J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Mar. 5, 1989
Transcribed Jan. 23, 2014
Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr.
Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other
groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals
talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly
impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their
comments or questions.
Calvary, a most magnificent episode but at the same time a shocking and
horrendous event. A glorious experience but thoroughly revolting and
horrible to anyone whose heart is softened by the Spirit of God. Do you
agree with that statement? Calvary is the supreme moment in God's plan
of salvation. The depths of divine love, the depths of evil, and the
decision every person must make concerning God's way of correcting a
The one who writes the comments to the lesson makes this statement;
"Surely and steadily our studies through the quarterly have brought us
to Calvary. It is inevitable that it should for Calvary is the point to
which all theology must direct its steps. Calvary is the turning point
of history, the dividing of the ages. We commonly measure time as either
B.C. or A.D. meaning Before Christ and After Christ timing from his
birth. However great as his birth was his death was even more
significant. It was the climax of the life He had lived; the decisive
battle in the great controversy with Satan and thus B.C. should really
stand for Before Calvary rather than the birth of Christ."
Today I wonder if we can't take a somewhat broader look at the
sufferings of Christ on Calvary and what they mean. I trust that you
have gone through the details of the lesson so you will know some of
the specifics that Christ endured. I hope you have placed yourself as
much as your imagination would permit you into his position and felt
the pangs that He felt. So with that in mind let me pursue this.
I see three different levels involved in this extreme condescension,
humility, and suffering of Christ. Three levels and you may not agree
with me completely on this but I'm going to share it with you anyway
and you can meditate upon it. I'm going to start with the last episode
and end with the first. The last stage in the condescension of Christ
is the specific part in the lesson we are studying today, Calvary. This
was the deepest point to which He had to go. Then follow the
resurrection and the ascension and the glorification and He is now set
(A man in the group) At the right hand of the Father.
(Wilfred) At the right hand of the Father. So Calvary is the deepest
point. But that in my thinking is the third step in the condescension.
In the first step was Bethlehem. Think of Bethlehem what do you see? A
little baby in a manger, totally helpless, unconscious for all
practical purposes sound asleep. The King of the universe, the creator
of all things in heaven and earth, a baby sound asleep. Totally
dependent, and I say totally reservedly, totally dependent upon his
mother and his father for all things. Father, yes, Father, heavenly
Father. Jesus could make no decisions for himself at that point. Could
He? Do you see the condescension? Do you see the depth of humiliation
to which the King of the universe put himself?
Well, I want to go back one more step and this one I think most of us,
if not all of us have missed, at least we have glossed over it; I don't
think we have really understood it so I'm going to share it briefly
with you. I could say much more than I am going to say but I just want
to give you an opportunity to think about it.
Back in the courts of heaven there is a building that is called a
sanctuary, a temple, a place where God dwells, and around that temple
there is a court and in that court there is an altar, an altar of
sacrifice. How do I know that?
(A man in the group) Because the earthly sanctuary is formed after the
(Wilfred) Good for you brother. This my Brother and Sister is bordering
on the distinctive message and doctrine that Seventh-day Adventist have
been honored of God to receive. Let's not miss it. Moses was given in
the mount instructions as to how to build a sanctuary in the wilderness
(Same man) After the pattern in heaven.
(Wilfred) After the pattern in heaven and in that sanctuary you have
replicas of all the things that are in the heavenly and they all have
meanings and we can't take the whole period discussing that. I must
hurry on to it. Some time before that little baby showed up something
happened to the Great God of the Universe. The Son who created all
things who lived in a glorious eternal body that was so brilliant that
He had to put himself in a cloud when He came down to speak to Moses.
And Moses could not stand to look at it but when He passed by and Moses
asked the Lord to see his glory God condescended to let him get a
glimpse but He had to shield Moses as He passed by, remember? And then
as He removed his hand Moses caught a glimpse of the back part of God
and it was so bright, so brilliant that it irradiated Moses to the
extent that when he came down from the mountain his face shined so
brightly that the people could not stand to look at him, he had to cover
his face with a veil when he spoke to the people. That's in the Bible.
What happened to that glorious Christ in that glorious body sometime
before that little baby showed up? Do you know? Have you ever thought
about it? Oh, Jesus has given us quite a number of things relative to
it; in fact the last message He gave to his disciples at the final
supper gives us a clue. Well I can't take time to give you all the
references and the evidences for what I'm going to say. But the great
divine Son of God relinquished his former body and blood. That body and
that blood which was eternal in which He had life in himself He laid it
down, He shed that blood. I wonder if you get the significance that I
am trying to show you? The heavenly sanctuary, what took place in the
court of the heavenly sanctuary? Oh, sometime and the Bible gives us a
clue as to when but I'll not go into it today. Sometime that Great
Son of God voluntarily shed his eternal life-blood, that blood which
gave him life in himself and relinquished that eternal life body so
that He could assume the form of a little baby in a human body. Doesn't
it say, "A body has thou prepared for me, Lo in the volume of the book
it is written of me, I come." Where did Christ get his eternal life? I
know that's a loaded question. What did He say? What did He say
himself? As the Father has life in himself so has He given the Son to
have life in himself. What does it say relative to the position and
authority that Christ held in the Kingdom prior to his advent on earth?
What does it say about that? What did He do with that authority? Before
He came into this world?
(Another man) He gave back the scepter to the Father.
(Wilfred) That's right, He gave back the scepter into the Father's
hand. I want to tell you something, don't think that sanctuary up in
heaven is there for nothing. This is the real sanctuary dwelling place
of God representing the true tabernacle, and I have already told you
what the true tabernacle is. What is it? Oh, we are dull of hearing.
What is the true temple? Listen Brother and Sister; let's get into the
messages that God gave to this remnant church through his servant
Sister Ellen G. White. Don't let the present attack on her authenticity
shake your faith. God has told us that this was going to happen, get
back in those books and find what it says. What does it say? Christ is
the true temple, that's one.
(Same man) Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
(Wilfred) That's right. The temple of God is to be built up of those
who are redeemed from the earth. Now how does that fit together? Have
you never read in that same Spirit
of Prophecy that there is to be a
wedding? Have you not read in the Bible that Christ is the head of his
church and we are the members in particular? Have you not read where
Paul says, Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave
unto his wife and they twain shall be one flesh. He says I know this is
a great mystery but I'm speaking about Christ and his Church. And the
marriage of the Lamb to the New Jerusalem, his Church, takes place
before the close of probation which is now and it's about to take place
Brother and Sister and we ought to know it. There is a tremendous
message that God has committed to his people and we have been so dull,
we've been too busy with everything else to read what He says to us. He
is calling us today to be willing to share these sufferings of Christ.
What for? Because only through sharing the sufferings of Christ will
God's people be made holy and purified and refined. And not until they
are holy and purified and refined will Jesus come to accept them. Why
do we keep asking the Lord to come quickly? Why do we keep asking him
to send us the latter rain when we refuse to do the things that are
prerequisite to receiving that latter rain. Why do we do this? I'll
tell you why. Because we are ignorant, we have not read what God has
told us. What has He told us? Some of you know?
(Another man) Search the scriptures.
(Wilfred) All right. Search the scriptures. What do we find in there?
(Same man) The way of life.
(Wilfred) The way of life. What else are we asked to do?
(Another man) Be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
(Wilfred) Be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Can you
become perfect? Can you do something to make yourself perfect? I see
heads nodding positively and some shaking negatively and both answers
are true. God has given us one thing that is ours independently that He
honors and respects and will never force. What is it?
(Another man) Our choice.
(Wilfred) And what does He ask us to do with it? What decision with it
does He ask us to make? If you love me keep my commandments. Can you
keep his commandments? Yes and no. The only thing you have to keep them
with is to make a decision to function in that direction. Can you
refuse to kill somebody? He says thou shalt not kill. Can you refuse to
kill? Why yes you can! He says thou shalt not steal. Can you refuse to
steal? Yes you can. But you cannot make yourself love those commandments. You cannot make them the delight of your heart. You
cannot change your heart. So there are two things involved, and I did
not intend to get on to this today but here I am. It's important
because the latter rain of the Spirit which comes to make the final
change and transform the heart, that's in several places in the Spirit
of Prophecy, will not come to a single soul, that's also in the Spirit
of Prophecy, until we have cleansed our own soul temples from
defilement. That's also in the
Spirit of Prophecy.
And if the Holy
Spirit in the latter rain that transforms our nature and makes us
reflect the perfect image of Jesus Christ cannot come to us until we
have cleansed our own soul temples what is the most important thing
for us to be doing today? And don't call me a legalist. To make a free
choice to surrender to God's will in every detail that we are aware of,
have we done it? Listen, I know we haven't done it. How do I know that?
Because the latter rain has not come to cleanse the soul temple. Has
your soul temple been throughly cleansed? Are you perfectly pure, are
you radiating the full character of Jesus Christ right now? Are you?
Well you say, Johnson we'll never know that for sure. And I agree we
won't. But I definitely know that I am not reflecting the character of
Jesus fully. Do you know whether you are or not?
So you see there is a third condescension that Jesus made which really
was the first one. He relinquished his life in himself, He returned the
scepter to the Father, and He condescended to go to sleep. Oh you say,
Brother Johnson I can't go that one because God can't die and can't go
to sleep. All right, I'll agree with you but you see here we are in the
mystery of the dual nature of the Son of God. And I don't have the time
really to give you the full explanation of this but I sure would like
to give you enough so you can think straight on it.
Christ assumed a dual nature; the divinity of Christ could not die.
That eternal life in himself, that great eternal body whatever it was
is eternal. And what happened to it? You have already told me, I think.
But the Bible tells us what happens to the Spirit of life when you die.
It returns to the Father who gave it. And where did Jesus get his
eternal life in himself from?
(Several vioces) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) Then where did his life return when he
relinquished it and shed it voluntarily in the court of the heavenly
sanctuary, where did it go? Back to the Father. There were witnesses
there to see what happened up there. But that's another story.
Then came the man Jesus, He was initiated by that same Spirit of
eternal life. His own life Spirit initiated his new existence on earth.
So that He was both divine and human and He was constantly receiving
fresh anointings of his former Spirit of life. You say, Brother Johnson
that was the Holy Spirit. Well, I can't take time to give you all the
proofs, but the Spirit of
Prophecy tells us plainly and Jesus in his
own words tells us plainly that He, himself, and the Holy Spirit, the
Spirit of his former existence are in fact somehow mysteriously
identified. Now get this point, Sister White tells us that Jesus was
both divine and human and the two natures were mysteriously blended.
That's what she says. Now in the same sense that Jesus had the two
natures the divine and the human in some way, and I am not explaining
it I'm just calling it to your attention, there was a fusion of two
personalities. Because the divine Christ could not go to sleep, that
Spirit of life which was eternal could not die we are told that in the
Spirit of Prophecy. Whether you understand it or whether you
believe it. And He assumed the human nature and the human personality
so that He could die. Do you think that on the cross Jesus actually did
go unconscience or did He stay conscience?
(A man in the group) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) I can't quite hear you.
(Same man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) You are correct.
Now, was there a conscience Christ after Calvary before the
(Same man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) That depends on how you look at it. You see if divinity could
not die He must be still living. I'm going to give you one statement in
the Spirit of Prophecy
that gives the key. There are others and I could
give you some in the Bible that zero right in on it. She says the Holy
Spirit is the soul of the life of Christ. Now you can take that as you
will but when Jesus talked to his disciples He said, I am going to go
away. But if you love me keep my commandments, and then I will do what?
"Pray the Father." Notice He had to pray the Father. So where was
this thing that He was going to get from the Father? It was with the
Father. And what was He going to pray for? Another comforter and what
does the Bible say a few verses down what that comforter was? The Holy
Spirit, the Holy Ghost. What does Jesus in that very same passage
identify it with? Ahh I bet you didn't notice that. He says, "I will not
leave you comfortless." What does He say? "I will come to you."
I am not explaining this Brothers and Sisters I am simply pointing it
out that there is some relationship between the Holy Spirit and the
life of Christ. The divine nature of Christ that did not die. There is
some relationship there, it may be significant that in the conferences
that were held around the time of creation and the time of Lucifer's
rebellion there are only the two personalities mentioned, the Father
and the Son. And the Spirit of God it speaks of it moving upon the face
of the waters. The Bible talks about the Spirit of Christ,
(Same man) unintelligible.
(Wilfred) That's right. It always existed. Now I am not trying to
explain the Holy Trinity, don't get me wrong. And yet the Bible say, It
was Romans 1:20 I
think. 20 "For the invisible things of him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things
that are made," Are you listening? "Even his eternal power
and?" What's the next word?
(Another man) Godhead.
(Wilfred) "Godhead." So there is something in the created works of
God that reveals things about the Godhead. Do you see that? Now, how
much, I am not going to say. But the one thing I am going to say is
that whatever it was that God gave, Jesus gave back to the Father in
the form of his body and blood, his eternal life body and his eternal
life blood in his last communication to his disciples He promised them
that He was going to share it with them. Didn't He? He broke the bread
and He said; "This is my" what?
(Same man) unintelligible
(Wilfred) Was He talking about his physical human body? Oh no, you know
that, He's still living in that. This is my blood, the New Testament in
my blood. And what are we to do with it? By the way, the blood is the
symbol for what? The life. What are we to do with it? Eat it and drink
it. It says in John 6
Except you eat my flesh and my blood you have no
life in you. But He said, if you believe in me, you have what?
(Same man) Life.
(Wilfred) So you have access to whatever that body and blood is. Now,
would you like to know what that body and blood is? Listen carefully
now, I'm going to read it from the Spirit of Prophecy it's
Desire of Ages, well Brother Johnson I have read the Desire of Ages and
I never came across that, well here it is. Page 386, She is commenting
about Jesus' message to his disciples in John chapter 6. This is
she talks about the body and the blood, eating the flesh and drinking
blood and here is what she says; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses
gave you not that bread from heaven. The giver of the manna was
standing among them. It was Christ Himself who had led the Hebrews
through the wilderness, and had daily fed them with the bread from
heaven." Listen now. "That food," The manna, "Was a
type of the real bread from heaven." Now listen. "The
life-giving Spirit, flowing from the infinite fullness of God, is the
true manna." To me that's says Brother and Sister that I must
partake of the divine everlasting eternal life of the Son of God in
order to have eternal life in myself. There is no other source of
eternal life. I must absorb that life. And how do I receive that life?
I've just read it. By receiving the Spirit of God. So then the Spirit
of God is tied in with the life of Christ, is it not? In fact near the
end of the Desire of Ages
she says He gives us the life of His life, the
breath of his breath. How plain could she get? Now listen, do you
realize that in the outpouring of the latter rain God is going to
deliver to you, according to the terms of the Everlasting Covenant and
in response to the intercessory prayers of Jesus, that God would send
you that Spirit. He is going to deliver to you that Spirit of eternal
life that was the eternal life Spirit of Christ and Christ is going to
become the head of the new body temple and you are going to become the
members of that body and the marriage union is going to be consummated,
read it in Early Writings,
it's there. And you are going to share in
your spiritual veins the eternal life-blood of the Son of God. As the
Father has given him life in himself even so will He give you life in
yourself, you will have eternal life by eating the body and drinking
the blood of the Son of God as Jesus said in John chapter 6. Don't ever
doubt God's word. Don't ever doubt what God sent us through his
messenger and servant to the remnant church. Oh yes, I know she is
human, I know she made mistakes just the same as you and I do. But when
it comes to the divine principles of truth that God revealed to her
don't neglect to read them and to absorb them.
Now what is the lesson today, Oh I didn't get to the specifics but
listen, It is only as you share the sufferings of Christ personally,
that you will be able to realize in its fullness as far as you are
capable what it was that Jesus really did for you. You are going to
share these experiences of Christ in some way in your experience so
that you will get a realization of what happened. Now it says that the
cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that entered the
heart of God at the very inception of sin way back there at the
beginning. And that pain continues and will continue until you and I
quit sinning and until God has cleaned up the entire universe. He
cannot do that or should I say, He will not do it by forcing your will.
He is inviting you, why don't you come to God today and say, Lord I have
held back from you for so long I have been afraid to face up to the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, I don't think I can
take it. I know you can't, nobody can, neither did Jesus think He could
handle it when He got to Gethsemane, did you find that? Where did He go,
to his heavenly Father. How many people supported him? Nobody. Where
are you going to go when all hell caves in on you? You're going to
taste it, oh, you'll never experience the totality of it, but you'll
it. Why is God going to permit you to taste it? I had hoped to get into
that today too but I didn't get there, the result is holiness Brother
and Sister. Why? because the cross reveals through that pain the
enormous love that God has for you, that He would endure that pain all
down through these ages and continue to hang on until you quit sinning.
Think of it, He's still hanging on there waiting for you to quit. Your
incentive to quit sinning is love for Jesus. You already have your
ticket to heaven, He gave it to you, it's a gift, you don't have to
worry about keeping the commandments to get to heaven he's standing
good for you. That's righteousness by faith, I hope you understand it,
but don't miss the other half of it. Don't miss the other half. Do you
think that you are going to continue to take advantage of that high
priest and continue to cause him renewed suffering by
continuing to sin forever? Oh no, God is going to permit you to touch
the hot stove, that's what He is going to do. And you are going to burn
your fingers because you are not smart enough to come around without
And so the great and terrible day of the Lord is upon us, oh can't you
see it? The increase of natural catastrophes all around us, probation is
closing she says.
Yes? Yes you have something to say brother?
(Another man) Is everybody going to have their...
(Wilfred) God will take you just as you are if you have faith in him.
But He is looking for a group who will demonstrate that Satan is wrong
in saying that his law could not be kept. And He is going to have what
are called the hundred and forty four thousand who will go through and
do it. You have the privilege of being one if you elect to do it. But
it is for his sake not yours. Many will be laid to sleep.
May the Lord bless us as we continue to meditate upon these profound