Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Signs of the Times

January 10, 1900

Light Rejected

A Deceived People—Christ's Work—Dangerous Error Now—Cause of Deception

Christ came to a people who were deceived and deluded by the demon of ambition. At that time they were under the Roman yoke, but they expected One to come who would establish a kingdom from which would be excluded every other people on the earth. He was to break the heathen yoke, to lift up His people, and set them with princes. All nations were to be summoned to appear before the One sent by God, and there called upon to surrender themselves or be consumed.

Prophets were continually arising and claiming to have special messages to this effect. Judah was to be honored as the place of power and glory. The kingdoms of the world and the riches of the Gentiles were to be placed at their feet, and they were to be exalted as priests and kings unto God. Those who did not believe in these great things for the Jewish nation were pronounced infidels. If their prayers did not abound in these glowing expectations, they were treated as worse than useless.

This was Satan's masterly working. He controlled their minds and kept them in a state of constant excitement as to who should be greatest in this imaginary kingdom about to be set up on the earth. Poor deluded souls! Satan was deceiving them, and they were receiving his false representations. He was actively seeking to counterwork the work of Christ as foretold by the unerring Word of prophecy. The simplicity of His mission and the character of His work were altogether different from that which the Jews had anticipated. It was in perfect harmony with the prophecies, but not in harmony with the prophecies as they had read them in the light of false and delusive hopes. The people were so infatuated by the falsehoods of Satan that their minds were wholly unprepared for the real Christ.

Christ's Work was to set before men the character of His kingdom, showing that names and positions and titles are nothing, but that pure virtue and a holy character is accounted as everything in the sight of heaven. In His sermon on the mount, the very first sentences that came from His lips were calculated to lay those ambitions low in the dust. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This whole sermon was an exposition of the law. Christ presented the far-reaching claims of the law of God. He tried to correct their high imaginings by exalting true sentiments, and proclaiming a blessing upon those traits of character that were entirely opposite to the attributes they were cherishing. He presented before them a kingdom where human ambitions and earthly passions can not find an entrance.

Christ saw that Israel, who had been so highly favored, in having had committed to them the oracles of God, were misconstruing the Scriptures to meet their own backslidden condition. Their teaching was no longer the Word of God, but the sayings of men. They were making of none effect the commandments of God by their tradition. They were working away from the high and holy standard given them in the Word of God, and were meeting a human standard. Christ's work was to strip away these false theories, and by His own life reveal the character of God, that He might lift souls who were perishing in ignorance of true godliness into a pure and holy atmosphere.

Dangerous Error Now

Those who are making void the law of God in this age are under a deception fully as dangerous as were the Jews. They depreciate the Old Testament Scriptures and exalt the New. The New Testament presents the same standard of righteousness as the Old. It is the key to the Old. Abel was a Christian; he died for Christ because he acknowledged Him in the blood of the slain lamb. Noah was a Christian. He unflinchingly endured the test of his faith. He was righteous in his day, and is called a “preacher of righteousness.” Christ was the Way for the antediluvian church; He was the Way for the patriarchs, for the prophets, and He is the Way for the Christian church today. Christ is brought to view in the Old Testament Scriptures as a personal Saviour. And the same Christ who was the Way in the Old Testament Scriptures declares in the New, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

John the Baptist had prepared the way for Christ, urging upon all repentance and confession of sin. In Galilee Christ followed the preaching of John with the message, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the synagog of Nazareth He announced His mission, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

As He spoke, the Spirit of God impressed the minds and hearts of His hearers. A thrilling power from God attended His Word, and they witnessed to the glorious words that proceeded out of His lips. But Satan began to insinuate his questioning doubts: “Who is this man? Is not this Joseph's son?” Jesus had laid before this people their true position, and this had infuriated the hearts already filled with unbelief and prejudice. They would not hear from His lips the truth in regard to their condition, and they thrust Him out of the synagog. And they would have cast Him headlong over a precipice, had not angels come to His assistance, and led Him away to a place of safety. How quickly, when unbelief enters the soul, is Jesus expelled, and Satan takes the reins of control. The Holy Spirit is rejected, and the attributes of Satan come in.

All Christ's Miracles Were Wrought to bless those whom these leading Jews neglected, and despised, and refused to help. In every good work He sought to lead them to accept Him as their personal Saviour. His life was fragrant, a savor of life unto life. He offered Himself to them that they might give Him a home in their hearts. And yet they would not receive Him. He had declared Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Daily He had brought the truth before the Pharisees, the priests and rulers. But those who should have known by its fruit the character of the tree, did not know Christ. They did not see the truth as truth. While they claimed to keep the law of God, they denied it by their works. Having eyes they saw not, because of the ignorance that was in them through the hardness of their hearts. The impurity of their hearts, the defiling practises of their lives, their selfishness, their envy, their jealousy, their evil-surmising, their transgression of the law of God while they claimed to keep it, bore continual testimony against them.

Why Deceived

The Jews were self-deceived. They rejected the teachings of Christ because He exposed the teachings of their hearts, and reproved their sins. They would not come to the Light, fearing that their deeds would be reproved. They chose darkness rather than light. “This is the condemnation,” said Christ, “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ, until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God's service. This was the result of their refusing light. God does not compel any man to believe. He sets light before men, and Satan presents his darkness. While the deceiver is constantly crying, “Light is here; truth is here,” Jesus is saying: “I am the Truth, I am the Way; I have the words of eternal life. If any man follow Me, he shall not walk in darkness.” God gives to us all evidence sufficient to balance our faith on the side of truth. If we surrender to God, we shall choose the light and reject the darkness. If we desire to maintain the independence of the natural heart, and refuse the correction of God, we shall, as did the Jews, stubbornly carry out our purposes and our ideas in the face of the plainest evidence, and shall be in danger of as great deception as came upon them. And in our blind infatuation we may go to as great lengths as they did, and yet flatter ourselves that we are doing work for God.

Mrs. E. G. White

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»