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"The Origin of the Church"
"Your birth and your nativity is of the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite, and your mother an Hittite".
God here tells His church that it was born an illegitimate child with pagan religious tendencies! It was not conceived by any action of His. In actual fact it was conceived by Abraham when he raised up many converts in the land of Haran. Genesis 14:13.
Genesis 11:31-32; 12:1-4
"And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran".
"Now the LORD had said to Abram [back in Ur], Get you out of your country [this he did], and from your kindred [this he did not], and from your father's house [but he took him with him], unto a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed".
"So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him [after his father had died]; and Lot went with him [thus he continued to disregard God's advice]: and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran".
Abraham's household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside. [but they didn't go out into the world as they should have done! See Acts 1:8]
In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God.
It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship.
It was a wise arrangement, which God Himself had made, to cut off His people, so far as possible, from connection with the heathen, making them a people dwelling alone, and not reckoned among the nations. He had separated Abraham from his idolatrous kindred, that the patriarch might train and educate his family apart from the seductive influences which would have surrounded them in Mesopotamia [then send them out to work for others], and that the true faith might be preserved in its purity by his descendants from generation to generation.
Abraham's affection for his children and his household led him to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven [and also the 'church']. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents and no disobedience on the part of children. God's law had appointed to each his duties, and only in obedience to it could any secure happiness or prosperity.
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"You have built your high place at every head of the way..."
Religious prostitutes plied their trade everywhere, just as did the physical ones. (See Genesis 38:14-15). Their aim was to draw back and confuse God's people as to the whereabouts of their Saviour. He was either on earth or in heaven, in ritual or in spirit, in the visible or invisible church organization.
Early Writings 056.001
I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, "Father, give us Thy Spirit." Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children.
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"You have also committed fornication with the Egyptians..."
Testimonies, Vol. 2, page 263.004
It is not natural for you to love spiritual things; but you can acquire that love by exercising your mind, the strength of your being, in that direction. The power of doing is what you need. True education is the power of using our faculties so as to achieve beneficial results.
Why is it that religion occupies so little of our attention, while the world has the strength of brain, bone, and muscle? It is because the whole force of our being is bent in that direction. We have trained ourselves to engage with earnestness and power in worldly business, until it is easy for the mind to take that turn. This is why Christians find a religious life so hard and a worldly life so easy. The faculties have been trained to exert their force in that direction. In religious life there has been an assent to the truths of God's word, but not a practical illustration of them in the life.
To cultivate religious thoughts and devotional feelings is not made a part of education. These should influence and control the entire being. The habit of doing right is wanting. There is spasmodic action under favorable influences, but to think naturally and readily upon divine things is not the ruling principle of the mind.
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"No eye pitied you, to do any of these to you, to have compassion upon you..."
Not one of the things which should have been done for an infant's survival was actually done! She was cast out and abandoned as far Jesus was concerned. It was His love for a lost soul that saved her and He adopted her as His own from that moment on. But an organized church, staying in one spot, was not what He wanted!
I call upon those who have been held at Battle Creek to gird on the armor. It is high time that they went forth into needy fields to labor for the Lord. It is not pleasing to God for them to stay in a place that has been worked over and over again, encouraging others to drift into Battle Creek to become unbelievers in the Testimonies God has given to his people, or perhaps infidels. Those who are fully established in the truth may gain a good education there, but there are others who go away infidels. By some, the truths that lie at the very foundation of our faith are being sacrificed.
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"Yes, I swear to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became Mine".
It was not until the time of the exodus from Egypt that God called His people to be an obvious group in the world. He "married" the orphan whom he had brought up.
"And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself".
"Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation".
"These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel".
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"... it was perfect
through My comeliness [righteousness],
which I had put upon you..."
"In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS".
"In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, 'The LORD our righteousness'."
This is the origin of the custom of a wife taking her husband's name.
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"Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to Me, and these have you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Is this of your whoredoms a small matter, that you have slain My children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?"
The phrase "cause them to pass through the fire" is not well understood by Christians today. It is generally assumed that the people of old actually sacrificed their children to an idol such as Molech (Leviticus 18:21), or Baal (Jeremiah 19:5). See also 1 Kings 11:5-8 and 2 Kings 23:10.
Although this may have literally happened, it is not the real meaning behind the accusation of Jesus.
Then, as well as now, professed Christian parents did not teach their children the power of self control under the Spirit of God. They allowed and in many cases, actually encouraged, their children to develop a spirit of independence and pride which brought them under the dominion of Baal the god of force. This guaranteed that they would experience many fiery trials unnecessarily and suffer the consequences when they failed the tests. It was this spirit which, in large measure, caused the people of God to openly rebel and ignore His pleadings to be saved.
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"... but you give your gifts to all your lovers, and hire them, that they may come to you... "
This word should settle forever the confusion over the "fall" into sin which many embrace. Whether it was Adam and Eve in the garden, the people of Jerusalem at this time, or any Christian at any time - no one "falls" - we all accept the temptation BECAUSE WE WANT TO. Our Saviour pleads with us not to "jump" and shows us a "way of escape", but each and every sinner has to refuse to be saved in order to sin. Of course, as time goes on, the way of escape becomes harder to see or hear, not because the Spirit lets up but because we no longer want to hear and He will not force His presence where it is not wanted.
1 Corinthians 10:13-14
"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry".
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"Behold, therefore I will gather all your lovers..."
Jesus had not divorced Judah, the southern kingdom. She was still His "wife" although a very bad, mis-behaving one. Israel (the northern kingdom), on the other hand, had asked for a "divorce" to "marry" Babylon (Assyria) and Jesus had granted their request.
"Thus says the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have you sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away".
"And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also".
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"... in that you are a comfort to them"
Judah's restoration will be no more deserved than Sodom's or Samaria's for forgiveness and redemption are gifts. This will be a real blow to her pride.
"And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall you remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel".
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