The Word of God our Safeguard
Our watchword is to be: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. We have a Bible full of the most precious truth. It contains the alpha and omega of knowledge. The Scriptures, given by inspiration of God, are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. Take the Bible as your study book. All can understand its instruction.
I call upon our ministers, physicians, and all church members to study the lessons that Christ gave His disciples just before His ascension. These lessons contain instruction that the people need.
Eternal life is obtained only by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ declared, “he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life…. I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him…. It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:47-63.
Christ calls upon His people to believe and practice His word. Those who receive and assimilate this word, making it a part of every action, of every attribute of character, will grow strong in the strength of God. It will be seen that their faith is of heavenly origin. They will not wander into strange paths. Their minds will not turn to a religion of sentimentalism and excitement. Before angels and before men, they will stand as those who have strong, consistent Christian characters.
In the golden censer of truth, as presented in Christ’s teachings, we have that which will convict and convert souls. Present, in the simplicity of Christ, the truths that He came to this world to proclaim, and the power of your message will make itself felt. Do not present theories or tests that Christ has never mentioned and that have no foundation in the Bible. We have grand, solemn truths to present. “It is written” is the test that must be brought home to every soul.
Men may still learn the things that belong to their peace. Mercy’s voice may still be heard calling: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. It is only when spiritual life is given that rest is found and lasting good secured. We must be able to say, in storm and tempest: “My anchor holds.”
Let us go to the word of God for guidance. Let us seek for a “Thus saith the Lord.” We have had enough of human methods. A mind trained only in worldly science fails to understand the things of God; but the same mind, converted and sanctified, will see the divine power in the word. Only the mind and heart cleansed by the sanctification of the Spirit can discern heavenly things.
Brethren, in the name of the Lord I call upon you to awake to your duty. Let your hearts be yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit, and they will be made susceptible to the teaching of the word. Then you will be able to discern the deep things of God.
May God bring His people under the deep movings of His Spirit! May He lead them to arouse, to see their peril, and to prepare for what is coming upon the earth!
Study the Revelation
To John the Lord opened the subjects that He saw would be needed by His people in the last days. The instruction that He gave is found in the book of Revelation. Those who would be co-workers with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will show a deep interest in the truths found in this book. With pen and voice they will strive to make plain the wonderful things that Christ came from heaven to reveal.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:1-3.
The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God’s people. Nothing else is to be allowed to engross our attention.
Precious time is rapidly passing, and there is danger that many will be robbed of the time which should be given to the proclamation of the messages that God has sent to a fallen world. Satan is pleased to see the diversion of minds that should be engaged in a study of the truths which have to do with eternal realities.
The testimony of Christ, a testimony of the most solemn character, is to be borne to the world. All through the book of Revelation there are the most precious, elevating promises, and there are also warnings of the most fearfully solemn import. Will not those who profess to have a knowledge of the truth read the testimony given to John by Christ? Here is no guesswork, no scientific deception. Here are the truths that concern our present and future welfare. What is the chaff to the wheat?
To the Church in Sardis
“Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:1-6.
Message to the Philadelphia Church
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 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, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.” Verses 7-12.
The Laodicean Message
“Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; 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 spew thee out of My mouth. Because 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: 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Verses 14-22.
The Lord is soon coming. The watchmen on the walls of Zion are called upon to awake to their God-given responsibilities. God calls for watchmen who, in the power of the Spirit, will give to the world the last warning message; who will proclaim the time of night. He calls for watchmen who will arouse men and women from their lethargy, lest they sleep the sleep of death.
Chapter 46—The False and the True in Education
The master mind in the confederacy of evil is ever working to keep out of sight the words of God and to bring into full view the opinions of men. He means that we shall not hear the voice of God saying: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Through educational processes he is doing all in his power to obscure heaven’s light.
Philosophical speculation and scientific research in which God is not acknowledged are making skeptics of thousands of the youth. In the schools of today the conclusions that learned men have reached as the result of their scientific investigations are carefully taught and fully explained; while the impression is distinctly given that if these learned men are correct, the Bible cannot be. Skepticism is attractive to the human mind. The youth see in it an independence that captivates the imagination, and they are deceived. Satan triumphs; it is altogether as he meant it should be. He nourishes every seed of doubt that is sown in young hearts. He causes it to grow and bear fruit, and soon a plentiful harvest of infidelity is reaped.
It is because the human heart is inclined to evil that there is so great danger in sowing the seeds of skepticism in young minds. Whatever weakens faith in God, robs the soul of power to resist temptation. It removes the only real safeguard against sin.
We are not to institute schools of scholastic philosophy or for the so-called “higher education.” Our greatness consists in honoring God by simple, practical experience in everyday life. We need to walk with God, to bring Him into our hearts and our homes.
Many think that in order to obtain an education it is necessary to study the productions of writers who teach infidelity, because their works contain some bright gems of thought. But who was the originator of these gems of thought? It was God, and God alone. He is the source of all light. Why should we wade through the mass of error contained in the works of pagans and infidels, for the sake of a few intellectual truths, when all truth is at our command?
There is a reason why these men sometimes display remarkable wisdom. Satan himself was educated in the heavenly courts, and he has a knowledge of good as well as of evil. He mingles the precious with the vile, and this is what gives him power to deceive. But because Satan has robed himself in garments of heavenly brightness, shall we receive him as an angel of light? The tempter has his agents, educated according to his methods, inspired by his spirit, and adapted to his work. Shall we co-operate with them? Shall we receive the works of his agents as essential to the acquirement of an education?
“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. Can we then expect the youth to maintain Christian principles and to develop Christian character while their education is largely influenced by the teachings of pagans, atheists, and infidels?
If the time and effort spent in seeking to grasp the bright ideas of infidels were given to studying the precious things in the word of God, thousands who now sit in darkness and in the shadow of death would be rejoicing in the glory of the Light of life.
Historical and Theological Lore
Many who are seeking a preparation for the Lord’s work think it essential to accumulate large volumes of historical and theological writings. They suppose that the study of these works will be a great advantage to them in learning how to reach the people. This is an error. As I see shelves piled with these books, some of them rarely looked into, I think: Why spend money for that which is not bread? The sixth chapter of John tells us more than can be found in such works. Christ says: “I am the Bread of Life.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:35, 63.
There is a study of history that is not to be condemned. Sacred history was one of the studies in the schools of the prophets. In the record of His dealings with the nations were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. So today we are to consider the dealings of God with the nations of the earth. We are to see in history the fulfillment of prophecy, to study the workings of Providence in the great reformatory movements, and to understand the progress of events in the marshalling of the nations for the final conflict of the great controversy.
But too often the motive of those who study these many books is not so much to obtain food for mind or soul. It is an ambition to become acquainted with philosophers and theologians, a desire to present Christianity to the people in learned terms and propositions.
“Learn of Me,” said the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. “Take My yoke upon you, learn My meekness and lowliness.” Your intellectual pride will not aid in the work of communicating with souls that are perishing for want of the bread of life. In your study of these books you are allowing them to take the place, in mind and heart, of the practical lessons you should be learning from the Great Teacher. With the results of this study the people are not fed. Very little of the study and research which is so wearying to the mind furnishes anything that will make one a successful laborer for souls.
Men and women who spend their lives in humble, commonplace work need words as simple as Christ gave in His lessons, words that are easily understood. The Saviour came “to preach the gospel to the poor.” And it is written that “the common people heard Him gladly.” Those who are teaching the truth for this time need a deeper insight into the lessons He has given.
The words of the living God are the highest of all education. The studied phrases designed to please the taste of the supposed-to-be refined fall short of the mark. Those who minister to the people need to eat the bread of life. This will give them spiritual strength; then they will be prepared to minister to all classes of people. The piety, the spiritual energy of the church is sustained by feeding on the bread that came down from heaven. At the feet of Jesus we are to learn the simplicity of true godliness.
Myths and Fairy Tales
In the education of children and youth, fairy tales, myths, and fictitious stories are now given a large place. Books of this character are used in the schools, and they are to be found in many homes. How can Christian parents permit their children to use books so filled with falsehood? When the children ask the meaning of stories so contrary to the teaching of their parents, the answer is that the stories are not true; but this does not do away with the evil results of their use. The ideas presented in these books mislead the children. They impart false views of life and beget and foster a desire for the unreal.
The widespread use of such books at this time is one of the cunning devices of Satan. He is seeking to divert the minds of old and young from the great work of preparation for the things that are coming upon the earth. He means that our children and youth shall be swept away by the soul-destroying deceptions with which he is flooding the world. Therefore he seeks to divert their minds from the word of God, and thus prevent them from gaining a knowledge of those truths that would be their safeguard.
Never should books containing a perversion of truth be placed before children or youth. And if those with mature minds had nothing to do with such books, they would be far safer.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8 pp. 299-308