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    February 22, 1897

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—8” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 7.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Wednesday Afternoon, Feb. 17, 1897.)

    We are studying God, the power of God. What words in the second chapter of Hebrews have brought this subject before our minds? — “We see Jesus.” That covers the whole thing. And in what capacity is he presented there for us to see? — “A little lower than the angels.” He is as man. Under what circumstances are we directed to look at him? under what circumstances is he set forth?GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.1

    (Answered by the congregation) “Crowned with glory and honor.”GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.2

    But before that, what?GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.3

    In death, crucified. The suffering of death is first. He tasted death for every man, so that in these words, “We see Jesus,” we are to see him in the capacity of man. But under what circumstances are we to see Jesus tasting death for every man? When we preach Christ, as Paul says, “We preach Christ crucified.” But that expression, “Christ crucified,” embraces the resurrection as well; and the resurrection embraces “crowned with glory and honor.”GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.4

    Yesterday we went to the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, and in that chapter we found the message which says, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” — “All flesh is grass.” But that is not all, because if that were all, it would leave us nowhere. There is another part of it — The Word of the Lord endures forever. And the message then is summed up thus: “Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.” And thus: “We see Jesus;” “Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.”GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.5

    The lesson therefore that we are to learn now — and I do not see any use of our going further along in this book at present until we can grasp that lesson, or until we can learn to obey this injunction — is, “Behold your God.” Let us look at the fortieth chapter of Isaiah a few moments further:—GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.6

    The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.7

    Here is a message that the one who proclaims it need not be afraid to declare: “Lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.” This last message, then, is to point out God to the people so that they can see him.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.8

    It will not be necessary for anybody to point out the Lord when he comes, and tell people to see him. They will see him without his being pointed out. “Every eye shall see him.” It will not be necessary then for you to call some one’s attention, and say, Behold your God, because they who know the Lord will be looking for him, and they will know him. It will not be of any use then to say to sinners, “Behold your God,” for it will be too late. Therefore this message, “Behold your God,” is to be proclaimed before the Lord comes; so that when he does come, his people will know him, and they will say, “Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him.” It would not be right to say to those who knew not God, “Behold your God,” for he is not then their God. Every man in the world has made gods to himself, has served gods of his own, but the Lord knows that we are ignorant, and he has compassion upon us even though we have said in our hearts, We do not want the Lord. We have said by our actions, We do not care to have him over us. Our works have denied him, but God does not take us at our word. He says, They are poor, ignorant children. They do not know what they are talking about. The Son says, I will go and declare thy name unto my brethren. “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10. Every one who knows the Lord must trust him, must love him, because he is trustworthy and lovable.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 99.9

    Now as the message to be proclaimed for these last days is to prepare a people for the Lord when he shall be revealed, and every eye shall see him, we know it will be right to say, Behold the Lord. The work of those who profess to give the message or accept the message is to say to the world, Behold your God, and to give the message to all. Has the Lord cast off all the poor, ignorant weak people in the world — the heathen — whether in this or some other country? — No, he loves them and counts them still his children. You know the story in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. The prodigal son took his father’s goods, and went off and wasted them. The father did not cast him off; but that he loved him and longed for his return is shown by the fact that when he saw him afar off he ran to meet him, and said, “This my son was dead, and is alive again. He was lost and is found.” So all the time he was gone he had never forgotten him; he still regarded him as one of his children, and longed for him to come back. Now this is the way the Lord looks at all the people on the earth. He calls them his children, and he longs for them to return and to learn of him.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.1

    The devil has deceived the world. He has borne false witness against God, and he has made all, to a greater or less extent, believe that God is unjust and overbearing, and that he does not concern himself particularly with the affairs of men. Now we are to go to the world and say to them, Behold your God. But before we can do that, it will be necessary that we ourselves know him. Suppose I go out with that message, and say, Behold your God, and some one asks, Where is he? but I do not see him, what shall I do? We must be able to show God. Where can we see and learn of God? — In the things that he has made. His eternal power and divinity are seen in the works of his hands. So when we learn to see him in his works, then we can say to the people, Behold your God.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.2

    But God is revealed in Christ. Because all these things that were made, were made by Christ the Word. Very well, but Christ as he is present before the world, is presented as Christ crucified and raised again. He is the One of whom we are to say, This is our God. We must cause the people to see him crucified for them, and risen again for their justification. Just as we have read in Romans 10:6-9. It does not say, Who shall go up into the heavens, to bring Christ down to us that we may see him; it does not say, Who shall go into the deep to bring Christ up from the deep, that we may have the benefit of his sacrifice; but, The Word, Christ, the Word of faith which we preach, is nigh thee.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.3

    Have we not an illustration of that in the sermon of Paul before the Athenians? They were groping after God, feeling after him in their ignorance. He said, God is not worshiped with man’s hands. He is not far from every one of us. Did he mean by that that he was a little way off? — No; in him we live, and move, and have our being. Then he is so near that he is identified with us. God, the Lord, the Word that was made flesh for us, has identified himself with man so closely that the bonds can never be broken, never be dissolved; he is one with human flesh, and will be through all eternity.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.4

    Now I say that when we can see that this is a living reality to us, there is courage and strength for us. Why, here I am, a sinner myself. I want to put my sins on the Lord, I want to be led of him; not only the sins that I have committed, but this sinful disposition. How am I going to do it? — “Cast all your care upon him.” How are we going to cast upon him all our care? This is a practical question.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.5

    How many actually know how to cast their cares upon the Lord? Shall I try to gather them all up in a bundle, and throw it on the Lord? — No, we cannot do that. If we remember the first words that we learned in the book of Hebrews, we have it — “upholding all things by the word of his power.” He bears all things. All things are included. Sin is included; yes, he bears our sins; he bears all the sorrow and infirmities of the world. But suppose I do not believe that fact, — and there are many who do not, — does that make any difference? Now, there is the statement: He bears all things by the word of his power. But if I do not believe that, will that make any difference with the fact? God is true, though every man is a liar. Who is the liar? — He is a liar who does not believe the Word of God. That is the liar always, because whosoever does not believe God, makes him a liar; that is, whosoever does not believe the Word of God, virtually says, God is a liar. When any one says, God is a liar, what is he doing? — He himself is lying. And who is it that says, God is a liar? — Every one that does not believe.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 100.6

    Let us see. There is a word here in the first epistle of John, second chapter, and twenty-first verse. It will come right in here very well: “Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” Well, now, it is easy enough to say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; but it is one thing to say it, and another thing to know it, to believe it. What is meant by that, that he is the Christ? — The Anointed, the Saviour. What is his work as the Christ? — It is to save, to come into personal touch with the individual, to bear sins; yes, to bear our sins. How many sins does Christ bear? — The sins of all. You have that in the first part of the second chapter: “He is the propitiation for our sins,” — and then we forget the rest of the verse, very likely, — “and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” literally, “that beareth the sins [plural] of the world.” What brought death? — Sin. He tasted death for every man. Therefore, how many sins did he have upon him? — The sins of every man.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 101.1

    Now we are coming to the same thing again. He bears the sins of every man. That is a fact. Now, I hope it is a fact that we have believed that so much that we have been content that he should bear them, and not we. Does it lessen the load in the least if we continue to bear them all? — No, he bears them anyhow. If we deny this, there is no faith in Christ at all, because there is the simple statement, He was manifested to take away our sins. He takes them away by bearing them away. He hears them, and takes them away. If we do not consent that he shall bear them, if we are not willing to acknowledge that he does bear them, but allow them to be upon ourselves, then, of course, we make him a liar, and that makes us liars, and we get no practical benefit of the arrangement.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 101.2

    But now he bears the sins of the world. Take ourselves, even before we were converted; did he bear our sins then. — Yes. Well, did you ever commit a sin, or have a sin or a sinful habit that was somewhere off away from you? If that sin had even been one foot away from you, if there was a clear space between you and the sin, you could have gotten along pretty well. The trouble was the sin was right in you all the time. And because we were sinful, there was sin in us, and we ourselves were sin. We had the burden of it; but all the time what was true of Christ? — He was bearing our sins. Where was he, then? — In us; he was living in us — not in a general way. Christ is not in us in a general way, but personally and individually.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 101.3

    We must find out for ourselves whether we believe the simplest things which the gospel presents. Christ bears the sins of the world, and he has done so from the beginning. You have heard the story often about the man who was going along the road with a bag of corn on his shoulder, and a neighbor came along with a wagon, and asked him to come and ride. So he got up and sat in the seat behind; and pretty soon the driver looked around and saw the man with the bag of corn still on his shoulder, and he said, Why don’t you lay that down? — O, it is too much for the horse. It is enough for him to carry me without my load.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 101.4

    Now, if we carry our sins, does that lessen the load from the Lord? — No; he still carries them. This is no speculation. We are trying to come to practical facts, and if we believe them, and do not hold them off, we will find all the good there is in them. He bears the sins of the world. But now there are many people who never become rid of their sins. There may be some here. If there is one here who has never known what it is to get rid of his sins, then I hope this lesson will help him to see clearly and understand how to let the sin go, and get rid of it; because I have no message whatever to the people to say in a general way, Come to the Lord and accept him as your Saviour, and let your sins be on him, and he will save you. It is easy to say that, but people do not understand it. Where is he, that I should come to him? Where can I find him? They do not see that. Poor people by the thousands, who are honest, and earnest, and eager to get rid of sin and to live righteous lives, accept him; they think if they will believe something, why the Lord will bless them — and he does. The Lord in his infinite mercy takes the slightest whisper, the slightest impulse, even the thought that is afar off, and meets it, and works on account of it. But yet we know — I know, and you know from your own experience — that there are many people who confess Christ, profess to be Christians, who have no clearly defined idea what it is to come to the Lord, to find the Lord, and to know him, and to be personally acquainted with him.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 101.5

    Now what we want is to stop trifling. If the Lord is so near, and to be found, we want to find him; and he says: Seek ye the Lord while he is near. While he may be found, call upon him. While he is near, O, so near that you do not have to go across the room; you do not have to go anywhere at all but here; he is within you. He was so near me all those years that I did not know anything about him, and he was bearing my sin. Why? — Because the Lord Jesus is in everything that he has made. He upholds all things, because he is in them. He is cohesion even to inanimate nature. It is the personal, powerful presence of God that keeps the mountains together, and the stones from crumbling to pieces; because God is there with his personal power. And we saw yesterday about the grass, and the trees, and the rootlets, — that they take up the nourishment that is adapted to them, and leave to one side that which is not fitted for them. That fine discrimination which takes what is necessary for them, and leaves the other aside, we saw was nothing but the power of God doing for them just what we say is instinct in the animals; and when it comes to man, we call it reason. That is God’s personal presence. Now if we acknowledge that he is in us, that we are as grass and plants, and acknowledge that as truly as the grass itself does, then this power of God will lead us to make just the same right choice as does the grass, the rootlet, and the tree, in choosing that which is necessary for them.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.1

    “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness.” But the trouble is, people will not acknowledge this. They are not willing to acknowledge that they have no power, and so reason that they do not need the Lord, and do not let the Lord take possession of them. In the first chapter of Romans, after stating that that which may be known of God, his eternal power and divinity, is manifested since the creation of the world in the things which he has made, we have this:—GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.2

    So that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.3

    They (the heathen, the people) became vain in their reasonings, and their fleshly heart was darkened. And so we read in 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5, —GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.4

    (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.5

    This means that what we deify as human reason, is simply folly. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” So that deified human reasoning, apart from the Lord, is simply folly. If men would reason rightly, they must leave themselves in the hands of God, whose power works in them, for him to be their reasoning: for he chooses for them. The word “heretic” means one who chooses for himself. Now that does not mean that the man who does not choose the thing which I say, is a heretic, — that the man who does not choose for himself aside from the church, is a heretic. No; the whole church may be heretics, yet they may be orthodox according to the creed. The man is a heretic who chooses for himself, instead of letting God choose. When we believe that all flesh is grass, we simply allow God in us to choose for us as he chooses in the rootlet and the plant, to select that thing which is necessary. The rootlet will go a long distance in search of what it needs, and will find it every time. It will go a long distance to find moisture, and leave the dry place alone. It is passive in the hands of the Lord, and the Lord chooses for it, and it is simply right.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.6

    We are to learn this truth, to behold God in the things he has made. Thus we are to behold God in us. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh. Then if we believe the Word, we must believe that the Word is flesh. And that truth which, accepted, will lift sinners out of sin, and put them up on high, is a recognition of the simple fact that God is in them; that he is their life, he is their strength; that nothing is apart from God.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 102.7

    Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. Isaiah 43:24.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.1

    It fills me with shame and regret, and at the same time, with a most wonderful love for the Lord, to think that in all the sins I have been committing all those years, I was making the Lord bear them: that I was worrying him with them. Because he does not love sin. It is distasteful to him; it is disgusting to him; and yet he allowed his life to bear these sins, and was worrying with them. But it should fill everybody with love to think of his long-suffering, that in order to deliver us from these sins, he is willing to stay with us year after year, with these things that we are piling upon him, and still remain there, waiting and waiting for us to recognize that fact that he is here, so that we will let him bear them, and we be freed from them. Now take the fourth chapter of Ephesians. We will begin with the fourth verse:—GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.2

    There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.3

    The best Greek translation, if I remember correctly, leaves that word “you” out, and reads, “Who is above all, and through all, and in all.” Suppose we take it as it reads, “Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” There is not half of you here that believe it even that way because we have that miserable Pharisaic idea, that God is in us as soon as we are good enough for him to come into us, — God is in us because we are not like those sinners. Is that not the Pharisaical prayer? — Yes. As Christians, we believe that Christ comes to dwell in us, and yet we think of it as in a sort of general way afar off. But here he is above all, and through all, and in you all. Is it true? — Yes; the spirit of God standing here and speaking to this congregation says, “And in you all.” He is not in us all because we are good, because we can thank God that we are not as this poor sinner. He is above all, and through and in all.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.4

    But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Verses 7-10.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.5

    We here have the death and resurrection of Christ brought to view. The same thing that we have before us all the time. Now while it is a fact that God, yea, the Lord Jesus Christ, is in all things, he does not fill all things yet, because men are fighting against, and holding down, and opposing the truth. But the purpose of God, in the crucifixion and the ascension, is that he might fill all things as in the beginning, absolutely fill them. But because of man’s sin, God does not absolutely fill from creation, and the fullness of God is not seen. In the beginning, the absolute perfection of God was seen in everything he had made. Now it is not. But God’s purpose is that they shall be restored, and he ascended on high so that he might fill everything. Now going back to the third chapter:—GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.6

    For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... that Christ may dwell in your hearts.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.7

    Thus we see that Christ may dwell in our hearts. But in the tenth of Romans the words are addressed to those who do not know the Lord, but who are groping about, and asking, Where shall we find him? “The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart.” Then why did the Spirit, through the apostle Paul, pray that Christ may dwell in the heart? When speaking to sinners, he says, The Word, Christ, is in thy heart. But Paul prays that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. There is a difference, and that is a great difference. Before, Christ was in my heart, and I did not know it. Christ was in my flesh, he was my life, in him I moved and had my being. It was his power that caused my blood to circulate; his life was all that I had, but I did not know it, I did not care anything about it. But do you not see that as soon as a man recognizes that fact, believes that fact, and lives in daily conscious recognition of that fact that Christ is in him, that Christ is his life, that he has no life or power whatever but the life and power of Christ, it makes a vast difference with that man’s life? He will say, O, I do not belong to myself at all; I thought I had a right to do as I please, but I have not; this is not my power or strength.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 103.8

    God is the only one who has a right to control a man. And when Christ dwells in the heart by faith, then the petition will be fulfilled: “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, the length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Instead of repressing him, with unrighteousness, and simply allowing him to give us enough of his life to sustain our daily physical lives, we will take enough of his life to keep us going, and allow him to fill us with all his fullness. There is a vast difference. Crucified and risen in the flesh, in every man’s flesh, I carry to the people that message, Behold your God, crucified and risen, not far from you, but in your mouth and heart; believe that he is your life, that he was crucified and has risen to deliver you from death and sin. When we recognize that, then he will fill us. If we do not, then the Scripture is fulfilled, “Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.”GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 104.1

    But God has made man for a higher position than that of the beasts. If we simply allow him to live in us this physical life, we get no more from him than the beasts get. But God did not make us to be beasts; he made man for his own companionship. He made men to be like him, because they are like him. We are his offspring, his children, made to be associates, friends, and to be associated with him, — I do not know how to express it so that you will not get a wrong idea, — but it is to be on terms of equality; and although he is so far above us, he does not make us feel that he is coming down or condescending to talk with us; and when we get into heaven, although we may recognize to all eternity that he is infinitely beyond every other being in the universe, we will feel no more restraint in coming into his presence than we would to go into the presence of our earthly parents. We will be as a child coming to its father, without any reserve or restraint. That is what he made us for.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 104.2

    Now if you are content that he should give us no more of his life than he gives to the beasts, then our reasoning faculties become like those of the beasts. Those men who, when they knew God, glorified him not as God, did not honor him, but became vain in their reasonings, and became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man — they forgot God, and they worshiped the idols of their own hands. And the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm says of these idols and these men, “They that make them are like unto them.” So that when these men became vain in their own reasoning, they became like the gods they worshiped. It has been a wonderful help to me to think that there is not a thing that touches humanity — there is not a thing that touches me, there is not anything that I feel, that oppresses me, that hurts me, or causes me pain, physical pain, or any other kind of pain, — there is nothing of which I am conscious, or that affects my system that I am unconscious of, but that it touches the Lord Jesus Christ. If I am sick, every pain that racks my body touches the Lord, and he feels it, because if I were not alive, I could not feel it. It is my sensitiveness, it is my sensibility, my nerves, the life that is in me, that feels that pain. He is my life. He feels it. There is something in this that can lift a man up, and enable him who is weak to become strong. As Paul says, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” The sin that I have committed, he felt it more than I did, because I enjoyed it, and he did not. I loved the sin, but he did not love it; it was disgusting to him, but he felt it all. Then I say, Lord, I have done this thing; if you will bear this thing, and you do bear it, just take it. Let it drop on him; he will carry it. He came in the flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, to show us how perfectly in the flesh he could resist sin.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 104.3

    Now it does not mean anything in this world to me, or to anybody else, to look at him, and see how he does this, if he does not do it in me. Suppose we look to him for an example; but if Christ is simply an example for us to look at, and we see Jesus of Nazareth, how good he was, how kind he was, how wise he was, — if that were all, I would have no hope. It would be only discouragement; but when he says, Behold your God, where are we to behold him, afar off? — No, right here.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 104.4

    One Being from the beginning to the end allowed God to perfectly fill him. That is the reason why he was so prudent, and did just the right thing, and thought the right thing. He always knew when to answer questions, and when not to say anything. He was just right because God filled him, and that is an illustration of just what he can do. Now, he says that same power is in my flesh. “The Word is in thee, even in thy heart.” All right. I have seen what he can do. Now, I will simply believe, and let him do that in me; and then Christ dwells in my heart by faith — and faith is the taking and appropriating of the thing; it is not professing to believe to-day, and doubting to-morrow. The just shall live by faith. We would not live very long if we breathed to-day and stopped breathing to-morrow.GCB/GCDB February 22, 1897, page 104.5

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