Larger font
Smaller font
Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    Ms 110, 1899

    The Unfaithful Husbandmen


    August 6, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 232. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.” [Matthew 21:33.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 1

    This parable is of great importance to all who are entrusted with responsibilities in the Lord’s service. God selected a people to be educated by Christ. He brought them into the wilderness to be trained for His service, and there gave them the highest code of morality—His holy law. To them was committed God’s lesson book, the Old Testament Scriptures. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud Christ led them in their wilderness wandering. By His own power He transplanted the wild vine from Egypt to His vineyard. Well might God ask, “What more could I have done for my vineyard?” [Isaiah 5:4.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 2

    It is impossible to enumerate the advantages the Lord prepared for the world in making the Jewish nation the repository of His rich treasures of knowledge. They were the subjects of His special favor. As a people who knew and worshipped the true God, they were to communicate the principles of His kingdom. They were instructed by the Lord. He withheld from them nothing favorable to the formation of characters which would make them fit representatives of His kingdom. Their feasts, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and the ceremonies attending these gatherings, were to proclaim the truths which God had entrusted to His people.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 3

    At these gatherings the people were to show gladness and joy, expressing their thanksgiving for their privileges and the gracious treatment of their Lord. Thus they were to show to a world that knew not God that the Lord does not forsake those who trust in Him. With joyful voices they were to sing, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul; and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” [Psalm 42:11.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 4

    By obedience the children of Israel were to show their faith and confidence in God and their genuine love for Him. God made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. He was satisfied with His work, and pronounced it very good. He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, and His people were to keep sacred His Sabbath, the memorial of creation. Thus God was to be acknowledged as the One who sanctified them.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 5

    As they were about to enter the promised land, God bade Moses recount their past history; and Moses said to them, “Now therefore, hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Ye have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor; for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 6

    “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 7

    “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons. Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And ye came near, and stood under the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” [Deuteronomy 4:1-13.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 8

    The Lord commanded these words to be recorded for the benefit of those who today claim to be His commandment-keeping people. The history of the children of Israel is written for our admonition and instruction upon whom the ends of the world are come. Those who would stand firm in the faith in these last days, and finally gain an entrance into the heavenly Canaan, must listen to the words of warning spoken by Jesus Christ to the Israelites. These lessons were given to the church in the wilderness to be studied and heeded by God’s people throughout their generations forever. The experience of the people of God in the wilderness will be the experience of His people in this age. Truth is a safeguard in all time to those who will hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 9

    God tried ancient Israel, and in these last days He will refine and purify His people by trial. Trials have come and will come to the people of God. Thus the Lord corrects them for their departure from Him, that they may fear and tremble and humble their hearts before Him when they return to their loyalty, and keep His commandments in truth and not in pretense. Trials are not sent to drive any to despair, but to refine and purify them, as gold is purified in the furnace. God watches until the process of purification is complete, that He may bestow His covenant blessings on all who keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 10

    He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, but He knows that in the furnace of trial His people must be cleansed from selfishness and covetousness. He declares, “If they break my statutes and keep not my commandments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes.” [Psalm 89:31, 32.] He will not vindicate those who have had great light, many opportunities, and abundant evidence of His mercy, goodness, and love, yet who yield to temptation, listen to the specious reasoning of the enemy, and do as those who do not claim to know God. For their good, to lead them to humble their hearts and seek His face, He permits disappointment, trial, and affliction to come to them.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 11

    God pities His disobedient children, who by the disregard of the laws of His kingdom deprive themselves of His rich comfort. But He will not permit the impression to be given that those who have been called by His name are blessed by Him in doing the wrong things done by worldlings. Christ declared, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15.] Those who obey Satan, following the impulses of the natural will, are under the control of the enemy, and God cannot sanction their transgression.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 12

    “Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” [Psalm 89:33.] The Lord is gracious to His people, imparting to them when they are most needy His grace and consolation, although they are undeserving. In their conflicts with satanic agencies they are to turn to the Stronghold for strength. If they seek Him with all the heart, He will be found of them. They will understand the Lord better than ever before. They will realize that He sent them trial because He loved them. Christ causes His people to sing of His mercy even in the midst of disappointment and failure because He would not gratify their desires. If they will take His yoke upon them, and learn of Him His meekness and lowliness, strength will come in the hour of weakness, and succor in the hour of danger.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 13

    When like a flood the enemy comes in with his temptations, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for them. To those who repent and turn to God with confession and reformation, the promise will be fulfilled, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them.” [Isaiah 35:1.] “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together; that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” [Isaiah 41:18-20.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 14

    Christ led the children of Israel through the wilderness, but their history is one of rebellion and murmuring. When told to go up and take Jericho, they refused; and then when Christ said, Ye shall die in the wilderness, they were determined to go up and take Jericho. Moses told them distinctly that God would not be with them, but they would not heed the warning. They went out to battle contrary to the Lord’s direction, and they were overcome by their enemies.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 15

    The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram is a fearful example of how the Lord will punish the rebellious. These three men were rulers in Israel, but they became dissatisfied; and they used their influence to such a degree that they succeeded in drawing to their side “two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown.” “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” [Numbers 16:2, 3.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 16

    The Lord had appointed the Kohathites to take part in the service of the tabernacle. “He spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath, in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things. ...14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 17

    “When Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.” [Numbers 4:2-4, 15.] Korah, with Dathan and Abiram, had been honored and placed in positions of trust. But they were not contented. They wanted to be commanders. They forgot that God and not Moses had placed them where they were, and they charged Moses with taking too much upon himself.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 18

    “And Moses said to Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee; and seek ye the priesthood also?” [Numbers 16:8-10.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 19

    “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses arose and went unto Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation saying, Depart, I pray you from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in their sins. ...14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 20

    “Hereby shall ye know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then shall ye understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up. ... They and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them; and they perished from among the congregation.” [Verses 20-26, 28-33.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 21

    The Jewish people betrayed the sacred trust committed to them. They would not listen to the voice of God reproving their sins, and the Lord visited their iniquity upon them. He did not help them in transgression, but punished them because of their disregard of warning and reproof, because at Satan’s instigation they had sinned in defiance of the law of God’s kingdom. Their selfishness, their self-exaltation, their masterly, oppressive, authoritative power was not from God, but from Satan.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 22

    In Christ’s day the rulers of the church, those in responsible positions, who should have been examples of purity, goodness, and mercy, who should have represented Christ’s kingdom, were selfish, money-loving, grasping, covetous, favoring themselves irrespective of the needs of those who had been made to suffer through their selfishness. Because of the example of these unfaithful stewards, many became discouraged and lost the true sense of God and His holy commandments. The Gentile world was given every occasion to misinterpret God and the laws of His kingdom.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 23

    “We are sure,” Paul writes, “that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? ... who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 24

    “For there is no respect of persons with God ... For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” [Romans 2:2, 3, 6-11, 13.] This instruction will condemn all who have had the truth laid before them, yet continue the things condemned by the inspired record.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 25

    In the parable of the vineyard Christ opened before the Jews the past history of their nation, showing the deeds of unrighteousness they had done, notwithstanding the great light given them. The day before, Christ had made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and this had created a deep, enthusiastic interest among the people. In the immense congregation surrounding Christ there were many priests and rulers. The divine Teacher’s gaze took in past, present, and future as He presented before the Jewish rulers their own course of action. Messenger after messenger had been sent by God to the husbandmen in charge of His vineyard, to receive the fruits thereof. These messengers bore to the husbandmen a most solemn message regarding their responsibility. But they were shamefully treated by the husbandmen, who beat one, stoned another, and killed another.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 26

    Last of all the owner of the vineyard sent his son, saying, “They will reverence my son.” But when the husbandmen saw him, they said, “This is the heir, come, let us kill him, and cast him out of the vineyard, that the inheritance may be ours.” [Luke 20:14, 15.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 27

    As Christ described His vineyard, fenced by the commandments of God, and the treatment His messengers had received, the chief priest, with scribes and Pharisees, stood as if riveted to the spot; and when Christ asked, “When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” they joined with the people in answering, “He will miserably destroy those wicked husbandmen, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their season.” [Matthew 21:40, 41.] With their own lips they pronounced their sentence.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 28

    Jesus looks upon them, and seeing His look they know that He reads the secrets of their hearts. His divinity flashes out before them with unmistakable power, and seeing in the husbandmen a photograph of themselves, they involuntarily exclaimed, “God forbid.” [Luke 20:16.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 29

    With heavenly light shining from His countenance Christ said, “Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” [Matthew 21:42.] What an impression these words made upon those who heard them! If they had received Christ as the Sent of God, saying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. ... Thou art my God and I will praise thee; thou art my God, I will exalt thee,” how different would have been their future. [Psalm 118:26, 28.] But they rejected Christ, and He declared, “Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” [Matthew 21:43, 44.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 30

    The husbandmen had yielded no returns to God, and in these words is portrayed their final doom. The stone lies passive under the treatment it receives. It is discarded, stumbled over, mocked at; but at last a living power takes possession of it. It seems to rise from the earth, and falls upon those who have treated it with such contempt. On those who do not fall upon it and become broken, whose hearts are not cleansed from hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong by the mercy and forgiveness of God, that stone will fall, and grind them to powder.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 31

    “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” Their hearts were filled with hatred toward Him, “but when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” [Verses 45, 46.]14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 32

    Those who are true learners in the school of Christ will study with intense earnestness the parable of the vineyard. In giving this parable Christ presented the true condition of the once chosen people of God. He revealed to them their sinful breach of trust.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 33

    He designed this parable to be a lesson to all who should receive light from God, warning them that unless they walk in the ways of the Lord, keeping all His commandments, He cannot bless and sustain them.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 34

    The church on earth is greatly beloved by God. It is the fold provided for the chosen sheep of His pasture. But the Lord will not serve with the sins of His people. Many times He has suffered calamity and defeat to come upon them because they have glorified themselves, weaving false principles into their practice. He willingly forgives those who repent, but He will remove His favor from those who go on sinning, exalting self, and mingling the sacred with the common. Terrible judgments will destroy those who have misrepresented Him, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we, when their example is misleading.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 35

    In His daily life Christ gave men an example of the work they were to do. In the temple, in the highways and byways, by His parables, His miracles, His divine compassion and sympathy, He was declaring, I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent me. He went about doing good, healing the souls and bodies of those who were sick; and when Pilate gave Him up to the rage of the people for whom He had done so much, it was with the words, “I find no fault in him.” [John 19:6.] His was a perfect humanity, combined with divinity.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 36

    In His life activity and devotion were harmoniously blended. The day found Him teaching in the temple or healing the sick, and the night praying in Olivet for strength to complete His work. The Son of man, He must brace Himself for duty and temptation. He must have vigor of soul and body. He must leave His followers a perfect example of how to combat the enemy. And He prayed earnestly to His Father for strength to do this. For everyone who would follow Him His practice is left on record. Prayer sanctified His ministry. Strength and vigor for daily duties is derived from worshipping God in the beauty of holiness. The lamp must be filled with holy oil before its light can shine amid the moral darkness.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 37

    The Lord has a warning for every one. When men in exalted positions of trust grow careless, when they disregard the requirements of God, when they abuse the influence and misappropriate the talents God has given them, making the signpost point to the wrong road, they are abusing their power, and punishment will surely come. Those who bear Christ’s name are to carry His credentials, showing that they have learned His meekness, His lowliness, His compassion, His love for others. When Christians do this, there will be a different condition of things in the church, for Christ will be revealed. Humanity will be under the influence of divinity.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 38

    For the good of His church God has entrusted to men of His appointment the work of representing Him by their well-chosen words and their firm resistance of evil. Their hearts are to be tender and their characters symmetrical, that they may rightly represent the Saviour. But many in God’s service are harsh and discourteous. Their spirits are loveless, for they are eaten up by selfishness and covetousness. They think they have a right to make their own terms regarding the value of their labor, and they become oppressive. By taking from the treasury money which should go to supply the needs of their brethren in God’s service, they rob God. If after testing them, God sees that they will not repent, He removes them, and gives their places to men who were looked upon as not being qualified for any such responsibility. If those who are thus raised up by the Lord remain true and loyal, the Lord will work through them in a remarkable manner.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 39

    The confusion which weakens the church of God is the result of the work of unconsecrated men, whose narrowness of vision prevents them from seeing the lovingkindness shown them by God. They fail to see that they receive to impart. All the counsels of God are faithfulness and truth. He disciplines His people, to lead them into Christ’s way. If they will not be instructed, if they will not heed the command to impart what they receive, God cannot use them. When God’s people become so blind as to lose sight of principle, when they partake of the same spirit that is stirring the hearts of the ungodly, they cannot bear God’s sign or seal. The severity of their punishment will be proportionate to the light which they had but did not practice.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 40

    Satan is constantly using mighty principalities and powers to destroy the chosen people of God. Unconsecrated Christians are aiding him in his work. All who fail to keep Christ in view are working away from Him. They are not gathering with Him, but are scattering abroad. The life-giving power of Jehovah is more needed now than at any former period in the history of the church. God’s people are to stand firm in the acknowledged strength of Jesus Christ. He is their refuge and defense.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 41

    True faith and sanctified work is now so much needed. God says to His people, Press together, press together; and you will not be destroyed as was Jerusalem.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 42

    “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” [Isaiah 26:20, 21.] Persecution is coming, and God calls upon all to stand firm in Christian love, their hearts knit together, of one mind and one judgment. His people are to cleave to Him and love one another as He has loved them. Christ’s life is to be their example. In love, in meekness, in humility, they are to follow Him.14LtMs, Ms 110, 1899, par. 43

    Larger font
    Smaller font