``


Panorama of Truth
Volume Two


Formatted Transcripts of Selected

Letters, Manuscripts etc.

Authored by;

J. Wilfred Johnson
(1915-1995)





From Christ's Object Lessons, Pages 127 & 128:


In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to his disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began "at Moses and all the prophets and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form.  Ellen G. White




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CONTENTS

SECTION A-A) LETTERS (FIVE) TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; 
                 B) LETTER TO ELDER HARRY LOWE AT THE G.C. 

FIRST LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; FEB. 28TH; 1961 ...................................... 12 
SECOND LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; FEB 4TH, 1962 ......................................15 
THIRD LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 22ND, 1962 .................................22 
FOURTH LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 2ND, 1969 ................................27 
FIFTH LETTER TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD; MARCH 16TH, 1969 ..................................37 
LETTER RE: BRINSMEAD CRISIS, TO ELDER H. W. LOWE,
BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, APRIL 8TH, 1969 ....43 

SECTION 1 - A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH, 1968 [MS # 1]..............0.54-72 
DIVINE APPOINTMENTS ......................................................................................55 
PLAUSIBILITY OF A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH IN OUR DAY ............................59 
SCRIPTURE TRUTH IS NOT YET EXHAUSTED .........................................................63 
THIS PASSAGE IS MAJESTIC. HAVE YOU TIME TO READ IT AGAIN ..........................63 

SECTION 2 - THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH, 1968 [MS # 2]...........73-91 
RESISTANCE TO NEW TRUTH ..............................................................................77
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING ...................................................................79 
HERMENEUTIC STEREOPSIS ................................................................................83 
FOOTNOTE APPROVED ABOUT 1992 BY J. W. JOHNSON ........................................90 
PICTURE OF CHRIST IN THE SNOW ......................................................................91 

SECTION 3 - THE EVERLASTING COVENANT 1969 [MS # 3]...................92-131 
PURPOSE OF THE COVENANT ..............................................................................93 
THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD ..................................................................................102 
WHOSE STRIPES WERE THEY, REALLY, BY WHICH CHRIST WAS SMITTEN?............104 
ON THE CROSS HE BORE THE SINS OF THE WORLD ............................................104 
DRINKING THE CUP .........................................................................................107 
PERFECTION THROUGH SUFFERING ..................................................................111 
THE THREE BAPTISMS OF JESUS .......................................................................118 

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SECTION 4 -THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD, 1970 [MS # 4]...132-162 

HOW THE SWORD WILL OPERATE ......................................................................136 
THE SWORD OPERATES THROUGH SUFFERING AND MISUNDERSTANDING.............140 
HOW THE SWORD WILL OPERATE (CONTINUED) .................................................143 
AND WHAT ARE WE ADMONISHED TO DO WHEN SUCH LIGHT COMES TO US?........144 
WHAT WILL PREVENT US FROM RECEIVING NEW LIGHT? .....................................145 
WHAT KIND OF TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED, AND IN WHAT MANNER
MUST IT BE RECEIVED IF IT IS TO BE RECEIVED?.................................................145 
UPON WHOM MUST WE RELY FOR DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT?................................146
WHAT TWO EXTREMES MUST WE GUARD AGAINST?.............................................146 
WHAT IS GOD'S PURPOSE IN BRINGING FORTH CONTROVERSIAL TRUTH? ............147 
FROM WHOM MAY WE EXPECT RESISTANCE TO THE GOOD THINGS WHICH ARE
TO COME TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD, IN A MANNER NOT DISCERNED AS OF GOD? ...147 
WHAT MEANS WILL GOD USE IN BRINGING AN AWAKENING TO
HIS PEOPLE? ....................................................................................................148 
WHEN GOD CALLS A MESSENGER TO BRING FORTH NEW LIGHT, WHAT
  ATTITUDE SHOULD BE SHOWN TOWARD HIM AND HIS MESSAGE? .....................148 
IS IT NOT SAFE TO TRUST TO THE JUDGMENT OF THE LEADING BRETHREN
IN DETERMINING THE VALIDITY OF NEW TRUTH? ..............................................148 
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH POINTS OF CONTROVERSY? ................................149 
ON WHAT OCCASIONS DOES GOD BRING His PEOPLE A SPECIAL OR NEW
UNFOLDING OF TRUTH, AND HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED ON SUCH OCCASIONS?150 
WHO WILL UNDERSTAND THE NEW TRUTH? .......................................................150 
WILL NEW TRUTH BE MARKED ONLY BY ITS SIMPLICITY? ....................................151 
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO REJECT THE NEW TRUTH? .........................152 
THE TEST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP .....................................................................153 
THIS WAS THE MEANS BY WHICH JESUS WAS MADE PERFECT ........................... .155 
DO YOU DOUBT THIS? ......................................................................................157 
YOU SEE, I HAVE SPOKEN VERY PLAINLY HEAR AGAIN THE WORD OF THE LORD...159 

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SECTION 5-LETTER TO THOSE WHO CARE & LEADING BRETHREN ....163-193 
LETTER TO: "THOSE WHO CARE", MARCH 5th, 1968 ...........................................164 
LETTER TO: LEADING BRETHREN OF THE REMNANT CHURCH AT G.C, 21/03/68......70 
L. TO ELDER HARRY W. LOWE, GEN. FIELD SECTY AT THE G.C., 03/04/68.............173
L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 30104/68..........176
L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 26/05/68...........178
L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 15/12/68...........185
L. TO ELD. H. LOWE, BIBLE RESEARCH COMMITTEE AT THE G.C., 131101/69.........190

SECTION 6-SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ON THE BOWDEN SERIES .......194-241
TWO ASPECTS TO THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS ......................195
GOD WILL UTTER HIS VOICE IN ZION ...............................................................197
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN GOD CALLS A SPECIAL MESSENGER ............................199
SPIRIT OF PROPHECY STATEMENTS OF CAUTION AND LOYALTY .........................201
NEW TRUTH IS TO COME BEFORE GOD'S PEOPLE ...............................................202
DANGERS IN REJECTING NEW LIGHT ...............................................................205
GOD WILL NOT TOLERATE REJECTION OF TRUTH ..............................................206
To WHOM WILL GOD REVEAL HIS TRUTH? ........................................................208
GOD WILL HONOR SURRENDERED CHRISTIANS ................................................208
THE FIRST DEATH OF CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY ............................210
THE IRREVOCABLE DECISION OF JESUS IN GETHSEMANE ..................................211
THE MARRIAGE OF CHRIST TO HIS SAINTS BEFORE PROBATION CLOSES.............212
CHRIST DIED THE SECOND DEATH AT THE CROSS ............................................213
THE INCARNATION OF THE HOLY GHOST IN CHRIST'S SAINTS............................213
THE COMFORTER IS THE SOUL OF CHRIST'S LIFE ..............................................215
THE NEW GOVERNING BODY OF THE UNIVERSE ................................................215 
THE BAPTISM OF SUFFERING ...........................................................................217 
GOD'S 144,000 COMMANDMENT-KEEPERS ........................................................218

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GOD'S MESSAGE FOR THIS HOUR IS ON THESE TAPES ......................................218 
POSTSCRIPT ADDED BY J. W. JOHNSON IN 1992 ..............................................219 
GOD'S THREE BOOKS .....................................................................................220
A PRIEST FOREVER ........................................................................................220
GOD DEALS WITH US AS CHILDREN - FOR OUR SAKES ......................................222
CHRIST'S NATURE IN HUMANITY .....................................................................224
THE TRUTH CAUSES A SHAKING AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE ....................................227
CHRIST'S PERFECT SINLESSNESS IN HIS HUMANITY .........................................227
THE DUAL NATURE OF JESUS ..........................................................................229
IN HIS PHYSICAL BODY, JESUS TOOK UPON HIM OUR SINFUL NATURE ...............235
PROPENSITIES OF THE CHARACTER - PROPENSITIES OF THE FLESH ..................236
SATAN SAYS WE CANNOT KEEP GOD'S LAW .....................................................238
THE SECRET OF VICTORY OVER SIN ................................................................238
SOME WILL RISE UP AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY ..................................239
LET US NOT MOVE AHEAD OF THE ANGEL WHO IS LEADING GOD'S PEOPLE .......240

SECTION 7- 1 PERSONAL REMINISCENCE                      (243)         243-284

          2 THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST                      (278)   
           3 A POEM: "IN APPRECIATION"                          (284)


PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON EARLY EXPERIENCES ..........................................243
CREATION-A PERSONAL STUMBLING BLOCK ....................................................244
SCIENTISTS ERR WHEN THEY REFUSE TO ACCEPT GENESIS .............................245
DEMONSTRATION BY CREATION OF A SPECIAL WORLD ....................................247
CREATION OF THIS WORLD WAS BY ACCELERATION OF NATURAL LAWS............247
A NEW SLANT ON THE SABBATH ....................................................................248
HOW WILL GOD CREATE ALL FLESH ANEW? ....................................................248
JESUS GREW AND DEVELOPED FROM A TINY SEED ..........................................249
WHEN CHRIST LEFT HEAVEN, HE LEFT SOMETHING PERMANENTLY...................251

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ACCLIMATION TO MODERN SOCIETY- A MAJOR MATTER TO THE SAINTS...........252 
AN ENORMOUS TRUTH ..................................................................................253 
THE 144,000 ARE THE ONLY TRUE OVERCOMERS ............................................254
THE DANGER OF REFUSING TO ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS AS KING AND RULER......254
GUARDIAN ANGELS IDENTIFY WITH THE THOUGHTS AND MOTIVES..................255
REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE COMMUNION SERVICE .................................255
YOU CANNOT FIT YOURSELF FOR HEAVEN BY JUST TRYING .............................257
LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE ................................258
VICTORY OVER SIN IS THE RESULT OF THE RIGHT ACTION OF THE WILL .........259
THE SABBATH SYMBOLIZES CREATION THROUGH NATURAL LAW .....................260
BELIEF IN GOD AS CREATOR THROUGH HIS NATURAL LAWS, ENABLES
THE 144,000 To ACCEPT THEIR UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AS OF GOD....................260 
WHO SHALL DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS? ................................262
THE SAINTS COMPRISE THE NEW TABERNACLE OF GOD .................................263
THE 144,000 WILL HAVE IN THEIR BODIES THE INHERITANCE OF SIN.............265
THE 144,000 WILL RECEIVE POWER TO EXPEL SIN FROM THE LIFE..................267
THE 144,000 WILL COLLECTIVELY UNDERSTAND "ALL TRUTH".........................267
A FUTURE WORK OF UNIFICATION AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE ..............................268
THE REPRODUCTION OF CHARACTERS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE....................269
SPACE RESERVED IN 1994 BY J. W. JOHNSON FOR FURTHER COMMENT...........270
THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT ON THESE TAPES ............................................275
CHRIST'S ETERNAL SACRIFICE .....................................................................276
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT DELIVERED! ..................................................276
THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST [UNPUBLISHED MAGAZINE ARTICLE].............278
"IN APPRECIATION" [POEM BY J. W. JOHNSON, WRITTEN IN 1991] .................284

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"The Question has been asked me, 'Do you think that the Lord has any more light for us as a people? I answer that He has light that is new to us, and yet it is old light that is to shine forth from the Word of truth. We have only the glimmerings of the rays of the light that is yet to come to us." 

(1st SM, page 401)


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SECTION A



LETTERS TO ROBERT BRINSMEAD & ELDER H. LOWE

 [1961 to 1969]
 
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Mr. Robert Brinsmead                                                                 J. Wilfred Johnson
c/o Mr. A. L. Hudson                                                                    Feb. 28th, 1961 
P. O. Box 408, 
Baker, Oregon 

Dear Brother Brinsmead: 

  I trust you will forgive me for presuming to intrude upon your busy program with this letter, but I believe it will be to our mutual advantage. 

  A few days ago a friend sent me a copy of your book, "God's Eternal Purpose" (albeit, the copy was a defective one, with several chapters missing and others given twice - to my keen disappointment); and I have completed reading about the first half of it. Meanwhile, I have inquired concerning the source of this material, and learned a little about the background, and that it was available through the Hudson Printing firm - my first knowledge of this firm. I am enclosing this letter in care of Mr. Hudson, and hope you will receive it. 

  The clarity of your presentation was early apparent, and I became doubly impressed when I discovered that you were presenting themes which I have cherished in my own theology for many years, but [to] which I have given only limited expression, largely because of the unreadiness of our church members - including those in local authority - to study it, let alone receive it. Since I respect the counsel of Sr. White in these matters, I have not urged the teachings, feeling that in God's own time He would open the way for the awakening and shaking which we all know is coming. A number of other things enter into this decision. 

  I have been given to understand that in Australia you encountered official resistance, and that you are now presenting your doctrines in the U. S. without the approval of the General Conference Committee. It is in this regard that I would appreciate information, for I am facing a somewhat similar situation.

    First, would you care to divulge to me precisely to what extent you have counseled with the General Conference in this matter? What has been their official and unofficial reaction, if any?
 
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   Second, would you care to express your attitude toward Sister White's counsel to any brother who feels he has a message for God's people? She clearly admonishes co-operation with the leaders of the work, and that if anyone should choose to go ahead of the angel who is leading this people, he must retrace every step.

  The history of your experience may be helpful to me in making my presentation. I waited for approximately eighteen years before finally submitting an initial survey on magnetic tape about a year ago. The nature of some of the material would make it unwise to submit prematurely.

[Publisher's note: Eight, two-hour reel-to-reel audio-magnetic tapes were submitted to the General Conference by J. W. Johnson from Sept. 1959 to Sept. 1961. These have now been transcribed to written form in the 1990's, comprising in its entirety, Volume 1 of this two volume book set, under the title "Panorama of Truth". As of December, 2000, they have not been submitted in this written form to the General Conference; however it is the intent of the Publishers to do so shortly.]

  I am now slowly preparing a written document; but in the face of the almost forbidding circumstantial resistances, it is extremely difficult to make much progress. My program of responsibilities at my profession (vice-principal of the Lacombe High School), my home (family of three children), and the church (one of the local elders, SS music director, SS teacher, and formerly superintendent or assistant superintendent for several years - this church is associated with our only senior college in Canada, Canadian Union College), together with other miscellaneous responsibilities and very limited health, demand more than I can comfortably accomplish. Of course, these are but evidences of the trials under which God's workers will finish their appointed task.

  It would not be expedient to burden you at this time with any of the theological concepts, though I can assure you that there are major points which can be added to your presentation (insofar as I have read it) - points which concern primarily those who shall remain to experience translation. These will be brought forward in due time, unless it is the judgment of the General Conference brethren that they be held in reserve.

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 I would be only too happy to receive any information concerning the history of your experience, and particularly the reaction of the leaders. I am also wondering whether you will be touring in this area at some future time, for it would be a pleasure to meet and visit with you - not to mention hearing you present your amazing understanding of the plan of salvation.


 I hope this lengthy letter will not prove a burden to you, and if you prefer to reply by magnetic tape, I have a two-track recorder. May I look forward to hearing from you?


       Sincerely,

  (J. W. Johnson)

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Robert Brinsmead                                                                                J. Wilfred Johnson
c/o Hudson Printing Press                                                                       Feb. 4th, 1962
Baker, Oregon, U. S. A. 

Dear Brother Brinsmead: 

  No doubt you receive volumes of correspondence, and this letter will just be another item. I have held off writing because of this, but feel now that I should encroach upon your time with a few thoughts, and trust that you will consider them seriously.

  First, let me clarify that, while I am an officer in our local church, I am not writing this in any official capacity; it is purely a personal letter as from brother to brother. 

  For about a year now I have studied your material and listened to your tapes with keen interest. I have been impressed with the power of your presentation, and also with the particular points of doctrine which you emphasize. That you have some expanded views of parts of our message there can be little doubt; and that much of your material is sound truth, I cannot dispute. I have been waiting and hoping that what you have to present might yet prove to be a prominent part in the closing of God's work - and I believe it still could be, but only under certain definite conditions. 

  We all realize, and have for many years, that an awakening is due among our people. Some of us are also fully aware that additional light is forthcoming. But two things stand out very clearly in my mind in this connection: (1) Satan will counterfeit everything God is about to do before He does it. (Sr. White - GC 464.5) And He does not stop at using his own followers as tools, but verily uses even those who are most sincere, earnest, well-meaning, and closest to the Master in their worship and allegiance. (Compare Peter and the words of Jesus to him, "Get thee behind Me, Satan.") (2) The spirit of those who are instrumental in bringing forth the new truth and the awakening will be one of humility, submission, co-operation, and harmony with the brethren; there will be no markedly impatient, independent effort causing confusion and bitter dissension, and flaunting of the ordained offices and authority of the established church. Sister White again says that anyone who goes ahead of the angel who is leading this people will

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have to retrace every step. More often, they refuse to retrace their steps, and end their efforts in failure. I would be deeply grieved if this should happen to you, as it has threatened at times to happen to me. 

  We all know that the brethren in the church are faulty and fallible; nevertheless, only in counsel and unity are we secure from the Devil's devices - even in the closing individual tests, the saints stand perfectly united. "And the truth which will unite the hearts of God's dear waiting saints is the Sabbath truth." I do not see this capable of verification in the present situation, nor explained in your teachings as yet. 

  Let me come to the point and explain exactly what I have in mind. I believe your mind has been opened to receive some new light which can fit harmoniously into the expanding pattern of truth which is imminent in the experience of the saints. (Because of this view, I have been detrimentally regarded as one of your followers - or at least, as leaning heavily in that direction. Nevertheless, I follow no man; there is no safety in this. But I will give every man's presentation a fair hearing; for I know that God is indeed revealing additional truth to His people - here a little and there a little; and I would not wish to forfeit some gem because of prejudice.) But the only way this truth will reach the saints without causing tragedy to many is through the united sanction of the brethren. This is God's specified way, and it behooves us to conform to His revealed instruction. Such a procedure will also serve to eliminate any errors which may be present (and there always are some), and will prevent premature presentation of "difficult" phases of truth. If the brethren fail to see light in what is presented, then either (1) the message is not true, or (2) the people are not yet ready for the message, or (3) God will take the reins into His own hands. One thing is sure: it is our responsibility to abide by the counsel of the brethren. How else could God safeguard the unity of His church?

  It was approximately twenty-five years ago, while I was passing through my late 'teens and early twenties that I encountered full force, the first major crisis in my life. It centered around the irreconcilable facts of scientific discovery with the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by the church - notably, the six-day creation, the miracles of Christ (and of others), and the inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy. I was, however, an honest doubter, and after claiming the promise of God to bestow wisdom on those who ask, and after waiting for about seven years, God responded in a very substantial manner.

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  Within a few months time, the major areas of our doctrines were clarified in my thinking, and I had seen an amazing harmony between science and the Bible, as well as an extensive panorama of truth relating the numerous independent components of our doctrine into a coherent, integrated unit, with many former conundrums dissolved. 

  Significantly, many of the explanations which emerged extended beyond the rather stereotyped (to me) doctrines being currently taught in the college where I was residing; and as I disclosed my "advanced" views, I was in trouble. 

  But I had not asked God for a tangible understanding of our teachings in order to be plunged into controversy, but rather that I might become an honest believer. Repeatedly, I was obliged to put on the brakes and even shift into reverse, in order to forestall a more tragic result. 

  After five years at the college (the last three as registrar), I found it necessary to leave the school. But God has permitted me to remain in this same community for nearly sixteen more years now, wherein I have faced up to the stigma of such an experience in spite of severe nervous illness, to prove that I am still a faithful believer in our message.

  I am writing you this, Brother Brinsmead, with a view to helping you realize that God is not confining the revelation of His advancing truth to what you are promulgating at the present time. Some of your major points I have understood for nearly twenty years, and have known all these years that they would need to come before God's people; but I have also known that to go ahead of the leading angel would cause unfortunate results.

  In addition to this, I have had the privilege of seeing many other items which you have not mentioned in your presentation. In fact, some problems arising out of your teachings cannot be resolved without answers which I have had in my mental warehouse for many years, awaiting the day when they will be needed in the restoration of all truth.

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  I would not write to you in this manner were I not convinced of your honesty and sincerity, and the possibility (though remote) that you might still see your way clear to retrace your steps far enough to regain harmony with the body of Christ. What a wonderful testimony you could bear to the power of humility and submission in the proclamation of the gospel. For I can assure you, on the strength of the prophetic word, that God will work in ways of which you have not dreamed to convince His leading brethren and chosen people of the truths which they may not now be able to see clearly. Your present method cannot hope to do this. I do not say this in condemnation; I have narrowly escaped the same error - and I have had to maintain a more prolonged patience by far than you have tolerated. Yet I know of a truth, you have acted as you have been personally convinced God would have you act. Your error lies in placing too much dependence on your own judgment without the counsel of experienced leaders. 

  We have a common problem, Brother. You have, so far, solved yours by arising independently of the brethren of the church, and proclaiming your message in spite of contrary counsel and disapproval. I have chosen to contain my views to more limited expression, pending the day when I can clearly express the things I have seen to our brethren at Headquarters, and receive guidance in the task of exposition. And if they see no light in some of it (as they no doubt will), it becomes our duty to yield to their judgment. If they err, God will take care of things in His own way. Under present circumstances, respect for the order and unity of the brethren is more important than independent proclamation of an advanced truth - or any other truth. This has not always been true, but it is now.

  TM 51 - "Those who start up to proclaim a message on their own individual responsibility, who, while claiming to be taught and lead of God, still make it their special work to tear down that which God has been for years building up, are not doing the will of God. Be it known that these men are on the side of the great deceiver. Believe them not. They are allying themselves with the enemies of God and the truth. They will deride the order of the ministry as a system of priestcraft. From such turn away, have no fellowship with their message, however much they may quote the Testimonies and seek to entrench themselves behind them. Receive them not, for God has not given them this work to do." (See also 6 T 401.)

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   It would seem self-evident that in the light of this clear statement, those who are honest and conservative believers in the Testimonies will not accept your message as long as you pursue your present independent course, regardless of whether you are of God or not. And you know as well as I do that it is these same honest believers in the Testimonies who are God's chosen people, and who should be receiving the new truths. You can gain their attention to these truths only by humbly following the counsel of these same Testimonies. Is this not obvious?

  It is still not too late to retrace your steps. If you do, you will be honored with the fellowship of the brethren once more; and also, God will be able to lead you into further mines of truth wholly unsuspected by you at present. This I know, for I have had these truths for a long time.

  I am not a fanatic nor a "phony". I have been an ardent believer of our message since it first became clarified to me nearly twenty years ago (I had been a formal member for around ten years before that). I have been misjudged, misunderstood, falsely accused, have suffered nervous exhaustion and emotional indisposition on many occasions as a result, and have never regained my previous health. Yet I am comforted when I realize that any informed psychiatrist studying the record of Sister White would not fail to recognize her mental condition; nevertheless, God used this "weakest of the weak" to perform His work in such a marvelous way. He is not substantially limited by human frailty; our weakness is made perfect in His strength.

  But you have no such problem; your talent is uninhibited. What enormous possibilities for constructive effort have been entrusted to you by the Great Benefactor! What a travesty of justice if they should be used to weaken rather than strengthen the work of God.

  Believe me, Brother, I know whereof I speak. Your message as it stands now has serious weaknesses, but this does not make it entirely erroneous. I believe with you that the time for the final cleansing of the Sanctuary is now. I have also believed for many years that the saints are, in a sense, the sanctuary not made with hands, which is to be cleansed and purified for the indwelling of Christ by the Holy Ghost and much more; - and I did not get this from A. T. Jones or any other man.

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  Such topics as: The Body of Christ, The Communion of the Body and Blood, The Investigative Judgment, The Marriage of the Lamb, The Incarnation, The Death of Christ, The Government of God, The Righteousness of Christ, Righteousness by Faith, The Law of God, The Free Will, Predestination, Salvation from Sin, The New Birth, Creation, The Sabbath, The Resurrection, The Millennium, The Old and New Covenants, and many others, are capable of profound expansion and inter-relation. These are matters which God is opening to other minds, in preparation for the great restoration of all things. It would be unfortunate if you should fail to have your part in it.

  May I pose just one group of pertinent doctrinal questions: Sister White plainly tells us that she saw the door to the Holy Apartment was shut in 1844, and no man could open it, and that [the door] to the Most Holy was opened. Your doctrine teaches that our sins are now to be cleansed out of the sanctuary. How can my sins be cleansed out of the sanctuary when I was not born until 1915, long after the door to the Holy Apartment was shut? Does not the priest have to carry the blood through the door to the first apartment in the process of transferring sins to the sanctuary? Are individual sins transferred to the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement? Is not the Day of Atonement rather a day of judgment and of cleansing? How will the pre-1844 saints have their soul temples cleansed during this final atonement cleansing when they are asleep in their graves? I have known the answers to these questions for many years, but our people have not yet been ready for them.

  If the number of your followers increases, you can maintain unity only by organizing; if it does not increase, it is not genuine. Either way, the Spirit of Prophecy is against you. You can't win. The only safe road open is a return - a retracing of your steps - to the side of the angel who is leading God's people.

  Please think seriously about it, Bob. God has an important work for you, or you would not have been called to face this discipline. He has a vital lesson for you to learn through this drastic experience; won't you accept it? "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth."

21

  Come back, Brother, and the glories of all the final truth will be yours; refuse, and you will be but another off-shoot, fulfilling the counterfeit of what God is about to do; and at the same time making the acceptance of the fuller truth by the now-extremely-wary saints just that much more difficult. I cannot believe that you would wish to thus hinder God's final work; therefore, I have written you this long letter.

   May the Spirit of the Lord help you to make the right decision.

   Sincerely your concerned friend and brother in Christ,

  (J. Wilfred Johnson)


  P. S. I have many, many things which I could discuss with you. You have the intellect and the knowledge of the Word necessary to understand some of the deeper mysteries of God and to get a fuller understanding of the plan of salvation. But I cannot do this unless you get settled with God on this matter of brotherly discipline. There can be no rejection of the counsel of the brethren, when that counsel is in harmony with the instructions of the Word and the Spirit of Prophecy.

  Make no mistake, God is not mocked: "The characteristics most needful to be cherished by God's commandment-keeping people are patience and long-suffering, peace and love." - 6 T 398.

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Mr. Robert Brinsmead                                                                           J. Wilfred Johnson
RR#4                                                                                                  March 22nd, 1962 
Kelowna, B.C. 

Dear Brother Brinsmead: 

  I am grateful that you received my letter of last month, and that you are giving it some thought. This matter has been weighing heavily upon my mind; it is a serious situation. Would you bear with me if I wrote a few more words?

  It seems evident to me that God has called you to do an important work for Him in these closing days. This is more than many other members of our church would concede; but I am in earnest about it. It is God's method of training a man to "put him through the mill." You have proved beyond any shadow of doubt that you are willing to stand on your own feet and proclaim what you are convinced is true. You have faced opposition and ridicule from your own brethren which is harder to bear than that from those not of the faith. You have endured misunderstanding regarding your motives in the activities you have undertaken. Yet you have pressed steadfastly forward in the conviction that what you are doing is right in the sight of God. This is commendable.

  God does not long permit an honest servant to go in the wrong direction. I believe He has allowed you to go as far as you have in order to teach you some extremely valuable lessons. He did not stop Moses from slaying the Egyptian, nor did He forewarn him that he should avoid this action. And it took forty long years to mellow this highly-educated, talented, military leader; and when the time came to deliver God's people, he made excuses. Perhaps the task had lost some of its original glamour. But God saw that he was now ready for the job. His hasty mistake had not disqualified him.

  We know that in these closing days, God's people will have to get ready much faster than Moses did; and so will those who are to become leaders in the great deliverance. Nevertheless, let us not lose sight of the fact that those who are to be leaders will have important preparatory lessons to learn; and God's usual method of teaching is through experience. Sometimes He purposely permits a man to pursue a wrong course in order to teach him experimentally the futility or unhappy

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consequences of that course, much as we do with our children at times. (Compare Jonah, Saul of Tarsus, and the history of mankind.) Only those who can accept the stigma of correction survive this type of discipline. Yet when a lesson is learned in this manner, there is no danger of its being forgotten. This is the way God teaches His key servants any highly important lessons.

  You have already learned how easy it is to ignore the restraining counsel of experienced men, when their counsel cuts across your own thorough, genuine, and sincere convictions. It is hard to relinquish a view of which one is convinced beyond a shadow of doubt - and which may even be true - merely to conform to the counsel of those who in spite of years of experience are unable to comprehend or accept the view. It is easy to dig up "quotations" to support one's position in ignoring such counsel.

  In actual fact, no one is required to give up a view which he is convinced is true. What he is required to do, however, is to guard jealously the harmony and unity among the brethren of the church. When the experienced leaders, in whose trust God has placed the scepter of counsel, feel that the promulgation of certain doctrines would be detrimental to the cause, who is he that can say God is unable to handle the situation without ignoring His own testimonies on humility and submission to divinely appointed order in His church? To take it upon oneself to rule that the organizational structure of the church is outdated or disfavored of God, is more than David dared to do even after he had been divinely anointed to be king over Israel. He would not venture to raise a finger against the Lord's previously appointed king. As long as the Lord saw fit to give life to Saul, David would not assert himself in a position which he already knew he was to fill. He had respect to the office, and knew that God could install and remove whom He would - in His own time.

  This, I am sure, should be our position. I have looked back over your history, and I have seen some of the same mistakes which I also made in years gone by. I have been slow to learn in some respects, but things are gradually clarifying and crystallizing.

  It was about twenty years ago when I first recognized that the descriptions in Early Writings, about the nominal Adventists, could refer to the members of our own church. I spoke to one of the older

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staff members about it and he saw what I meant, and was inclined to agree. It is thoroughly conceivable that the organization could ultimately wind up as a hollow shell, carrying on the formalities of the work as did the ancient Jewish leaders, while the remnant emerges as an unorganized group through the shaking process. I have expressed this view privately; and to this day, I would be reluctant to completely discredit it. But that the present "movement" is the initiation of this event, I would be extremely hesitant to admit. My former letter would indicate some of the reasons why.

  It is difficult to predict at this stage precisely how the close of the organized work will take place. One thing is certain: we should do all in our power to keep the work moving forward in harmony and unity, even if it means erring on the side of the people, as Sister White says. It is also interesting to note that those who are sealed are the ones who are sighing and crying for the abominations which be done in the city - not criticizing and condemning the ones who may in part be responsible for those abominations. They lament the conditions, they may express their disapproval; but they pitch in and work in harmony with the blue-print insofar as they are able, and solicit the co-operation of their brethren in bettering the conditions. And at all times, it behooves us to consider others better than ourselves, and this is particularly true toward those in authoritative positions. Caesar rules by permission of Jehovah. In His own good time, He will supplant the unfaithful rulers, whoever they may be. * [see footnote, p. 26]

  It would be wise to remember that God uses men who are imperfect; in spite of shortcomings and errors, they may still be His chosen ones. We all need the cleansing stream, Brother. Let's get behind these men who are trying to guide the ship through the roughest waters in its journey, and let's try to lighten their load rather than make it heavier. It may be that God will honor us with specific help for them in the hour of emergency; and if not, let us not be found going against His counsel.

  You have built up a strong following. It would be difficult, if not humiliating, for you to bow to the directives from headquarters now, in the face of the admiration which has been created for your "courage" in facing up to them. What a demonstration of humility it would be before all the eyes of those who are witnesses to the activities of the accuser of the brethren - if you should decide to surrender your bold

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independence for the sake of those who understand not your message and who may need your counsel! Brother Brinsmead, this could be the greatest and final test of loyalty which The Master is placing before you, ere He grants you the privilege of performing the ultimate purpose of your life here at this time. I could say more about this than I am willing to write at present. Think about it; the decision is enormous and urgent.

  The most important thing in the lives of those who are championing the Lord's cause in this crucial hour is unity - love of the brethren. This was the theme of Christ's final prayer for His disciples, that they all might be one as He was one with his Father. It is the spirit of brotherly love and fellowship and unity which will identify those who are God's children. (John 13:35). Doctrine will avail nothing unless the principles of love and humility and esteem for the brethren come first. Why not surrender to the will of God in this matter, and then watch Him work a work of righteousness the like of which we have never seen heretofore? He will dry up the Red Sea, give us manna in the wilderness and water out of the Rock, and hold back the stream of the Jordan that we may cross over into the promised land.

  The Scripture says, The hour of His judgment is come. There could be another slant to this text; for no human mind can exhaust a single passage of Scripture (says Sr. White) [cf. Ed. 171.5]. The principles of Christ's character have been on trial since they were first challenged by Lucifer ages ago. Christ Himself came to earth to demonstrate His character, and prove that it could be operative even in a sinful world. The crowning demonstration is due in the last generation. Christ is now looking for witnesses who will testify at this great trial where His character is being judged - witnesses who will bear testimony to the righteousness of His character by demonstrating its efficacy in their own faulty lives; by proving that through His grace and mercy and the "shedding of His blood", they too can attain to perfection of character.

  The hour of His judgment is come; will we bear the true testimony in His behalf so that He may be acquitted? It is the testimony of humility, the ability to bear injustice as He bore it, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to love our enemies and do good to them that hate us. We cannot fulfill this law of love if we venture forth

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independently of the brethren and stir up bitterness and strife and animosity among His people. The world and the universe cannot see the Spirit of Christ in this, and His character cannot be vindicated in this manner. I repeat, the most important thing in this crisis hour is to live the life of self-denying love to God and to fellow men - including the leading brethren. The hour will come all too soon when the wheat will be separated from the tares, the sheep from the goats. Can you not see light in this?

You will have a big problem on your hands to work this out; but God has a big work for you. According to the task, so must be the discipline. He will not force you, but He is asking you. How can you refuse to make this surrender? Then watch for Him to direct your way in harmony with His dear waiting saints. They have not all left the organized church; many are waiting with longing hearts for the manifestation of that which has long been foretold. They will not wait in vain. "In your patience possess ye your souls."

  Forgive me for taking so much of your time. If you could see what I have seen, you would realize what has prompted me to correspond with you. I hope that you will soon find your way clear to re-join the fold within the organized church. Make no mistake about this: God is still working through His organized church. The majority of His loyal people are still there, and will remain there. Moses had to go back into Egypt in order to deliver God's people; nor could he go too far ahead of them.

  You would be most welcome to join them again if you can accept the necessary discipline. Think of the discipline Christ accepted for you! - fettered with humanity for eternity, crowned with thorns, slapped upon, spat upon, and taunted, without retaliation, and the scars of his crucifixion forever in His body, He trod His humble path day by day to make a way for you and me to share His throne - that is, His governing power. Is it too much for us to follow His steps?

  May the Lord bless you and your good wife to this end.

  With sincere concern, your brother in Christ,

                                                                                                        (J. W. Johnson)


* [Re: footnote from page 24.6: "In God's hand is the heart of every earthly ruler, to turn withersoever He will, as He turneth the waters of a river." 3 BC 1139.]

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                                                                                 J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                  March 2nd, 1969 

Dear Brother Brinsmead: 

  Early in 1961 I wrote you a letter soliciting any information you might be able to give me concerning the attitude of the General Conference brethren toward you and the points of your message, since I knew I would soon be facing a similar situation. You did not find it expedient to reply.

  Again in the early part of 1962 I wrote two further letters, this time presenting to you an appeal to consider the wisdom of retracing your steps far enough to work in harmony with the organized church, even if that meant refraining from active propagation of some of your views. This appeal was based on certain statements of Sister White which appear to contradict others that you were using to justify your activities. You did send a brief reply to my final letter, indicating that you had no intention of taking such a course at that time. (A copy of these letters will be included for your review.)

  This left me with no alternative but to withhold the sharing of certain rather extensive material which supplements some of your major contributions, because I did not wish to undermine the leaders of our church by releasing, publicly, material which had not yet received their approval.

  You may wonder why I was interested in probing your attitude in the first place. Very briefly, here is the story.

  I became an S.D.A. in my mid-teens, in spite of confessing that I could not honestly accept the six-literal-day creation, nor the miracles of Christ, nor the inspiration of Sister White. It was felt by the evangelist that this problem would be solved in due time. But, after several years of active participation in the church, with no satisfactory resolution of the problem, I began to have serious qualms of conscience about the propriety of my membership. I felt I was a hypocrite because I could not believe all of the doctrines, while yet remaining a member and ostensibly professing to believe them. Yet I did not want to leave the church and its fellowship.

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  The time came when I could no longer endure this conflict; and recognizing that God had in time past honored the prayers of sundry men for wisdom and understanding, and that the promise of enlightenment was still valid, I begged Him for help in solving this matter. I asked only that He would clarify our truth in my mind so that it would make as much sense and logic to me as did the content of my science texts. Unless He could do this, I could not see how I could be an honest Adventist nor how I could logically and honorably serve in the church program. But if He did clarify my understanding of our truth, I promised to serve Him in whatever capacity He should see fit.

  In due time God honored that prayer; the Bible opened up to me as a new book. The six-day creation, the miracles of Christ, the inspiration of Sister White - these and many other doctrines and situations which had puzzled me and had stifled my faith, were made plain. However, they were clarified to an extent which went beyond the current concept of our doctrines; and they formed an impressively coherent and meaningful integration of our truth. But this fact created a predicament, for it placed me in a position of variance with some of the stalwart members of the church and college staff where I worked; and the problems ensuing could take many words to describe.

  I eventually left the College, but remained a resident in the community and have retained membership in the same church for these many years. The impact of the situation made serious inroads upon my health, and the burden of bearing up under the strain was a heavy one. The outcome of it all is simply that I have for quite some time now been faced with an appointment by the Master to fulfill a commission on behalf of His people.

  Much of what you have written was made plain to me many years ago, but it was not God's purpose that I present it at that time. When you, therefore, began to write about it, I was not slow to corroborate among some of my friends much of what you were saying (but not all). However, your subsequent unfortunate relationship with the leading brethren has made a presentation of the additional things which I have seen so much more difficult; for the intensity of prejudice against anything bearing any similarity whatever to "Brinsmeadism" makes an honest evaluation almost prohibitive.

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  Brother Brinsmead, I would like to speak very frankly with you; it is important to you; it is urgent. But I can only do so at present in the strictest confidence. What I say concerning your personal experience and mine must not come before the people; nor may the new facets of truth, some of which I will mention, be published abroad at present. In due time they will reach those for whom they are intended. The brethren at headquarters have not yet had adequate opportunity to study the matter, nor to accept or reject their privilege regarding it.

  More than twenty-five years ago I learned that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 would prophesy again; history would be repeated. I learned that these two witnesses were the Old and New Testaments, the witnesses of the Word of God. But God showed me more than this. I learned that this passage (as well as many others) has an expanded meaning.

  The Old Testament is essentially a record of the old covenant and of God's dealings with His people under the terms of this covenant. During this dispensation the Lord God dealt with His people directly, occasionally in person, sometimes through angels, and sometimes through prophets. But the major witness of the Old Testament was Moses. He was called to the mount of God (Horeb) to stand personally before the God of the earth, to receive first-hand the testimony of God to His people. Through Moses, who was a figure type of Christ, the old covenant was delivered to ancient literal Israel. The literal sanctuary service was instituted as a type, to portray God's purpose for the human soul - which purpose was to be fulfilled under the new covenant when antitype would meet type in the New Testament.

  Moses was one of the two witnesses who was chosen to become a personal observer in the courts of heaven, there to be instructed concerning the true nature of the everlasting covenant and to witness its outworking from the broader viewpoint of heaven. Here he was to see the mysterious sacrifice of the eternal Son of God, only to find Him again many years later on the Mount of Transfiguration, there to carry out the instructions which he had received from that same One while He was yet in His former estate in the heavenly courts.

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  But there was another witness who stood with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. He too had been called to stand before His God at Horeb and to meet with him there in the cleft of the rock. Like Moses, he also experienced a forty-day fast on this occasion. But his meeting with God was different. God was not physically seen in the great manifestations of nature - in the wind, and the earthquake, and the fire. But in the still small voice - the voice of the Spirit of God Elijah "saw" his Lord. While Moses spoke with the literal Christ face to face, Elijah spoke with the still small voice - that voice which was to be the voice of God to spiritual Israel in delivering the everlasting covenant to the new-covenant saints in the last day. In that day the terms of the covenant were to be fulfilled by the Holy Ghost writing the law of God in their hearts.

  Nevertheless, the dispensation of the New Testament spans two thousand years. Throughout that time, many witnesses of the new covenant have arisen, only to fall asleep in Jesus. Names have been added to the Lamb's book of life. Promises have been given to the overcomers in each of the eras of the Christian church's history. And now since 1844 we have been living in the final or seventh era. This is the time of the anti-typical day of atonement, the time of the judgment and of the cleansing of the sanctuary. This is the time when the living sanctuary of God, not made with hands, is to be cleansed and purified and made white. Heretofore the saints have been cleansed every whit by the process of imputed righteousness; and the High Priest has borne the sufferings for the continued sins of His people. But now the number of individual pillars in the temple of God has been made up. Now they are to be assembled in the last generation to receive their final cleansing and attain to the imparted righteousness. Only then can their High Priest step down from His position of mediation and prove that He has indeed saved His people from their sins; for they will be able to stand before God, faultless, yet without a Mediator.

  Before this can be done, the new covenant promises must be fulfilled in the lives of the hundred and forty-four thousand. Yet the work of expelling sin from the life is an act of the soul itself, and the work of purifying the soul temple is a scientific process. It is necessary that this process be understood and that voluntary submission to it be made. That is the work assigned to the other witness – the Elijah witness - who delivers the keys to an understanding of the new

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covenant to the saints of the spiritual Israel. Without this understanding they could not voluntarily submit to, nor survive, the process whereby they will be cleansed. As the personal Christ delivered through Moses the types and figures of the old covenant sanctuary service, wherein was contained the shadow of things to come; even so does the Holy Ghost deliver through the Elijah messenger of the New Testament to spiritual Israel, a factual knowledge of the outworking of the new covenant, which enables them to voluntarily enter into its fulfillment in their own lives.

  In Malachi 4:4-6 are given the very last words which Christ ever spoke to His people before He relinquished His former heritage in order to take on the form of a tiny seed in Mary's womb. A man's last message is generally His most appealing one. In this last message to His people under the old covenant, Christ implores them to remember the law of Moses which He commanded at Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. And here he also gives His last promise, to send Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, to do a work of turning the hearts of fathers and children to one another, which would prevent the earth's coming under an irrevocable curse. Here at the meeting point of the Old and New Testaments, Christ summarized the transition from the old covenant to the new, and He named the two witnesses of those covenants. He clearly foretold a future work to be performed by His prophet Elijah, a work having to do with a transformation of the heart, which would be essential if the earth were to escape the irrevocable curse of God.

  "The new covenant was established upon better promises (than the old), - the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law .... The same law that was engraved by Christ upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart .... Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts." - PP 372.

  The work of Elijah is directly connected with the delivering of the new covenant to Spiritual Israel, and he is a figure-type of the Holy Ghost, as Moses was a figure-type of Christ, and Enoch of the Father.

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  Jesus also confirmed that Elijah was indeed going to come to restore all things. Restoration need not be made of things not lost or destroyed; it is made only of things which are lost. The basic thing which was lost in the kingdom of heaven under the rebellion of Lucifer was the free-will allegiance to the God of heaven and to His law. This is what will be restored under the new covenant when it is delivered by the voice of God like many waters to His people. While the restoration began with John the Baptist and his announcement of the restoration of the kingdom of heaven and his introduction of The One who would usher it in, yet he was not Elijah according to his own testimony. The great and dreadful day of the Lord was a long ways removed from John's day. Jesus' after-statement merely applies the prophecy to John as a type of Elijah; for John could not both be Elijah and not be him at the same time in a literal sense.

  Elijah has been privileged along with Moses to be a personal witness from the vantage point of heaven, a witness of the nature and outworking of the everlasting covenant. He has stood with Moses before the God of the earth for hundreds of years receiving the knowledge of this covenant. He is now to return to complete his appointment as witness of the new covenant and to bear his testimony to final spiritual Israel, in whose lives the terms of that covenant are to be fulfilled.

  Thus the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are also two human witnesses. One of these testifies concerning the meaning of the old covenant sanctuary service and brings us to the door of the antitypical sanctuary on the day of atonement to afflict our souls and to prepare for the cleansing of our soul temples. But the final cleansing of our soul temples is to come through the process revealed by the other witness, who testifies of the outworking of the new covenant. Herein is an example of the unfolding nature of Scripture truth.

  RH Oct. 21st, 1890 - "To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God."

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  Ed. 171 - "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings."

  Thus, no matter what interpretation we have had in the past, there is yet another which may be added to it. Sister White has said that when anyone comes professing to have new light, let him present a plain, Thus saith the Lord. Can any words of the Lord be plainer than Malachi 4:5,6 - The last words ever spoken by the Lord God of the Old Testament to His people before He made His fantastic condescension?

  I have known for more than twenty-five years that God had appointed me to fulfill this commission. At that time I knew that He would bring to my consciousness the comprehension of the covenant and the nature of the work, and the discipline required to become prepared for the task. This He has been doing during the intervening years. And the time has now arrived when the testimony is being prepared and submitted in written form for the leading brethren. (Inasmuch as Jesus while here on earth partook of His former wisdom and knowledge through the agency of the Holy Ghost; even so does the returned Elijah partake of his former experience and personal witness through the agency of the Holy Ghost.)

  When I first learned of my appointment, I came to wonder whether there would be a second personal witness to appear on the scene, either prior to or concurrent with the new covenant witness; and if so, how would he be recognized? I was then directed to look to Australia for one to arise with a testimony relating to the meaning of the old covenant sanctuary and its service in the light of the antitypical day of atonement.

  More than fifteen years later, you appeared from Australia with such a message. Do you wonder, then, that I have kept a close eye upon your activities and your expanding message during these past few years, looking for the signs which would indicate the genuineness of your position? Do you wonder that I wrote you those three letters in an effort to determine whether you could meet the tests of all true followers of Christ? Do you wonder that I raise the question of John's disciples: Are you the One, "or do we look for another?"

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  Most of your message is true. You have pointed us to the tabernacle of the congregation and have invited us to come to the sanctuary on the day of atonement, and there you have left us to afflict our souls and to await the expected cleansing, which has its counterpart in the cleansing of our soul temples. And now the cleansing is about to be performed in the living saints. Are you ready yet to meet the conditions upon which this cleansing can be accomplished?

  Jones and Waggoner came as two witnesses having a message from the Lord. They were endorsed by Sister White. But their generally unfavorable reception was as difficult to "take" as that of many other former and latter servants of God has been. They could not humble themselves to submit to the leading brethren, as did Wieland and Short; they did not have the patient endurance and the love for their brethren which is the true test of discipleship. Therefore, they lost their way. But Sister White stayed by, and she endured. She bore a strong testimony against those at fault, but she cooperated with the brethren. And she assures us that if matters need setting right at the top, God will see to it. [cf. 2nd Vol. Selected Messages, p. 390.5.] Can you meet this test?"


  William Miller was not up to the humiliation of his "defeat"; He was confused and disappointed that the message he had given from the Lord did not prove out as he had taught it. God tested him. Yet while he could not fully meet that test nor was he able to grasp the advancing light of the Sabbath, yet he was accepted of God and laid away in the tomb to await the resurrection of the just.


  Herewith comes this testimony to you from the Lord: You have your choice to either humble yourself before the leading brethren and await the providences of God in fulfilling His word, and then to partake of the advancing light and see the culmination of what you have been preaching; or to remain independent of the counsel of the brethren of God's avowed church, and thereby come to a dead-end street in your message and/or move off into deceptive error, in which event you will either lose your way (as Jones and Waggoner) or be laid to rest in the tomb (as William Miller). The choice is yours. With God there is no compulsion in such matters.

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  From the very beginning I saw that the witness of the Old Testament will bow into the new and be absorbed by the new, that the new will unfold from the old and rise above it; for the new covenant is the everlasting covenant, which existed even before the old. Whether you as a personal witness of the Old Testament sanctuary service will bow into the new and rise with it to final triumph will depend upon your response to the testing truth of the sword of the Lord. And the major test, which is now coming before you, is the test of submission to the counsel of the leaders of God's church. Remember, Moses was willing to renounce his personal position if God were not able to bring His people through. But God will bring them through, though He bear long with them. "In your patience possess ye your souls" Are you the one?

  The time is now here when the leaders of God's work will face their major tests. We can make their course so much easier by each esteeming other better than himself. Their task is now extremely difficult. They have attempted to solve the "heresy" problem by drastic disfellowship moves. This will not solve their problem. They are facing a serious crisis; they too are in dire need of wisdom and counsel. Can we do less than bear patiently with them in this crucial hour and lend our support to the cause of unity and love among the brethren? Have you not faith to believe that God can then resolve matters in the best interest of His people?

  All prophecy is sure, and will be fulfilled. But the manner of its fulfillment and the particular nature of its application is conditional upon the response of the people involved. Your place in this prophecy is conditional upon your response to the counsel of the testimonies, some of which you have so far ignored in your procedure. Are you ready now to cast your lot with the people of God and submit to the discipline of His established organization?

  What I have said in this letter is just a beginning. You have yet no idea of the magnitude of the panorama of truth which God has shown me. Nor do you yet comprehend how God can fulfill the final delivering of the everlasting covenant to His remnant and bring about the final cleansing of the soul temple which you have been preaching for so long. Until the leading brethren have had a fair opportunity to accept their privilege, it must not go before the people. This is imperative.

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   It is God's providence that the leading brethren should be given every opportunity to accept their privilege of embracing and sanctioning the unfolding truth and of being instrumental in seeing that it gets to the people. It is also in the providence of God that His chosen servants must accept the discipline of brotherly love and cooperation and of church order. I made an earnest appeal to you seven years ago to exercise patience on their behalf and submit yourself to the discipline essential in the preparing the character of every individual for eternity. You did not see light in it then. But there is reason to believe there are brethren in leading positions who will now be ready to understand. This would be even more so if you could find it possible to humble yourself now and cast your lot with God's appointed agency. It is necessary in order to fulfill God's plan; only by such an evidence of desire and purpose to cooperate in unity and to be one voice can some of these brethren be given a fair chance to break through prejudice. God is preparing His people now to receive the expanding truth, and there will be men at headquarters who will see it, sooner or later. Our test of loyalty is revealed by our love of the brethren. We must not start out in an independent spirit. If matters need setting right at the head, it is for God to set them right.

  This is God's appeal to you, Brother Brinsmead; do not spurn it. If you reject God's entreaty this time, you may not have another chance.

  Here is the biggest decision you have ever made. And the hardest. But it can be made. Earnest prayers are ascending on your behalf. Make not your decision in haste. If you will surrender totally to God's will, He will lead you; and your decision will be the right one.

  Very sincerely your brother in Christ,

                                                                                                              J. Wilfred Johnson

  I will be happy to enter into further correspondence with you as time permits.

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                                                                                                             J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                                             March 16th, 1969 
Dear Brother Brinsmead, 

  I would like to add a few further thoughts to my letter of March 2; I trust you will not feel this to be an imposition upon your time. This is a very urgent matter.

  You say in your letter of March 16, 1962, "Do you think God's servants are going to let the cuckoo take over the nest without a protest in the name of the Lord. This is a crisis, brother and God wants men who will stand up at any cost to themselves. If the ministry will not do it, God is not hand-tied by them. If none of the laity will do it, He can still use the stones."

  That is to say, you believe that when you present your view to the brethren at headquarters (which view may be correct) and these brethren cannot accept your view, you may come to the conclusion that these men are therefore not God's chosen leaders but impostors who have usurped the leadership, and that you therefore have a right and an obligation to move out independently of them. How can you come to that conclusion in the light of the pertinent statements from the Spirit of Prophecy quoted below?

  3 T 414 - "The first step that such a one would take independently of the church should be regarded as a device of the enemy to deceive and destroy. God has made His church a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purpose and His will. He does not give an experience independent of the church; He does not give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church, while the church, Christ's body, is left in darkness."

  3 T 417 - " ...independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in your self and to trust your own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly estimate the judgment of your brethren, especially of those in the offices which God has appointed for the saving of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising; for in so doing he despises the voice of God."

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     5 T 293 - "There are a thousand temptations in disguise" prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

  RC 20 - "Those who think: that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

  TM 27-30 - "Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered, to erect His structure .... Then let everyone be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for our prosperity and success in advancing His cause. Those who have the unction from on high will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and union of action, and then the angels of God can co-operate with them."

  3 T 432 - "The Son of God identified Himself with the office and authority of His organized church. His blessings were to come through the agencies that He has ordained, thus connecting men with the channel through which His blessings come."

  AA 163 - "To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think: that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy, and overthrown."

  3 T 433 - "The church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by connection with His church upon the earth."

 39 

  AA 162 - "The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service show clearly that the Lord works though appointed agencies in His organized church."

  RC 60 (Notebook leaflets, the Church, No. 1, Dec. 24, 1905) "We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization, for this would mean apostasy from the truth."

  3 T 428 - "The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body."

  R & H, Sept. 20, 1892 - "There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port."

  You have a burden to bring the truth you have seen before the people of God. This is a justifiable burden. But in attempting to bring it before those people independently of the co-operation of the leading brethren, chosen as such in God's organized church, you are clearly taking into your own hands the prerogative of deciding that these leaders should be dishonored at this time. But it is not given for us to decide when an unfaithful leader should be deposed; this is God's prerogative.

  David was a man after God's own heart. While a fugitive from Saul's wrath, he knew God had appointed him to be king over Israel and that Saul was now essentially disqualified for that position; yet he would not so much as raise a finger against the Lord's unfaithful ruler; he patiently waited for God to bring about the deposition of Saul in His own good time. (I am not herewith saying that our denominational leaders are unfaithful and should be deposed; but if they were, or if some of them are, it is God's prerogative to deal with such a matter; and He will.)

40

  Brother Brinsmead, how dare you raise a public finger against God's appointed servants? If one has erred in his interpretation of the truth (and some have), it is not for us to decide that they are usurpers. It is for us to bear our testimony before them, that they may have opportunity to see wherein they have erred or have been shortsighted. Then the instruction is clear: if they as a united group see no light in our message, we are not to agitate it before the people. The terrible mess in the world today is the result of man's moving independently of God. Moving independently of God's appointed way is a dangerous Sin.

  When an individual brother has a fault, we may bear our testimony to him personally. If he fails to respond, we may take it to him by the mouth of a few witnesses. If he will not hear, we may take it before the church where he has his membership. And in such matters, the will of the church represents the will of God. (cf. 5 T 108; 3 T 428.)

  But in a matter involving new truth, we are admonished to lay it before the brethren of experience; every minister should have an opportunity and an obligation to study it. But, if the leading brethren decide it should not come before the people because they can see no light in it or because they feel the light contains dangerous error, then we are instructed to yield to their judgment. We cannot move out independently to agitate "new" ideas which are out of harmony with the consensus of the brethren of experience - even though the ideas may be correct. This is the test of discipleship which Jesus instituted. Anyone who cannot pass this test is jeopardizing his position of discipleship. (cf. John 13:35).

  Nevertheless, the sword of the Lord, whereby the test is brought forth, cuts both ways. The brethren at headquarters, the leaders of God's people, must also be put to the test of discipleship. It is their obligation also to give all views a thorough and honest investigation. If their conclusion is unjust, they heap judgment upon their own heads. But the executor of that judgment is not us; it is God. He will take charge. How is it that you cannot see this?

  Any man who is unable to esteem "other better than himself' and to "love" his brethren, faulty though they be, cannot long continue to be a channel of God's expanding truth. History has shown this.

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  Sister White at times bore strong testimonies against the leaders of God's church (some of which you have quoted in justification of your move), but she stayed by and yielded to their leadership, she did not start a separatist movement. This took great patience. For years she submitted herself to the apparently unnecessary delay in the finishing of the work, even to the point where some of her testimonies have taken on an air of inaccuracy; some of her statements today present what appears to be falsehood because of the passing of time. But God will overrule here also; these statements will yet be shown to be true.

  Such patient cooperation was her example and her testimony; if we do otherwise and move ahead of the angels who are leading God's people, as a people, we will have to retrace every step. (1 T 207).

  Brother Brinsmead, you have moved ahead of the people. Many of God's faithful ones in the church and in the leadership have been unable to follow. They believe in the fellowship of the brethren, in the unity of the faith. They believe in the test of discipleship-which test requires that we place our implicit trust in God as the True Leader of His people, and that we believe His promise to set matters right if they need setting right, even at the head of the work. Some of these men do indeed also believe most of your message, but they are true disciples of Jesus and refuse to go contrary to the counsel of His servants. You would do well to follow their example.

  It is no doubt in the providence of God to use to advantage the work which you have already done in stirring up the people to re-study the sanctuary truth; but you as an individual will not escape the test of the two-edged sword of the Lord anymore than will the leaders of our church escape it. May the Spirit of God move upon you to inspire you to rise to this challenge, that you may avoid the clutches of Satan which are even now set to ensnare you. You will not escape unless you are willing to yield to God's established plan.

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   Yes, I am aware that the prophetic message says God will raise up men in our midst to be instrumental in bringing the work to a close, and that if some leaders would prevent the truth from reaching the people; but these men who are raised up will not be men who will move away independently of the body, nor will the leaders be able to prevent the truth from reaching the people, because God will take the reins into His own hands if the leaders fail to rise to the challenge and pass their test! Can you not see this? If you cannot, you are ignoring some glaring statements in the Spirit of Prophecy.

  It has taken me many months to accumulate the courage to write these letters to you. Believe me, Brother, I am telling you the truth. I am not deceived; I am not deluded; I am not a crackpot; I am not beside myself. This is my testimony and appeal to you from Him who sends the Spirit of Truth. You may have no faith in me, but for your own sake I pray that you may have faith in the words of truth I have brought to you.

  May the blessing and persuasion of God attend you as you ponder thoroughly the things contained in these pages. This may be your last opportunity to surrender. The Laodicean message is for you as well as for the leading members of the church. Do not fail to heed it.

  With sincere and sympathetic brotherly love,

                                                                                                           (J. W. Johnson)



  P. S.
   I hope soon to have a paper on the two-edged sword of the Lord. This paper will interpret the strange situation which has come upon our church and will show its purpose in the scheme of things. *


_____________
* [The paper alluded to in the above postscript, entitled, The Two Edged Sword of the Lord, is known as manuscript or Section # 4, and is to be found on pages 132-162 of this book].

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                                                                                                           J. W. Johnson
                                                                                                          April 8th, 1969 
Elder H. W. Lowe 
Bible Research Committee 
Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters
6840 Eastern Avenue N.W. 

Dear Elder Lowe: 

  I was disappointed not to have had the privilege of meeting with you personally at the time of the Board meeting in February, but I can readily understand the problems which were involved. Apparently this proposed meeting was not in God's plan. [The Publishers assume the above was a board meeting at Canadian Union College].

  At the same time, I was sorry to note maneuvers somewhat similar to those of a former occasion described in my previous letter. I was again left completely in the dark concerning change of plans, and have since received no word of explanation. I do not understand this kind of administration.

  In my last letter I promised not to trouble you with any further manuscript material until I have a reasonably complete presentation. [This "last letter" above referred to is dated Jan. 13th, 1969, found on pages 190-193 of this book. {see pg. 192, item 4}]. This may prove to be a very difficult promise to fulfill, since we are dealing with an expanding and unfolding situation. At the moment, there is something more pressing than the preparation of a coherent manuscript. The situation which has arisen in our church is rapidly accelerating to crisis proportions. It is high time now for certain aspects of truth to be placed before you.

  Many years back, when God began to unfold His message to me and the purpose of my life, He brought to me a limited understanding of the nature of my work. One of the aspects which was made clear was that His advancing truth would not be revealed to merely one individual but that it would be distributed, here a little and there a little. This would give rise to question concerning the validity of some of the elements: how could one know whether an element were genuine truth or not?

44

  Of course, we have the answer to this: If it speak not according to the law and the testimony, there is no light in it. Nevertheless, we all know that two people can compare an item with the same measuring rod - the Word of God - and each arrive at opposing conclusions; and this may not be the result of one person's being a "good Christian" or a "good Bible student" and the other's not being so. For the facets of God's truth are so numerous that it is not too difficult in many instances to build a case for one side of a controversial point and at the same time to build an equally satisfactory case for the other side.

  God showed me that the nature of my work would involve a type of authentication of new points of truth. The panorama which He was bringing me would make identification of the various elements possible. If an element of proposed truth should coincide with a segment of the panorama or harmonize with that panorama, it would be obvious that such an element was genuine, whether it had been revealed by the Spirit of Truth to the person concerned or whether the devil had for some purpose of his own managed to bring it to him. Furthermore, it is not necessarily true that if a person presents one vital point of genuine truth, then everything else he presents must also be true. Each element must be considered on its own relationship to the total pattern. (See Section 2 of the manuscripts.) [Section 2 of the manuscript hereto alluded is entitled, The Nature of Expanding Truth, and may be found on pages 73-91 of this book].

  I learned further that the work to which I have been appointed includes the task of identifying the meaning in divergent and conflicting elements of truth. Several of these exist in our denomination today. Two equally respected men of God have divergent or opposing views, and controversy results. Yet each man may be correct in his own right, when all circumstances are considered. A potential harmony exists between the two views; and sometimes there may even be possible an integration of the views into a more comprehensive unit; and a larger and more meaningful picture may then emerge.

  But our brethren do not seem to recognize this situation. And thus it is that the sword of the Lord comes upon His people. It is a two-edged sword; it cuts both ways. Two distinct views may be held; two camps may arise and a contentious issue develop. Yet both views may be tenable and satisfactorily defendable. Hence a test of fellowship is thus set up between the two camps.

45

  A most serious example of this at the present time is the matter of allegiance to the church organization and its leadership in contrast to independent action and experience, and independent discovery of truth and the proclamation of that truth. Supporting statements can be found to substantiate each view.

  The purpose of the two-edged characteristic of the sword of the Lord (which is the word that issues from His mouth) is the confrontation of a testing trial. (See Manuscript # 1) [Manuscript Section 1, alluded to above, is entitled, A New Development of Truth, and may be found on pages 54-72 of this book]. Each of us is to experience many trials of our faith, which are designed to strengthen that faith. Some of these trials will involve the apparently contradictory aspects of the Word, including the Spirit of Prophecy writings. And if we permit ourselves to harbor sin, even in its subtler forms of pride and self-righteousness, we may give place to Satan by beginning to question the wisdom of God in thus presenting His truth. Failing that, we may find no faith in the view which opposes our own, and count it a delusion of the devil. More often we do not admit to questioning God's paradoxes, but we deliberately close that one of our spiritual eyes with which we might have seen the new viewpoint, and we look merely with the other eye at the old viewpoint, which we prefer to hold, usually on the basis of personal security.

  But the sword of the Lord is to become a trial, to test us and prove what mettle we are of. It is indeed a trial when we discover a gem of truth and then find that it is vigorously opposed by brethren of experience who refuse to open the other eye. For then our duty becomes perplexing. One set of statements from the testimonies indicates that we must yield to the judgment of these experienced brethren and lay down our new discovery, while another set of statements from those same testimonies indicates that at times God would have us rise to the urgency of the hour and proclaim the truth we have discovered; for the light is not to be hid under a bushel.

  Now herein lies the trial. The brother to whom the Lord has revealed a new gem of truth not acceptable to the brethren of experience is admonished to yield to their judgment. He is to esteem others better than himself; he is to love and respect his brethren and subdue his personal conviction in favor of group discipline. On the other hand, the brethren of experience and leaders of the church are admonished to

46

permit every minister to study the point of controversy; and they must exercise extreme wariness, lest they be led into deception on the one hand or lest on the other hand they permit bias and prejudice to enter, either against the message or the messenger, and thus reject truth which God may be sending them, and thereby heap horrible guilt upon themselves. And the matter becomes a test of personal conviction versus submission to the group or leaders. (Some statements from the Spirit of Prophecy presenting each of these responsibilities are quoted elsewhere. The topic is capable of expansion.)

  God has now commissioned me to bring this testimony before you. I am also enclosing a copy of the testimony which is being sent to Brother Robert Brinsmead. The testimony for him contains further information, which will help to give a more complete understanding of the situation. Brother Brinsmead will have a tremendous problem on his hands to meet his part of the testimony. You will have little less in meeting yours.

  Brother Brinsmead was given an appeal seven years ago to make a decision in favor of submission to the leading brethren, but he could not find it possible at that time. He is now being given one more appeal, and I hope it may also become an opportunity. It can become an opportunity for him only if the brethren at headquarters are willing to set aside their measure of prejudice and accept their part of the responsibility to strive toward a restoration of harmony in doctrine among our people. This is the trial which is to come upon them also, to try their faith in the order of God's program, whereby God does indeed raise up men from among us who are endowed with expanding understandings of truth. They, too, will find this a difficult test to meet, if they accept the counsel; for it is not predetermined that all the viewpoints held by our leading brethren are without error.

  Robert Brinsmead is guilty of personal errors and shortcomings. It is for God to discipline him and bring him through the purifying fire. And He will do this, if our brother is submissive to it. But there is a growing number of respectable members in our denomination who are coming to the conclusion that some of the men at headquarters and elsewhere are themselves not without error in this controversy. This would seem apparent from the evidence of theological differences, and

47

from the manner in which certain brethren are dealt with, when they are called in question. These differences are hardly unexpected, however, in view of the fact that the shaking is destined to penetrate right to the top.

  In the appeal to Brother Brinsmead, he has been urged to surrender his personal independence, insofar as it puts him out of harmony with the leaders of the church. This is a gross undertaking, and will be practically impossible for him to manage unless he has some assurance that the leading brethren are willing to face up to their share in the business of reconciliation. And this may mean the renunciation of some position formerly held in a matter of theology or policy.

  In this connection, the following statements must not be overlooked:

  RH 12/20 - 1892 - "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all of our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible .... No true doctrine will loose anything by close investigation." (But a false one will.)

  Ed. 171- "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point;... "

  COL 108 - "His (Christ's) words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures."

  R & H 3/18 -1890 - "To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God."

  RC 20 - "Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

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  GW 301, 302 - "We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of."

  R & H 4/1-1890 - "To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean' message is applicable to you."

  CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness."

  MB 33 - "God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber."

  R&H 8/27-1889 - "We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come, instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expect it."

  R & H 10/21- 1890 - "May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of His messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warning and admonitions, the same results will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel." (Their house was left unto them desolate. The history of this experience could be repeated; and this will depend upon the choices of the leaders of Israel. cf. TM 116; Matt. 24: 15; Dan. 9:27.)
 
49
 
  If one who receives new light from the Lord must not be permitted to reveal that light because his brethren cannot comprehend it or because they regard it as false light; if he must deny his personal conviction any expression because he comes under the discipline of the leading brethren; if he must subdue his knowledge of truth and wait for God to deal with the halting, leading brethren; then should not those who are in leading positions also accept their responsibility to permit an open and unbiased investigation of that light by each and every one who desires to do this? And should such one not be permitted to do this without risk of coming under censure and the threat of being disfellowshipped? Should one endowed with new light be expected to wait indefinitely for the brethren to wake up to their responsibility? What is the meaning of the following words:

  GW 303 – “We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people. ...The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way that clearer light shall not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done."

  TM 106, 107 - "Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing the evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people if these leading brethren do not accept them. ...Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."

  TM 69, 70 - "We see here that men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be the teachers of Bible doctrine. ...But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines....

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   "But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions because I do not believe them."

TM 106 - "The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits - because it is truth."

  TM 105 - "We are not to think, as did the Jews that our ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said."

  The time has come when reconciliation should be made. Our leaders today need more than ever before to humble themselves before God and their fellow brethren in the church on this matter of what is truth and to whom God is revealing it. There needs to be a change of attitude toward the messengers of truth who may still be afflicted with shortcomings or faults, even errors and sins. Instead of relegating every dissident voice to the realm of Satan and avoiding its owner like the plague, there needs to be a closer fellowship among all who profess and give evidence of a genuine faith in the Word of God and its teachings, even though their understanding of that Word may contain differences. How can we ever come into the unity of the faith if we insist on ostracizing from our fellowship everyone whose beliefs are not confined to those only which are sanctioned by some of the leading brethren and theologians? Are these men the only depositories of truth?

  Jesus tolerated Judas to the very end. Not until the harvest are the tares to be separated - and the wheat is then gathered out! How can the brethren pass such radical judgment on elements of truth which are so glaringly substantiated? How can they be so severe in disposing of those who would rise up to give the people these truths? Is it because they detect some critical remarks, or some errors? Let us be careful not to make a beam out of the mote in our brother's eye, for the beam may in fact be in our own eye. Let us rather anoint our eyes with eye salve

51

and set about to heal the wounds caused by the unnecessary warfare in our midst.  

  Do these words sound severe? We are in a severe crisis. 

  I am not unfaithful to the Advent cause. I have not been propagating false doctrine. For many years I have contained momentous views of truth because our people were not ready to receive them. I have not supported the Awakening movement, apart from paying for the materials I have ordered, that I may "owe no man anything." I do not agree with everything that is taught by this group of brethren, nor do I agree with some of their activities, nor am I pleased with some of their attitudes. But these souls are as precious in God's sight as is any leader in the Advent church. And many of the things they are teaching are vitally true, and I have known them for years, long before they were proclaimed by Brinsmead.

  Why do we not acknowledge them and join in proclaiming those things that are true? Could we not be more patient and thorough and extensive in our investigation of what is presented as truth? Could we not watch with these imperfect souls, who ourselves are yet imperfect, and interact and intercommunicate and "work" one with another, that we may draw together rather than apart, that our minds may come to meet and not become estranged?

  Must we totally conform to the rigid structure of our denominational "process" and disinherit every erring child? How would we fare if God did that to us? If we are willing to spend large sums of time, and energy, and money to reach souls in all levels of world society, should we not be willing to go into the highways and byways in the interest of these sincere students of the Word, and help them to realize that we are indeed all of one blood, and that we are as interested in discovering and overcoming our errors and shortcomings as they are in pointing them out to us?

  You will say, "we must deal sternly with heresy." God will also deal sternly with sin; but He bears long with sinners, that none may be lost who can yet be saved. And we must first be sure of what is heresy, that we not be found fighting against truth. And we ought not to be quick to set up a wall of partition between us, but rather to establish a closer fellowship, if perchance we may discover that we ourselves have been in error.

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  Let the ban on open study of the awakening message be lifted, that all may investigate without fear of retaliation and jeopardy of their church fellowship; then the leaders will not hold the destiny of the members in their hands; then the sword of the Lord can accomplish its appointed task.

  This is the testimony which God would have me bring to you at this time. And how I am straitened until I can bring to you the fuller knowledge of those things which He has shown me; for in them will be the answers to many puzzling and perplexing questions which arise from our present position and our doctrines and our future destiny. In due time we shall see.

  If this testimony is heeded, the Holy Spirit will be permitted to do His work unfettered by organized prejudice; and the matter of bringing the shaking to a head and of preparing the saints to stand through the final conflict will be expedited. For there would result a situation in which every member would enter an experience that would prove whether he is worthy and able to subdue self and stand for truth regardless of friends, position, physical security, or other consequences. The day of the Lord would be hastened, the abhorrent rising tide of evil would be cut shorter, and we would soon be in the kingdom.

  If this is not done, the controversy will wax sore, the evil day will be prolonged and intensified, and the leaders of the work will place themselves in the unenviable position of assuming responsibility for withholding or prejudicing against the free investigation of truth, with all that this entails. Read again the quotations - [on pages 47 thru 50 of this book.]

  A copy of this letter will go to Brother Brinsmead, and copies of God's appeal to him are included with this letter to you. Thus each party to the controversy will be aware of the appeal to his opponent. Both must be studied to get the true picture. For the sake of the cause of the Lord, may you both be reconciled one to the other and to the truth.

  If the widening rift in our church is to be healed and if many involved in the controversy are to be spared deep regrets in the future, now is the time it must be done. If it is not done now, it will not be done; and God will take matters into His own hands to bring His truth to His people. His method of doing this is clearly defined in the foregoing statements.

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  Elder Lowe, I believe it is possible for the two sides of this controversy to come together, but it will take tremendous amounts of grace, humility, and forgiveness to do it. Again, the reconciliation may be made on a denominational organization basis; it may be made in this way. If it is, there will be brethren at headquarters and other leaders who will have to exercise great personal self-control and submissiveness to their fellow-brethren (as they are demanding now of other members). This will become their test of discipleship. If it is not done in a united way, many of those who are unwilling to make a personal and independent investigation will be deprived of sharing the unfolding truth which God is trying to bring to them.

  I have herewith delivered the testimony as it was given to me. I have not been enlightened concerning the details of procedure. May the Spirit of God direct you to deal with it according to the Divine Plan. I stand ready to cooperate in whatever way I may be able.

  Sincerely, your brother in the faith,

                                                                                                            (J. W. Johnson)


[Note: The foregoing letter is the last of seven letters (available to the publishers at this time), which were written to the General Conference by J. Wilfred Johnson. The six letters preceding the above, are found within Section 5 of this book, pages 163 thru 193].

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SECTION 1



A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH

[Manuscript # 1]



Written by

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)



"I counsel thee to ... anoint thine eyes with eyesalve." (Rev. 3: 18)

55
 
A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH DIVINE APPOINTMENTS

  At the age of twelve, when Jesus was gently reprimanded by His parents for not informing them of His whereabouts in the temple, He minced no words in acknowledging His identity and declaring His purpose in life. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49). His statement reveals that He was the Son of God and that He had an appointed task to perform.

  A designated work awaits every person who is born into the world, an assignment that no other can fulfill in quite the same way. To him who waits upon the Lord the nature of his work will be made known. 5T 463 - "God has given to every man his work. Let us each wait on God, and He will teach us how to work, and what work we are best adapted to perform."

  5T 464 - "Your duty cannot be shifted to another. No one but yourself can do your work. If you withhold your light, someone must be left in darkness through your neglect." (cf. 2SG 245, 3Q7l:l02)

  5T 463 - "Yet none are to start out in an independent spirit, to promulgate new theories. The workers should be in harmony with the truth, and with their brethren. There should be counsel and cooperation. But they are not to feel that at every step they must wait to ask some higher officer if they may do this or that. Look not to man for guidance but to the God of Israel."

  It is to fulfill the appointment made clear to me more than twenty five years ago [about 1942] that I now set about to bear this testimony. The long delay has been necessary to provide the required personal discipline, education, and enlightenment, and to grant the chosen people of God the experiences needed to prepare them for receiving the testimony. We are all so slow to learn.

IT 207 - "The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that

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are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead His people no faster than they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them."

  When the solemn ramifications of announcing my commission are honestly surveyed, there is grave reason for hesitancy in making that declaration. But my task cannot be accomplished without such identification.

  Only those who recognized and accepted Jesus as the person of Christ, the Son of God, were able to comprehend His message; those who found it impossible to acknowledge Him as the Messiah of prophecy saw little importance in His message and could not benefit from its power. Similarly, only those who accept Sister White as a chosen messenger of God can receive the full benefits of her testimonies. It can be no different now.

  Verily it has been no small thing for me to adjust to my obligation in this matter; verily it will be no small thing for my brethren to adjust to theirs. For I have not failed to recognize that my personal shortcomings and past errors will be thoroughly utilized to discount the truths which God has given me.

  Nevertheless, God can transform stumbling blocks into stepping stones. And it will be comforting for many sincere but imperfect believers in Christ to learn that God accepts a man, faulty though he be, on the basis of his penitence and faith and not on the basis of his apparent righteousness. Divine appointments are given to sinners saved by the unmerited favors of grace.

  Nor am I ignorant of the fact that my personal shortcomings will not be the only stumbling-block in the way of accepting the things contained in these pages. Our people have been so generously alerted to the dangers involved in embracing new "theories" - the warning coming particularly through our publications and ministry - that any major presentation of purported truth must inevitably meet with suspicion, skepticism, serious misgivings and stern resistance.

  We all recognize the reason these warnings have been given and thoroughly agree with their need. (See the series of four editorials appearing in the late January and early February, 1968, issues of the Review and Herald, entitled "The Church and Heresy." Article Number 4, February 8, is particularly pertinent to the individual

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student.) Without heeding these warnings, we would be in grave danger of being "taken in" by one or other of the great deceiver's many and diverse deceptions. Our church history does not lack in numbers of examples in this regard.

  Nevertheless, we should be careful not to veer dangerously far to the other extreme. The warnings are against new theories; they are not against new truth. We have also been warned not to assume the attitude toward new doctrine which was manifested by the Jewish leaders in Christ's day. (GW 301 - 1915). We are admonished that every minister should study and check any new truth which may be brought forward.

  GW 300 - "Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it. We are all under obligation to God to know what he sends us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine, - 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' If the light presented meets this test, we are not to refuse to accept it because it does not agree with our ideas." (See also GW 301,303.) 
 
CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness."

  We should become clear in our thinking, however, concerning the intended application of these warnings. They are to ensure our being on guard against new theories based on segments of Scripture passages, applied fragmentally and out of context, and resulting in conclusions which are inconsistent with the total message of the Scriptures. They

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 are not intended to prevent us from opening our minds to the deeper meanings contained in the plain statements of Scripture, nor from grasping the comprehensive relationships which exist among our doctrines. He who applies these warnings in a wrong way is no better off than the one who fails to heed them at all.

  The warnings are particularly applicable in our time to prevent us from accepting Satan's amazingly convincing spirit manifestations, manifestations through which he provides scientific evidence of his superior ability to use the powers of the natural world in "supernatural" ways, imitating the work of the Saviour in one way or another, and thereby pretending to be that divine Person operating for the benefit of mankind. In ways tinged with supernatural evidences, he delivers his messages through the medium of human minds. And through his superior knowledge of the laws of nature, he produces marvelous and fearful sights in the heavens and amazingly spectacular physical healings, sometimes making it appear that they are of supernatural and divine origin.

  The messages he brings through his "mediums" are sprinkled with solemn and powerful truth; but their real origin is strikingly identified by such brazen statements as are found in current publications, which quote words directly as spoken through a medium by a self-identified "disembodied spirit." Great emphasis is placed on the central issue of the story that there is no death, and that the world is now ready for this truth. A man in passing from the world-phase of life to the other side will not feel the loss of his cast-off body, but the thinking part of his soul will live on without the besetting problems of earth. Eternal life is verified.

  It will be necessary for each one to personally apply the tests for truth. Let not a misplaced caution cause you to lose the messages contained in the following pages. They did not come by the Satanic counterfeit methods alluded to above, but by means (described elsewhere in this manuscript) set forth in the Word of God. "The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves." (GW 301 - 1915). By their fruits they will be known.

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PLAUSIBILITY OF A NEW DEVELOPMENT OF TRUTH IN OUR DAY

  While we as a people may have anticipated that God would work in a manner out of the common order of things, few (if any) have been looking for a major breakthrough in the expansion of truth. Nevertheless, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy have adequately paved the way for such an event to occur. And the special work which is to be done thereby has been clearly foretold in the Scriptures. A few pertinent statements follow.

  GC 609 - "Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency." No one can deny that God's people have a need at this time or that the final crisis through which they must pass is an emergency.

  COL 127 - "In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it." No one can deny that the generation of Sister White's day has passed; we are today a new generation, and we can expect a new development of truth.

  COL 78 - "For His church in every generation God has a special truth and a special work. ...At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world-conforming church, they are opposed and despised."

  COL 133 - "The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols. The gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption, its truths are opened to the understanding. Far more than we do, it is our privilege to understand these wonderful themes. We are to comprehend the deep things of God."

  GW 310 - "We must not for a moment think that there is no more light, no more truth to be given us.... "

  SC 12 - "God intends that even in this life truth shall be ever unfolding to His people."

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  (Since the references regarding the special work to be done at this time will not be understood too well until at least part of the succeeding testimony has been studied, they will be omitted at this point.) 

  For centuries men have pursued the quest for truth. To the diligent seeker, the reward is certain. The angel's promise to Daniel that in the time of the end, knowledge would be increased - is not now lacking in fulfillment. Never before in history has such a feverish effort toward the discovery of truth and the increase of knowledge been put forth. But most of this effort is in the material world.

  There was a time in the early years of the Advent movement when diligent searching for truth was the order of the day; and mainly through His servant, Sister White, God brought an expanded understanding of the gospel to His people. Since this messenger was laid to rest in the summer of 1915, her voice has continued to be heard through the writings which she has left as a heritage to God's people till the end of time.

  Before she died, she said that sufficient truth had already been given to see us through to the kingdom. Perhaps, therefore, we may feel justified in thinking that we are "rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" in the way of further truth. Yet that same message of the True Witness to our Laodicean church which declares our lukewarmness also advises us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve. We must need better vision and clearer insight.

  Since the passing of Sister White we have considered our major task to be that of bringing "the truth" to those who know it not; and we have most certainly been justified in this conclusion. Therefore we have been busy, very busy, doing our task.

  In fact, we have been so busy perpetuating the forms and systems of our organization, so that we can continue to disseminate the truth delivered to us, that most of us have failed to notice how much of "our" message we really do not understand. Nor do we seem concerned about understanding those occasional hazy, obscure, or contradictory items which have from time to time come to our attention. We do not generally trouble ourselves to investigate them. Whatsoever things we do not comprehend, we dismiss as unimportant, because (we say) "it has not been revealed." What we really ought to learn is that simply because it has not yet been revealed to "us" is no reason for concluding

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it has not been revealed to someone else. We need a humbler outlook on the matter. 

  AA 283 - "If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God will be guided by the divine hand."

  COL 35 - "He will make plain His word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart.... All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth."

  COL 129 - "...If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God, as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally."

  COL 114 - ''No one can search the Scriptures in the Spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When a man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His word. If men would be obedient, they would understand (1) the plan of God's government... (2) The mystery of redemption, (3) the incarnation of Christ, (4) His atoning sacrifice would not be as they are now, vague in our minds. They would be not only better understood, but altogether more highly appreciated." (Numerals supplied)

  Ed. 171 - "God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His word shall be ever unfolding. While the secret things belong unto the Lord our God, those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.' The idea that certain portions of the Bible can not be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and oft repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth....God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving."

  The special message for this generation has been long overdue. Why has it not come before? Primarily, the people have not been ready for it, and have therefore not fulfilled all of the conditions stated in the

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foregoing quotations. Their attitude toward new truth has been one of skepticism, and perhaps with some justification. 

  For Sister White has told us the devil will counterfeit everything which God is about to do [cf. FLB 326 & GC 464.5]. Could it be that he has done such a good job of counterfeiting during this past generation that he has succeeded in conditioning our people into stoical refusal of anything "new"?

  So many would-be messengers of light have subsequently been relegated to the ranks of the deceived that anyone now arising with a claim to a new message is certain to be regarded with suspicion and pity, if not with condemnation. This is because of the powerful delusion with which Satan has supposedly managed to encircle him and by which he has supposedly insulated him against rational correction. For anyone to "get through" with a new message from God today would appear to be well-nigh impossible, especially when such messenger exhibits his human fallibility with faults, failures and errors.

  Unquestionably, attempts have been made to bring forth new truth, but the impact has been seriously cushioned and practically neutralized. Can we really be certain that all these carriers were the messengers of Satan? Or were some of them genuine when they first appeared, but lost their way as a result of the barrage of inconsistent opposition? Remember, Jones and Waggoner were endorsed by Sister White; their apostasy came later, and perhaps with reasonable cause in part. And William Miller was a messenger of God, though he failed to see the Sabbath truth.

  RH 12/20-1892 - "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible....No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." 

 While we have been triumphantly counting our denominational success in terms of numbers of baptisms by water, we have not been so diligent in recording baptisms by the Holy Ghost. In the days of the early church, receiving the Holy Ghost was an important and recognizable experience. When one is baptized with the Holy Ghost, he will receive of the gifts and benefits of that Spirit; and one of these is guidance "into all truth." (John 16:13).


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SCRIPTURE TRUTH IS NOT YET EXHAUSTED 


  Ed. 171- "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings. The full radiance is beyond our vision.


  "As we contemplate the great things of God's word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge. As we gaze, the vision widens; stretched out before us we behold a boundless, shoreless sea." 



THIS PASSAGE IS MAJESTIC - HAVE YOU TIME TO READ IT AGAIN

 

  Some explanations of Scripture passages (and Spirit of Prophecy writings) which were at one time quite adequate to meet the contemporary needs of earlier Adventists, have in these changing times and in the advancing experiences of the remnant become less able to meet our needs. As we will see, a new unfolding of truth is in the offing. 

 

  COL 129 - "The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. ... But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form." 



  Let's face it, Brethren: the pioneers of the Advent movement have all gone; no one present at the famous conference in 1856 remains to become a subject of the seven last plagues, nor anyone to be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated. (See 1st T 131). A new generation has arisen. Three score years and ten are determined in the life span of man. (Ps. 90:10). Sister White, the young pioneer of the first generation of Adventists, passed to her rest in 1915, seventy years after the rise of the sanctuary message. We are now nearing the end of the second generation. And God has a message of truth especially adapted to meet the needs of His people in this closing hour of the last generation. Only their ears will be tuned to hear it.


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  Ezek. 9:3-6 - "And he called to the man clothed with linen (the righteousness of Christ) which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: ... but come not near any man upon whom is the mark." (Rev. 19:8, cf. 2 Tim. 4:8; Phil. 3:9). 

 

  God's people know that this passage refers to the sealing of the saints, and that the sealing is a settling into the truth (4BC 1161), made possible by the reception of the Holy Spirit of promise. (Eph. l:13; 4:30; 7BC 980). They also know that the shaking or separating which follows along with it, will be effected through the refusal of some to bear the straight testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. (EW270). 

 

  The True Witness is Jesus. (Rev. 1:1, 2, 5). Therefore the testimony of the True Witness is the testimony of Jesus. And the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19: 10). Therefore the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans involves the message of Revelation 3:14-22 as it unfolds to them through the Spirit of Prophecy. 

 

God has promised a new unfolding of truth to this generation. The One who is to bring this truth is that Spirit who speaks the Laodicean message. (Rev. 3:22). The Spirit who speaks the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans is the same Spirit who speaks to all the other churches down through history. (cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13). 

 

  But the Spirit who brings the testimony of Jesus to the churches is the Spirit of truth whom Jesus promised to send to His disciples for that very purpose. The voice of Jesus to His remnant people is the still small voice of the Spirit of God speaking as the voice of the Spirit of truth. (John 16: 13 -" Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:...") And His voice will be heard as the voice of prophecy. And the everlasting covenant is delivered to the remnant saints. (EW 285, cf. PP 372 - the new covenant is delivered to God's people by the voice of His Holy Spirit,


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which coming to many people sounds like many waters. cf. Rev. 17: 15; Titus 3:5. These thoughts will be clarified more fully later). 


  Thus, the message of the True Witness to the Laodiceans is delivered to them by the Spirit of Prophecy. It is the Holy Spirit which delivers the testimony of Jesus to them. (1st Cor. 2:10; John 15:26; Rev. 3:22). The Holy Spirit is the voice of God to the seven churches.


  That the remnant saints will possess the Spirit of Prophecy as a personal gift is made clear from the following comparison:


  Rev. 19: 10 - "And I fell at his feet to worship him (the one speaking to John). And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren (it does not say here that he was an angel but rather that he belonged to the brethren of John) that have the testimony of Jesus: (that is, who have the Spirit of Prophecy!) worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."


  The one who spoke to John was one of his brethren who had the Spirit of Prophecy. But who are the brethren of John endowed with the Spirit of Prophecy? 

 

  Rev 12:17 - "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (which is the Spirit of Prophecy)." 

 

  The brethren who have the testimony of Jesus are the true members of the remnant church. And in the same manner that they keep the commandments of God they also possess the Spirit of Prophecy. But there are two stages or levels of commandment keeping - one according to the terms of the old covenant and one according to those of the new covenant. Having the commandments on two tables of stone and attempting to "keep" them in order to merit the favor of God was the great lesson of the old covenant history of Israel. If they could have done it, the covenant would not have been found faulty; for God did honor them when they obeyed, and He did leave them to the consequences of their own disobedience when they persistently refused to honor His word. And persistently they did refuse.


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   For this reason, God in the New Testament set about to fulfill the terms of the new or everlasting covenant, as promised in the Old Testament. (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-13). Here God promises to plant His law in their hearts; to give them a full revelation of His character, that they all might know Him; and to forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more. Under the new covenant, forgiveness of sins is obtained by offering the sacrifices of righteousness and putting one's trust in the Lord. (Ps. 4:4,5; 1st John 1:9). Not by sacrifices, but in a broken spirit and a contrite heart. (Ps. 51:16, 17).* The broken and contrite heart is a gift provided by the terms of the new covenant, which new heart enables the sinner to walk in the statutes of God. (Ezek. 11:19,20; 36:26,27,31; Jer. 32:39,40) * Micah 6:6-8. 

 

  Thus when the voice spoke to John the Revelator, saying that the remnant would keep the commandments of God, he meant that they would not be "kept" merely on tables of stone and preserved in a physical ark; but they would be planted in the new heart of the individual who had discovered the true character of God. And this transplantation would be accomplished by the agency of the Holy Spirit. 

 

  PP 372 - "The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart." (See also CH 500; Titus 3:5; Eph. 1:17, 18; AA 426). 

 

  Hence, the Holy Spirit is the Messenger of the new covenant. (Mal. 3:1-3, cf. AA 426). And hence, the remnant church will not merely possess the "testimony of Jesus" on the pages of the writings of the Bible, or of Sister White, or of any other modern prophet; but the Spirit of Prophecy will become an individual heritage of each saint on whom is bestowed the latter rain of the Spirit of truth. Thus the voice of God which delivers the everlasting covenant will sound like many waters; for waters are people. (EW 285, cf. Rev. 17: 15). 

 

  This is the mark or seal which is to be placed in the foreheads of the elect, and which settles them into the truth. (Eph. 1: 13; 4BC 1161; 7BC 980). It is the Holy Ghost, coming in the form of the Spirit of Truth, which will bring the testimony of Jesus to the modern-day disciples. (John 15:26). It is the Holy Ghost, coming in the fullness of the latter rain, who will create the integration of the new panorama of truth in the minds of the saints; and thereby seal them with an unmovable conviction of the validity of that testimony of Jesus, thereby


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preparing them to stand through the last great conflict. To them is delivered the everlasting covenant by the still small voice of the Spirit of God; the commandments of God are written in their hearts, and the testimony of Jesus which comes by the creative power of the Spirit of Truth seals them in their foreheads. As the Spirit of God moved upon the waters at creation, so it will move in the foreheads of the saints to regenerate in them (who are the new body of Christ, His living temple not made with hands) the mind and image of Christ. (Col. 1:24-28; Eph. 5:23, 30-32; 2:21, 22; Tit. 3:5). 

 

  Only by means of the gift of the Spirit can we have access to the Father, by the intercession of Jesus. (Eph. 2: 18, cf. EW 55). Only by this gift can the man with the writer's inkhorn be guided into "all" truth and restore all things (Mark 9:12) and be shown of things to come (John 16: 13); only by means of this gift will those who read the words of his testimony be able to comprehend the new unfolding of truth from the Word of God which that testimony describes. (Eph. l:17, 18) 

 

  Therefore I said, only their ears will be tuned to hear it. Even now, those of you who have been elected to receive the mark of the Spirit of Truth in your foreheads have already experienced a deeper insight into the meaning of some Scripture passages and you have seen relationships among points of truth that you had not noticed before. You are in the process of becoming sealed and of receiving Jesus' new name. (Rev. 3: 12) The Messenger of the covenant is coming to you as a member in His new temple. (Mal. 3:1; 1st Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 2:21,22; Rev. 21:3, cf. lst Cor. 12:27). You are receiving the name of God and of “New Jerusalem" in your forehead, and you are becoming a member of the body of Christ of which He is the Head. This body becomes united in the communion of the marriage of Christ to the New Jerusalem. (Eph. 5:23, 30-32, cf. Rev. 21:9, 10; Col. 1:18; 1st Cor. 10:16,17; cf. 12:12, 13; 11:24,25; EW 25,280). 

 

  Some of "God's" people will not bear this testimony, and this will bring about the sifting or shaking. (EW 270) For those who refuse to believe the testimony cannot be sealed (Eph. 1:13), because they have thereby grieved away the Spirit which would have sealed them (Eph 4:30) by bringing to them the spirit of wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment from the Father (Eph. 1:17, 18) necessary to produce a complete understanding and to provide conviction in total and a settling into the truth. (4 BC 1161). 



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  The Bible says God is going to bring a severe trial upon His people; they will be measured by the rod of His mouth, and the wicked will be smitten with the breath of His lips. 


  Ezek. 21:9-13 - "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord: Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter;...this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man; for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel; terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people:...Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn (slight) even the rod?" 



THE SWORD OF THE LORD WHICH WILL CAUSE THIS TRIAL IS THE WORD OF HIS MOUTH

 

  Rev. 2: 16 - "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." cf. Heb. 4: 12; & DA 108 - "For the word of God is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." cf. also Rev. 1: 16 - "... and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:..." 

 

  Jesus is called "a rod." (Isa. 11:1). But He is also called "the Word" which was made flesh. (John 1:1,14) Isaiah 11:14 harmonizes these two statements by saying, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." The rod is then also the word of His mouth. (cf. DA 108 & 111).


  But how can the sword (which is His word) contemn (i. e. slight or by-pass and scorn) the rod (which is also His word)? In this way: His word comes through a definite channel; it comes by the Holy Spirit of truth through the gift of prophecy to a human prophet, who then delivers it or records it in human words. Hence the sword might contemn the human rod; for no human channel has ever been faultless, save only Jesus. Further, a human prophet may be a channel to utter words which he himself does not understand.*


___________
*[Note: "Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. ...from age to age {etc}." GC 344.2]


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  Thus this human rod is contemned. And the word of God may be spoken through one of His ministers and be received and understood by a hearer in a manner which goes deeper and broader than that minister either intended or understood himself. Thus the sword slights (contemns) the minister (the rod or spokesman of the word). The sword of the Lord, when delivered by the rod of His mouth (which is the human agent), measures not only the receivers of the word but the human rod which delivers it. (cf. Micah 6:9; 7:14; DA 112). 

 

  It was the humanity of Jesus as the voice of God which was called "a rod" in Isaiah 11: 1. The sword could not contemn this Rod; therefore, the rod referred to in the prophecy of Ezekiel is the human rod of Christ's inheritance - Israel. (Ter. 10:16). It is the human carrier or messenger of truth who will receive the rod of His mouth which is to measure the temple of His inheritance in His saints. (Rev. 11: 1, cf. 3-5). By this Rod their inmost souls will be laid bare, and the true will be separated from the false. 

 

  The Word of God is going to be sharpened and furbished; that is, through the gift of prophecy the testimony of the True Witness will be made bright, clear, sharp, and penetrating. A new perception, a new unfolding of truth will be brought before His people to try them, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. (Heb.4:12) 

 

  Only those who have been earnest seekers for truth (not the self-satisfied, lukewarm students spoken of in the Laodicean warning); who have been humbly willing to learn as a little child (not thinking they know all that is presently needed to know); who have fortified their minds with the truth of the Bible (including the Spirit of Prophecy writings) and with God's dealings with His people in history and science (which dealings also constitute the Word of God; see COL 126 - "The great storehouse of truth is the Word of God, - the written Word, the book of nature, and the book of experience in God's dealing with human life.") - only those minds will possess the materials needed in the construction of the sharpened and furbished integrations of truth; only in those minds can the Holy Spirit create and integrate new panoramas, which crystallizes their conviction and seals them.


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  You cannot create a certain kind of cake until you have the correct ingredients available in the mixing bowl; and not until the heat energy of the oven is applied to the batter in the pan does the cake actually come into existence. Similarly, it is not possible for a new structure of integrated truth to be created in the mind unless the required elements are present; nor can the Holy Spirit "move" in the forehead to create that structure if those elements are not there. This is the reason the latter rain cannot fall on one who has failed to heed the Laodicean warning. (cf. FE 338.9 - 339.2). 

 

  Thus, the sealing mark of the Spirit of promise comes only to those who sigh and cry for the abominations that be done in the midst of Jerusalem; to the others, the new message of truth, brought forth by the man with the writer's inkhorn, which becomes the furbished sword of the Lord, the rod of His mouth, can bring no pertinent meaning or conviction. To the self-sufficient Laodicean who will not bear the straight testimony of the True Witness, the new truth (which is that testimony) becomes a sword of destruction, symbolized by the five men who follow after. (Ezek. 9:5,6). Those who do not really possess the "old" truth cannot grasp the new; and to them it loses its vital power. (See COL 127, previously quoted on page 6 of this manuscript, [page 59 of this book]). They may even take the Bible in the hand and go preaching the old established truths from door to door, but that same Bible contains the new revelation of truth which will become to them a slaughter weapon. Fire will proceed out of the mouth of those two witnesses (the old and New Testaments) and "destroy" them. (Rev. 11:5). 

 

  Lest you should question the application which has been made of the trial of the sword in Ezekiel 21 - that it consists of new truth which will cause the shaking - the following quotations may help to clarify the matter: 

 

  2 SM 13 - "There is to be a shaking among God's people; ....It will be the result of refusing the truth presented." 

 

  GW 301 (1915) - "When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, seek the Lord in prayer, and give no place for the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He


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would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves." 


  CSW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it." 

 

   1st SM 362 - "Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy." 

 

  The sword of the Lord which brings the trial upon His people and produces the shaking is the new unfolding of truth. The shaking is caused by the Lord's sending a new revelation of truth; that is, by sending the testimony of Jesus via the Spirit of Prophecy. The elements of the new message come through the man with the writer's inkhorn, bringing to God's people a penetrating knowledge of the new covenant. To those who receive this testimony will come the Holy Spirit in the latter rain, which Spirit alone can create an integration of those truth elements into a coherent and convincing panorama. But some will not bear this testimony, because they have not fulfilled the conditions for receiving the latter rain; and to them its true meaning fails to appear.


  It is this creative work of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain which brings about the sealing in the foreheads of the saints; that is, it settles them into the conviction of the genuineness of this new panorama of truth which glorifies the old truths. They are guided into "all" truth. Thus they are prepared to face and stand through the last great conflict with the arch-deceiver, Antichrist, and to escape being taken in by the strong delusion which God will permit Satan to send through his pseudo-spirit manifestations. (2 Thess. 2:7-12, cf. v. 3,4; EW 59; 5 T 573; 9 T 16).


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   Herewith, I trust, the plausibility of a new unfolding of truth in our day has been established. If you find it possible to accept it, you will receive of the Spirit of truth in the latter rain, and be sealed (Eph. 1:13, 14), because you will thereby receive the two signs of the remnant church which are promised in the terms of the new covenant - the law of God in your heart and the testimony of Jesus in your forehead. (Rev. 12: 17). If you cannot accept it, you have either failed to gather into your mind by diligent study an adequate supply of the truth ingredients necessary to compose the structure of this new unfolding of truth, so that the Holy Spirit cannot find in your mind the required materials from which to create the panorama; or you have failed to acquire the humble, open-minded attitude of a little child; or you have neglected to make a close work of cleansing your soul temple from defilement. (1st Cor. 3:16, 17; 5T 214).


  You are now facing the most solemn hour of your life; your decision is determined by the character you have built; the pronouncement of your judgment will never be reversed; your probation has closed when you cast your ballot in this crucial matter. (1st John 4:1-6, also v. 15; cf. Rev. 3:20; 22:10, 11).


  (The foregoing is not intended to establish final proof of the doctrines presented; further evidence follows.) 

(Written in 1968 by J. W. Johnson)



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  SECTION 2

THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH


[Manuscript # 2]




Written by


J. Wilfred Johnson

(1915-1995)






"The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,..."
(Matthew 13:31)

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THE NATURE OF EXPANDING TRUTH

  You may be wondering now whether or not Sr. White contradicted herself in stating that all the truth needed to see the Advent people through to the kingdom had been given. The accuracy of her statement cannot be assessed until we gain an insight into the nature of understanding itself, and of the nature of expanding truth. 



  In order to explain the nature of truth and its potential for continued development and expansion, we will need to resort to similitudes and analogies. No single illustration can portray the matter sufficiently; several are necessary to provide the total concept. Thus, if we here use more than one comparison, it does not indicate that we are confused. 

 

      Some of our illustrations or parts of them may be drawn from realms of knowledge not wholly familiar to every reader, and such reader will consequently not gather all the implications intended. However, to you I would say: Let your desire to learn the truth overrule your possible discouragement, and continue to read; you may acquire sufficient insight to construct a functional concept. 

 

  It is true that this manuscript pre-supposes a general education, including some knowledge of the sciences, and certainly a fairly thorough knowledge of the Advent message and the writings of Sister Ellen G. White, and of the Scriptures. Two other major requirements are (1) the ability to relate ideas intelligently and (2) that gift of the Holy Ghost which brings the Spirit of Truth. The first group of these pre-requisites is mainly a personal responsibility; the second group is an exclusive endowment from the Creator. In our advanced stage of knowledge we need to move away from a diet of milk. 

 

  At the same time, it is not to be expected that every mind will assimilate every aspect of truth. The spirit divides to each man severally as He will. The promise is not necessarily that each individual disciple will be guided into all truth but that the saints collectively will become the depositary of all truth. Nevertheless, there are general areas which will be understood by all; and the truth which will unite the hearts of God's dear waiting saints is the Sabbath truth. All will have in common a deeper understanding of this sealing truth.


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  The minds of human beings are different one from another, much as the cells of the human body are classified into types. There are certain general functions which are pretty well common to all cells; they are necessary to perpetuate life. But in some cells, certain of these functions are considerably more highly developed than in others; such cells are regarded as special cells. Wherever special cells exist, it becomes necessary for other cells in the organism to carry the burden of the less highly developed functions of the special ones. In doing this, those other cells themselves may develop superiority in their special functions. Thus in the body we find muscle cells, bone cells, connective cells, blood cells, brain cells, nerve cells, skin cells, etc., each specialized in performing one kind of function. 

 

  In an organism constructed of various kinds of special cells there is obviously an interdependence among all the specialized fields; one could not get along too satisfactorily without the others. And there must then also exist a coordinating system, in order that all the specialists may work together, in harmony fulfilling a general purpose. This function in human beings is performed by the brain, in conjunction with the nerve and glandular systems. 

 

  But even within the brain and glandular systems of people there exist individual differences and class differences, giving rise to different types of minds. Both heredity and environment contribute to the specialization aspect of human minds. Some minds are created inherently with an over-emphasis on certain functions and underdevelopment of others. For instance, one person may be born with an excellent memory ability, while another has greater reasoning power. One may be extremely emotional or sensitive, another stable and relatively apathetic. One possesses highly efficient mental dexterity, while another has remarkable manual skill. Added to this, the environmental experiences (including education) enormously modify and complicate the basic inherited traits, to bring forth a vast array of differing personalities and types of thinkers. 



  The fact of mental specialization presents a need for coordination and harmonious co-operation among the members of a special group. Where this is not accomplished there will prevail an undesirable situation in which those members of the group who are more highly specialized will suffer; for the greater the degree of specialization, the greater the interdependence and the need for cooperative functioning.


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Failure to accept the responsibilities of interdependence will cause hardship and suffering.


  Thus it is with the members of the mystical "body" of Christ. In the realm of our theological dogma this mental specialization is in evidence. Some minds are keen to discern aspects of truth which penetrate deeply and reveal more subtle relationships, while other minds are not. In general (though not always), mental specialists possess their specialized skills at the expense of other more immediately practical gifts; and for this reason they are frequently regarded with some degree of benign sympathy, if not derision, by the more practically-minded specialist. Their position is also jeopardized because of the all-too frequent attitude of other differently-constituted minds which regard their philosophical propositions as unnecessary, confusing, or even irrational. 

 

  The truth is, however, that each of these groups needs the counterbalancing influence and the complementary talents of the others. Only by the utilization of both aspects of thought can an over-all progress be realized. To attain the greatest good for all, a spirit of tolerance, patience, and mutual sympathy and understanding must be cultivated. A forgiving spirit which is prone to bear with the weaknesses and shortcomings of others is absolutely essential to the harmony of the group. And sometimes a non-committal attitude toward the views of others is indicated. This is partly what Jesus was stressing in His closing prayer for His disciples, that "they all might be one."


  For it is a fact that the range between the most ignorant person in the world and the most enlightened one is enormous. People generally have no inkling of the vast area of comprehension which lies beyond their present scope of knowledge - an area which others, perhaps their associates, have already explored. He who penetrates the deeper mysteries of the Word and World of God walks in these fields a lonely man.


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RESISTANCE TO NEW TRUTH

  As we scan the annals of the past, we cannot fail to notice how many of the significant discoveries in the scientific world were met with strenuous opposition directed against the ones who proposed them. Not until recent decades have some such discoveries come into their own; and even yet a generous portion of prejudice and inertia prevails in the minds of many, concerning true scientific “advancement." 



   In the realm of theological progress we would be expressing the situation mildly to say that most groups of theologically oriented fellowship are rigidly conservative and vehemently resistant to any intrusion of their settled teachings. Evidences of inconsistent Christian behavior appear at the slightest suggestion for modification or enlargement of existing dogma. This attitude is not condoned by the Spirit of Prophecy. 

 

  GW 301 (1915 Ed.) - "When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, seek the Lord in prayer, and give no place for the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves." 



  It is noteworthy, then, that any significant advancement in knowledge has made its way against criticism and opposition. Much of this resistance has arisen because of the uncertainties and incompleteness associated with progress in knowledge. New discoveries are often only partial in nature, and a few "loop-holes" may remain to be explained by later discovery. Meanwhile, misconceptions arise because of the incompleteness; and often the value of the new discovery is severely injured, if not completely destroyed, by reason of the misconceptions, which exhibit glaring weaknesses.


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 The incompleteness aspect of advancing knowledge is not only applicable to discovery in the natural sciences, but it is equally applicable to the expanding truths of the Scriptures. This element of incompleteness or discrepancy in any discovery of new truth is actually a fact of great significance. It is this element which guarantees future advancement in knowledge. It is the Orion which shrouds the gateway into the unexplored regions beyond. Were this element of incompleteness not present, there could be no expansion of present truth. Indeed, it is an evidence of truth. 

 

  Resistance to new truth may furthermore be aggravated by reason of the unpalatable environment in which it is often discovered. One may here and there find among the philosophies and religions of our day some gem of truth which is so badly marred and confused with error, or so overshadowed by the undesirable nature of its proponents, that it is rejected purely on the basis of its unacceptable association. Rejection of truth on this basis may be a grave fault. We should learn to discern and evaluate elements of truth and to extract them from their surroundings. It is often necessary to sweep the dust of the floor in order to find the pearl of great price. 



  Many examples of the above principles could be given. For instance, in olden times, men thought the sun came up and went down, and that the earth was flat; but to a careful observer, this view would exhibit obvious weakness. For many years, Newton's law of gravitation was accepted as precisely true; but a law of physics does not always hold completely true over the entire range of its application, because it may become influenced or overshadowed by another law which supersedes it near the extremes of its application. For instance, one of those laws states that the volume of a given mass of gas decreases in direct proportion to a decrease in the absolute temperature if the pressure remains constant. But when the condensation-boiling point of the gas-liquid is reached, the law apparently breaks down and does not hold for the substance in the liquid state. Nevertheless, the law is still valid below this critical temperature, as may be shown by decreasing the pressure and thereby lowering the boiling point. The law is merely obscured by other superseding laws under these particular conditions. 



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  In theology, we find that from 1832 to 1844 William Miller thought that Jesus was going to return personally to earth around 1844. The "disappointment" opened the way to discovering a new and superseding principle of truth which explained the "error". Jesus was born in a stable, and came out of Nazareth. He did not have the social prestige which the elite leaders of Israel expected their Messiah to have; therefore His message, though extremely powerful, was rejected by most of them. 

 

  Nevertheless, the increase in knowledge is inevitable. Those who resist "new light" are fighting a losing battle. For the angel spoke through Daniel some twenty-five hundred years ago, that at the time of the end knowledge should be increased. And he spoke through the prophet Joel that in the last days the Spirit of God would be poured out, and men would see visions and dream dreams. And the Prophet of all prophets promised that the Spirit of Truth would guide His disciples into all truth. 



KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING


  Understanding is a state of seeing relationships between present knowledge and experience and past knowledge and experience. The ability to implement these relationships is known as "reasoning power." Understanding involves the acquisition of component facts or pieces of knowledge, gleaned over a period of time and stored in the memory; but these stored facts do not in themselves constitute understanding. Understanding is not present until two or more of these separate facts are brought together into a relationship, which relationship may often be expressed as a law or rule or principle, - a sort of "always-is-or-happens-or-acts-this-way" generality. And one of the aspects of the relationship of memories contains the idea of interdependence and a balanced state of affairs, whereby a change or variation in one component will cause corresponding variations in one or more other components, according to a fixed relating formula or equation. 

 

  Understanding (or comprehension) also involves a process of integration, whereby several component parts of knowledge are combined psychologically (perceptually) into a higher principle or concept. In fact, this is a most significant aspect in the relationship of memories. There is an actual integration of separate parts into a new 



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composite unit, a unit which can no longer be thought of entirely in terms of its separate parts but rather as a newly-created complex product. For example, common table salt can hardly be thought of entirely in terms of sodium and chlorine (both independently lethal, if eaten), but rather as the compound of sodium chloride, or common salt (which is edible). 

 

  Many of our ideas are formed from several components. Children's ideas are rather simple in structure; but as maturity advances, the mental equipment becomes more highly organized and acquires a supply of complex compounds of thought. 

 

  In chemistry, the organic compounds have the most highly organized and complex molecules containing many atoms. These compare to some of the spiritual ideas expressed in Scripture - ideas which can only be comprehended as the highly complex and delicate organization of the numerous atomic ingredients of thought become available to the consciousness spontaneously. 

 

   Spontaneous integration involves creative power, and it is definitely associated with the work of the Holy
Spirit, which is the executive agent in creation and regeneration.

 

  It is the highly organized mind containing a wealth of ideas which has the greater potential comprehension. On this basis, the first and primary requisite for intelligent understanding is the acquisition of knowledge and experience; that is, the building up of an adequate stockpile of memories from which to draw the ingredients necessary in the construction of complex thought and comprehensive concepts. Therefore, we have the admonition to fortify our minds with the truths of the Bible in order to acquire the knowledge necessary to meet the problems of the last great conflict. A fault of many people is their neglect to gather a sufficiently wide variety of facts from many areas in the environment. Too many people allow themselves to narrow down to a limited channel of thought and become intolerant of other ideas and incapable of a comprehensive understanding. Specialization is good, but it can prosper for the good of all only if there is present a broad fundamental background of knowledge and a generous tolerance for the ideas of others. Only under these conditions can sufficient cooperation be insured to permit a group to act as a coordinated unit as in the body of Christ.


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 Some of the deeper principles of the Scriptures are integrations of such a wide variety of component parts that some minds will find it difficult if not impossible to suspend them all in the region of the consciousness at the same time - a feat which is essential to effect an integration of the concept. Simple concepts may be composed of only a few components, but complex ones are of many components. For example, the human body is a complex organism, compared to the amoeba, because it has many more parts; thus it is more difficult to understand and interpret. Expanding truth involves the building of more complex molecules of thought, and organizing these molecules into new structures. 

 

  I am going to attempt to show you a picture consisting of many parts. Should a few of the minor details of the picture be omitted, the overall impression will not be critically altered; but if very many of these are omitted, or if some major area is by-passed, then the true impression of the panorama will not be created. It requires all the parts and the background to give the complete integration of the whole. 

 

  You may want to say at some point: This part we will have; this is good. But that part we cannot tolerate; we believe it is in error; and here is something we do not feel is at all essential. Yet, if any part is removed, the structure may fall into danger of crumbling and fail to manifest itself as an identifiable design. The parts are closely interlocked as [is] the delicate balance of the chemistry of the human body. A minor change or omission may not be serious, but it will mar the harmony of the pattern, nonetheless. 

 

  At the same time, I would make plain that I do not possess the complete picture of all truth; the scope of my discussions is confined mainly to areas pertinent to our present-day situation and our needs for the immediate future. Some glimpses of more distant scenes may be included, but these generally enhance the present view. Such has always been God's policy in the revelation of truth. 

 

  The elements of our message are more closely tied together than we currently realize. One of the ways by means of which new truth is forthcoming is the interconnecting of heretofore independently recognized elements of truth into a meaningful composite pattern. The simplest illustration of this idea is the common spider web, with its central hub, its radial anchors, and its circumscribing rungs. The thing is not only held together by the strands of the web; those strands


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actually are the web. But the web is more than the strands, it is the pattern of interconnection among the strands. 


  It matters little at which point we start; for in order to cover all the strands we wind up having to crisscross a network of inter-connecting routes. And it is a difficult thing to convey the structure of this network by a lineal exposition, such as written communication really is. For this reason, a generous tolerance will need to be exercised until sufficient of these routes have been covered to enable some semblance of a pattern to emerge. Not until the "picture" in a jig-saw puzzle begins to emerge as a unit does the composer actually know that he is accomplishing a correct interlocking of the parts. Thus it is with the panorama of truth. When the creative energy of the Spirit arrives, the picture will suddenly appear in the consciousness. 

 

  And we have a problem here which is similar to that experienced in assembling a jig-saw puzzle. You may not at first be certain whether a particular element really belongs as a legitimate part of the particular section of the theological structure which I am describing. In fact, you may not even be fully certain that the element is entirely bona fide. Yet, to first prove each independent component to be genuine as an element before proceeding with some synthetic alignment - this would not be a practical approach; for the very proving of the genuineness of some components can only be done as other components are brought into the picture; and sometimes the interlocking is rather intricate. Therefore some components will have to be provisionally accepted on the strength of their apparently logical relationship to other components (as in the jig-saw puzzle). But when a sufficient number of the elements are so aligned that the picture begins to emerge, the consistency of that picture testifies not only to the correctness of the alignment but also to the genuineness of the elements themselves, - else would glaring flaws appear in the picture. 

 

  It has been my experience to notice that any flaws which do become evident, as segmental integration progresses, are but Orions leading to future enlarged discoveries; and as the old flaws are corrected and harmonized by these superseding discoveries, still other Orions arise to challenge further exploration.


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  Before this kind of interconnection of the elements of our truth can occur in our minds, many of these elements will have to be seen in a new light; and before they can be seen in this new light, a paramount principle of interpretation must be recognized and applied more extensively and more intensively to the Scriptures and to the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Thereby a number of components generally of more mature proportions - will become available to go into the structure of an additional story on top of our present building of truth. The new story will be coherent and harmonious with the lower sections of the building and will contribute new meaning to them. 



HERMENEUTIC STEREOPSIS


  The principle to which I refer can best be described as hermeneutic stereopsis. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, especially of Scripture; and stereopsis is the phenomenon of stereoscopic or binocular vision. 

 

We are already somewhat familiar with this principle, having used it to give dual meanings and applications to a few Scripture passages. But a more generous use of the principle results in something greater than dual or even multiple meaning; it results in a sharper definition of the precise relationships existing among the interpretations themselves, and thus it provides the setting which facilitates an integration of the parts into a larger and more comprehensive concept. 

 

  Sister White tells us that "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings." - Ed. 171. Thus, no matter what our view of any particular passage may presently be, another view or an expanded and equally correct view is potentially possible - else were the truth already exhausted. 

  She also tells us that "His (Christ's) words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance." - COL 110. Our present doctrines do not provide very many of these deeper meanings.


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  Let us compare this matter of dual interpretation to binocular vision. One may see an object with a single eye and obtain one viewpoint; but when two eyes are used, two views are seen from different angles. (cf. Ed. 171, quoted on previous pg. - 83.7). Each eye can pick up a perfectly correct image of the object; but because of the different positions of the viewpoints from the separated eyes, those images are not identical. Yet they are both factually true. 

 

  Here is now a vital point, which when accepted and applied to Scripture statements will add a deeper and more accurate description of the truth: When both eyes are opened, the two images do not normally appear in the mind as separate and distinct pictures, but as one fused image. The phenomenon of stereopsis does not emerge unless those two images do integrate into one image in the mind. 

 

The integration of truth is similar to this. Not until the two or more differing, and sometimes opposing viewpoints are synthesized does the panoramic truth emerge. 

 

  We as a people have limited our perception in altogether too many instances by viewing our truth with only one eye open at a time. And when, indeed, we have opened both eyes at once, we have betimes suffered from squint-eyedness, and have not been able to direct both eyes at the same object at one time; each eye has had to look at a different part of the scene, and our theological mind has been fed by two distinctly separated images, like a double-exposed photograph, which our perceptive faculty could not fuse. It is one thing to see our doctrines each as a distinct and separate element of truth, but it is a much greater thing to see those elements as components in an integrated construction. 

 

  Since attention is capable of concentrating on only a limited area at one time, the squint-eyed viewer finds one of the images fading out while he sees only the imprint of the other. If he concentrates on the fading one, then the other one pales out. Generally one eye is "weaker" than the other, and ultimately this weaker eye surrenders to the stronger, and the person sees only a monocular image through the stronger eye. 

 

  In the physical world this idea compares somewhat with the two theories of light transmission - the wave theory and the quantum theory - both of which must be true but which in some ways appear to be mutually exclusive. Our view of this phenomenon is obviously a


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squint-eyed one, and it is predictable that eventually we may find the key which will fuse these two views into a harmonious interpretation. 


  Theological squint-eyedness results in either one image being permanently subordinated to the other, or in an alternating emphasis on each view in turn, with obvious contradictions nagging at our interpretations. Without stereoscopic vision, some of our doctrines may appear to be like that; for example, the law and grace, faith and works, etc. The malalignment of the two eyes must be corrected before a psychological fusing of the two images can occur. 

 

  The psychological mystery of stereoscopic vision (binocular perception) adds acuteness to the perception of spatial depth and sets objects off in precise geometric relationships, both laterally and radially. Near objects stand out in sharp relief from the background and from each other. The integrated image is a more realistic and differentiated one because of having been composed of different view points. A third dimension of depth has been added to the image, revealing the relative positions in space of the various component elements. The common “View-Master” illustrates this phenomenon graphically. 

 

  When Einstein added the fourth dimension of time to our erstwhile three-dimensional space-continuum, and showed the consistent interdependent relationships among these four dimensions, he opened up a whole new field of interpretation of the natural world, releasing a fresh unfolding of scientific truth. Likewise the addition of stereoptic views of Scripture statements will open up new vistas of truth to the student of God's word. 

 

  A one-eyed baseball catcher has difficulty judging the speed of the approaching ball, because he can judge that speed only by the rate of increasing size of the image of the ball, as recorded on the retina of his one eye. A two-eyed catcher has the tremendous advantage of a baseline separating his two eyes, so that they must increasingly converge their line of sight to follow the ball as it approaches his mitt. Two separate images of the ball are picked up from slightly different angles, and these are fused into one image in his mind. As the ball approaches, the angle between the lines of sight of the two eyes changes, since each eye moves to keep the image of the ball at the center of the retina, where greatest visual acuity prevails. The sensation registered in his mind by these two images and by this changing convergence accurately defines the decreasing distance of the ball and gives him spatial depth perception.


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  While God's truth is comparable to this, it is nevertheless more complex than a mere binocular view of a paradoxical element. In God's great library of reality there are numerous elements, each of which must be viewed not only in binocular perspective but often in multi-ocular perspective. Basically it is the addition of new views of old truths which provides the potential for unlimited expansion of the truth. 

 

  And we must not forget the important corollary: A new view of truth never completely closes the gap. While one or more former problems may be solved, new ones are created by the addition of the new view. If this were not true, how could truth continue to expand? It is the Orions in the incomplete panorama of truth which present the gateways to the expansions beyond. They are evidences of truth. 

 

  A second and equally important provision for expansion lies in the number of different patterns potentially possible by linking the elements together into various unified structures. The diverse inter-relating of elements of truth - monocularly, binocularly, or multi-ocularly provides not merely a variety of perspective units but also a larger supply of components which can go into a broader composite structure, which may also be recognized as an integrated unit over and apart from the compound elements which go to make it up. 

 

  We need to recognize, however, that the integration of truth cannot be accomplished without the creative power of the Holy Ghost, any more than binocular vision is possible without psychological fusion. It is the work of the Spirit of Truth to provide the merger, once the alignment is accomplished. 

 

  Integration is a form of creation. One may place all the ingredients for a chocolate cake in the mixing bowl, but until those ingredients are properly mixed and baked into a chemical union, no cake exists. A conglomeration of building materials does not make a house; it is the precise pattern of alignment of those materials which gives rise to the concept and structure of a house. A temple is more than a collection of building materials; it is a distinct structure of those materials set into relation with one another according to a definite recipe of predetermined pattern. Not until the pattern is perceived as a pattern has the integration taken place. (e.g. Chinese photographer's picture of Christ in the snow.) 


____________
* [See pages 90, & 91]


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  My commission is to provide you (as well as I am able) with the ingredients and the alignment; only God can grant the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth to provide you with a vision of the assembled picture. Without the seal of the Holy Spirit of promise there will be no integration, no settling into the vision of the panoramic truth. 



  Herein lies the significance of the communion of the body and blood of Christ promised to the Laodicean who opens the door of his heart; it is the marriage union of the Bridegroom (Christ) to His bride (the New Jerusalem saints) through the sudden coming of the Messenger of the covenant (the Holy Ghost) to His temple, whereby is created a new life - a more abundant life - consisting of a union of divinity with humanity. (Luke 22:19,20, cf. John 6:53-58 and Rev. 3:20 and 1st Cor. 6:19 and 3:16,17 and Mal. 3:1; also Eph. 5:23,24, 30-32). This union gives birth to eternal life, through the resurrection of the former body and blood of Christ in His saints ("till He come") by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost. ("He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His." DA 25. 1st Cor. 11:24-26, cf John 6:53, 54, Titus 3:5, 6). This will be understood better when read a second time after the rest of the manuscript has been studied. 

 

  The principle of hermeneutic stereopsis provides the key to interpreting the Scriptures in a way that will evolve a fresh unfolding of truth. Unfortunately, not all students of Scripture will be able to accept this principle of interpretation. (1st SM 412 - "The Jews tried to stop the proclamation of the message that had been predicted in the Word of God; but prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 'Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: 'You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.”) May this not apply to you. 

 

  We may herewith conclude that Sister White did not contradict herself; she foresaw this new unfolding of truth. But the rosebuds were all on the bush when she left us in 1915; they are now about to blossom. 


___________
*[See pages 90 and 91 for picture of "Christ in the snow".]


88


  It is recommended that the content of the preceding pages be assimilated fairly well before proceeding. Unhurried reading, meditation, and pondering will be needed to extract all the implications and significances involved in the preceding statements and those which follow. 

 

  A considerable amount of crisscrossing and back-tracking is unavoidable in covering all the links in the spider's web. Each intersection presents a different view when approached from each different direction. Nor can the pattern of the web be seen until most of the pieces are in correct place in our minds and we move back for a panoramic view. Repeated reference will have to be made to former points in order to establish their intermeshing with other lines of truth. 

 

  This presents a rather formidable task. Yet I have been cautioned to substantially reduce the number of words in my presentation.* To this I would say, it is impossible to reduce the number of words beyond a certain level without losing accuracy of communication. Below this point I cannot go, since the prime purpose of the manuscript is to convey as clearly as possible the concepts involved in the structure of the truth. Misunderstandings occur altogether too easily even under the strictest of care. The sentences contained herein have been meticulously constructed to convey precise meanings; and if any of them should fail to do this, it may indicate either my human limitation and error, or it may indicate a limitation on the reader's part. I cannot shirk my responsibility to offer a precise portrayal, even if extra words are needed to do it. 

 

  Nevertheless, it is not possible to deal exhaustively with any point or line of truth in a first treatment, because the complex interlocking nature of God's truth makes it necessary to refer back to a former point whenever it links up in a new area. Hence a spiral approach is more practical; and for this reason it is unwise to come to any definite conclusions regarding any point presented until all of these manuscripts have been covered. Even then, it should be definitely understood that these manuscripts do by no means exhaust the truth.

 
_________
* [Possibly a suggestion from the G.C.]


89


  I know that few people have time anymore to read lengthy publications. Yet we do have time for those things we consider essential. It is a question of evaluation. We may deem it imperative to make a good living for ourselves and our families, including a college education for our children. But if this requires all our time, maybe we need to become content with a lower standard of living, in order to prepare for a higher one in the life to come. Let us not misplace our values. 

 

  One thing must be re-emphasized. To effect an integration of a concept of truth, the components must all be made available to consciousness at essentially the same time. You cannot induce a chemical reaction if the constituents are scattered about in different test tubes. In order to insure that all the ingredients are in close proximity to the consciousness and readily available, they must each be reactivated and reconstructed within a relatively narrow time span If these elements are not thus re-stimulated, the key statements which are designed to connect them will appear meaningless. Furthermore, some of the elements may need additional enlargement and clarification before taking on a form that will glide smoothly into its precise slot in the composite pattern. If these preparations are not made as we go along, proper synthesis can not occur. 

 

  An acceptance of the principle of hermeneutic stereopsis is absolutely imperative to discovering the special truth for this final generation. Therefore, anyone who is not prepared to embrace this interpretative device and to approach this testimony with patience, tolerance, broad-mindedness, and a willingness to modify his present inadequate concepts concerning the manner in which some prophecies will be fulfilled in our days would be well advised to save his time. A quick scanning of these pages will be fruitless. It is the law of God that His truth can be found only by diligent study. All who are willing to fulfill these conditions are invited to proceed. 



(Written in 1968)

__________
*[See next two pages of this book re picture of "Christ in the Snow" alluded to on P. 87.]


90


FOOTNOTE APPROVED ABOUT 1990 BY J. W. JOHNSON




THE PICTURE OF CHRIST IN THE SNOW
 
[Article possibly from Life, Time, or Look Magazine about the 1950's?]
 
The Story behind our Cover
 
The Picture of Christ in the Snow *

  A Chinese photographer was riding one day through the snow covered countryside of interior China. His soul was troubled. He had been witnessing a great movement toward Christianity among his friends since the Japanese invasion. He longed to know the truth of what he had been hearing from Christian missionaries. As he rode along, he said, "Lord, if I could only see thy face, I would believe". Instantly, a voice spoke to his heart, "Take a picture! Take a picture!" * He looked out at the melting snow which was forming pools of water and so revealing here and there the black earth. It was an attractive scene, nevertheless. Being thus strangely compelled, the man descended and focused his camera on the snowy roadside. Curious to know the outcome of the incident he developed the film at once on returning to his home. Out from among the black and white areas on the snow scene a face looked at him, full of tenderness and love - the face of Christ! He became a Christian as the result; and because the Chinese people think that God has in this wonderful way revealed Himself to them in their hour of trial, many have since found the Saviour through the picture, as the story of it is told in various parts of China.

____________
* (A replica of this photograph is shown on the next page.)

91
 




Copy of photo picture of Christ in the snow







Z1``  








[Possibly from the cover of Time, Life or Look magazine in the 1950's]


92

SECTION 3



THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

[Manuscript # 3]



Written by
J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)


" ... I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I shall be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:" Hebrews 8:10

93

 THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

   The theme of this manuscript is a revelation of the nature of the everlasting covenant and an interpretation of its purpose and its outworking. Future manuscripts will further develop this far-reaching topic.

PURPOSE OF THE COVENANT

  The purpose of the everlasting covenant is to provide the means for salvation from sin; that is, to provide for complete restoration of voluntary allegiance to God and to the law of His kingdom.

  In the kingdom of heaven no coercion is used to obtain allegiance.

  There are no jails and no execution chambers. The discipline of force and fear found in God's dealings with people on this earth is a temporary expedient made necessary by the emergency of sin, and is for use only while God's people are still at the level of wayward children. Step by step He has led the human race through their childhood and adolescence; and now He is about to let them graduate and assume the full responsibility for their own decisions. Those who have already chosen to fly the flag of the kingdom of heaven will be led through their final experience of soul cleansing, and they will be given an opportunity to prove their total allegiance to be on a completely voluntary basis.

  When God gave to man a freedom of choice, He essentially gave to him a share of His own prerogative and autonomy, and of His throne. For in this gift, man has an individual independence, a power to operate under his own initiative, to make his own decisions, to manipulate the laws of nature for his own profit.

  It was by the power of free choice that sin appeared. God was not in man choosing to sin. When man sinned, he did so by his own choice and apart from the choice of God. If God were in man choosing to sin, then God would also be a sinner. But sin is an abomination to Him; He does not transgress His own law. Therefore man has his own independent power of choice. He can, within his own sphere, choose to act independently of the choice of God.

94

   When man uses this power of independent choice to transgress God's law, he thereby commits sin. (1 John 3:4). Such action is an evidence of lack of faith or confidence in the righteousness of God's decisions. Thus, the basic sin is really doubt of God's integrity. Thus, conversely, faith in God's integrity is basic righteousness, and expresses itself in allegiance to God and submission to His decisions. That is how righteousness comes by faith in God; it is faith in His righteousness, which leads to voluntary obedience of His law. Without faith, therefore, it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6).

  Christ lost His kingdom on this earth when man chose to disobey Him. Eve believed the serpent's false statement regarding the integrity of God. Adam loved his wife more than he loved God, and he chose to sin with her. These choices showed a disrespect for the integrity of God, a doubt of His honesty (on the part of Eve) and of His righteousness, and of His justice in placing an arbitrary restriction upon man's freedom.

  Essentially, God's character was regarded as being not strictly one of self-denying love but rather one of selfishness. Such was the doubt of God's integrity which was first introduced by Lucifer before the world was created; and this doubt was the result of self-deception caused by pride and exaggerated self-interest.

  Fundamental sin is doubting the righteousness of God. Originally, this doubt is fostered by pride of self, which is an evidence of selfishness. When one deliberately chooses to break through the moral restriction which God has placed on the operation of the free will, thinking that he will thus obtain greater satisfaction, he thereby shows his distrust of God's righteousness and judgment in establishing that restriction; and he thereby places himself at variance with the law of life, and he cannot survive except by the merciful intervention of Christ, the Saviour. The law of life for earth and heaven is self-renouncing love. (DA 20).

  God began to lose His kingdom in heaven before the fall of man, when Lucifer first began to doubt the righteousness of His character. When Lucifer, and the angels he influenced, decided to choose independence of God's law, they robbed God of His dominion over them.

95

  Not that God was unable to make them obey; He could have forced them. But the moment God introduces force, He removes from His creatures their freedom of choice. As long as He operates His kingdom without coercion, He can reign over His subjects only while they voluntarily choose to obey Him. When a teenage lad flaunts the authority of his parents, they have lost dominion over him, unless they resort to force. It is even so with the kingdom of God. But apparently the gift of free choice to men and angels is regarded with such value by the Creator that He was willing to give His life in order to preserve it and to restore allegiance on a voluntary basis. (John 3:16). (cf. also MB 96, 97, 204).

  GC 591- "God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan's constant resort - to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce - is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself."

  It should be evident, then, that the restoration of God's kingdom in the hearts of men can occur only when the voluntary allegiance of His subjects has been restored. It is the purpose of the everlasting covenant to restore this allegiance.

  Heb. 8:10 - "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." (cf. Ezek. 36:25-28).

  Jer. 31:33, 34 - "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; ...I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. ...I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

  PP 372 - "The new covenant was established upon better promises (than the old covenant) - the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law....

  "The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart .... Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts."

96

  But salvation from sin and restoration of allegiance to the government of God was also the purpose of the advent of Jesus. 
 
Matt. 1:21- "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins."

  Isa. 9:6, 7 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

  Therefore, the advent of Jesus is an inherent part of the outworking of the everlasting covenant.

  It is significant that the last appeal which Christ ever made to His people, before relinquishing His former glory and assuming the garb of humanity at the first advent of Jesus, was an appeal for allegiance to His law delivered through Moses.

  Mal. 4:4 - "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments."

  And the last promise that He ever made to His people while yet in His former estate, ere His great sacrifice of condescension, was a promise of restoration of all that had been lost, lest the earth should be smitten with a curse.

  v. 5, 6 - "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

  Jesus verified this by saying: "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." - Matt. 17:11. That this promise was not totally fulfilled by John the Baptist is evident from a comparison of Matthew 17: 11-13 with John 1:21. All things were not restored by John the Baptist; and the dreadful day of the Lord was far removed from the people who lived in his day.

  The everlasting covenant itself promised the means whereby its purpose would be accomplished; namely, through a revelation of the character of God.

97

  Jer. 31:34 - "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me (cf. John 14:7-9), from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

  Such a revelation was the very purpose of the advent of Jesus.

  John 17:26 - "And I have declared unto them thy name (i.e., His character; cf. Ex. 33:18-23; 34:5, 6), and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

  God's character of love has been misunderstood and misrepresented. A message for this time is to make known His true character.

  COL 415 - "It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time (i.e., the last days; see COL pages 420 & 421) a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth."

  Isa. 60:2 - "Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."

  But this knowledge of His character of love, while available theoretically to the new covenant saints by a study of the written Word (John 5:39), does not come home to the heart in transforming power except through the agency of the Holy Ghost.

  Rom. 5: 5 - "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

  Thus, two things are involved in the revelation of God's character of love to the new covenant saint: (1) the theoretical knowledge, as learned through a study of the written Word, and (2) the practical experiential knowledge, as delivered through the Holy Ghost. But when this knowledge is obtained, it will transform the heart, and thereby fulfill the promise of the covenant.

98

  COL 114 - "The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. It makes its possessor a son of God and an heir of heaven."

  It is to identify the means whereby this revelation will become a personal possession of the saints, and thus fulfill the terms of the everlasting covenant, that this manuscript is being written. Such identification is necessary, else would many of God's people misinterpret the strange experience which is to come upon them to purify them and clothe them with the imparted righteousness of Christ. For it is a paradox that the same experience which comes to God's people to purge them will at the same time separate out from among them those who are unprepared - those who do not believe nor accept the counsel called forth by the testimony of the True Witness; and it will cause them to turn against God and His saints and to accuse Him and His saints of being the cause of their trials. Therefore it is necessary that the experience be identified and interpreted for what it really is, in order that those who are willing may be prepared. Unless we all repent and buy of Him gold tried in the fire, we will be spewed out of His mouth. (Rev. 3:14-19). But God will do nothing in the experience of His people except He first reveals it to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7). Therefore, He is bringing it to our attention at this time, for He is about to accomplish it.

  The theoretical knowledge of the character of God comes through a study of His written Word, but a practical soul-transforming, experimental knowledge of God comes through a personal experience. When that experience is received, a personal understanding of the magnitude of Christ's love is brought home to the soul by the Holy Ghost, and this will transform the heart. By beholding we become changed.

  DA 389 - "It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. ... A theoretical knowledge will do us no good."

  2 Cor. 3:18 - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

99

  The consequence of a fuller revelation of the glory of the Lord - His matchless character of self-denying love - is an empowering of a repentant sinner to cease from sin. For the expulsion of sin from the life is an act of the soul itself. (DA 466.6). It was by a decision of the will that Adam brought sin into the world, and it is by a decision of the will that sin will be expelled.

  Yet the full revelation of the love of God will not come home to our hearts and bring us the power which transforms our hearts until we receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain.


  TM 506 - "By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ. The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of Man."


  This is the experience for which God's true people have long been praying, striving and, waiting - and wondering why it has not come.


  The new birth experience has a progressive application. That which comes by the first conversion under the influence of the former rain is to provide for victory over sin - to gain the mastery over every wrong word and action. It is possible to keep the commandments under the former rain experience. Full sanctification is attainable under this dispensation.


  But before this life-time work of full sanctification is reached (and many never reach it), the sinner is accepted into the family of God on the merits of Christ's righteousness, which is accounted to the sinner and is imputed to him when he accepts Christ as his personal Saviour. Thus God sees the sinner as righteous by substitution. Christ makes up for the sinner's deficiency with His own divine merit. (cf. 1 SM 382).


  1 SM 215 - "The only-begotten Son of God has died that we might live. The Lord has accepted this sacrifice in our behalf, as our substitute and surety, on the condition that we receive Christ and believe on Him. The sinner must come in faith to Christ, take hold of His merits, lay his sins upon the Sin Bearer, and receive His pardon. It was for this cause that Christ came into the world. Thus the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repenting, believing sinner. He becomes a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ."


100


Even he who attains to the expulsion of sin from his life and gains the victory is still dependent upon the substitutionary righteousness of Christ for acceptance with God. For the best obedience that man can offer while in his sinful body is still inadequate to meet the divine standard. Man's righteousness is still as filthy rags in God's sight.

 
  This is so, because under the former rain the transformation of the heart and cleansing of the soul temple is not completed. Prior to 1844 our High Priest was still in the first apartment of the sanctuary; not until after 1844 was that sanctuary scheduled to be cleansed. Under the former rain, we are to cleanse our soul temples of every defilement by laying aside every cherished sin. This we must do before we can receive the latter rain. Inasmuch as the leopard cannot change his spots, neither can we change our sinful natures. We may indeed cease to sin, and this is the soul cleansing referred to under the former rain experience; but we accomplish this under the continued contrary pressures of the sinful nature. In this experience we offer the sacrifices of righteousness and place our trust in the Lord.

  But after 1844 our High Priest entered the most holy place to minister on our behalf the merits of His shed blood in order to provide the total transformation of our sinful natures and to totally cleanse us from the complete record of all sin in our physical bodies, thereby removing the former pressures and bodily urges to sin and restoring us to the original purity of our first parents before the fall. This is the ultimate application of the new birth experience. It is the Messenger of the covenant coming suddenly to His temple in the latter rain who cleanses and purifies the sons of Levi. (Mal. 3:1-3). Not until this occurs has the everlasting covenant fulfilled its purpose in our lives.

  Christ will not come until the church is prepared to meet Him.

  The time for mastery over self and sin to occur and for the image of God to fully appear in His people is now, before Jesus comes. In fact, Jesus cannot come to receive His people until they do attain the likeness of His character.

  COL 69 - "Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

101

  "It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

  Note that the hastening of the coming of the Lord is not here portrayed as depending on the extensiveness in spreading the gospel; it is dependent on the intensiveness of the gospel's effect upon the heart of each individual. The purpose of spreading the gospel to all the world has no meaning with reference to the coming of the Lord unless it is spread for a witness. And unless that witness of the character of God transforms the heart, the spreading of the gospel to all the world will not hasten the coming of Jesus. (cf. Matt. 24:14).

  Therefore, the time for the experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ to come to His people is now. This is present truth.

  COL 415 - "The last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of His character of love." And if our eyes were anointed with eye salve, we would readily see that this is the basic message represented by the mighty angel of Revelation 18 in the loud cry, which exposes and destroys for all time the false charges of the evil one against the character of God. The confusion of Babylon concerning the true nature of God's justice, mercy, and love, some of which still exists even in the minds of His own people, is dissolved. The deceptions of the evil one are unmasked. Babylon falls. (This is not the only meaning of the fall of Babylon.)

   An experience awaits the people of God at this crucial hour, an experience which will give them a personal revelation of God's most amazing character of self-denying love, which love will constrain them to obey Him. (2 Cor. 5:14).

  The experience is to be found in the Word of God.

  COL 114 - "This is the knowledge (i.e., the experimental knowledge of God and of Christ) which is obtained by searching the Word of God."

  But, of course, we have already searched the Word of God; some of us have searched it all our lives. And we have still not found the experimental knowledge, by which we become transformed into the image of Christ and gain full mastery of our sinful nature. I know that we have not found it, because if we had found it, we would even now have been in the kingdom. (cf. COL 114, quoted on previous page.)

102

  One reason we have not found it is because it is an experimental knowledge, a knowledge learned by experience. We have failed to recognize that the Word of God, while delivered mainly through the written Word of the Scriptures, is also delivered through two other books: the book of natural science, and the book of experience in God's dealings with us.

  COL 125 - "The great storehouse of truth is the Word of God, the written word, the book of nature, and the book of experience in God's dealing with human life."

  The knowledge of God promised to all of us by the everlasting covenant (Jer. 31: 34) is yet to come to us by a personal experience. We are to learn to know God by sharing in His experience - the experience which He underwent voluntarily for our sakes, in order to spare our lives and grant us a probation and to provide us with the means of salvation. That experience involved intense and unfair suffering, a suffering revealed to our dull senses by His death on the cross. Through partaking of His sufferings we will be made obedient.

  Ed. 263 - "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him."

  A personal knowledge of the kind of suffering which our continued sin brings to the Son of God, combined with a personal knowledge of His enormous self-sacrificing love for us, is the incentive which motivates our obedience. But we will not realize experimentally the extent of that love until we share in the suffering which it caused Him to accept for our sakes. Obedience comes through accepting the discipline of God.

THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD

  In an effort to raise a child into the ways of perfection, a parent exercises discipline over that child. God deals with His children in a similar way.

  Heb. 12:7-11 - "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

103

Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live? For they (our earthly parents) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

  While the fathers exercise discipline over their children after their own pleasure, God does not do it for this reason alone; He does it for our sakes, to create in us the image of His righteousness and to bring about our partaking of His holiness. This is the means whereby we are made holy.

  Have you been discouraged because you have not become perfect? Have you tried so many times and failed? Have you felt that you would never be able to succeed?

  v. 12, 13 - "Wherefore lift up the hands, which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

  And would you like to know how it will be healed?

  Isa. 53:5 - "...and with His stripes we are healed."

  We have generally assumed this to mean that because He accepted the stripes for us, we will be completely relieved of any permanent consequences of our own sins. Nevertheless, we must here be willing to open our eyes in stereoscopic vision of this most pertinent truth. For while Jesus did in fact bear the consequences of our sins and suffered the pain which they caused, yet He permits us to taste of that experience, to share in those sufferings, in order that we may learn by experience a little of what it costs Him to provide the forgiveness of our sins. Remember, the everlasting covenant promises a revelation of the character of God and the forgiveness of sins. (Jer. 31:34). The revelation of God and the sufferings of Christ are intimately related; for it is by sharing the suffering of Christ that we learn by experience the true nature of His love for us - a love which would impel Him to suffer such ridiculously unfair and intensely severe emotional pain in order to forgive our sins and provide our escape from such a penalty of those sins. The stripes whereby we are healed are those same stripes with which He was afflicted.

104

 WHOSE STRIPES WERE THEY, REALLY, BY WHICH CHRIST WAS SMITTEN?

  Isa. 53:3-5 - "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed."

  Therefore the peace and security and prolonged life which we enjoy is ours at the price of His chastisement, His suffering. And this suffering is not confined to the cross of Calvary, nor to Gethsemane, nor to the few years of His earthly ministry. It began at the inception of sin and continued for centuries down to the cross. (See Ed. 263, quoted below on this page).

ON THE CROSS HE BORE THE SINS OF THE WORLD.

  DA 752 - "The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart."

  Heb. 9:28 - "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many."

  But subsequent to the cross, He has also continued to suffer because of the continued sins of His people, those who receive Him as their Saviour and are born again into His family. Any parent suffers when his son disobeys him and brings disrepute upon his name. So it is with Christ, our High Priest, who bears the burden and stigma of our continued sins. Let me quote again:

  Ed. 263 - "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him."

  Could it be that the cross is primarily a representation designed to penetrate our limited comprehension with the truth of the real and prolonged sufferings of Christ? If He died for my sins, which were not even committed at that time, how could my sins, which did not even exist, have caused Him any suffering then? At that time, He bore the sins of the world; He suffered once for these by the offering of Himself.

105

(Heb. 9:25-28). Now He suffers vicariously as He bears the confessed sins of His acknowledged people.

  Heb. 6:4-6 - "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Compare:

  ME 9,10 - "Jesus says, 'I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.' John 12:32. And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfullness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion. He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven's most precious gift. He has crucified to himself the Son of God afresh and pierced anew that bleeding and stricken heart."

  The impossibility of being again renewed to repentance is not in the fact itself, but in the sense that we will not be able to bring ourselves to afflict the Lord anew with the stripes from our sins. We will loathe ourselves for doing Him such an injustice, and we will find it next to impossible to come again to Him and ask His forgiveness. Yet the only way we can be forgiven is to come again to repentance and permit Him to bear the affliction. And the covenant says He will forgive our iniquity even unto seventy times seven.

  But the effect on us is to humble us and break our spirit. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken.

  The above passages reveal that the sufferings of the cross are renewed in the heart of Christ because of our waywardness, and He bears the reproach of His failure to save His people from their sins, contrary to His promise. You see, He cannot save His people from their sins until they themselves voluntarily choose to refuse to sin. For sin is an independent choice of man; were God to compel man to obey, man would have no choice; hence his obedience could not be righteousness.

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   DA 466 - "In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve .... The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself."

  We have not been earnest enough in our efforts. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." - Heb. 12:4. When we fully realize the nature of the stripes with which we afflict the lowly Saviour every time we sin, we will loathe ourselves for our iniquities. Instead of basking in the peace and security of sins forgiven, we will afflict our souls as we come to the sanctuary to offer our sacrifice.

  O yes, we know our sins are forgiven when we confess and repent; this is the promise of the new covenant; but with too little concern we lean on this prerogative, we take unfair advantage of this precious gift, and we continue to afflict and crucify the Son of God. (Read also EW 268, last half of page.)

  Truly, we were not there at Golgotha to crucify Him on the cross; so we may say He did not suffer for our sins. But the cross reveals the suffering which He endures in all ages since sin began and until it ends. This is the reason He asks His people to cease from sin; for He cannot lay down His priesthood until and unless we cease from sin. Therefore, He is a priest forever. (Heb. 7:17, 21, 25). In all future ages He will faithfully be there to bear the affliction, if sin should ever arise again. This is the price of our eternal security.

  But sin will not arise a second time (Nah. 1:9); for it will be conquered under the most trying of circumstances, midst the most severe temptations.

  It is true that Christ will lay down His priestly robes during the time of the seven last plagues, but this is to demonstrate that His saints can stand before a holy God without an Intercessor, through the severest trials of the closing hours. They will not bow down to the beast nor his image, nor receive his mark in their foreheads at this time. If they can stand this, they will readily be able to stand in heaven where there is no temptation. In fact, those who go through this experience will be fitted themselves for the priesthood, for they will be priests unto God for one thousand years during the millennium.

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  This is brought to light in Revelation 20:4-6. Here it states that those who have refused to worship the beast and his image, and who have not received his mark in their foreheads or in their hands, are the ones who have been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and that these shall have their part in the first resurrection, and they shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years as priests. Nevertheless the image of the beast is not set up until the last generation; and those who refuse to worship him at this time are the hundred and forty-four thousand, who live through to translation. They alone enter the temple on Mount Zion and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, which is the song of their experience of deliverance. (EW 19; GC 649; Rev. 14:1-3).

  Yet the text says these have been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of their testimony. If they have previously died but are now present in the last generation to go through the final conflict, it is obvious that they must have had a part in the first resurrection before the final conflict. Furthermore, unless the 144,000 are resurrected saints, they could not fulfill Hebrews 9:27, which says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

  (The question of the resurrection of the 144,000 will be dealt with more fully later.)*

  But Jesus cannot be released from His renewed sufferings of the cross and the work of His priesthood as long as we continue in sin. He does not cast us off; He chooses to continue to bear the pain. And the reason He cannot be released is that you and I have not yet learned to love Him enough to cease from sin.

  John 14:15 - "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

  John 14:23 - "If a man love me, he will keep my words."

DRINKING THE CUP  

  How are we going to learn to love Him? We do not love someone whom we have never seen and with whom we are not acquainted. Only by beholding, observing, getting to know someone, do we experience the growth of love for that one. That is precisely how we will learn to love Christ.

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*[144,000 - cf. pages 156.4-157.2; 180.3-181.3; 215; 223; 254.0 -255.1; 260 & 261; 269 & 270. Also research 144,000 in Volume One concordance.]

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  That is why the last message of mercy is a revelation of the true character of God! When we see that character, we will abhor ourselves for our iniquities, and we will not be able to bring ourselves to sin. (cf COL 415).

  But how can we be brought to see the lovely Jesus as He really is?

  By being permitted to share, to partake of the sufferings of Christ, so that we may learn by experience what is the nature of the cost to Him to bear our sins and grant us release from their penalty, and to give us peace and security and eternal life. That is how it is done.

    Gold is precious; but pure gold cannot be obtained without a refining process. This process requires heat. Only when the extreme heat of the fire is applied does the slag come to the top. Therefore, the True Witness counsels the Laodiceans to buy of Him gold tried in the fire. This gold is faith and love. We are counseled to buy faith and love tried in the fire. (DA 280; COL 160).

  The fullness of this experience will be unique to the Laodiceans, because in their lives exists the opportunity and privilege to obtain the supreme cleansing of the soul temple, which occurs on the day of atonement. Faith is the victory (1 John 5:4), and the love of Christ will constrain us to obey, as it did the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 5:14).

  But there is a price to pay for this faith and love; it must be purchased. Nevertheless, faith is a gift, and love is a gift. This appears to be contradictory; but it is just another one of those things which must be viewed with binocular vision in order to see the harmony.

  The kind of faith and love (gold) which leads to perfection and purification is that which has been tried in the fire. The price we have to pay to obtain it is a surrender of self to the will of God, a personal and total submission to the refining process. Only insofar as we do this will we be refined. This is the price.

  But the gold, and the means for obtaining it, has been provided and made available for us by the supreme sacrifice of Christ. He paid a tremendous price to make this purification process available to sinners. He does not charge us for this; He provides it free of charge. But as long as the curing medicine remains in the bottle, it cannot cure. The gold of abiding faith and love cannot be personally appropriated unless we pay the price - the offering of our personal self-surrender. Jesus paved the way before us by setting us an example; now we too are to take up our cross and follow Him, who is our example in suffering. We must buy the gold. (Matt. 16:24; Rev. 3:18).

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  Let us be careful not to misunderstand this truth. We are not here talking about our ticket to eternal life. Salvation consists broadly of two things: (1) escape from eternal death; and (2) escape from the slavery of continuing in sin. These two are not synonymous.

  We obtain our ticket to eternal life through the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith in the merits of Christ's righteousness as imputed to us, we are justified in God's sight and receive membership in the family of God, with the gift of eternal life. But any man "saved" at this point (as was the thief on the cross) is not an overcomer of sin in his own body, as was Christ; and he obtains eternal life as a child who has not yet grown up into the fullness of the stature of Christ.

  The process of growing up into the stature of Christ is known as sanctification. A new-born baby is not immediately full-grown; maturity is reached after many years of development and experience. So it is with the born-again Christian. The attaining of the image of Christ's character is a life-time process; and heretofore the fullness of His stature has definitely not been attained by most of God's people. Perfection has been reached only in a relative sense. At death, a man has reached the highest level of which he is capable under his circumstances; God does not normally take a man before he has attained this level. The imparted righteousness of Christ is obtained in measure, and not as a unit, in the sense that Christ makes up for the repentant sinner's deficiency by His own divine merit, to whatever extent that sinner is deficient. (15M 382).

  But in the last generation, God is going to do a work not heretofore seen. He is going to reassemble the members of His body temple and cleanse those temple members from every defilement. On this antitypical day of atonement, "His sanctuary" is to be cleansed, and the glory of the Lord is to arise upon His people. He will impart to them His righteousness. They will gain the victory over continuing in sin, and their hearts will be transformed into the image of God. These saints will attain the full maturity of the re-birth into newness of life. In them divinity and humanity will be fully united (symbolized by the marriage), as it was in Jesus. They will attain imparted perfection, and be without fault before God, and stand before Him as brothers of Jesus and joint-heirs with Christ. They will no longer need the intercession of Jesus, for God has come to them directly to sup with them (Rev. 3:20), and to make His habitation in them (Eph. 4:15,16; cf. v. 12,13).

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   In the new Jerusalem there is no temple; the tabernacle of God is with men. (Rev. 21:3, 22).

  This is the ultimate experience we are talking about when we speak of buying the gold of faith and love tried in the fire. Attaining this experience is a matter of taking advantage of the offer made by the True Witness.

  Rev. 3:18-21 - "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne."

  To obtain this experience is a privilege, and it is received on a voluntary basis. We are called and chosen in the refining furnace of affliction (Matt. 20:16; cf. Isa. 48:9-11); and if we remain faithful (that is, full of faith) (Rev. 17:14), we will share His throne (Rev. 3:21). If we are unable to endure the chastening and drink the cup (Matt. 20:20-23), we will be laid aside in the tomb at whatever stage of perfection we have attained; and Christ will make up for our deficiency with His own divine merit. (Isa. 57:1; & ISM 382).

  The cost price which made the gold of faith and love available for us was the cross of Christ - His sufferings for sin. He paid that price. He made a complete self sacrifice; He emptied Himself for us. But if we would share in His glory (that is, obtain His character and become heirs to His heritage), we too must share in His sufferings and offer the sacrifices of righteousness. We, too, must surrender all and take up our cross. This is the price.

  Rom. 8:16,17 - "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (That is, receive the glorious gifts provided by His sacrifice." (cf. Matt. 10:38).

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  Bearing the cross (that is, sharing His sufferings) involves bearing the persecution of one's own household.

  Matt. 10:34-38 - "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."

  The stereoptic meaning of this passage is simply that those of his own household of faith (the members of his own church) will become a man's foes. And the central issue of contention will be the personal possession of the spirit of prophecy. It is the sword of the Lord upon His people.

  Matt. 10:40,41 - "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward."

  Many will rise up against the testimony of the True Witness, as it comes through those who will be endowed with the spirit of prophecy; and they will not bear the counsel revealed therein, nor will they accept the servants of God as servants of God but will regard them as deluded by the devil. It is the sword of the Lord which will cause the shaking. Those who have failed to purchase the gold tried in the fire will not stand the test. "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house." (Matt.13:57).

PERFECTION THROUGH SUFFERING

  Obedience is learned and perfection is attained through suffering. To prove this, and lest any should murmur against God for bringing this suffering to bear upon them, Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, humbled Himself and subjected Himself to this process in order to become our example, that we might be able to follow through with the painful process, having the knowledge and assurance that He has gone the road before and triumphed.

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   Heb. 5:8-10 - "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek." (That is, after His perfection, He became a priest. He is our example; we too are to attain perfection and priesthood.) See Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.

  Heb. 2:10, 11 - "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."

  But the kind of suffering whereby Jesus learned obedience was not the consequence of His transgression; it was the consequence of man's sins. To share the sufferings of Christ means to share in suffering which we do not deserve.

  1st Pet. 2:19 - "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (cf. Rev. 14:12: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." The faith of Jesus is the faith which is tried in the fire, and it is the love of Jesus, also tried in the fire, which enables them to keep the commandments.) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:"

  So we need to be prepared to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, for this is the only way we can learn obedience. If there were any easier way, Christ would have provided it. Only by death to self, by taking up our cross and following Him, can we rise to the newness of life without sin. The new heart and the knowledge of God, promised by the everlasting covenant, come only by the process of sharing His sufferings.

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  1st Pet. 4:1, 2 - "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

  1st Pet. 5: 10 - "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

  The reason we need to arm ourselves and brace up to meet this experience is that the experience is a fiery trial.

  1st Pet. 4:12-14 - "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you (to purify the gold), as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:"

  Peter is not here speaking about suffering which is brought on by our own Sins.

  1st Pet. 4:15 - "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed."

  And when we do enter the furnace and suffer unjustly and unfairly, when our motives and character are grossly misconstrued (as is the character and motive of Christ, whose sufferings we are sharing), we should react not with rebellion and self-defense, but by committing ourselves to Him. This is where we emulate the "faith of Jesus"; for He depended totally upon the protection of His Father - even in Gethsemane He rebuked Peter for drawing the sword. And who could testify to this better than Peter!

  1st Pet. 2:23 – “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:" This is the faith of Jesus which we must emulate. (cf. Rev. 14:12).

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   1st Pet. 4:19 - "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

  God has called His people to offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put their total trust in Him. He has called His people to enter the fiery furnace of affliction in order to bring about their purification, the cleansing of their soul temples. This is according to His will. If we commit ourselves to His keeping, we will then become chosen in the furnace of affliction. (cf. Isa. 48:10). And if we are faithful - that is, if our faith in His loving-kindness and mercy and justice remain steadfast in the face of the terrible ordeal, if we can maintain our implicit trust in Him, then we become "called and chosen and faithful." (cf. Rev. 17:14). Then we become counted among those who have the patience of the saints and the faith of Jesus.

  God has put forth the call (Rev. 14:7); we make the choice. And the degree to which we can remain faithful determines our position. This is the judgment of the living. Let me explain.

  The first angel's message presents the everlasting gospel and calls God's people to fear Him and to give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment is come. (Rev. 14:6, 7).

  The everlasting gospel is the good news of sins forgiven and the provision for salvation from sin and from its penalty of eternal death. It is, in fact, the essence of the everlasting covenant. In view of this marvelous provision, we are called to fear God and give glory to Him. To fear God does not mean to be afraid of Him; rather it means to respect and reverence Him for His wonderful gift to man. To give glory to Him means to give Him credit for what He has done, to acknowledge Him as a God of love and righteousness.

  The reason for His requesting us to do this is that the hour of His judgment is come. We have long regarded this judgment to refer to the saints, first the dead and then the living. That is, we have taken it to mean our judgment - that we are being judged by Him. And there is no doubt that this is what it means. Nevertheless, the meaning of this passage is not exhausted by this one interpretation; for no human mind can exhaust a single passage of Scripture. (Education 171).

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  A few years ago there appeared in the Review and Herald an article which presented another view, one which I have personally held for a long time. The righteous nature of the character of the Godhead was originally challenged by Lucifer, and it has been consistently misrepresented by him for thousands of years. In the last generation, the true nature of the character of God is to be vindicated; His righteousness is to be fully revealed; He is to be justified in the eyes of His universe. The hour of His judgment (His court trial) is come, the hour when His witnesses are to come forward and proclaim Him righteous - to give glory to Him. He has long promised that Jesus came to save His people from their sins; now that promise is to be fulfilled in the lives of the 144,000. Their temples are to be fully cleansed. They are to be witnesses at His judgment, proving that His word is indeed true and that His character is all that He has claimed it to be.

  It is our privilege today to become His final witnesses. But we can become such only if we submit to the cleansing discipline of the cup of His sufferings and of His baptism. This discipline is a strange and fiery trial; but it will yield pure gold. The image of Jesus will be perfectly reproduced in His people - a testimony to the truthfullness of the promises of the everlasting gospel and new covenant.

  Thus, not only are the living saints judged by their actual demonstration of victory, but their Lord is also judged and His righteous character vindicated by that same demonstration.

  But the fiery trial will be so strange, so apparently unreasonable, that God has purposed to send a renewed message of interpretation to His people in this generation. For many would misunderstand it and be tempted to accuse God of unfaithfullness to His promise of care and protection. For the underlying instigator of the persecution is none other than Satan; God permits him to do it. Satan does it in an effort to break the faith of God's people in the righteousness and mercy of their King. And without an understanding of its purpose, some would lose their faith. But God designs that it should try their faith, and strengthen it. The fiery trial is a trial that will separate and differentiate, a sword that will divide. Only those who accept the message for this hour will endure it.

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  Nevertheless, He does not suffer us to endure temptation beyond that which we are able to bear, but makes a way of escape. (1st Cor. 10:13). When the fire gets too hot (and hot it will get), we may ask Him to turn off the heat. Yet, if we are unable to bear the trial patiently, without murmuring and complaining, then the trial must be brought upon us again. We must be prepared to drink another draught of the bitter cup until it produces the desired effect.

  EW 46, 47 - "If we overcome our trials, and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold, and are stronger and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for the next .... We must have on the whole armor of God, and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light, and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might.

  "God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy, impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus receive it, and God will be honored and glorified. (cf. first angel's message, Rev. 14:7). It is no small thing to be a Christian, and to be owned and approved of God.

  "We must be partakers of Christ's sufferings here, if we would share in His glory hereafter.... "

  "...They have the standard of piety altogether too low, and they come far short of Bible Holiness. Some engage in vain and unbecoming conversation, and others give way to the risings of self.

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  We must not expect to please ourselves, live and act like the world, have its pleasures, and enjoy the company of those who are of the world, and reign with Christ in glory." [Ibid, EW 47]

  Here, then, is the faith and love tried in the fire. (Rev. 3:18). Only those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will be able to accept the fiery trial without losing faith in the justice, mercy, and love of God. The trial will cause a separation; some will prove to be gold; others wood, hay, and stubble. Some will see their suffering as an experimental knowledge of the love of God, who accepted such suffering for their salvation; others will see only the apparent injustice of a cruel God. Many will not be able to endure. This is because they have failed to heed the counsel of the True Witness to buy this gold and to make the preparation for the marriage and fill their lamps with oil. Unless their faith has been strengthened by the repeated exercise of trials, they cannot endure the final fiery test. Only a full, personal, experiential revelation of the love of God will suffice to motivate and constrain to a total allegiance. And this revelation comes through sharing the sufferings of Christ. By personal experience we learn a little of what Jesus endured for our sakes. And in learning this, we suddenly realize what a wonderful character of love He must possess, that it would constrain Him to go to such depths of misrepresentation and persecution and suffering in order to save us. This knowledge, this realization, bestirs within us a reciprocal love. It wins our allegiance. When we share His cross in full knowledge of the meaning of that experience, then He is lifted up in our hearts personally, and we are drawn to Him. (John 12:32). The love of God is born in our hearts. Christ is formed in us. When this love is strengthened, it impels us to obey every commandment of God.

  COL 378 - "Belief in the propitiation for sin enables fallen man to love God with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself."

  And this love is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13:10).

 But the acquisition of faith and love by experience is progressive. And as these are progressively tested and the tests are successfully surmounted, they are strengthened. When the development attains a level sufficient to demonstrate implicit and total trust in God, and to produce unwavering and faithful allegiance to His commandments, then the full delivering of the everlasting covenant is experienced.

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  Nevertheless, it is a long and trying experience, and it will develop the patience of the saints.

  Heb. 1O:35-38 - "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

  Heb. 12:1,2 - "...and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith."

  Jas. l:2-4 - "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

  Rev. 3:10-12 - "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." cf. EW 19 - "Only the 144,000 enter this place (the temple on Mount Zion)."

  But this entire procedure cannot be accomplished without the Spirit of God. All the provisions of the covenant, and the sacrifice of Christ, can be of no avail without the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

  Rom. 5:3-5 - "...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

THE THREE BAPTISMS OF JESUS
[From here through p. 131]

  Those who are to attain to an entrance into the temple on Mount Zion (EW 19) and to sharing the throne of Christ (Rev. 3:21), must not only drink of the cup of which He drank (Matt. 26:39), but they must also be baptized with His baptism. (Matt. 20:21-23). The Scripture reveals three kinds of baptism by which Jesus was baptized. All of these

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apply to those of His followers who are called and chosen and faithful. (Rev. 17:14).

  The first baptism is that of water. Jesus experienced this at the hand of John. (Matt. 3:13-15). Water baptism is a symbol that the candidate is taking on a new life and leaving the old behind. In the case of Jesus it meant that He was no longer to be the carpenter of Nazareth but the Messiah of Israel.

  But water baptism is also an outward symbol that the candidate is to be anointed by the Holy Ghost and become a partaker of the divine nature. This is an inward experience which can only be represented outwardly by a symbol. Water baptism is an outward representation of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is an inward experience. This is the second baptism by which Jesus was baptized. The evidence that Jesus was receiving this anointing was given immediately after His water baptism by John. (Matt. 3:16).

  He promised a similar baptism for His disciples, which occurred first at Pentecost. (Acts 1:5,8; 2:1-4,16-18; cf. John 1:33). Subsequent converts were also to receive this baptism of the Holy Ghost after their conversion. (Acts 8:14-17). The anointing and baptism of the Holy Ghost at this stage was the former rain experience. There is also to be a latter rain experience. The time for this experience to occur is now.

  But Jesus experienced another baptism. He spoke of this in His answer to James and John. At this time He asked them if they were able to drink of the cup whereof He would have to drink and be baptized with the baptism wherewith He would be baptized. (Matt. 20:22).

  The cup was the suffering of emotional pain, of which He would drink the bitterest draught at Gethsemane and the cross. (Matt. 26:38, 39) James and John - and all others who are His chosen ones, to be His witnesses - will also taste of this cup. (Matt. 20:23; cf. 1 Pet. 4:1, 12,13; 2:19-21).

  But Jesus here also refers to a difficult and future baptism wherewith He was yet to be baptized.

  Luke 12:50 - "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened (pained) till it be accomplished!"

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  This baptism was obviously still not consummated. In the associated verses, He explains the nature of it.

  Luke 12:49-53 - "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

  For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law."

  This passage appears to be strangely contradictory in the light of His promise to bring peace on earth. (Isa. 9:6, 7; Luke 2:14; John 14:27). But the fire which He kindled is the fire of division and persecution resulting from variance in acceptance of Him as the Messiah.

  All who would accept Him and demonstrate that acceptance by living "godly in Christ Jesus" would suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12). They too must be baptized with the baptism of fire. John the Baptist said:

  Matt. 3:11 - "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

  This is clearly a reference to the purging and shaking of His people, to the purifying and singling out of the sons of Levi, the 144,000 priests. And it is here called a baptism of fire. It is expressed again quite plainly in Early Writings, as follows:

  EW 67 - "I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ's sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified, and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.

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  "As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us so rich an inheritance, I prayed that we might be baptized into Christ's sufferings, that we might not shrink at trials, but bear them with patience and joy, knowing what Jesus had suffered that we through His poverty and sufferings might be made rich." [Ibid]

  But what is it that brings the fiery trial of purification upon the saints? It is the same thing which brought the fiery trial upon Jesus. Not as though He needed the trial for purification. O no! He was already pure. But He humbled Himself to the ordeal of His sufferings in order to pave the way for us to endure that trial which is the only means whereby we could become purified. Had He not gone that road before, we would lose our faith during those severe experiences and count Him to be an unjust and unmerciful God. That is why He accepted His cross. It was a revelation of His love for us. And that is why we will accept our cross; it is a revelation of the love we bear for Him.

  But what was it that brought on His trial? In doing always the will of His Father, Jesus set Himself at variance with the leaders of His people; and He brought on division, misunderstanding of His true motives, and the fires of persecution among His own people and brethren and relatives. His message, the Word of God, was sharper than any two-edged sword; and it divided asunder. (cf. Heb. 4:12). It is not with pleasure that God brings the sword of His mouth upon His people. (cf. Ezek. 21:9-13). The pain which this brings to Him is His deepest sorrow; and it caused Jesus to publicly weep. Not often do men weep; and then, seldom in public. Why did He weep?

  Luke 19:41-44 - "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

  At the time Jesus spoke these words, he was riding into Jerusalem on a colt; and the multitude were rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice - but some of the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke those  

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people. Jesus answered that if the disciples were to hold their peace, the very stones would cry out. (see v. 28-48). It was at this point that He wept.

  Why did He weep? Because Jerusalem, His chosen people, would not receive Him; they did not recognize Him. Yet it was not for His own sake that He wept, but because He knew the sad consequences of rejection of the only One who could bring salvation to Jerusalem and save it from destruction. Only the sword of His mouth could bring the words of eternal life. Yet He knew that this sword would become, to those who refused its truth, a destroying weapon. (cf. Ezek. 9:1-6).

  When He was in the temple, teaching, the chief priests and elders came to Him asking by what authority He did so. In reply He challenged them to tell whether the baptism of John was from heaven or of men. But they dared not answer that question either by "yes" or "no". Then Jesus spoke to them two parables, both of which taught that others would receive the kingdom before they would; publicans and harlots would go in before them. He spoke of the stone which the builders rejected. (Read Matt. 21:23-46).

  As John came in the spirit and power of Elias as the forerunner of the first advent of Jesus, calling the Jews and Jerusalem to the baptism of repentance, to prepare them to receive their Messiah and the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the early rain; even so is someone promised to come in the spirit and power of Elias as the forerunner of the second Advent, calling modern Jerusalem to repentance and reformation, in preparation for the sudden coming of the Holy Ghost to His temple by the baptism of fire in the latter rain. Jerusalem (God's church) will then again have the opportunity of accepting or rejecting the message which comes by him. Men may again challenge the authority of the messenger and question his teaching. (TM 475; 4 BC 1184). Should all Jerusalem choose to reject the messengers preceding the coming of Christ to His temple in the latter rain, the Lord would come to smite the earth with a curse. This He clearly disclosed in the last words of the Old Testament, the last words ever delivered through His prophets before laying down His eternal heritage to become an everlasting sacrifice on behalf of man. (Mal. 4:6; Mark 9:12; cf. John 1:21 and Luke 9:30). But that same text verily promises that he who shall come to restore all things will have a message that will bear its fruit. And the word of prophecy is certain and sure. Therefore, as in the days of John

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many came to repentance, and as in the experience of Jesus all that the Father gave Him came to Him; even so, today, those who are called by the Spirit of Truth, and who choose to follow their Master all the way, will respond and be found faithful. But these must share in the experience of Jesus and receive of His baptisms - of water, and of the Spirit, and of fire.

  The third baptism of Jesus represents an immersion in emotional pain and sorrow resulting from the misunderstanding, the slander, and the persecution, caused by His speaking forth the plain words of truth to His own people. In speaking forth His testimony, He must unavoidably make it appear to them (because of their own blindness and bigotry, not because of the truth) that He was a false prophet operating under the power of the prince of devils. (Matt. 10:25; 12:24). And their rejection of Him as their Messiah, and of the prophets who foretold His coming, seared and stung His sensitive soul. Thus also will the souls of His saints be seared and stung; and they will weep between the porch and the altar.

  EW 64 - "His life was one of toil, sorrow, and suffering; He then gave Himself for us. Those who, in Christ's stead, beseech souls to be reconciled to God, and who hope to reign with Christ in glory, must expect to be partakers of His sufferings here. 'They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' Ps. 126:5, 6."

  Remember, it is the counsel called forth by the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans which causes the shaking and separating. Not that the words of truth are to blame, nor the speaking forth of those words; but the hearts of His beloved people in Jerusalem - His own kindred flesh and blood - are not entirely right with Him. They have made themselves lukewarm toward Him and spurned the totality of His love. If they had not done this, they would already even now have been in the kingdom. But they are not in the kingdom, because they have not responded wholeheartedly to His appeal, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." They do not even acknowledge the extent to which this request can be fulfilled; nor do they yet recognize

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His messengers of this truth for the present hour, whose message would open their understanding, if they would completely fulfill the conditions for receiving the Holy Spirit, whose enlightenment would guide them into all the truth for this day of emergency.

  Jesus saw His rejection, as expressed in these words:

  Mark 10:33, 34 - "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:

  And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him; and the third day he shall rise again."

  This vision was no doubt in His mind the day He rode the colt into Jerusalem. It was following this passage that He spoke to James and John of His baptism. (See v. 35-40) He expresses it again in Matthew 23:37-39.

  This experience will have its parallel in our day; for the words of Revelation eleven will have a renewed application to the two witnesses of the old and new covenants (which are the Old and New testaments). These two witnesses will again bear their testimony, which is the sword of the Lord; and they will take the consequences; namely, the baptism of fire. Whoso readeth, let him understand.

  The temple of God is to be measured - the living temple which is to become the dwelling place of God by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. (cf. Rev. 3:20; Mal. 3:1-3; I Cor. 3:16, cf. 6:19.).

  Jesus' emotional suffering in the baptism of fire was not caused only by the disappointment of His rejection by the Pharisees and leaders of His people, but because of His knowing that such rejection would cause many blind sheep of the flock, who were followers of their blind leaders, to also reject Him (Matt. 15:12-14) - and that such rejection would bring upon those people the abomination of desolation. He knew they would have to suffer the pangs of severe discipline, and that His chosen ones would have to flee from the sanctuary of Jerusalem and the shelter of Judea, under most difficult circumstances, when they should see the abomination of desolation stand in that holy place.

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  Matt. 23:37-39 - "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

  Matt. 24:14-22 - "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

  Here is a prime example of a passage of Scripture containing a stereoptic meaning - a dual application. If the time of trouble here mentioned, referred primarily to the physical destruction of the temple and the flight of the saints from literal Jerusalem in A. D. 70, then the time of trouble spoken of in connection with the closing scenes of earth's history could not be as great; for the passage says there will never again be such a time of trouble. Yet the Spirit of Prophecy says the final time of trouble will be unsurpassed. Therefore, these words of Christ have a deeper meaning than appears on the surface - even as the servant of the Lord says do all His sayings. (COL 110).

  There is also another stereoscopic meaning here. Babylon is a representation of the fallen churches; but Jerusalem is a representation of God's chosen church. Jesus wept over Jerusalem; we have no record that He wept over Babylon. The servants of God who will bear the straight testimony of the True Witness will be rejected by members of their own household, of their own family, and of their own church. They will mourn not only because of the persecution they must endure, but because they know the severe consequences which will ensue

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in the experience of those of their loved ones and brethren who reject the message. They will be deeply pained to see the complete misunderstanding, misrepresenting and the reaction on the part of some of their dear ones and friends, and of their brethren. They will be desolated to see the pain which their message causes to those friends and loved ones. Think not that it was an easy thing for Jesus to offend His people. (cf. John 6:61,66,67). Then do you wonder at all, now, why I should find it so difficult to bring you this portion of God's testimony to you? Ezekiel 21:1-13 will come to pass; but let not Jeremiah 25:34-36 become true of you.

  This is the baptism of fire and division and persecution of which the followers of Jesus will partake when they go all the way with Him. Will you choose with Jesus and James and John to go this route? Will you choose to take up your cross and follow Him? Or will you become one of the persecutors? Brethren, I implore you to heed the counsel to anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may discern what is the truth in this matter.

  The Jews blamed Jesus for bringing dissension into their midst. But He was in fact bringing them the words of eternal life. His followers today will fare no better; they too will be accused of bringing in dissension. Satan has brought forth so many counterfeits in the experience of the Remnant Church that God's people are now thoroughly conditioned to reject all innovations. That is why God's last day messengers will not relish their task. They do not want to be branded as dissenters and troublemakers. But impelled by the Holy Ghost and endowed with the courage of Elijah, they will speak their message; and with a comparable fear they will shun the threatened retaliation. There will be times when they will cry to God for deliverance, even day and night. Nevertheless, it was the threat of Jezebel which drove Elijah to the wilderness, where in his utter defeat and exhaustion he was fed and strengthened by the angel's food; and in this strength he was enabled to go up to the Mountain of God, where he met His Lord and received the communion of the still, small voice. Then he returned to finish his task. (1 Kings 19:15-18).

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  Let us read again the warning of the True Witness to us. We are lukewarm. We think we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. How often we reiterate and publish our great exploits. See the imposing statistics of our expanding assets. Hear the comforting assurance that we have all the truth needed to see us through to the kingdom - that there is no new message. I wonder if our spirit is always right in the sight of God when expressing these things? If there is no new message, let us note what the old message says: if we do not repent, He will spew us out of His mouth! Do you believe it?

  But He says we are blind and naked. He is not talking about physical blindness; He is talking about spiritual blindness. And when He admonishes us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve, He is not talking about our physical eyes. We need the anointing of the Holy Ghost to enlighten our understanding of the old truths in a new way. We need the latter rain to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13).

  Neither is He speaking of physical nakedness. He means we lack a spiritual covering to protect us in the time of trouble. He means we do not have the white-linen robe of His righteousness; we merely think we have it. If we had it, beloved, He would not advise us to buy it, would He? And if we had it, we would now be in the kingdom, would we not? There is then something about the meaning of the righteousness of Christ which we need to understand or apply in a manner not yet accomplished. And this something will be dealt with in succeeding pages at an appropriate time.

  Do you then really believe the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodicean church? I know you believe. But do you have an ear to hear what the Spirit of Truth is saying to the church in our time - the last of the seven true churches? (Rev. 3:22). If you do, your mind will be attuned to understand the solemn words contained in these pages, and you will recognize the truth of the statements which follow.

  A true child of God will have sensitive feelings akin to those of Jesus. And the hardest kind of persecution such a man can bear for Jesus' sake is the misunderstanding of his true position and motives by the loved ones of his household. This statement is literally true. Nevertheless, it has also a stereoscopic meaning. For a man's household is the household of his faith - those who profess to believe the teachings of the church to which he belongs. (Gal. 6:10). These also

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may become his greatest persecutors, even while not recognizing their actions as such, and even to thinking they are doing him and God a great favor.

  Such is the baptism of fire awaiting the saints. It is the sword of the Lord upon His people, which causes the shaking. It is a personal experience which reveals to them with extreme vividness the nature of the sufferings which Christ endures in order to prepare the way of salvation for His sheep to follow. And His sheep will hear His voice as the still small voice of the Spirit of Truth; and they will follow. (John 10:22-27).

  The sword of the Lord shall first be upon His people; and it is no easy thing for Him to bring that sword upon them, because He knows what they must endure and the effect which the sword will have. But for the joy beyond the cross, He sends the sword. And of His people, it shall first come upon the principals of the flock. Not until it has done its work will it become a destroying weapon upon all who reject the final message of the testimony of Jesus.

  When the abomination of desolation is seen to stand in the holy place in Jerusalem, it is time for the saints to flee. For then shall be their time of trouble such as never was. It is at this time that false Christs and false prophets will arise in abundance. (See Matt. 24:15-25). And there is a time of trouble before the final close of probation. This time is rapidly approaching.

  Mark 10:29-31 - "Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

  Matt. 10:28-41 - "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. ...Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. ...A man's foes shall

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be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." [Matt. 10:41]

  He receives a prophet's reward in that he receives the same message as the prophet; and it becomes his own, to keep and to share.

  Matt. 23:34 - "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: ...Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation."

  This prophecy has a renewed application in our generation. And the scourging in the synagogues does not have to be physical; for God teaches by similitudes. (Hos. 12:10). Brethren, let us open our eyes!

  Sister White makes a statement to the effect that when the messengers of truth see the reactions of their testimony, they will determine to remain quiet, and thus avoid the unpleasant controversy. But the power of God comes upon them and they are impelled to speak forth the truth regardless of consequences. Such behavior appears to be irrational; and these messengers will be labeled heretics, fanatics, troublers of the people, deluded servants of Satan, and even mentally disturbed.

  A careful reading of the foregoing material will reveal significant implications to all whose minds are guided by the Holy Spirit. But to those whose preconceived opinions bar the door to an expanded understanding, no renewed meaning will appear. Not until we receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost will we be guided into a personal understanding of all the truth for this crucial hour; for such is the work of the Spirit of Truth.

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  In the outpouring of the latter rain, the Spirit is to prepare the saints for their final conflict with Satan and for their ultimate meeting with the personal Christ. This experience of receiving the latter rain is intimately related to the terms and the outworking of the everlasting covenant. (To be more fully explained later.) For by it the fiery trial becomes a purifier of silver and of the gold of faith and love; without it, the dross remains. By it the sword of the Word fortifies and seals; without it, the sword separates and destroys. When the fiery trial comes upon us, the true nature of our inmost souls will be laid bare. Then we come to the parting of the ways.

  Let me make one more observation before terminating this section. All prophecy is for certain sure; it is immutable. But the precise nature of its application to any particular situation or person is conditional. It is within the power of your group choice whether and how this prophecy will apply to you, as a "city" organization; and it is within the power of your individual choice whether and how this prophecy will apply to you as an individual citizen in that city. You can determine which conditions shall prevail, as far as you are concerned.

  Nevertheless, you will likely not yet be in a position to make a rational decision, because major areas of truth have not yet been covered. Forthcoming sections will bring to light numerous interpretations which have an important bearing on the experience of the final remnant. An irrevocable negative decision should not be made until those pages have been honestly considered and seriously pondered.

* * * * * * * *

  (At this point, you may wish to again read through the entire correspondence and manuscript - slowly, and with deliberate concentration. It is highly probable that new views will occur to you which you did not discern during your first exposure. Subsequent sections will add further insight and enlightenment to these pages.)

* * * * * * * *

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  MH 478 - "Of all the gifts that heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon."

[Written in 1968].

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SECTION 4

THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD

[Written Manuscript # 4]



by
J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)


Eph 6:17 - "...the sword of the Spirit, ...is the word of God.”

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THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF THE LORD

  God has a special message for His people today, and this message is the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. It is found in Revelation 3:14-22. This message is intimately linked with the fulfillment of the terms of the new covenant, and we shall have occasion to refer to it from time to time. We should also remember that the Laodicean message contains the counsel which will separate the true people of God from those who will prove unfaithful during the shaking time. And in this connection it is related to the sword of the Lord. Let us read a portion of it here.

  Rev. 3:15, 16 - "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

  Our view of this passage in the past has not been particularly realistic. The passage clearly says that He will spew us out of His mouth. To spew means to eject or expel forth, to vomit. And it may be true that the drinking of lukewarm water does tend toward nausea and vomiting, and it is also true that waters in prophecy are symbolic of peoples. Most of us, therefore, have had the idea that God would eject us out of His mouth. And then we have immediately taken cover in the statement which says that the threatenings and promises of God are alike conditional. Thus we have concluded that by repentance and confession we can escape this threat; and in this reassurance we relax. So we assume that we are not all as vomit in the mouth of the True Witness, to be ejected because we are lukewarm; and we hope that we ourselves will be the exceptions.

  This could hardly be the complete meaning of the passage, however, because the following verses indicate that He does not in fact cast off His people, but rather that He gives them counsel. And the counsel is given as though coming after they are spewed out of His mouth. And if it is heeded, it will bring the True Witness in to His people to sup with them. (Rev. 3:17-20). Therefore, if the passage does indeed mean to vomit out His people from His mouth, then it could in any case mean only those who refuse to heed the counsel. But the passage does not say this; it says very positively that because of our luke-warmness, He will spew us out of His mouth. Then follows the counsel.

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  Let us first be clear that in no place in the Bible are God's people represented as dwelling in His mouth or in His stomach. If they are not there, then He cannot vomit them out. It could mean only that His people are as distasteful to Him as lukewarm water. But if we apply the principle of stereopsis, it should be obvious that there is some other meaning to this passage. There must be something else in the mouth of God which He spews upon His people. He spews them with something out of His mouth.

  We need not search far in the Bible to find out what it is that issues from the mouth of the Lord and which comes upon His people.

  Rev. 1:16 - "...and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword."

  Rev. 19:13, 15,21 - "...and his name is called The Word of God. ...And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: ...And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth.

  Rev. 2: 16 - "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

  The sword of the Lord which issues from His mouth is His Word of Truth. (cf. John 1:1-4,14; Eph. 6:17.).

  Can it be said that the Laodicean people are still in this lukewarm, self-satisfied condition? [Refer also to page 144 of this book.]

  This sword is to come upon His lukewarm people to try them and to slay many of them. It will do this when it becomes sharpened and furbished (that is, made brighter and polished, in order that it may reflect more "light").

  Ezek. 21:9-13 - "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter; should we then make mirth? It contemneth [spurns, by-passes, scorns despises, slights] the rod of my son, as every tree. And He hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. Because it is a trial,..."

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  We need to bear in mind that the purpose of the Laodicean message is to bring to fruition the terms of the everlasting covenant. It is to restore God's people to the image of Christ and consummate the communion or indwelling of Christ through the Holy Ghost. The New Testament (covenant) is in His blood, of which we are to partake in emblem in remembrance of Him until He comes in reality to fulfill the terms of that covenant. (1st Cor. 11:25,26). During the investigative judgment of the living, these things will be accomplished; and the sanctuary will be cleansed, and the marriage of the Lamb will be consummated, and the kingdom of saints will be made up. (EW 280). Those Laodiceans who hear the voice of the True Witness and open the door will receive the communion of the body and blood of Christ. (Rev. 3:20). The body of Christ (His flesh) is His word and the blood of Christ (His life) is His Spirit. This will become evident as we proceed.

  We have already shown in the previous manuscript, entitled "The Everlasting Covenant", that the means which God will use to restore His people to His image is through the process of discipline. Now we find this same means of discipline reiterated in the Laodicean message. (Rev. 3: 19). It should now be clear that the method used to discipline those of the lukewarm Laodiceans whom God loves will be through the spewing upon them of the furbished and sharpened, two-edged sword of His word. This sword is also the tool of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing its work of sealing the saints - that is, of settling them into the truth (cf. "Seal is a Settling Into Truth." 4BC 1161); for the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. (Eph. 6:17). By this means will the Holy Spirit reprove God's people of their sins - through the Word. By this means will He settle them into the truth - by the gift of the spirit of prophecy clarifying that Word. By this means will He give the saints an experimental knowledge of the character of God. By this means will the terms of the everlasting covenant be fulfilled. (cf. COL 114; paragraph 2).

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   I am tempted at this point to show the relationship of this truth to the investigative judgment of the living and the cleansing of the sanctuary of the record of sin, but we would then be carried afield and lose our main thread. Therefore, I will delay this topic and return now to consider some details regarding how the sword of the Lord is used to discipline the children of God and to test them upon the paramount principle of the law - unselfish love of the brethren. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matt. 25:40.

  Thus it should be clear that upon the lukewarm Laodicean people will come the sword of the Lord - not an old and tarnished sword, but a sharpened sword, furbished and made bright for the spiritual slaughter of His people. That which is wicked in them must be slain; they are to completely die to self. For His people will be measured (or judged) by the rod of His mouth, which is His Word. (cf. Rev. 11:1; and Isa. 11:4); (DA 208; cf. COL 67; 5 T 214; TM 506; Isa. 66:16). The people of God must be spewed with His sword and be measured and be slain and be purified and made white. Thus is the everlasting covenant fulfilled.

HOW THE SWORD WILL OPERATE

  There are two ways in which the sword of the Spirit will come upon God's people as a test. The first of these is through a personal reproving of sin and of righteousness (cf. John 16:8) and of keener judgment. The Spirit of truth will reveal to a man a clearer meaning of a passage of Scripture and will show him where and how that truth has a sharper and more penetrating application to his own personal life - that he has not been doing a close enough work of conforming to this truth. Then the testing situation arises, and the truth becomes a sword piercing the heart.

  He may find it hard to surrender himself to the greater obligation indicated by the deeper understanding of the truth. He may not wish to give up his cultivated attachments to the things and ways of the world and to return to primitive godliness. And he will want to shun the scoffing and resistance of his friends and brethren who have not seen the more penetrating view and who wish to have him remain in their lukewarm realm and not to have their consciences agitated by his

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example of reformation. But he must crucify self; he must be slain by the sword; he must be ruled by the rod of iron. At the same time, the Holy Spirit may reprove another man quite differently; for not all things which may be sin to one are necessarily also sin to another, particularly in matters of diet and conduct. There are individual differences involved in this matter of right and wrong, and God takes these differences into account. Nevertheless, such differences can easily give rise to contention and malicious strife and form a barrier of animosity between brethren. Thus is a test of brotherly fellowship set up. God's people must learn to live with one another's differences while yet maintaining their brotherly love.

  Herein arises a test of discipleship, of tolerance, and of love for one's brother. Before God's people are ready for translation, they must overcome all resentment and antagonism one toward another, and they must come into the unity of the faith and love for which Jesus prayed in His last great intercessory prayer on earth. (John 13:34,35 17:19-26). This will be accomplished through the discipline of God. (Rev. 3:19). And this discipline will come through the furbished and sharpened sword of the Lord. (Rev. 3:16; cf. Ezek. 21:9-13).

  The second way in which the sword of the Spirit will come upon God's people as a test is through the revelation of new truth. The sword with which the Lord will spew His people to try them will be a sharpened and polished sword - it will be His Word of truth unfolding greater light and with sharper penetrating power. The proclamation of this increased light and expanded meaning will stir up resentment, antagonism, resistance, and persecution. Thus, again, will the saints be tested and proved, to demonstrate whether they will surrender fully to the will of God and accept the principle of brotherly love.

  GW 301, 302 - "We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished that He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of."

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  The proclaiming to His own people of truth which they already know and understand will not bring on a trial of dissension and persecution. It is the revelation of additional truth and greater light which will bring on this trial. Herein is the manner by which the True Witness will spew His lukewarm people with the sword that issues out of (from) His mouth. Nor will merely some of them be spewed, but rather all of them. The text means exactly what it says; it is a plain "Thus saith the Lord": "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." The servant of the Lord has cautioned that if anyone would come forward with purported new truth, let him present a plain, Thus saith the Lord. Here the Lord says plainly that He will spew His lukewarm Laodicean people out of His mouth.

  By the Spirit of Truth will the Word be made bright; for the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. (Eph. 6:17). Every Seventh-day Adventist knows that there is to be in our day a great outpouring of the Spirit upon God's people. But not every Seventh-day Adventist realizes that then the Word of God will become a penetrating sword. By the power of the Spirit, through the Word, will the soul of each saint be laid bare and the true thoughts and intents of the heart made clear to the consciousness.

  Heb. 4:12,13 - "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (cf. Rev. 3:17 - the Laodiceans did not know that they were naked; but this will be made plain to them when the sword comes upon them.)

  Thus the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans will become clarified by the Spirit of Truth, and will proclaim their nakedness and urge their purchase of eyesalve with which to anoint their eyes, that they may see their nakedness and their need and become aroused and awakened out of their state of lukewarmness and self-satisfaction. The Spirit will reprove them of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. (John 16:8).

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  And again, a new and enlarged meaning of a doctrine may be revealed by the Spirit of Truth to a servant of God, a brother in the church. But as he expresses this view to his brethren, some of them become stirred up and violently oppose his view; and he may be put to severe embarrassment and loss of position or of social acceptance. A spirit of intolerance may be shown against him, and a refusal to make a thorough and fair investigation of the truth concerned, and the attitude of self-satisfaction and complacency may set the enlightened brother into a position of great difficulty. Nevertheless, the viewpoint of the opposing brethren may also be quite correct; they may have reasonable justification for their opposition to the new view.

  It is this paradoxical situation which exhibits the two-edged nature of the sword of God's Word; it cuts both ways, one opposite to the other. The Word of God is liberally embellished with apparent contradictions. One brother can successfully support his view of a truth from the Scriptures, while at the same time another brother can substantiate an opposing view with equal plausibility. (cf. RH, Jan. 14, 1971, p. 12, re: Bride of Christ.). This fact need not be a stumbling block to faith in the validity of God's Word. Indeed, the dual aspect of truth enhances its nature; for when it is viewed in its plurality, it opens up a sharper, more vivid image, set off in clearly defined perspective.

  The unfolding nature of truth, which makes it perpetually present truth, is an ingenious device involving such precise vocabulary and sentence structure that it obviously could have been created only through genuine revelation or inspiration. It is an evidence of the divine nature of Scripture. The spewing of the Laodiceans out of the mouth of the Lord is one example of a two-edged paradox in God's Word.

  I will not at this point detract from our main line of thought by enumerating other examples of such paradoxes. Some of these will be referred to at convenient places. Let me simply say that a genuinely stereoptic view of these paradoxes will reveal an amazing integration of the elements of truth.

  Meanwhile, this double-edged characteristic of the sword of the Lord brings on a test of fellowship among the brethren, and it is designed to execute the discipline of God for the development of tolerance and brotherly love, the fundamental principle of His law until the dross be shaken out and we come into the unity of the faith.

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   The identifying characteristic of the disciples, the brethren in the family of Christ, is that they have "love" one to another. (John 13:35; 15:12,17).

THE SWORD OPERATES THROUGH SUFFERING AND MISUNDERSTANDING

  The great trials of our faith and love (which is the gold of Rev. 3:18) will come through personal suffering and through the opposition and persecution of those of our brethren and others who cannot understand our viewpoint and who cannot discern the things which the Spirit of Truth is revealing to us. Not until our faith and love have been strengthened by the exercise of these trials will the final time of trouble come upon the saints after the close of probation. The trials of our faith and love come upon us to purify us and to make us ready for the final onslaught. Those who cannot bear these preparatory trials will prove to be base metal.

  The trial of our faith comes largely through personal suffering, and the trial of our love comes mainly through brotherly persecution. Personal suffering will test our faith in the love and mercy of God; while brotherly persecution will test our love for God - for His commandment is that we love both Him and our brethren - and inasmuch as we do it unto one of the least of His brethren, we do it unto Him. And if a brother is our enemy, we are still asked to love him. This is the trial of our love.

  Matt. 5:43-48 - "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:" (Here is the key to becoming a full-grown child of God!) "...For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

  Herein is revealed the key to perfection, the reproduction of the perfect character of God. The thing which makes the love of God distinct from the love of a man is that God loves His enemies. But Jesus' bitterest enemies were the members of His own household of faith, the leaders of His professed people; and when they slew Him, He

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said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." When this character becomes ours, Jesus will come to claim us as His own.

  The purification and perfection of our characters will come through the discipline of God, through trials and suffering. (Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:4-14; EW 71,67,47; Matt. 3:11; Mark 10:38,39).

  5T 136 - "Soon God's people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear genuine and true will prove to be base metal."

  But the Laodicean message includes an entreaty to do something about our lukewarm condition, and it promises that those whom God loves he will rebuke and chasten, so that they may come to repentance and become zealous in truth and righteousness, and open the door for the Spirit of Christ to enter for communion - and overcome. (See Rev. 3:17-22).

  The discipline of God comes through sharing the cup of His sufferings; and its purpose is to cleanse and purify.

  EW 47 - "God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy, impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who receive it, and God will be honored and glorified."

  This bitter cup is not merely a cup of physical suffering; it is the cup of suffering of which Jesus drank. His suffering involved accepting the consequences of a complete submission to the will of God. (The meaning of this statement will expand as our experience progresses). It included suffering the consequences of speaking forth the truth in spite of serious misunderstanding by His own people regarding His true motives and character. It involved being baptized with the baptism of fire, the antagonism, opposition, and persecution arising from His own brethren in Israel because He preached the furbished Word of Truth.

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   By this means will the sword of the Lord come upon His people to reprove them. For Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." - Matt. 10:34-36.

  When a man rises to the challenge of the Laodicean counsel, this is what he will encounter. And unless he is willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus in drinking the cup and accepting the baptism, he is not worthy of Christ. For we read on:

  Matt. 10:37-38 - "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (See also Mark 10:38, 39; Luke 12:49-53).

  It is not necessarily true that all who fail to attain the degree of perfection and purification required to stand before a holy God after the close of probation will be lost. The fire whereby the gold is purified will try every man's work, and reveal whether it will endure as precious metal or be burned as wood, hay, and stubble. But though his work may be burned and he may suffer loss, yet he himself need not necessarily be lost.

  1st Cor. 3:11-15 - "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

  If a man is faithful (that is, full of faith) unto death, he will be saved. That is, if his faith in the promises of God does not fail, despite the burning of his works, he may not be qualified to stand as God's witness during the seven last plagues, but he will be plucked as a brand from the fire. He may meet a violent death of persecution, or otherwise be laid aside in the tomb; but he will still be accounted righteous if his faith does not fail; for righteousness comes by faith. The promise

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is that Jesus will make up for his deficiency with His own divine merit. (1st SM 382.6).

  Isa. 57:1 & 2 - "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness."

  ML 250 – “When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man's best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit."

  But God is calling for witnesses at His trial who will prove His innocence of Satan's charges, by permitting Him to purify them and bring them to perfection and prove that He has provided for their total salvation from sin. [This paragraph inserted by J. W. J. in 1994].

  Nevertheless, this prophecy has a dual application. The second application is that of separating the sheep from the goats. The sword of truth will divide asunder those who will believe in God and in His Son, Jesus, from those who will not; and he which is righteous will be righteous still, but the wicked will continue only to do more wickedly.

HOW THE SWORD WILL OPERATE - (Continued)

  In proceeding to a more complete consideration of how the sword of the Lord will affect God's people, a series of quotations regarding the involvements surrounding new light will be given at this point. These statements will show how new truth will bring trial to God's people. Some of these statements will assume greater meaning as our study proceeds.

  5 T 708, 09 - "When God's people are at ease and satisfied with their present enlightenment, we may be sure that He will not favor them. It is His will that they should be ever moving forward to receive the increased and ever increasing light which is shining for them. The present attitude of the church is not pleasing to God. There has come in a self-confidence that has led them to feel no necessity for more truth and greater light." (cf. Rev. 3:17 and EW 270).

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   The complacency here spoken of is that which is brought out in the message of the True Witness to the Laodiceans; and the counsel He gives (which some will not bear, and which will thus cause the separation or shaking) is to buy of Him gold (faith and love) tried in the fire, and white raiment (the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect obedience to the law of God), and to anoint the eyes with eyesalve in order to see. (See what? The truth of the message which is not yet discerned!) Then verse 19 reveals the method of the trial by fire - the discipline of God! Verse 20 promises the communion of the body and blood of Christ (to be explained later) which is involved in the purification of the soul, the transformation of the heart, and the attainment of the imparted righteousness of Christ. When Christ's righteousness is fully imparted to the saints, they will have the perfect character of Christ and will be able to stand without fault before God without an Intercessor.

   Some of God's professed people will not discern the "furbished" truth of this Laodicean message and will not bear the testimony, but will rise up against it. These will be spewed out of that Mouth from which the sword issues, and they will partake of the famine for the Word of God. They will ultimately either be laid to rest or become the greatest persecutors of the saints.

  RH 4/1-1890 - "To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you."

  TSSW 53 - "Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed...Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God."

AND WHAT ARE WE ADMONISHED TO DO WHEN SUCH LIGHT COMES TO US?

  Ev. 296-297 - "We must not think, 'Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.' The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light."

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WHAT WILL PREVENT US FROM RECEIVING NEW LIGHT?

  TM 105-106 - "Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true - in harmony with God's Word? But, by whom is it advocated? And unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices."

  1st SM 413 - "There are many among us who are prejudiced against the doctrines that are now being discussed. They will not come to hear, they will not calmly investigate, but they put forth their objections in the dark. They are perfectly satisfied with their position. 'Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:'...How do you know but that the Lord is giving fresh evidences of His truth, placing it in a new setting, ((why?)) that the way of the Lord may be prepared. ((!)) ...What evidence have you that God has not sent light to His children? All self-sufficiency, egotism, and pride of opinion must be put away."

  This passage clearly says that fresh evidences of His truth will be given, placing it in a new setting, in order that the way of the Lord may be prepared. The same principle still holds true, for we are still about the same business of preparing the way of the Lord. The Lord's Elijah messengers are the forerunners of His coming.

  MS 15:1888 - "I have been shown that Jesus will reveal to us precious old truths in a new light, if we are ready to receive them; but they must be received in the very way in which the Lord shall choose to send them....The light may not come in accordance with the plans that men may devise. But all who reverence the Word of God just as it reads, all who do His will to the best of their ability, will know of the doctrine, whether it be of God...And let no one pursue an unfair course, keep in the dark, not willing to open their ears to hear and yet free to comment and quibble and sow their doubts of that which they will not candidly take time to hear."

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  5T 729 - "To souls that are earnestly seeking for light, and that accept with gladness every ray of divine illumination from His Holy Word, - to such alone light will be given. It is through these souls that God will reveal that light and power which will lighten the whole earth with His glory." Read that again!

  RH 8/27-1889 - "We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come, instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expect it."

  GW 301 - "No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ. But many do not do this."

UPON WHOM MUST WE RELY FOR DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT?

  TM 109 - "We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us. We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment."

  7T 205 - "Let the truth of God be the subject for contemplation and meditation. Read the Bible, and regard it as the voice of God speaking directly to you. Then you will find inspiration and that wisdom which is divine."

  WHAT TWO EXTREMES MUST WE GUARD AGAINST?

  TM 105 - "We are not to think as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church... They have felt that investigation should not be permitted, that it would tend to dissension and disunion. But if such is to be the result of investigation, the sooner it comes the better. If there are those whose faith in God's Word will not stand the test of an investigation of the Scriptures, the sooner they are revealed the better; for then the way will be opened to show them their error."

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WHAT IS GOD'S PURPOSE IN BRINGING FORTH CONTROVERSIAL TRUTH?

  MB 33 - "God means that truth shall be brought to the front, and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber."

  GW 301 - “We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of."

FROM WHOM MAY WE EXPECT RESISTANCE TO THE GOOD THINGS WHICH ARE TO COME TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD, IN A MANNER WHICH MAY NOT BE DISCERNED AS OF GOD?

  Letter 9/1 - 1899 - "If we are to bear a part in this work to its close, we must recognize the fact that there are good things to come to the people of God in a way we have not discerned, and there will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work. God manages His own work, and woe to the man who puts his hand to the ark of God."

  5T 728 – “We need never to expect that when the Lord has light for His people, Satan will stand calmly by, and make no effort to prevent them from receiving it. He will work upon minds to excite distrust and jealousy and unbelief. Let us beware that we do not refuse the light God sends, because it does not come in a way to please us. Let not God's blessing be turned away from us because we know not the time of our visitation."

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 WHAT MEANS WILL GOD USE IN BRINGING AN AWAKENING TO HIS PEOPLE?
 
 LLM 131,132 - "But the Lord will use in the accomplishment of His work means that we do not now see. He will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done, will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places."

  This statement reveals that some will not realize the necessity of what is to be done. This failure will now apply to the truth concerning the imparted righteousness of Christ, the becoming perfect as (in the same manner) He is perfect.

WHEN GOD CALLS A MESSENGER TO BRING FORTH NEW LIGHT, WHAT ATTITUDE SHOULD BE SHOWN TOWARD HIM AND HIS MESSAGE?

  GW 32 - "When new light is presented to the church, it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth is folly and madness."

  2nd SM 13 - "There is to be a shaking among God's people; ...It will be the result of refusing the truth presented."

IS IT NOT SAFE TO TRUST TO THE JUDGMENT OF THE LEADING BRETHREN IN DETERMINING
THE VALIDITY OF NEW TRUTH?

  GW 303 - "We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people. ...The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way that clearer light shall not come to the

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people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done."

  TM 106, 107 - "Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing the evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people if these leading brethren do not accept them. ...Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."

  TM 69,70 - "We see here that men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be the teachers of Bible doctrine. But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines....

  "But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions because I do not believe them”

  TM 106 - "The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits - because it is truth."

  TM 105 - "We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church."

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH POINTS OF CONTROVERSY?

  GW 300 - "Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it. We

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are all under obligation to God to know what He sends us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine, - 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.' If the light presented meets this test, we are not to refuse to accept it because it does not agree with our ideas."

ON WHAT OCCASIONS DOES GOD BRING HIS PEOPLE A SPECIAL OR NEW UNFOLDING OF TRUTH,
AND HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED ON SUCH OCCASIONS?

  GC 609 - "Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency."

  The coming of Christ is long overdue; He has not come yet because we have failed Him; we have not yet reflected the perfect image of His character. Meanwhile terrible times are rapidly coming upon us. This is an emergency!

  COL 127.8 - "In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it." (cf. COL 78, quoted on the first paragraph of P. 162 of this book.)

  The generation of Sister White's day has passed; we are today a new generation.

WHO WILL UNDERSTAND THE NEW TRUTH?

  AA 283 - "If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God will be guided by the divine hand."

  COL 114 - "No one can search the Scriptures in the Spirit of Christ without being rewarded. When a man is willing to be instructed as a little child, when he submits wholly to God, he will find the truth in His Word. If men would be obedient, they would understand the

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plan of God's government... The mystery of redemption, the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice, would not be as they are now, vague in our minds. They would be not only better understood, but altogether more highly appreciated."

WILL NEW TRUTH BE MARKED ONLY BY ITS SIMPLICITY?

  COL 36 - "He will make plain His word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart.... All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth."

  COL 133 - "The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols. The gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption, its truths are opened to the understanding. Far more than we do, it is our privilege to understand these wonderful themes. We are to comprehend the deep things of God."

  COL 129 - "...If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God, as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally."

  ED 170-1 - "God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His word shall be ever unfolding. While 'the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,' 'Those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.' The idea that certain portions of the Bible can not be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and oft repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth... God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving."

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 WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO REJECT THE NEW TRUTH?

  COL 127-8 - "The old truths are all essential, new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new...But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form."

  The foregoing quotations, when viewed in the light of the material so far presented in this manuscript, reveal quite clearly the manner in which the sword of Ezekiel comes upon the princes of Israel, and upon the flock. May I refresh our memories with brief excerpts? "We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us...Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment." "We are not to think as did the Jews...that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church... If there are those whose faith in God's Word will not stand the test of an investigation of the Scriptures, the sooner they are revealed the better." "We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of." "God means that truth shall be brought to the front, and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber." "There will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work."

  "If we are to bear a part in this work to its close, we must recognize the fact that there are good things to come to the people of God in a way we have not discerned, and there will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work. God manages His own work, and woe to the man who puts his hand to the ark of God."

  Let us not be found resisting the program of God.

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THE TEST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP

  The gold of Revelation 3:18 which is to be tried in the fire and purified is the faith and love of the saints. (cf. Mal. 3:2,3).

  1st SM 358 - (After quoting Rev. 3:18) "Let us consider our condition before God; let us heed the counsel of the True Witness...We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess - gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ's righteousness, eye salve of spiritual discernment."

  The faith which will be tried is the faith which sees God as a God of unselfish love and mercy and justice, a God who is righteous in all His dealings with His people. Satan will make every effort to portray Him as being otherwise, and to break the faith of the saints. Even as with Job, God permitted Satan to try him, even so will God permit Satan to do this with the remnant. When the saints look at the increasing intensity and complexity of the problems surrounding them, and when they feel these problems falling in upon them personally from every side, many will question the justice and mercy of God in permitting these things to happen to them - especially since they know that He could prevent their suffering from them. In fact, they know of His promise that while trouble will be on every hand it will not come nigh them. Therefore, they cannot comprehend the dealings of God with them. (cf. Lam. 3:31-33).

  But the sword of the Lord comes not upon His people only through the written Word and the Spirit of Prophecy; for the Word of God consists also of two other books: the book of natural science, and the book of experience in God's dealing with human life. When we partake of the sufferings of Christ, the discipline of God, designed to bring the saints to perfection - we are learning from the third book of God's Word. (See COL 126). The sword of the Lord comes also in this manner.

  Only those whose personal experience with God is deep and secure will survive the sophistries and tortures of Satan, and remain loyal to God. The rest will lose faith; they will see in God only the unjust and merciless ruler which Satan has long misrepresented Him to be. It is not hard to have good intentions and make resolutions, but when the hail begins to fall and the bruises start to appear, faith will be put to the test.

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  The love which will be tried is that love by which faith works. It is not a sentiment or an infatuation; it is a genuine outworking of the foundation principle of God's character and of His law. It is the principle of justice and mercy, which manifests itself in acts of self-denying kindness; it is kindness in action, a kindness which provides the help for one who is in need, be he friend or foe.

  Man is not of himself capable of such love. The greatest love of which a man is capable is that which impels him to lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13). Yet in spite of this, Jesus asks us to love our enemies. This is another of the paradoxes in the Scriptures.

  Matt. 5:44 - "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

  Only by doing this can we be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. (See vs. 43-48). And we must reflect the image of Jesus fully before He will come to claim us as His own. (cf. COL 69)

  It is one thing to lay down one's life for his friend, but it is another thing to lay down one's life for his enemy. Yet Christ did this for us; for while we were yet His enemies, He died for us. (Rom. 5:8-10). If we are to reflect the image of Jesus' character perfectly, then we must be willing to demonstrate a similar love for our enemies.

  Nevertheless, Jesus acknowledged that a man cannot do this; man is not capable of such love. Only divine love is able to accomplish this. Therefore, if it is to be done at all, man must receive the power of divine love as a gift from God. He must become a partaker of the divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:3,4; Heb. 3:14; 12:9-11; 6:1-6; Rom. 5:5).

  Here again, we are involved in the terms of the new covenant, which are to be fulfilled through the agency of the Holy Ghost. The law of God, (which is fulfilled in one word, namely, that we love our neighbor as ourselves, be he friend or enemy - (Gal. 5:14; Luke 10:29-37) - this law of God is to be planted in the heart of repentant sinners by the still small voice of the Spirit. (PK 169). By the latter rain outpouring of the Spirit of God will the covenant be fulfilled.

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  Those who partake of the body and blood of Christ through the agency of the Holy Ghost will receive thereby the life and character of Him. (cf. Rom. 5:5; TM 506). The love of God will be shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. This love is the gold which we must buy and which is to be tried in the fire. (Rev 3:18).

  The circumstantial medium by which we become partakers of the holiness of Christ is the suffering of God's disciplinary chastisement.

  Heb 12:6-11 - "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

THIS WAS THE MEANS BY WHICH JESUS WAS MADE PERFECT

  Heb. 2:10,11 - "For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." (See also v. 9)

  Heb. 5:8,9 - "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."

  As Christ by example went on unto perfection, even so are we, His brethren, also to go on unto perfection.

  Heb. 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God."

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   We reach this perfection through partaking of the sufferings of Christ. (See Heb. 2:10,11, quoted on previous page). Also:

  1st Pet. 2:19-25 - "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

  This perfect example of Jesus will be attained by the 144,000 saints; for it was the intention of the Captain of our salvation to bring many sons unto glory by putting them through a similar experience. The Captain was made perfect through suffering, and the many sons will also be made perfect by partaking of those same sufferings of Christ.

  And lest we should be in any doubt as to the outcome, let us read the identical description of those 144,000 - who are the living saints on the earth when Jesus comes, and who have gone through the seven last plagues while standing before God without an Intercessor.

  Rev. 14:1-5 - "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads...And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. ((This song is a song of their experience - according to Sister White - and the experience is immediately described.)) (GC 649). These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. ((They have followed their example; they have followed His steps, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. 1st Pet. 2:21,22. Let us read it.)) These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. And

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in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."

  They could not stand before a holy God without an Intercessor unless they had attained the perfection of Jesus. Thus, they are seen to stand with Him, and sing the same experiential song, having the character of the Father in their foreheads.

DO YOU DOUBT THIS?

  1st Pet. 4:1,2 - "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." Remember, Jesus committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. (1st Peter 2:23).

  Vs. 12"14 - "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:"

  The glory of God is His righteous character. This character is to be revealed in the saints; His name will be written in their foreheads! They will be perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect.

  1st Pet. 5:10 - "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

  These passages make it quite evident that only by sharing the sufferings of Christ do we become perfect. They also show that we will become perfect. Nevertheless, the sharing of these sufferings brings the trial of our faith and love; our faith in His justice and mercy will be shaken, and our love will be sorely tested. These sufferings constitute the purifying fire, the furnace of affliction. Many are called, but few are chosen to go through this furnace. Those who choose to reflect the perfect image of Jesus' character are chosen for the furnace.

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  Isa. 48:10,11 - "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another."

  Here is a God who defers His anger and will not cut His people off, because through them He will reveal the power of His love to save a man from sin. Should they fail to respond, His name would be polluted. Many will choose to be refined; but in so doing, they are assigning themselves to the only method whereby they can be made holy - through the discipline of God, in the furnace of affliction.

  My brothers and sisters, the longer we delay our response to His love, the more intense will the fire of affliction become in the world, and the more severe the test. Let us commit ourselves into the keeping of Him who can prepare us to stand. By the exercise of our faith and love we will be strengthened; and the latter rain of the Holy Spirit will be poured upon us, shedding the love of God abroad in our hearts and transforming them into His image. (Read: TM 506; C. Living 94; DA 466; PP 372; AA 372; ME 55).

  To be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect means that we will have His name (character) written in our foreheads. But to be perfect as He IS perfect means to have HIS love in our hearts; and HIS love IS that love which seeketh not her own, and which can reach out to its enemies and do good to them that hate us and pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us. This is the character of God; and His law is an outgrowth of this character.

  Let me ask you: How can a love for one's enemies be tested and proved and demonstrated if one never encounters experiences which put such a love to the test? Is it not herewith evident that the sword of the Lord which becomes furbished and bright to make a great slaughter and to try God's people - is it not evident that this sword comes to stir up perplexity and dissension and hatred and opposition and persecution for the specific purpose of bringing this trial of faith and love?

  The trial of our faith and love does not come alone by persecution from without, but also from within. To lay down one's life for his enemy does not necessarily mean that one must perish physically. It means also to deny oneself and in preference to do kindness to one's enemy. It means to crucify self-interest in favor of interest in the spiritual welfare of those who have no love for us. This is indeed laying

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down one's own life for Jesus' sake, and keeping His commandment to love our enemies and do good to them that hate us. The persecution of the 144,000 comes upon them first from within the church, from among their own brethren; then they become prepared to meet the persecution from without. The greatest persecution which Jesus bore came not from the Romans, but from those who professed to be His own people, His own brethren and sisters in the household of faith.

YOU SEE, I HAVE SPOKEN VERY PLAINLY HEAR AGAIN THE WORD OF THE LORD

  Ezek. 21:9-13 - "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter:...this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: ... because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn (scorn or despise) even the rod?"

  V. 17 - "I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the Lord have said it." (The great and dreadful day of the Lord.) - cf. Malachi 4:5.

  And what is it that God wishes to accomplish with the fury of the slaughter by the sword? The preceding chapter contains the answer to this. For His own sake, for the sake of the honor of His character, God is going to deliver the covenant to His people, as they pass under the rod; and God will be sanctified in His people before the heathen; and they will loathe themselves for their iniquities. Only in having complete trust in His integrity and righteousness can His people have security and peace. That is God's motive in bringing on His great and dreadful day. Let us read parts of it:

  Ezek. 20:33-44 - "As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And 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

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 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, (cf. Micah 7:14) and I will bring you into a delivering (margin) of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels (the shaking) and them that transgress against me:...For in mine holy mountain, (cf. temple on Mt. Zion, where only the 144,000 enter. See EW 19) in the mountain of the height of Israel (Israel attains to the heights of the holy mountain of God - perfection), saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. ((these are the sacrifices of righteousness. Ps. 4:5; 51:17)). I will accept you with your sweet savor, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. (They display His character in their lives). And ye shall know that I am the Lord,...And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. ((This experience clearly refers to a time on this earth; for on the other side our sins and iniquities will not come into mind. Isa. 65:17)). And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake ((that is, for the sake of His character of righteousnes)), not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God."

  Egypt is a symbol of sin; and God here calls it a wilderness. And brethren, we are still in this wilderness; and some of our men are teaching that we will remain there until Jesus comes. But the Word of God says He will plead with us in the wilderness of Egypt, and He will cause us to pass under the rod (The rod of His mouth is His Word), and bring us into the bond of the covenant (There is only one "THE" covenant, and that is the everlasting covenant, the never-ending covenant of peace.), and He will purge out from among us the rebels (all who refuse to submit to the rule of God): and He will be sanctified in us!

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  Surely we can recognize that in this passage is a reference to the delivering of the everlasting covenant, whose terms are fulfilled as the Saviour comes suddenly to His temple through the Holy Ghost in the latter rain, to purify it as gold is purified (by the purging fire) and to make it holy.

  My dear fellow believers in the Advent message: look, think, pray, anoint your eyes, and see!

  Rev. 3:16 - "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

  Rev. 1:16 - "...and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:"...

  Rev. 19:21 - "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth:..." (They die to self)

  V. 13 - "and his name is called The Word of God."

  Isa. 66:16 - "For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many."

  Isa. 28:9-13 - "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

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   COL 78 - "For His church in every generation God has a special truth and a special work. ...At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world-conforming church, they are opposed and despised. See John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, standing alone to rebuke the pride and formalism of the Jewish nation."

  The special work for this generation is to bring forth the special truth for this emergency hour, which will precipitate the shaking and the sealing. This topic will be dealt with later. *

(Written in 1970)

* * * * * * *

* ["This topic (to be) dealt with later," is more fully explained on audio cassette tapes, recorded by J. W. Johnson, in 1976; especially on studies numbers: 8, and 14 thru 20. These studies are listed by title in Panorama of Truth Volume One, page 301.]

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SECTION 5



Formatted Transcripts of Letters

to:

THOSE WHO CARE & LEADING BRETHREN



Authored from 1968 - 1969
by

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)


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J. Wilfred Johnson
March 5th, 1968

To Those Who Care:

  It is not always an easy thing for one who is chosen by God for a special work to bring himself to enter upon that work. The anticipated reaction of friends and foes, their negative conditioning and caution toward self-styled would-be prophets, their misunderstandings and scoffing, their envies and jealousies, their knowledge of one's faults and blunders, and sometimes the sacrifices involved, are sufficient reason for any sensitive person to ponder long the wisdom of his decision.

  But we today have enough available history of God's dealing with His people to know that only a full surrender to His will can bring the best ultimate good to all concerned. The experiences of William Foy and Hazen Foss are a lesson to us, showing that while we have a free choice in such a circumstance, only one decision can be a wise one.

  The struggle which can occur while coming to a full surrender to God, particularly when that surrender requires an acceptance of a special divine appointment, is shown in the experiences of William Miller and Moses.

  Miller hesitated for twelve years before he could bring himself to move forward and publicly share his conviction. And then, his message was only a halting part of a greater enlargement of truth, some of which he himself was not able to enter into.

  As for Moses, while still in the court of Pharaoh, he became aware of his appointment to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt; yet he did not at once enter upon that task. But his knowledge of the commission was in his mind the day he smote the Egyptian for abusing his kinsman. (Acts 7:22-25). And when that incident became known, Moses did not boldly enter upon his work; he fled. (verse 29).

  For forty years this highly intelligent and well-educated man was disciplined in the school of God, tending the sheep on the desert plains of Midian. (Verse 29, 30) By the end of that time he had come a long way toward acquiring a patience and a meekness above all men. (Numbers 12:3).

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  Then came the call at the burning bush (Acts 7:30-34; Exodus 3:1-10); the time for action had arrived. But Moses was aware of the implications and problems, and he now had no relish for the task. His concern for himself neutralized his confidence in the purpose and power of God. (Exodus 3:11). In spite of the knowledge of his miraculous preservation during babyhood; in spite of the miracle of the burning bush before him, he began to make excuses. He claimed that the Israelites would not receive him as their leader (Exodus 4:1), and that because of his speech impediment he could not talk before such a multitude. (Verses 10-12). And despite God's performing a double miracle for him and promising to do greater wonders before Pharaoh, Moses could not be persuaded that he should now arise and take up his cross. (Exodus 4:2-7,13,14). Herewith he even angered God.

  Though Moses was he who was chosen to become the witness of the old covenant and the voice of God to deliver it to His people (Exodus 4:16), this was no small thing for him to pull up stakes and enter into his trying and arduous task.

  The most difficult aspect involved in making known one's appointment to a special work lies in overcoming his reluctance to face the envy and reactive disbelief of his own people. Yet without such announcement, his messages and work cannot accomplish its purpose. For example, only those who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah of prophecy could accept Him as the Son of God, and only those who accepted Him as the Son of God could receive the benefit of His message of salvation. Similarly, only those who accept Sister White as the special messenger of God to the remnant people, can benefit fully from the message she brought. Such special blessings come by faith in the channel of their delivery. If you do not believe that the writers of the Bible were inspired, their words cannot become the words of life for you. Therefore, while yet twelve years of age, at the time He was found reasoning with His elders in the temple, Jesus revealed His identity and His appointment to a special work. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:29). At His baptism and anointing, His identity was again declared. (John 1:26-30, 36). And one of the first things He did upon entering into His ministry was to go into His own home town and identify Himself. After reading the description of His work in Isaiah 42, He said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:21).

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  It is a hard thing for men, learned in the teaching of the church and familiar with the common affairs of a local brother, to accept a frank announcement of his identity. And those men in Jesus' day took Him out to the edge of a precipice, intending to cast Him down to His death; but God intervened. (Luke 4:24-30).

  When Paul began to make his defense before his countrymen on the stairs of the chief captain's castle in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1-14), they tolerated his words until he reached the point where he announced the special work to which he had been called - a work which posed a threat to their regarded status as the exclusive people of God; then the riot erupted. (Acts 22:17-22).

  Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house." (Matthew 13:57).

  More than twenty-five years ago [circa 1941/2] I learned of God's plan for my life. At that time I revealed it to a number of my friends. The fact was too implausible for some of them to tolerate, and I was officially asked to sign a statement that my announcement was invalid and that I would refrain from speaking it. Because of my immaturity and lack of knowledge, and my desire to cooperate with my brethren, I signed it. Therewith I slew my Egyptian and had to retire to the land of Midian.

  Needless to say, one finding himself in that predicament would want to be very sure that his source of information was not spurious. Some rather remarkable answers to silent, private prayer, and a continuing series of revelations of unifying truth, testified favorable to the genuineness of the source. Sister White says the devil is not permitted to read our thoughts (1st SM 122), and when we go down on our knees in prayer, the devil flees. Hence the devil could not know that some of my silent and private prayers were for certain definite and rather outstanding signs from God, to verify His divine leadership in my experience; and that should these be answered, I would know of the certainty of Sister White's statements, that only God could have answered them. They were, in fact, answered each time.

  Twenty-five years of rugged trial and ill health have tested a faith that has never wavered. Twenty-five years of stumbling efforts to reach the goal of a worthy example have proved the utter futility of self-righteousness, and the imperative need for total dependence on the righteousness of Christ. Twenty-five years of discipline and education

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in the school of Christ have fortified the mind and settled it into the truth. And therein lies the problem.

  For in the days of my youth, ere I learned of God's plan for me, while disturbed and frustrated ever my inability to comprehend some of the cardinal teachings of our church, I made a bargain with the unseen God. I was in a dilemma, not wanting to really leave the church and its fellowship, nor yet wanting to remain the hypocrite I considered myself to be. Nevertheless, I was strictly honest in my disbelief; I simply could not reconcile some of our teachings with the plain facts of nature and science as I saw them. Therefore, I prayed most earnestly that if God could just open up the Bible to my understanding, so that it would make sense as my science texts made sense, then I would surrender my life to Him, and accept any work which He assigned me to do.

  Rather surprisingly (to me), God set about to abundantly fulfill His part of my proposal, far beyond anything I had ever hoped for; therefore, I am now committed to fulfill mine. * (Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5). But, like Moses, I am very much subject to the weaknesses of humanity. While from a purely medical standpoint I am fully aware of a personal prohibitive handicap, at the same time I recognize from Moses' experience that God can readily take care of this problem. The theory is simple; the fact is more imposing. Once the hand is set to the plow there is no turning back.

______________
* [Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5: “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou has vowed. Better is it that thou should not vow, than that shouldest vow and not pay.”]

  Yet, if it was so difficult for Moses to face up to his task, a man who was destined to stand before his God at Horeb (the Mount of God - 1st Kings 19:8), and to be honored with a personal visit from the King of the universe, to become the voice of God to deliver the old covenant to His people Israel (Exodus 4:15,16;19:3-6), to lead them out of Egypt to the borders of the promised land, and then to be called to the vantage point of heaven as one of the anointed human witnesses to stand before the God of the earth, down through the centuries, there to become a personal witness of the outworking of the everlasting

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covenant and the eternal sacrifice of Christ and the plan of salvation, if it was so difficult for him to face the problems of entering upon his special work, is it at all strange that he who was the other human witness, jealous also of the covenant, called also to meet personally with his God at Horeb; then called by translation into heaven to stand with Moses as the other personal witness of the everlasting covenant, and to be sent back to earth before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, to become the voice of God delivering that everlasting covenant by the testimony of Jesus (the Spirit of Prophecy) to final spiritual Israel (1st Kings 19:8-12; Malachi 4:4-6; Matthew 16:28; 17:11; Mark 9:1,12; TM 116), - is it at all strange that he should be equally reluctant to go down into Egypt and assume the risks and trails and the reactive stigma of such a profound calling? The discredited counterfeits of this prophetic event, put forth by the great deceiver, and the future imitations which he will yet produce, have made that road extremely hazardous, and grossly uninviting.

  For this reason I deeply need the prayer fellowship of my trusted friends. I think I have experienced just a little inkling of how Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked His beloved three disciples to watch with Him. Would I herewith play the part of a coward if I solicited your personal interest in a similar prayer, that I may remain steadfast and courageous through the difficult days ahead, and that God's people may be willing to open their minds to the special sealing and shaking message He now has for them? [Cf. below:]

  Phil. 3:10 - "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;"

  Heb. 2:10 - "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by Him are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering."

  1st Pet. 4:1,5:10 - "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin."..."But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

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  Please refrain at this time from publicizing your knowledge of this matter, lest by any means we should hinder the work of God by causing premature disputations and by going ahead of the angel who is leading this people. (1st T 207). The message will be made available in due time, when it is destined to go through the midst of the city of "Jerusalem." (Ezekiel 9:1-7; 21:9-15; Revelation 2:16; Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17; 4BC 1161; Revelation 11:3,4). Your cooperation will be deeply appreciated.

  (The pertinency and the meaning of some of the above statements and references may not be fully recognized until some sections of the forthcoming manuscript have been studied). *

[J. W. Johnson]
March 5, 1968

______________________
* [The sections of the "forthcoming manuscript" referred to above in this letter may be found in this book as follows:

              Section 1 - A New Development of Truth -        pp 54 - 72
              Section 2 - The Nature of Expanding Truth -     pp 73 - 91
              Section 3 - The Everlasting Covenant -             pp 92 - 131

A fourth section was added to the manuscript in 1970, (two years after the writing of the above letter), entitled:

              Section 4 - The Two-Edged Sword of the Lord - pp 132-162]

                                                                              J. W. Johnson
                                                                              Mar. 23rd, 1968

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To the Leading Brethren of the Remnant Church
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
6840 Eastern Avenue, N.W.
Takoma Park, Washington 12, D.C.

Dear Brethren:
  I have been a long time fulfilling my promise and intention to submit a written manuscript setting forth the new development of truth, which God through the Spirit of Prophecy has given me. [The manuscript referred to above is found on pp 54-72., comprising "Section 1", of this book.]

  The tapes which I forwarded a few years ago [Eight reel-to-reel audio tapes, approximately 2 hours. each], now transcribed in the book Panorama of Truth Volume One], were something of an extremity measure - the best that I could do under my unfavorable circumstances and poor health. My submission at that time was stimulated by an anxiety to be relieved through discharging my responsibility; but, as Abraham discovered, it does not really profit anyone to anticipate God's plan and move ahead prematurely. For decided inadequacies crept into those tapes, and some misleading statements. Incomplete knowledge and experience were responsible for this deficiency.

  Additional experience in the school of Christ and subsequent discoveries in the Word of God have contributed to the need for rewriting some of that material. Also, to incorporate the ever expanding truth into that which has gone before, has further prolonged the delay in producing a reasonable manuscript.

  Today I am better equipped intellectually and spiritually, and somewhat improved physically and emotionally; but in contrast, I am far more reluctant to make the submission. Nevertheless, I will do so for three reasons: (1) because the time has now come when the message should be made known; (2) because of a very deep appreciation for what God has done for me; and (3) to fulfill my promise to Him. The attached paper sets forth my position in this respect. [Letter of March 5th, 1968: "To Those Who Care" located on pages 164-169 of this book]. (This paper was prepared only for the confidential information of a very few of my closest personal friends and a select few brethren of experience in whom I place considerable trust.)

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  The time has now come when this work must be done. Installments will be submitted as rapidly as they are completed. Until the entire submission * has been studied, negative conclusions should in all fairness be held on a tentative basis. Positive conviction is apt to appear at any point along the way. The manuscript is not something which can be hastily scanned to get the essence. Unless a slow, deliberate, and repeated study is made, with a close consideration of all the references and their implications, some of its deeper content will not be discovered. The significance of a failure to grasp its meaning, is contained in the manuscript itself.

  I am not asking at this time that your committees pass official judgment on this submission. Its very nature almost precludes such an action. Its truth constitutes a trial of the individual soul, and it will initiate a shaking among our people. Nevertheless, it is your privilege to officially reject it. Such an action would place God's servants in a very awkward position, but not without precedent. No prophet relishes the necessity of by-passing established authority, civil or ecclesiastical. But when the need arises, he has little choice.

  I sincerely trust there will be a sufficient number of dedicated and surrendered sons of God at headquarters upon whom the Holy Ghost can work to create a conviction of the genuine nature of the truth contained in this manuscript. Insofar as they should fail to attain to this conviction, the prophecies in Early Writings concerning the nominal Adventists will become applicable to members of our church.

  Let me say with great emphasis: I would personally be extremely grateful for the confidence of the brethren at headquarters, and deeply relieved thereby.

________________
*[The submission above referred to, probably consists of the first of four manuscripts, Section or Ms #1, entitled: A New Development of Truth, found on pages 55 thru 72 of this book.]

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 May the blessing of God rest upon His people, as the crisis is now before us.

Sincerely your brother in Christ

                                              J. Wilfred Johnson

P. S. Because the manuscript was compiled by human hands, it will not be entirely free from flaws. However, extreme care has been taken to make it as contextually accurate as possible. Kindly overlook an occasional mechanical error and the relatively low quality of reproduction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             April 3rd, 1968 

Elder Harry W. Lowe

General Field Secretary
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
6840 Eastern Avenue, N.W.
Takoma Park, Washington 12, D.C.

Dear Elder Lowe:
  I think I owe you and the other brethren some additional explanation to my letter of March 21. I fear its brevity might lead to misunderstanding.

  What I said in that letter is true. Nevertheless, I did not intend to give the impression that it is my purpose to ignore the counsel of brethren of experience. Let this be emphatic. The Lord has endowed me with an effective "thorn in the flesh" to ensure submissiveness.

  My personal health leaves a great deal to be desired; and I could not, even if I wished, take an independent course without serious consequences to my nervous system. Only God will ever know the struggle I went through to reach a point in stamina where I could bring myself to make that announcement to you in the first place. And the tremendous emotional repercussions, and severe temptations to retreat which have followed since that step was taken, certainly erase all hope of taking an independent course, without God first performing a physical miracle on my behalf. But the servant of the Lord has made it quite clear that God does not generally work miracles to advance His truth [Ev 652.9], even though we know that signs and wonders will follow the believers [CM 152.1]. She also makes it clear that we must press together and counsel together; but that no one should feel at liberty to dictate every move another should make.

  I trust my position in this respect has hereby been made clear.

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   Frankly, Brother Lowe, I very much need the sympathetic understanding and prayer fellowship of my brethren in this matter. There are problems which currently appear very large. But if this be of God, (and there is no doubt whatever about that in my mind, or I would not be contacting you), He will provide solutions to these. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Elijah was a strange mixture of courage and cowardice. No doubt the mighty demonstrations at Carmel had bolstered his faith, but the strain of the recent experiences had weakened his stamina; and he fled for his life. Even Daniel fainted and was sick certain days.)

  I can supply you with more than one copy of the manuscript, if you desire. I also feel very strongly that there are other brethren of experience besides the men in Washington who should have an opportunity to study the material concurrently. I have not interpreted the Spirit of Prophecy to limit the study of new light to a select committee in Washington. It has been my intention, at least, to provide copies for_____, and a very few select confidential friends in the message, who have known of my experience previously. Would you consider this to be an unreasonable procedure?

  It is decidedly not my personal purpose to cause or agitate contention in our ranks. At the same time I know, and you know, that there is a great shaking due to come upon our people. We have seen this coming by way of persecution. But the forthcoming manuscript will show from the Scriptures that the sealing and shaking is caused basically by the "sword of the Lord" (which is His Word of truth); and that the slaughter will occur when that sword is "sharpened and furbished" (that is, made brighter and more penetrating). (Ezekiel 21:9-13; 9:2-6). The implication is obvious.

  God will have His way of accomplishing this. The prophecy of Revelation 11:1-13 will have a renewed application in our day.

  Near the close of the year 1967, with somewhat improved health, I succeeded in making a renewed and total commitment to God in respect of the task to which He has appointed me. Starting immediately in the new year, I began to experience a new series of revelations. Almost every morning I was awakened an hour or two before rising time, and numerous additional links and elements in our truth were flashed into my consciousness, frequently with texts and quotations to substantiate them. Rarely have any of these panoramas

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remained in my consciousness for more than a fleeting few seconds; and unless I undertake a recording of the highlights immediately, I am prone to lose the content, often for many months to come, before it may ultimately return. So I have been kept busy in the early mornings recording highlights, and in the evenings, (when free), recording it in more complete and permanent form.* The material which has come to me in this manner is a further unfolding of that which began to come to me more than twenty-five years ago, and it has brought considerable additional substantiation of the truth which I have formerly seen.

  May I recommend that you check with my family doctor concerning the condition of my physical and mental health, if you feel this should enter into the picture. He has cared for me for many years. He has also kept in touch with my theological situation, and I believe he is in a position to render a reasonable evaluation. He has been (until this year) our local first elder for some time. You may also wish to check with our conference pastor of the last two years...He has taken many hours to investigate my situation and much of the theology and has given me very helpful counsel. His evaluation might also be useful in helping to orient your thinking in this matter.

  Finally, let me say with genuine earnestness, I would very deeply appreciate the earnest prayers of the brethren at headquarters in behalf of this entire crucial situation. The matter is of great urgency and of no small proportion. We are about to enter the final crisis, if we are ready to drink the cup necessary for our preparation. Let us not delay the Lord's coming any longer.

Most sincerely your brother in Christ,

J. Wilfred Johnson

* Note [The publishers have been unable to locate any of the recordings referred to in this paragraph, but assume that much of the material is incorporated in the four manuscripts comprising Sections 1 thru 4 of this book (pp. 54 thru 162)].

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                                                                                                                          J. Wilfred Johnson

                                                                                                                              April 30th, 1968
Elder H. W. Lowe
Bible Research Committee
Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters
6840 Eastern Avenue N.W.  Takoma Park,
Washington, D.C. 20012

Dear Elder Lowe:
  Your message, by Miss Gilbert's letter of April 24, explaining that you were waiting to receive my manuscript is appreciated. My poorly coordinated package was probably confusing, and I could hardly expect you to notice my request for the correct name and address of the person to whom future material should be sent, and whether you desired more than one copy. I interpreted your delay to mean that you were investigating my current status, a procedure which the content of my letters would certainly justify.

  Two copies (more are available) of the first two sections [Section # 1, and Section # 2, found in this book on pages 54-72; and pages 73-91, respectively], are being forwarded to you - all that is yet ready for submission. These should not be considered as being in publishable form, but rather for private study by such individuals as may be earnestly concerned. While these two sections are mainly introductory in nature, they do contain references to some major points; but these points are not here fully dealt with, because it is impossible to do so adequately, until additional inter-related material has been covered.

  My limited time and physical capacity will undoubtedly necessitate spreading the work over a period of months. You may feel, therefore, that the material should be tabled until a more complete submission can be made. But I would strongly recommend that it first be studied in segments, as it becomes available, because I anticipate some time will be needed to properly assimilate it. Relationships are not generally seen immediately, but occur over a period of time.

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  It is not possible to predict at present my exact point which would mark the conclusion of the submission; additional light is progressively being received. Nevertheless, I am currently informed on certain truths which are unquestionable pertinent to the situations which God's people will soon find themselves in. I think it would be wise to begin a study of these as soon as possible.

  I was sorry to learn of your illness and hope that you will soon be well again.

Sincerely yours,

[J. Wilfred Johnson]

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          May 28th, 1968
Elder H. W. Lowe
Bible Research Committee
World Headquarters of Seventh-day Adventists
6840 Eastern Avenue, N.W.  Takoma Park,
Washington, D.C. 20012

Dear Elder Lowe:
  I was pleased to learn from your letter of May 16 that you are now back in the office, and I trust you are regaining your strength. From a human standpoint, it troubles me to add this extra burden to your assignments; but from the standpoint of the work of God, I can offer no apology. I appreciate your willingness to investigate the material which will be sent.

  I regret that my letters and introductory material should have caused some confusion. They, no doubt, reflect the severe conflict which I encountered when I decided to go forward with God. They also reflect some uncertainty as to the precise function of your committee and the proper procedure for me to take.

  When the mission of Jesus was first publicly announced at His baptism, He was led into the wilderness for forty days. It was here He fought the battle with Satan, who tempted Him to retreat from the course which He knew had been appointed for Him. Jesus certainly had a full realization of the implications involved in taking that course; but He chose to endure His cross because of the joy that was set before Him in the outcome of His fulfilling the task. We are admonished to take up our cross and follow Him, for the joy of sharing His glory in the hereafter.

  Very few prophets have had the experience of being announced by a forerunner; and this was not my privilege. And when I made my personal announcement to you, I was not instructed to retreat to a wilderness of physical isolation to make my adjustment; I stayed right put, and under extreme emotional and physical difficulties, I continued

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to shoulder my regular responsibilities at work, in the home, and in the church, as best I was able. This was one reason my correspondence during that period was somewhat vacillating and apparently inconclusive. The other reason is my lack of orientation in the exact structure of the organization, set up by our denomination for handling my particular predicament - if indeed there is one. Therefore I wrote to you.

  You ask me to be frank concerning what I expect of you. This I will most certainly be.

  God has called me, to fulfill in a personal way, the delivering of the everlasting covenant to spiritual Israel, as Moses was called to deliver in a personal way the old covenant to ancient Israel.

  As Moses was called to Horeb to meet with His God in a personal and physical encounter, to receive from Him the law written on tables of stone, and to hear the declaration of the character of God; even so was Elijah called to Horeb to meet with God and hear the still, small voice of His Spirit, which was to deliver the new covenant law on the tables of the heart and reveal the character of God to the individual. Elijah did not see a physical God, nor was God in the great physical manifestations of nature, as at Sinai. But he was jealous of the covenant; and it was in the still small voice of the Spirit that he received his vision of God. His work as bearer of the new covenant could not be completed, however, until after his ascension to heaven to become a first-hand witness of that covenant, and of its progressive unfolding and outworking. Then, he was to return to earth to bear witness of that covenant to the last generation of saints, in whom its promises are to be completely fulfilled, and to whom it will be fully delivered through a personal experience, by the still small voice of the Spirit of God.

  As Moses was a type of Christ, so was Elijah a type of the Holy Spirit. (Enoch was a type of the everlasting Father.) As the old covenant was delivered by the personal God (Christ), so will the new covenant be delivered by God through the vicar of Christ, the Holy Ghost. As the old covenant was delivered by the personal Christ, through one of the two human witnesses (Moses); so will the new covenant be delivered by the Holy Ghost through the other of the two human witnesses (Elijah) - both of whom were called to heaven to be spectators of the everlasting covenant, involving the eternal sacrifice of

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 Christ, when He laid down His great eternal body and blood in the court of the heavenly sanctuary and later reappeared through physical birth as Jesus of Nazareth. (cf. Matthew 17:3).

  Elijah too, will become a personal witness of this experience, by virtue of his own experience; for he, too, will leave heaven to appear on earth during the time of the regeneration to fulfill his commission of receiving the everlasting covenant by the still small voice of the Holy Ghost, and "delivering" it to spiritual Israel. As the person of Christ, who had existed before in heaven reappeared on earth in the person of Jesus, so will the person of Elijah who also (by the grace of God) existed before in heaven, reappear on earth in the body of one born again.

  As Jesus was the first-born of the resurrection and the first-begotten of the new race of men, in whom is combined divinity and humanity, He became the head of the new "body" of saints; even so will His disciples follow after, to reconstruct the body-temple of God (the body of Christ), in whom He comes to dwell by the eternal Spirit. (Ephesians 5:23, 30-32; 2:20-22). This will be explained further in the manuscript.* I mention it here to provide you with a frame of reference, in the light of which, you may better understand my position.

  Meanwhile, the last promise ever made by Christ while He yet remained in His former eternal body, was that of the return of Elijah, to perform a work which would prevent the earth's coming under a final, irrevocable curse. The promise of Elijah's return is clearly foretold in Malachi 4:5&6 and Matthew 16:11, cf. John 1:21. And he will be able to testify of certain aspects of the experience of Jesus, having partaken with Him in those aspects, and having tasted of His sufferings, as every victorious saint will taste.

  During the past twenty-five years God has brought to me through His Word, and the Spirit of Truth, an expanded understanding of the everlasting covenant, its nature and its out-working. The keys to this understanding are to be delivered to the 144,000 saints in whom the Spirit of Truth will integrate and confirm the truth of this covenant and fulfill its promises, thus sealing them.

_________________
* [Body of Christ - cf. pages: 66.8 - 67.9; 80.9; 135.1-.5; 180.4-.6; 210 thru 216; 251.2 - 255.2; & pages 263.5 thru 270. Also in Concordance of Volume One refer to "Body of Christ", also the "144,000"].

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  The purpose of my manuscript is to deliver these keys, in the form of statements of truth, and to show certain relationships which exist among these truths. Thus, will be made available the expanded material, which when assimilated by the saints, will provide in them the ingredients from which the Holy Spirit can create an integrated pattern of truth and bring personal conviction to the soul. The personal experience through which each saint will pass, when seen in the light of the expanded truth, will settle them into that truth, and they will be sealed. The demonstration of final victory will be accomplished in their lives.

  Some of our people have not followed the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans to buy of Him the gold of faith and love tried in the fire; and when the Messenger of the covenant comes suddenly to his temple to sit as a refiner of gold and silver and to purge and purify the sons of Levi (those who shall be priests of God for one thousand years), they will not be able to stand the test. They are unwilling to bear the testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness (EW 270) and they are unable to drink of the cup whereby they could be purified. (EW 47 and 46; cf. Matthew 20:20-23). These cannot enter the temple on Mount Zion (EW 19) nor become pillars in the new temple, the habitation of the indwelling God by the Spirit. (John 14:23; Revelation 3:12). Thus will result that crucial separation among our people, now known as the shaking.

  In the providence of God it is the privilege of those who are appointed leaders in His church on earth to first receive His oracles and deliver them to His people. If they rise to this opportunity, that is the channel through which the message will be delivered. On the other hand, if they choose to reject their opportunity, as did the leaders of Israel of old, God will call others to do this for Him.

  The fact that truth, coming down through the official channels of the organization, may tend to be accepted on a church basis rather than on an individual basis, will find little room for validity in this case; for the truth involved encompasses a personal experience that will prove to be a fiery trial of faith. Only these who have heeded the counsel of the True Witness will endure this trial.

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  Well, Elder Lowe, that is briefly but frankly the nature of the situation. Its plausibility will become more evident after reading the rest of the manuscript. You will undoubtedly be tempted to conclude at this point that I am suffering from a most profound and preposterous delusion. The anticipation of such a reaction on the part of my brethren, was a major reason I found it extremely hard to surrender to the actual task. But Jesus has gone the road before; now He looks to us to follow after. I have made my decision; others will soon have to make theirs.

  I appreciate your asking me what I expect you to do. Yet I am not in a position to know for certain what I may rightly ask you to do, since I do not know the status of your position. It would seem to me that your course will clarify as you become acquainted with the content of my manuscript. You are familiar with the machinery whereby new truth can be made available to our people, while conforming with the policy of our denomination. I am not familiar with this.

  If the policy requires that I produce a publishable manuscript, and have it approved by experienced brethren before publication, I will do that. I have never before produced anything for publication, and I feel some modifications in presentation would be desirable; and I would likely need some counsel concerning the mechanics of the procedure.

  On the other hand, if the policy is to evaluate and rule on the manuscript's apparent authenticity or lack of it, I would be left to fulfill my mission as God would direct. I have taken the first step. It would seem to me that the next one is up to the leading brethren. This is, of course, contingent on my providing a more complete submission, which I intend to do.

  With respect to the installment method of submitting material, I have suggested that it be studied as submitted; but if that is not feasible, I will indicate at what point the initial submission may be considered completed. Meanwhile any material sent may be held, until you feel there is sufficient to warrant beginning a study of it.

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  With respect to further submissions, I cannot dictate to God when He should cease to bring me additional enlightenment, in order to accommodate a committee at headquarters. I note that Sister White continued for many years to deliver what was given to her. Nevertheless, certain Scripture passages indicate a definite time limit to my work, and I assure you I will not burden you beyond what you feel inclined to undertake. There are any number of faithful and experienced brethren in our church who could, even now, be happy for the privilege of studying the message, and some of these have been eagerly but patiently waiting for its presentation; but I have endeavored to refrain from anything but private and confidential conversation or correspondence on rare occasions, with trusted friends, pending the fulfillment of my obligation to headquarters. I have no interest in starting any splinter movement.

  If I have not herewith answered your questions adequately, please do not hesitate to write again. I am working faithfully on the manuscript, but the going is slow. It takes me a long time to locate some texts and references which must go into the manuscript; and I have so many distracting interruptions and competing responsibilities. This past week I had three requests to take church services, of which I consented to take only one! I am very slow at preparing these, since I must be critically guarded in what I say. This is the reason for the delay in answering your letter.

  I would like to make it clear, also, that I do not have all the answers to all the questions I can ask concerning our truth; nor do I regard my views to be infallible. I am not free from faults nor from the making of errors. Nor do I have a full knowledge of the Scriptures or the Spirit of Prophecy writings. I have often felt the need for the assistance of someone who is thoroughly versed in these areas; it would be helpful in bringing to light references which have a bearing on the topic in question. God has been kind to me in this regard, and has frequently led me coincidentally to the very passage I need to substantiate the view seen. At other times, however, the view is triggered by the reading of a passage and the swarming into consciousness of a series of other passages, previously encountered, which quickly assume a coordinated unification.

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   May I repeat my former request for your fellowship in prayer; and thank you again for your sympathetic interest in the matter. I hope it may develop into something more than sympathy; but I can readily understand your feelings at the present time, and I do appreciate your attitude.

Very sincerely yours,

[J. Wilfred Johnson]

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          December 15th, 1968

Elder H. W. Lowe
Bible Research Committee
General Conference of S.D.A.
6840 Eastern Avenue N.W.
Takoma Park, Washington, D.C. 20012

Dear Elder Lowe:

  Your letter of November 27 merits a reply. My delay has been caused by a need for consideration of its contents and a lack of time in which to do this.

  With respect to publication: I have never really thought that your committee would undertake publication of the material which I have been sending you. My concern about copyrighted material arose only in consideration of the possibility that it might inadvertently fall into unfriendly hands; it behooves us to be alert, cautious, and discreet, for Satan would certainly do all in his power to bring God's work to task. In preparing this material for submission to your office, I thought only in terms of its being handled confidentially; I had no intention that it should be published in its present form, obviously. Until the total content has been studied as a unit, it would be virtually impossible to determine what should and what should not be prepared for publication. If any conclusion were formed prior to this, it would be an invalid conclusion, and I could only accept it as such.

  In view of this, I am not quite clear as to what you mean by "an endless flow of material" and whether I have "thought this through and realized the difficulty it presents." I have spent considerably more time thinking this through than it has taken you to read it. And as I have said before, you need only file it against the day that it is complete. I am not asking for a judgment; I am fulfilling a commission. At the present time it is being sent as a witness and a testimony; unfolding events will reveal whether it is true. If it proves true, then you will have evidence that a genuine prophet has been in your midst. And I give you my word: I have known the feelings of Jonah when he received his first call; but I have purposed not to set sail for Tarshish, nor to unnecessarily expose myself to claustrophobia in the depths of the sea.

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 And I do not say this frivolously; there is deep meaning in this statement.

  It surprises me to learn that I should first have counseled with our local and union conference presidents, especially since you have never mentioned this before. During the earlier years of my experience, I made a point to consult several successive presidents and visiting G.C. representatives, with intent to having a study of my experience and views in order to determine whether and wherein I might be in error. But I was politely counseled either to put my views into cold storage or submit them to headquarters. I have previously done the former; I am now doing the latter.

  Would you have done differently under similar circumstances, especially in view of the following incident? On one occasion some eight years ago when something in a vespers talk I delivered at Canadian Union College was severely excepted by the college president, but was readily understood by several theology students, instead of consulting with me about it and granting me an opportunity to clarify with him the true intent of my remarks (as I had understood him to previously agree to do, should such occasion ever arise), he went about for several days contacting and "laboring with" each student individually, labeling my message as "humbug" and etc., and leaving some of those students in a state of confusion and decreased confidence in the administration, and certainly damaging my own reputation - for which situation I was naturally blamed. I did in no wise purposely create this problem for him; and while I regarded his action as very indiscreet, I accepted it as his best effort in the interest of the school and the Bible Department.

  When I learned of the matter several days later, through one of the older theology students who was a personal friend, I immediately contacted our local elder - only to learn that he knew nothing about it. From there I phoned for an appointment with the President. I expressed my disappointment at his behavior, apologized for my unplanned part in the situation, and strongly expressed my desire to have the whole thing clarified. I suggested that he might call in any and

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as many theologians and other brethren as he might choose; I asked for no representatives for myself. He agreed to the suggestion and promised to notify me of the time and place. I contacted also the head of the Theology Department, who similarly agreed with the suggestion. Nevertheless, the matter was subsequently and completely ignored; and no notification was ever given to me, nor any explanation. I was left completely out in the dark. It takes the grace of God to accept this kind of procedure without protest, and to continue to accept leaders of this type as ordained of God, and to cooperate with the brethren. Yet I have no doubt whatever that these men were God's ordained servants. Some time later, I learned by indirect means (not at my own investigation), that they felt incompetent to deal with me, for one reason or another.

  Did I then err by turning to your department? It seemed the only route open.

  But I am not immune to counsel. Elder Kaytor, our local conference president, happened to be on campus the Saturday evening that I received your letter. He was kind enough to forgo part of the evening entertainment in order to speak with me. He is the first conference president, with whom I have conferred, who has expressed willingness to study my material together with members of his staff. Nevertheless, I suggested that he include only such members as have proved themselves to be completely trustworthy, since it would be unwise to let this get to our local field in its present form and at the present time. It would seem to be better to delay a wider study of it, until such time as I have more of the material ready; and until I have received counsel from such confidential students of experience as are capable of pointing out to me statements in the writings of E. G. White and in the Scriptures which appear to contradict any point I have made. It is only too easy for the human mind to weave into its web, conclusions which are not entirely adequate, when additional knowledge unfolds. Then those conclusions are modified in the light of advancing knowledge. Do you think subjection to such a normal procedure disqualified a man as a servant of God?

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   I cannot subscribe to the philosophy, that if even one error can be found in my manuscript, then the whole content is entirely of the devil. (Such a statement was made in a recent sermon in our church, though not with reference to my manuscript). I expect there is more than one error in it; I am not infallible. Errors may yet also be found in our own current denominational theology; would that relegate the entire denomination to the dominion of Satan? (cf. RH 12/20/1892, quoted in Manuscript # 2), [on page 62.7 of this book]. Was William Miller a servant of God or of the devil? Or was Uriah Smith under the delusion of Satan because of his mistakes, and must we therefore reject his writings in entirety? Have no weaknesses ever been found anywhere at all in the writings of Sister White, especially her early ones? Have no statements of hers ever been curtailed or removed from publications? If so, why? I am no better than my fellows.

  A question which has often arisen in my mind is this (and I do not make this observation in a spirit of criticism): On what basis can a small committee in Washington make a judgment concerning material such as I am sending, and expect that the entire church should accept that judgment without question? Does a broad view of the Spirit of Prophecy support this policy? If so, what is meant by the admonition that when a brother puts forward what he proposes is new truth it should be studied by every minister?* I readily grant that some of the men at headquarters, undoubtedly, have a deeper theological background than most of the general membership or the ministry. Should we therefore withhold certain expositions of the Bible from the church because we do not consider the laity capable of undertaking a study of it, without being told how to vote? I concede a measure of wisdom in such a policy, when regarding the laity as inexperienced children and unprepared to meet the issues. But I submit, that the hour is upon us when those who have not prepared themselves through their own personal experience of total surrender, prayer, study, and meditation and who rely for their conclusions on the decision of their minister or of a small committee of men, will not stand the penetrating

_________________
* ["When a brother receives new light upon the Scriptures, he should frankly explain his position, and every minister should search the Scriptures with the spirit of candor, to see if the points presented can be substantiated by the Inspired Word." GW - 303.]

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test of the sword of the Lord - regardless of whether the conclusions of the committee are correct or incorrect. Every man will be brought to a place where, in regard to the truth, he must make his own decision between himself and God alone. You know that I speak correctly in this.

  Somehow I sense from your letters that you could prefer I desist from further writing, for you say I am causing difficulty by continuing. Yet if I cease to write, you will not get the message. Am I to conclude that you do not want the message? If so, you have then already made your judgment concerning it, and have taken the position of a judge who turns from hearing all the evidence. Forgive me if I have misunderstood your letter.

  Nevertheless, in an effort to relieve your difficulty somewhat, I will plan to not submit further material until a reasonably [completed] unit has been achieved. But, if and when God makes clear to me that something should be sent, I cannot say that I will not send it; nor do I believe you would really want it to be withheld.

  I pray earnestly that God will guide us, one and all, through the difficult experiences of the closing conflict. And we have assurance while the elect may be almost deceived, yet no one is able to pluck them out of the Father's hand. The elect are those who have elected a total submission to the will of God. In such a submission only, are we secure. May God help us to recognize if we have failed to make this commitment; only His Spirit can reprove us of this judgment through the anointing of our eyes with eye-salve.

Sincerely your brother in the faith of Jesus,

[J. Wilfred Johnson]

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    J. Wilfred Johnson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jan. 13th, 1969
Elder H. W. Lowe
Bible Research Committee
General Conference of S.D.A.
6840 Eastern Avenue N.W. 
Takoma Park, Washington, D.C. 20012

Dear Elder Lowe:
  I am very grateful for your letter of December 23 and much relieved by its content. I offer my sincere apology for having somehow given you inaccurate impressions of my position in this matter. Apparently correspondence is not an entirely satisfactory medium for precise communication, especially when one endeavors to reduce its volume. And I hesitate to encroach upon your time by making further comments. Yet I find it hard to let a matter rest, when I recognize it is not altogether correctly understood. Evidently neither of us is free from the danger of misunderstanding. I will deal with the points in turn.

  1. Re Publication. A review of my previous letters would reveal that I meant I did not expect that your committee would undertake publication of my contributions, nor that my present writings would or should be published in the form submitted. I did not mean that the essential content would never be made available to those for whom God intends it. Were it not to be made available, there would be little purpose in its production. I expressed willingness to accept whatever counsel and help I might need in handling the mechanics of it, if it developed that I were the one who should prepare the finished product. It was certainly not my intention to distribute the present manuscript (if indeed that is the correct designation for it!), far and wide. In fact, I have strenuously cautioned just the opposite, to those very few individuals who know about it. With these reservations, your statement that I am not interested in publication of "my" material is correct.

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  2. I seem to gather from your letter that you feel I have not yet reduced my ideas to writings. Perhaps I should prepare a precise recapitulation of the points I have so far made. Not all of them have been fully developed, I know, since this can only be done as other areas are brought into the picture. I cannot help it that God has chosen to intricately intertwine the numerous facets of His truth. It might be compared roughly to an exposition of the nature of the many functions of the human body. I could make Section 3 [titled The Everlasting Covenant and found on pages 92-131 of this book], much more realistic and meaningful if I could present this paper personally in a series of about three or four talks of approximately one hour each. I realize, that as it is presently given, there are connecting links and supplementary explanations missing. It requires time to bring these all in. Nature's way of learning is a spiral system. We all grew up under such a system, and we all had to exercise patience under it. For at any point along the route, we came up with questions which could not be answered until further lesson material had been covered. I have no choice in this; if I did, I could comply more closely with your suggestion. I am, however, seriously considering the preparation of a supplementary manual to parallel the manuscript, which would contain only a precise statement of the points being covered, together with a reference to the Manuscript [Ms. 1 thru 3, pages 54-131 of this book], where each item is dealt with. Additional substantiating references could also be listed here. From the beginning, it has been my purpose to finalize with a survey of the panorama showing (within the limits of lineal communication) how the parts are related. Not until this stage is reached, can the larger integrated pattern by fully seen and appreciated. It is here where the greatest evidence of genuineness exists; and correctly aligned parts of the jig-saw puzzle suddenly produce the picture. Apparently I did not get this idea across very plainly in Sections 1 and 2, [also referred to as Manuscripts 1 & 2, contained in this book on pages 54-72, and pages 73-91, respectively]; or if I did, you must have an aversion to this philosophy of our truth.

  3. With respect to counseling with our conference presidents, I did explain why I was surprised. I am sorry if I have misjudged the position and purpose of your committee and yourself. My conclusions are based on what evidence I have at hand. Your letter assures me of what I had long hoped was true, but which my present stock of

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 information tended to make dubious. I accept your statement with sincere gratitude. Nor am I reluctant to counsel with local church leaders; I have long yearned to do this. And under the circumstances of the past (already described), I can hardly accept blame for the restrictions which have heretofore prevailed. I will gladly and gratefully study with these men if they care to take the time to do so.

  4. I can fully recognize your difficulty if I should continue to forward to you every little item which may come to me from time to time; this was not my intention either. I already have in my consciousness a whole network of related items which have arrived over a period of many years. I am, with considerable effort and inconvenience, trying to coordinate these into a coherent presentation. But I have felt the wisdom of submitting portions of it to you as they are completed. You will thereby be aware of their existence; and when other men come forward with similar thoughts (and others will; in fact, several points which I learned independently many years ago - some of which were included on my tapes [the eight tape/letters which are transcribed in Volume One] - have already appeared in sundry places, including the Review and Herald; I do not have a monopoly on truth), you will know that I am telling the truth, when I saw that God made this or that clear to me in years gone by. This fact will have its importance.

  I have not purposed to stir up agitation in the church at this time with my present manuscript. I think you concluded that I did intend to do this. What I presented in the manuscript about the shaking*, I presented as it was made plain to me. The shaking is not something which one individual man on this earth will cause; it is caused by the testimony of One who is infinitely mightier than we, yet who is our Brother. Neither you nor I can start it or prevent it. Nevertheless, His testimony is delivered to men who are used as instruments of distribution. Such is the avowed status of our church organization. If my words do not reach the people they are intended for, there will be others arise, whose words will parallel mine; and their words will reach the people. But it is in the providence of God that one should return to do an appointed work of restoration. That it will be done, I have no doubt. The details of its outworking remain to be unfolded with

__________________
*
[For further study refer to "Shaking" in the concordance page 309.9].

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passing time. They are conditional upon the decisions of the leaders of His church. I am a member of God's remnant church; I am identified with it and subject to its discipline. May God help me to patiently set myself aside in the interest of His will for His people; and may we all believe with confidence that He can set matters right, if and where they may need setting right.

  Elder Kaytor informs me that he desires a council in the near future and that he is inviting you to be present. I feel badly that my predicament should make this inconvenience necessary for you; at the same time, I would be very happy for the privilege of meeting with you again, and with the other brethren invited to this meeting. From the standpoint of coming to a clearer understanding of one another and for the giving of counsel, this is an opportune time. Thank you again for your kindness in attending to my "problem."

Very sincerely yours,

[J. Wilfred Johnson]

Note:
[Some four months subsequent to the above letter, J. W. Johnson sent a further letter of counsel and testimony, dated April 8th, 1969 to Elder H. W. Lowe, regarding the Brinsmead crisis in the Seventh-day Adventist church. This letter may be found in its entirety on pages 43- 53 of this book].

- The Publishers

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SECTION 6
 

Written Transcript from reel-to-reel Audio Tape
 of
SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ON THE BOWDEN SERIES
(Fall of l973)
 

J. Wilfred Johnson (1915-1995)
 
  [The following "Comments," (comprising Section 6 of this book), were privately recorded and titled, by J. W. Johnson, following a series of eight worship talks given by him at Camp Bowden, Alberta, Canada, to the Seventh-day Adventist Young People's Societies from the cities of Edmonton and Calgary].

  These have now been transcribed onto two cassette tapes, copies of which are now available from the Publishers.

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SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS ON THE BOWDEN SERIES

  Because of the pressure of time toward the close of the presentation of the foregoing series of studies on the righteousness of Christ by faith imputed and imparted, we did not succeed in bringing together the various aspects of the subject as effectively as we had intended to do. And it may be profitable for us at this time to review some of those features, tie them together, and possibly expand a few that were not thoroughly presented.

TWO ASPECTS TO THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS

  Furthermore, there was a portion of the series which was not recorded, in connection with a question period. We did not think that it would be necessary to record this section, especially in view of the fact that questions from the group and interaction with the group did not record too effectively. However, it turned out that this question period did develop into a more pertinent type of presentation, and we regret that at least some of it was not recorded; so possibly we can refer to some things that were mentioned during that period also.

  The theme of the series was centered in the righteousness of Christ, which is to be established in His people. We noted that Christ cannot come to claim His people as His own, until that character has been perfectly reproduced in them, and this is what accounts for the delay in the second coming of Jesus. It is pertinent then for us, in this crucial hour of earth's history, to understand what is meant by the righteousness of Christ and how it is to be attributed to us.

  We pointed out that there are two aspects to the reception of the righteousness of Christ. We receive the imputed righteousness of Christ by faith. This is our ticket to heaven. The perfect commandment keeping of Christ - His perfect righteousness - is accounted to us in the record books of heaven, and God looks upon us and sees in us the righteousness of his Son and He loves us as He does His own Son. This is a transaction which is accomplished by faith.

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  The second aspect of the reception of the righteousness of Christ is the imparted righteousness. This righteousness is received through the agency of love, which is a gift also - a gift that comes to us through the agency of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit comes to us, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, and it is on the basis of this motivating power of self-denying love, which is the love of God, that we will be impelled or constrained to obey His commandments. We will be also empowered to obey His commandments by this motivating force of His love. It is the power of love that constrains us to obey. There is no power in all the universe which is greater than the power of self-denying love, and this is the essence of the life and the power of God.

  This love He offers to impart to us to empower us to obey His commandments, and He sent to us Jesus, to show us the way, to make the pattern; and we are invited to take up our cross and follow Him in His steps, all the way; "who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." And in Revelation chapter 14, the Revelator describes the people - the 144,000 - "who will follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth," and they will be "without fault before the throne of God, and in their mouth will be no guile." In the early years of the Advent movement this aspect of righteousness was stressed - the aspect of commandment-keeping.

  After the 1888 Conference, at which the message of righteousness by faith imputed was stressed by the two messengers of the Lord and verified by the prophet to the remnant church, the emphasis was placed upon imputed righteousness; and some went perhaps a little to the extreme view on this subject. But Sister White in her comments on the righteousness question has definitely given us a balance between these two aspects; for it is the imparted righteousness of Christ which enables us to completely fulfill His commandments, which gives to us the image of His character so that His character becomes ours. It is this aspect of righteousness which gives us our fitness for living in the eternal kingdom.

  As long as we are immature children in the family of God, Christ must bear the deficiencies that are ours and make up for them with His own divine merit [cf. 1st SM 382]. Not until we have attained to the "measure of the fullness" of His stature will He be able to lay down His priestly robes and step out from His position as Mediator, and we will

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be able to stand without fault before God without a mediator. This is the goal of the plan of salvation. Jesus came to save His people from their sins, not just in their sins; and He is to make unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle. Here is the goal of the plan of salvation! And imputed righteousness - righteousness by faith accounted to the sinner by substitution - this is the means to the end. This is not the "be all and the end all” of the message; it is the means to the end of perfection.

  Now in view of the fact that Christ has delayed His coming because His character has not been perfectly reproduced in His people, it should be obvious that here lies the crux of the matter of preparation for the coming of Christ. Our church today is facing an emergency! The time of trouble is fast approaching. The four angels are holding back the winds of strife, but they will not hold them forever; they will hold them until God's people have been sealed. But God is not going to delay indefinitely the coming of Christ; there is a day and an hour when He will arrive. And God is going to initiate events that will bring about the preparation of His people. The Bible is clear on this message for this emergency hour!

GOD WILL UTTER HIS VOICE IN ZION

  We pointed out from the prophet Joel that the Lord is going to utter His voice in Zion, and He is going to have a strong people who will be able to stand during this great and dreadful day of the Lord. We pointed out that there is to be a message, under the symbol of Elijah, which is to be proclaimed before the coming of Jesus; and that he is to come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to proclaim this message. It is a message of preparation. He is to "call the disobedient to the wisdom of the just," to bring men back to allegiance to the commandments of God.

  When God utters His voice and speaks to His people, He does so through the prophets. When God's people face an emergency, He has a message available for them, and He calls a messenger or messengers to give it. Let me read from Great Controversy, page 609: "Different periods in the history of the church have been marked by the development of some special truth adapted to the necessities of God's

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people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition. Those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth" - a special truth - "for the people in an emergency."

  No one can deny that God's people have a need at this time, nor that the final crisis through which they must pass is an emergency. And it should be obvious that if the thing which is lacking in God's people today is the reproduction of the character of Christ, that the message will be related to that subject; and this is indeed the message of righteousness imparted. The righteousness of Christ imparted to His people - this is the emergency message for this hour!

  Let me read also from Christ's Object Lessons, pg. 127. "In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it."

  Now, no one can deny that the generation of Sister White's day has passed. We are today a new generation and we can expect a new development of truth. Again, from COL, page 78: "For his church in every generation God has a special truth and a special work. At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world-conforming church they are opposed and despised."

  God is indeed leading out and purifying a people during this day in which the third angel's message is being proclaimed. Let me read it to you from 1st Testimonies 207: "The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly." Who is leading out and purifying a people? the third angel is. "Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead his people no faster than they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them."

  There are some people in our midst from time to time, who bring forward light more clearly - new light, new slants on old truths; and they are so energetic and enthusiastic that they move far ahead of the people, including some of our leaders who are not able to follow their thinking. Rather than to retrace their steps and cooperate with the brethren, these people move on independently and carry forward their message, and in some ways they do despite to the cause of God.

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  A little later on this tape, I will read some comments by our prophet on this topic.

  The test of discipleship today is a test of brotherly love, and cooperation, and unity. And yet in the face of this test, there will come upon God's people a great shaking; and the shaking will be caused by the fact that some will bear the testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans; and others will not. This is just another of the paradoxes, of which there are many, in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. And we must take in all aspects of a paradox before we can understand it and get the balanced truth. As individuals, we must be willing to submit our judgment to the judgment of our brethren. We must be willing to esteem other better than ourselves.

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN GOD CALLS A SPECIAL MESSENGER

  Yet, there are times when God calls a messenger to come forth with new truth, to present it to His people and to state it clearly and forcefully, in spite of the opposition that may arise against it, even by those who are leading His people. But no man has a right to stand up in defiance of those whom God has chosen to lead His people in this generation, unless He has obtained a very definite and special commission from God to do so. History has shown that there are times and emergencies when God has called someone to take such a position; but let that someone be very, very sure that he has received that commission.

  Perhaps I ought at this point to read some comments from our prophet: 3 Testimonies 414 - "The first step that such a one would take independently of the church should be regarded as a device of the enemy to deceive and destroy. God has made His church a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purpose and His will. He does not give one an experience independent of the church. He does not give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church, while the church, Christ's body, is left in darkness." And on page 417, she goes on to say; "...independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in yourself and to trust your own judgment, rather than to respect the counsel and highly estimate the judgment of your brethren, especially of those in the offices which God has

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appointed for the saving of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God."

  And then in the fifth volume, page 293, she says: "There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer; and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for 'in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

  And then in Remnant Church, p. 20, she says: "Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

  And in Testimonies to Ministers, pp 27-30 (extracts) she says this: "Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we know God has answered, to erect this structure.... Then let everyone be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for the prosperity and success in advancing His cause....Those who have the unction from on high will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and union of action, and then the angels of God can cooperate with them." In 3 T 432 she says: "The Son of God identified Himself with the office and authority of His organized church. His blessings were to come through the agencies that He has ordained, thus connecting men with the channel through which His blessings come."

  And then in Acts of the Apostles, p. 164: "To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think that His light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown."

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SPIRIT OF PROPHECY STATEMENTS OF CAUTION AND LOYALTY

  Now, of course, in contrast to that statement, we must bear in mind others that she makes which I will read in just a few minutes. Here is another one from 3 T 433: "The church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by connection with His church upon the earth."

  And, Acts of the Apostles, page 162: "The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service, show clearly that the Lord works through appointed agencies in His organized church." And in Remnant Church, page 60: "We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth!"

  3 T 428: "The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church; neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body."

  And then this crowning statement from the Review and Herald, September 20, 1892: "There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port."

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NEW TRUTH IS TO COME BEFORE GOD'S PEOPLE

  Now in contrast to those statements I wish to read a few that refer to the matter of new truth coming to God's people, and special messengers being called to deliver it; for you will remember that in the second chapter of Joel we pointed out that it is by the latter rain that God will speak. Through the agency of the latter rain He will bring about the closing up of His work and the perfecting of his people. We referred also to Testimonies to Ministers on that question. And it is at the time of the latter rain, when the Spirit is poured out, that Joel says that "your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions; and upon the handmaidens the spirit will be poured out, and that they shall prophesy" [cf. Joel 2:28,29]. These things tie together.

  Now let us read these additional statements - Review and Herald, December 20th, 1892: "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all of our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible....No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." But certainly a false one will.

  Then from Education, page 171: "It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point;..." This statement makes it very clear that if one person has a certain view of a passage of Scripture or a truth or a promise, this does not mean that there is no other interpretation, no further light to come from that passage or from that truth or from that promise, - no one can say this.

  Because we see a thing in a certain way, we cannot say that some other man who sees it in a different way is wrong. He may be; but he may not be. We must not take too narrow a view on the interpretation of Scripture, for Scripture is like an ever-flowing fountain. It unfolds, and unfurls, and continues to flow with new sources of truth; and only as each passage is capable of unfolding new truth could this be true.

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  Let me read again from COL 110 - note this: "Christ's words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures." Did you notice that the words of Christ have a deeper significance than appears on the surface? All of His sayings have a value that is beyond their unpretending appearance - we must look deeper, you see. There is something more to come out of these words of Christ than we see on the surface.

  Then let me read another one from the Review and Herald, October 21st, 1890. This is a very pertinent statement: "To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God." Should I rephrase that? If we say that a passage means just this and nothing more, this is what we have seen in this passage in the past, and we may not attach any broader meaning to these words; it means this and nothing more - to say that, she says - to say that, is saying something that the Spirit of God did not actuate! It is not the Spirit of God that makes a man talk like that. That's what this passage says. Have you heard anyone speak like that at any time? Think about it in the light of this [above] passage.

  Now, from Gospel Workers pages 301 & 302, we find here a statement which tells us why the Lord sends light to his people. Why does he send new light to his people? "We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension." Now listen! "The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of." Did you get that? The reason that God sends light to His people is to try them, and to prove them to see what manner of spirit they are of. Will they be open-minded, and humble and teachable; or will they rise up against it and not bear it? This is what will cause the shaking as we pointed out from Early Writings. [EW 270.5]

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  Now, Review & Herald, April 1st, 1890: "To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you." You recall the Laodicean message which says that "you think that you are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing"? And He says that "you should anoint your eyes with eyesalve so that you may see." And in Counsels to Sabbath School Workers, page 32: "When new light is presented to the church" - to the church - "it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness." We need to be careful how we regard a messenger who comes to us with truth.

  Mount of Blessing p. 33: "God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated..." Did you get that? The minds of the people must be agitated! "Every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber."

  Review and Herald, August 27, 1889: "We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come,..." That's unqualified. Whatever the source, we should be willing to accept it, instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expect it. Did you note that? Now that doesn't mean we are to accept false doctrine and spurious theories. We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come; and He has given us the tests whereby we may test it.

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DANGERS IN REJECTING NEW LIGHT

  Now there are dangers in rejecting light - I read some on that. Here's another statement on that order. Review and Herald, Oct. 21, 1890, she says this: "May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of His messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warnings and admonitions, the same results will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel." What a denunciation! What a warning!

  What was it that happened to the children of Israel in those days? Their house was left unto them desolate. [cf. Matt 23:37,38]. And the history of this experience could be repeated, she says; and this will depend upon the choices of God's people today as to whether it will be repeated.

  Now I wish to make a statement here, and I trust it will not be taken as offensive. I think we need to face up to the truth. Let us be humble before God and be willing to look at truth, and to look at ourselves, and to recognize our position. Let me make the statement:

  If one who receives new light from the Lord must not be permitted to reveal that light, because his brethren cannot comprehend it or because they regard it as false light; if he must deny his personal conviction any expression because he comes under the discipline of the leading brethren; if he must subdue his knowledge of truth and wait for God to deal with the halting, leading brethren - then should not those who are in leading positions also accept their responsibility to permit an open and unbiased investigation of that light, by each and every one who desires to do this? And should such an one not be permitted to do this without risk of coming under censure, and the threat of being disfellowshipped? Should one endowed with new light be expected to wait indefinitely for the brethren to wake up to their responsibility!

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  What is the meaning of the following words from Gospel Workers (1915 edition), page 304? "We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people....The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way that clearer light should not come to the people. A great work is to be done; and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done."

  Testimonies to Ministers, 106, 107: "Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to his people, if these leading brethren do not accept them....Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."

GOD WILL NOT TOLERATE REJECTION OF TRUTH

  So we see that God is not tied to the dictates of the leaders of His church. And in spite of what Sister White has said about having confidence in these brethren as God's chosen leaders, and in spite of His warning that we ought to be submissive and cooperative and harmonious and work together, and not go ahead of the angel who is leading the people - in spite of all this, this counter-balancing statement makes it very clear that God is not going to tolerate the rejection of truth, even by the leaders of his people, indefinitely; but He will call upon His messengers to bring forth the truth to His people, in spite of those who endeavor to withhold it.

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  I want to read another one from Testimonies to Ministers, pages 69 & 70. She says: "We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be the teachers of Bible doctrine. But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines." (This does happen!) “...the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or a ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them."

  Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106: "The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits - because it is truth." So, you see, God sometimes surprises us. He passes by those whom we expect the light will come through, and He chooses His own instruments to bring it to us.

  Testimonies to Ministers, page 105: "We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said."

  [End of side "A' of audio cassette commentary on the Bowden Series. Transcription of side "B' continues on the next page].

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 TO WHOM WILL GOD REVEAL HIS TRUTH?

  To what kind of people will God reveal His truth? I find in Acts of the Apostles, page 283, this statement: "If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God will be guided by the divine hand." Earnest seekers, giving themselves fully to God - He'll give them wisdom - lead them into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them, and He'll guide them by His own divine hand.

  COL, p. 36: "...He will make plain His word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart....All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it....He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth." That's the qualification!

  COL, page 129: "If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally."

GOD WILL HONOR SURRENDERED CHRISTIANS

  So, we do not have to be a conference minister; we do not have to be a Bible teacher; we do not have to be a prophet. We can be a humble, sincere, dedicated, surrendered Christian; and God will honor us by revealing to us His mysteries personally. And then if He should give us a commission to bring a truth or truths to His people, let us be willing to do it. But let us follow the counsel; let us not run ahead of the angel; let us work together in harmony with our brethren and pass the test of brotherly love and fellowship; then God can honor us. And if need be, He may require us to stand on our own feet and declare His Word to His people, in spite of opposition from those areas where we would least expect it to come.

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  We know according to the Word of God that opposition will come from even some of God's leading people, and from those in our own household of faith, and from those in our own family household. There will be opposition rise up as the light expands in the minds of the faithful ones. Few there will be who will follow the truth at first and who will champion it; this is what she says. But God will cause His message to triumph. And the message for this hour - this emergency hour - is the message of righteousness imparted to His people - the message of the coming of the Messenger of the covenant suddenly to His living temple to purify and cleanse it. This is the message!

  God is going to utter His voice. He is going to speak to His people; not in loud thunderous tones as He did on Mt. Sinai with Moses when the old covenant was delivered, but as He spoke to Elijah the prophet on that same mount, in that cleft of the rock, in the cave. Not in the great manifestations of the fire and the earthquake and the wind, but in the "still small voice" - the voice of the Spirit of Truth, which will come to God's people to dwell with them forever in the marriage union of the Lamb with His saints.

  The union of divinity and humanity is symbolized by the marriage. Sister White says this in Christ's Object Lessons [cf. COL 305]. And Christ will come into His temple to dwell. He promises this in the Laodicean message and in other parts of the Scripture. In the book of John He says: We will come to Him and make our abode with Him and abide with Him forever; and He says it will be through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. This all ties together. Here is the true communion of the body and blood of Christ - that great body and that living blood which was His before He came to this world as a little seed in Mary's womb.

  He relinquished that former body. He gave up that Ghost - that ghost of everlasting life. But before He did, He made His last will and testament. Paul tells us this in Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:15-20). A last will and testament is only made by one who is about to die, one who expects to die, and one who has a heritage, who has possessions; and Christ had all possessions! He had eternal life; He had an eternal body; He had the possessions of the entire Universe. These were all His. And He was about to die! How would He dispose of His treasures and His possessions?

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  In the everlasting covenant in which He appointed the Father to be the Executor and Administrator of His estate, He made the decision to bequeath His heritage upon His people. (We brought this out in our studies.) The Youth's Instructor, May 27th, 1897: "He stepped down from the throne of honor, laid off His royal robe and His royal crown, gave back into His Father's hand the scepter, and veiling divinity with humanity, humbled himself, and came to a world all seared and marred with the curse."

  And He came in the form of humanity to become the first-born of every creature, the first-begotten from the dead - to become the Head of the new body of Christ; and His people were to become the members in particular. (I quoted from the Scripture; cf. Col. 1:15-18; Rev. 1:5; Eph. 5:23-32; 1st Cor. 12:27).

  Christ did not die the everlasting death of the sinner, from which there is no hope of a resurrection (I quoted from Sister White {See EW 51.8 & 218.6}), and then take back His eternal life in the same way that He had it before. He gave His life to His people. Did you get the point?

THE FIRST DEATH OF CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY

  In the heavenly Sanctuary, before He ever came to this world, He laid down His great eternal body and blood; He shed His life blood; He gave up the ghost - the Holy Ghost! There was no Holy Ghost before that - only the Spirit of God. He gave up the Spirit of life, the eternal Spirit which was His eternal life. (This is in the Spirit of Prophecy): "Christ declared that after His ascension, He would send to His church, as His crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take His place. This Comforter is the Holy Ghost - the soul of His life!" (R & H, May 19th, 1904).

  He gave it up; and He died a voluntary death in the court of the heavenly Sanctuary. And there were two witnesses who saw this - two witnesses who had been called up from earth: Moses and Elijah. This was the first death of Christ, from which there was a resurrection!

  At any time during His sojourn here on earth, in the person of Jesus, He could by a thought have returned to His former glory, received all His heritage again, and left man to die an eternal death. He could have done this! He died there [in the heavenly sanctuary] the first death - the death of sleep. He could have been restored.

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THE IRREVOCABLE DECISION OF JESUS IN GETHSEMANE

  In Gethsemane He made the irrevocable decision to die the second death, from which there can be no hope of a resurrection! "He suffered the death which was ours," says Sister White, "that we might receive the life which was His" (cf. DA 25). That's plain! In Gethsemane, He relinquished His eternal life; He relinquished His body and blood that former body and blood that represented His great eternal heritage - His Word, and His Spirit, and all things that had been written into His creation, and the Spirit of eternal life. He relinquished them! And He cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" (Mark 15:34). And He said to His disciples at the last supper: "I will not again partake of this emblem until I partake of it anew with you in the kingdom." (cf. Matt. 26:29). And in the kingdom, He will partake of it anew through the marriage ceremony, when He becomes united with the rest of His body in the marriage union with His bride - the saints!

  His body you see, is now divided; it is broken and given to His saints to eat - to assimilate. And in the marriage union of the Lamb with His saints, the new body of Christ is restored - it is restructured. And now Jesus is the Head of that body, but His people are the members. Anybody knows that the head would have a difficult time functioning without the body. Christ needs His new temple of saints, to function through them.

  This was the sacrifice He made; this was the gift He gave. His heritage should now be in them - that they were to be His body through whom He would operate on a voluntary basis. No more could anyone challenge the integrity of Christ. Never could anyone say that He was the autocrat, the dictatorial ruler! He is now the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. And if the hand refuses to do the bidding of the head, it is not done. Only by means of the hand can it be done. So when the head requires the hand or requests the hand to do a task, the "hand" must voluntarily do it, if it is to be done. The kingdom of heaven will be based on voluntary allegiance; there will be no force. The drawing and constraining power of love for Jesus will motivate the active response!

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  When this enormous sacrifice of Christ is seen in all its glory, God's people will loathe themselves for their iniquities. They can not ever again bring themselves to sin against their Redeemer. They know that He has declared them righteous forever, and that He has declared Himself their High Priest forever, and that if ever again they should sin, they would not jeopardize their eternal life, but they would jeopardize the peace and the freedom from suffering of their Saviour; for He is the one who must bear the consequences of such a sin!

  Victory over sin, refusal to sin, is a voluntary thing. If it were made a condition of eternal life, then sinlessness would be motivated by selfishness; and that is a contradiction. For sin, basic sin, is selfishness; and sin cannot be eradicated until selfishness is destroyed and selflessness rules. And that could only be done as Christ would take the sinner's penalty forever; and the saint would voluntarily refuse to sin, because he knows that if he did sin, Christ would be the sufferer - not he himself. Thus selfishness is placed on an entirely voluntary basis! I hope I have made my point.

THE MARRIAGE OF CHRIST TO HIS SAINTS BEFORE PROBATION CLOSES

  When Jesus came forth from the tomb, He came forth as the One who had been born in Bethlehem and who had grown up in Nazareth. And He will not again partake of the eternal heritage of His former body and blood, until He partakes of it through the marriage union with His saints, and the kingdom is restored.

  This occurs before the close of probation (EW 280). The marriage union is consummated and the new body of Christ is established, and the kingdom is restored. The allegiance of His people voluntarily to their Counselor, the Head of the new body, is restored; and Jesus again partakes of His former heritage through His saints. What a picture of humility, - what a picture of self-sacrifice! There is no equal to it.

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CHRIST DIED THE SECOND DEATH AT THE CROSS

  It should be recognized that Christ did die the eternal death of the sinner. The death of the sinner is the second death which is an everlasting death from which there can be no hope of a resurrection [EW 218.6]. Christ died the first death in the heavenly Sanctuary before He came to this world in the form of Jesus. This was the death of sleep from which He awakened, and from which He had the privilege of going back into His former heritage. On the cross He died the second death; and this was a different death. There was no returning from this death, in the sense that He would never again be able to return to the position - the status - in exactly the same way that He had it before.

  I recognize that we are dealing with a difficult problem here, that Christ died an eternal death from which there is no resurrection, and from which there can be no hope of a resurrection; and at the same time He lives. But Christ is eternal; and so we are dealing with a mystery. At the same time, He does not return to the identical conditions under which He existed prior to His incarnation. In the Old Testament, Christ was the great God - the God of His people. It was Christ who created the world. It was Christ who spoke to Moses on the Mount, and whom Moses saw. It was Christ who walked with Abraham. He was God, and yet God the Father was operating through Christ. And here again we're dealing with a mystery. It is not my purpose at this point to move into this mystery; I am not able to solve it. There are thoughts that could be expressed, but we will leave them at this particular stage.

THE INCARNATION OF THE HOLY GHOST IN CHRIST'S SAINTS

  I simply want to point out that when Jesus came out of the tomb, He was the man who had walked the dusty roads of Galilee; and He would not again partake of His former heritage, His former body and blood, except as there would be men who would respond to His call to "follow" Him. Only as His new body could be built up from the saints, and the incarnation of the Holy Ghost could take place - only through this experience could the body of Christ be reproduced.

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 The "temple" that He said would be destroyed, He also said that in three days "I will raise it up." There is a deeper meaning in this statement. He spoke of the temple of His human body - yes; but He spoke also of the great temple of His heavenly body. And each day is for a year. But each day is also for a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as one day. It was in the third thousand years that the new temple was to be restored in His people, and the incarnation of Christ through the Holy Ghost in His people, known as the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, was to take place.

  It is through the saints that Christ returns. He is to live in His saints - "His inheritance is in His saints," says Paul. (cf. Eph 1:18). And herein again is the law of the universe, the law of heaven and earth, exemplified: He gave all, that He might receive all again. There is no way to receiving but by giving. If a man would have eternal life, he must lose his life for Christ's sake. Christ gave His life for the sake of His people, and it is through His people that His life is restored.

  I am not herewith talking about His human life - His life in humanity and the resurrection of His human body - I am speaking of His great eternal and spiritual body which He exemplified or typified through the communion service, - this is what I am speaking of. And He himself said that He broke His body, and that the broken bread of the communion service represented His body, that it might be divided among the disciples for them to eat and assimilate.

  He was not talking about His physical human body - He still lives in that. Nor was He talking about the life of his physical human body. He was talking about the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of life, the Eternal Spirit of God, which is the source of all life that had been His in His great eternal body, as the God of the Old Testament and the God of eternity - this is what He was talking about!

  It is in this blood; and this is the blood of His body, for it is the life of it. He gave up the Spirit of Life. He gave up the Ghost. And that great Ghost of His former body - the Holy Ghost - that great body with all its characteristics and qualities - was divided for His disciples to eat and for them to drink. And it was in this Spirit of Life that the New Testament or new covenant resided. He said, "This is the new covenant in my blood, the New Testament in my blood; drink ye all of it." - all of it! [cf. Matt. 26:27 & 28; also 1st Cor. 11:24-28].

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THE COMFORTER IS THE SOUL OF CHRIST'S LIFE

  The abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost is to come to the 144,000. Through them will be restored the body temple of Christ. Through them will God and Christ - in them will God and Christ come to dwell by the agency of the Holy Ghost. I wonder if you get the implications of this? "This Comforter is the Holy Spirit - the soul of His life, ... " (R & H, May 19th, 1904). [Bold by publisher]

  And the promise to the Laodicean people who overcome is fantastic. It says, (Revelation, chapter three): "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame," - the same way - "and am set down with my Father in His throne." Now get it! As Christ was set down with His Father in His throne (and the Bible says that all things were given into the hands of the Son - all power) - this is how Christ is set down with His Father in His throne.

  He was One with Him from eternity; and through Him was everything made that was made. This is the great God of the Old Testament, the great Christ, the Son of God. That is how He is set down with His Father in His throne. And He says that even as I am set down with my Father in His throne, even so will I grant Him that overcometh {in the Laodicean period of the church's history} as I also overcame, will I grant to sit down with Me in my throne - in that same way. (cf. Rev. 3:21).

THE NEW GOVERNING BODY OF THE UNIVERSE

  What a tremendous picture! Here is the new governing body of the universe: Christ the Head, and His saints the body; and as a unit they function and replace the great God of the Old Testament, Who is now in them, Who is now married to them; and they twain, says Paul, shall become one flesh. But this is a great mystery, he says; but I speak concerning Christ and His church (Eph. 5:29-30). Is this not plain? He also says that "the saints are built up an habitation of God through the Spirit" (cf. Eph. 2:20-22). It could not be made any plainer for anyone to see. Let's get the scales off our eyes. Let's anoint our eyes with eye-salve and take a look - and see!

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  How can anyone who sees this picture refuse the call of Christ to take up His cross and follow Me; how can anyone refuse? It is not the reward - it is a responsibility; it is not the reward - it is a need on the part of Christ, who has given all. And He can regain His life only through His saints. I speak here of His former life. There is a difference, else He did not die the eternal death of the sinner.

  The eternal life of Christ did not die; He relinquished it. He gave it up. He gave up the Ghost, and the Spirit returned to God who gave it! [cf. DA 22.9 & 23.1]. And He prays the Father, that the Father would send that Spirit upon His children. That is the everlasting covenant. That is the agreement - that the heritage that had been His, was to be bestowed upon His people. That is His last will and testament! And the Father is fulfilling the part of the Administrator and Executor of the will of Christ; and He delivers the heritage, even as Christ had requested in His last will and testament.

  That's how you get eternal life, my friend - no other way. Your life is His life. I should say, your eternal life is not yours, it is His. He gives it to you. You could have it in no other way. "He suffered the death which was yours," says our prophet, "that you might receive the life which was His" (cf. DA 25). I know I am dealing here with a very deep mystery, and some will not see it. If you cannot see it, just leave it. Don't let it bother you. Take the Word of God by faith; accept what it says, and God will take care of the rest.

  But He is looking for a people; He is calling for individuals who are willing to stand up and be counted, and through whom He can perform His work of purification and complete salvation from sin. That is what He is looking for, that is what He is calling for, - that is what He is inviting you to do. Are you willing? Are YOU willing!

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* THE BAPTISM OF SUFFERING

  In order to do it you must enter the fire, the fiery furnace of purification. He will come suddenly to you as a member of His temple to "purify and cleanse you." And what is the nature of that fire? What is the nature of that cup? What is the nature of that baptism? It is the sufferings which He endured because of your sin. He is going to let you taste it. He is going to let you partake of it so that you will know [by experience] what it cost Him to prepare the way for you to be saved.

  He did not have to bear your affliction; He did not have to learn obedience through suffering for His own sake. He did it for your sake, that He might be your Example, that He might lead the way and you "would follow His steps, who did no sin". That's why He did it. And He's going to let you find out what it was like. He's going to give you a little taste of it. You'll feel it. You'll wonder in amazement how He did it. But you'll get only a taste of it. He took it for a long, long time. And when you have that experience, you will loathe yourself for continuing in sin; and the expulsion of sin from your life will be an act of your own soul (Desire of Ages, page 466).

  In other words, you have to make the decision to stop! And you will - after you have suffered a while. But Peter says He will "make you perfect, strengthen, stablish...you" (cf. 1st Pet. 5:10). Are you willing to do it? Do you really want to be purified?

  There is no way to purify gold except by heat. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, "and the gold is faith and love [cf. DA 280]. You get your imputed righteousness (salvation from eternal death), by faith in the substitutionary merits of Christ and His sacrifice; and it'll need to be tried, that faith will. It will be tried, and it must stand the test. But He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to bear, but will make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. But He'll gradually increase the dose until slowly, but steadily, your faith will be strengthened until it attains to the faith of Jesus, because that's what the remnant will have - the faith of Jesus.

_____________________
* [Refer back also to pages 102 through 126 for an elaboration of this subject of unfair suffering - the baptism of suffering the saints will go through; also in Vol. 1 pp 93-95; 173-176; 211-214; 272-274].

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 GOD'S 144,000 COMMANDMENT-KEEPERS

  But the goal of this painful procedure is to provide the saints with a level of motivation sufficient to enable them to adequately keep the law of God's kingdom. And they will attain this goal; they will keep the commandments of God. This is the second part of the gold that is tried in the fire - faith and love. You will be imbued with love through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the self-denying love of Christ. And it will be tested - that love will be tested! "If you love me," He says, "keep My commandments" [John 14:15]. And according to the love, so will be your commandment-keeping. And until you have the perfect love which will cast out fear, you will not be able to keep the commandments perfectly.

  But the promise is sure. It can be done, and it will be done. But you have the choice as to whether you will be one through whom God will do it. He is calling you. If you are willing to surrender to Him, tell Him that you will do it, that you will strive with all your might to go along with Him. He will perform it. He's waiting for 144,000 people to do it.

GOD'S MESSAGE FOR THIS HOUR IS ON THESE TAPES

  The message which you are hearing on these tapes is the message for this hour; it is the call to the disobedient to turn to the wisdom of the just, and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord to come. First He is to come to His new temple of saints by His Spirit; and secondly: He is to come in His personal glory. He will not come in His personal glory until He has come to His people in the marriage union, and the kingdom structure of government has been restored. The sudden coming of the Spirit to His new and living temple of 144,000 saints is the coming of the Messenger of the covenant, who writes God's law on the tables of their hearts. He is to come! First He comes to the "Marriage" of the Lamb, to His victorious body of saints in the abundant outpouring of the latter rain. Then the Head of that victorious body of saints - the personal Lord Jesus of Nazareth recovers His sovereignty over His "body" via the channel of voluntary allegiance.

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  This message will go forth before the coming of the "great and dreadful day of the Lord," (See Malachi chapter 4, the last verses of the Old Testament, which is the last message that Christ ever gave to His people before He died the first death, the death of sleep, in the heavenly Sanctuary). It is an important message, and it is reaching your ears right now! God is uttering His voice; and He utters His voice through His servants who are willing to do His bidding. The message that He gives them, they will speak; and I am speaking to you now, the message which He has given to me to deliver to you!

  Not until you have a revelation of the love of God for you, will you be imbued with the power, the motivating force, of self-denying love to implement your decision to cease from sin. This is the power of the gospel whereby a man is saved from sinning.

POSTSCRIPT ADDED BY J. W. JOHNSON IN 1992

  P. S. Self-denying love is the essence of God's character. That's why He died the eternal death of the sinner, from which there can be no hope of a resurrection!

  [End of Side "B" of cassette commentary on the Bowden Series; side "C" commences on the next page on a C-90 cassette tape].

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 GOD'S THREE BOOKS

  The knowledge of God - the revelation of God - comes through His Word. But His Word is a three-fold book. The first of these is the written Word which He gave to His prophets, who wrote it, and which has been preserved for us to study. This is where the major portion of the revelation of God is given. The second book is the book of nature, the book of His created works. God wrote His truth and His character into His created works. They are a labyrinth of truth. A tremendous storehouse of knowledge is buried in the created works of God, waiting only to be studied and unfolded.

  And then there is the third book, the one which we generally miss: the book of experience in God's dealing with human life. This is the book through which we will gain an "experimental knowledge," by means of which Sister White says "we will gain the mastery of ourselves and become Sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (cf. COL 114 & Romans 8:17).

A PRIEST FOREVER

  It is only as we share the experience of the sufferings of Christ that we will learn experimentally, the cost of our salvation to Jesus. And this will reveal to us, by experience, the tremendous nature of His love for us - that He would be willing to endure such suffering for so long that He might save the world. He did it, and He is still doing it; and He will continue to stand between the guilty sinner and the just God until every sinner who genuinely wishes to do so ceases to sin. Then He can lay down His priestly robes and demonstrate that His people have indeed been saved from their sin; and what a marvelous demonstration that will be!

  Yet, He will always be there in the background, always ready to step in; for He is a Priest, not until the close of probation, but forever. The saint will always be secure in His eternal surety. He need never fear that he will lose his eternal life, that he will be relegated to hellfire - never! Jesus paid the price. The declaration has gone forth at the close of probation that the sinner has been accepted for eternity, and the holiness of Christ is accounted to His record forever.

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  "The message of righteousness by faith, and the changing of the robe of Joshua the high priest, applies with peculiar force," says Sister White, "in the closing up of the great Day of Atonement." (cf. PK 547). This is the time when the final declaration is made, and there will be no reversing it. The saints will be forever secure - eternally secure. Should they ever again sin, Jesus would bear the penalty; and they cannot stand to think of ever doing that to Him. And God is going to make sure that they never will, because He is going to put them through the mill.

  After probation closes there will be a tremendous demonstration wherein they stand before a holy God without an Intercessor; and Satan will have full reign of this earth. The only thing he can't touch is their lives. They will have the experience of Job; they will refuse to sin. They will have nothing to do with Satan. They have experienced the suffering of their Lord. They know what it cost Him to keep them from eternal death, and they are not going to cause Him any further suffering. They refuse of their own choice; they make their own decision to cease from sin. But God provides the motive power - the power of self-denying love.

  This power comes to them through the great revelation of the love of God. It comes through His three-fold word: The Written Word (the Bible); the book of nature (True science); and the book of experience in sharing the sufferings of Christ. That's how the final revelation of the love of God comes to His saints.

  Are you willing to do it? Are you willing to accept the challenge? How much longer do you want Jesus to continue to bear your burdens? How much longer must He delay? Our prophet tells us that "we may hasten or delay the coming of Jesus," and I have just explained how. Do you see it?

  So the call goes forth: Surrender yourself to God right now; tell Him you are willing to do it, and stand by Him; and He will bring it to pass. He has guaranteed it. And He will save you. But it will be a hot fire. You have been chosen "in the furnace of affliction" when you make that choice; and He will purify unto Himself His people. They will be "without spot or wrinkle" (cf. 2 T 111). Will it be worth it? (cf. 2nd Cor. 5:14 - "For the love of Christ constraineth us.")

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   GOD DEALS WITH US AS CHILDREN - FOR OUR SAKES

  Let me just recapitulate a little here: When we are dealing with children we throw out to them enticements in order to encourage them to do the things that we want them to do, and we want them to do these things for their sakes. The Bible says that parents sometimes do things with their children and discipline them for their own sakes that is, for the parents' sakes. But God does it for our sakes. This is the primary purpose of the discipline of God. We get the reward!

  It is true that God needs us now; but He has chosen to need us. He has placed Himself in a position where He does need us. [cf. 1st SM 99]. But He did this voluntarily because of altruistic love. He desires to share with us what He has - even a measure of His authority. This is the basic character of God - self-denial.

  Because He needs us, He puts out to us enticements. He says: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved from the penalty of sin, which is eternal death. You will gain eternal life. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, acknowledge Him as the King of Kings, the Lord of glory, and you will be saved. And He will accept you as you are, and make up for your deficiency with His own divine merit, even as for the thief on the cross [cf. 1st SM 382].

  But God expects children to grow; and as they grow, He expects more of them. He doesn't want them to remain infants and have to be cared for as infants forever. How long are we going to make Him take care of us as infants? What are we expecting of Him as our parent that He should continue to treat us as tiny babies and little children? God wants us to grow up into the fullness of maturity, "unto the measure of the stature of Christ" (cf. Eph. 4:13,14). And this is where the process of sanctification comes in, and the imparted righteousness of Christ occurs.

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  This is the primary slant to the message of righteousness, which must be understood by those who would become members of the 144,000 saints, who live through the seven last plagues to be translated. This is the crux of the message for those people. Only as they accept fully the message of imputed righteousness, only as they can believe without a shadow of doubt that God has accepted them as they are, will they be able to go through the second stage. For the second stage involves a voluntary submission to the will of God, a voluntary keeping of the commandments of God; not with a motive of gaining eternal life - that would be a selfish motive. It must be a completely selfless motive, reflecting the self-denying love of God!

  And, therefore, the message of righteousness imputed must be thoroughly understood and accepted, so that the saints know without a shadow of doubt that they already have eternal life, that they are already saved from eternal death, and that the second stage is now a voluntary stage designed to relieve the Sin-bearer of his need to remain in the position of Mediator and High Priest for them - that He should be released from the responsibility of bearing the brunt of their burdens as they blunder along in their immaturity. Only when they attain to full maturity, to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ, and can stand on their own feet before God without the Intercessor, will Jesus be relieved from that burden and that necessity! Is this not clear?

  Parents expect their children to grow up and mature, and only when they have attained to that maturity can they fend for themselves and interact with their parents on a mature level. God can then trust those people with responsibility. He can trust them to take care of the myriads of things that have to be looked after in His universe. He doesn't need to spy on them, to keep an eye of them, to check up on them at every turn of the road; He trusts them. They have learned to take responsibility. They have been educated in the school of Christ; they have gone through the mill; they have followed their Leader all the way; "they have followed the Lamb withersoever He goeth, and in their mouth is no guile, and they are without fault" (cf. Rev. 14:4,5]. Am I laboring the point? The message must get across - it must get across!

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CHRIST'S NATURE IN HUMANITY (from here through P. 241)

  There is much more to it. There are some implications in it on which I have not touched. One of the strongest implications is the matter of the nature of Christ in His humanity, and this is a critical point. There have been misunderstandings, serious misunderstandings, concerning this among the minds of many of our people, including many of our leaders. But this matter will be cleared. The truth of God will be made clear; it is coming, brothers and sisters, it is coming. The explanation is available; and there will be those who will see it, and there will be those who will not. And those who rise up against the truth of God as it expands and unfolds, coming out of the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans - those who rise up against it, will be shaken out.

  Let me refer again to another facet here, and tie it together. The Word of God is likened to a sword, like a two-edged sword. A two edged sword is a sword which has two edges. And both edges of the sword are not on one side. One edge is on one side and the other edge is on the other side, and they cut in opposite directions; and that's how God's Word is!

  There are many aspects of God's Word that apply in one way, and they also apply in another way, in a different situation; but it's the same Word. There are passages in the Scriptures and in the Spirit of Prophecy which appear to contradict one another. They do not seem to belong to the same Word, to the same sword; but they do. It is simply that one is on one side of the sword and the other one is on the other side of the sword. One reflects light in one direction and the other reflects light in the other direction.

  We must take all of the facets. All of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle must be put together before the picture can be seen. Let us not hang our hats on one passage and build a castle around it, and ignore the other contradicting passage or passages. We will never arrive at truth if we do this.

  This is the situation which has existed among our people, on a number of occasions, with one or more of our doctrines; and this question about the nature of Christ in His humanity is one in which this has occurred. There are people who take certain statements from the Spirit of Prophecy and the Scriptures and they build a castle on

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those statements, and they completely ignore the contradicting statements. And there are others who take the other side, and they completely ignore the first side. Brethren and sisters, let's take both sides. How are we going to see the two-edged nature of the sword of the Lord if we don't? We'll never see the full sword; we'll see only one side of it. We need both sides.

  Jesus was indeed human. He did indeed accept the great law of heredity. He took upon Himself all of the infirmities and degeneracy of mankind in His human body, and in this body He lived without sin. That's what the Spirit of Prophecy teaches, and that's what the Bible teaches. And He did it to be an Example to you and me, to prove that it could be done, so that we would not get discouraged; and "He used in His own behalf no power which He has not made freely available to us" (cf. 3rd SM 132).

  We cannot do it in humanity and neither did Jesus do it in humanity. It was a combination of divinity and humanity which did it; and He has made available to us His divine nature. And the divine nature of Christ is the nature of self-denying love. This is the characteristic of God which is fundamental and identifies Him. And this characteristic, this phase of righteousness, which is inherent basic righteousness, is going to be delivered to His people to enable them to overcome "as He overcame." I have proved it to you in the preceding studies. I gave you the references; they are there.

  As the Spirit of God is poured out in the latter rain - "the perfecting latter rain" (cf. TM 509) - the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, the motive power is provided, and man can implement the decision to follow His Master. This power is divinity, and it was made available only through the sacrifice of Christ. The greater, more abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost was made available through the sacrifice of Christ - our prophet tells us this (cf. R&H 06/13/1899). This is the "blood" of the communion service, of which we must drink. It is the New Testament in His blood; and this new covenant is written on the tables of the heart by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. Our prophet tells us this. Am I getting the pieces together? - are you seeing it?

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   "Well," you say, "Brother Johnson, there are some hard statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that indicate that the humanity of Christ was different from ours, that His was a perfect sinlessness, that He had no propensities to evil; and certainly we can't say that about ourselves therefore He was different from us." Yes, there are statements which indicate that He had the sinlessness of Adam before the fall."

  All right, have you read the other statement that she makes, that "There will be those who through obedience to all of God's commandments will attain to the sinlessness of Adam before his transgression?" (cf. 6 BC 1118). I read you that statement back in the studies. This is going to happen. We too are going to have that sinless nature; it will be given to us. This was the nature that enabled Christ to live without sin; and He used in His own behalf no power that He has not made freely available to us (cf. DA 24). He has made it available to us; and it will come to those who fulfill the conditions. And I'm asking you: Are you willing to fulfill the conditions - are you wiling?

  Stop quibbling about the doctrine. Just look at it, and accept it. It is true! Jesus was perfect in His humanity. He did not sin. But at the same time He had all the inherited tendencies and degeneracies that you and I are born with; otherwise He was never tempted like as we are, if He didn't have those. And our prophet bears it out; she says it in so many words. He took upon Him the sinful nature of man; but He had in His humanity the sinless nature of God. Both were there at the same time; and the saints will experience the very same thing.

  Perhaps we should take the time on this tape to read a few of the statements relative to this subject. Just before reading these statements, however, let me point out that it is the sword of the Lord which comes out of His mouth. It is by means of His sword that He "utters His voice." Ezekiel says that the sword of the Lord is going to be "furbished and sharpened, to make a great slaughter." It is to come upon His people, "even the Princes of Israel" (cf. Ezek. 21:9-12). And He says it is coming upon them to try them. Don't you see that the great test that will come upon God's people, which will separate the wheat from the chaff, is His Word - His sword - His truth?

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THE TRUTH CAUSES A SHAKING AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE

  It is by means of truth that the separation will occur. Some will become "settled into the truth" (cf. 4 BC 1161), as they see the unfolding nature of it and see the picture; others will rise up against it, and this will cause the shaking among God's people. It is His Word, the sword of His mouth, that He's going to "utter in Zion" and bring upon His people, to shake them loose. This is what He is going to do to bring about the culmination of the work. He says to Laodicea, "Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I'm going to spue you out of my mouth." That's what He says. Well, certainly He is going to spue His people with the sword that comes out of His mouth - with His Word. He is going to spue His Word upon His people; and this is going to be the sword that will cut both ways and cause the shaking among His people. [cf. pages 132-162 of this book. Also refer to this statement, written in 1890, found in 2nd SM 13: "There is to be a shaking among God's people; but this is not the present truth to carry to the people. It will be the result of refusing the truth presented."].

CHRIST'S PERFECT SINLESSNESS IN HIS HUMANITY

  And we are going to deal right now with a point that will stand as one of the major separating devices to bring about the cleavage - the nature of Christ in His humanity, and His incarnation. What is your reaction going to be? What is your attitude right now as you are listening to these words? Will you come before God with a humble, teachable, child-like spirit, and be willing to look at both sides of the story? If you surrender yourself to God, assume a teachable humble spirit, He will be able to enlighten you.

  So I begin by reading this statement from the Signs of the Times, June 9th, 1898. I'm taking the statement from page 658 of Questions on Doctrine: "We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. ...This holy Substitute is able to save to the uttermost; for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God." That is what it means when it says the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. She goes right on to explain what it means. Shall I read it again?

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   "Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice. This is essential, that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness. This holy Substitute" (talking about Jesus) "is able to save to the uttermost." Why? "for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God." The perfect sinlessness, then, of the human nature of Christ, means that in His humanity He demonstrated perfect and complete humility of character, perfect obedience to the requirements of God. That was the perfect sinlessness of His human nature.

  Again, in the Youth's Instructor, June 2nd, 1898 from the same page of Questions on Doctrine [658], she says: "In His human nature He maintained the purity of His divine character." Now look! He had a human character (she spoke about that in the preceding statement - His human character), and He had a divine character. Now let's get that straight. And in His human nature He maintained the same purity as He had in His divine character. He did not have to build a character, He already had one; and He had a perfect one. This was His divine character.

  He came to this world in human form, but He received from His divine nature His divine character. And this divine character demonstrated that it was without fault. It demonstrated this to the point where it overshadowed His human character. It enabled Him to build a human character. Our prophet says He built one - He wrought it out. In His Human nature he wrought out or built up a human character, (cf. COL 311). The divine character enabled Him to build a perfect human character, and therefore His human nature was sinless - perfectly!

  Shall I go on? "He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are, Jesus endured agony which required help and support from His Father" (2 T, page 508).

  He did not possess the passions of our human, fallen natures; because He was perfect. How could He have those passions? We're talking here about His perfect character. He did not have these things.

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  At the same time, "He is a brother in our infirmities" (I'm reading now from 2 T 202): "He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil." This was the perfect Christ who came to this world to demonstrate the perfectness of God's law and God's character, and He was perfect in His humanity!

THE DUAL NATURE OF JESUS

  But let's not jump to conclusions here. Let's not say that therefore He did not have the tendencies to evil of the human inherited nature. Listen - I'm reading from Signs of the Times, June 9th, 1898, quoted in 659, Questions on Doctrine: "In taking upon Himself man's nature, in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin." Now look - sin is a decision of the will; and when Christ did not participate the least in its sin, He never made a decision to transgress God's law. That's what that means. It does not mean that He did not have the degenerate human flesh of His time. I'm going to read it to you.

  But first let me read another part of this same statement - I'm skipping some - she says here: "We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ." Now she's talking about the decisions that Christ made. He had no tendency towards sin. He recoiled at evil. He never chose once to transgress His Father's commandment. This was His nature in humanity. This was the human nature of Christ. Christ was still Christ, the sinless One, in His human nature. Let's get that straight!

  But now let's have a look at what His body was like, His human body. I turn back now to page 656 of Questions on Doctrine - she's quoting here from Desire of Ages, page 49: "It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in His innocence in Eden." Did you get that? - that if Christ had taken man's nature as Adam had it when he was innocent in Eden - if Christ had done this - that would have been almost infinite humiliation, she says. But listen now! "But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin." In other words, He did not take man's nature as Adam

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had it in his innocence; He took man's nature after it had been weakened by four thousand years of sin - she says it in so many words.

  "Like every child of Adam, He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations" [Ibid]. How could He possible be tempted like we are if He did not have that same physical inheritance? - Come now, be honest. I'm reading again: "He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life." I don't see how anybody can misunderstand that statement.

  And here's another one from R & H, Sept 4th, 1900: "Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and un-decaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man's nature....God became man". Isn't that plain - that He voluntarily accepted what we have, even though He could have had better?

  Let me read again now from Desire of Ages, page 117: "In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam's failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus..." Did you hear that? "It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation." Isn't that clear?

  I read again, now, from the R & H, Dec 15th, 1896. And these statements are all taken from Questions on Doctrine here, along about 656 & 657, and so on: "Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those whom He wished to save." He came down to that level. And I just read you further up that He didn't come down and take that level as Adam had it in his innocence, He came down and took that level after four thousand years of degeneracy.

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  Reading on: "In Him was no guile or sinfullness." Now this is talking about the sinless nature of His character, because sinfullness has to do with the decisions of the will; and He had no sinfullness, no guile. "He was ever pure and undefiled." Now listen: "...yet He took upon Him our sinful nature." Now I read that! Those were not my words. I read those words from the pen of the prophet to the remnant church, the one whom some of our people quote to say that Jesus was different from us in His humanity. I'll read it again: "...yet He took upon Him our sinful nature. Clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with fallen humanity, He sought to regain for man that which, by disobedience, Adam had lost for himself and for the world. In His own character He displayed to the world the character of God." I'm thankful that God made these things so clear that none of us need err in them. * See Footnote

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* [ Publisher's footnote: Further insights on Christ's human nature, are contained on two C-120 audio cassette tapes from the GSB study series (given by the late J. W. Johnson), entitled: The Human Nature of Christ, Parts 1 and 2, March 10th, and 17th, respectively, 1976. These and the 18 other GSB {Group Studies, Series "B"}]studies are available from the Formatter (Transcriber of these books, and are listed on page 301 of Panorama of Truth, Volume One.

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  I must read one or two more [EGW statements] here: Youth's Instructor, October 20th, 1886, - "He for our sakes, laid aside His royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe his divinity with humility, and became like one of us, except in sin." Now, He became one of us in all aspects, you see, except in this one thing - sin. He did not sin. He did not make any choices to transgress God's law because He was Christ, and He had the divine character by inheritance. And He offers to give that same character to us, and that's how we will be able to live without sin. Do you get it? It must be a union of divinity and humanity. I read you that statement from Christ's Object Lessons in one of the studies further back on the tape. [Refer to short article by J. W. Johnson, entitled "The Human Nature of Christ," on pages 278-283 of this book.]

  And so we have this statement from letter 97, in 1898: "He was born without a taint of sin." Why, of course He was, because He was Christ. He was the Sinless One. But He came into the world in like manner as the human family. He had all the degeneracy of the human race, see? - same as you and I have. Listen: Is a child a sinner when he hasn't got the ability to make a decision to transgress God's law? Come now, here's a little child, three months old - can he make a decision to transgress God's law - of his own choice? Sin is the transgression of the law. Sin is not accounted to one who is not accountable.

   The reason we sin is twofold: We come into this world with the degeneracy of the human race, with all the tendencies toward sin physically. Secondly, the devil tempts us through these degenerate aspects of our nature and we decide to sin, - that's how we sin.

  When Jesus came into this world, He came in with the same degeneracy, the same tendencies of the flesh that you and I have; and the devil came to tempt Him too. But He had the divine nature, - the perfect righteous character of God, that's what He had - and that's why He didn't sin. And until we get the same perfect, righteous, character of God, we will not be without sin. When this character is available to us, by virtue of it, we can build a perfect human character like He did; and this is the job that He has set for us to do. He paved the way, He showed us how it could be done, and now through His sacrifice on the cross He made available that divine nature, that divine, perfect righteous character of Christ. He made it available - that robe of righteousness - to be transmitted to us. It will be given to us.

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  We will receive it. But we will not receive it until we have demonstrated that we really want it. Until we have done everything in our power to demonstrate that we want to live without sin, we will not receive the divine nature.

  I'm reading again now: "Christ who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend." (That was from Signs of the Times, June 9th, 1898). And again from Desire of Ages, page 112: "Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal." Did you notice what kind of a nature He took upon Himself? Our fallen nature!

  I read again: "Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity." I don't see how we can misunderstand it. I don't see how it can be misunderstood. "By thus taking humanity, He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, He showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature." That is as plain as human language could state it! This is from Special Instruction Relating to the Review & Herald Office and the Work in Battle Creek, May 26th, 1896, pg. 13, and it's reprinted in Questions on Doctrine, page 657. Well, there are other statements that I could read here, but I do not think I should labor this point too much.

  Maybe one more here I notice. This one is taken from Medical Ministry, page 181: "He took upon His sinless nature" (that is His divine nature) "our sinful nature" (that is our human nature) "that He might know how to succor those that are tempted." And Signs of the Times, Aug. 2nd, 1905: "He came to this world in human form to live a man amongst men. He assumed the liabilities of human nature" do you get that? - "to be proved and tried." That is, He assumed the liabilities of human nature to prove and try His perfect character, to prove that the character of God was a righteous character no matter what the circumstances; and to prove that man was capable of living according to the righteous character of God, through the help that was provided for Him by God - that's what He came to prove!

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  I'm reading on: "In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature." Do you get that? He is a partaker of the divine nature, just as you and I have to become a partaker of the divine nature. It is a parallel, He is our example! He made the way; we take up our cross and follow. Those were my words. I'm reading again: "In His incarnation He gained in a new sense, the title of the Son of God" and that statement could be amplified. "But our Saviour took humanity with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured" (DA 117, quoted from Questions on Doctrine, page 653).

  If we have nothing to bear that He has not endured, then He must have sensed the same temptations and feelings of the body that we have. That ought to be clear! R & H, July 28th, 1874: "Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help man." As they existed when He came to the earth, he bore the sins and infirmities of the race. "In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him," - with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him - "He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed."

  Now from the book Question on Doctrine: "The human nature of Christ is likened to ours, and suffering was more keenly felt by Him; for His spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin." Now there I think you have it, - it's as clear as it can be. In His spiritual nature He was free from every taint of sin. In His physical nature He had the degeneracy of mankind as it was in His day - the same things that we inherit. That should be clear! "Therefore His desire for the removal of suffering was stronger than human beings can experience...All the accumulated sin of the world was laid upon the Sin-bearer," and yet,...Not a taint of corruption was upon Him." These are extracts from the Signs of the Times, Dec 9th, 1897, quoted on page 653, of Questions on Doctrine.

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  I think I have said enough. I could read more; there are others here. I think maybe I should read one or two more here just so that we are clear, so that no one can say that I was unaware of these statements. I read one from the Signs of the Times, May 29th, 1901: "In the fullness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature, but not the sinfullness of man." Now look, this simply means that He took the sinful nature of man, because she says so in other statements that I've read you.

   IN HIS PHYSICAL BODY JESUS TOOK UPON HIM OUR SINFUL NATURE

  In His physical body He took the sinful nature of man, but He did not take the sinfullness of man in the sense of His character. He had a divine and perfect character, and He built in His humanity a perfect human character. [cf. COL 311]. He did not choose to sin; therefore He did not take upon Him the sinfullness of man in the sense of His character. He never sinned; but He did take the sinfullness of man upon Him in the nature of His inheritance. I think that should be clear! If you don't accept all of the statements, you cannot get the truth. And she says that, - therefore it must be the truth!

  "In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition" in its fallen condition, that's the nature He took; the physical flesh was fallen, and "Christ did not in the least participate in its sin." Now that bears out what I said concerning the previous statement: He did not participate in its sin. Sin is a decision of the will, my Brother, my Sister - that's what sin is. "He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses." He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet 'He knew no sin.' He was the Lamb 'without blemish and without spot.'... We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ" (Questions on Doctrine, page 651). And I think I've explained that. There is no other way to see it and accept all of the statements which Sister White makes, if you do not accept what I have explained. There is no way to reconcile those statements;

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and we must reconcile them. They must all be accepted, or we will not arrive at the truth. I've done the best I could. I hope that some of us will see it.

  There's one more statement perhaps I ought to read. This one is taken from the SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, page 1128: "Be careful, exceedingly careful, as to how you dwell on the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only-begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden."

PROPENSITIES OF THE CHARACTER - PROPENSITIES OF THE FLESH

  Now some will say, "See! There she says that He did not have any propensities to sin, as man has." I repeat: If you do not accept the other statements in which she speaks of Christ accepting the sinful nature of man, the degenerate nature of man - if you do not accept those statements, you will misunderstand this statement. But if you accept those other statements, you will not misunderstand this statement [in SBC 1128]. She is speaking here about the propensities of the character. There is a difference between the propensities of the character (the personality) and the propensities of the physical flesh. Satan can tempt through the propensities of the physical flesh. But he cannot succeed in causing an individual to sin by those things if the individual refuses to sin. If the individual has no propensity to sin in his personality and character, he will refuse to sin. And that's what Christ did, because He had the character of God, the perfect righteousness of God. We do not have that by nature, by inheritance; we do not have it.

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  We were not born like Jesus was, the Son of God. We were born the son of Adam, and so we have a double dose. We have the physical propensities to sin; and with the temptations of Satan coming through those propensities and nothing to stop us, we fall into sin and build a sinful character, which gives us the character or personality propensities to sin. Jesus did not have any propensities to sin. He had the divine nature of Christ and of His Father God. His nature was pure like Adam's was before the fall, without a taint of sin upon Him. But Christ took upon Him human nature with all its degeneracy, and in His physical human body He had those same tendencies, through which the body could fall. (I should say, through which the character could be made to fall.)

  If He chose to do it, He could have sinned; but He didn't. Satan could not get through to Him because His character nature - his personality nature - recoiled at sin; and yet He was tempted. And if His physical nature did not have the degeneracy of our nature, then the temptation was not equal to ours. He did have this degeneracy; she says it very plainly [cf. 1st SM 238]. Therefore He was tempted in all points like as we are, but without sin.

  I will not labor the point any further. I will leave it to simmer in your thinking, and may God help you to understand it. We need to understand it - at least to the extent where we can believe that Jesus overcame sin in physical human flesh by being a partaker of the divine nature of his former Self, and that He made the way and proved it could be done, so that we, who follow after, may come up on every point.

  We too may become partakers of the divine nature, which He has made available through His sacrifice. He took nothing to Himself in overcoming sin - took no advantages that we do not have, that are not made available to us [cf. DA 24.3 to .7]. This at least we must understand, whether we understand the details of all these statements which I have read or not. Be that as it may, let us understand this one point: that as Christ overcame through partaking of His divine nature, even so, according to the Laodicean message, we also may overcome as He overcame by partaking of the divine nature which He has made available to us through the everlasting covenant and His eternal sacrifice.

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   May God help us to see this, and not fall into the trap of thinking that we cannot attain to perfection this side of the second coming. Oh brother, sister, let's not fall into that trap! I could say more on that subject.

SATAN SAYS WE CANNOT KEEP GOD'S LAW

  From the very beginning, Satan has said that we cannot keep the law - no one can keep the law of God - that's Satan's doctrine. Brethren and Sisters, let not Seventh-day Adventists fall into that trap, that we should say that we cannot keep the law of God. Our prophet says that we can keep the law perfectly, even as Christ kept it. (Read the article entitled "An Unchangeable Law" found in: The Signs of the Times, January 25th, 1905).

  Do you not believe the testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy? Oh, I'm sad to say some will not believe it, for it is the testimony of the True Witness to the Laodiceans which will cause the shaking; and the testimony of the True Witness is the testimony of Jesus, for Jesus is the True Witness. And the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy and some will not bear the Spirit of Prophecy; they will rise up against it, all the time thinking they believe it. The deceptions of Satan are very, very subtle. Let us not be deluded.

THE SECRET OF VICTORY OVER SIN

  Sister White says that not one watching, praying, trusting soul will be deceived (cf. R & H; 01-11-87). But if we don't do all three of those, we may be deceived. There are other conditions. Our hearts must be surrendered to God and made right with Him. We must accept the righteousness of Christ by faith completely, unequivocally, and then move on through the process of sanctification to accept the righteousness of Christ by love; and only as we love will we fulfill the commandment. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" And you cannot love your neighbor as yourself until you love God with all your heart; for your neighbor may be your enemy; and you cannot love your enemy without the self-denying love of God in your heart.

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  This is the secret of victory over sin, and it comes through the agency of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. Brethren and Sisters, let us fulfill the conditions for obtaining the latter rain, and pray for it in all earnestness - as did Elijah, who prayed for the rain seven times. Let us pray; it will come.

  I trust that even now as you listen to these tapes that the Spirit of Truth has come to your heart; that you have settled a little deeper into the message of truth; that you have understood a little more; that you've come a little closer to your Jesus. And if that has happened, the purpose of making these tapes has been fulfilled; and we shall give God the glory and the praise, for the coming of Jesus will be just one step closer.

  But remember that when the Spirit of Truth comes to His people, He will come as the Messenger of the covenant, to purify and cleanse them. And the Prophet says: "who shall be able to abide His coming?" When the Spirit of Truth comes, and you become settled into the truth, that Spirit will also stir you to give the message - the last loud cry to the world. And as you give it, Satan will inspire those who reject the message to bring to bear persecution upon you. And that persecution will first come through the brethren in your own household of faith.

SOME WILL RISE UP AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY

  There will be those who rise up against the Spirit of Prophecy; they will not bear it. They will call it a delusion of the evil one. And this is what Christ endured; this is what He suffered for many years. He has been accused falsely by the evil one, all down through history. The hour has come when His people are to rise to His witness, and bear testimony to the integrity of their Saviour; and that is your job. If you are willing to bear testimony to this truth - to that which has been revealed to you through the agency of the Spirit of Prophecy (for you cannot understand any of God's truth without the agency of the Spirit) - if you are willing to bear the testimony, if you are willing to witness for Him to clear His name, there will be those in your own household and in your own household of faith who will rise up against you, and call you a deceived and deluded soul, and bring to bear persecution.

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  Persecution will not be limited to the household of faith; it will also come from outside. And this is the nature of the sword that is to come upon God's people to try them. It is this two-edged sword, as we have mentioned, that will cut in two directions and cause dissension. There will be those who will not see both sides of the picture; they will see only one. And they will denounce the other side as false and heretical.

  But our prophet has given us consolation. She says that not one watching, praying and trusting soul will be deceived (cf. R & H, 01-11-87). Let us not be deceived then. Let us fulfill the conditions. Let us make a complete surrender to our Saviour and let Him lead the way. And above all, let us love our brethren even though they be our enemies; for Jesus on the cross said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:24). Here is the supreme test of discipleship. Are you willing to bear the stigma attached to the bearing of the standard of truth?

  There is no escape; it is the process whereby the Messenger of the covenant will purify God's people. For it is through this, the sharing of Christ's sufferings, that the purification will occur; and He says that after ye have suffered a while, you will be made perfect. He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin [cf. 1st Pet. 4:1; 1st Pet. 5:10].

LET US NOT MOVE AHEAD OF THE ANGEL WHO IS LEADING GOD'S PEOPLE

  And one final word of caution. Let us not move ahead of the angel who is leading God's people. Let us work together, insofar as it is humanly possible, in harmony with our brethren. May we go as a unit; may we move together as a united army, even as Joel depicted the army of the Lord (cf. Joel 2:2-11). This is the way it will be for the saints. But there are those who will not join them; and it is through these that the dissension arises.

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  May God help us to discern the message of truth as He has brought it to us in His Word, and amplified it and explained it in the writings of His last-day prophet. As soon as God's people hear, and are willing to embrace the message, the great and dreadful day of the Lord will come; and all things will be completed.

  May God help us to rightly relate ourselves to Him and to His truth, is my prayer.

[J. Wilfred Johnson]

______________________
  * [Note: The above "Comments" were privately recorded on audio cassette tapes, by J. W. Johnson, following a series of eight worship talks given by him at Camp Bowden, to the SDA Young People's Societies from the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, Province of Alberta, Canada, in the fall of l973.]

  [This written transcript from reel to reel audio tape, was edited by J. W. Johnson in early January of 1995. However, formatting into book form, including a few extra sub-headings, have been posthumously supplied by the Publishers.]

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SECTION 7
 


                   1 *Personal Reminiscence ...............................243
                   2 The Human Nature of Christ [Mag. Article]...278
                   3 To My Friends [A Poem] ..............................284
 

* [The Personal Reminiscence tape was first recorded and titled by J. W. Johnson about 1956 or 1957 on a two hour reel-to-reel audio tape, while on a bed of sickness at home. This was transcribed to written form about 1990, and was subsequently reviewed, then briefly edited by Bro. Johnson.]

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PERSONAL REMINISCENCE
[THE COVENANT DELIVERED]

(Transcribed from a 1957 audio tape)

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON EARLY EXPERIENCES

  When I first began this series of tapes, I had no intention of producing a series. I was merely intending to record a few personal thoughts for future reference, perhaps to be of value to someone, sometime, who might have occasion to listen to them. I did not have in mind preparing them for any specific purpose, but it seems that I'm just getting involved in a more complicated presentation as I proceed. And it occurs to me that perhaps I should continue and develop this into a series that will contain a record of the essential truths which I have seen, I believe, under the influence of the Spirit of God, down through the last seventeen years.

  In the light of what has been said on previous tapes, it will be recognized that these truths are related to the experiences of God's people in the closing hours of earth's history.

  It was while I was still back at the college (Canadian Junior College), when I first began to receive an understanding of our doctrines, that I asked God on one occasion why it was that I was obtaining an insight into some of our teachings which apparently went beyond that understood by our teachers. And it was at that time that God revealed to me the sweeping truth concerning the return of His prophet Elijah to deliver the everlasting covenant; and it was practically impossible for me to grasp the entire significance of that statement, when I recognized that He was calling me to fulfill this prophecy.

  It must still be recognized, not only by myself but by anyone who may become concerned with the matter, that I as an individual am but a pattern of electrical, biological, chemical, physical and other forces; that I am but dust of the ground, and that if I should turn my heart against God, refuse to become His servant, that this prophecy will not obtain its fulfillment in my experience.

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   God can create any number of human bodies into which He can implant the person, and nature, and character, and mind of His prophet Elijah. This again will not be easily accepted until it is understood in the light of some physical facts which I can present, and will probably do so later.

  You will notice that on many occasions as I have been speaking, I have made references in a promissory way to some future topic which we will discuss. This gives merely an indication of the complexity of the problem of attempting to present these things in a manner that can be grasped and comprehended correctly, and fairly easily. I regret in a way that I do not possess the ability to command English in a manner that can reproduce the entire impression as a sort of panoramic picture or series of them, as I saw them.

  In fact, speech is an inadequate tool to do that. At best, we can only present the various ingredients, and it will remain for the Spirit of God to fulfill the promise and the word, and guide you into all truth.

  I think I'll attempt now to present a phase of truth which is very pertinently related to the basic concept of the regeneration, and the unifying agency of the Sabbath; and to the general principles of salvation. It is the concept of creation.

 CREATION - A PERSONAL STUMBLING BLOCK

  In the early days of my teen-age, creation was the great stumbling block in my Christian experience. I found it impossible to accept a literal, six day creation in the light of evidences which I saw in the natural world, that all things appearing on this earth came through a process of growth and development. And it was not until I reached the College on that memorable year [1941], that I was privileged to receive an understanding of the harmony between nature and the biblical account of creation.

  I would like to assure you that they do harmonize, and that the key to the harmonization gives a new meaning to the Sabbath; and that this new meaning is the one which is directly related to the sealing among the 144,000, and the regeneration.

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   It should be evident to any careful observer that creation in the universe of God normally takes place through the slow and quiet process of evolutionary growth. That's how I got here.

  A few years ago I did not exist. I was not in this world - and neither were you. And through the biological union of two tiny cells, containing marvelous patterns of development (inherited factors), I grew. The absorption of food materials by my mother under the influence and control of these inheritance factors, developed into the structure which is now my body. And through this body the intricate patterns of mentality developed, and I became a person. If this pattern of biological material is in any way seriously interfered with then I cease to exist as a person.

  It is possible to modify various areas and not destroy the identity of my personality, but when the pattern is seriously interfered with, then my person becomes seriously modified. I could give a complete study on this subject, and there again will probably do so in due course of time.

SCIENTISTS ERR WHEN THEY REFUSE TO ACCEPT GENESIS

  The various worlds which are in existence out in the universe are evolving through various natural processes. And some theories have been advanced as to how worlds might be created, and it is very possible that some of these theories approach the truth.

  But there is one place where our scientists have blundered. Their observations may be very nearly correct in many fields. But when they fail to accept the clear-cut statements of the revealed word of truth, they will fall into error. And this they have done because they have refused to accept the simple statements in the first chapters of Genesis.

  This world was created in six days. We believe that. But I did not believe it for a long time. And God finally opened my mind to understand the harmony that exists between the creation of this world, and that of other worlds, and I found it possible to believe, because it is the most logical concept in the light of the facts available. You see, in the days before the creation of this world, far back in the distant past, Christ, the Son of God, was the supreme Ruler. But He manifested the character of God which was self-sacrificing love. And at no time was it

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His habit to display himself or to make a clear-cut issue of His great power. He was humble. He was the Creator, but He performed His works of creation through the natural processes of His laws, sometimes permitting His other created beings to share in the work, even as He does today.

  For you see, God permitted me to have a share in the creation of my children, not only biologically, but in the molding of their very thinking through our child training program.

  And thus God's firstborn creature, I mean God's first created creature other than His only-begotten Son, was the son of the morning - Lucifer. You see, the morning is the first part of the day. Lucifer was the first created being. He was the most exalted; and apparently, Gabriel came next. And these two were the covering cherubs.

  Lucifer unquestionably had the privilege of sharing in various works of creative art and other worlds. And as long as he was in harmony with the laws of God, everything went well. But Lucifer manifested a selfish characteristic, contrary to the character of Christ much like our scientists today. Because he saw that creative works were performed through natural means, he felt that there was no need for Christ as the master Creator. In fact, if he had any idea that Christ really was the Creator, he could never have entertained the thought that he could become equal with God.

  The temptation to become equal with God grew out of the fact that Christ had a character of self-renunciation and did not display Himself. And thus, Lucifer felt that he might possibly be able to institute a new system of government, and laws which would permit him to indulge his selfishness. And many of the angels favored his ideas.

  There was only one way that this controversy could be cleared up without risking allegiance of love. Allegiance to God's government was purely on the basis of love. If Christ had destroyed Lucifer and those who sympathized with him, the rest of His creatures would have served Him because they would have been afraid of Him. It would have been an allegiance of fear - and thus the controversy began.

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 DEMONSTRATION BY CREATION OF A SPECIAL WORLD

  In order to demonstrate that Christ was the true Creator, He prepared the plans for the creation of a special world; one in which He would demonstrate that He was the true Creator. Not with the idea of showing off, or making Himself prominent; but with the idea of saving the universe from destruction under the influence of Satan. Satan was not permitted to enter the councils concerning the creation of this world, and this made him all the more antagonistic.

  When Christ was ready, He spoke this world into existence manifesting the enormous power which God had given Him as the only-begotten Son. There may be some question as to how long it took Christ to create each day's work. There need hardly be any question about that. God labored for six days. It is not conceivable that He labored for one second on each of those days, and then rested for 23 hours and 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

  Now, even as He expects us to labor diligently for six days and rest on the seventh, so He labored on each of those six days. And just how much time of those six days it took Him to create the various articles is not the important thing, but unquestionably it took the better part of each of those days. And just what it appeared like when man came on the scene, I cannot tell. But I rather suspect that man did not just suddenly appear, but that he grew in some fashion in a very accelerated manner.

CREATION OF THIS WORLD WAS BY ACCELERATION OF NATURAL LAWS

  The creation of this world was accomplished through the use of natural laws. But they were put to special tests, and the normal course was very much accelerated. This is perhaps something like what happens when a miraculous healing occurs. The healing process is greatly accelerated. Other factors, of course, also enter into it. Christ will never again make such an accelerated creation - it is not His usual method. This was a special creation, a unique one, designed to reveal who the true Creator was.

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   Then, lest mankind or the universe should ever forget, He instituted a sign of allegiance and He hallowed the seventh day and honored it. And all those who remember the seventh day and honor it, are thereby recognizing that they believe in Christ as the true Creator, even though they may not see any more miraculous creation than did Lucifer before his fall.

A NEW SLANT ON THE SABBATH

  This puts a new slant on the Sabbath. It is the sign of faith in the natural processes of Gods' creation. It is a sign that we believe, that God created us, even though we are products of biological forces. We are all different. We teach our children that God made us. Do we believe it? If we do believe it, we believe in evolutionistic growth.

  When I use the term "evolutionistic" I am aware that it may be misinterpreted. I'm not using it in the sense of "theories of creation." I'm using it in the sense that variations and progressions occur through the use of natural laws, and in this sense it is evolutionistic.

  Mankind, as a human race, has evolved from the parents of Adam and Eve - they were not suddenly snapped into existence. They grew and developed. I think you will understand this sense.

  As I have said, in the light of the reason for this creation and the reason for its method, it is obvious that such a creation will never again occur in this fashion. If it would, or if it were going to, there would have been no need for the Sabbath. But now the Sabbath is here, and it will last forever. It will be a continuous safeguard against the error which Satan made in the first place. We will always know where creation starts.

HOW WILL GOD CREATE ALL FLESH ANEW?

  Adam was the only one of the human race who was ever created directly from "the dust of the ground." We are all created from the dust of the ground, but indirectly, through a complicated series or set of natural laws. And on the basis of this, it is perfectly obvious that the resurrection will not occur as a sudden appearance of bodies popping out of graves in which there were no bodies to start with. If we want to know how God will create all flesh anew, we merely have to look to

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the sample of the resurrection, to the One who represents the first-born and the firstfruits of this great creation - and that is Jesus. He is the first-begotten from the dead. There is no place in all the Scriptures where we have any record of anyone coming to life without coming into a body which already existed, and which came into the world through natural birth.

  Moses was raised while his physical body was still in existence and he was raised into that same physical body. So were all the others who were resurrected through the miracles of Christ.

  Even Christ Himself, after His death and burial, came forth from the tomb in the same body. And the tombstone had to be removed before He could get out because He was a body of flesh and bones. And those who were raised as a token of the resurrection, at the time that He was raised (it says that many that slept in the dust of the earth awoke...the earthquake caused the graves to open, it said) - these were people who had recently died and the bodies were still in the graves. Otherwise it would have been unnecessary for the earthquake to break open the tombs. If there had been no bodies in there, there would have been no need for an earthquake to break them open. These people could just have appeared without the graves opening. But it says the graves opened with the earthquake.

  Had they been people who had lived a long time ago, whose bodies had been completely decayed, they would not have been recognized as dead saints. If they had been ancient men like Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, they would have been named. But now, it is easily seen that they were saints that were recognized or they would not have been called saints. And if they were saints who were recognized, they must have been saints who had lived in that age. If, then, there is going to be no unique creation in the future, if all things are going to arise in a manner in which they have during the past, it becomes clear, that the resurrection must occur in the same manner that it occurred with Jesus.

JESUS GREW AND DEVELOPED FROM A TINY SEED

  When Jesus left heaven He laid down His life - that should be clear. When He was but a seed in the womb of Mary He had no memory, He had no consciousness, He had no body. He had nothing

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but an identity written into the inheritance characteristics of the genes in the little cell. But He grew and He developed, and as it says in Hebrews 10:17 - "Lo, it is written of me in the volume of the book; I come. A body hast thou prepared me." And it was not until Jesus received the anointing of the Holy Spirit at His baptism that the regeneration of the person of Christ was as complete as it was going to be in His human nature.

  In fact, it may be that it was still growing during His lifetime, even after His anointing. The extent of the return of His memory of former things must have been limited. If He had remembered all things, it would have been unnecessary for Him to have received instruction from His Father in the early morning hours of His devotions. And it would have been unnecessary for Him to receive instruction from Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration concerning His sufferings and death [cf. DA, Chapter 46]. So it is obvious that He did not have a complete knowledge of His former Self as He existed in heaven before.

  The former Christ of heaven knew all things. He had an eternal memory which did not fade. He had all power and all wisdom. Christ here on earth had these same characteristics in a measure. But we are told in the Spirit of Prophecy in the book Desire of Ages that even the miracles which Christ wrought, were wrought by the power of God through the agency of the angels (DA 143). In other words, it was the angels who obeyed His commandments, who obeyed His word, who performed those miracles.

  When Christ existed in heaven above before, He had power over all things. Precisely what the difference was I am not prepared to analyze. It would almost appear that Christ originally was able to do anything He wanted to without the assistance of His created beings. But because of His self-renouncing love, He took His created beings into fellowship and shared with them the joys of working in His universe - in creative works and otherwise. But when He was here on earth, it appears according to this statement [DA 143.2], that Jesus was dependent upon the co-operation of the angels in order to perform those miracles.

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 WHEN CHRIST LEFT HEAVEN, HE LEFT SOMETHING PERMANENTLY

  This is a rather significant point, for it indicates that when Christ left His glory in heaven He left something permanently, - that when He took upon Him human flesh when He enshrouded Himself in a human temple, He set strict limitations upon His nature and structure. The Divine nature flashed through the human nature. It could not completely enshroud it - and there may be reasons for this.

In the future world, it is evident through the testimony of the Word that the saints will share His inheritance. He has laid it down and left it to be divided among them; for as He said: "His body was broken for you." It was His great eternal body which constituted His inheritance. That was His heritage. It was through His body that He performed all. He received all knowledge through His body and He did all His works through His body. That's the way we do it, and we are made in His image.

  We can learn nothing except through the physical senses of our bodies, and we can do nothing except through the physical muscles of our bodies. And thus, the new body of Christ will be His saints. And they will become partakers of the divine body; for they must "eat His flesh and drink His blood." And as they do this, they become partakers of that body which was "broken for them", "for them to eat", and the blood "for them to drink"; that they might have eternal life, - the eternal life that Christ laid down for them. It is a substitution. They receive it only by substitution - He has shared it with them. And thus, He is the Head of the body and they are the physical parts of the body, and He operates through them. Through them, He receives; and through them, He gives.

  On the, "Temple on Mount Zion," Jesus leads 144,000 to be its residents - only they are permitted to enter [EW 19.4]. This Sister White saw in vision, recorded in Early Writings. Since the 144,000 are the "living saints" before Christ comes (as she also saw) [Early Writings, p. 15], and are translated; it would appear that the apostles, those who were the foundation of His church, could not be members of this temple. This is illogical. There are many reasons for believing that the apostles will be among the 144,000; and in order for them [thus] to be, they must be living on the earth at the time that Christ comes.

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ACCLIMATION TO MODERN SOCIETY - A MAJOR MATTER TO THE SAINTS

  There is a special resurrection which occurs just before Christ comes. Some may feel that this is where they would be raised. But if they were to come forth in their original garb, with their bearded faces and their ancient language, it would be necessary for a miracle to occur in order to harmonize them, and acclimatize them, and orient them in this modern environment. Some may feel that this is a minor matter.

  I believe it is a major matter. Jesus did not come in that fashion. He came into this world in the natural way; and that is how the 144,000 will come. All the overcomers, down through the years of the churches' history, including the twelve apostles who were its foundation - these will come forth through the process of regeneration, the growing up of human bodies in the normal way. But they will receive the anointing of the Holy Ghost as Jesus did; and this will bring to them "all truth," which will include the regeneration of the memory of their former selves.

  Let us think about this just a little bit: Jesus gave the promise to the disciples back there, that when He had gone (and He said He must go away or the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth could not come to them) - this would indicate that there was some connection between Jesus and the Spirit of truth which made it impossible for the Spirit of truth to be delivered to the disciples until Jesus should lay some sacrifice on the altar.

  You see Jesus became a partaker of the Holy Spirit Himself. But it was not in His hand to deliver it to the disciples, because He had laid down His original Spirit, which was the Holy Spirit - His body and blood, as a sacrifice! And through the covenant, the everlasting covenant with the Father, it was for the Father to deliver this heritage to His disciples. And so He said, "He would pray the Father" and the Father would send them the Spirit. This indicates His faith in the Fathers' fulfilling of the covenant. And He promised the disciples that this Spirit of truth "would guide them into all truth" [John 16:13]. It did not do so in the early rain.

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AN ENORMOUS TRUTH

  Therefore, the promise was not fulfilled to the disciples in those days. It remains until the closing hours of earths' history, and the regeneration of the apostles, to have the fulfillment of the outpouring of the Spirit of truth which will bring to them a knowledge of all truth.

  It is the apostles with the 144,000 who will receive the heritage that Christ laid down. And there will be reproduced in their minds the knowledge of all things. This is an enormous truth!

  It is only by means of this that the resurrection can take place. There can be no life, there can be no regeneration of the past, except through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

  And so, the creation of man in the resurrection will be accomplished through the process of natural law in the form of regeneration, and through the union of the divine Spirit, which is the "Marriage of the Lamb." Christ Jesus becomes married to His saints. And He compares the relation between Jesus and the church as the relation between husband and wife, or the Head of the body and the body - and that is, after the 144,000 have gone through their investigative judgment, their characters have been proved perfect through the merits of the gospel (power of the gospel) which enables them to do it, even as the character of Christ had been proved perfect before His anointing at His baptism.

  And thus their investigative judgment being completed, their characters being proved adequate; it is possible for Jesus then to leave the heavenly sanctuary. He is no longer needed as an Intercessor, and He then enters this union which is portrayed as the "Marriage of the Lamb." And it is then that the 144,000 take over the priesthood, and they become priests and kings for a thousand years. This is another great subject.

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THE 144,000 ARE THE ONLY TRUE OVERCOMERS

  The 144,000 are the only true overcomers, the only ones who have reached the fullness of the stature of Christ, who have availed themselves fully of the power of the gospel. Many others have accepted Jesus; they are true and faithful followers of His, but they have not attained unto the stature of perfection.

  God has set aside one thousand years for a work of priesthood on the part of the 144,000. A period in which all those who will come forth in the general resurrection, who have not attained to the fullness of the stature, will have an opportunity to study the records of all mankind, and specific records of those who have not entered into the glory of the first resurrection. And during this time the 144,000 will officiate in the service of the priesthood; and not until the one thousand years are finished will they no longer be needed in this capacity.

  For by the end of the one thousand years, everyone who has come up in the first resurrection, and that includes all those who have accepted Jesus as the King of the universe and as their Saviour - all those who have come up, will have had an opportunity to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. They would not have come up in the first resurrection if they had not been faithful in their allegiance to Christ. But some have died before they have reached perfection. Many have lived an entire lifetime and have still "not attained." They are saved by faith - it is a gift of God.

THE DANGER OF REFUSING TO ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS AS KING & RULER

  Only those who refuse to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the King, the Ruler - only those will not come up in the first resurrection; for it would be impossible to operate the government of heaven without the willing allegiance of its subjects. It is the investigative judgment which proves whether one is worthy on the merits of his faith to come forth in the first resurrection. And this judgment occurs before the first resurrection occurs.

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  The investigative judgment is actually a literal test in human bodies on the earth since 1844. Characters of people who have lived before are superimposed on human bodies, even as the character of Christ was superimposed on the boy Jesus. And these characters regulate the actions of the individuals through whom they are being tested. And when the test has manifested itself and is complete, then it is known who shall be resurrected in the first resurrection, and who shall not.

GUARDIAN ANGELS IDENTIFY WITH THE THOUGHTS AND MOTIVES *

  The guardian angels play an important part in this judgment; for only the guardian angel has had complete identity with all the thoughts and motives of the individual's life. And since the memory of the guardian angel is an eternal memory (it does not fade, not having been subjected to sin); the record of every man's life is kept in the mind of the guardian angel. And it is the angel who opens the books in the judgment.

  And the book which is opened for any individual, is the mind of the angel. The angel reveals the truth that has been recorded in his mind. He is the only one who can reveal it. He is the only one who has the record. And therefore, the angels have a specific part in the investigative judgment. The angels also have a specific part in the resurrection. Precisely what part they play, I am not prepared to expose at this time.

REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE COMMUNION SERVICE

  The communion service - I say, the communion service, is rather revealing concerning the body and blood of Christ. Jesus indicates that He lays His body down and breaks it for the disciples "to eat" and He divides the blood for them "to drink." And He told them that unless they ate this body and drank that blood (that’s in the 6th chapter of John), they could have no eternal life. But if they did eat it, they would have eternal life and He would raise them up at the last day. He also said that the New Testament was in His blood.

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* [Cf. Also Panorama of Truth, Volume One, pages: 282.2-283.4; Also in Volume One, page 82.5.]

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  The New Testament is the everlasting Covenant, which is the everlasting gospel of salvation, through the sacrifice of Christ. I know this just sounds like so many words, but it is tangible, if I could just make it clear the way I can see it. These literal terms are symbolic of spiritual things. The body and the blood are not the literal ones; - we do not become cannibals and eat literal flesh and drink literal blood, which is forbidden.

  This is a spiritual thing. The body is symbolic of the word of truth, the everlasting truth. And that would include the memory of things that have occurred - those things which have been recorded as fact. The blood is symbolic of the life, for it says that "the life is in the blood." You shed the blood - you shed the life.

  And we recognize through the help of the Spirit of Prophecy, that the life of God, the life and character of God, is His self-denying love. It is the principle of self-denying love which is the essence of God. It is the Spirit of God. It is this principle which is symbolized by the blood.

  Now it says the New Testament is in His blood, but the New Testament is the new covenant, and this is the gospel. The new covenant then, is tied in with the blood. But the blood is the emblem of His self-sacrificing love. Therefore, it is the self-denying love, the principle of self-denying love, which has its source in the heart of God, that is the principle of the everlasting gospel which is to put the law of God in the heart of man.

  Now, we are told that the law of life, for earth and heaven, is self-sacrificing love. Therefore, it all ties together - The New Testament, the new covenant, the blood of the communion service, the character of God (which is love), and the Spirit of God which is love. And those who are born of God cannot sin; and to be born of God means to be born of love. And so love is tied in with victory over sin.

  Now let's take a good square look at it. You've had your battles with sin haven't you? There have been some things in your life, and you've made up your mind you're going to get rid of. And so you started in. And the harder you tried, the more confused you got. Just about the time when you thought you'd made the grade - bingo, you went again! You haven't gained complete victory over every sin that you have struggled against, have you? And yet it says that "if you're born of God, you cannot sin." You see, to be born of God means to be born of love - alright?

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  We know that sin is the transgression of the law. There are ten commandments in that law. Jesus said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;..." And He said if you love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself; all the ten commandments hang on these two, and you're keeping the law. The law of God is self-sacrificing love. It is the principle of self-denying love which is revealed in the ten commandments.

  No one can keep the ten commandments unless he has the principle of self-denying love in his heart. And so, the new commandment involves the birth in the heart of man of the motivating power of self-denying love. This is the only power that is strong enough to enable you or anybody else to quit sinning.

YOU CANNOT FIT YOURSELF FOR HEAVEN BY JUST TRYING

  If you're trying to keep the commandments of God so that you can get to heaven, you won't make it. You're trying to do it by works of righteousness; you're trying to fit yourself for heaven. But you don't get to heaven on the basis of your keeping of the commandments. Let's remember that! You get to heaven on the basis of your faith. If you accept Christ as your Commander and your Saviour; that's your ticket; and when you do that, He accepts the penalty for your transgression. He is the One that takes the responsibility for your mistakes. He's the High Priest. He carries the burdens. He has to fix up the mess of your Sin.

  And anytime you sin after you've accepted Him and you've linked yourself with Him as a member of His family - anytime you sin and confess your sins, you are actually causing suffering in His heart, just like any naughty child does in the heart of a parent when it continues to transgress. And thus, victory over sin on your part cannot possibly be a selfish motive. If you're trying to get rid of sin because you think that by doing it you'll gain your ticket to heaven, that's a selfish motive and you just can't do it. Try it and see!

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LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE

  On the other hand, if you are filled with love for Jesus because of what He has done for you, and because the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of all your sins (and there may be a lot of them) - if you realize the value of that gift, and you appreciate it to its fullest extent, you can't help but love Him for what He's done for you. And when you love Him, you want to do something that pleases Him. And He says: "If you love me, keep my commandments." And He says: "If a man love me, he will keep my words." There's the motive. It is the love of Christ that "constraineth us." You can't keep them on any other basis.

  Love is the most powerful force in all the universe. It is the force which initiated the creation of this world and which initiates all creation. And it is the force which will enable man to overcome his sin, to quit sinning. If you love a person enough, you'll do anything for them. If you love Christ enough, you'll stop sinning. You'll stop transgressing His commandments. But in order to do it, you've got to have that love - and where are you going to get it from? That's a gift too.

  Not until you partake of Christ's sufferings (and that's a privilege) will you ever understand what He went through for your sake. He learned obedience through the things which He suffered; and thus became the "Author of eternal salvation." And you are going to learn obedience through the things which you suffer. You don't have to obey. You're not forced. But if you are permitted to partake of His sufferings, then you will discover what He went through for you - voluntarily! He could have quit at any time. And when you discover that, you will feel like a heel, to cause Him continued suffering. And don't think for one minute that He doesn't continue to suffer when you sin.

  He suffered once for the sins of the world. But He still suffers when the sins of His children are taken upon Him. There is a difference between the sins of the world and the sins of His people which are confessed, and which He takes as a substitute - that is, as a priest. And this is the gospel- believe me, friend, it is the gospel.

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  And this is the gospel which is the "power of God unto salvation." This is the gospel which will save a man from his sins. Sin is not automatically wiped out. Mrs. White tells us plainly that "the expulsion of sin from the life is an act of the soul itself" [DA 466]. It is up to us to get rid of sin. But we can't do it in our own strength.

  Not until the New Testament, the new covenant, becomes our possession - not until the Spirit of God's unselfish love, is born in our hearts through the experience of learning to know Jesus and what He did for us (partly learned through a partaking of His sufferings) - I say, not until then will we have sufficient strength, sufficient motivation to cease from sin. And we will voluntarily cease from sin.

VICTORY OVER SIN IS THE RESULT OF THE RIGHT ACTION OF THE WILL

  Victory over sin is the result of the will, the right action of the will. We decide not to sin; and we can make ourselves quit sinning only when we receive the fullness of the power of the love of God in our hearts. And this is the law of God which is planted in the heart of flesh, according to the promise of the new covenant.

  The law of God is the law of love and this love is planted in the heart. And it is not on tables of stone; and we keep the commandments by reason of the motive of this love. We do not need the tables of stone. We do not have to have the law laid down on tables of stone.

  As I illustrated in the family, we lay down the law to children. We are now grown up; we live according to the "law of liberty." "All things are lawful to us, but not expedient." We live on the basic principle of self-denying love - service (voluntary service), obedience to the will and wish of our Creator. This is a wonderful truth. This is the message which must be delivered to Gods' people!

  And when they understand the principal of this love, they will get victory over sin, if they co-operate.

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THE SABBATH SYMBOLIZES CREATION THROUGH NATURAL LAW

  And one more thing before the end of [this side] of this tape; It is the principle of creation through natural law which the Sabbath was instituted to symbolize. In this last day, the devil will perform all sorts of miraculous things as a counterfeit of what God has done in the past. And the real true method of God's functioning in this last day is through natural law, which in the past has been considered to be evolutionistic and non-godly.

  This is a paradox! The Sabbath is the sign for those who believe in God as the true Creator. And they see how He works through these natural methods, and how the Spirit of truth reveals all truth to His disciples in this manner; and how that the creation of the regeneration and the resurrection of the 144,000 occurs in this manner, and they believe that it is of God. It cannot be counterfeited! No one can counterfeit the restoration of a memory of a former life. And thus this meaning of the Sabbath becomes a unique possession of those who are sealed, and none others.

BELIEF IN GOD AS CREATOR THROUGH HIS NATURAL LAWS, ENABLES THE 144,000 TO ACCEPT THEIR UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AS OF GOD

  The literal Sabbath-keeping is but an outward sign. The inner belief in God as the true Creator through His natural laws is the one which enables the 144,000 to accept their unique experience as of God. And they are sealed completely when they receive the memory of their former lives. And when the Apostle Paul will remember in these last days that he lived with the early church, he will be able to recognize the fulfillment of his own prophecy - that he would be among those who are living when Christ comes [1st Thess 4:15 & 17].

  And John the Revelator will be here and he will remember what the seven thunders uttered, "and will prophesy again before many nations." And the statement of Jesus that He might, "remain till He come", will be fulfilled. These are marvelous truths and great mysteries!

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  Satan has used Sunday worship as a sign of the literal resurrection of Jesus. The counterfeit in this symbol should be obvious in the light of what has been said.

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  [* Note: The following side "B" of this audio tape was incorporated by the author into audio tape/letter # 6, now appearing in the written transcriptions. This other transcript may be found under the sub-title "Small Beginnings" from pages 203-210 of the companion book entitled: "Panorama of Truth - Volume One" Subheadings and paragraphing, by the Publishers varies somewhat between the two transcriptions; the reason being, that Brother Johnson briefly edited "Small Beginnings" as found in Volume One, shortly before his demise].

WHO SHALL DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS?

  Here we are again - another side of a tape. It's been a couple of days now since I first began talking to you. I'm still not sure who you are. But I'm going to keep on talking to you now anyway.

  I've been thinking a little more about this idea that God's creative works begin from very small beginnings. It says that, "the kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed," and that's one of the tiniest seeds that springs up and grows into a tree in which the birds have their nests.

  It must have been quite a set-up in the original plan where Christ was the great King of the universe, and Lucifer, along with others, thinking that there was no need for Christ to be the great King. It must have been that Christ did not make a great show of His authority; and this would certainly line up with His character. But the interesting thing to me is the manner in which He went about to demonstrate the principle on which God's government rests; and how that, from the tiniest seed in the womb of Mary, the great God of the Universe grew up. Maybe you never thought of that.

  You know what it says in Isaiah 9:6? It says that this little child, this little Prince who was born, was to become the One on whose shoulders the government would rest; and His name would be called Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father.

  There was a time I hadn't noticed what that text said. But it says that this little child shall become exalted to receive the name of the everlasting Father and the mighty God. He would be honored with complete authority in the universe. This is the greatest example of

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God's method of bringing about the creation of His works. Who shall despise the day of small beginnings?

  Now I would like to bring a few other thoughts to light. And some of these may be thoughts that we haven't thought about in this particular way before either.

  It says that the antitypical day of atonement began in 1844. It was at that time that our high priest Christ, entered into the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary, and the door to the holy apartment was shut, and "no man could open it;" and the door to the Most Holy apartment was opened, and "no man could shut it." Now there's a great deal of content in this. But the work of the high priest in the Most Holy apartment on the day of Atonement was instrumental in bringing about the cleansing of the sanctuary. And you know what the sanctuary had to be cleansed of don't you? The sins of the people had been transferred to the sanctuary through the sacrificial services, and the sanctuary was contaminated, and it had to be cleansed.

THE SAINTS COMPRISE THE NEW TABERNACLE OF GOD

  We could discuss a number of aspects in connection with this, but I want to suggest one: The sanctuary is identical with the temple. In the wilderness, the children of Israel had a portable sanctuary that when they reached their promised land, the sanctuary was replaced by the temple. But the services were continued in the temple as they had been in the sanctuary. The sanctuary, or temple, is the dwelling place of God, the place where He meets with His people.

  We have already mentioned that the dwelling place of God is, in His saints; for it says that we are built up an habitation of God. Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. Christ is to dwell in His people through the Holy Ghost.

  God's church is the body of Christ. This is a great tabernacle or temple, the place where God meets with His people. He will meet with them in their hearts. According to the old covenant, the law was in the Most Holy Apartment and that was where the Shekinah glory hovered above the mercy seat. In the new covenant, God no longer dwells in a tabernacle made with hands; but He, with His pure character of love which is the origin of the law, will dwell in the hearts of His people.

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  He promises to come and make His abode with us. But God cannot dwell in a defiled temple, a temple in which sin has been recorded. This temple must be cleansed. The sanctuary must be purified, and the thing that purifies it is the administration of the blood of the eternal Sacrifice. In the strictest sense, the tabernacle of God into which He will dwell after the wedding of the Lamb, is His 144,000 saints. These are the pillars in that new temple. These all live in the days after probation closes.

  In what way can it be said that the sins of the people have been transferred to this tabernacle? This has been accomplished in the same way that they were transferred to the physical tabernacle of Jesus when He was here on earth. Jesus never sinned; and yet He bore in His own body the sins of the world. His body received these sins through the transmission of the inherited characteristics of the human race.

  Before the days of the fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam had the privilege of partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. The fruit of this tree made Adam's life eternal. The thoughts that were his were permanent. The memories of experiences which occurred were permanent. There would be no death in Adam as long as he was partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. When he established a righteous habit, that habit would remain his possession forever. But as soon as Adam sinned, he set the pattern for an unrighteous habit. He set a train of action going in his mind which would eventually end in destruction of the processes of life - that is, the life of happiness. For with the entrance of sin into Adam's nature, there could be no result but pain and suffering. And had God permitted him to continue to eat of the tree of life, then his physical life would have been preserved, but his mental and spiritual nature would have been subjected to an eternity of increasing suffering. This is something similar to the eternal hell-fire torment which is taught by some Protestant denominations today - a situation in which a sinner is pictured to be suffering throughout eternity. This situation would have prevailed had Adam continued to eat of the tree of life, but now the tree was removed from his reach.

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THE 144,000 WILL HAVE IN THEIR BODIES THE INHERITANCE OF SIN

  But the pattern of sin had been fixed in his nature and it could not be erased except through death. The pattern of sin had been transmitted to the characteristics of inheritance which would be passed on to his children and his children's children. In this way the sins of Adam (the sinful nature which he had created by his own choice), became a permanent possession of the human race. And when Jesus was born, the characteristics of this sinfullness were in His body as they were in every other human body. And Jesus bore in His body, the sinfullness of mankind.

  In the same way, the 144,000 body temples of the Holy Ghost will have in their bodies the inheritance of sin. They constitute the sanctuary which will be the dwelling place of the Holy Ghost. But in their bodies is the record of sin which has been transferred through the medium of the inheritance characteristic. It is "in the blood," as it were. And thus is the significance of the sprinkling of the blood, and the transference of the sin to the sanctuary.

  Now, it is through the sprinkling of blood that the sanctuary is eventually to be cleansed. The blood which will cleanse the sanctuary is the same blood which we spoke about before on another tape, or on the other side of this one - (I don't recall). The blood contains the life, and the life of God and of His son Jesus is self-renouncing love. This is the great principle of life and creation. Let us fix that thought firmly in our minds!

  It is through the sprinkling of the spirit of love that sin is removed from the life. When Jesus, as seen in vision by Mrs. White, was looking down upon His faithful saints before the hours of probation had closed - when He was looking down and saw saints not yet sealed, He turned to His Father and pled: "My blood, Father, my blood, my blood, my blood." And there was a bright light left the Father and speeded its way toward the earth. This is the gift of the Spirit of God's love which will be bestowed upon God's people, which will be sprinkled in their hearts. And this is the Spirit which will motivate their expulsion of sin from the life.

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   It is not within the power of a man to change his nature. He can create a habit; he can even destroy a habit with great patience. It is not in his power to completely change his nature of evil - and this is where the blood comes in. With the application of the blood of Jesus - the spiritual blood, it becomes possible for one who has exercised himself in the ways of God to implement his decision to cease from sin. He no longer will have to struggle against sin. His sinful nature will be changed. This is a miraculous occurrence. It takes place inside, in the man's very spiritual heart. It is a change that is not clearly manifest on the outside by any written form of evidence.

  The only evidence that this miracle transpires is in the sealing effect that it has upon the life of the individual. He will not be moved. There is no more temptation for him to sin. He has become victorious over all sin, and the sinful nature which had been his, has gone. He has been delivered from sin. All traces of sinfullness are foreign to his nature. This is what it means when it speaks of the "cleansing of the sanctuary". And when this sanctuary is finally cleansed, the work of the High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, the most holy apartment which is in a sense symbolic of this temple not made with hands (this temple of living beings) - when that work is finally finished, He will leave that sanctuary and He will become married to His saints.

  You think these things are far fetched? I acknowledge there are areas that are not explained. There are discrepancies that seem obvious. In the light of past experience I can un-hesitatingly say, that any discrepancies in these things will sooner or later be explained by an understanding of greater, and more comprehensive and superseding panoramas of truth.

  I'd like to tell you just a little more here: After Adam had been driven from the Garden, the effects of his eating of the fruit of the tree of life still clung for many generations after. His life span was almost a thousand years. But as time went on, the power of that everlasting life principle depreciated until it eventually reached a place where any decisions made by a man might become habitual in his own self. But that habit would not be transmitted to his posterity. And consequently, it would be impossible for a man to create a sinful nature in himself which could be transmitted to his posterity. But the sinful nature that Adam created, runs like a thread right on down through the human race.

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   The only way that sin can be expelled from the life, is for the power of that fruit of the tree of life to be restored to him. God cannot restore mankind to the eating of the fruit of the tree of life until man has completely demonstrated that he will not misuse that power, and recreate sin.

THE 144,000 WILL RECEIVE POWER TO EXPEL SIN FROM THE LIFE

  And thus it is, that after the 144,000 have passed through their investigative judgment just before the close of probation, and have proved beyond all doubt that their characters will withstand all the temptations of the evil one, that they are anointed with the power of the Holy Ghost, and again partake of that everlasting life principle, which is in the blood of Jesus Christ. And having partaken of that blood, that New Testament which is in the new covenant, they receive power to expel sin from the life. They can neutralize the power of evil. They can create new, righteous habits that will be everlasting.

  I know this may be difficult for some people to follow. I wish I might be able to explain it more clearly with more details, but I have not the present capacity. Perhaps God will raise up other minds which will be able to clarify these matters more positively. Perhaps He has already raised up these minds and the messages are available somewhere - but I have not seen them.

THE 144,000 WILL COLLECTIVELY UNDERSTAND "ALL TRUTH"

  Of one thing I am certain. As God revealed to me many years ago, His Spirit was promised to His disciples and to His faithful followers. And this Spirit, which is the Spirit of truth, "will guide them into all truth". But the fulfillment of this prophecy was not completed under the outpouring of the "early rain" - we realize that.

  This prophecy will be fulfilled in our day under the outpouring of the latter rain. And as these Apostles and all the faithful followers of Christ who have gained the victory over sin will be present in this our generation, the prophecy will be fulfilled in them. The 144,000, who are God's saints in the last day will collectively be endowed with an understanding of "all truth".

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A FUTURE WORK OF UNIFICATION AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE

  What one does not see, another one will. And there is to be a work of unification among these people who are scattered throughout our church and other churches - there is to be a work of unification. There is to be a marriage union of Christ Jesus, the Head, to His members of His new bodies of saints, and they twain shall become one flesh (cf. Eph. 2:20-22; 4:8-16; & 5:22-32; also see vol. 7A of the SDA Bible Commentary, 985.9 & 986.1 & 2). And the great truth which will unite the hearts of these dear waiting saints, is the principle of the Sabbath.

  There is another phase concerning the 1844 date which I would like to think about for a few minutes. We are told that the resurrection occurs at the last trump. This is quite specific. We are also told that there are seven trumpets to sound, and that the seventh trumpet began to sound in 1844 [cf. Rev. 11: 15,18 & 19; research also "last trump"]. This would indicate that in some way the time for the resurrection to occur began in 1844.

  I would ask you to hold in abeyance any temptation to regard this thought as ridiculous until such time as you have had opportunity to consider all the related aspects. At the outset I will say, that the general resurrection has undoubtedly not yet occurred. But if the seventh trumpet began to sound in 1844, and if the resurrection occurs at the sounding of the seventh trumpet (and some may question this), then it is plain that the time for the resurrection may be due [cf. Panorama of Truth, Volume One, pages 81.9 - 82.5].

  Let us look at another phase: We note, in the early writings of Sister White, that the door to the Holy apartment of the sanctuary was closed in 1844, and that Jesus moved into the Most Holy to officiate there. It should seem obvious that if the door to the Holy apartment is closed, the services associated with that apartment, which consisted of the transferring of sins to the sanctuary, must be completed. While the service is going on in the Most Holy, there is no service going on in the Holy. The day of atonement was not designed for the transference of sins to the sanctuary, but for the cleansing of sins out of the sanctuary.

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THE REPRODUCTION OF CHARACTERS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE

  If then, no further sins can be transferred to the sanctuary during the officiating in the Most Holy, what would become of the sins which would be confessed by people who are born since 1844? There may be some solutions to this of which I am not aware. But there is one possibility which presents itself to my mind, and that is this: That since 1844, the investigative judgment began, and the investigative judgment is a judgment of characters which is worked out in actual human bodies living on this earth. We have mentioned something about this before.* If that is true, then these who have come to maturity since 1844 are in reality but reproductions of characters that have gone before, and their sins have already been taken care of. And at the present time they are going through their investigative judgment; and the sanctuary is being cleansed.

  It would be clear then, would it not, that no new sins would be entering the sanctuary? The work is one of judgment, analysis, and cleansing. It is by reason of their choices, brought about through the super-imposition of the righteous character which was developed in their former existence, that their sins are overcome. (That is not precisely the way I wish to express it.) What I mean is: It is through the merits of this character which has been built up and is now being tested, that they are enabled to make the proper choices in relation to the temptations which befall them during this "testing time" since 1844.

  This period is specifically called the "testing time" in the writings of Sister White. And it is the period of the investigative judgment as we have already known. This view would tie together the idea of the testing, and the idea of the investigative judgment. And it would be obvious that the universe could observe which people living since 1844 would be worthy of the first resurrection, and which would not.

  The first of the saints down through the eras of the church - that is, those who have attained to perfection, will come last in the investigative judgment. And these will be the 144,000*, who will live on after probation, right on through to the second coming of Christ. And they are to be translated!

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* [Consider 1st Timothy 5:24: "Some men's sins are open beforehand; going before to judgment, and some men they follow after."]

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   And so, in a sense, the resurrection began in 1844. The resurrection occurs according to the natural processes of God's laws. And these generally function over a period of time. So we have the restoration of characters in human bodies, and the testing of the investigative judgment.

  The complete resurrection of all parts of the individuals, including their bodies, and their consciousness, and their memory of their former life - the complete unit, will not take place until Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven. But when this does occur, in the light of the things that we have said, it should seem clear that the resurrection will come into human bodies which are living and which are grown up in this world.

  There will not be a mass destruction of all the human bodies that are existing in the world at that time, and the reappearance of a completely different set of bodies out of no place. Those who shall come forth from the graves, will come forth into the bodies of those who are living or who have recently lived. There are aspects about this resurrection which I do not understand yet.

  But I am convinced that the doctrines which we have been teaching down through the years, insofar as we understand them to date, are correct. And any future understanding of these things, any expansion of understanding, must build upon the "old foundation."

  I am assuming that you understand that there are two groups who are saved. There are those who have gained the victory over all sin, the 144,000, who are translated. Then there is also a great multitude which no man can number.

[SPACE RESERVED IN 1994 BY J. W. JOHNSON FOR FURTHER COMMENT. BECAUSE OF ILLNESS THIS WAS NEVER DONE.]

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  Well, I've been interrupted a number of times in making these tapes. I'm still lying in bed, gradually recovering. I haven't attempted to make any flowery speech. It has been merely a rambling reminiscence of things that have passed through my consciousness many times during the past years. And I'm a little weary now. I think I shall leave this for awhile. I don't know when I shall continue. I may never have opportunity to complete this particular set.

  But the truth will be known. God has ways and means of bringing His messages to His people. And if these things are true, His disciples will learn of them and understand them. And one day, they will know what is, and what is not the truth of God. Those things which we have known, the fundamentals of our message and our doctrines, are true beyond a shadow of doubt.

  But the message to the Laodicean people, which is us, should make us sit up and take notice, and recognize that we do not know it all! We have been very boastful over the years. Hardly a week goes by but what we don't do some bragging about what we have accomplished as a people. I do not think that God is pleased with this. "Take heed," He says, "for you think you have need of nothing", but you're in a pretty bad condition. "You're miserable, you're actually poor, you're blind, and you're naked."! That's a pretty strong denunciation. We must be in a pretty bad way. Don't you think it's time we got down on our knees and humbled ourselves before God? Maybe He can do something for us.

  This thing's been dragging on a long time. We were supposed to have been in the kingdom by now - and that's another matter that can be explained. But we're not there yet. Oh yes, the work is expanding; so is the work in other churches. We're getting the message around the globe - some of it. People are responding. We're telling them how that they have to keep the law. We're telling them about these different doctrines.

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   But, you know, I've worked with people day by day - mixed right with them - got to know them very well, better than some of our own brethren - people who make no profession of being servants of God. They don't make any profession of understanding the Bible; and they're good people. They're Christian people, if you use that term in the sense of Christ-like. And they've got more consideration and kindness and love and service in their make-up (some of them) than many, many brethren that I have mixed with in our church. And I don't like the looks of that. It doesn't speak very well. There's only one thing lacking in these folks that I'm talking about who don't make any profession; and that is, they don't understand the meaning of the gospel of Christ.

  They don't know God, nor His son Jesus. And how can they know if no one has told them? But they know how to live in most respects. And yet, there's only one way that man can be saved; and that is that he acknowledges the Son of God. For he must respect this King of the universe before he can fit in harmoniously in the government of heaven.

  We know these things, and yet our lives aren't telling the story. We tell it by mouth. We preach it, and we brag about winning souls whatever that means. We get them on the church books as fast as we can. We publish it in the papers, especially when some important person comes in. And we keep as quiet as we can about those who go out the back door. We make sure the radio and the newspapers get the big figures.

  Now I'm not being critical of our church. I'm a member of it. I'm included with it. But I'm ashamed of some of the things we do. I think we need to change. I'm not a reformer. I'm not an antagonist. I have identified myself with this people. I too am a sinner. But let's get together on this thing, Brother and Sister. Let's do something about this thing, you and I. We need to. There are reformers all around us who are raising objections to everything we do. They are picking us to pieces. They find our faults. If these reformers were so much better than we are, maybe a lot of us would go to their ranks; but they're sinners too. We need to all realize it. We need to quit tearing each other to pieces. Let's quit tearing each other down. Let's not pull each other down in the mud.

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  Let's get together and all pull in one direction - up! We need to go up. We've lost sight of some of the basic principles of Christianity. We have a formal religion to far too great an extent. Everything must go according to the established, organized pattern. There's no room for individual thought. There's no room for individual work. Not much. We must check in with headquarters. That's good. We have to stick together. We have to co-operate and acknowledge those who are in authority. But maybe those who are in authority sometimes need a little correction.

  I'm not saying these things to pick faults with either our people or our leaders. I have a large number of friends, good friends, in this church. I like these people. They are my Brethren and Sisters. We have many, many faithful, capable, devoted leaders in our work. The extent of their work is limited sometimes by the restrictions and regulations that are placed about them by the necessity of organization. And perhaps these handicaps have been serious sometimes. But somehow they have done a good work - they have served God well. Many souls have been blessed by their ministry. Many have come to know the truth through their work, and they have helped many a despondent soul.

  We need organization. But we must be careful not to let organization become so complicated, and formality so essential, that we have no room for the Spirit to move. We speak much about the "closing work", about the movement and it's going forward. And what we have, mainly in mind is numbers. The more numbers we get the bigger the movement. But the real work, the real closing work, is the work of the Spirit of God in the heart of the individual, preparing him to stand before his Maker, pure and holy. This is the work that you and I should be doing.

  It's high time now, that we got some things straightened out in our lives. You still must acknowledge that you are not ready to stand before God without an Intercessor, and I have no hesitation in acknowledging it, but I am not afraid of it. If I attempt to prepare myself to meet God because I'm afraid, I'll never make It. All those who come to God must fear Him but not be afraid of Him.

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   The drawing card to the heart of God is love, not fear. Love and fear are absolutely opposites says the Scripture. "Perfect love casteth out fear." And the perfect love which Adam had in the garden was promptly destroyed when he sinned. The first consequence of sin was fear in the heart of man; and it's fear, the emotion of fear, lack of security, which is responsible for the major part if not all the ills of mankind, including his sufferings and death.

  Fear has filled our hospitals with those who are ill. Fear has made people try to work out their own salvation. Fear has made many a person keep the Sabbath outwardly. But preparation to meet God by keeping His commandments on the basis of being afraid, will not work. We think we have an understanding of the truth, but the message of the True Witness says that "we're blind."

  And do you know what the last message to this world is going to be? Well, I don't need to tell you. You've preached it for many years. The last message to this world is the everlasting gospel. Think about it! It's the everlasting gospel - not the doctrines. And you know what the everlasting gospel is; it's the power of God unto salvation to all that believe and it is the message of sins forgiven. That's what it is! It reveals the love of God for His people. There's no fear in that. I'm not afraid then. I should not be.

  And if I am afraid, it is an indication that I do not have sufficient faith in my Redeemer, and Satan enters my life through doubt. And the moment I doubt, I become afraid. But now, if I have perfect confidence in my Saviour, I will have no fear; for I am clean before God, and God accepts me. And the matter of getting rid of sin is placed on an entirely different basis.

  I no longer have to keep the law to be saved. And while I know that all people who enter the New Jerusalem will be clean people; will be pure people; will be people who are keeping the law of God and cooperating with Him. - while I know that - I still recognize that I do not have to keep the law. Those people will be keeping the law not because they have to but because they want to. And when I get to the place where I want to keep the law for an unselfish reason and not for a selfish one, then I will be able to keep it.

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  But if I want to keep the law for my own selfish - to save my own selfish skin - I can't keep it. The reason I can't keep it is that it is based on self-renouncing love. And while I may keep the commandments outwardly, very methodically, like the rich young ruler, I still lack something. Keeping the commandments, means living the life of self-sacrificing love. And this is the preparation that we need.

  We need the love of Jesus - the love of God in our hearts. And when we are born of love we will not sin; and we become sons of God. The new birth experience at conversion, and manifested through the rite of baptism, is but the beginning. The complete new birth is not accomplished until we are filled with the love of God, and do not sin.

  And so my motive for trying to keep the law is not to save myself, nor to gain favor with God, nor position. But my motive now is to keep the law of God in order to please my Saviour and to spare Him the inconvenience and suffering that my sin will cause Him, since He has guaranteed to accept the penalty of my transgression in order that I may have eternal life as a free gift. This life is mine, and now I keep the law as best I can, not for my own sake but for His sake.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT ON THESE TAPES

  This is the most important point which I have talked about on these tapes! This is the Everlasting Gospel which will swell into a loud cry! It will finish God's work in the earth, not by bringing in numbers, but by saving a man from his sins - by cleansing the sanctuary!

  Are you thinking about it? I hope you are. The work of the organized church has its place. But the final message and the final movement, which will be rapid, will be accomplished largely by laymen [cf. 5T 80 & 81]. It will be the individual members who will finish the work of cleansing their soul temples from sinning.

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   And it will be the work of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain - the eternal blood which Jesus relinquished at the cross in dying the eternal death of the sinner - which Spirit of eternal life returned to the Father in the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary at the time of the cross, to be administered to each obedient saint at the intercession of Jesus in the latter rain, is the final delivering of the eternal life blood of Christ to His "new" eternal body of saints, who now replace the original body in which he lived from eternity.

  He gave His original body and blood as an eternal sacrifice, for His saints to eat and drink, whereof they obtain eternal life in themselves! (John 6:53,54).

  I could say much more, but why should I? I have given you the most important message. I've told you the things that God has made plain to me.

CHRIST'S ETERNAL SACRIFICE

  But let me elaborate on Christ's eternal sacrifice:

  He volunteered to die the eternal death of the sinner. And after presenting His disciples with His final profound lesson at the last Passover supper, explaining how He must die the eternal death of the sinner, and relinquish His eternal body and blood for them to eat and drink to obtain the eternal life which had been His, He went to Gethsemane and surrendered His life into the custody of His Father; and thus could die the eternal death of sinful humanity on the cross.

THE EVERLASTING COVENANT DELIVERED!

  Herewith I have delivered the Everlasting Covenant. I have revealed its message - its power. Much thought could be given to it to elaborate upon it, to make it plainer; but it is all here. And I'm going to close this tape now because it is just about finished.

  Let's get down on our knees and ask for the Spirit of God's love to be shed abroad in our hearts, and we will be victorious for His sake. Remember, many of our brightest lights will go out. They will cling to the formality of our religion, be meticulous in keeping the Sabbath but they will miss the bus.

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  It must not happen to you. You are saved by faith, but you keep the law because you love the Saviour. Please, remember it. Let us worship God, who created heaven and earth. Amen.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

  [Note: The foregoing recording, Personal Reminiscence, was first put into written form during the month of September, 1990, when it was first transcribed from the original reel-to-reel audio tape recorded by J. W. Johnson in 1957 or 1958. The transcription was reviewed by Bro. Johnson, in 1994, at which time He did some brief editing, adding several paragraphs, particularly concerning the sacrifice of Christ.

  However, The inter-locking truths spoken of on this tape had been revealed to Bro. Johnson in 1941-1942 in answer to his original prayer for wisdom (about 1933), when he was but eighteen years of age.]

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 THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST

[Article written about 1992 by Brother J. W. Johnson]

  What appears to be an unsolved problem in the minds of many Seventh-day Adventists today is the conflicting views of the nature of Christ in His humanity. Was He born with the same sinful nature of mankind as every other child of Adam? Or was He an exception, coming into this world equipped with the pure sinless nature in which Adam was created in Eden before his transgression.

  The means of resolving this mystery is found in the written Word of God and clarified in the writings of His last-day prophet. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." (James 1:5,6).

  It seems almost amazing that many students of the Bible have somehow managed to overlook the significance of the fact that a child born into humanity receives half of its inherent nature from its father and the other half from its mother; and that these two sets of inherent characteristics blend into one package of behavioral tendencies. Jesus was no exception to this.

  Our Saviour came into this world through essentially the same "natural" process of birth as every other human being - except Adam and Eve. His Father was the Spirit of the eternal God, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe; while His mother was but the mortal Mary, a daughter of fallen sinful humanity. Recognition of this difference is vital to a correct understanding of the plan of salvation.

  It should therefore be obvious that Jesus also inherited half of His natural characteristics from His divine immortal Father, and the other half from His human mortal mother; and that these two natures blended into a combined pattern of inherent factors and tendencies, comprising a mixture of good and evil. (Caution must be exercised not

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to confuse this statement with His character - which was spotless. Character is a product of the decisions of the will; it is not inherited)!

  Some of these "natural" inclinations He could accept as desirable, and therefore choose to indulge them; while others He might regard with aversion, and consequently bend His conscious effort to overrule them. The blueprint of behavior specified for the subjects of the kingdom of God was (and still is) expressed in His moral law of ten commandments. These commandments were written with the finger of God on two tables of Stone, and were personally delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. And Moses was instructed to teach them diligently to God's chosen people. This law of ten commandments was the standard of behavior in the life of Jesus.

  Lest there be any misunderstanding, let us restate the basic concept.

  Jesus inherited from His heavenly Father the perfectly sinless divine nature of God - the nature in which Adam was created before his transgression; and in that nature, He was totally without fault! But He also inherited from His human mother the contrary fallen sinful nature of mankind, at the stage of its progressive degeneration accumulated during four thousand years of sinning, on the part of the extended genetic chain of His imperfect ancestors!

  The fact that Jesus inherited both the unfallen sinless nature of Adam before His transgression and the fallen sinful nature of Adam after his transgression is somewhat strangely substantiated by both the Bible and the testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy in the writings of Ellen G. White. Thus to forestall any potential confusion arising from this assertion, let us read a sampling of the numerous statements made by Ellen White concerning this topic, as published in the book, "Questions on Doctrine" (pages 647 - 660: Appendix B: "Christ's Nature During the Incarnation"):

  "He did not part with His divinity."

  "He clothed His divinity with Humanity."

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  "He was God in human Flesh."
 
  "When Christ was crucified, It was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible."
 
  "He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon Him our sinful nature."

  "He ... became like one of us except in sin."

 "Christ who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition."

  "He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity."

  "Having taken our fallen nature, He showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature."

  "He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God." (That is, by the power of choice, whereby character is formed and operates.)

  "In His human nature He maintained the purity of His divine character."

  "He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are. Jesus endured agony which required help and support from His Father."

  "He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil - that is, in His divine nature He recoiled from evil and had no sinful passions; but in His human nature He experienced the same temptations as every other child of Adam. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a

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world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege. He required all the stronger divine support and comfort which His Father was ready to impart to Him, to Him who had, for the benefit of man, left the joys of heaven and chosen His home in a cold and thankless world."

  "The Majesty of heaven clothed Himself with the humility of a child. This is the character of Christ."

  "While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Yet He was not exempt from temptation....Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood."

  "In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin....He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He 'knew no sin'....We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ."

  We need to be clear in recognizing no contradiction in this statement. He inherited the fallen sinful nature of contemporary humanity, even as we do; and in this nature He was tempted, even as we are, experiencing the same urges to indulge in the sin as we experience - otherwise He was not tempted "like as we are". But in His divine nature "He was perfect and undefiled by sin. He was without spot or blemish." (QOD 660.1). And in this nature He recoiled at the thought of yielding to the temptation! By an act of His free will, He chose to refuse to yield. Thus He was totally sinless, in spite of His being emptied; for personal sin is an act of choice. In His humanity, He never once yielded to temptation, and thus never did sin. Therefore, in spite of inheriting the fallen sinful nature of humanity, He personally was perfectly sinless in His humanity, building a completely sinless, pure, and righteous character.

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   Thus is Ellen White totally correct in stating that "Jesus, coming to dwell in humanity, receives no pollution." (QOD 660.4).

  And now, just one more quotation from this profound collection of statements:

  "In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through eternal ages He is linked with us...He [the Father], gave Him to the fallen race ....God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.... God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven." (QOD 660.7).

  Some of these statements may at first appear to be mutually contradictory, if not exclusive. The key to understanding their harmony lies in accepting the dual nature of Jesus' humanity. He was in fact the eternal Son of God, inheriting from His heavenly Father the superior nature of immortal divinity - the holy, pure, and undefiled nature in which Adam was created prior to his transgression. But Jesus was also, in fact, the Son of man, inheriting from His human mother, Mary, the inferior nature of mortal humanity - the fallen sinful nature of Adam subsequent to his transgression. Jesus was unquestionably equipped with both natures. And by virtue of His consistently and invariably choosing never to yield to any of the severe temptations of the devil, which choices reflect the true nature of His character, He was empowered to overcome the sinful nature of mankind, in the strength given Him by God through the divine nature of His eternal-life Spirit, with which His Father anointed Him.

  Hereby Jesus set the example for us. Only as we are granted an endowment of the eternal-life Spirit of Christ, to vitalize His Word, upon which we must feed, will we receive power to become sons of God. (John 1:12-14; 6:48-58). To become a son of God, one must obviously be born of God. (1st John 5:1,18). And when one is born of God, he does not commit sin. (1st John 3:9; 5:3,4).

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  Such is the goal of the plan of salvation: to re-create the repentant sinner in the image of God; to restore him to the sinlessness of Adam before his transgression.

  An explanation of the means required to accomplish this experience involves a rather complex expansion into several other vital topics, stretching far beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless there can be no doubt that in His own appointed time, and in His own appointed way, God will unfold every essential concept required for the preparation of His people to negotiate safe passage through the final climactic conflict and to be prepared to meet their Saviour at the impending second advent.

May God speed the day.

(Prepared by J. Wilfred Johnson.)

  [Note: For further insights on the subject of the Human Nature of Christ, please read again pages 224 through 241 of this book. This subject is also dealt with at length on two studies given by J. W. Johnson, and recorded on two audio cassette tapes, now available from the Publishers, and listed as studies # 9 & 10 of the GSB series 1976, referred to in Volume One of Panorama of Truth, page 301.]

  [Publisher's Note: The above article, prepared by J. Wilfred Johnson in 1992, was submitted by him to the Review and Herald either in 1992 or 1993. They chose not to print it and returned the article to Brother Johnson.]

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              In Appreciation

  I’ve seen the golden sun decline
      Behind the distant trees:  
  I've heard the lonely seagull pine,
      and felt the blowing breeze.
             
  I've gazed upon the evening sky
      And viewed the radiant glow,
  And watched the glittering edges die
      Beneath its fleecy floe.

  I've marveled how the twinkling gems
      of heaven sparkle on,
  And speed each shimmering ray which stems           
      from Him who lives beyond.

  I've heard the plaintive mourning dove,
      and the solitary hawk;
  I've known the happy bluebird's love,
      and the squawky parrot's talk.
             
  I've breathed the fragrance of the earth,                        
      the tang of fresh mown hay;
  Partaken of the childish mirth
      of puppies in their play.

  I've scanned the lofty mountains grey
      above th'eternal snow;
  and shivered 'neath the silver spray
      from a flushing fountain's flow.

   I've caught the tender roses scent
      adorned with morning dew;
   And rode the raging torrent spent
      with anger from the blue.

   I've seen the tiny baby smile,
      within its frilly fluff;
   I've known men go the "second mile",
      and felt it was enough.

   But while on these my spirit thrives,                      
      there's none can quite transcend
  The fellowship my soul derives,
      From every treasured friend.

                         J. Wilfred Johnson


BACK COVER

R & H 10/16/1894

“Let us bear in mind that Christ is the great central heart from which the life-blood flows to every part of the great body of humanity. He is the head from which extend the nerves that reach even to the most minute and most remote parts of the body. When one member of the body with which Christ is so mystically connected, suffers, the throb of pain is felt by our Saviour.”

-Ellen White


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