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Persecution, sickness and old age

 

Query for the Month

of

December 2018

Next up-date: January 1st 2019 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.    Or as a WORD doc.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


Query:

Why can’t I, as a Christian, heal all the sicknesses and old age diseases that I see amongst the people I work with?  I read a book recently that seems to promise that if I align myself with Spirit then I will be able to.

And in conjunction with that:

Someone gave us a list of the apostles, and how they died, I know they killed people in terrible ways in those days, and there was no exception for the apostles, mostly because they were preaching and for their faith. That is a real puzzle, I mean [if] these men were the apostles [chosen ones?], and Christian, [and] they could not be protected, what hope do we have.

 

 

Response:

First let me say:

    Letter 40-1892.

“I walk with trembling before God, I know not how to speak or trace with pen the large subjects of the atoning sacrifice.  I know not how to present subjects in the living power in which they stand before me.  I tremble for fear lest I shall belittle the great plan of salvation by cheap words.  I bow my soul in awe and reverence before God and say, ‘Who is sufficient for these things?’” --  {Volume 2 Notebook Leaflets 191.2} 

But I will try:

You also wrote that you think the book is an answer to prayer, and in this I think you are right.  But did it come from God?  This is the time for counterfeit miracles and a false latter rain (Pentecost and speaking in tongues) rather than from God.  His time will come later and be much more powerful than the original.  Maybe God has had to allow this so that we can learn the difference and the only way to do that is by checking with the Bible using the discerning eye of the Spirit.

Why do I think that this is counterfeit? 

Because we have the following two witnesses from the Bible.

    Revelation 14:8

And there followed another angel [the second], saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 

      Isaiah 8:20

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word [keeping the law], it is because there is no light [absolutely none] in them [for you]

In our understanding of the three angels’ messages we are shown that the professed Christian denominations (which are really parts of Babylon and not Christianity) teach people to drink of their wine [their doctrines] in their anger against God.  These taste nice but lead to cheating on God as the mind becomes more and more confused.  And, of course, the closer the taste is to the truth the greater the damage.  But, not only do they not keep the law (in this case, Sabbath-keeping) they positively fight against it! The authors tell us that they are/were both leading lights in the Anglican Church and are advocates for speaking in tongues, as in chapter 7.

And there is always this thought:

    Proverbs 18:17 

       King James Version

He that is first in his own cause seems just; but his neighbour comes and searches him.   

    The Message (MSG)

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—
    until the cross-examination starts!

    New International Version (NIV)

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

So, let’s cross-examine.

The very first statement in the book (reprinted 2007) is this:

“I had known Dr. Bennett since 1960 and looked on him as the first non-pentecostal to receive national attention upon receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as an Episcopal [Anglican] priest in Van Nuys.[1]  He ministered with me in seminars at ORU (Oral Roberts University) [2], and later spoke in chapel [took the services].

“I also enjoyed the book, The Holy Spirit and You.  It’s blessed ORU’s Seminary as a textbook all these years.”

Oral Roberts, Chancellor, Oral Roberts University.

Near the bottom of the same page are the words of another commentator, “as I was reading it on Christmas Day 1988, I was baptised in the Holy Ghost and spoke with a new tongue”.  And over the page, “Some were baptised in the Holy Spirit, complete with prayer language; already baptised-in-the-Spirit believers came together weekly to fellowship across non-denominational lines . . . One man was saved, baptised in the Spirit, freed from demonic possession, received a prayer language, and was completely healed of a perforated ulcer all in one day!”

So the tenor of the book is healing, speaking in tongues, and forming a unity in the Spirit.

This is the opposite of what we as Adventists were told to do in the 1844 movement – we were called out (“Come out of her My people”) and asked to hold up the Sabbath flag as the only place to be.  I know that sounds exclusive, and it is.  However, it does not mean that it is the only place to be saved, but it is the only place to give a correct witness. The Sabbath “rest” cannot be explained so easily by a Sunday-keeper.

So why is the teaching of this book so appealing?

It appears to be very solidly Bible-based and certainly has a great idea about healing the sick and infirm.  But (and it’s a very big but), it really is based on events that have happened in the past in the early centuries and is therefore out of date, which is one of Satan’s devices.  It did not take long for the early church to bend away from God and these things began to drop off.  See Revelation 2:4 which takes us up to about 100AD.

It is like the Christian Pharisees who came to the Galatians and told them that they had to become Jews and keep the law by being circumcised if they wanted to be good Christians!  They could show a lot of proof texts from the Old Testament which were right on, but as we know now, they were of no value in that day and age.  So Paul called them “foolish Galatians” for listening to them when they had been told of a counterfeit to come, just as we have.  Galatians 3:1.

Let’s look at what Jesus and the disciples did.

There is no doubt that Jesus healed many while He was here in His brief sojourn as a Christian.  (Just three and a half years of public ministry, and nearly half of that in relative obscurity.)  Without labouring the fact, let me quote a couple of texts where He healed everyone, including those who did not ask for it, nor particularly followed Him.  What we usually miss is WHY He was able to do it, for He said He could do nothing of Himself! (John 8:28)

    Matthew 8:

16 When the even was come, they brought to Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.  

Thus the Spirit showed through Him that God does not want any of us to be sick or hurt and what He will do to alleviate it when He can.  He personally bears them wherever He can – for they do not disappear.  But we should also bear in mind the fact that He did not do anything that had not already been by another man of God, although He did much more in a shorter time.  Maybe we should ask WHY the Spirit did it through them?

So, as we have just seen, one of the first reasons for healing was to show what happens to the effect of our actions (the guilt and pain goes into the Son of God) and how He would like to do it more often to save us from the hurt.

Then there was the occasion regarding church law.

    Matthew 12:

9 And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue [into the church on the Sabbath]: 10 and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.  And they asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse Him [of breaking their Sabbath law].

11 And He said to them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.  

13 Then says He to the man, Stretch forth your hand.  And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him [His goodness made them hate Him].  

15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence [why? So they would not develop more hatred, and thereby hurt themselves]: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; 16 and charged them that they should not make Him known [for He was doing this for someone else and for another time and it would be the wrong time to publish, but His heart went out to them, as has yours]: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, 18 Behold My Servant, whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased:

I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment [God’s fairness and care] to the Gentiles [non-Jews].

19 He shall not strive, nor cry [nor make any sort of a fuss]; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets [publishing His work].

20 A bruised reed [a hurting Christian] shall He not break, and smoking flax [one who was choosing] shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment to victory. 21 And in His name [character] shall the Gentiles trust. 

So another reason was to show what God is really like to the nations  – He is not a persecuting Person as the Gentiles normally thought – not a God waiting to punish as they were being taught.

Then we are told by the great apostle, writing to his protégé:

    2 Timothy 3:

10 But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the LORD delivered me.

[But only after he had suffered them.  He never was relieved of his eye problem even though he prayed often about it.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  Note that the Son of God gave a good reason why not when He said, “My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness”.]

[Then came God’s great promise]:

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse [getting better at it], deceiving, and being deceived. 

And in another place, written towards the close of Paul’s life and at the start of the “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3):

    Hebrews 12:

3 For consider Him that endured such contradiction [opposition] of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.

4 You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin. 

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the LORD, nor faint [give up] when you are rebuked of Him: 6 for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards [fatherless], and not sons. 

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence [respect]: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness [follow in His steps]

11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed [God’s way].  

New International Version (NIV)

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son?

It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Below is an interesting note I read from Robert Wieland’s writings.

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

Ever since sin entered in the Garden of Eden, there has been a cross erected.  An innocent creature had to be killed, its blood shed, in order for Adam and Eve to have clothing to shield them from the cold and from their newly acquired shame of nakedness.  Each new generation of those who feared and reverenced God has had to face a cross whereon self has been crucified.

Abel recognized its principle and proclaimed his faith; what did he get for his sacrifice?  Death at the hands of his older brother.  But wait -- he gets more!  “He being dead still speaks” (Heb.  11:4), which means -- Abel has been preaching a powerful, soul-winning sermon for all these 6000 years!  If you want to talk about “stars in somebody's crown,” look at that firmament!

All Isaac did was to be born as “the child of promise,” and what does he get?  Persecution from his older brother, Ishmael (Gal.  4:29).  But there is more: God said, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son” (vs.  30).  Isaac gets an eternal inheritance.

Joseph was simply being true to his conscience, and what does he get for that?  A taste of the cross: sold by his older brothers into slavery in Egypt.  But the story is not ended: he becomes prime minister of Egypt.  This is not fiction; it's soul-saving.

David simply defends God's people against their oppressors, the Philistines; and what does he get for it?  The constant enmity of “the anointed of the Lord,” [king Saul] against whom he will not lift up his hand.  But what blessing did David get?  The throne?  Think more deeply: [he got] his understanding of the cross that we can read about in Psalms 22 and 69.

Elijah saves Israel from ruin, is hated by the king and queen; but he is translated.

Jeremiah is called from the womb to serve the Lord, and what did he get?  An entire lifetime of rejection and defamation of character at the hands of God's people, with no respite or interlude of peace.  But now the Jews regard him as the greatest of the prophets.

“Whoever loses his life for My sake,” says Jesus, “ will save it” (Luke 9:24).  They did!

 -- Robert J.  Wieland

I don’t understand why we allow ourselves to be more and more “deceived” as time goes by, but have put it down to our acceptance of the “prosperity gospel” which has been among us for a few centuries now.  By that I mean the gospel which teaches that Christ has done it all for us at Calvary, and we should just sit back and reap the benefits.  No matter how often I hear people protest that they are not like that, it is precisely that deception that leads us to ignore God’s word that persecution (which word includes all the results of sin, including sickness and old age), is the normal outcome of our behaviour, good AND bad.

Straightaway you may say that Jesus did it all perfectly and God protected Him, so maybe it is because we are not doing it all that we suffer.  But He was persecuted from birth while still in the manger, and all through His life, starting with His own family.  In that we conveniently ignore that fact that He did pay for it all in the end!  And that horrendously – a fate few of us receive.

The great silent query in our question is why do Christians seem to suffer as much as others, and even more so sometimes.  Again, we conveniently bypass the fact that we are left here on earth to do just that!! 

You may have heard about our brother T.  Early in 2018 he had a lump growing on his neck and refused to allow a surgeon to take a biopsy with the possibility of removing it.  He even went Misty Mountain Health Retreat first but that only made him worse.  It eventually became as big as a tennis ball and herbal remedies ate it away for a while but did not heal it.  He told us that he trusted in God to heal him, but if not he would die “in the LORD”.  And he did die in May from lymphoma, for there was no healing for him, yet he had lived as a strict vegetarian after becoming a Christian.   

We, like the apostles, are left here after conversion to endure all that sin and the devil can throw at us, and to show how we as Christians can not only bear it, but at the same time look forward to something better in the future.  We have been promised that we will not be given a greater load than we can bear, and that applies to non-Christians as well. 

    1 Corinthians 10:

13 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. 

Sure, God could take us directly to heaven (as some do teach), or He could at least save us from the consequences (or so some think) by healing us, but both of those ideas do not hold up with further investigation of the word of God.  When we look carefully at the situation, we can see that we cause a great deal of our suffering by our own actions in not living as healthy a life as we could and unless we change our whole lifestyle what would be the point of healing?  But Jesus ate what was put in front of Him, and suffered often from sleep deprivation, and was weakened by overmuch exercise, so that is no real answer either.

Then comes the conundrum that the better we get at following God (like the apostles) so the worse things can happen!  We are not told in the Bible that all the apostles died violently, but tradition tells us of those not mentioned. 

As far as I am aware we only have the record in the Bible of the deaths of two of the twelve.  James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was killed by Herod, (Acts 12:1-2) and Judas Iscariot hung himself (Acts 1:15-20).  We hear of the violent deaths of the others from tradition.  It is probably right but we cannot base any proof on it. 

However, there is a notable exception (as we should expect) and that is of John the beloved.  He was not translated as so many think he should have been, for translation as we understand it is NOT based on our “good works”!!

Tradition says that he was cast into a pot of boiling oil, but was immediately plucked out without harm, then exiled to Patmos but released from there after some years and then died a “natural” death of old age while suffering the effects of it.  This is confirmed for us by the Spirit of Prophecy.

    {Acts of the Apostles 569.4 to 570.2} 

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.  {AA 569.4} 

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.  {AA 570.1} 

These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in.  {AA 570.2} 

So the question is “why”?  The answer is:

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.  2 Timothy 3:12.

The great prophet Elisha died of a long and painful disease.  2 Kings 13:14.  Joseph was sold as a slave.  Jeremiah was imprisoned by his family in a muddy pit.  And so on.  In a letter to a friend, Ellen White had this to say:

    {Volume 5 Testimonies to the Church 519.4 to 520.1}     [1882-1889]

There are a thousand ways and plans that Satan has of creeping in to unsettle the minds of youth [and those older]; and unless the soul is firmly and fully stayed upon God, and conscientiously guarded upon the very point of keeping the mind employed in searching the Scriptures and becoming grounded in our faith, they will surely be ensnared.  We cannot be off guard for a moment.  We cannot allow ourselves to move from impulse.  We must set a guard about our minds and the minds of our children, that they may not be allured by Satan's temptations.  {5T 519.4} 

We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study. [There is much more to that subject than the church has ever taught.] 

We should teach our children what the typical Day of Atonement signified and that it was a special season of great humiliation and confession of sins before God.  The antitypical day of atonement [today] is to be of the same character. 

Everyone who teaches the truth by precept and example will give the trumpet a certain sound.  You need ever to cultivate spirituality, because it is not natural for you to be heavenly-minded.  The great work is before us of leading the people away from worldly customs and practices, up higher and higher, to spirituality, piety, and earnest work for God. 

It is your work to proclaim the message of the third angel, to sound the last note of warning to the world.  May the Lord bless you with spiritual eyesight.  I write this in love, seeing your danger.  Please consider these things carefully and prayerfully.  {5T 520.1}

As we may read below, persecution and sickness is the natural result of sin and we are here to demonstrate that fact, for the plan of redemption covers a lot more than just our personal salvation, although that is never forgotten.

    {Christ’s Object Lessons 167.1 to 170.3} 

The work of Satan as an accuser began in heaven.  This has been his work on earth ever since man's fall, and it will be his work in a special sense as we approach nearer to the close of this world's history.  As he sees that his time is short, he will work with greater earnestness to deceive and destroy [through direct persecution in some cases, but mainly though sickness and disasters]

[His main targets are the Christians, but he really doesn’t care about any other humans for all are loved by God, and if he can Satan wants to hurt God, so he is indiscriminate.  There are masses of us (and growing) so he has plenty of targets.  If God was to cut short the effects of sin then He would negate the whole plan of salvation which needs to open the eyes of humanity as to what is going on.  The angels and the people of the universe have already seen some of the depths of it through the events at Calvary.]

He [Satan] is angry when he sees a people on the earth who, even in their weakness and sinfulness, have respect to the law of Jehovah.  He is determined that they shall not obey God.  He delights in their unworthiness, and has devices prepared for every soul, that all may be ensnared and separated from God.  He seeks to accuse and condemn God and all who strive to carry out His purposes in this world in mercy and love, in compassion and forgiveness.  {COL 167.1} 

Every manifestation of God's power for His people arouses the enmity of Satan.  Every time God works in their behalf, Satan with his angels works with renewed vigor to compass their ruin. 

He is jealous of all who make Christ their strength.  His object is to instigate evil, and when he has succeeded, throw all the blame upon the tempted ones.  He points to their filthy garments [their dirty robes of righteousness], their defective characters.  He presents their weakness and folly, their sins of ingratitude, their unlikeness to Christ, which have dishonored their Redeemer. 

All this he urges as an argument proving his right to work his will in their destruction.  He endeavors to affright their souls with the thought that their case is hopeless, that the stain of their defilement can never be washed away.  He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield fully to his temptations, and turn from their allegiance to God.  {COL 168.1} 

The Lord's people cannot of themselves answer the charges of Satan.  As they look to themselves they are ready to despair.  But they appeal to the divine Advocate.  They plead the merits of the Redeemer.  God can be “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:26.  With confidence the Lord's children cry unto Him to silence the accusations of Satan, and bring to naught his devices.  “Do me justice of mine adversary,” they pray; and with the mighty argument of the cross, Christ silences the bold accuser.  {COL 168.2} 

“The Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” When Satan seeks to cover the people of God with blackness, and ruin them, Christ interposes.  Although they have sinned, Christ has taken the guilt of their sins upon His own soul.  He has snatched the race as a brand from the fire.  By His human nature He is linked with man, while through His divine nature He is one with the infinite God.  Help is brought within the reach of perishing souls.  The adversary is rebuked.  {COL 169.1} 

[God is always doing His best for all humanity.  For us to cast reproach on Him and ask Him to do more, or accuse Him of not doing enough, is a gigantic slap in the face!  All we can rightly ask is, “Is there anything I can do to help You?”]

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel: and he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments [of his sins since conversion] from him.  And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of [a clean set of] raiment.  And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head [the crown of the overcomer].  So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments.”

Then with the authority of the Lord of hosts the angel made a solemn pledge to Joshua, the representative of God's people: “If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by” -- even among the angels that surround the throne of God.  (Zechariah 3:3-7.)  {COL 169.2} 

Notwithstanding the defects of the people of God, Christ does not turn away from the objects of His care.  He has the power to change their raiment.  He removes the filthy garments, He places upon the repenting, believing ones His own robe of righteousness, and writes pardon against their names on the records of heaven.  He confesses them as His before the heavenly universe.  Satan their adversary is shown to be an accuser and deceiver.  God will do justice for His own elect.  {COL 169.3} 

The prayer, “Do me justice of mine adversary,” applies not only to Satan, but to the agencies whom he instigates to misrepresent, to tempt, and to destroy the people of God.  Those who have decided to obey the commandments of God will understand by experience that they have adversaries who are controlled by a power from beneath. 

Such adversaries [angelic, human and natural] beset Christ at every step, how constantly and determinedly no human being can ever know.  Christ's disciples, like their Master, are followed by continual temptation [to give up and accuse God].  {COL 170.1} 

The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ's second coming.  James the apostle pictures the greed and oppression that will prevail.  He says, “Go to now, ye rich men, .  .  .  ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.  Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth [the LORD of hosts].  Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton.  Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.  Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you [for that is God’s job, Jude 1:9].” James 5:1-6.  This is a picture of what exists today.  By every species of oppression and extortion, men are piling up colossal fortunes, while the cries of starving humanity are coming up before God.  {COL 170.2} 

“Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.  Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.” Isaiah 59:14, 15.

[We need to remind ourselves of that every day.  It is not just our sin that makes us the target – it is even more by our righteousness!] 

This was fulfilled in the life of Christ on earth. 

He was loyal to God's commandments, setting aside the human traditions and requirements which had been exalted in their place.  Because of this He was hated and persecuted [from the manger to the cross]

This history is repeated [in every Christian]

The laws and traditions of men are exalted above the law of God, and those who are true to God's commandments suffer reproach and persecution.  Christ, because of His faithfulness to God, was accused as a Sabbathbreaker and blasphemer.  He was declared to be possessed of a devil, and was denounced as Beelzebub.  In like manner His followers are accused and misrepresented.  Thus Satan hopes to lead them to sin, and cast dishonor upon God.  {COL 170.3}  

 

Conclusion:

Is there anything we can do about the sufferings of others? 

The Son of God says “Yes”. 

If we come to Him every time we have a problem He will show us a way out, and our friends and neighbours will marvel at how we are saved.  Or if not, we can show how we can endure to death if necessary under the pressure (Revelation 12:11), and they might want to have that power too.  It was Stephen’s death that caught Paul’s attention.  (Acts 7.)  The three young friends of Daniel told that truth to the king and did not die.  (Daniel 3:16-18.)

So the real answer to your problem (and it is ours too) is to teach the sick and old people as much as they can handle of a loving Saviour who will ease (but not stop) their infirmities, and that they should trust in Him for a resurrection.  We should not give them the false hope that they will be healed unless God tells us particularly to say that to an individual.

     {Desire of Ages 74.1} 

Jesus [as a Child] was the fountain of healing mercy for the world; and through all those secluded years at Nazareth, His life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness.  The aged, the sorrowing, and the sin-burdened, the children at play in their innocent joy, the little creatures of the groves, the patient beasts of burden, -- all were happier for His presence.  He whose word of power upheld the worlds would stoop to relieve a wounded bird.  There was nothing beneath His notice, nothing to which He disdained to minister.  

You can see that the authors of the book teach the opposite of what we have just read in their chapter 3, pages 18-19.  Satan knew who Christ was from his birth.  Revelation 12:4.  To hide the fact that they are the major counterfeit, they point to spiritualism.  Page xiii.  Their understanding of conversion does not require any contact with the Bible, which while strictly true, is not the normal way.  Pages 1-8.  You might note that they firmly believe in an eternally burning hell.  Page 5.  They point to modern-day miracles in Indonesia on page 131, and sudden transportation like Philip’s but without any apparent reason.  Acts 8:39-40.  They do mention normal languages as part of speaking in tongues, but I found the emphasis on an unknown one needing an interpreter appears more important.

I could go on and on but I think you will have got my point by now.https://constant.email/t/jZbCRFENxNRAqia4hJTimA/wr9CgMypOQjSfg6fpH6Clg


[1] Van Nuys is in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California.

 

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from 1st January 2019

 

Query:

. . . understanding all three characters, the good, the bad, and the in-between, you do the right thing in God’s eyes, the Ten Commandments, [if] we listen to the Holy Spirit, who warns and guides us.  With this, you are protected, as we have always been taught.  Satan cannot touch our life, but he can influence people who we love around us, he can cause things to happen that affect us, and we must remain strong in belief and faith, and not let our human character come in between ourselves and God. 

But you said today, whether we do the right thing or not Satan is going to cause us trouble!!!

What do you mean by that? ????????   

 

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