Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    December 29, 1887

    “Not Without Witness” The Signs of the Times 13, 50, pp. 791, 792.

    WHEN Paul and Barnabas were trying to persuade the people of Lystra to turn from the vanities of idolatry, they said unto them that although God “suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” These are some of the means by which God witnesses of himself to all nations. When the prophet Isaiah sets forth the absurdity and inexcusableness of idolatry, by simply showing how a god is made, a man who plants a tree, which the rain nourishes until it has grown large enough to be used; then he cuts it down, and with part of it he makes a fire, by which he warms himself and cooks his food, and the residue he makes into a god, and falls down to it and worships it, and cries to it, “Deliver me; for thou art my god.” Isaiah 44:14-17. Then the prophet shows where such people fail to use the common sense that belongs with nature itself. As it is that the rain nourishes the tree from which he makes his god, if he does not know who is the God, why don’t he worship the Power that gives the rain? If he would but do that he would be walking in the light of common sense, of reason, and of faith, and would soon find out God. Men can, by searching find out God. But God expects him to search, and in the search to use the common sense and the faculties generally that God has given to him. And men are without excuse who do not do it. Romans 1:20.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.1

    But it is not alone by the giving of rain and fruitful seasons that God has “left not himself without witness.” He has done it by revelation, and through living testimony. When Egypt stood at the head of the world in power, wisdom, and influence, God made manifest in that land his power and his glory in such a way that all the nations heard of it. The Canaanites heard of it, and knew that the God that delivered Israel was God of Heaven and earth. Joshua 2:9-11.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.2

    The next nation that arose to power and influence in the world was Assyria. And when Assyria had grown corrupt and had gone far away from God, the Lord graciously sent a Hebrew prophet to the people, and called them to repentance. Jonah 1:2, 3. After this, again and again, he bore witness to Assyria that he is God above all, the most notable instance, perhaps, being the slaughter of the host of Sennacherib. Isaiah 37.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.3

    Babylon next spread her empire over all nations, and to them God left not himself without witness. He bore witness directly to Nebuchadnezzar, in the dream of the great image, and its interpretation by Daniel, the captive Hebrew. Again in the affair of the three Hebrews and the fiery furnace, God bore witness of himself to all the power and all the provinces of that mighty empire, both by the representatives that were present (Daniel 3:3), and also by the decree of the king, which followed. Verse 29. Again when Nebuchadnezzar, after being warned of God (Daniel 4:4-27), was driven out from the presence of men to run wild for seven years, he learned by it that Jehovah rules in the affairs of men, and that he is above all gods; and when he recovered his understanding, he published “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth,” that he “thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God” had wrought. Verses 1, 2. Again, when that empire was on the brink of ruin, God, by the handwriting on the wall of the palace, bore a last parting witness to the lascivious king, that he was weighed in the balances and found wanting, and that his kingdom was given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel 5:27, 28.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.4

    The power of Media and Persia came after, and through that power, also, God again bore witness of himself “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth.” For Daniel, the servant of God, was cast into a den of lions, and came forth unhurt, because God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths that they should do him no hurt. “Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth,” that the God of Daniel “is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” Daniel 6:25, 26. When Darius was dead and Cyrus reigned, he also “made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of Heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God).”SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.5

    When Alexander the Great was in the full tide of his career of conquest, he stood at the temple of the Most High in Jerusalem, and heard the witness of God concerning himself read from the Hebrew Scriptures. And through the Greek language, which the career of Alexander was instrumental in spreading throughout all the Eastern world, God chose to give witness of himself in the salvation wrought for man in the death and resurrection of his own dear Son.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.6

    When Rome ruled the world, God not only left not himself without witness, in the preaching of the gospel to every nation under heaven, but also by the apostle Paul he bore witness more than once to the head of the Roman world himself. And from that day to this, God has left not himself without witness to all nations.SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.7

    Nor was it only to these great empires and nations that the Lord bore witness of himself. In Jeremiah 27:2-11 is the copy of a message from the Lord that was written by the prophet Jeremiah, and was sent “to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem.” And the time would fail us to tell of all the testimonies that God bore by Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Joel, and Amos, and Obadiah, and Zephaniah, and Zechariah, not only to Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt, and Medo-Persia, but also to Edom, and Moab, and Ammon, and Tyre, and Zidon, and Syria, and Arabia, and all the nations round about. It is literally true that God has “left not himself without witness” unto “all nations” in all ages. And when in that great day of the Lord the great trumpet shall be blown, there shall gather before the glorious throne of the Most High God, “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” and will cry “with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 791.8

    J.

    “The Working of Satan” The Signs of the Times 13, 50, p. 792.

    WE have said that this message alone embodies the truth, the love of which will save men from the deceivableness of unrighteousness of Satan’s power and signs and lying wonders. When the truth of this message is presented to men, and is rejected, then the way is opened for Satan to work with the power of his deception as never before. This is a principle that accompanies the representation of the truth of God at all times, but much more now because Satan’s power is to be manifested now to a great extent than ever before. Jesus says, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” John 12:35. When God presents lights to men and they refuse to walk in it, then the darkness becomes greater to them than ever it was before. And as the darkness is greater, they are more easily deceived and led astray, because “he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” Now the light of the Third Angel’s Message is to lighten the earth with its glory (Revelation 18:1), and when that light is rejected and men refuse to walk in it, their darkness becomes greater than that of any age since the world began, and consequently the working of Satan will be more powerfully deceptive than it has ever yet been in the world; and this emphasized by the fact that “he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.1

    Now see the deceitful working of Satan against this point of truth, the Sabbath of the Lord. The world, especially the Christian world, professes to have some respect for the ten commandments. The Third Angel’s Message calls upon all men to keep these commandments, and I presenting this call, it points to the keeping of the Sabbath of the Lord as given in the fourth commandment. But just as soon as this duty is presented, all manner of opposition is raised against it. And it is a fact that cannot be denied, that the greatest opposition to it arises from the professed Christian world, the very ones who profess the greatest respect for the commandments of God. Any scheme that can be employed, is employed, to blind the minds and dull the consciences of men to the duty of obeying the fourth commandment and honoring God by keeping the Sabbath of the Lord; and in about nine cases out of every ten this opposition winds up with the argument that the law is abolished. When once people can be given to understand that the ten commandments are abolished, it is not hard then for such teachers to satisfy them that they are under no obligation to keep the seventh day, as the commandment of God enjoins.SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.2

    But such teaching as that cannot be set forth with safety. Its only effect is to loosen the restraints of the law and conscience, and lawlessness is the inevitable result. “They that forsake the law praise the wicked,” and the wicked cannot be praised from the pulpit, without profiting by the praise. It matters not at all that the thing be not intended, when the pulpit sets forth the idea that the law of God is abolished, and thus loosens the wholesome restraints of law, the effect of it will be seen of it in our land to-day. This is the secret of the prevailing lawlessness of all classes. Where it is not manifested in outbreaking lawlessness itself, it is manifested in the almost universal sympathy with the lawless. Nor is this confined to the wicked world as such; it prevails in the churches. Preachers cannot tell their congregations that the ten commandments are abolished, without the evil fruit being seen in a general letting down of conscientious respect for all things sacred; the church then loses its godly influence over the world, and then if it is to influence the world at all it must do it by ungodly means such as are seen everywhere in the fairs, the feasts, the carnivals, and the revelry which now characterize the efforts of the church, and which only increase unto more ungodliness.SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.3

    Well, having taken this turn to prevent people from keeping the commandment of God, and by it having given place to a general spirit of lawlessness both in the church and in the world, what next must be done? Oh, the civil power must be called to the rescue to enforce laws dictated by the church! For when the preachers tell the people that the Sabbath is a Jewish institution and has been abolished, and then try to impress upon them the duty of keeping Sunday as the Sabbath, they are met with the same arguments that they themselves have used against the Sabbath of the Lord. This was plainly stated by Dr. Pierson, of Philadelphia, in 1884, in these words:—SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.4

    “The sanctity of the Lord’s day is but a remnant, if not a relic, of the past; and if this process goes within the presence century Sabbath sanctification will be among the curiosities of archeology and paleontology! Christians apologize for this on the ground that the ‘Sabbath is a Jewish institution’ and is abrogated, making no distinction between the ceremonial and the moral law.... Other disciples do away with the consecrated seventh of time, as with the consecrated tenth of money, on the ground that all time and property are holy unto the Lord, and so the practical effect is that they consecrate nothing.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.5

    This is the sober truth, but the people are not primarily to blame. These same apologies, in these very words, have been preached to them time and again all over the land. These very arguments have been put into the mouths of the people by the preachers in their efforts to persuade them not to obey the commandment of God, and now the ministers turn about and complain of the people for doing exactly as they themselves have taught them to do. Little did these men think all these years that in thus opposing the Sabbath of the Lord, they were brandishing a sword that would cut both ways. Little did they think that they were weaving a spider web, and hatching cockatrice’s eggs that would break out into vipers to sting themselves. Little did they think that in raising these objections, and appealing to popularity and worldly interest, against the Sabbath of the Lord, they were destroying respect for the whole law of God, and implanting a disposition of lawlessness that would break any commandment of God or men that conflicts with those interests.SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.6

    The ministers have taught the people to say, “If everybody else will keep Sabbath, I will.” Now when they are called upon to more strictly observe Sunday, the teaching comes back to the teachers in the words, “If everybody else will keep Sunday, I will.” Accordingly the church members go on Sunday excursions, read Sunday newspapers, and so on, because “everybody else” does the same. Therefore to have the church members keep Sunday, all Sunday trains must be stopped and all Sunday papers must be abolished. Thus to satisfy a demand which they themselves have created, and to meet arguments which they themselves have invented, the preachers are obliged to work up civil enactments and constitutional amendments by which everybody shall be compelled to keep Sunday.SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.7

    But Sunday is only a counterfeit of the Sabbath of the Lord. It has no sacred quality whatever. There is no authority from God for its observance at all as a sacred institution of any sort. Its only authority is that of Rome, pagan as well as papal. And that is simply no authority to the man who recognizes God and the authority of his word. Rome sets forth Sunday as the sign of her authority, as the signs that she has power to command men under penalty of sin for disobedience. As the Sabbath of the Lord is the sign of the true God, so Sunday is the sign of that false god, “the man of sin,” “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” The only image and superscription that the Sunday institution bears, is the image and superscription of Rome. As the keeping of the Sabbath of the Lord is an acknowledgment of the authority of the true God, so to refuse to do that, and deliberately choose to keep Sunday instead, is to acknowledge the authority of Rome instead of the authority of God, and is to worship Rome instead of God. For, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” And whenever the people of the United States, or of any other country, whether by State or National law, try to compel men to keep Sunday, it is only trying to compel men to keep Sunday, it is only trying to compel them to bow to the authority of Rome—it is only trying to compel them to worship the beast. And when the union of religion and the State is formed here, and thus an image of the Papacy is erected for the express purpose of compelling men to keep Sunday, then in that men will be compelled to worship the beast and his image.SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.8

    Through this evil channel, and to help forward this wicked work, Satan will develop his power and signs and lying wonders, and his deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. But against it all, the Third Angel’s Message utters the solemn warning of God, “If any man worship the beast and is image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation;” and to save men from this dreadful fate, it presents the supreme truth of “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”SITI December 29, 1887, page 792.9

    J.

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents