I was also shown the case of Brother T. He has placed himself in a condition of bondage to which God did not call him. God is not pleased when aged fathers give their stewardship into the hands of unconsecrated children, even though these profess the truth. But when the means which the Lord has entrusted to His people is placed in the hands of unbelieving children who are enemies to God, He is dishonored; for that which should be retained in the ranks of the Lord is placed in the enemy’s ranks.
Again, Brother T has acted the part of a deceiver. He has used tobacco, but would have his brethren think that he did not use it. I saw that this sin has prevented his advancement in the divine life. He has a work to do, at his advanced age, to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. He has loved the truth, and has suffered for the truth’s sake. Now he should so estimate the eternal reward, the treasure in the heavens, the immortal inheritance, the crown of glory that is unfading, that he can cheerfully sacrifice the gratification of depraved appetite, let the consequence or suffering be ever so great, in order to accomplish the work of purification of the flesh and of the spirit.
I was then shown his daughter-in-law. She is beloved of God, but held in servile bondage, fearing, trembling, desponding, doubting, and very nervous. This sister should not feel that she must yield her will to a godless youth who has less years upon his head than herself. She should remember that her marriage does not destroy her individuality. God has claims upon her higher than any earthly claim. Christ has bought her with His own blood. She is not her own. She fails to put her entire trust in God, and submits to yield her convictions, her conscience, to an overbearing, tyrannical man, fired up by Satan whenever his satanic majesty can work effectually through him to intimidate this trembling, shrinking soul. She has so many times been thrown into agitation that her nervous system is shattered, and she is merely a wreck. Is it the will of the Lord that this sister should be in this state and God be robbed of her service? No. Her marriage was a deception of the devil. Yet now she should make the best of it, treat her husband with tenderness, and make him as happy as she can without violating her conscience; for if he remains in his rebellion, this world is all the heaven he will have. But to deprive herself of the privilege of meetings, to gratify an overbearing husband possessing the spirit of the dragon, is not according to God’s will. He wants this trembling soul to flee to Him. He will be a covert to her. He will be like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Only have faith, trust in God and He will strengthen and bless. All three of her children are susceptible to the influences of the truth and Spirit of God. Could these children be as favorably situated as are many Sabbathkeeping children, all would be converted and enlist in the army of the Lord.
I was then shown a young girl of the same place, who had departed from God and was enshrouded in darkness. Said the angel: “She did run well for a season; what did hinder her?” I was pointed back and saw that it was a change of surroundings. She was associating with youth like herself, who were filled with hilarity and glee, pride, and love of the world. Had she regarded the words of Christ, she need not have yielded to the enemy. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” Temptation may be all around us, but this does not make it necessary that we should enter into temptation. The truth is worth everything. Its influence tends not to degrade, but to elevate, refine, purify, and exalt to immortality and the throne of God. Said the angel: “Will ye have Christ, or the world?” Satan presents the world with its most alluring, flattering charms to poor mortals, and they gaze upon it, and its glitter and tinsel eclipse the glory of heaven and that life which is as enduring as the throne of God. A life of peace, happiness, joy unspeakable, which shall know nothing of sorrow, sadness, pain, nor death, is sacrificed for a short lifetime of sin. All who will turn from the pleasures of earth, and with Moses choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, will, with faithful Moses, receive the unfading crown of immortality and the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
The mother of this girl has at different times been susceptible to the influence of the truth, but she has soon lost the impression through indecision. She lacks decision of character, is too vacillating, and is affected too much by unbelievers. She must encourage decision, fortitude, steadiness of purpose, which will not be swerved to the right or left by circumstances. She must not be in a state of such vacillation. If she does not reform in this respect she will be easily ensnared and taken captive by Satan at his will. She will have to possess perseverance and firmness in the work of overcoming, or she will be overcome and lose her soul. The work of salvation is not child’s play, to be taken hold of at will and let alone at pleasure. It is the steady purpose, the untiring effort, that will gain the victory at last. It is he who endureth to the end that shall be saved. It is they who patiently continue in well-doing that shall have eternal life and the immortal reward. If this dear sister had been true to her convictions, and had possessed steadiness of purpose, she might have exerted a saving influence in her family, over her husband, and she might have been a special help to her daughter. All who are engaged in this warfare with Satan and his host have a close work before them. They must not be as impressible as wax, that the fire can melt into any form. They must endure hardness as faithful soldiers, stand at their post, and be true every time.
God’s Spirit is striving with this entire family. He will save them if they are willing to be saved in His appointed way. Now is the hour of probation. Now is the day of salvation. Now, now, is God’s time. In Christ’s stead we beseech them to become reconciled to God while they may, and in humility, with fear and trembling, work out their salvation. I was shown that it was the work of Satan to keep the church in a state of insensibility, that the youth may be secured in his own ranks. I saw that the youth were susceptible of the influence of the truth. If the parents would consecrate themselves to God and labor with interest for the conversion of their children, God would reveal Himself to them and magnify His name among them.
I was then shown the case of Brother U, that Satan had been fastening his bands about him and leading him away from God and his brethren. Brother V has had an influence to greatly darken this brother’s understanding with his unbelief. I was pointed back and shown that the wisest course was not pursued in this brother’s case. There was not sufficient reason why he should have been left out of the church. He should have been encouraged, even urged, to unite with his brethren in church capacity. He was in a more fit state to come into the church than several who were united with it. He did not understand things clearly, and the enemy used this misunderstanding to his injury. God, who sees hearts, has been better pleased with the life and deportment of Brother U than with the lives of some who were united with the church. It is the Lord’s will that he should come close to his brethren, that he may be a strength to them and they a strength to him.
The wife of Brother U can be reached by the truth. In many respects her deportment is not as questionable as that of some who profess to believe all the truth. Yet she must not look at the failures and wrongs of those who profess better things, but earnestly inquire: What is truth? She can exert an influence for good in connection with her companion. These souls, sanctified through the truth, can in the strength of God be pillars in the church and have a saving influence upon others. These dear souls are accountable to God for the influence they exert. They either gather with Christ or scatter abroad. God requires the weight of their influence in His cause on the side of truth. Jesus has bought them by His own blood. They are not their own, for they have been bought with a price. Therefore the work is before them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are His. We are doing work for eternity. It is of the highest importance that every hour be employed in the service of God, and thus to secure a treasure in heaven.
I was shown your case, Brother V, in connection with the church at —–, two years ago. The vision related to the past, present, and future. As we travel and I stand before the people in different places, the Spirit of the Lord brings before me clearly the cases I have been shown, reviving the matter previously given me. I was shown you as receiving the Sabbath, while you stood opposed to important truths connected with the Sabbath. You were not fortified with all the truth. I then saw your mind directed in the channel of unbelief, of doubt and distrust, and seeking to obtain those things which were calculated to strengthen unbelief and darkness. Instead of searching for evidence to strengthen faith, you took the opposite course, and Satan directed your mind in a course to suit his own purposes. You love to combat, and when you enter the field of battle you know not when to lay down your arms. You love to argue, and have indulged in this until it has led you from the light, led you from the truth and from God, to where you have been enshrouded in darkness, and unbelief has taken possession of your mind. You have been blinded by Satan.
Like faithless Thomas, you have considered it a virtue to doubt unless you could have unmistakable evidence, removing from your mind all cause for doubt. Did Jesus commend the unbelieving Thomas while granting him the evidence which he declared he would have before he believed? Jesus said unto him: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered: “My Lord and my God.” He is now compelled to believe; there is no room to doubt. Jesus then said: “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” You were represented to me as uniting with the rebel leader and his host to annoy, perplex, dishearten, discourage, and overthrow those who are battling for the right, who are standing under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Your influence, I was shown, has turned souls from keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. You have employed your talents and your skill to manufacture weapons to place in the hands of the enemies of God, to fight those who are trying to obey God in keeping His commandments. While angels have been commissioned to strengthen the things that remain, to withstand and counteract your influence, they have looked with the deepest grief upon your work to dishearten and destroy. You have caused pure, sinless, holy angels to weep.
Those who are living amid the perils of the last days, days which are characterized by the masses turning from the truth of God to fables, will have close work to turn from the fables which are prepared for them on every hand, and have an appetite to feast upon unpopular truth. Those who turn from these fables to truth are despised, hated, and persecuted by those who are presenting fables to the people for their reception. Satan is at war with the remnant who are endeavoring to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. Evil angels are commissioned to employ men as their agents upon the earth. These can the most successfully exert an influence to make Satan’s attacks effective against the remnant whom God calls “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This, Satan is determined to hinder. He will employ everyone who will engage in his service to hinder the chosen people of God from showing forth the praises of Him who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light. To hide, to cover up this light, to cause people to distrust it, to disbelieve it, is the work of the great rebel and his host. While Jesus is purifying His people unto Himself, redeeming them from all iniquity, Satan will employ his forces to hinder the work and prevent the perfection of the saints. He does not exert his power upon those who are all covered up with deception and walled in by fables and error, and who make no effort to receive and obey the truth. He knows he is sure of them; but those who are seeking for truth, that they may obey it in the love of it, are the ones who excite his malice and stir his ire. He can never weaken them while they keep close to Jesus; therefore he is pleased when he can lead them in a course of disobedience.
When we sin against God, there is a disposition to fall behind Jesus a day’s journey; we seek to separate from His company because it is distasteful, for every ray of light from His divine presence points to the sin of which we have been guilty. Satan exults over the sins which he has induced souls to commit, and he makes the most of all these failures and sins. He rehearses them to the angels of God, and taunts them with these weaknesses and failures. He is in every sense an accuser of the brethren, and exults over every sin and wrong which God’s people are beguiled to commit. You, Brother V, have been engaged in this same work to quite an extent. You have taken what appeared to you like wrongs, weaknesses, and errors in the ranks of Sabbathkeeping Adventists, and have brought them to the notice of the enemies of our faith who were warring against that company unto whom angels of heaven were ministering, and whose cause Jesus, their Advocate, was pleading before His Father. He cries, “Spare them, Father, spare them, they are the purchase of My blood,” and lifts to His Father His wounded hands. You have been guilty before God of a great sin. You have been taking advantage of those things which grieve, which bring anguish upon the people of God as they see some of their numbers unconsecrated and frequently overcome by Satan. Instead of aiding these erring souls to get right, you have triumphantly made their errors conspicuous to those who hated them because they professed to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. You have made it very hard for those who were engaged in the work of saving the erring, hunting up the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Because of Israel’s disobedience and departure from God, they were allowed to be brought into close places and to suffer adversity; their enemies were permitted to make war with them, to humble them and lead them to seek God in their trouble and distress. “Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” This took place immediately after the children of Israel had given themselves up to their rebellious murmurings and to unjust, unreasonable complaints against their leaders whom God had qualified and appointed to lead them through the wilderness to the land of Canaan. The Lord directed their course where there was no water, to prove them, to see if, after receiving so many evidences of His power, they had learned to turn to Him in their affliction, and had repented of their past rebellious murmurings against Him. They had charged Moses and Aaron with selfish motives in bringing them from Egypt to kill them and their children with hunger, that they might be enriched with their possessions. In doing this the Israelites ascribed to man that which they had received unmistakable evidence was from God alone, whose power is unlimited. These wonderful manifestations of the power of God He would have them ascribe to Him alone, and magnify His name upon the earth. The Lord brought them over the same ground of trial repeatedly to prove whether they had yet learned His dealings and repented of their sinful disobedience and rebellious murmurings. In Rephidim, when the people thirsted for water, they were again proud, and showed that they still possessed an evil heart of unbelief, of murmuring, of rebellion, which revealed the fact that it would not yet be safe to establish them in the land of Canaan. If they would not glorify God in their trials and adversity, in their travels through the wilderness to the Canaan in prospect, while God was continually giving them unmistakable evidence of His power and glory, and His care for them, they would not magnify His name and glorify Him when established in the land of Canaan, surrounded with blessings and prosperity. Because the people thirsted for water, they were provoked, so that Moses feared for his life.
When Israel was assailed by the Amalekites, Moses gave Joshua directions to fight with their enemies while he would stand with the rod of God in his hand, with his hand raised toward heaven in the sight of the people, showing to rebellious, murmuring Israel that their strength and power was in God. He was their might and the source of their strength. There was no power in that rod; God wrought through Moses. Moses had to receive all his strength from above. When he held up his hands, Israel prevailed; when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed. When Moses became weary, preparations were needful to keep his weary hands continually raised toward heaven. Aaron and Hur prepared a seat for Moses, and then both engaged in holding up his weary hands until the going down of the sun. These men thus showed to Israel their duty to sustain Moses in his arduous work while he should receive the word from God to speak to them. This act was also to show Israel that God alone held their destiny in His hands, that He was their acknowledged leader. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven…. For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”
As the angel of God presented these facts in the travels and experience of the children of Israel, I was deeply impressed with the especial regard of God for His people. Notwithstanding their errors, their disobedience, and their rebellion, they were still God’s chosen people. He had especially honored them by coming down from His holy habitation upon Mount Sinai and, in majesty and glory and awful grandeur, speaking the Ten Commandments in the audience of all the people and writing them with His own finger on the tables of stone. The Lord says of His people Israel: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers.”
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 99-108