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From Heaven With Love

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    A Heavy Shadow

    It was a bright picture, but across it lay a heavy shadow which Christ's eye alone discerned. “The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast.” When they should see their Lord betrayed and crucified, the disciples would mourn and fast.HLv 181.2

    When He should come forth from the tomb, their sorrow would be turned to joy. After His ascension, through the Comforter He would still be with them, and they were not to spend their time mourning. Satan desired them to give the impression that they had been deceived and disappointed. But by faith they were to look to the sanctuary above where Jesus was ministering for them; they were to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit and rejoice in the light of His presence. Yet days of trial would come. When Christ was not personally with them and they failed to discern the Comforter, then it would be more fitting for them to fast.HLv 181.3

    The Scripture describes the fast that God has chosen—“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke”; to “draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul.” Isaiah 58:6, 10. Here is set forth the character of the work of Christ. Whether fasting in the wilderness or eating with publicans, He was giving His life for the redemption of the lost. The true spirit of devotion is shown in the surrender of self in willing service to God and man.HLv 181.4

    Continuing His answer to the disciples of John, Jesus spoke a parable: “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.” Matthew 9:16, RSV. An attempt to blend the tradition and superstition of the Pharisees with the devotion of John would only make more evident the breach between them.HLv 182.1

    Nor could the principles of Christ's teaching be united with the forms of Pharisaism. Christ was to make more distinct the separation between the old and the new. “Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17, RSV. Skin bottles used as vessels to contain new wine, after a time became dry and brittle, and were then worthless to serve the same purpose again. The Jewish leaders were fixed in a rut of ceremonies and traditions. Their hearts had become like dried-up wine skins. Satisfied with a legal religion, it was impossible for them to become the depositaries of living truth. They did not desire that a new element should be brought into their religion. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul could find no place for union with the religion of the Pharisees, made up of ceremonies and the injunctions of men. To unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would be vain. The vital truth of God, like wine, would burst the old decaying bottles of the Pharisaical tradition.HLv 182.2

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