The process of growing up into the stature of Christ is known as sanctification. A new-born baby is not immediately full-grown; maturity is reached after many years of development and experience. So it is with the born-again Christian. The attaining of the image of Christ’s character is a lifetime process; and heretofore the fullness of His stature has definitely not been attained by most of God’s people. Perfection has been reached only in a relative sense. At death, a man has reached the highest level of which he is capable under his circumstances; God does not normally take a man before he has attained this level. The imparted righteousness of Christ is obtained in measure, and not as a unit, in the sense that Christ makes up for the repentant sinner’s deficiency by His own divine merit, to whatever extent that sinner is deficient. (1 SM 382)
But in the last generation, God is going to do a work not heretofore seen. He is going to reassemble [regenerate—more on this in another manuscript] the members of His body temple and cleanse those temple members from every defilement. On this antitypical day of atonement, “His Sanctuary” is to be cleansed, and the glory of the Lord is to arise upon His people. He will impart to them His righteousness. They will gain the victory over continuing in sin, and their hearts will be transformed into the image of God. These saints will attain the full maturity of the re-birth into newness of life. In them divinity and humanity will be fully united (symbolized by the marriage), as it was in Jesus. They will attain imparted perfection, and be without fault before God, and stand before Him as brothers of Jesus and joint-heirs with Christ. They will no longer need the intercession of Jesus, for God has come to them directly to sup with them (Rev. 3:20), and to make His habitation in them (Eph. 4:15, 16; cf. V. 12, 13). In the new Jerusalem there is no temple; the tabernacle of God is with men. (Rev. 21:3, 22)
This is the ultimate experience we are talking about when we speak of buying the gold of faith and love tried in the fire Attaining this experience is a matter of taking advantage of the offer made by the True Witness.
Rev. 3:18-21 – “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.”
To obtain this experience is a privilege, and it is received on a voluntary basis. We are called and chosen in the refining furnace of affliction (Matt. 20:16; cf. Isa. 48:9-11); and if we remain faithful (that is, full of faith) (Rev. 17:14), we will share His throne (Rev. 3:21). If we are unable to endure the chastening and drink the cup (Matt. 20:20-23), we will be laid aside in the tomb at whatever stage of perfection we have attained; and Christ will make up for our deficiency with His own divine merit. (Isa. 57:1; & 1SM 382)
The cost price which made the gold of faith and love available for us was the cross of Christ – His sufferings for sin. He paid that price. He made a complete self sacrifice; He emptied Himself for us. But if we would share in His glory (that is, obtain His character and become heirs to His heritage), we too must share in His sufferings and offer the sacrifices of righteousness. We, too, must surrender all and take up our cross. This is the price.
Rom. 8:16, 17 – “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (That is, receive the glorious gifts provided by His sacrifice.” (cf. Matt. 10:38)
Bearing the cross (that is, sharing His sufferings) involves bearing the persecution of one’s own household.
The stereoptic meaning of this passage is simply that those of his own household of faith (the members of his own [household] and church) will become a man’s foes. And the central issue of contention will be the personal possession of the spirit of prophecy [and doctrines held by the SOP as opposed to mainstream Christianity eg. The definition of the Holy Spirit, rb]. It is the sword of the Lord upon His people.
Matt. 10:40, 41 – “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
Many will rise up against the testimony of the True Witness, as it comes through those who will be endowed with the spirit of prophecy; and they will not bear the counsel revealed therein, nor will they accept the servants of God as servants of God but will regard them as deluded by the devil. It [the Spirit of Prophecy] is the sword of the Lord which will cause the shaking. Those who have failed to purchase the gold tried in the fire will not stand the test. “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.” (Matt. 13:57).
Perfection Through Suffering
Obedience is learned and perfection is attained through suffering. To prove this, and lest any should murmur against God for bringing this suffering to bear upon them, Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, humbled Himself and subjected Himself to this process in order to become our example, that we might be able to follow through with the painful process, having the knowledge and assurance that He has gone the road before and triumphed.
Heb. 5:8-10 – “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedck.” (That is, after His perfection, He became a priest. He is our example; we too are to attain perfection and priesthood). See Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.
Heb. 2:10, 11 – “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. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified is all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
But the kind of suffering whereby Jesus learned obedience was not the consequence of His transgression; it was the consequence of man’s sins. To share the sufferings of Christ means to share in suffering which we do not deserve.
1 Pet. 2:19 – “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (cf. Rev. 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” The faith of Jesus is the faith which is tried in the fire, and it is the love of Jesus, also tried in the fire, which enables them to keep the commandments). For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guild found in His mouth:”
So we need to be prepared to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, for this is the only way we can learn obedience. If there were any easier way, Christ would have provided it. Only by death to self, by taking up our cross and following Him, can we rise to the newness of life without sin. The new heart and the knowledge of God, promised by the everlasting covenant, come only by the process of sharing His sufferings.
1 Pet. 4:1, 2 – “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
1st Pet. 5:10 – “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
The reason we need to arm ourselves and brace up to meet this experience is that the experience is a fiery trial.
1st Pet. 4:12-14 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you (to purify the gold), as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:”
Peter is not here speaking about suffering which is brought on by our own sins.
1 Pet. 4:15 – “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed.”
And when we do enter the furnace and suffer unjustly and unfairly, when our motives and character are grossly misconstrued (as is the character and motive of Christ, whose sufferings we are sharing), we should react not with rebellion and self-defense, but by committing ourselves to Him. This is where we emulate the “faith of Jesus;” for He depended totally upon the protection of His Father—even in Gethsemane He rebuked Peter for drawing the sword. And who could testify to this better than Peter!?
1 Pet. 2:23 – “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” This is the faith of Jesus which we must emulate. (cf. Rev. 14:12)
1 Pet. 4:19 – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
God has called His people to offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put their total trust in Him. He has called His people to enter the fiery furnace of affliction in order to bring about their purification, the cleansing of their soul temples. This is according to His will. If we commit ourselves to His keeping, we will then become chosen in the furnace of affliction. (cf. Isa. 48:10) And if we are faithful – that is, if our faith in His loving-kindness and mercy and justice remain steadfast in the face of the terrible ordeal, if we can maintain our implicit trust in Him, then we become “called and chosen and faithful.” (cf. Rev. 17:14) Then we become counted among those who have the patience of the saints and the faith of Jesus.
God has put forth the call (Rev. 14:6, 7); we make the choice. And the degree to which we can remain faithful determines our position. This is the judgment of the living. Let me explain.
The first angel’s message presents the everlasting gospel and calls God’s people to fear Him and to give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment is come. (Rev. 14:6, 7)
The everlasting gospel is the good news of sins forgiven and the provision for salvation from sin and from its penalty of eternal death. It is, in fact, the essence of the everlasting covenant. In view of this marvellous provision, we are called to fear God and give glory to Him. To fear God does not mean to be afraid of Him; rather it means to respect and reverence Him for His wonderful gift to man. To give glory to Him means to give Him credit for what He has done; to acknowledge Him as a God of love and righteousness.
The reason for His requesting us to do this is that the hour of His judgment is come. We have long regarded this judgment to refer to the saints, first and the dead and then the living. That is, we have taken it to mean our judgment – that we are being judged by Him. And there is no doubt that this is what it means. Nevertheless, the meaning of this passage is not exhausted by this one interpretation; for no human mind can exhaust a single passage of Scripture. (Education 171).
A few years ago there appeared in the Review and Herald an article which presented another view, one which I have personally held for a long time. The righteous nature of the character of the Godhead was originally challenged by Lucifer, and it has been consistently misrepresented by him for thousands of years. In the last generation, the true nature of the character of God is to be vindicated; His righteousness is to be fully revealed; He is to be justified in the eyes of His universe. The hour of His judgment (His court trial) is come, the hour when His witnesses are to come forward and proclaim Him righteous – to give glory to Him. He has long promised that Jesus came to save His people from their sins; now that promise is to be fulfilled in the lives of the 144,000. Their temples are to be fully cleansed. They are to be witnesses at His judgment, proving that His word is indeed true and that His character is all that He has claimed it to be.
“It is our privilege today to become His final witnesses. But we can become such only if we submit to the cleansing discipline of the cup of His sufferings and of His baptism. This discipline is a strange and fiery trial; but it will yield pure gold. The image of Jesus will be perfectly reproduced in His people – a testimony to the truthfulness of the promises of the everlasting gospel and new covenant.
Thus, not only are the living saints judged by their actual demonstration of victory, but their Lord is also judged and His righteous character vindicated by the same demonstration.
But the fiery trial will be so strange, so apparently unreasonable, that God has purposed to send a renewed message of interpretation to His people in this generation. For many would misunderstand it and be tempted to accuse God of unfaithfulness to His promise of care and protection. For the underlying instigator of the persecution is none other than Satan; God permits him to do it. Satan does it in an effort to break the faith of God’s people in the righteousness and mercy of their King. And without an understanding of its purpose, some would lose their faith. But God designs that it should try their faith, and strengthen it. The fiery trial is a trial that will separate and differentiate, a sword that will divide. Only those who accept the message for this hour will endure it.
Nevertheless, He does not suffer us to endure temptation beyond that which we are able to bear, but makes a way of escape. (1 Cor. 10:13) When the fire gets too hot (and hot it will get), we may ask Him to turn off the heat. Yet, if we are unable to bear the trial patiently, without murmuring and complaining, then the trial must be brought upon us again. We must be prepared to drink another draught of the bitter cup until it produces the desired effect.
Early Writings 46, 47 – “ If we overcome our trials, and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold, and are stronger and better prepared to meet the next. . . . We must have on the whole armor of God, and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light, and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might.
“God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not affect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy, impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus receive it, and God will be honored and glorified. (cf. First angel’s message, Rev. 14:7). It is no small things to be a Christian, and to be owned and approved of God
“We must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, if we would share in His glory hereafter. . . .” “. . . They have the standard of piety altogether too low, and they come far short of Bible Holiness. Some engage in vain and unbecoming conversation and others give way to the risings of self.
We must not expect to please ourselves, live and act like the world, have its pleasures, and enjoy the company of those who are of the world, and reign with Christ in glory.” [Ibid, EW 47]
Here, then, is the faith and love tried in the fire. (Rev. 3:18) Only those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will be able to accept the fiery trial without losing faith in the justice, mercy, and love of God. The trial will cause a separation; some will prove to be gold; others wood, hay, and stubble. Some will see their suffering as an experimental knowledge of the love of God, who accepted such suffering for their salvation; others will see only the apparent injustice of a cruel God. Many will not be able to endure. This is because they have failed to heed the counsel of the True Witness to buy this gold and to make the preparation for the marriage and fill their lamps with oil. Unless their faith has been strengthened by the repeated exercise of trials, they cannot endure the final fiery test. Only a full, personal, experiential revelation of the love of God will suffice to motivate and constrain to a total allegiance. And this revelation comes through sharing the sufferings of Christ. By personal experience we learn a little of what Jesus endured for our sakes. And in learning this, we suddenly realize what a wonderful character of love He must possess, that it would constrain Him to go to such depths of misrepresentation and persecution and suffering in order to save us. This knowledge, this realization, bestirs within us a reciprocal love. It wins our allegiance. When we share His cross in full knowledge of the meaning of that experience, then He is lifted up in our hearts personally, and we are drawn to Him. (John 12:32) The love of God is born in our hearts. Christ is formed in us. When this love is strengthened, it impels us to obey every commandment of God.
Christ’s Object Lessons, 378 – “Belief in the propitiation for sin enables fallen man to love God with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself.”
And this love is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13:10)
But the acquisition of faith and love by experience is progressive. And as these are progressively tested and the tests are successfully surmounted, they are strengthened. When the development attains a level sufficient to demonstrate implicit and total trust in God, and to produce unwavering and faithful allegiance to His commandments, then the full delivering of the everlasting covenant is experienced.
Nevertheless, it is a long and trying experience, and it will develop the patience of the saints.
Heb 10:35-38 – “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb. 12:1, 2 – “. . .and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
Jas. 1:2-4 – “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trial); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Rev. 3:10-12 – “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take they crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.” Cf. EW 19 – “Only the 144,000 enter this place (the temple on Mount Zion).”
But this entire procedure cannot be accomplished without the Spirit of God. All the provisions of the covenant, and the sacrifice of Christ, can be of no avail without the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Rom. 5:3-5 – “. . .but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us., For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
The Baptisms of Jesus [From here through the remainder of this manuscript]
Those who are to attain to an entrance into the temple on Mount Zion [the 144,000 (EW 19)] and to sharing the throne of Christ (Rev. 3:21), must not only drink of the cup of which He drank (Matt. 26:39), but they must also be baptized with His baptism. (Matt. 20:21-23) The Scripture reveals three kinds of baptism by which Jesus was baptized.
All of these apply to those of His followers who are called and chosen and faithful. (Rev. 17:14)
The first baptism is that of water. Jesus experienced this at the hand of John. (Matt. 3:13-15) Water baptism is a symbol that the candidate is taking on a new life and leaving the old behind. In the case of Jesus it meant that He was no longer to be the carpenter of Nazareth but the Messiah of Israel.
But water baptism is also an outward symbol that the candidate is to be anointed by the Holy Ghost and become a partaker of the divine nature. This is an inward experience which can only be represented outwardly by a symbol. Water baptism is an outward representation of the baptism of the Hoy Ghost, which is an inward experience. This is the second baptism by which Jesus was baptized. The evidence that Jesus was receiving this anointing was given immediately after His water baptism by John. (Matt. 3:16)
He promised a similar baptism for His disciples, which occurred first at Pentecost. (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4, 16-18; cf. John 1:33) Subsequent converts were also to receive this baptism of the Holy Ghost after their conversion. (Acts 8:14-17) The anointing and baptism of the Holy Ghost at this stage was the former rain experience. There is also to be a latter rain experience. The time for this experience to occur is now.
But Jesus experienced another baptism. He spoke of this in His answer to James and John. At this time He asked them if they were able to drink of the cup whereof He would have to drink and be baptized with the baptism wherewith He would be baptized. (Matt. 20:22)
The cup was the suffering of emotional pain, of which He would drink the bitterest draught at Gethsemane and the cross. (Matt. 26:38, 39) James and John – and all others who are His chosen ones, to be His witnesses – will also taste of this cup. (Matt. 20:23; cf. 1 Pet. 4:1, 12, 13; 2:19-21)
But Jesus here also refers to a difficult and future baptism wherewith He was yet to be baptized.
Luke 12:50 – “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened (pained) till it be accomplished!”
This baptism was obviously still not consummated. In the associated verses, He explains the nature of it.
Luke 12:49-53 – “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.”
This passage appears to be strangely contradictory in the light of His promise to bring peace on earth. (Isa. 9:6, 7; Luke 2:14; John 14:27) But the fire which He kindled is the fire of division and persecution resulting from variance in acceptance of Him as the Messiah.
All who would accept Him and demonstrate that acceptance by living “godly in Christ Jesus” would suffer persecution. (2 Time. 3:12) They too must be baptized with the baptism of fire. John the Baptist said:
“Matt. 3:11 – “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
This is clearly a reference to the purging and shaking of His people, to the purifying and singling out of the sons of Levi, the 144,000 priests. And it is here called a baptism of fire. It is expressed again quite plainly in Early Writings, as follows:
EW 67 – “I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified, and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.
“As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us to rich an inheritance, I prayed that we might be baptized into Christ’s sufferings, that we might not shrink at trials, but bear them with patience and joy, knowing what Jesus had suffered that we through His poverty and sufferings might be made rich.” [EW 67].
But what is it that brings the fiery trial of purification upon the saints? It is the same thing which brought the fiery trial upon Jesus. Not as though He needed the trial for purification. O no! He was already pure. But He humbled Himself to the ordeal of His sufferings in order to pave the way for us to endure that trial which is the only means whereby we could become purified. Had He not gone that road before, we would lose our faith during those severe experiences and count Him to be an unjust and unmerciful God. That is why He accepted His cross. It was a revelation of His love for us. And that is why we will accept our cross; it is a revelation of the love we bear for Him.
But what was it that brought on His trial? In doing always the will of His Father, Jesus set Himself at variance with the leaders of His people; and He brought on division, misunderstanding of His true motives, and the fires of persecution among His own people and brethren and relatives. His message, the Word of God, was sharper than any two-edged sword; and it divided asunder. (cf. Heb. 4:12) It is not with pleasure that God brings the sword of His mouth upon His people. (cf. Ezek. 21:9-13) The pain which this brings to Him is His deepest sorrow; and it caused Jesus to publicly weep. Not often do men weep; and then, seldom in public. Why did He weep?
Luke 19:41-44 – “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and they children within thee; and they shall not leave thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
At the time Jesus spoke these words, he was riding into Jerusalem on a colt; and the multitude were rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice – but some of the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke those people. Jesus answered that if the disciples wee to hold their peace, the very stones would cry out. (see v. 28-48) It was at this point that He wept.
Why did He weep? Because Jerusalem, His chosen people, would not receive Him; they did not recognize Him. Yet it was not for His own sake that He wept, but because He knew the sad consequences of rejection of the only One who could bring salvation to Jerusalem and save it from destruction. Only the sword of His mouth could bring the words of eternal life. Yet He knew that this sword would become, to those who refused its truth, a destroying weapon. (cf. Ezek. 9:1-6)
When He was in the temple, teaching, the chief priests and elders came to Him asking by what authority He did so. In reply He challenged them to tell whether the baptism of John was from heaven or of men. But they dared not answer that question either by “yes” or “no.” Then Jesus spoke to them two parables, both of which taught that others would receive the kingdom before they would; publicans and harlots would go in before them. He spoke of the stone which the builders rejected. (Read Matt. 21:23-46).
As John came in the spirit and power of Elias as the forerunner of the first advent of Jesus, calling the Jews and Jerusalem to the baptism of repentance, to prepare them to receive their Messiah and the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the early rain; even so is someone promised to come in the spirit and power of Elias as the forerunner of the second Advent, calling modern Jerusalem to repentance and reformation, in preparation for the sudden coming of the Holy Ghost to His temple by the baptism of fire in the latter rain. Jerusalem (God’[s church) will then again have the opportunity of accepting or rejecting the message which comes by him. Men may again challenge the authority of the messenger and question his teaching. (TM 475; 4 BC 1184)
Should all Jerusalem choose to reject the messengers preceding the coming of Christ to His temple in the latter rain, the Lord would come to smite the earth with a curse. This He clearly disclosed in the last words of the Old Testament, the last words ever delivered through His prophets before laying down His eternal heritage to become an everlasting sacrifice on behalf of man. (Mal. 4:6; Mark 9:12; cf John 1:21 and Luke 9:30) But that same text verily promises that he who shall come to restore all things will have a message that will bear its fruit. And the word of prophecy is certain and sure. Therefore, as in the days of John many came to repentance, and as in the experience of Jesus all that the Father gave Him came to Him; even so, today, those who
are called by the Sprit of Truth, and who choose to follow their Master all the way, will respond and be found faithful. But these must share in the experience of Jesus and receive of His baptisms – of water, and of the Spirit, and of fire.
The third baptism of Jesus represents an immersion in emotional pain and sorrow resulting from the misunderstanding, the slander, and the persecution, caused by His speaking forth the plain words of truth to His own people. In speaking forth His testimony, He must unavoidably make it appear to them (because of their own blindness and bigotry, not because of the truth) that He was a false prophet operating under the power of the prince of devils. (Matt. 10:25; 12:24) And their rejection of Him as their Messiah, and of the prophets who foretold His coming, seared and stung His sensitive soul. Thus also will the souls of His saints be seared and stung; and they will weep between the porch and the altar.
Early Writings 64 – “ His life was one of toil, sorrow, and suffering; He then gave Himself for us. Those who, in Christ’s stead, beseech souls to be reconciled to God, and who hope to reign with Christ in glory, must expect to be partakers of His sufferings here. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.’ Ps. 126:5, 6.”
Remember, it is the counsel called forth by the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans which causes the shaking and separating. Not that the words of truth are to blame, nor the speaking forth of those words; but the hearts of His beloved people in Jerusalem – His own kindred flesh and blood – are not entirely right with Him. They have made themselves lukewarm toward Him and spurned the totality of His love. If they had not done this, they would already even now have been in the kingdom. But they are not in the kingdom, because they have not responded wholeheartedly to His appeal, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” They do not even acknowledge the extent to which this request can be fulfilled; nor do they yet recognize His messengers of this truth for the present hour, whose message would open their understanding, if they would completely fulfil the conditions for receiving the Holy Spirit, whose enlightenment would guide them into all the truth for this day of emergency.
Jesus saw His rejection, as expressed in these words:
Mark 10:33, 34 – “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him; and the third day he shall rise again.”
This vision was no doubt in His mind the day He rode the colt into Jerusalem. It was following this passage that HE spoke to James and John of His baptism. (See v. 34-40) He expresses it again in Matthew 23:37-39.
This experience will have its parallel in our day; for the words of Revelation eleven will have a renewed application to the two witnesses of the old and new covenants (which are the old and new testaments). These two witnesses will again bear their testimony, which is the sword of the Lord; and they will take the consequences; namely, the baptism of fire. Whoso readeth, let him understand.
The temple of God is to be measured – the living temple which is to become the dwelling place of God by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. (cf. Rev. 3:20; Mal. 3:1-3; 1 Cor. 3:16, cf. 6:19.)
Jesus’ emotional suffering in the baptism of fire was not caused only by the disappointment of His rejection by the Pharisees and leaders of His people, but because of His knowing that such rejection would cause many blind sheep of the flock, who were followers of their blind leaders, to also reject Him (Matt. 15:12-14) – and that such rejection would bring upon those people the abomination of desolation. He knew they would have to suffer the pangs of severe discipline, and that His chosen ones would have to flee from the sanctuary of Jerusalem and the shelter of Judea, under most difficult circumstances, when they should see the abomination of desolation stand in that holy place.
Matt. 23:37-39 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Matt. 24:14-22 – “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall 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.”
Here is a prime example of a passage of Scripture containing a stereoptic meaning – a dual application. If the time of trouble here mentioned, referred primarily to the physical destruction of the temple and the flight of the saints from literal Jerusalem in A.D. 70, then the time of trouble spoken of in connection with the closing scenes of earth’s history could not be as great; for the passage says there will never again be such a time of trouble. Yet the Spirit of Prophecy says the final time of trouble will be unsurpassed. Therefore, these words of Christ have a deeper meaning than appears on the surface – even as the servant of the Lord says do all His sayings. (COL 110)
There is also another stereoscopic meaning here. Babylon is a representation of the fallen churches; but Jerusalem is a representation of God’s chosen church. Jesus wept over Jerusalem; we have no record that He wept over Babylon. The servants of God who will bear the straight testimony of the True Witness will be rejected by members of their own household, of their own family, and of their own church. They will mourn not only because of the persecution they must endure, but because they know the severe consequences which will ensue in the experience of those of their loved ones and brethren who reject the message. They will be deeply pained to see the complete misunderstanding, misrepresenting and the reaction on the part of some of their dear ones and friends, and of their brethren. They will be desolated to see the pain which their message causes to those friends and loved ones. Think not that it was an easy thing for Jesus to offend His people. (cf. John 6:61, 66, 67) Then do you wonder at all, now, why I should find it so difficult to bring you this portion of God’s testimony to you? Ezekiel 21:1-13 will come to pass; but let not Jeremiah 25:34-36 become true of you.
This is the baptism of fire and division and persecution of which the followers of Jesus will partake when they go all the way with Him. Will you choose with Jesus and James and John to go this route? Will you choose to take up your cross and follow Him? Or will you become one of the persecutors? Brethren, I implore you to heed the counsel to anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may discern what is the truth in this matter.
The Jews blamed Jesus for bringing dissension into their midst. But He was in fact bringing them the words of eternal life. His followers today will fare no better; they too will be accused of bringing in dissension. Satan has brought forth so many counterfeits in the experience of the Remnant Church that God’s people are now thoroughly conditioned to reject all innovations. That is why God’s last day messengers will not relish their task. They do not want to be branded as dissenters and troublemakers. But impelled by the Holy Ghost and endowed with the courage of Elijah, they will speak their message; and with a comparable fear they will shun the threatened retaliation. There will be times when they will cry to God for deliverance, even day and night. Nevertheless, it was the threat of Jezebel which drove Elijah to the wilderness, where in his utter defeat and exhaustion he was fed and strengthened by the angel’s food; and in this strength he was enabled to go up to the Mountain of God, where he met His Lord and received the communion of the still small voice. Then he returned to finish his task. (1 Kings 19:15-18)
Let us read again the warning of the True Witness to us. We are lukewarm. We think we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. How often we [as a church] reiterate and publish our great exploits. See the imposing statistics of our expanding assets. Hear the comforting assurance that we have all the truth needed to see us through to the kingdom – that there is no new message. I wonder if our spirit is always right in the sight of God when expressing these things? If there is no new message, let us note that the old message says: if we do not repent, He will spew us out of His mouth! Do you believe it?
But He says we are blind and naked. He is not talking about physical blindness; He is talking about spiritual blindness. And when He admonishes us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve, He is not talking about our physical eyes. We need the anointing of the Holy Ghost to enlighten our understanding of the old truths in a new way. We need the latter rain to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13).
Neither is He speaking of physical nakedness. He means we lack a spiritual covering to protect us in the time of trouble. He means we do not have the white-linen robe of His righteousness; we merely think we have it. If we had it, beloved, He would not advise us to buy it, would He? And if we had it, we would now be in the kingdom, would we not? There is then something about the meaning of the righteousness of Christ which we need to understand or apply in a manner not yet accomplished. And this something will be dealt with in succeeding pages at an appropriate time.
Do you then really believe the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodicean church? I know you believe. But do you have an ear to hear what the Spirit of Truth is saying to the church in our time – the last of the seven churches? (Rev. 3:22) If you do, your mind will be attuned to understand the solemn words contained in these pages, and you will recognize the truth of the statements which follow.
A true child of God will have sensitive feelings akin to those of Jesus. And the hardest kind of persecution such a man can bear for Jesus’ sake is the misunderstanding of his true position and motives by the loved ones of his household. This statement is literally true. Nevertheless, it has also a stereoscopic meaning. For a man’s household is the household of his faith – those who profess to believe the teachings of the church to which he belongs. (Gal. 6:10)
These also may become his greatest persecutors, even while not recognizing their actions as such, and even to thinking they are doing him and God a great favor.
Such is the baptism of fire awaiting the saints. It is the sword of the Lord upon His people, which causes the shaking. It is a personal experience which reveals to them with extreme vividness the nature of the sufferings which Christ endures in order to prepare the way of salvation for His sheep to follow. And His sheep will hear His voice as the still small voice of the Spirit of Truth; and they will follow. (John 10:22-27)
The sword of the Lord shall first be upon His people; and it is no easy thing for Him to bring that sword upon them, because He knows what they must endure and the effect which the sword will have. But for the joy beyond the cross, He sends the sword. And of His people, it shall first come upon the principals of the flock. Not until it has done its work will it become a destroying weapon upon all who reject the final message of the testimony of Jesus.
When the abomination of desolation is seen to stand in the holy place in Jerusalem, it is time for the saints to flee. For then shall be their time of trouble such as never was. It is at this time that false Christs and false prophets will arise in abundance. (See Matt. 24:15-25) And there is a time of trouble before the final close of probation. This time is rapidly approaching.
Mark 10:29-31 – “Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”
Matt. 10:28-41 – “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. . . .Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. . . .A man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” [Matt. 10:41]
He receives a prophet’s reward in that he receives the same message as the prophet; and it becomes his own, to keep and to share.
Matt. 23:34 – ‘Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: . . . Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”
This prophecy has a renewed application in our generation. And the scourging in the synagogues does not have to be physical; for God teaches by similitudes. (Hos. 12:10) Brethren, let us open our eyes!
Sister White makes a statement to the effect that when the messengers of truth see the reactions to their testimony, they will determine to remain quiet, and thus avoid the unpleasant controversy. But the power of God comes upon them and they are impelled to speak forth the truth regardless of consequences. Such behavior appears to be irrational; and these messengers will be labelled heretics, fanatics, troublers of the people, deluded servants of Satan, and even mentally disturbed.
A careful reading of the foregoing material will reveal significant implications to all whose minds are guided by the Holy Spirit. But to those whose preconceived opinions bar the door to an expanded understanding, no renewed meaning will appear. Not until we receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost will we be guided into a personal understanding of all the truth for this crucial hour; for such is the work of the Spirit of Truth.
In the outpouring of the latter rain, the Spirit is to prepare the saints for the final conflict with Satan and for their ultimate meeting with the personal Christ. This experience of receiving the latter rain is intimately related to the terms and the outworking of the everlasting covenant. (To be more fully explained later.) For by it the fiery trial becomes a purifier of silver and of the gold of faith and love; without it, the dross remains. By it the sword of the Word fortifies and seals; without it, the sword separates and destroys. When the fiery trial comes upon us, the true nature of our inmost souls will be laid bare. Then we come to the parting of the ways.
Let me make one more observation before terminating this section. All prophecy is for certain sure; it is immutable. But the precise nature of its application to any particular situation or person is conditional. It is within the power of your group choice whether and how this prophecy will apply to you, as a “city” organization; and it is within the power of your individual choice whether and how this prophecy will apply to you as an individual citizen in that city. You can determine which conditions shall prevail, as far as you are concerned.
Nevertheless, you will likely not yet be in a position to make a rational decision, because major areas of truth have not yet been covered. Forthcoming sections will bring to light numerous interpretations which have an important bearing on the experience of the final remnant. An irrevocable negative decision should not be made until those pages have been honestly considered and seriously pondered.
(At this point, you may wish to again read through the entire correspondence and manuscript – slowly, and with deliberate concentration. It is highly probable that new views will occur to you which you did not discern during your first exposure. Subsequent sections will add further insight and enlightenment to these pages.)
MH 478 – “Of all the gifts that heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon.”
Note by Ron: The above manuscript was written by J. Wilfred Johnson in 1968. It was written for and sent to General Conference leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church. They forthrightly rejected the teaching of Mr. Johnson, who was a college professor and a first elder of the Canadian Union College church for about 40 years.
I have never read anything that inspired me more to want to overcome sin and be part of the bride of Jesus Christ.
 [Note by Ron: Such individuals will be guests at the wedding of Christ’s bride, the 144,000. It is the 144,000 who are without fault. All others are guests and if guests they cannot be the bride, The Great Controversy, pp. 427.
“Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride.”
"The people of God, symbolized by a holy woman and her children, were represented as greatly in the minority. In the last days only a remnant still existed. Of these John speaks as they 'which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." E. G. White, Signs of the Times, Nov. 1, 1899, and Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972.
Isaiah 62, as well, mentions the Sons and daughters of Zion, the bride, that is married. The “children” are those who did not mature into the overcoming state of the 144,000 who are blameless before God, Rev. 14:
Rev 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
Rev 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
Rev 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no
man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Rev 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. End note.
 The 144,000 will go through the time of trouble and be baptized with the fire of persecution. rb
 I would add “literal Jerusalem,” and modern-day spiritual Jerusalem, the professing SDA church, while recalling the fact that Jesus gathered out the faithful from the apostate Jerusalem church as the first act of His ministry in A.D. 27—Desire of Ages, 232. The disciples continued that gathering out and they formed home churches all over Judea for decades before the abomination of desolation first appeared in A.D. 66, to return in A.D. 70, as the following Bible evidence portrays: Scripture on Home Churches
Act 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Act 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Act 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into [the house of] Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
Act 18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain [man's] house, named Justus, [one] that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
Rom 16:5 Likewise [greet] the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
1Cr 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Cr 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and [that] they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
1Cr 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.