

THE PAPACY IS ANTICHRIST 123

 

 

         Today there are those debating whether this or that organization is of God. The argument rages back and forth, but there is no need for this. The Word of God offers an infallible measuring line, "Hereby know ye the Spirit

of God." If we take this rule and measure the teachings of today's churches

         with their claims of being the true children of God, we will know with certainty whether these claims are true or false. When the Lord says, "Hereby know ye," it cannot be argued that He has given a test impossible

to apply. That is not the way the Father operates.

 

This is the infallible test along with others given in the Word of God whereby we can distinguish Christ from antichrist. "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the

 

flesh is of God:

 

"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John

 

4:2,  3.

 

 

         Having set forth the importance and seriousness of the need to apply this test, the time has come to make some specific applications of it so that we can understand the implications of the publication, Movement of

Destiny, by L. E. Froom.

 

         The first step will be to take the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and see how they specifically show that she is the antichrist of history, by applying the measuring line given in 1  John 4:1-3. It is

         tremendously important for the true child of God to know and be confirmed in this, for Bible prophecy reveals that this church and this power will again play the leading role in the last days, oppressing and seeking to utterly destroy God's people. It was tremendously important for the reformers to know it in their time. Without that knowledge they could never have

achieved the great works of reformation they did, and we could never have had the blessings we do have, as a result. Had the Roman Church had her

         way then, we would still be locked in the ignorance and slavery of the Middle Ages.

 

No careful student would deny that the reformation, as spearheaded by Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, and Luther in their respective times and lands, was a direct conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and an effort to be delivered from the bondage of her deceptive teachings and power. This determined effort to find deliverance stemmed from the fact that they had discovered from the living Word of God that the Roman Church was the antichrist of history. They found this when they saw her hatred of the gospel which had set them free. They read it in her spirit of persecution; they applied the test, "By their fruits ye shall know them," and read in the fruits which abounded wherever she went, the message of a corrupt and evil church at war with God; they saw that she did not speak according to the law and the testimony, by which they knew there was no truth in her at

 

 

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         all; as final and full confirmation of it they read the great prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation and saw the rising of that power predicted with

         great accuracy long in advance of her full appearance.

 

         Out of the great struggles of the Middle Ages there emerged the Protestant conviction that the Roman Church is the great antichrist of

         history. Those who have held steadfastly to that conviction have also seen the certainty that she will recover her lost power and use it with greater ruthlessness than ever before. Before she employs that power in the work of persecution, she will use all the deception she can to ensnare the mind of every man, woman, and child possible. Only those who know the truth as it is in Jesus will be able to resist that deception.

 

         We will not reiterate all the evidences which show the Roman Church to be the antichrist. The reader ought to be well established on this. We are concerned with the way the test of 1 John 4:1-3 certifies and vindicates the

position of the reformers that Rome is the antichrist of history; the power

         above all others of which we must be aware and against whom we must be on guard. This is not inferring that the Roman Catholic Church alone has to be  watched.  Today,  Rome's  influence  has spread  so far that she  is manifested in a thousand different disguises appearing in every false religion in the world. In this broader area she is to be seen and guarded against.

 

         The great Bible tests of antichrist apart from 1 John 4:1-3, told the

         Protestant reformers, and tell us, that, unquestionably, the Roman Catholic Church is the greatest antichrist of history, the enemy of God, His truth,

and people. This being so, she will fail to pass the test of 1 John 4:1-3. She

         denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

 

As already observed, both Satan and the papacy are aware of the Bible

 

         tests for identifying antichrist. The enemy knows he will work much more effectively if his true identity remains hidden. Therefore, he works to make it appear that within the Roman Catholic Church the doctrine of Christ, not of antichrist, is being taught. This means she will apparently proclaim that Christ is come in the same flesh and blood as the children. But, behind and beneath these assertions lies the real doctrine of that church. This is where the actual, effective dogma lies. There it will be seen that she denies that Christ is come in the flesh and thus she bears the mark of antichrist. She will not be a clumsy imposter in this work of deception. It will be a most clever and skilful counterfeit. It will appear that she has the living

truth. To many, the Roman Church has been represented as an imposture

         so obviously at variance with the truth that anyone could see it, but this is a grim mistake.

 

In the test given to us in the Word of Christ, "Ye shall know them by their fruits, do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" the Roman Church is well able to make it appear that she produces the finest of fruit. Expressed in her writings are the highest standards of morality, virtue, and

 

 

THE PAPACY IS ANTICHRIST 125

 

 

         the need to put away all sin. Her "good works" are in the marvellous devotion and self-sacrifice of her missionary priests and nuns spending the whole of their lives in some isolated African village, Amazon jungle, or Eskimo wilderness.  See the long hard hours worked,  the multiplied orphanages, hospitals, and schools. Consider the total sum of the "good" done through this sacrifice and devotion in these institutions. It must be agreed that there is no other church or organization which does so much "good" in the world. Surely such "good fruits" declare this test well and

truly passed? If the investigator seeking for the true church of God upon the

         earth looks only at these things, he must admit that here is the fruit he is searching for. But superficiality in these things is death. The search must be more penetrating and careful. The fruit of the teaching of a church must actually produce the fruit of the Spirit which is in-built love, joy, peace, gentleness, and such like. It is one thing to uphold the highest standards but another to teach and uphold a gospel which actually produces what is taught to be right. Many cannot see this. They interpret energetic preaching on the standards as evidence that God is really in the message of the church. If this was so, practically every church would be of God. There would be no antichrist.

 

         As the church of Rome is very concerned to make it appear that she fulfils every Bible test, she also goes to great effort to make it appear that she passes the test of 1 John 4:1-3. As evidence of this, in A Catechism for

Non-Catholics by Reverend Martin Farrell, published by the United Book

         Service, Box 127, Orland Park, Illinois, U.S.A., November 5, 1961, the question is raised;

 

         "Is Christ a human being the same as you are?" Page 14. Knowing that the Roman Catholic Church is antichrist, and denies that Christ is a human being the same as we are, we would expect the answer to

say that He was not altogether a human being the same as we are. Yet, this

         church carefully and cleverly strives to make it appear that she teaches the truth, so she makes a blanket statement to the opposite effect.

         "Christ is really a human being the same as you are. Christ was born of a woman, ate, slept, suffered, and even was tempted by the devil. You will see Christ the man in heaven." Emphasis ours.

 

         On the face of it, this evidence shows that the Roman Catholic Church did teach that Christ came in the same flesh and blood as the children. Antichrist denies this. It must be conceded that if this was in reality the teaching of the Roman Church, and all she taught was consistent with this, she could not be the antichrist. If one is not prepared to search deeper, and accepts this as the real Catholic teaching, one must lose all faith in the

Protestant principle that the Roman Church is the antichrist.

         Those who have learned that it is not that simple to penetrate Satan's disguises will look deeper to find what the real teaching is. This must be done to escape sharing the plagues with Babylon. It is soon seen that

 

 

126  DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         Babylon or antichrist has two tongues. With one she makes statements which, in themselves, are the truth, providing a facade of righteousness. Behind this she spells out in some detail the real nature of her teachings.

This careful spelling out denies the bold statements, and must be taken as

         the real message of the church. It is the effective doctrine which makes the church and those who follow, what they really are.

 

         We will investigate what the church really does teach, not in a single loose statement to non-Catholics, but in the declaration of her teachings on the nature of Christ. This will take us into the area of the Immaculate Conception, which doctrine as espoused by the Roman Church, is declared

to be official dogma concerned with the nature with which Christ came into

         this world.

 

         Another more extensive Catholic publication in which this doctrine is spelled out is The Faith of Millions, by John A. O'Brien, (R.C.), published

         in 1962 by W. H. Allen, London.

 

         "It is to be noted that the Immaculate Conception does not refer to the miraculous conception of Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mother without

the intervention of a human father, as many non-Catholics imagine, but to

         the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother without the stain of original sin." Page 509.

 

         There is good reason for the claim that it was Mary, not Jesus, who was born contrary to the laws of nature.  This reason recognizes that like produces like. It is impossible for a human parent or even for God Himself

to give his offspring what he himself does not have. As Mary did not differ

         in her humanity from that of her parents or any other human being, Jesus inherited, by the process of a normal birth, the same flesh and blood human nature which she had. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." (Flesh and blood as the children.) Hebrews 2:14.

 

         The Roman Church recognizes this principle and states it in these terms: "In like manner, as far as the sublime mystery of the Incarnation can be  reflected  in  the  natural  order,  the  Blessed  Virgin,  under  the

overshadowing  of the  Holy  Ghost,  by communicating to the  Second

         Person of the Adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature of the same substance with her own. is thereby really and truly His Mother." ibid., 508.

 

This is the truth as the Scriptures say: "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." Galatians 4:4. It seems that the Roman Church recognizes this truth  in  setting forth  the  doctrine  of the  Immaculate  Conception,  as evidenced by emphasizing that Jesus received from His mother, "a true human  nature  of the  same  substance  with  her  own."  By  making  a statement of this nature, the Roman Church has given its doctrine the appearance of strict conformity to a Bible truth. This is true. They do teach that Christ was born of a woman and that this birth was so true and real that

 

 

THE PAPACY IS ANTICHRIST 127

 

 

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF

         THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST

 

Holy Spirit         The papal church teaches that Mary's flesh

 

 

         and blood body was not born of sinful, fallen flesh as are the bodies of all other humans. It

         was the product of a creative miracle by the Holy Spirit. It was therefore perfect, holy, and

 

sinless.

 

Mary

 

She, in turn, provided the human body in which Christ, the eternal God, was to dwell. She could only give Him the same flesh as she had.  The papacy,  by establishing first the sinless nature of Mary's flesh, thereby teaches

 

Christ

 

that Christ came in sinless flesh.

 

THEREFORE: she teaches that:

 

         "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself" DID NOT "likewise take part of

 

the same."

 

"For verily He took". . ."on Him the nature of angels; but

 

He took" NOT "on Him the seed of Abraham."

 

"Wherefore  in all  things  it behoved  Him to be"  NOT

 

"made like unto His brethren."

 

Hebrews 2:14, 16, 17.

 

         NOTE WELL: This diagram is dealing only with the humanity of Christ, not His divinity.

 

 

128  DESTINY OF A MOVEMENT

 

 

         He received from her a human nature the same as her own. We believe this to be God's truth on the subject.

 

Where  then  lies  the  error  in  the  doctrine  of  the  Immaculate Conception? How does it teach that Jesus Christ did not come in the same flesh and blood as the children? Simply by teaching that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a different human nature from every other person born since

 

the fall.  By first giving her a different and exempt human nature, then

 

         stressing the Bible truth that He was born of a woman and received all the humanity of that woman, they effectively teach that Jesus did not come in the same flesh and blood as the children of men. It is clearly stated in the Immaculate Conception doctrine that Mary had a different humanity from

any other person.

 

         "The  third  prerogative  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  is  her  Immaculate Conception. Not only was she free from the slightest strain of actual sin, but by a singular miracle of divine grace she was free also from original sin, with which all the other children of Adam are born into this world. It was eminently fitting that she who was destined to be the Mother of Christ, who was to give Him flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood, should be undefiled by even that slight shadow of Adam's fall. To her alone, among all the members of the race, was granted this singular immunity." ibid.,

508, 509. Emphasis ours.

 

         In clear terms, the Roman Church has stated that Mary was born into this world through a miracle which rendered her human nature different from any other. If this was true, she never had the same flesh and blood as

the children. This is exactly what has been said in this statement.

         From these facts we will compare the inevitable conclusion with the Scripture test to see if it is in harmony or disharmony with the Scriptures. Their teaching is that Jesus had a human nature exactly like His mother and her human nature was different from any other person this side of the fall. So, if His human nature was identical with hers, He must also have had different flesh and blood from that of the children.

 

         It is the teaching of the Roman Church that "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,  He" did not "also Himself likewise" take "part of the same [flesh and blood as the children]." They deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, so they are certainly antichrist. Fortunately, the Roman Church came to the place where she did spell out her belief on this question in an official dogma. "This dogma of the

Roman Catholic Church was defined as 'of faith' by Pope Pius IX in the Bull

         Ineffabilis Deus (December 8, 1854) in the following terms: The doctrine

         which holds that the Blessed Virgin. Mary, from the first instant of her conception, was, by a most singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, preserved from all stain of Original Sin, is a doctrine revealed by God, and

 

therefore to be firmly  and steadfastly believed by all  the faithful.'  The

 

 

THE PAPACY IS ANTICHRIST 129

 

 

         definition imposed no new doctrine on Catholics but merely declared that what had always been believed by the faithful had its origin in revelation as

found in Scripture and tradition. The traditional belief had been thoroughly

         investigated by a special papal commission, which finally reported that the doctrine could be defined and that the time was opportune." Encyclopedia Brittanica, Volume 12:106, 1963 Edition.

 

         For centuries the dogma was not stated in words but this did not mean it was not already there. When we examine other branches of Babylon today and apply the same test, we find that though their doctrine is absent from

these teachings, sufficient evidence will be found to show that they deny

         Christ came in the flesh.

 

         The Word of God teaches then, that the Roman Church is antichrist. Establish this clearly in mind so that no matter what clever disguises and

         subtle arguments she may bring forward, we shall not be swayed into believing otherwise for, to be deceived by Babylon, is to be ensnared into

         her clutches and destroyed with her.

 

 

14

 

Why It Is So

 

         Why is a church or an individual marked for possessing the spirit of antichrist if they deny the truth that Christ came in the flesh? Is it because God has dogmatically or whimsically decided that this will be the test, or is

this their inevitable fate?

 

         It cannot be the former for the Lord God does nothing without purpose. The denial that Christ came in the flesh is, in the nature of the

         case itself, an antichristian doctrine. Its very essence is against Christ, the work He came to do, and the objectives He is working to achieve. To teach this doctrine is to be put immediately on the wrong side of the controversy as a supporter of the Prince of Darkness.

 

To understand this, the actual issues of the great controversy must be understood. This is the issue over righteousness which is the keeping of God's law. "From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven, it has  been  Satan's  purpose  to  overthrow  the  law  of  God.  It  was  to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator; and though he was cast out of heaven, he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God's law  is  the  object  which  he  has  steadfastly  pursued."  The  Great

 

Controversy,      582.

 

 

         Wherever the devil is at work, sin abounds. Wherever the truth of God is to be found,  righteousness and law-keeping increase.  Our own eyes declare to us that Satan is devoted to warring against the law of God and to