The Character and Justice of God


His Strange Act – Part I


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Chap. 92 - Christ's Blessings Universal

     That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9. {TMK 98.1}

     The grace of Christ is not confined to a few. The message of mercy and forgiveness brought from heaven by Christ was to be heard by all. Our Saviour says, "I am the light of the world." (John 8:12). His blessings are universal, reaching to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. Christ came to break down every wall of partition ... that every soul, whether Jew or Gentile, might be a free worshiper and have access to God.... {TMK 98.2}

     Through varied channels the heavenly messengers are in active communication with every part of the world, and when man calls upon the Lord with a true and earnest heart, God is represented as bending from His throne above. He listens to every yearning cry, and answers, "Here am I." He raises up the distressed and oppressed. He bestows His blessings on the evil as well as on the good. {TMK 98.3}

     In every precept that Christ taught, He was expounding His own life. God's holy law was magnified in this living representative. He was the revealer of the infinite mind. He uttered no uncertain sentiments or opinions, but pure and holy truth. . . . He invites men to take a close view of God in Himself, in the infinite love therein expressed. {TMK 98.4}

     To know God is the most wonderful knowledge that men can have. There is much wisdom with worldly men, but with all their wisdom they behold not the beauty and majesty, the justice and wisdom, the goodness and holiness, of the Creator of all worlds. The Lord walks among men by His providences, but His stately steppings are not heard, His presence is not discerned, His hand is not recognized. The work of Christ's disciples is to shine as lights, making manifest to the world the character of God. They are to catch the increasing rays of light from the Word of God and reflect them to men enshrouded in the darkness of misapprehension of God. The servants of Christ must rightly represent the character of God and Christ to men. {TMK 98.5}


March 9, 1897 Christ Represents the Beneficence of
the Law.

By Mrs. E. G. White.

     "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." It is essential that every subject of the kingdom of God should be obedient to the law of Jehovah, in order that his infinite glory may have a perfect establishment. The professed followers of Christ are tested in this life to see whether or not they will be obedient to God. Obedience will result in happiness, and will insure the reward of eternal life. Failure on the part of Adam on one point resulted in terrible consequences, and sin has grown to such vast proportions that it cannot be measured. But in the midst of rebellion and apostasy, in the midst of those who were disloyal, impenitent, and obstinate, God looks down upon those who love him and keep his commandments, and says, "I love them that love me," and will cause them to inherit substance. "I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me." {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 1}

     Christ lived in accordance with the principles of God's moral government, and fulfilled the specifications of the law of God. He represented the beneficence of the law in his human life. The fact that the law is holy, just, and good is to be testified before all nations, tongues, and peoples, to worlds unfallen, to angels, seraphim, and cherubim. The principles of the law of God were wrought out in the character of Jesus Christ, and he who co-operates with Christ, becoming a partaker of the divine nature, will develop the divine character, and become an illustration of the divine law. Christ in the heart will bring the whole man, soul, body, and spirit into captivity to the obedience of righteousness. Christ's true followers will be in conformity to the mind and will and character of God, and the far-reaching principles of the law will be demonstrated in humanity. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 2}

     Pardoning, redeeming love is brought to view in Christ Jesus. Satan had misrepresented the character of God, and it was necessary that a correct representation should be made to worlds unfallen, to angels, and to men. Satan had declared that God knew nothing of self-denial, of mercy and love, but that he was stern, exacting, and unforgiving. Satan never tested the forgiving love of God; for he never exercised genuine repentance. His representations of God were incorrect; he was a false witness, an accuser of Christ, and an accuser of all those who throw off the Satanic yoke, and come back to render willing allegiance to the God of heaven. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 3}

     Satan charged God with an unforgiving spirit, because he would not receive on terms of favor those who disobeyed his law and therefore misrepresented his character. But forgiveness of sins would be of no avail unless the course of transgression was abandoned, and the grace of Christ imparted to the sinner to renovate, purify, and ennoble him who had fallen by iniquity. This was the only way by which the sinner could be restored to divine favor, and trusted to come into copartnership with Jesus Christ. But in Christ we behold the character of the Father, and see the pitying tenderness which God exercised for fallen man, giving his only begotten Son as a ransom for the transgressors of the law. It is in beholding the love of God that repentance is awakened in the sinner's heart, and an earnest desire is created to become reconciled to God. When the transgressor becomes acquainted with God, and experiences his love, it produces in his heart a hatred for sin and a love for holiness. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 4}

     The more we study the attributes of the character of God as revealed in Christ, the more we see that justice has been sustained in the sacrifice that met the penalty of the law, and that mercy has been provided in the only begotten Son, who bore the penalty of the law in the sinner's place, in order that man might have another probation, another opportunity to be obedient to the law of God's government, that it might be made manifest who could be trusted to become members of the Lord's family, children of the Heavenly King. Those who are obedient to the law of the government of God while in this brief probation, amid all the counter-influences of Satanic agencies, will be pronounced in heaven loyal children of the Lord of Hosts. They will be declared to be separate from the sinful practises of the world, and to them God gives the promise, "I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 5}

     By both creation and redemption we are the Lord's property. We are absolutely his subjects, and amenable to the laws of his kingdom. Let no one foster the delusion that the Lord God of heaven and earth has no law by which to control and govern his subjects. We are dependent upon God for everything we enjoy. The food which we eat, the clothing we wear, the atmosphere we breathe, the life we enjoy from day to day, are received from God. We are under obligation to be governed by his will, to acknowledge him as our supreme ruler. We are under obligation to coincide with all his plans and designs. As all our blessings come from God, we are under the highest obligation to render gratitude to him for his mercies, his goodness and benevolence, and to manifest this gratitude by returning to him his own in gifts and offerings, ever cherishing a sense of our dependence upon him. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 6}

     Those who have a knowledge of God in Christ Jesus are under obligation to perform his expressed will in doing his commandments, which are a transcript of his character. We are under a debt of gratitude to God for the revelation of his love in Christ Jesus; and as intelligent human agents, we are to reveal to the world the manner of character that will result from obedience to every specification of the law of God's government. In perfect obedience to his holy will, we are to manifest adoration, love, cheerfulness, and praise, and thus honor and glorify God. It is in this way alone that man may reveal the character of God in Christ to the world, and make manifest to men that happiness, peace, assurance, and grace come from obedience to the law of God. Thus glory redounds to God in good and righteous actions through harmony with the laws of Jehovah's government. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 7}

     It was positively necessary that man should know his Heavenly Father, and discern his paternal attributes of character; for in becoming acquainted with God, men may become partakers of the same virtues and the same glory. In the prayer of Christ for his disciples, the truth embodied is of the deepest significance and interest to all his followers. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." To render acceptable service to God, it is essential that we should know God, to whom we belong, in order that we may be thankful and obedient, contemplating and adoring him for his wonderful love to men. We could not rejoice in and praise a being of whom we had no certain knowledge; but God has sent Christ to the world to make manifest his paternal character. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 8}

     It is our privilege to know God experimentally, and in true knowledge of God is life eternal. The only begotten Son of God was God's gift to the world, in whose character was revealed the character of him who gave the law to men and angels. He came to proclaim the fact, "The Lord our God is one Lord," and him only shalt thou serve. He came to make it manifest that, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." That which proceeds from the mind of God is perfect, and needs not to be taken back, corrected, or altered in the least. We may ascribe all perfection to God. He holds in his hand the existence of every human being, and upholds all things by the word of his power. {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 9}

     Unless men shall know God as Christ has revealed him, they will never form a character after the divine similitude, and will therefore never see God. It is a matter for astonishment among the angels in heaven, that any who have once known God should become careless, should permit their minds to be absorbed in any temporal pursuit, and allow their attention to be diverted from the God of heaven, so that they wantonly and willingly forget their Maker, and substitute for him other lords and other gods. The day has come when there are lords many and gods many, and Satan has purposed to interpose himself between God and the human soul, so that men shall not give homage to God in keeping his law. Satan has wrapped about him garments of angelic brightness, and he comes to men as an angel of light. He causes the guilty soul to see things in a perverted way, so that he hates that which he should love, and loves that which he should hate and despise. God is so misrepresented to him that he cares not to retain the true and living Father in his knowledge, but turns to the worship of false gods. He knows not that the love of God is without a parallel, yet Christ has revealed that love to a fallen world. John calls upon the world to behold the wondrous love of God, saying, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 10}

     Jesus said, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." It is not a surprising thing that the world misunderstand and misinterpret the children of God, since they know not God. As the world treated the world's Redeemer, so will they treat his followers. Jesus said: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I have said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 11}

     If the world knew the principles of the laws of God's government, if they obeyed his commandments, they would discern the character of God in the law, and would no longer be at enmity with God. But turning from the law of God, men have no means of discerning his character, and the attributes of the character of Satan are cherished and cultivated. After Jesus told his disciples what manner of treatment they might expect from the world, he said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended." That is, in receiving persecution from the hands of the world, they were not to feel that God was dealing with them unjustly, in permitting them to be thus treated. Jesus continued: "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." Why is it that men reach this state of deception? Why is it they walk so contrary to all the laws of God? Jesus answers: "And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." {RH, March 9, 1897 par. 12}

     Turning away from the law of God, trampling the commandments under their feet, men cannot know God; for the law of God is a transcript of his character. Failing to understand the law of God, they also fail to know the human agent who discerns the attributes of the character of God revealed in his law. This is why men are filled with prejudice against the truth of God, why they are inspired with the spirit of the great adversary of God and of his children. This is why they bear false reports, fabricating lies, and loving the lies that are prepared for their using. This is why they make such decided efforts to turn away the people from the law of God; for they have not seen him, neither known him.
{RH, March 9, 1897 par. 13}


Chap. 221 - Reveals God's Character

     The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Ex. 34:6. {AG 229.1}

     All the light of the past, all the light which shines in the present and reaches forth into the future, as revealed in the Word of God, is for every soul who will receive it. The glory of this light, which is the very glory of the character of Christ, is to be manifested in the individual Christian, in the family, in the church, in the ministry of the Word, and in every institution established by God's people. All these the Lord designs shall be symbols of what can be done for the world. They are to be types of the saving power of the truths of the gospel. . . . {AG 229.2}

     By beholding the goodness, the mercy, the justice, and the love of God revealed in the church, the world is to have a representation of His character. . . . {AG 229.3}

     In order to manifest the character of God . . . we must become personally acquainted with God. If we have fellowship with God, we are His ministers, though we may never preach to a congregation. We are workers together with God in presenting the perfection of His character in humanity. {AG 229.4}

     God has enjoined the duty upon His human agents to communicate the character of God, testifying to His grace, His wisdom, and His benevolence, by manifesting His refined, tender, merciful love. . . . {AG 229.5}

     Our work is to restore the moral image of God in man through the abundant grace given us of God by Jesus Christ. . . . Oh, how much we need to know Jesus and our heavenly Father that we may represent Him in character! {AG 229.6}

     The soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire His divine character. . . . The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon; and when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal Himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the Word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image. {AG 229.7}

Chap. 71 - How Shall We keep the Sabbath?

     God is merciful. His requirements are reasonable, in accordance with the goodness and benevolence of His character. The object of the Sabbath was that all mankind might be benefited. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; for the Sabbath was made after the creation of man, to meet his necessities. After God had made the world in six days, He rested and sanctified and blessed the day upon which He rested from all
His work which He had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, that, as he should look upon the earth beneath and the heavens above, he might reflect that God made all these in six days and rested upon the seventh; and that, as he should behold the tangible proofs of God's infinite wisdom, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker. {2T 582.3}

     In order to keep the Sabbath holy, it is not necessary that we enclose ourselves in walls, shut away from the beautiful scenes of nature and from the free, invigorating air of heaven. We should in no case allow burdens and business transactions to divert our minds upon the Sabbath of the Lord, which He has sanctified. We should not allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character even. But the mind cannot be refreshed, enlivened, and elevated by being confined nearly all the Sabbath hours within walls, listening to long sermons and tedious, formal prayers. The Sabbath of the Lord is put to a wrong use if thus celebrated. The object for which it was instituted is not attained. The Sabbath was made for man, to be a blessing to him by calling his mind from secular labor to contemplate the goodness and glory of God. It is necessary that the people of God assemble to talk of Him, to interchange thoughts and ideas in regard to the truths contained in His word, and to devote a portion of time to appropriate prayer. But these seasons, even upon the Sabbath, should not be made tedious by their length and lack of interest. {2T 583.1}

     During a portion of the day, all should have an opportunity to be out of doors. How can children receive a more correct knowledge of God, and their minds be better impressed, than in spending a portion of their time out of doors, not in play, but in company with their parents? Let their young minds be associated with God in the beautiful scenery of nature, let their attention be called to the tokens of His love to man in
His created works, and they will be attracted and interested. They will not be in danger of associating
the character of God with everything that is stern and severe; but as they view the beautiful things which He has created for the happiness of man, they will be led to regard Him as a tender, loving Father. They will see that His prohibitions and injunctions are not made merely to show His power and authority, but that He has the happiness of His children in view. As the character of God puts on the aspect of love, benevolence, beauty, and attraction, they are drawn to love Him. You can direct their minds to the lovely birds making the air musical with their happy songs, to the spires of grass, and the gloriously tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air. All these proclaim the love and skill of the heavenly Artist, and show forth the glory of God.
{2T 583.2}

     Parents, why not make use of the precious lessons which God has given us in the book of nature, to give our children a correct idea of His character? Those who sacrifice simplicity to fashion, and shut themselves away from the beauties of nature, cannot be spiritually minded. They cannot understand the skill and power of God as revealed in His created works; therefore their hearts do not quicken and throb with new love and interest, and they are not filled with awe and reverence as they see God in nature. {2T 584.1}

     All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. Yet they can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interesting our children. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can walk out with them in the open air; we can sit with them in the groves and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds
something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and can inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. {2T 584.2}

     The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honor the Sabbath than by devising means to impart proper instruction to their families and interesting them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God and what He requires of us in order to perfect Christian characters and attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children may look forward to it and have a welcome in their hearts for it. {2T 585.1}

Chap. 340 - Only One Reminder of Sin

Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner. Prov. 11:31.

     The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. Proverbs 11:31. They "shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 4:1. Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds." The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch--Satan the root, his followers the branches. {Mar 348.1}

     Satan and all who have joined him in rebellion will be cut off. . . . Then "the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be "; "they shall be as though they had not been." Ps. 37:10; Obadiah 16. {Mar 348.2}

     The justice of God is satisfied, and the saints and all the angelic host say with a loud voice, Amen. {Mar 348.3}

     While the earth is wrapped in the fire of God's vengeance, the righteous abide safely in the Holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. (Rev. 20:6.) While God is to the wicked a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield. (Ps. 84:11.) {Mar 348.4}

     The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. {Mar 348.5}

     One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. . . . {Mar 348.6}

     All that was lost by sin has been restored. . . . God's original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever." Psalm 37:29. {Mar 348.7}

Chap. 13 - Love So Amazing!

     For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. {TMK 19.1}

     Having undertaken the work of man's redemption, the Father would spare nothing, however dear, which was essential for the completion of His work. He would make opportunities for men; He would pour upon them His blessings; He would heap favor upon favor, gift upon gift, until the whole treasury of heaven was open to those whom He came to save. Having collected all the riches of the universe, and laid open all the resources of His divine nature, God gave them all for the use of man. They were His free gift. What an ocean of love is circulating, like a divine atmosphere, around the world! What manner of love is this, that the eternal God should adopt human nature in the person of His Son, and carry the same into the highest heaven! {TMK 19.2}

     All the heavenly intelligences were watching with intense interest the warfare that was going on upon the earth--the earth that Satan claimed as his dominion. Every moment was big with eternal realities. How would the conflict end? The angels looked for the justice of God to be revealed, His anger to be aroused against the prince of darkness and his sympathizers. But lo, mercy prevailed. When the Son of God might have come to the world to condemn, He came as righteousness and peace, to save not merely the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but all the world--every son and daughter of Adam who would believe on Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What an exhibition of the love of Jehovah! This is love without a parallel. {TMK 19.3}

     Our Redeemer determined on nothing less than that through His merits the love of God should be transfused through the soul that believes in Him. As our life, the vitality of God's love is to circulate through every part of our nature, that it may abide in us as it dwells in Christ Jesus. United with Christ by living faith, the Father loves us as the members of Christ's mystical body, of which Christ is the glorified head. {TMK 19.4}

Ron’s Commentary: There are some teaching on the character of God, who separate His (Christ’s) merits from the love of God and the issue of the Godhead and the highest good, crowning sacrifice of His (Christ’s) Incarnation. An SDA told me recently that I focus on the Godhead, while he focuses on the character of God. This is an absolute impossibility to anyone who understands the inviolate contingency of the merits of Christ, His Incarnation sacrifice as it relates to the Godhead, and His character of love and justice. Some are teaching that even Ellen White did not present the justice of God in a correct manner, while they fail to see the inseparable interconnectedness between the Godhead, the character of God and the merits of Christ. End comment.

Theological prism: "'One source of danger is the neglect of the pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former days the pulpit was an echo of the voice of conscience.... Our most illustrious preachers gave a wonderful majesty to their discourses by following the example of the Master, and giving prominence to the law, its precepts, and its threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that the law is a transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who does not love the law does not love the gospel for the law, as well as the gospel, is a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril leads to another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it, the demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is the wrongfulness of disobeying it....

'Affiliated to the dangers already named is the danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out [minimize] the divine justice from the divine benevolence, to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather that exalt it into a principle. The new theological prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good for it is a disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underestimating the divine law and justice, [by minimizing] the extent and demerit of human disobedience [eg. ecumenical involvement], men easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has provided an atonement for sin. Thus the gospel loses its value and importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready practically to cast aside the Bible itself." The Great Controversy, 465, 466.

56: Satan's Delusions

     Satan commenced his deception in Eden. He said to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die." This was Satan's first lesson upon the immortality of the soul, and he has carried on this deception from that time to the present, and will carry it on until the captivity of God's children shall be turned. I was pointed to Adam and Eve in Eden. They partook of the forbidden tree, and then the flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, and they were driven from the garden, lest they should partake of the tree of life, and be immortal sinners. The fruit of this tree was to perpetuate immortality. I heard an angel ask, "Who of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword and have partaken of the tree of life?" I heard another angel answer, "Not one of the family of Adam has passed that flaming sword and partaken of that tree; therefore there is not an immortal sinner." The soul that sinneth, it shall die an everlasting death--a death from which there will be no hope of a resurrection; and then the wrath of God will be appeased. {SR 388.1}

     It was a marvel to me that Satan could succeed so well in making men believe that the words of God, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Eze. 18:4), mean that the soul that sinneth it shall not die, but live eternally in misery. Said the angel, "Life is life, whether


it is in pain or happiness. Death is without pain, without joy, without hatred." {SR 388.2}

     Satan told his angels to make a special effort to spread the lie first repeated to Eve in Eden, "Ye shall not surely die." And as the error was received by the people, and they were led to believe that man was immortal, Satan led them on to believe that the sinner would live in eternal misery. Then the way was prepared for Satan to work through his representatives and hold up God before the people as a revengeful tyrant--one who plunges all those into hell who do not please Him, and causes them ever to feel His wrath; and while they suffer unutterable anguish, and writhe in the eternal flames, He is represented as looking down upon them with satisfaction. Satan knew that if this error should be received, God would be hated by many, instead of being loved and adored; and that many would be led to believe that the threatenings of God's Word would not be literally fulfilled, for it would be against His character of benevolence and love to plunge into eternal torments the beings whom He had created. {SR 389.1}

     Another extreme which Satan has led the people to adopt is entirely to overlook the justice of God and the threatenings of His Word, and to represent Him as being all mercy, so that not one will perish, but that all, both saint and sinner, will at last be saved in His kingdom. {SR 389.2}

     In consequence of the popular errors of the immortality of the soul and endless misery, Satan takes advantage of another class and leads them to regard the Bible as an uninspired book. They think it teaches many good things, but they cannot rely upon it and love it, because they have been taught that it declares the doctrine of eternal misery. {SR 389.3}



     Another class Satan leads on still further, even to deny the existence of God. They can see no consistency in the character of the God of the Bible, if He will inflict horrible tortures upon a portion of the human family to all eternity. Therefore they deny the Bible and its Author, and regard death as an eternal sleep. {SR 390.1}

     There is still another class who are fearful and timid. These Satan tempts to commit sin, and after they have sinned, he holds up before them that the wages of sin is not death but life in horrible torments, to be endured throughout the endless ages of eternity. By thus magnifying before their feeble minds the horrors of an endless hell, he takes possession of their minds, and they lose their reason. Then Satan and his angels exult, and the infidel and atheist join in casting reproach upon Christianity. They claim that these evils are the natural results of believing in the Bible and its Author, whereas they are the results of the reception of popular heresy. {SR 390.2}

January 25, 1910 Our Message

By Mrs. E. G. White

     The fourteenth chapter of Revelation outlines the work that is to be done by the people of God just before the second advent of our Saviour. Three messages are there represented, which must go to all the inhabitants of the world. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 1}

     John writes of an angel which he saw flying "in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 2}

     "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 3}

     "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 4}

     These three angels represent the people who accept the light of God's messages, and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Christ declared to His followers, "Ye are the light of the world." To every soul that accepts Jesus, the cross of Calvary speaks: "Behold the worth of the soul. 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.'" Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for this time, and it is to be far-reaching as eternity. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 5}

     From the beginning of this world's history, there has been opposition between the forces of good and of evil. God declared, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." Man vainly attempted to exalt himself by following his own way, in harmony with Satan's temptation and in opposition to the will of God. He thus gained a knowledge of evil, but he gained it at the cost of his loyalty; and his disobedience opened the flood-gates of woe upon our world. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 6}

     Ever since the fall of Adam, men have been trying to exalt themselves by the same means. When will they learn that the only way to true exaltation is the path of obedience? Men's plans may seem to them to be exceedingly wise, but there is no safety in following them unless they are in accordance with a "Thus saith the Lord." {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 7}

                       Separate from the World

     The Lord called out His people Israel, and separated them from the world, that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He made them the depositaries of His law; and He designed through them to preserve among men the knowledge of Himself. Through them the light of heaven was to shine out to the dark places of the earth, and a voice was to be heard appealing to all peoples to turn from their idolatry to serve the living and true God. {ST,
January 25, 1910 par. 8}

     Had the Hebrews been true to their trust, they would have been a power in the world. God would have been their defense, and He would have exalted them above all other nations. His might and truth would have been revealed through them, and they would have stood forth under His wise and holy rule as an example of the superiority of His government over every form of idolatry. But they did not keep their covenant with God. They followed after the idolatrous practises of other nations; and instead of making their Creator's name a praise in the earth, they brought it into contempt. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 9}

     Yet the purpose of God must be accomplished. The knowledge of His will must be given to the world. God brought the hand of oppression upon His people, and scattered them as captives among the nations. In affliction many of them repented of their transgressions, and sought the Lord. Thus scattered throughout the countries of the heathen, they spread abroad the knowledge of the true God. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 10}

     In this day, God has called His church, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth,--the messages of the first, second, and third angels,--He has separated a people from the churches and from the world, to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositories of His law, and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 11}

     Prophecy declares that the first angel would make his announcement to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The warning of the third angel, which forms a part of the same threefold message, and is the message for this time, will be no less widespread. The banner on which is inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus," is to be raised aloft. The power of the first and second messages is to be intensified in the third. It is represented in the prophecy as being proclaimed with a loud voice by an angel flying in the midst of heaven, and it will command the attention of the world. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 12}

     The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel's message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. But men are not left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against the worship of the beast and his image is to be given to the world before the visitation of God's judgments, that all may know why the judgments are inflicted, and may have opportunity to escape. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 13}

                           A Dividing Message

     In the issue of the contest, all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, -- those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark. Altho church and state will unite their power to compel "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," to receive "the mark of the beast," yet the true people of God will not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beholds "them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God," and singing the "song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." {ST,
January 25, 1910 par. 14}

     The third angel's message increases in importance as we near the close of this earth's history. It is the last offer of mercy to the world, the most solemn message ever given to mortals. In heaven there is a record kept of the impieties of nations, of families, of individuals. God may bear long while the account goes on; calls to repentance and offers of pardon may be given; yet a time will come when the account will be full, when the soul's decision will have been made, when by his own choice man's destiny will have been fixed. Then the signal will be given for judgment to be executed. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 15}

     The forbearance that God has exercised toward the wicked has emboldened men in transgression; but their punishment will be none the less certain and terrible for being long delayed. "The Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act." To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. Yet He will "by no means clear the guilty." By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The very fact of His reluctance to execute justice, testifies to the enormity of the sins that call forth His judgments, and to the severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 16}

Ron’s Commentary: In an effort to portray the love of God’s character, the notion is being disseminated by some who claim greater paradigm insights into the justice of God, that somehow we bring the judgements of God upon ourselves without any intervention by God except His withdrawal of His protection. It is not perceived by such person(s) that the act of withdrawal of His protection is an act of executing His judgment. Such individuals do not seem to be able to discern that if some are wont to question God’s character of love, they would be prone to regard His withdrawal of His protection as an act of un-love. This is an example of the type of problems encountered by those who seem to feel that they can improve on the Spirit of Prophecy. End comment.

     All the inhabitants of earth are soon to meet the great Lawgiver over His broken law. There are many, many in the popular churches who know little of the real meaning of the message for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which say so plainly that the end is near. O how many who have not sought their soul's salvation, will soon make the bitter lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!" {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 17}

     When will men learn that God is God, not man, and that He does not change? Every calamity, every death, is a witness to the power of evil and to the truth of the living God. The Word of God is life, and it will abide forever. Through all eternity it will stand fast. How can man, knowing what God is and what He has done, choose Satan's way instead of God's way? There is only one path to Paradise restored,--the path of obedience. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 18}

    The forbearance that God has exercised toward the wicked, emboldens men in transgression; but their punishment will be none the less certain and terrible for being long delayed. "The Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act." Isaiah 28:21. To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live." Ezekiel 33:11. The Lord is "merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, . . . forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Yet He will "by no means clear the guilty." Exodus 34:6, 7. While He does not delight in vengeance, He will execute judgment upon the transgressors of His law. He is forced to do this, to preserve the inhabitants of the earth from utter depravity and ruin. In order to save some He must cut off those who have become hardened in sin. "The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked." Nahum 1:3. By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. And the very fact of His reluctance to execute justice testifies to the enormity of the sins that call forth His judgments and to the severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor. {PP 628.1}

       But while inflicting judgment, God remembered mercy. The Amalekites were to be destroyed, but the Kenites, who dwelt among them, were spared. This people, though not wholly free from idolatry, were worshipers of God and were friendly to Israel. Of this tribe was the brother-in-law of Moses, Hobab, who had accompanied the Israelites in their travels through the wilderness, and by his knowledge of the country had rendered them valuable assistance. {PP 628.2}


Here is an excerpt from an SDA independent writer on the character of God:


“It seems that this matter of God’s Character is especially prone and subject to misapprehension.  It is the very foundation of the Great Controversy and Satan has worked unceasingly to throw great confusion upon how God rules and Who He is.  Notice:


“The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation, and in all the woes that followed them in their dispersion, they were but reaping the harvest which their own hands had sown. Says the prophet: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself;" "for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hosea 13:9; 14:1. Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will. The horrible cruelties enacted in the destruction of Jerusalem are a demonstration of Satan's vindictive power over those who yield to his control.”  {GC 35.3}


The underlined part of the statement above declares that there is a frequent representation of the suffering of the Jewish nation as being that of direct punishment of God and that this is a teaching of Satanic origin.  I dare add to this that this false representation is evident even in the Biblical language, as per this inspired comment, but let me modify this statement quickly by saying as interpreted by men


Here’s a quick example of the Bible language:


“He cast upon them [the Egyptian nation, in the plagues] the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.”  Ps. 78:49


This is not the only place in the Bible where God is the originator of evil and its forces.  We have to deal with all of this stuff honestly and in such a way as to end up with a harmonious whole.  Did God send evil angels?  The Bible says He did!  So, our question has to be, “HOW?”  We must find that He “sent” them in such a way as His righteousness is maintained and in harmony with the principle that light and darkness do not co-exist, that Christ hath not anything to do with Belial.  (2 Cor. 6: 14, 15)  No yin-yang, dark-side/light-side, split-personality God may be admitted!


Yes, Satan even hides behind the Biblical language and has done so very successfully for millennia.  I cannot say to what degree this prevalent and pervasive misapprehension of the Character of God affected the thinking and word choices of the inspired writers, including Ellen White, but it seems that it has not been a problem completely overcome or we might expect to have a better picture emerging from the plain language.  Then again, it comes back to those hooks, which are purposefully left in place, so that the casual observer will not discern.” End of quoted statement by SDA Kevin Straub.


Ron’s Commentary: A number of points:


·       The above writer is saying, in essence, that Ellen White did not completely overcome the problem of correctly representing the character of God in the realm of dealing with the subject of His role in inflicting judgment. Indeed, the above writer would contradict Ellen White’s statement that God does inflict judgment, to wit:

“But while inflicting judgment, God remembered mercy. The Amalekites were to be destroyed, but the Kenites, who dwelt among them, were spared. This people, though not wholly free from idolatry, were worshipers of God and were friendly to Israel. Of this tribe was the brother-in-law of Moses, Hobab, who had accompanied the Israelites in their travels through the wilderness, and by his knowledge of the country had rendered them valuable assistance.” {PP 628.2}

·       The writer, Kevin Straub, is actually accusing Ellen White and the other inspired writers of Scripture misapprehended the character of God in their word choices. This is contradictory blasphemy in light of the fact that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write what they wrote. This is speaking against the Holy Spirit, which Scripture defines as blasphemy and unpardonable sin.

·       Even if the judgment were not a DIRECT inflictment by God, the INDIRECT judgments incurred by the removing of His protection so that affliction might accrue, could be viewed as punishment indirectly inflicted, and still be cause for one who questions God’s justice, to indict Him as being an unloving God, and the initiator of punishment by removing His protection. But, of course, Satan is the initiator for tempting man to sin, and man is responsible for yielding to Satan’s temptations. So the writer in question has not come up with a “fool-proof” solution to completely exempt God from complicity in exacting punishment.

·       Of course man brings punishment upon himself and often generates the very cause of the punishment eg. Global dimming and Global warming. That is a given. But so has God made it so that acts of sin separate us from our protecting angel and the presence of Christ’s Holy Spirit, our only protection against sin and the results of sin. So we cannot conclude that God takes no role in the infliction of punishment in order to make Him appear all loving and having no part in inflicting judgment.

·       Thus, the above cited writer has not achieved his objective to exonerate God from infliction of punishment, and/or improved on Ellen White and the inspired writers of Scripture in his quest to exempt a loving God from the act of inflicting of judgment even if it is not DIRECT infliction of that judgment.


To be continued