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    March 3, 1897

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—11” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 14.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Monday Afternoon, Feb. 22, 1897.)

    Hebrews 3:1-6: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 232.1

    We will spend a few moments in seeing what the text says. Who are we to consider? — Christ, the Apostle, and High Priest of our profession. What was the characteristic of him? — He was faithful. He was as faithful as whom? — As Moses. That was a good recommendation for Moses. To whom was he faithful? — To Him that appointed him. And who was he that appointed him? — God, the Father. And Moses was faithful — where? — In all his house. In whose house? — The house of God. In what capacity was he faithful? — As a servant. Christ was faithful in what capacity? — As a son. Over what? — Over his house. Christ is a son over whose house? — God’s house. Not over his own house, but over God’s house, the same house in which Moses was faithful. In the Revised Version the word “own” is very properly omitted.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.1

    Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, and Christ was faithful as a son. Christ was faithful as a son over God’s house, and that house was composed of whom? — Of us, provided what? — Provided we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the end. Very good. Now, what is the prominent thing that we have here before us in these verses? — Faithfulness? Yes; the faithfulness of Christ, that is one thing; another thing is God’s house. How many houses has God?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.2

    (Congregation) “One.”GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.3

    We can settle that, that God has but one house, without our own authority, by seeing what the house of God is. What is the house of God? — The church of God. Where do you find that? — In 1 Timothy 3:15, we find the statement that the house of God is the church of the living God. The house of God is the church of God. What other name have we besides the church, for God’s house? — The body. We have that stated in the first chapter of Ephesians. The church is the body of Christ. How many bodies are there? — One body. This statement is found in the fourth chapter. That being the case, the matter is settled. The house is the church, the church is the body, and there is only one body. Then how many houses? — Only one house; one church. Therefore the house in which Moses was so faithful, is identical with the one in which Christ is faithful. The church in the wilderness is the same church that God has to-day.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.4

    In 1 Peter 2:4, 5 we read that, coming to Christ “as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Coming to whom? — To Christ. What is he? — The living stone. You read of that stone in the twenty-eighth of Isaiah: “Behold, I lay in Sion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” Not only is he the corner stone, but the whole foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid.” And what is that? — Jesus Christ. So the foundation is Christ. Now, coming unto him as unto the living stone, what is wrought for us? — “Ye also as living stones.” What is the nature of the foundation? — It is a live stone. When any one comes and settles down upon that stone, what effect does it have upon him? — It makes him living. Every stone that is put upon that stone becomes living. It partakes of the nature of the foundation. The Life of the foundation comes up into it. “Ye also as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.”GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.5

    Now turn to the second chapter of Ephesians, and you find the nature of this house. It is a stone house, but such a stone house as you nor I nor any one else ever saw any man build. In Ephesians we have another part of this story:—GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.6

    [Christ] came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.7

    A household consisting of sons and daughters is often spoken of in the Bible as a house. We speak of the house of David. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets;” that is the foundation laid by them, “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Now notice that as the stones become alive as soon as they are placed upon the living Stone, so the house is alive and grows. In Christ “all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” That is the same thought that we had yesterday — Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith; the reception of the Spirit of God brings Christ into the heart. In promising the Spirit, he says, I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. And so he says in the fourteenth chapter of John, that not only I, but my Father also will come and dwell with that man, and abide with him. So here we have the statement that we are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. What is the habitation of God — what is the place where God dwells? — The temple. The house, or, in other words, the church, the body as a whole, is the temple of God. But in order that it may be so as a whole, what is necessary? What do we have in the third and sixth chapters of First Corinthians? — “Know ye not that ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost?” or, “that ye are the temple of the living God?” So that when these different living stones — the different individuals — becomes thus filled full, then the whole mass of living stones is filled, and the whole thing becomes the temple of God. When does this take place, that is, at what time? Is it in the future that the church is to become the temple of the living God, an habitation of God through the Spirit?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 233.8

    (Voices) It is now.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.1

    Are you sure of that? You must not be hasty in that statement. Let us examine. It says, “ye are.” “Ye are builded.” Shall we take it that after the house is built, the Lord will come and look it over, and if it suits him he will move in? — No; he is the foundation; he is there first, and the house is built on him, and in him, and through him, and he is in the house. That is a fact.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.2

    Now, if we are all agreed that the house of God, his temple, his church, is for his present habitation, let us see what are the characteristics of God’s house, his temple. In the temple of God, as the prominent feature of it, is the throne of God. God’s throne is in his temple, and the temple itself is a living temple. Here we have the temple of God, a living house, composed of living stones, in which God himself dwells by his Spirit; and you have said that that must be the case now.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.3

    Let us turn to the first chapter of Ezekiel, and notice the statements that are there made concerning the throne of God:—GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.4

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.5

    And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.6

    Now I behold the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, those went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 234.7

    And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 235.1

    Here, then, we have the best description that human language could frame, of the throne of God. Now, if every one of us, or the whole body, the church, is the temple of God, then of course the throne of God is in his temple. And what kind of a temple is it? — A living house. What is the characteristic of his throne? — It is a living throne, composed of living creatures. It is all alive. From the throne of God comes life, the river of life. That is the source of life, infinite life. The throne of God is life because just the same as when we come to the living foundation we are made alive, so everything that is in God’s presence must be living. His presence gives life, and his throne is a living throne, for his house is a living house.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 235.2

    Take the twentieth verse: “Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went.” Who went? — The living creatures that form the throne. Whithersoever his Spirit is to go, they go. How long did it take for the order to reach them, and for them to go to this place or that? Does it say anything about any order being given? — No. Then what was it — whithersoever the Spirit was to go, their spirit was to go? How could that be? What does that show us? — That the spirit that was in them was the Spirit of God. There is but one Spirit in the whole. Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, their spirit was to go because the Spirit of life was in them; so that God’s throne is, we may say, alive with his presence, just tingling, active with the presence of his Spirit pervading it all. God thinks, he wishes to go; and instantly he is there; for we must not think of God as shut up to one fixed place — the throne went and came back like a flash of lightning. They went hither and thither; but they turned not when they went; whithersoever the Spirit was to go they went. That is the perfection of motion. That is the perfection of organization.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 235.3

    Now what do we have on earth as the most perfect human organization? — A well-drilled army is the most perfect organization on earth. You take the German army, for instance. A man in one place can give the word, can press an electric button, and the whole mass of troops will instantly be in motion. They may be around the barracks, but they will instantly fall into their places, every man in his place, and they will march at the word of command. There you will see them marching like one man, and suddenly they stop; or, they wheel and go in another direction, just as though there was but one man. What causes these different movements? — The word of command. How does it come about that all these men move together as one man? — By organization. Yes; but the drill comes in this: those men there in the ranks have been trained to hold their minds ready to listen to the word of command, so that, when the officer thinks a certain evolution, and puts his thought into a word, and as soon as the word goes out, what does it produce? — It produces that same thought in the mind of each man in the ranks. For some thought must precede the action, so that they think his thought, only it takes an appreciable length of time for his thought to become theirs. But their minds are subordinated to his mind.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 235.4

    Now, suppose those soldiers were simply dreaming of their own affairs, some of one thing and some of another, would they have that perfect drill? — No, sir. When a body of men are drilling, their bodies are set; there is a sort of stolidity there, so far as that is concerned. They are simply there as machines, with no business to have any mind at all; the less mind of their own that they have, the better machines they are; and that is all they want to be, so that the mind of the commanding officer will be put into them, and they move. He thinks for them. Just as he thinks, they do. That is the perfection of military drill; that is the most perfect organization that is known.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.1

    (Voice) No, sir. The church of Christ is the most perfect organization on earth? Is it not?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.2

    The church of Christ is not a human organization. The army is the most perfectly organized thing that the human mind can conceive or bring to perfection. When the word is given, then the next one gives the command to the different parts of that division, and they move all together, perfectly and harmoniously. But it is only a machine, consequently there is no individuality; there is only one mind in the whole army. That is accomplished by hard work, — a hard, arbitrary thing; and after years of that, the fact is seen that the man is useless for anything else — for any other kind of work. He must take orders from somebody else; he is simply a machine. That is the result of one human mind being subject to another human mind.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.3

    But here, on the other hand, we have God’s organization, his house, the perfect body. Do we find in it one man’s mind controlling another man’s mind, as in the army? — No. There we have mind acting upon mind; here in this we have, it is true, only one mind, but it is the mind of God, the Spirit of God. “Whither the Spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went,” because the Spirit of life, the Spirit of God was in them. That is the perfect organization. You said that this thing of God dwelling in his temple, in this living house, is a thing not for the future, but for the present time. Do you hold to that still? — Yes. Another question: Do you see any such perfection of organization anywhere on earth where men without drill as in the army, move as one man? — No. What is the conclusion, then?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.4

    Let us consider the matter closely. Here are two statements which you yourselves have made: You have said, having read the scriptures as to what the temple of God is, what it is for, — the habitation of God through the Spirit, — that the time is now, has been a long time, of course, when God would dwell in his people in this living house. We have read here what is the characteristic of that temple of God, when God dwells in it, as shown by the movement of his throne, — perfect, spontaneous action, because the Spirit of God was their spirit. They had the same Spirit, his spirit was through them, so that when the Spirit thought, they thought the same thing. Then you have stated, as a second thing, that you never saw on earth any such unity, any such perfection of movement, in any body of people.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.5

    (A voice) Were not the apostles thus united at the time of Pentecost?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.6

    O, yes; but we have not seen them. What now is the conclusion? — Simply this: That God is not dwelling in this temple in his fullness, or else we are not letting it be built into a temple just as he wants it. I was reading a statement here just after class yesterday, which I will read to you:—GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.7

    To the prophet, the wheel within the wheel, the appearances of living creatures connected with them, all seem intricate and unexplainable. But the hand of infinite wisdom is seen among the wheels, and perfect order is the result of its work. Every wheel works in perfect harmony with every other. I have been shown that human instrumentalities seek after too much power, and try to control the work themselves. They leave the Lord God, the mighty Worker, too much out of their methods and plans, and do not trust everything to him in regard to the advancement of the work.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.8

    When is it that we leave God too much out of our plans — under what circumstances? — When we do not trust everything to him.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.9

    No one should fancy that he is able to manage these things which belong to the great I AM. God in his providence is preparing a way so that the work may be done by human agents. Then let every man stand at his post of duty, to act his part for this time, and know that God is his Instructor.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.10

    Again:—GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.11

    Christ breathed upon his disciples, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Christ is represented by his Holy Spirit to-day in every part of his great moral vineyard. He will give the inspiration of his Holy Spirit to all those who are of a contrite spirit. Let there be more dependency upon the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, and far less upon human agencies. I am sorry to say that at least some have not given evidence that they have learned the lesson of meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. They do not abide in Christ, they have no vital connection with him. They are not directed by the wisdom of Christ, through the impartation of his Holy Spirit. Then I ask you, How can we regard these men as faultless in judgment? They may be in responsible positions, but they are living separate from Christ. They have not the mind of Christ, and do not learn daily of him. Yet in some cases their judgment is trusted, and their counsel is regarded as the wisdom of God.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.12

    That means every one who is not thus moved by the divine power.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.13

    When human agents choose the will of God, and are conformed to the character of Christ, Jesus acts through their organs and faculties.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.14

    There we have exactly the thing we have read here in the Bible. God acts through the organs and faculties of the members of his church, when all are subject to him. Have we had that as yet demonstrated among us? I do not know the heart of any man. I do not say that there have not been many who have let the Lord use their organs and faculties completely; but have we, in this our work, seen Christ in our little experience, acting through the organs and faculties of the mind and body of his people in this way?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 236.15

    They put aside all selfish pride, all manifestations of superiority, all arbitrary exactions, and manifest the meekness and lowliness of Christ. It is no more themselves that live and act, but it is Christ that lives and acts through them.GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 237.1

    In closing, I would like to ask, What practical use are we going to make of this lesson? What must we seek in order to be God’s perfect temple?GCB/GCDB March 3, 1897, page 237.2

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