PANORAMA OF TRUTH

Volume Two

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PANORAMA OF TRUTH

 

Volume Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

Formatted Transcripts of Selected

 

Letters, Manuscripts etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authored by:

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 1998

 

© Copyright 2002

 

 

 

All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

 

SIGNET SEAL PUBLISHERS

 

Box 5117, Lacombe, AB Canada T4L1W7

 

 

 

 

 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

(Photo taken about 1946)

 

 

 

 

johnsonIMG.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iii

 

PREFACE

 

From Christ's Object Lessons, Pages 127 & 128:

 

In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to his disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began "at Moses and all the prophets and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form.

(Ellen G. White)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CONTENTS

 

SECTION A-A) LETTERS (FIVE) TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD;

          B) LETTER TO ELDER HARRY LOWE AT THE G.C.

FIRST LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; FEB. 28TH; 1961 ............ 12 SECOND LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; FEB 4TH, 1962 ..............15 THIRD LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 22ND, 1962 ............22 FOURTH LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 2ND, 1969 ............27 FIFTH LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 16TH, 1969 ............37 LETTER RE: BRINSMEAD CRISIS, TO ELDER H. W. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, APRIL 8TH, 1969 ..........43

SECTION 1 - A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH, 1968 [MS # 1]......54-72 DIVINE APPOINTMENTS ..........................................55 PLAUSIBILITY OF A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH IN OUR DAY ........59 SCRIPTURE TRUTH IS NOT YET EXHAUSTED .........................63 THIS PASSAGE IS MAJESTIC. HAVE YOU TIME TO READ IT AGAIN .....63

SECTION 2 - THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH, 1968 [MS # 2]...73-91 RESISTANCE TO NEW TRUTH ......................................77

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING ..................................79 HERMENEUTIC STEREOPSIS .......................................83 FOOTNOTE APPROVED ABOUT 1992 BY J. W. JOHNSON ................90 PICTURE OF CHRIST IN THE SNOW ............................... 91

SECTION 3 - THE EVERLASTING COVENANT 1969 [MS # 3].......92-131 PURPOSE OF THE COVENANT .....................................93 THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD .......................................102 WHOSE STRIPES WERE THEY, REALLY, BY WHICH CHRIST

WAS SMITTEN?.................................................104 ON THE CROSS HE BORE THE SINS OF THE WORLD ..................104 DRINKING THE CUP ............................................107 PERFECTION THROUGH SUFFERING ................................111 THE THREE BAPTISMS OF JESUS .................................118

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SECTION 4 -THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD, 1970

[MS # 4].................................................132-162 How THE SWORD WILL OPERATE ..................................136 THE SWORD OPERATES THROUGH SUFFERING AND MISUNDERSTANDING....140

How THE SWORD WILL OPERATE (CONTINUED) ......................143 AND WHAT ARE WE ADMONISHED TO DO WHEN SUCH LIGHT

COMES TO US?.................................................144 WHAT WILL PREVENT US FROM RECEIVING NEW LIGHT? ..............145 WHAT KIND OF TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED, AND IN WHAT MANNER

MUST IT BE RECEIVED IF IT IS TO BE RECEIVED?.................145 UPON WHOM MUST WE RELY FOR DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT?.............146

WHAT TWO EXTREMES MUST WE GUARD AGAINST?.....................146 WHAT IS GOD'S PURPOSE IN BRINGING FORTH CONTROVERSIAL

TRUTH? ......................................................147 FROM WHOM MAY WE EXPECT RESISTANCE TO THE GOOD THINGS WHICH

ARE TO COME TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD, IN A MANNER NOT DISCERNED

AS OF GOD? ..................................................147 WHAT MEANS WILL GOD USE IN BRINGING AN AWAKENING TO

His PEOPLE? .................................................148 WHEN GOD CALLS A MESSENGER TO BRING FORTH NEW LIGHT, WHAT ATTITUDE SHOULD BE SHOWN TOWARD HIM AND HIS MESSAGE? ........148 IS IT NOT SAFE TO TRUST TO THE JUDGMENT OF THE LEADING

BRETHREN IN DETERMINING THE VALIDITY OF NEW TRUTH? ..........148 WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH POINTS OF CONTROVERSY? .............149 ON WHAT OCCASIONS DOES GOD BRING His PEOPLE A SPECIAL OR NEW UNFOLDING OF TRUTH, AND HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED ON SUCH OCCASIONS? ..................................................150 WHO WILL UNDERSTAND THE NEW TRUTH? ..........................150 WILL NEW TRUTH BE MARKED ONLY BY ITS SIMPLICITY? ............151 WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO REJECT THE NEW TRUTH? .........152 THE TEST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP ...............................153 THIS WAS THE MEANS BY WHICH JESUS WAS MADE PERFECT ..........155 Do YOU DOUBT THIS? ..........................................157 You SEE, I HAVE SPOKEN VERY PLAINLY HEAR AGAIN THE WORD OF

THE LORD ....................................................159

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SECTION 5-LETTER TO THOSE WHO CARE & LEADING BRETHREN ...163-193 LETTER TO: "THOSE WHO CARE", MARCH 5th, 1968 .................164 LETTER TO: LEADING BRETHREN OF THE REMNANT CHURCH AT G.C, 21/03/68. ...................................................170 L. TO ELDER HARRY W. LOWE, GEN. FIELD SECTY AT THE G.C., 03/04/68. ...................................................173 L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 30104/68 ....................................................176 L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE

G.C. ,26/05/68 ..............................................178 L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE

G.C., 15/12/68 ..............................................185

L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 131101/69. ..................................................190

SECTION 6-SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ON THE BOWDEN SERIES ......194-241

Two ASPECTS TO THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS ......195 GOD WILL UTTER HIS VOICE IN ZION ............................197 THERE ARE TIMES WHEN GOD CALLS A SPECIAL MESSENGER ..........199 SPIRIT OF PROPHECY STATEMENTS OF CAUTION AND LOYALTY ........201

NEW TRUTH IS TO COME BEFORE GOD'S PEOPLE ....................202

DANGERS IN REJECTING NEW LIGHT ..............................205

GOD WILL NOT TOLERATE REJECTION OF TRUTH ....................206

To WHOM WILL GOD REVEAL HIS TRUTH? ..........................208

GOD WILL HONOR SURRENDERED CHRISTIANS .......................208

THE FIRST DEATH OF CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY .........210

THE IRREVOCABLE DECISION OF JESUS IN GETHSEMANE .............211

THE MARRIAGE OF CHRIST TO HIS SAINTS BEFORE PROBATION

CLOSES ......................................................212

CHRIST DIED THE SECOND DEATH AT THE CROSS ...................213

THE INCARNATION OF THE HOLY GHOST IN CHRIST'S SAINTS ........213

THE COMFORTER IS THE SOUL OF CHRIST'S LIFE ..................215

THE NEW GOVERNING BODY OF THE UNIVERSE ......................215 THE BAPTISM OF SUFFERING ....................................217 GOD'S 144,000 COMMANDMENT-KEEPERS ...........................218

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(SECTION 6 CONTINUED)

GOD'S MESSAGE FOR THIS HOUR IS ON THESE TAPES ...............218 POSTSCRIPT ADDED BY J. W. JOHNSON IN 1992 ...................219 GOD'S THREE BOOKS ...........................................220 A PRIEST FOREVER ............................................220 GOD DEALS WITH US AS CHILDREN - FOR OUR SAKES ...............222 CHRIST'S NATURE IN HUMANITY .................................224 THE TRUTH CAUSES A SHAKING AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE ...............227 CHRIST'S PERFECT SINLESSNESS IN HIS HUMANITY ................227 THE DUAL NATURE OF JESUS ....................................229 IN HIS PHYSICAL BODY, JESUS TOOK UPON HIM OUR SINFUL

NATURE ......................................................235 PROPENSITIES OF THE CHARACTER - PROPENSITIES OF THE

FLESH .......................................................236 SATAN SAYS WE CANNOT KEEP GOD'S LAW .........................238 THE SECRET OF VICTORY OVER SIN ..............................238 SOME WILL RISE UP AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY ............239 LET US NOT MOVE AHEAD OF THE ANGEL WHO IS LEADING GOD'S

PEOPLE ......................................................240

SECTION 7- 1 PERSONAL REMINISCENCE        (243)         243-284

          2 THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST    (278)    

           3 A POEM: "IN APPRECIATION"    (284)

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON EARLY EXPERIENCES ...................243 CREATION-A PERSONAL STUMBLING BLOCK .........................244 SCIENTISTS ERR WHEN THEY REFUSE TO ACCEPT GENESIS ...........245 DEMONSTRATION BY CREATION OF A SPECIAL WORLD ................247 CREATION OF THIS WORLD WAS BY ACCELERATION OF NATURAL

LAWS ........................................................247 A NEW SLANT ON THE SABBATH ..................................248 How WILL GOD CREATE ALL FLESH ANEW? .........................248 JESUS GREW AND DEVELOPED FROM A TINY SEED ...................249 WHEN CHRIST LEFT HEAVEN, HE LEFT SOMETHING PERMANENTLY ......251

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(SECTION 7 CONTINUED)

ACCLIMATION TO MODERN SOCIETY- A MAJOR MATTER TO THE

SAINTS ......................................................252 AN ENORMOUS TRUTH ...........................................253 THE 144,000 ARE THE ONLY TRUE OVERCOMERS ....................254 THE DANGER OF REFUSING TO ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS AS KING AND

RULER .......................................................254 GUARDIAN ANGELS IDENTIFY WITH THE THOUGHTS AND MOTIVES ......255 REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE COMMUNION SERVICE ................255 YOU CANNOT FIT YOURSELF FOR HEAVEN BY JUST TRYING ...........257 LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE .............258 VICTORY OVER SIN IS THE RESULT OF THE RIGHT ACTION OF

THE WILL ....................................................259 THE SABBATH SYMBOLIZES CREATION THROUGH NATURAL LAW .........260 BELIEF IN GOD AS CREATOR THROUGH HIS NATURAL LAWS,

ENABLES THE 144,000 To ACCEPT THEIR UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

AS OF GOD ...................................................260 WHO SHALL DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS? ..............262 THE SAINTS COMPRISE THE NEW TABERNACLE OF GOD ...............263 THE 144,000 WILL HAVE IN THEIR BODIES THE INHERITANCE

OF SIN ......................................................265 THE 144,000 WILL RECEIVE POWER TO EXPEL SIN FROM THE

LIFE ........................................................267

THE 144,000 WILL COLLECTIVELY UNDERSTAND "ALL TRUTH".........267 A FUTURE WORK OF UNIFICATION AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE .............268 THE REPRODUCTION OF CHARACTERS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE .........269 SPACE RESERVED IN 1994 BY J. W. JOHNSON FOR FURTHER

COMMENT .....................................................270 THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT ON THESE TAPES .....................275 CHRIST'S ETERNAL SACRIFICE ..................................276 THE EVERLASTING COVENANT DELIVERED! .........................276 THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST [UNPUBLISHED MAGAZINE

ARTICLE] ....................................................278 "IN APPRECIATION" [POEM BY J. W. JOHNSON, WRITTEN

IN 1991] ....................................................284

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"The Question has been asked me, 'Do you think that the Lord has any more light for us as a people? I answer that He has light that is new to us, and yet it is old light that is to shine forth from the Word of truth. We have only the glimmerings of the rays of the light that is yet to come to us."

(1st SM, page 401)

 

 

 

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SECTION A

 

 

 

 

LETTERS TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD& ELDER H. LOWE

[1961 to 1969]

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Robert Brinsmead                    J. Wilfred Johnson

c/o Mr. A. L. Hudson                       Feb. 28th, 1961 P. O. Box 408, Baker, Oregon

 

Dear Brother Brinsmead:

 

  I trust you will forgive me for presuming to intrude upon your busy program with this letter, but I believe it will be to our mutual advantage.

 

  A few days ago a friend sent me a copy of your book, "God's Eternal Purpose" (albeit, the copy was a defective one, with several chapters missing and others given twice - to my keen disappointment); and I have completed reading about the first half of it. Meanwhile, I have inquired concerning the source of this material, and learned a little about the background, and that it was available through the Hudson Printing firm - my first knowledge of this firm. I am enclosing this letter in care of Mr. Hudson, and hope you will receive it.

  The clarity of your presentation was early apparent, and I became doubly impressed when I discovered that you were presenting themes which I have cherished in my own theology for many years, but [to] which I have given only limited expression, largely because of the unreadiness of our church members - including those in local authority - to study it, let alone receive it. Since I respect the counsel of Sr. White in these matters, I have not urged the teachings, feeling that in God's own time He would open the way for the awakening and shaking which we all know is coming. A number of other things enter into this decision.

 

  I have been given to understand that in Australia you encountered official resistance, and that you are now presenting your doctrines in the U. S. without the approval of the General Conference Committee. It is in this regard that I would appreciate information, for I am facing a somewhat similar situation.

 

    First, would you care to divulge to me precisely to what extent you have counseled with the General Conference in this matter? What has been their official and unofficial reaction, if any?

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  Second, would you care to express your attitude toward Sister White's counsel to any brother who feels he has a message for God's people? She clearly admonishes co-operation with the leaders of the work, and that if anyone should choose to go ahead of the angel who is leading this people, he must retrace every step.

 

  The history of your experience may be helpful to me in making my presentation. I waited for approximately eighteen years before finally submitting an initial survey on magnetic tape about a year ago. The nature of some of the material would make it unwise to submit prematurely.

 

[Publisher's note: Eight, two-hour reel-to-reel audio-magnetic tapes were submitted to the General Conference by J. W. Johnson from Sept. 1959 to Sept. 1961. These have now been transcribed to written form in the 1990's, comprising in its entirety, Volume 1 of this two volume book set, under the title "Panorama of Truth". As of December, 2000, they have not been submitted in this written form to the General Conference; however it is the intent of the Publishers to do so shortly.]

 

  I am now slowly preparing a written document; but in the face of the almost forbidding circumstantial resistances, it is extremely difficult to make much progress. My program of responsibilities at my profession (vice-principal of the Lacombe High School), my home (family of three children), and the church (one of the local elders, SS music director, SS teacher, and formerly superintendent or assistant superintendent for several years - this church is associated with our only senior college in Canada, Canadian Union College), together with other miscellaneous responsibilities and very limited health, demand more than I can comfortably accomplish. Of course, these are but evidences of the trials under which God's workers will finish their appointed task.

 

  It would not be expedient to burden you at this time with any of the theological concepts, though I can assure you that there are major points which can be added to your presentation (insofar as I have read it) - points which concern primarily those who shall remain to experience translation. These will be brought forward in due time, unless it is the judgment of the General Conference brethren that they be held in reserve.

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  I would be only too happy to receive any information concerning the history of your experience, and particularly the reaction of the leaders. I am also wondering whether you will be touring in this area at some future time, for it would be a pleasure to meet and visit with you - not to mention hearing you present your amazing understanding of the plan of salvation.

 

  I hope this lengthy letter will not prove a burden to you, and if you prefer to reply by magnetic tape, I have a two-track recorder. May I look forward to hearing from you?

 

Sincerely,

 

(J. W. Johnson)

 

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Robert Brinsmead                         J. Wilfred Johnson

c/o Hudson Printing Press                    Feb. 4th, 1962

Baker, Oregon, U. S. A.

 

Dear Brother Brinsmead:

 

  No doubt you receive volumes of correspondence, and this letter will just be another item. I have held off writing because of this, but feel now that I should encroach upon your time with a few thoughts, and trust that you will consider them seriously.

 

  First, let me clarify that, while I am an officer in our local church, I am not writing this in any official capacity; it is purely a personal letter as from brother to brother.

  For about a year now I have studied your material and listened to your tapes with keen interest. I have been impressed with the power of your presentation, and also with the particular points of doctrine which you emphasize. That you have some expanded views of parts of our message there can be little doubt; and that much of your material is sound truth, I cannot dispute. I have been waiting and hoping that what you have to present might yet prove to be a prominent part in the closing of God's work - and I believe it still could be, but only under certain definite conditions.

 

  We all realize, and have for many years, that an awakening is due among our people. Some of us are also fully aware that additional light is forthcoming. But two things stand out very clearly in my mind in this connection: (1) Satan will counterfeit everything God is about to do before He does it. (Sr. White - GC 464.5) And He does not stop at using his own followers as tools, but verily uses even those who are most sincere, earnest, well-meaning, and closest to the Master in their worship and allegiance. (Compare Peter and the words of Jesus to him, "Get thee behind Me, Satan.") (2) The spirit of those who are instrumental in bringing forth the new truth and the awakening will be one of humility, submission, co-operation, and harmony with the brethren; there will be no markedly impatient, independent effort causing confusion and bitter dissension, and flaunting of the ordained offices and authority of the established church. Sister White again says that anyone who goes ahead of the angel who is leading this people will

 

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have to retrace every step. More often, they refuse to retrace their steps, and end their efforts in failure. I would be deeply grieved if this should happen to you, as it has threatened at times to happen to me.

  We all know that the brethren in the church are faulty and fallible; nevertheless, only in counsel and unity are we secure from the Devil's devices - even in the closing individual tests, the saints stand perfectly united. "And the truth which will unite the hearts of God's dear waiting saints is the Sabbath truth." I do not see this capable of verification in the present situation, nor explained in your teachings as yet.

 

  Let me come to the point and explain exactly what I have in mind. I believe your mind has been opened to receive some new light which can fit harmoniously into the expanding pattern of truth which is imminent in the experience of the saints. (Because of this view, I have been detrimentally regarded as one of your followers - or at least, as leaning heavily in that direction. Nevertheless, I follow no man; there is no safety in this. But I will give every man's presentation a fair hearing; for I know that God is indeed revealing additional truth to His people - here a little and there a little; and I would not wish to forfeit some gem because of prejudice.) But the only way this truth will reach the saints without causing tragedy to many is through the united sanction of the brethren. This is God's specified way, and it behooves us to conform to His revealed instruction. Such a procedure will also serve to eliminate any errors which may be present (and there always are some), and will prevent premature presentation of "difficult" phases of truth. If the brethren fail to see light in what is presented, then either (1) the message is not true, or (2) the people are not yet ready for the message, or (3) God will take the reins into His own hands. One thing is sure: it is our responsibility to abide by the counsel of the brethren. How else could God safeguard the unity of His church?

 

  It was approximately twenty-five years ago, while I was passing through my late 'teens and early twenties that I encountered full force, the first major crisis in my life. It centered around the irreconcilable facts of scientific discovery with the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by the church - notably, the six-day creation, the miracles of Christ (and of others), and the inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy. I was, however, an honest doubter, and after claiming the promise of God to bestow wisdom on those who ask, and after waiting for about seven years, God responded in a very substantial manner.

 

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  Within a few months time, the major areas of our doctrines were clarified in my thinking, and I had seen an amazing harmony between science and the Bible, as well as an extensive panorama of truth relating the numerous independent components of our doctrine into a coherent, integrated unit, with many former conundrums dissolved.

 

  Significantly, many of the explanations which emerged extended beyond the rather stereotyped (to me) doctrines being currently taught in the college where I was residing; and as I disclosed my "advanced" views, I was in trouble.

 

  But I had not asked God for a tangible understanding of our teachings in order to be plunged into controversy, but rather that I might become an honest believer. Repeatedly, I was obliged to put on the brakes and even shift into reverse, in order to forestall a more tragic result.

 

  After five years at the college (the last three as registrar), I found it necessary to leave the school. But God has permitted me to remain in this same community for nearly sixteen more years now, wherein I have faced up to the stigma of such an experience in spite of severe nervous illness, to prove that I am still a faithful believer in our message.

 

  I am writing you this, Brother Brinsmead, with a view to helping you realize that God is not confining the revelation of His advancing truth to what you are promulgating at the present time. Some of your major points I have understood for nearly twenty years, and have known all these years that they would need to come before God's people; but I have also known that to go ahead of the leading angel would cause unfortunate results.

 

  In addition to this, I have had the privilege of seeing many other items which you have not mentioned in your presentation. In fact, some problems arising out of your teachings cannot be resolved without answers which I have had in my mental warehouse for many years, awaiting the day when they will be needed in the restoration of all truth.

 

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  I would not write to you in this manner were I not convinced of your honesty and sincerity, and the possibility (though remote) that you might still see your way clear to retrace your steps far enough to regain harmony with the body of Christ. What a wonderful testimony you could bear to the power of humility and submission in the proclamation of the gospel. For I can assure you, on the strength of the prophetic word, that God will work in ways of which you have not dreamed to convince His leading brethren and chosen people of the truths which they may not now be able to see clearly. Your present method cannot hope to do this. I do not say this in condemnation; I have narrowly escaped the same error - and I have had to maintain a more prolonged patience by far than you have tolerated. Yet I know of a truth, you have acted as you have been personally convinced God would have you act. Your error lies in placing too much dependence on your own judgment without the counsel of experienced leaders.

 

  We have a common problem, Brother. You have, so far, solved yours by arising independently of the brethren of the church, and proclaiming your message in spite of contrary counsel and disapproval. I have chosen to contain my views to more limited expression, pending the day when I can clearly express the things I have seen to out brethren at Headquarters, and receive guidance in the task of exposition. And if they see no light in some of it (as they no doubt will), it becomes our duty to yield to their judgment. If they err, God will take care of things in His own way. Under present circumstances, respect for the order and unity of the brethren is more important than independent proclamation of an advanced truth - or any other truth. This has not always been true, but it is now.

 

  TM 51 - "Those who start up to proclaim a message on their own individual responsibility, who, while claiming to be taught and lead of God, still make it their special work to tear down that which God has been for years building up, are not doing the will of God. Be it known that these men are on the side of the great deceiver. Believe them not. They are allying themselves with the enemies of God and the truth. They will deride the order of the ministry as a system of priestcraft. From such turn away, have no fellowship with their message, however much they may quote the Testimonies and seek to entrench themselves behind them. Receive them not, for God has not given them this work to do." (See also 6 T 401.)

 

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  It would seem self-evident that in the light of this clear statement, those who are honest and conservative believers in the Testimonies will not accept your message as long as you pursue your present independent course, regardless of whether you are of God or not. And you know as well as I do that it is these same honest believers in the Testimonies who are God's chosen people, and who should be receiving the new truths. You can gain their attention to these truths only by humbly following the counsel of these same Testimonies. Is this not obvious?

 

  It is still not too late to retrace your steps. If you do, you will be honored with the fellowship of the brethren once more; and also, God will be able to lead you into further mines of truth wholly unsuspected by you at present. This I know, for I have had these truths for a long time.

 

  I am not a fanatic nor a "phony". I have been an ardent believer of our message since it first became clarified to me nearly twenty years ago (I had been a formal member for around ten years before that). I have been misjudged, misunderstood, falsely accused, have suffered nervous exhaustion and emotional indisposition on many occasions as a result, and have never regained my previous health. Yet I am comforted when I realize that any informed psychiatrist studying the record of Sister White would not fail to recognize her mental condition; nevertheless, God used this "weakest of the weak" to perform His work in such a marvelous way. He is not substantially limited by human frailty; our weakness is made perfect in His strength.

 

  But you have no such problem; your talent is uninhibited. What enormous possibilities for constructive effort have been entrusted to you by the Great Benefactor! What a travesty of justice if they should be used to weaken rather than strengthen the work of God.

 

  Believe me, Brother, I know whereof I speak. Your message as it stands now has serious weaknesses, but this does not make it entirely erroneous. I believe with you that the time for the final cleansing of the Sanctuary is now. I have also believed for many years that the saints are, in a sense, the sanctuary not made with hands, which is to be cleansed and purified for the indwelling of Christ by the Holy Ghost and much more; - and I did not get this from A. T. Jones or any other man.

 

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  Such topics as: The Body of Christ, The Communion of the Body and Blood, The Investigative Judgment, The Marriage of the Lamb, The Incarnation, The Death of Christ, The Government of God, The Righteousness of Christ, Righteousness by Faith, The Law of God, The Free Will, Predestination, Salvation from Sin, The New Birth, Creation, The Sabbath, The Resurrection, The Millennium, The Old and New Covenants, and many others, are capable of profound expansion and inter-relation. These are matters which God is opening to other minds, in preparation for the great restoration of all things. It would be unfortunate if you should fail to have your part in it.

 

  May I pose just one group of pertinent doctrinal questions: Sister White plainly tells us that she saw the door to the Holy Apartment was shut in 1844, and no man could open it, and that [the door] to the Most Holy was opened. Your doctrine teaches that our sins are now to be cleansed out of the sanctuary. How can ~ sins be cleansed out of the sanctuary when I was not born until 1915, long after the door to the Holy Apartment was shut? Does not the priest have to carry the blood through the door to the first apartment in the process of transferring sins to the sanctuary? Are individual sins transferred to the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement? Is not the Day of Atonement rather a day of judgment and of cleansing? How will the pre-1844 saints have their soul temples cleansed during this final atonement cleansing when they are asleep in their graves? I have known the answers to these questions for many years, but our people have not yet been ready for them.

 

  If the number of your followers increases, you can maintain unity only by organizing; if it does not increase, it is not genuine. Either way, the Spirit of Prophecy is against you. You can't win. The only safe road open is a return - a retracing of your steps - to the side of the angel who is leading God's people.

 

  Please think seriously about it, Bob. God has an important work for you, or you would not have been called to face this discipline. He has a vital lesson for you to learn through this drastic experience; won't you accept it? "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth."

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  Come back, Brother, and the glories of all the final truth will be yours; refuse, and you will be but another off-shoot, fulfilling the counterfeit of what God is about to do; and at the same time making the acceptance of the fuller truth by the now-extremely-wary saints just that much more difficult. I cannot believe that you would wish to thus hinder God's final work; therefore, I have written you this long letter.

 

May the Spirit of the Lord help you to make the right decision.

 

Sincerely your concerned friend and brother in Christ,

 

  (J. Wilfred Johnson)

 

P. S. I have many, many things which I could discuss with you. You have the intellect and the knowledge of the Word necessary to understand some of the deeper mysteries of God and to get a fuller understanding of the plan of salvation. But I cannot do this unless you get settled with God on this matter of brotherly discipline. There can be no rejection of the counsel of the brethren, when that counsel is in harmony with the instructions of the Word and the Spirit of Prophecy.

 

  Make no mistake, God is not mocked: "The characteristics most needful to be cherished by God's commandment-keeping people are patience and long-suffering, peace and love." - 6 T 398.

 

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Mr. Robert Brinsmead                     J. Wilfred Johnson

RR#4                                     March 22nd, 1962 

Kelowna, B.C.

 

Dear Brother Brinsmead:

 

  I am grateful that you received my letter of last month, and that you are giving it some thought. This matter has been weighing heavily upon my mind; it is a serious situation. Would you bear with me if I wrote a few more words?

 

  It seems evident to me that God has called you to do an important work for Him in these closing days. This is more than many other members of our church would concede; but I am in earnest about it. It is God's method of training a man to "put him through the mill." You have proved beyond any shadow of doubt that you are willing to stand on your own feet and proclaim what you are convinced is true. You have faced opposition and ridicule from your own brethren which is harder to bear than that from those not of the faith. You have endured misunderstanding regarding your motives in the activities you have undertaken. Yet you have pressed steadfastly forward in the conviction that what you are doing is right in the sight of God. This is commendable.

 

  God does not long permit an honest servant to go in the wrong direction. I believe He has allowed you to go as far as you have in order to teach you some extremely valuable lessons. He did not stop Moses from slaying the Egyptian, nor did He forewarn him that he should avoid this action. And it took forty long years to mellow this highly-educated, talented, military leader; and when the time came to deliver God's people, he made excuses. Perhaps the task had lost some of its original glamour. But God saw that he was now ready for the job. His hasty mistake had not disqualified him.

 

  We know that in these closing days, God's people will have to get ready much faster than Moses did; and so will those who are to become leaders in the great deliverance. Nevertheless, let us not lose sight of the fact that those who are to be leaders will have important preparatory lessons to learn; and God's usual method of teaching is through experience. Sometimes He purposely permits a man to pursue a wrong course in order to teach him experimentally the futility or unhappy

 

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consequences of that course, much as we do with our children at times. (Compare Jonah, Saul of Tarsus, and the history of mankind.) Only those who can accept the stigma of correction survive this type of discipline. Yet when a lesson is learned in this manner, there is no danger of its being forgotten. This is the way God teaches His key servants any highly important lessons.

 

  You have already learned how easy it is to ignore the restraining counsel of experienced men, when their counsel cuts across your own thorough, genuine, and sincere convictions. It is hard to relinquish a view of which one is convinced beyond a shadow of doubt - and which may even be true - merely to conform to the counsel of those who in spite of years of experience are unable to comprehend or accept the view. It is easy to dig up "quotations" to support one's position in ignoring such counsel.

 

  In actual fact, no one is required to give up a view which he is convinced is true. What he is required to do, however, is to guard jealously the harmony and unity among the brethren of the church. When the experienced leaders, in whose trust God has placed the scepter of counsel, feel that the promulgation of certain doctrines would be detrimental to the cause, who is he that can say God is unable to handle the situation without ignoring His own testimonies on humility and submission to divinely appointed order in His church? To take it upon oneself to rule that the organizational structure of the church is outdated or disfavored of God, is more than David dared to do even after he had been divinely anointed to be king over Israel. He would not venture to raise a finger against the Lord's previously appointed king. As long as the Lord saw fit to give life to Saul, David would not assert himself in a position which he already knew he was to fill. He had respect to the office, and knew that God could install and remove whom He would - in His own time.

 

  This, I am sure, should be our position. I have looked back over your history, and I have seen some of the same mistakes which I also made in years gone by. I have been slow to learn in some respects, but things are gradually clarifying and crystallizing.

 

  It was about twenty years ago when I first recognized that the descriptions in Early Writings, about the nominal Adventists, could refer to the members of our own church. I spoke to one of the older

 

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staff members about it and he saw what I meant, and was inclined to agree. It is thoroughly conceivable that the organization could ultimately wind up as a hollow shell, carrying on the formalities of the work as did the ancient Jewish leaders, while the remnant emerges as an unorganized group through the shaking process. I have expressed this view privately; and to this day, I would be reluctant to completely discredit it. But that the present "movement" is the initiation of this event, I would be extremely hesitant to admit. My former letter would indicate some of the reasons why.

 

  It is difficult to predict at this stage precisely how the close of the organized work will take place. One thing is certain: we should do all in our power to keep the work moving forward in harmony and unity, even if it means erring on the side of the people, as Sister White says. It is also interesting to note that those who are sealed are the ones who are sighing and crying for the abominations which be done in the city - not criticizing and condemning the ones who may in part be responsible for those abominations. They lament the conditions, they may express their disapproval; but they pitch in and work in harmony with the blue-print insofar as they are able, and solicit the co-operation of their brethren in bettering the conditions. And at all times, it behooves us to consider others better than ourselves, and this is particularly true toward those in authoritative positions. Caesar rules by permission of Jehovah. In His own good time, He will supplant the unfaithful rulers, whoever they may be. * [see footnote, p. 26]

 

  It would be wise to remember that God uses men who are imperfect; in spite of shortcomings and errors, they may still be His chosen ones. We all need the cleansing stream, Brother. Let's get behind these men who are trying to guide the ship through the roughest waters in its journey, and let's try to lighten their load rather than make it heavier. It may be that God will honor us with specific help for them in the hour of emergency; and if not, let us not be found going against His counsel.

 

  You have built up a strong following. It would be difficult, if not humiliating, for you to bow to the directives from headquarters now, in the face of the admiration which has been created for your "courage" in facing up to them. What a demonstration of humility it would be before all the eyes of those who are witnesses to the activities of the accuser of the brethren - if you should decide to surrender your bold

 

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independence for the sake of those who understand not your message and who may need your counsel! Brother Brinsmead, this could be the greatest and final test of loyalty which The Master is placing before you, ere He grants you the privilege of performing the ultimate purpose of your life here at this time. I could say more about this than I am willing to write at present. Think about it; the decision is enormous and urgent.

 

  The most important thing in the lives of those who are championing the Lord's cause in this crucial hour is unity - love of the brethren. This was the theme of Christ's final prayer for His disciples, that they all might be one as He was one with his Father. It is the spirit of brotherly love and fellowship and unity which will identify those who are God's children. (John 13:35). Doctrine will avail nothing unless the principles of love and humility and esteem for the brethren come first. Why not surrender to the will of God in this matter, and then watch Him work a work of righteousness the like of which we have never seen heretofore? He will dry up the Red Sea, give us manna in the wilderness and water out of the Rock, and hold back the stream of the Jordan that we may cross over into the promised land.

 

  The Scripture says, The hour of His judgment is come. There could be another slant to this text; for no human mind can exhaust a single passage of Scripture (says Sr. White) [cf. Ed. 171.5]. The principles of Christ's character have been on trial since they were first challenged by Lucifer ages ago. Christ Himself came to earth to demonstrate His character, and prove that it could be operative even in a sinful world. The crowning demonstration is due in the last generation. Christ is now looking for witnesses who will testify at this great trial where His character is being judged - witnesses who will bear testimony to the righteousness of His character by demonstrating its efficacy in their own faulty lives; by proving that through His grace and mercy and the "shedding of His blood", they too can attain to perfection of character.

 

  The hour of His judgment is come; will we bear the true testimony in His behalf so that He may be acquitted? It is the testimony of humility, the ability to bear injustice as He bore it, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to love our enemies and do good to them that hate us. We cannot fulfill this law of love if we venture forth

 

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independently of the brethren and stir up bitterness and strife and animosity among His people. The world and the universe cannot see the Spirit of Christ in this, and His character cannot be vindicated in this manner. I repeat, the most important thing in this crisis hour is to live the life of self-denying love to God and to fellow men - including the leading brethren. The hour will come all too soon when the wheat will be separated from the tares, the sheep from the goats. Can you not see light in this?

 

You will have a big problem on your hands to work this out; but God has a big work for you. According to the task, so must be the discipline. He will not force you, but He is asking you. How can you refuse to make this surrender? Then watch for Him to direct your way in harmony with His dear waiting saints. They have not all left the organized church; many are waiting with longing hearts for the manifestation of that which has long been foretold. They will not wait in vain. "In your patience possess ye your souls."

 

  Forgive me for taking so much of your time. If you could see what I have seen, you would realize what has prompted me to correspond with you. I hope that you will soon find your way clear to re-join the fold within the organized church. Make no mistake about this: God is still working through His organized church. The majority of His loyal people are still there, and will remain there. Moses had to go back into Egypt in order to deliver God's people; nor could he go too far ahead of them.

 

  You would be most welcome to join them again if you can accept the necessary discipline. Think of the discipline Christ accepted for you! - fettered with humanity for eternity, crowned with thorns, slapped upon, spat upon, and taunted, without retaliation, and the scars of his crucifixion forever in His body, He trod His humble path day by day to make a way for you and me to share His throne - that is, His governing power. Is it too much for us to follow His steps?

 

  May the Lord bless you and your good wife to this end.

 

  With sincere concern, your brother in Christ,

 

  (J. W. Johnson)

 

* [Re: footnote from page 24.6: "In God's hand is the heart of every earthly ruler, to turn withersoever He will, as He turneth the waters of a river." 3 BC 1139.]

 

 

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J. Wilfred Johnson

                                              March 2nd, 1969

Dear Brother Brinsmead:

 

  Early in 1961 I wrote you a letter soliciting any information you might be able to give me concerning the attitude of the General Conference brethren toward you and the points of your message, since I knew I would soon be facing a similar situation. You did not find it expedient to reply.

 

  Again in the early part of 1962 I wrote two further letters, this time presenting to you an appeal to consider the wisdom of retracing your steps far enough to work in harmony with the organized church, even if that meant refraining from active propagation of some of your views. This appeal was based on certain statements of Sister White which appear to contradict others that you were using to justify your activities. You did send a brief reply to my final letter, indicating that you had no intention of taking such a course at that time. (A copy of these letters will be included for your review.)

 

  This left me with no alternative but to withhold the sharing of certain rather extensive material which supplements some of your major contributions, because I did not wish to undermine the leaders of our church by releasing, publicly, material which had not yet received their approval.

 

  You may wonder why I was interested in probing your attitude in the first place. Very briefly, here is the story.

 

  I became an S.D.A. in my mid-teens, in spite of confessing that I could not honestly accept the six-literal-day creation, nor the miracles of Christ, nor the inspiration of Sister White. It was felt by the evangelist that this problem would be solved in due time. But, after several years of active participation in the church, with no satisfactory resolution of the problem, I began to have serious qualms of conscience about the propriety of my membership. I felt I was a hypocrite because I could not believe all of the doctrines, while yet remaining a member and ostensibly professing to believe them. Yet I did not want to leave the church and its fellowship.

 

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  The time came when I could no longer endure this conflict; and recognizing that God had in time past honored the prayers of sundry men for wisdom and understanding, and that the promise of enlightenment was still valid, I begged Him for help in solving this matter. I asked only that He would clarify our truth in my mind so that it would make as much sense and logic to me as did the content of my science texts. Unless He could do this, I could not see how I could be an honest Adventist nor how I could logically and honorably serve in the church program. But if He did clarify my understanding of our truth, I promised to serve Him in whatever capacity He should see fit.

 

  In due time God honored that prayer; the Bible opened up to me as a new book. The six-day creation, the miracles of Christ, the inspiration of Sister White - these and many other doctrines and situations which had puzzled me and had stifled my faith, were made plain. However, they were clarified to an extent which went beyond the current concept of our doctrines; and they formed an impressively coherent and meaningful integration of our truth. But this fact created a predicament, for it placed me in a position of variance with some of the stalwart members of the church and college staff where I worked; and the problems ensuing could take many words to describe.

 

  I eventually left the College, but remained a resident in the community and have retained membership in the same church for these many years. The impact of the situation made serious inroads upon my health, and the burden of bearing up under the strain was a heavy one. The outcome of it all is simply that I have for quite some time now been faced with an appointment by the Master to fulfill a commission on behalf of His people.

 

  Much of what you have written was made plain to me many years ago, but it was not God's purpose that I present it at that time. When you, therefore, began to write about it, I was not slow to corroborate among some of my friends much of what you were saying (but not all). However, your subsequent unfortunate relationship with the leading brethren has made a presentation of the additional things which I have seen so much more difficult; for the intensity of prejudice against anything bearing any similarity whatever to "Brinsmeadism" makes an honest evaluation almost prohibitive.

 

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  Brother Brinsmead, I would like to speak very frankly with you; it is important to you; it is urgent. But I can only do so at present in the strictest confidence. What I say concerning your personal experience and mine must not come before the people; nor may the new facets of truth, some of which I will mention, be published abroad at present. In due time they will reach those for whom they are intended. The brethren at headquarters have not yet had adequate opportunity to study the matter, nor to accept or reject their privilege regarding it.

 

  More than twenty-five years ago I learned that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 would prophesy again; history would be repeated. I learned that these two witnesses were the Old and New Testaments, the witnesses of the Word of God. But God showed me more than this. I learned that this passage (as well as many others) has an expanded meaning.

 

  The Old Testament is essentially a record of the old covenant and of God's dealings with His people under the terms of this covenant. During this dispensation the Lord God dealt with His people directly, occasionally in person, sometimes through angels, and sometimes through prophets. But the major witness of the Old Testament was Moses. He was called to the mount of God (Horeb) to stand personally. before the God of the earth, to receive first-hand the testimony of God to His people. Through Moses, who was a figure type of Christ, the old covenant was delivered to ancient literal Israel. The literal sanctuary service was instituted as a type, to portray God's purpose for the human soul - which purpose was to be fulfilled under the new covenant when antitype would meet type in the New Testament.

 

  Moses was one of the two witnesses who was chosen to become a personal observer in the courts of heaven, there to be instructed concerning the true nature of the everlasting covenant and to witness its outworking from the broader viewpoint of heaven. Here he was to see the mysterious sacrifice of the eternal Son of God, only to find Him again many years later on the Mount of Transfiguration, there to carry out the instructions which he had received from that same One while He was yet in His former estate in the heavenly courts.

 

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  But there was another witness who stood with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. He too had been called to Stand. before His God at Horeb and to meet with him there in the cleft of the rock. Like Moses, he also experienced a forty-day fast on this occasion. But his meeting with God was different. God was not physically seen in the great manifestations of nature - in the wind, and the earthquake, and the fire. But in the still small voice - the voice of the Spirit of God Elijah "saw" his Lord. While Moses spoke with the literal Christ face to face, Elijah spoke with the still small voice - that voice which was to be the voice of God to spiritual Israel in delivering the everlasting covenant to the new-covenant saints in the last day. In that day the terms of the covenant were to be fulfilled by the Holy Ghost writing the law of God in their hearts.

 

  Nevertheless, the dispensation of the New Testament spans two thousand years. Throughout that time, many witnesses of the new covenant have arisen, only to fall asleep in Jesus. Names have been added to the Lamb's book of life. Promises have been given to the overcomers in each of the eras of the Christian church's history. And now since 1844 we have been living in the final or seventh era. This is the time of the anti-typical day of atonement, the time of the judgment and of the cleansing of the sanctuary. This is the time when the living sanctuary of God, not made with hands, is to be cleansed and purified and made white. Heretofore the saints have been cleansed every whit by the process of imputed righteousness; and the High Priest has borne the sufferings for the continued sins of His people. But now the number of individual pillars in the temple of God has been made up. Now they are to be assembled in the last generation to receive their final cleansing and attain to the imparted righteousness. Only then can their High Priest step down from His position of mediation and prove that He has indeed saved His people from their sins; for they will be able to stand before God, faultless, yet without a Mediator.

 

  Before this can be done, the new covenant promises must be fulfilled in the lives of the hundred and forty-four thousand. Yet the work of expelling sin from the life is an act of the soul itself, and the work of purifying the soul temple is a scientific process. It is necessary that this process be understood and that voluntary submission to it be made. That is the work assigned to the other witness – the Elijah witness - who delivers the keys to an understanding of the new

 

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covenant to the saints of the spiritual Israel. Without this understanding they could not voluntarily submit to, nor survive, the process whereby they will be cleansed. As the personal Christ delivered through Moses the types and figures of the old covenant sanctuary service, wherein was contained the shadow of things to come; even so does the Holy Ghost deliver through the Elijah messenger of the New Testament to spiritual Israel, a factual knowledge of the outworking of the new covenant, which enables them to voluntarily enter into its fulfillment in their own lives.

 

  In Malachi 4:4-6 are given the very last words which Christ ever spoke to His people before He relinquished His former heritage in order to take on the form of a tiny seed in Mary's womb. A man's last message is generally His most appealing one. In this last message to His people under the old covenant, Christ implores them to remember the law of Moses which He commanded at Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. And here he also gives His last promise, to send Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, to do a work of turning the hearts of fathers and children to one another, which would prevent the earth's coming under an irrevocable curse. Here at the meeting point of the Old and New Testaments, Christ summarized the transition from the old covenant to the new, and He named the two witnesses of those covenants. He clearly foretold a future work to be performed by His prophet Elijah, a work having to do with a transformation of the heart, which would be essential if the earth were to escape the irrevocable curse of God.

 

  "The new covenant was established upon better promises (than the old), - the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law .... The same law that was engraved by Christ upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart .... Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts." - PP 372.

 

  The work of Elijah is directly connected with the delivering of the new covenant to Spiritual Israel, and he is a figure-type of the Holy Ghost, as Moses was a figure-type of Christ, and Enoch of the Father.

 

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  Jesus also confirmed that Elijah was indeed going to come to restore all things. Restoration need not be made of things not lost or destroyed; it is made only of things which are lost. The basic thing which was lost in the kingdom of heaven under the rebellion of Lucifer was the free-will allegiance to the God of heaven and to His law. This is what will be restored under the new covenant when it is delivered by the voice of God like many waters to His people. While the restoration began with John the Baptist and his announcement of the restoration of the kingdom of heaven and his introduction of The One who would usher it in, yet he was not Elijah according to his own testimony. The great and dreadful day of the Lord was a long ways removed from John's day. Jesus' after-statement merely applies the prophecy to John as a type of Elijah; for John could not both be Elijah and not be him at the same time in a literal sense.

 

  Elijah has been privileged along with Moses to be a personal witness from the vantage point of heaven, a witness of the nature and outworking of the everlasting covenant. He has stood with Moses before the God of the earth for hundreds of years receiving the knowledge of this covenant. He is now to return to complete his appointment as witness of the new covenant and to bear his testimony to final spiritual Israel, in whose lives the terms of that covenant are to be fulfilled.

 

  Thus the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are also two human witnesses. One of these testifies concerning the meaning of the old covenant sanctuary service and brings us to the door of the antitypical sanctuary on the day of atonement to afflict our souls and to prepare for the cleansing of our soul temples. But the final cleansing of our soul temples is to come through the process revealed by the other witness, who testifies of the outworking of the new covenant. Herein is an example of the unfolding nature of Scripture truth.

 

  RH Oct. 21st, 1890 - "To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God."

 

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  Ed. 171 - "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings."

 

  Thus, no matter what interpretation we have had in the past, there is yet another which may be added to it. Sister White has said that when anyone comes professing to have new light, let him present a plain, Thus saith the Lord. Can any words of the Lord be plainer than Malachi 4:5,6 - The last words ever spoken by the Lord God of the Old Testament to His people before He made His fantastic condescension?

 

  I have known for more than twenty-five years that God had appointed me to fulfill this commission. At that time I knew that He would bring to my consciousness the comprehension of the covenant and the nature of the work, and the discipline required to become prepared for the task. This He has been doing during the intervening years. And the time has now arrived when the testimony is being prepared and submitted in written form for the leading brethren. (Inasmuch as Jesus while here on earth partook of His former wisdom and knowledge through the agency of the Holy Ghost; even so does the returned Elijah partake of his former experience and personal witness through the agency of the Holy Ghost.)

 

  When I first learned of my appointment, I came to wonder whether there would be a second personal witness to appear on the scene, either prior to or concurrent with the new covenant witness; and if so, how would he be recognized? I was then directed to look to Australia for one to arise with a testimony relating to the meaning of the old covenant sanctuary and its service in the light of the antitypical day of atonement.

 

  More than fifteen years later, you appeared from Australia with such a message. Do you wonder, then, that I have kept a close eye upon your activities and your expanding message during these past few years, looking for the signs which would indicate the genuineness of your position? Do you wonder that I wrote you those three letters in an effort to determine whether you could meet the tests of all true followers of Christ? Do you wonder that I raise the question of John's disciples: Are you the One, "or do we look for another?"

 

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  Most of your message is true. You have pointed us to the tabernacle of the congregation and have invited us to come to the sanctuary on the day of atonement, and there you have left us to afflict our souls and to await the expected cleansing, which has its counterpart in the cleansing of our soul temples. And now the cleansing is about to be performed in the living saints. Are you ready yet to meet the conditions upon which this cleansing can be accomplished?

 

  Jones and Waggoner came as two witnesses having a message from the Lord. They were endorsed by Sister White. But their generally unfavorable reception was as difficult to "take" as that of many other former and latter servants of God has been. They could not humble themselves to submit to the leading brethren, as did Wieland and Short; they did not have the patient endurance and the love for their brethren which is the true test of discipleship. Therefore, they lost their way. But Sister White stayed by, and she endured. She bore a strong testimony against those at fault, but she cooperated with the brethren. And she assures us that if matters need setting right at the top, God will see to it. [cf. 2nd Vol. Selected Messages, p. 390.5.] Can you meet this test?"

 

  William Miller was not up to the humiliation of his "defeat"; He was confused and disappointed that the message he had given from the Lord did not prove out as he had taught it. God tested him. Yet while he could not fully meet that test nor was he able to grasp the advancing light of the Sabbath, yet he was accepted of God and laid away in the tomb to await the resurrection of the just.

 

  Herewith comes this testimony to you from the Lord: You have your choice to either humble yourself before the leading brethren and await the providences of God in fulfilling His word, and then to partake of the advancing light and see the culmination of what you have been preaching; or to remain independent of the counsel of the brethren of God's avowed church, and thereby come to a dead-end street in your message and/or move off into deceptive error, in which event you will either lose your way (as Jones and Waggoner) or be laid to rest in the tomb (as William Miller). The choice is yours. With God there is no compulsion in such matters.

 

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  From the very beginning I saw that the witness of the Old Testament will bow into the new and be absorbed by the new, that the new will unfold from the old and rise above it; for the new covenant is the everlasting covenant, which existed even before the old. Whether you as a personal witness of the Old Testament sanctuary service will bow into the new and rise with it to final triumph will depend upon your response to the testing truth of the sword of the Lord. And the major test, which is now coming before you, is the test of submission to the counsel of the leaders of God's church. Remember, Moses was willing to renounce his personal position if God were not able to bring His people through. But God will bring them through, though He bear long with them. "In your patience possess ye your souls" Are you the one?

 

  The time is now here when the leaders of God's work will face their major tests. We can make their course so much easier by each esteeming other better than himself. Their task is now extremely difficult. They have attempted to solve the "heresy" problem by drastic disfellowship moves. This will not solve their problem. They are facing a serious crisis; they too are in dire need of wisdom and counsel. Can we do less than bear patiently with them in this crucial hour and lend our support to the cause of unity and love among the brethren? Have you not faith to believe that God can then resolve matters in the best interest of His people?

 

  All prophecy is sure, and will be fulfilled. But the manner of its fulfillment and the particular nature of its application is conditional upon the response of the people involved. Your place in this prophecy is conditional upon your response to the counsel of the testimonies, some of which you have so far ignored in your procedure. Are you ready now to cast your lot with the people of God and submit to the discipline of His established organization?

 

  What I have said in this letter is just a beginning. You have yet no idea of the magnitude of the panorama of truth which God has shown me. Nor do you yet comprehend how God can fulfill the final delivering of the everlasting covenant to His remnant and bring about the final cleansing of the soul temple which you have been preaching for so long. Until the leading brethren have had a fair opportunity to accept their privilege, it must not go before the people. This is imperative.

 

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  It is God's providence that the leading brethren should be given every opportunity to accept their privilege of embracing and sanctioning the unfolding truth and of being instrumental in seeing that it gets to the people. It is also in the providence of God that His chosen servants must accept the discipline of brotherly love and cooperation and of church order. I made an earnest appeal to you seven years ago to exercise patience on their behalf and submit yourself to the discipline essential in the preparing the character of every individual for eternity. You did not see light in it then. But there is reason to believe there are brethren in leading positions who will now be ready to understand. This would be even more so if you could find it possible to humble yourself now and cast your lot with God's appointed agency. It is necessary in order to fulfill God's plan; only by such an evidence of desire and purpose to cooperate in unity and to be one voice can some of these brethren be given a fair chance to break through prejudice. God is preparing His people now to receive the expanding truth, and there will be men at headquarters who will see it, sooner or later. Our test of loyalty is revealed by our love of the brethren. We must not start out in an independent spirit. If matters need setting right at the head, it is for God to set them right.

 

  This is God's appeal to you, Brother Brinsmead; do not spurn it. If you reject God's entreaty this time, you may not have another chance.

 

  Here is the biggest decision you have ever made. And the hardest. But it can be made. Earnest prayers are ascending on your behalf. Make not your decision in haste. If you will surrender totally to God's will, He will lead you; and your decision will be the right one.

 

  Very sincerely your brother in Christ,

 

  J. Wilfred Johnson

 

  I will be happy to enter into further correspondence with you as time permits.

 

 

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J. Wilfred Johnson

                                                                         March 16th, 1969

Dear Brother Brinsmead,

 

  I would like to add a few further thoughts to my letter of March 2; I trust you will not feel this to be an imposition upon your time. This is a very urgent matter.

 

  You say in your letter of March 16, 1962, "Do you think God's servants are going to let the cuckoo take over the nest without a protest in the name of the Lord. This is a crisis, brother and God wants men who will stand up at any cost to themselves. If the ministry will not do it, God is not hand-tied by them. If none of the laity will do it, He can still use the stones."

 

  That is to say, you believe that when you present your view to the brethren at headquarters (which view may be correct) and these brethren cannot accept your view, you may come to the conclusion that these men are therefore not God's chosen leaders but impostors who have usurped the leadership, and that you therefore have a right and an obligation to move out independently of them. How can you come to that conclusion in the light of the pertinent statements from the Spirit of Prophecy quoted below?

 

  3 T 414 - "The first step that such a one would take independently of the church should be regarded as a device of the enemy to deceive and destroy. God has made His church a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purpose and His will. He does not give an experience independent of the church; He does not give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church, while the church, Christ's body, is left in darkness."

 

  3 T 417 - " ...independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in your self and to trust your own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly estimate the judgment of your brethren, especially of those in the offices which God has appointed for the saving of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising; for in so doing he despises the voice of God."

 

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    5 T 293 - "There are a thousand temptations in disguise" prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

 

  RC 20 - "Those who think: that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

 

  TM 27-30 - "Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered, to erect His structure .... Then let everyone be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for our prosperity and success in advancing His cause. Those who have the unction from on high will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and union of action, and then the angels of God can co-operate with them."

 

  3 T 432 - "The Son of God identified Himself with the office and authority of His organized church. His blessings were to come through the agencies that He has ordained, thus connecting men with the channel through which His blessings come."

 

  AA 163 - "To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think: that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy, and overthrown."

 

  3 T 433 - "The church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by connection with His church upon the earth."

39

  AA 162 - "The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service show clearly that the Lord works though appointed agencies in His organized church."

 

  RC 60 (Notebook leaflets, the Church, No. 1, Dec. 24, 1905) "We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization, for this would mean apostasy from the truth."

 

  3 T 428 - "The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body."

 

  R & H, Sept. 20, 1892 - "There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port."

 

  You have a burden to bring the truth you have seen before the people of God. This is a justifiable burden. But in attempting to bring it before those people independently of the co-operation of the leading brethren, chosen as such in God's organized church, you are clearly taking into your own hands the prerogative of deciding that these leaders should be dishonored at this time. But it is not given for us to decide when an unfaithful leader should be deposed; this is God's prerogative.

  David was a man after God's own heart. While a fugitive from Saul's wrath, he knew God had appointed him to be king over Israel and that Saul was now essentially disqualified for that position; yet he would not so much as raise a finger against the Lord's unfaithful ruler; he patiently waited for God to bring about the deposition of Saul in His own good time. (I am not herewith saying that our denominational leaders are unfaithful and should be deposed; but if they were, or if some of them are, it is God's prerogative to deal with such a matter; and He will.)

40

  Brother Brinsmead, how dare you raise a public finger against God's appointed servants? If one has erred in his interpretation of the truth (and some have), it is not for us to decide that they are usurpers. It is for us to bear our testimony before them, that they may have opportunity to see wherein they have erred or have been shortsighted. Then the instruction is clear: if they as a united group see no light in our message, we are not to agitate it before the people. The terrible mess in the world today is the result of man's moving independently of God. Moving independently of God's appointed way is a dangerous Sin.

 

  When an individual brother has a fault, we may bear our testimony to him personally. If he fails to respond, we may take it to him by the mouth of a few witnesses. If he will not hear, we may take it before the church where he has his membership. And in such matters, the will of the church represents the will of God. (cf. 5 T 108; 3 T 428.)

 

  But in a matter involving new truth, we are admonished to lay it before the brethren of experience; every minister should have an opportunity and an obligation to study it. But, if the leading brethren decide it should not come before the people because they can see no light in it or because they feel the light contains dangerous error, then we are instructed to yield to their judgment. We cannot move out independently to agitate "new" ideas which are out of harmony with the consensus of the brethren of experience - even though the ideas may be correct. This is the test of discipleship which Jesus instituted. Anyone who cannot pass this test is jeopardizing his position of discipleship. (cf. John 13:35).

 

  Nevertheless, the sword of the Lord, whereby the test is brought forth, cuts both ways. The brethren at headquarters, the leaders of God's people, must also be put to the test of discipleship. It is their obligation also to give all views a thorough and honest investigation. If their conclusion is unjust, they heap judgment upon their own heads. But the executor of that judgment is not us; it is God. He will take charge. How is it that you cannot see this?

 

  Any man who is unable to esteem "other better than himself' and to "love" his brethren, faulty though they be, cannot long continue to be a channel of God's expanding truth. History has shown this.

 

41

  Sister White at times bore strong testimonies against the leaders of God's church (some of which you have quoted in justification of your move), but she stayed by and yielded to their leadership, she did not start a separatist movement. This took great patience. For years she submitted herself to the apparently unnecessary delay in the finishing of the work, even to the point where some of her testimonies have taken on an air of inaccuracy; some of her statements today present what appears to be falsehood because of the passing of time. But God will overrule here also; these statements will yet be shown to be true.

 

  Such patient cooperation was her example and her testimony; if we do otherwise and move ahead of the angels who are leading God's people, as a people, we will have to retrace every step. (1 T 207).

 

  Brother Brinsmead, you have moved ahead of the people. Many of God's faithful ones in the church and in the leadership have been unable to follow. They believe in the fellowship of the brethren, in the unity of the faith. They believe in the test of discipleship-which test requires that we place our implicit trust in God as the True Leader of His people, and that we believe His promise to set matters right if they need setting right, even at the head of the work. Some of these men do indeed also believe most of your message, but they are true disciples of Jesus and refuse to go contrary to the counsel of His servants. You would do well to follow their example.

 

  It is no doubt in the providence of God to use to advantage the work which you have already done in stirring up the people to re-study the sanctuary truth; but you as an individual will not escape the test of the two-edged sword of the Lord anymore than will the leaders of our church escape it. May the Spirit of God move upon you to inspire you to rise to this challenge, that you may avoid the clutches of Satan which are even now set to ensnare you. You will not escape unless you are willing to yield to God's established plan.

 

42

  Yes, I am aware that the prophetic message says God will raise up men in our midst to be instrumental in bringing the work to a close, and that if some leaders would prevent the truth from reaching the people; but these men who are raised up will not be men who will move away independently of the body, nor will the leaders be able to prevent the truth from reaching the people, because God will take the reins into His own hands if the leaders fail to rise to the challenge and pass their test! Can you not see this? If you cannot, you are ignoring some glaring statements in the Spirit of Prophecy.

 

  It has taken me many months to accumulate the courage to write these letters to you. Believe me, Brother, I am telling you the truth. I am not deceived; I am not deluded; I am not a crackpot; I am not beside myself. This is my testimony and appeal to you from Him who sends the Spirit of Truth. You may have no faith in me, but for your own sake I pray that you may have faith in the words of truth I have brought to you.

 

  May the blessing and persuasion of God attend you as you ponder thoroughly the things contained in these pages. This may be your last opportunity to surrender. The Laodicean message is for you as well as for the leading members of the church. Do not fail to heed it.

 

  With sincere and sympathetic brotherly love,

 

  (J. W. Johnson)

 

  P. S.

  I hope soon to have a paper on the two-edged sword of the Lord. This paper will interpret the strange situation which has come upon our church and will show its purpose in the scheme of things. *

­­­­­­­­­­­

_____________

* [The paper alluded to in the above postscript, entitled, The Two Edged Sword of the Lord, is known as manuscript or Section # 4, and is to be found on pages 132-162 of this book].

 

43

 

                                          J. W. Johnson

                                                           April 8th, 1969

 

Elder H. W. Lowe Bible Research Committee Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters

6840 Eastern Avenue N.W.

 

Dear Elder Lowe:

 

  I was disappointed not to have had the privilege of meeting with you personally at the time of the Board meeting in February, but I can readily understand the problems which were involved. Apparently this proposed meeting was not in God's plan. [The Publishers assume the above was a board meeting at Canadian Union College].

 

  At the same time, I was sorry to note maneuvers somewhat similar to those of a former occasion described in my previous letter. I was again left completely in the dark concerning change of plans, and have since received no word of explanation. I do not understand this kind of administration.

 

  In my last letter I promised not to trouble you with any further manuscript material until I have a reasonably complete presentation. [This "last letter" above referred to is dated Jan. 13th, 1969, found on pages 190-193 of this book. {see pg. 192, item 4}]. This may prove to be a very difficult promise to fulfill, since we are dealing with an expanding and unfolding situation. At the moment, there is something more pressing than the preparation of a coherent manuscript. The situation which has arisen in our church is rapidly accelerating to crisis proportions. It is high time now for certain aspects of truth to be placed before you.

 

  Many years back, when God began to unfold His message to me and the purpose of my life, He brought to me a limited understanding of the nature of my work. One of the aspects which was made clear was that His advancing truth would not be revealed to merely one individual but that it would be distributed, here a little and there a little. This would give rise to question concerning the validity of some of the elements: how could one know whether an element were genuine truth or not?

 

44

 

  Of course, we have the answer to this: If it speak not according to the law and the testimony, there is no light in it. Nevertheless, we all know that two people can compare an item with the same measuring rod - the Word of God - and each arrive at opposing conclusions; and this may not be the result of one person's being a "good Christian" or a "good Bible student" and the other's not being so. For the facets of God's truth are so numerous that it is not too difficult in many instances to build a case for one side of a controversial point and at the same time to build an equally satisfactory case for the other side.

 

  God showed me that the nature of my work would involve a type of authentication of new points of truth. The panorama which He was bringing me would make identification of the various elements possible. If an element of proposed truth should coincide with a segment of the panorama or harmonize with that panorama, it would be obvious that such an element was genuine, whether it had been revealed by the Spirit of Truth to the person concerned or whether the devil had for some purpose of his own managed to bring it to him. Furthermore, it is not necessarily true that if a person presents one vital point of genuine truth, then everything else he presents must also be true. Each element must be considered on its own relationship to the total pattern. (See Section 2 of the manuscripts.) [Section 2 of the manuscript hereto alluded is entitled, The Nature of Expanding Truth, and may be found on pages 73-91 of this book].

 

  I learned further that the work to which I have been appointed includes the task of identifying the meaning in divergent and conflicting elements of truth. Several of these exist in our denomination today. Two equally respected men of God have divergent or opposing views, and controversy results. Yet each man may be correct in his own right, when all circumstances are considered. A potential harmony exists between the two views; and sometimes there may even be possible an integration of the views into a more comprehensive unit; and a larger and more meaningful picture may then emerge.

 

  But our brethren do not seem to recognize this situation. And thus it is that the sword of the Lord comes upon His people. It is a two-edged sword; it cuts both ways. Two distinct views may be held; two camps may arise and a contentious issue develop. Yet both views may be tenable and satisfactorily defendable. Hence a test of fellowship is thus set up between the two camps.

45

 

  A most serious example of this at the present time is the matter of allegiance to the church organization and its leadership in contrast to independent action and experience, and independent discovery of truth and the proclamation of that truth. Supporting statements can be found to substantiate each view.

 

  The purpose of the two-edged characteristic of the sword of the Lord (which is the word that issues from His mouth) is the confrontation of a testing trial. (See Manuscript # 1) [Manuscript Section 1, alluded to above, is entitled, A New Development of Truth, and may be found on pages 54-72 of this book]. Each of us is to experience many trials of our faith, which are designed to strengthen that faith. Some of these trials will involve the apparently contradictory aspects of the Word, including the Spirit of Prophecy writings. And if we permit ourselves to harbor sin, even in its subtler forms of pride and self-righteousness, we may give place to Satan by beginning to question the wisdom of God in thus presenting His truth. Failing that, we may find no faith in the view which opposes our own, and count it a delusion of the devil. More often we do not admit to questioning God's paradoxes, but we deliberately close that one of our spiritual eyes with which we might have seen the new viewpoint, and we look merely with the other eye at the old viewpoint, which we prefer to hold, usually on the basis of personal security.

 

  But the sword of the Lord is to become a trial, to test us and prove what mettle we are of. It is indeed a trial when we discover a gem of truth and then find that it is vigorously opposed by brethren of experience who refuse to open the other eye. For then our duty becomes perplexing. One set of statements from the testimonies indicates that we must yield to the judgment of these experienced brethren and lay down our new discovery, while another set of statements from those same testimonies indicates that at times God would have us rise to the urgency of the hour and proclaim the truth we have discovered; for the light is not to be hid under a bushel.

 

  Now herein lies the trial. The brother to whom the Lord has revealed a new gem of truth not acceptable to the brethren of experience is admonished to yield to their judgment. He is to esteem others better than himself; he is to love and respect his brethren and subdue his personal conviction in favor of group discipline. On the other hand, the brethren of experience and leaders of the church are admonished to

 

46

permit every minister to study the point of controversy; and they must exercise extreme wariness, lest they be led into deception on the one hand or lest on the other hand they permit bias and prejudice to enter, either against the message or the messenger, and thus reject truth which God may be sending them, and thereby heap horrible guilt upon themselves. And the matter becomes a test of personal conviction versus submission to the group or leaders. (Some statements from the Spirit of Prophecy presenting each of these responsibilities are quoted elsewhere. The topic is capable of expansion.)

 

  God has now commissioned me to bring this testimony before you. I am also enclosing a copy of the testimony which is being sent to Brother Robert Brinsmead. The testimony for him contains further information, which will help to give a more complete understanding of the situation. Brother Brinsmead will have a tremendous problem on his hands to meet his part of the testimony. You will have little less in meeting yours.

 

  Brother Brinsrnead was given an appeal seven years ago to make a decision in favor of submission to the leading brethren, but he could not find it possible at that time. He is now being given one more appeal, and I hope it may also become an opportunity. It can become an opportunity for him only if the brethren at headquarters are willing to set aside their measure of prejudice and accept their part of the responsibility to strive toward a restoration of harmony in doctrine among our people. This is the trial which is to come upon them also, to try their faith in the order of God's program, whereby God does indeed raise up men from among us who are endowed with expanding understandings of truth. They, too, will find this a difficult test to meet, if they accept the counsel; for it is not predetermined that all the viewpoints held by our leading brethren are without error.

 

  Robert Brinsmead is guilty of personal errors and shortcomings. It is for God to discipline him and bring him through the purifying fire. And He will do this, if our brother is submissive to it. But there is a growing number of respectable members in our denomination who are coming to the conclusion that some of the men at headquarters and elsewhere are themselves not without error in this controversy. This would seem apparent from the evidence of theological differences, and

47

 

from the manner in which certain brethren are dealt with, when they are called in question. These differences are hardly unexpected, however, in view of the fact that the shaking is destined to penetrate right to the top.

 

  In the appeal to Brother Brinsmead, he has been urged to surrender his personal independence, insofar as it puts him out of harmony with the leaders of the church. This is a gross undertaking, and will be practically impossible for him to manage unless he has some assurance that the leading brethren are willing to face up to their share in the business of reconciliation. And this may mean the renunciation of some position formerly held in a matter of theology or policy.

 

  In this connection, the following statements must not be overlooked:

 

  RH 12/20 - 1892 - "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all of our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible .... No true doctrine will loose anything by close investigation." (But a false one will.)

 

  Ed. 171- "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point;... "

 

  COL 108 - "His (Christ's) words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures."

 

  R & H 3/18 -1890 - "To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God."

 

  RC 20 - "Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

 

48

  GW 301, 302 - "We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of."

 

  R & H 4/1-1890 - "To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean' message is applicable to you."

 

  CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness."

 

  MB 33 - "God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber."

 

  R&H 8/27-1889 - "We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come, instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expect it."

 

  R & H 10/21- 1890 - "May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of His messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warning and admonitions, the same results will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel." (Their house was left unto them desolate. The history of this experience could be repeated; and this will depend upon the choices of the leaders of Israel. cf. TM 116; Matt. 24: 15; Dan. 9:27.)

 

49

  If one who receives new light from the Lord must not be permitted to reveal that light because his brethren cannot comprehend it or because they regard it as false light; if he must deny his personal conviction any expression because he comes under the discipline of the leading brethren; if he must subdue his knowledge of truth and wait for God to deal with the halting, leading brethren; then should not those who are in leading positions also accept their responsibility to permit an open and unbiased investigation of that light by each and every one who desires to do this? And should such one not be permitted to do this without risk of coming under censure and the threat of being disfellowshipped? Should one endowed with new light be expected to wait indefinitely for the brethren to wake up to their responsibility? What is the meaning of the following words:

 

  GW 303 – “We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people. ...The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way that clearer light shall not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done."

 

  TM 106, 107 - "Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing the evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people if these leading brethren do not accept them. ...Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."

 

  TM 69, 70 - "We see here that men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be the teachers of Bible doctrine. ...But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines....

 

50

  "But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions because I do not believe them."

 

 TM 106 - "The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits - because it is truth."

 

  TM 105 - "We are not to think, as did the Jews that our ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said."

 

  The time has come when reconciliation should be made. Our leaders today need more than ever before to humble themselves before God and their fellow brethren in the church on this matter of what is truth and to whom God is revealing it. There needs to be a change of attitude toward the messengers of truth who may still be afflicted with shortcomings or faults, even errors and sins. Instead of relegating every dissident voice to the realm of Satan and avoiding its owner like the plague, there needs to be a closer fellowship among all who profess and give evidence of a genuine faith in the Word of God and its teachings, even though their understanding of that Word may contain differences. How can we ever come into the unity of the faith if we insist on ostracizing from our fellowship everyone whose beliefs are not confined to those only which are sanctioned by some of the leading brethren and theologians? Are these men the only depositories of truth?

 

  Jesus tolerated Judas to the very end. Not until the harvest are the tares to be separated - and the wheat is then gathered out! How can the brethren pass such radical judgment on elements of truth which are so glaringly substantiated? How can they be so severe in disposing of those who would rise up to give the people these truths? Is it because they detect some critical remarks, or some errors? Let us be careful not to make a beam out of the mote in our brother's eye, for the beam may in fact be in our own eye. Let us rather anoint our eyes with eye salve

51

 

and set about to heal the wounds caused by the unnecessary warfare in our midst. 

 

  Do these words sound severe? We are in a severe crisis.

  I am not unfaithful to the Advent cause. I have not been propagating false doctrine. For many years I have contained momentous views of truth because our people were not ready to receive them. I have not supported the Awakening movement, apart from paying for the materials I have ordered, that I may "owe no man anything." I do not agree with everything that is taught by this group of brethren, nor do I agree with some of their activities, nor am I pleased with some of their attitudes. But these souls are as precious in God's sight as is any leader in the Advent church. And many of the things they are teaching are vitally true, and I have known them for years, long before they were proclaimed by Brinsmead.

 

  Why do we not acknowledge them and join in proclaiming those things that are true? Could we not be more patient and thorough and extensive in our investigation of what is presented as truth? Could we not watch with these imperfect souls, who ourselves are yet imperfect, and interact and intercommunicate and "work" one with another, that we may draw together rather than apart, that our minds may come to meet and not become estranged?

 

  Must we totally conform to the rigid structure of our denominational "process" and disinherit every erring child? How would we fare if God did that to us? If we are willing to spend large sums of time, and energy, and money to reach souls in all levels of world society, should we not be willing to go into the highways and byways in the interest of these sincere students of the Word, and help them to realize that we are indeed all of one blood, and that we are as interested in discovering and overcoming our errors and shortcomings as they are in pointing them out to us?

 

  You will say, "we must deal sternly with heresy." God will also deal sternly with sin; but He bears long with sinners, that none may be lost who can yet be saved. And we must first be sure of what is heresy, that we not be found fighting against truth. And we ought not to be quick to set up a wall of partition between us, but rather to establish a closer fellowship, if perchance we may discover that we ourselves have been in error.

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  Let the ban on open study of the awakening message be lifted, that all may investigate without fear of retaliation and jeopardy of their church fellowship; then the leaders will not hold the destiny of the members in their hands; then the sword of the Lord can accomplish its appointed task.

 

  This is the testimony which God would have me bring to you at this time. And how I am straitened until I can bring to you the fuller knowledge of those things which He has shown me; for in them will be the answers to many puzzling and perplexing questions which arise from our present position and our doctrines and our future destiny. In due time we shall see.

 

  If this testimony is heeded, the Holy Spirit will be permitted to do His work unfettered by organized prejudice; and the matter of bringing the shaking to a head and of preparing the saints to stand through the final conflict will be expedited. For there would result a situation in which every member would enter an experience that would prove whether he is worthy and able to subdue self and stand for truth regardless of friends, position, physical security, or other consequences. The day of the Lord would be hastened, the abhorrent rising tide of evil would be cut shorter, and we would soon be in the kingdom.

 

  If this is not done, the controversy will wax sore, the evil day will be prolonged and intensified, and the leaders of the work will place themselves in the unenviable position of assuming responsibility for withholding or prejudicing against the free investigation of truth, with all that this entails. Read again the quotations - [on pages 47 thru 50 of this book.]

 

  A copy of this letter will go to Brother Brinsmead, and copies of God's appeal to him are included with this letter to you. Thus each party to the controversy will be aware of the appeal to his opponent. Both must be studied to get the true picture. For the sake of the cause of the Lord, may you both be reconciled one to the other and to the truth.

 

  If the widening rift in our church is to be healed and if many involved in the controversy are to be spared deep regrets in the future, now is the time it must be done. If it is not done now, it will not be done; and God will take matters into His own hands to bring His truth to His people. His method of doing this is clearly defined in the foregoing statements.

 

53

  Elder Lowe, I believe it is possible for the two sides of this controversy to come together, but it will take tremendous amounts of grace, humility, and forgiveness to do it. Again, the reconciliation may be made on a denominational organization basis; it may be made in this way. If it is, there will be brethren at headquarters and other leaders who will have to exercise great personal self-control and submissiveness to their fellow-brethren (as they are demanding now of other members). This will become their test of discipleship. If it is not done in a united way, many of those who are unwilling to make a personal and independent investigation will be deprived of sharing the unfolding truth which God is trying to bring to them.

 

  I have herewith delivered the testimony as it was given to me. I have not been enlightened concerning the details of procedure. May the Spirit of God direct you to deal with it according to the Divine Plan. I stand ready to cooperate in whatever way I may be able.

 

  Sincerely, your brother in the faith,

 

  (J. W. Johnson)

 

 

[Note: The foregoing letter is the last of seven letters (available to the publishers at this time), which were written to the General Conference by J. Wilfred Johnson. The six letters preceding the above, are found within Section 5 of this book, pages 163 thru 193].

 

 

 

54

 

SECTION 1

 

A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH

 

[Manuscript # 1]

 

 

 

 

Written by

 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

 

 

"I counsel thee to ... anoint thine eyes with eyesalve." (Rev. 3: 18)

 

 

 

 

55

 

A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH

DIVINE APPOINTMENTS

 

  At the age of twelve, when Jesus was gently reprimanded by His parents for not informing them of His whereabouts in the temple, He minced no words in acknowledging His identity and declaring His purpose in life. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49). His statement reveals that He was the Son of God and that He had an appointed task to perform.

  A designated work awaits every person who is born into the world, an assignment that no other can fulfill in quite the same way. To him who waits upon the Lord the nature of his work will be made known. 5T 463 - "God has given to every man his work. Let us each wait on God, and He will teach us how to work, and what work we are best adapted to perform."

 

  5T 464 - "Your duty cannot be shifted to another. No one but yourself can do your work. If you withhold your light, someone must be left in darkness through your neglect." (cf. 2SG 245, 3Q7l:l02)

 

  5T 463 - "Yet none are to start out in an independent spirit, to promulgate new theories. The workers should be in harmony with the truth, and with their brethren. There should be counsel and cooperation. But they are not to feel that at every step they must wait to ask some higher officer if they may do this or that. Look not to man for guidance but to the God of Israel."

 

  It is to fulfill the appointment made clear to me more than twenty five years ago [about 1942] that I now set about to bear this testimony. The long delay has been necessary to provide the required personal discipline, education, and enlightenment, and to grant the chosen people of God the experiences needed to prepare them for receiving the testimony. We are all so slow to learn.

 

IT 207 - "The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that

 

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are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead His people no faster than they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them."

 

  When the solemn ramifications of announcing my commission are honestly surveyed, there is grave reason for hesitancy in making that declaration. But my task cannot be accomplished without such identification.

 

  Only those who recognized and accepted Jesus as the person of Christ, the Son of God, were able to comprehend His message; those who found it impossible to acknowledge Him as the Messiah of prophecy saw little importance in His message and could not benefit from its power. Similarly, only those who accept Sister White as a chosen messenger of God can receive the full benefits of her testimonies. It can be no different now.

 

  Verily it has been no small thing for me to adjust to my obligation in this matter; verily it will be no small thing for my brethren to adjust to theirs. For I have not failed to recognize that my personal shortcomings and past errors will be thoroughly utilized to discount the truths which God has given me.

 

  Nevertheless, God can transform stumbling blocks into stepping stones. And it will be comforting for many sincere but imperfect believers in Christ to learn that God accepts a man, faulty though he be, on the basis of his penitence and faith and not on the basis of his apparent righteousness. Divine appointments are given to sinners saved by the unmerited favors of grace.

 

  Nor am I ignorant of the fact that my personal shortcomings will not be the only stumbling-block in the way of accepting the things contained in these pages. Our people have been so generously alerted to the dangers involved in embracing new "theories" - the warning coming particularly through our publications and ministry - that any major presentation of purported truth must inevitably meet with suspicion, skepticism, serious misgivings and stern resistance.

 

  We all recognize the reason these warnings have been given and thoroughly agree with their need. (See the series of four editorials appearing in the late January and early February, 1968, issues of the Review and Herald, entitled "The Church and Heresy." Article Number 4, February 8, is particularly pertinent to the individual

 

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student.) Without heeding these warnings, we would be in grave danger of being "taken in" by one or other of the great deceiver's many and diverse deceptions. Our church history does not lack in numbers of examples in this regard.

 

  Nevertheless, we should be careful not to veer dangerously far to the other extreme. The warnings are against new theories; they are not against new truth. We have also been warned not to assume the attitude toward new doctrine which was manifested by the Jewish leaders in Christ's day. (GW 301 - 1915). We are admonished that every minister should study and check any new truth which may be brought forward.

 

  GW 300 - "Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it. We are all under obligation to God to know what he sends us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine, - 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' If the light presented meets this test, we are not to refuse to accept it because it does not agree with our ideas." (See also GW 301,303.)

 

  CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness."

 

  We should become clear in our thinking, however, concerning the intended application of these warnings. They are to ensure our being on guard against new theories based on segments of Scripture passages, applied fragmentally and out of context, and resulting in conclusions which are inconsistent with the total message of the Scriptures. They

 

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are not intended to prevent us from opening our minds to the deeper meanings contained in the plain statements of Scripture, nor from grasping the comprehensive relationships which exist among our doctrines. He who applies these warnings in a wrong way is no better off than the one who fails to heed them at all.

  The warnings are particularly applicable in our time to prevent us from accepting Satan's amazingly convincing spirit manifestations, manifestations through which he provides scientific evidence of his superior ability to use the powers of the natural world in "supernatural" ways, imitating the work of the Saviour in one way or another, and thereby pretending to be that divine Person operating for the benefit of mankind. In ways tinged with supernatural evidences, he delivers his messages through the medium of human minds. And through his superior knowledge of the laws of nature, he produces marvelous and fearful sights in the heavens and amazingly spectacular physical healings, sometimes making it appear that they are of supernatural and divine origin.

 

  The messages he brings through his "mediums" are sprinkled with solemn and powerful truth; but their real origin is strikingly identified by such brazen statements as are found in current publications, which quote words directly as spoken through a medium by a self-identified "disembodied spirit." Great emphasis is placed on the central issue of the story that there is no death, and that the world is now ready for this truth. A man in passing from the world-phase of life to the other side will not feel the loss of his cast-off body, but the thinking part of his soul will live on without the besetting problems of earth. Eternal life is verified.

 

  It will be necessary for each one to personally apply the tests for truth. Let not a misplaced caution cause you to lose the messages contained in the following pages. They did not come by the Satanic counterfeit methods alluded to above, but by means (described elsewhere in this manuscript) set forth in the Word of God. "The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves." (GW 301 - 1915). By their fruits they will be known.

 

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PLAUSIBILITY OF A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH IN OUR DAY

 

  While we as a people may have anticipated that God would work in a manner out of the common order of things, few (if any) have been looking for a major breakthrough in the expansion of truth. Nevertheless, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy have adequately paved the way for such an event to occur. And the special work which is to be done thereby has been clearly foretold in the Scriptures. A few pertinent statements follow.

 

  GC 609 ~ "Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency." No one can deny that God's people have a need at this time or that the final crisis through which they must pass is an emergency.

 

  COL 127 - "In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it." No one can deny that the generation of Sister White's day has passed; we are today a new generation, and we can expect a new development of truth.

 

  COL 78 - "For His church in every generation God has a special truth and a special work. ...At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world-conforming church, they are opposed and despised."

 

  COL 133 - "The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols. The gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption, its truths are opened to the understanding. Far more than we do, it is our privilege to understand these wonderful themes. We are to comprehend the deep things of God."

 

  GW 310 - "We must not for a moment think that there is no more light, no more truth to be given us.... "

 

  SC 12 - "God intends that even in this life truth shall be ever unfolding to His people."

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  (Since the references regarding the special work to be done at this time will not be understood too well until at least part of the succeeding testimony has been studied, they will be omitted at this point.)

  For centuries men have pursued the quest for truth. To the diligent seeker, the reward is certain. The angel's promise to Daniel that in the time of the end, knowledge would be increased - is not now lacking in fulfillment. Never before in history has such a feverish effort toward the discovery of truth and the increase of knowledge been put forth. But most of this effort is in the material world.

 

  There was a time in the early years of the Advent movement when diligent searching for truth was the order of the day; and mainly through His servant, Sister White, God brought an expanded understanding of the gospel to His people. Since this messenger was laid to rest in the summer of 1915, her voice has continued to be heard through the writings which she has left as a heritage to God's people till the end of time.

 

  Before she died, she said that sufficient truth had already been given to see us through to the kingdom. Perhaps, therefore, we may feel justified in thinking that we are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" in the way of further truth. Yet that same message of the True Witness to our Laodicean church which declares our lukewarmness also advises us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve. We must need better vision and clearer insight.

 

  Since the passing of Sister White we have considered our major task to be that of bringing "the truth" to those who know it not; and we have most certainly been justified in this conclusion. Therefore we have been busy, very busy, doing our task.

 

  In fact, we have been so busy perpetuating the forms and systems of our organization, so that we can continue to disseminate the truth delivered to us, that most of us have failed to notice how much of "our" message we really do not understand. Nor do we seem concerned about understanding those occasional hazy, obscure, or contradictory items which have from time to time come to our attention. We do not generally trouble ourselves to investigate them. Whatsoever things we do not comprehend, we dismiss as unimportant, because (we say) "it has not been revealed." What we really ought to learn is that simply because it has not yet been revealed to "us" is no reason for concluding

 

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it has not been revealed to someone else. We need a humbler outlook on the matter.

  AA 283 - "If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God will be guided by the divine hand."

 

  COL 35 - "He will make plain His word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart.... All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth."

 

  COL 129 - "...If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God, as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally."

 

  COL 114 - ''No one can search the Scriptures in the Spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When a man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His word. If men would be obedient, they would understand (1) the plan of God's government... (2) The mystery of redemption, (3) the incarnation of Christ, (4) His atoning sacrifice would not be as they are now, vague in our minds. They would be not only better understood, but altogether more highly appreciated." (Numerals supplied)

 

  Ed. 171 - "God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His word shall be ever unfolding. While the secret things belong unto the Lord our God, those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.' The idea that certain portions of the Bible can not be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and oft repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth....God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving."

 

  The special message for this generation has been long overdue. Why has it not come before? Primarily, the people have not been ready for it, and have therefore not fulfilled all of the conditions stated in the

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foregoing quotations. Their attitude toward new truth has been one of skepticism, and perhaps with some justification.

  For Sister White has told us the devil will counterfeit everything which God is about to do [cf. FLB 326 & GC 464.5]. Could it be that he has done such a good job of counterfeiting during this past generation that he has succeeded in conditioning our people into stoical refusal of anything "new"?

 

  So many would-be messengers of light have subsequently been relegated to the ranks of the deceived that anyone now arising with a claim to a new message is certain to be regarded with suspicion and pity, if not with condemnation. This is because of the powerful delusion with which Satan has supposedly managed to encircle him and by which he has supposedly insulated him against rational correction. For anyone to "get through" with a new message from God today would appear to be well-nigh impossible, especially when such messenger exhibits his human fallibility with faults, failures and errors.

 

  Unquestionably, attempts have been made to bring forth new truth, but the impact has been seriously cushioned and practically neutralized. Can we really be certain that all these carriers were the messengers of Satan? Or were some of them genuine when they first appeared, but lost their way as a result of the barrage of inconsistent opposition? Remember, Jones and Waggoner were endorsed by Sister White; their apostasy came later, and perhaps with reasonable cause in part. And William Miller was a messenger of God, though he failed to see the Sabbath truth.

 

  RH 12/20-1892 - "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible....No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation."

 

  While we have been triumphantly counting our denominational success in terms of numbers of baptisms by water, we have not been so diligent in recording baptisms by the Holy Ghost. In the days of the early church, receiving the Holy Ghost was an important and recognizable experience. When one is baptized with the Holy Ghost, he will receive of the gifts and benefits of that Spirit; and one of these is guidance "into all truth." (John 16:13).

 

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SCRIPTURE TRUTH IS NOT YET EXHAUSTED

 

  Ed. 171- "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings. The full radiance is beyond our vision.

  "As we contemplate the great things of God's word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge. As we gaze, the vision widens; stretched out before us we behold a boundless, shoreless sea."

 

THIS PASSAGE IS MAJESTIC - HAVE YOU TIME TO READ IT AGAIN

 

  Some explanations of Scripture passages (and Spirit of Prophecy writings) which were at one time quite adequate to meet the contemporary needs of earlier Adventists, have in these changing times and in the advancing experiences of the remnant become less able to meet our needs. As we will see, a new unfolding of truth is in the offing.

 

  COL 129 - "The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. ... But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form."

 

  Let's face it, Brethren: the pioneers of the Advent movement have all gone; no one present at the famous conference in 1856 remains to become a subject of the seven last plagues, nor anyone to be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated. (See 1st T 131). A new generation has arisen. Three score years and ten are determined in the life span of man. (Ps. 90: 10). Sister White, the young pioneer of the first generation of Adventists, passed to her rest in 1915, seventy years after the rise of the sanctuary message. We are now nearing the end of the second generation. And God has a message of truth especially adapted to meet the needs of His people in this closing hour of the last generation. Only their ears will be tuned to hear it.

 

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Ezek. 9:3-6 - "And he called to the man clothed with linen (the righteousness of Christ) which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: ... but come not near any man upon whom is the mark." (Rev. 19:8, cf. 2 Tim. 4:8; Phil. 3:9).

 

  God's people know that this passage refers to the sealing of the saints, and that the sealing is a settling into the truth (4BC 1161), made possible by the reception of the Holy Spirit of promise. (Eph. l:13; 4:30; 7BC 980). They also know that the shaking or separating which follows along with it, will be effected through the refusal of some to bear the straight testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. (EW270).

 

  The True Witness is Jesus. (Rev. 1:1, 2, 5). Therefore the testimony of the True Witness is the testimony of Jesus. And the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19: 10). Therefore the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans involves the message of Revelation 3:14-22 as it unfolds to them through the Spirit of Prophecy.

 

  God has promised a new unfolding of truth to this generation. The One who is to bring this truth is that Spirit who speaks the Laodicean message. (Rev. 3:22). The Spirit who speaks the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans is the same Spirit who speaks to all the other churches down through history. (cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13).

 

  But the Spirit who brings the testimony of Jesus to the churches is the Spirit of truth whom Jesus promised to send to His disciples for that very purpose. The voice of Jesus to His remnant people is the still small voice of the Spirit of God speaking as the voice of the Spirit of truth. (John 16: 13 -" Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:...") And His voice will be heard as the voice of prophecy. And the everlasting covenant is delivered to the remnant saints. (EW 285, cf. PP 372 - the new covenant is delivered to God's people by the voice of His Holy Spirit,

 

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which coming to many people sounds like many waters. cf. Rev. 17: 15; Titus 3:5. These thoughts will be clarified more fully later).

  Thus, the message of the True Witness to the Laodiceans is delivered to them by the Spirit of Prophecy. It is the Holy Spirit which delivers the testimony of Jesus to them. (1st Cor. 2:10; John 15:26; Rev. 3:22). The Holy Spirit is the voice of God to the seven churches.

 

  That the remnant saints will possess the spirit of prophecy as a personal gift is made clear from the following comparison:

 

  Rev. 19: 10 - "And I fell at his feet to worship him (the one speaking to John). And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren (it does not say here that he was an angel but rather that he belonged to the brethren of John) that have the testimony of Jesus: (that is, who have the spirit of prophecy!) worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

 

  The one who spoke to John was one of his brethren who had the spirit of prophecy. But who are the brethren of John endowed with the spirit of prophecy?

 

  Rev 12:17 - "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (which is the spirit of prophecy)."

 

  The brethren who have the testimony of Jesus are the true members of the remnant church. And in the same manner that they keep the commandments of God they also possess the spirit of prophecy. But there are two stages or levels of commandment keeping - one according to the terms of the old covenant and one according to those of the new covenant. Having the commandments on two tables of stone and attempting to "keep" them in order to merit the favor of God was the great lesson of the old covenant history of Israel. If they could have done it, the covenant would not have been found faulty; for God did honor them when they obeyed, and He did leave them to the consequences of their own disobedience when they persistently refused to honor His word. And persistently they did refuse.

 

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  For this reason, God in the New Testament set about to fulfill the terms of the new or everlasting covenant, as promised in the Old Testament. (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-13). Here God promises to plant His law in their hearts; to give them a full revelation of His character, that they all might know Him; and to forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more. Under the new covenant, forgiveness of sins is obtained by offering the sacrifices of righteousness and putting one's trust in the Lord. (Ps. 4:4,5; 1st John 1:9). Not by sacrifices, but in a broken spirit and a contrite heart. (Ps. 51:16, 17).* The broken and contrite heart is a gift provided by the terms of the new covenant, which new heart enables the sinner to walk in the statutes of God. (Ezek. 11:19,20; 36:26,27,31; Jer. 32:39,40) * Micah 6:6-8.

 

  Thus when the voice spoke to John the Revelator, saying that the remnant would keep the commandments of God, he meant that they would not be "kept" merely on tables of stone and preserved in a physical ark; but they would be planted in the new heart of the individual who had discovered the true character of God. And this transplantation would be accomplished by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

 

  PP 372 - "The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart." (See also CH 500; Titus 3:5; Eph. 1:17, 18; AA 426).

 

  Hence, the Holy Spirit is the Messenger of the new covenant. (Mal. 3:1-3, cf. AA 426). And hence, the remnant church will not merely possess the "testimony of Jesus" on the pages of the writings of the Bible, or of Sister White, or of any other modern prophet; but the spirit of prophecy will become an individual heritage of each saint on whom is bestowed the latter rain of the Spirit of truth. Thus the voice of God which delivers the everlasting covenant will sound like many waters; for waters are people. (EW 285, cf. Rev. 17: 15).

 

  This is the mark or seal which is to be placed in the foreheads of the elect, and which settles them into the truth. (Eph. 1: 13; 4BC 1161; 7BC 980). It is the Holy Ghost, coming in the form of the Spirit of Truth, which will bring the testimony of Jesus to the modern-day disciples. (John 15:26). It is the Holy Ghost, coming in the fullness of the latter rain, who will create the integration of the new panorama of truth in the minds of the saints; and thereby seal them with an unmovable conviction of the validity of that testimony of Jesus, thereby

 

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preparing them to stand through the last great conflict. To them is delivered the everlasting covenant by the still small voice of the Spirit of God; the commandments of God are written in their hearts, and the testimony of Jesus which comes by the creative power of the Spirit of Truth seals them in their foreheads. As the Spirit of God moved upon the waters at creation, so it will move in the foreheads of the saints to regenerate in them (who are the new body of Christ, His living temple not made with hands) the mind and image of Christ. (Col. 1:24-28; Eph. 5:23, 30-32; 2:21, 22; Tit. 3:5).

 

  Only by means of the gift of the Spirit can we have access to the Father, by the intercession of Jesus. (Eph. 2: 18, cf. EW 55). Only by this gift can the man with the writer's inkhorn be guided into "all" truth and restore all things (Mark 9:12) and be shown of things to come (John 16: 13); only by means of this gift will those who read the words of his testimony be able to comprehend the new unfolding of truth from the Word of God which that testimony describes. (Eph. l:17, 18)

 

  Therefore I said, only their ears will be tuned to hear it. Even now, those of you who have been elected to receive the mark of the Spirit of Truth in your foreheads have already experienced a deeper insight into the meaning of some Scripture passages and you have seen relationships among points of truth that you had not noticed before. You are in the process of becoming sealed and of receiving Jesus' new name. (Rev. 3: 12) The Messenger of the covenant is coming to you as a member in His new temple. (Mal. 3:1; 1st Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 2:21,22; Rev. 21:3, cf. lst Cor. 12:27). You are receiving the name of God and of “New Jerusalem" in your forehead, and you are becoming a member of the body of Christ of which He is the Head. This body becomes united in the communion of the marriage of Christ to the New Jerusalem. (Eph. 5:23, 30-32, cf. Rev. 21:9, 10; Col. 1:18; 1st Cor. 10:16,17; cf. 12:12, 13; 11:24,25; EW 25,280).

 

  Some of "God's" people will not bear this testimony, and this will bring about the sifting or shaking. (EW 270) For those who refuse to believe the testimony cannot be sealed (Eph. 1:13), because they have thereby grieved away the Spirit which would have sealed them (Eph 4:30) by bringing to them the spirit of wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment from the Father (Eph. 1:17, 18) necessary to produce a complete understanding and to provide conviction in total and a settling into the truth. (4 BC 1161).

 

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  The Bible says God is going to bring a severe trial upon His people; they will be measured by the rod of His mouth, and the wicked will be smitten with the breath of His lips.

  Ezek. 21:9-13 - "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord: Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter;...this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man; for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel; terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people:...Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn (slight) even the rod?"

 

THE SWORD OF THE LORD WHICH WILL CAUSE THIS TRIAL IS THE WORD OF HIS MOUTH

 

  Rev. 2: 16 - "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." cf. Heb. 4: 12; & DA 108 - "For the word of God is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." cf. also Rev. 1: 16 - "... and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:..."

 

  Jesus is called "a rod." (Isa. 11:1). But He is also called "the Word" which was made flesh. (John 1:1,14) Isaiah 11:14 harmonizes these two statements by saying, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." The rod is then also the word of His mouth. (cf. DA 108 & 111).

 

  But how can the sword (which is His word) contemn (i. e. slight or by-pass and scorn) the rod (which is also His word)? In this way:

 

  His word comes through a definite channel; it comes by the Holy Spirit of truth through the gift of prophecy to a human prophet, who then delivers it or records it in human words. Hence the sword might contemn the human rod; for no human channel has ever been faultless, save only Jesus. Further, a human prophet may be a channel to utter words which he himself does not understand.*

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*[Note: "Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. ...from age to age {etc}." GC 344.2]

 

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  Thus this human rod is contemned. And the word of God may be spoken through one of His ministers and be received and understood by a hearer in a manner which goes deeper and broader than that minister either intended or understood himself. Thus the sword slights (contemns) the minister (the rod or spokesman of the word). The sword of the Lord, when delivered by the rod of His mouth (which is the human agent), measures not only the receivers of the word but the human rod which delivers it. (cf. Micah 6:9; 7:14; DA 112).

 

  It was the humanity of Jesus as the voice of God which was called "a rod" in Isaiah 11: 1. The sword could not contemn this Rod; therefore, the rod referred to in the prophecy of Ezekiel is the human rod of Christ's inheritance - Israel. (Ter. 10:16). It is the human carrier or messenger of truth who will receive the rod of His mouth which is to measure the temple of His inheritance in His saints. (Rev. 11: 1, cf. 3-5). By this Rod their inmost souls will be laid bare, and the true will be separated from the false.

 

  The Word of God is going to be sharpened and furbished; that is, through the gift of prophecy the testimony of the True Witness will be made bright, clear, sharp, and penetrating. A new perception, a new unfolding of truth will be brought before His people to try them, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. (Heb.4:12)

 

  Only those who have been earnest seekers for truth (not the self-satisfied, lukewarm students spoken of in the Laodicean warning); who have been humbly willing to learn as a little child (not thinking they know all that is presently needed to know); who have fortified their minds with the truth of the Bible (including the Spirit of Prophecy writings) and with God's dealings with His people in history and science (which dealings also constitute the Word of God; see COL 126 - "The great storehouse of truth is the Word of God, - the written Word, the book of nature, and the book of experience in God's dealing with human life.") - only those minds will possess the materials needed in the construction of the sharpened and furbished integrations of truth; only in those minds can the Holy Spirit create and integrate new panoramas, which crystallizes their conviction and seals them.

 

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  You cannot create a certain kind of cake until you have the correct ingredients available in the mixing bowl; and not until the heat energy of the oven is applied to the batter in the pan does the cake actually come into existence. Similarly, it is not possible for a new structure of integrated truth to be created in the mind unless the required elements are present; nor can the Holy Spirit "move" in the forehead to create that structure if those elements are not there. This is the reason the latter rain cannot fall on one who has failed to heed the Laodicean warning. (cf. FE 338.9 - 339.2).

 

  Thus, the sealing mark of the Spirit of promise comes only to those who sigh and cry for the abominations that be done in the midst of Jerusalem; to the others, the new message of truth, brought forth by the man with the writer's inkhorn, which becomes the furbished sword of the Lord, the rod of His mouth, can bring no pertinent meaning or conviction. To the self-sufficient Laodicean who will not bear the straight testimony of the True Witness, the new truth (which is that testimony) becomes a sword of destruction, symbolized by the five men who follow after. (Ezek. 9:5,6). Those who do not really possess the "old" truth cannot grasp the new; and to them it loses its vital power. (See COL 127, previously quoted on page 6 of this manuscript, [page 59 of this book]). They may even take the Bible in the hand and go preaching the old established truths from door to door, but that same Bible contains the new revelation of truth which will become to them a slaughter weapon. Fire will proceed out of the mouth of those two witnesses (the old and New Testaments) and "destroy" them. (Rev. 11:5).

 

  Lest you should question the application which has been made of the trial of the sword in Ezekiel 21 - that it consists of new truth which will cause the shaking - the following quotations may help to clarify the matter:

 

  2 SM 13 - "There is to be a shaking among God's people; ....It will be the result of refusing the truth presented."

 

  GW 301 (1915) - "When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, seek the Lord in prayer, and give no place for the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He

 

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would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves."

  CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it."

 

  1st SM 362 - "Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy."

 

  The sword of the Lord which brings the trial upon His people and produces the shaking is the new unfolding of truth. The shaking is caused by the Lord's sending a new revelation of truth; that is, by sending the testimony of Jesus via the Spirit of Prophecy. The elements of the new message come through the man with the writer's inkhorn, bringing to God's people a penetrating knowledge of the new covenant. To those who receive this testimony will come the Holy Spirit in the latter rain, which Spirit alone can create an integration of those truth elements into a coherent and convincing panorama. But some will not bear this testimony, because they have not fulfilled the conditions for receiving the latter rain; and to them its true meaning fails to appear.

 

  It is this creative work of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain which brings about the sealing in the foreheads of the saints; that is, it settles them into the conviction of the genuineness of this new panorama of truth which glorifies the old truths. They are guided into "all" truth. Thus they are prepared to face and stand through the last great conflict with the arch-deceiver, Antichrist, and to escape being taken in by the strong delusion which God will permit Satan to send through his pseudo-spirit manifestations. (2 Thess. 2:7-12, cf. v. 3,4; EW 59; 5 T 573; 9 T 16).

 

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  Herewith, I trust, the plausibility of a new unfolding of truth in our day has been established. If you find it possible to accept it, you will receive of the Spirit of truth in the latter rain, and be sealed (Eph. 1:13, 14), because you will thereby receive the two signs of the remnant church which are promised in the terms of the new covenant - the law of God in your heart and the testimony of Jesus in your forehead. (Rev. 12: 17). If you cannot accept it, you have either failed to gather into your mind by diligent study an adequate supply of the truth ingredients necessary to compose the structure of this new unfolding of truth, so that the Holy Spirit cannot find in your mind the required materials from which to create the panorama; or you have failed to acquire the humble, open-minded attitude of a little child; or you have neglected to make a close work of cleansing your soul temple from defilement. (1st Cor. 3:16, 17; 5T 214).

 

  You are now facing the most solemn hour of your life; your decision is determined by the character you have built; the pronouncement of your judgment will never be reversed; your probation has closed when you cast your ballot in this crucial matter. (1st John 4:1-6, also v. 15; cf. Rev. 3:20; 22:10, 11).

  (The foregoing is not intended to establish final proof of the doctrines presented; further evidence follows.)

 

(Written in 1968 by J. W. Johnson)

 

 

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SECTION 2

 

THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH

 

[Manuscript # 2]

 

 

 

Written by

 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

 

 

"The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,..." (Matthew 13:31)

 

 

 

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THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH

 

  You may be wondering now whether or not Sr. White contradicted herself in stating that all the truth needed to see the Advent people through to the kingdom had been given. The accuracy of her statement cannot be assessed until we gain an insight into the nature of understanding itself, and of the nature of expanding truth.

 

  In order to explain the nature of truth and its potential for continued development and expansion, we will need to resort to similitudes and analogies. No single illustration can portray the matter sufficiently; several are necessary to provide the total concept. Thus, if we here use more than one comparison, it does not indicate that we are confused.

 

  Some of our illustrations or parts of them may be drawn from realms of knowledge not wholly familiar to every reader, and such reader will consequently not gather all the implications intended. However, to you I would say: Let your desire to learn the truth overrule your possible discouragement, and continue to read; you may acquire sufficient insight to construct a functional concept.

 

  It is true that this manuscript pre-supposes a general education, including some knowledge of the sciences, and certainly a fairly thorough knowledge of the Advent message and the writings of Sister Ellen G. White, and of the Scriptures. Two other major requirements are (1) the ability to relate ideas intelligently and (2) that gift of the Holy Ghost which brings the Spirit of Truth. The first group of these pre-requisites is mainly a personal responsibility; the second group is an exclusive endowment from the Creator. In our advanced stage of knowledge we need to move away from a diet of milk.

 

  At the same time, it is not to be expected that every mind will assimilate every aspect of truth. The spirit divides to each man severally as He will. The promise is not necessarily that each individual disciple will be guided into all truth but that the saints collectively will become the depositary of all truth. Nevertheless, there are general areas which will be understood by all; and the truth which will unite the hearts of God's dear waiting saints is the Sabbath truth. All will have in common a deeper understanding of this sealing truth.

 

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  The minds of human beings are different one from another, much as the cells of the human body are classified into types. There are certain general functions which are pretty well common to all cells; they are necessary to perpetuate life. But in some cells, certain of these functions are considerably more highly developed than in others; such cells are regarded as special cells. Wherever special cells exist, it becomes necessary for other cells in the organism to carry the burden of the less highly developed functions of the special ones. In doing this, those other cells themselves may develop superiority in their special functions. Thus in the body we find muscle cells, bone cells, connective cells, blood cells, brain cells, nerve cells, skin cells, etc., each specialized in performing one kind of function.

 

  In an organism constructed of various kinds of special cells there is obviously an interdependence among all the specialized fields; one could not get along too satisfactorily without the others. And there must then also exist a coordinating system, in order that all the specialists may work together, in harmony fulfilling a general purpose. This function in human beings is performed by the brain, in conjunction with the nerve and glandular systems.

 

  But even within the brain and glandular systems of people there exist individual differences and class differences, giving rise to different types of minds. Both heredity and environment contribute to the specialization aspect of human minds. Some minds are created inherently with an over-emphasis on certain functions and underdevelopment of others. For instance, one person may be born with an excellent memory ability, while another has greater reasoning power. One may be extremely emotional or sensitive, another stable and relatively apathetic. One possesses highly efficient mental dexterity, while another has remarkable manual skill. Added to this, the environmental experiences (including education) enormously modify and complicate the basic inherited traits, to bring forth a vast array of differing personalities and types of thinkers.

 

The fact of mental specialization presents a need for coordination and harmonious co-operation among the members of a special group. Where this is not accomplished there will prevail an undesirable situation in which those members of the group who are more highly specialized will suffer; for the greater the degree of specialization, the greater the interdependence and the need for cooperative functioning.

 

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  Failure to accept the responsibilities of interdependence will cause hardship and suffering.

  Thus it is with the members of the mystical "body" of Christ. In the realm of our theological dogma this mental specialization is in evidence. Some minds are keen to discern aspects of truth which penetrate deeply and reveal more subtle relationships, while other minds are not. In general (though not always), mental specialists possess their specialized skills at the expense of other more immediately practical gifts; and for this reason they are frequently regarded with some degree of benign sympathy, if not derision, by the more practically-minded specialist. Their position is also jeopardized because of the all-too frequent attitude of other differently-constituted minds which regard their philosophical propositions as unnecessary, confusing, or even irrational.

 

  The truth is, however, that each of these groups needs the counterbalancing influence and the complementary talents of the others. Only by the utilization of both aspects of thought can an over-all progress be realized. To attain the greatest good for all, a spirit of tolerance, patience, and mutual sympathy and understanding must be cultivated. A forgiving spirit which is prone to bear with the weaknesses and shortcomings of others is absolutely essential to the harmony of the group. And sometimes a non-committal attitude toward the views of others is indicated. This is partly what Jesus was stressing in His closing prayer for His disciples, that "they all might be one."

  For it is a fact that the range between the most ignorant person in the world and the most enlightened one is enormous. People generally have no inkling of the vast area of comprehension which lies beyond their present scope of knowledge - an area which others, perhaps their associates, have already explored. He who penetrates the deeper mysteries of the Word and World of God walks in these fields a lonely man.

 

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RESISTANCE TO NEW TRUTH

 

  As we scan the annals of the past, we cannot fail to notice how many of the significant discoveries in the scientific world were met with strenuous opposition directed against the ones who proposed them. Not until recent decades have some such discoveries come into their own; and even yet a generous portion of prejudice and inertia prevails in the minds of many, concerning true scientific “advancement."

 

  In the realm of theological progress we would be expressing the situation mildly to say that most groups of theologically oriented fellowship are rigidly conservative and vehemently resistant to any intrusion of their settled teachings. Evidences of inconsistent Christian behavior appear at the slightest suggestion for modification or enlargement of existing dogma. This attitude is not condoned by the Spirit of Prophecy.

 

  GW 301 (1915 Ed.) - "When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, seek the Lord in prayer, and give no place for the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves."

 

  It is noteworthy, then, that any significant advancement in knowledge has made its way against criticism and opposition. Much of this resistance has arisen because of the uncertainties and incompleteness associated with progress in knowledge. New discoveries are often only partial in nature, and a few "loop-holes" may remain to be explained by later discovery. Meanwhile, misconceptions arise because of the incompleteness; and often the value of the new discovery is severely injured, if not completely destroyed, by reason of the misconceptions, which exhibit glaring weaknesses.

 

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  The incompleteness aspect of advancing knowledge is not only applicable to discovery in the natural sciences, but it is equally applicable to the expanding truths of the Scriptures. This element of incompleteness or discrepancy in any discovery of new truth is actually a fact of great significance. It is this element which guarantees future advancement in knowledge. It is the Orion which shrouds the gateway into the unexplored regions beyond. Were this element of incompleteness not present, there could be no expansion of present truth. Indeed, it is an evidence of truth.

 

  Resistance to new truth may furthermore be aggravated by reason of the unpalatable environment in which it is often discovered. One may here and there find among the philosophies and religions of our day some gem of truth which is so badly marred and confused with error, or so overshadowed by the undesirable nature of its proponents, that it is rejected purely on the basis of its unacceptable association. Rejection of truth on this basis may be a grave fault. We should learn to discern and evaluate elements of truth and to extract them from their surroundings. It is often necessary to sweep the dust of the floor in order to find the pearl of great price.

 

  Many examples of the above principles could be given. For instance, in olden times, men thought the sun came up and went down, and that the earth was flat; but to a careful observer, this view would exhibit obvious weakness. For many years, Newton's law of gravitation was accepted as precisely true; but a law of physics does not always hold completely true over the entire range of its application, because it may become influenced or overshadowed by another law which supersedes it near the extremes of its application. For instance, one of those laws states that the volume of a given mass of gas decreases in direct proportion to a decrease in the absolute temperature if the pressure remains constant. But when the condensation-boiling point of the gas-liquid is reached, the law apparently breaks down and does not hold for the substance in the liquid state. Nevertheless, the law is still valid below this critical temperature, as may be shown by decreasing the pressure and thereby lowering the boiling point. The law is merely obscured by other superseding laws under these particular conditions.

 

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  In theology, we find that from 1832 to 1844 William Miller thought that Jesus was going to return personally to earth around 1844. The "disappointment" opened the way to discovering a new and superseding principle of truth which explained the "error". Jesus was born in a stable, and came out of Nazareth. He did not have the social prestige which the elite leaders of Israel expected their Messiah to have; therefore His message, though extremely powerful, was rejected by most of them.

 

  Nevertheless, the increase in knowledge is inevitable. Those who resist "new light" are fighting a losing battle. For the angel spoke through Daniel some twenty-five hundred years ago, that at the time of the end knowledge should be increased. And he spoke through the prophet Joel that in the last days the Spirit of God would be poured out, and men would see visions and dream dreams. And the Prophet of all prophets promised that the Spirit of Truth would guide His disciples into all truth.

 

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING

 

  Understanding is a state of seeing relationships between present knowledge and experience and past knowledge and experience. The ability to implement these relationships is known as "reasoning power." Understanding involves the acquisition of component facts or pieces of knowledge, gleaned over a period of time and stored in the memory; but these stored facts do not in themselves constitute understanding. Understanding is not present until two or more of these separate facts are brought together into a relationship, which relationship may often be expressed as a law or rule or principle, - a sort of "always-is-or-happens-or-acts-this-way" generality. And one of the aspects of the relationship of memories contains the idea of interdependence and a balanced state of affairs, whereby a change or variation in one component will cause corresponding variations in one or more other components, according to a fixed relating formula or equation.

 

  Understanding (or comprehension) also involves a process of integration, whereby several component parts of knowledge are combined psychologically (perceptually) into a higher principle or concept. In fact, this is a most significant aspect in the relationship of memories. There is an actual integration of separate parts into a new

 

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composite unit, a unit which can no longer be thought of entirely in terms of its separate parts but rather as a newly-created complex product. For example, common table salt can hardly be thought of entirely in terms of sodium and chlorine (both independently lethal, if eaten), but rather as the compound of sodium chloride, or common salt (which is edible).

 

  Many of our ideas are formed from several components. Children's ideas are rather simple in structure; but as maturity advances, the mental equipment becomes more highly organized and acquires a supply of complex compounds of thought.

 

  In chemistry, the organic compounds have the most highly organized and complex molecules containing many atoms. These compare to some of the spiritual ideas expressed in Scripture - ideas which can only be comprehended as the highly complex and delicate organization of the numerous atomic ingredients of thought become available to the consciousness spontaneously.

 

  Spontaneous integration involves creative power, and it is definitely associated with the work of the Holy Spirit, which is the executive agent in creation and regeneration.

 

  It is the highly organized mind containing a wealth of ideas which has the greater potential comprehension. On this basis, the first and primary requisite for intelligent understanding is the acquisition of knowledge and experience; that is, the building up of an adequate stockpile of memories from which to draw the ingredients necessary in the construction of complex thought and comprehensive concepts. Therefore, we have the admonition to fortify our minds with the truths of the Bible in order to acquire the knowledge necessary to meet the problems of the last great conflict. A fault of many people is their neglect to gather a sufficiently wide variety of facts from many areas in the environment. Too many people allow themselves to narrow down to a limited channel of thought and become intolerant of other ideas and incapable of a comprehensive understanding. Specialization is good, but it can prosper for the good of all only if there is present a broad fundamental background of knowledge and a generous tolerance for the ideas of others. Only under these conditions can sufficient cooperation be insured to permit a group to act as a coordinated unit as in the body of Christ.

 

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  Some of the deeper principles of the Scriptures are integrations of such a wide variety of component parts that some minds will find it difficult if not impossible to suspend them all in the region of the consciousness at the same time - a feat which is essential to effect an integration of the concept. Simple concepts may be composed of only a few components, but complex ones are of many components. For example, the human body is a complex organism, compared to the amoeba, because it has many more parts; thus it is more difficult to understand and interpret. Expanding truth involves the building of more complex molecules of thought, and organizing these molecules into new structures.

 

  I am going to attempt to show you a picture consisting of many parts. Should a few of the minor details of the picture be omitted, the overall impression will not be critically altered; but if very many of these are omitted, or if some major area is by-passed, then the true impression of the panorama will not be created. It requires all the parts and the background to give the complete integration of the whole.

 

  You may want to say at some point: This part we will have; this is good. But that part we cannot tolerate; we believe it is in error; and here is something we do not feel is at all essential. Yet, if any part is removed, the structure may fall into danger of crumbling and fail to manifest itself as an identifiable design. The parts are closely interlocked as [is] the delicate balance of the chemistry of the human body. A minor change or omission may not be serious, but it will mar the harmony of the pattern, nonetheless.

 

  At the same time, I would make plain that I do not possess the complete picture of all truth; the scope of my discussions is confined mainly to areas pertinent to our present-day situation and our needs for the immediate future. Some glimpses of more distant scenes may be included, but these generally enhance the present view. Such has always been God's policy in the revelation of truth.

 

  The elements of our message are more closely tied together than we currently realize. One of the ways by means of which new truth is forthcoming is the interconnecting of heretofore independently recognized elements of truth into a meaningful composite pattern. The simplest illustration of this idea is the common spider web, with its central hub, its radial anchors, and its circumscribing rungs. The thing is not only held together by the strands of the web; those strands

 

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actually are the web. But the web is more than the strands, it is the pattern of interconnection among the strands.

  It matters little at which point we start; for in order to cover all the strands we wind up having to crisscross a network of inter-connecting routes. And it is a difficult thing to convey the structure of this network by a lineal exposition, such as written communication really is. For this reason, a generous tolerance will need to be exercised until sufficient of these routes have been covered to enable some semblance of a pattern to emerge. Not until the "picture" in a jig-saw puzzle begins to emerge as a unit does the composer actually know that he is accomplishing a correct interlocking of the parts. Thus it is with the panorama of truth. When the creative energy of the Spirit arrives, the picture will suddenly appear in the consciousness.

 

  And we have a problem here which is similar to that experienced in assembling a jig-saw puzzle. You may not at first be certain whether a particular element really belongs as a legitimate part of the particular section of the theological structure which I am describing. In fact, you may not even be fully certain that the element is entirely bona fide. Yet, to first prove each independent component to be genuine as an element before proceeding with some synthetic alignment - this would not be a practical approach; for the very proving of the genuineness of some components can only be done as other components are brought into the picture; and sometimes the interlocking is rather intricate. Therefore some components will have to be provisionally accepted on the strength of their apparently logical relationship to other components (as in the jig-saw puzzle). But when a sufficient number of the elements are so aligned that the picture begins to emerge, the consistency of that picture testifies not only to the correctness of the alignment but also to the genuineness of the elements themselves, - else would glaring flaws appear in the picture.

 

  It has been my experience to notice that any flaws which do become evident, as segmental integration progresses, are but orions leading to future enlarged discoveries; and as the old flaws are corrected and harmonized by these superseding discoveries, still other orions arise to challenge further exploration.

 

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  Before this kind of interconnection of the elements of our truth can occur in our minds, many of these elements will have to be seen in a new light; and before they can be seen in this new light, a paramount principle of interpretation must be recognized and applied more extensively and more intensively to the Scriptures and to the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Thereby a number of components generally of more mature proportions - will become available to go into the structure of an additional storey on top of our present building of truth. The new storey will be coherent and harmonious with the lower sections of the building and will contribute new meaning to them.

 

HERMENEUTIC STEREOPSIS

 

  The principle to which I refer can best be described as hermeneutic stereopsis. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, especially of Scripture; and stereopsis is the phenomenon of stereoscopic or binocular vision.

 

  We are already somewhat familiar with this principle, having used it to give dual meanings and applications to a few Scripture passages. But a more generous use of the principle results in something greater than dual or even multiple meaning; it results in a sharper definition of the precise relationships existing among the interpretations themselves, and thus it provides the setting which facilitates an integration of the parts into a larger and more comprehensive concept.

 

  Sister White tells us that "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings." - Ed. 171. Thus, no matter what our view of any particular passage may presently be, another view or an expanded and equally correct view is potentially possible - else were the truth already exhausted.

 

  She also tells us that "His (Christ's) words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance." - COL 110. Our present doctrines do not provide very many of these deeper meanings.

 

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  Let us compare this matter of dual interpretation to binocular vision. One may see an object with a single eye and obtain one viewpoint; but when two eyes are used, two views are seen from different angles. (cf. Ed. 171, quoted on previous pg. - 83.7). Each eye can pick up a perfectly correct image of the object; but because of the different positions of the viewpoints from the separated eyes, those images are not identical. Yet they are both factually true.

 

  Here is now a vital point, which when accepted and applied to Scripture statements will add a deeper and more accurate description of the truth: When both eyes are opened, the two images do not normally appear in the mind as separate and distinct pictures, but as one fused image. The phenomenon of stereopsis does not emerge unless those two images do integrate into one image in the mind.

 

  The integration of truth is similar to this. Not until the two or more differing, and sometimes opposing viewpoints are synthesized does the panoramic truth emerge.

  We as a people have limited our perception in altogether too many instances by viewing our truth with only one eye open at a time. And when, indeed, we have opened both eyes at once, we have betimes suffered from squint-eyedness, and have not been able to direct both eyes at the same object at one time; each eye has had to look at a different part of the scene, and our theological mind has been fed by two distinctly separated images, like a double-exposed photograph, which our perceptive faculty could not fuse. It is one thing to see our doctrines each as a distinct and separate element of truth, but it is a much greater thing to see those elements as components in an integrated construction.

 

  Since attention is capable of concentrating on only a limited area at one time, the squint-eyed viewer finds one of the images fading out while he sees only the imprint of the other. If he concentrates on the fading one, then the other one pales out. Generally one eye is "weaker" than the other, and ultimately this weaker eye surrenders to the stronger, and the person sees only a monocular image through the stronger eye.

 

  In the physical world this idea compares somewhat with the two theories of light transmission - the wave theory and the quantum theory - both of which must be true but which in some ways appear to be mutually exclusive. Our view of this phenomenon is obviously a

 

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squint-eyed one, and it is predictable that eventually we may find the key which will fuse these two views into a harmonious interpretation.

  Theological squint-eyedness results in either one image being permanently subordinated to the other, or in an alternating emphasis on each view in turn, with obvious contradictions nagging at our interpretations. Without stereoscopic vision, some of our doctrines may appear to be like that; for example, the law and grace, faith and works, etc. The malalignment of the two eyes must be corrected before a psychological fusing of the two images can occur.

 

  The psychological mystery of stereoscopic vision (binocular perception) adds acuteness to the perception of spatial depth and sets objects off in precise geometric relationships, both laterally and radially. Near objects stand out in sharp relief from the background and from each other. The integrated image is a more realistic and differentiated one because of having been composed of different view points. A third dimension of depth has been added to the image, revealing the relative positions in space of the various component elements. The common “View-Master” illustrates this phenomenon graphically.

 

  When Einstein added the fourth dimension of time to our erstwhile three-dimensional space-continuum, and showed the consistent interdependent relationships among these four dimensions, he opened up a whole new field of interpretation of the natural world, releasing a fresh unfolding of scientific truth. Likewise the addition of stereoptic views of Scripture statements will open up new vistas of truth to the student of God's word.

 

  A one-eyed baseball catcher has difficulty judging the speed of the approaching ball, because he can judge that speed only by the rate of increasing size of the image of the ball, as recorded on the retina of his one eye. A two-eyed catcher has the tremendous advantage of a baseline separating his two eyes, so that they must increasingly converge their line of sight to follow the ball as it approaches his mitt. Two separate images of the ball are picked up from slightly different angles, and these are fused into one image in his mind. As the ball approaches, the angle between the lines of sight of the two eyes changes, since each eye moves to keep the image of the ball at the center of the retina, where greatest visual acuity prevails. The sensation registered in his mind by these two images and by this changing convergence accurately defines the decreasing distance of the ball and gives him spatial depth perception.

 

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  While God's truth is comparable to this, it is nevertheless more complex than a mere binocular view of a paradoxical element. In God's great library of reality there are numerous elements, each of which must be viewed not only in binocular perspective but often in multi-ocular perspective. Basically it is the addition of new views of old truths which provides the potential for unlimited expansion of the truth.

 

  And we must not forget the important corollary: A new view of truth never completely closes the gap. While one or more former problems may be solved, new ones are created by the addition of the new view. If this were not true, how could truth continue to expand? It is the Orions in the incomplete panorama of truth which present the gateways to the expansions beyond. They are evidences of truth.

 

  A second and equally important provision for expansion lies in the number of different patterns potentially possible by linking the elements together into various unified structures. The diverse inter-relating of elements of truth - monocularly, binocularly, or multi-ocularly provides not merely a variety of perspective units but also a larger supply of components which can go into a broader composite structure, which may also be recognized as an integrated unit over and apart from the compound elements which go to make it up.

 

  We need to recognize, however, that the integration of truth cannot be accomplished without the creative power of the Holy Ghost, any more than binocular vision is possible without psychological fusion. It is the work of the Spirit of Truth to provide the merger, once the alignment is accomplished.

 

  Integration is a form of creation. One may place all the ingredients for a chocolate cake in the mixing bowl, but until those ingredients are properly mixed and baked into a chemical union, no cake exists. A conglomeration of building materials does not make a house; it is the precise pattern of alignment of those materials which gives rise to the concept and structure of a house. A temple is more than a collection of building materials; it is a distinct structure of those materials set into relation with one another according to a definite recipe of predetermined pattern. Not until the pattern is perceived as a pattern has the integration taken place. (e.g. Chinese photographer's picture of Christ in the snow.)

­­­­­­­­­­­

____________

* [See pages 90, & 91]

 

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  My commission is to provide you (as well as I am able) with the ingredients and the alignment; only God can grant the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth to provide you with a vision of the assembled picture. Without the seal of the Holy Spirit of promise there will be no integration, no settling into the vision of the panoramic truth.

 

  Herein lies the significance of the communion of the body and blood of Christ, promised to the Laodicean who opens the door of his heart; it is the marriage union of the Bridegroom (Christ) to His bride (the New Jerusalem saints) through the sudden coming of the Messenger of the covenant (the Holy Ghost) to His temple, whereby is created a new life - a more abundant life - consisting of a union of divinity with humanity. (Luke 22:19,20, cf. John 6:53-58 and Rev. 3:20 and 1st Cor. 6:19 and 3:16,17 and Mal. 3:1; also Eph. 5:23,24, 30-32). This union gives birth to eternal life, through the resurrection of the former body and blood of Christ in His saints ("till He come") by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost. ("He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His." DA 25. 1st Cor. 11:24-26, cf John 6:53, 54, Titus 3:5, 6). This will be understood better when read a second time after the rest of the manuscript has been studied.

 

  The principle of hermeneutic stereopsis provides the key to interpreting the Scriptures in a way that will evolve a fresh unfolding of truth. Unfortunately, not all students of Scripture will be able to accept this principle of interpretation. (1st SM 412 - "The Jews tried to stop the proclamation of the message that had been predicted in the Word of God; but prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 'Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: 'You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.”) May this not apply to you.

 

  We may herewith conclude that Sister White did not contradict herself; she foresaw this new unfolding of truth. But the rosebuds were all on the bush when she left us in 1915; they are now about to blossom.

 

___________

*[See pages 90 and 91 for picture of "Christ in the snow".]

 

88

  It is recommended that the content of the preceding pages be assimilated fairly well before proceeding. Unhurried reading, meditation, and pondering will be needed to extract all the implications and significances involved in the preceding statements and those which follow.

 

  A considerable amount of crisscrossing and back-tracking is unavoidable in covering all the links in the spider's web. Each intersection presents a different view when approached from each different direction. Nor can the pattern of the web be seen until most of the pieces are in correct place in our minds and we move back for a panoramic view. Repeated reference will have to be made to former points in order to establish their intermeshing with other lines of truth.

 

  This presents a rather formidable task. Yet I have been cautioned to substantially reduce the number of words in my presentation. * To this I would say, it is impossible to reduce the number of words beyond a certain level without losing accuracy of communication. Below this point I cannot go, since the prime purpose of the manuscript is to convey as clearly as possible the concepts involved in the structure of the truth. Misunderstandings occur altogether too easily even under the strictest of care. The sentences contained herein have been meticulously constructed to convey precise meanings; and if any of them should fail to do this, it may indicate either my human limitation and error, or it may indicate a limitation on the reader's part. I cannot shirk my responsibility to offer a precise portrayal, even if extra words are needed to do it.

 

  Nevertheless, it is not possible to deal exhaustively with any point or line of truth in a first treatment, because the complex interlocking nature of God's truth makes it necessary to refer back to a former point whenever it links up in a new area. Hence a spiral approach is more practical; and for this reason it is unwise to come to any definite conclusions regarding any point presented until all of these manuscripts have been covered. Even then, it should be definitely understood that these manuscripts do by no means exhaust the truth.

 

___________

* [Possibly a suggestion from the G.C.]

 

89

  I know that few people have time anymore to read lengthy publications. Yet we do have time for those things we consider essential. It is a question of evaluation. We may deem it imperative to make a good living for ourselves and our families, including a college education for our children. But if this requires all our time, maybe we need to become content with a lower standard of living, in order to prepare for a higher one in the life to come. Let us not misplace our values.

 

  One thing must be re-emphasized. To effect an integration of a concept of truth, the components must all be made available to consciousness at essentially the same time. You cannot induce a chemical reaction if the constituents are scattered about in different test tubes. In order to insure that all the ingredients are in close proximity to the consciousness and readily available, they must each be reactivated and reconstructed within a relatively narrow time span If these elements are not thus re-stimulated, the key statements which are designed to connect them will appear meaningless. Furthermore, some of the elements may need additional enlargement and clarification before taking on a form that will glide smoothly into its precise slot in the composite pattern. If these preparations are not made as we go along, proper synthesis can not occur.

 

  An acceptance of the principle of hermeneutic stereopsis is absolutely imperative to discovering the special truth for this final generation. Therefore, anyone who is not prepared to embrace this interpretative device and to approach this testimony with patience, tolerance, broad-mindedness, and a willingness to modify his present inadequate concepts concerning the manner in which some prophecies will be fulfilled in our days would be well advised to save his time. A quick scanning of these pages will be fruitless. It is the law of God that His truth can be found only by diligent study. All who are willing to fulfill these conditions are invited to proceed.

 

(Written in 1968)

__________

*[See next two pages of this book re picture of "Christ in the Snow" alluded to on P. 87.]

 

90

FOOTNOTE APPROVED ABOUT 1990 BY J. W. JOHNSON

 

THE PICTURE OF CHRIST IN THE SNOW

 

[Article possibly from Life, Time, or Look Magazine about the 1950's?]

 

The Story behind our Cover

 

The Picture of Christ in the Snow *

 

  A Chinese photographer was riding one day through the snow covered countryside of interior China. His soul was troubled. He had been witnessing a great movement toward Christianity among his friends since the Japanese invasion. He longed to know the truth of what he had been hearing from Christian missionaries. As he rode along, he said, "Lord, if I could only see thy face, I would believe". Instantly, a voice spoke to his heart, "Take a picture! Take a picture!" * He looked out at the melting snow which was forming pools of water and so revealing here and there the black earth. It was an attractive scene, nevertheless. Being thus strangely compelled, the man descended and focused his camera on the snowy roadside. Curious to know the outcome of the incident he developed the film at once on returning to his home. Out from among the black and white areas on the snow scene a face looked at him, full of tenderness and love - the face of Christ! He became a Christian as the result; and because the Chinese people think that God has in this wonderful way revealed Himself to them in their hour of trial, many have since found the Saviour through the picture, as the story of it is told in various parts of China.

____________

* (A replica of this photograph is shown on the next page.)

 

91

 

 

 

 

 

Copy of photo picture

of

Christ in the snow

 

christinsnow.jpg

 

[Possibly from the cover of Time, Life or Look magazine in the 1950's]

 

 

 

 

 

92

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 3

 

THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

 

[Manuscript # 3]

 

 

 

Written by

 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

 

 

 

" ... I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I shall be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:" Hebrews 8: 1 0

 

 

 

 

93

 

THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

   The theme of this manuscript is a revelation of the nature of the everlasting covenant and an interpretation of its purpose and its outworking. Future manuscripts will further develop this far-reaching topic.

 

PURPOSE OF THE COVENANT

 

  The purpose of the everlasting covenant is to provide the means for salvation from sin; that is, to provide for complete restoration of voluntary allegiance to God and to the law of His kingdom.

 

  In the kingdom of heaven no coercion is used to obtain allegiance.

 

  There are no jails and no execution chambers. The discipline of force and fear found in God's dealings with people on this earth is a temporary expedient made necessary by the emergency of sin, and is for use only while God's people are still at the level of wayward children. Step by step He has led the human race through their childhood and adolescence; and now He is about to let them graduate and assume the full responsibility for their own decisions. Those who have already chosen to fly the flag of the kingdom of heaven will be led through their final experience of soul cleansing, and they will be given an opportunity to prove their total allegiance to be on a completely voluntary basis.

 

  When God gave to man a freedom of choice, He essentially gave to him a share of His own prerogative and autonomy, and of His throne. For in this gift, man has an individual independence, a power to operate under his own initiative, to make his own decisions, to manipulate the laws of nature for his own profit.

  It was by the power of free choice that sin appeared. God was not in man choosing to sin. When man sinned, he did so by his own choice and apart from the choice of God. If God were in man choosing to sin, then God would also be a sinner. But sin is an abomination to Him; He does not transgress His own law. Therefore man has his own independent power of choice. He can, within his own sphere, choose to act independently of the choice of God.

 

94

  When man uses this power of independent choice to transgress God's law, he thereby commits sin. (1 John 3:4). Such action is an evidence of lack of faith or confidence in the righteousness of God's decisions. Thus, the basic sin is really doubt of God's integrity. Thus, conversely, faith in God's integrity is basic righteousness, and expresses itself in allegiance to God and submission to His decisions. That is how righteousness comes by faith in God; it is faith in His righteousness, which leads to voluntary obedience of His law. Without faith, therefore, it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6).

 

  Christ lost His kingdom on this earth when man chose to disobey Him. Eve believed the serpent's false statement regarding the integrity of God. Adam loved his wife more than he loved God, and he chose to sin with her. These choices showed a disrespect for the integrity of God, a doubt of His honesty (on the part of Eve) and of His righteousness, and of His justice in placing an arbitrary restriction upon man's freedom.

 

  Essentially, God's character was regarded as being not strictly one of self-denying love but rather one of selfishness. Such was the doubt of God's integrity which was first introduced by Lucifer before the world was created; and this doubt was the result of self-deception caused by pride and exaggerated self-interest.

 

  Fundamental sin is doubting the righteousness of God. Originally, this doubt is fostered by pride of self, which is an evidence of selfishness. When one deliberately chooses to break through the moral restriction which God has placed on the operation of the free will, thinking that he will thus obtain greater satisfaction, he thereby shows his distrust of God's righteousness and judgment in establishing that restriction; and he thereby places himself at variance with the law of life, and he cannot survive except by the merciful intervention of Christ, the Saviour. The law of life for earth and heaven is self-renouncing love. (DA 20).

 

  God began to lose His kingdom in heaven before the fall of man, when Lucifer first began to doubt the righteousness of His character. When Lucifer, and the angels he influenced, decided to choose independence of God's law, they robbed God of His dominion over them.

 

95

 

  Not that God was unable to make them obey; He could have forced them. But the moment God introduces force, He removes from His creatures their freedom of choice. As long as He operates His kingdom without coercion, He can reign over His subjects only while they voluntarily choose to obey Him. When a teenage lad flaunts the authority of his parents, they have lost dominion over him, unless they resort to force. It is even so with the kingdom of God. But apparently the gift of free choice to men and angels is regarded with such value by the Creator that He was willing to give His life in order to preserve it and to restore allegiance on a voluntary basis. (John 3:16). (cf. also MB 96, 97, 204).

 

  GC 591- "God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan's constant resort - to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce - is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself."

 

  It should be evident, then, that the restoration of God's kingdom in the hearts of men can occur only when the voluntary allegiance of His subjects has been restored. It is the purpose of the everlasting covenant to restore this allegiance.

 

  Heb. 8:10 - "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." (cf. Ezek. 36:25-28).

 

  Jer. 31:33, 34 - "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; ...I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. ...I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

 

  PP 372 - "The new covenant was established upon better promises (than the old covenant) - the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law....

 

  "The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart .... Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts."

 

96

  But salvation from sin and restoration of allegiance to the government of God was also the purpose of the advent of Jesus.

  Matt. 1:21- "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins."

 

  Isa. 9:6, 7 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

 

  Therefore, the advent of Jesus is an inherent part of the outworking of the everlasting covenant.

 

  It is significant that the last appeal which Christ ever made to His people, before relinquishing His former glory and assuming the garb of humanity at the first advent of Jesus, was an appeal for allegiance to His law delivered through Moses.

 

  Mal. 4:4 - "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments."

 

  And the last promise that He ever made to His people while yet in His former estate, ere His great sacrifice of condescension, was a promise of restoration of all that had been lost, lest the earth should be smitten with a curse.

 

  v. 5, 6 - "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

 

  Jesus verified this by saying: "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." - Matt. 17:11. That this promise was not totally fulfilled by John the Baptist is evident from a comparison of Matthew 17: 11-13 with John 1:21. All things were not restored by John the Baptist; and the dreadful day of the Lord was far removed from the people who lived in his day.

 

  The everlasting covenant itself promised the means whereby its purpose would be accomplished; namely, through a revelation of the character of God.

 

97

  Jer. 31:34 - "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me (cf. John 14:7-9), from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

 

  Such a revelation was the very purpose of the advent of Jesus.

 

  John 17:26 - "And I have declared unto them thy name (i.e., His character; cf. Ex. 33:18-23; 34:5, 6), and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

 

  God's character of love has been misunderstood and misrepresented. A message for this time is to make known His true character.

 

  COL 415 - "It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time (i.e., the last days; see COL pages 420 & 421) a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth."

 

  Isa. 60:2 - "Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."

 

  But this knowledge of His character of love, while available theoretically to the new covenant saints by a study of the written Word (John 5:39), does not come home to the heart in transforming power except through the agency of the Holy Ghost.

  Rom. 5: 5 - "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

 

  Thus, two things are involved in the revelation of God's character of love to the new covenant saint: (1) the theoretical knowledge, as learned through a study of the written Word, and (2) the practical experiential knowledge, as delivered through the Holy Ghost. But when this knowledge is obtained, it will transform the heart, and thereby fulfill the promise of the covenant.

 

98

  COL 114 - "The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. It makes its possessor a son of God and an heir of heaven."

 

  It is to identify the means whereby this revelation will become a personal possession of the saints, and thus fulfill the terms of the everlasting covenant, that this manuscript is being written. Such identification is necessary, else would many of God's people misinterpret the strange experience which is to come upon them to purify them and clothe them with the imparted righteousness of Christ. For it is a paradox that the same experience which comes to God's people to purge them will at the same time separate out from among them those who are unprepared - those who do not believe nor accept the counsel called forth by the testimony of the True Witness; and it will cause them to turn against God and His saints and to accuse Him and His saints of being the cause of their trials. Therefore it is necessary that the experience be identified and interpreted for what it really is, in order that those who are willing may be prepared. Unless we all repent and buy of Him gold tried in the fire, we will be spewed out of His mouth. (Rev. 3:14-19). But God will do nothing in the experience of His people except He first reveals it to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7). Therefore, He is bringing it to our attention at this time, for He is about to accomplish it.

 

  The theoretical knowledge of the character of God comes through a study of His written Word, but a practical soul-transforming, experimental knowledge of God comes through a personal experience. When that experience is received, a personal understanding of the magnitude of Christ's love is brought home to the soul by the Holy Ghost, and this will transform the heart. By beholding we become changed.

 

  DA 389 - "It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. ... A theoretical knowledge will do us no good."

 

  2 Cor. 3:18 - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

 

99

 

  The consequence of a fuller revelation of the glory of the Lord His matchless character of self-denying love - is an empowering of a repentant sinner to cease from sin. For the expulsion of sin from the life is an act of the soul itself. (DA 466.6). It was by a decision of the will that Adam brought sin into the world, and it is by a decision of the will that sin will be expelled.

 

  Yet the full revelation of the love of God will not come home to our hearts and bring us the power which transforms our hearts until we receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain.

 

  TM 506 - "By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ. The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of Man."

 

  This is the experience for which God's true people have long been praying, striving and, waiting - and wondering why it has not come.

 

  The new birth experience has a progressive application. That which comes by the first conversion under the influence of the former rain is to provide for victory over sin - to gain the mastery over every wrong word and action. It is possible to keep the commandments under the former rain experience. Full sanctification is attainable under this dispensation.

 

  But before this life-time work of full sanctification is reached (and many never reach it), the sinner is accepted into the family of God on the merits of Christ's righteousness, which is accounted to the sinner and is imputed to him when he accepts Christ as his personal Saviour. Thus God sees the sinner as righteous by substitution. Christ makes up for the sinner's deficiency with His own divine merit. (cf. 1 SM 382).

 

  1 SM 215 - "The only-begotten Son of God has died that we might live. The Lord has accepted this sacrifice in our behalf, as our substitute and surety, on the condition that we receive Christ and believe on Him. The sinner must come in faith to Christ, take hold of His merits, lay his sins upon the Sin Bearer, and receive His pardon. It was for this cause that Christ came into the world. Thus the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repenting, believing sinner. He becomes a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ."

 

100

  Even he who attains to the expulsion of sin from his life and gains the victory is still dependent upon the substitutionary righteousness of Christ for acceptance with God. For the best obedience that man can offer while in his sinful body is still inadequate to meet the divine standard. Man's righteousness is still as filthy rags in God's sight.

 

  This is so, because under the former rain the transformation of the heart and cleansing of the soul temple is not completed. Prior to 1844 our High Priest was still in the first apartment of the sanctuary; not until after 1844 was that sanctuary scheduled to be cleansed. Under the former rain, we are to cleanse our soul temples of every defilement by laying aside every cherished sin. This we must do before we can receive the latter rain. Inasmuch as the leopard cannot change his spots, neither can we change our sinful natures. We may indeed cease to sin, and this is the soul cleansing referred to under the former rain experience; but we accomplish this under the continued contrary pressures of the sinful nature. In this experience we offer the sacrifices of righteousness and place our trust in the Lord.

 

  But after 1844 our High Priest entered the most holy place to minister on our behalf the merits of His shed blood in order to provide the total transformation of our sinful natures and to totally cleanse us from the complete record of all sin in our physical bodies, thereby removing the former pressures and bodily urges to sin and restoring us to the original purity of our first parents before the fall. This is the ultimate application of the new birth experience. It is the Messenger of the covenant coming suddenly to His temple in the latter rain who cleanses and purifies the sons of Levi. (Mal. 3:1-3). Not until this occurs has the everlasting covenant fulfilled its purpose in our lives.

 

  Christ will not come until the church is prepared to meet Him.

 The time for mastery over self and sin to occur and for the image of God to fully appear in His people is now, before Jesus comes. In fact, Jesus cannot come to receive His people until they do attain the likeness of His character.

 

  COL 69 - "Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

 

101

  "It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

  Note that the hastening of the coming of the Lord is not here portrayed as depending on the extensiveness in spreading the gospel; it is dependent on the intensiveness of the gospel's effect upon the heart of each individual. The purpose of spreading the gospel to all the world has no meaning with reference to the coming of the Lord unless it is spread for a witness. And unless that witness of the character of God transforms the heart, the spreading of the gospel to all the world will not hasten the coming of Jesus. (cf. Matt. 24:14).

 

  Therefore, the time for the experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ to come to His people is now. This is present truth.

 

  COL 415 - "The last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of His character of love." And if our eyes were anointed with eye salve, we would readily see that this is the basic message represented by the mighty angel of Revelation 18 in the loud cry, which exposes and destroys for all time the false charges of the evil one against the character of God. The confusion of Babylon concerning the true nature of God's justice, mercy, and love, some of which still exists even in the minds of His own people, is dissolved. The deceptions of the evil one are unmasked. Babylon falls. (This is not the only meaning of the fall of Babylon.)

 

 An experience awaits the people of God at this crucial hour, an experience which will give them a personal revelation of God's most amazing character of self-denying love, which love will constrain them to obey Him. (2 Cor. 5:14).

 

  The experience is to be found in the Word of God.

 

  COL 114 - "This is the knowledge (i.e., the experimental knowledge of God and of Christ) which is obtained by searching the Word of God."

 

  But, of course, we have already searched the Word of God; some of us have searched it all our lives. And we have still not found the experimental knowledge, by which we become transformed into the image of Christ and gain full mastery of our sinful nature. I know that we have not found it, because if we had found it, we would even now have been in the kingdom. (cf. COL 114, quoted on previous page.)

 

102

 

  One reason we have not found it is because it is an experimental knowledge, a knowledge learned by experience. We have failed to recognize that the Word of God, while delivered mainly through the written Word of the Scriptures, is also delivered through two other books: the book of natural science, and the book of experience in God's dealings with us.

 

  COL 125 - "The great storehouse of truth is the Word of God the written word, the book of nature, and the book of experience in God's dealing with human life."

 

  The knowledge of God promised to all of us by the everlasting covenant (Jer. 31: 34) is yet to come to us by a personal experience. We are to learn to know God by sharing in His experience - the experience which He underwent voluntarily for our sakes, in order to spare our lives and grant us a probation and to provide us with the means of salvation. That experience involved intense and unfair suffering, a suffering revealed to our dull senses by His death on the cross. Through partaking of His sufferings we will be made obedient.

 

  Ed. 263 - "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him."

 

  A personal knowledge of the kind of suffering which our continued sin brings to the Son of God, combined with a personal knowledge of His enormous self-sacrificing love for us, is the incentive which motivates our obedience. But we will not realize experimentally the extent of that love until we share in the suffering which it caused Him to accept for our sakes. Obedience comes through accepting the discipline of God.

 

THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD

 

  In an effort to raise a child into the ways of perfection, a parent exercises discipline over that child. God deals with His children in a similar way.

 

  Heb. 12:7-11 - "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

103

Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live? For they (our earthly parents) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

 

  While the fathers exercise discipline over their children after their own pleasure, God does not do it for this reason alone; He does it for our sakes, to create in us the image of His righteousness and to bring about our partaking of His holiness. This is the means whereby we are made holy.

 

  Have you been discouraged because you have not become perfect? Have you tried so many times and failed? Have you felt that you would never be able to succeed?

 

  v. 12, 13 - "Wherefore lift up the hands, which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

 

  And would you like to know how it will be healed?

 

  Isa. 53:5 - "...and with His stripes we are healed."

 

  We have generally assumed this to mean that because He accepted the stripes for us, we will be completely relieved of any permanent consequences of our own sins. Nevertheless, we must here be willing to open our eyes in stereoscopic vision of this most pertinent truth. For while Jesus did in fact bear the consequences of our sins and suffered the pain which they caused, yet He permits us to taste of that experience, to share in those sufferings, in order that we may learn by experience a little of what it costs Him to provide the forgiveness of our sins. Remember, the everlasting covenant promises a revelation of the character of God and the forgiveness of sins. (Jer. 31:34). The revelation of God and the sufferings of Christ are intimately related; for it is by sharing the suffering of Christ that we learn by experience the true nature of His love for us - a love which would impel Him to suffer such ridiculously unfair and intensely severe emotional pain in order to forgive our sins and provide our escape from such a penalty of those sins. The stripes whereby we are healed are those same stripes with which He was afflicted.

 

104

WHOSE STRIPES WERE THEY, REALLY, BY WHICH CHRIST WAS SMITTEN?

  Isa. 53:3-5 - "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed."

 

  Therefore the peace and security and prolonged life which we enjoy is ours at the price of His chastisement, His suffering. And this suffering is not confined to the cross of Calvary, nor to Gethsemane, nor to the few years of His earthly ministry. It began at the inception of sin and continued for centuries down to the cross. (See Ed. 263, quoted below on this page).

 

ON THE CROSS HE BORE THE SINS OF THE WORLD.

 

  DA 752 - "The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart."

 

  Heb. 9:28 - "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many."

 

  But subsequent to the cross, He has also continued to suffer because of the continued sins of His people, those who receive Him as their Saviour and are born again into His family. Any parent suffers when his son disobeys him and brings disrepute upon his name. So it is with Christ, our High Priest, who bears the burden and stigma of our continued sins. Let me quote again:

 

  Ed. 263 - "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him."

 

  Could it be that the cross is primarily a representation designed to penetrate our limited comprehension with the truth of the real and prolonged sufferings of Christ? If He died for my sins, which were not even committed at that time, how could my sins, which did not even exist, have caused Him any suffering then? At that time, He bore the sins of the world; He suffered once for these by the offering of Himself.

 

105

(Heb. 9:25-28). Now He suffers vicariously as He bears the confessed sins of His acknowledged people.

  Heb. 6:4-6 - "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Compare:

 

  ME 9,10 - "Jesus says, 'I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.' John 12:32. And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfullness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion. He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven's most precious gift. He has crucified to himself the Son of God afresh and pierced anew that bleeding and stricken heart."

 

  The impossibility of being again renewed to repentance is not in the fact itself, but in the sense that we will not be able to bring ourselves to afflict the Lord anew with the stripes from our sins. We will loathe ourselves for doing Him such an injustice, and we will find it next to impossible to come again to Him and ask His forgiveness. Yet the only way we can be forgiven is to come again to repentance and permit Him to bear the affliction. And the covenant says He will forgive our iniquity even unto seventy times seven.

 

  But the effect on us is to humble us and break our spirit. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken.

 

  The above passages reveal that the sufferings of the cross are renewed in the heart of Christ because of our waywardness, and He bears the reproach of His failure to save His people from their sins, contrary to His promise. You see, He cannot save His people from their sins until they themselves voluntarily choose to refuse to sin. For sin is an independent choice of man; were God to compel man to obey, man would have no choice; hence his obedience could not be righteousness.

 

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  DA 466 - "In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve....The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself."

 

  We have not been earnest enough in our efforts. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." - Heb. 12:4. When we fully realize the nature of the stripes with which we afflict the lowly Saviour every time we sin, we will loathe ourselves for our iniquities. Instead of basking in the peace and security of sins forgiven, we will afflict our souls as we come to the sanctuary to offer our sacrifice.

 

  O yes, we know our sins are forgiven when we confess and repent; this is the promise of the new covenant; but with too little concern we lean on this prerogative, we take unfair advantage of this precious gift, and we continue to afflict and crucify the Son of God. (Read also EW 268, last half of page.)

 

  Truly, we were not there at Golgotha to crucify Him on the cross; so we may say He did not suffer for our sins. But the cross reveals the suffering which He endures in all ages since sin began and until it ends. This is the reason He asks His people to cease from sin; for He cannot lay down His priesthood until and unless we cease from sin. Therefore, He is a priest forever. (Heb. 7:17, 21, 25). In all future ages He will faithfully be there to bear the affliction, if sin should ever arise again. This is the price of our eternal security.

 

  But sin will not arise a second time (Nah. 1:9); for it will be conquered under the most trying of circumstances, midst the most severe temptations.

 

  It is true that Christ will lay down His priestly robes during the time of the seven last plagues, but this is to demonstrate that His saints can stand before a holy God without an Intercessor, through the severest trials of the closing hours. They will not bow down to the beast nor his image, nor receive his mark in their foreheads at this time. If they can stand this, they will readily be able to stand in heaven where there is no temptation. In fact, those who go through this experience will be fitted themselves for the priesthood, for they will be priests unto God for one thousand years during the millennium.

 

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  This is brought to light in Revelation 20:4-6. Here it states that those who have refused to worship the beast and his image, and who have not received his mark in their foreheads or in their hands, are the ones who have been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and that these shall have their part in the first resurrection, and they shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years as priests. Nevertheless the image of the beast is not set up until the last generation; and those who refuse to worship him at this time are the hundred and forty-four thousand, who live through to translation. They alone enter the temple on Mount Zion and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, which is the song of their experience of deliverance. (EW 19; GC 649; Rev. 14:1-3).

 

  Yet the text says these have been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of their testimony. If they have previously died but are now present in the last generation to go through the final conflict, it is obvious that they must have had a part in the first resurrection before the final conflict. Furthermore, unless the 144,000 are resurrected saints, they could not fulfill Hebrews 9:27, which says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

 

  (The question of the resurrection of the 144,000 will be dealt with more fully later.)*

 

  But Jesus cannot be released from His renewed sufferings of the cross and the work of His priesthood as long as we continue in sin. He does not cast us off; He chooses to continue to bear the pain. And the reason He cannot be released is that you and I have not yet learned to love Him enough to cease from sin.

 

  John 14:15 - "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

 

  John 14:23 - "If a man love me, he will keep my words."

 

DRINKING THE CUP

 

  How are we going to learn to love Him? We do not love someone whom we have never seen and with whom we are not acquainted. Only by beholding, observing, getting to know someone, do we experience the growth of love for that one. That is precisely how we will learn to love Christ.

 

__________

*[144,000 - cf. pages 156.4-157.2; 180.3-181.3; 215; 223; 254.0 -255.1; 260 & 261; 269 & 270. Also research 144,000 in Volume One concordance.]

 

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  That is why the last message of mercy is a revelation of the true character of God! When we see that character, we will abhor ourselves for our iniquities, and we will not be able to bring ourselves to sin. (cf COL 415).

 

  But how can we be brought to see the lovely Jesus as He really is?

 

  By being permitted to share, to partake of the sufferings of Christ, so that we may learn by experience what is the nature of the cost to Him to bear our sins and grant us release from their penalty, and to give us peace and security and eternal life. That is how it is done.

 

  Gold is precious; but pure gold cannot be obtained without a refining process. This process requires heat. Only when the extreme heat of the fire is applied does the slag come to the top. Therefore, the True Witness counsels the Laodiceans to buy of Him gold tried in the fire. This gold is faith and love. We are counseled to buy faith and love tried in the fire. (DA 280; COL 160).

 

  The fullness of this experience will be unique to the Laodiceans, because in their lives exists the opportunity and privilege to obtain the supreme cleansing of the soul temple, which occurs on the day of atonement. Faith is the victory (1 John 5:4), and the love of Christ will constrain us to obey, as it did the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 5:14).

 

  But there is a price to pay for this faith and love; it must be purchased. Nevertheless, faith is a gift, and love is a gift. This appears to be contradictory; but it is just another one of those things which must be viewed with binocular vision in order to see the harmony.

 

  The kind of faith and love (gold) which leads to perfection and purification is that which has been tried in the fire. The price we have to pay to obtain it is a surrender of self to the will of God, a personal and total submission to the refining process. Only insofar as we do this will we be refined. This is the price.

 

  But the gold, and the means for obtaining it, has been provided and made available for us by the supreme sacrifice of Christ. He paid a tremendous price to make this purification process available to sinners. He does not charge us for this; He provides it free of charge. But as long as the curing medicine remains in the bottle, it cannot cure. The gold of abiding faith and love cannot be personally appropriated unless we pay the price - the offering of our personal self-surrender. Jesus paved the way before us by setting us an example; now we too are to take up our cross and follow Him, who is our example in suffering. We must buy the gold. (Matt. 16:24; Rev. 3:18).

 

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  Let us be careful not to misunderstand this truth. We are not here talking about our ticket to eternal life. Salvation consists broadly of two things: (1) escape from eternal death; and (2) escape from the slavery of continuing in sin. These two are not synonymous.

 

  We obtain our ticket to eternal life through the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith in the merits of Christ's righteousness as imputed to us, we are justified in God's sight and receive membership in the family of God, with the gift of eternal life. But any man "saved" at this point (as was the thief on the cross) is not an overcomer of sin in his own body, as was Christ; and he obtains eternal life as a child who has not yet grown up into the fullness of the stature of Christ.

 

  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 life-time 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. (15M 382).

 

  But in the last generation, God is going to do a work not heretofore seen. He is going to reassemble 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).

 

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  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; & ISM 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).

 

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  Bearing the cross (that is, sharing His sufferings) involves bearing the persecution of one's own household.

  Matt. 10:34-38 - "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And 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. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."

 

  The stereoptic meaning of this passage is simply that those of his own household of faith (the members of his own church) will become a man's foes. And the central issue of contention will be the personal possession of the spirit of prophecy. 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 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.

 

112

  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 Melchizedek." (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 are 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.

 

  1st 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 guile 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.

 

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  1st 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.

 

  1st 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!

 

  1st 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).

 

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  1st 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. 14:7); 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 marvelous 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 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).

 

115

  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 truthfullness 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 that 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 unfaithfullness 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.

 

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  Nevertheless, He does not suffer us to endure temptation beyond that which we are able to bear, but makes a way of escape. (1st 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.

 

  EW 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. But if we sink down and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for 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 effect 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 thing 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.

 

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  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.

 

  COL 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.

 

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  Nevertheless, it is a long and trying experience, and it will develop the patience of the saints.

  Heb. 1O: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. l:2-4 - "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); 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 thy 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 THREE BAPTISMS OF JESUS

[From here through p. 131]

 

  Those who are to attain to an entrance into the temple on Mount Zion (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

 

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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 Holy 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!"

 

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  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 Tim. 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.

 

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  "As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us so 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." [Ibid]

 

  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 thy 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

 

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people. Jesus answered that if the disciples were 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

 

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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 Spirit 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.

 

  EW 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

 

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His messengers of this truth for the present hour, whose message would open their understanding, if they would completely fulfill 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. 35-40) 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; I 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.

 

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  Matt. 23:37-39 - "0 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 be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

 

  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

 

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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).

 

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  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 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 what 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 true 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

 

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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

 

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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 of 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 labeled 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.

 

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  In the outpouring of the latter rain, the Spirit is to prepare the saints for their 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.)

 

* * * * * * * *

 

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  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."

 

[Written in 1968].

 

 

 

 

 

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Section 4

 

THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD

 

[Written Manuscript # 4]

 

 

 

 

 

by

 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)

 

 

 

 

Eph 6:17 - "...the sword of the Spirit, ...is the word of God.”

 

 

 

 

 

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THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD

 

  God has a special message for His people today, and this message is the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. It is found in Revelation 3:14-22. This message is intimately linked with the fulfillment of the terms of the new covenant, and we shall have occasion to refer to it from time to time. We should also remember that the Laodicean message contains the counsel which will separate the true people of God from those who will prove unfaithful during the shaking time. And in this connection it is related to the sword of the Lord. Let us read a portion of it here.

 

  Rev. 3:15, 16 - "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

 

  Our view of this passage in the past has not been particularly realistic. The passage clearly says that He will spew us out of His mouth. To spew means to eject or expel forth, to vomit. And it may be true that the drinking of lukewarm water does tend toward nausea and vomiting, and it is also true that waters in prophecy are symbolic of peoples. Most of us, therefore, have had the idea that God would eject us out of His mouth. And then we have immediately taken cover in the statement which says that the threatenings and promises of God are alike conditional. Thus we have concluded that by repentance and confession we can escape this threat; and in this reassurance we relax. So we assume that we are not all as vomit in the mouth of the True Witness, to be ejected because we are lukewarm; and we hope that we ourselves will be the exceptions.

 

  This could hardly be the complete meaning of the passage, however, because the following verses indicate that He does not in fact cast off His people, but rather that He gives them counsel. And the counsel is given as though coming after they are spewed out of His mouth. And if it is heeded, it will bring the True Witness in to His people to sup with them. (Rev. 3:17-20). Therefore, if the passage does indeed mean to vomit out His people from His mouth, then it could in any case mean only those who refuse to heed the counsel. But the passage does not say this; it says very positively that because of our luke-warmness, He will spew us out of His mouth. Then follows the counsel.

 

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  Let us first be clear that in no place in the Bible are God's people represented as dwelling in His mouth or in His stomach. If they are not there, then He cannot vomit them out. It could mean only that His people are as distasteful to Him as lukewarm water. But if we apply the principle of stereopsis, it should be obvious that there is some other meaning to this passage. There must be something else in the mouth of God which He spews upon His people. He spews them with something out of His mouth.

 

  We need not search far in the Bible to find out what it is that issues from the mouth of the Lord and which comes upon His people.

 

  Rev. 1:16 - "...and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword."

 

  Rev. 19:13, 15,21 - "...and his name is called The Word of God. ...And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: ...And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth.

  Rev. 2: 16 - "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

 

  The sword of the Lord which issues from His mouth is His Word of Truth. (cf. John 1:1-4,14; Eph. 6:17.).

 

  Can it be said that the Laodicean people are still in this lukewarm, self-satisfied condition? [Refer also to page 144 of this book.]

 

  This sword is to come upon His lukewarm people to try them and to slay many of them. It will do this when it becomes sharpened and furbished (that is, made brighter and polished, in order that it may reflect more "light").

 

  Ezek. 21:9-13 - "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter; should we then make mirth? It contemneth [spurns, by-passes, scorns despises, slights] the rod of my son, as every tree. And He hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. Because it is a trial,..."

 

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  We need to bear in mind that the purpose of the Laodicean message is to bring to fruition the terms of the everlasting covenant. It is to restore God's people to the image of Christ and consummate the communion or indwelling of Christ through the Holy Ghost. The New Testament (covenant) is in His blood, of which we are to partake in emblem in remembrance of Him until He comes in reality to fulfill the terms of that covenant. (1st Cor. 11:25,26). During the investigative judgment of the living, these things will be accomplished; and the sanctuary will be cleansed, and the marriage of the Lamb will be consummated, and the kingdom of saints will be made up. (EW 280). Those Laodiceans who hear the voice of the True Witness and open the door will receive the communion of the body and blood of Christ. (Rev. 3:20). The body of Christ (His flesh) is His word and the blood of Christ (His life) is His Spirit. This will become evident as we proceed.

 

  We have already shown in the previous manuscript, entitled "The Everlasting Covenant", that the means which God will use to restore His people to His image is through the process of discipline. Now we find this same means of discipline reiterated in the Laodicean message. (Rev. 3: 19). It should now be clear that the method used to discipline those of the lukewarm Laodiceans whom God loves will be through the spewing upon them of the furbished and sharpened, two-edged sword of His word. This sword is also the tool of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing its work of sealing the saints - that is, of settling them into the truth (cf. "Seal is a Settling Into Truth." 4BC 1161); for the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. (Eph. 6:17). By this means will the Holy Spirit reprove God's people of their sins - through the Word. By this means will He settle them into the truth - by the gift of the spirit of prophecy clarifying that Word. By this means will He give the saints an experimental knowledge of the character of God. By this means will the terms of the everlasting covenant be fulfilled. (cf. COL 114; paragraph 2).

 

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  I am tempted at this point to show the relationship of this truth to the investigative judgment of the living and the cleansing of the sanctuary of the record of sin, but we would then be carried afield and lose our main thread. Therefore, I will delay this topic and return now to consider some details regarding how the sword of the Lord is used to discipline the children of God and to test them upon the paramount principle of the law - unselfish love of the brethren. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matt. 25:40.

 

  Thus it should be clear that upon the lukewarm Laodicean people will come the sword of the Lord - not an old and tarnished sword, but a sharpened sword, furbished and made bright for the spiritual slaughter of His people. That which is wicked in them must be slain; they are to completely die to self. For His people will be measured (or judged) by the rod of His mouth, which is His Word. (cf. Rev. 11:1; and Isa. 11:4); (DA 208; cf. COL 67; 5 T 214; TM 506; Isa. 66:16). The people of God must be spewed with His sword and be measured and be slain and be purified and made white. Thus is the everlasting covenant fulfilled.

 

HOW THE SWORD WILL OPERATE

 

  There are two ways in which the sword of the Spirit will come upon God's people as a test. The first of these is through a personal reproving of sin and of righteousness (cf. John 16:8) and of keener judgment. The Spirit of truth will reveal to a man a clearer meaning of a passage of Scripture and will show him where and how that truth has a sharper and more penetrating application to his own personal life - that he has not been doing a close enough work of conforming to this truth. Then the testing situation arises, and the truth becomes a sword piercing the heart.

 

  He may find it hard to surrender himself to the greater obligation indicated by the deeper understanding of the truth. He may not wish to give up his cultivated attachments to the things and ways of the world and to return to primitive godliness. And he will want to shun the scoffing and resistance of his friends and brethren who have not seen the more penetrating view and who wish to have him remain in their lukewarm realm and not to have their consciences agitated by his

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example of reformation. But he must crucify self; he must be slain by the sword; he must be ruled by the rod of iron. At the same time, the Holy Spirit may reprove another man quite differently; for not all things which may be sin to one are necessarily also sin to another, particularly in matters of diet and conduct. There are individual differences involved in this matter of right and wrong, and God takes these differences into account. Nevertheless, such differences can easily give rise to contention and malicious strife and form a barrier of animosity between brethren. Thus is a test of brotherly fellowship set up. God's people must learn to live with one another's differences while yet maintaining their brotherly love.

 

  Herein arises a test of discipleship, of tolerance, and of love for one's brother. Before God's people are ready for translation, they must overcome all resentment and antagonism one toward another, and they must come into the unity of the faith and love for which Jesus prayed in His last great intercessory prayer on earth. (John 13:34,35 17:19-26). This will be accomplished through the discipline of God. (Rev. 3:19). And this discipline will come through the furbished and sharpened sword of the Lord. (Rev. 3:16; cf. Ezek. 21:9-13).

 

  The second way in which the sword of the Spirit will come upon God's people as a test is through the revelation of new truth. The sword with which the Lord will spew His people to try them will be a sharpened and polished sword - it will be His Word of truth unfolding greater light and with sharper penetrating power. The proclamation of this increased light and expanded meaning will stir up resentment, antagonism, resistance, and persecution. Thus, again, will the saints be tested and proved, to demonstrate whether they will surrender fully to the will of God and accept the principle of brotherly love.

 

  GW 301, 302 - "We should never permit the spirit to be mani-fested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished that He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of."

 

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  The proclaiming to His own people of truth which they already know and understand will not bring on a trial of dissension and persecution. It is the revelation of additional truth and greater light which will bring on this trial. Herein is the manner by which the True Witness will spew His lukewarm people with the sword that issues out of (from) His mouth. Nor will merely some of them be spewed, but rather all of them. The text means exactly what it says; it is a plain "Thus saith the Lord": "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." The servant of the Lord has cautioned that if anyone would come forward with purported new truth, let him present a plain, Thus saith the Lord. Here the Lord says plainly that He will spew His lukewarm Laodicean people out of His mouth.

 

  By the Spirit of Truth will the Word be made bright; for the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. (Eph. 6:17). Every Seventh-day Adventist knows that there is to be in our day a great outpouring of the Spirit upon God's people. But not every Seventh-day Adventist realizes that then the Word of God will become a penetrating sword. By the power of the Spirit, through the Word, will the soul of each saint be laid bare and the true thoughts and intents of the heart made clear to the consciousness.

 

  Heb. 4:12,13 - "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (cf. Rev. 3:17 - the Laodiceans did not know that they were naked; but this will be made plain to them when the sword comes upon them.)

 

  Thus the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans will become clarified by the Spirit of Truth, and will proclaim their nakedness and urge their purchase of eyesalve with which to anoint their eyes, that they may see their nakedness and their need and become aroused and awakened out of their state of lukewarmness and self-satisfaction. The Spirit will reprove them of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. (John 16:8).

 

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  And again, a new and enlarged meaning of a doctrine may be revealed by the Spirit of Truth to a servant of God, a brother in the church. But as he expresses this view to his brethren, some of them become stirred up and violently oppose his view; and he may be put to severe embarrassment and loss of position or of social acceptance. A spirit of intolerance may be shown against him, and a refusal to make a thorough and fair investigation of the truth concerned, and the attitude of self-satisfaction and complacency may set the enlightened brother into a position of great difficulty. Nevertheless, the viewpoint of the opposing brethren may also be quite correct; they may have reasonable justification for their opposition to the new view.

 

  It is this paradoxical situation which exhibits the two-edged nature of the sword of God's Word; it cuts both ways, one opposite to the other. The Word of God is liberally embellished with apparent contradictions. One brother can successfully support his view of a truth from the Scriptures, while at the same time another brother can substantiate an opposing view with equal plausibility. (cf. RH, Jan. 14, 1971, p. 12, re: Bride of Christ.). This fact need not be a stumbling block to faith in the validity of God's Word. Indeed, the dual aspect of truth enhances its nature; for when it is viewed in its plurality, it opens up a sharper, more vivid image, set off in clearly defined perspective.

 

  The unfolding nature of truth, which makes it perpetually present truth, is an ingenious device involving such precise vocabulary and sentence structure that it obviously could have been created only through genuine revelation or inspiration. It is an evidence of the divine nature of Scripture. The spewing of the Laodiceans out of the mouth of the Lord is one example of a two-edged paradox in God's Word.

 

  I will not at this point detract from our main line of thought by enumerating other examples of such paradoxes. Some of these will be referred to at convenient places. Let me simply say that a genuinely stereoptic view of these paradoxes will reveal an amazing integration of the elements of truth.

 

  Meanwhile, this double-edged characteristic of the sword of the Lord brings on a test of fellowship among the brethren, and it is designed to execute the discipline of God for the development of tolerance and brotherly love, the fundamental principle of His law until the dross be shaken out and we come into the unity of the faith.

 

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  The identifying characteristic of the disciples, the brethren in the family of Christ, is that they have "love" one to another. (John 13:35; 15:12,17).

 

THE SWORD OPERATES THROUGH SUFFERING AND MISUNDERSTANDING

 

  The great trials of our faith and love (which is the gold of Rev. 3:18) will come through personal suffering and through the opposition and persecution of those of our brethren and others who cannot understand our viewpoint and who cannot discern the things which the Spirit of Truth is revealing to us. Not until our faith and love have been strengthened by the exercise of these trials will the final time of trouble come upon the saints after the close of probation. The trials of our faith and love come upon us to purify us and to make us ready for the final onslaught. Those who cannot bear these preparatory trials will prove to be base metal.

 

  The trial of our faith comes largely through personal suffering, and the trial of our love comes mainly through brotherly persecution. Personal suffering will test our faith in the love and mercy of God; while brotherly persecution will test our love for God - for His commandment is that we love both Him and our brethren - and inasmuch as we do it unto one of the least of His brethren, we do it unto Him. And if a brother is our enemy, we are still asked to love him. This is the trial of our love.

 

  Matt. 5:43-48 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:" (Here is the key to becoming a full-grown child of God!) "...For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

 

  Herein is revealed the key to perfection, the reproduction of the perfect character of God. The thing which makes the love of God distinct from the love of a man is that God loves His enemies. But Jesus' bitterest enemies were the members of His own household of faith, the leaders of His professed people; and when they slew Him, He

 

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said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." When this character becomes ours, Jesus will come to claim us as His own.

  The purification and perfection of our characters will come through the discipline of God, through trials and suffering. (Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:4-14; EW 71,67,47; Matt. 3:11; Mark 10:38,39).

 

  5T 136 - "Soon God's people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear genuine and true will prove to be base metal."

 

  But the Laodicean message includes an entreaty to do something about our lukewarm condition, and it promises that those whom God loves he will rebuke and chasten, so that they may come to repentance and become zealous in truth and righteousness, and open the door for the Spirit of Christ to enter for communion - and overcome. (See Rev. 3:17-22).

 

  The discipline of God comes through sharing the cup of His sufferings; and its purpose is to cleanse and purify.

 

  EW 47 - "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 effect 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 receive it, and God will be honored and glorified."

 

  This bitter cup is not merely a cup of physical suffering; it is the cup of suffering of which Jesus drank. His suffering involved accepting the consequences of a complete submission to the will of God. (The meaning of this statement will expand as our experience progresses). It included suffering the consequences of speaking forth the truth in spite of serious misunderstanding by His own people regarding His true motives and character. It involved being baptized with the baptism of fire, the antagonism, opposition, and persecution arising from His own brethren in Israel because He preached the furbished Word of Truth.

 

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  By this means will the sword of the Lord come upon His people to reprove them. For Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." - Matt. 10:34-36.

 

  When a man rises to the challenge of the Laodicean counsel, this is what he will encounter. And unless he is willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus in drinking the cup and accepting the baptism, he is not worthy of Christ. For we read on:

 

  Matt. 10:37-38 - "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. And 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." (See also Mark 10:38, 39; Luke 12:49-53).

 

  It is not necessarily true that all who fail to attain the degree of perfection and purification required to stand before a holy God after the close of probation will be lost. The fire whereby the gold is purified will try every man's work, and reveal whether it will endure as precious metal or be burned as wood, hay, and stubble. But though his work may be burned and he may suffer loss, yet he himself need not necessarily be lost.

 

  1st Cor. 3:11-15 - "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."