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The Measure of Light Given,
Measures Our Responsibility
Review & Herald - February 17, 1891
Hardening Pharaohs Heart
E G White
The long paragraphs have been broken up for easier reading
Scripture references have been inserted by us - emphasis added also
God does not commend or confirm men in impenitence, for this condition of the human heart does not glorify him, nor work good for humanity. God sheds light upon the souls of men, he grants them opportunities and privileges, and if these are not improved, if the precious moments of probation are neglected, the measure of the light given will be the measure of the guilt incurred through this inexcusable neglect of the gifts of God.
The Saviour said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" [Matthew 6:23].
We are told that the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. [Exodus 9:12].
The repeated refusals of the king to hear the word of the Lord, called forth more direct, more urgent and forcible messages. At each rejection of light, the Lord manifested a more marked display of his power; but the king's obstinacy increased with every new evidence of the power and majesty of the God of heaven, until the last arrow of mercy was exhausted from the divine quiver. [See Romans 9:17-18].
Then the man was utterly hardened by his own persistent resistance.
Pharaoh sowed obstinacy, and he reaped a harvest of the same in his character. The Lord could do nothing more to convince him, for he was barricaded in obstinacy and prejudice, where the Holy Spirit could not find access to his heart. Pharaoh was given up to his own unbelief and hardness of heart. Infidelity produced infidelity.
When Pharaoh hardened his heart on the first exhibition of God's power, he made himself more capable of a second rejection of God's power. Pride and stubbornness held him in bondage, and hindered him from acknowledging the warnings of God. It was contrary to the nature of Pharaoh to change after once having given expression to his purpose not to believe.
What Pharaoh has done, will be done again and again by men until the close of probation.
God destroys no man;
but when a man stifles conviction, when he turns from evidence, he is sowing unbelief, and will reap as he has sown.
As it was with Pharaoh, so it will be with him; when clearer light shines upon the truth, he will meet it with increased resistance, and the work of hardening the heart will go on with each rejection of the increasing light of heaven.
In simplicity and truth we would speak to the impenitent in regard to the way in which men destroy their own souls.
You are not to say that God is to blame, that he has made a decree against you. No, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, and to the haven of eternal bliss.
No soul is ever finally deserted of God, given up to his own ways, so long as there is any hope of his salvation.
God follows men with appeals and warnings and assurances of compassion, until further opportunities and privileges would be wholly in vain. The responsibility rests upon the sinner. By resisting the Spirit of God to-day, he prepares the way for a second resistance of light when it comes with mightier power; and thus he will pass from one stage of indifference to another, until, at last, the light will fail to impress him, and he will cease to respond in any measure to the Spirit of God.
Those who claim to be Christians are in continual need of a power outside of, and beyond, themselves.
They need to watch unto prayer, and to place themselves under the guardianship of God, else they will be overcome by the enemy.
The Christian must look to God, as a servant to his master, as a handmaid to her mistress, saying, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" [Acts 9:6]. The servant of God must use his ability in such a way that it will bring glory to God. When he yields himself to the control of the Spirit of God, he will be renewed, transformed into the image of Christ. He will give his affections to God, he will be enlightened, strengthened, and sanctified, and will become a channel of light to the world.
But the sinner who refuses to give himself to God, is under the control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions are of an entirely different character.
Passion controls him, his judgment is blinded, reason is dethroned, and impetuous desires sway him, now here, now there. The truth will have but little influence over him, for there is in human nature, when separated from the Source of truth, a continual opposition to God's will and ways.
The physical, mental, and moral being are all under the control of rash impulses. The affections are depraved, and every faculty intrusted to man for wise improvement is demoralized. The man is dead in trespasses and sins. [Ephesians 2:1]. Inclination moves, passion holds the control, and his appetites are under the sway of a power of which he is not aware.
He talks of liberty, of freedom of action, while he is in most abject slavery. [Romans 7:14].
He is not his own. He is not allowed to see the beauty of the truth; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to his law. [Romans 8:7]. He views truth as falsehood, and falsehood as truth. The mind controlled by Satan is weak in moral power. Can such a one without change be taken into a holy heaven?--Oh, no; it would be no mercy to the impenitent sinner to place him in the society of the angels.
When the wicked dead are raised from the grave, they come up with the tastes, habits, and characters that they formed in the time of probation. A sinner is not raised a saint, neither is a saint raised a sinner.
The sinner could not be happy in the companionship of the saints in light, with Jesus, with the Lord of hosts; for on every side will be heard the song of praise and thanksgiving; and honor will be ascribed to the Father and the Son. A song will be raised that the unsanctified, unholy ones have never learned, and it will be out of harmony with their depraved tastes and desires. It will be unbearable to them.
The apostle John heard this song. He says, "I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments;. . . And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." [See Revelation 19:1-7].
It is impossible for the sinner to enjoy the bliss of heaven.
See Waggoner's "Hardening Pharaoh's Heart"
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