Ellen G. White Writings

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The Bible Echo

February 20, 1899

Witness to the Truth

The incarnation of Christ, typified in the sacrificial service of Israel, and symbolized in all their devotions, is a glorious mystery. In His only begotten Son, God was made manifest to the world. The Son of God laid aside His glory, and clothed Himself with humanity. He became the meek and lowly Jesus. For the sake of sinful men He became poor, that they through His poverty might be made rich.

Yet the men for whom Christ sacrificed so much, and for whom He laboured so earnestly, did not recognize Him. The enemy was at work upon human minds to keep light from the people of God. As Israel separated more and more from God, they failed to have a correct estimate of truth, and supplied its place with fanciful ideas and the imaginations of men. They doubted the mission of Christ, and although they had so long hoped and waited for Him to come, when He did come they would not receive Him.

The adversaries of Christ claimed to be just and holy men, but they regarded Christ with suspicion because His teaching did not harmonize with their preconceived ideas. The good works which testified that Christ was the light of the world, they would allow to have no weight with them. He bore with Him divine credentials, but their eyes were so blinded by prejudice that they could not discern the voice of the True Shepherd.

Christ was the living representation of the law. He knew that the Jews were eagerly watching Him, hoping to find something which they might question and use to bring about His death as a false teacher; but He could look on that nation of witnesses and say, “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” Christ stood in moral integrity, conscious of the authority and power which He had with the Father. He was on a level with the eternal throne. The glory of God fell directly upon Him, and in the lustre of His own greatness was reflected back to the Father above.

The sin of the Jews was unbelief. The power of the destroyer had led Israel far astray. When they should have magnified God and talked of His goodness and power, they were found disbelieving and complaining. Every means which the deceiver could invent, he used to sow in their hearts seeds of envy, discord, and of hatred against God. Thus when Christ came to the earth, Satan had brought in a religion for the Jews which pleased himself. The nation had departed from God, and another leader was guiding them.

And Satan pressed the advantage he had gained, and made the leaders of the Jewish nation his allies. Because in their blindness they could not understand the mysteries of the incarnation; because Christ did not praise and glorify them as most exalted in knowledge and piety, the priests and rulers were offended, and they determined to counteract His influence, and make of none effect His teachings. They followed Him from place to place that they might misconstrue and misstate His words. As they listened to the teachings of Christ, they were convinced that the power of God was with Him, but they would not accept Him as the Messiah. And they worked to prevent the people from accepting the light. “Do not be in haste to receive new things,” they said, “there is danger of your being deceived. Cannot you see that He differs from the teaching we have been giving you? Do not commit yourselves to these new doctrines. If this is the Christ, He will give you some remarkable evidence of His divine character.” Thus these men, who might have been a power for good on God's side of the question, became a power for evil.

When Christ healed the paralytic, He said to him. “Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.” But the Pharisees when they saw the miracle, and heard men praising God for the wonderful work, said within themselves, “Why doth He thus speak blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God only? But Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then saith He to the sick of the palsy), Arise, take up they bed, and go unto thy house.” Christ healed the man, both soul and body, showing that He had power to pardon sins, and bring peace and righteousness to the conscience-stricken soul.

Christ's conscious superiority, even as He descended step by step in the path of humiliation, gave His words an amazing power. What lessons of instruction He gave, and with what authority He rebuked the sins of men in high position! Truth was truth to Him, and it never suffered in His hands; for He was the author of truth. “To this end,” He says, “was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth.”

But because men did not like to be told of their sins; because they did not wish to be reproved or corrected, they determined to resist Him. Jesus saw that which those who were blinded by the enemy could not see. He tried to convince them that everything opposed to the principles He was teaching was a delusion and a falsehood. “Every one that is of the truth,” He said, “heareth My voice.” He was the embodiment of truth and holiness. He who had stood in the councils of God; He who had dwelt in the innermost sanctuary of the eternal, was speaking that whereof He knew. He was presenting to them truth of the highest order, revealing to men the mind of the Infinite. But the men who claimed to stand high in knowledge and spiritual understanding, failed to comprehend His meaning; and that which had been evolved from eternity by the Father and the Son, they in their ignorance stood as critics to condemn.

Christ crucified is ever drawing souls to Him. On the other hand, Satan is drawing them away from Christ, that they may not walk in the light of His countenance; that they may not see Christ in His goodness and mercy, His infinite compassion and unsurpassed love. He intercepts Himself by presenting the attractions of worldly inducements that God in Christ may not be discerned. But Christ came that whosoever will believe in Him may be saved. As a flower turns to the sun that its bright rays may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should Christ's followers turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that Heaven's light may shine upon them, perfecting their characters and giving them a deep and abiding experience in the things of God. It is beyond our power to conceive the blessings that are brought within our reach through Christ, if we will but unite our human effort with divine grace. There is “an eternal weight of glory” beyond. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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