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Jacob's Trouble

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Jacob’s trouble

 

[All the emphasis has been added, red and black,

as well as all the words in square brackets like these.   

The words in blue are my comments.]

***************(Begin Quote)

Jeremiah 30:

4 And these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah [regarding their latter days].   

5 For thus says the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.  6 Ask you now, and see whether a man does travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?

7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

8 For it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will break his [Satan’s] yoke from off your neck, and will burst your bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him [or his temptations]: 9 but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King [the Son of God], whom I will raise up to them.  [This is not being converted, but being set free from every earthly tie.]

10 Therefore fear you not, O My servant Jacob, says the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save you from afar [wherever you are], and your seed from the land of their captivity [from the grave]; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid [ever again].

11 For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you: though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet will I not make a full end of you: but I will correct you in measure [in My way], and will not leave you altogether unpunished

***************(End Quote)

{GC 616.2}

Jacob's night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance from the hand of Esau (Genesis 32:24-30), represents the experience of God's people in the time of trouble.   Because of the deception practiced to secure his father's blessing, intended for Esau, Jacob had fled for his life, alarmed by his brother's deadly threats.

After remaining for many years an exile [about 20 years], he had set out, at God's command, to return with his wives and children, his flocks and herds, to his native country. [He was being led “by the Spirit”. Luke 4:1.]

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Genesis 32:

1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him [and went with him]. 2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God's host”: and he called the name of that place “Mahanaim [two hosts][for there were two hosts of angels, one before and one behind his company.  Psalm 34:7;  PP195.3].

***************(End Quote)

{PP 195.3}    

Jacob remembered the vision at Bethel [Genesis 28:10-16] so long before, and his burdened heart grew lighter at this evidence that the divine messengers who had brought him hope and courage at his flight from Canaan were to be the guardians of his return.  

We need to recognise that there is a host of loyal angels on our side and that they encamp around us both coming and going.  Nothing can touch us that the LORD does not allow (but remember that Christ was crucified!)

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Genesis 32:

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother to the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 And he commanded them, saying, “Thus shall you speak to my lord Esau; ‘Your servant Jacob says thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 5 and I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight [I am not looking for a fight]’.”

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and also he comes to meet you, and four hundred [armed] men with him [and he does not look peaceful]”.

***************(End Quote)

This is a picture of all the nations falling in behind the USA in religious harmony.  Therefore as the Sunday laws begin we will need to do something about them.

{GC 616.2} 

On reaching the borders of the land, he was filled with terror by the tidings of Esau's approach at the head of a band of warriors, doubtless bent upon revenge.   Jacob's company, unarmed and defenseless, seemed about to fall helpless victims of violence and slaughter. 

And to the burden of anxiety and fear was added the crushing weight of self-reproach, for it was his own sin that had brought this danger.   

[Although the actual sin had occurred 20 years before, and he had confessed it,

and been forgiven for it, he had never really forgiven himself.]

His only hope was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer.  Yet he leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong to his brother and to avert the threatened danger. 

So should the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble, make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which threatens liberty of conscience [through the Sunday laws (note the plural)].   

As the natural disasters caused by man and nature increase in number and severity, the people of the United States of America, urged on by their religious leaders, will petition the Congress to pass Federal laws regarding reverence to God.  The aim will be to make Sunday the official holy day. 

There will be five of them, looking something like this: –  

1.       The first will see all businesses nation-wide in the United States of America shut down on that day so that their employees may rest.

2.       Then the whole population of the U.S. will be given a Sunday “rest day” from work, but the majority will want to play.

3.     Therefore the next edict will prohibit all sports and entertainment on that day, but the result will be that the people will just stay at home.

4.     There will then have to be a law which compels the population to attend church services to appease the god of the nations.

 

[These are the “buy and sell” decrees.  Revelation 13:17.]

Then these laws will spread to every nation on earth, for all the world will “wonder after the beast”.  Revelation 13:3.  Why?  Because the “natural” disasters which will be occurring, such as earthquakes, floods and pestilences of all kinds which will blamed on an angry god, will not diminish, but actually intensify!  Matthew 24:7.

                   All of these laws a conscientious SDA can observe

      but this will not satisfy the religious leaders of the false systems,

                for they require full submission to their irate god

                                            (themselves really).

5.      The final edict will order the desecration of the Sabbath and this will be the last “straw”, the one we cannot agree with.     [See note 1.]

The laws begin with small fines at first, then progress to heavier fines and maybe imprisonment for persistent offenders, but there will be many exceptions at first. 

Only when the religious leaders are totally opposed without permission will the death decree be instituted, for rejecters will then be seen as traitors to God and the state and treated accordingly.

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; 8 and said, “If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape”.

***************(End Quote)

{PP 196.1}    

His company, unarmed and defenseless, were wholly unprepared for a hostile encounter.  He accordingly divided them into two bands, so that if one should be attacked, the other might have an opportunity to escape.

This is picturing the distinction between the wise and the foolish virgins.

{COL 411.1-2}

The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites [tares]. 

They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit's working.  They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up

This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers.  They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles.  Its influence is not abiding.  The Spirit works upon man's heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. 

They do not know God.  They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. [Romans 7:18.]  Their service to God degenerates into a form.  “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Ezekiel 33:31. 

The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ's second coming.  He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.   

This is the class that in time of peril are found crying, Peace and safety.  They lull their hearts into security, and dream not of danger.  When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up another's deficiency.  The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul.  The message of the gospel has been heralded, “Let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. 

But character is not transferable. 

No man can believe for another.  No man can receive the Spirit for another.  No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit's working. 

“Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.   

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which said to me, ‘Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you’: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which you have showed to Your servant; for with [just] my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands [two groups, the wise and the foolish, a large company]. 11 Deliver me, I pray you, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 

12 “And You said [promised], ‘I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’.”  [Genesis 28:15.]

***************(End Quote)

Although he was relying on the LORD’s promise Jacob knew that he must co-operate and do what he could to reconcile with his brother, just as we must with those who would use force against us in religion. 

***************(Begin Quote) 

Genesis 32:

13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 14 two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 15 thirty milk camels with their colts, forty kine [cows], and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 

16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove [kind] by themselves; and said to his servants, “Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove [five of them]”.

17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, “When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, saying, ‘Whose [servants] are you?  And where go you? And whose are these [animals] before [with] you?’ 18 Then you shall say, ‘They be your servant Jacob's; it is a present sent to my lord Esau: and, behold, also he [your brother Jacob] is behind us”.

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{PP 195.3}    

Yet Jacob felt that he had something to do to secure his own safety.   He therefore dispatched messengers with a conciliatory greeting to his brother.

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, “On this manner shall you speak to Esau, when you find him.  20 And say you moreover, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us’.”

For he said [in his mind], “I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me”. 

21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company. 

***************(End Quote)

As the threat loomed, the family spent the early part of the evening in prayer and comforting each other.

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over [all] that he had.

***************(End Quote)

{PP 196.2}    

They had now reached the river Jabbok, and as night came on, Jacob sent his family across the ford of the river, while he alone remained behind.   He had decided to spend the night in prayer, and he desired to be alone with God.   God could soften the heart of Esau.   In Him was the patriarch's only hope.   

This was the equivalent of us seeing our loved ones die, and losing all our worldly goods.  

In 2T 594.1 – 597.2 we are told of a vision of the saints going up a steep hill with a great drop on one side of the narrow path and a smooth wall on the other.  As they moved on they had to let go of many possessions.  Then, for balance they learned to rely on small cords that dropped down from the wall as the path became narrower and narrower.  They could not see where the cords were attached.  As they reached the top the path ended and they came to a large chasm.  They could see on the other side a very attractive field, but the only way forward was to swing on the cords towards it. They comforted one another with the words, “‘God holds the cord. We need not fear.’ These words were then repeated by those behind us, accompanied with: ‘He will not fail us now.  He has brought us thus far in safety’.”

Here’s one of the “cords”:

{GC 613.1}

“At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found [alive and] written in the Book [of Life].” Daniel 12:1.   

{PP 196.3}    

It was in a lonely, mountainous region, the haunt of wild beasts and the lurking place of robbers and murderers.  Solitary and unprotected, Jacob bowed in deep distress upon the earth.  It was midnight.  All that made life dear to him were at a distance, exposed to danger and death.  Bitterest of all was the thought that it was his own sin which had brought this peril upon the innocent.  With earnest cries and tears he made his prayer before God, for their lives [resurrection] depended on him and his relationship with God [as the “fit” man].

He was not confessing any sins, but feelings the effects of past sins and the influence they had had on others.

{GC 616.3}

Having sent his family away, that they may not witness his distress, Jacob remains alone to intercede with God.  He confesses his [past] sin [sinfulness] and gratefully acknowledges the mercy of God toward him while with deep humiliation he pleads the covenant made with his fathers and the promises to himself in the night vision at Bethel and in the land of his exile.  The crisis in his life has come [the death decree]; everything is at stake.  In the darkness and solitude he continues praying and humbling himself before God.

{GC 615.2}

As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration [hatred].

It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. 

The same argument many centuries ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of the people.” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John 11:50.  This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. [Note that this will not be a judicial, or police action, but will be undertaken by a mob.] 

Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New [and even those in the third world] will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts.  

{GC 618.3} 

As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their [past] sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God. 

***************(Begin Quote) 

Genesis 32:

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day [now he was assailed by God as well as Satan]

***************(End Quote)

It is this added weight which will make the Trouble so agonising.  Without the comfort of answered prayer or guidance from the Spirit the individual will feel very alone indeed.

{PP 196.3}    

Suddenly a strong hand was laid upon him.  He thought that an enemy was seeking his life, and he endeavored to wrest himself from the grasp of his assailant.  In the darkness the two struggled for the mastery. 

Not a word was spoken, but Jacob put forth all his strength, and did not relax his efforts for a moment.  While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of his guilt pressed upon his soul; his sins rose up before him, to shut him out from God.   But in his terrible extremity he remembered God's promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for His mercy.

{Word to Little Flock 12.2 - 7} 

You think, that those who worship before the saint's feet, (Revelation 3:9), will at last be saved.  Here I must differ with you; for God shew [has shown] me that this class were professed Adventists, who had fallen away, and “crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” And in the “hour of temptation,” which is yet to come, to show out every one's true character, they will know that they are forever lost; and overwhelmed with anguish of spirit, they will bow at the saint's feet [at the end of Jacob’s trouble] .  .  . 

Then Jesus will have the sharp sickle in his hand, (Revelation 14:14) and then the saints will cry day and night to Jesus on the cloud, to thrust in his sharp sickle and reap [the first resurrection].   

This, will be the time of Jacob's trouble, (Jeremiah 30:5-8) out of which, the saints will be delivered by the voice of God [when He tells them the day and the hour of Christ’s arrival].

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knows [makes known] no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only”. Matthew 24:35-36.

{GC 620.1}

Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God would not have heard [been able to hear] his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. 

So, in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance.  But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to reveal.  Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment and have been blotted out, and they cannot bring them to remembrance.  

The argument (wrestling with God) will not be between our ideas and those of the Bible, but it will occur when we perceive that God is saying or doing something that makes Him appear to go against His character, or a promise He has made.  As when Abraham queried the Son of God’s intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  “Abraham drew near, and said, ‘Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Peradventure [maybe] there be fifty righteous within the city: will You also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from You to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from You [not in Your character]: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’”   Genesis 18:23-25

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

25 And when He [Christ] saw that He prevailed not against him [because He cannot gainsay His own word], He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him.

***************(End Quote)

{PP 196.3}    

The struggle continued until near the break of day [a long time], when the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob's thigh, and he was crippled instantly.  The patriarch now discerned the character of his antagonist.  He [now] knew that he had been in conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this was why his almost superhuman effort had not gained the victory. 

It was Christ, “the Angel of the covenant,” who had revealed Himself to Jacob.

{GC 616.3} 

As the day begins to break, the stranger puts forth his superhuman power; at his touch the strong man seems paralyzed, and he falls, a helpless, weeping suppliant, upon the neck of his mysterious antagonist.  Jacob knows now that it is the Angel of the covenant with whom he has been in conflict.  Though disabled and suffering the keenest pain, he does not relinquish his purpose.  Long has he endured perplexity, remorse, and trouble for his sin; now he must have the assurance that it is pardoned.  The divine visitant seems about to depart; but Jacob clings to Him, pleading for a blessing.

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32: 

26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks”.   And he [Jacob] said, “I will not let You go, except You bless me”.

***************(End Quote)

{PP 196.3}    

The patriarch was now disabled and suffering the keenest pain, but he would not loosen his hold.  All penitent and broken, he clung to the Angel; “he wept, and made supplication” (Hosea 12:4), pleading for a blessing.  He must have the assurance that his sin was pardoned [and its effect upon the others (causing their deaths) to be nullified].  Physical pain was not sufficient to divert his mind from this object. 

{GC 616.3} 

What confidence, what firmness and perseverance, are here displayed! Had this been a boastful, presumptuous claim, Jacob would have been instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses his weakness and unworthiness, yet trusts the mercy of a covenant-keeping God.   

Hosea 12:

2 The LORD has also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him.   

3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb [a physical act, Genesis 25:26], and by his [spiritual] strength he had power with God: 4 yea, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication to Him: he found Him in Bethel [the house of God], and there He spoke [and still does] with us; 5 even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is His memorial [His visible self.]

6 Therefore turn you to your God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on your God continually. [See Luke 18:1-8.]

{GC 617.1} 

“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” Hosea 12:4.  Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven.  He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea.  As an evidence of his triumph and an encouragement to others to imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory.  And the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that he would prevail with men.  He no longer feared to encounter his brother's anger, for the Lord was his defense.   

{GC 618.1} 

Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch's long night of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his guilt in order to discourage him and break his hold upon God.  Jacob was driven almost to despair; but he knew that without help from heaven he must perish.  He had sincerely repented of his great sin [years before], and he [now] appealed to the mercy of God.  He would not be turned from his purpose [which was to help his family], but held fast the Angel and urged his petition with earnest, agonizing cries until he prevailed.   

By now we should realise that there is more than one time of “Jacob’s trouble” and be prepared to be trained for the big one by many little ones beforehand.  What does it mean to “wrestle” with God? 

This is not just doing what God tells us to. 

It is growing up as a Christian and beginning to query Him (respectfully of course, but definitely), as to why He is saying such and such.  In this case, Why is He fighting us?  Why has He left us? (as He did with Jesus on the cross).  And, it is not giving up!

Consider Moses and his attitude just before the disgraceful worship of the golden calf, a young ox. 

***************(Begin Quote)

Exodus 32:

6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play [Pagan religious rites].

7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get you down; for your people, which you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf [as a picture of brute strength], and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, ‘These be your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt’.”  

9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked [proud] people: 10 now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation [and a church]”. [This was the same temptation which faced John the Baptist.]

11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against Your people, which You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’ Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people.

[He contradicted God to His face and asked Him to change His mind!] 

13 “Remember [Your promise to] Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You sware by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever’.” [Genesis 26:4 etc.]

14 And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people [although it was really only a test, for He had no intention of doing it].

***************(End Quote)

Here’s another of the “little” troubles:

{GC 156.2 – 157.3} 

The next day he [Martin Luther] was to appear [before the Council at Worms in 1521] to render his final answer.  For a time his heart sank within him as he contemplated the forces that were combined against the truth.  His faith faltered; fearfulness and trembling came upon him, and horror overwhelmed him.  Dangers multiplied before him; his enemies seemed about to triumph, and the powers of darkness to prevail.  Clouds gathered about him and seemed to separate him from GodHe longed for the assurance that the Lord of hosts would be with him.  In anguish of spirit he threw himself with his face upon the earth and poured out those broken, heart-rending cries, which none but God can fully understand.  

“O almighty and everlasting God,” he pleaded, “how terrible is this world! Behold, it openeth its mouth to swallow me up, and I have so little trust in Thee . . . [if] it is only in the strength of this world that I must put my trust, all is over . . . My last hour is come, my condemnation has been pronounced . . . O God, do Thou help me against all the wisdom of the world.  Do this . . . Thou alone . . . for this is not my work, but Thine.  I have nothing to do here, nothing to contend for with these great ones of the world . . . But the cause is Thine . . . and it is a righteous and eternal cause.  O Lord, help me! Faithful and unchangeable God, in no man do I place my trust . . . All that is of man is uncertain; all that cometh of man fails . . . Thou hast chosen me for this work . . . Stand at my side, for the sake of Thy well-beloved Jesus Christ, who is my defense, my shield, and my strong tower.”--Ibid., b.7, ch. 8.  

An all-wise Providence had permitted Luther to realize his peril, that he might not trust to his own strength and rush presumptuously into danger. 

Yet it was not the fear of personal suffering, a dread of torture or death, which seemed immediately impending, that overwhelmed him with its terror.  He had come to the crisis, and he felt his insufficiency to meet it.  Through his weakness the cause of truth might suffer loss.  Not for his own safety, but for the triumph of the gospel did he wrestle with God.  Like Israel's, in that night struggle beside the lonely stream, was the anguish and conflict of his soul.  Like Israel, he prevailed with God.  In his utter helplessness his faith fastened upon Christ, the mighty Deliverer.  He was strengthened with the assurance that he would not appear alone before the council.  Peace returned to his soul, and he rejoiced that he was permitted to uplift the word of God before the rulers of the nations. 

With his mind stayed upon God, Luther prepared for the struggle before him.  He thought upon the plan of his answer, examined passages in his own writings, and drew from the Holy Scriptures suitable proofs to sustain his positions.  Then, laying his left hand on the Sacred Volume, which was open before him, he lifted his right hand to heaven and vowed “to remain faithful to the gospel, and freely to confess his faith, even should he seal his testimony with his blood.”--Ibid., b.7, ch. 8. 

When he was again ushered into the presence of the Diet [the Council], his countenance bore no trace of fear or embarrassment.  Calm and peaceful, yet grandly brave and noble, he stood as God's witness among the great ones of the earth. 

{GC 618.2} 

As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy God's people in the time of trouble [after the Close of Probation].  And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against the people of God.  He numbers the world as his subjects; but the little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting his supremacy.  If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. 

He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above. 

He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God.  He declares that the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins and yet destroy him and his angels.  He claims them as his prey and demands that they be given into his hands to destroy.

Here’s that scene from another angle:

***************(Begin Quote)

Zechariah 3:

1 And He [the Spirit] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD [in the judgment representing the people of God], and Satan standing at his right hand to resist [accuse] him.

2 And the LORD [the Son of God] said to Satan, “The LORD [God the Father] rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was clothed with [the] filthy garments [of his past life], and stood before the Angel. 4 And He answered and spoke to those that stood before Him, saying, “Take away the [record of the] filthy garments from him [in the Day of Atonement ritual of the Judgment Day, when ALL the sins of ALL true Israel are removed from the sanctuary]”. 

And to him [Joshua] He said, “Behold, I have caused your iniquity [your confessed sins] to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment [the permanent robe of righteousness]”.

5 And I [Zechariah] said, “Let them set a fair mitre [bonnet] upon his head [with a gold plate announcing that he is “Holy unto the LORD”.  Exodus 28:36-37]”.  So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with [priestly] garments [and the judgement of the living was over]

And the Angel of the LORD stood by. 6 And the Angel of the LORD protested to Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts; If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My charge [during the Trouble], then you shall also judge [lead] My house, and shall also keep My courts, and I will give you [important] places to walk among these that stand by [i.e. the heavenly host].

[The angels of glory find their joy in giving,--giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.  {DA 21.1}]

8 “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you [the 144,000]: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the BRANCH [in them]. 9 For behold the Stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one Stone shall be seven eyes [He sees everything]. 

Behold, I will engrave the engraving thereof [I will supply the test], says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

10 “In that day [at the end of it], says the LORD of hosts, shall you call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree [you will be living in peace with everyone].

***************(End Quote)

Back to the time of trouble:

***************(Begin Quote) 

Genesis 32:

27 And He said to him, “What is your name [character]?”  And he said, “Jacob [thief and supplanter (usurper) is how I see myself].

28 And He said, “Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel [overcomer]: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed [this is how God sees you]”.

29 And Jacob asked Him, and said, “Tell me, I pray You, Your name [character]”.   And He said, “Wherefore [why] is it that you do ask after My name? [You already have it]

And He blessed him there [with that knowledge].

***************(End Quote)

{PP 197.2}    

His determination grew stronger, his faith more earnest and persevering, until the very last. [Just like Enoch.  Genesis 5:24.]

The error that had led to Jacob's sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now clearly set before him.   He had not trusted God's promises, but had sought by his own efforts to bring about that which God would have accomplished in His own time and way.  [It was NOT Sabbath-resting!]  As an evidence that he had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. [This was the last remembrance of his sin.]

{PP 198.1}    

Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed. [He knew for a certainty that] his sin as a supplanter and deceiver had been pardoned.  The crisis in his life was past.  Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered his existence, but now all was changed; and sweet was the peace of reconciliation with God.  Jacob no longer feared to meet his brother.  God, who had forgiven his sin, could move the heart of Esau also to accept his humiliation and repentance.   

{Ed 147.3} 

He had gained not merely deliverance from his outraged brother, but deliverance from himself.  The power of evil in his own nature was broken [the tendency to do his own thing]; his character was transformed.

He was now perfect, fully mature, in God’s sight.  At that point in history when the Christians go through the same experience, the following scripture will be fulfilled. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature [all of creation] waits for the manifestation [revealing] of the sons of God”.  Romans 8:18-19.   

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 

***************(End Quote)

This experience was a high point in his life and one which the last generation of Christians will experience too.  It is the equivalent of the following text:

Leviticus 16:20-26.

And when he [the High Priest] has made an end of reconciling [cleansing] the holy place [the second apartment], and the tabernacle of the congregation [the first room], and the [incense] altar, he [the fit man] shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

. . . And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.

This ceremony pictures the ushering in of the 1,000 year period between the Second Coming and the Third by allowing the resurrection of the cleansed ones. 

{Ed 147.4 – 148.2}

Jacob, reviewing his life-history [on his death-bed], recognized the sustaining power of God— “the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.” Genesis 48:15, 16.  The same experience is repeated in the history of Jacob's sons -- sin working retribution, and repentance bearing fruit of righteousness unto life.   

God does not annul His laws.  He does not work contrary to them. 

The work [result] of sin He does not undo.  But He transforms.  Through His grace the curse works out blessing [over time]

Here is a more modern-day application:

Faith & Works {FW 75.1 – 75.3} 

[SERMON PREACHED BY ELLEN G. WHITE AT OTTAWA, KANSAS, ON SABBATH, MAY 11, 1889, JUST A FEW MONTHS AFTER THE MINNEAPOLIS CONFERENCE, REPRESENTING HER SIMPLE, PRACTICAL PRESENTATION OF THE SUBJECT.

                                          ON FILE AS MANUSCRIPT 1, 1889.]

Jacob was ensnared.  He defrauded his brother of his birthright.  As he wrestled with Christ, his sins came up before him.  And the angel wrestled with him and said, “Let Me go,” and Jacob said, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26).   

Will you do that? Will you wrestle with God at this meeting [1889] until you know that He reveals Himself to you? There are sins that afflict your souls; your sins grieve you.  Will you say, “Now, Lord, I must have pardon written opposite my name,” and wrestle and plead with God, laying hold upon the righteousness of Christ.  “He must save; I believe in Him; I take Him at His word.”

Now, brethren, what shall we do? 

Jacob obtained the victory, and his name was changed that day [as was Abram’s, but this was a “new” name.  Genesis 17:5; Revelation 3:12].  It was when he prevailed with God [that his name (character) fully changed].  I am so thankful that God has made a way that we may have full and free salvation.  We need not look at the shadows that Satan casts on our path.  He would eclipse heaven and Jesus and the light and power of heaven to us, and we keep talking of the power of Satan [by saying how hard it is to be perfect].  But we need not talk of that. 

Isaiah presents it this way: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and 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” (Isaiah 9:6). 

Does not that say that I and My Father are one? 

Within a couple of years the prophet was rejected and sent to Australia (the other side of the world) where she remained for ten years!

***************(Begin Quote)

Genesis 32:

31 And as he [Jacob] passed over Penuel [when he left the area] the sun rose upon him, and he halted [limped] upon his thigh. 32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not [in animals] of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, to this day: because He touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

***************(End Quote)

{PP 198.2 - 4}    

While Jacob was wrestling with the Angel, another heavenly messenger was sent to Esau.  In a dream, Esau beheld his brother for twenty years an exile from his father's house; he witnessed his grief at finding his mother dead; he saw him encompassed by the hosts of God. 

This dream was related by Esau to his soldiers, with the charge not to harm Jacob, for the God of his father was with him.   

The two companies at last approached each other, the desert chief leading his men of war, and Jacob with his wives and children, attended by shepherds and handmaidens, and followed by long lines of flocks and herds.  Leaning upon his staff, the patriarch went forward to meet the band of soldiers.  He was pale and disabled from his recent conflict, and he walked slowly and painfully, halting at every step; but his countenance was lighted up with joy and peace.   

At sight of that crippled sufferer, “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” As they looked upon the scene, even the hearts of Esau's rude soldiers were touched.  Notwithstanding he had told them of his dream, they could not account for the change that had come over their captain.  Though they beheld the patriarch's infirmity, they little thought that this his weakness had been made his strength.   

 

{GC 425.1-2} 

Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi [the sanctuary workers], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2, 3.

Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator [and without the guidance of the Spirit]. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. [Consider Numbers chapter 19 – the red heifer ritual.]

Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.

While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. 

When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing [and He can leave the sanctuary and come to earth as its King]. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi 3:4.

Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:27.

Then she will look “forth as the morning [bright], fair as the moon [reflecting Christ’s righteousness], clear as the sun, and terrible [awesome] as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10. 

 

 

Here are the quotes from Patriarchs and Prophets

and The Great Controversy in context.

{PP 201.2 – 203.2}    

When Christ shall cease His work as mediator in man's behalf, then this time of trouble will begin.  Then the case of every soul will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin.  When Jesus leaves His position as man's intercessor before God, the solemn announcement is made, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.  Then the restraining Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth. 

As Jacob was threatened with death by his angry brother, so the people of God will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to destroy them. 

And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the enemies that surround them.   

Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch's long night of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God.  When in his distress Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and made supplication with tears, the heavenly Messenger, in order to try his faith, also reminded him of his sin, and endeavored to escape from him.  But Jacob would not be turned away.  He had learned that God is merciful, and he cast himself upon His mercy.  He pointed back to his repentance for his sin, and pleaded for deliverance.  As he reviewed his life, he was driven almost to despair; but he held fast the Angel, and with earnest, agonizing cries urged his petition until he prevailed.   

Such will be the experience of God's people in their final struggle with the powers of evil.  God will test their faith, their perseverance, their confidence in His power to deliver them.  Satan will endeavor to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless; that their sins have been too great to receive pardon.  They will have a deep sense of their shortcomings, and as they review their lives their hopes will sink.  But remembering the greatness of God's mercy, and their own sincere repentance, they will plead His promises made through Christ to helpless, repenting sinners.  Their faith will not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered.  They will lay hold of the strength of God, as Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and the language of their souls will be, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”     

Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God could not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life.  So in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance.  But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they will have no concealed wrongs to reveal.  Their sins will have been blotted out by the atoning blood of Christ, and they cannot bring them to remembrance.    

Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealing with Jacob that He can in no wise sanction or tolerate evil.  All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan.  The more exalted their profession, and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God [for they have led many astray], and the more certain the triumph of the great adversary.   

Yet Jacob's history is an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance.  It was by self-surrender and confiding faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength.  God thus taught His servant that divine power and grace alone could give him the blessing he craved. 

Thus it will be with those who live in the last days.  As dangers surround them, and despair seizes upon the soul, they must depend solely upon the merits of the atonement.  We can do nothing of ourselves.  In all our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour.  None will ever perish while they do this.  The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies is before the eye of the Infinite.  The register is complete; none of our offenses are forgotten.  But He who listened to the cries of His servants of old, will hear the prayer of faith and pardon our transgressions.  He has promised, and He will fulfill His word.

Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined.  His experience testifies to the power of importunate [urgent and persistent] prayer.  It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. 

The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men.  They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.   

Those who are unwilling to forsake every sin and to seek earnestly for God's blessing, will not obtain it.  But all who will lay hold of God's promises as did Jacob, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded.  “Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them [as] speedily [as He can].” Luke 18:7, 8.     

 

oooOooo

 

The experience after the Close of Probation is not to be a peculiar one, but one which will larger and harder than normal.

{GC 618.3 - 622.2}  

As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost.  Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested.  As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good.  They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness.  Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away.  He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God.   

Though God's people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of persecution for the truth's sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour's promise: I “will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.” Revelation 3:10.  If they could have the assurance of pardon they would not shrink from torture or death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God's holy name would be reproached.

On every hand they hear the plottings of treason and see the active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great apostasy may be terminated and the wickedness of the wicked may come to an end.  But while they plead with God to stay the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge back the mighty tide of evil.  They feel that had they always employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward from strength to strength, Satan's forces would have less power to prevail against them.   

They afflict their souls before God [as on the Day of Atonement], pointing to their past repentance of their many sins [in the daily], and pleading the Saviour's promise: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5.  Their faith does not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered.  Though suffering the keenest anxiety, terror, and distress, they do not cease their intercessions.  They lay hold of the strength of God as Jacob laid hold of the Angel; and the language of their souls is: “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me [by the resurrection of the others].” 

Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God would not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life.  

So, in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance.  But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to reveal. 

Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment and have been blotted out, and they cannot bring [the details of] them to remembrance.   

Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealings with Jacob that He will in no wise sanction or tolerate evil.  All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan.  The more exalted their profession and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God and the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. 

Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. 

The case of all such is hopeless.   

Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful conflict unprepared will, in their despair, confess their sins in words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their distress.  These confessions are of the same character as was that of Esau or of Judas. Those who make them, lament the result of transgression, but not its guilt.  They feel no true contrition, no abhorrence of evil.  They acknowledge their sin, through fear of punishment; but, like Pharaoh of old, they would return to their defiance of Heaven should the judgments be removed.   

Jacob's history is also an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance.  While Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to comfort and protect them in the time of peril.  The assaults of Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord's eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their cries.  Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire.  God's love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.   

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger -- a faith that will not faint though severely tried. 

The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. 

Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined.  His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer.  All who will lay hold of God's promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded.  Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. 

WRESTLING WITH GOD -- HOW FEW KNOW WHAT IT IS!

How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch.  When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God. 

Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience.  And even if they endure the test they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God.  The lessons of faith which they have neglected they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.   

We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His promises.

Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere.  We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God.  The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it.  We must take time to pray. 

If we allow our minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of fertile lands.   

 

oooOooo

 

{Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886 paras. 7-9} 

But how shall this victory over the world be obtained? Go to your closet [a private place], dear reader, and there plead with God: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Be in earnest; be sincere; Jacob-like, wrestle in prayer.  Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God.  Remain until unutterable longings for salvation are awakened in your heart, and the sweet evidence is obtained of pardoned sin.  Then when you leave your closet, watch [and listen]; and so long as you watch and pray, the grace of God will appear in your life.   

In no case neglect secret prayer; for it is the soul of religion.  If you expect salvation, you must pray.  Take time.  Be not hurried and careless in your prayers.  Intercede with God to work in you a thorough reformation, that the fruits of the Spirit may dwell in you, and that, by your godly life, you may shine as a light in the world.  When you sincerely feel that without the help of God you perish, when you pant after him as the hart panteth after the water-brooks [Psalm 42:1], then will the Lord strengthen you speedily, and you will have that peace that passeth understanding.   

While you pray that you may not be led into temptation, remember that your work does not end with the prayer.  You must then answer your own prayer as far as possible, by resisting temptation, and leave that which you cannot do for yourselves for Jesus to do for you.  We cannot be too guarded in our words and deportment, lest we invite the enemy to approach us with his temptations.  With the word of God for our guide, and Jesus for our heavenly teacher, we need not be ignorant of the divine requirements or of Satan's devices.  And it will be no unpleasant task to be obedient to the will of God, when we yield ourselves fully to be directed by his Spirit.

   

The End.

Note 1

[The emphasis is mine.  

The long paragraphs in the book have been broken up for emphasis and easier reading.]

***************(Begin Quote)

{1898 A T Jones, Great Empires of Prophecy pages 486.1-3}

38.  In order, therefore, to the accomplishment of her original purpose, it now became necessary for the church to secure legislation extinguishing all exemption, and prohibiting the observance of the Sabbath so as to quench that powerful protest.  And now, coupled with the necessity of the situation, the “truly divine command” of Constantine and the Council of Nice that “nothing” should be held “in common with the Jews,” was made the basis and the authority for legislation utterly to crush out the observance of the Sabbath of the Lord, and to establish the observance of Sunday only in its stead. 

Accordingly, the Council of Laodicea enacted the following canon: --

“CANON 29.  Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day.  If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.” 19.   

Footnote 19.

[Page 486] Hefele's “History of the Church Councils,” Laodicea.  In both the Greek and Latin copies of this canon, the word “Sabbath” is used instead of “Saturday;” and the word “anathema” -- accursed -- is the one which Hefele translates “shut out.” The following is the Latin: “Quod non oportet Christianos Judaizere et otiare in Sabbato, sed operari in eodem die.  Preferentes autem in veneratione Dominicum diem si vacare voluerint, ut Christiani hoc faciat; quod si reperti fuerint Judaizere Anathema sint a Christo.”

39.  The report of the proceedings of the Council of Laodicea is not dated. 

A variety of dates has been suggested, of which A. D. 364 seems to have been the most favored.  Hefele allows that it may have been as late as 380.  But whatever the date, before A. D. 380, in the political condition of the empire, this could not be made effective by imperial law. 

In A. D. 364 Valens and Valentinian became emperors, the former of the East, and the latter of the West.  For six years Valens was indifferent to all parties; but in A. D. 370 he became a zealous Arian [see note 2], and so far as in him lay, established the Arian doctrine throughout his dominion. 

Valentinian, though a Catholic, kept himself aloof from all the differences or controversies among church parties. 

This continued till 375, when Valentinian died, and was succeeded by his two sons, one aged sixteen, the other four, years. 

In 378 the reign of Valens ended, and Theodosius, a Spanish soldier, was appointed emperor of the East.  In 380 he was baptized into the Catholic Church, and immediately an edict was issued in the name of the three emperors, commanding all subjects of the empire, of whatever party or name, to adopt the faith of the Catholic Church, and assume the name of “Catholic Christians.”   BACK

 

 

 

Note 2:

***************(Begin Quote)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism

Arianism[pronunciation?] is a nontrinitarian Christian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is entirely distinct from and subordinate to the God the Father.

It was first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. All mainstream branches of Christianity consider this teaching to be heterodox and heretical. The Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325 deemed it to be a heresy. At the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, Arius was exonerated.[1] After his death, he was again anathemised and pronounced a heretic again at the Ecumenical First Council of Constantinople of 381.[2] The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and Valens (364–378) were Arians or Semi-Arians.

The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from—God the Father. This belief is grounded in the Gospel of John (14:28)[3] passage: "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."  BACK

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