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    February 16, 1897

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—3” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 3.


    E. J. Waggoner

    (Thursday Afternoon, Feb. 11, 1897.)

    We should keep in mind the statements of the first chapter, because the second chapter depends upon the first, and the third chapter depends upon the second, and so on. Let the chapter divisions drop out as you study.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.1

    Before beginning where we left off yesterday, let us remember from the first chapter that God speaks in his Son, who is so much higher than the angels, high as they are, powerful as they are; that he sits at the right hand of God. Their work is to minister. They have been sent to men with messages from the Lord, with commandments and directions from the Lord. We read of that in the Old Testament, and whenever those commandments were disobeyed, those directions disregarded, every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.2

    But what does the Son speak to us? — Great salvation. Salvation began to be spoken by the Lord, and was brought to us, and confirmed by them that heard it.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.3

    Christ was upon the earth; his lips moved; men saw his lips move, and they wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. God was speaking. How often you hear these words: I do not speak of myself; I have not spoken of myself. God was in Christ speaking the word of reconciliation. Now Christ is gone above, and in his stead, as his representatives, he has put into us the word of reconciliation. Now who said that? Have I said it? — No, the Word says it. Then do not think of it as anything that you have heard me say; but here you read it, and you read it again, and read it alone at home, and when you read it, do not read Brother Kilgore, or Brother Loughborough, or Brother Olsen, or other ministers in there. It does not say the preachers. Who is he talking about here? — “If any man be in Christ.” Then it is any man that is in Christ. God has put into him the word of reconciliation. And we want to understand that here is the lesson for us to-day — that God does not know anything about classes and masses, and in the church he does not have high and low. But he has men, and they are all men: and to every one, according to his several ability, God has given the word of reconciliation. And it does not rest upon this man who is a preacher, any more than it does upon you, except as God may have given him greater ability and a wider field. The Word is one and the same for every individual who is in Christ, and that Word is the word of reconciliation. “Therefore if anyman speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” And he can do it too, if he allows God to speak in him, not his own word, but the Word of God.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.4

    I thank God so often when I see and hear of the controversy about the priesthood in the churches that claim to have a sacrificing priesthood, and a clergy who have the right to speak the word, — I thank the Lord that he says to every one of his people, “Ye are a kingdom of priests, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.”GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.5

    We read this morning, from the Testimonies, “The work of saving human souls is an interest infinitely above any other line of work in our world.” And when we think of the last verse of the first chapter of Hebrews, we can get some idea of the infinite worth of that work. Angels who excel in strength, angels whose might is that of the mighty winds, God has commissioned to be servants of those who have this work committed to them of saving souls. It is wonderful to think of. It is humiliating to me, and makes me feel ashamed to think how lightly I have esteemed it; to think that God has given to us the work of proclaiming the gospel, while these wondrous beings are ministers to us. He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation, even that same word that Christ proclaimed. And there is given unto us on this earth the identical work that Christ had. For “we pray you in Christ’s stead be ye reconciled to God.” And Christ has given to those mighty beings, simply the work of waiting upon, serving, helping us to whom this ministry is given.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 33.6

    There is something marvelous and altogether unnatural, unworldly, about the gift of God; for when he puts a man in high position — and he has put every one of us in a high position — it does not exalt him, but it humbles him. When the world puts a man in a high position, it exalts him. Why has not God given the angels the work of preaching the gospel and saving souls? — Because he has not put the world to come in subjection unto angels. Here is some glorious comfort for every one to whom God has committed the work of saving souls. Those who hear Christ, proclaim it with the power of God’s witnesses, — miracles, signs, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He has given the teaching of the Gospel to men. He has put the world to come in subjection unto men. And it is an infinitely high work that God gives to man? —GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.1

    What is man that thou are mindful of him? Or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; and crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.2

    Where do we find that testified? — In the first chapter of Genesis, and the eighth Psalm. Just think of those two passages; they are doubtless familiar. The Lord said:—GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.3

    Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.4

    Note each statement. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and every creeping thing. And it was so. So God did it. The Psalm says:—GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.5

    What is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.6

    There is complete dominion given to man. “For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left not anything that was not put under him.” We see that God gave Adam dominion over all the earth. Does that mean that God took a back seat, and abdicated in favor of man? — No. God could not give up his right, because all things existed only in him. It is the Word of God that upholds all things. And it is his power that rules all things. Therefore the dominion which God gave to Adam over all the earth, over the birds and beasts and fishes, was just as complete as God’s power, just as complete as God’s dominion; for he was ruling in Adam. All things stand by his Word. He spoke, and it was. So when we look abroad on the things of nature, we see evidences of his power. When we look over the meadow, we see the Word of God made grass. God spake, and, lo! that Word appeared as a tree, or as grass.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.7

    You may have seen pictures of voice forms, even human voice forms, that when a note would be uttered so that the breath which formed that note would impinge upon a membrane upon which were particles of sand, in every instance the sand that was set in motion by the vibration took different forms, shapes of things. This is simply an illustration, just a hint of the fact that God “spake and it was.” God spake, and his voice took all the infinite forms that we see in nature; and everything that we see, and every spot that our foot treads upon, was given by God to let us know that his Word is something, and not mere emptiness.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.8

    As the last act of creation, God made man. And as in all creation we see the Word of God made trees, grass, etc., in man we see the Word of God made flesh. He was the son of God. We find that in the third chapter of Luke. Sometimes we think those genealogies are pretty dry things, but the point of it all is in the very last word.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.9

    So here we stand looking at what ought to be, for we know that whatsoever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, nothing taken away from it. Now we are looking still, and we see man there, with all that God gave him. Now what next does the text say? — “Now we see not yet all things put under him.” Fallen as nature is, God has absolute control over the beasts and birds and fishes; even yet they will do his will. They do it as far as man will let them. Man is the only being that will not yield perfect obedience. And it is man’s interference and rebellion that stops them from obeying Him. We are looking at the earth; but what earth is it that was given to man? — The world to come. So unto the angels has he not put into subjection the world to come, but he has put it under subjection to man. That dominion which man had in the beginning over the beasts and birds and fishes, and over the earth, is the dominion which God has given to man over the world to come. So that in the world to come man again will have that complete and perfect dominion over everything that God has made; all will be subject to him as unto God, subject to him as head, because God is in him, and God will be all in all. Then the Word will be made flesh in its perfection just as it was in the beginning in Adam. “But now we see not yet all things put under him;” but on the contrary, we see just the reverse. In the first place, all things were put under man; in the next place, man is under all things. In the first place, man was on the top; now he is under. Fallen man has everything on him. He is bound hand and foot, delivered over to Satan; he is fallen. So while we are looking at man in the noble position in which he was made in the beginning, as we still look at him we see Jesus; because in the beginning the Word was made flesh, and so it is Christ, the Word, in Adam. There we see Jesus. Where? — Just in the same place where man fell; there we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels because he took man’s place. When, in the beginning he was infinitely higher, for the suffering of death, to rescue man, to save man, to raise him up, he took his place. Now, if one will lift up another who falls, he must go where the man is. Wherever there is a fallen man, Jesus is there. But I am a fallen man, too. Just let each one of us take that to himself. The Lord has not cast off man. We read, “For the Lord will not cast off forever.” He does not cast off at all. No; man takes himself away; God does not cast off. And there is nobody that can pluck man out of his hands. There we are safe as long as we are willing to abide in him.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 34.10

    We see man perfect, with dominion; then fallen, with everything above him, and on him, and against him. Looking still there, we see Jesus as man, and for the suffering of death we see him crowned with glory and honor; that, by the grace of God, he should taste death for every man. Therefore, wherever you see a man fallen, — and he cannot fall lower than into the grave, — there you see Christ, who went into the grave and tasted the depths of sin and degradation for every man. So every man’s degradation and sin is on Christ — the man Christ Jesus. But the same man Christ Jesus is crowned with glory and honor. Now mark: A crown signifies a king or ruler. Where in this chapter have we first read about a crown? “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; and crownedst him with glory and honor.” That is to say, you have made him king, a king of glory. Adam, the king of glory and honor; so long was he over all things. But when he sinned, then he lost the glory he had. But now we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, and in the position that man was in, in the beginning. But he is crowned with glory and honor in the same nature as man had. So just as God made man, and crowned him with glory and honor, we now see the man Jesus, that Man who is in every man crowned with honor and glory; and he added all things unto him.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 35.1

    Now read the last words of the first chapter of Ephesians:—GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 35.2

    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. Verses 17-21.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 35.3

    But what was the name which Jesus always delighted to give himself while upon this earth? — The Son of man. The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. When ye hath delivered the Son of man. The Son of man shall go to Jerusalem, and they shall crucify him, and he shall be buried. And on the third day theGCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 35.4

    Son of man shall rise again. But and if ye shall see the Son of man. Ye shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven. All this time it is the “Son of man.” And this Son of man we see, because of his faithfulness, crowned with glory and honor, and having under him all principalities and powers and might and dominion, not only in this world, but also in the world to come. For unto the angels hath he not put under subjection the world to come, but he hath put the world to come in subjection to man, even Jesus, and ye are complete in him. Read in the second chapter, verses 1-6:—GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 36.1

    And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 36.2

    Where is he? — Far above all principalities and powers. Is not the work of saving souls far above everything else in this world? It has been said that “to be a Roman is greater than to be a king.” In this day, and in every age, to be a Christian is greater than to be a king of this earth. And now we have that Word confirmed unto us by them that heard him, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost,” according to his power, because under the angels he had not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak. That simply says that the power, the honor, the glory, the dignity to accompany the preaching of the gospel which God has put into those who are reconciled to him, is the power and glory of the world to come.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 36.3

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—4” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 4.


    E. J. Waggoner

    (Friday Afternoon, Feb. 12, 1897.)

    What contrast in words is there in the beginning of this second chapter of Hebrews? The word of the Lord, and the word of the angels; and the word of the angels was steadfast. But what is the difference between the word spoken by the angels and the word spoken by the Lord? What word does the Lord speak? — Salvation. Did the angels speak that word? — No. See what the text says: “If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward,” then every neglect, every transgression, and every disobedience of the word which the angels spoke received a recompense of reward.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 43.1

    Now, what is the contrast? “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” And this great salvation was first spoken by the Lord, and then confirmed unto us by them that heard him.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 43.2

    Where do the angels come in in this work of salvation? They have a place, but not any place in the line of carrying the word. It first began to be spoken by the Lord, and then comes to us by them that heard it. Now, where do the angels come in in this spreading abroad of the word? — They do not come in. But what is their relation to it? — They are ministering servants, — waiters upon those who carry this word; and I say again, as I said yesterday, there comes over me every time I think of it, a most wonderful feeling of awe; it frightens me. And yet I am glad to think of the wonderful work committed to man, a work so great — just think of it! We need to dwell upon that to realize the glory of this ministry.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 43.3

    Now, that does not say that we are great. It is not saying that we are above the angels, because we are doing a work which is not committed to them, and a work that they cannot do. That work of salvation is spoken only by the Lord and them that hear him, but not by angels, because under them he hath not put into subjection the world to come. Then this proclamation of the word of salvation has an intimate relation with the world to come. And what is this world to come whereof we speak? — A new heavens and a new earth; the world has been put into subjection to man, according to the testimony of one who testified in a certain place about man, saying, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor.” A crown signifies a king; therefore when God made man he made him a king. He wore a crown of glory, signifying a kingdom of glory. O, the whole earth was full of the glory of God undimmed. Then man was a king of glory, and his kingdom was the earth. All things were put under him. There was nothing that was not put under him. Every living thing was put under him, and he was the ruler over all, and the earth itself was in subjection to him. But the power back of and in it all was God’s power, for God alone has power.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 44.1

    Man was made in the image of God, of the dust of the earth. “The Lord God formed man dust,” literally, not formed him of the dust, but formed him dust. He then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. But the man was dust, and after he was crowned with glory and honor he was nothing but dust. Now this dust that God took and formed into this shape, and crowned with glory and honor, he put over the works of his hands put under him all things, gave him dominion over all things; and so it was dust that had dominion over all things. He was still dust; and how much more power had this dust that was formed in this figure than that dust that still lay on the ground? — It had no more power. And that is demonstrated in the fact that when the breath which God puts in there is gone, it is just as helpless as it was before, or as that other dust. Then the power is not in the dust; and here is just where the world — all mankind — make the mistake. Man sees his face and form in the mirror, and admires himself, and he will not believe that he is dust; or, if he does acknowledge that he is dust, it is a different kind of dust than any other kind. The failure to recognize this is what makes one man assume lordship over another, to think himself better than another man; and the Lord wants us to keep to first principles all the time. Man at the best is nothing but dust. We cannot dwell upon that too much, because the forgetting of it is what led to all sin in the beginning. Satan said to Eve that she would become like God. Now, if she had remembered the Word, and her origin, could she have supposed that that would be true? — No. It is the forgetting of it that lifts up man and makes him proud. Man in his highest state is nothing but dust.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 44.2

    What is the difference between that dust thrown out there, and this here? God has chosen to use this dust in a little different way from what he uses that dust. God had a purpose in that dust; it is worth something; it will produce fruit. Here is dust that God has caused to bring forth another kind of fruit. How much more right has this dust that can walk about instead of being blown about by the wind, to boast of what it does than that dust out there in the field has. Out there you will see some beautiful, fine, rosy-cheeked apples. But it is not supposable that that dust in the field should begin to boast: Why, I am better than that dust in the road; that dust in the road does not do any good, but lies there day after day, and does not accomplish anything. See what I have done. And yet it has just as much right to do that as we have to boast of anything we have done.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 44.3

    Here is a lesson of encouragement of what God can do. Man, placed over the works of God’s hands, crowned with glory and honor — only dust still — is an evidence of the power of God.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 44.4

    But now looking at that inanimate dust with all things put under him, what is the next thing we see? — The next thing is that all things are not under him. Still looking at that; what do we see? — We see Jesus. We see him made a little lower than the angels, right down where man fell. What has he now? — A crown of glory and honor. But before he got that crown of glory and honor, what did he have? — He took death; he tasted death.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 44.5

    First, we see man crowned with glory and honor, having dominion over the works of God, everything under him. We keep on looking, and we see not all things under him, but instead, we see Jesus down at the very place where man fell; and we keep on looking, and next we see him crowned with glory and honor. That is the order. He was made a little lower than the angels; he was man. So that when we consider him now, we consider him as man, and from this point through we have Jesus before us all the time, but always as man. Never forget that. When man in the beginning was made a little lower than the angels, and then Jesus made a little lower than the angels, what was the difference? — There is none. When God made Adam by his Word, the Word was made flesh. As God spoke all things into existence, his words went forth, and, lo! the earth appeared. His Word went forth; he spoke; he said, Trees, and they were there; he said, Grass, and it was; so that all these things that grow over the ground are visible manifestations of the Word. It is the Word of life, and these are simply some of the various forms of the life of the Word. And so with man formed there in the beginning. There we see the Word manifested as flesh. The power by which this was done was God’s power, and so God was in the Word, and the Word was in Adam, so that this power could be manifested in him, God dwelling in him and working in him; God taking this dust and using it to do these wonderful things. It is God that worketh in you to will and to do his good pleasure. Now, if God is there, and I am here, that is altogether too far away. It is God that worketh in me. The Word was made flesh, and the life of Adam was the life of God. He has no other life. Now the blessedness of this is, when man fell, the Word was made flesh. But suppose God had forsaken him, and had not been willing to make the Word flesh; what would have become of him? — He would have returned to dust. But God continues his life to man. So when man fell, God goes right down there with him. Is that so, or is it some fancy? Did God continue life to man, notwithstanding he had sinned? We are here, are we not? We are sinners. We are living, are we not? Whose life is it manifested in us? — It is God’s life. Then God continues his life to sinful men. When sin entered, death came; so when man sinned, death came upon him. God stayed with him; therefore, in that he stayed with man, although man had sinned, God took upon himself sinful flesh. And so he took upon himself death, for death had passed upon all the world.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 45.1

    Now, let us see further. All creation is continued until now “by the same Word.” Everything in this world is kept by the same Word. Although everything is cursed, and everybody can see that, it is yet a fact that it continues; it is an evidence that God is there, Christ is there, the divine Word is there bearing the curse. But in what thing does Christ endure the curse? Where is that point where the curse falls upon Christ? — Sinful flesh. Not only sinful flesh, but that which stands as the symbol of the curse that falls upon Christ — the cross. What is the evidence that he bears the curse? — “Accursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Death and the cross both together mean the curse; therefore wherever there is anything, there is the curse. Nevertheless, wherever there is anything, there is Christ. Wherever there is anything, then, that exists and bears the curse, there is Christ. But where Christ has the curse upon him, he bears the cross. Then do you not see the truthfulness of that statement which appeared from Sister White about a year ago, that “the cross of Christ is stamped upon every leaf in the forest?” And a little later than a year ago there appeared in a first-page article of the Review and Herald a statement that the very bread we eat is stamped with the cross. There is something wonderful in that. Perhaps when you read that in every blade, and every leaf, there is the cross of Christ, some of us read it over without thinking about it, and some of us simply said, with Nicodemus, how can this be? How soon do we find Christ crucified, then? — Just as soon as there was any curse. And he is risen again as well, because if you preach Christ crucified, his resurrection necessarily goes with that.GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 45.2

    Now, see how God has proclaimed the gospel for our encouragement everywhere. People are inclined to get discouraged; Christians are likely to think, Well, the Lord has forgotten us. Did you ever think that way, as though the Lord didn’t care for you; — that he has left you alone? Is there any one who has not felt that way, discouraged, in short? I am not of much importance in this world, we sometimes say; I am of no consequence; I am only one very insignificant and despised, and justly despised; I could drop out, and it wouldn’t make any difference. He said that not a sparrow can fall to the ground without his notice; and why? — Because the life of God is there, and there is nothing that can come upon anything in this world that God does not feel. It touches him personally, because his life is all the sensibility that there is in this world. You are struck, you are beaten; you feel it. What makes you feel it? If you were dead you wouldn’t feel it. Why do you feel it? — Because you are alive. Where do you get life? — It comes from God. It is God’s own life isn’t it? Then is it possible for a human being to be touched, just touched — not beaten, bruised, or despised — and the Lord not feel it? Can it be so, whether saint or sinner? Can anything happen to any creature in this world does God not feel? Whither shall I go from his presence, and where shall I go to be away from the presence of God? We cannot get away, because God’s power is in everything; and therefore a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Lord knowing it. We live with all these infirmities. That is Christ in the flesh, then. Do you suppose that Christ would have endured all this, and stayed here all these years, with all this infirmity and wickedness and weakness and sin upon him, and then by and by step out and let it all drop? If he was to do that, he would have let it drop in the beginning; but the fact that he came in fallen humanity is an evidence of God’s presence, and his presence to give life. And so God on everything has put the stamp of the cross, — upon every leaf, upon every blade of grass, upon everything that we have to do with. He simply means that everywhere we go, and everything we have to do, and everything we eat, and the air we breathe, — through these he is simply preaching the gospel to us, giving the gospel to us. Encouragement, strength, salvation!GCB/GCDB February 16, 1897, page 45.3

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