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    July 4, 1895

    “A Lesson for All Time” The Signs of the Times, 21, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Second Psalm

    In this psalm we have questions and answers and exhortations. They are applicable at all times, but most especially at the present time, as we shall see. The psalm begins with the question:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.1

    “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?”SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.2

    The word “heathen” is the same as “nations.” Among men the word “heathen” is usually considered as synonymous with “uncivilized;” but the Bible calls all men heathen who do not serve the Lord, no matter how much they may have of the veneer and polish of what is called civilization. It will be noticed that in the margin we have “tumultuously assemble” as the equivalent of “rage.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.3

    Plotting against the Lord

    What is the cause of the tumultuous gatherings of the people? And what is the vain thing which they imagine? The second and third verses give the answer:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.4

    “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.5

    The reader will see, by looking at John 1:41 and margin, that the words “Anointed” and “Christ” are the same. Therefore we may read, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Christ.” Thus it is quoted in Acts 4:25, 26. The Father and the Son are inseparable. It is impossible to speak against one without opposing the other. It is impossible that there should be such a thing as believing in God but not in Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6. They are one in redemption, as they are one in creation.SITI July 4, 1895, page 401.6

    Notice well that the hands and cords of both are the same. Some people like to persuade themselves that in casting away the law of the Lord they are following Christ. They try to believe that Christ came for the purpose of turning men from their obligation to keep the law of God. That is a part of the “vain thing” which the people imagine. He who seeks to cast off the law of the Lord, is rejecting the yoke of Christ. Jesus says, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. The law of God is the law of Christ.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.1

    Rejecting God’s Love

    What is there about the law of God that should cause men to try to shake it off? Is it a burdensome yoke?—Not by any means. Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Now see how perfectly this agrees with what is said of the law: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. Instead of being a burdensome yoke, the law of God in Christ gives peace and rest. It is a comfort. “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:23. “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.2

    Since the law of God is love, it is evident that those who seek to cast away God’s bands and cords, are rejecting his love. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:7. Christ is he by whom men are drawn (John 12:32), because in him is God’s law of love. To reject the law of God is to reject Christ.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.3

    Everlasting Cords

    It is indeed possible for men to cast away from them the loving bands of God’s law; but can they break them asunder?—Never. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” Psalm 111:7, 8. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89. Therefore “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. The cords with which God draws men are the cords of love, or his law, and this love is everlasting; consequently those cords are everlasting. Men may shake them off, but it is a “vain thing” to think of breaking them.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.4

    Men fancy that they have done away the law, when they have only made it void in their own hearts. They think that the law of God has changed, when it is only they who have changed. The Papacy, “that man of sin,” has boasted great things against God, setting itself forth in the place of God; but yet the prophecy says that at its greatest it can only “think to change times and laws.” Daniel 7:25. It can go no farther than the thought; it can accomplish nothing except vainly to persuade itself and its dupes that it has the power. The law of God is “like the great mountain.” Far better mighty puny man think to level the Alps or the Himalayas with pickax and spade, than to overthrow the law of God.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.5

    Opposition to God

    There is no nation on earth that has not set itself in opposition against God. No argument will be needed to establish this statement so far as it concerns what are called “heathen nations.” But what about the so-called “Christian nations”? They have done the same thing. Following the lead of the Papacy, they have every one enjoined the observance of the first day of the week in direct opposition to God’s law, which commands the observance of the seventh day. Let a man who is in court to answer for working on Sunday quote the fourth commandment, and he will be told that the court does not recognize that, and that the law of the land must be enforced, no matter what the Bible says. Thus men exalt themselves above God. In setting aside the Sabbath of the Lord for this Sunday of pope and pagan, governments to-day as really set themselves against Christ as did “Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the gentiles, and the people of Israel.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.6

    A Laughable Farce

    How does the Lord regard these attempts upon his law? Here is the answer:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.7

    “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.8

    It is well known that ants have means of communicating among themselves, and that they have a form of government, doubtless as perfect for them as human government is for men. Suppose now that we were able to understand their language, and should overhear them plotting to overthrow this government and all other governments. Would there not be a peal of laughter that would sound throughout the earth? The idea is too ridiculous for consideration. But the difference between ants and men is not nearly so great as that between men and God. “All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.” Isaiah 40:17. No wonder that God laughs at the “great swelling words of vanity” that men speak.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.9

    Men may rage and storm, but the government of God is in no danger. Every attack upon it will only recoil upon the misguided men who make it. It is forgetfulness or ignorance of this fact that causes people sometimes to manifest so much zeal in defending the Lord’s cause. Many laws have been made by men for the purpose of “protecting” the religion of Jesus Christ. If those men had known the Lord, they would rather have sought his protection for themselves. We wonder that every such law, however conscientiously made, has been a miserable failure. Since it was uncalled for, it was only in the way. The attempts of men to prop up the government of God are as ridiculous, even if they be not as wicked, as the attempts of men to overthrow it. They show that men vainly imagine themselves to be more powerful than God, and that he is dependent upon them. When God laughs at human designs against his government, we need not be alarmed, for its safety. Our only anxiety should be to seek, and to induce others to seek, His protection.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.10

    Troubling the Wicked

    What will God do to those wicked people?SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.11

    “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.12

    In the margin we have “trouble” as the formative of “vex.” Notice that it requires only a word from the Lord to throw men in confusion. It is not necessary that he even speak; a look is sufficient. When the horde of Pharaoh were pursuing Israel through the Red Sea, “it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.” Exodus 14:24. We can trust the Lord to defend and protect his own cause and his own people.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.13

    A Royal Decree

    In the face of the plots against his government, the Lord says:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.14

    “Yet have I anointed my King upon Zion, the hill of my holiness.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.15

    Men may think to bread asunder the hands of the Lord and his Anointed, but nevertheless the proclamation of Christ as King is calmly made in the face of it. And when Christ has thus been proclaimed King, what will be the result? Here is the announcement which Christ makes to prove his right to reign:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.16

    “I will declare the decree; The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.17

    The prophet declares: “The government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” Isaiah 9:6, 7.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.18

    God’s Everlasting Kingdom

    Let it not be forgotten that only “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” It is not done by any human agency. It is the Lord God, and not man, who gives to Christ the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth.SITI July 4, 1895, page 402.19

    When the nations are given to Christ, together with the whole earth, for what purpose is it? He himself tells us in the remainder of the decree which God issued to him:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.1

    “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.2

    In the second chapter of Daniel the nations of earth are represented as an image composed of various metals. The kingdom of Christ is represented as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, with the following result: “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:35.SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.3

    That image represented the nations of earth until the end of time. The head of gold represented Babylon, which passed away hundreds of years before the first advent of Christ. The breast and arms of silver, representing Medo-Persia, long since ceased to figure in the affairs of the world. The brass, representing Grecia, crumbled to pieces under the iron monarchy of Rome; and Rome itself, represented by the legs of iron, went into a decline soon after one of its governors hearkened to the wicked counsels of the people, and crucified the Lord of glory. Then it became divided, retaining some of the strength of the iron, but incapable of united action, and in that condition, it has been for about fourteen hundred years. That is a long time as men count, but not long enough for God to forget. We are living in the days when we must expect as the next great event the smiting of the nations, and their utter destruction by the Lord.SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.4

    An Exhortation

    In view of all this, how important the exhortation:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.5

    “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.6

    In this last we have given the literal rendering, as in the Revision. Very soon will the wrath of the Lord be kindled. How are the kings and judges of the earth to kiss or acknowledge allegiance to the Son, and thus escape his wrath?—Manifestly by obeying his commands. Certainly not by presumptuously passing laws designed to “protect” him and his cause. The Lord asks for their submission, not for their support. This is shown by the closing words of the psalm:—SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.7

    “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.8

    Instead of thinking to uphold the government of God, men, even though they be kings, are to seek his protection for themselves. This will not be done by their passing laws defining how, other people shall worship God, but by their personally obeying the laws that God himself has made for the guidance of all men, both high and low. When the time comes that the Lord takes possession of his inheritance, and begins to reign, and “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,” flee to hide themselves in the dens and caves of the earth, saying to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:15, 16), each one will be acting only for himself. Even so they must act only for themselves in serving God, if they will yield to him. No man, even though he be king or judge, can serve God for another. Each individual, however high or low, is called upon to render personal obedience.SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.9

    The thing that God calls upon men to do is to cease fighting against him. That message, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; he instructed, ye judges of the earth,” is one which the servants of God are now to bear. “Before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings,” the message is to go. It is not a message of denunciation, but of entreaty. Every nation of earth has set itself up against God, and successive rulers and judges have accepted as a matter of course what has been done by their predecessors, and have acted on the same plan. Not all are by any means knowingly guilty of opposition to God. Therefore they are to be shown what is the real power of God, that they may have opportunity to yield to it.SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.10

    It is natural for men to make much of the fact that cruel persecution results from the laws that have been made to supply a supposed deficiency in the government of God. But that evil, although great, is only secondary. The primary and the chief evil is the opposition to God’s law. If they would deal fairly with God, no injustice could possibly result to men. And the burden of those who love the Lord will ever be, not that they are oppressed, but that God is dishonored, and that those who are dishonoring him are endangering their own souls. The evil with its consequence is to be faithfully set before them, together with the invitation and assurance, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” E. J. W.SITI July 4, 1895, page 403.11

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