Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    May 18, 1899

    “The King Before the Judgment Bar. John 18:28-40The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    John 18:28-40

    A careful study of all the lessons set forth in this portion of Scripture would require many articles. We must therefore ask the reader carefully to study the text indicated, and will content ourselves with a few leading thoughts. All through His earthly career, Jesus exercised royal authority, and showed Himself to be a King. On a few occasions He was greeted as King, as for instance by Nathanael (John 1:49), and by the multitude when He rode into Jerusalem. John 12:13. But this occasion was the only time when He declared Himself plainly to be a King. When Pilate asked Him, “Art Thou a King, then,” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest it because I am a King.” John 18:37, R.V, margin. And then in saying, “My kingdom is, not of this world,” (Verse 36), He plainly declared His kingship.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 305.1

    Jesus was accused to Pilate as a plotter against the Roman government, and dangerous to its peace. When Pilate sought to release Him, “the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not C?sar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against C?sar.” John 19:12. But Jesus destroyed the force of this accusation, by declaring His kingdom not to be of this world, and stating that since it was not of this world His servants would not fight.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 305.2

    In delivering Jesus up to Pilate, the Jewish rulers made it very apparent that they had no real accusation against Him. When Pilate said, “What accusation bring ye against this man,” they answered and said unto him; “If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee.” This is the same as though a man should be brought before a court, and when the judge asks what charges there are against him, his accusers content themselves by saying. “He is a bad man.” In so saying the Jews virtually confessed that they knew nothing against Him, and that Pilate must himself find out the character of Jesus by examining Him. But Pilate on examining Jesus, said, “I find no fault in Him.” And Jesus expressly disclaimed any design against the power of the Roman government.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 305.3

    Verses 36 and 37 define the character of Christ's kingdom and of His subjects. He is a King, but His kingdom is not of this world. In declaring to Pilate that He was King, He said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” He is King of truth because He is the truth, and therefore truly a king. For since the king is the one who is above all, whosoever is the truth must be a king; because the truth is that which is highest, and which rises above all, no matter how much it is down-trodden.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.1

    “Truth crushed to earth will rise again,
    The eternal years of God are hers.”
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.2

    The truth is that which is; that which abides for ever. God is the truth. Truth cannot be destroyed. “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:17. These facts taken together with the statement of Christ, prove that this world and the truth are in opposition; and that is shown in the very fact that Christ was on trial-it was the world against the truth. But the world passes away, while truth cannot pass away. Therefore, we find that the world is always in opposition to the truth, and thus always in opposition to Christ. The world crucifies Christ to-day, even as He was crucified from the foundation of the world. And it is by the cross of Christ that we are crucified unto the world and the world to us. Galatians 6:14.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.3

    Christ is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. He Himself is Peace. Ephesians 2:14. He came and preached peace. Verse 17. He rules by peace. Colossians 3:15, 16. It is by “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” that Christ keeps His subjects. Philippians 4:7. When talking to His disciples the very night He was betrayed, He said: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. All followers of Christ, therefore, have peace, and keep the peace, no matter how much war and trouble there may be in the world. Jesus conquered the world, not by war, but by peace: and only those who absolutely refuse to fight can conquer the world. When Christ's professed followers take up carnal weapons, they may be put to flight; indeed, the very taking of weapons is their defeat. But it is absolutely impossible to conquer the man who steadfastly and consistently and for Christ's sake refuses to fight. So long as he maintains his steadfastness, he is conqueror.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.4

    Christ says that if His kingdom were of this world, His servants would fight; but He Himself had only a few hours before sharply reproved Peter for drawing the sword, and had healed the wound made by it. Wherever, therefore, anyone makes use of weapons of warfare, he shows either that he does not understand the nature of Christ's kingdom, or that he does not rank himself among Christ's followers. Whoever fights shows himself the servant of another master than Christ, and no man can serve two masters.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.5

    Christ's kingdom is not of this world. It is of an entirely different nature from the world, and the world is opposed to it, and to Christ and to His followers. Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18, 19. This shows plainly that the world is opposed to and hates Christ's kingdom, because it is not of this world. Therefore it follows that it is impossible for man to be subjects of worldly kingdoms and at the same time subjects of Christ's kingdom. The followers of Christ, and the subjects of His kingdom, have of right nothing more to do with the government of this world than the subjects of the Czar of Russia have to do with the government of Great Britain.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.6

    Someone, without thinking, might declare this to be anarchy; but that would be only because they do not consider the nature of Christ's kingdom. Christ Himself was condemned as an anarchist, because the princes of this world did not understand; if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:8. Christ's followers can never be anarchists, because the law of God is in their hearts. They represent the highest type of obedience to law. They are perfect keepers of the perfect law. Moreover, although they do not reckon themselves as subjects of this world, they are indeed the very best subjects, since they will even submit to the most unjust laws without opposition. The just are condemned and killed, but do not resist. James 5:6. Therefore the best subjects that any earthly king can have are those who profess to be and are only subjects of Christ, and not of the world. Earthly governments, however do not as a general thing know this, and so the men whose presence tends to the strength and stability of the government, are discriminated against and persecuted.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.7

    The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, but outlasts this world. Being of the truth, it is an everlasting dominion. Christ is set at the right hand of God in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power and might and dominion. Ephesians 1:20, 21. But this place was of right His even while He was here upon earth. For when talking with Nicodemus He declared himself to be “in heaven.” John 3:13. The King of the universe was on trial before an earthly court and an earthly judge; and on trial as to His right to rule. He showed His right to rule there, as everywhere, by bearing witness to the truth.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.8

    But even as Jesus is set at the right hand of God in heavenly places, far above all principalities, power, might and dominion, so has God raised all those who believe in Him, and made them sit together with Christ in heavenly places. Ephesians 2:1-6. He “loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.” Revelation 1:5, 6. Therefore all Christ's subjects are kings, far higher in rank than any or all kings of this earth. Power is given them over the nations, the same as to Christ Himself. See Psalm 2:8, 9; Revelation 2:26, 27. All are called to be witnesses together with Christ. God says, “Ye are My witnesses... and My Servant whom I have chosen.” Isaiah 43:10. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His light.” 1 Peter 2:9.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 306.9

    Just as Christ the King was arraigned before the bar, so are all His followers on trial in this world. The court is continually set; the case is always on, and the witnesses are always under oath. If they are faithful and true witnesses, like the Master (see Revelation 3:14), then are they kings indeed, and are never overcome, even though condemned. By the peaceful power of simple steadfastness to truth, the followers of Christ will yet be acknowledged even by the world to have power greater than that of the whole world.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.1

    Yet will they be like Christ, reckoned among the transgressors, for the sad fact is that “judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.” Isaiah 59:14, 15. Nevertheless, although the truth may be scoffed at as impractical, and its adherents mocked and persecuted and even put to death, and error will seem to triumph, yet will the truth rise above everything, even as Christ, although mocked, put to death as a malefactor and counted as nothing, arose and took His seat on the throne of God. And at no time has He ever been greater than He was when His life was traded for that of a murderer. His humiliation and shame was His glory. His weakness was His strength; and the curse of the cross was the means by which He was raised to heaven to bless the universe.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.2

    “The Gospel of Isaiah. ‘The Righteous Judgment of God.’ Isaiah 28:18-29The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner


    18. Your covenant with death shall be broken,
    And your treaty with the grave shall not stand:
    When the overflowing plague passeth through,
    By it shall ye be beaten down.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.3

    19. As soon as it passeth through, shall it seize you;
    Yea, morning after morning shall it pass through, by day and by night;
    And even the report alone shall cause terror.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.4

    20. For the bed is too short, for one to stretch himself out at length;
    And the covering is too narrow, for one to gather himself up under it.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.5

    21. For as in Mount Peratsim, Jehovah will arise;
    As in the valley of Gibeon, shall He be moved with anger;
    That He may execute His work, His strange work;
    And effect His operation, His unusual operation.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.6

    22. And now, give yourselves up to scoffing no more,
    Lest your chastisements become more severe:
    For a full and decisive decree have I heard,
    From the Lord Jehovah God of Hosts, on the whole land.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.7

    23. Listen ye, and hear My voice;
    Attend, and hearken unto My words.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.8

    24. Doth the husbandman plough every day that he may sow,
    Opening and breaking the clods of the field?
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.9

    25. When he hath made even the face thereof,
    Doth not he then scatter the dill, and cast abroad the cummin;
    And sow the wheat in due measure;
    And the barley, and rye, hath its appointed limit?
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.10

    26. For his God rightly instructeth him; He fur-
    nished him with knowledge.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.11

    27. The dill is not beaten out with the corn-drag;
    Nor is the wheel of the wain made to turn upon the cumin:
    But the dill is beaten out with the staff;
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.12

    28. And the cummin with the flail: but the bread-corn with the threshing-wain.
    But not for ever will he continue thus to thresh it,
    Nor to vex it with the wheel of his wain;
    Nor to bruise it with the hoofs of his cattle.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.13

    29. This also proceedeth from Jehovah God of Hosts:
    He showeth Himself wonderful in counsel, great in operation.
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.14

    The first five verses of the portion here given have already been considered, but we give them again in order to preserve the connection. Not only they, but all the preceding verses should be read in connection with this lesson. Remember that the Bible does not consist of isolated texts, but each writer has a message from the Lord. One can no more get the sense of the Scriptures by taking a verse here and another there, than we can get the meaning of a letter that we receive, by reading a sentence in the middle of it, then another near the beginning, and then another at the close. We must read it through from beginning to end, and then whenever we wish to refer to some particular sentence in it, we must take it in connection with the rest. We must at the same time we quote it, remember what has preceded, and what follows. Even so must we deal with the message which the Lord sends us by His prophets.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.15

    Those who recall not only the first part of this chapter, but the preceding chapters will know that the general subject is the judgments of God. The last days, and the very last judgments of God upon this earth, are very vividly brought to view. But let it never be forgotten that the idea is salvation rather than destruction. God comes to save His people. Too many always connect the Judgment with thoughts of revenge, as though God had in mind nothing except to destroy somebody. Let all remember that God is a Shepherd, and that His sole solicitude is for His flock. When He comes to deliver His sheep from the mouth of the lion, who would devour them, He is moved by feelings of the deepest love and compassion. The last judgment is only a wonderful manifestation of God's everlasting love for His people. Read again Isaiah 27:3-4: “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Fury is not in me.” God is love just as much when He destroys the wicked, who would destroy His people, as when He gives His life for the world. In the execution of His greatest judgments, “His mercy endureth for ever.” See Psalm 136:10-24.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 307.16

    Great as is God's power to destroy, so great is His power to redeem. The destruction of the wicked is only one part of the great work of redemption. This is shown in the death of Christ. Christ died for the world of sinners. He was made to be sin for us, and therefore He suffered the penalty for sin. He was made to be sin for us, in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, and even so He suffered as a sinner, in order that guilty sinners might be saved from wrath through Him. In giving His only Son to die for sinners, and giving Himself in His Son, God showed us not only the inevitable fate of sinners but also how much He longed not to see a single sinner punished. He has no pleasure in the death of any. See Ezekiel 33:11. The wicked who will be destroyed at the last day, will only be taking by themselves that which they would not share with Christ. The cross of Christ appears in everything. So in the description of future judgments, God is making known to us some of the sufferings of Christ for sinners, that we may know how great is His power now to redeem those who fly to Him for refuge.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.1

    Thus we may understand that when God arises to Judgment, and is “wroth as in the valley of Gibeon” (See Joshua 10:10, 11), where He smote the enemies of His people, and “slew them with a great slaughter,” and “chased them,” and “cast down great stones from heaven upon them,” (Compare Revelation 16:21), it is for Him a “strange work.” The angels were awed into silence, and the heavens grew black with astonishment, when God showed His marvellous love for man by giving His Son to die. Such a way of showing love, not for friends, but for enemies, could be conceived and understood only by the heart of God. Even yet the angels desire to understand it. See 1 Peter 1:10-12. Since no man nor angel can comprehend the love of God that is manifested in the death of Christ for sinners, let no one childishly accuse God of injustice and cruelty when he reads of the judgments that are to fall upon the hoards of those who reject the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.2

    Terrible things will come, too. “Even the report alone shall cause terror.” The prophet Habakkuk saw in vision the time when the Lord went forth for the salvation of His people, threshing the heathen by the power that was hidden in His glorious, wounded side (Habakkuk 3:4, margin, 12, 13), and he said, “I heard and my belly trembled, my lips quivered at the voice, rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in my place; that I should rest in the day of trouble, when it cometh up against the people which invadeth Him in troops.” Verse 16, R.V. So Jesus, describing to His disciples the terrors of that day, said, “There shall be signs in the sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and of the billows; men expiring for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Luke 21:25, 26, R.V.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.3

    “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:20, 21. All the men of this earth, both great and small, will flee to hide themselves, and will say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. But there will be no place for hiding; “for the bed is too short for one to stretch himself out at length; and the covering is too narrow for one to gather himself up under it.” This is a striking figure, which all can understand. Who has not at some time suffered with cold because of scanty bed-clothing? Try as you would, you could not get protection. Such an experience the Lord uses to illustrate the vain efforts of those who would escape His righteous judgments. There will be no place of concealment, for God will then “bring to light the hidden things of darkness.” 1 Corinthians 4:5.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.4

    Here is an exhortation that comes to all: “Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.” Even as the Gospel is “to all people,” so all people are interested in the account of these judgments. They come not upon one particular locality, but upon the whole earth. Compare with this the second Psalm, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” They will enter into an alliance with death and the grave against the Lord; but the Lord will laugh at their vain efforts. The Son, whom they despise, will “break them with a rod of iron,” and will “dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” So the exhortation comes, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth.” If not, the bands which they vainly think to break and cast off, will be made tighter; but if they will but submit themselves to the yoke of the Lord, then they will find the bands tokens of liberty, since they are bands of love.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.5

    Last of all in this chapter which we are studying, we have a lesson from the seasons, and the work which comes with each. Just as in the service of the Jewish tabernacle the whole work of the Gospel was set forth in figure each year, even so it is now, and has been from the beginning, in nature. Seed-time and harvest are yearly reminders to all men of the work of God for men,-of the Gospel and its consummation. Everybody is familiar with the growth of grain, and the harvest, so we have need only to read the last five verses of Isaiah 28 to have material for many lessons.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.6

    The husbandman does not plough all the time, neither is he all the time sowing. When he has broken up the earth, and harrowed it, making the surface smooth, then he scatters the various kinds of grain. Each kind of grain has its appointed time, and is sown in its season. “For this God doth instruct him to discretion and doth teach him.” Yes, the wisdom which men have to till the soil comes from God alone. There is nothing that men know, that they have not learned from God. Whatever men know well, when priding themselves upon their skill and dexterity in doing it, let them remember that God knows how to do it infinitely better, and can still teach them more. Righteousness comes by faith. But righteousness is right doing. That is, the man who lives by faith will do whatever he has to do much better than the one who is not a Christian. If men have not always seen it so, then it is to the shame of the professed Christians; they have not lived up to their profession. Since faith makes a man righteous, a right doer, then it follows that faith-true and intelligent faith-will make a man a better farmer, a better carpenter, a better workman in any line. God is “wonderful in counsel; and excellent in working,” and those who trust in Him fully will find it manifest in themselves.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 308.7

    But this is only by the way, important as it is. It is a side lesson. The special thing to be learned from this reference to agriculture is that God works consistently, and adapts His means to the ends He has in view. The farmer does not thresh all kinds of grain with the same instrument. The machine that is used for threshing corn, would utterly destroy some more delicate kinds of seeds. So God adapts His judgments to the individual. There is only one standard in the Judgment, namely, the law of God,-the perfect life of the Lord,-but each person will be judged only by the amount of the light and knowledge of the law he has had. “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.” Romans 2:12, 16. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” Verses 13-15. In the Judgment, the man who has never seen the Bible, and who has had no knowledge of God, other than that which is revealed in the book of nature, will not be held accountable for the same light that the one is who has lived all his life amid the greatest Gospel privileges. It will then be seen, however, that there is no one who has not had an opportunity to hear the Gospel, and who has not both heard and seen it. “Have they not heard? Yea, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Romans 10:18. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them.” All are without excuse, because ever since the creation of the world the everlasting power and Divinity of God are clearly seen in the things which He has made. Romans 1:18-20.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 309.1

    The seed-time is the giving of the news of salvation. “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11), and Christ is the Word. John 1:1, 14. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24. Christ is the Seed (Galatians 3:16), and He died and was buried to bring many sons unto glory. Every springing seed speaks, to all who will hear of the power of the resurrection, and so of the power of God to salvation.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 309.2

    “The harvest is the end of the world.” Matthew 13:39. John says, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16. This is when “He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” Revelation 1:7. Thus we see again that the things spoken of in our lesson are no light thing concerning only a few Jews hundreds of years ago. They are matters of present and universal importance.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 309.3

    “But not for ever will He continue thus to thresh it, nor to vex it with the wheel of His wain; nor to bruise it with the hoofs of His cattle.” “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger for ever.” Psalm 103:8, 9. “For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and Mine anger in their destruction.” Isaiah 10:25. It is a strange thing for God to execute punishment upon His creatures; therefore He will not keep for ever before His eyes, and the eyes of the universe, the spectacle of people tormented in flames. Men may make a covenant with death and the grave, thinking thus to escape the righteous judgments of God; but that will avail nothing, for both death and the grave shall be utterly consumed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14), so that “yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Psalm 37:10. The wicked are chaff, stubble, and noxious weeds. “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 5:24. “The day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. As the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, “so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:40-43.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 309.4

    “The Secret of Power” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The commission to the disciples was, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” So the one who is preaching the Gospel is really a minister of power. Of Christ it was said, “Never man spake like this Man.” The reason is that no man ever lived as He did. The secret of His power was in His life. There are many Gospel workers who are longing to see more fruit from their labours. Let such remember that the power to convert men depends not upon the information they impart, but the life they live. The man that practises the truths which he preaches to others, carries with him the vitalising power of God, working through him to convert others from the error of their ways. But every ray of light must be cherished and walked in. Just as soon as we preach one thing and practise another, our words are as “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” Like Samson shorn of big locks, there will be no strength in the efforts we put forth.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 309.5

    “Witnessing for Christ” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Thy word is truth.” “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” Truth attracts and, like a magnet, draws the true in heart. These accept the truth, no matter at what cost. God could have commissioned angels to preach the Gospel, but that work is given to men. “As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you.” In view of this commission, the only concern to us should be that this work be faithfully done. The lifting up of Jesus Christ in our lives is our work. When we sow and water, God gives the increase.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.1

    We never make headway in proclaiming the truth by finding fault. This repels instead of drawing. The injunction of the apostle is, “Preach the Word.” Let error alone. The only work a Christian has in the world is to preach the truth, hold up the pure and the good.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.2

    Christ said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” That is the business of every Christian to-day. And since this is the Lord's commission, we may expect the Lord to open the way. Everywhere, amid all the “isms” that are rife at the present day, the honest in heart are searching after truth. What a wonderful privilege it is to have the truth to give them. If sometimes our own way seems hard, and we grow weary, this will disappear when we go to work for others. Just as activity is the life and strength of the physical body, so the spiritual life of a Christian depends upon his efforts to help the needy.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.3

    The Apostle Peter addressing the followers of Christ, said: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who bath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” A little farther on in the epistle he says: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts.” These prevent the virtues of Christ from shining out in His people. A lighted lamp with a clean glass will shine brightly; but when the glass becomes smoked and dirty, the light is dim. So truth must have its sanctifying effect upon the receiver. It must be allowed to shine out, unobscured by fleshly lusts. The truth will transform a man's life completely, make him refined, gentle, considerate, self-sacrificing. Is it doing that for you?PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.4

    To represent Christ is to re-present Christ present Him again. When He was upon earth, His whole life was spent in doing good, watching for openings to present the truth. At one time we see Him working with Nicodemus, revealing to him precious truths. Again, He is by the well talking to a fallen woman, teaching her the way of life. There was with Him no respect of persons. Now if we would re-present Him, we will make it our life work to look for opportunities to do good. It may be by a word fitly spoken, a kind act, or even a pleasant smile. We do not need to force the opportunities, but simply watch for souls as those who must give account.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.5

    What a need there is to-day of unselfish, consecrated effort in spreading the Gospel. Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. Yet in the face of the God says, “Arise and shine” or, as one translation has it, “Arise and be enlightened, for thy light is come.” The thing for all to do is to become enlightened, for the light is here; then let that light shine forth undimmed. There is but little of the real spirit of the Master now in the world, yea many are longing to see a revelation of Christ. Then let our constant prayer be, “Lord, enlighten me, and purge me of everything that will prevent Thy light from shining out through me.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 310.6

    “Little Folks. God's Footprints” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We promised to talk to you again this week about the clouds and the rain, so perhaps you are wondering what these can have to do with the footsteps of the Lord. If you listen carefully, I think you will soon find out.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.1

    In Psalm 104 we read that God “maketh the clouds His chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.” Remember what we learned last week,-how the clouds full of water are carried “upon the wings of the wind.” Then you will see what this water that the clouds hold really is, and what it is that the wind carries.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.2

    It is the outpouring of God's own life; for He is in the clouds, as He is in all things, giving out His life in blessing to the world. Think, then, what really comes to us in the rain. Since the clouds are God's chariot, it is God Himself who visits the earth in the waters which the clouds carry, and this is just what we are told in Psalm 65:-PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.3

    “Thou visitest the earth and waterest it,
    Thou greatly enrichest it;
    The river of God Is full of water; ...
    Thou makest it soft with showers.”
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.4

    Think of these texts next time you see the rain falling, that “He maketh the clouds His chariot,” and through them visits the earth, and pours out His own life upon it. Will you not, then, be always glad to see the rain, when you know that it is a visit from the Lord Himself?PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.5

    And now let us see how we can trace His footsteps, how we can know the places that He has visited in this way. “The clouds are the dust of His feet,” His Word tells us, and “His paths drop fatness.” We have just read also that God “greatly enriches” the earth when He visits it in the rain. So by the riches that God leaves in the places that He visits we can trace His footsteps in the earth.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.6

    Think of the condition the world would be in if no rain were to fall. Nothing could grow, nothing could live. But the little raindrops carry life, God's life, for there is no other life, down to this earth.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.7

    The earth drinks in the raindrops, and the roots of the plants suck them up, and they are turned into beautiful flowers and sweet fragrance. This is the way that the life that is in the water shows itself in the plants. The beauty and sweet odours of the rose, the lily, and the violet,-what are these but the marks of God's visits to them in the water, His footprints showing that He has visited the earth?PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.8

    Then there are other plants, the vines, and the fruit trees. These too drink in God's life that the water carries to them and in them this wonderful life shows itself in fruit. The sweet, refreshing and nourishing juices of the grape, the orange, and all other fruits, is simply the rainwater which has been drawn up into plants by the roots, and changed fruit to make food for God's creatures in all the fruits of the earth we can see footprints of the Lord, for these too, are the results of His “visiting the earth and watering it.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.9

    And what would the birds do without the rain? There would be none, for there would be no fruit, nor anything for them to feed on, and nothing to drink. But they drink the fresh water, and eat the fruit, and give out again in beautiful songs the life which they have received.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.10

    “The bird drinks up the dewdrop, and turns it into music.” All the sweet sounds with which the air is filled are also the results of God's visit in the rain. So even these are the footprints of the Lord, for they show that He has visited the earth.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.11

    Then, too, without the rain there would be no, grass for the sheep and cattle, and no corn nor grain for our food. ButPTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.12

    “He watereth the hills from His chambers: ...
    He causeth grass to grow for the cattle,
    And herb for the service of man,
    That he may bring forth food out of the earth.”
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.13

    What blessing and joy His visits bring, when He visits and waters it. For, thinking of this, David sang:-PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.14

    “Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness
    And Thy paths drop fatness;
    They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness:
    And the hills are girded with joy.
    The pastures are clothed with flocks:
    The valleys also are covered over with corn.
    They shout for joy, they also sing.”
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.15

    Yes, everything that God blesses by His visits, rejoices, and becomes a blessing, gives out that blessing to others. The healing that the water brings is life, so wherever there is life we can trace the footsteps of the Lord.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 314.16

    When the prophet Ezekiel saw the river of life flowing out from the house of the Lord, he was told, “Everything shall live whithersoever the river cometh.” Do not forget what we have learned about the whole world being “the house of the Lord,” because He “fills heaven and earth.” Then you will see that all the water in the world is the out-pouring of His life, of “the river of God which is full of water.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.1

    “From Thy river in the skies
    Streams through airy channels flow,
    Bid the springing corn arise,
    And cheer the world below.”
    PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.2

    And now, dear children, is not God visiting you continually? In the water that you drink you are taking in His life; and in all the food that you eat, for all the corn and fruit and food of every kind that comes from the earth we have found to be the springing forth of His life which He sends down upon it in the rain.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.3

    In the air that you breathe, and in the bright sunshine, in all these things God is visiting and blessing you with His life. What traces of His visits are to be found in you, and how are you giving out the life that He gives to you?PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.4

    The flowers in beauty and sweetness, the birds in happy songs, the vine in fruit, all these things show the Lord's footprints. And so may you in all these ways show that He has visited you, and that you too have received the blessing of His life.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.5

    Let Him show forth that life in you just as the flowers, the birds, and the vine do, in just the way that He wants to; and His promise is that you “shall grow as the lily,” that He will put “a new song” of praise in your mouth, and cause you to bring forth all the precious fruits of His Spirit (read Galatians 5:22, 23).PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.6

    We must leave our promised talk about the rainbow for some other time.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 315.7

    “Why Men Are Sick” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    God never designed that man should suffer with disease of any kind. All suffering is due to transgression. “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid; yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.” Proverbs 3:1, 2, 24, 25.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.1

    In this we see that life and freedom from disease depend upon obedience, and one who renders perfect obedience, can never die. It must be remembered that perfect obedience necessitates perfect knowledge; but with Paul we may say that while we have not attained unto it, we “follow after” it. “The path of the just... shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The perfect day will come when we have a perfect knowledge, and are thus able to render perfect obedience. Then it will be that “thou shalt not be afraid... for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.2

    The admonition to us in this is that we should earnestly seek after that perfect knowledge so that it can be truly said of us, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. “Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” Proverbs 4:13. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ.” John 17:3.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.3

    “Jottings” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    -More than one-third of the revenue of the United States goes to its pension list.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.4

    -During the recent fighting in Samoa several of the rebels died without being wounded, from shock caused by the bursting of shells.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.5

    -The Vatican journals announce that the Pope has placed at the disposal of Cardinal Vaughan a sum of money to be used for propaganda purposes in England.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.6

    -All idea of the reassembling of the American-Canadian Commission in August has now been abandoned, as in view of the feeling on either side it is not expected that any successful result would ensue from a further meeting.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.7

    -The Peace Conference will be attended by the representatives of twenty-four nations. The sittings are to be secret. At the same time comes news that Austria-Hungary is about to reorganise her artillery at an expense of 40,000,000 florins.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.8

    -The greatest depth to which a ship has been anchored is 2,000 fathoms-considerably more than two miles.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.9

    -According to intelligence from Aden, a number of new British Consulates having been established in South-Eastern Persia, new Consulates will shortly be established by Russia in several Persian harbours.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.10

    -A plan for checking lynching has just been sanctioned by the United States Supreme Court. Its principle is that the victim's next-of-kin shall be entitled to not less than ?400 compensation, to be levied on the guilty district.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.11

    -Dr. Hill, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, thinks that science, as now taught, does not provide any mental training. Teachers should abandon text-books and put in their place the story-books of nature.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.12

    -The French Minister demands, as compensation for the recent imprisonment of a French missionary, the sum of ?180,000, together with certain mining rights in Sze-chuan. This sort of thing is not calculated to assist missionary work in China very much.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.13

    -The London Alliance Review estimates the London drink bill at ?20,000,000 a year, more than one-half of the present rateable value of London. The total expenditure of the London School Board could have been provided eight times over from the sum spent on intoxicating liquors.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.14

    -London tea merchants are concerned over foreign attempts to foist cheap, unwholesome teas on the London market. One of them who received a sample from Belgium at 6 1/2 d. per lb., says that it is injurious to the public health. The simplest way of avoiding these cheap and nasty products is to leave tea alone entirely. It is a nerve stimulant, and, as such, cannot fail at any price to be injurious to the public health.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.15

    -Bishop Tugwell is the subject of a criminal prosecution for libel instituted by the European community on the West Coast of Africa. The alleged libel was contained in a letter to the Times, in which he stated that probably seventy-five per cent. of the deaths among Europeans on the West Coast of Africa are to be attributed to habits of drinking at all hours of the day and drunkenness. The Bishop was admitted to bail.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.16

    -A gigantic exodus in being organised from Finland to the United States and Canada. Every week some four or five hundred young Finlanders, the flower of the country, are setting out for America, and sooner or later the great mass of young men who are liable for service under the new military law mean to follow them. A commission of leading men is to visit Canada in June in order to select a suitable district for a colony.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.17

    -A railway strike is reported from India which is believed to be due to a Brahmin plot against the Government. Several hundred signalers have made the following demands: An eight-hour day, a month's holiday annually, residences at nominal rent, the abolition of qualifying examinations, annual rises of wages regardless of ability, and second-class passes on the railway. The majority of the men being Brahmins, they object to natives of other castes being promoted over them.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.18

    -The Czar hopes to realise from the Peace Conference the firm establishment of one of two points, either a court of arbitration composed of representatives of the Great Powers, or the friendly mediation of a third Power. Italy has arrived at an understanding with Austria and Germany as to the maintenance of an identical attitude at the Conference. The idea of international arbitration is known to be regarded unfavourably by Turkey, owing to the fear that the Christian Powers would have a preponderance in an arbitration tribunal.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 318.19

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 15, 20.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “God is no respecter of persons.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.1

    That statement made by the Apostle Peter to Cornelius and his friends, did not create any new truth, but was simply the recognition of an eternal fact. From the beginning it has been so, and will be so as long as eternity lasts.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.2

    Rank and station do not count anything with the Lord. A man is a man, no matter what his earthly degree or wealth, whether he has fine clothing, or is naked.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.3

    God looks at all man, and sees that their hearts are all like. “All all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. When the body is viewed with the X ray, the clothing does not appear; one sees only the bare skeleton; the flesh is but a shadow before the eyes. Even so when God looks at a man, He sees the naked soul, and all the trappings and distinctions of rank that man make are nothing.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.4

    The day is coming, and is not far distant, when all differences of rank will disappear even to the eyes of men, and all the world will stand before, God, each man for himself, simply as a man. “And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller: as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.” Isaiah 24:3. The Iight of God's truth will then show everything as it really is.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.5

    There is a present, practical lesson in this for everybody. In the first place, man should learn that high position in this world does not absolve one from obedience to God. The prince is not under less, but rather more, obligation to serve God than the peasant, since his advantages are greater. What God says to one, He says to all, without exception. There is no legitimate calling on earth, in which God does not expect men to serve Him; and nobody has any right to place himself in a position where, if he should continue in it, he would not be able to keep God's commandments. God will listen to no excuses in the judgment, such as, “I was at service, and my employers would not allow me to keep the commandments;” or, “I was at the head of affairs of State, and so was obliged to execute the laws, no matter how opposed to God's law.” God's law for the lowest, is also the law for the highest.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.6

    The other thing which we are to learn from the fact that God puts no difference between men, is that the same way of salvation is equally open to all. God puts no difference between Jaw and Gentile, purifying the hearts of all by faith. See Acts 15:7-11. “It is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.” Romans 3:30. The way of salvation is just the same for the rich as for the poor; for the, ignorant as far the wise; for the high in this world as for the lowly; for the aged as for the young; and for all it is so simple that one may find it as easily as he finds air to breathe.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.7

    The comments of the religious press on the subject of seven-day journalism, continue to display a persistent misunderstanding of the real question at issue. The Christian says:-PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.8

    The crusade against the Mail and Telegraph in their endeavour to force Sunday journalism on an unwilling community is steadily gathering strength.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.9

    One would think that people were being compelled to buy Sunday papers when they did not want them. It would be just as reasonable to say that beer-drinking was forced upon an unwilling community. Probably the greatest harm that is being done in the whole business is, the general promulgation by religious teachers of the idea that men cannot be expected to stand out for what they believe to be right, unless circumstances favour such an attitude.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.10

    The children of Israel ate of the bread from heaven, and drank of the pure water that flowed from the smitten rock, yet they all died. Then there is something necessary to sustain life beyond the purest bread and water. The Saviour said, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” What more, then, is needed? “The just shall live by faith,”-faith in a Saviour who said, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never thirst.” “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The just live by faith; the others die. Would you live? Partake of that bread, and drink of that water which is Jesus Christ.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.11

    Everyone needs wisdom. No man has ever gone before over the pathway of his life, and there are so many decisions to be made in which a wrong course will prove fatal. Wisdom is necessary above aII things. “All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” How then may we know, under all circumstances, the way that we should take?PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.12

    “The way of the righteous is perfectly straight.” Isaiah 26:7. Lowth's translation. So that if we want a perfectly plain course marked out for us, we have only to become righteous. This is a simple matter, for the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. Romans 3:22. Christ is made unto us wisdom as fully as He is made unto us righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30. The Lord only requires one thing of us, that we should do justly. Micah 6:8. If we are willing to let Him make us righteous, He will be our sufficiency for everything we lack. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.13

    What then shall be our first concern when perplexing questions arise? We may try to grapple with these and find a way out of the difficulty, but every step thus taken will involve us in greater darkness. The only question should be, “Are my sins forgiven so that the Lord is my righteousness and my Saviour from sin?” As soon as this question is settled right, the other trouble is set right too, and so we shall find it, for then the way becomes perfectly straight. “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” Psalm 112:1-5. Unbelief may say that being made righteous has no practical effect upon the solution of life's problems, but God says it is the only way to get them settled. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”PTUK May 18, 1899, page 320.14

    Larger font
    Smaller font