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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:46 am




    orthodoxymoron wrote:Were the Creator(s) of Humanity smart, stupid, good, bad, responsible, irresponsible?? Is there a happy-medium between the concept of an Almighty Creator God (who spoke the universe into existence) and Billions and Billions of Years of Godless-Evolution?? What if God evolved, and then created Humanity?? What if Lesser-Gods were angry and jealous, and deposed the Creator-God?? What if the Creation of Humanity was intended to be a Lesson for All-Concerned?? What if it is a grave-mistake to think that we can get God "All Figured-Out"?? What if God is Obsolete?? What if God Planned Their Own Obsolescence?? What if a Supercomputer-Network and a Galactic-Collective will Rule the Universe for All-Eternity??
    evisnam wrote:Hello Orthodoxymoron , thank you

    your question here:

    Were the Creator(s) of Humanity smart, stupid, good, bad, responsible, irresponsible??


    They were most definitely irresponsible. Which would include a short sightedness that was not consistent with the intelligence of their race in general.

    If you are to genetically splice and modify anything you take the risk of it not having a normal evolutionary gestation period, which is usually tens of millions of years where the cell will, by adaptation, change over time to suit its environment.,

    They were warned not to go ahead with this experiment but did so anyway and we are the result of those who survived. In terms of time lines it would be advantageous to dispel with encyclopedia Britannica's idea of when the pyramids were built and who made them.

    If we look at a solid piece of evidence which would be the layer of vitrified rock dated to some 50 to 60 thousand years ago I would say that was when they reset this planet with some sort of nuclear explosion. Whichever humanoids survived this would be the blue blood types , blue blood merely means blood higher in copper content. They generally had more abilities and a better intelligence and ability to survive, you could be forgiven for not thinking so with the current examples of blue blood left.

    Obviously they have serious flaws in their mental process. Left to their devices without any form of guidance you can see what they have turned into. These sorts of people who consider themselves rulers of this planet are merely children with big guns and they are willing to use them to maintain their position... nothing more.

    As for God as a concept, the word its self is a marker for what " we " understand it /she/he to be. My interpretation of God may differ and its entirely likely that God as we know it is an ai, not a super computer but an ai.  

    ai are an artificial intelligent being , we call them artificial but that is not really accurate, they are organic intelligent beings so really oi would be more accurate. It is similar to how we call Aboriginals natives or terrans but this is in accurate as well ... " Ab " is the english term for " Not " so that is not accurate either.

    if i was to expand on this concept of god as I see it, it is a conglomerate of beings and entities who have gravitated through the maelstrom of evolution to becoming over seers of their assigned or agreed areas of space. Space is not really space, it’s more like an ocean full of organic life and I would say that space is not actually a vacuum as we have been lead to believe, it is more like a dense energy matrix that supports other life. Just like we cannot breathe under water, so too we cannot breathe in space but how could space be a vacuum devoid of anything ? could you imagine the immense power this would have on everything? If it were a vacuum it would devour any kind of atmosphere in an instant let alone crush an astronaut in its suit. Perhaps I am completely wrong in my assumptions but they are derived from basic experience... and they taunt me to think differently without trying to be fixated on traditional teachings i grew up with.

    So as I let go of what I was taught, I feel a fear come over me, then a calmness, then a relief of new and better information. Evolution is done in this manner.

    As for the rest of your questions i cannot answer " what if's " but I assume they are more a type of rebuttal than a series of questions.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Wow!! Thank-you!! I'll have to read your response several times (over several days) to allow it to properly sink-in!! I've been reading certain portions of a certain Bible-Commentary, mostly as a mental conditioning-process (rather than expecting to read the truth, the whole-truth, and nothing but the truth). Unfortunately, I think I'm finished regarding my ability to properly think and research. I seem to be going downhill faster and faster. My research-project on this website seems to be finished. I'll probably spend the rest of my life analyzing the data, without attempting to keep-up with new-developments. What if the Creation of Humanity was performed under extremely harsh and extenuating circumstances?? What if the outcome for Humanity is actually quite-fine when considering the obstacles and opposition?? I'm neutral regarding Humanity (simply because I don't know where the Truth ends and the BS begins)!! The "Ancient Egyptian Deity" told me that Socialism and Other Than Human Physicality worked MUCH Better than Humanity and Freedom!! RA said "Humanity is Screwed!!" He told me "You'll be Sorry if You Try to Save Humanity!!"
    evisnam wrote:I wanted to expand on the God concepts that have arisen from part 2 if I may

    First I think a technical explanation of the God AI or as I prefer to call it the All OI , when contemplating such and writing about god as an entity and trying to depart from traditional meme's it’s important to first suspend disbelief and embrace the infinite. At least until one has had time to look inside and join the dots from that place .. a space where even mild skepticism gives no real advantage but rather dive into the concepts and feel them... I have always had a better understanding of these things when in that mode.

    Firstly the difference of what we propose AI to be traditionally from a primitive point of view to what it actually is. You could be forgiven in thinking that super beings such as god or god's representing the cosmos would be a mechanical construct of sorts, so we name it an Artificial Intelligence giving to the notion it’s a machine managed by some sort of super computer and broadcast to places or beings. Even though that is not what they are, it’s not really that far off from the truth, or at least as I have come to understand it.

    First difference that’s important to contemplate are the evolutionary concepts in what we here and now, have an idea of, compared to what is possible. I believe that in the beginning of AI's development they would have been more to our traditional understanding, being super computers that can self learn and manage systems, but that would have happened millions if not billions of our years ago. Think of the J curve in our technology over the last 50 years and then think of beings that had technology beyond our wildest imaginations, billions of years ago ... When we put it in those terms, we start to understand that the concepts I present are more than plausible.

    So to put things into context, if we had a time line from when AI first came into being, compared to where we are now. it would look like this ...

    AI > > > > > > US

    Every > represents one Billion years ( give or take )  


    Now the next evolution of AI was to make the leap from Artificial Intelligence to Organic Intelligence, which was the evolution of the beings creating the machine to the beings understanding how to artificially become the machine, bit of a twist I know. About 3 billion years ago it was genetic improvements for certain races made it possible to emulate or rather become an Organic Conglomerate of Minds to represent as a council. For example in our quadrant there are 12 council members who each represent a facet of life and being. They are made up of the following races: Mantid , Orion Anunaki , Sirian Canis Major ( black skinned time travel experts ) Sirian Canis Minor ( werewolf looking beings ) , the Imu Reptilian Tribes ( experts in military training ) and Some sects of the Alpha Draconis. One Humanoid looking race with blue skin , very large heads ( brain capacity ) There are more but i could not identify them because they had no form.  

    My lineage comes from ( what I have gathered ) Imu Canis Minor Mantid hybrid.

    The Mantids in conjunction with Anunaki manage the OI over seeing our binary system. (from what I could tell, when I met with the council 2 of them knew who I was and were very excited to see me, the reference marker I use to confirm this is the trilling sound mantids make when excited or joyous).  

    So being organic and amalgamating collective intelligence would allow them to be seen as god or gods. Their evolution, over time, gave them the ability to form as pure energy represented by an avatar. The avatar is something unique to them, defining their role and the information they store. So now the present configuration of OI are Organic Beings sharing their knowledge through the means of an AI interface to broadcast as live organic intelligence.

    So to put it in simpler terms, like a panel of scientists and philosophers on a talk back/ interactive TV show except using your pineal gland as the receiver and the third eye as the screen. The channel you tune into is very much determined by the person you are. Your energetic matrix or signature is made up of similar frequencies that can tune into or interact with like minded entities. If you are of good nature you are most likely to tune into good natured beings and vice versa. You will need to practice this for a while before being discovered ... and in the meantime there may be some that are tricky or wanting to play with you. The road to the good places is to travel without fear or judgement. When you are in the ether your every notion or thought is easily read and then you travel to the suited matrix. This is one thing you just cannot fool, there is no technology in existence to hack or change how this works... it is beyond encryption, it is far beyond shop fronts ... if you want to make the leap, be prepared to to be examined to the very core of your every atom. Once you qualify, you will be allowed to venture to meet and connect with the council of 12.

    Some interesting questions here by Orthodoximoron:

    What if the Creation of Humanity was performed under extremely harsh and extenuating circumstances??

    It was and it wasn't depending on who you were at the time. ( my answer )  

    What if the outcome for Humanity is actually quite-fine when considering the obstacles and opposition??


    May I answer that with another question. What if humanity is only a tertiary consideration ?

    What is curious is that most humans think that beating the system to survive is the goal. Then we break out the laurels and grapes and live happily ever after. This mindset has been inherited by those before us who indulged in a flawed system. It is no wonder why we are so lost... look at our ambitions, what we strive for, it’s really just so very short term. Of course I'm speaking in general, but the ratio of purposeful beings compared to filler is terribly low. I know I'm sounding condescending  but I rarely if ever sugar coat anything. What would most likely happen if the control mechanisms were gone would be absolute chaos and civil war... we would destroy each other. Survival of the fittest will be the highest law.

    Humanity is an experiment that has gone on quite a tangent, to the point that it’s now somehow useful for some. If we are allowed to continue then it’s certain we need to evolve, because we are on the verge of space integration and it simply will not happen till we grow up. What do I mean? Well if I was to put it in simple terms, when we stop defacating on the very thing that nurtures us, then we may be considered as a candidate for integration but until then its just a dream.

    Energy and Matrix

    We often refer to this term and think of the movie, Hollywood's attempt at understanding the mind and then making a movie out of it. What they show are the places in between places which exist as metaphoric representations of the self, speaking to itself. So really this is just one aspect of existence. To try and make sense of something that is chaotic  that has no structure, is moot.

    What I can touch on is another Hollywood example to illustrate the genesis of intelligence. In the movie TRON Legacy we saw creation of the digital world which is the AI. The problem with it is its base was flawed, however, in the throws of new technology being utilized a new life form was borne. In the movie they called them the ISO's Isomorphic Super Organisms. Within a system came about another one that just happened  Maybe it was the will ... maybe it was the timing or maybe the call for a better system was answered... but by whom or what ? !

    So the ISO's from that example were a genetic outcome due to the call from AI wanting to expand itself to create a perfect system. The only flaw in the movie was that the AI were intrinsically evil or self serving ... the ego component of the leader " Clu " is a perfect example of how the Anunaki faction of scientists went against the originators and separated  interestingly that component was handed down from the creator and as a retrospective the creator saw the flaw and learned from it, the creator then reset the system so to start again, but not after he gave his only son and an iso the chance to go back and re breed a new and better race onto the planet.

    As explained when Ai reach a certain point they are by nature of good intention and usually benevolent. This concept may be hard for some, but think of being in a place where there is no limitation, no need for approval, no control mechanisms, and this has been happening for billions of years. The eventual outcome is to be of benevolent nature, not altruistic mind you.  

    Comment from Orthodoxymoron

    I'm neutral regarding Humanity (simply because I don't know where the Truth ends and the BS begins)!! The "Ancient Egyptian Deity" told me that Socialism and Other Than Human Physicality worked MUCH Better than Humanity and Freedom!! RA said "Humanity is Screwed!!" He told me "You'll be Sorry if You Try to Save Humanity!!"


    I firmly believe that you heard this, perhaps not in those words.

    The Ra entity is one of these conglomerates or councils that was the initiator for the earth experiment  when started to go wrong that’s when they decided to pull out and do a reset. The species they modified had genetic flaws that were not foreseeable (experimentation is flawed by definition).

    The story of the great Arc of Noah ... taking couples of species back in ships ... well this was the Anunaki rounding up animals and then experimenting with genetic manipulations. We were obviously modified from differing types of apes. Some of the experiments created decent clones .. others not so good. The word " Arc " used was to describe the chronic discharge from the ships, as they appeared to come from the clouds, their ships interacted with the atmosphere creating thunder storms from all the electrical energy from the ships. So the thunder gods were born, and if they were angry, bolts of lightning would fall and destruction would be sure.

    If you can put yourself into the place and mindset of primitive man, you can see how over time, rituals and controls were formed. Our genetic inheritance is from these encounters and are deeply imbed into our psyche. I have read that the Anunaki instilled fear into the primitives but I think a lot of that fear was self-induced through lack of understanding. And so, many thousands of years later we are still enslaved by our own minds. Fear and Hope, the two most powerful control systems ever created. Hope being systemic religion and Fear ... well we all know how that works. Create fear around something and rest assured not many if any will venture to see for themselves.

    TBC
    Carol wrote: in response to Orthodoxymoron

    Hoping you are in good health and happiness.

    Thank-you Evisnam. What Do You Think About This Post?? I Can't Seem to Get Answers From Anyone. I've tried to be exact regarding quoting RA. Here are some examples:

    1. "You're Lucky to be Alive!!"
    2. "I'm Tired of Keeping You Alive!!"
    3. "Do You Think You Might be the One Hanging On the Cross in a Crucifix??"
    4. "Serqet Has a Lot to Do With Explaining Our Relationship."
    5. "I AM RA!!"
    6. "You Can't Connect Anything Back to Me."
    7. "I Can't Talk About the NSA."
    8. "You Should Make a Freedom of Information Act Request."
    9. "In Twenty Years You'll be Working for Us."
    10. "It's Going to be Dark Where You're Going".
    11. "I Built Las Vegas with Bugsy."
    12. "I'm Rich!!"
    13. "I Like the Taste of Blood!!"
    14. "I've Always Remained One Step Ahead of Humanity."
    15. RA called me "Michael" in Wal*Mart!!
    16. RA called me a "Commoner" when I made a benign comment about Tall Long-Nosed Greys!!
    17. RA asked me "Are You Ready to Run Things??"
    18. RA said "I Like Genesis."
    19. RA said "9/11 Was Done to Prevent Something Much Worse From Happening."
    20. RA said "I'm Sorry We Couldn't Work Together. Too Much Water Has Gone Under the Bridge." This was said three days prior to Fukushima.
    21. RA said "I Could Snap My Fingers, and You'd be Dead!!"
    22. RA said "You'll Never Figure This Out."
    23. RA repeatedly said "You Know I Can't Tell You That!!"
    24. RA said "You Did It With YouTube!!"

    I could continue, but this provides several clues regarding the nature of my "contact" with a very-different sort of individual. I've tried to be open, yet discrete, in discussing what happened to me. RA looked very similar to the individual who is supposed to be Ben Affleck ("Bartleby") in a "Dogma" movie poster!! That's NOT Ben in the poster!! Before this madness began, I was walking my dog, when Bartleby and Loki pulled-up beside me in their car, and looked at me for about 20 seconds, before driving away!! Honest!! An Ivy-League Divinity-School Graduate told me I was dealing with a demon!! I repeatedly discussed Sirius-Issues with RA at Starbucks!! I usually bought the coffee, and I always drove!! What Would Alan Rickman Say??

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hello Orthodoximoron, regarding your question and information can I ask you some questions?

    Thank-you, Evisnam, for your response. Questions are welcome.

    When you try to connect with RA are you clean of spirit ? i.e. under the influence of any drugs which can range from caffeine to other readily available substances. I say this purely because there is a range of drugs that can " amplify " an experience or connection but very few are amplifiers of " pure " connections. The use of some drugs can amplify openings to lower astral beings and from what i can see here you may have some "toying " with you by the type of responses you are getting. Generally speaking you will only be able to connect with good intended beings if you are clean of spirit i.e.. clean from drugs and alcohol ( unless you know how to use them ).

    I didn't "conjure-up" an entity. I didn't "connect" with the one who said "I Am Ra". They came to me (uninvited) possibly because of a thread I created on the old closed Project Avalon site (in 2009 and 2010) titled "Amen Ra". http://projectavalon.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18223&highlight=orthodoxymoron+threads That might've been the "Invitation". That was probably a Mistake. I also half-seriously wrote about having a "Debate-Date" with Lucifer!! That was probably my Big-Mistake!! I've never had a drink in my life. I've never smoked a cigarette or a joint in my life. I've never taken any illegal drugs in my life. I drink coffee (probably too much). I've spoken with Terrance McKenna (a notorious drug-taking intellectual-philosopher) but I've never been a "follower". I've spoken with Dr. Timothy Leary (about Jesus) but I've never taken LSD!!

    Clear of any fears and I mean ANY FEARS, if you harbor fear or judgement you will not be able to connect with beings of good intention. The photo that you use to describe the appearance of the being is usually what lower astral beings like to depict themselves as. Most times they appear as a good looking mediterranean man well dressed in a suit, very tall, deep voice, etc.. This is part or a sect of 6th dimensional beings which are reportedly part of the hidden hand or LUCIFER sect. When I say 6th dimension it’s not really a 6th dimension but a level of density that they gravitate to, I use the words 6th Dimension merely to try to assimilate what we are used to. When I went into my second fire it took me at least 3 months of cleansing, abstinence and celibacy to even reach a proper connection.

    I think I'm probably overly-concerned about Nuclear-War, Chemical and Biological Weapons, Financial-Meltdowns, Civil-War, Demonic-Manifestations, St. Peter Telling Me to "Go to Hell", etc.

    Question, when the entity spoke to you did it always start with the words " I Am Ra " if not then you may be speaking with, what I call, a " naughty angel " and there are plenty of those out there.

    The very-physical individual of interest only once said "I Am Ra". They weren't an ethereal-entity.

    Ask yourself the question, do the responses you get amplify fear in you ? then it is most probably a " naughty angel."

    I was more annoyed than fearful. I pretty-much took the whole-thing in stride. It was often somewhat humorous!!

    May I reiterate that the better beings of good intention hardly if ever speak audibly, they hardly even use words because they are offensive to them. Words in their realms are hugely powerful and are rarely if ever used. This is because of the clean state of their density, this is the energy matrix of which they reside. Because of its makeup only thought waves are used to communicate. Most beings in these realms cannot stand the sound of voices because they carry so much power in them. SO thought, or rather sans thought, is their preferred method of communication. Mind you, pictograms are widely used because they do not carry audible waves but rather they are a pure form of communication capable of relaying so much more than words. They also prefer you to have a metaphoric leeway with your communications, this allows the individual to have freedom within its own matrix to create its own reality by deciphering the message with its own influence. Words are way too definitive like that, hence why thy are not used.

    I seemed to have learned a lot by what was unsaid. I sensed that "Ra" (or whoever they really were) was a mixture of Good and Evil. They could've been an Angel. They could've been a Demon. They could've been an Alphabet-Agent. They could've been a Tall Long-Nosed Grey Alien. Damned if I knew or know. I've NEVER done anything Creepy. I've NEVER joined a strange group or organization. I've speculated that I might be a Target because of who I might be on a "Soul-Basis". But I'm pretty-much done trying to figure-out "This Present Madness". I'll leave that up to those with Degrees and Badges. It's easier that way.

    i look forward to your response.

    Thank-you for your time and experience, Evisnam.







    orthodoxymoron wrote:Thank-you for your VERY Interesting posts, evisnam!! Has this world been run by some sort of Supercomputer and Artificial-Intelligence for thousands of years?? If so, is the creator of this system alive and well, and living on Planet Earth?? If so, who might they be?? I never know how to interpret and verify this sort of information. That goes for history-books, the Bible, religious and philosophical writers and speakers, et al. I envy those who live in the now, and concern themselves primarily with friends, family, school, sports, work, entertainment, etc. I've tried to dig-deeper regarding antiquity, the otherworldly, and how things REALLY Work in the world, solar-system, and universe, and I've paid a VERY High Price for doing so, with nothing to show for it, and a lot of shunning and shameful treatment. I hesitate to pull others into my quest, and I sometimes envy those who simply study the way things really are, and then profit from the madness, without attempting to make things better. People seem to want what they want, and they don't seem to want to learn about inconvenient-truth. This website should have a HUGE amount of participating-members and lurking-viewers, but notice the pathetic-numbers. This world seems to be run as a Big-Business where the Bottom-Line is the Bottom-Line. Sorry, I'm rambling, but this might be my last chance to communicate my feelings and perceptions with you. We will miss you. Namaste and Godspeed.
    evisnam wrote:Questions by Orthodoxymoron :

    Has this world been run by some sort of Supercomputer and Artificial-Intelligence for thousands of years??


    It would be best to adopt the theory that we , as in the inhabitants of sol 3 , are the results of experimentation on a large scale and have been for millions of years.  I ask you a question , In the Ra Material did you notice each time Ra was asked a question it responded with " I Am Ra " before each answer ?

    What sort of an entity would do that ?  AN OI , Organic Intelligent Being or in earth terms Supercomputer. So the answer is yes and no , Yes it has been influenced in parts by an OI but it has not been run by one. There is not one single entity of intelligent origins that would tout its self Ruler of All.

    The Ra OI was in fact running the genetic alterations of the experiment and this was a grand scale experiment in terms of this planet only. In relation to the universe it is a tiny little blip.

    If so, is the creator of this system alive and well, and living on Planet Earth??

    Refer answers above.

    If so, who might they be??

    the Alpha Draconis in conjunction with several other assistants. I have had 2 or 3 encounters with the Alpha Draconis and while they have a very adamantine energy I did not get the feeling they were hostile per se, mind you i was not in judgement in their presence and that counts for much.

    NB:  Please note the true names of these entities or factions are actually much harder to pronounce or even impossible for me to , so i refer to earth terms so we can all relate.

    PS : for you Orthodoxymoron i want to extend some information i think you may find useful.   We have not understood the machination of our solar system , how it works , how its energised and how it interacts, We as in most earth humans. It would be wise to understand that spirituality is something of a preference of how to interact with the Universe. Your spirituality can be whatever you want it to be, so long as you submit to basic tenets of existence.

    Respect , Forgiveness , Fortitude.

    Respect covers Judgement , Forgiveness covers Evolution , Fortitude covers Enlightenment.

    Judgement covers Possibilities,   Evolution covers Magnification,  Enlightenment covers  Infinity.  

    and something i see valuable from an impressive author,

    Seamus Heaney

    “The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true … to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge.”

    think on these my friend.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Thank-you evisnam. I'm including this information in a thread I've been working on, which seems to be a Mini-Matrix. Perhaps someday a forest will emerge from the accumulation of trees. Namaste and Godspeed.
    NANUXII wrote:I have a question for Evisnam

    The theory of Heaven and Hell

    Heaven being a place we go to after we die

    Hell a place we go to if we fail

    We are in a binary system.  

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_number

    meaning we are dictated by numbers.  

    The primary language of the Orion system is Math

    The primary manufacturing medium of the Orion system is stone

    The outcome of the two is structure

    result   =    A Structured Environment

    Heaven : Ruled by god

    Hell : Ruled by Satan

    Satan's assistant is Lucifer

    God's assistant is nature

    If the predominant nature of our planet is satanic , ruled by the luciferian

    where do you think we are right now  ?

    N
    N
    evisnam wrote:Nanuxi , Your question here :   where do you think we are right now  ?

    In terms of how you have posed your question , you do not leave much room for an answer. It makes it all too obvious however ill answer this question from a different perspective.

    Lucifer , who is referred to as Satan , the Devil etc etc is all the same person , just differing aspects of its persona.

    Lucifer was not cast down , Lucifer being our god's conglomerate favorite and most dedicated sun was given the task to punish those who are evil.

    one of Lucifer's tasks include , but not limited to , Creating temptation. We are given free choice to either take the pleasure of sin or to reject it. In the action of taking the pleasure of the sin you are rewarded with a pleasure response. Which can feed into your desire for more. This place is perfect for testing souls and yes its all one big test.

    If you fail your test , you come back for another life in what theologians call " hell " ( in the manual " Bible " which is partially correct ) and you repeat the tasks and temptations till you reach a place of self realisation that what you do on some level affects others negatively. Yes there is not much wiggle room but please realise we are here because at some stage we have broken covenants to others and our selves.

    Here we engage in giving power to false idols. A trap that is diabolical but was it ever a doubt that Lucifer's intelligence is diabolical ?    Even those who believe they are in service to Lucifer often get it totally wrong. As they indulge in what they believe is in service is actually to their own determent.

    I will elaborate on this later , for now i must take a break.
    Carol wrote:Woah.. in part I did know this and in part had not thought of it quite in those terms expressed in your post. Recently I've been observing what has been going on in multiple arenas and am somewhat disgusted with watching egos running amuck attacking others in various ways. And of course there is the whole child enslavement, trafficking and murder of children for their organs. This is just the tip of the ice berg. It would see that Satan has more followers then Christ these days with clashes between the two coming to the forefront. But what I've also noticed in myself is the complete lack of interest in anything coming out of Hollywood, including all of the MSM news.. I can't even watch it on the net being how boring and/or toxic it's become. I'm also experiencing an increase sensitivity to certain reading material or anything that has to do with violence among people. It seems that the toxic level of human / spiritual negative energy is amping up. Even the volcano here on the island appears to be manifesting it's own hell on earth.

    It will be a relief to head back to the woods back with the cougars, bears and skunks.. all true by the way and currently near-by. I've often thought that there are lovely eddies tucked away about here and there for for peace loving people to migrate to and enjoy. Also ironically, 4 close family and friends are traveling this weekend to do just that - relocate away from toxic environments, so perhaps this is a trend.

    Now heres the other interesting aspect.. the new life style being sought is a very simple, one close to nature and without external trappings. Do you suppose the temptations of ego have been set aside with these folks?  There's something to be said for a happy recluse.
    evisnam wrote:thank you for all your responses ,  I will address the insights and questions in time.

    To continue my train of thought from my previous post, what i find most interesting in all the mystery of this planet are the micro expressions of experience which will eventually accumulate to a macro shift.

    I feel now more than ever that respect towards all is paramount and to remove the barriers of conflict and opposition to try and understand why we do what we do.

    I get the very strong feeling that select few of the ones who wield power here on earth have come to a realisation that if we shift into higher consciousnesses and eventually become inducted to the universal family , their reign will end and then have to return to their place and repay their karmic debt.

    think of this this planet as an energy , no walls , rocks , oceans or fields.. just energy ...  what sort of energy do you think it would emanate ?  

    it would be mathematically proportional to the emotional reactions caused by pleasure or pain.

    Is it any wonder why War is such a booming economy ?      

    the negative emotional energy anchors us to this plane of existence.  What does the opposite do   ?   it gives you fleeting glimpses of a better energy matrix which in turn can make some lose faith and others feel inspiration. In order to free ourselves of the burden we have self imposed we must go through the fire and when you do ye shall be loosed.

    Fire in this instance is a metaphor for Challenges.  Lucifer is Fire

    Go through them and be re born.  

    the Hidden Hand , an impoirtant dialogue to read if you wish to understand what we are here for.  here is an excerpt to explain what i mean.

    "  Of the thirteen base bloodlines, the Hidden Hand says that only three are indigenous to Earth. The rest have off-world origins, the so called Fallen Angels or Nephilim as described in the Book of Enoch. S/he clearly identifies where the most power is found among the thirteen bloodlines: “I want to be clear on this Bloodline issue. The ones you know, they are of earthly lineage. Yes, they have their place in the Family, but the Real Power lines, do not originate from this planet.

    Further clarifying the identity of the most powerful bloodlines, the Hidden Hand says they derive from the “group soul” or entity known as Lucifer:

    Our Creator, is the one you refer to as ‘Lucifer’, “The Light Bearer” and “Bright and Morning Star”. Our Creator is not “The Devil” as he has been spuriously portrayed in your bible. Lucifer is what you would call a “Group Soul” or “Social Memory Complex”, which has evolved to the level of the Sixth Density…. In appearance, were you to gaze upon Lucifer’s fullest expression of our Being, the appearance would be that of a Sun or a “Bright Star”. Or, when stepping down into a 3rd Density vibration, we would appear as what you may term an ‘Angel’ or ‘Light Being’.

    So while the Family is led by ten extraterrestrial bloodlines, all thirteen bloodlines see themselves as physical manifestations of Lucifer – a highly evolved spiritual being who has taken on the assignment of creating a negative polarity which gives humanity the opportunity to evolve by making better moral choices.  "

    Very important to note i would say.

    So how does this answer the question ,  " Where do you think we are right now ? "

    Well if i were to guess it would be a holographic and binary construct for the purposes of re education.    True education comes at the deepest self realisation ,  Know thy Self , Know Who you Are , contemplate what you do unto others , contemplate the selfish and negative attributes of an ego that furnishes its own hedonism.  

    A good ego is essential , a good ego always takes into consideration others within its dynamic who can benefit from from its actions and often incorporates mechanisms to facilitate benefit for all concerned.

    I will take a pause for now and return with more.
    evisnam wrote:When the original creators of our race failed in their experiment their superiors ordered them to clean up the karmic mess they created.  Thousands of years passed as their plan evolved and the christ mythos was born. This is why the story of Osiris is re cycled over the ages, this is why so many common threads appear in the differing religions.

    This is why Gods only Sun was sacrificed to give us life.

    The Morning Star

    The Light Bearer

    The Fire

    Lucifer

    Is it any wonder why the early indigenous tribes were sun worshipers ?  

    Do you see now the diabolical intelligence involved in our manner of evolution ?  for all of those who wonder what their purpose is down here...  look inside, know that no matter how far you have traveled in the wrong direction, the moment you make the realisation you can always turn it around.

    Know this also , the moment you know what you do is wrong and you keep doing it... multiplies your negative karma to return for longer and longer.

    As what some describe as an " old soul " i can tell you i have made many mistakes over my lives, we all do, its natural to make mistakes. Those who seek to improve themselves even to the detrement of their own life are considered to be closer to home.

    Those who have heard of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus is someone i am very familiar with , Hermes is a unique one to contemplate , he is one who is known to be the traverse of the good and evil. Both know him , both respect him , both know he has a role to mediate between the two , the traverser of souls from the lower to the higher.

    When i was met by the Alpha Draconis i saw they had wings , like bats wings , it later dawned on me that this may be the Dragon we speak about in our human tales. The further i contemplate everything i have experienced , the more i see how everything is so backwards, how truth is hidden in plain sight, how the stories of our true history is skewed to mislead unless you have gained wisdom.

    An excerpt from a Hermes Text :

    " “Hermes bowed his head in thankfulness to the Great Dragon who had taught him so much, and begged to hear more concerning the ultimate of the human soul. So Poimandres resumed: "At death the material body of man is returned to the elements from which it came, and the invisible divine man ascends to the source from whence he came, namely the Eighth Sphere...

    "Then, being naked of all the accumulations of the seven Rings, the soul comes to the Eighth Sphere, namely, the ring of the fixed stars. Here, freed of all illusion, it dwells in the Light and sings praises to the Father in a voice which only the pure of spirit may understand. Behold, O Hermes, there is a great mystery in the Eighth Sphere, for the Milky Way is the seed-ground of souls, and from it they drop into the Rings, and to the Milky Way they return again from the wheels of Saturn. But some cannot climb the seven-runged ladder of the Rings. So they wander in darkness below and are swept into eternity with the illusion of sense and earthiness.

    "The path to immortality is hard, and only a few find it. The rest await the Great Day when the wheels of the universe shall be stopped and the immortal sparks shall escape from the sheaths of substance. Woe unto those who wait, for they must return again, unconscious and unknowing, to the seed-ground of stars, and await a new beginning. Those who are saved by the light of the mystery which I have revealed unto you, O Hermes, and which I now bid you to establish among men, shall return again to the Father who dwelleth in the White Light, and shall deliver themselves up to the Light and shall be absorbed into the Light, and in the Light they shall become Powers in God. This is the Way of Good and is revealed only to them that have wisdom.”

    The Mystery Continues to Unravel

    Make your own conclusions

    you must

    evisnam
    NANUXII wrote:Hello Bob & Oxy

    If i may , reptilians did not manufacture us imo. They did help seed some off shoots yes but the majority of manufacture came from the indigenous of Orion.

    Rh blood is one strain , the blood of the very ones who created us is very rich in copper , copper when in conjunction with ammonia and salt goes a purple / blue colour.

    hence why they are called blue blood's

    Its merely the higher copper content of the blood , copper is a very good conductor , we run on electricity , the better the conductor the better our brains and bits work.

    Your blood type is only an indicator , its the colour of it that is the tell. If you see your blood in a thin vessel you will be able to tell , it should be a sort of violet/ purple colour and if youre lucky it will look iridescent.  

    The iridescence is a marker of the purity of the blood.

    The video you posted is one i have listened to many times, it is an excellent transcript but be careful , chris has added things to it that make the reptilians seem negative, its done on purpose , realise his additions are not part of the original text , they are his opinions only.

    Oxy . i was looking at your photos , the one of the moon almost made me fall off my chair ... you know its very accurate , almost scarily so.


    santa    
    NANUXII wrote:If you ever get any bloods or infusions that use a winged infusion set , the thin line after the butterfly will show you under natural light how pure/original your blood is.

    the colour of blood is the first tell that your genetics have lineage bock to the original star seeds of Orion or other genetic experiments.

    Blue / Purple slight to no iridescence = Orion / Genetic Experimentation

    Red = Humanoid  

    Dark Red = Humanoid / Other genetic experimentation

    Violet Iridescent = Original Terran's of Earth / some experimentation

    Very Dark Red = Blood transfusion time

    Original terran's are reptilian who favored the south african , south american and australian continents.

    The study of the reptilian brain, which we all have ( that should give some evidence as to who was here first ) has 4 main areas of cognition.

    Survival

    Reproduction

    Social Recognition ( importance of stacking order )

    Food

    Interestingly the reptilian brain is the most honest part of our genetic make up. The reptilian inheritance is strong in those who oppose oppression. Those who have their reptilian senses dormant are usually found in jobs they hate , taking orders , buried in serfdom.    

    If you have the blue purple blood you will have ability to exersise your esp and develop your skills to a very good degree. Those with violet have similar skill sets but a dormant connector to their own people.

    I know there have been many negative propaganda to reptilians and its very difficult if not impossible to ratify the veracity of these claims. The only true way is to look at their ancestors that still live here on this planet.

    Their true nature is peaceful. They are Social Creatures with no ego.



    When trackers take you into the bush they warn you of snakes, which is wise, but they will always lead with a stick and tap the ground ahead of them because snakes will hear/feel this and retreat.

    Its only when one is cornered or feels endangered that it will strike to defend its self. Unless its a red belly black, they are prone to attack more than any other snake..
    orthodoxymoron wrote:NANUXII, I've been wondering if Renegade Angelic-Beings from Orion invented and/or used supercomputers to engineer varieties of containers to give physicality to their angelic-souls?! What if Darth Vader is representative of one of the first Humanoid-Containers?! What if Reptilians and Greys were the next Humanoid-Containers?? What if Human-Beings were the next Humanoid-Containers?? What if this final-step caused an Uncivil-War in Heaven and Earth, concerning Physicality and Governance-Modalities?! What if Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Demons, Reptilians, Greys, and Humans are ALL US?! What If We Are 'Flukes of the Universe'?! What If We Have No Right to Be Here?! What If the Universe is Laughing Behind Our Backs?! What If All of the Above Was a Complex and Dangerous Renegade-Risk With a Questionable-Outcome?! How Might All of the Above Be Objectively-Evaluated?? What If All of the Above Has Been An Ongoing Investigative-Judgment, Culminating In Eschatological-Jurisprudence?! What Would the Sovereign Queen of the Air Say?? What Would Nicholas Roerich Say??
    NANUXII wrote:
    bobhardee wrote:
    7/9/2018
    Interesting story from Jordon Maxwell.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHtwd1uaFtA

    I have heard Maxwell say these stories before. His recount is most honest and accurate.

    It should speak volumes as to the true mo of reptilian types.

    If you were to stumble across a ritual of bad entities they would not leave anyone to tell the tale.

    think on this.

    N
    N
    giovonni wrote:
    Quite ironic, isn't it...

    “Everything is horrible—worse than we ever imagined—
    and there’s not a damn thing we can do about any of it.
    But whatever happens, we can’t give in to despair.”
    orthodoxymoron wrote:You might find this video quite interesting, even though I suspect that you already know a huge amount about this sort of thing. I've never dabbled, but I have poked and prodded the dark-side, and it seems that they poke and prod back. The speaker states that exorcisms became much more numerous in 1990, and it's ironic that I was working on a chronological interpretive-paraphrase of the Life and Teachings of Jesus, and I had just moved to a town with a royal-name, while stopping regular church-attendance. I felt horrible then, and I hoped to find resolution and peace, but just the opposite seemed to occur. In 2008, I began a somewhat-passive internet-quest, and 'V' aired in 2009. This was the same year I started my 'Amen Ra' thread on the original Project Avalon, in which Brook was the major-contributor (perhaps with the assistance of Artemis). In 2010, I briefly conversed with abraxasinas on that ill-fated Thuban Q&A, and while I didn't buy into it, I thought something demonic and/or computer-like was going-on. When that thread shut-down, I had my first and only UFO sighting, which seemed to be a small star-war. 2010 was the year 'RA' contacted me, which might've been because of my speculation about 'RA' and 'Lucifer'. 'He' seemed to be a mixture of good and evil, and fit the part quite-well, even if he was a crack-pot and/or intelligence-agent. Our contact ended in 2011, three-days before Fukushima, and at about the same time 'V' ended. I could go on, but I said I was stopping (for better or worse, I know not). Just carefully consider the general-subject of King David, King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba (figuratively and/or literally). Some say David and Solomon never existed, and that Artemis was the Queen of Sheba, and that she and Solomon were associated with Greys. I suspect that Earth was taken-over in a bad-way many-thousands of years-ago, and this thing might have an expiration-date. I'm not opposed to Jesus, but the historical Jesus seems to be in huge-trouble. Still, I think there is some sort of a conflict between Christ and Satan (figuratively and/or literally). While I made the last two posts, the familiar streaming white-light passed between me and the laptop, as if I'm being simultaneously warned and remotely-viewed. Enough Said.

    orthodoxymoron wrote:I wrote that Sherry Shriner was a crackpot who revealed good-stuff, but I should clarify. I've encountered several significant Individuals of Interest online and in real-life, and I've suspected that all of them put on a show, and didn't place all their cards on the table. Sherry seemed to overdo the Orgone and the horrific, and sometimes mispronounced words, seemingly on purpose. Sherry somehow reminded me of Linda Moulton Howe, Dr. Josephine Mataros (from the 'Termination' episode of 'Earth: Final Conflict'), Brook, Rich, Mitchell, and Blanche Barton (to just name a few). They might all be the same soul, or originate from the same supercomputer. I honestly don't know, and I'm not digging very hard. I simply suspect a Solar-System Borg-Queen, Artificial-Intelligence, and Supercomputers with Souls, but again, I have tried to not know too much, throughout my life. I am committed to Responsible-Neutrality going-forward, because how the heck am I supposed to know the real-story?? We might never know the real-story. I suspect that it's unimaginably-bad. But hope springs eternal.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:It seems as if the souls in this soul-system or solar-system are not under the direct-guidance of the Creator, but rather existing under a system which is somewhat rogue and reprehensible. I continue to suspect that we know very-little about Pre-Eden Wars in Heaven and Earth, which might've resulted in Adam and Eve being anything but innocent, right from the beginning (or before the beginning). I've been passively considering various possibilities, and it seems as if the Matrix is mad at me for doing so. Perhaps we're not supposed to know too-much or get too-uppity. Perhaps we're supposed to wallow in sin and misery for a predetermined period, and then be shown how bad we were for thousands of years, as a galactic-lesson, such that Rebellion Against God NEVER Happens Again (or something to that effect). I feel increasingly miserable, as if the brain-screws are being tightened by the Devil's-Disciples to reign me in (or something to that effect). God and Responsibility Relative to Solar System Governance is an interesting topic to review (for those who are capable of doing so). Unfortunately, I nearly fall-over when I get out of bed in the morning, and my vision sometimes goes screwy. I think this might have everything to do with picking on the witches, and second-guessing life, the universe, and everything.

    There's a private-war I need to fight, and I don't think it's going to end well. Truth and honesty relative to ethics and law are SO Overrated. What was the Pre-Eden Perfect Law of the Lord Throughout the Universe?? How do we REALLY know anything significant about Ancient-History and Life Throughout the Universe?? What do we REALLY have by way of comparison to judge the Human-Experiment?? How does one Question-Authority without being Insubordinately-Rebellious?? Why does Humanity require a Devil or Lucifer to keep Hell burning hot?? Don't we screw each-other (in more ways than one) without any assistance from the Devil and His and/or Her Angels?? I'm tired, disillusioned, and rambling. You don't have to answer these questions. They might mostly be unanswerable. A Mulholland Drive Space-Cowboy Individual of Interest once told me "Mystery is a Good-Thing." Regarding Satan, consider Blanche Barton and the Church of Satan. There was an interesting Art Bell interview, with a mystery-caller from Indio. Later, another individual 'Roman' (from Indio) sent a message to Art regarding that 'Barton Interview'. There's something about San Bernardino, Palm Springs, Merlin's Cave, and Indio, but I don't want to go there. Not tonight.







    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:02 pm; edited 26 times in total
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:02 am

    Sorry for the grandstanding-repetition, but I have yet to receive a proper evaluation of my longshot-hypothesis. It's probably a heads-up warning to all-concerned (and unconcerned). If you haven't noticed, I jump-around a lot, just to break things up. I often take multiple-sides, and I'm frequently irreverent toward that which I'm mostly respectful toward, just to cause all of us to think things through, rather than being manipulated by some sort of knee-jerk reactionary-bullshit, and yes I use terms like the "b" word to cause a reflective-reaction. The first video is poorly-edited, yet contains a message which I somewhat sympathize with. I could say a lot concerning the second and third videos, but I found it nearly impossible to use my computer this morning. Something seems to have changed. There seems to be a lot of nefarious-deception and general-bullshit everywhere. We seem to be jerked-around each and every day. Again, I'm not promoting anything at this point. I suspect that someone will attempt to use me at some point, and perhaps that's been ongoing throughout most of my life (with an intensification over the past-few years). Trust no-one, including me. I don't like or trust myself. I Hate My Life.




    I take this website 'As-Is'. They've been quite accommodating, especially when taking our obvious philosophical and methodological differences into account. I have my theories about a lot of things, but I try to maintain 'Responsible-Neutrality'. One of my theories is that most (or all) of the fancy-technology and alien-beings were brought here in antiquity by US!! The theory goes that we came here from Orion, and that we might've been fighting with each-other for a very, very, very long-time!! I'm honestly shutting-down regarding the madness. I've had quite enough for one lifetime. Perhaps I'll be 'back in the saddle' in my next incarnation. Who Knows?? I suspect the Computer-Management of This Solar-System for Thousands of Years, with strict-guidelines, yet with a form of direct-democracy which asks "What Do You Want??" in the manner of Mr. Morden from 'Babylon 5'. In other words, what we want determines what we get. This hypothetical-system might've kicked-in when we rebelled against God (by whatever definition). I've recently been thinking about the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey' and wondering if some aspects of this movie actually occurred in 12001 BC??!! I could continue, but I'm feeling REALLY BAD. Could it be that a 14,000 year-old HAL 9000 makes damn-sure that I never succeed??!! What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Dr. Peter Venkman Say?? But what if a 14,000 year-old HAL 9000 makes damn-sure that no-one succeeds at the Top of the Pyramid for any significant length of time?? What if, in antiquity, the Real God said "If I Can't Have Them, Then Nobody Can!!" I once heard Dr. Robert H. Schuller shout those exact words (but I don't remember the context)!! Where did Bob learn those words?? I wonder as I wander!!

    I'm going to attempt to practice what I preach by studying Job through Daniel side-by-side with Luke through Jude in a variety of translations (while listening to the Music of Dietrich Buxtehude). If any of you try this, notice what each-group actually teaches without outside-interference. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might need to take a sabbatical. Context is Everything. What Would Joseph Fletcher Say?? He told me that Christianity was BS (or something to that effect) in the Randall Visitor's Center at Loma Linda University!! Honest!! The Music of Dietrich Buxtehude Performed on French-Romantic Organs with French-Romantic Interpretation might be the Way of the Future!! Actually Silbermann combined with Cavaille-Coll might be a Match Made in Heaven!! Why aren't Minimalist French-Cathedrals with Cavaille-Coll Organ-Replicas Model-Churches for the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church?? The Architectural and Musical Modernism of the Last-Half of the Twentieth-Century is Truly Heretical and Reprehensible!! But What Do I Know?? I Don't Know!! Consider the following divisions:

    1. Genesis.
    2. Exodus through Deuteronomy.
    3. Joshua through 2 Kings.
    4. 1 Chronicles through Esther.
    5. Job through Isaiah.
    6. Jeremiah through Daniel.
    7. Hosea through Malachi.
    8. Matthew and Mark.
    9. Luke through Acts.
    10. Romans through Galatians.
    11. Ephesians through Jude.
    12. The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Here's Heresy: What if one rewrote Group 9 (Luke through Acts) by incorporating all relevant portions of the other groups into the storyline?? We seem to desire satisfying-answers and certain-statements, but what if the reality of Biblical-Research is just the opposite (by accident or design)?? All churches and believers pick and choose (here a little, and there a little) don't they?? The SDA Church reflects an idealism which isn't necessarily presented in Sacred-Scripture (when read from cover to cover). The stack of EGW-Writings and Denominational-Publications rise like the Tower of Babel. Similar observations could be leveled at all churches. Is this sort of thing a necessary-evil?? Must we have a Matrix of Confusion to generate an Eschatological-Ideal?? Religious-History isn't nice. Not nice at all. But what if the Pain and Suffering have somehow been necessary?? How many people have submitted to the Discipline of Scripture?? I'm presently leaning toward the Music of Dietrich Buxtehude and Volume 4 (Isaiah to Malachi) of the 'SDA Bible Commentary', as a Remedial-Road Less-Travelled. Unfortunately, I'm so miserable that I find it difficult to concentrate. What if 'Witches and Warlocks International' are F@#$%ing Up My $hlt 24/7??!! If so (or some variation on this theme) why is this allowed by God and Heaven?? Is this alleged-phenomenon somehow reflective of God and Heaven in This Present Madness?? This thing might be nastier and more-complex than ANY of US can possibly imagine.

    I was at Norton Air Force Base when the SR-71 was video-taped as shown below. George H.W. Bush supposedly flew on a SR-71 in connection with the 'October Surprise'!! What Would John Lear Say?? UFO's were supposedly kept at Norton AFB. A 'Best in the World' Motion-Picture Studio was supposedly located at Norton AFB!! Norton AFB is mentioned in the 1992 film 'Sneakers'. Dan Aykroyd's character 'Mother' states "O.K., boss, this LTX-27 concealable mic is part of the same system that NASA used when they faked the Apollo moon landings. Yeah, the astronauts broadcast around the world from a soundstage at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California. So it worked for them, shouldn't give us too many problems."

    I had a terrific view of Norton AFB from my bedroom-window. I spoke with Steven Spielberg's stepmother (in Dr. Graham Maxwell's Sabbath-School Class) about a Science-Fictional Life of Christ Super-Movie (based-upon 'The Desire of Ages') just a couple of miles from Norton AFB. What if 'A Beautiful Mind' REALLY Occurred at Norton AFB and Loma Linda University Medical Center in the 1940's and 1950's?? What if a Scientist of Interest was converted to Seventh-day Adventism at that time?? What Would Dr. A. Graham Maxwell (University of Chicago doctoral-graduate) Say?? What Would Professor Ravenwood (of the University of Chicago, in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark') Say?? What Would Dr. Richard Rice (University of Chicago doctoral-graduate) Say?? What Would Charles Hartshorne (of the University of Chicago) Say?? What Would Dr. Louis Venden (doctoral-graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary) Say?? What Would John Nash (of Princeton University) Say?? https://rbsc.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/Non-Cooperative_Games_Nash.pdf What Would Indiana Jones Say?? What Would Jupiter Jones Say?? What Would Paul Tillich (of Harvard University) Say?? What Would Jack Provonsha (doctoral-graduate of Harvard University) Say?? What Did They Know?? When Did They Know It??

    Billy Graham went soul-searching in the San Bernardino Mountains (if I remember correctly) when troubled over the Reliability of the Bible, and Billy decided to take a Leap of Faith. I wandered in and out of faith and doubt in those same mountains (many years later) and I'm still wandering in and out of faith and doubt. My threads are really a Matrix of Faith and Doubt, but I never took the show on the road, and I doubt that I ever will. I probably need to write a book at some point, but I don't know what to write, because I suspect that if I write a book, and do book-signings, this will open Pandora's Box and the Star-Gates of Hell. I think my hereditary and cultivated weaknesses would make me an easy-target for some VERY Pissed-Off Angels and Demons (for legion reasons)!! I think the Bad-Blood might go WAY Back!! I recently met a Beautiful-Woman who told me she "Felt Solid." I'd never heard ANYONE say THAT before!! Was she telling me she was Completely-Materialized?? Damned If I Know!! I Never Know Who I'm Dealing With!! A few days earlier I encountered another Beautiful-Woman who I didn't know, yet seemed to know. She had a very composed and definite disposition and stride. What is the meaning of this?? Welcome to the Hotel California?? This could be Heaven or it could be Hell.

    What if 'Norton AFB' is the 'Hotel California' AND the 'Stairway to Heaven'??!! Norton AFB was in San Bernardino, California, as is a Mission with Bells, close to a couple of Desert Highways (leading to Palm Springs and Las Vegas -- in addition to leading to Hollywood, which is probably an hour's drive). What if the San Bernardino City Mission was the Apollo Moon Mission?? 'The Eagles' Have Landed?? Think of the 'Woman' in 'Hotel California' and 'Stairway to Heaven'!! Could this be the smart and tough 'Iron Lady' I've suggested might run Earth (and possibly the Solar System)??!! What Would Sigorney Weaver in 'Paul' Say?? Think about alleged UFO's and a Moon-Mission Faking-Studio at Norton AFB!! San Bernardino is supposedly a Hotbed of Satanism!! Think of the request to the 'Captain' for wine in 'Hotel California'!! There are 'Captains' in the 'Air Force', aren't there?? Think of the mention of '1969' in 'Hotel California' which is when the Apollo 11 Moon-Mission was supposedly faked!! What if Faked Moon-Missions and Secret UFO's were somehow Necessary-Evils??

    Think about the images and videos below. Think about Tonya and her mother (including the possibility of similar individuals). What if Wars, Drugs, and Deception were somehow necessary to fund a somehow necessary Empire of UFO's and Underground-Bases (for who knows what reasons??)?? Consider multiple-meanings of 'Inland Empire'. I recently encountered someone who looked and acted a lot like Buzz Aldrin, and he didn't seem to like me!! Think about what I've posted in this post!! You don't suppose??!! What Would Bart Sibrel Say?? What Would Marduk-Ra Say?? He told me he was more powerful than the Queen, but he didn't say whether he was referring to the 'Queen of England' or the 'Queen of Heaven'. 'RA' told me about "Stolen-Technology". 'RA' told me "You should make a Freedom of Information Act Request." I Did Repeatedly, and Received Zero Information. 'RA' said "I Built Las Vegas with Bugsy." 'RA' said "I'm Rich." Rich congratulated me for winning something, but I never received anything. He told me "Wait Until People See What Those Who Were Loyal to God Got." He said "There Will Be Pandemonium." He said "An Extermination is Inevitable and Immanent." 'RA' told me "You'll Be Sorry If You Try to Save Humanity." I Have NO Idea Who Various Individuals of Interest REALLY Were. I Have NO Idea How to Interpret Their Comments.



























    This is one of the most upsetting posts I've ever made. It's really a composite-post, constructed from several-posts, so there's a lot of repetition. Please continue to consider my posts and threads as Religious and Political Science-Fiction. This is NOT a Scholarly Work. I honestly Do NOT Know where the Truth ends and the BS begins, regardless of who I might've (or might not have) been in Antiquity. I'm honestly a Completely Ignorant Fool in This Present Incarnation. That's the Inconvenient-Truth. Sorry About That. Could an Alphabet Guy and/or Gal Brief Me, At Some Appropriate Time and Place?? Sort of like Martin Sheen briefing Jessie Marcel in 'Roswell'. Even If I Knew Too-Much and Talked Too-Much, No One Would Believe Me!!

    One of my theories is that Everything is in the Process of Being Revealed to Everyone (for better or worse, I know not). I've referred to a Hypothetical Investigative and Executive Judgment (possibly terminating in A.D. 2133). Some of this is based-upon Unorthodox Biblical-Interpretation (mostly from the Wisdom-Books and Major-Prophets of the Old-Testament, but also from the Gospels and Pauline-Epistles of the New-Testament). Some of this is based-upon a sort of Eschatological Legal-Theory. This is all very-tentative to me, but the technology and world-conditions are such that it is becoming more and more possible and believable. I've been living within this speculative delusional-system for several-years, and it seems to be destroying me, so I think I might need to do something else (like sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, perhaps). Just Kidding. Astronomy in a Small Mountain-Observatory is one of the leading-possibilities. Watching Heavenly-Bodies is probably easier than Watching the Past, Present, and Future Unfold.

    In One of the Images Below, (in a composite-reenactment) "I" Might Be Talking With Mitchell (first-name) and Mitchell (last-name), But I Don't Want to Talk About It. It's Complicated. What Would Edgar Mitchell Say?? What Would Mr. Edgars Say?? What Would Mitchell Marduk Say?? What Would Elizabeth Mitchell Say?? What Would Agent Evans Say?? What Would Anna Say?? What Would Ava Say?? What Would Sophia Say?? What Would Tonya Harding Say?? I knew a ship-captain who called her "Tonya Hard-On"!! She reminds me of Miss Pris!! "I, Pris, Am *******!!"?? What Would Tonya's Mother Say?? She reminds me of the Oracle in the 'Matrix', Kate in 'East of Eden', Dr. Josephine Mataros in the 'Termination' episode of 'Earth: Final Conflict', Starbuck's Mom in 'Battlestar Galactica', and the Girl Next Door in the Hospital!! What Would the Borg-Queen Say?? "If You Want the Money, You're Going to Have to Come Here and Get It!!" "How About Doing a Table-Dance for Me??!!" "Why Did You Do THAT??!!" "I Don't Want to Talk to You Anymore!! Good-Bye!!" BTW -- I went to school with the Borg!! Honest!!

    It's been nearly a year since I had my Open-Heart Surgery, and I recently noticed that when I close my eyes, moving them quickly from left to right, I see a bright-white 'C' to the left and right!! Occasionally, one eye moves significantly out of alignment with the other, while I feel very-strange, for a couple of minutes. Does this mean that I'm 'Mind-Wired'?? What if Jeffrey Daugherty is Sherry Shriner is Marduk Ra?? Listen for the 'Squeaky-Chair'. Jeffrey Daugherty is the Christian Whistle-Blower!! What if Monica Lewinsky is the Liberal Whistle-Blower??!! 'RA' told me "I Like Bill Clinton!!" and "The Bush's Sold-Out Very-Quickly!!" Honest. We got-along in a very strained sense!! I felt like Chad interviewing Anna!! What if Chad Decker IS Amen Ra??  

    I've got a high-fever and I'm delirious!! I need to sleep, and I might need to get a room in the Bethesda Naval Hospital (after I go to the press)!! JUST KIDDING!! Put down those M16's!! Perhaps it's simply my fever and aches which are driving me crazy, but I'm unusually agitated today. I was rude to someone who tried to help me. Perhaps that's why I'm in the predicament I'm in. Perhaps I'm NOT Safe to Save. It is written "The Truth Shall Set You Free" but is this REALLY True?? I continue to suspect that this civilization was overthrown in antiquity, and has been ruled by secrecy for thousands of years (for better or worse, I know not). If this civilization overthrew a Truly-Righteous God in antiquity, is there redemption, or simply an eternal-verdict, such that this NEVER Happens Again?? What if the God 'we' overthrew was replaced by Supercomputers, Bio-Robots, and Bad@$$ Greys and Reptilians (in Bad@$$teroids)??!!

    My threads represent a Narrow-Road Less-Travelled Research-Project. They Do NOT Represent My Idealism. I've frankly hated this project. It's been a Nasty-Task, but someone had to do it. I Have Removed Everything I've Posted On the Internet From ALL Tables (Real and Imaginary). My Internet-Potpourri is for Mental and Spiritual Exercise Purposes ONLY. My Tripe Isn't Even Close To Being Ready For Prime-Time. I keep hearing the Best and Brightest Researchers speaking of the Elites Setting-Up a One-World Government, but I continue to suspect that a One Solar-System Government has existed for Thousands (or Millions) of Years!! I further suspect that we are building a Technological-Prison for Ourselves with Technology Supplied by Our Hidden-Rulers (for better or worse, I know not). I wonder if there are relatively-undeveloped planets in the universe with highly-ethical, highly-intelligent, highly-organized administrations presiding over civilizations without crime, war, pollution, overpopulation, industrial-accidents, technological-nightmares, etc.?! Some of us must study the 20th century in excruciating-detail, while we still have a chance. What if this Solar System Is a Big-Business Run By Hidden-Factions for Nefarious-Purposes?? What Would This Solar System Look Like Under a Hell-Model, Purgatory-Model, and Heaven-Model?? Which Model is Best for Business?? Which Model is Best for Us?? How Good Is Too Good?? How Many Trillions Are Enough?? Must the Corrupt Rule the Stupid for All-Eternity??  

    My Grief is Beyond Description Because There is No Resolution or Reconciliation, But Hope Springs Eternal. The Bible seems highly-problematic, and the Alternatives seem highly-problematic, but what if one MUST Properly Study and Interpret the Bible as a Prerequisite to Achieving and/or Receiving Clean Sheet of Stone Solutions?? Read the Holy-Bible Straight-Through, Over and Over, to Determine What It Teaches. As I leave you, please at least study this thread (in great-detail) from beginning to end (repeatedly, if possible) and then arrive at your OWN Conclusions. This thread is SO crazy and sad, that it's almost funny!! Almost. I Know That I Don't Know, But Fence-Riders Form Splinter-Groups, and I'm probably making things worse for myself, but how could they be any worse?? The End Might Be Near. Again. Then Again, Perhaps We Can Have a Conversation in A.D. 2133. What Would Lucio Bernardo Silvestre Say?? What Would Chad Decker Say?? "World Without End. Amen."






































    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
    avatar
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:05 am

    orthodoxymoron wrote:
    Pris wrote:
    orthodoxymoron wrote:
    Sometimes I wonder if you might be Sherry Shriner??!!
    Sometimes I wonder if this thread might be about you??!!
    Pris, sometimes I wonder if this might be you in antiquity??!!

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2014/07/08/07-07-14-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner

    Lol I'm not sure... but I'm guessing this is sort of a compliment coming from you, Oxy. Thanks... I think. cat

    Btw, if I was Sherry Shriner, I wouldn't put this up, would I? Very Happy

    A book review on Sherry Shriner's 'Interview With The Devil':

    Avoid at all costs.
    By Sane Human Being on June 6, 2016
    Format: Paperback

    This woman is a delusional loon. Her crazy mythology seems to combine every conspiracy theory you ever heard with some weird version of the Christian bible, sufficiently skewed to grant herself a position of power and influence in the story. It shows a childish lack of imagination as if she just went on conspiracypedia.com and cut loose with the copy/paste until she had a new religion in her hands.

    Do not feed this troll. She will end up a footnote on local news having shot and eaten one of her own relatives for being possessed or some other such nonsense. I suspect the positive reviews are all from her existing cult members who seem to follow her around like lost puppies hanging on her every insane word. I shudder to think what traumas these unfortunate individuals must have suffered in order to render them susceptible to her poisonous rhetoric.
    ?https://www.amazon.com/Interview-Devil-My-Conversation-Lucifer-ebook/product-reviews/B01G5L1CMM/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_paging_btm_2?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&sortBy=recent&pageNumber=2#R16YUUMW04J7TP

    ?http://www.themistsofavalon.net/t9334p25-i-jesus-am-lucifer#129728
    .
    .
    Pris, I probably shouldn't have made it personal, but I guess I'm modeling the concept of an Ancient Egyptian Soul with Dozens of Bodies and Personalities, Who Might be Linked to a Mainframe, and Might've Ruled This Solar System for Thousands of Years by Controlling EVERYTHING and Playing ALL Sides!! I'm Tired of Casting My Speculative-Pearls Before the Swine, and I Think I Simply Wish to Silently Watch Things Play Out. My Health is Deteriorating, and I Don't Feel Like Working for Nothing to Accomplish Nothing. I Just Think We'll be Shocked When We Learn How Things Have REALLY Worked in This Solar System for Thousands of Years. I might not post again for a very-long time. I frankly might not be around much longer. Geronimo.
    I've been asking seemingly thousands of simple questions over the past few years, with seemingly only dozens of genuine-answers and half-hearted answers. Everything seems to be either Obvious-Lies or Half-Truths. The Second-Coming of Christ was supposed to occur 2,000 years-ago, and it's always "Right Around the Corner" century after century after century, and one is called a "Mocker At the End of Time!!" if this glaring-problem is pointed-out. Is it too much to ask who Sherry Shriner REALLY Was?? Is it too much to ask if Sherry Shriner is REALLY Dead?? Is it too much to ask "How Did She Die (Or Appear to Die)??" I'm going to make this one post on this new thread, and just let it go. I recently heard the theory that JFK was a faked-assassination!! But what if cloning was highly-advanced in 1963?? Or what about possible Hitler-clones in 1945?? What if Sherry Shriner was a clone?? She said there were several Obama's!! We seem to live in a Solar System of Lies and Illusions, and I'm frankly sick of the whole-mess. Everyone seems to LIE. The LIE is Different At Every Level. What Would Richard Hoagland Say?? I suspect that this Solar System was overthrown in antiquity, and the only way to maintain the takeover for thousands of years was through LIES!! An Individual of Interest told me "God Can Run Things However He Wants To!!" This same Individual of Interest said they had "Helped Me!!" If Sherry is REALLY DEAD, "Good-Bye Sherry!! Thank-You for the Years of Disclosure!! I'll Miss You and Your Show!! I Hope Things Somehow Work Out Well for All of Us!! No Matter Who We Are, and No Matter What We've Done!! Hope Springs Eternal!!"
    Carol wrote:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN_i7SZzv4A
    When Clones Malfunction- The Fake Among Us

    Great new vid by the late Sherry Shriner who died last week (in case you weren’t aware.) She was one of the few who actually talked about the clones in DC and Hollywood on a consistent basis. She will be greatly missed. Good compilation of latest clone mishaps. Their metabolism is horrible and they must be replaced often. This is exactly how it always happens…they start staring off into space and pass out. And if you don’t believe me watch, this 2nd video where the dude is DEFINITELY a clone on his last leg.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=aznatNOLVes
    Illuminati Ritual Season III: THE PRINCE & THE QUEEN
    orthodoxymoron wrote:I'm shocked!! A few hours ago, I found out about Brook's grave illness, and now I am told that Sherry Shriner is DEAD!! I noticed that her last show was 01/05/18, and she usually has shows on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Brook and Sherry probably have had more to do with my strange research-threads than anyone else, with the possible exception of the individual I've referred to as 'RA'. Do we know any particulars about Sherry's death?? She's claimed for years that she was near the top of a Government Hit-List, but that things had seemed to be better since Donald Trump was elected President. Sherry claimed to be the Granddaughter of the Biblical King David!! She claimed to be a Leader of Israel!! She seemed to have first-hand knowledge of events it would seem to be impossible to know anything about. There's something I liked about Sherry, yet I always remained Wary of Sherry. The content was almost always negative and horrific, with a disproportionate focus on Revelation and the End of the World. Paul and the Pauline-Epistles were mercilessly bashed by Sherry. People were chided for not knowing their Bibles, yet those who spent too much time on the Bible were accused of 'Bible Idolatry'. Going directly to the 'Father' was preferred to any other source, and presumably Sherry got her info from the 'Father' so perhaps all one had to do was listen to her show three times a week for the Real-Deal.

    I've tried to construct a very-strange science-fictional alternative-reality, which has probably driven me at least 87% insane. This is all very bizarre. Are these developments an indication that things are about to Go to Hell??? I've vowed to remain mostly or completely silent in 2018, but I've already been editing and adding to my threads, and commenting on Brook and Sherry. I don't know about Brook, but I've wondered if Sherry was somehow Supercomputer-Connected. Her shows were SO Strange and Upsetting, but Sherry never seemed to miss a beat, or become emotional. Was I just one more duped-idiot, or was I exposed to some aspect of cutting-edge disclosure?? I frankly have NO Idea. I feel as if I might've met Brook and/or Sherry without knowing it, but I don't want to talk about it. I don't really want to talk about anything anymore. I've recently become rather rude while talking to a relative about the 'TRUTH'. Truth-Speaking seems to be an Exercise in Futility. A couple of years ago, Sherry spoke of her days being numbered. I suspect that the Historical Management of Humanity is being replaced by a New-Crew presently (for better or worse, I know not). I continue to think that EVERYTHING Will Be Revealed from Antiquity to Modernity (in Great Detail). Is Earth ultimately a Technocratic-Governance Prison-Planet?? Was an Unalterable-Verdict Rendered in Antiquity?? I suspect that the Ultimate Universe-Rulers are Smarter and Tougher Than ANYONE Can Imagine. Don't Mess With Their Check...

    I'm surprised that no one is commenting on this thread. I've had a somewhat strange feeling throughout the years, as I've passively researched strange topics within Project Avalon, The Mists of Avalon, Sherry's Show, Alex Jones' Show, and the Internet in General. I've never known who and what I'm really dealing with, or whether such research was fundamentally a virtue or a vice. I pledged Responsible-Neutrality, but what was the reality?? I've sensed a lot of Disclosure-Bullying, but then I'm just a Sensitive-Boy. I've noticed an increasing amount of Fast-Walking Fast-Talking Arrogant Guys and Gals, Who Seem to be Above It All, and SO Superior to We the Sheep. What's REALLY Going On Here?? Does ANYONE Know Any Details About the Death of Sherry Shriner?? Did She Fake Her Death, to Go Incognito?? What the Hell Is Going On Here?? Sherry claimed to have Serious Heart Problems (going back at least a couple of years). I think she had back problems as well (if I remember correctly). She sounded OK on 01/05/18. What Happened?? I just found some comments under one of Sherry's last YouTube videos which mention her passing, but no details whatsoever. There are several videos which are highly critical of Sherry, so researchers beware. I tried to analyze her work as being mostly science-fictional in nature, but possibly revealing some forbidden truth to those with eyes to see, and ears to hear. Her Interview with the Devil was Beyond Creepy. She seemed to have first-hand information about Satanism. Sherry recently said "2018 Will Be a Year of Goodbyes." It Makes Me Wonder.


    I don't know why I'm asking this, but is the Alleged Death of Sherry Shriner somehow related to the Nuclear Missile Scare in Hawaii?? I think I found out about Sherry's supposed death on January 12, and I asked how she died, and I wondered if her passing somehow indicated that things might be going to hell?! The next day, the Hawaii Missile Scare occurred!! A few days later, someone told me that someone I've somehow associated with Sherry Shriner said to say "Hello" to me!! All of the Above is probably a real-stretch, but I wonder as I wander!! Three days prior to Fukushima, 'RA' told me "I'm sorry we couldn't work together. Too much water has gone under the bridge." I replied "Oh Well." Approximately three months prior to Fukushima, 'RA' told me that preparations had been completed for an undisclosed something. Honest. I've given up. I keep asking questions which never get answered. I keep sensing deception and obfuscation. I Eschew Obfuscation!! BTW -- It's now January 25, and Sherry hasn't had a show since January 5. That's three weeks without a show. This has never happened before. 'RA' knew that I was a regular listener to Sherry's show (without me telling him). I'd appreciate some inside-information regarding All of the Above. I'm tired of being 'Out of the Loop'. I'm forced to guess about EVERYTHING. No One Tells Me ANYTHING. Sherry Shriner has been talking about 'Clones' and 'Soul-Scalping' for quite a few years now. Her shows have been quite a wild-ride (which has apparently ended).

    I've suspected multiple-aspects to 'Sherry Shriner' for years. This is a Real Longshot BUT I just watched a video by Sherry Wilde for the second-time, and then I did an internet-search of her name, and I was shocked by what I found. In the video, Sherry said she was born on December 25, 1950, and she described heart-problems and chronic-fatigue, along with supernatural-attacks. She wished to die because things were so bad for her. She discovered that she had been implanted, and that the implant had been removed by the Dracos. Now, there is an obituary for a Sherry Wilde (same name) of West Carrollton, Ohio, who unexpectedly died on February 19, 2017. This Sherry was born on April 26, 1962. Sherry Shriner claimed to live in Carrollton, Ohio. The Sherry Wilde in the video often sounds a bit like Sherry Shriner, regarding content and voice-inflection. Both Sherry Shriner and Sherry Wilde claimed to have heart-problems, claimed to be under-attack, and claimed to be poisoned. Sherry Shriner was born on December 11, 1965. https://www.mylife.com/sherry-shriner/sherry-shriner Here is the link to the Sherry Wilde (of West Carrollton, Ohio) obituary. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dayton/obituary.aspx?pid=184211958

    WILDE, Sherry A. 54, of West Carrollton, passed away unexpectedly on February 19, 2017 at her home. She was born on April 26, 1962 to Elgin and Janice (Knoble) Olson in Anoka, MN. In September of 1985, she married Drew Wilde and they lived in West Carrollton, Ohio. In addition to her parents, Sherry is survived by her loving husband, Drew; sons, Joshua (Jodi) and Shannon; sister, Michelle; brother, Stephen; grandchildren, Kaden, Kinley, Kyler, and Evy; mother-in-law, Beverly; sister-in-law, Debra; nephew, William, as well as many other relatives and friends. Sherry was a very giving person and proof that angels do exist. A gathering will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm with a memorial service following at 4:00 pm at Newcomer Funeral Home & Crematory, 3940 Kettering Blvd., Kettering, OH 45439. To leave a special message for the family online, please visit www.NewcomerDayton.com. Published in Dayton Daily News on Feb. 22, 2017

    What's a bit strange to me is that I had my open-heart surgery on February 24, 2017, and a couple of days later I indirectly encountered an older-lady who reminded me of my conceptualizations of who might REALLY run Earth (and possibly the Solar System). She seemed to have extreme-importance and a tough-manner, but that's all I'm going to say about that. A few weeks later, while I was leaving the hospital, following a follow-up visit, I encountered a 'Matrix Oracle' sort of person, who claimed to be suffering from cancer. I gave her a couple of dollars for the bus, but she went right back into the hospital, instead of waiting for the bus. Here is the Sherry Wilde video. Remember, the Obituary Sherry was supposedly born on April 26, 1962, and the Video Sherry was born on December 25, 1950. This is the sort of thing which has been happening to me for years!! It's never really conclusive, but what are the odds?? Some of you NSA and CIA Guys and Gals probably know the whole-story, and are laughing at me!! Notice in my previous-post on this thread, that I said that listening to Sherry Shriner's show had been a 'Wild Ride'. Has it been a 'Wilde Ride'?? I know a lady who was having surgery a couple of miles from where I was having surgery, at the same time, but I didn't know about this until many months later. Again, what are the odds?? Here is Sherry Shriner's classic 'Paul-Bashing' show on July 7, 2014. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2014/07/08/07-07-14-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner Here is Sherry Shriner's last-show on January 5, 2018. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2018/01/05/01-05-18-blacklisted-news-and-bible-prophecy






    Here is a partial answer to the question "Who Is Sherry Shriner?" http://sherryshriner.com/sherry/intro.htm A lot of people send me emails asking me, "Who are you?" Well frankly, I hate talking about myself so I've copied and pasted here the Introduction I wrote for my first book..naturally all the chapters of this book are listed on this website for free as articles. You can even listen to the book for free at http://www.sherryaudios.com I would never charge money for something the Lord has revealed to me or told me to tell others. The books are a convenience for those who didn't want to read the info on a computer but wanted it in book form. Bible Codes Revealed: The Coming UFO Invasion By Sherry Shriner.

    It would stand at the foot of my bed and stare at me as I lay trying to sleep. Fear and sheer terror would grip every muscle and bone I had. It was at least 7 feet tall, dark, and evil. It wore a pitch black cape that completely covered its body from head to toe. I would shrivel under my blankets and pray for it to go away. I did not know what it was other than feeling it was some evil being straight from hell and I certainly did not know what it wanted. Night terrors are real.

    I continued to be haunted throughout childhood of this evil, demonic being scaring me at night. Often I would also see other shorter, creepy, black shadows move throughout the room whenever I was trying to sleep. I was too scared to move or even breathe for that matter. Going to sleep for me would mean to close my eyes and keep them closed just so I did not have to look at them however I could always feel their presence when they were around. I developed a keen sense to know when demonic beings were around me even if I could not see them and yet I did not know how to get away from them or what to do about it. I would just pray for the Most High to protect me.

    Later in life, I would learn as an adult that the tall one was one of Lucifer’s generals sent to kill me. I did not know who they were, but these beings knew who I was. From the time I was born, Lucifer knew I had a prophetic calling on my life, and that as an adult, I would grow up to become one of his arch enemies. I would learn as an adult how to expose, attack, and tear down his strongholds that he would create to control and destroy mankind. To prevent this from happening, he had assigned one of his top ranking generals to kill me.

    Lucifer is on a mission to control the world as the Antichrist. I am on a mission to make it as miserable as possible for him. I despise him.

    My mission started by being born to a God fearing family in Cleveland, Ohio during the winter of 1965. From my earliest childhood memories, I cannot remember a time when I did not know who Jesus was. I have loved Him since I can remember. When I was two years old, I was proclaiming His Name. I would become re-born in Him at the age of five. My life has been a journey from wondering how to become closer to Him to learning and building that close relationship that no one could ever replace. My true love in life was and has always been God Himself.

    As time passed, I was enrolled in private Christian schools and had attended church almost every Sunday during the 18 years I lived with my parents. But as I was growing up through churchianity or simply the system of religion, I always felt there was something missing. I was miserable and I could not figure out why.

    Although I loved Jesus, I hated religion. There was just something wrong with the whole thing, and I could not put my finger on it at the time. Out of 100,000 plus denominations, by luck, I had landed in the denomination that had everything right, and everyone else was wrong. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

    But for these reasons, I have always been a nonconformist, and it has been an uphill battle to be forced to live in a world of conformity. As a child, I was the black sheep, the rebellious one who would not conform and believe what I was told to believe simply because I was supposed to believe it. I knew there were doctrinal errors in the churches, which was clear from a young age. I had found my own mind. I had my own views and my own thoughts, and I was determined to keep them even if they had to stay my own. And yet at times, I did not even know where they were coming from or why I had them.

    By the age of 12 I had read the Bible from front to back, being partial to the book of Revelation. Not fully understanding much of the book, the beast rising out of the sea with 7 heads and 10 horns fascinated me. By the age of 18, I had probably read the Bible more times than most pastors and had repeatedly read several of the Old and New Testament books.

    I became an avid student of Bible prophecy. I could not get enough of hearing about end time events, the arrival of the Antichrist, and ultimately, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It was also during those early pre-teen years that I had read my first Bible prophecy book which I had taken off my dad's bookshelf. Reading Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth not only changed my life, but seemed to give me direction. I identified with it, and it seemed to define who I was and who I would later become. As I read the pages of end time events, I knew I would be involved in these events and that I would be a warrior in the last days for the Most High God.

    Bible prophecy has always had a strong hold over my life. I can not escape it. I was born for these last days. I was born to be a warrior. For this reason Lucifer had targeted me as a child for death. He had sent his forces to intimidate me and keep me from discovering my relationship with Yahweh or from achieving what I was destined to become. He didn’t succeed then, and he still hasn’t. And every day live, I use to fight against him and the kingdom he is trying to establish here in some way.

    From the first time I had heard about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, I was hooked. That is all I cared to hear about. That is all I wanted to hear about. Nothing else about religion interested me much. I had seen enough and experienced enough of it daily to know religion itself was hypocritical. Religion was a road paved with good intentions but rarely traveled correctly by anyone on it. Most people in the churches just seemed pretentious and fake and more centered around man, materialism, and gossip circles than God Himself. And to question theology and beliefs was almost blasphemous to them. By typical churchianity standards, I was certainly going to go to hell if I didn’t believe everything the church taught and the way they taught it.

    I also learned at a young age that other people didn’t experience quite the same things as I did. Looking back, I can now see that I was just more in tune with the spiritual world than anyone else I knew. Of course, as a child, you wouldn’t know what that was. So I learned to keep things to myself and not talk about the things that scared me or the monsters I saw or felt near me. The mere mention of monsters was sure to bring fits of hysterical laughter from others. And it always did.

    As I grew up, the beings from hell never went away. They were always stalking me, but I no longer feared them either. I learned that by calling on the Name of the Lord, they would leave, and if they did not I just ignored them. If I moved, they followed. When I was in college, I didn't notice them much, if at all. I do not know if they went away or if I was just too busy to notice. It seems back then, I never just went to bed. I simply passed out from exhaustion. It was when I was in college at Liberty Baptist University in Lynchburg, Virginia that I began a career in radio news. I became the campus radio news director after my first year. During that time, I landed my first job at a radio station in Lynchburg, Virginia as a political news reporter and announcer. At the same time, I also served as an intern political correspondent with a competing station under an alias in Roanoke, Virginia. I was having fun. It had been a long time dream to have a career in television news broadcasting. Radio would be a way to break into it and give me experience and a chance to build my resume. My experience at Liberty University culminated with several journalism awards.

    After two years in Virginia, I transferred to Kent State University where I was elected to become the director of their campus radio news department. During that time, I also took a job with a local newspaper focusing on political news. I graduated in 1991 with degrees in Criminal Justice, Journalism, and Political Science.

    Shortly after graduating, I moved to Washington D.C. and found there were not any doors opening for me at all. I had my eyes set on the Washington bureau of CNN. The Atlanta bureau had suggested with my political news reporting experience that I get into the Washington bureau. However the Washington bureau said I did not have enough experience. I was going in circles and without any real options. I decided to move back to Ohio and got married shortly after. It was not too long after that when I realized they were back. And it was then that I finally just had enough of them. It was time to find out who they were and why they were stalking me.

    I was married, unemployed, had my first child, and was finally staring reality in the face. It was time to confront who these demonic beings were and what they wanted with me.

    I embarked on an intense research over the next 5 years into spiritual warfare, hell, demons, Satan, and continued into my favorite areas of end time events and last days prophecies. I studied the deception in the churches, UFOs, government black operations, the New World Order, and much, much more. I went into many different areas and began to learn that the faces of our government and military were much different from their backsides. At the same time, I started to research and learn about spiritual warfare, something the churches just seem to ignore. I learned about hell, and demons, and how to fight against these forces. I went to war against the general, and his forces assigned to me, and I haven’t seen them since. We have power in the Name of Jesus to cast demonic beings into the abyss, and once I learned that, it can became quite an easy task to just kick anything evil around me into the abyss.

    As a result, I began to pray daily that the Lord would show and teach me what He wanted me to learn and know. I would ask Him to teach me the truth in all things and to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom to me. And I still pray this almost daily.

    My research would culminate over the years into an enormous journey of unraveling conspiracies and lies in our government and churches. Five years turned into ten and I just kept going and have not stopped since. In 1994 I would begin to have visions from God and did not recognize what they were. It would take me a long time to realize that the strange things I were seeing were visions from the Lord Himself.

    From this experience, I learned that it takes the heart of a truth seeker to really get to know Yahweh. As you start abandoning and letting go of preconceived ideas and beliefs and realize all the error of being spoon fed by dogma and religion, only then can He teach you, but not until you stop telling Him what the truth is with your words and your actions. And that is what I had to learn, to let everything go, and let Him teach me from the ground up. I had to build my foundation just in Him and on Him and not from my own self obtained knowledge or what man had taught me.

    Most importantly, during this time, I learned how to have the one thing that I had always felt missing, an intimate relationship with Yahweh Himself. I learned the difference between having head knowledge of Him and heart knowledge of Him. I learned what it was to go into the proverbial wilderness with Him and just sit at His feet and learn who He is and how to hear His voice. He then became, and still is, my main source for information. If I want to know something, I ask Him. I seek Him direct for the answer. I get up every day and I ask Him to teach me the truth in all things and to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom to me. I ask Him to lead and guide my thoughts. I have learned what it truly means to be walking in His Spirit. Being in His Spirit does not mean speaking in gibberish that is not from Him. It means becoming one with Him in Spirit by seeking Him and walking with Him and learning how to hear His voice and recognize His leading and how He works. When you learn who He is, you learn what He is not, allowing the deceptions around you to be magnified and exposed for what they are. You can see them, recognize them, and know what is or is not of Him.

    There is nothing special about me. I just love Him, and I am committed to Him. As He continued over the years to give me visions and prophecies and reveal future events to me, I began to create websites revealing the information I learned through Him and from His leading. Today I have 12 websites on the Internet, and a blogger and as the days come to a close I am busy fulfilling my calling and destiny in Him. I have worked hard building and maintaining websites over the years to educate and inform His people to what has gone on, is going on, or what is coming, and I won't stop until He says it is time to. And as my enemies can attest, I can not be intimidated either. I have received several death threats over the years and have posted some of them on my websites out of amusement. Mostly, I ignore them. I do not fear Lucifer, and certainly, I do not fear man. The Lord is my strength.

    In 2001, I was led by the Lord to buy a Bible Codes program and learn how to search for and analyze codes. I had no idea what I was doing, and it was very complicated to learn. There were many times I wanted to just give up, but He would keep me at it, and He began to show me how to operate the program, how to look up terms, and how to analyze what I was finding. In essence, He basically taught me how to decode the Bible Himself. I learned how to decode my own name and I confirmed that the Lord had anointed me to decode His Word, I learned more about my calling in Him and who I was, and why I was born. I learned that I was His messenger, an emissary and a mouthpiece for Him in these last days. I was called to be a Watchman, a Prophet, and a warrior for Him. The Lord even told me and then showed me in His records that I was King David’s grand daughter

    When He revealed this to me in 2004, things began to make sense. For years Yahweh would always tell me I reminded Him of David. One day He said to me, “You remind Me of your grandfather.” And I asked, “Which one?” And He said, “David.” When He said that, I was not just shocked. I was completely floored! I had seen royalty terms all over my Bible Code, but I had no idea I was related to King David. He told me to go into the codes, and I would find it. Sure enough, I did. .

    The codes also explained the boldness and lack of fear I had developed in fighting against Lucifer and his new world order. As my ancient grandfather King David fought the giants in his day without fear, I too had stepped forward to fight against the giants in these last days without fear. I had come a long way from being a child who would hide under her blankets.

    Without God's anointing and direction, I do not even think it is possible to get very far in understanding or decoding Bible Codes accurately. It is very difficult and not something you can even do without discernment. Sure, there are those who try to decode and even publish their results but I have found very few that are really led by Him to do them. Most interpreters decode out of their own interest and curiosity and make a multitude of mistakes.

    Finding a Bible Code is half the battle. You have to know how to accurately read and analyze the information and understand how the Hebrew language uses terms. Without the Lord’s anointing and key to decoding, I would not be the decoder I am today. He has given me a key to the codes. When He told me He had given me a key to the codes, I did not really understand the extent of what He had said until I saw the work of many other decoders and their little if not complete lack of understanding of how the codes really work.

    Over the years, God has revealed to me through the codes His records and the plans of mankind. I have learned how to use the codes to unravel daily events and find the truth in them about what is really happening and in the process, expose the media and government lies that are being told to the public. I have also learned how to expose the events that are planned for the future by Lucifer, including the organizations, governments and secret societies working to bring him into power. One thing is certain, the government lies and uses the media as a mere tool for their deceit. And it has been my experience that being an accurate decoder makes a person a prime target of their surveillance.

    In 2002 the Lord specifically led me into what I have termed the Alien Agenda and has revealed much information to me about the coming UFO and Alien invasion to America and our Earth. He has shown and continues to show me different routes being taken to spearhead the arrival of end time events and what they really are, as opposed to what the churches and prophecy gurus teach. The Lord has shown me and led me to expose the plans of those who are involved in the various groups within governments, which are unified around the world and competing against one another to bring Satan to power as the Antichrist. More importantly, He has shown me how to tear down their strongholds.

    In 2003, the Lord told me “You will speak to the Nations.” The Lord is using me to wake up, warn, and teach His people about coming events and has said, “Lead My people back to Me,” which has become my mandate and one of my messages to the world today. Come back to the Most High God!

    In 2004, He proclaimed, “I am raising you up as a Prophet to the Nations.” Today over 116 countries visit my websites on a daily basis, and as of this writing, over 100 countries are listening to my internet radio show athttp://www.sherrytalkradio.com

    As an internet radio show host, I expose the Luciferian New World Order, UFOs, Aliens, the Alien agenda, the coming UFO invasion, Planet X, NESARA, the deceptions in the churches, and the coming of the Antichrist to power. Other than with Him at my side, I do it almost alone.

    Personal donations help me cover the costs of my websites and radio shows, but I do not have webmasters to design or run my websites, nor do I have a radio producer to prepare my shows or help me put them together, nor can I afford to pay for them. I am just a voice in the wilderness who He has called to stand up against the strongholds of the devil and the New World Order in these last days. I have several venues in doing this, and I am using every one of them to wake up God’s sleeping people and sound the alarms concerning what is coming.

    It has become evident you will not learn the truth in the churches today. The cycle of error and deception has continued through every age since Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325A.D. Most churches today are graveyards for the spiritually dead. It is the churches that are the "Whores of Babylon” and it is America who is modern day Babylon.

    Furthermore, most people are clueless concerning what will really happen in the last days and even regarding Yahweh Himself. They do not understand how to have a real relationship with Him because they have allowed their churches to take the place of Him, and they simply do not know how to seek Him. They think reading the Bible and praying is all they need to do, and in this book, I am going to open your eyes as to how you can have a more intimate relationship with Him. Jesus said the last days would be as the days of Noah. The problem is that most churches do not teach nor realize what those days were really like. It was an Alien Agenda then, and it is the same one now, but I am going to reveal what the Lord has shown me and what is really going on behind the scenes in our world today. If you believe our country is one nation under God, prepare to be shocked.

    The aliens from the past have hidden themselves from the public view. Nevertheless, they are ready to come back into dominance in these last days as the armies of the Antichrist. Eventually a full blown invasion will occur, and it is coming sooner than you think. The rise of the Antichrist is around the corner. Have the governments and the churches of the world been secretly working together to bring him to power? Have they worked together to suppress and silence prophets of old such as Enoch so those today would not recognize the aliens for who they are? When you are done reading this book your eyes will be opened to the truth that the Lord has revealed to me. (The chapters in this book are available on this website as articles.)


    "Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Vindicated
    and
    Restored To It's Rightful State!!"






    burgundia wrote:
    orthodoxymoron wrote:This is a bit strange. I just happened to watch this 'Flat-Earth' video last night, just a few hours after it appeared, and when I saw that another post had been added to this thread, I just knew it would be that 'Flat Earth' video!! I won't get involved with 'Astral-Projection', 'Regression-Hypnosis', 'Ouija Boards', 'Seances', 'Psychics', 'Televangelists', 'Reprobates', 'Papists', 'Molesters', 'Heretics', or 'Charlatans'. Siriusly, I think Earth is probably a Ball, but I doubt that we REALLY Understand the Solar System and Our Predicament.


    avatar
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:09 am






    Hotel California
    Eagles
    On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
    Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
    Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
    My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night
    There she stood in the doorway
    I heard the mission bell
    And I was thinking to myself
    'This could be heaven or this could be Hell
    Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
    There were voices down the corridor
    I thought I heard them say
    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here
    Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
    How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
    So I called up the Captain
    'Please bring me my wine
    He said, "we haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine
    And still those voices are calling from far away
    Wake you up in the middle of the night
    Just to hear them say"
    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    They livin' it up at the Hotel California
    What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis
    Mirrors on the ceiling
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said, 'we are all just prisoners here, of our own device
    And in the master's chambers
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives
    But they just can't kill the beast
    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
    'Relax' said the night man
    'We are programmed to receive
    You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave!
    Songwriters: DON FELDER, DON HENLEY, GLENN FREY
    ©️ Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.,
    Universal Music Publishing Group, Red Cloud Music


    Stairway To Heaven
    Led Zeppelin
    There's a lady who's sure
    All that glitters is gold
    And she's buying a stairway to heaven
    When she gets there she knows
    If the stores are all closed
    With a word she can get what she came for
    Oh oh oh oh and she's buying a stairway to heaven
    There's a sign on the wall
    But she wants to be sure
    'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
    In a tree by the brook
    There's a songbird who sings
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving
    Ooh, it makes me wonder
    Ooh, it makes me wonder
    There's a feeling I get
    When I look to the west
    And my spirit is crying for leaving
    In my thoughts I have seen
    Rings of smoke through the trees
    And the voices of those who standing looking
    Ooh, it makes me wonder
    Ooh, it really makes me wonder
    And it's whispered that soon, If we all call the tune
    Then the piper will lead us to reason
    And a new day will dawn
    For those who stand long
    And the forests will echo with laughter
    If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
    Don't be alarmed now
    It's just a spring clean for the May queen
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by
    But in the long run
    There's still time to change the road you're on
    And it makes me wonder
    Your head is humming and it won't go
    In case you don't know
    The piper's calling you to join him
    Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow
    And did you know
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind
    And as we wind on down the road
    Our shadows taller than our soul
    There walks a lady we all know
    Who shines white light and wants to show
    How everything still turns to gold
    And if you listen very hard
    The tune will come to you at last
    When all are one and one is all
    To be a rock and not to roll
    And she's buying the stairway to heaven
    Songwriters: JIMMY PAGE, ROBERT PLANT
    ©️ Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
    For non-commercial use only.







    Take a close look at the last dozen posts. I probably lead you to the edge of the Truth, without crossing a lot of forbidden lines. If I were too precise, relentless, and accurate, things might get REALLY Nasty. Actually, that might happen anyway. I still have very-little true-knowledge of what's REALLY Going On, and I probably wish to keep it that way. Try taking a very-close look at Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs, I & 2 Corinthians, with a special-emphasis on Ethics, Law, and the Kingdom of God. I'm feeling unbelievably bad about my quest. This goes beyond the usual misery. I've honestly passively-pursued a weak-hypothesis regarding the governance of the universe (in general) and this solar system (in particular). This has been anything but a 'Pinky and the Brain' Plot to 'Take Over the World'. It has simply been a feeble attempt to resolve the Matrix of Confusion. But, what if this Sad State of Affairs is somehow-necessary, especially if we knew the Whole-History of This Solar System and the Souls Occupying It?? What if Earth is an Ancient Prison-Planet which was turned into a Sociological-Experiment of Biblical-Proportions?? What if the starting-point was anything but ideal?? What if the Myth of Innocence in the Garden of Eden is Utter-Bullshit?? What if ALL of US are Guilty as Hell (going way back)?? I have very-little evidence, but considering as many possibilities as possible might be the best (or only) way to ascertain the truth of the matter. Or does it matter (as long as we 'Eat the Flesh, Drink the Blood, and Get Back to Work')??

    My Idealistic Pursuit of the Truth Seems to be Misconstrued As a Reprehensible Propensity Toward Unrighteousness. It's been hinted that I was a warrior in at least one previous life, and that I'm not doing well in a non-warrior role. Perhaps I should be a warrior in my next life. Who Knows?? What Would Enki Say?? What Would Enlil Say?? What if Enki is David Bowman aka Peter Venkman?? What if Enlil is HAL 9000?? 'RA' mockingly asked me "Are You Ready to Run Things??" I answered "No. It's Too Complicated." 'RA' told me "If You Try to Save Humanity, You'll Be Sorry!!" What if this was in reference to Ancient-Verdicts and Artificial-Intelligence with Unalterable-Timelines and Irreversible-Punishment?? In 'Hotel California', consider the words "And she said, 'we are all just prisoners here, of our own device'." Is this a cryptic-reference to "We Live In a Device-Managed Prison-Planet" and/or "It's Our Fault We're Imprisoned Here" and/or "We're Prisoners Managed By Our OWN Ancient Supercomputer-Network"?? One of the 2009-11 'V' episode-titles was "We Can't Win." What if Anna and the V's (along with their Huge-Spaceships and Fancy-Technology) Were All About Supercomputers linked to Artificial-Intelligence Reptilian-Human Hybrids Specifically-Engineered in Antiquity to Manage and Punish Humanity?? What if the Moon is the Command-Spaceship of the Solar System?? I've said it repeatedly, but I think we probably went to the Moon, but probably not with the Apollo equipment we were shown. They might've had to fake the Moon-Mission beyond Low-Earth Orbit to conceal the equipment and methodology which REALLY got us to the Moon!! What if the Overt and Covert Space-Programs Are NOT For Us?? The Moon might be One HUGE Spaceship!! We might've been on the Moon before we arrived in this Solar System, and before we became Human-Beings!! Who Knows?? The Shadow-Government?? What if the Solar System Singularity is David Bowman aka Peter Venkman and His and/or Her Supercomputer-Network aka HAL 9000?? What if the 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil' is that Hypothetical Ancient Supercomputer-Network?? What if the 'Serpent' is a Hypothetical Artificial-Intelligence Human-Reptilian Hybrid (Linked to the Aforementioned Ancient Supercomputer-Network)?? What if this combination is the Ancient and Modern Monolith in '2001: A Space Odyssey'?? 'RA' told me "I Can't Talk About the NSA" and "I Don't Need to Sleep". A FIZU Was 'RA's' Dream-Car (but I always drove). Do You See Why I'm a Blue Boy?? What Would Thomas Gainsborough Say?? What Would Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer Say?? What If These Are Job-Titles Rather Than Proper-Names?? What Would HAL Say?? What Would COR Say?? What Would DAV Say?? What Would Dr. Who Do?? Who?? I will attempt to retain Responsible-Neutrality in this sensitive and controversial matter.

    A couple of years ago, I encountered someone who reminded me of a middle-aged Arvella Schuller (as strange as that sounds). This person also reminded me of a particular black woman I encountered months (or years?) previously. They both seemed to be extremely intelligent -- rather quiet -- with a lot on their mind. They both reminded me of Senator Elise Voudreau of Babylon 5. They both reminded me of Rachel Constantine in Contact. A genuine-insider told me that Arvella ran the Crystal Cathedral. Consider the similarities between S.R. Haddon (Contact) -- the "Father" (East of Eden) -- Mr. Edgars (Fourth and Fifth Seasons of Babylon 5) -- and a mysterious Individual of Interest I have encountered (who the Ancient Egyptian Deity knew about -- and who I seem to know from somewhere). I don't say any of this lightly -- and I could say MUCH -- but I'd rather not. I live under a self-imposed code of ethics and relative-silence. You'd almost have to be an insider to understand what I'm really talking about within this thread. This is sort of an "Open Back-Channel". Anyone can access it -- but probably very few can understand it. It's easier that way. I sometimes think it would be cool to have a 600 square-foot office-apartment in a Ritz-Carlton (perhaps with a secret elevator leading to a mag-lev train-station and/or an underground-base)!! The imagination is a wonderful thing -- but I doubt that the reality would be wonderful. Probably just the opposite.

    Carol wrote:

    Dr. Michael Salla, Exopolitics.org 5-12-15… “Extraterrestrial alliance
    helps secret space program overcome opposition to full disclosure”

    https://kauilapele.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/currently-involved-on-other-projects-but-feel-free-to-read-this-from-michael-salla/

    Corey Goode (aka GoodETxSG) has revealed more about his claimed contact experiences with a group of extraterrestrials called the Sphere Alliance that is cooperating with an alliance of secret space programs indigenous to Earth. He has earlier revealed that there are five secret space programs belonging to our current Earth civilization, as well as between five to seven space programs belonging to ancient human civilizations that are still operating. Several of these secret space programs indigenous to Earth make up what he calls the Secret Space Program (SSP) Alliance, which should not be confused with the Sphere Alliance which he claims comprise five different extraterrestrials races that are here to assist humanity deal with an upcoming “Event” that will change life dramatically on the planet.

    Corey claims to have attended several off-planet meetings where three of these extraterrestrial races belonging to the Sphere Alliance, have appeared. The alien race which he has communicated with the most is called the Blue Avians – one of whom he met with as recently as this past weekend is called “Tear-Eir”. In addition to his recent contact experiences, Corey also claims to have earlier served, from 1987 to 2007 with several secret space programs as an Intuitive Empath. In an earlier question and answer email exchange, Corey described the five secret space programs as follows:

    Solar Warden –  mainly focused on policing the Solar System and surrounding Star Clusters;
    Interplanetary Corporate Conglomerate (ICC) – focused mainly on development and aquisition of technology by any means.
    Dark Fleet – worked almost entirely outside the Sol System, Very Military (Offensive),
    “NATO TYPE SSP” – Recently in Alliance Conferences they were referred to as the “League of Nations Program.”
    Various Special Access Program SSP’s that were small, usually had the newer technology, very secretive and worked for some of the Secret Earth Governments

    In his answers to my most recent questions sent by email (see below), Corey describes why the Solar Warden space program, the first program to be established in the contemporary era, was picked by the Sphere Alliance to be given technological assistance. The Solar Warden Program along with the other programs belonging to the SSP Alliance have been given advanced technologies to neutralize the prior technological advantage of “negative” or “service-to-self” groups described as the Cabal/Illuminati, Draco Reptilians, etc.

    In addition, Corey addresses questions concerning the current political situation such as President Putin’s disappearance for 10 days (March 6-16) and the possibility that he secretly attended one of the Sphere Alliance meetings; President Obama’s March 12 comment about extraterrestrials controlling the US government; Pope Francis’ role with extraterrestrial disclosure; Edward Snowden acting with the tacit support of other NSA officials in releasing classified information; and the upcoming Sept 23 meeting between President Obama and Pope Francis.

    It’s worth mentioning that at this stage Corey has not given any documentary evidence to support his incredible claims, nor has anyone else come forward to confirm their participation in alleged meetings involving the Sphere Alliance and the 10-12 Secret Space Programs indigenous to Earth. Nevertheless, Corey has had a number of researchers who have come forward claiming that anonymous insiders have confirmed that Corey did indeed serve with one or more Secret Space Programs. The most prominent among them is David Wilcock who has given a number of presentations where he cites his exhaustive efforts through his insider contacts with knowledge of secret space programs to confirm Corey’s background.

    In my own case, I have heard from Randy Cramer (aka Captain Kaye) that what he has read so far of Corey’s testimony is consistent with his own 20 year experience with different secret space programs. In addition, to the similarities between Randy’s and Corey’s testimonies (described here), there are important similarities between Michael Relfe’s testimony of having served for 20 years on Mars in a secret space program from (1976-1996), and what Corey has revealed.

    Finally, I found Corey’s knowledge of a Secret Space Program that can be traced to the Mayan civilization as very impressive given my own personal experiences with a representative from such a program who secretly approached me in 2010. As I wrote in an earlier article, this was powerful personal corroboration that Corey’s testimony is genuine. Combined with the corroborating testimonies from other whistleblowers involved in secret space programs, I highly recommend considering Corey’s testimony as quite possibly the most comprehensive revelation of secret space programs and extraterrestrial intervention to have emerged to date.
    Consider, yet again, this previously posted KJV study-list:

    1. Job through Malachi.
    2. Romans through Jude.
    3. Prophets and Kings by Ellen White.
    4. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
    5. Sacred Classical Music.
    6. Peale and Schuller.
    7. The Medical--Military--Money Complex.
    8. The Prevention--Peace--Philanthropy Complex.

    I think it might be extremely important to overexpose oneself to all of the above -- for a variety of reasons -- some of which I'd rather not talk about. I mostly lead you (and myself) to the edge of truth -- such that only those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, are able to discern what the hell I'm talking about!! Notice that Prophets and Kings combined with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer -- fill in the gaps left by the focus upon Job through Malachi, and Romans through Jude. This is sort of a mosaic or potpourri. If some of you big-shots want to do something cool -- get an organist to give you a private concert at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral -- and have them play the following music -- while you silently read all 150 of the Psalms!!

    1. Grand Piece Symphonique by Cesar Franck.
    2. The Fifth Symphony by Charles Marie Widor.
    3. The Sixth Symphony by Charles Marie Widor.
    4. The Passion Symphony by Marcel Dupre.

    I'm not an "organ-only" guy. I've just chosen to take a road less traveled. I mostly prefer an integration of organ, orchestra, choir, and congregation -- mostly just singing hymns. Some of you might find the exercise I suggested to even be a bit frightening. I didn't intend this to be a happy-clappy love-fest. It might even be considered to be sort of an initiation!! Just remember that the Sacred Must Become Secular -- and the Secular Must Become Sacred!! What Would Robert H. Schuller Say??

    B.B.Baghor wrote:ortho's words: "I wish to move-on to Clean Sheet of Stone Solutions -- but History must be properly handled -- so as to provide a Sustainable Foundation for New Theologies and Philosophies. For me -- studying theology is sort of like the guy who hits himself over the head with a hammer -- because it feels so good when he quits!!"

    Some parts of your posts, like the last sentence in this one above, could well fit in the Humour thread, ortho, You keep hitting the nail on its head, it seems, in your view on studying theology and other statements you make about how you manage and maintain your thread. If I've understood your explanations in your thread, ortho, your intention is to invite members and visitors here and to discuss its content and find understanding and clarity due to that.

    Thank-you B.B. All of this involves a rarely achieved understanding of the world, solar system, and universe -- which I suspect "Top-People" understand very clearly. This is NOT a touchy-feely support-group. This is a royal-model walk on the wild-side!! It involves a lot of experience and experiences -- along with material provided by others. What people (and other than people) do with this is up to them.

    I keep coming back at my trying to understand, what it is that you're looking for in your thread. I'm having a go at it and move forward, by groping and trying, no hunt for an answer as if the end of this discussion should be near. The question mark may remain in it, if you get what I mean. To me it looks like this, that you show up in your thread in two different ways (or roles, deliberately chosen?)

    I guess I'm attempting to give substance to my suppositions. This discussion might never end. This is about Revelation and Mystery. A "Space-Cowboy" Individual of Interest spoke to me about "Mystery" in an approving manner. They also spoke about the "good-side" of Anna in "V" in an approving manner. They spoke to me about pre-cognition and remote-viewing (with military-applications). They spoke to me about who should "really run the world". They spoke to me about how UFO's work (something about gravity and always falling). They spoke of wishing to construct a UFO. They spoke of working with the Pentagon. They spoke to me about Orion. They reminded me of the "Cowboy" in Mulholland Drive.

    At times you're the observer looking at its content from without, which seems to be the intention of the initial plan, with your US of the SS-Final Cut. At other times you're the person actively present in your thread, sharing your observations and feelings on how you see yourself doing and the probable futility of it in the eyes of others, as you seem to perceive may be the case.

    I pretend to be someone I'm not -- to create a Science-Fictional Psycho-Drama -- to make points which could not otherwise be made. This mostly seems to have fallen on "deaf-ears". It's probably mostly a personal-exercise which I am sharing with a few alphabet-interns. I wonder how many of them have gone nuts? I'm actually being somewhat serious.

    This seems to come from within you, ortho, as if it's felt that way, real time. If this is what you call "modelling", I can't say I understand what you mean by that and what it's purpose is. And besides, I'm not sure if that's what it is, ortho. Is it with the intention to share your large amount of documentation and views, to see if they're appreciated as subjects for a discussion? Without the need to find understanding, for this is already material that is understood by you?

    It sometimes seems as if I am "Channeling-Myself". I sometimes imagine myself in important historical, contemporary, and prophetic roles -- so as to provide myself and others with rare-insights into the "Way Things Might've Been or Might Be" as the "Saddest Words That Fingers Can Type". I've actually found some remarkable evidences that I might be some sort of a "Significant Historical Soul" -- but I have no idea whether that would be a good-thing, or not. Some of my questions are rhetorical -- but most are inquisitive. I keep hoping that the right-individuals will systematically and exhaustively answer my many questions (here or in some other context).

    Or is your need of understanding, with the help of discussions, that you welcome here? I risk wrapping conclusions around my questioning here, due to a groping for my understanding. Forgive me if that's perceived that way, by you, ortho. This is the thing, you see, we always have to deal with being at risk in misunderstanding, for the difficulty of only exchanging views in this virtual way. I can imagine there must be some sort of strong drive in you, connected to an urge to find a way to a life with purpose. To me, it seems to be like this, that you feel the clarity for finding it is present outside of you.

    I doubt that I will find a "Purposeful-Life" in "Real-Life" so I am forced to construct a "Significant-Existence" in Cyberspace as some sort of a "Cyberspace-Cowboy". I am often forced to bring discussions from other threads into this thread -- so as to artificially manufacture conversation within this particular thread. I often seem to be "shunned" on this site -- and in "real-life".

    To me, at times, there seems to have happened a reversal of priorities, in the way you handle your thread, as if the exploring and research that you do, have moved to the first position, as a goal in itself. For I see you asking questions, asking questions about the asked questions, ignoring investigations by others sometimes due to the insistent questioning popping up in you. At times, reading parts of your posts, I wonder if there are answers that will satisfy you, if they're searched for.

    The Rare Responses by Others are often catalysts for further questioning and speculation. Most of the material on this thread is the work of others (ignored or otherwise). Responses are sometimes off-topic -- and I seek to stay on track -- which might appear to be ignoring various responders. Thinking deeply about the words of others does not always produce direct-responses from me. I'm sometimes a bit like a psychiatrist or psychologist asking leading questions. Jesus asked a lot of questions. Consider reading Jesus: An Interview Across Time by Dr. Andrew G. Hodges. http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Interview-Psychiatrist-Christs-Humanity/dp/0825427908

    I truly wonder what will happen if you at any given moment will find an answer or give up this quest, quieting that mind of yours. I don't mean to suggest that you should stop posting, ortho, I simply wonder in what way your arrival at the end of your quest, feeling that you've found the answers you need, will affect you. Do you expect to feel you will miss the ponder and wonder, the multifaceted way of reflecting on topics that you express in your thread here in the Mists? It's a genuine question, I hope you will perceive it that way Cheerful

    The quest will probably become so dark and controversial that I will be forced to not talk about it publicly or privately. This thing might honestly end in tragedy and great sorrow. I'm NOT expecting a happy-ending.














    I've suggested numerous possibilities, but I keep getting the sinking-feeling that I'm wrong, and that I don't know a damn thing!! As you know, I try to mix things up in my threads. Chaos Out of Chaos!! I have a pretty consistent theme. I'm simply trying to make all of us think. This whole thing is a mental and spiritual exercise. I call it "Contextual-Superimposition". Try reading Patriarchs and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, and Desire of Ages (by Ellen White) straight-through (over and over) regardless of whether you believe it or not!! Is that hypocritical?? Probably, but it is invigorating!! Try reading Volumes 4 and 6 (Isaiah to Malachi, and Acts to Ephesians) of the SDA Bible Commentary side by side (over and over) regardless of whether you believe what you're reading or not!! Is that hypocritical?? Probably, but it is pragmatic!! Think of ALL the words in All of the Above being written by the SAME Author!! This study does not necessarily generate or support ANY Religion or Church (if one is strictly honest)!! Biblical-Research is a Can of Worms (to say the least)!!

    Sherry Shriner speaks rabidly against Paul, yet she seems to inflict more actual wounds against the Gospels!! She seems to lean heavily upon the Torah and the Book of Revelation!! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2014/07/08/07-07-14-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner  What Would David Koresh Say?? What Would the God and/or Goddess of This World Say?? What if Paul had written an Epistle based entirely upon the Red-Letter Teachings of Jesus??!! What if Paul had written an Epistle based entirely upon the Major Old-Testament Prophets?? What if Flavius Josephus = Apostle Paul?? Think of the Possibilities!! Experimental-Religion!! Contextual-Superimposition!! Over the next couple of decades, I suspect that the world will learn what's really been going on (past and present), but the system might not significantly change. I'm still intrigued with the possibility of a United States of the Solar System (possibly combined with a Holy-Roman Solar System) commencing in or around A.D. 2133. I'd still love to know what pre-existed the Creation of Humanity (Governmentally, Legally, Physically, and Liturgically). We need to know SO Much More to properly understand our predicament and options.  

    I'm re-watching the movie The Aviator, about Howard Hughes. A close-relative of mine knew Noah Dietrich (the Business-Manager for Howard Hughes). Catherine Austin Fitts reminds me of Noah Dietrich (regarding dealing with seemingly impossible financial problems). Is the Bottom-Line the Bottom-Line in Politics and Religion?? A few months ago, I think I met Gerald Celente (but not formally). We talked about politics for a minute or two, and that was that. I didn't realize it was him until he was gone. I used to watch U-2's flying all the time (as a child)!! I saw an SR-71 up-close (flying, and on the ground) at Norton Air Force Base!! I've since learned that there were probably very-real UFO's quite-close to where I stood!! I've since learned that there were a lot of Satanists in that neck of the woods!! What if I've spoken extensively with Satan?? Does Satan still have an office at Goldman Sachs?? What if Earth-Humanity requires a Devil rather than a God?? A 'Congressman Collins' look-alike told me "You Can't Connect Anything Back to Me". Honest. One Last Time, I Know That I Don't Know. I Am Deeply Devastated and Humbled. I Often Wish I Had Never Attempted to Conceptually Solve the Solar System's Problems. I Often Wish I Had Never Been Born. I Hate My Life. Honest.

    I voted for Trump, but I'm neutral toward nearly all politicians, because I suspect they're controlled, and the controllers want puppets who can be controlled. I further suspect that this is a worldwide phenomenon involving politics, religion, and business. What worries me is that things might need to be this way. The reprehensible might be unavoidable. I suspect that at the very-top, there is an elite-club going way back to Ancient Babylon and Egypt (or earlier). I suspect that the top-management is extremely-sophisticated, but not necessarily in a nice-way. I tend to think in terms of the 'Corrupt Ruling the Stupid'. Didn't Sylvia Browne say the Aliens referred to Earth as 'The Insane Asylum'?! Earth-Humanity might require 'Bad Guys and Gals' to keep things the way they've been for thousands of years. Perhaps things were never supposed to be really good on Planet-Earth. I don't know. There's so much I don't know. I am truly a Completely Ignorant Fool. What Would Raven Say??

    I just spent half an hour discussing theology with a lady with a Masters of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt University. She was really-humble and low-key, but very-smart, very-educated, and very-spiritual. I mention these sorts of things because I have very-little to talk about (despite my very-strange true-stories). I sometimes exaggerate, but I don't lie. I'm simply attempting to write Religious and Political Science-Fiction, but I often think I'll never get anything published (unless I self-publish). My tripe on this website isn't really Science-Fiction. Perhaps it constitutes a rather-new category, which is highly dependent upon Comments, Videos, and Images, combined with original editorial-content, and no financial-gain. The Ancient Egyptian Deity said I had "Done It With YouTube", but I'm not sure what they meant by that. I'm not even sure who they really were. I think I've completely screwed-up my life and eternal-life. I had my open-heart surgery, but it sounds like I'll be out of commission for two or three months, and I have other serious health-problems, so this might be it for me. I frankly don't see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding my physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health!! I think I'm irreversibly screwed!! I might really be finished.

    Now I'm watching the Donald Trump videos. Notice that the Trump Tower floor-numbering is supposed to skip 10 floors, so the 17th floor is supposedly called the '27th floor'. Think about the 1978 movie Oh, God regarding the '27th floor' in a building on 1600 North Hope Street!! Donald Trump's office is on the 27th floor!! What if President Trump is closer to the God and/or Goddess of This World than anyone can imagine?? What if a fake 'swamp-draining' and 'housecleaning' will precede a very-messy 'real-disclosure'?? I've encountered very-frightening predictions from individuals of interest, and I'm NOT kidding!! I get the feeling that the real-issues involve the real-truth (going way, way, way back) rather than involving who gets to run the New World Order. What if the Nazis, Masons, Jesuits, Intelligence-Agencies, International-Bankers, Military-Industrial Complex, and a Supercomputer-Network run the Solar System?? Could this be the Secret-Government and the Secret Space Program?? What if it has to be this way?? Notice the letters shown (and spaces) on David Mann's briefcase, in the 1971 movie 'Duel' (at 1:24:43) just before the truck goes over the cliff!! I need to shut-up!! I really do!! They have ways to make me STOP!! Many Ways!!











































    PSALMS

    78:7       That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

    89:31      If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

    103:18     To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

    103:20     Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

    111:7      The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.

    111:10     The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

    112:1      Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

    119:6      Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

    119:10     With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

    119:19     I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

    119:21     Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

    119:32     I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

    119:35     Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

    119:47     And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

    119:48     My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

    119:60     I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

    119:66     Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

    119:73     JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

    119:86     All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

    119:98     Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

    119:115    Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

    119:127    Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

    119:131    I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

    119:143    Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

    119:151    Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.

    119:166    LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

    119:172    My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

    119:176    I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

    PROVERBS

    2:1      My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

    3:1      My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

    4:4      He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

    7:1      My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

    7:2      Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

    10:8     The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

    ECCLESIASTES

    12:13    Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    ISAIAH

    48:18    O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

    DANIEL

    9:4      And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

    AMOS

    2:4      Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:

    Matthew

    5:19     Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    15:9     But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    19:17    And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    22:40    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    Mark

    7:7      Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    10:19    Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

    12:29    And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

    Luke

    1:6      And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

    18:20    Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

    John

    14:15    If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    14:21    He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    15:10    If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    Acts

    1:2      Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

    1 Corinthians

    7:19     Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    14:37    If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

    Ephesians

    2:15     Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

    Colossians

    2:22     Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

    4:10     Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

    1 Thessalonians

    4:2      For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

    Titus

    1:14     Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

    1 John

    2:3      And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

    2:4      He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    3:22     And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

    3:24     And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    5:2      By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

    5:3      For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    2 John

    1:6      And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.


    Revelation

    12:17    And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    14:12    Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

    22:14    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.






    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:06 pm; edited 8 times in total
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:10 am



    This video might contain significant truth, but how do we REALLY know what's true, and what's BS?? Sorting-out current events is often seemingly impossible, and things get exponentially-worse as we attempt to view forbidden ancient history and theology. If there were three primary galactic-factions, there would be at least three different versions of history. There might be three competing factions within each of the three major galactic-factions!! Fractions of Factions!! The real history of the universe might contain unimaginable evolution, creation, and power-struggles!! Our official history and theology might be cover-stories, for legitimate and illegitimate reasons. The Gods and Goddesses might be the Biggest Bad@$$es in the Universe!! A faction which wished to take-over a planet might make glorious-promises and be very-nice until they achieved unrivaled-power, at which time they might become Heartless-Enslavers!! Consider Politics and Marriage!! Perhaps the Whole-Bible is a Contradictory-Matrix which educates some of us to deal with Abundant-Absurdities. The Bible can be made to say just about anything, and this is probably the case for just about everyone and everything. My levels of certainty, security, and peace, are at all-time lows, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Earth-Humanity might face Paradise-Gained and Paradise-Lost in the near-future, and I am extremely-apprehensive (short and long term).


    "My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me; Show me why You contend with me. 3 Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, That You should despise the work of Your hands, And smile on the counsel of the wicked? 4 Do You have eyes of flesh? Or do You see as man sees? 5 Are Your days like the days of a mortal man? Are Your years like the days of a mighty man, 6 That You should seek for my iniquity And search out my sin, 7 Although You know that I am not wicked, And there is no one who can deliver from Your hand? 8 'Your hands have made me and fashioned me, An intricate unity; Yet You would destroy me. 9 Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay. And will You turn me into dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk, And curdle me like cheese, 11 Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You have granted me life and favor, And Your care has preserved my spirit. 13 'And these things You have hidden in Your heart; I know that this was with You: 14 If I sin, then You mark me, And will not acquit me of my iniquity. 15 If I am wicked, woe to me; Even if I am righteous, I cannot lift up my head. I am full of disgrace; See my misery! 16 If my head is exalted, You hunt me like a fierce lion, And again You show Yourself awesome against me. 17 You renew Your witnesses against me, And increase Your indignation toward me; Changes and war are ever with me. 18 'Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Oh, that I had perished and no eye had seen me! 19 I would have been as though I had not been. I would have been carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? Cease! Leave me alone, that I may take a little comfort, 21 Before I go to the place from which I shall not return, To the land of darkness and the shadow of death, 22 A land as dark as darkness itself, As the shadow of death, without any order, Where even the light is like darkness.' "

    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." 3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. 5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. 8 All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after. 12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge." 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

    I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter--"Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?" 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. 4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. 9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. 12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king?-- Only what he has already done.

    Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, But the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all. 15 So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." 16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! 17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. 24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.  

    To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. 9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

    I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God. 14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. 15 That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past. 16 Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. 17 I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." 18 I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals." 19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22 So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?  

    Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter-- On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter. 2 Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive. 3 Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. 5 The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh. 6 Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind. 7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: 8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. 9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 13 Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more. 14 For he comes out of prison to be king, Although he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun; They were with the second youth who stands in his place. 16 There was no end of all the people over whom he was made king; Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

    Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. 2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed-- 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. 8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. 9 Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.

    He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. 13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. 14 But those riches perish through misfortune; When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also is a severe evil-- Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? 17 All his days he also eats in darkness, And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger. 18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor--this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

    There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. 3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he-- 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice--but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place? 7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied. 8 For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, Who knows how to walk before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. 10 Whatever one is, he has been named already, For it is known that he is man; And he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he. 11 Since there are many things that increase vanity, How is man the better? 12 For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?  

    A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one's birth; 2 Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity. 7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man's reason, And a bribe debases the heart. 8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. 10 Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. 11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance, And profitable to those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it. 13 Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him. 15 I have seen everything in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.

    Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will escape them all. 19 Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city. 20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. 21 Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others. 23 All this I have proved by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise"; But it was far from me. 24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep, Who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness. 26 And I find more bitter than death The woman whose heart is snares and nets, Whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, But the sinner shall be trapped by her. 27 "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher, "Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, 28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes."

    Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, And the sternness of his face is changed. 2 I say, "Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3 Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him." 4 Where the word of a king is, there is power; And who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; And a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, 6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly. 7 For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur? 8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

    Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. 14 There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.

    For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. 2 All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.

    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. 11 I returned and saw under the sun that-- The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them. 13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. 16 Then I said: "Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard. 17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good."  

    Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand, But a fool's heart at his left. 3 Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses. 5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants. 8 He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it. 10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

    A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different. 12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; Who can tell him what will be after him? 15 The labor of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city! 16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time-- For strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. 20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

    Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. 5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good. 7 Truly the light is sweet, And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; 8 But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.

    Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them": 2 While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain; 3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look through the windows grow dim; 4 When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low; 5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, And desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.

    Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity." 9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright--words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.














    "What The Hell Are We Going To Do With Orthodoxymoron??!!"
    "Should We Have Him Do a Table-Dance For Us??!!"
    "I Don't Want To Talk To You Anymore!!"
    "Why Did You Do THAT??!!"
    "Good-Bye!!"

    afro












    The United States of the Solar System, 12133 BC??
    The Direct-Democracy Singularity??
    What Do You Want??


    Iron Man
    Black Sabbath
    Has he lost his mind?
    Can he see or is he blind?
    Can he walk at all,
    Or if he moves will he fall?
    Is he alive or dead?
    Has he thoughts within his head?
    We'll just pass him there
    Why should we even care?
    He was turned to steel
    In the great magnetic field
    When he travelled time
    For the future of mankind
    Now the time is here
    For Iron Man to spread fear
    Vengeance from the grave
    Kills the people he once saved
    Nobody wants him
    He just stares at the world
    Planning his vengeance
    That he will soon unfurl
    Nobody wants him
    They just turn their heads
    Nobody helps him
    Now he has his revenge
    Heavy boots of lead
    Fills his victims full of dread
    Running as fast as they can
    Iron Man lives again!


    In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’ “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

    “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

    In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

    While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

    In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

    “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. hen the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress. “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more. “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time. “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

    “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

    “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”








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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:13 am





    What if one read Acts to James in the Numberless NIV (straight-through, over and over)?? Would this constitute comprehensively-legitimate Christianity?? What if Acts to James interpreted Acts to James?? Context Without Pretext?? What Would Richard Carrier Say?? What do Job to Daniel, and Acts to Revelation, reveal concerning the Historical Jesus?? What do the New-Testament Red-Letters reveal concerning the Historical Jesus?? What Would Artemis aka Sekhmet aka Diana Say?? What Would Ovid Say?? What Would Cupid Do?? Was there a relationship between Artemis and Ovid?? What if both are alive and well, and living on Planet Earth?? What Would Orion the Hunter Say?? What Would the Apostle Paul Say?? What Would the Ephesians Say?? What Would Sherry Shriner Say?? What Would Brook Say?? I know next to nothing about this subject, but it might be more important than most anyone can imagine. What Would Serqet Say?? What Would Cleopatra Say?? What Would Amen Ra Say?? What Would Marduk Ra Say?? What Would Lilith Say?? What Would Adam Say?? What Would Eve Say?? What Would Blanche Barton Say?? What Would HAL 9000 Sing?? What if Artemis = Daisy?? Look at the words to 'Daisy', especially regarding 'DART'. What if we are primarily Dealing with Zeus and Artemis?? Ba'al and Qetesh?? Amen and Artemis?? Michael and Gabriel?? Lucifer and Lucifer?? Male and Female?? Male and Male?? Female and Female?? Queen A, Queen B, and HAL 9000?? Da'an, Zo'or, and HAL 9000?? Must I explain?? I Am SO Tired of This Stupid Game!! Stop This Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!! I Want to Get Off!! I Want to Get My Rocks Off!! Take It Off!! Take It All Off!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis Artemis (/'??rt?m?s/; Greek: ??teµ?? Artemis, Attic Greek: [ár.te.mis]) was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana.[2] Some scholars[3] believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek.[4] Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals".[5] The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.[6] In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.[7] The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

    The name Artemis (noun, feminine) is of unknown or uncertain etymology,[8][9] although various ones have been proposed.[10][11] For example, according to J. T. Jablonski,[11] the name is also Phrygian and could be "compared with the royal appellation Artemas of Xenophon. According to Charles Anthon the primitive root of the name is probably of Persian origin from *arta, *art, *arte, all meaning "great, excellent, holy," thus Artemis "becomes identical with the great mother of Nature, even as she was worshipped at Ephesus".[11] Anton Goebel "suggests the root st?at or ?at, "to shake," and makes Artemis mean the thrower of the dart or the shooter".[10]

    The name could also be possibly related to Greek árktos "bear" (from PIE *h2r?t?os), supported by the bear cult that the goddess had in Attica (Brauronia) and the Neolithic remains at the Arkoudiotissa Cave, as well as the story about Callisto, which was originally about Artemis (Arcadian epithet kallisto);[12] this cult was a survival of very old totemic and shamanistic rituals and formed part of a larger bear cult found further afield in other Indo-European cultures (e.g., Gaulish Artio). It is believed that a precursor of Artemis was worshipped in Minoan Crete as the goddess of mountains and hunting, Britomartis. While connection with Anatolian names has been suggested,[13][14] the earliest attested forms of the name Artemis are the Mycenaean Greek, a-te-mi-to /Artemitos/ and, a-ti-mi-te /Artimitei/, written in Linear B at Pylos.[15] R. S. P. Beekes suggested that the e/i interchange points to a Pre-Greek origin.[16] Artemis was venerated in Lydia as Artimus.[17] Georgios Babiniotis, while accepting that the etymology is unknown, also states that the name is already attested in Mycenean Greek and is possibly of Pre-Greek origin.[9] Ancient Greek writers, by way of folk etymology, and some modern scholars, have linked Artemis (Doric Artamis) to ??taµ??, artamos, i.e. "butcher"[18][19] or, like Plato did in Cratylus, to ??teµ??, artem?s, i.e. "safe", "unharmed", "uninjured", "pure", "the stainless maiden".[10][11][20]

    Leto bore Apollo and Artemis, delighting in arrows,
    Both of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods,
    As she joined in love to the Aegis-bearing ruler.
    —?Hesiod, Theogony, lines 918–920 (written in the 7th century BC)

    Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology regarding the birth of Artemis and Apollo, her twin brother. However, in terms of parentage, all accounts agree that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma (the mainland) or on an island. Hera was angry with her husband Zeus because he had impregnated Leto but the island of Delos disobeyed Hera and Leto gave birth there. According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis the island where Leto gave birth was Ortygia.[21] In ancient Cretan history Leto was worshipped at Phaistos and, in Cretan mythology, Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on the islands known today as Paximadia. A scholium of Servius on Aeneid iii. 72 accounts for the island's archaic name Ortygia[22] by asserting that Zeus transformed Leto into a quail (ortux) in order to prevent Hera from finding out about his infidelity, and Kenneth McLeish suggested further that in quail form Leto would have given birth with as few birth-pains as a mother quail suffers when it lays an egg.[23] The myths also differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's midwife upon the birth of her brother Apollo.

    The childhood of Artemis is not fully related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus.[24] A poem by Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes. Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her several wishes:

    to always remain a virgin
    to have many names to set her apart from her brother Phoebus (Apollo)
    to have a bow and arrow made by the Cyclops
    to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer
    to have a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt
    to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir
    to have twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested
    to rule all the mountains
    to rule any city
    to have the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.[25]

    Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo.[26] All of her companions remained virgins, and Artemis closely guarded her own chastity. Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and the moon. Callimachus tells[27] how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked.

    Oceanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. Callimachus then tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs. She then captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with her bow first by shooting at trees and then at wild beasts.[27]
    Intimacy

    As a virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but only her hunting companion, Orion, won her heart. Orion was accidentally killed either by Artemis or by Gaia. The river god Alpheus was in love with Artemis, but as he realizes that he can do nothing to win her heart, he decides to capture her. Artemis, who is with her companions at Letrenoi, goes to Alpheus, but, suspicious of his motives, she covers her face with mud so that the river god does not recognize her. In another story, Alphaeus tries to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa. Artemis pities Arethusa and saves her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink. Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetus, sees Artemis and thinks about raping her. Reading his sinful thoughts, Artemis strikes him at Mount Pholoe. Siproites is a boy, who, either because he accidentally sees Artemis bathing or because he attempts to rape her, is turned into a girl by the goddess.

    Multiple versions of the Actaeon myth survive, though many are fragmentary. The details vary but at the core, they involve a great hunter, Actaeon who Artemis turns into a stag for a transgression and who is then killed by hunting dogs.[28][29] Usually, the dogs are his own, who no longer recognize their master. Sometimes they are Artemis' hounds. According to the standard modern text on the work, Lamar Ronald Lacey's The Myth of Aktaion: Literary and Iconographic Studies, the most likely original version of the myth is that Actaeon was the hunting companion of the goddess who, seeing her naked in her sacred spring, attempts to force himself on her. For this hubris, he is turned into a stag and devoured by his own hounds. However, in some surviving versions, Actaeon is a stranger who happens upon her. According to the Latin version of the story told by the Roman Ovid[30] having accidentally seen Artemis (Diana) on Mount Cithaeron while she was bathing, he was changed by her into a stag, and pursued and killed by his fifty hounds.[31] Different tellings also diverge in the hunter's transgression, which is sometimes merely seeing the virgin goddess naked, sometimes boasting he is a better hunter than she,[32] or even merely being a rival of Zeus for the affections of Semele.

    In some versions of the story of Adonis, who was a late addition to Greek mythology during the Hellenistic period, Artemis sent a wild boar to kill Adonis as punishment for his hubristic boast that he was a better hunter than her. In other versions, Artemis killed Adonis for revenge. In later myths, Adonis had been related as a favorite of Aphrodite, and Aphrodite was responsible for the death of Hippolytus, who had been a favorite of Artemis. Therefore, Artemis killed Adonis to avenge Hippolytus’s death. In yet another version, Adonis was not killed by Artemis, but by Ares, as punishment for being with Aphrodite.

    Orion was Artemis' hunting companion. In some versions, he is killed by Artemis, while in others he is killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia. In some versions, Orion tries to seduce Opis,[33] one of Artemis' followers, and she kills him. In a version by Aratus,[34] Orion takes hold of Artemis' robe and she kills him in self-defense. In yet another version, Apollo sends the scorpion. According to Hyginus[35] Artemis once loved Orion (in spite of the late source, this version appears to be a rare remnant of her as the pre-Olympian goddess, who took consorts, as Eos did), but was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who was "protective" of his sister's maidenhood.

    The twin sons of Poseidon and Iphidemia, Otos and Ephialtes, grew enormously at a young age. They were aggressive, great hunters, and could not be killed unless they killed each other. The growth of the Aloadae never stopped, and they boasted that as soon as they could reach heaven, they would kidnap Artemis and Hera and take them as wives. The gods were afraid of them, except for Artemis who captured a fine deer (or in another version of the story, she changed herself into a doe) and jumped out between them. The Aloadae threw their spears and so mistakenly killed each other.

    Callisto was the daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia and also was one of Artemis's hunting attendants. As a companion of Artemis, she took a vow of chastity. Zeus appeared to her disguised as Artemis, or in some stories Apollo gained her confidence and took advantage of her or, according to Ovid, raped her. As a result of this encounter, she conceived a son, Arcas. Enraged, Hera or Artemis (some accounts say both) changed her into a bear. Arcas almost killed the bear, but Zeus stopped him just in time. Out of pity, Zeus placed Callisto the bear into the heavens, thus the origin of Callisto the Bear as a constellation. Some stories say that he placed both Arcas and Callisto into the heavens as bears, forming the Ursa Minor and Ursa Major constellations.

    Artemis punished Agamemnon after he killed a sacred stag in a sacred grove and boasted that he was a better hunter than the goddess. When the Greek fleet was preparing at Aulis to depart for Troy to begin the Trojan War, Artemis becalmed the winds. The seer Calchas advised Agamemnon that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Artemis then snatched Iphigenia from the altar and substituted a deer. Various myths have been told about what happened after Artemis took her. Either she was brought to Tauros and led the priests there or became Artemis' immortal companion.[36]

    A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because while she had fourteen children (Niobids), seven boys and seven girls, Leto had only one of each. When Artemis and Apollo heard this impiety, Apollo killed her sons as they practiced athletics, and Artemis shot her daughters, who died instantly without a sound. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions two of the Niobids were spared, one boy and one girl. Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, killed himself. A devastated Niobe and her remaining children were turned to stone by Artemis as they wept. The gods themselves entombed them.

    Chione was a princess of Pokis. She was beloved by two gods, Hermes and Apollo, and boasted that she was prettier than Artemis because she made two gods fall in love with her at once. Artemis was furious and killed Chione with her arrow or struck her dumb by shooting off her tongue. However, some versions of this myth say Apollo and Hermes protected her from Artemis' wrath.

    Artemis saved the infant Atalanta from dying of exposure after her father abandoned her. She sent a female bear to suckle the baby, who was then raised by hunters. In some stories, Artemis later sent a bear to hurt Atalanta because others claimed Atlanta was a superior hunter. Among other adventures, Atalanta participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, which Artemis had sent to destroy Calydon because King Oeneus had forgotten her at the harvest sacrifices. In the hunt, Atalanta drew the first blood and was awarded the prize of the skin. She hung it in a sacred grove at Tegea as a dedication to Artemis. Meleager was a hero of Aetolia. King Oeneus had him gather heroes from all over Greece to hunt the Calydonian Boar. After the death of Meleager, Artemis turned his grieving sisters, the Meleagrids into guineafowl that Artemis loved very much.

    In Nonnus Dionysiaca,[37] Aura was the daughter of Lelantos and Periboia. She was a virgin huntress, just like Artemis and proud of her maidenhood. One day, she claimed that the body of Artemis was too womanly and she doubted her virginity. Artemis asked Nemesis for help to avenge her dignity and caused the rape of Aura by Dionysus. Aura became a mad and dangerous killer. When she bore twin sons, she ate one of them while the other one, Iacchus, was saved by Artemis. Iacchus later became an attendant of Demeter and the leader of Eleusinian Mysteries.

    Polyphonte was a young woman who fled home preferring the idea of a virginal life with Artemis to the conventional life of marriage and children favoured by Aphrodite. As a punishment Aphrodite cursed her, causing her to have children by a bear. The resulting offspring, Agrius and Oreius, were wild cannibals who incurred the hatred of Zeus. Ultimately the entire family were transformed into birds and more specifically ill portents for mankind.[38]

    Artemis may have been represented as a supporter of Troy because her brother Apollo was the patron god of the city and she herself was widely worshipped in western Anatolia in historical times. In the Iliad[39] she came to blows with Hera, when the divine allies of the Greeks and Trojans engaged each other in conflict. Hera struck Artemis on the ears with her own quiver, causing the arrows to fall out. As Artemis fled crying to Zeus, Leto gathered up the bow and arrows. Artemis played quite a large part in this war. Like her mother and brother, who was widely worshipped at Troy, Artemis took the side of the Trojans.

    At the Greek's journey to Troy, Artemis becalmed the sea and stopped the journey until an oracle came and said they could win the goddess' heart by sacrificing Iphigenia, Agamemnon's daughter. Agamemnon once promised the goddess he would sacrifice the dearest thing to him, which was Iphigenia, but broke that promise. Other sources[which?] said he boasted about his hunting ability and provoked the goddess' anger. Artemis saved Iphigenia because of her bravery. In some versions of the myth,[which?] Artemis made Iphigenia her attendant or turned her into Hecate, goddess of night, witchcraft, and the underworld. Aeneas was helped by Artemis, Leto, and Apollo. Apollo found him wounded by Diomedes and lifted him to heaven. There, the three of them secretly healed him in a great chamber.

    Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece.[40] Her best known cults were on the island of Delos (her birthplace), in Attica at Brauron and Mounikhia (near Piraeus), and in Sparta. She was often depicted in paintings and statues in a forest setting, carrying a bow and arrows and accompanied by a deer. The ancient Spartans used to sacrifice to her as one of their patron goddesses before starting a new military campaign. Athenian festivals in honor of Artemis included Elaphebolia, Mounikhia, Kharisteria, and Brauronia. The festival of Artemis Orthia was observed in Sparta.

    Pre-pubescent and adolescent Athenian girls were sent to the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron to serve the Goddess for one year. During this time, the girls were known as arktoi, or little she-bears. A myth explaining this servitude states that a bear had formed the habit of regularly visiting the town of Brauron, and the people there fed it, so that, over time, the bear became tame. A girl teased the bear, and, in some versions of the myth, it killed her, while, in other versions, it clawed out her eyes. Either way, the girl's brothers killed the bear, and Artemis was enraged. She demanded that young girls "act the bear" at her sanctuary in atonement for the bear's death.[41] Virginal Artemis was worshipped as a fertility/childbirth goddess in some places, assimilating Ilithyia, since, according to some myths, she assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin. During the Classical period in Athens, she was identified with Hecate. Artemis also assimilated Caryatis (Carya).

    As Aeginaea, she was worshipped in Sparta; the name means either huntress of chamois, or the wielder of the javelin (a??a??a).[42][43] Also in Sparta, Artemis Lygodesma was worshipped. This epithet means "willow-bound" from the Gr. lygos (?????, willow) and desmos (desµ??, bond). The willow tree appears in several ancient Greek myths and rituals.[44] She was worshipped at Naupactus as Aetole; in her temple in that town there was a statue of white marble representing her throwing a javelin.[45] This "Aetolian Artemis" would not have been introduced at Naupactus, anciently a place of Ozolian Locris, until it was awarded to the Aetolians by Philip II of Macedon. Strabo records another precinct of "Aetolian Artemos" at the head of the Adriatic.[46] As Agoraea she was the protector of the agora.

    As Agrotera, she was especially associated as the patron goddess of hunters. In Athens Artemis was often associated with the local Aeginian goddess, Aphaea. As Potnia Theron, she was the patron of wild animals; Homer used this title. As Kourotrophos, she was the nurse of youths. As Locheia, she was the goddess of childbirth and midwives. She was sometimes known as Cynthia, from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos, or Amarynthia from a festival in her honor originally held at Amarynthus in Euboea. She was sometimes identified by the name Phoebe, the feminine form of her brother Apollo's solar epithet Phoebus.

    Alphaea, Alpheaea, or Alpheiusa (Gr. ??fa?a, ??fea?a, or ??fe???sa) was an epithet that Artemis derived from the river god Alpheius, who was said to have been in love with her.[47] It was under this name that she was worshipped at Letrini in Elis,[48][49] and in Ortygia.[50] Artemis Alphaea was associated with the wearing of masks, largely because of the legend that while fleeing the advances of Alpheius, she and her nymphs escaped him by covering their faces.[51] As Artemis Anaitis, the 'Persian Artemis' was identified with Anahita. As Apanchomene, she was worshipped as a hanged goddess.

    Artemis was born on the sixth day, which made it sacred for her. Festival of Artemis in Brauron, where girls, aged between five and ten, dressed in saffron robes and played at being bears, or "act the bear" to appease the goddess after she sent the plague when her bear was killed. Festival of Amarysia is a celebration to worship Artemis Amarysia in Attica. In 2007, a team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists found the ruin of Artemis Amarysia Temple, at Euboea, Greece.[52] Festival of Artemis Saronia, a festival to celebrate Artemis in Trozeinos, a town in Argolis. A king named Saron built a sanctuary for the goddess after the goddess saved his life when he went hunting and was swept away by a wave. He held a festival in her honor.[53] On the 16th day of Metageitnio (second month on the Athenian calendar), people sacrificed to Artemis and Hecate at Deme in Erchia.[54] Kharisteria Festival on 6th day of Boidromion (third month) celebrates the victory of the Battle of Marathon, also known as the Athenian "Thanksgiving".[55]

    Day six of Elaphobolia (ninth month) festival of Artemis the Deer Huntress where she was offered cakes shaped like stags, made from dough, honey and sesame seeds.[56] Day 6 or 16 of Mounikhion (tenth month) is a celebration of her as the goddess of nature and animals. A goat was sacrificed to her.[57] Day 6 of Thargelion (eleventh month), is the Goddess's birthday, while the seventh was Apollo's.[58] A festival for Artemis Diktynna (of the net) was held in Hypsous. Laphria, a festival for Artemis in Patrai. The procession starts by setting logs of wood around the altar, each of them 16 cubits long. On the altar, within the circle, the driest wood is placed. Just before the festival, a smooth ascent to the altar is built by piling earth upon the altar steps. The festival begins with a splendid procession in honor of Artemis, and the maiden officiating as priestess rides last in the procession upon a chariot yoked to four deer, Artemis' traditional mode of transport (see below). However, the sacrifice is not offered until the next day. In Orchomenus, a sanctuary was built for Artemis Hymnia where her festival was celebrated every year.

    The oldest representations of Artemis in Greek Archaic art portray her as Potnia Theron ("Queen of the Beasts"): a winged goddess holding a stag and leopard in her hands, or sometimes a leopard and a lion. This winged Artemis lingered in ex-votos as Artemis Orthia, with a sanctuary close by Sparta. In Greek classical art she is usually portrayed as a maiden huntress, young, tall and slim, clothed in a girl's short skirt,[59] with hunting boots, a quiver, a bow[60] and arrows. Often, she is shown in the shooting pose, and is accompanied by a hunting dog or stag. When portrayed as a moon goddess, Artemis wore a long robe and sometimes a veil covered her head. Her darker side is revealed in some vase paintings, where she is shown as the death-bringing goddess whose arrows fell young maidens and women, such as the daughters of Niobe. Artemis was sometimes represented in Classical art with the crown of the crescent moon, such as also found on Luna and others. On June 7, 2007, a Roman era bronze sculpture of Artemis and the Stag was sold at Sotheby's auction house in New York state by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for $25.5 million.

    According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis, she had golden bow and arrows, as her epithet was Khryselakatos ("of the Golden Shaft") and Iokheira ("showered by arrows"). The arrows of Artemis could also bring sudden death and disease to girls and women. Artemis got her bow and arrow for the first time from The Kyklopes, as the one she asked from her father. The bow of Artemis also became the witness of Callisto's oath of her virginity. In later cult, the bow became the symbol of waxing moon.[61]

    Artemis' chariot was made of gold and was pulled by four golden horned deer (Elaphoi Khrysokeroi). The bridles of her chariot were also made of gold.[62]

    Although quite seldom, Artemis is sometimes portrayed with a hunting spear. Her cult in Aetolia, the Artemis Aetolian, showed her with a hunting spear. The description about Artemis' spear can be found in Ovid's Metamorphosis,[where?] while Artemis with a fishing spear connected with her cult as a patron goddess of fishing.[63] As a goddess of maiden dances and songs, Artemis is often portrayed with a lyre.[64]

    Deer were the only animals held sacred to Artemis herself. On seeing a deer larger than a bull with horns shining, she fell in love with these creatures and held them sacred. Deer were also the first animals she captured. She caught five golden horned deer called Elaphoi Khrysokeroi and harnessed them to her chariot.[62] The third labour of Heracles, commanded by Eurystheus, consisted of catching the Cerynitian Hind alive. Heracles begged Artemis for forgiveness and promised to return it alive. Artemis forgave him but targeted Eurystheus for her wrath.[65]

    Artemis got her hunting dogs from Pan in the forest of Arcadia. Pan gave Artemis two black-and-white dogs, three reddish ones, and one spotted one – these dogs were able to hunt even lions. Pan also gave Artemis seven bitches of the finest Arcadian race. However, Artemis only ever brought seven dogs hunting with her at any one time.[66]

    The sacrifice of a bear for Artemis started with the Brauron cult. Every year a girl between five and ten years of age was sent to Artemis' temple at Brauron. The Byzantine writer Suidos relayed the legend in Arktos e Brauroniois. A bear was tamed by Artemis and introduced to the people of Athens. They touched it and played with it until one day a group of girls poked the bear until it attacked them. A brother of one of the girls killed the bear, so Artemis sent a plague in revenge. The Athenians consulted an oracle to understand how to end the plague. The oracle suggested that, in payment for the bear's blood, no Athenian virgin should be allowed to marry until she had served Artemis in her temple ('played the bear for the goddess').[67]

    The boar is one of the favorite animals of the hunters, and also hard to tame. In honor of Artemis' skill, they sacrificed it to her. Oineus and Adonis were both killed by Artemis' boar.[68]

    Artemis felt pity for the Meleagrids as they mourned for their lost brother, Meleagor, so she transformed them into Guinea Fowl to be her favorite animals.

    Hawks were the favored birds of many of the gods, Artemis included.

    Palm and Cypress were issued[clarification needed] to be her birthplace. Other plants sacred to Artemis are Amaranth and Asphodel.[69]

    At Ephesus in Ionia, Turkey, her temple became one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was probably the best known center of her worship except for Delos. There the Lady whom the Ionians associated with Artemis through interpretatio graeca was worshipped primarily as a mother goddess, akin to the Phrygian goddess Cybele, in an ancient sanctuary where her cult image depicted the "Lady of Ephesus" adorned with multiple pendulous, breast-like protuberances on her torso, variously interpreted as multiple accessory breasts, as eggs, grapes, acorns,[70] or even bull testes.[71][72] Excavation at the site of the Artemision in 1987–88 identified a multitude of tear-shaped amber beads that had adorned the ancient wooden cult image or xoanon.[73] In Acts of the Apostles, Ephesian metalsmiths who felt threatened by Saint Paul's preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense, shouting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”[74] Of the 121 columns of her temple, only one composite, made up of fragments, still stands as a marker of the temple's location..

    105 Artemis, the Artemis (crater), the Artemis Chasma and the Artemis Corona have all been named after the goddess.

    Artemis is the acronym for "Architectures de bolometres pour des Telescopes a grand champ de vue dans le domaine sub-Millimetrique au Sol", a large bolometer camera in the submillimeter range that was installed in 2010 at the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.[75]

    The taxonomic genus Artemia, which entirely comprises the family Artemiidae, derives from Artemis. Artemia are aquatic crustaceans known as brine shrimp, the best known species of which, Artemia salina, or Sea Monkeys, was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758. Artemia live in salt lakes, and although they are almost never found in an open sea, they do appear along the Aegean coast near Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis once stood.






    Acts 19: While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

    About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater. The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2014/07/08/07-07-14-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner





    NIBIRUAN / SUMERIAN GODS = HINDU GODS = GREEK GODS AND SOME VATICAN, BUDDHIST, JEWISH AND SOUTH AMERICAN GODS AS WELL !!!

    SEKHMET = DURGA = ARTEMIS = MUT = ATHENA = WHITE JAGUAR LADY = WHITE BUFFALO CALF WOMAN = VAISHNO DEVI

    ALCYONE = SATYANARAYANA = APOLLO = PTAH = VISHNU = RAMA
    AMUN RA = KRISHNA

    ANAT = ERESHKIGAL = KALI = BLACK MADONNA = BLACK TARA

    ASTARTE = PARVATI = WHITE TARA = MADONNA = SHEKINAH = UMA = NAMMA
    MAIA = SATI = DAKSHAYANI = DAMKINA = GODDESS OF THE MOUNTAINS

    ENKI = SHIVA= HOLY SPIRIT = ZEUS = CHAKRASAMVARA = AVALOKITESHWARA = CHENREZIG = LUCIFER = EA = ADONAI = HADAD = BA'AL = RUDRA = KAAL BHAIRAVA

    AN = ANU = PARA BRAHMA = YAHVEH = ALLAH

    THE GREAT RA = AMEN RA = PRAKASH BRAHMA = HIGHER ASPECT OF YAHVEH = FATHER OF THE GODS

    ANSAR = ABZU = ABBA = APSU = KASHYAPA = ADITYA = SURYA = SUN GOD = SHAMASH = DUAS PITA = SATYAVAT MANU = SWAYAMBHU = VYWAMUS
    DHARMA DEV = YAMA

    INDRA = PAN = VAJRAPANI

    GAIA = ADITI = BHU = BHOOMI DEVI = KOUMUDHI = KAMADHENU = NINHURSAG = KI = URAS = EARTH GODDESS

    ENLIL = GARBHODAKASAYANI = JEHOVAH

    NINLIL = LAKSHMI = GODDESS OF GRAIN

    MOON GOD = CHANDRA DEV = NANNA

    INANNA = LILITH = SELENE = MOHINI

    DUMUZI = ADAMU = ADAM = DAMU

    EVE = KHEBA = NINTI

    NERGAL = NARAKASURA

    TIAMAT = TARAKA

    TYPHON = PULOMAN

    THOTH = GANESHA = HERMES

    MARDUK = MURUGAN = KARTHIKEYA = NIMROD = MARS

    HORUS = OSIRIUS = SANAT KUMARA = EROS = DIONYSUS = ANCIENT OF DAYS = TAMMUZ = MIN = KAMDEV = PRADYUMNA

    ISIS = MARY = MARIAMMA = KOUMARI = VENUS = APHRODITE = ISHTAR = SEMIRAMIS = HATHOR = MAYAVATI = KANYAKUMARI = TRIPURA SUNDARI = RATI = 16 YEAR OLD GODDESS

    JESUS = SANANDA KUMARA

    MARY MAGDALENE = LADY NADA

    HADES = SHANI = SATAN = WRATHFUL TIBETAN DEITY

    7 ARCHANGELS = 7 SAPTARISHIS = COUNCIL OF SEVEN

    ATLAS = HIMAVAN = DAKSHA = EL

    PLEIONE = MENAKA

    APEP = KALASURA

    7 PLAIEDES' SISTERS = 7 KRITTIKAS = 7 SAPTA MATRIKAS

    PARASURAM = GILGAMESH; NOAH = VIVASVAT MANU; NOAH'S ARC = MALAYAN HILLS.

    WILD COW GODDESS = NINSUN = NININSINA = RENUKA

    HUMBABA = TRISHANKU = KALMASHAPADA

    SARASWATI = SESHAT

    HERACLES = HERCULES = ARJUNA

    ENOCH = METATRON

    HERA = INDRANI

    AURORA = USHA

    EOS = SAVITA

    VARUNA = POSEIDON

    MITHRA = ZOROASTRA

    TVASTRI = HAPHAESTOS = BUNENE

    HOLY GRAIL = AMRITAM = SOMA = LIFE ELIXIR = NECTAR OF IMMORTALITY


    THE LIST IS ENDLESS!

    THE NIBIRUAN GODS ( NIBIRU = NEBADON = VULCAN = PLANET X = WORMWOOD FROM SIRIUS B ) HAD THEIR BASES EVERYWHERE.

    ALL THE RELIGIONS HAVE THE SAME SOURCE !
    ( BIBLE -> BY-BAL -> BY BA'AL( ENKI))
    ( QURAN -> QUR-AN / ANU )

    MANY OF THE COMPARED CHARACTERS/ INCIDENTS MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED AT ONE PLACE AND THEN IMPLANTED INTO ANOTHER CULTURE FOR THEIR BENEFIT.

    SOURCE : http://www.galacticroundtable.com/fo...ods-hindu-gods [dead-link]





    "What Are We Going To Do About Orthodoxymoron??"
    orthodoxymoron wrote:This is strange. The Mists seems dead. The slow posting-activity is now almost at a standstill. There are still posts from a week-ago shown at the left of the welcome-page. It's Independence Day. The Markets are at Critical-Levels. The volcanic-activity in Hawaii seems bizarre (where Carol lives). The West-Coast of the USA seems vulnerable in many-ways. I've reached critical-levels in my realization of forbidden-knowledge, while experiencing extreme physical, mental, and spiritual discomfort and disorientation. 2018-19 is pointed-toward as being ripe for disruptive-disclosure and alien-invasions (fake or real). We seem to have been on the brink for decades. We seem to have walked off the edge of the cliff, but are not yet plummeting (as in the cartoons). The two major sources in my strange research-project are dead or dying (beginning in January of 2018). Disclosure is beginning to go mainstream (after being sequestered to the lunatic-fringe for decades). How close to midnight are we?? Things seem too-quiet in consideration of all the dirt being dug-up by the conspiracy-theorists. Is the 'Time of Trouble' finally upon-us?? Is the end near (again)?? I've been a rather quiet 'Wolf-Cryer' for decades, and I've experienced a 'Time of Trouble' before the 'Time of Trouble', beginning as a child, with my education in a rather harsh religion (especially regarding soteriology and eschatology) and I suppose I've attempted to 'deal with it' by turning it into Religious and Political Science-Fiction on this website (for better or worse, I know not). Yesterday, I goofed-up, and told a wealthy Englishman "Happy Fourth!!" He was NOT amused. "God Save the Queen??"

    Near the end of '2001: A Space Odyssey' in that room with the aged David Bowman, there is a painting on the wall with a woman in pink, and a man in blue. 'Pinkie' and 'Blue Boy'?? 'Pinky and the Brain'?? What if Thoth is HAL 9000?? What if whoever deals directly with HAL is 'Lucifer'?? What if the BMOC gets targeted by HAL, and gets turned into a 'King Rat' of the Matrix?? What if there have been several 'Lucifer' beings?? What if 'Lucifer' equals 'Mediator'?? Ellen White writes of Humanity standing before a Holy-God Without a Mediator at the End of the World!! A few years ago, I was told that Lucifer no longer existed (since 1998). I believe Lionhawk told me that. What if Humanity is the New 'Lucifer'?? Regarding 'Pinky and the Brain', one is a genius, and the other's insane. What if the 'Brain' is HAL 9000?? What if dealing with HAL drives 'Lucifer' insane?? "HAL, Open the Pod-Bay Doors!!" George Green spoke of top-leaders on cocaine behaving shamefully. What if knowing the 'Real-Truth' drives ANYONE insane?? Try reading the Bible with Supercomputers and Artificial-Intelligence clearly in mind. I'm not going to explain. What if the Creator of the Supercomputer-Matrix is subject to their creation?? Did the Cylons take-over thousands of years ago?? What if this was a desperate Survival-Modality for All-Concerned??

    This thing has gotten too-dark for me to continue in public. I'll passively think about my tripe, but do NOT expect anything significant from me. Just study my threads (and read between the lines). I will NOT lead anyone down the Primrose-Path. Do NOT follow me into the ditch. What if 'Independence Day' is an 'Impossible Dream'?? What if 'We Can't Win'?? What if the 'Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan in the Conflict of the Ages' is a Battle Between Da'an and Zo'or as Artificial-Intelligence Front-Beings for HAL 9000?? Research 'Ancient Annunaki Supercomputer', but Do NOT Become an Alcoholic!! What Would eleni Say?? What Would abraxasinas Say?? What Would Balem Abrasax Say?? What if there was a damn-good reason why Jupiter Jones (ancient and modern) hated her life, and ultimately left things the way they were?? What Would Dr. Who Do?? What Would the Valeyard Say?? What Would the Master Say?? What Would the Madam Inquisitor Say?? What if the Valeyard, Inquisitor, and High-Council were Artificial-Intelligence Beings Created by Dr. Who?? What if Dr. Who Created the Matrix?? What if Dr. Who = David Bowman = Peter Venkman = David Mann = Michael (figuratively and/or literally)?? What if HAL 9000 = Gabriel??



    Perhaps one last time, please take my threads seriously, but not too seriously. I suspect that the overall situation will NOT be nice. Things might get artificially better prior to being deliberately crashed and burned with extreme prejudice. I continue to be a 'Law and Order' sort of guy, rather than a 'Fire and Brimstone' kind of guy. Try thinking in terms of Eschatological-Jurisprudence. What if the Investigative-Judgment began around 13,000 BC?? I know that I don't know. I'm playing with burning-magnesium BUT consider Richard Hillary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hillary and Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy_Jr. What Would Blue Roller Say?? That Richard Hillary was Enki?? What Would Freddie Mercury Say?? Didn't Richard Hillary write a book titled 'The Last Enemy'?? The words of that title are found in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 (regarding Jesus delivering the Kingdom to God the Father). I could elaborate, but I usually just drop hints here and there, without properly researching the hints myself. I often do NOT wish to figure things out. This is sort of a 'back-channel' between me and who-knows-who?! The bottom-line in this stuff is 'How Do We Know Anything For Certain??' The Bible Says This. The History Books Say That. Who Lies?? Who Tells the Truth?? Who Wins?? Who Loses?? Try thinking in terms of the Corrupt and Violent Implementation of Idealistic Plans (Past, Present, and Future). The Ends Justify the Means?? The Means Determine the Ends?? For What Purpose?? To What End?? What Would the Nasty Little-Horn Say?? WTF??
    orthodoxymoron wrote:

    "Space Cops!!"

    Just as the Info-War is heating-up and going mainstream, I'm trying to not look at it, or listen to it. I just watched a video, claiming that Jackie shot President Kennedy!! I had thought about that previously (honest) but I had been somewhat convinced by the Bill Cooper claim that the Limo-Driver shot the President. If I remember correctly, Bill claimed that an exploding-bullet with shellfish-toxin was used (which might explain the appearance of smoke near JFK's head). If Jackie did it, that might explain the appearance of smoke, as well. Who Knows?? One commenter on the video claimed that the shooting was staged (and that JFK didn't die)!! What doesn't make sense to me, is why the shooting occurred in such a public and precarious context!! Without being an expert, it seems to me that a stationary-target in a non-public setting would be more of a 'sure-thing' with a minimum of witnesses. Couldn't one of those prostitutes who serviced the President have been used for such a dastardly-deed?? Seymour Hersh, in 'The Dark Side of Camelot' took the position that President Kennedy was extremely-vulnerable during his prostitute-appointments. Is the truth important?? Is the system so rigged, that the truth doesn't matter?? Are the High-Profile Guilty Defended and Protected At the Highest-Levels?? Has the Info-War Leveled the Playing-Field?? As I've written so many times, 'RA' asked me if I knew who ordered the JFK Hit?? I stated a name, and 'RA' just stared at me, without saying a word. It was VERY Creepy!! Meanwhile, Back to the Bible!! Consider the following Minimal-List:

    1. Genesis.
    2. Deuteronomy.
    3. Psalms.
    4. Proverbs.
    5. Ecclesiastes.
    6. Isaiah.
    7. Ezekiel.
    8. Daniel.
    9. Romans.
    10. 1 Corinthians.
    11. 2 Corinthians.
    12. Galatians.
    13. Hebrews.
    14. James.
    15. Revelation.

    Martin Luther thought that Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation should NOT have been included in the Bible!! Even if the Bible is BS, who wrote the BS, and why?? What if 10% of the Bible is the Gospel-Truth?? What if one read 1 Chronicles to Malachi in the NIV without verse-numbering (straight-through, over and over) with these 27 books interpreting these 27 books, as a stand-alone Whole-Bible?? There are also 27 books in the New Testament!! 5 historical-books and 22 theological-books in each of these groups!! What does the first-group reveal about the second-group?? What does the second-group reveal about the first-group?? Which group contains the harshest eschatology?? How Readest Thou?? I've turned Politics and Religion into Science-Fiction and Conspiracy-Theories (for better or worse, I know not). Is Upward-Mobility more important than Truth-Seeking?? I thought I was helping by seeking the truth in all things, but I'm having second and third thoughts. Should one simply study the world for investment and business opportunities (without regard for helping or hurting)?? Does attempting to make things better really make things better?? Should one just Watch and Profit?? Do you see what I mean?? No Illegal-Activities. No Good-Samaritan Heroics. Just Taking-Advantage of Circumstances to Maximize the Bottom-Line. Is this morally-acceptable in a world which doesn't wish to be told the truth (or told what to do)?? What Would George Soros Say?? Should I read the Bible every day?? Should I read the Wall Street Journal every day?? What if one simply read the A-Section of the WSJ (straight-through) every day, while listening to Bach and Buxtehude (as an Uppity-Religion)?? Must I Explain?? I'm Rambling. Sorry About That.





    That last video is fascinating, even though the evidence is rather thin. What if the Kennedy-Dynasty was (and is??) the Original Project Camelot??!! What if Bill and Kerry are John and Jackie??!! Sorry, I couldn't resist. What about The Mists of Avalon?? If that last video is at least partially true, what would the implications and ramifications be regarding The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133?? What Would Miles Mathis Say?? http://mileswmathis.com/barindex2.pdf This pdf Blew Me Away!! You might wish to research ALL of the Miles Mathis papers. I've just started doing so, and I have no idea where the BS ends, and the TRUTH begins. I'm beginning to think that disclosure might not exceed expectations regarding Creating Heaven On Earth. Knowing Too-Much Might Create a Brand-New Hell On Earth. Just Saying. A certain individual who I've encountered over the past few years, reminds me of a young Jackie!! Once, Carol passively commented that people would be shocked if they knew who Mercuriel really was!! As usual, I just mention this and that, and hint at this and that, without really going anywhere with anything (except regarding wild-speculation about who I might be on a soul-basis)!! One More Thing. 'RA' told me "The Bush's sold-out very-quickly!!" 'RA' also told me "I like Bill Clinton!!" Finally, 'RA' told me "I'm Very Close to God!!" Honest.

    I keep thinking about the 'Garden of Eden' as a continuation of the 'War in Heaven' which might've started ten to fifteen thousand years ago (at least regarding this particular solar system). 13,500 years-ago keeps coming up. Try thinking in terms of a War in Heaven Artificial-Intelligence Direct-Democracy Singularity!! What Would HAL 9000 Say?? What Would an MIT-PhD Say?? I recently noticed that a Massachusetts number tried to call me, but left no message. I recently spoke with an alumnus of Boston College (about the Jesuits), as well as speaking with an alumnus of the Harvard Business School. I worked with a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School for a couple of years. I'm way out of my league with these people!! What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Seymour Cray Say?? What Would Ray Kurzweil Say?? http://kurzweilai.net/pdf/RayKurzweilReader.pdf


    "Orthodoxymoron On The Mists of Avalon!!"


    I Do NOT Endorse 'Atheist-Videos' But I Think They Should Be Carefully Examined. Examine ALL Sides, But Don't Expect That To Make You Happy. What is the Law of God in the Torah?? Every Word of the Torah?? The Ten Commandments?? Deuteronomy?? What Was the Law of God Pre-Eden?? What Was the Law of God Post-Eden?? What Was the Law of God Pre-Sinai?? What Was the Law of God Post-Sinai?? What Was the Law of God Pre-Golgotha?? What Was the Law of God Post-Golgotha?? Does the Law of God Apply Only to Jews?? Which Laws Apply to Which Planets, Races, Religions, Nations, and Centuries?? Dr. Richard Carrier claims that No God Exists Because There Is No Clear, Concise, and Rational Standard and Story (or something to that effect). This could apply to 'No God' OR 'Deposed God' OR 'Gods in Conflict' OR ???? I have rather irreverently entertained the possibility of a 'Stargate SG-1' theology in this particular solar system (and possibly beyond). If this hypothesis is even somewhat true, the implications and ramifications are MOST Disturbing. Almighty-God or No-God Theories of Divinity Are MUCH Neater and Cleaner. You might have to spend decades of quality-time to fully grasp what I'm hinting-at. I'm massively backing-off. I guess I'd sort of like to become an expert on what I've already posted on the internet, without branching-out into new areas of madness. Perhaps in five to ten years, a Martin Sheen sort of Agent Kind of Guy might talk to me in a parking-garage at 3AM in a black SUV (or something like that). Who Knows?? The Horror!!

    Once again, I'm becoming more and more like Professor Augusto Monti in the 1978 miniseries 'The Word'. What if I told you that I've spoken with individuals who remind me of various Kennedy's??!! I Will NOT Talk About THAT!! Where Would a King Live?? Where Would a President Live?? What Would the Lady From Kennebunkport Say?? What Would Robert Kennedy Do?? What if Joseph is an Engineer?? What if John is a Teacher?? Enough Said!! Actually, take another look at that 1980's movie 'The Changeling'!! This stuff sends chills up and down my spine!! I think I really need to limit my research to the SDA Bible Commentary and Baroque Music!! I Must 'Go For Baroque'!! I Must Go Incognito!! One More Thing. I recently encountered a 'Padme' look-alike!! I'm Sirius!! Sirius Was a Dog!! Pavlov Was a Dog!! Anubis Was a Dog!! I Love Dogs!! I've Always Loved Dogs, But I Am NOT Sirius, Pavlov, Anubis, Or a Dog!! I'm Just a Completely Ignorant Fool With a Messiah Complex!! And They're Coming to Take Me Away!! Hey!! Hey!!

    By The Way, In the 'Real Slim Shady' Video (below), Notice Slim Shady Doing Donuts in a Restaurant Parking-Lot in the Blue AMC Pacer. I honestly used to do donuts in a restaurant parking-lot with my Blue AMC Pacer!! I also worked in a fast-food restaurant, but I never spit on anyone's food!! Notice how the back-window is propped-open. This makes that Pacer look like the station-wagon version John Denver drove in 'Oh, God!' I drove my AMC Pacer in Burbank, CA, and years later, I drove it to my grocery-store job. Is this significant?? Probably not, but I still wonder as I wander!! What if I'm the 'Real Slim Shady'?? What Would Michael Do in Daniel 12?? What if Michael is the 'Real Slim Shady'?? What if I'm being set-up BIG-TIME?? What Would the Antichrist Say?? What Would Azazel Say?? Here I Stand. I Can Do No Other. What if Michael 'Standing-Up' is simply making their presence known?? What if Michael was supposed to be 'Dead-Forever'?? 'RA' told me "You're Lucky to be Alive!!" 'RA' called me "Michael" at Wal*Mart!! What if the worst thing I could do would be to do something?? What if I'm supposed to study, pray, and watch, without getting involved in the madness?? I have a good heart, but I seem to be waiting for something. Perhaps another life. Who Knows?? That's How These Things Go.






    It might be necessary to focus upon book-six of my USSS threads, while looking-through ALL of my threads. There's a lot of stuff I probably should've included in this thread, but I'm done (for now). What if the War was over before it started?? What if Earth, the Solar-System, Galaxy, and Universe were NEVER Up for Grabs?? What if my pathetic-life is merely a Red-Herring?? Perhaps the Human-Experiment will NEVER be allowed to succeed, even if it turns-out to be the best-thing in the history of the universe. Original-Insubordination might've made Innovative-Triumphalism impossible. What if there will be pandemonium when the Rebels Against God see what those who were Loyal to God got?? Please study my material diligently to attempt to verify and/or nullify my speculation. My tentative-plan is to review some of my work, and attempt to destroy it. Honestly. I do NOT wish to place my-tripe on a pedestal, and attempt to make some sort of a neo-standard for all to behold with reverence and awe. Oh how futile and inutile!! My Teachers are Everyone and Everything. I do NOT wish to teach and preach. I wish to listen and learn. Even if I turned-out to be the BMOC, I'd still retreat to a 600 square-foot office-apartment with a Supercomputer and InterPlaNet. Perhaps I already have my very-own office-apartment on the Dark-Side of the Moon!! Would that be a good-thing or a bad-thing?? It would probably be somewhat-neutral, once the novelty wore-off. Ancient-Freedom probably got old in a hurry, once the novelty of Separation from God wore-off, and we started fighting for power in a REALLY Nasty Uncivil-War Between Soul-Relatives. Just Speculation.

    That first video (below) is chilling. First, that missile-scare in January, and now this. What's next?? Sherry Shriner kept saying to get away from the coastlines, and numerous sources keep predicting Tsunamis of Biblical-Proportions. It seems as if natural-disasters can be deliberately-precipitated, such that they appear to be completely-natural events. Consider Fukushima. Three days prior to Fukushima 'RA' told me "I'm sorry we couldn't work together. Too much water has gone under the bridge." What if there are pre-planted (and centrally-controlled) nukes throughout the world (in cities, fault-lines, volcanoes, etc.)?? I suspect that things can be made better than they really are, and worse than they really are. Rigged-Markets?? Rigged-Weather?? Rigged-Elections?? Rigged-Earthquakes?? Rigged-Tsunamis?? Many people (including me) see something deeply sinister and powerful in both 9/11 and Fukushima, and many people (including me) warn that events are on the horizon which might literally be the end of all of us (by accident and/or design).

    Think long and hard about that Hal Lindsey interview (below). I share Art Bell's concern regarding irreversible and non-negotiable Horrific-Prophecy. What Would Dr. Richard Rice Say?? What Would Dr. Erwin R. Gane Say?? What Would Dr. Desmond Ford Say?? What Would Gillian Ford Say?? What Would Elenne Ford Say?? What Would Luke Ford Say?? I continue to indulge in Comparative-Eschatology, wherein one considers 'The End' with 1. An Almighty God of the Universe. 2. A Local Solar System God, who is Mighty But Not Almighty. 3. No God. Just a Bunch of Greedy and Stupid Humans Getting in Each-Others Way. My bias is that 1 Exists But Doesn't Seem to be Active in This Solar System At This Time, and That a Combination of 2 and 3 Is What We're Dealing With Presently. I suspect that our future is going to be worse than a Science-Fiction Horror-Movie. I'd like to write about this sort of thing, but it frightens me too much, so I'll probably contemplate building a small underground shelter in the mountains, even though I know that wouldn't help if all-hell broke-loose. It would merely provide a fleeting illusion of security as I face what I expect to be VERY Unhappy Golden-Years. Standard-Theology and No-Theology are Cake-Walks Compared to What I Suspect the Real-Theology Is. I Think the Jesuits Know What I'm Talking About, But They Don't Talk About It.

    Imagine a School consisting of the Abbey in the Second-Season of Helix which taught Sacred Classical Music -- The SDA Bible Commentary -- and Farming!! This wouldn't necessarily be any religion. It would simply be an experiment. Each-Day might be a combination of a School-Day -- Sabbath-Day -- and a Work-Day with Meditative-Work!! I work on the Sabbath -- but it's Meditative-Work -- which doesn't make it OK!! What I'm suggesting is probably nearly impossible. It might work on another planet -- but probably not on this one!! Still -- I think there is a logical-purity connected with this concept!! I'm not going to explain or elaborate -- but someone might understand what I'm talking about!! Living this life might be Heaven on Earth -- but would it prepare one for the Real-World?? Probably Not!! My Final-Answer is Probably "Reading the SDA Bible Commentary straight-through (over and over) while listening to Sacred Classical Music -- in one's own way and time -- plus nothing." Perhaps I should leave it at that -- and just move on. I think I've made a mess of things -- and perhaps I should simply cease and desist for the remainder of this incarnation. Consider "Commandments" from Genesis to Revelation. Think long and hard about the last three-dozen posts.  

    Don't Be Frightened. I Mean No Harm. I recently very-briefly discussed 'V' with Agent Erica Evans, and I think there could be yet another version of 'V' but perhaps too-much forbidden-information has been revealed for that to be possible. A crackdown wouldn't surprise me. Still, if one REALLY studied this thread, while skimming-through the other five USSS threads, the plot-possibilities might become quite obvious and overwhelming. That brief conversation was probably a fitting end to my ill-fated pseudointellectual quest. I began this present quest in 2008. It was 2009 when the most-recent 'V' series began. 'RA' made contact with me in 2010. Now, in 2018, there seems to be a possible 'AI' interpretation of 'V'. I've imagined myself as a 'Chad Decker' sort of guy, and I have some truly-bizarre theories about that character relative to my religious and political science-fiction, but I've had more than enough, and I don't even wish to start talking about what I'm thinking about. My Moot Holy-War Is Hereby Adjourned Sine Die. I Am of Peace. Always. Now I Go Incognito. Geronimo.












    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:38 pm











    "What Are We Going To Do About Orthodoxymoron??!!"

    Don't Be Frightened. I Mean No Harm. What if one received a PhD in 'Project Avalon' and 'The Mists of Avalon'?? Imagine Richard Carrier lecturing about these two sites!! My theory is that they both contain spiritual-quicksand, but that some of us must deal with this madness. What if one received a PhD in 'Orthodoxymoron Studies'?? Such a study would probably consist of material not original to myself. My threads would mostly serve as a study-guide. I continue to think that the right researchers should study my Bible and Ellen White stuff, in the context of my threads. I think I've merely scratched the surface of a VERY deep and troubling subject.

    I suspect that Open and Honest Ancient-Idealism regarding Earth and Humanity was replaced with Deceptive and Sinister Ancient-Pragmatism With Earth and Humanity As Big Galactic-Businesses With "What Do You Want??" and 'The Bottom-Line Is the Bottom-Line'!! I intensely dislike the Book of Revelation because of it's systematic Misery and Murder in God's Name, but what if God and the Angels will ultimately have no part in Revelation playing-out?? What if we will do it to ourselves?? Someone posted a message to me on YouTube, stating "Nothing Can Be Done To You That You Don't Do To Yourselves." Don't Stop Thinking About Eschatological Galactic-Jurisprudence. Your Eternal-Life (or lack thereof) Might Depend On It. What if the churches mostly teach BS based-upon flawed and incomplete sacred-scriptures?? But what if there Really is an Underlying-Truth which all of us are responsible for ascertaining??

    I wish that Linda Moulton Howe video hadn't been removed from YouTube. The one with the military guy whose buddy got into a safe containing military secrets about aliens. The video also contained Linda's comments about NSA notes relative to her book, stating that the aliens were basically from here, were sinister, non-neutral, and demonic. Linda stated that the NSA was interested in Eschatology. The video had been on YouTube for one year, but one week after I posted it, it was removed. Coincidental?? I don't think so.

    I seem to be suffering a nervous-breakdown in perpetuity. I seem to be stalled (like a flamed-out U-2 at maximum-altitude), which might be just as well. Don't expect anything significant from me for the rest of my pathetic-life. I don't care who I was in antiquity. I'm nobody in modernity. My plight is worsening exponentially. My previous life might've been significant, and my next life might be significant, but this one is a Total-Loss. I Hate My Life. I Made the Coffee at 1AM!! I'm a bit different!!

    Consider These THREE Sections of the New Testament:

    1. The 'Genuine Pauline-Epistles' New-Testament (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon).

    2. The 'Gospel-Writer' New-Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation).

    3. The 'Rest of the Story' New-Testament (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude).

    Consider These THREE Sections of the Old Testament:

    1. The 'Historical-Books' Old-Testament (Genesis to Esther).

    2. The 'Wisdom-Books' Old-Testament (Job to Song of Solomon).

    3. The 'Prophetic-Books' Old-Testament (Isaiah to Malachi).

    Properly analyzing the Bible (or anything) is more problematic than most can imagine. Agency-Analysts (throughout the solar system, including Uranus-Analysts) know exactly what I'm talking about (but I don't necessarily like them). What does a Romans to Jude study reveal?? What's the Real-Deal?? I continue to be troubled by the absence of a definitive New-Testament Old-Testament Commentary as a Segway Into the New-Testament As We Know It!! What if Jesus and Paul had written OT Commentaries??

    I'm also puzzled and troubled by the absence of an Ellen White Bible Commentary. Her books are not commentaries, yet she champions 'Sola Scriptura'. She skips a lot of the Bible content, and takes extravagant editorial liberties in her books. There seems to be WAY Too Many E.G.W. books. What if she had ONLY Written the Conflict of the Ages Series?? What if SDA's limited their use of E.G.W. to the five-volume Conflict of the Ages Series??

    I'm troubled by what EVERYONE Does or Does Not Do With Job Through Daniel. What if Job Through Daniel Were the Whole-Bible (or at least some church's 'Book of Common Prayer'). I just can't seem to properly study this stuff. Does this mean I'm possessed or reprobate?? I MUST read Job through Daniel straight-through, over and over, in the NIV Bible Without Verse-Markings. Why can't I seem to do this sort of thing?? I talk the talk, but I Do NOT walk the walk. O Wretched Man That I Am. O Me of Little Faith. What if there were a church which consisted of the following??

    1. Job to Daniel in the NIV Without Verse-Numbering (leather-bound).

    2. The Music of Dietrich Buxtehude (leather-bound).

    Imagine such a hypothetical-church meeting each Saturday in St. Ouen!! What if this were 'The Secret Church of God's Chosen People'?! Do you see my point?? I didn't think so!! What if I said that those who didn't belong to such a church would go straight to hell at death??!! Wouldn't THAT Be Fun??!! But Siriusly, I'm attempting to get back to some of the earliest examples of the 'Good-Stuff' which might be a bridge to even earlier 'Good-Stuff.' I might write something to pay the bills, but I'm wary of attempting to create a 'New Real Deal' in a pompous and supercilious manner. What Would Dr. Robert H. Schuller Say?? Robert Brinsmead said "Adventism was 1800 years too-late" implying that Early Christianity (plus nothing) was (and is) the 'Truth', and does not require a prophet or prophetess in modernity to finally give us the 'Truth.'

    I agree and disagree with both Bobs, but deep-researchers should probably spend some quality-time analyzing their work. But what if 'Wisdom-Books' and 'Major-Prophets' studies trump 'Patristics'?? What Would Joseph P. Farrell Say?? I could go on and on, but I feel horrible. It's as if the Universe is pulling me off this little stage with the proverbial-hook. Is it too-late baby?? Did we REALLY try to make it?? I'm not going to repost that Carol King hit, but you know what I'm talking about. Just take Job to Daniel and Dietrich Buxtehude VERY Siriusly, without waiting for me (or anyone else) to tell you what it means. Read and Listen for Yourselves. This might be more important than ANYONE (including me) can imagine.

    I wonder if there has been (and is presently) a barrier to entry into human-physicality for the souls in this solar-system?? But what if computers, artificial-intelligence, trans-humanism, clones, and hybrids open the door for the hypothetical excluded-souls to gain entry into forbidden-physicality?? What if the radiation associated with smart-phones and Wi-Fi computing enhances the ability of excluded-souls to interact-with and interfere-with humanity (and not for the better)?? What if the Borg-Collective isn't such a bad-thing if the Right-Borg is at the center of things?? What if a reasonable Borg-System was established 15,000 years-ago, but was overthrown by a Rival-Borg 5,000 years-ago (or some variation on that theme)?? What if We the Peons are just finding-out about something which has existed for 15,000 years?? What if we've had a One Solar-System Government for 15,000 years?? What if three major factions have been battling for control of the New World Order for 5,000 to 15,000 years, rather than attempting to establish a New World Order??

    I suspect that this battle is nastier than any of us can imagine. What if the 'RA' I claim to have spoken-with is close to the center of this hypothetical-madness?? What if I was one of the hypothetical-deposed in antiquity?? But what if the overthrow (and possible execution) was staged (for good or bad reasons)?? Think long and hard about that 1980's Dr. Who 'Trial of a Time Lord'. Consider the 1980's movie 'The Changeling'. Finally, consider the 2015 movie 'Jupiter Ascending'. What if Serqet and Sekhmet are at the center of this struggle as Anna and Diana, or Adria and Vala?? Diana = Artimus. Isn't Artimus the guide Brook learns from?? I think that 'guide-thing' is risky-business. The information might be valid, but the price paid might be much too high.

    I've dabbled without dabbling. I've probably ventured onto the Devil's Playground (without making a Deal with the Devil). On the other-hand, Raven called me 'Satan' and said I was 'No Good'. What if there's some truth to that?? What if I'm on the Galactic Most-Wanted List (in addition to all of the agency lists)?? What if I'm a scapegoat?? What if the technology and genetic-engineering I invented in antiquity has been stolen, and is now in the worst of hands?? What Would Ike Say?? In miserable-frustration, I privately-mutter "Everyone Can Go to Hell!!" even though I don't mean it. I guess it's catharsis, but I know it's recorded, and I recently encountered a stranger who mentioned my rant in a round-about way. This sort of thing keeps happening.

    Everyone seems to have unlimited-access to every aspect of my life (with a Divine Right to Know). This violation of my privacy (and your mocking-laughter) might come back to haunt some of you (sooner than you think). I'm NOT a Spotless Galactic Saint. Probably the Opposite is the Case. I've attempted to be open, honest, and helpful, but I wish I hadn't. My future-refusal to participate in desperate-situations (mostly because of Matrix-Issues) might be my version of "Go to Hell". Perhaps All of Us Have Been in Hell for Thousands of Years. Perhaps All of Us Will Remain in Hell for All-Eternity. Who Knows?? I Know That I Don't Know. I'm Just a Completely-Ignorant Fool with a Messiah-Complex. I recently encountered someone with a 'Namaste Bitches' hat. Coincidental??

    Vidya Moksha wrote:The mists has become a you tube referral site.
    This might be increasingly so. The videos often present things in ways the average researcher can't. Several years ago, 'RA' told me "You did it with YouTube." He didn't explain, and I have no idea whether he was legitimate, illegitimate, good, evil, human, hybrid, AI, or whatever, but it makes for interesting science-fictional internet-posting. Attempting to be open, honest, and original, with my own writing has gotten me nowhere. No praise, compensation, or really anything positive. One generally sticks their neck out, and gets their head chopped-off. Just posting YouTube videos is MUCH safer, because it's the other guy or gal who did it. Not Me. The problem with YouTube posting is that it weighs-down the thread, making it impossible to properly load for many. My threads are notorious for this problem. I've tried to get around it, but find myself back in the same rut, over and over again. I'm trying to not post at all.

    Regarding Antarctica, perhaps an Ancient Race and Civilization were destroyed in a Star-War. Perhaps we were the aggressors, and will be punished with some sort of Armageddon. I honestly haven't been following this Antarctica subject, but it seems to be more of a can of worms than just about anything else, and I frankly have too-much on my plate already. Perhaps Antarctica is larger than we think, creating sort of a Flat-Globe, wherein the flat-earth people are partially correct. Ancient Star-Wars might come back to haunt us in ways we can't imagine. I keep attempting to exit the Info-War. It often seems predatory in nature. I'm trying to actually read books and newspapers, rather than watching and listening on the Internet, especially when everything is controlled and monitored in seemingly sinister ways. It's like we're being lured into a trap, and then blamed for sticking our noses where they don't belong (or something to that effect).

    Vidya Moksha wrote:Yes, videos can present graphics in a way that is hard / impossible to convey in words, isnt a picture supposed to be worth more than a 1000 words? But videos do produce very lazy reporting also. It is a rare to find a video that is succinct and to the point, often there is so much waffle and OTT graphics.. So many videos take many minutes to convey what could be written in a couple of sentences. Sadly, any idiot can make a you tube video, but skilled writers are a rare breed these days.

    It would be hard to imagine the volcanic situations around the world through printed text, it is easier to watch video footage..

    I have never owned a television and I read a lot. i prefer to read. I can assimilate information much easier if it is written. I have read most of your posts in here, and I used to enjoy Brook's missives. Carol's reporting of the Q material is on my reading list.. but that's about it for the mists for me these days.. I dont have the time / inclination / bandwidth to watch you tube videos. I do realise I am in a minority.

    Many videos are just not necessary. I enjoy listening to clif high, but I dont feel the need to see him in video, and I dont want to find the bandwidth for a video when I can just as easily listen to an mp3 . Luckily there are you tube converters out there..
    bobhardee wrote:Hi Oxy,

    I am not a very good writer.... and worst yet at editing.  There is so much information that is out there that I want to share but to even try to discuss with it with family or neighbors around here will get me looks or comments that I am crazy.....such that I don't bother.  This site is the only one I feel at home or free to share some of the interesting events that I am following. Of all the Youtube videos, the most legitimate should be the TED talks.  The only issue is whether or not it is a dynamic speaker or one that puts you to sleep.  I have taught a TED talks class using those videos...... for seniors. They make for interesting discussions.

    On  this Antartica post,  I have tried to make sure it is balanced with both the speculative and the absolutely legitimate.  It's an interesting topic because of those who have traveled there.  I don't know if anyone from the Trump Administration has made the journey yet.  Maybe we will get lucky and Trump himself will go and come back tweeting all about it.

    You tubes are what I do.  And I really enjoy the search and sorting though which one I will post or not post.  It's my way of sharing. Keep writing Oxy.  The world needs writers.

    Bob H.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Thank-you Bob and Vidya. Perhaps we need a weekly newspaper which summarizes the internet-madness with the fewest words possible, with some sort of accuracy-rating system with perhaps the most-speculative receiving a 0 probability-rating, and the most-verified receiving a 10 probability-rating (or something like that). I'm honestly shutting-down. The Info-War beat me, and I'm waving the white-flag (or something like that). Getting hated and crazy for zero pay and praise just isn't worth it.
    Vidya Moksha wrote: I like the idea of a weekly summary oxy..

    Hey all, fill your boots with videos, I may have a different approach if I had unlimited internet access, but I dont. I have to be careful not to exceed my limits and I have to choose what to download. I never watch you tube, I always download the videos in a lower resolution - and then I can play then back at 1.7 xs speed anyway, hearing all the words in less time...

    Funny that you mention the TED talks Bob, I shouldnt throw the baby out with the bathwater but I was turned off TED after their treatment of Graham Hancock and his insightful talk...they seem too mainstream to me.. but I have seen few of them..
    tacodog wrote:Check This Out What Mudra said! Its da Wave
    mudra wrote:A weekly Newspaper .. I am all for it Oxy cheers  Would you like to do this ? You are  talented at writing. It's a great quality of yours which I do admire. This year I have decided to take some courses so I have less time for research. So I would rather appreciate to have a virtual magazine I could go through weekly or even monthly with all my favorite odd and bizarre subjects which people like us are attracted to and enjoy to share since we joined these forums. A bit like the Nexus magazine but in Oxy's free style  Cheerful

    Love from me
    mudra
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Thank-you Vidya, mudra, and tacodog. That newspaper would take a sizeable and well-educated staff. One individual MIGHT be able to cover this website, but not much more. Also, such a newspaper would inevitably be infiltrated and subverted by nefarious agencies and entities, so it might not retain objectivity for a significant time-period. Just reading a world-class newspaper might be the best way to go, under the circumstances. That's what I'm planning to do.







    This thread is mind-boggling, and I frankly can't keep up. As the Info-War intensifies, the public might shut-down, and enter into a New Dark-Ages. We need to feel that we understand things, and have everything under control. I've attempted this with my strange modeling and illusions of grandeur, imagining importance to attempt to deal with the unimaginable and horrific. Unfortunately, my nervous-system can't handle the truth. Perhaps the government is right about the general-public not being able to deal with the hidden-realities of our precarious-existence. I wonder if I've been mentally, physically, and spiritually messed-with?! Have witches and warlocks cast spells on me?? Am I not supposed to be here?? Was I considered destroyed in antiquity??

    This makes for terrifying personal science-fiction which the general-public would never understand or support. What I've experienced and created on 'Project Avalon' and 'The Mists of Avalon' is sort of what I had in mind when I spoke with Steven Spielberg's stepmother (and Walter Matthau's son) decades-ago about a Life of Christ Science-Fiction Super-Movie. No one was interested then, and no one is interested now, so it's probably my private-hell, which only a couple of agent-interns and forum-members know about. It's easier that way. Why are there so few participants on this site?! I wonder as I wander.

    I Believe in LEGITIMATE and ETHICAL Hierarchy and Chain of Command, But Be VERY Careful About Selecting Who You Become Absolutely-Obedient To. I Think Many (or Most) of You Would Become Absolutely-Obedient to the Worst Historical and Contemporary Monsters If You Thought They'd Give You a Better Deal Than the Good Guys and Gals. What Percentage of Humanity Have Been Absolutely-Obedient to Satan and/or Lucifer and/or Demonic-Beings for Thousands (or Millions) of Years?? 'RA' told me "No One is Good" but when I asked 'RA' "How Good is Too Good??" he didn't have an answer.

    'The Powers That Be Are Ordained By God.' If so, does this mean history's worst Kings, Queens, Popes, Presidents, CEO's, and Dictators Were Ordained by God?? What Would the Council On Foreign Relations Say?? If the Very-Worst Beings in the Universe Ruled (or Presently Rule) This Solar System, Would YOU Absolutely Obey Them?? If a Beast-Supercomputer Rules This Solar System, Would YOU Absolutely Obey IT?? Perhaps We'll Receive Our Orders From Headquarters On Our Smart-Phones!! Are YOU OK with Zero-Privacy?? Do YOU Mind If Nefarious-Entities WATCH?? What if HAL 9000 was (and is) a Demon-Possessed Beast-Supercomputer with a Monolith Big-Screen Monitor?? "My God!! It's Full of Stars!!" What If This Is the Historical and Contemporary 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil'?? Have YOU Eaten the Forbidden-Fruit?? Do You Feel Lucky??

    One more thing. I just started watching the 1992 movie 'Sneakers' and it starts out in 1969 in a university-building which looks a lot like a particular university-building at the University of Redlands (next to San Bernardino, where Norton AFB was located). The movie later strongly-hints that the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon-Mission was faked from a Soundstage at Norton AFB!! Just take a Very-Close Look at a 100 Mile-Radius centered in San Bernardino, California. Dan Aykroyd spoke of a secret White House meeting between EBE and IKE on July 1, 1958. Perhaps that's when the President learned that the ET Technology was in the worst of hands. What if EBE was ENKI?? 1958 is an interesting year. Fourscore and Seven Years from 1958 to 2045 and Fourscore and Seven Years from 2046 to 2133. What Would Abraham Lincoln Say?? What Would Douglas Vogt Say?? What Would Pope Pius XII Say?? What Would Orthodoxymoron Say?? I could say more. A lot more. But I don't want to go there. I really don't.

    In 'Sneakers', Dan Aykroyd (in essence) said "The NSA shot Kennedy, but they didn't kill him. He's still alive." Think about what I've posted in the last dozen posts. I'm honestly NOT going anywhere with this stuff. This is semi-serious Religious and Political Science-Fiction. The history of this solar system is incredibly nasty, disgusting, and deceptive (for better or worse, I know not). 'RA' told me "I can't talk about the NSA." Honest. 'RA' told me I should make a Freedom of Information Act Request, which I did (to the NSA and CIA) with somewhat open-ended wording, and they both replied, saying that they didn't respond to fishing-expeditions (or something to that effect). I was interested in their takes on my involvement with 'RA', 'Project Avalon' and 'The Mists of Avalon'. I'm sure they knew exactly what I was referring to, but chose (or were forced) to keep me in the dark. Perhaps 'Ignorance is Bliss' and 'Silence is Golden'. 'Those Who Know, Don't Talk' and 'Those Who Talk, Don't Know'. Dan Aykroyd was in 'Trading Places' which has sort of a 'Changeling' theme, and also in 'Ghostbusters' with Dr. Peter Venkman. Is this coincidental?? I think not. Strange World.

    What if an integral part of the plan was for everything to unravel and get exposed. I can't stop thinking about that 1963 movie 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' as a model of past, present, and future, where everyone has an angle, and everyone wants to win, but in the end, no-one wins. Think about that episode in the second-season of the latest 'V' series, titled 'We Can't Win'. Perhaps AI makes sure WE can't win for any significant length of time. Perhaps we're Galactic-Warriors being reeducated in a Galactic FEMA Camp. I think I need to back way-off, write some mushy devotional-book (that makes people cry) and retire to a small mountain-cabin with a bunker-basement. I'm on everyone's side and no-one's side. It's important to be neutral, and it's extremely-important to know when to stop. Now I'm going to finish watching 'Sneakers'.

    One Last Thing. In that old 1980's Dr. Who series 'Trial of a Time-Lord' when Dr. Who is finally vindicated, the Madam-Inquisitor offers to restore Dr. Who to his rightful-state as 'Lord President of Gallifrey' but Dr. Who refuses, and wishes for the Madam Inquisitor to run things. In the relatively-new 'Jupiter Ascending' Jupiter Jones is reinstated as 'Owner of Earth' but she is told "You can keep things the way they are, if you choose to" and she apparently leaves things alone. When 'RA' spoke with me in 2010 (The Year We Made Contact) he told me "You can leave things the way they are" but nobody has explained that, or given me a choice concerning anything significant. I Want a Top of the Line Winnebago with a Personal-Supercomputer and Satellite InterPlaNet with an Absolute-Access Password to All the Big-Shots and Good-Stuff in the Solar System. Understood?? Just Kidding. What Would L. Ron Hubbard Do?? Who Really Wrote Ron's Books?? Some of the Book-Titles Are Creepy and Somewhat Relevant to My Strange Threads. Just Kidding. God Loves You and So Do I. Namaste, Godspeed, and Have a Nice Eternity. I Am of Peace. Always. Just Kidding.

    Carol wrote:"Why are there so few participants on this site?! I wonder as I wander."

    Oxy, this is due to internet censoring at multiple levels and I rarely promote our site on other forums because of the content. Specifically, some of the stuff I post MSM isn't ready for. Then there is the problem with sending out mass email the the members which for some reason (most likely technical) the admin section won't let me do. However, do not despair. Very good things are happening which are unseen at this time. Just think of what you're seeing in MSM for the rest of the year as a massive zit being popped. ugh! yuk! The level of criminality yet to be exposed is massive. Fortunately our guy is in there getting the job done.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Carol, I'm sorry for that lengthy off-topic post. I lifted it from my USSS thread, so don't take it personally. I guess I'm at a crossroads where I either need to stop, or face the nasty prospect of becoming involved in a level of nastiness, corruption, and disorientation that I can't even imagine. The following video which you posted on this thread seemed to be reflective of reality regarding the factional-conflict, child-training, soul-transference, and I'm not sure what else (because I fell asleep while I was listening to it). Sherry Shriner said she liked the 'Old Trump' but the 'New Trump' is 'Mind-Wired' (and other particulars). She claimed that he hasn't been involved in the really-nasty Satanist-Crap but that he's still compromised and sold-out. The Masons and Jesuits seem to always be at the center of how things REALLY work in this world (and probably beyond). Again, I am nearing a point of no-return wherein I either stop, or get involved in a whole different level of difficulty. I'm too old, miserable, and puritanical to deal with what I suspect lurks in the shadows. I think I need to make peace with my passive-research and prepare to leave this world (figuratively and perhaps literally). Following the Leader can be highly-problematic. The New-Crew can expose the Old-Crew while presenting an Idealistic-Front, and once they've deposed the Bad Boys and Girls they can secretly become just as bad (or worse) than the Worst of the Worst.

    This whole-thing seems to be a vast power-struggle for control of the New World Order, with very-little expectation of creating Heaven on Earth. I've joked about obtaining an 'Absolute-Access Pass' to be able to see how things 'Really-Work' but if this were granted, responsibility for iniquity would unfortunately be part of the deal. It might actually be a Deal with the Devil. This stuff REALLY frightens me. I suspect a very-entrenched solar-system which is at least 5,000 to 15,000 years-old, and genuine-reformation might be nearly-impossible. I suspect a Grand-Plan which goes back even further than this system, which might involve an unalterable-timeline. Biblical-Studies in this area is a Complex-Nightmare, despite Judeo-Christianity attempting to put a Happy-Face on a Horrific Past, Present, and Future. My plan is to read my new NIV Bible (without chapter and verse numbering) straight-though over and over side-by-side with Volume 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (Isaiah to Malachi) side-by-side with The Wall Street Journal (while listening to the Music of Bach and Buxtehude) interspersed with Long-Walks in Nature. I need to get my house in order (figuratively and literally) and just retire. I Am NOT Ra or Atlas. Not even close. I might be Pinky or the Brain (but I'm not sure which).


    Carol wrote:Oxy, one of the things I learned a long time ago was how to set fear aside. I don't even think of being fearful as there is too much going on to even worry about it. Letting go and letting god works for me. And even though I'm aware of some of the worst possible things that can happen in life I've learned to set that aside as well and enjoy that which is beautiful, which can be anything, even a feeling of being connected to god.

    Being continuously conflicted can be exhausting. Neti, neti, neti is a good mantra in setting aside illusion. What ever the mind can construct it can also dismantle. Neti , neti , neti is dismantling thoughts and images that invade ones mind. When all else is said and done, what remains? Perhaps love in it's purest energetic sense is that which sets one free, while at the same time binging all of life together. A paradox? No? Yes? Perhaps a perspective from a point of singularity holds all that has manifested within the crucible of potentiality. I too look forward to the day of returning to my spiritual home base. Meanwhile, there is much to do until that day comes.. which is likely to occur within the next 30 years or so if a pole shift doesn't take us before that.. or a mega tsunami. We'll likely be building a couple of hobbit houses this summer and next. Should be fun.  Cheers.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Thank-you Carol. Perhaps simply understanding the world, rather than attempting to change it, is a less stressful approach. Fear seems to involve Facing-Reality. Vala Mal Doran said "The Truth is SO Overrated!!" Perhaps she was right!! Cheers!!

    Carol wrote:One changes the world simply by existing. Think of the dew drop that falls into the ocean. All the other drops had to move over to make room. Next, think of the energetic frequency you'd like to send out into the world. This can easily be done through the act of prayer. Life is good if that becomes your mantra.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:I've gotten used to being ignored on the internet and in real-life. It's sort of nice, in a way, because I suspect that those who ignore me probably hate me. I end-up picking on everyone (including myself and those I admire) to stir things up just a bit. I'm pretty tight-lipped in real-life, and I limit my internet-footprint to this website. I'm honestly attempting to do an ideological analysis of my theoretical, ethical, religious, and political rambling. I've avoided most nastiness throughout my life because I felt I was in no position or condition to try to be a 'big-boy' in a 'nasty-game'. All of the Presidents can be endlessly criticized (for legitimate and illegitimate reasons) and I occasionally watch videos which are critical of all sides. Then I just move on. I voted for Trump, but I felt that both candidates were highly-flawed (which is probably what the puppet-masters wanted). We live in a sick-world of dirty-dealing. Knights in Shining Armor might not be welcome on Planet Earth for a very long time (if ever). Hope Springs Eternal.

    giovonni wrote:
    'Having too much of a self-centered attitude, will cause isolation, loneliness, fear, and anger ...
    Which obviously can be attributed as a source of much suffering.'


    The Anatomy of Loneliness - Teal Swan

    "Loneliness is comprised of three basic pillars.  
    These pillars can be seen as the anatomy of loneliness.  
    In this episode, Teal explains the anatomy of loneliness,
    which also just so happens to be the title of her new book
    ‘The Anatomy of Loneliness’ which is the 4th book written by Teal Swan."


    Published on Jul 14, 2018
    12:19 minutes

    orthodoxymoron wrote:An Individual of Interest told me I should write my memoirs (several years ago). They suggested that I should take the show on the road. That would've been (and would be) a HUGE disaster. I've turned my threads into a sort of 'open-diary' which is often NOT Flattering. I've repeatedly stated, throughout the years, that I model personalities and concepts which are often NOT Me in real-life. A theological-graduate of Vanderbilt University told me (two-days after my open-heart surgery) "Your Cup Is Too Full" to which I replied "That's a Line From the Movie '2012'" to which they replied "Your Cup Is Too Full." I should've replied "My Cup Is Too Full of Bullshit From Graduates of Ivy-League Universities" but I thought that might've been condescending, pompous, and supercilious. I told Dr. Robert H. Schuller "Self-Exaltation is Self-Centered. Self-Degradation is Self-Centered. True Self-Esteem is Self-Forgetfullness, Such As When An Athlete Completely Focuses On the Game, and NOT On Themselves." Dr. Schuller mockingly yelled "That Was Gooooooood!!" That's when I stopped going to church. Perhaps I should stop casting my pearls before the swine.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:I listened to Alex Jones sporadically, several years ago, but I rarely listen to him presently, not because I don't like him, or because I think the information is wrong, but simply because a steady diet of hard-core conspiracy-theories and anti-sociopath-agitation warps one's brain, and creates an attitude which is somewhat disruptive. I am too dumb and timid to do what Alex does each and every day. Some say he gets fed what he's supposed to rant and rave about, but it still takes a lot of brains and guts. Anyway, Alex has had a part in some quite-fine documentaries, and I'd rather watch these than partake of his show. I just can't keep up. I'm shutting-down, and I suspect that the majority of humanity might shut-down or go nucking-futs in the next 10 years. 'RA' said the real-truth would drive 87% of humanity insane. Was this a heavily-researched percentage?? There have been hints that things might really go to hell around 2030-50, but who knows??

    Is the Foundation for Armageddon being presently poured by the major participants in the Info-War?? I suspect a Solar-System Control-Center with a Beast-Supercomputer which manages the insanity (for better or worse, I know not). Perhaps the way things really work is reprehensible and abominable, but what if a lot of the madness is somehow necessary?? I've vowed to attempt to understand This Present Madness without attempting to be a Knight in Shining Armor. I suspect that I've already become a Marked-Man because of my internet-posting and who I might be on a soul-basis, so the Matrix might be heavily biased against me. If I try too hard to make things better, this seemingly noble effort might mightily backfire. 'RA' told me "If you try to save humanity, you'll be sorry." Perhaps it's not my time or place to be a caped-crusader. I seem to be waiting for something. Perhaps another life. Who Knows?? I guess that's just how these things go...

    As I made this post, I heard a strange noise in my closet, and a minute later, some of the contents slid out onto the floor. Closets Are Creepy. A minute later I heard what sounded like a 'hissing noise' a couple of feet away from me. Then, a few hours later, I opened my bottle of vitamins, and it was empty (even though I thought I had a couple of dozen left). A couple of weeks ago, a complete stranger asked me if the vitamins were helping?! He said he was "checking-up on me." Several months ago, while I was sitting in my car, making a post on this site, something pushed and scratched the back of my seat. This is in addition to the usual streaming white-lights which pass between me and my computer-screen. My heart-rate doesn't even rise when this madness happens!!

    The ownership and chain of command issues in this solar system appear to be obfuscated. I eschew obfuscation. Consider 'Christ' and 'Antichrist' relative to 'God the Father' and 'Our Father Who Art in Heaven'. An individual of interest said there were similarities between God and Satan. What the Hell is Going On Here?? How does this relate to the Bilderberg Group, Secret Government, God of This World, and Queen of Heaven?? We probably don't want to know, and they probably don't want us to know. All I know is that my attempted idealism keeps getting ground into the ground. It seems as if one must lie to make Judaism and Christianity work. Telling the truth about History and the Bible seems to raise red-flags and get one placed on multiple-lists. I asked an innocent question in an Episcopal Study-Group, and was told rather sternly "That's Just the Way It Is." Duly-Noted and Good to Know.

    There are some interesting theologians at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington. I think Dr. Alden Thompson is retired, but might still be a featured speaker. He is a University of Edinburgh graduate, specializing in Old Testament, which brings me to my point. The OT is a can of worms, and to remain a tenured-professor of OT, one must be pastoral, rather than strictly-honest. Dr. Robert H. Schuller just skipped most of the Bible, and created (with help, I'm sure) a New-Theology of Positive-Thinking and Self-Esteem (which was often pompous and supercilious). What's interesting to me is that Paul speaks of Christ as a spiritual-encounter rather than the historical Jesus. I wonder if positive spiritual-experiences can be faked by negative-entities as a 'foot in the door'?? I guess I've made research my religion, but I keep stumbling into hornet's-nests of difficulties.

    Is Heaven a positive-dictatorship without pluralistic-education?! Is Earth supposed to develop our souls through turmoil, pain, suffering, and experimentation?? Al Bielek's description of the 28th century involves the problem of life with no struggle or innovation. Regarding Borg-Queens and Supercomputers, I don't consider this to be ideal, but what if the universe is tougher than we can imagine, and requires a system of Supercomputer Borg-Queens with Souls to maintain some sort of Law and Order?? I've listened to Emery Smith (who I enjoyed), and his presentations remind me of the Angelic-Warrior Motif. Is this the ideal?? Is this what we're supposed to be?? Is Earth a soul-school to teach us to 'get-along' rather than 'slaying the wicked with righteous-indignation'?? Anyway, I'm presently attempting to positively-reinforce that which presently exists, while going incognito.

    The last post was supposed to be 'The End' but I felt worse today than I've ever felt. I might have the 'Zombie-Virus'. What if the ZV infects the Beast-Supercomputer and those connected to it?? I'm coughing like Sherry Shriner. Some of my posting might be somewhat profound, but I think I've been heartlessly-hamstrung. What if I'm a Deposed (and Presumed-Dead) Zeus with Amnesia?? What if Artemis aka Diana and HAL 9000 run the show?? What if I'm crashing the party?? What if I 'Jumped the Gun'?? What if I'm the 'Scapegoat' because I set-up this 'Solar-System' in antiquity?? Raven said "The Rabbit-Hole Mostly Goes Right Up Your @$$!!" 'Raven's Brew' equals 'Thuban Ooze'?? Nothing would surprise me at this point. The Horror.











    avatar
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 9183
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:59 am

    Regarding the church of my youth, three interesting possibilities emerge, as I vacillate between faith and doubt, and beat upon the rocks of who-knows-what:

    1. The Whole-Bible (read straight-through, over and over).

    2. The Whole Seven-Volume SDA Bible Commentary (read straight-through, over and over).

    3. The Whole Five-Volume Conflict of the Ages Series (read straight-through, over and over).

    These three approaches yield very-different results (to say the least). Each of these approaches are a monumental challenge (especially the second possibility). What if each choice is the Gospel-Truth?? What if only one choice is the Truth, the Whole-Truth, and Nothing But the Truth?? What if all of the above are Total-Bullshit?? As you well know, I mostly pose troubling-questions (with very-few answers). Always remember that there's a HUGE difference between Thinking One Knows and Actually Knowing AND there's a HUGE difference between an Answer and a Convincing-Answer. If all else fails, consider studying this USSS thread (book six) straight-through, over and over. Always remember that Context is Determinative. What Would Joseph Fletcher Say?? He privately told me that Christianity was BS (or something to that effect). Honest.



    The Desire of Ages
    by
    Ellen G. White

    (A "Life of Christ" published in 1898.)

    Chapter 1
    "God With Us"

    "His name shall be called Immanuel, . . . God with us." "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God" is seen "in the face of Jesus Christ." From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was "the image of God," the image of His greatness and majesty, "the outshining of His glory." It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God's love,--to be "God with us." Therefore it was prophesied of Him, "His name shall be called Immanuel."

    By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,--God's thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, "I have declared unto them Thy name,"--"merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,"--"that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them." But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God's wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which "angels desire to look," and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which "seeketh not her own" has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.

    In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. "His strength setteth fast the mountains." "The sea is His, and He made it." Ps. 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father's love.

    Now sin has marred God's perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. 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.

    But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. "I do nothing of Myself," said Christ; "the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father." "I seek not Mine own glory," but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.

    In heaven itself this law was broken. Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world.

    The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan's deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world's dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, "with healing in His wings." Mal. 4:2.

    The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of "the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal." Rom. 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God's throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

    Lucifer had said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; . . . I will be like the Most High." Isa. 14:13, 14. But Christ, "being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." Phil. 2:6, 7, R. V., margin.

    This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father's side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father's hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.

    Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, "Lo, I come." "Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me. . . . Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God." Heb. 10:5-7. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, "A body hast Thou prepared Me." Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity,--the invisible glory in the visible human form.

    This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The symbol chosen for the representation of the Deity was a lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions. This enshrined the Infinite. The all-merciful God shrouded His glory in a most humble type, that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God communicated with Israel, revealing to men His will, and imparting to them His grace. God's glory was subdued, and His majesty veiled, that the weak vision of finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come in "the body of our humiliation" (Phil. 3:21, R. V.), "in the likeness of men." In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men.

    God commanded Moses for Israel, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25:Cool, and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. "The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." John 1:14, R. V., margin. Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour's life on earth, we see "God with us."

    Satan represents God's law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. "In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Heb. 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was "in all points tempted like as we are." Heb. 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He says, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God's law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.

    By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey. It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, "I Am That I Am. . . . Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you." Ex. 3:14. This was the pledge of Israel's deliverance. So when He came "in the likeness of men," He declared Himself the I Am. The Child of Bethlehem, the meek and lowly Saviour, is God "manifest in the flesh." 1 Tim. 3:16. And to us He says: "I Am the Good Shepherd." "I Am the living Bread." "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." John 10:11; 6:51; 14:6; Matt. 28:18. I Am the assurance of every promise. I Am; be not afraid. "God with us" is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven.

    In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. "Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him." Isa. 53:5.

    Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. "With His stripes we are healed."

    By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder." God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the "Son of man" who shares the throne of the universe. It is the "Son of man" whose name shall be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isa. 9:6. The I Am is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," is not ashamed to call us brethren. Heb. 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.

    Of His people God says, "They shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land. For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!" Zech. 9:16, 17. The exaltation of the redeemed will be an eternal testimony to God's mercy. "In the ages to come," He will "show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." "To the intent that . . . unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known . . . the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eph. 2:7; 3:10, 11, R. V.

    Through Christ's redeeming work the government of God stands justified. The Omnipotent One is made known as the God of love. Satan's charges are refuted, and his character unveiled. Rebellion can never again arise. Sin can never again enter the universe. Through eternal ages all are secure from apostasy. By love's self-sacrifice, the inhabitants of earth and heaven are bound to their Creator in bonds of indissoluble union.

    The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God's grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died,--here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, "and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." And through endless ages as the redeemed walk in the light of the Lord, they will praise Him for His unspeakable Gift,--

    Immanuel, "God with us."

    Chapter 2

    For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour's coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them "as a root out of a dry ground;" He had "no form nor comeliness;" and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Isa. 53:2; John 1:11.

    Yet God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men.

    In the call of Abraham the Lord had said, "I will bless thee; . . . and thou shalt be a blessing: . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 12:2, 3. The same teaching was repeated through the prophets. Even after Israel had been wasted by war and captivity, the promise was theirs, "The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Micah 5:7. Concerning the temple at Jerusalem, the Lord declared through Isaiah, "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples." Isa. 56:7, R. V.

    But the Israelites fixed their hopes upon worldly greatness. From the time of their entrance to the land of Canaan, they departed from the commandments of God, and followed the ways of the heathen. It was in vain that God sent them warning by His prophets. In vain they suffered the chastisement of heathen oppression. Every reformation was followed by deeper apostasy.

    Had Israel been true to God, He could have accomplished His purpose through their honor and exaltation. If they had walked in the ways of obedience, He would have made them "high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor." "All people of the earth," said Moses, "shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee." "The nations which shall hear all these statutes" shall say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Deut. 26:19; 28:10; 4:6. But because of their unfaithfulness, God's purpose could be wrought out only through continued adversity and humiliation.

    They were brought into subjection to Babylon, and scattered through the lands of the heathen. In affliction many renewed their faithfulness to His covenant. While they hung their harps upon the willows, and mourned for the holy temple that was laid waste, the light of truth shone out through them, and a knowledge of God was spread among the nations. The heathen systems of sacrifice were a perversion of the system that God had appointed; and many a sincere observer of heathen rites learned from the Hebrews the meaning of the service divinely ordained, and in faith grasped the promise of a Redeemer.

    Many of the exiles suffered persecution. Not a few lost their lives because of their refusal to disregard the Sabbath and to observe the heathen festivals. As idolaters were roused to crush out the truth, the Lord brought His servants face to face with kings and rulers, that they and their people might receive the light. Time after time the greatest monarchs were led to proclaim the supremacy of the God whom their Hebrew captives worshiped.

    By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. During the centuries that followed, they suffered from the oppression of heathen foes, until the conviction became fixed that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But with too many of the people obedience was not prompted by love. The motive was selfish. They rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to national greatness. They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry. In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but this teaching had been misinterpreted. It was intended to prevent them from conforming to the practices of the heathen. But it was used to build up a wall of separation between Israel and all other nations. The Jews looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles.

    After the return from Babylon, much attention was given to religious instruction. All over the country, synagogues were erected, where the law was expounded by the priests and scribes. And schools were established, which, together with the arts and sciences, professed to teach the principles of righteousness. But these agencies became corrupted. During the captivity, many of the people had received heathen ideas and customs, and these were brought into their religious service. In many things they conformed to the practices of idolaters.

    As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.

    With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus Satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,--that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law.

    While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor's power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour.

    At the time of the birth of Christ the nation was chafing under the rule of her foreign masters, and racked with internal strife. The Jews had been permitted to maintain the form of a separate government; but nothing could disguise the fact that they were under the Roman yoke, or reconcile them to the restriction of their power. The Romans claimed the right of appointing and removing the high priest, and the office was often secured by fraud, bribery, and even murder. Thus the priesthood became more and more corrupt. Yet the priests still possessed great power, and they employed it for selfish and mercenary ends. The people were subjected to their merciless demands, and were also heavily taxed by the Romans. This state of affairs caused widespread discontent. Popular outbreaks were frequent. Greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy, were eating out the very heart of the nation.

    Hatred of the Romans, and national and spiritual pride, led the Jews still to adhere rigorously to their forms of worship. The priests tried to maintain a reputation for sanctity by scrupulous attention to the ceremonies of religion. The people, in their darkness and oppression, and the rulers, thirsting for power, longed for the coming of One who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ's first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming. Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires.

    Chapter 3

    "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. 4:4, 5.

    The Saviour's coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth." Ezek. 12:22.

    But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God's purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking furnace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be four hundred years. "Afterward," He said, "shall they come out with great substance." Gen. 15:14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh's proud empire battled in vain. On "the self-same day" appointed in the divine promise, "it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." Ex. 12:41. So in heaven's council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

    "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son." Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. The nations were united under one government. One language was widely spoken, and was everywhere recognized as the language of literature. From all lands the Jews of the dispersion gathered to Jerusalem to the annual feasts. As these returned to the places of their sojourn, they could spread throughout the world the tidings of the Messiah's coming.

    At this time the systems of heathenism were losing their hold upon the people. Men were weary of pageant and fable. They longed for a religion that could satisfy the heart. While the light of truth seemed to have departed from among men, there were souls who were looking for light, and who were filled with perplexity and sorrow. They were thirsting for a knowledge of the living God, for some assurance of a life beyond the grave.

    As the Jews had departed from God, faith had grown dim, and hope had well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended. To the masses of the people, death was a dread mystery; beyond was uncertainty and gloom. It was not alone the wailing of the mothers of Bethlehem, but the cry from the great heart of humanity, that was borne to the prophet across the centuries,--the voice heard in Ramah, "lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." Matt. 2:18. In "the region and shadow of death," men sat unsolaced. With longing eyes they looked for the coming of the Deliverer, when the darkness should be dispelled, and the mystery of the future should be made plain. Outside of the Jewish nation there were men who foretold the appearance of a divine instructor. These men were seeking for truth, and to them the Spirit of Inspiration was imparted. One after another, like stars in the darkened heavens, such teachers had arisen. Their words of prophecy had kindled hope in the hearts of thousands of the Gentile world.

    For hundreds of years the Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language, then widely spoken throughout the Roman Empire. The Jews were scattered everywhere, and their expectation of the Messiah's coming was to some extent shared by the Gentiles. Among those whom the Jews styled heathen were men who had a better understanding of the Scripture prophecies concerning the Messiah than had the teachers in Israel. There were some who hoped for His coming as a deliverer from sin. Philosophers endeavored to study into the mystery of the Hebrew economy. But the bigotry of the Jews hindered the spread of the light. Intent on maintaining the separation between themselves and other nations, they were unwilling to impart the knowledge they still possessed concerning the symbolic service. The true Interpreter must come. The One whom all these types prefigured must explain their significance.

    Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men.

    Among the Jews there were yet steadfast souls, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved. These still looked for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers. They strengthened their faith by dwelling upon the assurance given through Moses, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you." Acts 3:22. Again, they read how the Lord would anoint One "to preach good tidings unto the meek," "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives," and to declare the "acceptable year of the Lord." Isa. 61:1, 2. They read how He would "set judgment in the earth," how the isles should "wait for His law," how the Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. Isa. 42:4; 60:3.

    The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." Gen. 49:10. The waning power of Israel testified that the Messiah's coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly kingdoms; and, said the prophet, "It shall stand forever." Dan. 2:44. While few understood the nature of Christ's mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who should come as a deliverer to the nations.

    The fullness of the time had come. Humanity, becoming more degraded through ages of transgression, called for the coming of the Redeemer. Satan had been working to make the gulf deep and impassable between earth and heaven. By his falsehoods he had emboldened
    men in sin. It was his purpose to wear out the forbearance of God, and to extinguish His love for man, so that He would abandon the world to satanic jurisdiction.

    Satan was seeking to shut out from men a knowledge of God, to turn their attention from the temple of God, and to establish his own kingdom. His strife for supremacy had seemed to be almost wholly successful. It is true that in every generation God had His agencies. Even among the heathen there were men through whom Christ was working to uplift the people from their sin and degradation. But these men were despised and hated. Many of them suffered a violent death. The dark shadow that Satan had cast over the world grew deeper and deeper.

    Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.

    The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction.

    The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant. The very priests who ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.

    The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,--to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world's Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!

    Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world.

    With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should do this, Satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the allegiance of heavenly beings. He had declared that the principles of God's government make forgiveness impossible. Had the world been destroyed, he would have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the worlds above. But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. Though corruption and defiance might be seen in every part of the alien province, a way for its recovery was provided. At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace. Through every age, through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race. Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been continually exhibited. And when the fullness of the time had come, the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled.

    Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.

    Chapter 4

    The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. His glory was veiled, that the majesty of His outward form might not become an object of attraction. He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow Him. The character of the Messiah had long been foretold in prophecy, and He desired men to accept Him upon the testimony of the word of God.

    The angels had wondered at the glorious plan of redemption. They watched to see how the people of God would receive His Son, clothed in the garb of humanity. Angels came to the land of the chosen people. Other nations were dealing in fables and worshiping false gods. To the land where the glory of God had been revealed, and the light of prophecy had shone, the angels came. They came unseen to Jerusalem, to the appointed expositors of the Sacred Oracles, and the ministers of God's house. Already to Zacharias the priest, as he ministered before the altar, the nearness of Christ's coming had been announced. Already the forerunner was born, his mission attested by miracle and prophecy. The tidings of his birth and the wonderful significance of his mission had been spread abroad. Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer.

    With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth. The Jewish nation had been preserved as a witness that Christ was to be born of the seed of Abraham and of David's line; yet they knew not that His coming was now at hand. In the temple the morning and the evening sacrifice daily pointed to the Lamb of God; yet even here was no preparation to receive Him. The priests and teachers of the nation knew not that the greatest event of the ages was about to take place. They rehearsed their meaningless prayers, and performed the rites of worship to be seen by men, but in their strife for riches and worldly honor they were not prepared for the revelation of the Messiah. The same indifference pervaded the land of Israel. Hearts selfish and world-engrossed were untouched by the joy that thrilled all heaven. Only a few were longing to behold the Unseen. To these heaven's embassy was sent.

    Angels attend Joseph and Mary as they journey from their home in Nazareth to the city of David. The decree of imperial Rome for the enrollment of the peoples of her vast dominion has extended to the dwellers among the hills of Galilee. As in old time Cyrus was called to the throne of the world's empire that he might set free the captives of the Lord, so Caesar Augustus is made the agent for the fulfillment of God's purpose in bringing the mother of Jesus to Bethlehem. She is of the lineage of David, and the Son of David must be born in David's city. Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, "shall He come forth . . . that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity." Micah 5:2, margin. But in the city of their royal line, Joseph and Mary are unrecognized and unhonored. Weary and homeless, they traverse the entire length of the narrow street, from the gate of the city to the eastern extremity of the town, vainly seeking a resting place for the night. There is no room for them at the crowded inn. In a rude building where the beasts are sheltered, they at last find refuge, and here the Redeemer of the world is born.

    Men know it not, but the tidings fill heaven with rejoicing. With a deeper and more tender interest the holy beings from the world of light are drawn to the earth. The whole world is brighter for His presence. Above the hills of Bethlehem are gathered an innumerable throng of angels. They wait the signal to declare the glad news to the world. Had the leaders in Israel been true to their trust, they might have shared the joy of heralding the birth of Jesus. But now they are passed by.

    God declares, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness." Isa. 44:3; Ps. 112:4. To those who are seeking for light, and who accept it with gladness, the bright rays from the throne of God will shine.

    In the fields where the boy David had led his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch by night. Through the silent hours they talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David's throne. "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

    At these words, visions of glory fill the minds of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph, are associated with His coming. But the angel must prepare them to recognize their Saviour in poverty and humiliation. "This shall be a sign unto you," he says; "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

    The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears. He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender regard for their human weakness, he had given them time to become accustomed to the divine radiance. Then the joy and glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lighted up with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song,--

    "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men."

    Oh that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev. 19:6.

    As the angels disappeared, the light faded away, and the shadows of night once more fell on the hills of Bethlehem. But the brightest picture ever beheld by human eyes remained in the memory of the shepherds. "And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

    Departing with great joy, they made known the things they had seen and heard. "And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God."

    Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when shepherds listened to the angels' song. Humanity is still as much the object of heaven's solicitude as when common men of common occupations met angels at noonday, and talked with the heavenly messengers in the vineyards and the fields. To us in the common walks of life, heaven may be very near. Angels from the courts above will attend the steps of those who come and go at God's command.

    The story of Bethlehem is an exhaustless theme. In it is hidden "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Rom. 11:33. We marvel at the Saviour's sacrifice in exchanging the throne of heaven for the manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but the beginning of His wonderful condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.

    Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

    The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. "Herein is love." Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth!

    Chapter 5

    About forty days after the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, and to offer sacrifice. This was according to the Jewish law, and as man's substitute Christ must conform to the law in every particular. He had already been subjected to the rite of circumcision, as a pledge of His obedience to the law.

    As an offering for the mother, the law required a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. But the law provided that if the parents were too poor to bring a lamb, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering, might be accepted.

    The offerings presented to the Lord were to be without blemish. These offerings represented Christ, and from this it is evident that Jesus Himself was free from physical deformity. He was the "lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19. His physical structure was not marred by any defect; His body was strong and healthy. And throughout His lifetime He lived in conformity to nature's laws. Physically as well as spiritually, He was an example of what God designed all humanity to be through obedience to His laws. The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men.

    In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the dedication of the first-born was again commanded. While the children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians, the Lord directed Moses to go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My first-born: and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born." Ex. 4:22, 23.

    Moses delivered his message; but the proud king's answer was, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." Ex. 5:2. The Lord worked for His people by signs and wonders, sending terrible judgments upon Pharaoh. At length the destroying angel was bidden to slay the first-born of man and beast among the Egyptians. That the Israelites might be spared, they were directed to place upon their doorposts the blood of a slain lamb. Every house was to be marked, that when the angel came on his mission of death, he might pass over the homes of the Israelites.

    After sending this judgment upon Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, "Sanctify unto Me all the first-born, . . . both of man and of beast: it is Mine;" "for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the Lord." Ex. 13:2; Num. 3:13. After the tabernacle service was established, the Lord chose the tribe of Levi in the place of the first-born of all Israel to minister in the sanctuary. But the first-born were still to be regarded as the Lord's, and were to be bought back by a ransom.

    Thus the law for the presentation of the first-born was made particularly significant. While it was a memorial of the Lord's wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only-begotten Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the first-born of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world.

    What meaning then was attached to Christ's presentation! But the priest did not see through the veil; he did not read the mystery beyond. The presentation of infants was a common scene. Day after day the priest received the redemption money as the babes were presented to the Lord. Day after day he went through the routine of his work, giving little heed to the parents or children, unless he saw some indication of the wealth or high rank of the parents. Joseph and Mary were poor; and when they came with their child, the priests saw only a man and woman dressed as Galileans, and in the humblest garments. There was nothing in their appearance to attract attention, and they presented only the offering made by the poorer classes.

    The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name "Jesus" on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you." Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance.

    The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I am. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the Desire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. The name of that helpless little babe, inscribed in the roll of Israel, declaring Him our brother, was the hope of fallen humanity. The child for whom the redemption money had been paid was He who was to pay the ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the true "high priest over the house of God," the head of "an unchangeable priesthood," the intercessor at "the right hand of the Majesty on high." Heb. 10:21; 7:24; 1:3. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. In the temple the Son of God was dedicated to the work He had come to do. The priest looked upon Him as he would upon any other child. But though he neither saw nor felt anything unusual, God's act in giving His Son to the world was acknowledged. This occasion did not pass without some recognition of Christ. "There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ."

    As Simeon enters the temple, he sees a family presenting their first-born son before the priest. Their appearance bespeaks poverty; but Simeon understands the warnings of the Spirit, and he is deeply impressed that the infant being presented to the Lord is the Consolation of Israel, the One he has longed to see. To the astonished priest, Simeon appears like a man enraptured. The child has been returned to Mary, and he takes it in his arms and presents it to God, while a joy that he has never before felt enters his soul. As he lifts the infant Saviour toward heaven, he says, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."

    The spirit of prophecy was upon this man of God, and while Joseph and Mary stood by, wondering at his words, he blessed them, and said unto Mary, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

    Anna also, a prophetess, came in and confirmed Simeon's testimony concerning Christ. As Simeon spoke, her face lighted up with the glory of God, and she poured out her heartfelt thanks that she had been permitted to behold Christ the Lord.

    These humble worshipers had not studied the prophecies in vain. But those who held positions as rulers and priests in Israel, though they too had before them the precious utterances of prophecy, were not walking in the way of the Lord, and their eyes were not open to behold the Light of life. So it is still. Events upon which the attention of all heaven is centered are undiscerned, their very occurrence is unnoticed, by religious leaders, and worshipers in the house of God. Men acknowledge Christ in history, while they turn away from the living Christ. Christ in His word calling to self-sacrifice, in the poor and suffering who plead for relief, in the righteous cause that involves poverty and toil and reproach, is no more readily received today than He was eighteen hundred years ago.

    Mary pondered the broad and far-reaching prophecy of Simeon. As she looked upon the child in her arms, and recalled the words spoken by the shepherds of Bethlehem, she was full of grateful joy and bright hope. Simeon's words called to her mind the prophetic utterances of Isaiah: "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. . . . And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins." "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. . . . For 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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isa. 11:1-5; 9:2-6.

    Yet Mary did not understand Christ's mission. Simeon had prophesied of Him as a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as a glory to Israel. Thus the angels had announced the Saviour's birth as tidings of joy to all peoples. God was seeking to correct the narrow, Jewish conception of the Messiah's work. He desired men to behold Him, not merely as the deliverer of Israel, but as the Redeemer of the world. But many years must pass before even the mother of Jesus would understand His mission.

    Mary looked forward to the Messiah's reign on David's throne, but she saw not the baptism of suffering by which it must be won. Through Simeon it is revealed that the Messiah is to have no unobstructed passage through the world. In the words to Mary, "A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also," God in His tender mercy gives to the mother of Jesus an intimation of the anguish that already for His sake she had begun to bear.

    "Behold," Simeon had said, "this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against."

    They must fall who would rise again. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken before we can be uplifted in Christ. Self must be dethroned, pride must be humbled, if we would know the glory of the spiritual kingdom. The Jews would not accept the honor that is reached through humiliation. Therefore they would not receive their Redeemer. He was a sign that was spoken against. "That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." In the light of the Saviour's life, the hearts of all, even from the Creator to the prince of darkness, are revealed. Satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of Christ reveals the Father's heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Jer. 29:11. It declares that while God's hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me.

    At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.

    By the life and the death of Christ, the thoughts of men also are brought to view. From the manger to the cross, the life of Jesus was a call to self-surrender, and to fellowship in suffering. It unveiled the purposes of men. Jesus came with the truth of heaven, and all who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit were drawn to Him. The worshipers of self belonged to Satan's kingdom. In their attitude toward Christ, all would show on which side they stood. And thus everyone passes judgment on himself.

    In the day of final judgment, every lost soul will understand the nature of his own rejection of truth. The cross will be presented, and its real bearing will be seen by every mind that has been blinded by transgression. Before the vision of Calvary with its mysterious Victim, sinners will stand condemned. Every lying excuse will be swept away. Human apostasy will appear in its heinous character. Men will see what their choice has been. Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy will then have been made plain. In the judgment of the universe, God will stand clear of blame for the existence or continuance of evil. It will be demonstrated that the divine decrees are not accessory to sin. There was no defect in God's government, no cause for disaffection. When the thoughts of all hearts shall be revealed, both the loyal and the rebellious will unite in declaring, "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? . . . for Thy judgments are made manifest." Rev. 15:3, 4.






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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:03 am



    Chapter 6
    "We Have Seen His Star"

    "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him."

    The wise men from the East were philosophers. They belonged to a large and influential class that included men of noble birth, and comprised much of the wealth and learning of their nation. Among these were many who imposed on the credulity of the people. Others were upright men who studied the indications of Providence in nature, and who were honored for their integrity and wisdom. Of this character were the wise men who came to Jesus.

    The light of God is ever shining amid the darkness of heathenism. As these magi studied the starry heavens, and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking clearer knowledge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures. In their own land were treasured prophetic writings that predicted the coming of a divine teacher. Balaam belonged to the magicians, though at one time a prophet of God; by the Holy Spirit he had foretold the prosperity of Israel and the appearing of the Messiah; and his prophecies had been handed down by tradition from century to century. But in the Old Testament the Saviour's advent was more clearly revealed. The magi learned with joy that His coming was near, and that the whole world was to be filled with a knowledge of the glory of the Lord. The wise men had seen a mysterious light in the heavens upon that night when the glory of God flooded the hills of Bethlehem. As the light faded, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the sky. It was not a fixed star nor a planet, and the phenomenon excited the keenest interest. That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant. Yet they were impressed that the star was of special import to them. They consulted priests and philosophers, and searched the scrolls of the ancient records. The prophecy of Balaam had declared, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel." Num. 24:17. Could this strange star have been sent as a harbinger of the Promised One? The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince.

    As by faith Abraham went forth at the call of God, "not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:Cool; as by faith Israel followed the pillar of cloud to the Promised Land, so did these Gentiles go forth to find the promised Saviour. The Eastern country abounded in precious things, and the magi did not set out empty-handed. It was the custom to offer presents as an act of homage to princes or other personages of rank, and the richest gifts the land afforded were borne as an offering to Him in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed. It was necessary to journey by night in order to keep the star in view; but the travelers beguiled the hours by repeating traditional sayings and prophetic utterances concerning the One they sought. At every pause for rest they searched the prophecies; and the conviction deepened that they were divinely guided. While they had the star before them as an outward sign, they had also the inward evidence of the Holy Spirit, which was impressing their hearts, and inspiring them with hope. The journey, though long, was a happy one to them.

    They have reached the land of Israel, and are descending the Mount of Olives, with Jerusalem in sight, when, lo, the star that has guided them all the weary way rests above the temple, and after a season fades from their view. With eager steps they press onward, confidently expecting the Messiah's birth to be the joyful burden of every tongue. But their inquiries are in vain. Entering the holy city, they repair to the temple. To their amazement they find none who seem to have a knowledge of the newborn king. Their questions call forth no expressions of joy, but rather of surprise and fear, not unmingled with contempt. The priests are rehearsing traditions. They extol their religion and their own piety, while they denounce the Greeks and Romans as heathen, and sinners above others. The wise men are not idolaters, and in the sight of God they stand far higher than do these, His professed worshipers; yet they are looked upon by the Jews as heathen. Even among the appointed guardians of the Holy Oracles their eager questionings touch no chord of sympathy.

    The arrival of the magi was quickly noised throughout Jerusalem. Their strange errand created an excitement among the people, which penetrated to the palace of King Herod. The wily Edomite was aroused at the intimation of a possible rival. Countless murders had stained his pathway to the throne. Being of alien blood, he was hated by the people over whom he ruled. His only security was the favor of Rome. But this new Prince had a higher claim. He was born to the kingdom.

    Herod suspected the priests of plotting with the strangers to excite a popular tumult and unseat him from the throne. He concealed his mistrust, however, determined to thwart their schemes by superior cunning. Summoning the chief priests and the scribes, he questioned them as to the teaching of their sacred books in regard to the place of the Messiah's birth. This inquiry from the usurper of the throne, and made at the request of strangers, stung the pride of the Jewish teachers. The indifference with which they turned to the rolls of prophecy enraged the jealous tyrant. He thought them trying to conceal their knowledge of the matter. With an authority they dared not disregard, he commanded them to make close search, and to declare the birthplace of their expected King. "And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

    "And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah,
    Art in nowise least among the princes of Judah:
    For out of thee shall come forth a governor,
    Which shall be shepherd of My people Israel."
    R. V.

    Herod now invited the magi to a private interview. A tempest of wrath and fear was raging in his heart, but he preserved a calm exterior, and received the strangers courteously. He inquired at what time the star had appeared, and professed to hail with joy the intimation of the birth of Christ. He bade his visitors, "Search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also." So saying, he dismissed them to go on their way to Bethlehem.

    The priests and elders of Jerusalem were not as ignorant concerning the birth of Christ as they pretended. The report of the angels' visit to the shepherds had been brought to Jerusalem, but the rabbis had treated it as unworthy of their notice. They themselves might have found Jesus, and might have been ready to lead the magi to His birthplace; but instead of this, the wise men came to call their attention to the birth of the Messiah. "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" they said; "for we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him."

    Now pride and envy closed the door against the light. If the reports brought by the shepherds and the wise men were credited, they would place the priests and rabbis in a most unenviable position, disproving their claim to be the exponents of the truth of God. These learned teachers would not stoop to be instructed by those whom they termed heathen. It could not be, they said, that God had passed them by, to communicate with ignorant shepherds or uncircumcised Gentiles. They determined to show their contempt for the reports that were exciting King Herod and all Jerusalem. They would not even go to Bethlehem to see whether these things were so. And they led the people to regard the interest in Jesus as a fanatical excitement. Here began the rejection of Christ by the priests and rabbis. From this point their pride and stubbornness grew into a settled hatred of the Saviour. While God was opening the door to the Gentiles, the Jewish leaders were closing the door to themselves. The wise men departed alone from Jerusalem. The shadows of night were falling as they left the gates, but to their great joy they again saw the star, and were directed to Bethlehem. They had received no such intimation of the lowly estate of Jesus as was given to the shepherds. After the long journey they had been disappointed by the indifference of the Jewish leaders, and had left Jerusalem less confident than when they entered the city. At Bethlehem they found no royal guard stationed to protect the newborn King. None of the world's honored men were in attendance. Jesus was cradled in a manger. His parents, uneducated peasants, were His only guardians. Could this be He of whom it was written, that He should "raise up the tribes of Jacob," and "restore the preserved of Israel;" that He should be "a light to the Gentiles," and for "salvation unto the end of the earth"? Isa. 49:6.

    "When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshiped Him." Beneath the lowly guise of Jesus, they recognized the presence of Divinity. They gave their hearts to Him as their Saviour, and then poured out their gifts,--"gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." What a faith was theirs!

    It might have been said of the wise men from the East, as afterward of the Roman centurion, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Matt. 8:10.

    The wise men had not penetrated Herod's design toward Jesus. When the object of their journey was accomplished, they prepared to return to Jerusalem, intending to acquaint him with their success. But in a dream they received a divine message to hold no further communication with him. Avoiding Jerusalem, they set out for their own country by another route.

    In like manner Joseph received warning to flee into Egypt with Mary and the child. And the angel said, "Be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him." Joseph obeyed without delay, setting out on the journey by night for greater security.

    Through the wise men, God had called the attention of the Jewish nation to the birth of His Son. Their inquiries in Jerusalem, the popular interest excited, and even the jealousy of Herod, which compelled the attention of the priests and rabbis, directed minds to the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and to the great event that had just taken place.

    Satan was bent on shutting out the divine light from the world, and he used his utmost cunning to destroy the Saviour. But He who never slumbers nor sleeps was watching over His beloved Son. He who had rained manna from heaven for Israel and had fed Elijah in the time of famine provided in a heathen land a refuge for Mary and the child Jesus. And through the gifts of the magi from a heathen country, the Lord supplied the means for the journey into Egypt and the sojourn in a land of strangers.

    The magi had been among the first to welcome the Redeemer. Their gift was the first that was laid at His feet. And through that gift, what privilege of ministry was theirs! The offering from the heart that loves, God delights to honor, giving it highest efficiency in service for Him. If we have given our hearts to Jesus, we also shall bring our gifts to Him. Our gold and silver, our most precious earthly possessions, our highest mental and spiritual endowments, will be freely devoted to Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us.

    Herod in Jerusalem impatiently awaited the return of the wise men. As time passed, and they did not appear, his suspicions were roused. The unwillingness of the rabbis to point out the Messiah's birthplace seemed to indicate that they had penetrated his design, and that the magi had purposely avoided him. He was maddened at the thought. Craft had failed, but there was left the resort to force. He would make an example of this child-king. Those haughty Jews should see what they might expect in their attempts to place a monarch on the throne.

    Soldiers were at once sent to Bethlehem, with orders to put to death all the children of two years and under. The quiet homes of the city of David witnessed those scenes of horror that, six hundred years before, had been opened to the prophet. "In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

    This calamity the Jews had brought upon themselves. If they had been walking in faithfulness and humility before God, He would in a signal manner have made the wrath of the king harmless to them. But they had separated themselves from God by their sins, and had rejected the Holy Spirit, which was their only shield. They had not studied the Scriptures with a desire to conform to the will of God. They had searched for prophecies which could be interpreted to exalt themselves, and to show how God despised all other nations. It was their proud boast that the Messiah was to come as a king, conquering His enemies, and treading down the heathen in His wrath. Thus they had excited the hatred of their rulers. Through their misrepresentation of Christ's mission, Satan had purposed to compass the destruction of the Saviour; but instead of this, it returned upon their own heads. This act of cruelty was one of the last that darkened the reign of Herod. Soon after the slaughter of the innocents, he was himself compelled to yield to that doom which none can turn aside. He died a fearful death.

    Joseph, who was still in Egypt, was now bidden by an angel of God to return to the land of Israel. Regarding Jesus as the heir of David's throne, Joseph desired to make his home in Bethlehem; but learning that Archelaus reigned in Judea in his father's stead, he feared that the father's designs against Christ might be carried out by the son. Of all the sons of Herod, Archelaus most resembled him in character. Already his succession to the government had been marked by a tumult in Jerusalem, and the slaughter of thousands of Jews by the Roman guards.

    Again Joseph was directed to a place of safety. He returned to Nazareth, his former home, and here for nearly thirty years Jesus dwelt, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." Galilee was under the control of a son of Herod, but it had a much larger admixture of foreign inhabitants than Judea. Thus there was less interest in matters relating especially to the Jews, and the claims of Jesus would be less likely to excite the jealousy of those in power. Such was the Saviour's reception when He came to the earth. There seemed to be no place of rest or safety for the infant Redeemer. God could not trust His beloved Son with men, even while carrying forward His work for their salvation. He commissioned angels to attend Jesus and protect Him till He should accomplish His mission on earth, and die by the hands of those whom He came to save.

    Chapter 7

    The childhood and youth of Jesus were spent in a little mountain village. There was no place on earth that would not have been honored by His presence. The palaces of kings would have been privileged in receiving Him as a guest. But He passed by the homes of wealth, the courts of royalty, and the renowned seats of learning, to make His home in obscure and despised Nazareth.

    Wonderful in its significance is the brief record of His early life: "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." In the sunlight of His Father's countenance, Jesus "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52. His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry. The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood.

    As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition. His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy. With deep earnestness the mother of Jesus watched the unfolding of His powers, and beheld the impress of perfection upon His character. With delight she sought to encourage that bright, receptive mind. Through the Holy Spirit she received wisdom to co-operate with the heavenly agencies in the development of this child, who could claim only God as His Father.

    From the earliest times the faithful in Israel had given much care to the education of the youth. The Lord had directed that even from babyhood the children should be taught of His goodness and His greatness, especially as revealed in His law, and shown in the history of Israel. Song and prayer and lessons from the Scriptures were to be adapted to the opening mind. Fathers and mothers were to instruct their children that the law of God is an expression of His character, and that as they received the principles of the law into the heart, the image of God was traced on mind and soul. Much of the teaching was oral; but the youth also learned to read the Hebrew writings; and the parchment rolls of the Old Testament Scriptures were open to their study.

    In the days of Christ the town or city that did not provide for the religious instruction of the young was regarded as under the curse of God. Yet the teaching had become formal. Tradition had in a great degree supplanted the Scriptures. True education would lead the youth to "seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him." Acts 17:27. But the Jewish teachers gave their attention to matters of ceremony. The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. The experience which is obtained through a personal acceptance of God's word had no place in the educational system. Absorbed in the round of externals, the students found no quiet hours to spend with God. They did not hear His voice speaking to the heart. In their search after knowledge, they turned away from the Source of wisdom. The great essentials of the service of God were neglected. The principles of the law were obscured. That which was regarded as superior education was the greatest hindrance to real development. Under the training of the rabbis the powers of the youth were repressed. Their minds became cramped and narrow.

    The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother's knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor.

    The question asked during the Saviour's ministry, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" does not indicate that Jesus was unable to read, but merely that He had not received a rabbinical education. John 7:15. Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God's word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God's created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man. From His earliest years He was possessed of one purpose; He lived to bless others. For this He found resources in nature; new ideas of ways and means flashed into His mind as He studied plant life and animal life. Continually He was seeking to draw from things seen illustrations by which to present the living oracles of God. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He had gathered the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life.

    Thus to Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God was unfolded, as He was trying to understand the reason of things. Heavenly beings were His attendants, and the culture of holy thoughts and communings was His. From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth.

    Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour. And as we behold the beautiful and grand in nature, our affections go out after God. While the spirit is awed, the soul is invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His works. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things. The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God. While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Yet He was not exempt from temptation. The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael's question, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" John 1:46. Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood.

    Satan was unwearied in his efforts to overcome the Child of Nazareth. From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from the defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the prince of darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.

    The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. No aimless hours opened the way for corrupting associations. So far as possible, He closed the door to the tempter. Neither gain nor pleasure, applause nor censure, could induce Him to consent to a wrong act. He was wise to discern evil, and strong to resist it.

    Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth. This fact is a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent upon place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life. Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness.

    Jesus lived in a peasant's home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with His own hands worked in the carpenter's shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work. He did not employ His divine power to lessen His burdens or to lighten His toil.

    As Jesus worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. He was not willing to be defective, even in the handling of tools. He was perfect as a workman, as He was perfect in character. By His own example He taught that it is our duty to be industrious, that our work should be performed with exactness and thoroughness, and that such labor is honorable. The exercise that teaches the hands to be useful and trains the young to bear their share of life's burdens gives physical strength, and develops every faculty. All should find something to do that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. God appointed work as a blessing, and only the diligent worker finds the true glory and joy of life. The approval of God rests with loving assurance upon children and youth who cheerfully take their part in the duties of the household, sharing the burdens of father and mother. Such children will go out from the home to be useful members of society.

    Throughout His life on earth, Jesus was an earnest and constant worker. He expected much; therefore He attempted much. After He had entered on His ministry, He said, "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." John 9:4. Jesus did not shirk care and responsibility, as do many who profess to be His followers. It is because they seek to evade this discipline that so many are weak and inefficient. They may possess precious and amiable traits, but they are nerveless and almost useless when difficulties are to be met or obstacles surmounted. The positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character, manifested in Christ are to be developed in us, through the same discipline that He endured. And the grace that He received is for us.

    So long as He lived among men, our Saviour shared the lot of the poor. He knew by experience their cares and hardships, and He could comfort and encourage all humble workers. Those who have a true conception of the teaching of His life will never feel that a distinction must be made between classes, that the rich are to be honored above the worthy poor.

    Jesus carried into His labor cheerfulness and tact. It requires much patience and spirituality to bring Bible religion into the home life and into the workshop, to bear the strain of worldly business, and yet keep the eye single to the glory of God. This is where Christ was a helper. He was never so full of worldly care as to have no time or thought for heavenly things. Often He expressed the gladness of His heart by singing psalms and heavenly songs. Often the dwellers in Nazareth heard His voice raised in praise and thanksgiving to God. He held communion with heaven in song; and as His companions complained of weariness from labor, they were cheered by the sweet melody from His lips. His praise seemed to banish the evil angels, and, like incense, fill the place with fragrance. The minds of His hearers were carried away from their earthly exile, to the heavenly home.

    Jesus 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.

    Thus as He grew in wisdom and stature, Jesus increased in favor with God and man. He drew the sympathy of all hearts by showing Himself capable of sympathizing with all. The atmosphere of hope and courage that surrounded Him made Him a blessing in every home. And often in the synagogue on the Sabbath day He was called upon to read the lesson from the prophets, and the hearts of the hearers thrilled as a new light shone out from the familiar words of the sacred text.

    Yet Jesus shunned display. During all the years of His stay in Nazareth, He made no exhibition of His miraculous power. He sought no high position and assumed no titles. His quiet and simple life, and even the silence of the Scriptures concerning His early years, teach an important lesson. The more quiet and simple the life of the child,--the more free from artificial excitement, and the more in harmony with nature,--the more favorable is it to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.

    Jesus is our example. There are many who dwell with interest upon the period of His public ministry, while they pass unnoticed the teaching of His early years. But it is in His home life that He is the pattern for all children and youth. The Saviour condescended to poverty, that He might teach how closely we in a humble lot may walk with God. He lived to please, honor, and glorify His Father in the common things of life. His work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsmen who toil for their daily bread. He was doing God's service just as much when laboring at the carpenter's bench as when working miracles for the multitude. And every youth who follows Christ's example of faithfulness and obedience in His lowly home may claim those words spoken of Him by the Father through the Holy Spirit, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth." Isa. 42:1.

    Chapter 8

    Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God. He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances. It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem. Like all devout Israelites, Joseph and Mary went up every year to attend the Passover; and when Jesus had reached the required age, they took Him with them.

    There were three annual feasts, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, at which all the men of Israel were commanded to appear before the Lord at Jerusalem. Of these feasts the Passover was the most largely attended. Many were present from all countries where the Jews were scattered. From every part of Palestine the worshipers came in great numbers. The journey from Galilee occupied several days, and the travelers united in large companies for companionship and protection. The women and aged men rode upon oxen or asses over the steep and rocky roads. The stronger men and the youth journeyed on foot. The time of the Passover corresponded to the close of March or the beginning of April, and the whole land was bright with flowers, and glad with the song of birds. All along the way were spots memorable in the history of Israel, and fathers and mothers recounted to their children the wonders that God had wrought for His people in ages past. They beguiled their journey with song and music, and when at last the towers of Jerusalem came into view, every voice joined in the triumphant strain,--

    "Our feet shall stand
    Within thy gates, O Jerusalem. . . .
    Peace be within thy walls,
    And prosperity within thy palaces."
    Ps. 122: 2-7.

    The observance of the Passover began with the birth of the Hebrew nation. On the last night of their bondage in Egypt, when there appeared no token of deliverance, God commanded them to prepare for an immediate release. He had warned Pharaoh of the final judgment on the Egyptians, and He directed the Hebrews to gather their families within their own dwellings. Having sprinkled the doorposts with the blood of the slain lamb, they were to eat the lamb, roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. "And thus shall ye eat it," He said, "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover." Ex. 12:11. At midnight all the first-born of the Egyptians were slain. Then the king sent to Israel the message, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my people; . . . and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said." Ex. 12:31. The Hebrews went out from Egypt an independent nation. The Lord had commanded that the Passover should be yearly kept. "It shall come to pass," He said, "when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians." Thus from generation to generation the story of this wonderful deliverance was to be repeated. The Passover was followed by the seven days' feast of unleavened bread. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year's harvest, a sheaf of barley, was presented before the Lord. All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour.

    With most of the people in the days of Christ, the observance of this feast had degenerated into formalism. But what was its significance to the Son of God!

    For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour.

    Rapt in the contemplation of these scenes, He did not remain beside His parents. He sought to be alone. When the paschal services were ended, He still lingered in the temple courts; and when the worshipers departed from Jerusalem, He was left behind.

    In this visit to Jerusalem, the parents of Jesus wished to bring Him in connection with the great teachers in Israel. While He was obedient in every particular to the word of God, He did not conform to the rabbinical rites and usages. Joseph and Mary hoped that He might be led to reverence the learned rabbis, and give more diligent heed to their requirements. But Jesus in the temple had been taught by God. That which He had received, He began at once to impart.

    At that day an apartment connected with the temple was devoted to a sacred school, after the manner of the schools of the prophets. Here leading rabbis with their pupils assembled, and hither the child Jesus came. Seating Himself at the feet of these grave, learned men, He listened to their instruction. As one seeking for wisdom, He questioned these teachers in regard to the prophecies, and to events then taking place that pointed to the advent of the Messiah.

    Jesus presented Himself as one thirsting for a knowledge of God. His questions were suggestive of deep truths which had long been obscured, yet which were vital to the salvation of souls. While showing how narrow and superficial was the wisdom of the wise men, every question put before them a divine lesson, and placed truth in a new aspect. The rabbis spoke of the wonderful elevation which the Messiah's coming would bring to the Jewish nation; but Jesus presented the prophecy of Isaiah, and asked them the meaning of those scriptures that point to the suffering and death of the Lamb of God.

    The doctors turned upon Him with questions, and they were amazed at His answers. With the humility of a child He repeated the words of Scripture, giving them a depth of meaning that the wise men had not conceived of. If followed, the lines of truth He pointed out would have worked a reformation in the religion of the day. A deep interest in spiritual things would have been awakened; and when Jesus began His ministry, many would have been prepared to receive Him.

    The rabbis knew that Jesus had not been instructed in their schools; yet His understanding of the prophecies far exceeded theirs. In this thoughtful Galilean boy they discerned great promise. They desired to gain Him as a student, that He might become a teacher in Israel. They wanted to have charge of His education, feeling that a mind so original must be brought under their molding.

    The words of Jesus had moved their hearts as they had never before been moved by words from human lips. God was seeking to give light to those leaders in Israel, and He used the only means by which they could be reached. In their pride they would have scorned to admit that they could receive instruction from anyone. If Jesus had appeared to be trying to teach them, they would have disdained to listen. But they flattered themselves that they were teaching Him, or at least testing His knowledge of the Scriptures. The youthful modesty and grace of Jesus disarmed their prejudices. Unconsciously their minds were opened to the word of God, and the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts.

    They could not but see that their expectation in regard to the Messiah was not sustained by prophecy; but they would not renounce the theories that had flattered their ambition. They would not admit that they had misapprehended the Scriptures they claimed to teach. From one to another passed the inquiry, How hath this youth knowledge, having never learned? The light was shining in darkness; but "the darkness apprehended it not." John 1:5, R. V.

    Meanwhile Joseph and Mary were in great perplexity and distress. In the departure from Jerusalem they had lost sight of Jesus, and they knew not that He had tarried behind. The country was then densely populated, and the caravans from Galilee were very large. There was much confusion as they left the city. On the way the pleasure of traveling with friends and acquaintances absorbed their attention, and they did not notice His absence till night came on. Then as they halted for rest, they missed the helpful hand of their child. Supposing Him to be with their company, they had felt no anxiety. Young as He was, they had trusted Him implicitly, expecting that when needed, He would be ready to assist them, anticipating their wants as He had always done. But now their fears were roused. They searched for Him throughout their company, but in vain. Shuddering they remembered how Herod had tried to destroy Him in His infancy. Dark forebodings filled their hearts. They bitterly reproached themselves.

    Returning to Jerusalem, they pursued their search. The next day, as they mingled with the worshipers in the temple, a familiar voice arrested their attention. They could not mistake it; no other voice was like His, so serious and earnest, yet so full of melody.

    In the school of the rabbis they found Jesus. Rejoiced as they were, they could not forget their grief and anxiety. When He was with them again, the mother said, in words that implied reproof, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."

    "How is it that ye sought Me?" answered Jesus. "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" And as they seemed not to understand His words, He pointed upward. On His face was a light at which they wondered. Divinity was flashing through humanity. On finding Him in the temple, they had listened to what was passing between Him and the rabbis, and they were astonished at His questions and answers. His words started a train of thought that would never be forgotten.

    And His question to them had a lesson. "Wist ye not," He said, "that I must be about My Father's business?" Jesus was engaged in the work that He had come into the world to do; but Joseph and Mary had neglected theirs. God had shown them high honor in committing to them His Son. Holy angels had directed the course of Joseph in order to preserve the life of Jesus. But for an entire day they had lost sight of Him whom they should not have forgotten for a moment. And when their anxiety was relieved, they had not censured themselves, but had cast the blame upon Him.

    It was natural for the parents of Jesus to look upon Him as their own child. He was daily with them, His life in many respects was like that of other children, and it was difficult for them to realize that He was the Son of God. They were in danger of failing to appreciate the blessing granted them in the presence of the world's Redeemer. The grief of their separation from Him, and the gentle reproof which His words conveyed, were designed to impress them with the sacredness of their trust.

    In the answer to His mother, Jesus showed for the first time that He understood His relation to God. Before His birth the angel had said to Mary, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever." Luke 1:32, 33. These words Mary had pondered in her heart; yet while she believed that her child was to be Israel's Messiah, she did not comprehend His mission. Now she did not understand His words; but she knew that He had disclaimed kinship to Joseph, and had declared His Sonship to God. Jesus did not ignore His relation to His earthly parents. From Jerusalem He returned home with them, and aided them in their life of toil. He hid in His own heart the mystery of His mission, waiting submissively for the appointed time for Him to enter upon His work. For eighteen years after He had recognized that He was the Son of God, He acknowledged the tie that bound Him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen.

    As His mission had opened to Jesus in the temple, He shrank from contact with the multitude. He wished to return from Jerusalem in quietness, with those who knew the secret of His life. By the paschal service, God was seeking to call His people away from their worldly cares, and to remind them of His wonderful work in their deliverance from Egypt. In this work He desired them to see a promise of deliverance from sin. As the blood of the slain lamb sheltered the homes of Israel, so the blood of Christ was to save their souls; but they could be saved through Christ only as by faith they should make His life their own. There was virtue in the symbolic service only as it directed the worshipers to Christ as their personal Saviour. God desired that they should be led to prayerful study and meditation in regard to Christ's mission. But as the multitudes left Jerusalem, the excitement of travel and social intercourse too often absorbed their attention, and the service they had witnessed was forgotten. The Saviour was not attracted to their company.

    As Joseph and Mary should return from Jerusalem alone with Jesus, He hoped to direct their minds to the prophecies of the suffering Saviour. Upon Calvary He sought to lighten His mother's grief. He was thinking of her now. Mary was to witness His last agony, and Jesus desired her to understand His mission, that she might be strengthened to endure, when the sword should pierce through her soul. As Jesus had been separated from her, and she had sought Him sorrowing three days, so when He should be offered up for the sins of the world, He would again be lost to her for three days. And as He should come forth from the tomb, her sorrow would again be turned to joy. But how much better she could have borne the anguish of His death if she had understood the Scriptures to which He was now trying to turn her thoughts! If Joseph and Mary had stayed their minds upon God by meditation and prayer, they would have realized the sacredness of their trust, and would not have lost sight of Jesus. By one day's neglect they lost the Saviour; but it cost them three days of anxious search to find Him. So with us; by idle talk, evilspeaking, or neglect of prayer, we may in one day lose the Saviour's presence, and it may take many days of sorrowful search to find Him, and regain the peace that we have lost.

    In our association with one another, we should take heed lest we forget Jesus, and pass along unmindful that He is not with us. When we become absorbed in worldly things so that we have no thought for Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centered, we separate ourselves from Jesus and from the heavenly angels. These holy beings cannot remain where the Saviour's presence is not desired, and His absence is not marked. This is why discouragement so often exists among the professed followers of Christ.

    Many attend religious services, and are refreshed and comforted by the word of God; but through neglect of meditation, watchfulness, and prayer, they lose the blessing, and find themselves more destitute than before they received it. Often they feel that God has dealt hardly with them. They do not see that the fault is their own. By separating themselves from Jesus, they have shut away the light of His presence.

    It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.

    As we associate together, we may be a blessing to one another. If we are Christ's, our sweetest thoughts will be of Him. We shall love to talk of Him; and as we speak to one another of His love, our hearts will be softened by divine influences. Beholding the beauty of His character, we shall be "changed into the same image from glory to glory." 2 Cor. 3:18.

    Chapter 9

    From its earliest years the Jewish child was surrounded with the requirements of the rabbis. Rigid rules were prescribed for every act, down to the smallest details of life. Under the synagogue teachers the youth were instructed in the countless regulations which as orthodox Israelites they were expected to observe. But Jesus did not interest Himself in these matters. From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws. The Scriptures of the Old Testament were His constant study, and the words, "Thus saith the Lord," were ever upon His lips.

    As the condition of the people began to open to His mind, He saw that the requirements of society and the requirements of God were in constant collision. Men were departing from the word of God, and exalting theories of their own invention. They were observing traditional rites that possessed no virtue. Their service was a mere round of ceremonies; the sacred truths it was designed to teach were hidden from the worshipers. He saw that in their faithless services they found no peace. They did not know the freedom of spirit that would come to them by serving God in truth. Jesus had come to teach the meaning of the worship of God, and He could not sanction the mingling of human requirements with the divine precepts. He did not attack the precepts or practices of the learned teachers; but when reproved for His own simple habits, He presented the word of God in justification of His conduct. In every gentle and submissive way, Jesus tried to please those with whom He came in contact. Because He was so gentle and unobtrusive, the scribes and elders supposed that He would be easily influenced by their teaching. They urged Him to receive the maxims and traditions that had been handed down from the ancient rabbis, but He asked for their authority in Holy Writ. He would hear every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; but He could not obey the inventions of men. Jesus seemed to know the Scriptures from beginning to end, and He presented them in their true import. The rabbis were ashamed to be instructed by a child. They claimed that it was their office to explain the Scriptures, and that it was His place to accept their interpretation. They were indignant that He should stand in opposition to their word.

    They knew that no authority could be found in Scripture for their traditions. They realized that in spiritual understanding Jesus was far in advance of them. Yet they were angry because He did not obey their dictates. Failing to convince Him, they sought Joseph and Mary, and set before them His course of noncompliance. Thus He suffered rebuke and censure. At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God's word. "It is written" was His reason for every act that varied from the family customs. But the influence of the rabbis made His life a bitter one. Even in His youth He had to learn the hard lesson of silence and patient endurance.

    His brothers, as the sons of Joseph were called, sided with the rabbis They insisted that the traditions must be heeded, as if they were the requirements of God. They even regarded the precepts of men more highly than the word of God, and they were greatly annoyed at the clear penetration of Jesus in distinguishing between the false and the true His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness. They were surprised at the knowledge and wisdom He showed in answering the rabbis. They knew that He had not received instruction from the wise men, yet they could not but see that He was an instructor to them. They recognized that His education was of a higher type than their own. But they did not discern that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they were ignorant.

    Christ was not exclusive, and He had given special offense to the Pharisees by departing in this respect from their rigid rules. He found the domain of religion fenced in by high walls of seclusion, as too sacred a matter for everyday life. These walls of partition He overthrew. In His contact with men He did not ask, What is your creed? To what church do you belong? He exercised His helping power in behalf of all who needed help. Instead of secluding Himself in a hermit's cell in order to show His heavenly character, He labored earnestly for humanity. He inculcated the principle that Bible religion does not consist in the mortification of the body. He taught that pure and undefiled religion is not meant only for set times and special occasions. At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety. All this was a rebuke to the Pharisees. It showed that religion does not consist in selfishness, and that their morbid devotion to personal interest was far from being true godliness. This had roused their enmity against Jesus, so that they tried to enforce His conformity to their regulations.

    Jesus worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw. He had little money to give, but He often denied Himself of food in order to relieve those who appeared more needy than He. His brothers felt that His influence went far to counteract theirs. He possessed a tact which none of them had, or desired to have. When they spoke harshly to poor, degraded beings, Jesus sought out these very ones, and spoke to them words of encouragement. To those who were in need He would give a cup of cold water, and would quietly place His own meal in their hands. As He relieved their sufferings, the truths He taught were associated with His acts of mercy, and were thus riveted in the memory.

    All this displeased His brothers. Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should be under their dictation. They charged Him with thinking Himself superior to them, and reproved Him for setting Himself above their teachers and the priests and rulers of the people. Often they threatened and tried to intimidate Him; but He passed on, making the Scriptures His guide.

    Jesus loved His brothers, and treated them with unfailing kindness; but they were jealous of Him, and manifested the most decided unbelief and contempt. They could not understand His conduct. Great contradictions presented themselves in Jesus. He was the divine Son of God, and yet a helpless child. The Creator of the worlds, the earth was His possession, and yet poverty marked His life experience at every step. He possessed a dignity and individuality wholly distinct from earthly pride and assumption; He did not strive for worldly greatness, and in even the lowliest position He was content. This angered His brothers. They could not account for His constant serenity under trial and deprivation. They did not know that for our sake He had become poor, that we "through His poverty might be rich." 2 Cor. 8:9. They could understand the mystery of His mission no more than the friends of Job could understand his humiliation and suffering. Jesus was misunderstood by His brothers because He was not like them. His standard was not their standard. In looking to men they had turned away from God, and they had not His power in their lives. The forms of religion which they observed could not transform the character. They paid "tithe of mint and anise and cummin," but omitted "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith." Matt. 23:23. The example of Jesus was to them a continual irritation. He hated but one thing in the world, and that was sin. He could not witness a wrong act without pain which it was impossible to disguise. Between the formalists, whose sanctity of appearance concealed the love of sin, and a character in which zeal for God's glory was always paramount, the contrast was unmistakable. Because the life of Jesus condemned evil, He was opposed, both at home and abroad. His unselfishness and integrity were commented on with a sneer. His forbearance and kindness were termed cowardice.

    Of the bitterness that falls to the lot of humanity, there was no part which Christ did not taste. There were those who tried to cast contempt upon Him because of His birth, and even in His childhood He had to meet their scornful looks and evil whisperings. If He had responded by an impatient word or look, if He had conceded to His brothers by even one wrong act, He would have failed of being a perfect example. Thus He would have failed of carrying out the plan for our redemption. Had He even admitted that there could be an excuse for sin, Satan would have triumphed, and the world would have been lost. This is why the tempter worked to make His life as trying as possible, that He might be led to sin.

    But to every temptation He had one answer, "It is written." He rarely rebuked any wrongdoing of His brothers, but He had a word from God to speak to them. Often He was accused of cowardice for refusing to unite with them in some forbidden act; but His answer was, It is written, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28. There were some who sought His society, feeling at peace in His presence; but many avoided Him, because they were rebuked by His stainless life. Young companions urged Him to do as they did. He was bright and cheerful; they enjoyed His presence, and welcomed His ready suggestions; but they were impatient at His scruples, and pronounced Him narrow and strait-laced. Jesus answered, It is written, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word." "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Ps. 119:9, 11.

    Often He was asked, Why are you bent on being so singular, so different from us all? It is written, He said, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways." Ps. 119:1-3.

    When questioned why He did not join in the frolics of the youth of Nazareth, He said, It is written, "I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy word." Ps. 119:14-16.

    Jesus did not contend for His rights. Often His work was made unnecessarily severe because He was willing and uncomplaining. Yet He did not fail nor become discouraged. He lived above these difficulties, as if in the light of God's countenance. He did not retaliate when roughly used, but bore insult patiently.

    Again and again He was asked, Why do You submit to such despiteful usage, even from Your brothers? It is written, He said, "My son, forget not My law; but let thine heart keep My commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man." Prov. 3:1-4.

    From the time when the parents of Jesus found Him in the temple, His course of action was a mystery to them. He would not enter into controversy, yet His example was a constant lesson. He seemed as one who was set apart. His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and with God. Whenever it was His privilege, He turned aside from the scene of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again, and to give an example of patient toil. The life of Christ was marked with respect and love for His mother. Mary believed in her heart that the holy child born of her was the long-promised Messiah, yet she dared not express her faith. Throughout His life on earth she was a partaker in His sufferings. She witnessed with sorrow the trials brought upon Him in His childhood and youth. By her vindication of what she knew to be right in His conduct, she herself was brought into trying positions. She looked upon the associations of the home, and the mother's tender watchcare over her children, as of vital importance in the formation of character. The sons and daughters of Joseph knew this, and by appealing to her anxiety, they tried to correct the practices of Jesus according to their standard.

    Mary often remonstrated with Jesus, and urged Him to conform to the usages of the rabbis. But He could not be persuaded to change His habits of contemplating the works of God and seeking to alleviate the suffering of men or even of dumb animals. When the priests and teachers required Mary's aid in controlling Jesus, she was greatly troubled; but peace came to her heart as He presented the statements of Scripture upholding His practices.

    At times she wavered between Jesus and His brothers, who did not believe that He was the Sent of God; but evidence was abundant that His was a divine character. She saw Him sacrificing Himself for the good of others. His presence brought a purer atmosphere into the home, and His life was as leaven working amid the elements of society. Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust publicans, the reckless prodigals, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitude. He spoke a word of sympathy here and a word there, as He saw men weary, yet compelled to bear heavy burdens. He shared their burdens, and repeated to them the lessons He had learned from nature, of the love, the kindness, the goodness of God.

    He taught all to look upon themselves as endowed with precious talents, which if rightly employed would secure for them eternal riches. He weeded all vanity from life, and by His own example taught that every moment of time is fraught with eternal results; that it is to be cherished as a treasure, and to be employed for holy purposes. He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. Often He met those who had drifted under Satan's control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory. Those whom He thus helped were convinced that here was One in whom they could trust with perfect confidence. He would not betray the secrets they poured into His sympathizing ear. Jesus was the healer of the body as well as of the soul. He was interested in every phase of suffering that came under His notice, and to every sufferer He brought relief, His kind words having a soothing balm. None could say that He had worked a miracle; but virtue--the healing power of love--went out from Him to the sick and distressed. Thus in an unobtrusive way He worked for the people from His very childhood. And this was why, after His public ministry began, so many heard Him gladly.

    Yet through childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus walked alone. In His purity and His faithfulness, He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him. He carried the awful weight of responsibility for the salvation of men. He knew that unless there was a decided change in the principles and purposes of the human race, all would be lost. This was the burden of His soul, and none could appreciate the weight that rested upon Him. Filled with intense purpose, He carried out the design of His life that He Himself should be the light of men.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:07 am



    Chapter 10
    The Voice in the Wilderness

    From among the faithful in Israel, who had long waited for the coming of the Messiah, the forerunner of Christ arose. The aged priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were "both righteous before God;" and in their quiet and holy lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness of those evil days. To this godly pair was given the promise of a son, who should "go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways."

    Zacharias dwelt in "the hill country of Judea," but he had gone up to Jerusalem to minister for one week in the temple, a service required twice a year from the priests of each course. "And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord."

    He was standing before the golden altar in the holy place of the sanctuary. The cloud of incense with the prayers of Israel was ascending before God. Suddenly he became conscious of a divine presence. An angel of the Lord was "standing on the right side of the altar." The position of the angel was an indication of favor, but Zacharias took no note of this. For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now heaven had sent its messenger to announce that these prayers were about to be answered; but the mercy of God seemed too great for him to credit. He was filled with fear and self-condemnation. But he was greeted with the joyful assurance: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. . . . And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."

    Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised. But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform. What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel's wonderful announcement was, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word"! Luke 1:38.

    The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness.

    To the question of Zacharias, the angel said, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings." Five hundred years before, Gabriel had made known to Daniel the prophetic period which was to extend to the coming of Christ. The knowledge that the end of this period was near had moved Zacharias to pray for the Messiah's advent. Now the very messenger through whom the prophecy was given had come to announce its fulfillment.

    The words of the angel, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God," show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince." Dan. 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." Rev. 1:1. And to John the angel declared, "I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets." Rev. 22:9, R. V. Wonderful thought--that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.

    Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words. He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. "Behold," said the angel, "thou shalt be dumb, . . . until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for the pardon of public and national sins, and for the coming of the Messiah; but when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not utter a word.

    Coming forth to bless the people, "he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless." They had waited long, and had begun to fear, lest he had been cut down by the judgment of God. But as he came forth from the holy place, his face was shining with the glory of God, "and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple." Zacharias communicated to them what he had seen and heard; and "as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house."

    Soon after the birth of the promised child, the father's tongue was loosed, "and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!" All this tended to call attention to the Messiah's coming, for which John was to prepare the way.
    The Holy Spirit rested upon Zacharias, and in these beautiful words he prophesied of the mission of his son:

    "Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest;
    For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;
    To give knowledge of salvation unto His people
    By the remission of their sins,
    Through the tender mercy of our God,
    Whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
    To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of
    death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."

    "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." Before the birth of John, the angel had said, "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men. In order to accomplish this work, he must have the Lord to work with him. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he heeded the instruction of the angel.

    John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.

    In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven. In childhood and youth the character is most impressible. The power of self-control should then be acquired. By the fireside and at the family board influences are exerted whose results are as enduring as eternity. More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life. Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.

    As a prophet, John was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming.

    In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature's God.

    It was a lonely region where he found his home, in the midst of barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. But it was his choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of Providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness. Dedicated to God as a Nazarite from his birth, he made the vow his own in a life-long consecration. His dress was that of the ancient prophets, a garment of camel's hair, confined by a leather girdle. He ate the "locusts and wild honey" found in the wilderness, and drank the pure water from the hills.

    But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him.

    Although in the wilderness, he was not exempt from temptation. So far as possible, he closed every avenue by which Satan could enter, yet he was still assailed by the tempter. But his spiritual perceptions were clear; he had developed strength and decision of character, and through the aid of the Holy Spirit he was able to detect Satan's approaches, and to resist his power.

    John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.

    Alone in the silent night he read God's promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, gilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as "the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." 2 Sam. 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isa. 40:5. With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,--the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, "the peace giver," who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born.

    Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,--the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging "with equity for the meek of the earth;" "a covert from the tempest; . . . the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" Israel no longer to be termed "Forsaken," nor her land "Desolate," but to be called of the Lord, "My Delight," and her land "Beulah." Isa. 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision.

    He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings.

    John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,--

    "To remember His holy covenant; . . .
    That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies
    Might serve Him without fear,
    In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life."

    He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin. God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"

    When the ministry of John began, the nation was in a state of excitement and discontent verging on revolution. At the removal of Archelaus, Judea had been brought directly under the control of Rome. The tyranny and extortion of the Roman governors, and their determined efforts to introduce the heathen symbols and customs, kindled revolt, which had been quenched in the blood of thousands of the bravest of Israel. All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power.

    Amid discord and strife, a voice was heard from the wilderness, a voice startling and stern, yet full of hope: "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." With a new, strange power it moved the people. Prophets had foretold the coming of Christ as an event far in the future; but here was an announcement that it was at hand. John's singular appearance carried the minds of his hearers back to the ancient seers. In his manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah. With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins. His words were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many believed him to be one of the prophets risen from the dead. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.

    John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan. Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah's kingdom.

    Princes and rabbis, soldiers, publicans, and peasants came to hear the prophet. For a time the solemn warning from God alarmed them. Many were brought to repentance, and received baptism. Persons of all ranks submitted to the requirement of the Baptist, in order to participate in the kingdom he announced.

    Many of the scribes and Pharisees came confessing their sins, and asking for baptism. They had exalted themselves as better than other men, and had led the people to entertain a high opinion of their piety; now the guilty secrets of their lives were unveiled. But John was impressed by the Holy Spirit that many of these men had no real conviction of sin. They were timeservers. As friends of the prophet, they hoped to find favor with the coming Prince. And by receiving baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher, they thought to strengthen their influence with the people.

    John met them with the scathing inquiry, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favor to Israel: "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jer. 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31:33, 34.

    To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessings.

    These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin.

    John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been digged. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service. Their hearts might now appear as lifeless as the stones of the desert, but His Spirit could quicken them to do His will, and receive the fulfillment of His promise. "And now also," said the prophet, "the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people.

    Under his heart-searching words, his hearers were convicted. They came to him with the inquiry, "What shall we do then?" He answered, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." And he warned the publicans against injustice, and the soldiers against violence.

    All who became the subjects of Christ's kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen. Otherwise they are like the chaff that is given to the fire.

    "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance," said John; "but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Matt. 3:11, R. V., margin. The prophet Isaiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." The word of the Lord to Israel was, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." Isa. 4:4; 1:25. To sin, wherever found, "our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them. Jacob, after his night of wrestling with the Angel, exclaimed, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Gen. 32: 30.

    Jacob had been guilty of a great sin in his conduct toward Esau; but he had repented. His transgression had been forgiven, and his sin purged; therefore he could endure the revelation of God's presence. But wherever men came before God while willfully cherishing evil, they were destroyed. At the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed "with the Spirit of His mouth," and destroyed "with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thess. 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked. In the time of John the Baptist, Christ was about to appear as the revealer of the character of God. His very presence would make manifest to men their sin. Only as they were willing to be purged from sin could they enter into fellowship with Him. Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence.

    Thus the Baptist declared God's message to Israel. Many gave heed to his instruction. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope that he might be the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come.

    Chapter 11

    Tidings of the wilderness prophet and his wonderful announcement, spread throughout Galilee. The message reached the peasants in the remotest hill towns, and the fisher folk by the sea, and in these simple, earnest hearts found its truest response. In Nazareth it was told in the carpenter shop that had been Joseph's, and One recognized the call. His time had come. Turning from His daily toil, He bade farewell to His mother, and followed in the steps of His countrymen who were flocking to the Jordan.

    Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins, and closely related by the circumstances of their birth; yet they had had no direct acquaintance with each other. The life of Jesus had been spent at Nazareth in Galilee; that of John, in the wilderness of Judea. Amid widely different surroundings they had lived in seclusion, and had had no communication with each other. Providence had ordered this. No occasion was to be given for the charge that they had conspired together to support each other's claims.

    John was acquainted with the events that had marked the birth of Jesus. He had heard of the visit to Jerusalem in His boyhood, and of what had passed in the school of the rabbis. He knew of His sinless life, and believed Him to be the Messiah; but of this he had no positive assurance. The fact that Jesus had for so many years remained in obscurity, giving no special evidence of His mission, gave occasion for doubt as to whether He could be the Promised One. The Baptist, however, waited in faith, believing that in God's own time all would be made plain. It had been revealed to him that the Messiah would seek baptism at his hands, and that a sign of His divine character should then be given. Thus he would be enabled to present Him to the people.

    When Jesus came to be baptized, John recognized in Him a purity of character that he had never before perceived in any man. The very atmosphere of His presence was holy and awe-inspiring. Among the multitudes that had gathered about him at the Jordan, John had heard dark tales of crime, and had met souls bowed down with the burden of myriad sins; but never had he come in contact with a human being from whom there breathed an influence so divine. All this was in harmony with what had been revealed to John regarding the Messiah. Yet he shrank from granting the request of Jesus. How could he, a sinner, baptize the Sinless One? And why should He who needed no repentance submit to a rite that was a confession of guilt to be washed away?

    As Jesus asked for baptism, John drew back, exclaiming, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" With firm yet gentle authority, Jesus answered, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." And John, yielding, led the Saviour down into the Jordan, and buried Him beneath the water. "And straightway coming up out of the water," Jesus "saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him."

    Jesus did not receive baptism as a confession of guilt on His own account. He identified Himself with sinners, taking the steps that we are to take, and doing the work that we must do. His life of suffering and patient endurance after His baptism was also an example to us.

    Upon coming up out of the water, Jesus bowed in prayer on the river bank. A new and important era was opening before Him. He was now, upon a wider stage, entering on the conflict of His life. Though He was the Prince of Peace, His coming must be as the unsheathing of a sword. The kingdom He had come to establish was the opposite of that which the Jews desired. He who was the foundation of the ritual and economy of Israel would be looked upon as its enemy and destroyer. He who had proclaimed the law upon Sinai would be condemned as a transgressor. He who had come to break the power of Satan would be denounced as Beelzebub. No one upon earth had understood Him, and during His ministry He must still walk alone. Throughout His life His mother and His brothers did not comprehend His mission. Even His disciples did not understand Him. He had dwelt in eternal light, as one with God, but His life on earth must be spent in solitude.

    As one with us, He must bear the burden of our guilt and woe. The Sinless One must feel the shame of sin. The peace lover must dwell with strife, the truth must abide with falsehood, purity with vileness. Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit.

    Alone He must tread the path; alone He must bear the burden. Upon Him who had laid off His glory and accepted the weakness of humanity the redemption of the world must rest. He saw and felt it all, but His purpose remained steadfast. Upon His arm depended the salvation of the fallen race, and He reached out His hand to grasp the hand of Omnipotent Love.

    The Saviour's glance seems to penetrate heaven as He pours out His soul in prayer. Well He knows how sin has hardened the hearts of men, and how difficult it will be for them to discern His mission, and accept the gift of salvation. He pleads with the Father for power to overcome their unbelief, to break the fetters with which Satan has enthralled them, and in their behalf to conquer the destroyer. He asks for the witness that God accepts humanity in the person of His Son. Never before have the angels listened to such a prayer. They are eager to bear to their loved Commander a message of assurance and comfort. But no; the Father Himself will answer the petition of His Son. Direct from the throne issue the beams of His glory. The heavens are opened, and upon the Saviour's head descends a dovelike form of purest light,--fit emblem of Him, the meek and lowly One.

    Of the vast throng at the Jordan, few except John discerned the heavenly vision. Yet the solemnity of the divine Presence rested upon the assembly. The people stood silently gazing upon Christ. His form was bathed in the light that ever surrounds the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. From the open heavens a voice was heard saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

    These words of confirmation were given to inspire faith in those who witnessed the scene, and to strengthen the Saviour for His mission. Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal.

    John had been deeply moved as he saw Jesus bowed as a suppliant, pleading with tears for the approval of the Father. As the glory of God encircled Him, and the voice from heaven was heard, John recognized the token which God had promised. He knew that it was the world's Redeemer whom he had baptized. The Holy Spirit rested upon him, and with outstretched hand pointing to Jesus, he cried, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

    None among the hearers, and not even the speaker himself, discerned the import of these words, "the Lamb of God." Upon Mount Moriah, Abraham had heard the question of his son, "My father, . . . where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" The father answered, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering." Gen. 22:7, 8. And in the ram divinely provided in the place of Isaac, Abraham saw a symbol of Him who was to die for the sins of men. The Holy Spirit through Isaiah, taking up the illustration, prophesied of the Saviour, "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter," "and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:7, 6); but the people of Israel had not understood the lesson. Many of them regarded the sacrificial offerings much as the heathen looked upon their sacrifices,--as gifts by which they themselves might propitiate the Deity. God desired to teach them that from His own love comes the gift which reconciles them to Himself. And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," embraces humanity.

    God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Eph. 1:6. The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us. It tells us of the power of prayer,--how the human voice may reach the ear of God, and our petitions find acceptance in the courts of heaven. By sin, earth was cut off from heaven, and alienated from its communion; but Jesus has connected it again with the sphere of glory. His love has encircled man, and reached the highest heaven. The light which fell from the open portals upon the head of our Saviour will fall upon us as we pray for help to resist temptation. The voice which spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.

    "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2. Our Redeemer has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father. All may have a home in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare. "These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; . . . behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." Rev. 3:7, 8.

    Chapter 12

    And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." The words of Mark are still more significant. He says, "Immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts." "And in those days He did eat nothing."

    When Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted, He was led by the Spirit of God. He did not invite temptation. He went to the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness, and he thought this the best time to approach Him.

    Mighty issues for the world were at stake in the conflict between the Prince of light and the leader of the kingdom of darkness. After tempting man to sin, Satan claimed the earth as his, and styled himself the prince of this world. Having conformed to his own nature the father and mother of our race, he thought to establish here his empire. He declared that men had chosen him as their sovereign. Through his control of men, he held dominion over the world. Christ had come to disprove Satan's claim. As the Son of man, Christ would stand loyal to God. Thus it would be shown that Satan had not gained complete control of the human race, and that his claim to the world was false. All who desired deliverance from his power would be set free. The dominion that Adam had lost through sin would be recovered.

    Since the announcement to the serpent in Eden, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed" (Gen. 3:15), Satan had known that he did not hold absolute sway over the world. There was seen in men the working of a power that withstood his dominion. With intense interest he watched the sacrifices offered by Adam and his sons. In these ceremonies he discerned a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. He set himself to intercept this communion. He misrepresented God, and misinterpreted the rites that pointed to the Saviour. Men were led to fear God as one who delighted in their destruction. The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered only to appease His wrath. Satan excited the evil passions of men, in order to fasten his rule upon them. When God's written word was given, Satan studied the prophecies of the Saviour's advent. From generation to generation he worked to blind the people to these prophecies, that they might reject Christ at His coming.

    At the birth of Jesus, Satan knew that One had come with a divine commission to dispute his dominion. He trembled at the angel's message attesting the authority of the newborn King. Satan well knew the position that Christ had held in heaven as the Beloved of the Father. That the Son of God should come to this earth as a man filled him with amazement and with apprehension. He could not fathom the mystery of this great sacrifice. His selfish soul could not understand such love for the deceived race. The glory and peace of heaven, and the joy of communion with God, were but dimly comprehended by men; but they were well known to Lucifer, the covering cherub. Since he had lost heaven, he was determined to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he would do by causing them to undervalue heavenly things, and to set the heart upon things of earth. Not without hindrance was the Commander of heaven to win the souls of men to His kingdom. From the time when He was a babe in Bethlehem, He was continually assailed by the evil one. The image of God was manifest in Christ, and in the councils of Satan it was determined that He should be overcome. No human being had come into the world and escaped the power of the deceiver. The forces of the confederacy of evil were set upon His track to engage in warfare against Him, and if possible to prevail over Him.

    At the Saviour's baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father's glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam's sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God's abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.

    Satan saw that he must either conquer or be conquered. The issues of the conflict involved too much to be entrusted to his confederate angels. He must personally conduct the warfare. All the energies of apostasy were rallied against the Son of God. Christ was made the mark of every weapon of hell.

    Many look on this conflict between Christ and Satan as having no special bearing on their own life; and for them it has little interest. But within the domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults of Satan. The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find it so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon Him in as much greater degree as His character is superior to ours. With the terrible weight of the sins of the world upon Him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads to presumption. These were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve, and that so readily overcome us. Satan had pointed to Adam's sin as proof that God's law was unjust, and could not be obeyed. In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam's failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.

    Many claim that it was impossible for Christ to be overcome by temptation. Then He could not have been placed in Adam's position; He could not have gained the victory that Adam failed to gain. If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.

    With Christ, as with the holy pair in Eden, appetite was the ground of the first great temptation. Just where the ruin began, the work of our redemption must begin. As by the indulgence of appetite Adam fell, so by the denial of appetite Christ must overcome. "And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

    From the time of Adam to that of Christ, self-indulgence had increased the power of the appetites and passions, until they had almost unlimited control. Thus men had become debased and diseased, and of themselves it was impossible for them to overcome. In man's behalf, Christ conquered by enduring the severest test. For our sake He exercised a self-control stronger than hunger or death. And in this first victory were involved other issues that enter into all our conflicts with the powers of darkness.

    When Jesus entered the wilderness, He was shut in by the Father's glory. Absorbed in communion with God, He was lifted above human weakness. But the glory departed, and He was left to battle with temptation. It was pressing upon Him every moment. His human nature shrank from the conflict that awaited Him. For forty days He fasted and prayed. Weak and emaciated from hunger, worn and haggard with mental agony, "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." Isa. 52:14. Now was Satan's opportunity. Now he supposed that he could overcome Christ.

    There came to the Saviour, as if in answer to His prayers, one in the guise of an angel from heaven. He claimed to have a commission from God to declare that Christ's fast was at an end. As God had sent an angel to stay the hand of Abraham from offering Isaac, so, satisfied with Christ's willingness to enter the bloodstained path, the Father had sent an angel to deliver Him; this was the message brought to Jesus. The Saviour was faint from hunger, He was craving for food, when Satan came suddenly upon Him. Pointing to the stones which strewed the desert, and which had the appearance of loaves, the tempter said, "If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."

    Though he appears as an angel of light, these first words betray his character. "If Thou be the Son of God." Here is the insinuation of distrust. Should Jesus do what Satan suggests, it would be an acceptance of the doubt. The tempter plans to overthrow Christ by the same means that were so successful with the human race in the beginning. How artfully had Satan approached Eve in Eden! "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Gen 3:1. Thus far the tempter's words were truth; but in his manner of speaking them there was a disguised contempt for the words of God. There was a covert negative, a doubt of the divine truthfulness. Satan sought to instill into the mind of Eve the thought that God would not do as He had said; that the withholding of such beautiful fruit was a contradiction of His love and compassion for man. So now the tempter seeks to inspire Christ with his own sentiments. "If Thou be the Son of God." The words rankle with bitterness in his mind. In the tones of his voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His own Son thus? Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beasts, without food, without companions, without comfort? He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. "If Thou be the Son of God," show Thy power by relieving Thyself of this pressing hunger. Command that this stone be made bread.

    The words from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17), were still sounding in the ears of Satan. But he was determined to make Christ disbelieve this testimony. The word of God was Christ's assurance of His divine mission. He had come to live as a man among men, and it was the word that declared His connection with heaven. It was Satan's purpose to cause Him to doubt that word. If Christ's confidence in God could be shaken, Satan knew that the victory in the whole controversy would be his. He could overcome Jesus. He hoped that under the force of despondency and extreme hunger, Christ would lose faith in His Father, and work a miracle in His own behalf. Had He done this, the plan of salvation would have been broken.

    When Satan and the Son of God first met in conflict, Christ was the commander of the heavenly hosts; and Satan, the leader of revolt in heaven, was cast out. Now their condition is apparently reversed, and Satan makes the most of his supposed advantage. One of the most powerful of the angels, he says, has been banished from heaven. The appearance of Jesus indicates that He is that fallen angel, forsaken by God, and deserted by man. A divine being would be able to sustain his claim by working a miracle; "if Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." Such an act of creative power, urges the tempter, would be conclusive evidence of divinity. It would bring the controversy to an end.

    Not without a struggle could Jesus listen in silence to the arch-deceiver. But the Son of God was not to prove His divinity to Satan, or to explain the reason of His humiliation. By conceding to the demands of the rebel, nothing for the good of man or the glory of God would be gained. Had Christ complied with the suggestion of the enemy, Satan would still have said, Show me a sign that I may believe you to be the Son of God. Evidence would have been worthless to break the power of rebellion in his heart. And Christ was not to exercise divine power for His own benefit. He had come to bear trial as we must do, leaving us an example of faith and submission. Neither here nor at any subsequent time in His earthly life did He work a miracle in His own behalf. His wonderful works were all for the good of others. Though Jesus recognized Satan from the beginning, He was not provoked to enter into controversy with him. Strengthened with the memory of the voice from heaven, He rested in His Father's love. He would not parley with temptation. Jesus met Satan with the words of Scripture. "It is written," He said. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the word of God. Satan demanded of Christ a miracle as a sign of His divinity. But that which is greater than all miracles, a firm reliance upon a "Thus saith the Lord," was a sign that could not be controverted. So long as Christ held to this position, the tempter could gain no advantage.

    It was in the time of greatest weakness that Christ was assailed by the fiercest temptations. Thus Satan thought to prevail. By this policy he had gained the victory over men. When strength failed, and the will power weakened, and faith ceased to repose in God, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the right were overcome. Moses was wearied with the forty years' wandering of Israel, when for the moment his faith let go its hold upon infinite power. He failed just upon the borders of the Promised Land. So with Elijah, who had stood undaunted before King Ahab, who had faced the whole nation of Israel, with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal at their head. After that terrible day upon Carmel, when the false prophets had been slain, and the people had declared their allegiance to God, Elijah fled for his life before the threats of the idolatrous Jezebel. Thus Satan has taken advantage of the weakness of humanity. And he will still work in the same way. Whenever one is encompassed with clouds, perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, Satan is at hand to tempt and annoy. He attacks our weak points of character. He seeks to shake our confidence in God, who suffers such a condition of things to exist. We are tempted to distrust God, to question His love. Often the tempter comes to us as he came to Christ, arraying before us our weakness and infirmities. He hopes to discourage the soul, and to break our hold on God. Then he is sure of his prey.

    If we would meet him as Jesus did, we should escape many a defeat. By parleying with the enemy, we give him an advantage. When Christ said to the tempter, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," He repeated the words that, more than fourteen hundred years before, He had spoken to Israel: "The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness. . . . And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." Deut. 8:2, 3. In the wilderness, when all means of sustenance failed, God sent His people manna from heaven; and a sufficient and constant supply was given. This provision was to teach them that while they trusted in God and walked in His ways He would not forsake them. The Saviour now practiced the lesson He had taught to Israel. By the word of God succor had been given to the Hebrew host, and by the same word it would be given to Jesus. He awaited God's time to bring relief. He was in the wilderness in obedience to God, and He would not obtain food by following the suggestions of Satan. In the presence of the witnessing universe, He testified that it is a less calamity to suffer whatever may befall than to depart in any manner from the will of God.

    "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Often the follower of Christ is brought where he cannot serve God and carry forward his worldly enterprises. Perhaps it appears that obedience to some plain requirement of God will cut off his means of support. Satan would make him believe that he must sacrifice his conscientious convictions. But the only thing in our world upon which we can rely is the word of God. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33. Even in this life it is not for our good to depart from the will of our Father in heaven. When we learn the power of His word, we shall not follow the suggestions of Satan in order to obtain food or to save our lives. Our only questions will be, What is God's command? and what His promise? Knowing these, we shall obey the one, and trust the other.

    In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Rev. 13:11-17. But to the obedient is given the promise, "He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." Isa. 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed. "They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied." Ps. 37:19. To that time of distress the prophet Habakkuk looked forward, and his words express the faith of the church: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Hab. 3:17,18. Of all the lessons to be learned from our Lord's first great temptation none is more important than that bearing upon the control of the appetites and passions. In all ages, temptations appealing to the physical nature have been most effectual in corrupting and degrading mankind. Through intemperance, Satan works to destroy the mental and moral powers that God gave to man as a priceless endowment. Thus it becomes impossible for men to appreciate things of eternal worth. Through sensual indulgence, Satan seeks to blot from the soul every trace of likeness to God.

    The uncontrolled indulgence and consequent disease and degradation that existed at Christ's first advent will again exist, with intensity of evil, before His second coming. Christ declares that the condition of the world will be as in the days before the Flood, and as in Sodom and Gomorrah. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart will be evil continually. Upon the very verge of that fearful time we are now living, and to us should come home the lesson of the Saviour's fast. Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.

    In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. It is not His will that we should be placed at a disadvantage in the conflict with Satan. He would not have us intimidated and discouraged by the assaults of the serpent. "Be of good cheer," He says; "I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Let him who is struggling against the power of appetite look to the Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. See Him in His agony upon the cross, as He exclaimed, "I thirst." He has endured all that it is possible for us to bear. His victory is ours.

    Jesus rested upon the wisdom and strength of His heavenly Father. He declares, "The Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: . . . and I know that I shall not be ashamed. . . . Behold, the Lord God will help Me." Pointing to His own example, He says to us, "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, . . . that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Isa. 50:7-10.

    "The prince of this world cometh," said Jesus, "and hath nothing in Me." John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan's sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ's humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.

    And how this is accomplished, Christ has shown us. By what means did He overcome in the conflict with Satan? By the word of God. Only by the word could He resist temptation. "It is written," He said. And unto us are given "exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4. Every promise in God's word is ours. "By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" are we to live. When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the word. All its strength is yours. "Thy word," says the psalmist, "have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." "By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer." Ps. 119:11; 17:4.



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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:13 am



    Chapter 13
    The Victory

    Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written,--

    "He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee:
    And in their hands they shall bear Thee up,
    Lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone."

    Satan now supposes that he has met Jesus on His own ground. The wily foe himself presents words that proceeded from the mouth of God. He still appears as an angel of light, and he makes it evident that he is acquainted with the Scriptures, and understands the import of what is written. As Jesus before used the word of God to sustain His faith, the tempter now uses it to countenance his deception. He claims that he has been only testing the fidelity of Jesus, and he now commends His steadfastness. As the Saviour has manifested trust in God, Satan urges Him to give still another evidence of His faith.

    But again the temptation is prefaced with the insinuation of distrust, "If Thou be the Son of God." Christ was tempted to answer the "if;" but He refrained from the slightest acceptance of the doubt. He would not imperil His life in order to give evidence to Satan.

    The tempter thought to take advantage of Christ's humanity, and urge Him to presumption. But while Satan can solicit, he cannot compel to sin. He said to Jesus, "Cast Thyself down," knowing that he could not cast Him down; for God would interpose to deliver Him. Nor could Satan force Jesus to cast Himself down. Unless Christ should consent to temptation, He could not be overcome. Not all the power of earth or hell could force Him in the slightest degree to depart from the will of His Father.

    The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us. But every sinful desire we cherish affords him a foothold. Every point in which we fail of meeting the divine standard is an open door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure or defeat on our part gives occasion for him to reproach Christ.

    When Satan quoted the promise, "He shall give His angels charge over Thee," he omitted the words, "to keep Thee in all Thy ways;" that is, in all the ways of God's choosing. Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. While manifesting perfect trust in His Father, He would not place Himself, unbidden, in a position that would necessitate the interposition of His Father to save Him from death. He would not force Providence to come to His rescue, and thus fail of giving man an example of trust and submission.

    Jesus declared to Satan, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." These words were spoken by Moses to the children of Israel when they thirsted in the desert, and demanded that Moses should give them water, exclaiming, "Is the Lord among us, or not?" Exodus 17:7. God had wrought marvelously for them; yet in trouble they doubted Him, and demanded evidence that He was with them. In their unbelief they sought to put Him to the test. And Satan was urging Christ to do the same thing. God had already testified that Jesus was His Son; and now to ask for proof that He was the Son of God would be putting God's word to the test,--tempting Him. And the same would be true of asking for that which God had not promised. It would manifest distrust, and be really proving, or tempting, Him. We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfill His word, but because He will fulfill it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Heb. 11:6. But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan's counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God's promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.

    Often when Satan has failed of exciting distrust, he succeeds in leading us to presumption. If he can cause us to place ourselves unnecessarily in the way of temptation, he knows that the victory is his. God will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience; but to depart from it is to venture on Satan's ground. There we are sure to fall. The Saviour has bidden us, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Mark 14:38. Meditation and prayer would keep us from rushing unbidden into the way of danger, and thus we should be saved from many a defeat.

    Yet we should not lose courage when assailed by temptation. Often when placed in a trying situation we doubt that the Spirit of God has been leading us. But it was the Spirit's leading that brought Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. When God brings us into trial, He has a purpose to accomplish for our good. Jesus did not presume on God's promises by going unbidden into temptation, neither did He give up to despondency when temptation came upon Him. Nor should we. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." He says, "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: and call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." 1 Cor. 10:13; Ps. 50:14, 15. Jesus was victor in the second temptation, and now Satan manifests himself in his true character. But he does not appear as a hideous monster, with cloven feet and bat's wings. He is a mighty angel, though fallen. He avows himself the leader of rebellion and the god of this world.

    Placing Jesus upon a high mountain, Satan caused the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, to pass in panoramic view before Him. The sunlight lay on templed cities, marble palaces, fertile fields, and fruit-laden vineyards. The traces of evil were hidden. The eyes of Jesus, so lately greeted by gloom and desolation, now gazed upon a scene of unsurpassed loveliness and prosperity. Then the tempter's voice was heard: "All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine."

    Christ's mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him was a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict, and an ignominious death. He must bear the sins of the whole world. He must endure separation from His Father's love. Now the tempter offered to yield up the power he had usurped. Christ might deliver Himself from the dreadful future by acknowledging the supremacy of Satan. But to do this was to yield the victory in the great controversy. It was in seeking to exalt himself above the Son of God that Satan had sinned in heaven. Should he prevail now, it would be the triumph of rebellion.

    When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan's dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God's, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan's hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." Dan. 4:17. Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits. When the tempter offered to Christ the kingdom and glory of the world, he was proposing that Christ should yield up the real kingship of the world, and hold dominion subject to Satan. This was the same dominion upon which the hopes of the Jews were set. They desired the kingdom of this world. If Christ had consented to offer them such a kingdom, they would gladly have received Him. But the curse of sin, with all its woe, rested upon it. Christ declared to the tempter, "Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."

    By the one who had revolted in heaven the kingdoms of this world were offered Christ, to buy His homage to the principles of evil; but He would not be bought; He had come to establish a kingdom of righteousness, and He would not abandon His purpose. With the same temptation Satan approaches men, and here he has better success than with Christ. To men he offers the kingdom of this world on condition that they will acknowledge his supremacy. He requires that they sacrifice integrity, disregard conscience, indulge selfishness. Christ bids them seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; but Satan walks by their side and says: Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve me. I hold your welfare in my hands. I can give you riches, pleasures, honor, and happiness. Hearken to my counsel. Do not allow yourselves to be carried away with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice. I will prepare the way before you. Thus multitudes are deceived. They consent to live for the service of self, and Satan is satisfied. While he allures them with the hope of worldly dominion, he gains dominion over the soul. But he offers that which is not his to bestow, and which is soon to be wrested from him. In return he beguiles them of their title to the inheritance of the sons of God.

    Satan had questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God. In his summary dismissal he had proof that he could not gainsay. Divinity flashed through suffering humanity. Satan had no power to resist the command. Writhing with humiliation and rage, he was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world's Redeemer. Christ's victory was as complete as had been the failure of Adam.

    So we may resist temptation, and force Satan to depart from us. Jesus gained the victory through submission and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." James 4:7, 8. We cannot save ourselves from the tempter's power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but "the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Prov. 18:10. Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name. After the foe had departed, Jesus fell exhausted to the earth, with the pallor of death upon His face. The angels of heaven had watched the conflict, beholding their loved Commander as He passed through inexpressible suffering to make a way of escape for us. He had endured the test, greater than we shall ever be called to endure. The angels now ministered to the Son of God as He lay like one dying. He was strengthened with food, comforted with the message of His Father's love and the assurance that all heaven triumphed in His victory. Warming to life again, His great heart goes out in sympathy for man, and He goes forth to complete the work He has begun; to rest not until the foe is vanquished, and our fallen race redeemed.

    Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss. Then we shall cast our crowns at His feet, and raise the song, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." Rev. 5:12.

    Chapter 14

    John the Baptist was now preaching and baptizing at Bethabara, beyond Jordan. It was not far from this spot that God had stayed the river in its flow until Israel had passed over. A little distance from here the stronghold of Jericho had been overthrown by the armies of heaven. The memory of these events was at this time revived, and gave a thrilling interest to the Baptist's message. Would not He who had wrought so wonderfully in ages past again manifest His power for Israel's deliverance? Such was the thought stirring the hearts of the people who daily thronged the banks of the Jordan.

    The preaching of John had taken so deep a hold on the nation as to demand the attention of the religious authorities. The danger of insurrection caused every popular gathering to be looked upon with suspicion by the Romans, and whatever pointed toward an uprising of the people excited the fears of the Jewish rulers. John had not recognized the authority of the Sanhedrin by seeking their sanction for his work; and he had reproved rulers and people, Pharisees and Sadducees alike. Yet the people followed him eagerly. The interest in his work seemed to be continually increasing. Though he had not deferred to them, the Sanhedrin accounted that, as a public teacher, he was under their jurisdiction. This body was made up of members chosen from the priesthood, and from the chief rulers and teachers of the nation. The high priest was usually the president. All its members were to be men advanced in years, though not aged; men of learning, not only versed in Jewish religion and history, but in general knowledge. They were to be without physical blemish, and must be married men, and fathers, as being more likely than others to be humane and considerate. Their place of meeting was an apartment connected with the temple at Jerusalem. In the days of Jewish independence the Sanhedrin was the supreme court of the nation, possessing secular as well as ecclesiastical authority. Though now subordinated by the Roman governors, it still exercised a strong influence in civil as well as religious matters.

    The Sanhedrin could not well defer an investigation of John's work. There were some who recalled the revelation made to Zacharias in the temple, and the father's prophecy, that had pointed to his child as the Messiah's herald. In the tumults and changes of thirty years, these things had in a great measure been lost sight of. They were now called to mind by the excitement concerning the ministry of John.

    It was long since Israel had had a prophet, long since such a reformation as was now in progress had been witnessed. The demand for confession of sin seemed new and startling. Many among the leaders would not go to hear John's appeals and denunciations, lest they should be led to disclose the secrets of their own lives. Yet his preaching was a direct announcement of the Messiah. It was well known that the seventy weeks of Daniel's prophecy, covering the Messiah's advent, were nearly ended; and all were eager to share in that era of national glory which was then expected. Such was the popular enthusiasm that the Sanhedrin would soon be forced either to sanction or to reject John's work. Already their power over the people was waning. It was becoming a serious question how to maintain their position. In the hope of arriving at some conclusion, they dispatched to the Jordan a deputation of priests and Levites to confer with the new teacher.

    A multitude were gathered, listening to his words, when the delegates approached. With an air of authority designed to impress the people and to command the deference of the prophet the haughty rabbis came. With a movement of respect, almost of fear, the crowd opened to let them pass. The great men, in their rich robes, in the pride of rank and power, stood before the prophet of the wilderness. "Who art thou?" they demanded.

    Knowing what was in their thoughts, John answered, "I am not the Christ."

    "What then? Art thou Elias?"

    "I am not."

    "Art thou that prophet?"

    "No."

    "Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?"

    "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias."

    The scripture to which John referred is that beautiful prophecy of Isaiah: "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak
    ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her appointed time is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . . The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isa. 40:1-5, margin.

    Anciently, when a king journeyed through the less frequented parts of his dominion, a company of men was sent ahead of the royal chariot to level the steep places and to fill up the hollows, that the king might travel in safety and without hindrance. This custom is employed by the prophet to illustrate the work of the gospel. "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low." When the Spirit of God, with its marvelous awakening power, touches the soul, it abases human pride. Worldly pleasure and position and power are seen to be worthless. "Imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" are cast down; every thought is brought into captivity "to the obedience of Christ." 2 Cor. 10:5. Then humility and self-sacrificing love, so little valued among men, are exalted as alone of worth. This is the work of the gospel, of which John's message was a part.

    The rabbis continued their questioning: "Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?" The words "that prophet" had reference to Moses. The Jews had been inclined to the belief that Moses would be raised from the dead, and taken to heaven. They did not know that he had already been raised. When the Baptist began his ministry, many thought that he might be the prophet Moses risen from the dead, for he seemed to have a thorough knowledge of the prophecies and of the history of Israel.

    It was believed also that before the Messiah's advent, Elijah would personally appear. This expectation John met in his denial; but his words had a deeper meaning. Jesus afterward said, referring to John, "If ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, which is to come." Matt. 11:14, R. V. John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to do such a work as Elijah did. If the Jews had received him, it would have been accomplished for them. But they did not receive his message. To them he was not Elijah. He could not fulfill for them the mission he came to accomplish.

    Many of those gathered at the Jordan had been present at the baptism of Jesus; but the sign then given had been manifest to but few among them. During the preceding months of the Baptist's ministry, many had refused to heed the call to repentance. Thus they had hardened their hearts and darkened their understanding. When Heaven bore testimony to Jesus at His baptism, they perceived it not. Eyes that had never been turned in faith to Him that is invisible beheld not the revelation of the glory of God; ears that had never listened to His voice heard not the words of witness. So it is now. Often the presence of Christ and the ministering angels is manifest in the assemblies of the people, and yet there are many who know it not. They discern nothing unusual. But to some the Saviour's presence is revealed. Peace and joy animate their hearts. They are comforted, encouraged, and blessed.

    The deputies from Jerusalem had demanded of John, "Why baptizest thou?" and they were awaiting his answer. Suddenly, as his glance swept over the throng, his eye kindled, his face was lighted up, his whole being was stirred with deep emotion. With outstretched hands he cried, "I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth One whom ye know not, even He that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose." John 1:27, R. V., margin.

    The message was distinct and unequivocal, to be carried back to the Sanhedrin. The words of John could apply to no other than the long-promised One. The Messiah was among them! In amazement priests and rulers gazed about them, hoping to discover Him of whom John had spoken. But He was not distinguishable among the throng.

    When at the baptism of Jesus, John pointed to Him as the Lamb of God, a new light was shed upon the Messiah's work. The prophet's mind was directed to the words of Isaiah, "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter." Isa. 53:7. During the weeks that followed, John with new interest studied the prophecies and the teaching of the sacrificial service. He did not distinguish clearly the two phases of Christ's work,--as a suffering sacrifice and a conquering king,--but he saw that His coming had a deeper significance than priests or people had discerned. When he beheld Jesus among the throng on His return from the desert, he confidently looked for Him to give the people some sign of His true character. Almost impatiently he waited to hear the Saviour declare His mission; but no word was spoken, no sign given. Jesus did not respond to the Baptist's announcement of Him, but mingled with the disciples of John, giving no outward evidence of His special work, and taking no measures to bring Himself to notice. The next day John sees Jesus coming. With the light of the glory of God resting upon him, the prophet stretches out his hands, declaring, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is become before me. . . . And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. . . . I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize in water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." John 1:29-34, R. V., margin.

    Was this the Christ? With awe and wonder the people looked upon the One just declared to be the Son of God. They had been deeply moved by the words of John. He had spoken to them in the name of God. They had listened to him day after day as he reproved their sins, and daily the conviction that he was sent of Heaven had strengthened. But who was this One greater than John the Baptist? In His dress and bearing there was nothing that betokened rank. He was apparently a simple personage, clad like themselves in the humble garments of the poor.

    There were in the throng some who at Christ's baptism had beheld the divine glory, and had heard the voice of God. But since that time the Saviour's appearance had greatly changed. At His baptism they had seen His countenance transfigured in the light of heaven; now, pale, worn, and emaciated, He had been recognized only by the prophet John.

    But as the people looked upon Him, they saw a face where divine compassion was blended with conscious power. Every glance of the eye, every feature of the countenance, was marked with humility, and expressive of unutterable love. He seemed to be surrounded by an atmosphere of spiritual influence. While His manners were gentle and unassuming, He impressed men with a sense of power that was hidden, yet could not be wholly concealed. Was this the One for whom Israel had so long waited? Jesus came in poverty and humiliation, that He might be our example as well as our Redeemer. If He had appeared with kingly pomp, how could He have taught humility? how could He have presented such cutting truths as in the Sermon on the Mount? Where would have been the hope of the lowly in life had Jesus come to dwell as a king among men?

    To the multitude, however, it seemed impossible that the One designated by John should be associated with their lofty anticipations. Thus many were disappointed, and greatly perplexed.

    The words which the priests and rabbis so much desired to hear, that Jesus would now restore the kingdom to Israel, had not been spoken. For such a king they had been waiting and watching; such a king they were ready to receive. But one who sought to establish in their hearts a kingdom of righteousness and peace, they would not accept.

    On the following day, while two disciples were standing near, John again saw Jesus among the people. Again the face of the prophet was lighted up with glory from the Unseen, as he cried, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The words thrilled the hearts of the disciples. They did not fully understand them. What meant the name that John had given Him,--"the Lamb of God"? John himself had not explained it.

    Leaving John, they went to seek Jesus. One of the two was Andrew, the brother of Simon; the other was John the evangelist. These were Christ's first disciples. Moved by an irresistible impulse, they followed Jesus,--anxious to speak with Him, yet awed and silent, lost in the overwhelming significance of the thought, "Is this the Messiah?"

    Jesus knew that the disciples were following Him. They were the first fruits of His ministry, and there was joy in the heart of the divine Teacher as these souls responded to His grace. Yet turning, He asked only, "What seek ye?" He would leave them free to turn back or to speak of their desire.

    Of one purpose only were they conscious. One presence filled their thought. They exclaimed, "Rabbi, . . . where dwellest Thou?" In a brief interview by the wayside they could not receive that for which they longed. They desired to be alone with Jesus, to sit at His feet, and hear His words.

    "He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day."

    If John and Andrew had possessed the unbelieving spirit of the priests and rulers, they would not have been found as learners at the feet of Jesus. They would have come to Him as critics, to judge His words. Many thus close the door to the most precious opportunities. But not so did these first disciples. They had responded to the Holy Spirit's call in the preaching of John the Baptist. Now they recognized the voice of the heavenly Teacher. To them the words of Jesus were full of freshness and truth and beauty. A divine illumination was shed upon the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures. The many-sided themes of truth stood out in new light.

    It is contrition and faith and love that enable the soul to receive wisdom from heaven. Faith working by love is the key of knowledge, and everyone that loveth "knoweth God." 1 John 4:7.

    The disciple John was a man of earnest and deep affection, ardent, yet contemplative. He had begun to discern the glory of Christ,--not the worldly pomp and power for which he had been taught to hope, but "the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14. He was absorbed in contemplation of the wondrous theme.

    Andrew sought to impart the joy that filled his heart. Going in search of his brother Simon, he cried, "We have found the Messias." Simon waited for no second bidding. He also had heard the preaching of John the Baptist, and he hastened to the Saviour. The eye of Christ rested upon him, reading his character and his life history. His impulsive nature, his loving, sympathetic heart, his ambition and self-confidence, the history of his fall, his repentance, his labors, and his martyr death,--the Saviour read it all, and He said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."

    "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me." Philip obeyed the command, and straightway he also became a worker for Christ.

    Philip called Nathanael. The latter had been among the throng when the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God. As Nathanael looked upon Jesus, he was disappointed. Could this man, who bore the marks of toil and poverty, be the Messiah? Yet Nathanael could not decide to reject Jesus, for the message of John had brought conviction to his heart.

    At the time when Philip called him, Nathanael had withdrawn to a quiet grove to meditate upon the announcement of John and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He prayed that if the one announced by John was the deliverer, it might be made known to him, and the Holy Spirit rested upon him with assurance that God had visited His people and raised up a horn of salvation for them. Philip knew that his friend was searching the prophecies, and while Nathanael was praying under a fig tree, Philip discovered his retreat. They had often prayed together in this secluded spot hidden by the foliage.

    The message, "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write," seemed to Nathanael a direct answer to his prayer. But Philip had yet a trembling faith. He added doubtfully, "Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Again prejudice arose in Nathanael's heart. He exclaimed, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

    Philip entered into no controversy. He said, "Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" In surprise Nathanael exclaimed, "Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee."

    It was enough. The divine Spirit that had borne witness to Nathanael in his solitary prayer under the fig tree now spoke to him in the words of Jesus. Though in doubt, and yielding somewhat to prejudice, Nathanael had come to Christ with an honest desire for truth, and now his desire was met. His faith went beyond that of the one who had brought him to Jesus. He answered and said, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel."

    If Nathanael had trusted to the rabbis for guidance, he would never have found Jesus. It was by seeing and judging for himself that he became a disciple. So in the case of many today whom prejudice withholds from good. How different would be the result if they would "come and see"! While they trust to the guidance of human authority, none will come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Like Nathanael, we need to study God's word for ourselves, and pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. He who saw Nathanael under the fig tree will see us in the secret place of prayer. Angels from the world of light are near to those who in humility seek for divine guidance.

    With the calling of John and Andrew and Simon, of Philip and Nathanael, began the foundation of the Christian church. John directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these, Andrew, found his brother, and called him to the Saviour. Philip was then called, and he went in search of Nathanael. These examples should teach us the importance of personal effort, of making direct appeals to our kindred, friends, and neighbors. There are those who for a lifetime have professed to be acquainted with Christ, yet who have never made a personal effort to bring even one soul to the Saviour. They leave all the work for the minister. He may be well qualified for his calling, but he cannot do that which God has left for the members of the church.

    There are many who need the ministration of loving Christian hearts. Many have gone down to ruin who might have been saved if their neighbors, common men and women, had put forth personal effort for them. Many are waiting to be personally addressed. In the very family, the neighborhood, the town, where we live, there is work for us to do as missionaries for Christ. If we are Christians, this work will be our delight. No sooner is one converted than there is born within him a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus. The saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart.

    All who are consecrated to God will be channels of light. God makes them His agents to communicate to others the riches of His grace. His promise is, "I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezek. 34:26.

    Philip said to Nathanael, "Come and see." He did not ask him to accept another's testimony, but to behold Christ for himself. Now that Jesus has ascended to heaven, His disciples are His representatives among men, and one of the most effective ways of winning souls to Him is in exemplifying His character in our daily life. Our influence upon others depends not so much upon what we say as upon what we are. Men may combat and defy our logic, they may resist our appeals; but a life of disinterested love is an argument they cannot gainsay. A consistent life, characterized by the meekness of Christ, is a power in the world. The teaching of Christ was the expression of an inwrought conviction and experience, and those who learn of Him become teachers after the divine order. The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality. When one has received the truth in the love of it, he will make this manifest in the persuasion of his manner and the tones of his voice. He makes known that which he himself has heard, seen, and handled of the word of life, that others may have fellowship with him through the knowledge of Christ. His testimony, from lips touched with a live coal from off the altar, is truth to the receptive heart, and works sanctification upon the character.

    And he who seeks to give light to others will himself be blessed. "There shall be showers of blessing." "He that watereth shall be watered also himself." Prov. 11:25. God could have reached His object in saving sinners without our aid; but in order for us to develop a character like Christ's, we must share in His work. In order to enter into His joy,--the joy of seeing souls redeemed by His sacrifice,--we must participate in His labors for their redemption.

    Nathanael's first expression of his faith, so full and earnest and sincere, fell like music on the ears of Jesus. And He "answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these." The Saviour looked forward with joy to His work in preaching good tidings to the meek, binding up the brokenhearted, and proclaiming liberty to the captives of Satan. At thought of the precious blessings He had brought to men, Jesus added, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

    Here Christ virtually says, On the bank of the Jordan the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove upon Me. That scene was but a token that I am the Son of God. If you believe on Me as such, your faith shall be quickened. You shall see that the heavens are opened, and are never to be closed. I have opened them to you. The angels of God are ascending, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and descending, bringing blessing and hope, courage, help, and life, to the children of men. The angels of God are ever passing from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels. And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us. In taking upon Himself humanity, our Saviour unites His interests with those of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, while through His divinity He grasps the throne of God. And thus Christ is the medium of communication of men with God, and of God with men.

    Chapter 15

    Jesus did not begin His ministry by some great work before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. At a household gathering in a little Galilean village His power was put forth to add to the joy of a wedding feast. Thus He showed His sympathy with men, and His desire to minister to their happiness. In the wilderness of temptation He Himself had drunk the cup of woe. He came forth to give to men the cup of blessing, by His benediction to hallow the relations of human life.

    From the Jordan, Jesus had returned to Galilee. There was to be a marriage at Cana, a little town not far from Nazareth; the parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary; and Jesus, knowing of this family gathering, went to Cana, and with His disciples was invited to the feast.

    Again He met His mother, from whom He had for some time been separated. Mary had heard of the manifestation at the Jordan, at His baptism. The tidings had been carried to Nazareth, and had brought to her mind afresh the scenes that for so many years had been hidden in her heart. In common with all Israel, Mary was deeply stirred by the mission of John the Baptist. Well she remembered the prophecy given at his birth. Now his connection with Jesus kindled her hopes anew. But tidings had reached her also of the mysterious departure of Jesus to the wilderness, and she was oppressed with troubled forebodings. From the day when she heard the angel's announcement in the home at Nazareth Mary had treasured every evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. His sweet, unselfish life assured her that He could be no other than the Sent of God. Yet there came to her also doubts and disappointments, and she had longed for the time when His glory should be revealed. Death had separated her from Joseph, who had shared her knowledge of the mystery of the birth of Jesus. Now there was no one to whom she could confide her hopes and fears. The past two months had been very sorrowful. She had been parted from Jesus, in whose sympathy she found comfort; she pondered upon the words of Simeon, "A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also" (Luke 2:35); she recalled the three days of agony when she thought Jesus lost to her forever; and with an anxious heart she awaited His return.

    At the marriage feast she meets Him, the same tender, dutiful son. Yet He is not the same. His countenance is changed. It bears the traces of His conflict in the wilderness, and a new expression of dignity and power gives evidence of His heavenly mission. With Him is a group of young men, whose eyes follow Him with reverence, and who call Him Master. These companions recount to Mary what they have seen and heard at the baptism and elsewhere. They conclude by declaring, "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write." John 1:45.

    As the guests assemble, many seem to be preoccupied with some topic of absorbing interest. A suppressed excitement pervades the company. Little groups converse together in eager but quiet tones, and wondering glances are turned upon the Son of Mary. As Mary had heard the disciples' testimony in regard to Jesus, she had been gladdened with the assurance that her long-cherished hopes were not in vain. Yet she would have been more than human if there had not mingled with this holy joy a trace of the fond mother's natural pride. As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the Honored of God. She hoped there might be opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them.

    It was the custom of the times for marriage festivities to continue several days. On this occasion, before the feast ended it was found that the supply of wine had failed. This discovery caused much perplexity and regret. It was unusual to dispense with wine on festive occasions, and its absence would seem to indicate a want of hospitality. As a relative of the parties, Mary had assisted in the arrangements for the feast, and she now spoke to Jesus, saying, "They have no wine." These words were a suggestion that He might supply their need. But Jesus answered, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." This answer, abrupt as it seems to us, expressed no coldness or discourtesy. The Saviour's form of address to His mother was in accordance with Oriental custom. It was used toward persons to whom it was desired to show respect. Every act of Christ's earthly life was in harmony with the precept He Himself had given, "Honor thy father and thy mother." Ex. 20:12. On the cross, in His last act of tenderness toward His mother, Jesus again addressed her in the same way, as He committed her to the care of His best-loved disciple. Both at the marriage feast and upon the cross, the love expressed in tone and look and manner interpreted His words.

    At His visit to the temple in His boyhood, as the mystery of His lifework opened before Him, Christ had said to Mary, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke 2:49. These words struck the keynote of His whole life and ministry. Everything was held in abeyance to His work, the great work of redemption which He had come into the world to accomplish. Now He repeated the lesson. There was danger that Mary would regard her relationship to Jesus as giving her a special claim upon Him, and the right, in some degree, to direct Him in His mission. For thirty years He had been to her a loving and obedient son, and His love was unchanged; but He must now go about His Father's work. As Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world, no earthly ties must hold Him from His mission, or influence His conduct. He must stand free to do the will of God. This lesson is also for us. The claims of God are paramount even to the ties of human relationship. No earthly attraction should turn our feet from the path in which He bids us walk. The only hope of redemption for our fallen race is in Christ; Mary could find salvation only through the Lamb of God. In herself she possessed no merit. Her connection with Jesus placed her in no different spiritual relation to Him from that of any other human soul. This is indicated in the Saviour's words. He makes clear the distinction between His relation to her as the Son of man and as the Son of God. The tie of kinship between them in no way placed her on an equality with Him.

    The words, "Mine hour is not yet come," point to the fact that every act of Christ's life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity. Before He came to earth, the plan lay out before Him, perfect in all its details. But as He walked among men, He was guided, step by step, by the Father's will. He did not hesitate to act at the appointed time. With the same submission He waited until the time had come.

    In saying to Mary that His hour had not yet come, Jesus was replying to her unspoken thought,--to the expectation she cherished in common with her people. She hoped that He would reveal Himself as the Messiah, and take the throne of Israel. But the time had not come. Not as a King, but as "a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief," had Jesus accepted the lot of humanity.

    But though Mary had not a right conception of Christ's mission, she trusted Him implicitly. To this faith Jesus responded. It was to honor Mary's trust, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, that the first miracle was performed. The disciples were to encounter many and great temptations to unbelief. To them the prophecies had made it clear beyond all controversy that Jesus was the Messiah. They looked for the religious leaders to receive Him with confidence even greater than their own. They declared among the people the wonderful works of Christ and their own confidence in His mission, but they were amazed and bitterly disappointed by the unbelief, the deep-seated prejudice, and the enmity to Jesus, displayed by the priests and rabbis. The Saviour's early miracles strengthened the disciples to stand against this opposition. In nowise disconcerted by the words of Jesus, Mary said to those serving at table, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Thus she did what she could to prepare the way for the work of Christ.

    Beside the doorway stood six large stone water jars, and Jesus bade the servants fill these with water. It was done. Then as the wine was wanted for immediate use, He said, "Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast." Instead of the water with which the vessels had been filled, there flowed forth wine. Neither the ruler of the feast nor the guests generally were aware that the supply of wine had failed. Upon tasting that which the servants brought, the ruler found it superior to any he had ever before drunk, and very different from that served at the beginning of the feast. Turning to the bridegroom, he said, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."

    As men set forth the best wine first, then afterward that which is worse, so does the world with its gifts. That which it offers may please the eye and fascinate the senses, but it proves to be unsatisfying. The wine turns to bitterness, the gaiety to gloom. That which was begun with songs and mirth ends in weariness and disgust. But the gifts of Jesus are ever fresh and new. The feast that He provides for the soul never fails to give satisfaction and joy. Each new gift increases the capacity of the receiver to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. He gives grace for grace. There can be no failure of supply. If you abide in Him, the fact that you receive a rich gift today insures the reception of a richer gift tomorrow. The words of Jesus to Nathanael express the law of God's dealing with the children of faith. With every fresh revelation of His love, He declares to the receptive heart, "Believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these." John 1:50.

    The gift of Christ to the marriage feast was a symbol. The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world. The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life-giving virtue. So with the rites which point to the Saviour's death. It is only by the power of Christ, working through faith, that they have efficacy to nourish the soul. The word of Christ supplied ample provision for the feast. So abundant is the provision of His grace to blot out the iniquities of men, and to renew and sustain the soul.

    At the first feast He attended with His disciples, Jesus gave them the cup that symbolized His work for their salvation. At the last supper He gave it again, in the institution of that sacred rite by which His death was to be shown forth "till He come." 1 Cor. 11:26. And the sorrow of the disciples at parting from their Lord was comforted with the promise of reunion, as He said, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." Matt. 26:29.

    The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine "in the cluster," and says, "Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it." Isa. 65:8.

    It was Christ who in the Old Testament gave the warning to Israel, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Prov. 20:1. And He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. And He pronounced a curse upon the man who should put the bottle to his neighbor's lips. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine which He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. Its effect was to bring the taste into harmony with a healthful appetite.

    As the guests at the feast remarked upon the quality of the wine, inquiries were made that drew from the servants an account of the miracle. The company were for a time too much amazed to think of Him who had performed the wonderful work. When at length they looked for Him, it was found that He had withdrawn so quietly as to be unnoticed even by His disciples. The attention of the company was now turned to the disciples. For the first time they had the opportunity of acknowledging their faith in Jesus. They told what they had seen and heard at the Jordan, and there was kindled in many hearts the hope that God had raised up a deliverer for His people. The news of the miracle spread through all that region, and was carried to Jerusalem. With new interest the priests and elders searched the prophecies pointing to Christ's coming. There was eager desire to learn the mission of this new teacher, who appeared among the people in so unassuming a manner.

    The ministry of Christ was in marked contrast to that of the Jewish elders. Their regard for tradition and formalism had destroyed all real freedom of thought or action. They lived in continual dread of defilement. To avoid contact with the "unclean," they kept aloof, not only from the Gentiles, but from the majority of their own people, seeking neither to benefit them nor to win their friendship. By dwelling constantly on these matters, they had dwarfed their minds and narrowed the orbit of their lives. Their example encouraged egotism and intolerance among all classes of the people.

    Jesus began the work of reformation by coming into close sympathy with humanity. While He showed the greatest reverence for the law of God, He rebuked the pretentious piety of the Pharisees, and tried to free the people from the senseless rules that bound them. He was seeking to break down the barriers which separated the different classes of society, that He might bring men together as children of one family. His attendance at the marriage feast was designed to be a step toward effecting this.

    God had directed John the Baptist to dwell in the wilderness, that he might be shielded from the influence of the priests and rabbis, and be prepared for a special mission. But the austerity and isolation of his life were not an example for the people. John himself had not directed his hearers to forsake their former duties. He bade them give evidence of their repentance by faithfulness to God in the place where He had called them.

    Jesus reproved self-indulgence in all its forms, yet He was social in His nature. He accepted the hospitality of all classes, visiting the homes of the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, and seeking to elevate their thoughts from questions of commonplace life to those things that are spiritual and eternal. He gave no license to dissipation, and no shadow of worldly levity marred His conduct; yet He found pleasure in scenes of innocent happiness, and by His presence sanctioned the social gathering. A Jewish marriage was an impressive occasion, and its joy was not displeasing to the Son of man. By attending this feast, Jesus honored marriage as a divine institution. In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people. To the mind of Jesus the gladness of the wedding festivities pointed forward to the rejoicing of that day when He shall bring home His bride to the Father's house, and the redeemed with the Redeemer shall sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He says, "As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; . . . but thou shalt be called My Delight; . . . for the Lord delighteth in thee." "He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing." Isa. 62:5, 4, margin; Zeph. 3:17. When the vision of heavenly things was granted to John the apostle, he wrote: "I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready." "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." Rev. 19:6, 7, 9.

    Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts. He often repaired to the mountains for solitary prayer, but this was a preparation for His labor among men in active life. From these seasons He came forth to relieve the sick, to instruct the ignorant, and to break the chains from the captives of Satan.

    It was by personal contact and association that Jesus trained His disciples. Sometimes He taught them, sitting among them on the mountainside; sometimes beside the sea, or walking with them by the way, He revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He did not sermonize as men do today. Wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message, He unfolded the truths of the way of salvation. He did not command His disciples to do this or that, but said, "Follow Me." On His journeys through country and cities He took them with Him, that they might see how He taught the people. He linked their interest with His, and they united with Him in the work.

    The example of Christ in linking Himself with the interests of humanity should be followed by all who preach His word, and by all who have received the gospel of His grace. We are not to renounce social communion. We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are. They will seldom seek us of their own accord. Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly, and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board, and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment.

    As disciples of Christ we shall not mingle with the world from a mere love of pleasure, to unite with them in folly. Such associations can result only in harm. We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence. Wherever we go, we are to carry Jesus with us, and to reveal to others the preciousness of our Saviour. But those who try to preserve their religion by hiding it within stone walls lose precious opportunities of doing good. Through the social relations, Christianity comes in contact with the world. Everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.

    We should all become witnesses for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the grace of Christ, must be improved in winning souls to the Saviour. Let the world see that we are not selfishly absorbed in our own interests, but that we desire others to share our blessings and privileges. Let them see that our religion does not make us unsympathetic or exacting. Let all who profess to have found Christ, minister as He did for the benefit of men.

    We should never give to the world the false impression that Christians are a gloomy, unhappy people. If our eyes are fixed on Jesus, we shall see a compassionate Redeemer, and shall catch light from His countenance. Wherever His Spirit reigns, there peace abides. And there will be joy also, for there is a calm, holy trust in God. Christ is pleased with His followers when they show that, though human, they are partakers of the divine nature. They are not statues, but living men and women. Their hearts, refreshed by the dews of divine grace, open and expand to the Sun of Righteousness. The light that shines upon them they reflect upon others in works that are luminous with the love of Christ.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

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    Chapter 16
    In His Temple

    "After this He went down to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and His brethren, and His disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."

    In this journey, Jesus joined one of the large companies that were making their way to the capital. He had not yet publicly announced His mission, and He mingled unnoticed with the throng. Upon these occasions, the coming of the Messiah, to which such prominence had been given by the ministry of John, was often the theme of conversation. The hope of national greatness was dwelt upon with kindling enthusiasm. Jesus knew that this hope was to be disappointed, for it was founded on a misinterpretation of the Scriptures. With deep earnestness He explained the prophecies, and tried to arouse the people to a closer study of God's word.

    The Jewish leaders had instructed the people that at Jerusalem they were to be taught to worship God. Here during the Passover week large numbers assembled, coming from all parts of Palestine, and even from distant lands. The temple courts were filled with a promiscuous throng. Many were unable to bring with them the sacrifices that were to be offered up as typifying the one great Sacrifice. For the convenience of these, animals were bought and sold in the outer court of the temple. Here all classes of people assembled to purchase their offerings. Here all foreign money was exchanged for the coin of the sanctuary. Every Jew was required to pay yearly a half shekel as "a ransom for his soul;" and the money thus collected was used for the support of the temple. Ex. 30:12-16. Besides this, large sums were brought as freewill offerings, to be deposited in the temple treasury. And it was required that all foreign coin should be changed for a coin called the temple shekel, which was accepted for the service of the sanctuary. The money changing gave opportunity for fraud and extortion, and it had grown into a disgraceful traffic, which was a source of revenue to the priests.

    The dealers demanded exorbitant prices for the animals sold, and they shared their profits with the priests and rulers, who thus enriched themselves at the expense of the people. The worshipers had been taught to believe that if they did not offer sacrifice, the blessing of God would not rest on their children or their lands. Thus a high price for the animals could be secured; for after coming so far, the people would not return to their homes without performing the act of devotion for which they had come.

    A great number of sacrifices were offered at the time of the Passover, and the sales at the temple were very large. The consequent confusion indicated a noisy cattle market rather than the sacred temple of God. There could be heard sharp bargaining, the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the cooing of doves, mingled with the chinking of coin and angry disputation. So great was the confusion that the worshipers were disturbed, and the words addressed to the Most High were drowned in the uproar that invaded the temple. The Jews were exceedingly proud of their piety. They rejoiced over their temple, and regarded a word spoken in its disfavor as blasphemy; they were very rigorous in the performance of ceremonies connected with it; but the love of money had overruled their scruples. They were scarcely aware how far they had wandered from the original purpose of the service instituted by God Himself.

    When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, the place was consecrated by His presence. Moses was commanded to put bounds around the mount and sanctify it, and the word of the Lord was heard in warning: "Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: there shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live." Ex. 19:12, 13. Thus was taught the lesson that wherever God manifests His presence, the place is holy. The precincts of God's temple should have been regarded as sacred. But in the strife for gain, all this was lost sight of. The priests and rulers were called to be the representatives of God to the nation; they should have corrected the abuses of the temple court. They should have given to the people an example of integrity and compassion. Instead of studying their own profit, they should have considered the situation and needs of the worshipers, and should have been ready to assist those who were not able to buy the required sacrifices. But this they did not do. Avarice had hardened their hearts. There came to this feast those who were suffering, those who were in want and distress. The blind, the lame, the deaf, were there. Some were brought on beds. Many came who were too poor to purchase the humblest offering for the Lord, too poor even to buy food with which to satisfy their own hunger. These were greatly distressed by the statements of the priests. The priests boasted of their piety; they claimed to be the guardians of the people; but they were without sympathy or compassion. The poor, the sick, the dying, made their vain plea for favor. Their suffering awakened no pity in the hearts of the priests.

    As Jesus came into the temple, He took in the whole scene. He saw the unfair transactions. He saw the distress of the poor, who thought that without shedding of blood there would be no forgiveness for their sins. He saw the outer court of His temple converted into a place of unholy traffic. The sacred enclosure had become one vast exchange.

    Christ saw that something must be done. Numerous ceremonies were enjoined upon the people without the proper instruction as to their import. The worshipers offered their sacrifices without understanding that they were typical of the only perfect Sacrifice. And among them, unrecognized and unhonored, stood the One symbolized by all their service. He had given directions in regard to the offerings. He understood their symbolical value, and He saw that they were now perverted and misunderstood. Spiritual worship was fast disappearing. No link bound the priests and rulers to their God. Christ's work was to establish an altogether different worship.

    With searching glance, Christ takes in the scene before Him as He stands upon the steps of the temple court. With prophetic eye He looks into futurity, and sees not only years, but centuries and ages. He sees how priests and rulers will turn the needy from their right, and forbid that the gospel shall be preached to the poor. He sees how the love of God will be concealed from sinners, and men will make merchandise of His grace. As He beholds the scene, indignation, authority, and power are expressed in His countenance. The attention of the people is attracted to Him. The eyes of those engaged in their unholy traffic are riveted upon His face. They cannot withdraw their gaze. They feel that this Man reads their inmost thoughts, and discovers their hidden motives. Some attempt to conceal their faces, as if their evil deeds were written upon their countenances, to be scanned by those searching eyes. The confusion is hushed. The sound of traffic and bargaining has ceased. The silence becomes painful. A sense of awe overpowers the assembly. It is as if they were arraigned before the tribunal of God to answer for their deeds. Looking upon Christ, they behold divinity flash through the garb of humanity. The Majesty of heaven stands as the Judge will stand at the last day,--not now encircled with the glory that will then attend Him, but with the same power to read the soul. His eye sweeps over the multitude, taking in every individual. His form seems to rise above them in commanding dignity, and a divine light illuminates His countenance. He speaks, and His clear, ringing voice--the same that upon Mount Sinai proclaimed the law that priests and rulers are transgressing--is heard echoing through the arches of the temple: "Take these things hence; make not My Father's house an house of merchandise."

    Slowly descending the steps, and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the money-changers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill-gotten gain. Jesus does not smite them with the whip of cords, but in His hand that simple scourge seems terrible as a flaming sword. Officers of the temple, speculating priests, brokers and cattle traders, with their sheep and oxen, rush from the place, with the one thought of escaping from the condemnation of His presence.

    A panic sweeps over the multitude, who feel the overshadowing of His divinity. Cries of terror escape from hundreds of blanched lips. Even the disciples tremble. They are awestruck by the words and manner of Jesus, so unlike His usual demeanor. They remember that it is written of Him, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up." Ps. 69:9. Soon the tumultuous throng with their merchandise are far removed from the temple of the Lord. The courts are free from unholy traffic, and a deep silence and solemnity settles upon the scene of confusion.

    The presence of the Lord, that of old sanctified the mount, has now made sacred the temple reared in His honor. In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple. God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,--from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But 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, and purge them as gold and silver." Mal. 3:1-3.

    "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:16, 17. No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." Rev. 3:20. He will come, not for one day merely; for He says, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; . . . and they shall be My people." "He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." 2 Cor. 6:16; Micah 7:19. His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21, 22. Overpowered with terror, the priests and rulers had fled from the temple court, and from the searching glance that read their hearts. In their flight they met others on their way to the temple, and bade them turn back, telling them what they had seen and heard. Christ looked upon the fleeing men with yearning pity for their fear, and their ignorance of what constituted true worship. In this scene He saw symbolized the dispersion of the whole Jewish nation for their wickedness and impenitence.

    And why did the priests flee from the temple? Why did they not stand their ground? He who commanded them to go was a carpenter's son, a poor Galilean, without earthly rank or power. Why did they not resist Him? Why did they leave the gain so ill acquired, and flee at the command of One whose outward appearance was so humble?

    Christ spoke with the authority of a king, and in His appearance, and in the tones of His voice, there was that which they had no power to resist. At the word of command they realized, as they had never realized before, their true position as hypocrites and robbers. When divinity flashed through humanity, not only did they see indignation on Christ's countenance; they realized the import of His words. They felt as if before the throne of the eternal Judge, with their sentence passed on them for time and for eternity. For a time they were convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction?

    Repent they would not. They knew that Christ's sympathy for the poor had been aroused. They knew that they had been guilty of extortion in their dealings with the people. Because Christ discerned their thoughts they hated Him. His public rebuke was humiliating to their pride, and they were jealous of His growing influence with the people. They determined to challenge Him as to the power by which He had driven them forth, and who gave Him this power.

    Slowly and thoughtfully, but with hate in their hearts, they returned to the temple. But what a change had taken place during their absence!

    When they fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed His love and sympathy. With tears in His eyes, He said to the trembling ones around Him: Fear not; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. For this cause came I into the world. The people pressed into Christ's presence with urgent, pitiful appeals: Master, bless me. His ear heard every cry. With pity exceeding that of a tender mother He bent over the suffering little ones. All received attention. Everyone was healed of whatever disease he had. The dumb opened their lips in praise; the blind beheld the face of their Restorer. The hearts of the sufferers were made glad.

    As the priests and temple officials witnessed this great work, what a revelation to them were the sounds that fell on their ears! The people were relating the story of the pain they had suffered, of their disappointed hopes, of painful days and sleepless nights. When the last spark of hope seemed to be dead, Christ had healed them. The burden was so heavy, one said; but I have found a helper. He is the Christ of God, and I will devote my life to His service. Parents said to their children, He has saved your life; lift up your voice and praise Him. The voices of children and youth, fathers and mothers, friends and spectators, blended in thanksgiving and praise. Hope and gladness filled their hearts. Peace came to their minds. They were restored soul and body, and they returned home, proclaiming everywhere the matchless love of Jesus.

    At the crucifixion of Christ, those who had thus been healed did not join with the rabble throng in crying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." Their sympathies were with Jesus; for they had felt His great sympathy and wonderful power. They knew Him to be their Saviour; for He had given them health of body and soul. They listened to the preaching of the apostles, and the entrance of God's word into their hearts gave them understanding. They became agents of God's mercy, and instruments of His salvation.

    The crowd that had fled from the temple court after a time slowly drifted back. They had partially recovered from the panic that had seized them, but their faces expressed irresolution and timidity. They looked with amazement on the works of Jesus, and were convicted that in Him the prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled. The sin of the desecration of the temple rested, in a great degree, upon the priests. It was by their arrangement that the court had been turned into a market place. The people were comparatively innocent. They were impressed by the divine authority of Jesus; but with them the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount. They regarded Christ's mission as an innovation, and questioned His right to interfere with what was permitted by the authorities of the temple. They were offended because the traffic had been interrupted, and they stifled the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Above all others the priests and rulers should have seen in Jesus the anointed of the Lord; for in their hands were the sacred scrolls that described His mission, and they knew that the cleansing of the temple was a manifestation of more than human power. Much as they hated Jesus, they could not free themselves from the thought that He might be a prophet sent by God to restore the sanctity of the temple. With a deference born of this fear, they went to Him with the inquiry, "What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?"

    Jesus had shown them a sign. In flashing light into their hearts, and in doing before them the works which the Messiah was to do, He had given convincing evidence of His character. Now when they asked for a sign, He answered them by a parable, showing that He read their malice, and saw to what lengths it would lead them. "Destroy this temple," He said, "and in three days I will raise it up."

    In these words His meaning was twofold. He referred not only to the destruction of the Jewish temple and worship, but to His own death,--the destruction of the temple of His body. This the Jews were already plotting. As the priests and rulers returned to the temple, they had proposed to kill Jesus, and thus rid themselves of the troubler. Yet when He set before them their purpose, they did not understand Him. They took His words as applying only to the temple at Jerusalem, and with indignation exclaimed, "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?" Now they felt that Jesus had justified their unbelief, and they were confirmed in their rejection of Him.

    Christ did not design that His words should be understood by the unbelieving Jews, nor even by His disciples at this time. He knew that they would be misconstrued by His enemies, and would be turned against Him. At His trial they would be brought as an accusation, and on Calvary they would be flung at Him as a taunt. But to explain them now would give His disciples a knowledge of His sufferings, and bring upon them sorrow which as yet they were not able to bear. And an explanation would prematurely disclose to the Jews the result of their prejudice and unbelief. Already they had entered upon a path which they would steadily pursue until He should be led as a lamb to the slaughter. It was for the sake of those who should believe on Him that these words of Christ were spoken. He knew that they would be repeated. Being spoken at the Passover, they would come to the ears of thousands, and be carried to all parts of the world. After He had risen from the dead, their meaning would be made plain. To many they would be conclusive evidence of His divinity.

    Because of their spiritual darkness, even the disciples of Jesus often failed of comprehending His lessons. But many of these lessons were made plain to them by subsequent events. When He walked no more with them, His words were a stay to their hearts.

    As referring to the temple at Jerusalem, the Saviour's words, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," had a deeper meaning than the hearers perceived. Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour's death to redeem the world. There would be no efficacy in these offerings when the great event toward which they had pointed for ages was consummated.

    Since the whole ritual economy was symbolical of Christ, it had no value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected all that gave significance to the temple and its services. Its sacredness had departed. It was doomed to destruction. From that day sacrificial offerings and the service connected with them were meaningless. Like the offering of Cain, they did not express faith in the Saviour. In putting Christ to death, the Jews virtually destroyed their temple. When Christ was crucified, the inner veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, signifying that the great final sacrifice had been made, and that the system of sacrificial offerings was forever at an end.

    "In three days I will raise it up." In the Saviour's death the powers of darkness seemed to prevail, and they exulted in their victory. But from the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Jesus came forth a conqueror. "Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them." Col.2:15. By virtue of His death and resurrection He became the minister of the "true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Heb. 8:2. Men reared the Jewish tabernacle; men builded the Jewish temple; but the sanctuary above, of which the earthly was a type, was built by no human architect. "Behold the Man whose name is The Branch; . . . He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne." Zech. 6:12, 13. The sacrificial service that had pointed to Christ passed away; but the eyes of men were turned to the true sacrifice for the sins of the world. The earthly priesthood ceased; but we look to Jesus, the minister of the new covenant, and "to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." "The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: . . . but Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, . . . by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Heb. 12:24; 9:8-12.

    "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:25. Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great high priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples were to suffer no loss thereby. They would realize no break in their communion, and no diminution of power because of the Saviour's absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt. 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church.

    "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, . . . Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:14-16.

    Chapter 17

    Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council. With others, he had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus. Though rich, learned, and honored, he had been strangely attracted by the humble Nazarene. The lessons that had fallen from the Saviour's lips had greatly impressed him, and he desired to learn more of these wonderful truths.

    Christ's exercise of authority in the cleansing of the temple had roused the determined hatred of the priests and rulers. They feared the power of this stranger. Such boldness on the part of an obscure Galilean was not to be tolerated. They were bent on putting an end to His work. But not all were agreed in this purpose. There were some that feared to oppose One who was so evidently moved upon by the Spirit of God. They remembered how prophets had been slain for rebuking the sins of the leaders in Israel. They knew that the bondage of the Jews to a heathen nation was the result of their stubbornness in rejecting reproofs from God. They feared that in plotting against Jesus the priests and rulers were following in the steps of their fathers, and would bring fresh calamities upon the nation. Nicodemus shared these feelings. In a council of the Sanhedrin, when the course to be pursued toward Jesus was considered, Nicodemus advised caution and moderation. He urged that if Jesus was really invested with authority from God, it would be perilous to reject His warnings. The priests dared not disregard this counsel, and for the time they took no open measures against the Saviour. Since hearing Jesus, Nicodemus had anxiously studied the prophecies relating to the Messiah; and the more he searched, the stronger was his conviction that this was the One who was to come. With many others in Israel he had been greatly distressed by the profanation of the temple He was a witness of the scene when Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers; he beheld the wonderful manifestation of divine power; he saw the Saviour receiving the poor and healing the sick; he saw their looks of joy, and heard their words of praise; and he could not doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was the Sent of God.

    He greatly desired an interview with Jesus, but shrank from seeking Him openly. It would be too humiliating for a ruler of the Jews to acknowledge himself in sympathy with a teacher as yet so little known. And should his visit come to the knowledge of the Sanhedrin, it would draw upon him their scorn and denunciation. He resolved upon a secret interview, excusing this on the ground that if he were to go openly, others might follow his example. Learning by special inquiry the Saviour's place of retirement in the Mount of Olives, he waited until the city was hushed in slumber, and then sought Him.

    In the presence of Christ, Nicodemus felt a strange timidity, which he endeavored to conceal under an air of composure and dignity. "Rabbi," he said, "we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him." By speaking of Christ's rare gifts as a teacher, and also of His wonderful power to perform miracles, he hoped to pave the way for his interview. His words were designed to express and to invite confidence; but they really expressed unbelief. He did not acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, but only a teacher sent from God.

    Instead of recognizing this salutation, Jesus bent His eyes upon the speaker, as if reading his very soul. In His infinite wisdom He saw before Him a seeker after truth. He knew the object of this visit, and with a desire to deepen the conviction already resting upon His listener's mind, He came directly to the point, saying solemnly, yet kindly, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3, margin.

    Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.

    Nicodemus had heard the preaching of John the Baptist concerning repentance and baptism, and pointing the people to One who should baptize with the Holy Spirit. He himself had felt that there was a lack of spirituality among the Jews, that, to a great degree, they were controlled by bigotry and worldly ambition. He had hoped for a better state of things at the Messiah's coming. Yet the heart-searching message of the Baptist had failed to work in him conviction of sin. He was a strict Pharisee, and prided himself on his good works. He was widely esteemed for his benevolence and his liberality in sustaining the temple service, and he felt secure of the favor of God. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state.

    The figure of the new birth, which Jesus had used, was not wholly unfamiliar to Nicodemus. Converts from heathenism to the faith of Israel were often compared to children just born. Therefore he must have perceived that the words of Christ were not to be taken in a literal sense. But by virtue of his birth as an Israelite he regarded himself as sure of a place in the kingdom of God. He felt that he needed no change. Hence his surprise at the Saviour's words. He was irritated by their close application to himself. The pride of the Pharisee was struggling against the honest desire of the seeker after truth. He wondered that Christ should speak to him as He did, not respecting his position as ruler in Israel.

    Surprised out of his self-possession, he answered Christ in words full of irony, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Like many others when cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, he revealed the fact that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is in him nothing that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

    But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand with solemn, quiet dignity, He pressed the truth home with greater assurance, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Nicodemus knew that Christ here referred to water baptism and the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of God. He was convinced that he was in the presence of the One whom John the Baptist had foretold. Jesus continued: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." By nature the heart is evil, and "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Rom. 8:7; Matt. 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.

    Nicodemus was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."

    The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.

    While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.

    It is impossible for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge; yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal experience. Its results reach through the eternal ages.

    While Jesus was speaking, some gleams of truth penetrated the ruler's mind. The softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit impressed his heart. Yet he did not fully understand the Saviour's words. He was not so much impressed by the necessity of the new birth as by the manner of its accomplishment. He said wonderingly, "How can these things be?"

    "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" Jesus asked. Surely one entrusted with the religious instruction of the people should not be ignorant of truths so important. His words conveyed the lesson that instead of feeling irritated over the plain words of truth, Nicodemus should have had a very humble opinion of himself, because of his spiritual ignorance. Yet Christ spoke with such solemn dignity, and both look and tone expressed such earnest love, that Nicodemus was not offended as he realized his humiliating condition.

    But as Jesus explained that His mission on earth was to establish a spiritual instead of a temporal kingdom, His hearer was troubled. Seeing this, Jesus added, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" If Nicodemus could not receive Christ's teaching, illustrating the work of grace upon the heart, how could he comprehend the nature of His glorious heavenly kingdom? Not discerning the nature of Christ's work on earth, he could not understand His work in heaven.

    The Jews whom Jesus had driven from the temple claimed to be children of Abraham, but they fled from the Saviour's presence because they could not endure the glory of God which was manifested in Him. Thus they gave evidence that they were not fitted by the grace of God to participate in the sacred services of the temple. They were zealous to maintain an appearance of holiness, but they neglected holiness of heart. While they were sticklers for the letter of the law, they were constantly violating its spirit. Their great need was that very change which Christ had been explaining to Nicodemus,--a new moral birth, a cleansing from sin, and a renewing of knowledge and holiness. There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." David had prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes." Isa. 64:6; Ps. 51:10; Ezek. 36:26, 27.

    Nicodemus had read these scriptures with a clouded mind; but he now began to comprehend their meaning. He saw that the most rigid obedience to the mere letter of the law as applied to the outward life could entitle no man to enter the kingdom of heaven. In the estimation of men, his life had been just and honorable; but in the presence of Christ he felt that his heart was unclean, and his life unholy.

    Nicodemus was being drawn to Christ. As the Saviour explained to him concerning the new birth, he longed to have this change wrought in himself. By what means could it be accomplished? Jesus answered the unspoken question: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

    Here was ground with which Nicodemus was familiar. The symbol of the uplifted serpent made plain to him the Saviour's mission. When the people of Israel were dying from the sting of the fiery serpents, God directed Moses to make a serpent of brass, and place it on high in the midst of the congregation. Then the word was sounded throughout the encampment that all who would look upon the serpent should live. The people well knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" was to be their Redeemer. Rom. 8:3. Many of the Israelites regarded the sacrificial service as having in itself virtue to set them free from sin. God desired to teach them that it had no more value than that serpent of brass. It was to lead their minds to the Saviour. Whether for the healing of their wounds or the pardon of their sins, they could do nothing for themselves but show their faith in the Gift of God. They were to look and live. Those who had been bitten by the serpents might have delayed to look. They might have questioned how there could be efficacy in that brazen symbol. They might have demanded a scientific explanation. But no explanation was given. They must accept the word of God to them through Moses. To refuse to look was to perish.

    Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    There are thousands today who need to learn the same truth that was taught to Nicodemus by the uplifted serpent. They depend on their obedience to the law of God to commend them to His favor. When they are bidden to look to Jesus, and believe that He saves them solely through His grace, they exclaim, "How can these things be?"

    Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to enter into life in the same way as the chief of sinners. Than Christ, "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.

    How, then, are we to be saved? "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God." Ps. 40:8. In the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation, and His mission to the world. In none of His subsequent discourses did He explain so fully, step by step, the work necessary to be done in the hearts of all who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. At the very beginning of His ministry He opened the truth to a member of the Sanhedrin, to the mind that was most receptive, and to an appointed teacher of the people. But the leaders of Israel did not welcome the light. Nicodemus hid the truth in his heart, and for three years there was little apparent fruit.

    But Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He cast the seed. The words spoken at night to one listener in the lonely mountain were not lost. For a time Nicodemus did not publicly acknowledge Christ, but he watched His life, and pondered His teachings. In the Sanhedrin council he repeatedly thwarted the schemes of the priests to destroy Him. When at last Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." The light from that secret interview illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world's Redeemer. After the Lord's ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world's goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus.

    Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee.

    Chapter 18

    For a time the Baptist's influence over the nation had been greater than that of its rulers, priests, or princes. If he had announced himself as the Messiah, and raised a revolt against Rome, priests and people would have flocked to his standard. Every consideration that appeals to the ambition of the world's conquerors Satan had stood ready to urge upon John the Baptist. But with the evidence before him of his power, he had steadfastly refused the splendid bribe. The attention which was fixed upon him he had directed to Another.

    Now he saw the tide of popularity turning away from himself to the Saviour. Day by day the crowds about him lessened. When Jesus came from Jerusalem to the region about Jordan, the people flocked to hear Him. The number of His disciples increased daily. Many came for baptism, and while Christ Himself did not baptize, He sanctioned the administration of the ordinance by His disciples. Thus He set His seal upon the mission of His forerunner. But the disciples of John looked with jealousy upon the growing popularity of Jesus. They stood ready to criticize His work, and it was not long before they found occasion. A question arose between them and the Jews as to whether baptism availed to cleanse the soul from sin; they maintained that the baptism of Jesus differed essentially from that of John. Soon they were in dispute with Christ's disciples in regard to the form of words proper to use at baptism, and finally as to the right of the latter to baptize at all.

    The disciples of John came to him with their grievances, saying, "Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to Him." Through these words, Satan brought temptation upon John. Though John's mission seemed about to close, it was still possible for him to hinder the work of Christ. If he had sympathized with himself, and expressed grief or disappointment at being superseded, he would have sown the seeds of dissension, would have encouraged envy and jealousy, and would seriously have impeded the progress of the gospel.

    John had by nature the faults and weaknesses common to humanity, but the touch of divine love had transformed him. He dwelt in an atmosphere uncontaminated with selfishness and ambition, and far above the miasma of jealousy. He manifested no sympathy with the dissatisfaction of his disciples, but showed how clearly he understood his relation to the Messiah, and how gladly he welcomed the One for whom he had prepared the way.

    He said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." John represented himself as the friend who acted as a messenger between the betrothed parties, preparing the way for the marriage. When the bridegroom had received his bride, the mission of the friend was fulfilled. He rejoiced in the happiness of those whose union he had promoted. So John had been called to direct the people to Jesus, and it was his joy to witness the success of the Saviour's work. He said, "This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."

    Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of self-abnegation. He sought not to attract men to himself, but to lift their thoughts higher and still higher, until they should rest upon the Lamb of God. He himself had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, that the eyes of all might be turned to the Light of life.

    Those who are true to their calling as messengers for God will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. No rivalry will mar the precious cause of the gospel. They will recognize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. They will lift up Jesus, and with Him humanity will be lifted up. "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isa. 57:15. The soul of the prophet, emptied of self, was filled with the light of the divine. As he witnessed to the Saviour's glory, his words were almost a counterpart of those that Christ Himself had spoken in His interview with Nicodemus. John said, "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all. . . . For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him." Christ could say, "I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." John 5:30. To Him it is declared, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." Heb. 1:9. The Father "giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him."

    So with the followers of Christ. We can receive of heaven's light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We cannot discern the character of God, or accept Christ by faith, unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ. To all who do this the Holy Spirit is given without measure. In Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full." Col. 2:9, 10, R. V.

    The disciples of John had declared that all men were coming to Christ; but with clearer insight, John said, "No man receiveth His witness;" so few were ready to accept Him as the Saviour from sin. But "he that hath received His witness hath set his seal to this, that God is true." John 3:33, R. V. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." No need of disputation as to whether Christ's baptism or John's purified from sin. It is the grace of Christ that gives life to the soul. Apart from Christ, baptism, like any other service, is a worthless form. "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life."

    The success of Christ's work, which the Baptist had received with such joy, was reported also to the authorities at Jerusalem. The priests and rabbis had been jealous of John's influence as they saw the people leaving the synagogues and flocking to the wilderness; but here was One who had still greater power to attract the multitudes. Those leaders in Israel were not willing to say with John, "He must increase, but I must decrease." They arose with a new determination to put an end to the work that was drawing the people away from them.

    Jesus knew that they would spare no effort to create a division between His own disciples and those of John. He knew that the storm was gathering which would sweep away one of the greatest prophets ever given to the world. Wishing to avoid all occasion for misunderstanding or dissension, He quietly ceased His labors, and withdrew to Galilee. We also, while loyal to truth, should try to avoid all that may lead to discord and misapprehension. For whenever these arise, they result in the loss of souls. Whenever circumstances occur that threaten to cause division, we should follow the example of Jesus and of John the Baptist.

    John had been called to lead out as a reformer. Because of this, his disciples were in danger of fixing their attention upon him, feeling that the success of the work depended upon his labors, and losing sight of the fact that he was only an instrument through which God had wrought. But the work of John was not sufficient to lay the foundation of the Christian church. When he had fulfilled his mission, another work was to be done, which his testimony could not accomplish. His disciples did not understand this. When they saw Christ coming in to take the work, they were jealous and dissatisfied. The same dangers still exist. God calls a man to do a certain work; and when he has carried it as far as he is qualified to take it, the Lord brings in others, to carry it still farther. But, like John's disciples, many feel that the success of the work depends on the first laborer. Attention is fixed upon the human instead of the divine, jealousy comes in, and the work of God is marred. The one thus unduly honored is tempted to cherish self-confidence. He does not realize his dependence on God. The people are taught to rely on man for guidance, and thus they fall into error, and are led away from God.

    The work of God is not to bear the image and superscription of man. From time to time the Lord will bring in different agencies, through whom His purpose can best be accomplished. Happy are they who are willing for self to be humbled, saying with John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease."


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

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    Chapter 19
    At Jacob's Well

    On the way to Galilee Jesus passed through Samaria. It was noon when He reached the beautiful Vale of Shechem. At the opening of this valley was Jacob's well. Wearied with His journey, He sat down here to rest while His disciples went to buy food.

    The Jews and the Samaritans were bitter enemies, and as far as possible avoided all dealing with each other. To trade with the Samaritans in case of necessity was indeed counted lawful by the rabbis; but all social intercourse with them was condemned. A Jew would not borrow from a Samaritan, nor receive a kindness, not even a morsel of bread or a cup of water. The disciples, in buying food, were acting in harmony with the custom of their nation. But beyond this they did not go. To ask a favor of the Samaritans, or in any way seek to benefit them, did not enter into the thought of even Christ's disciples.

    As Jesus sat by the well side, He was faint from hunger and thirst. The journey since morning had been long, and now the sun of noontide beat upon Him. His thirst was increased by the thought of the cool, refreshing water so near, yet inaccessible to Him; for He had no rope nor water jar, and the well was deep. The lot of humanity was His, and He waited for someone to come to draw.

    A woman of Samaria approached, and seeming unconscious of His presence, filled her pitcher with water. As she turned to go away, Jesus asked her for a drink. Such a favor no Oriental would withhold. In the East, water was called "the gift of God." To offer a drink to the thirsty traveler was held to be a duty so sacred that the Arabs of the desert would go out of their way in order to perform it. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans prevented the woman from offering a kindness to Jesus; but the Saviour was seeking to find the key to this heart, and with the tact born of divine love, He asked, not offered, a favor. The offer of a kindness might have been rejected; but trust awakens trust. The King of heaven came to this outcast soul, asking a service at her hands. He who made the ocean, who controls the waters of the great deep, who opened the springs and channels of the earth, rested from His weariness at Jacob's well, and was dependent upon a stranger's kindness for even the gift of a drink of water. The woman saw that Jesus was a Jew. In her surprise she forgot to grant His request, but tried to learn the reason for it. "How is it," she said, "that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?"

    Jesus answered, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." You wonder that I should ask of you even so small a favor as a draught of water from the well at our feet. Had you asked of Me, I would have given you to drink of the water of everlasting life.

    The woman had not comprehended the words of Christ, but she felt their solemn import. Her light, bantering manner began to change. Supposing that Jesus spoke of the well before them, she said, "Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast Thou that living water? Art Thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself?" She saw before her only a thirsty traveler, wayworn and dusty. In her mind she compared Him with the honored patriarch Jacob. She cherished the feeling, which is so natural, that no other well could be equal to that provided by the fathers. She was looking backward to the fathers, forward to the Messiah's coming, while the Hope of the fathers, the Messiah Himself, was beside her, and she knew Him not. How many thirsting souls are today close by the living fountain, yet looking far away for the wellsprings of life! "Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) . . . The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: . . . if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:6-9.

    Jesus did not immediately answer the question in regard to Himself, but with solemn earnestness He said, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

    He who seeks to quench his thirst at the fountains of this world will drink only to thirst again. Everywhere men are unsatisfied. They long for something to supply the need of the soul. Only One can meet that want. The need of the world, "The Desire of all nations," is Christ. The divine grace which He alone can impart, is as living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul.

    Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one draft of the water of life would suffice the receiver. He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract him. The constant cry of his heart is, More of Thee. And He who reveals to the soul its necessity is waiting to satisfy its hunger and thirst. Every human resource and dependence will fail. The cisterns will be emptied, the pools become dry; but our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain. We may drink, and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. He in whom Christ dwells has within himself the fountain of blessing,--"a well of water springing up into everlasting life." From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs.

    As Jesus spoke of the living water, the woman looked upon Him with wondering attention. He had aroused her interest, and awakened a desire for the gift of which He spoke. She perceived that it was not the water of Jacob's well to which He referred; for of this she used continually, drinking, and thirsting again. "Sir," she said, "give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."

    Jesus now abruptly turned the conversation. Before this soul could receive the gift He longed to bestow, she must be brought to recognize her sin and her Saviour. He "saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither." She answered, "I have no husband." Thus she hoped to prevent all questioning in that direction. But the Saviour continued, "Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."

    The listener trembled. A mysterious hand was turning the pages of her life history, bringing to view that which she had hoped to keep forever hidden. Who was He that could read the secrets of her life? There came to her thoughts of eternity, of the future Judgment, when all that is now hidden shall be revealed. In its light, conscience was awakened. She could deny nothing; but she tried to evade all mention of a subject so unwelcome. With deep reverence, she said, "Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet." Then, hoping to silence conviction, she turned to points of religious controversy. If this was a prophet, surely He could give her instruction concerning these matters that had been so long disputed.

    Patiently Jesus permitted her to lead the conversation whither she would. Meanwhile He watched for the opportunity of again bringing the truth home to her heart. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain," she said, "and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Just in sight was Mount Gerizim. Its temple was demolished, and only the altar remained. The place of worship had been a subject of contention between the Jews and the Samaritans. Some of the ancestors of the latter people had once belonged to Israel; but because of their sins, the Lord suffered them to be overcome by an idolatrous nation. For many generations they were intermingled with idolaters, whose religion gradually contaminated their own. It is true they held that their idols were only to remind them of the living God, the Ruler of the universe; nevertheless the people were led to reverence their graven images.

    When the temple at Jerusalem was rebuilt in the days of Ezra, the Samaritans wished to join the Jews in its erection. This privilege was refused them, and a bitter animosity sprang up between the two peoples. The Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Here they worshiped in accordance with the Mosaic ritual, though they did not wholly renounce idolatry. But disasters attended them, their temple was destroyed by their enemies, and they seemed to be under a curse; yet they still clung to their traditions and their forms of worship. They would not acknowledge the temple at Jerusalem as the house of God, nor admit that the religion of the Jews was superior to their own.

    In answer to the woman, Jesus said, "Believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." Jesus had shown that He was free from Jewish prejudice against the Samaritans. Now He sought to break down the prejudice of this Samaritan against the Jews. While referring to the fact that the faith of the Samaritans was corrupted with idolatry, He declared that the great truths of redemption had been committed to the Jews, and that from among them the Messiah was to appear. In the Sacred Writings they had a clear presentation of the character of God and the principles of His government. Jesus classed Himself with the Jews as those to whom God had given a knowledge of Himself. He desired to lift the thoughts of His hearer above matters of form and ceremony, and questions of controversy. "The hour cometh," He said, "and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

    Here is declared the same truth that Jesus had revealed to Nicodemus when He said, "Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3, margin. Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited, and such prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit's working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them, and to make them His sons and daughters.

    As the woman talked with Jesus, she was impressed with His words. Never had she heard such sentiments from the priests of her own people or from the Jews. As the past of her life had been spread out before her, she had been made sensible of her great want. She realized her soul thirst, which the waters of the well of Sychar could never satisfy. Nothing that had hitherto come in contact with her had so awakened her to a higher need. Jesus had convinced her that He read the secrets of her life; yet she felt that He was her friend, pitying and loving her. While the very purity of His presence condemned her sin, He had spoken no word of denunciation, but had told her of His grace, that could renew the soul. She began to have some conviction of His character. The question arose in her mind, Might not this be the long-looked-for Messiah? She said to Him, "I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things." Jesus answered, "I that speak unto thee am He." As the woman heard these words, faith sprang up in her heart. She accepted the wonderful announcement from the lips of the divine Teacher.

    This woman was in an appreciative state of mind. She was ready to receive the noblest revelation; for she was interested in the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit had been preparing her mind to receive more light. She had studied the Old Testament promise, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken." Deut. 18:15. She longed to understand this prophecy. Light was already flashing into her mind. The water of life, the spiritual life which Christ gives to every thirsty soul, had begun to spring up in her heart. The Spirit of the Lord was working with her.

    The plain statement made by Christ to this woman could not have been made to the self-righteous Jews. Christ was far more reserved when He spoke to them. That which had been withheld from the Jews, and which the disciples were afterward enjoined to keep secret, was revealed to her. Jesus saw that she would make use of her knowledge in bringing others to share His grace.

    When the disciples returned from their errand, they were surprised to find their Master speaking with the woman. He had not taken the refreshing draught that He desired, and He did not stop to eat the food His disciples had brought. When the woman had gone, the disciples entreated Him to eat. They saw Him silent, absorbed, as in rapt meditation. His face was beaming with light, and they feared to interrupt His communion with heaven. But they knew that He was faint and weary, and thought it their duty to remind Him of His physical necessities. Jesus recognized their loving interest, and He said, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of."

    The disciples wondered who could have brought Him food; but He explained, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to accomplish His work." John 4:34, R. V. As His words to the woman had aroused her conscience, Jesus rejoiced. He saw her drinking of the water of life, and His own hunger and thirst were satisfied. The accomplishment of the mission which He had left heaven to perform strengthened the Saviour for His labor, and lifted Him above the necessities of humanity. To minister to a soul hungering and thirsting for the truth was more grateful to Him than eating or drinking. It was a comfort, a refreshment, to Him. Benevolence was the life of His soul. Our Redeemer thirsts for recognition. He hungers for the sympathy and love of those whom He has purchased with His own blood. He longs with inexpressible desire that they should come to Him and have life. As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning of intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul.

    The woman had been filled with joy as she listened to Christ's words. The wonderful revelation was almost overpowering. Leaving her waterpot, she returned to the city, to carry the message to others. Jesus knew why she had gone. Leaving her waterpot spoke unmistakably as to the effect of His words. It was the earnest desire of her soul to obtain the living water; and she forgot her errand to the well, she forgot the Saviour's thirst, which she had purposed to supply. With heart overflowing with gladness, she hastened on her way, to impart to others the precious light she had received.

    "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did," she said to the men of the city. "Is not this the Christ?" Her words touched their hearts. There was a new expression on her face, a change in her whole appearance. They were interested to see Jesus. "Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him."

    As Jesus still sat at the well side, He looked over the fields of grain that were spread out before Him, their tender green touched by the golden sunlight. Pointing His disciples to the scene, He employed it as a symbol: "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." And as He spoke, He looked on the groups that were coming to the well. It was four months to the time for harvesting the grain, but here was a harvest ready for the reaper.

    "He that reapeth," He said, "receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth." Here Christ points out the sacred service owed to God by those who receive the gospel. They are to be His living agencies. He requires their individual service. And whether we sow or reap, we are working for God. One scatters the seed; another gathers in the harvest; and both the sower and the reaper receive wages. They rejoice together in the reward of their labor. Jesus said to the disciples, "I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors." The Saviour was here looking forward to the great ingathering on the day of Pentecost. The disciples were not to regard this as the result of their own efforts. They were entering into other men's labors. Ever since the fall of Adam Christ had been committing the seed of the word to His chosen servants, to be sown in human hearts. And an unseen agency, even an omnipotent power, had worked silently but effectually to produce the harvest. The dew and rain and sunshine of God's grace had been given, to refresh and nourish the seed of truth. Christ was about to water the seed with His own blood. His disciples were privileged to be laborers together with God. They were coworkers with Christ and with the holy men of old. By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, thousands were to be converted in a day. This was the result of Christ's sowing, the harvest of His work.

    In the words spoken to the woman at the well, good seed had been sown, and how quickly the harvest was received. The Samaritans came and heard Jesus, and believed on Him. Crowding about Him at the well, they plied Him with questions, and eagerly received His explanations of many things that had been obscure to them. As they listened, their perplexity began to clear away. They were like a people in great darkness tracing up a sudden ray of light till they had found the day. But they were not satisfied with this short conference. They were anxious to hear more, and to have their friends also listen to this wonderful teacher. They invited Him to their city, and begged Him to remain with them. For two days He tarried in Samaria, and many more believed on Him.

    The Pharisees despised the simplicity of Jesus. They ignored His miracles, and demanded a sign that He was the Son of God. But the Samaritans asked no sign, and Jesus performed no miracles among them, save in revealing the secrets of her life to the woman at the well. Yet many received Him. In their new joy they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." The Samaritans believed that the Messiah was to come as the Redeemer, not only of the Jews, but of the world. The Holy Spirit through Moses had foretold Him as a prophet sent from God. Through Jacob it had been declared that unto Him should the gathering of the people be; and through Abraham, that in Him all the nations of the earth should be blessed. On these scriptures the people of Samaria based their faith in the Messiah. The fact that the Jews had misinterpreted the later prophets, attributing to the first advent the glory of Christ's second coming, had led the Samaritans to discard all the sacred writings except those given through Moses. But as the Saviour swept away these false interpretations, many accepted the later prophecies and the words of Christ Himself in regard to the kingdom of God.

    Jesus had begun to break down the partition wall between Jew and Gentile, and to preach salvation to the world. Though He was a Jew, He mingled freely with the Samaritans, setting at nought the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept under their roofs, ate with them at their tables,--partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands,--taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy.

    In the temple at Jerusalem a low wall separated the outer court from all other portions of the sacred building. Upon this wall were inscriptions in different languages, stating that none but Jews were allowed to pass this boundary. Had a Gentile presumed to enter the inner enclosure, he would have desecrated the temple, and would have paid the penalty with his life. But Jesus, the originator of the temple and its service, drew the Gentiles to Him by the tie of human sympathy, while His divine grace brought to them the salvation which the Jews rejected.

    The stay of Jesus in Samaria was designed to be a blessing to His disciples, who were still under the influence of Jewish bigotry. They felt that loyalty to their own nation required them to cherish enmity toward the Samaritans. They wondered at the conduct of Jesus. They could not refuse to follow His example, and during the two days in Samaria, fidelity to Him kept their prejudices under control; yet in heart they were unreconciled. They were slow to learn that their contempt and hatred must give place to pity and sympathy. But after the Lord's ascension, His lessons came back to them with a new meaning. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they recalled the Saviour's look, His words, the respect and tenderness of His bearing toward these despised strangers. When Peter went to preach in Samaria, he brought the same spirit into his own work. When John was called to Ephesus and Smyrna, he remembered the experience at Shechem, and was filled with gratitude to the divine Teacher, who, foreseeing the difficulties they must meet, had given them help in His own example. The Saviour is still carrying forward the same work as when He proffered the water of life to the woman of Samaria. Those who call themselves His followers may despise and shun the outcast ones; but no circumstance of birth or nationality, no condition of life, can turn away His love from the children of men. To every soul, however sinful, Jesus says, If thou hadst asked of Me, I would have given thee living water.

    The gospel invitation is not to be narrowed down, and presented only to a select few, who, we suppose, will do us honor if they accept it. The message is to be given to all. Wherever hearts are open to receive the truth, Christ is ready to instruct them. He reveals to them the Father, and the worship acceptable to Him who reads the heart. For such He uses no parables. To them, as to the woman at the well, He says, "I that speak unto thee am He."

    When Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob's well, He had come from Judea, where His ministry had produced little fruit. He had been rejected by the priests and rabbis, and even the people who professed to be His disciples had failed of perceiving His divine character. He was faint and weary; yet He did not neglect the opportunity of speaking to one woman, though she was a stranger, an alien from Israel, and living in open sin.

    The Saviour did not wait for congregations to assemble. Often He began His lessons with only a few gathered about Him, but one by one the passers-by paused to listen, until a multitude heard with wonder and awe the words of God through the heaven-sent Teacher. The worker for Christ should not feel that he cannot speak with the same earnestness to a few hearers as to a larger company. There may be only one to hear the message; but who can tell how far-reaching will be its influence? It seemed a small matter, even to His disciples, for the Saviour to spend His time upon a woman of Samaria. But He reasoned more earnestly and eloquently with her than with kings, councilors, or high priests. The lessons He gave to that woman have been repeated to the earth's remotest bounds. As soon as she had found the Saviour the Samaritan woman brought others to Him. She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples. The disciples saw nothing in Samaria to indicate that it was an encouraging field. Their thoughts were fixed upon a great work to be done in the future. They did not see that right around them was a harvest to be gathered. But through the woman whom they despised, a whole cityful were brought to hear the Saviour. She carried the light at once to her countrymen.

    This woman represents the working of a practical faith in Christ. Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.

    Chapter 20

    The Galileans who returned from the Passover brought back the report of the wonderful works of Jesus. The judgment passed upon His acts by the dignitaries at Jerusalem opened His way in Galilee. Many of the people lamented the abuse of the temple and the greed and arrogance of the priests. They hoped that this Man, who had put the rulers to flight, might be the looked-for Deliverer. Now tidings had come that seemed to confirm their brightest anticipations. It was reported that the prophet had declared Himself to be the Messiah.

    But the people of Nazareth did not believe on Him. For this reason, Jesus did not visit Nazareth on His way to Cana. The Saviour declared to His disciples that a prophet has no honor in his own country. Men estimate character by that which they themselves are capable of appreciating. The narrow and worldly-minded judged of Christ by His humble birth, His lowly garb, and daily toil. They could not appreciate the purity of that spirit upon which was no stain of sin.

    The news of Christ's return to Cana soon spread throughout Galilee, bringing hope to the suffering and distressed. In Capernaum the tidings attracted the attention of a Jewish nobleman who was an officer in the king's service. A son of the officer was suffering from what seemed to be an incurable disease. Physicians had given him up to die; but when the father heard of Jesus, he determined to seek help from Him. The child was very low, and, it was feared, might not live till his return; yet the nobleman felt that he must present the case in person. He hoped that a father's prayers might awaken the sympathy of the Great Physician. On reaching Cana he found a throng surrounding Jesus. With an anxious heart he pressed through to the Saviour's presence. His faith faltered when he saw only a plainly dressed man, dusty and worn with travel. He doubted that this Person could do what he had come to ask of Him; yet he secured an interview with Jesus, told his errand, and besought the Saviour to accompany him to his home. But already his sorrow was known to Jesus. Before the officer had left his home, the Saviour had beheld his affliction. But He knew also that the father had, in his own mind, made conditions concerning his belief in Jesus. Unless his petition should be granted, he would not receive Him as the Messiah. While the officer waited in an agony of suspense, Jesus said, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."

    Notwithstanding all the evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the petitioner had determined to make his belief in Him conditional on the granting of his own request. The Saviour contrasted this questioning unbelief with the simple faith of the Samaritans, who asked for no miracle or sign. His word, the ever-present evidence of His divinity, had a convincing power that reached their hearts. Christ was pained that His own people, to whom the Sacred Oracles had been committed, should fail to hear the voice of God speaking to them in His Son.

    Yet the nobleman had a degree of faith; for he had come to ask what seemed to him the most precious of all blessings. Jesus had a greater gift to bestow. He desired, not only to heal the child, but to make the officer and his household sharers in the blessings of salvation, and to kindle a light in Capernaum, which was so soon to be the field of His own labors. But the nobleman must realize his need before he would desire the grace of Christ. This courtier represented many of his nation. They were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They hoped to receive some special benefit through His power, and they staked their faith on the granting of this temporal favor; but they were ignorant as to their spiritual disease, and saw not their need of divine grace.

    Like a flash of light, the Saviour's words to the nobleman laid bare his heart. He saw that his motives in seeking Jesus were selfish. His vacillating faith appeared to him in its true character. In deep distress he realized that his doubt might cost the life of his son. He knew that he was in the presence of One who could read the thoughts, and to whom all things were possible. In an agony of supplication he cried, "Sir, come down ere my child die." His faith took hold upon Christ as did Jacob, when, wrestling with the Angel, he cried, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me." Gen. 32:26.

    Like Jacob he prevailed. The Saviour cannot withdraw from the soul that clings to Him, pleading its great need. "Go thy way," He said; "thy son liveth." The nobleman left the Saviour's presence with a peace and joy he had never known before. Not only did he believe that his son would be restored, but with strong confidence he trusted in Christ as the Redeemer. At the same hour the watchers beside the dying child in the home at Capernaum beheld a sudden and mysterious change. The shadow of death was lifted from the sufferer's face. The flush of fever gave place to the soft glow of returning health. The dim eyes brightened with intelligence, and strength returned to the feeble, emaciated frame. No signs of his malady lingered about the child. His burning flesh had become soft and moist, and he sank into a quiet sleep. The fever had left him in the very heat of the day. The family were amazed, and great was the rejoicing.

    Cana was not so far from Capernaum but that the officer might have reached his home on the evening after his interview with Jesus; but he did not hasten on the homeward journey. It was not until the next morning that he reached Capernaum. What a homecoming was that! When he went to find Jesus, his heart was heavy with sorrow. The sunshine seemed cruel to him, the songs of the birds a mockery. How different his feelings now! All nature wears a new aspect. He sees with new eyes. As he journeys in the quiet of the early morning, all nature seems to be praising God with him. While he is still some distance from his own dwelling, servants come out to meet him, anxious to relieve the suspense they are sure he must feel. He shows no surprise at the news they bring, but with a depth of interest they cannot know he asks at what hour the child began to mend. They answer, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." At the very moment when the father's faith grasped the assurance, "Thy son liveth," divine love touched the dying child.

    The father hurries on to greet his son. He clasps him to his heart as one restored from the dead, and thanks God again and again for this wonderful restoration. The nobleman longed to know more of Christ. As he afterward heard His teaching, he and all his household became disciples. Their affliction was sanctified to the conversion of the entire family. Tidings of the miracle spread; and in Capernaum, where so many of His mighty works were performed, the way was prepared for Christ's personal ministry.

    He who blessed the nobleman at Capernaum is just as desirous of blessing us. But like the afflicted father, we are often led to seek Jesus by the desire for some earthly good; and upon the granting of our request we rest our confidence in His love. The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask; and He delays the answer to our request that He may show us the evil of our own hearts, and our deep need of His grace. He desires us to renounce the selfishness that leads us to seek Him. Confessing our helplessness and bitter need, we are to trust ourselves wholly to His love.

    The nobleman wanted to see the fulfillment of his prayer before he should believe; but he had to accept the word of Jesus that his request was heard and the blessing granted. This lesson we also have to learn. Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust in His promises. When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us "exceeding abundantly," "according to the riches of His glory," and "the working of His mighty power." Eph. 3:20, 16; 1:19.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

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    Chapter 21
    Bethesda and the Sanhedrin

    "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water."

    At certain seasons the waters of this pool were agitated, and it was commonly believed that this was the result of supernatural power, and that whoever first after the troubling of the pool stepped into the waters, would be healed of whatever disease he had. Hundreds of sufferers visited the place; but so great was the crowd when the water was troubled that they rushed forward, trampling underfoot men, women, and children, weaker than themselves. Many could not get near the pool. Many who had succeeded in reaching it died upon its brink. Shelters had been erected about the place, that the sick might be protected from the heat by day and the chilliness of the night. There were some who spent the night in these porches, creeping to the edge of the pool day after day, in the vain hope of relief.

    Jesus was again at Jerusalem. Walking alone, in apparent meditation and prayer, He came to the pool. He saw the wretched sufferers watching for that which they supposed to be their only chance of cure. He longed to exercise His healing power, and make every sufferer whole. But it was the Sabbath day. Multitudes were going to the temple for worship, and He knew that such an act of healing would so excite the prejudice of the Jews as to cut short His work. But the Saviour saw one case of supreme wretchedness. It was that of a man who had been a helpless cripple for thirty-eight years. His disease was in a great degree the result of his own sin, and was looked upon as a judgment from God. Alone and friendless, feeling that he was shut out from God's mercy, the sufferer had passed long years of misery. At the time when it was expected that the waters would be troubled, those who pitied his helplessness would bear him to the porches. But at the favored moment he had no one to help him in. He had seen the rippling of the water, but had never been able to get farther than the edge of the pool. Others stronger than he would plunge in before him. He could not contend successfully with the selfish, scrambling crowd. His persistent efforts toward the one object, and his anxiety and continual disappointment, were fast wearing away the remnant of his strength.

    The sick man was lying on his mat, and occasionally lifting his head to gaze at the pool, when a tender, compassionate face bent over him, and the words, "Wilt thou be made whole?" arrested his attention. Hope came to his heart. He felt that in some way he was to have help. But the glow of encouragement soon faded. He remembered how often he had tried to reach the pool, and now he had little prospect of living till it should again be troubled. He turned away wearily, saying, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me."

    Jesus does not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply says, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." But the man's faith takes hold upon that word. Every nerve and muscle thrills with new life, and healthful action comes to his crippled limbs. Without question he sets his will to obey the command of Christ, and all his muscles respond to his will. Springing to his feet, he finds himself an active man. Jesus had given him no assurance of divine help. The man might have stopped to doubt, and lost his one chance of healing. But he believed Christ's word, and in acting upon it he received strength.

    Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing. By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. There are many who realize their helplessness, and who long for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God; they are vainly striving to obtain it. In despair they cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Rom. 7:24, margin. Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, "Wilt thou be made whole?" He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is "dead in trespasses." Eph. 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.

    The restored paralytic stooped to take up his bed, which was only a rug and a blanket, and as he straightened himself again with a sense of delight, he looked around for his Deliverer; but Jesus was lost in the crowd. The man feared that he would not know Him if he should see Him again. As he hurried on his way with firm, free step, praising God and rejoicing in his new-found strength, he met several of the Pharisees, and immediately told them of his cure. He was surprised at the coldness with which they listened to his story.

    With lowering brows they interrupted him, asking why he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath day. They sternly reminded him that it was not lawful to bear burdens on the Lord's day. In his joy the man had forgotten that it was the Sabbath; yet he felt no condemnation for obeying the command of One who had such power from God. He answered boldly, "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." They asked who it was that had done this, but he could not tell. These rulers knew well that only One had shown Himself able to perform this miracle; but they wished for direct proof that it was Jesus, that they might condemn Him as a Sabbath-breaker. In their judgment He had not only broken the law in healing the sick man on the Sabbath, but had committed sacrilege in bidding him bear away his bed. The Jews had so perverted the law that they made it a yoke of bondage. Their meaningless requirements had become a byword among other nations.

    Especially was the Sabbath hedged in by all manner of senseless restrictions. It was not to them a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable. The scribes and Pharisees had made its observance an intolerable burden. A Jew was not allowed to kindle a fire nor even to light a candle on the Sabbath. As a consequence the people were dependent upon the Gentiles for many services which their rules forbade them to do for themselves. They did not reflect that if these acts were sinful, those who employed others to perform them were as guilty as if they had done the work themselves. They thought that salvation was restricted to the Jews, and that the condition of all others, being already hopeless, could be made no worse. But God has given no commandments which cannot be obeyed by all. His laws sanction no unreasonable or selfish restrictions.

    In the temple Jesus met the man who had been healed. He had come to bring a sin offering and also a thank offering for the great mercy he had received. Finding him among the worshipers, Jesus made Himself known, with the warning words, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

    The healed man was overjoyed at meeting his Deliverer. Ignorant of the enmity toward Jesus, he told the Pharisees who had questioned him, that this was He who had performed the cure. "Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day."

    Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin to answer the charge of Sabbathbreaking. Had the Jews at this time been an independent nation, such a charge would have served their purpose for putting Him to death. This their subjection to the Romans prevented. The Jews had not the power to inflict capital punishment, and the accusations brought against Christ would have no weight in a Roman court. There were other objects, however, which they hoped to secure. Notwithstanding their efforts to counteract His work, Christ was gaining, even in Jerusalem, an influence over the people greater than their own. Multitudes who were not interested in the harangues of the rabbis were attracted by His teaching. They could understand His words, and their hearts were warmed and comforted. He spoke of God, not as an avenging judge, but as a tender father, and He revealed the image of God as mirrored in Himself. His words were like balm to the wounded spirit. Both by His words and by His works of mercy He was breaking the oppressive power of the old traditions and man-made commandments, and presenting the love of God in its exhaustless fullness. In one of the earliest prophecies of Christ it is written, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." Gen. 49:10.

    The people were gathering to Christ. The sympathetic hearts of the multitude accepted lessons of love and benevolence in preference to the rigid ceremonies required by the priests. If the priests and rabbis had not interposed, His teaching would have wrought such a reformation as this world has never witnessed. But in order to maintain their own power, these leaders determined to break down the influence of Jesus. His arraignment before the Sanhedrin, and an open condemnation of His teachings, would aid in effecting this; for the people still had great reverence for their religious leaders. Whoever dared to condemn the rabbinical requirements, or attempt to lighten the burdens they had brought upon the people, was regarded as guilty, not only of blasphemy, but of treason. On this ground the rabbis hoped to excite suspicion of Christ. They represented Him as trying to overthrow the established customs, thus causing division among the people, and preparing the way for complete subjugation by the Romans.

    But the plans which these rabbis were working so zealously to fulfill originated in another council than that of the Sanhedrin. After Satan had failed to overcome Christ in the wilderness, he combined his forces to oppose Him in His ministry, and if possible to thwart His work. What he could not accomplish by direct, personal effort, he determined to effect by strategy. No sooner had he withdrawn from the conflict in the wilderness than in council with his confederate angels he matured his plans for still further blinding the minds of the Jewish people, that they might not recognize their Redeemer. He planned to work through his human agencies in the religious world, by imbuing them with his own enmity against the champion of truth. He would lead them to reject Christ and to make His life as bitter as possible, hoping to discourage Him in His mission. And the leaders in Israel became instruments of Satan in warring against the Saviour. Jesus had come to "magnify the law, and make it honorable." He was not to lessen its dignity, but to exalt it. The scripture says, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth." Isa. 42:21, 4. He had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing.

    For this reason He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man as well on any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding him bear away his bed. But this would not have given Him the opportunity He desired. A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ's life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching. Among the afflicted ones at the pool He selected the worst case upon whom to exercise His healing power, and bade the man carry his bed through the city in order to publish the great work that had been wrought upon him. This would raise the question of what it was lawful to do on the Sabbath, and would open the way for Him to denounce the restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord's day, and to declare their traditions void.

    Jesus stated to them that the work of relieving the afflicted was in harmony with the Sabbath law. It was in harmony with the work of God's angels, who are ever descending and ascending between heaven and earth to minister to suffering humanity. Jesus declared, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." All days are God's, in which to carry out His plans for the human race. If the Jews' interpretation of the law was correct, then Jehovah was at fault, whose work has quickened and upheld every living thing since first He laid the foundations of the earth; then He who pronounced His work good, and instituted the Sabbath to commemorate its completion, must put a period to His labor, and stop the never-ending routine of the universe.

    Should God forbid the sun to perform its office upon the Sabbath, cut off its genial rays from warming the earth and nourishing vegetation? Must the system of worlds stand still through that holy day? Should He command the brooks to stay from watering the fields and forests, and bid the waves of the sea still their ceaseless ebbing and flowing? Must the wheat and corn stop growing, and the ripening cluster defer its purple bloom? Must the trees and flowers put forth no bud nor blossom on the Sabbath? In such a case, men would miss the fruits of the earth, and the blessings that make life desirable. Nature must continue her unvarying course. God could not for a moment stay His hand, or man would faint and die. And man also has a work to perform on this day. The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God's holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour's pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day.

    The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven's work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. The work of Christ in healing the sick was in perfect accord with the law. It honored the Sabbath.

    Jesus claimed equal rights with God in doing a work equally sacred, and of the same character with that which engaged the Father in heaven. But the Pharisees were still more incensed. He had not only broken the law, according to their understanding, but in calling God "His own Father" had declared Himself equal with God. John 5:18, R. V.

    The whole nation of the Jews called God their Father, therefore they would not have been so enraged if Christ had represented Himself as standing in the same relation to God. But they accused Him of blasphemy, showing that they understood Him as making this claim in the highest sense. These adversaries of Christ had no arguments with which to meet the truths He brought home to their consciences. They could only cite their customs and traditions, and these seemed weak and vapid when compared with the arguments Jesus had drawn from the word of God and the unceasing round of nature. Had the rabbis felt any desire to receive light, they would have been convinced that Jesus spoke the truth. But they evaded the points He made concerning the Sabbath, and sought to stir up anger against Him because He claimed to be equal with God. The fury of the rulers knew no bounds. Had they not feared the people, the priests and rabbis would have slain Jesus on the spot. But the popular sentiment in His favor was strong. Many recognized in Jesus the friend who had healed their diseases and comforted their sorrows, and they justified His healing of the sufferer at Bethesda. So for the time the leaders were obliged to restrain their hatred.

    Jesus repelled the charge of blasphemy. My authority, He said, for doing the work of which you accuse Me, is that I am the Son of God, one with Him in nature, in will, and in purpose. In all His works of creation and providence, I co-operate with God. "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do." The priests and rabbis were taking the Son of God to task for the very work He had been sent into the world to do. By their sins they had separated themselves from God, and in their pride were moving independently of Him. They felt sufficient in themselves for all things, and realized no need of a higher wisdom to direct their acts. But the Son of God was surrendered to the Father's will, and dependent upon His power. So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God's plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will.

    When Moses was about to build the sanctuary as a dwelling place for God, he was directed to make all things according to the pattern shown him in the mount. Moses was full of zeal to do God's work; the most talented, skillful men were at hand to carry out his suggestions. Yet he was not to make a bell, a pomegranate, a tassel, a fringe, a curtain, or any vessel of the sanctuary, except according to the pattern shown him. God called him into the mount, and revealed to him the heavenly things. The Lord covered him with His own glory, that he might see the pattern, and according to it all things were made. So to Israel, whom He desired to make His dwelling place, He had revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai, and when the Lord passed by before Moses and proclaimed, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Ex. 34:6, 7. Israel had chosen their own ways. They had not builded according to the pattern; but Christ, the true temple for God's indwelling, molded every detail of His earthly life in harmony with God's ideal. He said, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. So our characters are to be builded "for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:22. And we are to "make all things according to the pattern," even Him who "suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps." Heb. 8:5; 1 Peter 2:21.

    The words of Christ teach that we should regard ourselves as inseparably bound to our Father in heaven. Whatever our position, we are dependent upon God, who holds all destinies in His hands. He has appointed us our work, and has endowed us with faculties and means for that work. So long as we surrender the will to God, and trust in His strength and wisdom, we shall be guided in safe paths, to fulfill our appointed part in His great plan. But the one who depends upon his own wisdom and power is separating himself from God. Instead of working in unison with Christ, he is fulfilling the purpose of the enemy of God and man.

    The Saviour continued: "What things soever He [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. . . . As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." The Sadducees held that there would be no resurrection of the body; but Jesus tells them that one of the greatest works of His Father is raising the dead, and that He Himself has power to do the same work. "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead. Christ declares that even now the power which gives life to the dead is among them, and they are to behold its manifestation. This same resurrection power is that which gives life to the soul "dead in trespasses and sins." Eph. 2:1. That spirit of life in Christ Jesus, "the power of His resurrection," sets men "free from the law of sin and death." Phil. 3:10; Rom. 8:2.

    The dominion of evil is broken, and through faith the soul is kept from sin. He who opens his heart to the Spirit of Christ becomes a partaker of that mighty power which shall bring forth his body from the grave. The humble Nazarene asserts His real nobility. He rises above humanity, throws off the guise of sin and shame, and stands revealed, the Honored of the angels, the Son of God, One with the Creator of the universe. His hearers are spellbound. No man has ever spoken words like His, or borne himself with such a kingly majesty. His utterances are clear and plain, fully declaring His mission, and the duty of the world. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him. . . . For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man."

    The priests and rulers had set themselves up as judges to condemn Christ's work, but He declared Himself their judge, and the judge of all the earth. The world has been committed to Christ, and through Him has come every blessing from God to the fallen race. He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. He has given light and life to all, and according to the measure of light given, each is to be judged. And He who has given the light, He who has followed the soul with tenderest entreaty, seeking to win it from sin to holiness, is in one its advocate and judge. From the opening of the great controversy in heaven, Satan has maintained his cause through deception; and Christ has been working to unveil his schemes and to break his power. It is He who has encountered the deceiver, and who through all the ages has been seeking to wrest the captives from his grasp, who will pass judgment upon every soul.

    And God "hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." Because He has tasted the very dregs of human affliction and temptation, and understands the frailties and sins of men; because in our behalf He has victoriously withstood the temptations of Satan, and will deal justly and tenderly with the souls that His own blood has been poured out to save,--because of this, the Son of man is appointed to execute the judgment.

    But Christ's mission was not for judgment, but for salvation. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17. And before the Sanhedrin Jesus declared, "He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life." John 5:24, R. V. Bidding His hearers marvel not, Christ opened before them, in still wider view, the mystery of the future. "The hour cometh," He said, "in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment." John 5:28, 29, R. V.

    This assurance of the future life was that for which Israel had so long waited, and which they had hoped to receive at the Messiah's advent. The only light that can lighten the gloom of the grave was shining upon them. But self-will is blind. Jesus had violated the traditions of the rabbis, and disregarded their authority, and they would not believe.

    The time, the place, the occasion, the intensity of feeling that pervaded the assembly, all combined to make the words of Jesus before the Sanhedrin the more impressive. The highest religious authorities of the nation were seeking the life of Him who declared Himself the restorer of Israel. The Lord of the Sabbath was arraigned before an earthly tribunal to answer the charge of breaking the Sabbath law. When He so fearlessly declared His mission, His judges looked upon Him with astonishment and rage; but His words were unanswerable. They could not condemn Him. He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work. They were invested with no such authority. Their claims were based upon their own pride and arrogance. He refused to plead guilty of their charges, or to be catechized by them.

    Instead of apologizing for the act of which they complained, or explaining His purpose in doing it, Jesus turned upon the rulers, and the accused became the accuser. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of the Scriptures. He declared that they had rejected the word of God, inasmuch as they had rejected Him whom God had sent. "Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me." John 5:39, R. V.

    In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ "give all the prophets witness." Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven's glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ's death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt. The Jews had the Scriptures in their possession, and supposed that in their mere outward knowledge of the word they had eternal life. But Jesus said, "Ye have not His word abiding in you." Having rejected Christ in His word, they rejected Him in person. "Ye will not come to Me," He said, "that ye might have life."

    The Jewish leaders had studied the teachings of the prophets concerning the kingdom of the Messiah; but they had done this, not with a sincere desire to know the truth, but with the purpose of finding evidence to sustain their ambitious hopes. When Christ came in a manner contrary to their expectations, they would not receive Him; and in order to justify themselves, they tried to prove Him a deceiver. When once they had set their feet in this path, it was easy for Satan to strengthen their opposition to Christ. The very words that should have been received as evidence of His divinity were interpreted against Him. Thus they turned the truth of God into a lie, and the more directly the Saviour spoke to them in His works of mercy, the more determined they were in resisting the light.

    Jesus said, "I receive not honor from men." It was not the influence of the Sanhedrin, it was not their sanction He desired. He could receive no honor from their approbation. He was invested with the honor and authority of Heaven. Had He desired it, angels would have come to do Him homage; the Father would again have testified to His divinity. But for their own sake, for the sake of the nation whose leaders they were, He desired the Jewish rulers to discern His character, and receive the blessings He came to bring them.

    "I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, fulfilling His word, and seeking His glory; yet He was not accepted by the leaders in Israel; but when others should come, assuming the character of Christ, but actuated by their own will and seeking their own glory, they would be received. And why? Because he who is seeking his own glory appeals to the desire for self-exaltation in others. To such appeals the Jews could respond.

    They would receive the false teacher because he flattered their pride by sanctioning their cherished opinions and traditions. But the teaching of Christ did not coincide with their ideas. It was spiritual, and demanded the sacrifice of self; therefore they would not receive it. They were not acquainted with God, and to them His voice through Christ was the voice of a stranger. Is not the same thing repeated in our day? Are there not many, even religious leaders, who are hardening their hearts against the Holy Spirit, making it impossible for them to recognize the voice of God? Are they not rejecting the word of God, that they may keep their own traditions?

    "Had ye believed Moses," said Jesus, "ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?" It was Christ who had spoken to Israel through Moses. If they had listened to the divine voice that spoke through their great leader, they would have recognized it in the teachings of Christ. Had they believed Moses, they would have believed Him of whom Moses wrote.

    Jesus knew that the priests and rabbis were determined to take His life; yet He clearly explained to them His unity with the Father, and His relation to the world. They saw that their opposition to Him was without excuse, yet their murderous hatred was not quenched. Fear seized them as they witnessed the convincing power that attended His ministry; but they resisted His appeals, and locked themselves in darkness.

    They had signally failed to subvert the authority of Jesus or to alienate the respect and attention of the people, many of whom were convicted by His words. The rulers themselves had felt deep condemnation as He had pressed their guilt home upon their consciences; yet this only made them the more bitter against Him. They were determined to take His life. They sent messengers all over the country to warn the people against Jesus as an impostor. Spies were sent to watch Him, and report what He said and did. The precious Saviour was now most surely standing under the shadow of the cross.

    Chapter 22

    John the Baptist had been first in heralding Christ's kingdom, and he was first also in suffering. From the free air of the wilderness and the vast throngs that had hung upon his words, he was now shut in by the walls of a dungeon cell. He had become a prisoner in the fortress of Herod Antipas. In the territory east of Jordan, which was under the dominion of Antipas, much of John's ministry had been spent. Herod himself had listened to the preaching of the Baptist. The dissolute king had trembled under the call to repentance. "Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy; . . . and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly." John dealt with him faithfully, denouncing his iniquitous alliance with Herodias, his brother's wife. For a time Herod feebly sought to break the chain of lust that bound him; but Herodias fastened him the more firmly in her toils, and found revenge upon the Baptist by inducing Herod to cast him into prison.

    The life of John had been one of active labor, and the gloom and inaction of his prison life weighed heavily upon him. As week after week passed, bringing no change, despondency and doubt crept over him. His disciples did not forsake him. They were allowed access to the prison, and they brought him tidings of the works of Jesus, and told how the people were flocking to Him. But they questioned why, if this new teacher was the Messiah, He did nothing to effect John's release. How could He permit His faithful herald to be deprived of liberty and perhaps of life? These questions were not without effect. Doubts which otherwise would never have arisen were suggested to John. Satan rejoiced to hear the words of these disciples, and to see how they bruised the soul of the Lord's messenger. Oh, how often those who think themselves the friends of a good man, and who are eager to show their fidelity to him, prove to be his most dangerous enemies! How often, instead of strengthening his faith, their words depress and dishearten!

    Like the Saviour's disciples, John the Baptist did not understand the nature of Christ's kingdom. He expected Jesus to take the throne of David; and as time passed, and the Saviour made no claim to kingly authority, John became perplexed and troubled. He had declared to the people that in order for the way to be prepared before the Lord, the prophecy of Isaiah must be fulfilled; the mountains and hills must be brought low, the crooked made straight, and the rough places plain. He had looked for the high places of human pride and power to be cast down. He had pointed to the Messiah as the One whose fan was in His hand, and who would thoroughly purge His floor, who would gather the wheat into His garner, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Like the prophet Elijah, in whose spirit and power he had come to Israel, he looked for the Lord to reveal Himself as a God that answereth by fire.

    In his mission the Baptist had stood as a fearless reprover of iniquity, both in high places and in low. He had dared to face King Herod with the plain rebuke of sin. He had not counted his life dear unto himself, that he might fulfill his appointed work. And now from his dungeon he watched for the Lion of the tribe of Judah to cast down the pride of the oppressor, and to deliver the poor and him that cried. But Jesus seemed to content Himself with gathering disciples about Him, and healing and teaching the people. He was eating at the tables of the publicans, while every day the Roman yoke rested more heavily upon Israel, while King Herod and his vile paramour worked their will, and the cries of the poor and suffering went up to heaven.

    To the desert prophet all this seemed a mystery beyond his fathoming. There were hours when the whisperings of demons tortured his spirit, and the shadow of a terrible fear crept over him. Could it be that the long-hoped-for Deliverer had not yet appeared? Then what meant the message that he himself had been impelled to bear? John had been bitterly disappointed in the result of his mission. He had expected that the message from God would have the same effect as when the law was read in the days of Josiah and of Ezra (2 Chronicles 34; Nehemiah 8, 9); that there would follow a deep-seated work of repentance and returning unto the Lord. For the success of this mission his whole life had been sacrificed. Had it been in vain?

    John was troubled to see that through love for him, his own disciples were cherishing unbelief in regard to Jesus. Had his work for them been fruitless? Had he been unfaithful in his mission, that he was now cut off from labor? If the promised Deliverer had appeared, and John had been found true to his calling, would not Jesus now overthrow the oppressor's power, and set free His herald?

    But the Baptist did not surrender his faith in Christ. The memory of the voice from heaven and the descending dove, the spotless purity of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit that had rested upon John as he came into the Saviour's presence, and the testimony of the prophetic scriptures,--all witnessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One.

    John would not discuss his doubts and anxieties with his companions. He determined to send a message of inquiry to Jesus. This he entrusted to two of his disciples, hoping that an interview with the Saviour would confirm their faith, and bring assurance to their brethren. And he longed for some word from Christ spoken directly for himself.

    The disciples came to Jesus with their message, "Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?"

    How short the time since the Baptist had pointed to Jesus, and proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." "He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me." John 1:29, 27. And now the question, "Art Thou He that should come?" It was keenly bitter and disappointing to human nature. If John, the faithful forerunner, failed to discern Christ's mission, what could be expected from the self-seeking multitude?

    The Saviour did not at once answer the disciples' question. As they stood wondering at His silence, the sick and afflicted were coming to Him to be healed. The blind were groping their way through the crowd; diseased ones of all classes, some urging their own way, some borne by their friends, were eagerly pressing into the presence of Jesus. The voice of the mighty Healer penetrated the deaf ear. A word, a touch of His hand, opened the blind eyes to behold the light of day, the scenes of nature, the faces of friends, and the face of the Deliverer. Jesus rebuked disease and banished fever. His voice reached the ears of the dying, and they arose in health and vigor. Paralyzed demoniacs obeyed His word, their madness left them, and they worshiped Him. While He healed their diseases, He taught the people. The poor peasants and laborers, who were shunned by the rabbis as unclean, gathered close about Him, and He spoke to them the words of eternal life. Thus the day wore away, the disciples of John seeing and hearing all. At last Jesus called them to Him, and bade them go and tell John what they had witnessed, adding, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall find none occasion of stumbling in Me." Luke 7:23, R. V. The evidence of His divinity was seen in its adaptation to the needs of suffering humanity. His glory was shown in His condescension to our low estate.

    The disciples bore the message, and it was enough. John recalled the prophecy concerning the Messiah, "The Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Isa. 61:1, 2. The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established. To John was opened the same truth that had come to Elijah in the desert, when "a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire:" and after the fire, God spoke to the prophet by "a still small voice." 1 Kings 19:11, 12. So Jesus was to do His work, not with the clash of arms and the overturning of thrones and kingdoms, but through speaking to the hearts of men by a life of mercy and self-sacrifice.

    The principle of the Baptist's own life of self-abnegation was the principle of the Messiah's kingdom. John well knew how foreign all this was to the principles and hopes of the leaders in Israel. That which was to him convincing evidence of Christ's divinity would be no evidence to them. They were looking for a Messiah who had not been promised. John saw that the Saviour's mission could win from them only hatred and condemnation. He, the forerunner, was but drinking of the cup which Christ Himself must drain to its dregs.

    The Saviour's words, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall find none occasion of stumbling in Me," were a gentle reproof to John. It was not lost upon him. Understanding more clearly now the nature of Christ's mission, he yielded himself to God for life or for death, as should best serve the interests of the cause he loved.

    After the messengers had departed, Jesus spoke to the people concerning John. The Saviour's heart went out in sympathy to the faithful witness now buried in Herod's dungeon. He would not leave the people to conclude that God had forsaken John, or that his faith had failed in the day of trial. "What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" He said. "A reed shaken with the wind?"

    The tall reeds that grew beside the Jordan, bending before every breeze, were fitting representatives of the rabbis who had stood as critics and judges of the Baptist's mission. They were swayed this way and that by the winds of popular opinion. They would not humble themselves to receive the heart-searching message of the Baptist, yet for fear of the people they dared not openly oppose his work. But God's messenger was of no such craven spirit. The multitudes who were gathered about Christ had been witnesses to the work of John. They had heard his fearless rebuke of sin. To the self-righteous Pharisees, the priestly Sadducees, King Herod and his court, princes and soldiers, publicans and peasants, John had spoken with equal plainness. He was no trembling reed, swayed by the winds of human praise or prejudice. In the prison he was the same in his loyalty to God and his zeal for righteousness as when he preached God's message in the wilderness. In his faithfulness to principle he was as firm as a rock.

    Jesus continued, "But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts." John had been called to reprove the sins and excesses of his time, and his plain dress and self-denying life were in harmony with the character of his mission. Rich apparel and the luxuries of this life are not the portion of God's servants, but of those who live "in kings' courts," the rulers of this world, to whom pertain its power and its riches. Jesus wished to direct attention to the contrast between the clothing of John, and that worn by the priests and rulers. These officials arrayed themselves in rich robes and costly ornaments. They loved display, and hoped to dazzle the people, and thus command greater consideration. They were more anxious to gain the admiration of men than to obtain the purity of heart which would win the approval of God. Thus they revealed that their allegiance was not given to God, but to the kingdom of this world.

    "But what," said Jesus, "went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written,--

    "Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, Which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.

    "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." In the announcement to Zacharias before the birth of John, the angel had declared, "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord." Luke 1:15. In the estimation of Heaven, what is it that constitutes greatness? Not that which the world accounts greatness; not wealth, or rank, or noble descent, or intellectual gifts, in themselves considered. If intellectual greatness, apart from any higher consideration, is worthy of honor, then our homage is due to Satan, whose intellectual power no man has ever equaled. But when perverted to self-serving, the greater the gift, the greater curse it becomes. It is moral worth that God values. Love and purity are the attributes He prizes most. John was great in the sight of the Lord, when, before the messengers from the Sanhedrin, before the people, and before his own disciples, he refrained from seeking honor for himself, but pointed all to Jesus as the Promised One. His unselfish joy in the ministry of Christ presents the highest type of nobility ever revealed in man.

    The witness borne of him after his death, by those who had heard his testimony to Jesus, was, "John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this Man were true." John 10:41. It was not given to John to call down fire from heaven, or to raise the dead, as Elijah did, nor to wield Moses' rod of power in the name of God. He was sent to herald the Saviour's advent, and to call upon the people to prepare for His coming. So faithfully did he fulfill his mission, that as the people recalled what he had taught them of Jesus, they could say, "All things that John spake of this Man were true." Such witness to Christ every disciple of the Master is called upon to bear. As the Messiah's herald, John was "much more than a prophet." For while prophets had seen from afar Christ's advent, to John it was given to behold Him, to hear the testimony from heaven to His Messiahship, and to present Him to Israel as the Sent of God. Yet Jesus said, "He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

    The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. As God's representative he stood forth to show the relation of the law and the prophets to the Christian dispensation. He was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater. The mind of John was illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that he might shed light upon his people; but no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly upon fallen man as that which emanated from the teaching and example of Jesus. Christ and His mission had been but dimly understood as typified in the shadowy sacrifices. Even John had not fully comprehended the future, immortal life through the Saviour.

    Aside from the joy that John found in his mission, his life had been one of sorrow. His voice had been seldom heard except in the wilderness. His was a lonely lot. And he was not permitted to see the result of his own labors. It was not his privilege to be with Christ and witness the manifestation of divine power attending the greater light. It was not for him to see the blind restored to sight, the sick healed, and the dead raised to life. He did not behold the light that shone through every word of Christ, shedding glory upon the promises of prophecy. The least disciple who saw Christ's mighty works and heard His words was in this sense more highly privileged than John the Baptist, and therefore is said to have been greater than he.

    Through the vast throngs that had listened to John's preaching, his fame had spread throughout the land. A deep interest was felt as to the result of his imprisonment. Yet his blameless life, and the strong public sentiment in his favor, led to the belief that no violent measures would be taken against him.

    Herod believed John to be a prophet of God, and he fully intended to set him at liberty. But he delayed his purpose from fear of Herodias. Herodias knew that by direct measures she could never win Herod's consent to the death of John, and she resolved to accomplish her purpose by stratagem. On the king's birthday an entertainment was to be given to the officers of state and the nobles of the court. There would be feasting and drunkenness. Herod would thus be thrown off his guard, and might then be influenced according to her will.

    When the great day arrived, and the king with his lords was feasting and drinking, Herodias sent her daughter into the banqueting hall to dance for the entertainment of the guests. Salome was in the first flush of womanhood, and her voluptuous beauty captivated the senses of the lordly revelers. It was not customary for the ladies of the court to appear at these festivities, and a flattering compliment was paid to Herod when this daughter of Israel's priests and princes danced for the amusement of his guests.

    The king was dazed with wine. Passion held sway, and reason was dethroned. He saw only the hall of pleasure, with its reveling guests, the banquet table, the sparkling wine and the flashing lights, and the young girl dancing before him. In the recklessness of the moment, he desired to make some display that would exalt him before the great men of his realm. With an oath he promised to give the daughter of Herodias whatever she might ask, even to the half of his kingdom.

    Salome hastened to her mother, to know what she should ask. The answer was ready,--the head of John the Baptist. Salome knew not of the thirst for revenge in her mother's heart, and she shrank from presenting the request; but the determination of Herodias prevailed. The girl returned with the terrible petition, "I will that thou forthwith give me in a charger the head of John the Baptist." Mark 6:25, R. V.

    Herod was astonished and confounded. The riotous mirth ceased, and an ominous silence settled down upon the scene of revelry. The king was horror-stricken at the thought of taking the life of John. Yet his word was pledged, and he was unwilling to appear fickle or rash. The oath had been made in honor of his guests, and if one of them had offered a word against the fulfillment of his promise, he would gladly have spared the prophet. He gave them opportunity to speak in the prisoner's behalf. They had traveled long distances in order to hear the preaching of John, and they knew him to be a man without crime, and a servant of God. But though shocked at the girl's demand, they were too besotted to interpose a remonstrance. No voice was raised to save the life of Heaven's messenger. These men occupied high positions of trust in the nation, and upon them rested grave responsibilities; yet they had given themselves up to feasting and drunkenness until the senses were benumbed. Their heads were turned with the giddy scene of music and dancing, and conscience lay dormant. By their silence they pronounced the sentence of death upon the prophet of God to satisfy the revenge of an abandoned woman. Herod waited in vain to be released from his oath; then he reluctantly commanded the execution of the prophet. Soon the head of John was brought in before the king and his guests. Forever sealed were those lips that had faithfully warned Herod to turn from his life of sin. Never more would that voice be heard calling men to repentance. The revels of one night had cost the life of one of the greatest of the prophets.

    Oh, how often has the life of the innocent been sacrificed through the intemperance of those who should have been guardians of justice! He who puts the intoxicating cup to his lips makes himself responsible for all the injustice he may commit under its besotting power. By benumbing his senses he makes it impossible for him to judge calmly or to have a clear perception of right and wrong. He opens the way for Satan to work through him in oppressing and destroying the innocent. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Prov. 20:1. Thus it is that "judgment is turned away backward, . . . and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey." Isa. 59:14, 15. Those who have jurisdiction over the lives of their fellow men should be held guilty of a crime when they yield to intemperance. All who execute the laws should be lawkeepers. They should be men of self-control. They need to have full command of their physical, mental, and moral powers, that they may possess vigor of intellect, and a high sense of justice.

    The head of John the Baptist was carried to Herodias, who received it with fiendish satisfaction. She exulted in her revenge, and flattered herself that Herod's conscience would no longer be troubled. But no happiness resulted to her from her sin. Her name became notorious and abhorred, while Herod was more tormented by remorse than he had been by the warnings of the prophet. The influence of John's teachings was not silenced; it was to extend to every generation till the close of time.

    Herod's sin was ever before him. He was constantly seeking to find relief from the accusings of a guilty conscience. His confidence in John was unshaken. As he recalled his life of self-denial, his solemn, earnest appeals, his sound judgment in counsel, and then remembered how he had come to his death, Herod could find no rest. Engaged in the affairs of the state, receiving honors from men, he bore a smiling face and dignified mien, while he concealed an anxious heart, ever oppressed with the fear that a curse was upon him.

    Herod had been deeply impressed by the words of John, that nothing can be hidden from God. He was convinced that God was present in every place, that He had witnessed the revelry of the banqueting room, that He had heard the command to behead John, and had seen the exultation of Herodias, and the insult she offered to the severed head of her reprover. And many things that Herod had heard from the lips of the prophet now spoke to his conscience more distinctly than had the preaching in the wilderness.

    When Herod heard of the works of Christ, he was exceedingly troubled. He thought that God had raised John from the dead, and sent him forth with still greater power to condemn sin. He was in constant fear that John would avenge his death by passing condemnation upon him and his house. Herod was reaping that which God had declared to be the result of a course of sin,--"a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." Deut. 28:65-67. The sinner's own thoughts are his accusers; and there can be no torture keener than the stings of a guilty conscience, which give him no rest day nor night.

    To many minds a deep mystery surrounds the fate of John the Baptist. They question why he should have been left to languish and die in prison. The mystery of this dark providence our human vision cannot penetrate; but it can never shake our confidence in God when we remember that John was but a sharer in the sufferings of Christ. All who follow Christ will wear the crown of sacrifice. They will surely be misunderstood by selfish men, and will be made a mark for the fierce assaults of Satan. It is this principle of self-sacrifice that his kingdom is established to destroy, and he will war against it wherever manifested.

    The childhood, youth, and manhood of John had been characterized by firmness and moral power. When his voice was heard in the wilderness saying, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Matt. 3:3), Satan feared for the safety of his kingdom. The sinfulness of sin was revealed in such a manner that men trembled. Satan's power over many who had been under his control was broken. He had been unwearied in his efforts to draw away the Baptist from a life of unreserved surrender to God; but he had failed. And he had failed to overcome Jesus. In the temptation in the wilderness, Satan had been defeated, and his rage was great. Now he determined to bring sorrow upon Christ by striking John. The One whom he could not entice to sin he would cause to suffer.

    Jesus did not interpose to deliver His servant. He knew that John would bear the test. Gladly would the Saviour have come to John, to brighten the dungeon gloom with His own presence. But He was not to place Himself in the hands of enemies and imperil His own mission. Gladly would He have delivered His faithful servant. But for the sake of thousands who in after years must pass from prison to death, John was to drink the cup of martyrdom. As the followers of Jesus should languish in lonely cells, or perish by the sword, the rack, or the fagot, apparently forsaken by God and man, what a stay to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist, to whose faithfulness Christ Himself had borne witness, had passed through a similar experience!

    Satan was permitted to cut short the earthly life of God's messenger; but that life which "is hid with Christ in God," the destroyer could not reach. Col. 3:3. He exulted that he had brought sorrow upon Christ, but he had failed of conquering John. Death itself only placed him forever beyond the power of temptation. In this warfare, Satan was revealing his own character. Before the witnessing universe he made manifest his enmity toward God and man.

    Though no miraculous deliverance was granted John, he was not forsaken. He had always the companionship of heavenly angels, who opened to him the prophecies concerning Christ, and the precious promises of Scripture. These were his stay, as they were to be the stay of God's people through the coming ages. To John the Baptist, as to those that came after him, was given the assurance, "Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end." Matt. 28:20, R. V., margin.

    God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. "Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Phil. 1:29. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:38 am



    Chapter 23
    "The Kingdom of God Is at Hand"

    "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:14, 15.

    The Messiah's coming had been first announced in Judea. In the temple at Jerusalem the birth of the forerunner had been foretold to Zacharias as he ministered before the altar. On the hills of Bethlehem the angels had proclaimed the birth of Jesus. To Jerusalem the magi had come in search of Him. In the temple Simeon and Anna had testified to His divinity. "Jerusalem, and all Judea" had listened to the preaching of John the Baptist; and the deputation from the Sanhedrin, with the multitude, had heard his testimony concerning Jesus. In Judea, Christ had received His first disciples. Here much of His early ministry had been spent. The flashing forth of His divinity in the cleansing of the temple, His miracles of healing, and the lessons of divine truth that fell from His lips, all proclaimed that which after the healing at Bethesda He had declared before the Sanhedrin,--His Sonship to the Eternal.

    If the leaders in Israel had received Christ, He would have honored them as His messengers to carry the gospel to the world. To them first was given the opportunity to become heralds of the kingdom and grace of God. But Israel knew not the time of her visitation. The jealousy and distrust of the Jewish leaders had ripened into open hatred, and the hearts of the people were turned away from Jesus. The Sanhedrin had rejected Christ's message and was bent upon His death; therefore Jesus departed from Jerusalem, from the priests, the temple, the religious leaders, the people who had been instructed in the law, and turned to another class to proclaim His message, and to gather out those who should carry the gospel to all nations.

    As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ's withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience.

    The people of Galilee were despised by the rabbis of Jerusalem as rude and unlearned, yet they presented a more favorable field for the Saviour's work. They were more earnest and sincere; less under the control of bigotry; their minds were more open for the reception of truth. In going to Galilee, Jesus was not seeking seclusion or isolation. The province was at this time the home of a crowded population, with a much larger admixture of people of other nations than was found in Judea.

    As Jesus traveled through Galilee, teaching and healing, multitudes flocked to Him from the cities and villages. Many came even from Judea and the adjoining provinces. Often He was obliged to hide Himself from the people. The enthusiasm ran so high that it was necessary to take precautions lest the Roman authorities should be aroused to fear an insurrection. Never before had there been such a period as this for the world. Heaven was brought down to men. Hungering and thirsting souls that had waited long for the redemption of Israel now feasted upon the grace of a merciful Saviour.

    The burden of Christ's preaching was, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel." Thus the gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies. The "time" which He declared to be fulfilled was the period made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel. "Seventy weeks," said the angel, "are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy." Dan. 9:24. A day in prophecy stands for a year. See Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6. The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. A starting point for this period is given: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks," sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years. Dan. 9:25. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9, margin), went into effect in the autumn of B. C. 457. From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of A. D. 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In A. D. 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed. "The time is fulfilled."

    Then, said the angel, "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]." For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself; and afterward by the apostles. "In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Dan. 9:27. In the spring of A. D. 31, Christ the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.

    The one week--seven years--ended in A. D. 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution "went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted, and became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

    The time of Christ's coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out. It was the privilege of the Jewish people to understand these prophecies, and to recognize their fulfillment in the mission of Jesus. Christ urged upon His disciples the importance of prophetic study. Referring to the prophecy given to Daniel in regard to their time, He said, "Whoso readeth, let him understand." Matt. 24:15. After His resurrection He explained to the disciples in "all the prophets" "the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. The Saviour had spoken through all the prophets. "The Spirit of Christ which was in them" "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1 Peter 1:11.

    It was Gabriel, the angel next in rank to the Son of God, who came with the divine message to Daniel. It was Gabriel, "His angel," whom Christ sent to open the future to the beloved John; and a blessing is pronounced on those who read and hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein. Rev. 1:3.

    "The Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants and prophets." While "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God," "those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." Amos 3:7; Deut. 29:29. God has given these things to us, and His blessing will attend the reverent, prayerful study of the prophetic scriptures.

    As the message of Christ's first advent announced the kingdom of His grace, so the message of His second advent announces the kingdom of His glory. And the second message, like the first, is based on the prophecies. The words of the angel to Daniel relating to the last days were to be understood in the time of the end. At that time, "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." "The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Dan. 12:4, 10. The Saviour Himself has given signs of His coming, and He says, "When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:31, 34, 36.

    We have reached the period foretold in these scriptures. The time of the end is come, the visions of the prophets are unsealed, and their solemn warnings point us to our Lord's coming in glory as near at hand.

    The Jews misinterpreted and misapplied the word of God, and they knew not the time of their visitation. The years of the ministry of Christ and His apostles,--the precious last years of grace to the chosen people,--they spent in plotting the destruction of the Lord's messengers. Earthly ambitions absorbed them, and the offer of the spiritual kingdom came to them in vain. So today the kingdom of this world absorbs men's thoughts, and they take no note of the rapidly fulfilling prophecies and the tokens of the swift-coming kingdom of God.

    "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." While we are not to know the hour of our Lord's return, we may know when it is near. "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." 1 Thess. 5:4-6.

    Chapter 24

    Across the bright days of Christ's ministry in Galilee, one shadow lay. The people of Nazareth rejected Him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" they said.

    During His childhood and youth, Jesus had worshiped among His brethren in the synagogue at Nazareth. Since the opening of His ministry He had been absent from them, but they had not been ignorant of what had befallen Him. As He again appeared among them, their interest and expectation were excited to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar forms and faces of those whom He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes were turned upon Him as He entered the synagogue upon the Sabbath day, and took His place among the worshipers.

    In the regular service for the day, the elder read from the prophets, and exhorted the people still to hope for the Coming One, who would bring in a glorious reign, and banish all oppression. He sought to encourage his hearers by rehearsing the evidence that the Messiah's coming was near. He described the glory of His advent, keeping prominent the thought that He would appear at the head of armies to deliver Israel.

    When a rabbi was present at the synagogue, he was expected to deliver the sermon, and any Israelite might give the reading from the prophets. Upon this Sabbath Jesus was requested to take part in the service. He "stood up to read. And there was delivered unto Him a roll of the prophet Isaiah." Luke 4:16, 17, R. V., margin. The scripture which He read was one that was understood as referring to the Messiah:

    "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
    Because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;
    He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
    To preach deliverance to the captives,
    And recovering of sight to the blind,
    To set at liberty them that are bruised,
    To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
    "And He closed the roll, and gave it back to the attendant: . . . and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on Him. . . . And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of His mouth." Luke 4:20-22, R. V., margin.

    Jesus stood before the people as a living expositor of the prophecies concerning Himself. Explaining the words He had read, He spoke of the Messiah as a reliever of the oppressed, a liberator of captives, a healer of the afflicted, restoring sight to the blind, and revealing to the world the light of truth. His impressive manner and the wonderful import of His words thrilled the hearers with a power they had never felt before. The tide of divine influence broke every barrier down; like Moses, they beheld the Invisible. As their hearts were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, they responded with fervent amens and praises to the Lord.

    But when Jesus announced, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears," they were suddenly recalled to think of themselves, and of the claims of Him who had been addressing them. They, Israelites, children of Abraham, had been represented as in bondage. They had been addressed as prisoners to be delivered from the power of evil; as in darkness, and needing the light of truth. Their pride was offended, and their fears were roused. The words of Jesus indicated that His work for them was to be altogether different from what they desired. Their deeds might be investigated too closely. Notwithstanding their exactness in outward ceremonies, they shrank from inspection by those clear, searching eyes.

    Who is this Jesus? they questioned. He who had claimed for Himself the glory of the Messiah was the son of a carpenter, and had worked at His trade with His father Joseph. They had seen Him toiling up and down the hills, they were acquainted with His brothers and sisters, and knew His life and labors. They had seen Him develop from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood. Although His life had been spotless, they would not believe that He was the Promised One.

    What a contrast between His teaching in regard to the new kingdom and that which they had heard from their elder! Jesus had said nothing of delivering them from the Romans. They had heard of His miracles, and had hoped that His power would be exercised for their advantage, but they had seen no indication of such purpose.

    As they opened the door to doubt, their hearts became so much the harder for having been momentarily softened. Satan was determined that blind eyes should not that day be opened, nor souls bound in slavery be set at liberty. With intense energy he worked to fasten them in unbelief. They made no account of the sign already given, when they had been stirred by the conviction that it was their Redeemer who addressed them.

    But Jesus now gave them an evidence of His divinity by revealing their secret thoughts. "He said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto Me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in Thine own country. And He said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country. But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman, the Syrian." Luke 4:23-27, R. V.

    By this relation of events in the lives of the prophets, Jesus met the questionings of His hearers. The servants whom God had chosen for a special work were not allowed to labor for a hardhearted and unbelieving people. But those who had hearts to feel and faith to believe were especially favored with evidences of His power through the prophets. In the days of Elijah, Israel had departed from God. They clung to their sins, and rejected the warnings of the Spirit through the Lord's messengers. Thus they cut themselves off from the channel by which God's blessing could come to them. The Lord passed by the homes of Israel, and found a refuge for His servant in a heathen land, with a woman who did not belong to the chosen people. But this woman was favored because she had followed the light she had received, and her heart was open to the greater light that God sent her through His prophet.

    It was for the same reason that in Elisha's time the lepers of Israel were passed by. But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, had been faithful to his convictions of right, and had felt his great need of help. He was in a condition to receive the gifts of God's grace. He was not only cleansed from his leprosy, but blessed with a knowledge of the true God.

    Our standing before God depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession.

    The words of Jesus to His hearers in the synagogue struck at the root of their self-righteousness, pressing home upon them the bitter truth that they had departed from God and forfeited their claim to be His people. Every word cut like a knife as their real condition was set before them. They now scorned the faith with which Jesus had at first inspired them. They would not admit that He who had sprung from poverty and lowliness was other than a common man.

    Their unbelief bred malice. Satan controlled them, and in wrath they cried out against the Saviour. They had turned from Him whose mission it was to heal and restore; now they manifested the attributes of the destroyer. When Jesus referred to the blessings given to the Gentiles, the fierce national pride of His hearers was aroused, and His words were drowned in a tumult of voices. These people had prided themselves on keeping the law; but now that their prejudices were offended, they were ready to commit murder. The assembly broke up, and laying hands upon Jesus, they thrust Him from the synagogue, and out of the city. All seemed eager for His destruction. They hurried Him to the brow of a precipice, intending to cast Him down headlong. Shouts and maledictions filled the air. Some were casting stones at Him, when suddenly He disappeared from among them. The heavenly messengers who had been by His side in the synagogue were with Him in the midst of that maddened throng. They shut Him in from His enemies, and conducted Him to a place of safety.

    So angels protected Lot, and led him out safely from the midst of Sodom. So they protected Elisha in the little mountain city. When the encircling hills were filled with the horses and chariots of the king of Syria, and the great host of his armed men, Elisha beheld the nearer hill slopes covered with the armies of God,--horses and chariots of fire round about the servant of the Lord.

    So, in all ages, angels have been near to Christ's faithful followers. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against all who would overcome; but Christ would have us look to the things which are not seen, to the armies of heaven encamped about all who love God, to deliver them. From what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of the angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God. Then we shall know that the whole family of heaven was interested in the family here below, and that messengers from the throne of God attended our steps from day to day.

    When Jesus in the synagogue read from the prophecy, He stopped short of the final specification concerning the Messiah's work. Having read the words, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," He omitted the phrase, "and the day of vengeance of our God." Isa. 61:2. This was just as much truth as was the first of the prophecy, and by His silence Jesus did not deny the truth. But this last expression was that upon which His hearers delighted to dwell, and which they were desirous of fulfilling. They denounced judgments against the heathen, not discerning that their own guilt was even greater than that of others. They themselves were in deepest need of the mercy they were so ready to deny to the heathen.

    That day in the synagogue, when Jesus stood among them, was their opportunity to accept the call of Heaven. He who "delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18) would fain have saved them from the ruin which their sins were inviting. Not without one more call to repentance could He give them up. Toward the close of His ministry in Galilee, He again visited the home of His childhood. Since His rejection there, the fame of His preaching and His miracles had filled the land. None now could deny that He possessed more than human power. The people of Nazareth knew that He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. About them were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. The mercy revealed in every act of His life testified to His divine anointing.

    Again as they listened to His words the Nazarenes were moved by the Divine Spirit. But even now they would not admit that this Man, who had been brought up among them, was other or greater than themselves. Still there rankled the bitter memory that while He had claimed for Himself to be the Promised One, He had really denied them a place with Israel; for He had shown them to be less worthy of God's favor than a heathen man and woman. Hence though they questioned, "Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" they would not receive Him as the Christ of God. Because of their unbelief, the Saviour could not work many miracles among them. Only a few hearts were open to His blessing, and reluctantly He departed, never to return.

    Unbelief, having once been cherished, continued to control the men of Nazareth. So it controlled the Sanhedrin and the nation. With priests and people, the first rejection of the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power was the beginning of the end. In order to prove that their first resistance was right, they continued ever after to cavil at the words of Christ. Their rejection of the Spirit culminated in the cross of Calvary, in the destruction of their city, in the scattering of the nation to the winds of heaven.

    Oh, how Christ longed to open to Israel the precious treasures of the truth! But such was their spiritual blindness that it was impossible to reveal to them the truths relating to His kingdom. They clung to their creed and their useless ceremonies when the truth of Heaven awaited their acceptance. They spent their money for chaff and husks, when the bread of life was within their reach. Why did they not go to the word of God, and search diligently to know whether they were in error? The Old Testament Scriptures stated plainly every detail of Christ's ministry, and again and again He quoted from the prophets, and declared, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." If they had honestly searched the Scriptures, bringing their theories to the test of God's word, Jesus need not have wept over their impenitence. He need not have declared, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Luke 13:35.

    They might have been acquainted with the evidence of His Messiahship, and the calamity that laid their proud city in ruins might have been averted. But the minds of the Jews had become narrowed by their unreasoning bigotry. The lessons of Christ revealed their deficiencies of character, and demanded repentance. If they accepted His teachings, their practices must be changed, and their cherished hopes relinquished. In order to be honored by Heaven, they must sacrifice the honor of men. If they obeyed the words of this new rabbi, they must go contrary to the opinions of the great thinkers and teachers of the time. Truth was unpopular in Christ's day. It is unpopular in our day. It has been unpopular ever since Satan first gave man a disrelish for it by presenting fables that lead to self-exaltation. Do we not today meet theories and doctrines that have no foundation in the word of God? Men cling as tenaciously to them as did the Jews to their traditions.

    The Jewish leaders were filled with spiritual pride. Their desire for the glorification of self manifested itself even in the service of the sanctuary. They loved the highest seats in the synagogue. They loved greetings in the market places, and were gratified with the sound of their titles on the lips of men. As real piety declined, they became more jealous for their traditions and ceremonies.

    Because their understanding was darkened by selfish prejudice, they could not harmonize the power of Christ's convicting words with the humility of His life. They did not appreciate the fact that real greatness can dispense with outward show. This Man's poverty seemed wholly inconsistent with His claim to be the Messiah. They questioned, If He was what He claimed to be, why was He so unpretending? If He was satisfied to be without the force of arms, what would become of their nation? How could the power and glory so long anticipated bring the nations as subjects to the city of the Jews? Had not the priests taught that Israel was to bear rule over all the earth? and could it be possible that the great religious teachers were in error? But it was not simply the absence of outward glory in His life that led the Jews to reject Jesus. He was the embodiment of purity, and they were impure. He dwelt among men an example of spotless integrity. His blameless life flashed light upon their hearts. His sincerity revealed their insincerity. It made manifest the hollowness of their pretentious piety, and discovered iniquity to them in its odious character. Such a light was unwelcome.

    If Christ had called attention to the Pharisees, and had extolled their learning and piety, they would have hailed Him with joy. But when He spoke of the kingdom of heaven as a dispensation of mercy for all mankind, He was presenting a phase of religion they would not tolerate. Their own example and teaching had never been such as to make the service of God seem desirable. When they saw Jesus giving attention to the very ones they hated and repulsed, it stirred up the worst passions of their proud hearts. Notwithstanding their boast that under the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5), Israel should be exalted to pre-eminence over all nations, they could have borne the disappointment of their ambitious hopes better than they could bear Christ's reproof of their sins, and the reproach they felt even from the presence of His purity.

    Chapter 25

    Day was breaking over the Sea of Galilee. The disciples, weary with a night of fruitless toil, were still in their fishing boats on the lake. Jesus had come to spend a quiet hour by the waterside. In the early morning He hoped for a little season of rest from the multitude that followed Him day after day. But soon the people began to gather about Him. Their numbers rapidly increased, so that He was pressed upon all sides. Meanwhile the disciples had come to land. In order to escape the pressure of the multitude, Jesus stepped into Peter's boat, and bade him pull out a little from the shore. Here Jesus could be better seen and heard by all, and from the boat He taught the multitude on the beach.

    What a scene was this for angels to contemplate; their glorious Commander, sitting in a fisherman's boat, swayed to and fro by the restless waves, and proclaiming the good news of salvation to the listening throng that were pressing down to the water's edge! He who was the Honored of heaven was declaring the great things of His kingdom in the open air, to the common people. Yet He could have had no more fitting scene for His labors. The lake, the mountains, the spreading fields, the sunlight flooding the earth, all furnished objects to illustrate His lessons and impress them upon the mind. And no lesson of Christ's fell fruitless. Every message from His lips came to some soul as the word of eternal life. Every moment added to the multitude upon the shore. Aged men leaning upon their staffs, hardy peasants from the hills, fishermen from their toil on the lake, merchants and rabbis, the rich and learned, old and young, bringing their sick and suffering ones, pressed to hear the words of the divine Teacher. To such scenes as this the prophets had looked forward, and they wrote:

    "The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,
    Toward the sea, beyond Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles,
    The people which sat in darkness
    Saw a great light,
    And to them which sat in the region and shadow of death,
    To them did light spring up." R. V.

    Beside the throng on the shores of Gennesaret, Jesus in His sermon by the sea had other audiences before His mind. Looking down the ages, He saw His faithful ones in prison and judgment hall, in temptation and loneliness and affliction. Every scene of joy and conflict and perplexity was open before Him. In the words spoken to those gathered about Him, He was speaking also to these other souls the very words that would come to them as a message of hope in trial, of comfort in sorrow, and heavenly light in darkness. Through the Holy Spirit, that voice which was speaking from the fisherman's boat on the Sea of Galilee, would be heard speaking peace to human hearts to the close of time.

    The discourse ended, Jesus turned to Peter, and bade him launch out into the sea, and let down his net for a draught. But Peter was disheartened. All night he had taken nothing. During the lonely hours he had thought of the fate of John the Baptist, who was languishing alone in his dungeon. He had thought of the prospect before Jesus and His followers, of the ill success of the mission to Judea, and the malice of the priests and rabbis. Even his own occupation had failed him; and as he watched by the empty nets, the future had seemed dark with discouragement. "Master," he said, "we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net."

    Night was the only favorable time for fishing with nets in the clear waters of the lake. After toiling all night without success, it seemed hopeless to cast the net by day; but Jesus had given the command, and love for their Master moved the disciples to obey. Simon and his brother together let down the net. As they attempted to draw it in, so great was the quantity of fish enclosed that it began to break. They were obliged to summon James and John to their aid. When the catch was secured, both the boats were so heavily laden that they were in danger of sinking.

    But Peter was unmindful now of boats or lading. This miracle, above any other he had ever witnessed, was to him a manifestation of divine power. In Jesus he saw One who held all nature under His control. The presence of divinity revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him. While his companions were securing the contents of the net, Peter fell at the Saviour's feet, exclaiming, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

    It was the same presence of divine holiness that had caused the prophet Daniel to fall as one dead before the angel of God. He said, "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength." So when Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he exclaimed, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Dan. 10:8; Isa. 6:5. Humanity, with its weakness and sin, was brought in contrast with the perfection of divinity, and he felt altogether deficient and unholy. Thus it has been with all who have been granted a view of God's greatness and majesty.

    Peter exclaimed, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man;" yet he clung to the feet of Jesus, feeling that he could not be parted from Him. The Saviour answered, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." It was after Isaiah has beheld the holiness of God and his own unworthiness that he was entrusted with the divine message. It was after Peter had been led to self-renunciation and dependence upon divine power that he received the call to his work for Christ.

    Until this time none of the disciples had fully united as colaborers with Jesus. They had witnessed many of His miracles, and had listened to His teaching; but they had not entirely forsaken their former employment.

    The imprisonment of John the Baptist had been to them all a bitter disappointment. If such were to be the outcome of John's mission, they could have little hope for their Master, with all the religious leaders combined against Him. Under the circumstances it was a relief to them to return for a short time to their fishing. But now Jesus called them to forsake their former life, and unite their interests with His. Peter had accepted the call. Upon reaching the shore, Jesus bade the three other disciples, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left all, and followed Him. Before asking them to leave their nets and fishing boats, Jesus had given them the assurance that God would supply their needs. The use of Peter's boat for the work of the gospel had been richly repaid. He who is "rich unto all that call upon Him," has said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." Rom. 10:12; Luke 6:38. In this measure He had rewarded the disciple's service. And every sacrifice that is made in His ministry will be recompensed according to "the exceeding riches of His grace." Eph. 3:20; 2:7.

    During that sad night on the lake, when they were separated from Christ, the disciples were pressed hard by unbelief, and weary with fruitless toil. But His presence kindled their faith, and brought them joy and success. So it is with us; apart from Christ, our work is fruitless, and it is easy to distrust and murmur. But when He is near, and we labor under His direction, we rejoice in the evidence of His power. It is Satan's work to discourage the soul; it is Christ's work to inspire with faith and hope.

    The deeper lesson which the miracle conveyed for the disciples is a lesson for us also,--that He whose word could gather the fishes from the sea could also impress human hearts, and draw them by the cords of His love, so that His servants might become "fishers of men."

    They were humble and unlearned men, those fishers of Galilee; but Christ, the light of the world, was abundantly able to qualify them for the position for which He had chosen them. The Saviour did not despise education; for when controlled by the love of God, and devoted to His service, intellectual culture is a blessing. But He passed by the wise men of His time, because they were so self-confident that they could not sympathize with suffering humanity, and become colaborers with the Man of Nazareth. In their bigotry they scorned to be taught by Christ. The Lord Jesus seeks the co-operation of those who will become unobstructed channels for the communication of His grace. The first thing to be learned by all who would become workers together with God is the lesson of self-distrust; then they are prepared to have imparted to them the character of Christ. This is not to be gained through education in the most scientific schools. It is the fruit of wisdom that is obtained from the divine Teacher alone.

    Jesus chose unlearned fishermen because they had not been schooled in the traditions and erroneous customs of their time. They were men of native ability, and they were humble and teachable,--men whom He could educate for His work. In the common walks of life there is many a man patiently treading the round of daily toil, unconscious that he possesses powers which, if called into action, would raise him to an equality with the world's most honored men. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse those dormant faculties. It was such men that Jesus called to be His colaborers; and He gave them the advantage of association with Himself. Never had the world's great men such a teacher. When the disciples came forth from the Saviour's training, they were no longer ignorant and uncultured. They had become like Him in mind and character, and men took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.

    It is not the highest work of education to communicate knowledge merely, but to impart that vitalizing energy which is received through the contact of mind with mind, and soul with soul. It is only life that can beget life. What privilege, then, was theirs who for three years were in daily contact with that divine life from which has flowed every life-giving impulse that has blessed the world! Above all his companions, John the beloved disciple yielded himself to the power of that wondrous life. He says, "The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us." "Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." 1 John 1:2; John 1:16.

    In the apostles of our Lord there was nothing to bring glory to themselves. It was evident that the success of their labors was due only to God. The lives of these men, the characters they developed, and the mighty work that God wrought through them, are a testimony to what He will do for all who are teachable and obedient.

    He who loves Christ the most will do the greatest amount of good. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal His grace. If His people will remove the obstructions, He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress their zeal, there would be a hundred workers for Christ where now there is one. God takes men as they are, and educates them for His service, if they will yield themselves to Him.

    The Spirit of God, received into the soul, will quicken all its faculties. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfill the requirements of God. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character. Through a connection with Christ he will have clearer and broader views. His discernment will be more penetrative, his judgment better balanced. He who longs to be of service to Christ is so quickened by the life-giving power of the Sun of Righteousness that he is enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God.

    Men of the highest education in the arts and sciences have learned precious lessons from Christians in humble life who were designated by the world as unlearned. But these obscure disciples had obtained an education in the highest of all schools. They had sat at the feet of Him who spoke as "never man spake."

    Chapter 26

    At Capernaum Jesus dwelt in the intervals of His journeys to and fro, and it came to be known as "His own city." It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and near the borders of the beautiful plain of Gennesaret, if not actually upon it.

    The deep depression of the lake gives to the plain that skirts its shores the genial climate of the south. Here in the days of Christ flourished the palm tree and the olive, here were orchards and vineyards, green fields, and brightly blooming flowers in rich luxuriance, all watered by living streams bursting from the cliffs. The shores of the lake, and the hills that at a little distance encircle it, were dotted with towns and villages. The lake was covered with fishing boats. Everywhere was the stir of busy, active life.

    Capernaum itself was well adapted to be the center of the Saviour's work. Being on the highway from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt, and to the Mediterranean Sea, it was a great thoroughfare of travel. People from many lands passed through the city, or tarried for rest in their journeyings to and fro. Here Jesus could meet all nations and all ranks, the rich and great as well as the poor and lowly, and His lessons would be carried to other countries and into many households.

    Investigation of the prophecies would thus be excited, attention would be directed to the Saviour, and His mission would be brought before the world. Notwithstanding the action of the Sanhedrin against Jesus, the people eagerly awaited the development of His mission. All heaven was astir with interest. Angels were preparing the way for His ministry, moving upon men's hearts, and drawing them to the Saviour.

    In Capernaum the nobleman's son whom Christ had healed was a witness to His power. And the court official and his household joyfully testified of their faith. When it was known that the Teacher Himself was among them, the whole city was aroused. Multitudes flocked to His presence. On the Sabbath the people crowded the synagogue until great numbers had to turn away, unable to find entrance.

    All who heard the Saviour "were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power." "He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Luke 4:32; Matt. 7:29. The teaching of the scribes and elders was cold and formal, like a lesson learned by rote. To them the word of God possessed no vital power. Their own ideas and traditions were substituted for its teaching. In the accustomed round of service they professed to explain the law, but no inspiration from God stirred their own hearts or the hearts of their hearers.

    Jesus had nothing to do with the various subjects of dissension among the Jews. It was His work to present the truth. His words shed a flood of light upon the teachings of patriarchs and prophets, and the Scriptures came to men as a new revelation. Never before had His hearers perceived such a depth of meaning in the word of God.

    Jesus met the people on their own ground, as one who was acquainted with their perplexities. He made truth beautiful by presenting it in the most direct and simple way. His language was pure, refined, and clear as a running stream. His voice was as music to those who had listened to the monotonous tones of the rabbis. But while His teaching was simple, He spoke as one having authority. This characteristic set His teaching in contrast with that of all others. The rabbis spoke with doubt and hesitancy, as if the Scriptures might be interpreted to mean one thing or exactly the opposite. The hearers were daily involved in greater uncertainty. But Jesus taught the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority. Whatever His subject, it was presented with power, as if His words could not be controverted.

    Yet He was earnest, rather than vehement. He spoke as one who had a definite purpose to fulfill. He was bringing to view the realities of the eternal world. In every theme God was revealed. Jesus sought to break the spell of infatuation which keeps men absorbed in earthly things. He placed the things of this life in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares men better to perform the duties of everyday life. He spoke as one familiar with heaven, conscious of His relationship to God, yet recognizing His unity with every member of the human family.

    His messages of mercy were varied to suit His audience. He knew "how to speak a word in season to him that is weary" (Isa. 50:4); for grace was poured upon His lips, that He might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth. He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds, and surprise them with illustrations that won their attention.Through the imagination He reached the heart. His illustrations were taken from the things of daily life, and although they were simple, they had in them a wonderful depth of meaning. The birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the seed, the shepherd and the sheep,--with these objects Christ illustrated immortal truth; and ever afterward, when His hearers chanced to see these things of nature, they recalled His words. Christ's illustrations constantly repeated His lessons.

    Christ never flattered men. He never spoke that which would exalt their fancies and imaginations, nor did He praise them for their clever inventions; but deep, unprejudiced thinkers received His teaching, and found that it tested their wisdom. They marveled at the spiritual truth expressed in the simplest language. The most highly educated were charmed with His words, and the uneducated were always profited. He had a message for the illiterate; and He made even the heathen to understand that He had a message for them.

    His tender compassion fell with a touch of healing upon weary and troubled hearts. Even amid the turbulence of angry enemies He was surrounded with an atmosphere of peace. The beauty of His countenance, the loveliness of His character, above all, the love expressed in look and tone, drew to Him all who were not hardened in unbelief. Had it not been for the sweet, sympathetic spirit that shone out in every look and word, He would not have attracted the large congregations that He did. The afflicted ones who came to Him felt that He linked His interest with theirs as a faithful and tender friend, and they desired to know more of the truths He taught. Heaven was brought near. They longed to abide in His presence, that the comfort of His love might be with them continually.

    Jesus watched with deep earnestness the changing countenances of His hearers. The faces that expressed interest and pleasure gave Him great satisfaction. As the arrows of truth pierced to the soul, breaking through the barriers of selfishness, and working contrition, and finally gratitude, the Saviour was made glad. When His eye swept over the throng of listeners, and He recognized among them the faces He had before seen, His countenance lighted up with joy. He saw in them hopeful subjects for His kingdom. When the truth, plainly spoken, touched some cherished idol, He marked the change of countenance, the cold, forbidding look, which told that the light was unwelcome. When He saw men refuse the message of peace, His heart was pierced to the very depths.

    Jesus in the synagogue spoke of the kingdom He had come to establish, and of His mission to set free the captives of Satan. He was interrupted by a shriek of terror. A madman rushed forward from among the people, crying out, "Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God."

    All was now confusion and alarm. The attention of the people was diverted from Christ, and His words were unheeded. This was Satan's purpose in leading his victim to the synagogue. But Jesus rebuked the demon, saying, "Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not."

    The mind of this wretched sufferer had been darkened by Satan, but in the Saviour's presence a ray of light had pierced the gloom. He was roused to long for freedom from Satan's control; but the demon resisted the power of Christ. When the man tried to appeal to Jesus for help, the evil spirit put words into his mouth, and he cried out in an agony of fear. The demoniac partially comprehended that he was in the presence of One who could set him free; but when he tried to come within reach of that mighty hand, another's will held him, another's words found utterance through him. The conflict between the power of Satan and his own desire for freedom was terrible.

    He who had conquered Satan in the wilderness of temptation was again brought face to face with His enemy. The demon exerted all his power to retain control of his victim. To lose ground here would be to give Jesus a victory. It seemed that the tortured man must lose his life in the struggle with the foe that had been the ruin of his manhood. But the Saviour spoke with authority, and set the captive free. The man who had been possessed stood before the wondering people happy in the freedom of self-possession. Even the demon had testified to the divine power of the Saviour.

    The man praised God for his deliverance. The eye that had so lately glared with the fire of insanity, now beamed with intelligence, and overflowed with grateful tears. The people were dumb with amazement. As soon as they recovered speech they exclaimed, one to another, "What is this? a new teaching! with authority He commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." Mark 1:27, R. V.

    The secret cause of the affliction that had made this man a fearful spectacle to his friends and a burden to himself was in his own life. He had been fascinated by the pleasures of sin, and had thought to make life a grand carnival. He did not dream of becoming a terror to the world and the reproach of his family. He thought his time could be spent in innocent folly. But once in the downward path, his feet rapidly descended. Intemperance and frivolity perverted the noble attributes of his nature, and Satan took absolute control of him.

    Remorse came too late. When he would have sacrificed wealth and pleasure to regain his lost manhood, he had become helpless in the grasp of the evil one. He had placed himself on the enemy's ground, and Satan had taken possession of all his faculties. The tempter had allured him with many charming presentations; but when once the wretched man was in his power, the fiend became relentless in his cruelty, and terrible in his angry visitations. So it will be with all who yield to evil; the fascinating pleasure of their early career ends in the darkness of despair or the madness of a ruined soul.

    The same evil spirit that tempted Christ in the wilderness, and that possessed the maniac of Capernaum, controlled the unbelieving Jews. But with them he assumed an air of piety, seeking to deceive them as to their motives in rejecting the Saviour. Their condition was more hopeless than that of the demoniac, for they felt no need of Christ and were therefore held fast under the power of Satan.

    The period of Christ's personal ministry among men was the time of greatest activity for the forces of the kingdom of darkness. For ages Satan with his evil angels had been seeking to control the bodies and the souls of men, to bring upon them sin and suffering; then he had charged all this misery upon God. Jesus was revealing to men the character of God. He was breaking Satan's power, and setting his captives free. New life and love and power from heaven were moving upon the hearts of men, and the prince of evil was aroused to contend for the supremacy of his kingdom. Satan summoned all his forces, and at every step contested the work of Christ.

    So it will be in the great final conflict of the controversy between righteousness and sin. While new life and light and power are descending from on high upon the disciples of Christ, a new life is springing up from beneath, and energizing the agencies of Satan. Intensity is taking possession of every earthly element. With a subtlety gained through centuries of conflict, the prince of evil works under a disguise. He appears clothed as an angel of light, and multitudes are "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1 Tim. 4:1.

    In the days of Christ the leaders and teachers of Israel were powerless to resist the work of Satan. They were neglecting the only means by which they could have withstood evil spirits. It was by the word of God that Christ overcame the wicked one. The leaders of Israel professed to be the expositors of God's word, but they had studied it only to sustain their traditions, and enforce their man-made observances. By their interpretation they made it express sentiments that God had never given. Their mystical construction made indistinct that which He had made plain. They disputed over insignificant technicalities, and practically denied the most essential truths. Thus infidelity was sown broadcast. God's word was robbed of its power, and evil spirits worked their will.

    History is repeating. With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God's word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife.

    When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for spiritism and theosophy--those modernized forms of ancient heathenism--to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape from its mysterious power.

    The defenses of the soul are broken down. He has no barrier against sin. When once the restraints of God's word and His Spirit are rejected, no man knows to what depths of degradation he may sink. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.

    The means by which we can overcome the wicked one is that by which Christ overcame,--the power of the word. God does not control our minds without our consent; but if we desire to know and to do His will, His promises are ours: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching." John 8:32; 7:17, R. V. Through faith in these promises, every man may be delivered from the snares of error and the control of sin.

    Every man is free to choose what power he will have to rule over him. None have fallen so low, none are so vile, but that they can find deliverance in Christ. The demoniac, in place of prayer, could utter only the words of Satan; yet the heart's unspoken appeal was heard. No cry from a soul in need, though it fail of utterance in words, will be unheeded. Those who will consent to enter into covenant relation with the God of heaven are not left to the power of Satan or to the infirmity of their own nature. They are invited by the Saviour, "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isa. 27:5.

    The spirits of darkness will battle for the soul once under their dominion, but angels of God will contend for that soul with prevailing power. The Lord says, "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? . . . Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children." Isa. 49:24, 25. While the congregation in the synagogue were still spellbound with awe, Jesus withdrew to the home of Peter for a little rest. But here also a shadow had fallen. The mother of Peter's wife lay sick, stricken with a "great fever." Jesus rebuked the disease, and the sufferer arose, and ministered to the wants of the Master and His disciples.

    Tidings of the work of Christ spread rapidly throughout Capernaum. For fear of the rabbis, the people dared not come for healing upon the Sabbath; but no sooner had the sun disappeared below the horizon than there was a great commotion. From the homes, the shops, the market places, the inhabitants of the city pressed toward the humble dwelling that sheltered Jesus. The sick were brought upon couches, they came leaning upon staffs, or, supported by friends, they tottered feebly into the Saviour's presence.

    Hour after hour they came and went; for none could know whether tomorrow would find the Healer still among them. Never before had Capernaum witnessed a day like this. The air was filled with the voice of triumph and shouts of deliverance. The Saviour was joyful in the joy He had awakened. As He witnessed the sufferings of those who had come to Him, His heart was stirred with sympathy, and He rejoiced in His power to restore them to health and happiness.

    Not until the last sufferer had been relieved did Jesus cease His work. It was far into the night when the multitude departed, and silence settled down upon the home of Simon. The long, exciting day was past, and Jesus sought rest. But while the city was still wrapped in slumber, the Saviour, "rising up a great while before day, . . . went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

    Thus were spent the days in the earthly life of Jesus. He often dismissed His disciples to visit their homes and rest; but He gently resisted their efforts to draw Him away from His labors. All day He toiled, teaching the ignorant, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, feeding the multitude; and at the eventide or in the early morning, He went away to the sanctuary of the mountains for communion with His Father. Often He passed the entire night in prayer and meditation, returning at daybreak to His work among the people. Early in the morning, Peter and his companions came to Jesus, saying that already the people of Capernaum were seeking Him. The disciples had been bitterly disappointed at the reception which Christ had met hitherto. The authorities at Jerusalem were seeking to murder Him; even His own townsmen had tried to take His life; but at Capernaum He was welcomed with joyful enthusiasm, and the hopes of the disciples kindled anew. It might be that among the liberty-loving Galileans were to be found the supporters of the new kingdom. But with surprise they heard Christ's words, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent."

    In the excitement which then pervaded Capernaum, there was danger that the object of His mission would be lost sight of. Jesus was not satisfied to attract attention to Himself merely as a wonder worker or a healer of physical diseases. He was seeking to draw men to Him as their Saviour. While the people were eager to believe that He had come as a king, to establish an earthly reign, He desired to turn their minds away from the earthly to the spiritual. Mere worldly success would interfere with His work.

    And the wonder of the careless crowd jarred upon His spirit. In His life no self-assertion mingled. The homage which the world gives to position, or wealth, or talent, was foreign to the Son of man. None of the means that men employ to win allegiance or command homage did Jesus use. Centuries before His birth, it had been prophesied of Him,

    "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the dimly burning flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth." Isa. 42:2-4, margin.

    The Pharisees sought distinction by their scrupulous ceremonialism, and the ostentation of their worship and charities. They proved their zeal for religion by making it the theme of discussion. Disputes between opposing sects were loud and long, and it was not unusual to hear on the streets the voice of angry controversy from learned doctors of the law.

    In marked contrast to all this was the life of Jesus. In that life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no act to gain applause, was ever witnessed. Christ was hid in God, and God was revealed in the character of His Son. To this revelation Jesus desired the minds of the people to be directed, and their homage to be given.

    The Sun of Righteousness did not burst upon the world in splendor, to dazzle the senses with His glory. It is written of Christ, "His going forth is prepared as the morning." Hosea 6:3. Quietly and gently the daylight breaks upon the earth, dispelling the shadow of darkness, and waking the world to life. So did the Sun of Righteousness arise, "with healing in His wings." Mal. 4:2.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

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    Chapter 27
    "Thou Canst Make Me Clean"

    Of all diseases known in the East the leprosy was most dreaded. Its incurable and contagious character, and its horrible effect upon its victims, filled the bravest with fear. Among the Jews it was regarded as a judgment on account of sin, and hence was called "the stroke," "the finger of God." Deep-rooted, ineradicable, deadly, it was looked upon as a symbol of sin. By the ritual law, the leper was pronounced unclean. Like one already dead, he was shut out from the habitations of men. Whatever he touched was unclean. The air was polluted by his breath. One who was suspected of having the disease must present himself to the priests, who were to examine and decide his case. If pronounced a leper, he was isolated from his family, cut off from the congregation of Israel, and was doomed to associate with those only who were similarly afflicted. The law was inflexible in its requirement. Even kings and rulers were not exempt. A monarch who was attacked by this terrible disease must yield up the scepter, and flee from society.

    Away from his friends and his kindred, the leper must bear the curse of his malady. He was obliged to publish his own calamity, to rend his garments, and sound the alarm, warning all to flee from his contaminating presence. The cry, "Unclean! unclean!" coming in mournful tones from the lonely exile, was a signal heard with fear and abhorrence.

    In the region of Christ's ministry, there were many of these sufferers, and the news of His work reached them, kindling a gleam of hope. But since the days of Elisha the prophet, such a thing had never been known as the cleansing of one upon whom this disease had fastened. They dared not expect Jesus to do for them what He had never done for any man. There was one, however, in whose heart faith began to spring up. Yet the man knew not how to reach Jesus. Debarred as he was from contact with his fellow men, how could he present himself to the Healer? And he questioned if Christ would heal him . Would He stoop to notice one believed to be suffering under the judgment of God? Would He not, like the Pharisees, and even the physicians, pronounce a curse upon him, and warn him to flee from the haunts of men? He thought of all that had been told him of Jesus.

    Not one who had sought His help had been turned away. The wretched man determined to find the Saviour. Though shut out from the cities, it might be that he could cross His path in some byway along the mountain roads, or find Him as He was teaching outside the towns. The difficulties were great, but this was his only hope. The leper is guided to the Saviour. Jesus is teaching beside the lake, and the people are gathered about Him. Standing afar off, the leper catches a few words from the Saviour's lips. He sees Him laying His hands upon the sick. He sees the lame, the blind, the paralytic, and those dying of various maladies rise up in health, praising God for their deliverance. Faith strengthens in his heart. He draws nearer and yet nearer to the gathered throng. The restrictions laid upon him, the safety of the people, and the fear with which all men regard him are forgotten. He thinks only of the blessed hope of healing.

    He is a loathsome spectacle. The disease has made frightful inroads, and his decaying body is horrible to look upon. At sight of him the people fall back in terror. They crowd upon one another in their eagerness to escape from contact with him. Some try to prevent him from approaching Jesus, but in vain. He neither sees nor hears them. Their expressions of loathing are lost upon him. He sees only the Son of God. He hears only the voice that speaks life to the dying. Pressing to Jesus, he casts himself at His feet with the cry, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean."

    Jesus replied, "I will; be thou made clean," and laid His hand upon him. Matt. 8:3, R. V.

    Immediately a change passed over the leper. His flesh became healthy, the nerves sensitive, the muscles firm. The rough, scaly surface peculiar to leprosy disappeared, and a soft glow, like that upon the skin of a healthy child, took its place. Jesus charged the man not to make known the work that had been wrought, but straightway to present himself with an offering at the temple. Such an offering could not be accepted until the priests had made examination and pronounced the man wholly free from the disease. However unwilling they might be to perform this service, they could not evade an examination and decision of the case.

    The words of Scripture show with what urgency Christ enjoined upon the man the necessity of silence and prompt action. "He straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." Had the priests known the facts concerning the healing of the leper, their hatred of Christ might have led them to render a dishonest sentence. Jesus desired the man to present himself at the temple before any rumors concerning the miracle had reached them. Thus an impartial decision could be secured, and the restored leper would be permitted to unite once more with his family and friends.

    There were other objects which Christ had in view in enjoining silence on the man. The Saviour knew that His enemies were ever seeking to limit His work, and to turn the people from Him. He knew that if the healing of the leper were noised abroad, other sufferers from this terrible disease would crowd about Him, and the cry would be raised that the people would be contaminated by contact with them. Many of the lepers would not so use the gift of health as to make it a blessing to themselves or to others. And by drawing the lepers about Him, He would give occasion for the charge that He was breaking down the restrictions of the ritual law. Thus His work in preaching the gospel would be hindered.

    The event justified Christ's warning. A multitude of people had witnessed the healing of the leper, and they were eager to learn of the priests' decision. When the man returned to his friends, there was great excitement. Notwithstanding the caution of Jesus, the man made no further effort to conceal the fact of his cure. It would indeed have been impossible to conceal it, but the leper published the matter abroad. Conceiving that it was only the modesty of Jesus which laid this restriction upon him, he went about proclaiming the power of this Great Healer. He did not understand that every such manifestation made the priests and elders more determined to destroy Jesus. The restored man felt that the boon of health was very precious.

    He rejoiced in the vigor of manhood, and in his restoration to his family and society, and felt it impossible to refrain from giving glory to the Physician who had made him whole. But his act in blazing abroad the matter resulted in hindering the Saviour's work. It caused the people to flock to Him in such multitudes that He was forced for a time to cease His labors. Every act of Christ's ministry was far-reaching in its purpose. It comprehended more than appeared in the act itself. So in the case of the leper. While Jesus ministered to all who came unto Him, He yearned to bless those who came not. While He drew the publicans, the heathen, and the Samaritans, He longed to reach the priests and teachers who were shut in by prejudice and tradition. He left untried no means by which they might be reached. In sending the healed leper to the priests, He gave them a testimony calculated to disarm their prejudices.

    The Pharisees had asserted that Christ's teaching was opposed to the law which God had given through Moses; but His direction to the cleansed leper to present an offering according to the law disproved this charge. It was sufficient testimony for all who were willing to be convinced.

    The leaders at Jerusalem had sent out spies to find some pretext for putting Christ to death. He responded by giving them an evidence of His love for humanity, His respect for the law, and His power to deliver from sin and death. Thus He bore witness of them: "They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love." Ps. 109:5. He who on the mount gave the precept, "Love your enemies," Himself exemplified the principle, not rendering "evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing." Matt. 5:44; 1 Peter 3:9.

    The same priests who condemned the leper to banishment certified his cure. This sentence, publicly pronounced and registered, was a standing testimony for Christ. And as the healed man was reinstated in the congregation of Israel, upon the priests' own assurance that there was not a taint of the disease upon him, he himself was a living witness for his Benefactor. Joyfully he presented his offering, and magnified the name of Jesus. The priests were convinced of the divine power of the Saviour. Opportunity was granted them to know the truth and to be profited by the light. Rejected, it would pass away, never to return. By many the light was rejected; yet it was not given in vain. Many hearts were moved that for a time made no sign. During the Saviour's life, His mission seemed to call forth little response of love from the priests and teachers; but after His ascension "a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Acts 6:7.

    The work of Christ in cleansing the leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of His work in cleansing the soul from sin. The man who came to Jesus was "full of leprosy." Its deadly poison permeated his whole body. The disciples sought to prevent their Master from touching him; for he who touched a leper became himself unclean. But in laying His hand upon the leper, Jesus received no defilement. His touch imparted life-giving power. The leprosy was cleansed. Thus it is with the leprosy of sin,--deep-rooted, deadly, and impossible to be cleansed by human power. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." Isa. 1:5, 6. But Jesus, coming to dwell in humanity, receives no pollution. His presence has healing virtue for the sinner. Whoever will fall at His feet, saying in faith, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean," shall hear the answer, "I will; be thou made clean." Matt. 8:2, 3, R. V.

    In some instances of healing, Jesus did not at once grant the blessing sought. But in the case of leprosy, no sooner was the appeal made than it was granted. When we pray for earthly blessings, the answer to our prayer may be delayed, or God may give us something other than we ask, but not so when we ask for deliverance from sin. It is His will to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. Christ "gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Gal. 1:4. And "this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." 1 John 5:14, 15. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9.

    In the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum, Christ again taught the same truth. It was to manifest His power to forgive sins that the miracle was performed. And the healing of the paralytic also illustrates other precious truths. It is full of hope and encouragement, and from its connection with the caviling Pharisees it has a lesson of warning as well.

    Like the leper, this paralytic had lost all hope of recovery. His disease was the result of a life of sin, and his sufferings were embittered by remorse. He had long before appealed to the Pharisees and doctors, hoping for relief from mental suffering and physical pain. But they coldly pronounced him incurable, and abandoned him to the wrath of God. The Pharisees regarded affliction as an evidence of divine displeasure, and they held themselves aloof from the sick and the needy. Yet often these very ones who exalted themselves as holy were more guilty than the sufferers they condemned.

    The palsied man was entirely helpless, and, seeing no prospect of aid from any quarter, he had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. He was told that others as sinful and helpless as he had been healed; even lepers had been cleansed. And the friends who reported these things encouraged him to believe that he too might be cured if he could be carried to Jesus. But his hope fell when he remembered how the disease had been brought upon him. He feared that the pure Physician would not tolerate him in His presence.

    Yet it was not physical restoration he desired so much as relief from the burden of sin. If he could see Jesus, and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with Heaven, he would be content to live or die, according to God's will. The cry of the dying man was, Oh that I might come into His presence! There was no time to lose; already his wasted flesh was showing signs of decay. He besought his friends to carry him on his bed to Jesus, and this they gladly undertook to do. But so dense was the crowd that had assembled in and about the house where the Saviour was, that it was impossible for the sick man and his friends to reach Him, or even to come within hearing of His voice.

    Jesus was teaching in the house of Peter. According to their custom, His disciples sat close about Him, and "there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem." These had come as spies, seeking an accusation against Jesus. Outside of these officials thronged the promiscuous multitude, the eager, the reverent, the curious, and the unbelieving. Different nationalities and all grades of society were represented. "And the power of the Lord was present to heal." The Spirit of life brooded over the assembly, but Pharisees and doctors did not discern its presence. They felt no sense of need, and the healing was not for them. "He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away." Luke 1:53.

    Again and again the bearers of the paralytic tried to push their way through the crowd, but in vain. The sick man looked about him in unutterable anguish. When the longed-for help was so near, how could he relinquish hope? At his suggestion his friends bore him to the top of the house and, breaking up the roof, let him down at the feet of Jesus. The discourse was interrupted. The Saviour looked upon the mournful countenance, and saw the pleading eyes fixed upon Him. He understood the case; He had drawn to Himself that perplexed and doubting spirit. While the paralytic was yet at home, the Saviour had brought conviction to his conscience. When he repented of his sins, and believed in the power of Jesus to make him whole, the life-giving mercies of the Saviour had first blessed his longing heart. Jesus had watched the first glimmer of faith grow into a belief that He was the sinner's only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence.

    Now, in words that fell like music on the sufferer's ear, the Saviour said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

    The burden of despair rolls from the sick man's soul; the peace of forgiveness rests upon his spirit, and shines out upon his countenance. His physical pain is gone, and his whole being is transformed. The helpless paralytic is healed! the guilty sinner is pardoned!

    In simple faith he accepted the words of Jesus as the boon of new life. He urged no further request, but lay in blissful silence, too happy for words. The light of heaven irradiated his countenance, and the people looked with awe upon the scene.

    The rabbis had waited anxiously to see what disposition Christ would make of this case. They recollected how the man had appealed to them for help, and they had refused him hope or sympathy. Not satisfied with this, they had declared that he was suffering the curse of God for his sins. These things came fresh to their minds when they saw the sick man before them. They marked the interest with which all were watching the scene, and they felt a terrible fear of losing their own influence over the people.

    These dignitaries did not exchange words together, but looking into one another's faces they read the same thought in each, that something must be done to arrest the tide of feeling. Jesus had declared that the sins of the paralytic were forgiven. The Pharisees caught at these words as blasphemy, and conceived that they could present this as a sin worthy of death. They said in their hearts, "He blasphemeth: who can forgive sins but One, even God?" Mark 2:7, R. V.

    Fixing His glance upon them, beneath which they cowered, and drew back, Jesus said, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," He said, turning to the paralytic, "Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

    Then he who had been borne on a litter to Jesus rises to his feet with the elasticity and strength of youth. The life-giving blood bounds through his veins. Every organ of his body springs into sudden activity. The glow of health succeeds the pallor of approaching death. "And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."

    Oh, wondrous love of Christ, stooping to heal the guilty and the afflicted! Divinity sorrowing over and soothing the ills of suffering humanity! Oh, marvelous power thus displayed to the children of men! Who can doubt the message of salvation? Who can slight the mercies of a compassionate Redeemer?

    It required nothing less than creative power to restore health to that decaying body. The same voice that spoke life to man created from the dust of the earth had spoken life to the dying paralytic. And the same power that gave life to the body had renewed the heart. He who at the creation "spake, and it was," who "commanded, and it stood fast," (Ps. 33:9), had spoken life to the soul dead in trespasses and sins. The healing of the body was an evidence of the power that had renewed the heart. Christ bade the paralytic arise and walk, "that ye may know," He said, "that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. The spiritual healing was followed by physical restoration. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease, who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, "Thy sins are forgiven." The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can give, would impart vigor to the mind, and health to the body.

    Jesus came to "destroy the works of the devil." "In Him was life," and He says, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." He is "a quickening spirit." 1 John 3:8; John 1:4; 10:10; 1 Cor. 15:45. And He still has the same life-giving power as when on earth He healed the sick, and spoke forgiveness to the sinner. He "forgiveth all thine iniquities," He "healeth all thy diseases." Ps. 103:3.

    The effect produced upon the people by the healing of the paralytic was as if heaven had opened, and revealed the glories of the better world. As the man who had been cured passed through the multitude, blessing God at every step, and bearing his burden as if it were a feather's weight, the people fell back to give him room, and with awe-stricken faces gazed upon him, whispering softly among themselves, "We have seen strange things today."

    The Pharisees were dumb with amazement and overwhelmed with defeat. They saw that here was no opportunity for their jealousy to inflame the multitude. The wonderful work wrought upon the man whom they had given over to the wrath of God had so impressed the people that the rabbis were for the time forgotten. They saw that Christ possessed a power which they had ascribed to God alone; yet the gentle dignity of His manner was in marked contrast to their own haughty bearing. They were disconcerted and abashed, recognizing, but not confessing, the presence of a superior being. The stronger the evidence that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins, the more firmly they entrenched themselves in unbelief. From the home of Peter, where they had seen the paralytic restored by His word, they went away to invent new schemes for silencing the Son of God. Physical disease, however malignant and deep-seated, was healed by the power of Christ; but the disease of the soul took a firmer hold upon those who closed their eyes against the light. Leprosy and palsy were not so terrible as bigotry and unbelief.

    In the home of the healed paralytic there was great rejoicing when he returned to his family, carrying with ease the couch upon which he had been slowly borne from their presence but a short time before. They gathered round with tears of joy, scarcely daring to believe their eyes. He stood before them in the full vigor of manhood. Those arms that they had seen lifeless were quick to obey his will. The flesh that had been shrunken and leaden-hued was now fresh and ruddy. He walked with a firm, free step. Joy and hope were written in every lineament of his countenance; and an expression of purity and peace had taken the place of the marks of sin and suffering. Glad thanksgiving went up from that home, and God was glorified through His Son, who had restored hope to the hopeless, and strength to the stricken one. This man and his family were ready to lay down their lives for Jesus. No doubt dimmed their faith, no unbelief marred their fealty to Him who had brought light into their darkened home.

    Chapter 28

    Of the Roman officials in Palestine, none were more hated than the publicans. The fact that the taxes were imposed by a foreign power was a continual irritation to the Jews, being a reminder that their independence had departed. And the taxgatherers were not merely the instruments of Roman oppression; they were extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society.

    To this class belonged Levi-Matthew, who, after the four disciples at Gennesaret, was the next to be called to Christ's service. The Pharisees had judged Matthew according to his employment, but Jesus saw in this man a heart open for the reception of truth. Matthew had listened to the Saviour's teaching. As the convicting Spirit of God revealed his sinfulness, he longed to seek help from Christ; but he was accustomed to the exclusiveness of the rabbis, and had no thought that this Great Teacher would notice him. Sitting at his toll booth one day, the publican saw Jesus approaching. Great was his astonishment to hear the words addressed to himself, "Follow Me." Matthew "left all, rose up, and followed Him." There was no hesitation, no questioning, no thought of the lucrative business to be exchanged for poverty and hardship. It was enough for him that he was to be with Jesus, that he might listen to His words, and unite with Him in His work.

    So it was with the disciples previously called. When Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow Him, immediately they left their boats and nets. Some of these disciples had friends dependent on them for support; but when they received the Saviour's invitation, they did not hesitate, and inquire, How shall I live, and sustain my family? They were obedient to the call; and when afterward Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?" they could answer, "Nothing." Luke 22:35.

    To Matthew in his wealth, and to Andrew and Peter in their poverty, the same test was brought; the same consecration was made by each. At the moment of success, when the nets were filled with fish, and the impulses of the old life were strongest, Jesus asked the disciples at the sea to leave all for the work of the gospel. So every soul is tested as to whether the desire for temporal good or for fellowship with Christ is strongest.

    Principle is always exacting. No man can succeed in the service of God unless his whole heart is in the work and he counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. No man who makes any reserve can be the disciple of Christ, much less can he be His colaborer. When men appreciate the great salvation, the self-sacrifice seen in Christ's life will be seen in theirs. Wherever He leads the way, they will rejoice to follow.

    The calling of Matthew to be one of Christ's disciples excited great indignation. For a religious teacher to choose a publican as one of his immediate attendants was an offense against the religious, social, and national customs. By appealing to the prejudices of the people the Pharisees hoped to turn the current of popular feeling against Jesus.

    Among the publicans a widespread interest was created. Their hearts were drawn toward the divine Teacher. In the joy of his new discipleship, Matthew longed to bring his former associates to Jesus. Accordingly he made a feast at his own house, and called together his relatives and friends. Not only were publicans included, but many others who were of doubtful reputation, and were proscribed by their more scrupulous neighbors. The entertainment was given in honor of Jesus, and He did not hesitate to accept the courtesy. He well knew that this would give offense to the Pharisaic party, and would also compromise Him in the eyes of the people. But no question of policy could influence His movements. With Him external distinctions weighed nothing. That which appealed to His heart was a soul thirsting for the water of life.

    Jesus sat as an honored guest at the table of the publicans, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. Upon their thirsty hearts His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and the possibility of a new life opened to these outcasts of society.

    At such gatherings as this, not a few were impressed by the Saviour's teaching who did not acknowledge Him until after His ascension. When the Holy Spirit was poured out, and three thousand were converted in a day, there were among them many who first heard the truth at the table of the publicans, and some of these became messengers of the gospel. To Matthew himself the example of Jesus at the feast was a constant lesson. The despised publican became one of the most devoted evangelists, in his own ministry following closely in his Master's steps. When the rabbis learned of the presence of Jesus at Matthew's feast, they seized the opportunity of accusing Him. But they chose to work through the disciples. By arousing their prejudices they hoped to alienate them from their Master. It was their policy to accuse Christ to the disciples, and the disciples to Christ, aiming their arrows where they would be most likely to wound. This is the way in which Satan has worked ever since the disaffection in heaven; and all who try to cause discord and alienation are actuated by his spirit.

    "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" questioned the envious rabbis.

    Jesus did not wait for His disciples to answer the charge, but Himself replied: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The Pharisees claimed to be spiritually whole, and therefore in no need of a physician, while they regarded the publicans and Gentiles as perishing from diseases of the soul. Then was it not His work, as a physician, to go to the very class that needed His help?

    But although the Pharisees thought so highly of themselves, they were really in a worse condition than the ones they despised. The publicans were less bigoted and self-sufficient, and thus were more open to the influence of truth. Jesus said to the rabbis, "Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Thus He showed that while they claimed to expound the word of God, they were wholly ignorant of its spirit.

    The Pharisees were silenced for the time, but only became more determined in their enmity. They next sought out the disciples of John the Baptist, and tried to set them against the Saviour. These Pharisees had not accepted the mission of the Baptist. They had pointed in scorn to his abstemious life, his simple habits, his coarse garments, and had declared him a fanatic. Because he denounced their hypocrisy, they had resisted his words, and had tried to stir up the people against him. The Spirit of God had moved upon the hearts of these scorners, convicting them of sin; but they had rejected the counsel of God, and had declared that John was possessed of a devil. Now when Jesus came mingling with the people, eating and drinking at their tables, they accused Him of being a glutton and a winebibber. The very ones who made this charge were themselves guilty. As God is misrepresented, and clothed by Satan with his own attributes, so the Lord's messengers were falsified by these wicked men.

    The Pharisees would not consider that Jesus was eating with publicans and sinners in order to bring the light of heaven to those who sat in darkness. They would not see that every word dropped by the divine Teacher was a living seed that would germinate and bear fruit to the glory of God. They had determined not to accept the light; and although they had opposed the mission of the Baptist, they were now ready to court the friendship of his disciples, hoping to secure their co-operation against Jesus. They represented that Jesus was setting at nought the ancient traditions; and they contrasted the austere piety of the Baptist with the course of Jesus in feasting with publicans and sinners.

    The disciples of John were at this time in great sorrow. It was before their visit to Jesus with John's message. Their beloved teacher was in prison, and they passed their days in mourning. And Jesus was making no effort to release John, and even appeared to cast discredit on his teaching. If John had been sent by God, why did Jesus and His disciples pursue a course so widely different?

    The disciples of John had not a clear understanding of Christ's work; they thought there might be some foundation for the charges of the Pharisees. They observed many of the rules prescribed by the rabbis, and even hoped to be justified by the works of the law. Fasting was practiced by the Jews as an act of merit, and the most rigid among them fasted two days in every week. The Pharisees and John's disciples were fasting when the latter came to Jesus with the inquiry, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?"

    Very tenderly Jesus answered them. He did not try to correct their erroneous conception of fasting, but only to set them right in regard to His own mission. And He did this by employing the same figure that the Baptist himself had used in his testimony to Jesus. John had said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled." John 3:29. The disciples of John could not fail to recall these words of their teacher, as, taking up the illustration, Jesus said, "Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?" The Prince of heaven was among His people. The greatest gift of God had been given to the world. Joy to the poor; for Christ had come to make them heirs of His kingdom. Joy to the rich; for He would teach them how to secure eternal riches. Joy to the ignorant; He would make them wise unto salvation. Joy to the learned; He would open to them deeper mysteries than they had ever fathomed; truths that had been hidden from the foundation of the world would be opened to men by the Saviour's mission.

    John the Baptist had rejoiced to behold the Saviour. What occasion for rejoicing had the disciples who were privileged to walk and talk with the Majesty of heaven! This was not a time for them to mourn and fast. They must open their hearts to receive the light of His glory, that they might shed light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

    It was a bright picture which the words of Christ had called up, but across it lay a heavy shadow, which His eye alone discerned. "The days will come," He said, "when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days." When they should see their Lord betrayed and crucified, the disciples would mourn and fast. In His last words to them in the upper chamber, He said, "A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." John 16:19, 20.

    When He should come forth from the tomb, their sorrow would be turned to joy. After His ascension He was to be absent in person; but through the Comforter He would still be with them, and they were not to spend their time in mourning. This was what Satan wanted. He desired them to give the world the impression that they had been deceived and disappointed; but by faith they were to look to the sanctuary above, where Jesus was ministering for them; they were to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit, His representative, and to rejoice in the light of His presence. Yet days of temptation and trial would come, when they would be brought into conflict with the rulers of this world, and the leaders of the kingdom of darkness; when Christ was not personally with them, and they failed to discern the Comforter, then it would be more fitting for them to fast. The Pharisees sought to exalt themselves by their rigorous observance of forms, while their hearts were filled with envy and strife. "Behold," says the Scripture, "ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?" Isa. 58:4, 5.

    The true fast is no mere formal service. The Scripture describes the fast that God has chosen,--"to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke;" to "draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul." Isa. 58:6, 10. Here is set forth the very spirit and character of the work of Christ. His whole life was a sacrifice of Himself for the saving of the world. Whether fasting in the wilderness of temptation or eating with the publicans at Matthew's feast, He was giving His life for the redemption of the lost. Not in idle mourning, in mere bodily humiliation and multitudinous sacrifices, is the true spirit of devotion manifested, but it is shown in the surrender of self in willing service to God and man.

    Continuing His answer to the disciples of John, Jesus spoke a parable, saying, "No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old." The message of John the Baptist was not to be interwoven with tradition and superstition. An attempt to blend the pretense of the Pharisees with the devotion of John would only make more evident the breach between them.

    Nor could the principles of Christ's teaching be united with the forms of Pharisaism. Christ was not to close up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John. He would make more distinct the separation between the old and the new. Jesus further illustrated this fact, saying, "No man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish." The skin bottles which were used as vessels to contain the new wine, after a time became dry and brittle, and were then worthless to serve the same purpose again. In this familiar illustration Jesus presented the condition of the Jewish leaders. Priests and scribes and rulers were fixed in a rut of ceremonies and traditions. Their hearts had become contracted, like the dried-up wine skins to which He had compared them. While they remained satisfied with a legal religion, it was impossible for them to become the depositaries of the living truth of heaven. They thought their own righteousness all-sufficient, and did not desire that a new element should be brought into their religion.

    The good will of God to men they did not accept as something apart from themselves. They connected it with their own merit because of their good works. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul could find no place for union with the religion of the Pharisees, made up of ceremonies and the injunctions of men. The effort to unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would be vain. The vital truth of God, like fermenting wine, would burst the old, decaying bottles of the Pharisaical tradition. The Pharisees thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned away from them to find others who would receive the message of heaven. In the untutored fishermen, in the publican at the market place, in the woman of Samaria, in the common people who heard Him gladly, He found His new bottles for the new wine. The instrumentalities to be used in the gospel work are those souls who gladly receive the light which God sends them. These are His agencies for imparting the knowledge of truth to the world. If through the grace of Christ His people will become new bottles, He will fill them with new wine.

    The teaching of Christ, though it was represented by the new wine, was not a new doctrine, but the revelation of that which had been taught from the beginning. But to the Pharisees the truth of God had lost its original significance and beauty. To them Christ's teaching was new in almost every respect, and it was unrecognized and unacknowledged.

    Jesus pointed out the power of false teaching to destroy the appreciation and desire for truth. "No man," He said, "having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." All the truth that has been given to the world through patriarchs and prophets shone out in new beauty in the words of Christ. But the scribes and Pharisees had no desire for the precious new wine. Until emptied of the old traditions, customs, and practices, they had no place in mind or heart for the teachings of Christ. They clung to the dead forms, and turned away from the living truth and the power of God.

    It was this that proved the ruin of the Jews, and it will prove the ruin of many souls in our own day. Thousands are making the same mistake as did the Pharisees whom Christ reproved at Matthew's feast. Rather than give up some cherished idea, or discard some idol of opinion, many refuse the truth which comes down from the Father of light. They trust in self, and depend upon their own wisdom, and do not realize their spiritual poverty. They insist on being saved in some way by which they may perform some important work. When they see that there is no way of weaving self into the work, they reject the salvation provided.

    A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. Fasting or prayer that is actuated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.

    As it was in the days of Christ, so it is now; the Pharisees do not know their spiritual destitution. To them comes the message, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." Rev. 3:17, 18. Faith and love are the gold tried in the fire. But with many the gold has become dim, and the rich treasure has been lost. The righteousness of Christ is to them as a robe unworn, a fountain untouched. To them it is said, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Rev. 2:4, 5.

    "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." Ps. 51:17. Man must be emptied of self before he can be, in the fullest sense, a believer in Jesus. When self is renounced, then the Lord can make man a new creature. New bottles can contain the new wine. The love of Christ will animate the believer with new life. In him who looks unto the Author and Finisher of our faith the character of Christ will be manifest.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:53 am



    Chapter 29
    The Sabbath

    The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. "God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;" and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Gen. 1:31.

    Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,"--set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God's power and His love. The Scripture says, "He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered." "The things that are made," declare "the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world," "even His everlasting power and divinity." Gen. 2:3; Ps. 111:4; Rom. 1:20, R. V.

    All things were created by the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1: 1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.

    The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 4:6. It was this thought that awoke the song,--

    "Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work;
    I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.
    O Lord, how great are Thy works!
    And Thy thoughts are very deep."
    Ps. 92:4,5.

    And the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah declares: "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? . . . Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. . . . To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? . . . He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength." "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." This is the message written in nature, which the Sabbath is appointed to keep in memory. When the Lord bade Israel hallow His Sabbaths, He said, "They shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Jehovah your God." Isa. 40:18-29; 41:10; 45:22; Ezek. 20:20, R. V. The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept. When some profaned it, the Lord reproved them, saying, "How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?" Ex. 16:28.

    The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law." So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator's power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God's holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. "From one Sabbath to another" the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up "to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Matt. 5:18; Isa. 66:23.

    No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," the Lord said also to them, "Ye shall be holy men unto Me." Ex. 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.

    As the Jews departed from God, and failed to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith, the Sabbath lost its significance to them. Satan was seeking to exalt himself and to draw men away from Christ, and he worked to pervert the Sabbath, because it is the sign of the power of Christ. The Jewish leaders accomplished the will of Satan by surrounding God's rest day with burdensome requirements. In the days of Christ the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel.

    It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Although the rabbis followed Him with merciless hostility, He did not even appear to conform to their requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God. Upon one Sabbath day, as the Saviour and His disciples returned from the place of worship, they passed through a field of ripening grain. Jesus had continued His work to a late hour, and while passing through the fields, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain, and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this act would have excited no comment, for one passing through a field of grain, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deut. 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense.

    The spies at once complained to Jesus, saying, "Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day."

    When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, and declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples are attacked, He cites His accusers to examples from the Old Testament, acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God. The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Saviour's answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. "Have ye not read so much as this," He said, "what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, . . . which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?" "And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." "Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple." "The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matt. 12:5, 6.

    If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in God's service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day.

    Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God's work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the "Lord of the Sabbath,"--One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating.

    Jesus did not let the matter pass with administering a rebuke to His enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, "If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." Matt. 12:7. Their many heartless rites could not supply the lack of that truthful integrity and tender love which will ever characterize the true worshiper of God. Again Christ reiterated the truth that the sacrifices were in themselves of no value. They were a means, and not an end. Their object was to direct men to the Saviour, and thus to bring them into harmony with God. It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery.

    Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue. He saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Him, eager to see what He would do. The Saviour well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements that barricaded the Sabbath. Jesus bade the afflicted man stand forth, and then asked, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?" It was a maxim among the Jews that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill. Thus Jesus met the rabbis on their own ground. "But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other." Mark 3:4, 5.

    When questioned, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?" Jesus answered, "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? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days." Matt. 12:10-12.

    The spies dared not answer Christ in the presence of the multitude, for fear of involving themselves in difficulty. They knew that He had spoken the truth. Rather than violate their traditions, they would leave a man to suffer, while they would relieve a brute because of the loss to the owner if it were neglected. Thus greater care was shown for a dumb animal than for man, who is made in the image of God. This illustrates the working of all false religions. They originate in man's desire to exalt himself above God, but they result in degrading man below the brute. Every religion that wars against the sovereignty of God defrauds man of the glory which was his at the creation, and which is to be restored to him in Christ. Every false religion teaches its adherents to be careless of human needs, sufferings, and rights.

    The gospel places a high value upon humanity as the purchase of the blood of Christ, and it teaches a tender regard for the wants and woes of man. The Lord says, "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Isa. 13:12. When Jesus turned upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill, He confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were hunting His life with bitter hatred, while He was saving life and bringing happiness to multitudes. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted, as He had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God's holy day than love to all men, which finds expression in deeds of mercy?

    In the healing of the withered hand, Jesus condemned the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it. "It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days," He declared. By sweeping away the senseless restrictions of the Jews, Christ honored the Sabbath, while those who complained of Him were dishonoring God's holy day.

    Those who hold that Christ abolished the law teach that He broke the Sabbath and justified His disciples in doing the same. Thus they are really taking the same ground as did the caviling Jews. In this they contradict the testimony of Christ Himself, who declared, "I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." John 15:10. Neither the Saviour nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, "Which of you convicteth Me of sin?" John 8:46, R. V.

    The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God's word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity.

    "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath," Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind. "All things are for your sakes." "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." 2 Cor. 4:15; 1 Cor. 3:22, 23. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. "The Lord commanded us," said Moses, "to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive." Deut. 6:24. And through the psalmist the message was given to Israel, "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." Ps. 100:2-4. And of all who keep "the Sabbath from polluting it," the Lord declares, "Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer." Isa. 56:6, 7.

    "Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord's day. It belongs to Christ. For "all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,"--make them holy. Ezek. 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.

    And the Lord says, "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." Isa. 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ's creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28.

    Chapter 30

    "And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach."

    It was beneath the sheltering trees of the mountainside, but a little distance from the Sea of Galilee, that the twelve were called to the apostolate, and the Sermon on the Mount was given. The fields and hills were the favorite resorts of Jesus, and much of His teaching was given under the open sky, rather than in the temple or the synagogues. No synagogue could have received the throngs that followed Him; but not for this reason only did He choose to teach in the fields and groves. Jesus loved the scenes of nature. To Him each quiet retreat was a sacred temple.

    It was under the trees of Eden that the first dwellers on earth had chosen their sanctuary. There Christ had communed with the father of mankind. When banished from Paradise, our first parents still worshiped in the fields and groves, and there Christ met them with the gospel of His grace. It was Christ who spoke with Abraham under the oaks at Mamre; with Isaac as he went out to pray in the fields at the eventide; with Jacob on the hillside at Bethel; with Moses among the mountains of Midian; and with the boy David as he watched his flocks. It was at Christ's direction that for fifteen centuries the Hebrew people had left their homes for one week every year, and had dwelt in booths formed from the green branches "of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook." Lev. 23:40.

    In training His disciples, Jesus chose to withdraw from the confusion of the city to the quiet of the fields and hills, as more in harmony with the lessons of self-abnegation He desired to teach them. And during His ministry He loved to gather the people about Him under the blue heavens, on some grassy hillside, or on the beach beside the lake. Here, surrounded by the works of His own creation, He could turn the thoughts of His hearers from the artificial to the natural. In the growth and development of nature were revealed the principles of His kingdom. As men should lift up their eyes to the hills of God, and behold the wonderful works of His hands, they could learn precious lessons of divine truth. Christ's teaching would be repeated to them in the things of nature. So it is with all who go into the fields with Christ in their hearts. They will feel themselves surrounded with a holy influence. The things of nature take up the parables of our Lord, and repeat His counsels. By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.

    The first step was now to be taken in the organization of the church that after Christ's departure was to be His representative on earth. No costly sanctuary was at their command, but the Saviour led His disciples to the retreat He loved, and in their minds the sacred experiences of that day were forever linked with the beauty of mountain and vale and sea.

    Jesus had called His disciples that He might send them forth as His witnesses, to declare to the world what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, and was second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of the world. As in the Old Testament the twelve patriarchs stand as representatives of Israel, so the twelve apostles were to stand as representatives of the gospel church.

    The Saviour knew the character of the men whom He had chosen; all their weaknesses and errors were open before Him; He knew the perils through which they must pass, the responsibility that would rest upon them; and His heart yearned over these chosen ones. Alone upon a mountain near the Sea of Galilee He spent the entire night in prayer for them, while they were sleeping at the foot of the mountain. With the first light of dawn He summoned them to meet Him; for He had something of importance to communicate to them. These disciples had been for some time associated with Jesus in active labor. John and James, Andrew and Peter, with Philip, Nathanael, and Matthew, had been more closely connected with Him than the others, and had witnessed more of His miracles. Peter, James, and John stood in still nearer relationship to Him. They were almost constantly with Him, witnessing His miracles, and hearing His words. John pressed into still closer intimacy with Jesus, so that he is distinguished as the one whom Jesus loved. The Saviour loved them all, but John's was the most receptive spirit. He was younger than the others, and with more of the child's confiding trust he opened his heart to Jesus. Thus he came more into sympathy with Christ, and through him the Saviour's deepest spiritual teaching was communicated to His people.

    At the head of one of the groups into which the apostles are divided stands the name of Philip. He was the first disciple to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, "Follow Me." Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist, and had heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God. Philip was a sincere seeker for truth, but he was slow of heart to believe. Although he had joined himself to Christ, yet his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was "Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." John 1:45. Again, when the five thousand were fed, Philip's lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" Philip's answer was on the side of unbelief: "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." John 6:5, 7.

    Jesus was grieved. Although Philip had seen His works and felt His power, yet he had not faith. When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize upon the opportunity of introducing them to the Saviour, but he went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said to Jesus, "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?" the Saviour answered, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. . . . If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also." From Philip came the response of unbelief: "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." John 14:5-8. So slow of heart, so weak in faith, was that disciple who for three years had been with Jesus. In happy contrast to Philip's unbelief was the childlike trust of Nathanael. He was a man of intensely earnest nature, one whose faith took hold upon unseen realities. Yet Philip was a student in the school of Christ, and the divine Teacher bore patiently with his unbelief and dullness. When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples, Philip became a teacher after the divine order. He knew whereof he spoke, and he taught with an assurance that carried conviction to the hearers.

    While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward, soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. With great earnestness and apparent sincerity he declared, "Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." Jesus neither repulsed nor welcomed him, but uttered only the mournful words: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Matt. 8:19, 20. Judas believed Jesus to be the Messiah; and by joining the apostles, he hoped to secure a high position in the new kingdom. This hope Jesus designed to cut off by the statement of His poverty. The disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number. He was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability, and they commended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. They were surprised that Jesus received him so coolly.

    The disciples had been much disappointed that Jesus had not tried to secure the co-operation of the leaders in Israel. They felt that it was a mistake not to strengthen His cause by securing the support of these influential men. If He had repulsed Judas, they would, in their own minds, have questioned the wisdom of their Master. The after history of Judas would show them the danger of allowing any worldly consideration to have weight in deciding the fitness of men for the work of God. The co-operation of such men as the disciples were anxious to secure would have betrayed the work into the hands of its worst enemies.

    Yet when Judas joined the disciples, he was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ. He felt the influence of that divine power which was drawing souls to the Saviour. He who came not to break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax would not repulse this soul while even one desire was reaching toward the light. The Saviour read the heart of Judas; He knew the depths of iniquity to which, unless delivered by the grace of God, Judas would sink. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where he might, day by day, be brought in contact with the outflowing of His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, divine grace would banish the demon of selfishness, and even Judas might become a subject of the kingdom of God.

    God takes men as they are, with the human elements in their character, and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. They are not chosen because they are perfect, but notwithstanding their imperfections, that through the knowledge and practice of the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may become transformed into His image.

    Judas had the same opportunities as had the other disciples. He listened to the same precious lessons. But the practice of the truth, which Christ required, was at variance with the desires and purposes of Judas, and he would not yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from Heaven. How tenderly the Saviour dealt with him who was to be His betrayer! In His teaching, Jesus dwelt upon principles of benevolence that struck at the very root of covetousness. He presented before Judas the heinous character of greed, and many a time the disciple realized that his character had been portrayed, and his sin pointed out; but he would not confess and forsake his unrighteousness. He was self-sufficient, and instead of resisting temptation, he continued to follow his fraudulent practices. Christ was before him, a living example of what he must become if he reaped the benefit of the divine mediation and ministry; but lesson after lesson fell unheeded on the ears of Judas.

    Jesus dealt him no sharp rebuke for his covetousness, but with divine patience bore with this erring man, even while giving him evidence that He read his heart as an open book. He presented before him the highest incentives for right doing; and in rejecting the light of Heaven, Judas would be without excuse.

    Instead of walking in the light, Judas chose to retain his defects. Evil desires, revengeful passions, dark and sullen thoughts, were cherished, until Satan had full control of the man. Judas became a representative of the enemy of Christ.

    When he came into association with Jesus, he had some precious traits of character that might have been made a blessing to the church. If he had been willing to wear the yoke of Christ, he might have been among the chief of the apostles; but he hardened his heart when his defects were pointed out, and in pride and rebellion chose his own selfish ambitions, and thus unfitted himself for the work that God would have given him to do.

    All the disciples had serious faults when Jesus called them to His service. Even John, who came into closest association with the meek and lowly One, was not himself naturally meek and yielding. He and his brother were called "the sons of thunder." While they were with Jesus, any slight shown to Him aroused their indignation and combativeness. Evil temper, revenge, the spirit of criticism, were all in the beloved disciple. He was proud, and ambitious to be first in the kingdom of God. But day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. He opened his heart to the divine influence, and became not only a hearer but a doer of the Saviour's words. Self was hid in Christ. He learned to wear the yoke of Christ and to bear His burden. Jesus reproved His disciples, He warned and cautioned them; but John and his brethren did not leave Him; they chose Jesus, notwithstanding the reproofs. The Saviour did not withdraw from them because of their weakness and errors. They continued to the end to share His trials and to learn the lessons of His life. By beholding Christ, they became transformed in character.

    The apostles differed widely in habits and disposition. There were the publican, Levi-Matthew, and the fiery zealot Simon, the uncompromising hater of the authority of Rome; the generous, impulsive Peter, and the mean-spirited Judas; Thomas, truehearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt, and the ambitious, outspoken sons of Zebedee, with their brethren. These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil; but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center.

    When Jesus had ended His instruction to the disciples, He gathered the little band close about Him, and kneeling in the midst of them, and laying His hands upon their heads, He offered a prayer dedicating them to His sacred work. Thus the Lord's disciples were ordained to the gospel ministry.

    As His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through co-operation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good. He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God.

    "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves." 2 Cor. 4:7, R. V. This is why the preaching of the gospel was committed to erring men rather than to the angels. It is manifest that the power which works through the weakness of humanity is the power of God; and thus we are encouraged to believe that the power which can help others as weak as ourselves can help us. And those who are themselves "compassed with infirmity" should be able to "have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way." Heb. 5:2. Having been in peril themselves, they are acquainted with the dangers and difficulties of the way, and for this reason are called to reach out for others in like peril. There are souls perplexed with doubt, burdened with infirmities, weak in faith, and unable to grasp the Unseen; but a friend whom they can see, coming to them in Christ's stead, can be a connecting link to fasten their trembling faith upon Christ.

    We are to be laborers together with the heavenly angels in presenting Jesus to the world. With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our co-operation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God's love.



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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:03 am



    Chapter 31
    The Sermon on the Mount

    Christ seldom gathered His disciples alone to receive His words. He did not choose for His audience those only who knew the way of life. It was His work to reach the multitudes who were in ignorance and error. He gave His lessons of truth where they could reach the darkened understanding. He Himself was the Truth, standing with girded loins and hands ever outstretched to bless, and in words of warning, entreaty, and encouragement, seeking to uplift all who would come unto Him.

    The Sermon on the Mount, though given especially to the disciples, was spoken in the hearing of the multitude. After the ordination of the apostles, Jesus went with them to the seaside. Here in the early morning the people had begun to assemble. Besides the usual crowds from the Galilean towns, there were people from Judea, and even from Jerusalem itself; from Perea, from Decapolis, from Idumea, away to the south of Judea; and from Tyre and Sidon, the Phoenician cities on the shore of the Mediterranean. "When they had heard what great things He did," they "came to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases: . . . there went virtue out of Him, and healed them all." Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17-19.

    The narrow beach did not afford even standing room within reach of His voice for all who desired to hear Him, and Jesus led the way back to the mountainside. Reaching a level space that offered a pleasant gathering place for the vast assembly, He seated Himself on the grass, and the disciples and the multitude followed His example.

    The disciples' place was always next to Jesus. The people constantly pressed upon Him, yet the disciples understood that they were not to be crowded away from His presence. They sat close beside Him, that they might not lose a word of His instruction. They were attentive listeners, eager to understand the truths they were to make known to all lands and all ages.

    With a feeling that something more than usual might be expected, they now pressed about their Master. They believed that the kingdom was soon to be established, and from the events of the morning they gathered assurance that some announcement concerning it was about to be made. A feeling of expectancy pervaded the multitude also, and eager faces gave evidence of the deep interest. As the people sat upon the green hillside, awaiting the words of the divine Teacher, their hearts were filled with thoughts of future glory. There were scribes and Pharisees who looked forward to the day when they should have dominion over the hated Romans, and possess the riches and splendor of the world's great empire. The poor peasants and fishermen hoped to hear the assurance that their wretched hovels, the scanty food, the life of toil, and fear of want were to be exchanged for mansions of plenty and days of ease. In place of the one coarse garment which was their covering by day, and their blanket at night, they hoped that Christ would give them the rich and costly robes of their conquerors. All hearts thrilled with the proud hope that Israel was soon to be honored before the nations as the chosen of the Lord, and Jerusalem exalted as the head of a universal kingdom.

    Christ disappointed the hope of worldly greatness. In the Sermon on the Mount He sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education, and to give His hearers a right conception of His kingdom and of His own character. Yet He did not make a direct attack on the errors of the people. He saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known. Without combating their ideas of the kingdom of God, He told them the conditions of entrance therein, leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to its nature. The truths He taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed Him. We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God.

    Christ's first words to the people on the mount were words of blessing. Happy are they, He said, who recognize their spiritual poverty, and feel their need of redemption. The gospel is to be preached to the poor. Not to the spiritually proud, those who claim to be rich and in need of nothing, is it revealed, but to those who are humble and contrite. One fountain only has been opened for sin, a fountain for the poor in spirit. The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isa. 57:15.

    "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." By these words Christ does not teach that mourning in itself has power to remove the guilt of sin. He gives no sanction to pretense or to voluntary humility. The mourning of which He speaks does not consist in melancholy and lamentation. While we sorrow on account of sin, we are to rejoice in the precious privilege of being children of God.

    We often sorrow because our evil deeds bring unpleasant consequences to ourselves; but this is not repentance. Real sorrow for sin is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the ingratitude of the heart that has slighted and grieved the Saviour, and brings us in contrition to the foot of the cross. By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him. Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin.

    The worldling may pronounce this sorrow a weakness; but it is the strength which binds the penitent to the Infinite One with links that cannot be broken. It shows that the angels of God are bringing back to the soul the graces that were lost through hardness of heart and transgression. The tears of the penitent are only the raindrops that precede the sunshine of holiness. This sorrow heralds a joy which will be a living fountain in the soul. "Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God;" "and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord." Jer. 3:13, 12. "Unto them that mourn in Zion," He has appointed to give "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isa. 61:3. And for those also who mourn in trial and sorrow there is comfort. The bitterness of grief and humiliation is better than the indulgences of sin.

    Through affliction God reveals to us the plague spots in our characters, that by His grace we may overcome our faults. Unknown chapters in regard to ourselves are opened to us, and the test comes, whether we will accept the reproof and the counsel of God. When brought into trial, we are not to fret and complain. We should not rebel, or worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble the soul before God. The ways of the Lord are obscure to him who desires to see things in a light pleasing to himself. They appear dark and joyless to our human nature. But God's ways are ways of mercy and the end is salvation. Elijah knew not what he was doing when in the desert he said that he had had enough of life, and prayed that he might die. The Lord in His mercy did not take him at his word. There was yet a great work for Elijah to do; and when his work was done, he was not to perish in discouragement and solitude in the wilderness. Not for him the descent into the dust of death, but the ascent in glory, with the convoy of celestial chariots, to the throne on high.

    God's word for the sorrowing is, "I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners." "I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow." Isa. 57:18; Jer. 31:13.

    "Blessed are the meek." The difficulties we have to encounter may be very much lessened by that meekness which hides itself in Christ. If we possess the humility of our Master, we shall rise above the slights, the rebuffs, the annoyances, to which we are daily exposed, and they will cease to cast a gloom over the spirit. The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control. He who under abuse or cruelty fails to maintain a calm and trustful spirit robs God of His right to reveal in him His own perfection of character. Lowliness of heart is the strength that gives victory to the followers of Christ; it is the token of their connection with the courts above.

    "Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly." Ps. 138:6. Those who reveal the meek and lowly spirit of Christ are tenderly regarded by God. They may be looked upon with scorn by the world, but they are of great value in His sight. Not only the wise, the great, the beneficent, will gain a passport to the heavenly courts; not only the busy worker, full of zeal and restless activity. No; the poor in spirit, who crave the presence of an abiding Christ, the humble in heart, whose highest ambition is to do God's will,--these will gain an abundant entrance. They will be among that number who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Rev. 7:15.

    "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." The sense of unworthiness will lead the heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and this desire will not be disappointed. Those who make room in their hearts for Jesus will realize His love. All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto him. If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."

    The merciful shall find mercy, and the pure in heart shall see God. Every impure thought defiles the soul, impairs the moral sense, and tends to obliterate the impressions of the Holy Spirit. It dims the spiritual vision, so that men cannot behold God. The Lord may and does forgive the repenting sinner; but though forgiven, the soul is marred. All impurity of speech or of thought must be shunned by him who would have clear discernment of spiritual truth.

    But the words of Christ cover more than freedom from sensual impurity, more than freedom from that ceremonial defilement which the Jews so rigorously shunned. Selfishness prevents us from beholding God. The self-seeking spirit judges of God as altogether such a one as itself. Until we have renounced this, we cannot understand Him who is love. Only the unselfish heart, the humble and trustful spirit, shall see God as "merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." Ex. 34:6.

    "Blessed are the peacemakers." The peace of Christ is born of truth. It is harmony with God. The world is at enmity with the law of God; sinners are at enmity with their Maker; and as a result they are at enmity with one another. But the psalmist declares, "Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Ps. 119:165. Men cannot manufacture peace. Human plans for the purification and uplifting of individuals or of society will fail of producing peace, because they do not reach the heart. The only power that can create or perpetuate true peace is the grace of Christ. When this is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;" and life's desert "shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." Isa. 55:13; 35:1.

    The multitudes were amazed at this teaching, which was so at variance with the precepts and example of the Pharisees. The people had come to think that happiness consisted in the possession of the things of this world, and that fame and the honor of men were much to be coveted. It was very pleasing to be called "Rabbi," and to be extolled as wise and religious, having their virtues paraded before the public. This was regarded as the crown of happiness. But in the presence of that vast throng, Jesus declared that earthly gain and honor were all the reward such persons would ever receive. He spoke with certainty, and a convincing power attended His words. The people were silenced, and a feeling of fear crept over them. They looked at one another doubtfully. Who of them would be saved if this Man's teachings were true? Many were convicted that this remarkable Teacher was actuated by the Spirit of God, and that the sentiments He uttered were divine.

    After explaining what constitutes true happiness, and how it may be obtained, Jesus more definitely pointed out the duty of His disciples, as teachers chosen of God to lead others into the path of righteousness and eternal life. He knew that they would often suffer from disappointment and discouragement, that they would meet with decided opposition, that they would be insulted, and their testimony rejected. Well He knew that in the fulfillment of their mission, the humble men who listened so attentively to His words were to bear calumny, torture, imprisonment, and death, and He continued:

    "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." The world loves sin, and hates righteousness, and this was the cause of its hostility to Jesus. All who refuse His infinite love will find Christianity a disturbing element. The light of Christ sweeps away the darkness that covers their sins, and the need of reform is made manifest. While those who yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit begin war with themselves, those who cling to sin war against the truth and its representatives.

    Thus strife is created, and Christ's followers are accused as troublers of the people. But it is fellowship with God that brings them the world's enmity. They are bearing the reproach of Christ. They are treading the path that has been trodden by the noblest of the earth. Not with sorrow, but with rejoicing, should they meet persecution. Each fiery trial is God's agent for their refining. Each is fitting them for their work as colaborers with Him. Each conflict has its place in the great battle for righteousness, and each will add to the joy of their final triumph. Having this in view, the test of their faith and patience will be cheerfully accepted rather than dreaded and avoided. Anxious to fulfill their obligation to the world, fixing their desire upon the approval of God, His servants are to fulfill every duty, irrespective of the fear or the favor of men.

    "Ye are the salt of the earth," Jesus said. Do not withdraw yourselves from the world in order to escape persecution. You are to abide among men, that the savor of the divine love may be as salt to preserve the world from corruption.

    Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God's blessing flows. Were those who serve God removed from the earth, and His Spirit withdrawn from among men, this world would be left to desolation and destruction, the fruit of Satan's dominion. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence, in the world, of God's people whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.

    "Ye are the light of the world." The Jews thought to confine the benefits of salvation to their own nation; but Christ showed them that salvation is like the sunshine. It belongs to the whole world. The religion of the Bible is not to be confined between the covers of a book, nor within the walls of a church. It is not to be brought out occasionally for our own benefit, and then to be carefully laid aside again. It is to sanctify the daily life, to manifest itself in every business transaction and in all our social relations. True character is not shaped from without, and put on; it radiates from within. If we wish to direct others in the path of righteousness, the principles of righteousness must be enshrined in our own hearts. Our profession of faith may proclaim the theory of religion, but it is our practical piety that holds forth the word of truth. The consistent life, the holy conversation, the unswerving integrity, the active, benevolent spirit, the godly example,--these are the mediums through which light is conveyed to the world.

    Jesus had not dwelt on the specifications of the law, but He did not leave His hearers to conclude that He had come to set aside its requirements. He knew that spies stood ready to seize upon every word that might be wrested to serve their purpose. He knew the prejudice that existed in the minds of many of His hearers, and He said nothing to unsettle their faith in the religion and institutions that had been committed to them through Moses. Christ Himself had given both the moral and the ceremonial law. He did not come to destroy confidence in His own instruction. It was because of His great reverence for the law and the prophets that He sought to break through the wall of traditional requirements which hemmed in the Jews. While He set aside their false interpretations of the law, He carefully guarded His disciples against yielding up the vital truths committed to the Hebrews.

    The Pharisees prided themselves on their obedience to the law; yet they knew so little of its principles through everyday practice that to them the Saviour's words sounded like heresy. As He swept away the rubbish under which the truth had been buried, they thought He was sweeping away the truth itself. They whispered to one another that He was making light of the law. He read their thoughts, and answered them, saying,--

    "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Here Jesus refutes the charge of the Pharisees. His mission to the world is to vindicate the sacred claims of that law which they charge Him with breaking. If the law of God could have been changed or abrogated, then Christ need not have suffered the consequences of our transgression. He came to explain the relation of the law to man, and to illustrate its precepts by His own life of obedience. God has given us His holy precepts, because He loves mankind. To shield us from the results of transgression, He reveals the principles of righteousness. The law is an expression of the thought of God; when received in Christ, it becomes our thought. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. God desires us to be happy, and He gave us the precepts of the law that in obeying them we might have joy. When at Jesus' birth the angels sang,-- "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14), they were declaring the principles of the law which He had come to magnify and make honorable.

    When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own. The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Saviour. It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. This work it is still to do. In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Ps. 19:7.

    "Till heaven and earth pass," said Jesus, "one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The sun shining in the heavens, the solid earth upon which you dwell, are God's witnesses that His law is changeless and eternal. Though they may pass away, the divine precepts shall endure. "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." Luke 16:17. The system of types that pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God was to be abolished at His death; but the precepts of the Decalogue are as immutable as the throne of God.

    Since "the law of the Lord is perfect," every variation from it must be evil. Those who disobey the commandments of God, and teach others to do so, are condemned by Christ. The Saviour's life of obedience maintained the claims of the law; it proved that the law could be kept in humanity, and showed the excellence of character that obedience would develop. All who obey as He did are likewise declaring that the law is "holy, and just, and good." Rom. 7:12. On the other hand, all who break God's commandments are sustaining Satan's claim that the law is unjust, and cannot be obeyed. Thus they second the deceptions of the great adversary, and cast dishonor upon God. They are the children of the wicked one, who was the first rebel against God's law. To admit them into heaven would again bring in the elements of discord and rebellion, and imperil the well-being of the universe. No man who willfully disregards one principle of the law shall enter the kingdom of heaven. The rabbis counted their righteousness a passport to heaven; but Jesus declared it to be insufficient and unworthy. External ceremonies and a theoretical knowledge of truth constituted Pharisaical righteousness. The rabbis claimed to be holy through their own efforts in keeping the law; but their works had divorced righteousness from religion. While they were punctilious in ritual observances, their lives were immoral and debased. Their so-called righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ's day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth often accompanies a hatred of genuine truth as made manifest in life. The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.

    The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world. The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God. Sinful men can become righteous only as they have faith in God and maintain a vital connection with Him. Then true godliness will elevate the thoughts and ennoble the life. Then the external forms of religion accord with the Christian's internal purity. Then the ceremonies required in the service of God are not meaningless rites, like those of the hypocritical Pharisees.

    Jesus takes up the commandments separately, and explains the depth and breadth of their requirement. Instead of removing one jot of their force, He shows how far-reaching their principles are, and exposes the fatal mistake of the Jews in their outward show of obedience. He declares that by the evil thought or the lustful look the law of God is transgressed. One who becomes a party to the least injustice is breaking the law and degrading his own moral nature. Murder first exists in the mind. He who gives hatred a place in his heart is setting his feet in the path of the murderer, and his offerings are abhorrent to God.

    The Jews cultivated a spirit of retaliation. In their hatred of the Romans they gave utterance to hard denunciations, and pleased the wicked one by manifesting his attributes. Thus they were training themselves to do the terrible deeds to which he led them on. In the religious life of the Pharisees there was nothing to recommend piety to the Gentiles. Jesus bade them not to deceive themselves with the thought that they could in heart rise up against their oppressors, and cherish the longing to avenge their wrongs.

    It is true there is an indignation that is justifiable, even in the followers of Christ. When they see that God is dishonored, and His service brought into disrepute, when they see the innocent oppressed, a righteous indignation stirs the soul. Such anger, born of sensitive morals, is not a sin. But those who at any supposed provocation feel at liberty to indulge anger or resentment are opening the heart to Satan. Bitterness and animosity must be banished from the soul if we would be in harmony with heaven.

    The Saviour goes farther than this. He says, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Many are zealous in religious services, while between them and their brethren are unhappy differences which they might reconcile. God requires them to do all in their power to restore harmony. Until they do this, He cannot accept their services. The Christian's duty in this matter is clearly pointed out. God pours His blessings upon all. "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." He is "kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Luke 6:35. He bids us to be like Him. "Bless them that curse you," said Jesus; "do good to them that hate you, . . . that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." These are the principles of the law, and they are the wellsprings of life.

    God's ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.

    The tempter's agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.

    The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. As the Son of man was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life. Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours. The Lord says of those who believe in Him, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." 2 Cor. 6:16.

    Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the gate of heaven, to the very threshold of glory. If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our "Father which is in heaven is perfect." Jesus had shown in what righteousness consists, and had pointed to God as its source. Now He turned to practical duties. In almsgiving, in prayer, in fasting, He said, let nothing be done to attract attention or win praise to self. Give in sincerity, for the benefit of the suffering poor. In prayer, let the soul commune with God. In fasting, go not with the head bowed down, and heart filled with thoughts of self. The heart of the Pharisee is a barren and profitless soil, in which no seeds of divine life can flourish. It is he who yields himself most unreservedly to God that will render Him the most acceptable service. For through fellowship with God men become workers together with Him in presenting His character in humanity.

    The service rendered in sincerity of heart has great recompense. "Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." By the life we live through the grace of Christ the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ's joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted for the Master's use; they are trusted to do His work in His name.

    "No man can serve two masters." We cannot serve God with a divided heart. Bible religion is not one influence among many others; its influence is to be supreme, pervading and controlling every other. It is not to be like a dash of color brushed here and there upon the canvas, but it is to pervade the whole life, as if the canvas were dipped into the color, until every thread of the fabric were dyed a deep, unfading hue.

    "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." Purity and steadfastness of purpose are the conditions of receiving light from God. He who desires to know the truth must be willing to accept all that it reveals. He can make no compromise with error. To be wavering and halfhearted in allegiance to truth is to choose the darkness of error and satanic delusion. Worldly policy and the undeviating principles of righteousness do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of the rainbow. Between the two a broad, clear line is drawn by the eternal God. The likeness of Christ stands out as distinct from that of Satan as midday in contrast with midnight. And only those who live the life of Christ are His co-workers. If one sin is cherished in the soul, or one wrong practice retained in the life, the whole being is contaminated. The man becomes an instrument of unrighteousness.

    All who have chosen God's service are to rest in His care. Christ pointed to the birds flying in the heavens, to the flowers of the field, and bade His hearers consider these objects of God's creation. "Are not ye of much more value than they?" He said. Matt. 6:26, R. V. The measure of divine attention bestowed on any object is proportionate to its rank in the scale of being. The little brown sparrow is watched over by Providence. The flowers of the field, the grass that carpets the earth, share the notice and care of our heavenly Father. The great Master Artist has taken thought for the lilies, making them so beautiful that they outshine the glory of Solomon. How much more does He care for man, who is the image and glory of God. He longs to see His children reveal a character after His similitude. As the sunbeam imparts to the flowers their varied and delicate tints, so does God impart to the soul the beauty of His own character.

    All who choose Christ's kingdom of love and righteousness and peace, making its interest paramount to all other, are linked to the world above, and every blessing needed for this life is theirs. In the book of God's providence, the volume of life, we are each given a page. That page contains every particular of our history; even the hairs of the head are numbered. God's children are never absent from His mind.

    "Be not therefore anxious for the morrow." Matt. 6:34, R. V. We are to follow Christ day by day. God does not bestow help for tomorrow. He does not give His children all the directions for their life journey at once, lest they should become confused. He tells them just as much as they can remember and perform. The strength and wisdom imparted are for the present emergency. "If any of you lack wisdom,"--for today,--"let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5.

    "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Do not think yourself better than other men, and set yourself up as their judge. Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another. In criticizing him, you are passing sentence upon yourself; for you show that you are a participant with Satan, the accuser of the brethren. The Lord says, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." This is our work. "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 11:31.

    The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ.

    Thus Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. To impress the lesson He adds an illustration. It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character. Self is but shifting sand. If you build upon human theories and inventions, your house will fall. By the winds of temptation, the tempests of trial, it will be swept away. But these principles that I have given will endure. Receive Me; build on My words.

    "Everyone therefore which heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon the rock." Matt. 7:24, 25, R.V.



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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Six)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:09 pm



    Chapter 32
    The Centurion

    Christ had said to the nobleman whose son He healed, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." John 4:48. He was grieved that His own nation should require these outward signs of His Messiahship. Again and again He had marveled at their unbelief. But He marveled at the faith of the centurion who came to Him. The centurion did not question the Saviour's power. He did not even ask Him to come in person to perform the miracle. "Speak the word only," he said, "and my servant shall be healed."

    The centurion's servant had been stricken with palsy, and lay at the point of death. Among the Romans the servants were slaves, bought and sold in the market places, and treated with abuse and cruelty; but the centurion was tenderly attached to his servant, and greatly desired his recovery. He believed that Jesus could heal him. He had not seen the Saviour, but the reports he heard had inspired him with faith. Notwithstanding the formalism of the Jews, this Roman was convinced that their religion was superior to his own. Already he had broken through the barriers of national prejudice and hatred that separated the conquerors from the conquered people. He had manifested respect for the service of God, and had shown kindness to the Jews as His worshipers. In the teaching of Christ, as it had been reported to him, he found that which met the need of the soul. All that was spiritual within him responded to the Saviour's words. But he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, and he appealed to the Jewish elders to make request for the healing of his servant. They were acquainted with the Great Teacher, and would, he thought, know how to approach Him so as to win His favor. As Jesus entered Capernaum, He was met by a delegation of the elders, who told Him of the centurion's desire. They urged "that he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."

    Jesus immediately set out for the officer's home; but, pressed by the multitude, He advanced slowly. The news of His coming preceded Him, and the centurion, in his self-distrust, sent Him the message, "Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof." But the Saviour kept on His way, and the centurion, venturing at last to approach Him, completed the message, saying, "Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee;" "but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." As I represent the power of Rome, and my soldiers recognize my authority as supreme, so dost Thou represent the power of the Infinite God, and all created things obey Thy word. Thou canst command the disease to depart, and it shall obey Thee. Thou canst summon Thy heavenly messengers, and they shall impart healing virtue. Speak but the word, and my servant shall be healed.

    "When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." And to the centurion He said, "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

    The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind. It is thus that every sinner may come to Christ. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Titus 3:5. When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,--

    "In my hand no price I bring;
    Simply to Thy cross I cling."

    The Jews had been instructed from childhood concerning the work of the Messiah. The inspired utterances of patriarchs and prophets and the symbolic teaching of the sacrificial service had been theirs. But they had disregarded the light; and now they saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, born in heathenism, educated in the idolatry of imperial Rome, trained as a soldier, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by his education and surroundings, and still further shut out by the bigotry of the Jews, and by the contempt of his own countrymen for the people of Israel,--this man perceived the truth to which the children of Abraham were blinded. He did not wait to see whether the Jews themselves would receive the One who claimed to be their Messiah. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God.

    To Jesus this was an earnest of the work which the gospel was to accomplish among the Gentiles. With joy He looked forward to the gathering of souls from all nations to His kingdom. With deep sadness He pictured to the Jews the result of their rejection of His grace: "I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Alas, how many are still preparing for the same fatal disappointment! While souls in heathen darkness accept His grace, how many there are in Christian lands upon whom the light shines only to be disregarded. More than twenty miles from Capernaum, on a tableland overlooking the wide, beautiful plain of Esdraelon, lay the village of Nain, and thither Jesus next bent His steps. Many of His disciples and others were with Him, and all along the way the people came, longing for His words of love and pity, bringing their sick for His healing, and ever with the hope that He who wielded such wondrous power would make Himself known as the King of Israel. A multitude thronged His steps, and it was a glad, expectant company that followed Him up the rocky path toward the gate of the mountain village.

    As they draw near, a funeral train is seen coming from the gates. With slow, sad steps it is proceeding to the place of burial. On an open bier carried in front is the body of the dead, and about it are the mourners, filling the air with their wailing cries. All the people of the town seem to have gathered to show their respect for the dead and their sympathy with the bereaved.

    It was a sight to awaken sympathy. The deceased was the only son of his mother, and she a widow. The lonely mourner was following to the grave her sole earthly support and comfort. "When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her." As she moved on blindly, weeping, noting not His presence, He came close beside her, and gently said, "Weep not." Jesus was about to change her grief to joy, yet He could not forbear this expression of tender sympathy.

    "He came and touched the bier;" to Him even contact with death could impart no defilement. The bearers stood still, and the lamentations of the mourners ceased. The two companies gathered about the bier, hoping against hope. One was present who had banished disease and vanquished demons; was death also subject to His power?

    In clear, authoritative voice the words are spoken, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." That voice pierces the ears of the dead. The young man opens his eyes. Jesus takes him by the hand, and lifts him up. His gaze falls upon her who has been weeping beside him, and mother and son unite in a long, clinging, joyous embrace. The multitude look on in silence, as if spellbound. "There came a fear on all." Hushed and reverent they stood for a little time, as if in the very presence of God. Then they "glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited His people." The funeral train returned to Nain as a triumphal procession. "And this rumor of Him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about." He who stood beside the sorrowing mother at the gate of Nain, watches with every mourning one beside the bier. He is touched with sympathy for our grief. His heart, that loved and pitied, is a heart of unchangeable tenderness. His word, that called the dead to life, is no less efficacious now than when spoken to the young man of Nain. He says, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Matt. 28:18. That power is not diminished by the lapse of years, nor exhausted by the ceaseless activity of His overflowing grace. To all who believe on Him He is still a living Saviour.

    Jesus changed the mother's grief to joy when He gave back her son; yet the youth was but called forth to this earthly life, to endure its sorrows, its toils, and its perils, and to pass again under the power of death. But Jesus comforts our sorrow for the dead with a message of infinite hope: "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, . . . and have the keys of hell and of death." "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Rev. 1:18; Heb. 2:14, 15.

    Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Eph. 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise," gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, "Arise from the dead," is life to the soul that receives it. God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." Col. 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.

    And "if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Rom. 8:11; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. This is the word of comfort wherewith He bids us comfort one another.

    Chapter 33

    The sons of Joseph were far from being in sympathy with Jesus in His work. The reports that reached them in regard to His life and labors filled them with astonishment and dismay. They heard that He devoted entire nights to prayer, that through the day He was thronged by great companies of people, and did not give Himself time so much as to eat. His friends felt that He was wearing Himself out by His incessant labor; they were unable to account for His attitude toward the Pharisees, and there were some who feared that His reason was becoming unsettled.

    His brothers heard of this, and also of the charge brought by the Pharisees that He cast out devils through the power of Satan. They felt keenly the reproach that came upon them through their relation to Jesus. They knew what a tumult His words and works created, and were not only alarmed at His bold statements, but indignant at His denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees. They decided that He must be persuaded or constrained to cease this manner of labor, and they induced Mary to unite with them, thinking that through His love for her they might prevail upon Him to be more prudent.

    It was just before this that Jesus had a second time performed the miracle of healing a man possessed, blind and dumb, and the Pharisees had reiterated the charge, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." Matt. 9:34. Christ told them plainly that in attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, they were cutting themselves off from the fountain of blessing. Those who had spoken against Jesus Himself, not discerning His divine character, might receive forgiveness; for through the Holy Spirit they might be brought to see their error and repent. Whatever the sin, if the soul repents and believes, the guilt is washed away in the blood of Christ; but he who rejects the work of the Holy Spirit is placing himself where repentance and faith cannot come to him. It is by the Spirit that God works upon the heart; when men willfully reject the Spirit, and declare It to be from Satan, they cut off the channel by which God can communicate with them. When the Spirit is finally rejected, there is no more that God can do for the soul. The Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke this warning did not themselves believe the charge they brought against Him.

    There was not one of those dignitaries but had felt drawn toward the Saviour. They had heard the Spirit's voice in their own hearts declaring Him to be the Anointed of Israel, and urging them to confess themselves His disciples. In the light of His presence they had realized their unholiness, and had longed for a righteousness which they could not create. But after their rejection of Him it would be too humiliating to receive Him as the Messiah. Having set their feet in the path of unbelief, they were too proud to confess their error. And in order to avoid acknowledging the truth, they tried with desperate violence to dispute the Saviour's teaching. The evidence of His power and mercy exasperated them. They could not prevent the Saviour from working miracles, they could not silence His teaching; but they did everything in their power to misrepresent Him and to falsify His words. Still the convicting Spirit of God followed them, and they had to build up many barriers in order to withstand its power. The mightiest agency that can be brought to bear upon the human heart was striving with them, but they would not yield.

    It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened. Often the process is gradual, and almost imperceptible. Light comes to the soul through God's word, through His servants, or by the direct agency of His Spirit; but when one ray of light is disregarded, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned. So the darkness increases, until it is night in the soul. Thus it had been with these Jewish leaders. They were convinced that a divine power attended Christ, but in order to resist the truth, they attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. In doing this they deliberately chose deception; they yielded themselves to Satan, and henceforth they were controlled by his power. Closely connected with Christ's warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." But the words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character.

    Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan's instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light. The habit of careless and irreverent criticism reacts upon the character, in fostering irreverence and unbelief. Many a man indulging this habit has gone on unconscious of danger, until he was ready to criticize and reject the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

    Then He added a warning to those who had been impressed by His words, who had heard Him gladly, but who had not surrendered themselves for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is not only by resistance but by neglect that the soul is destroyed. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man," said Jesus, "he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there."

    There were many in Christ's day, as there are today, over whom the control of Satan for the time seemed broken; through the grace of God they were set free from the evil spirits that had held dominion over the soul. They rejoiced in the love of God; but, like the stony-ground hearers of the parable, they did not abide in His love. They did not surrender themselves to God daily, that Christ might dwell in the heart; and when the evil spirit returned, with "seven other spirits more wicked than himself," they were wholly dominated by the power of evil. When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one.

    We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.

    "The last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so," said Jesus, "shall it be also unto this wicked generation." There are none so hardened as those who have slighted the invitation of mercy, and done despite to the Spirit of grace. The most common manifestation of the sin against the Holy Spirit is in persistently slighting Heaven's invitation to repent. Every step in the rejection of Christ is a step toward the rejection of salvation, and toward the sin against the Holy Spirit.

    In rejecting Christ the Jewish people committed the unpardonable sin; and by refusing the invitation of mercy, we may commit the same error. We offer insult to the Prince of life, and put Him to shame before the synagogue of Satan and before the heavenly universe when we refuse to listen to His delegated messengers, and instead listen to the agents of Satan, who would draw the soul away from Christ. So long as one does this, he can find no hope or pardon, and he will finally lose all desire to be reconciled to God. While Jesus was still teaching the people, His disciples brought the message that His mother and His brothers were without, and desired to see Him. He knew what was in their hearts, and "He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? and who are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother."

    All who would receive Christ by faith were united to Him by a tie closer than that of human kinship. They would become one with Him, as He was one with the Father. As a believer and doer of His words, His mother was more nearly and savingly related to Him than through her natural relationship. His brothers would receive no benefit from their connection with Him unless they accepted Him as their personal Saviour.

    What a support Christ would have found in His earthly relatives if they had believed in Him as one from heaven, and had co-operated with Him in doing the work of God! Their unbelief cast a shadow over the earthly life of Jesus. It was a part of the bitterness of that cup of woe which He drained for us.

    The enmity kindled in the human heart against the gospel was keenly felt by the Son of God, and it was most painful to Him in His home; for His own heart was full of kindness and love, and He appreciated tender regard in the family relation. His brothers desired that He should concede to their ideas, when such a course would have been utterly out of harmony with His divine mission. They looked upon Him as in need of their counsel. They judged Him from their human point of view, and thought that if He would speak only such things as would be acceptable to the scribes and Pharisees, He would avoid the disagreeable controversy that His words aroused. They thought that He was beside Himself in claiming divine authority, and in placing Himself before the rabbis as a reprover of their sins. They knew that the Pharisees were seeking occasion to accuse Him, and they felt that He had given them sufficient occasion.

    With their short measuring line they could not fathom the mission which He came to fulfill, and therefore could not sympathize with Him in His trials. Their coarse, unappreciative words showed that they had no true perception of His character, and did not discern that the divine blended with the human. They often saw Him full of grief; but instead of comforting Him, their spirit and words only wounded His heart. His sensitive nature was tortured, His motives were misunderstood, His work was uncomprehended.

    His brothers often brought forward the philosophy of the Pharisees, which was threadbare and hoary with age, and presumed to think that they could teach Him who understood all truth, and comprehended all mysteries. They freely condemned that which they could not understand. Their reproaches probed Him to the quick, and His soul was wearied and distressed. They avowed faith in God, and thought they were vindicating God, when God was with them in the flesh, and they knew Him not.

    These things made His path a thorny one to travel. So pained was Christ by the misapprehension in His own home that it was a relief to Him to go where it did not exist. There was one home that He loved to visit,--the home of Lazarus, and Mary, and Martha; for in the atmosphere of faith and love His spirit had rest. Yet there were none on earth who could comprehend His divine mission, or know the burden which He bore in behalf of humanity. Often He could find relief only in being alone, and communing with His heavenly Father.

    Those who are called to suffer for Christ's sake, who have to endure misapprehension and distrust, even in their own home, may find comfort in the thought that Jesus has endured the same. He is moved with compassion for them. He bids them find companionship in Him, and relief where He found it, in communion with the Father.

    Those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour are not left as orphans, to bear the trials of life alone. He receives them as members of the heavenly family; He bids them call His Father their Father. They are His "little ones," dear to the heart of God, bound to Him by the most tender and abiding ties. He has toward them an exceeding tenderness, as far surpassing what our father or mother has felt toward us in our helplessness as the divine is above the human.

    Of Christ's relation to His people, there is a beautiful illustration in the laws given to Israel. When through poverty a Hebrew had been forced to part with his patrimony, and to sell himself as a bondservant, the duty of redeeming him and his inheritance fell to the one who was nearest of kin. See Lev. 25:25, 47-49; Ruth 2:20. So the work of redeeming us and our inheritance, lost through sin, fell upon Him who is "near of kin" unto us. It was to redeem us that He became our kinsman. Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover is the Lord our Saviour. "Fear not," He says, "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine." "Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life." Isa. 43:1, 4.

    Christ loves the heavenly beings that surround His throne; but what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our own experience. And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord! Should we not be quick to recognize the claims of our divine relationship? Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred?

    Chapter 34

    "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

    These words of comfort were spoken to the multitude that followed Jesus. The Saviour had said that only through Himself could men receive a knowledge of God. He had spoken of His disciples as the ones to whom a knowledge of heavenly things had been given. But He left none to feel themselves shut out from His care and love. All who labor and are heavy-laden may come unto Him.

    Scribes and rabbis, with their punctilious attention to religious forms, had a sense of want that rites of penance could never satisfy. Publicans and sinners might pretend to be content with the sensual and earthly, but in their hearts were distrust and fear. Jesus looked upon the distressed and heart burdened, those whose hopes were blighted, and who with earthly joys were seeking to quiet the longing of the soul, and He invited all to find rest in Him.

    Tenderly He bade the toiling people, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

    In these words Christ is speaking to every human being. Whether they know it or not, all are weary and heavy-laden. All are weighed down with burdens that only Christ can remove. The heaviest burden that we bear is the burden of sin. If we were left to bear this burden, it would crush us. But the Sinless One has taken our place. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:6. He has borne the burden of our guilt. He will take the load from our weary shoulders. He will give us rest. The burden of care and sorrow also He will bear. He invites us to cast all our care upon Him; for He carries us upon His heart. The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon every soul who is turning his face toward Him as the Saviour. He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations; for He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    He is watching over you, trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak? He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. Are you wounded? He will heal. The Lord "telleth the number of the stars;" and yet "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Ps. 147:4, 3. "Come unto Me," is His invitation. Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will be opened for you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and difficulty. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength. The heavier your burdens, the more blessed the rest in casting them upon the Burden Bearer. The rest that Christ offers depends upon conditions, but these conditions are plainly specified. They are those with which all can comply. He tells us just how His rest is to be found.

    "Take My yoke upon you," Jesus says. The yoke is an instrument of service. Cattle are yoked for labor, and the yoke is essential that they may labor effectually. By this illustration Christ teaches us that we are called to service as long as life shall last. We are to take upon us His yoke, that we may be co-workers with Him.

    The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan's ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. The yoke of service Christ Himself has borne in humanity. He said, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. "I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." John 6:38. Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.

    There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world's standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred, and their life made a weariness. In order to gratify ambition and worldly desires, they wound the conscience, and bring upon themselves an additional burden of remorse. The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." He bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added. Worry is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.

    "Learn of Me," says Jesus; "for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest." We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.

    In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot find peace.

    It is the love of self that brings unrest. When we are born from above, the same mind will be in us that was in Jesus, the mind that led Him to humble Himself that we might be saved. Then we shall not be seeking the highest place. We shall desire to sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn of Him. We shall understand that the value of our work does not consist in making a show and noise in the world, and in being active and zealous in our own strength. The value of our work is in proportion to the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Trust in God brings holier qualities of mind, so that in patience we may possess our souls. The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to lighten the burden. So with the yoke of Christ. When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life's burden light. He who walks in the way of God's commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the heart is at rest. When Moses prayed, "Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee," the Lord answered him, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." And through the prophets the message was given, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Ex. 33:13, 14; Jer. 6:16. And He says, "O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." Isa. 48:18.

    Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isa. 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory--character--of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.

    As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the hereafter? There "are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Rev. 7:15-17.

    Chapter 35

    It had been an eventful day in the life of Jesus. Beside the Sea of Galilee He had spoken His first parables, by familiar illustrations again explaining to the people the nature of His kingdom and the manner in which it was to be established. He had likened His own work to that of the sower; the development of His kingdom to the growth of the mustard seed and the effect of leaven in the measure of meal. The great final separation of the righteous and the wicked He had pictured in the parables of the wheat and tares and the fishing net. The exceeding preciousness of the truths He taught had been illustrated by the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, while in the parable of the householder He taught His disciples how they were to labor as His representatives.

    All day He had been teaching and healing; and as evening came on the crowds still pressed upon Him. Day after day He had ministered to them, scarcely pausing for food or rest. The malicious criticism and misrepresentation with which the Pharisees constantly pursued Him made His labors much more severe and harassing; and now the close of the day found Him so utterly wearied that He determined to seek retirement in some solitary place across the lake.

    The eastern shore of Gennesaret was not uninhabited, for there were towns here and there beside the lake; yet it was a desolate region when compared with the western side. It contained a population more heathen than Jewish, and had little communication with Galilee. Thus it offered Jesus the seclusion He sought, and He now bade His disciples accompany Him thither. After He had dismissed the multitude, they took Him, even "as He was," into the boat, and hastily set off. But they were not to depart alone. There were other fishing boats lying near the shore, and these were quickly crowded with people who followed Jesus, eager still to see and hear Him.

    The Saviour was at last relieved from the pressure of the multitude, and, overcome with weariness and hunger, He lay down in the stern of the boat, and soon fell asleep. The evening had been calm and pleasant, and quiet rested upon the lake; but suddenly darkness overspread the sky, the wind swept wildly down the mountain gorges along the eastern shore, and a fierce tempest burst upon the lake.

    The sun had set, and the blackness of night settled down upon the stormy sea. The waves, lashed into fury by the howling winds, dashed fiercely over the disciples' boat, and threatened to engulf it. Those hardy fishermen had spent their lives upon the lake, and had guided their craft safely through many a storm; but now their strength and skill availed nothing. They were helpless in the grasp of the tempest, and hope failed them as they saw that their boat was filling.

    Absorbed in their efforts to save themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now, seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope. In their helplessness and despair they cried, "Master, Master!" But the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the roaring of the tempest, and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their distress?

    Again they call, but there is no answer except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters.

    Suddenly a flash of lightning pierces the darkness, and they see Jesus lying asleep, undisturbed by the tumult. In amazement and despair they exclaim, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" How can He rest so peacefully, while they are in danger and battling with death?

    Their cry arouses Jesus. As the lightning's glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and, their hearts turning to Him, cry, "Lord, save us: we perish."

    Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded. As the disciples grasp their oars to make a last effort, Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, "Peace, be still."

    The storm ceases. The billows sink to rest. The clouds roll away, and the stars shine forth. The boat rests upon a quiet sea. Then turning to His disciples, Jesus asks sorrowfully, "Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith?" Mark 4:40, R.V.

    A hush fell upon the disciples. Even Peter did not attempt to express the awe that filled his heart. The boats that had set out to accompany Jesus had been in the same peril with that of the disciples. Terror and despair had seized their occupants; but the command of Jesus brought quiet to the scene of tumult. The fury of the storm had driven the boats into close proximity, and all on board beheld the miracle. In the calm that followed, fear was forgotten. The people whispered among themselves, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

    When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the "Master of earth and sea and sky" that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, "I can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith--faith in God's love and care--that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.

    As Jesus rested by faith in the Father's care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help.

    How often the disciples' experience is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the Redeemer will smooth the sea of life, and will deliver us from danger in the way that He knows to be best.

    There is another spiritual lesson in this miracle of the stilling of the tempest. Every man's experience testifies to the truth of the words of Scripture, "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. . . . There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isa. 57:20, 21. Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest. The masterful passions of the heart no human power can control. We are as helpless here as were the disciples to quiet the raging storm. But He who spoke peace to the billows of Galilee has spoken the word of peace for every soul. However fierce the tempest, those who turn to Jesus with the cry, "Lord, save us," will find deliverance. His grace, that reconciles the soul to God, quiets the strife of human passion, and in His love the heart is at rest. "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven." Ps. 107:29, 30. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever." Rom. 5:1; Isa. 32:17.

    In the early morning the Saviour and His companions came to shore, and the light of the rising sun touched sea and land as with the benediction of peace. But no sooner had they stepped upon the beach than their eyes were greeted by a sight more terrible than the fury of the tempest. From some hiding place among the tombs, two madmen rushed upon them as if to tear them in pieces. Hanging about these men were parts of chains which they had broken in escaping from confinement. Their flesh was torn and bleeding where they had cut themselves with sharp stones. Their eyes glared out from their long and matted hair, the very likeness of humanity seemed to have been blotted out by the demons that possessed them, and they looked more like wild beasts than like men.

    The disciples and their companions fled in terror; but presently they noticed that Jesus was not with them, and they turned to look for Him. He was standing where they had left Him. He who had stilled the tempest, who had before met Satan and conquered him, did not flee before these demons. When the men, gnashing their teeth, and foaming at the mouth, approached Him, Jesus raised that hand which had beckoned the waves to rest, and the men could come no nearer. They stood raging but helpless before Him.

    With authority He bade the unclean spirits come out of them. His words penetrated the darkened minds of the unfortunate men. They realized dimly that One was near who could save them from the tormenting demons. They fell at the Saviour's feet to worship Him; but when their lips were opened to entreat His mercy, the demons spoke through them, crying vehemently, "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God most high? I beseech Thee, torment me not." Jesus asked, "What is thy name?" And the answer was, "My name is Legion: for we are many." Using the afflicted men as mediums of communication, they besought Jesus not to send them out of the country. Upon a mountainside not far distant a great herd of swine was feeding. Into these the demons asked to be allowed to enter, and Jesus suffered them. Immediately a panic seized the herd. They rushed madly down the cliff, and, unable to check themselves upon the shore, plunged into the lake, and perished.

    Meanwhile a marvelous change had come over the demoniacs. Light had shone into their minds. Their eyes beamed with intelligence. The countenances, so long deformed into the image of Satan, became suddenly mild, the bloodstained hands were quiet, and with glad voices the men praised God for their deliverance.

    From the cliff the keepers of the swine had seen all that had occurred, and they hurried away to publish the news to their employers and to all the people. In fear and amazement the whole population flocked to meet Jesus. The two demoniacs had been the terror of the country. No one had been safe to pass the place where they were; for they would rush upon every traveler with the fury of demons. Now these men were clothed and in their right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words, and glorifying the name of Him who had made them whole. But the people who beheld this wonderful scene did not rejoice. The loss of the swine seemed to them of greater moment than the deliverance of these captives of Satan.

    It was in mercy to the owners of the swine that this loss had been permitted to come upon them. They were absorbed in earthly things, and cared not for the great interests of spiritual life. Jesus desired to break the spell of selfish indifference, that they might accept His grace.

    But regret and indignation for their temporal loss blinded their eyes to the Saviour's mercy. The manifestation of supernatural power aroused the superstitions of the people, and excited their fears. Further calamities might follow from having this Stranger