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Heavenly Visions

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    EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S PROPHETS

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH. (Concluded)

    “YE build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.” Matthew 23:29-32.HEVI 56.1

    Human nature is the same in all ages. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. Those in ancient time who were reproved for a wrong course of action in following the natural inclination of the heart, rebelled against the reproofs given them. These, their children in the days of our Saviour, were doing the same thing. The sinless life of Christ, and his reproofs of a pharisaical, self-righteous course, angered them, even as the teachings and lives of the ancient prophets had stirred the hatred of their fathers until Satan led them to take the lives of those holy men of God. Those who lived in Christ’s time could see how their fathers had erred in the course they had taken. Their self-sufficiency, and hatred of reproof, led Stephen to say of them, “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Acts 7:51. Paul referred to what Isaiah had said of that people, in these words: “The heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Acts 28:27.HEVI 56.2

    Similar influence of unsanctified hearts will lead to a rejection of the instruction which the Lord sends to his people in these last days. A retrospective view shows how unwise it was, in the days of the ancient prophets, and in the days of Christ and his apostles, for the people to sit in judgment upon and reject the Lord’s instruction to them, simply because it reproved them. Are we sure that we are not in similar danger? It is easy to admit the teachings of God’s servants in ancient times, and easy to condemn their persecutors; but are we certain that we would have done differently in their circumstances? While it may be easy to believe that which is in harmony with our thoughts and plans, are we sure that we should not reject that which reproved our wrongs? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. “Who can understand his errors?” Psalm 19:12.HEVI 56.3

    The natural heart does not love reproof, and consequently many have been led to reject the instruction which the Lord is giving to his people. This is plainly stated in the following quotation: “Many who have backslidden from the truth assign as a reason for their course, that they do not have faith in the Testimonies. Investigation reveals the fact that they had some sinful habit that God has condemned through the Testimonies. The question now is, Will they yield their idol which God condemns? or will they continue in their wrong course of indulgence, and reject the light God has given them, reproving the very things in which they delight. The question to be settled with them is, Shall I deny myself, and receive as of God the Testimonies which reprove my sins? or shall I reject the Testimonies because they reprove my sins?”-Testimonies for the Church 4:32.HEVI 56.4

    Again: “Faith and love are golden treasures, elements that are greatly wanting among God’s people. I have been shown that unbelief in the Testimonies of warning, encouragement, and reproof, is shutting away the light from God’s people. Unbelief is closing their eyes, so that they are ignorant of their true condition. The True Witness thus describes their blindness: ‘And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked’”.-Id., Vol. III, 255.HEVI 57.1

    A few months ago, in a place where for three days I had been speaking on the subject of spiritual gifts, and had presented more than a score of comparisons between the Scripture gift of prophecy and the manifestation of the gift among this people, showing that it met the Bible standard in every particular, an individual said to me, “I do not believe in that gift.” I said, “Have you heard the proofs I have presented of its being genuine?” “Yes!” I then inquired, “What do you do with those proofs?” The reply was, “I don’t do anything with them; but I don’t believe in testimonies restraining appetite. I think a person should be free to eat and drink as he pleases.” That one sentence explained the difficulty. Yet this same individual was one who professed to keep all the commandments of God.HEVI 57.2

    In the fifty years past that I have been connected with this people, and have watched the Testimonies given, I have seen instances that in principle are like those recorded in Jeremiah’s time. The people who were left in Jerusalem at the time of the captivity, wanted to go to Egypt instead of remaining as Jeremiah, who had the mind of the Lord, had advised them.HEVI 57.3

    “Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, and said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseach thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us); that the Lord thy God may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do... Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us. Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42:1-6.HEVI 57.4

    After ten days this message came to them: “The Lord hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for us unto the Lord our God; and according unto all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.” Jeremiah 42:19, 20.HEVI 57.5

    We read of this still further: “And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him unto them, even all these words, then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: but Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.” Jeremiah 43:1-3.HEVI 57.6

    There are those who for various causes have been prevented from carrying out their cherished schemes and their special methods of working, who have said, “O that the Lord would speak through the gift of prophecy on these things!” When, at last, light in this way did come, contrary, however, to their ideas, they have said, “O, that is not the Lord’s instruction, it is simply the opinion of the writer, who is influenced by some one not in harmony with my plan.”HEVI 57.7

    May the Lord help us to heed the apostle’s instruction given for this time, “Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21. The Review and Herald, April 28, 1903.HEVI 58.1

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