Read Ellen G. White,
(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
More than half a century had passed since the organization of the Christian church. During that time the gospel message had been constantly opposed. Its enemies had never relaxed their efforts, and had at last succeeded in enlisting the power of the Roman emperor against the Christians.
In the terrible persecution that followed, the apostle John did much to confirm and strengthen the faith of the believers. He bore a testimony which his adversaries could not controvert and which helped his brethren to meet with courage and loyalty the trials that came upon them. When the faith of the Christians would seem to waver under the fierce opposition they were forced to meet, the old, tried servant of Jesus would repeat with power and eloquence the story of the crucified and risen Saviour. He steadfastly maintained his faith, and from his lips came ever the same glad message: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” 1 John 1:1-3.
John lived to be very old. He witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin of the stately temple. The last survivor of the disciples who had been intimately connected with the Saviour, his message had great influence in setting forth the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, the Redeemer of the world. No one could doubt his sincerity, and through his teachings many were led to turn from unbelief.
The rulers of the Jews were filled with bitter hatred against John for his unwavering fidelity to the cause of Christ. They declared that their efforts against the Christians would avail nothing so long as John’s testimony kept ringing in the ears of the people. In order that the miracles and teachings of Jesus might be forgotten, the voice of the bold witness must be silenced.
John was accordingly summoned to Rome to be tried for his faith. Here before the authorities the apostle’s doctrines were misstated. False witnesses accused him of teaching seditious heresies. By these accusations his enemies hoped to bring about the disciple’s death.
John answered for himself in a clear and convincing manner, and with such simplicity and candor that his words had a powerful effect. His hearers were astonished at his wisdom and eloquence. But the more convincing his testimony, the deeper was the hatred of his opposers. The emperor Domitian was filled with rage. He could neither dispute the reasoning of Christ’s faithful advocate, nor match the power that attended his utterance of truth; yet he determined that he would silence his voice.
John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil; but the Lord preserved the life of His faithful servant, even as He preserved the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, John declared, My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture Him. He gave His life to save the world. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for His sake. I am a weak, sinful man. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.
These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in.
Again the hand of persecution fell heavily upon the apostle. By the emperor’s decree John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, condemned “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9. Here, his enemies thought, his influence would no longer be felt, and he must finally die of hardship and distress.
Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction for the church for all future time. The events that would take place in the closing scenes of this earth’s history were outlined before him; and there he wrote out the visions he received from God. When his voice could no longer testify to the One whom he loved and served, the messages given him on that barren coast were to go forth as a lamp that burneth, declaring the sure purpose of the Lord concerning every nation on the earth.
Among the cliffs and rocks of Patmos, John held communion with his Maker. He reviewed his past life, and at thought of the blessings he had received, peace filled his heart. He had lived the life of a Christian, and he could say in faith, “We know that we have passed from death unto life.” 1 John 3:14. Not so the emperor who had banished him. He could look back only on fields of warfare and carnage, on desolated homes, on weeping widows and orphans, the fruit of his ambitious desire for pre-eminence.
In his isolated home John was able to study more closely than ever before the manifestations of divine power as recorded in the book of nature and in the pages of inspiration. To him it was a delight to meditate on the work of creation and to adore the divine Architect. In former years his eyes had been greeted by the sight of forest-covered hills, green valleys, and fruitful plains; and in the beauties of nature it had ever been his delight to trace the wisdom and skill of the Creator. He was now surrounded by scenes that to many would appear gloomy and uninteresting; but to John it was otherwise. While his surroundings might be desolate and barren, the blue heavens that bent above him were as bright and beautiful as the skies above his loved Jerusalem. In the wild, rugged rocks, in the mysteries of the deep, in the glories of the firmament, he read important lessons. All bore the message of God’s power and glory.
All around him the apostle beheld witnesses to the Flood that had deluged the earth because the inhabitants ventured to transgress the law of God. The rocks thrown up from the great deep and from the earth by the breaking forth of the waters, brought vividly to his mind the terrors of that awful outpouring of God’s wrath. In the voice of many waters—deep calling unto deep—the prophet heard the voice of the Creator. The sea, lashed to fury by the merciless winds, represented to him the wrath of an offended God. The mighty waves, in their terrible commotion, restrained within limits appointed by an invisible hand, spoke of the control of an infinite Power. And in contrast he realized the weakness and folly of mortals, who, though but worms of the dust, glory in their supposed wisdom and strength, and set their hearts against the Ruler of the universe, as if God were altogether such a one as themselves. By the rocks he was reminded of Christ, the Rock of his strength, in whose shelter he could hide without fear. From the exiled apostle on rocky Patmos there went up the most ardent longing of soul after God, the most fervent prayers.
The history of John affords a striking illustration of the way in which God can use aged workers. When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labor, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos he made friends and converts. His was a message of joy, proclaiming a risen Saviour who on high was interceding for His people until He should return to take them to Himself. And it was after John had grown old in the service of his Lord that he received more communications from heaven than he had received during all the former years of his life.
The most tender regard should be cherished for those whose life interest has been bound up with the work of God. These aged workers have stood faithful amid storm and trial. They may have infirmities, but they still possess talents that qualify them to stand in their place in God’s cause. Though worn, and unable to bear the heavier burdens that younger men can and should carry, the counsel they can give is of the highest value.
They may have made mistakes, but from their failures they have learned to avoid errors and dangers, and are they not therefore competent to give wise counsel? They have borne test and trial, and though they have lost some of their vigor, the Lord does not lay them aside. He gives them special grace and wisdom.
Those who have served their Master when the work went hard, who endured poverty and remained faithful when there were few to stand for truth, are to be honored and respected. The Lord desires the younger laborers to gain wisdom, strength, and maturity by association with these faithful men. Let the younger men realize that in having such workers among them they are highly favored. Let them give them an honored place in their councils.
As those who have spent their lives in the service of Christ draw near to the close of their earthly ministry, they will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to recount the experiences they have had in connection with the work of God. The record of His wonderful dealings with His people, of His great goodness in delivering them from trial, should be repeated to those newly come to the faith. God desires the old and tried laborers to stand in their place, doing their part to save men and women from being swept downward by the mighty current of evil. He desires them to keep the armor on till He bids them lay it down.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on Godand saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,
13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age. Of the church at Ephesus, which the Lord Jesus used as a symbol of the entire Christian church in the apostolic age, the faithful and true Witness declared:
“I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” Revelation 2:2, 3.
At the first the experience of the church at Ephesus was marked with childlike simplicity and fervor. The believers sought earnestly to obey every word of God, and their lives revealed an earnest, sincere love for Christ. They rejoiced to do the will of God because the Saviour was in their hearts as an abiding presence. Filled with love for their Redeemer, their highest aim was to win souls to Him. They did not think of hoarding the precious treasure of the grace of Christ. They felt the importance of their calling; and, weighted with the message, “On earth peace, good will toward men,” they burned with desire to carry the glad tidings of salvation to earth’s remotest bounds. And the world took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Sinful men, repentant, pardoned, cleansed, and sanctified, were brought into partnership with God through His Son.
The members of the church were united in sentiment and action. Love for Christ was the golden chain that bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and in their lives were revealed the joy and peace of Christ. They visited the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and kept themselves unspotted from the world, realizing that a failure to do this would be a contradiction of their profession and a denial of their Redeemer.
In every city the work was carried forward. Souls were converted, who in their turn felt that they must tell of the inestimable treasure they had received. They could not rest till the light which had illumined their minds was shining upon others. Multitudes of unbelievers were made acquainted with the reasons of the Christian’s hope. Warm, inspired personal appeals were made to the erring, to the outcast, and to those who, while professing to know the truth, were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth. One by one the old standard-bearers fell at their post. Some of the younger workers, who might have shared the burdens of these pioneers, and thus have been prepared for wise leadership, had become weary of oft-repeated truths. In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, but not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the gospel. In their self-confidence and spiritual blindness they failed to discern that these sophistries would cause many to question the experiences of the past, and would thus lead to confusion and unbelief.
As these false doctrines were urged, differences sprang up, and the eyes of many were turned from beholding Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith. The discussion of unimportant points of doctrine, and the contemplation of pleasing fables of man’s invention, occupied time that should have been spent in proclaiming the gospel. The masses that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful presentation of the truth were left unwarned. Piety was rapidly waning, and Satan seemed about to gain the ascendancy over those who claimed to be followers of Christ.
It was at this critical time in the history of the church that John was sentenced to banishment. Never had his voice been needed by the church as now. Nearly all his former associates in the ministry had suffered martyrdom. The remnant of believers was facing fierce opposition. To all outward appearance the day was not far distant when the enemies of the church of Christ would triumph.
But the Lord’s hand was moving unseen in the darkness. In the providence of God, John was placed where Christ could give him a wonderful revelation of Himself and of divine truth for the enlightenment of the churches.
In exiling John, the enemies of truth had hoped to silence forever the voice of God’s faithful witness; but on Patmos the disciple received a message, the influence of which was to continue to strengthen the church till the end of time. Though not released from the responsibility of their wrong act, those who banished John became instruments in the hands of God to carry out Heaven’s purpose; and the very effort to extinguish the light placed the truth in bold relief.
It was on the Sabbath that the Lord of glory appeared to the exiled apostle. The Sabbath was as sacredly observed by John on Patmos as when he was preaching to the people in the towns and cities of Judea. He claimed as his own the precious promises that had been given regarding that day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” John writes, “and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.... And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks One like unto the Son of man.” Revelation 1:10-13.
Richly favored was this beloved disciple. He had seen his Master in Gethsemane, His face marked with the blood drops of agony, His “visage ... marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” Isaiah 52:14. He had seen Him in the hands of the Roman soldiers, clothed with an old purple robe and crowned with thorns. He had seen Him hanging on the cross of Calvary, the object of cruel mockery and abuse. Now John is once more permitted to behold his Lord. But how changed is His appearance! He is no longer a Man of Sorrows, despised and humiliated by men. He is clothed in a garment of heavenly brightness. “His head and His hairs” are “white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes ... as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.” Revelation 1:14, 15, 17. His voice is like the music of many waters. His countenance shines as the sun. In His hand are seven stars, and out of His mouth issues a sharp two-edged sword, an emblem of the power of His word. Patmos is made resplendent with the glory of the risen Lord.
“And when I saw Him,” John writes, “I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not.” Verse 17.
John was strengthened to live in the presence of his glorified Lord. Then before his wondering vision were opened the glories of heaven. He was permitted to see the throne of God and, looking beyond the conflicts of earth, to behold the white-robed throng of the redeemed. He heard the music of the heavenly angels and the triumphant songs of those who had overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. In the revelation given to him there was unfolded scene after scene of thrilling interest in the experience of the people of God, and the history of the church foretold to the very close of time. In figures and symbols, subjects of vast importance were presented to John, which he was to record, that the people of God living in his age and in future ages might have an intelligent understanding of the perils and conflicts before them.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will be limp,
Every man’s heart will melt,
8 And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;
They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;
They will be amazed at one another;
Their faces will be like flames.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine.
11 “I will punish the world for its evil,
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will halt the arrogance of the proud,
And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold,
A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens,
And the earth will move out of her place,
In the wrath of the Lord of hosts
And in the day of His fierce anger.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Again the enemies of the truth sought to silence the voice of the faithful witness, and John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. Here, they thought, he could no longer trouble Israel, or the wicked rulers of the world, and he must finally die from hardship and distress. But John made friends and converts even here.
To outward appearance the enemies of truth were triumphing, but God’s hand was moving unseen in the darkness. God permitted his faithful servant to be placed where Christ could give him a more wonderful revelation of himself. He placed him where he could receive the most precious truth for the enlightenment of the churches. He placed him in solitude, that his ear and heart might be more fully sanctified to receive the truth. The Lord was preparing John to endure hatred and scorn for the sake of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. The man who exiled John was not released from responsibility in the matter. But he became the instrument in the hands of God to carry out his eternal purpose; and the very effort to extinguish light placed the truth in bold relief.
John was deprived of the society of his brethren, but no man could deprive him of the light and revelation of Christ. A great light was to shine from Christ to his servant. The Lord watched over his banished disciple, and gave him a wonderful revelation of himself. Richly favored was this beloved disciple. With the other disciples he had traveled with Jesus, learning of him and feasting on his words. His head had often rested on his Saviour’s bosom. But he must see him also in Patmos. God and Christ and the heavenly host were John’s companions on the lonely isle; and from them he received instruction that he imparted to those separated with him from the world. There he wrote out the visions and revelations he received from God, telling of the things that would take place in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. When his voice could no longer witness to the truth, when he could no longer testify of the One he loved and served, the messages given to him on that rocky, barren coast were to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Every nation, kindred, tongue, and people would learn the sure purpose of the Lord, not concerning the Jewish nation merely, but concerning every nation upon the earth.
(1st)The Sabbath, which God had instituted in Eden, was . . . as . . . precious to John on the lonely isle as when he was with his companions in the cities and towns. The precious promises that Christ had given regarding this day he repeated and claimed as his own. It was the sign to him that God was his; for God had declared: “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.... Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.”
On the Sabbath day the risen Saviour made his presence known to John. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” he writes, “and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send to the seven churches.... And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.... And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.”
(2nd)The persecution of John became a means of grace. Patmos was made resplendent with the glory of a risen Saviour. John had seen Christ in human form, with the marks of the nails, which will ever be his glory, in his hands and his feet. Now he was permitted again to behold his risen Lord, clothed with as much glory as a human being could behold, and live. (3rd) What a Sabbath was that to the lonely exile, always precious in the sight of Christ, but now more than ever exalted! Never had he learned so much of Jesus. Never had he heard such exalted truth.
(4th) The appearance of Christ to John should be to all, believers and unbelievers, an evidence that we have a risen Christ. It should give living power to the church. At times dark clouds surround God’s people. It seems as if oppression and persecution would extinguish them. But at such times the most instructive lessons are given. Christ often enters prisons, and reveals himself to his chosen ones. He is in the fire with them at the stake. As in the darkest night the stars shine the brightest, so the most brilliant beams of God’s glory are revealed in the deepest gloom. The darker the sky, the more clear and impressive are the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, the risen Saviour.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lordblessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance waslike the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys ofHades and of Death.
5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.
12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannotbear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob,
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
16 Will they go down to the gates of Sheol?
Shall we have rest together in the dust?”
13 Have mercy on me, O Lord!
Consider my trouble from those who hate me,
You who lift me up from the gates of death,
21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
I have said many things to you by letter, but I am so weighed down in your case that I must continue to write to you, lest in your blindness you will not see where you need to reform. I am instructed that you are entertaining ideas with which God has forbidden you to deal. I will name these as a species of mind-cure. You suppose that you can use this mind-cure in your professional work as a physician. In tones of earnest warning the words were spoken: Beware, beware where your feet are placed and your mind is carried. God has not appointed you this work. The theory of mind controlling mind is originated by Satan to introduce himself as the chief worker to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be.
No man or woman should exercise his or her will to control the senses or reason of another, so that the mind of the person is rendered passively subject to the will of the one who is exercising the control. This science may appear to be something beautiful, but it is a science which you are in no case to handle. If you do handle it, it will finally handle you. There is something better for you to engage in than the control of human nature over human nature.
I lift the danger-signal. The only safe and true mind-cure covers much. The physician must educate the people to look from the human to the divine. He who has made man’s mind knows precisely what the mind needs.
In taking up the science you have begun to advocate, you are giving an education which is not safe for you or for those you teach. It is dangerous to tinge minds with the science of mind-cure.
This science may appear to you to be very valuable, but to you and to others it is a fallacy prepared by Satan. It is the charm of the serpent which stings to spiritual death. It covers much that seems wonderful, but it is foreign to the nature and Spirit of Christ. This science does not lead to Him who is life and salvation.
The poor, afflicted souls with whom you are brought in contact have needed more of your attention than they have received. You have it in your power to encourage them to look to Jesus, and, by beholding, be changed to His image.
The true knowledge of Jesus Christ will lead your mind and the mind of your wife in a safe direction. It gives the inspiration of true worship. It is the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. Coming in contact with Him, the mind is drawn to His heart of life and is inspired with the essence of His sanctification.
Be careful, my brother and my sister, in regard to where your faith is tending. Jesus lives to make intercession for you. Let your minds be one with the mind of Christ. Having His mind, you will not soar to heights which will at last bring you down to the lowest depths. Dabble not in those things which now appear to you so attractive, but which do not lead to Christ. Let your ambition ascend higher, to pure, true fellowship with Him in whom you may safely glory. Then your religion will be a power for good. You will not then communicate that which will prove a snare unto death.
Our Saviour understood all about human nature, and He says to every human being, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] As God is perfect in His sphere, so man is to be perfect in his sphere. Those who receive Christ are among the number to whom the words, so full of hope, are spoken, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] These words declare to us that we should be content with nothing less than the best and highest character, a character formed after the divine similitude. When such a character is possessed, the life, the faith, the purity of the religion is an instructive example to others. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” [Proverbs 14:34.]
“The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the gift of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:18-31.]
“I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” [2 Corinthians 11:3.]
“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; ... and hath raised us up together; and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:1-9.]
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:10-17.]
At the beginning of my work I had the mind-cure science to contend with. I was sent from place to place to declare the falseness of this science into which many were entering. The mind-cure was entered upon very innocently—to relieve the tension upon the minds of nervous invalids. But, how sad were the results. God sent me from place to place to rebuke everything pertaining to this science.
I wish to speak plainly to you. You have entered upon a work which has no place in the work of a Christian physician, and which must find no place in our health institutions. Innocent though it may appear, this mind-cure, if exercised upon the patients, will in its development be for their destruction, not their restoration. The third chapter of second Timothy describes persons who accept error, such as one mind exercising complete control over another mind. God forbids any such thing. The mind-cure is one of Satan’s greatest sciences, and it is important that our physicians see clearly the real character of this science, for through it great temptations will come to them. This science must not be allowed a particle of standing-room in our sanitariums.
God has not given one ray of light or encouragement for our physicians to take up the work of having one mind completely control the mind of another, so that one acts out the will of another. Let us learn the ways and purposes of God. Let not the enemy gain the least advantage over you. Let him not lead you to dare to endeavor to control another mind until it becomes a machine in your hands. This is the science of Satan’s working. Thus he works when he entices men to sell the soul for liquor. He takes possession of body, mind, and soul, and it is no longer the man, but Satan who acts. And the cruelty of Satan is expressed as the drunkard lifts his hand to strike down the wife he has promised to love and cherish as long as life shall last. The deeds of the drunkard are an expression of Satan’s violence.
Now, my brother, I consider you to be in positive peril. I present this because I know that you are in great danger of being seduced by Satan. We are living in a time when every phase of fanaticism will press its way in among believers and unbelievers. Satan will come in, speaking lies in hypocrisy. Everything that he can invent to deceive men and women will be brought forward.
Just in proportion as men lose their sense of the need of vital religion, so they become filled with common, earthly ideas, which they exalt as wonderful knowledge. Physicians who lose their hold on Christ become filled with ideas of their own, which they look upon as some wonderful science to be brought into the medical profession as something new and strange.
I have been awakened at the early hour of twelve to write out these things. Let me tell you plainly that you are in an uncertain condition of mind, and that the efforts you put forth to rescue yourself are in vain. No man can serve two masters. If you try to serve the world and the Lord at the same time, the result will be that worldly policy and worldly schemes will become supreme in your life. Why? Because the Word of God will become uncongenial; for the heart is not committed to the moulding and fashioning of the Holy Spirit. The will is not given up to God, and therefore enmity to God is revealed. The natural impulses of the heart, ministering to the natural man, are chosen to control.
If, realizing your danger, you would humble yourself before God, you would see that circumcision is an inward work of the heart, “in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” [Romans 2:29.]
You need, as verily as did Nicodemus, to be born again. You are a man with a diseased mind, having an egotism which gives a very feeble representation of the saving power of the godliness which is the fruit of heart holiness—heart wholeness to God. This egotism is not a virtue, but an evil which needs to be discerned and thoroughly forsaken. We do not need the vanities of men, but we all need insight into character. The best sentiments of egotism are at times apparently interesting, but they have no depth of virtue, and the material from which the egotist draws his supply soon becomes exhausted. He has only his own experience and feelings to use, and those with whom he communicates soon become weary.
A man must have good material from which to draw in order to refresh other minds by his ideas.
Egotism is a weariness, because the egotist has no sense of discrimination in estimating the value of things. He has not the power of self-measurement. He thinks that his ideas are of the highest importance, and he disparages those who do not think in harmony with him.
My brother, while you cherish your own suppositions as truth, God cannot enlighten you. With your present phase of character, you are not capable of understanding the best course to pursue in introducing principles which rest upon a solid basis. Your greatest consideration is, “Is my proper position recognized? Am I called upon as I should be to decide matters?”
Your selfish ideas must never become the ruling power in any sanitarium. You are to blend with other men and women who have understanding.
My brother, I wish you would take time to look yourself squarely in the face. You claim that you are not responsible for all that takes place, that the failures made are chargeable to the influence of someone else. If the enterprises with which you are associated prosper, you think it is because you would not allow certain conditions; if they fail, you think it is because you were not allowed to manage, because your ideas were not carried out. This is the way in which matters have stood for years at the Sanitarium here. But if you will look at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word, you will see there the reflection of a character that God does not commend. You yourself have shaped the policy of the institution so that the men and influences that stood in your way were ruled out. The lessons you might have learned, you have not learned, because Dr. Sanderson was standing in his own light.
The Lord wants Brother Sanderson to be converted. He wants him to be honest with himself and with every line of work connected with the Sanitarium. My brother, so long as you deceive yourself, you deceive others, and you fail to cherish the truth that works by love and purifies the soul. Without the truth abiding in your heart, you are an unsafe, unwise guide. You must not regard your judgment as supreme. Christ is the Rock upon which we are to build.
If you only had a sense of how greatly you need a new heart, a new mind, you would search God’s Word with diligence. You would not trust your own mind, your own ideas. You would study the Scriptures carefully and prayerfully, and would build upon the sure foundation.
O what a work you need to have done for your poor mind by the virtue of a living belief in Christ. What good sense there is in the Lord Jesus, whose praise is not of men, but of God. What higher education can the human family find than that contained in the gospel. The more fully you yield your mind to the divine light of the gospel, the more earnestly you study the truths uttered by the Holy Spirit, the less satisfied will you feel with your deficient experience.
Our physicians must not rest content with a half-conversion. They need to place their whole trust in Christ. Then the healthy beats of the new heart will change the atmosphere surrounding the soul. Make sure that you are accepted by Christ because you rely on the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. His righteousness must be your righteousness. He wrought it out for you, and when you receive it, you stand justified in the presence of God.
You are in danger of being satisfied with an atmosphere of worldliness. In your religious exercises you are inclined to be tame and unmoved. Brother and Sister Sanderson, the truth must be presented in the spirit and power of the gospel with such earnestness that sinners will realize that they cannot longer delay seeking the Lord. Put on zeal as a cloak. Take yourselves to the Lord just as you are. Humble yourselves before Him. Show a lively interest in the precious truth—an interest revealed by words spoken with an earnestness proportionate to the object of which you are in pursuit—life, life, eternal life.
It is the converting power of God that you both need. Never suppose, my brother, my sister, that it is not best to show that the heart is touched by the Spirit of God. The Lord takes no pleasure in your ideas of stoicism. He desires the heart to be softened before Him. Let the soul melt in tenderness as the truth is spoken. Let light flash from the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The messengers of truth, God’s workmen, are to be revived and quickened by His Spirit.
At this time tame, weak work will not succeed. The Lord calls men to do a special work. In order to do this work, they must hide themselves in Christ. Let Him who is mighty to save appear as the One altogether lovely. Let the heart be imbued with the love of Him who was ever meek and lowly, although He knew that He was the Son of the Most High. Never exalt self. Walk in humility of mind and be teachable.
I am glad that the Sanitarium can have the labors of Brother Taylor. We hope that he will be a great blessing, both to the helpers and to the patients. Unite heartily with him. Show the believers and unbelievers in the institution that you are in harmony with this brother who is God’s worker.
The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God’s condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God, for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education. Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven’s glory.
We need to know how to pray. It is not tame, spiritless prayers that take hold of the divine attributes. Prayer is heard by God when it comes from a heart broken by a sense of unworthiness. Prayer was instituted for our comfort and salvation, that through faith and hope we may lay hold on the rich promises of God. Prayer is the expression of the desires of a soul hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Any human being who prides himself upon his calmness, his unmoved tenor of mind, when conversing with God, who does not in his petitions breathe forth an intensity of desire, needs to have a new heart, a heart conscious of all that is included in approaching to God. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.]
I will not dwell longer on these matters. But I desire to say that he who strives for eloquent language when praying is entirely out of place. The eloquence that God accepts is the earnest, longing cry of the soul which feels that it must have help.
Long prayers are not essential. Those who labor in the right spirit will pray in the right spirit. He who labors as Christ labored will be in earnest when he prays. And the Word of God assures us, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16.]
Open your heart to God. Commit the keeping of your soul to Him as unto a faithful Creator. I would be pleased to say more, but I am brain-weary. My brother, my sister, I pray that you may both take the right course. Make this time a time that will be long remembered. Take your stand firmly that you will be laborers together with God.
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.