“All Things that Offend” (Matt 13:41-43)

All things that offend

In Matthew 13:41-43 we read, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” 

Here we have God’s Word truly packed with much warning and hope. But there is more to it than meets the eye. We shall go deeply into the ramifications of these powerful and soul awaking Words of God.

The message tells us that each Word of God is very important–

“..those who desire to know the truth must carefully mark every word, otherwise they will never comprehend the truth and, as a consequence, they will be driven by the winds as the waves of the sea until the winds cease blowing (probation closes), and they be left to sink down in their sins as do the waves in the sea.” (Sym. Code, vol. 2, no. 7-8, p.10)

But what have we as SDA been generally taught in regards to our study text? Yes, the second coming of Christ in the clouds. Let us now breakdown these words and see the truth therein.

First we see that the Lord sends His angels to remove those that “offend” from His kingdom. Now, what kingdom is the Lord talking about? It cannot be heaven’s kingdom because there are no offenders there. Neither can it be the new earth for obvious reasons. So that means it must be the earthly kingdom.

Let us note that the offenders are “gathered out” from this kingdom, whereas we know that when Christ comes at the second coming He will “gather out” of the world those that DO NOT offend and take up to the heavenly kingdom.

Do you notice what difference this understanding brings? Therefore this is pointing to the well-known topic that we have discussed so many times in our studies–the Ezekiel 9 church judgment.

Let us also look at the word “offend”. We see that God’s word makes a distinction from offenders and those that “do iniquity”. Not that the two are totally separate but rather God’s word wants us to dwell upon the fact that we can “offend” Him.

So in what way can we offend. Well, we know that for starters God’s word has many warnings and instructions to keep His Sabbath holy. So logically if we get lazy or sloppy we certainly take the chance in offending Him by our carelessness.

“You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.” (Ezek. 22:8)

Are we dressing proper on His holy day? Are we avoiding business transactions on His holy day? Do the ladies wear the proper head coverings in His sanctuary? Are we avoiding buying and selling on His holy day?

Let us remember that there are basically two duties in our lifetime and they are found in Ecc. 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.” 

Those two duties are very far-reaching, they encompass so much of our life. So in order to avoid offending Him we should have a healthy amount of “fear”. Meaning that instead of saying “oh the Lord loves me I cannot concern myself with such minor issues as proper dress in His sanctuary”, we should be on the side of an overly cautious attitude.

This last week our church invited a youth music group to perform in God’s sanctuary. There appeared about 15 or so youths around 18- 25 years. At least 5 young gals came prancing around in His sanctuary with mini-skirts and high heels. Do we think our God is winking? LET’S GET REAL!

These people have no clue who Christ is and further there probably is NO parent or church leader who will sit them down and show them their offensive behavior. Again the Word of God warns–

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.(Isaiah 58:1)

The Spirit of Prophecy gives us clear warning of “an offended God”.

“The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil.

He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus “Peace and safety” is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together.” (Testimonies, volume 5, p.211)

As we look further in our study text we see that after mentioning offenders His Word mentions the iniquity doers. These would appear to be those who have been established in their sins, those who regularly transgress. As opposed to the offenders who are much more lukewarm and appear to walk upright but still fail to give God glory by doing what He specifically warns us to do through His very last prophet (our current present truth).

You see my beloved, God does not make a serious move until He clearly warns us through his messengers.

“God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent.” (Testimonies, vol.4, p.179)

Soon the Lord will remove “all things that offend”. This means that today, while we are still alive, we must at once decide to watch our steps and if we error, we error on being overly cautious. We do not mean to say that we  must be Pharisaic or extremely legalistic, only that we fear Him in an honest wholesome way.

The Loud cry is almost ready to start and the word says after the removal of the offenders it’s a new day for His people-Praise the Lord!

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Psalms 1:5)

In the final point of our reference we see the grand glorious hope for those that remain in His kingdom (church) and that is  — “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

The spotless church is then ready to proclaim the final Gospel proclamation to all the world, it is the long awaited–Loud Cry.

“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. “Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.” (Review and Herald, July 1, 1915)

Are you prepared to do all you can to not “offend” the Lord to walk as His word says? How can we know what is required of us today?  It is only by “our” present truth, “our” current message of Truth, that we can know what does not offend Him. Let’s get down to business my brethren , let’s start reading and studying His final message of Elijah, don’t take any chances!

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