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Heavenly Visions

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    THE PROMISED REFRESHING

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGHHEVI 73.1

    “REPENT ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19-21.HEVI 73.2

    Here is brought to view a time of refreshing. This is spoken of in close connection with Christ’s second coming. This undoubtedly refers to the same time as that mentioned by the apostle James: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7, 8.HEVI 73.3

    The early and latter rain is also mentioned by the prophet Joel in connection with the description of the last days. The coming of the “former rain moderately” is called in the margin of the text, “A teacher of righteousness, according to righteousness.” Joel 2:23. The outpouring of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost-the coming of the Comforter as a teacher-was comparable to the “former rain,” which caused the newly sown seed of the husbandman to take root and grow. So in the ripening of the harvest of the earth, just before the end, the husbandman-our Heavenly father (John 15:1)-is waiting for the “latter rain,” the “refreshing,” to aid in ripening the harvest of the earth. The Lord says by his prophet, “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1. And thus will be fulfilled his promise: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; his going forth is prepared as the morning, and he shall come unto us as the rain, and the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3.HEVI 73.4

    In the prophecy of Ezekiel is given a description of the preparation for, and the final deliverance of, God’s people: “I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.” Ezekiel 20:35-37. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and their entrance into Canaan, is typical of the final deliverance of God’s people into the heavenly Canaan. Israel passed through a literal wilderness, but these through “the wilderness of the people.” So we find, in the Revelation, an account of the people of God going into the wilderness for twelve hundred and sixty years of the Dark Ages. Revelation 12:6, 14. In the Song of Solomon we have a reference to the church coming out of the wilderness. He says, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5. Again he speaks of her as “she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10.HEVI 73.5

    The Lord says that he will plead as he pleaded when he brought his people out of Egypt. He pleaded with them respecting his law and his Sabbath, saying, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath.” Exodus 16:28, 20. In this latter pleading the Lord says he will bring his people “into the bond of the covenant.” The bond of the covenant must be its confirmatory seal, or sign of its authority. The sign of God’s covenant (this covenant commanded, he declares, is the ten commandments, Deuteronomy 4:13) is the seventh-day Sabbath. That Sabbath, four times in the Scriptures, is said to be his sign. Exodus 31:13, 16, 17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20. We see, therefore, that in the preparation for the final deliverance there is to be an agitation of the law of God, and a restoration of the seal to that law, and that seal is the Sabbath of the Lord.HEVI 73.6

    There is still another feature that was connected with the deliverance of Israel, which is mentioned by the prophet Hosea when he says, “By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.” Hosea 12:13. As there is a similarity in the last deliverance to that from Egypt, we may look for the gift of prophecy to be connected with the preparation for the deliverance.HEVI 74.1

    The prophet Isaiah refers to the last days in these words: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever [“Heb. the latter day,” margin]: that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” Isaiah 30:8-11. By reference to 1 Samuel 9:9, we learn that a seer and a prophet mean one and the same; for there we read that “he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer”-one who had visions from God and prophesied. The force, then, of the scripture is that the gift of prophecy will be connected with the proclamation of God’s law in the last days. This the masses will reject because they do not like reproof, preferring a smooth path.HEVI 74.2

    The apostle Paul, when speaking of the people who would be waiting for Christ’s second coming, says: “The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:6-8.HEVI 74.3

    From this we see that all the gifts are to be manifest among the people who shall meet Christ in peace at his coming. One gift is especially singled out, the confirmation of which prepares the way for all the gifts to be developed in the church. That one gift he calls the testimony of Jesus. What is the testimony of Jesus? In Revelation 12, after the persecution of the Dark Ages, we find the apostle speaking thus of the last of the church in her probationary state: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman [a symbol of the church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Verse 17. By a remnant we understand the last of that of which we speak. The remnant of cloth is the last of the bolt. So the remnant of the church is the last of the church in its probation here. In Joel’s prophecy, just before the great and terrible day of the Lord, he says, Salvation shall be “in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:32. This remnant will have war made on them for keeping all of God’s commandments, and for having manifested among them the testimony of Jesus. The testimony of those who were taught in vision by the Spirit of God is called the Testimony of Jesus. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21. When speaking of those ancient prophets, Peter said, “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. The instruction of those prophets in holy vision was the “testimony of Jesus.”HEVI 74.4

    In Revelation, chapter 19, is a scripture definition of the “testimony of Jesus.” When John was about to worship the angel, he said to him, “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10.HEVI 74.5

    When we have a scriptural definition of a word or phrase, it is proper to substitute the definition in the text. In doing this, 1 Corinthians 1:6, 7, would read, “The spirit of prophecy was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in Revelation 12:17 it would read that the dragon went to make war with the remnant who “keep the commandments of God, and have the spirit of prophecy.” We see, then, that the remnant church, the members of which will be keeping all of God’s commandments, are to have the gift of prophecy among them, and that that gift is to lead out in preparing the way so that all the gifts will at last be manifested among the people who are waiting for Christ’s coming. So, then, as the Lord’s people return to the keeping of all his commandments, the gift of prophecy is restored to them.HEVI 74.6

    In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians he speaks of Christ’s second coming, and of a people prepared to meet him, in these words: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” He exhorts as follows: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 16-21. From this we learn that the gift of prophecy will be among the people waiting for Christ’s second coming.HEVI 75.1

    What could be more consistent than to expect the Lord directly to teach his people who are to pass through the perils of the last days, and be prepared to meet the Saviour in peace at his coming? It is that point of time to which the patriarchs, and the true prophets of all past time, have looked with intense interest, when the conflict of ages-the controversy between sin and righteousness-is to close,-the time when the age for which all other ages were made is to be brought in. It can not be that God, who is abundant in mercy, will refrain from specially instructing his people. Thanks be to God, he has not left this as a matter of mere supposition; for he will guide his people by the spirit of prophecy, as the Scriptures clearly teach. Such a manifestation of all the gifts in the church will be indeed a “time of refreshing” as is meet to herald the coming of the Master. The Review and Herald, September 10, 1903.HEVI 75.2

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