Archive for August, 2019

Studying the Seventh Seal

August 17, 2019

Image result for the seventh seal revelation

We all can agree that the book of Revelation, with perhaps the book of Ezekiel being the exception, is the most mysterious and difficult Bible book to understand. But we should not fear as the Lord, as promised, sent a prophet who would enlighten our minds with the deep truths therein. The following is an in-depth report on the Seventh Seal of Revelation. May you be blessed. 

The Seventh Seal, Revelation 8:1-5   Rev. 8:1, 3-5: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”

We have omitted the second verse, for it has reference to the seven trumpets.  The silence in heaven for about half an hour cannot be the second coming of Christ, as some have thought, for afterward the angel with the golden censer and incense, offered the prayers for the saints from the golden altar.  The altar is in the holy place, just opposite the throne that is in the most holy.  The two apartments were separated by a vail.  In the day of atonement, the vail or door of the earthly tabernacle was opened and the high priest went in. 

But let it be remembered that the door (vail) was left open while the high priest officiated.  Thus the two apartments became one.  For this reason the congregation were not permitted in the holy place on that day, as they were at other times, for the vail being lifted, the holy place also became most holy.  So while the door to the most holy was open, the entrance to the holy was closed.  Therefore, the high priest alone used both apartments on the day of atonement. (See Lev. 16:17.) 

Thus the golden altar before the throne, from which the angel offered the prayers of the saints, was, and is, used in both periods — before, and in the time of the judgment.  As the entire judicial tribunal (Judge, Advocate, Elders, etc.) were in the temple after the seventh seal had been opened, it is evident that the judgment was in progress, and probation had not closed at the time of the “silence.”  For after the judgment has ceased and probation closed, no man can enter the temple. (See Rev. 15:8.)

   Had the “silence” of “half an hour” pointed to the coming of Christ, at which time He takes his saints with Him, there would be no necessity for the angel to offer their prayers.  Furthermore, it would be unnecessary to “cast” fire, which is the Spirit of God, from the golden altar to the earth. 

Again, if the opening of the seventh seal means the coming of Christ, then only those under the six seals would have been considered in the judgment, and there could be no seventh seal, which would show lack of perfection and completeness of the judgment, and of the gospel.  It would also be contrary to the number of seals on the book.  As the six seals have reference to six periods in which the saints were sealed, the seventh must also apply to a sealing period; otherwise it cannot be called, seventh “seal.”

   Now let us consider the truth as taught by the last seal.  Note carefully the order of each act.  The seal is opened, and silence follows, for it reads: “and when he had opened the seventh seal there was silence.”  The Revised Version, Weymouth, the Greek, and the Bulgarian Bibles read the same way.  The silence was followed by the angel coming to the altar with the censer, after he offered the prayers of the saints.  And then he filled the censer with fire, and cast the fire to the earth and again the voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  This is the exact order of each event.

   What made the silence?  As the judgment opened, John states: “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices;” and the four beasts “rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” (Rev. 4:5, 8.)  The voices are continuous day and night while the judgment is going on.  But sometime after the seventh seal was opened these voices were silenced for about half an hour.  After the angel offered the prayers of the saints, and cast the fire upon the earth, the voices resumed.  “And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” 

Evidently the judgment, for some reason, had stopped, and half an hour later it resumed.  It cannot be otherwise, for, if the judgment was going on, and the beasts and the elders kept silent, it would indicate that there was something wrong — something to which they could not say “amen” and praise God.  Therefore, the only proper conclusion is, that for some reason the judgment retired for half an hour.

   What made the interruption and brought about the change?  Let us first determine the length of the prophetic half hour’s time.  A day in prophetic time stands for a year. (Ezek. 4:6.)  One hour is a twenty-fourth part of a prophetic year, and figuring thirty days to a month, it would be about two weeks.  Half an hour would be half of two weeks; therefore, seven literal days.  Seven days were used for purification.  (See Ex. 29:35, 37; Lev. 12:2; 13:4, 5; 1, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21, etc.)  From these references we conclude that the “half an hour” or seven days stand for the purification of the church, pointing forward to the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-6.  But we have a more definite proof, which will clear all doubts.

   In observance of the Passover, the Lord commanded Israel to celebrate that occasion seven days. (See Lev. 23:5-8.)  Surely no one would say that God commanded His people to commemorate that event seven days with no object in view. 

Israel after the flesh going into Egypt, then out of Egypt to Mount Sinai, the passover in Egypt on the night when the death angel smote the first born of man and beast at the departure of Israel, are types of the church at the present time — the church going out of Egypt — worldliness, the purification of the church, the separation of the tares form the wheat — the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9.  (A complete explanation of the subject is given in “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 64-113; see also chart on page 224.)

The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of this by the following statement: “The Passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin.” — “Patriarchs and Prophets,” p. 277.

   Thus the silence of half an hour points forward to this great event for the church of God.  Its fulfillment would bring us to the time of the harvest, or as it is called, the Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 18 — the last message for the world.  Thus, while the five men with the slaughter weapons are taking away those represented by the tares within the church, there will be silence in heaven for about half an hour (seven days), after which the judgment will commence again for those who shall be sealed in the time of the great harvest, which is the end of the world. 

Said Jesus: “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” — the church.  (Matt. 13:30.)

   They who are to be sealed at that time were seen by John as a great multitude with palms in their hands. (See Rev. 7:9.)  Hence the scroll has made a turn, and the sealing for those who shall be judged while living, has begun.  As we stated before, the passover night in Egypt is a type of the purification of the church, separating the tares from the wheat.  The crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites pointed forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah 63. (See “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, pp. 96-103.)

   Therefore, the prophet declares the words of the Lord: “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart and the year of my redeemed is come.” (Isa. 63:4.)  We quote verses 1-3, also 17, 18: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?  this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?  I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment…. O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?  Return for thy servant’s sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.  The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.”

   The prophet saw Christ himself returning from the slaughter of the Edomites — the class who were deceiving God’s people in the church, the tares, or adversaries who had trodden down His sanctuary.  “Bozrah” means “sheepfold” — the church.  He saw His garments stained with the blood of the tares, in delivering His people from their hands. 

The prophet asked: “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth the winefat?” The purification of the church makes it necessary for Christ to leave the place of judgment and descend to deliver His redeemed (the 144,000), and this is what causes the judgment to cease, and the voices to be silenced for about half an hour — seven days. 

The Spirit of Prophecy bears witness of the same.  “The Lord Jesus shall rise up from His mediatorial work in the heavenly sanctuary, and shall clothe himself with the garments of vengeance, and surprise them at their unholy feast; and they will find themselves unprepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” vol. 5, p. 690. 

Peter, looking forward to the purification of God’s church, and the commencement of the judgment for the living, says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17.)

   Had the church as a body, or at least the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination accepted the message of reform as presented to them in “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, there would be no necessity for that class to fall by the figure of the five men with the slaughter weapons. 

It is the reception or rejection of the message that will fix the destiny of the two classes as described in the following testimony: “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true witness to the Laodiceans.  This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.  Some will not bear this straight testimony.  They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” — “Early Writings,” p. 270.

   In the earthly sanctuary, the high priest entered the most holy apartment once a year, and on that particular day every Israelite was to confess his sin.  He who neglected to comply with the divine requirements was cut off from his people. (See Lev. 23:29, 30.)  Thus the day of anti-typical atonement, judgment, or cleansing of the sanctuary, as set forth in Daniel 8:14, is a day of purification for the camp of Israel, the church — putting away sin and sinners.  The earthly sanctuary was a figure of the heavenly. (See Heb. 9:23, 24.) 

It was instituted with its ceremonial system to point forward to the work of Christ, our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary during the anti-typical period — New Testament time.  As the sanctuary with all its services, was a figure of type of the true, heavenly, under the administration of Christ, so the typical day of atonement must point out the truth in the anti-typical period — our time.

   While the judgment for the living is in progress, every sin must be confessed and put away.  He who would neglect this great privilege, will find himself involved in everlasting ruin — cut off from among His people.  Ignoring this most vital subject would not profit us in the least.

Reformation in View

The great reformation in view, vividly represented by the angel at the golden altar with the prayers of the saints, and the casting of the fire from the altar to the earth, is foretold, also, in the following testimony: “In visions of the night representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God’s people.  Many were praising God.  The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought.  A spirit of intercession was seen; even as was manifested before the great day of Pentecost.  Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the word of God. 

Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest.  On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth.  The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.  Great blessings were received by the true and humble people of God.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, p. 126.

   My brethren, the Lord is speaking to us.  Shall we not heed His voice?  Shall we not trim our lamps and act like men who look for their Lord to come?  “The time is one that calls for light bearing, and for action.”  Awake, I beseech you, from the sleep of death.  Let not the last day find you destitute of heavenly treasure.

   Are all the living judged and sealed under the seventh seal? Or have some been considered before its opening?  To answer this question we quote Revelation 8:3, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”  Note, the prayer is offered for all saints.  No one, knowing God’s truth, would dare pray for the dead, for it is abomination in God’s sight; much Iess would an angel commit such sin.

   The Psalmist declares that prayers for the dead are the invention of the heathen, “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.  Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brakes in upon them.” (Psa. 106:28, 29.)  “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. (Psa. 115:17.)  If the dead praise not God, how can an angel offer a prayer for them before God?

   The phrase, “all saints,” has reference to all the living who are to be judged.  Evidently this is done under the seventh seal.  If “all,” then it is definite that all the living saints are counted under the seventh seal.  Thus, with the opening of the last seal, commences the judgment for all the living saints.  Let nothing confuse you on this point.  If we say the prayers of all saints had some connection with the dead, then they should have been offered at the commencement of the judgment — the opening of the first seal, for after the judgment the prayers cannot profit them.

   Note the words at the opening of the judgment for the dead in 1844: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” (Rev. 5:8.) 

Mark that no angel offered a prayer, but the prayers of the saints were presented by the beasts and elders through praise by harps, and golden vials full of odours, that is, there was no prayer offered for the dead, but their prayers which they had prayed, being recorded while they were yet alive, were presented before the throne.  The 144,000 are sealed before the silence “of half an hour,” or at the opening of the seal, but they are judged in the period of the seventh seal, for the prayer was for “all” saints — the living.

   Is there any way whereby we can determine the time of the opening of the seal, and the commencement of the judgment for the living?  If God so faithfully revealed to the living the commencement of the judgment for the dead, it cannot be possible that He would keep secret the time of the judgment for the living.  If He did, we would have no present truth in the time of the last seal; neither could there be justice in such secrecy, nor could such judgment be legal. 

Therefore, a revelation of the judgment for the living, is of as great importance as the revelation of the gospel itself.  For the judgment (blotting out the sins) is the crowning act in the gospel of Christ.  Thus we conclude that when the seal is opened, and the judgment for the living begins, we must know it.  The day of atonement in its type proves the same, for the Israelites were well informed of the event, their duty, and the consequence.

   The date of that most glorious event for the righteous, but exceeding solemn for the wicked, will be made known at the fulfillment of the following verse: “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake.” (Rev. 8:5.) 

The casting of the fire from the altar into the earth is the outpouring of the Spirit of God.  We have stated before that the book of Revelation is a revealing of prophecies, and not a prophecy of itself.  Therefore, we find the prediction of this glorious event in Joel 2:28, 29.  The “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings,” denote the opening of the judgment for the living, as they also denote the opening of the judgment for the dead. (See Rev. 4:5.)  The earthquake will be the sign of the event. (SRod, vol. 2, p.214-221)

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A Helpful Documentary

August 10, 2019

Image result for Davidian Seventh-day Adventist

As we have been in the message of the Lord’s final prophesied Elijah prophet for many years, we appreciate good reports and videos that accurately explain aspects of the Lord’s Elijah message. We came across a most thorough documentary of the history of the Davidan Seventh-day Adventist movement. We have posted the seven links of the video, and we hope you take the time to watch these presentations. They give a good historical perspective of the DSDA movement. Be Blessed.

Part 1 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4Yg1ZQ0G20

Part 2 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJVZ5Q874Po

Part 3 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGBKJZAAP6M

Part 4 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=821CvdPjFY8

Part 5 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3sRtkF3UU

Part 6 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EptPUlgcT0

Part 7 —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dimA-c8EYU

Switching Employers

August 3, 2019

Image result for picture of satan as angel of light      Image result for picture jesus in the clouds

Oh the wiles of Satan. His craftiness is almost unmatched. Yet the Word says —

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Our King showed that some are working for Satan yet know it not —

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

So we have, whether we admit it or not, an employer, a boss over us. It’s one of two rulers– Christ or Satan.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”(Romans 6:16 -17)

Powerful! God’s word tells us we are servants either to our King or the adversary, no middle ground! As such we get paid.

 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Perhaps our greatest example of switching employers is the apostle Paul. Let us read a most stirring account of this transformation —

“Prominent among the Jewish leaders who became thoroughly aroused by the success attending the proclamation of the gospel, was Saul of Tarsus. A Roman citizen by birth, Saul was nevertheless a Jew by descent and had been educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis. “Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,” Saul was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Philippians 3:5, 6.

He was regarded by the rabbis as a young man of great promise, and high hopes were cherished concerning him as an able and zealous defender of the ancient faith. His elevation to membership in the Sanhedrin council placed him in a position of power.

Saul had taken a prominent part in the trial and conviction of Stephen, and the striking evidences of God’s presence with the martyr had led Saul to doubt the righteousness [113] of the cause he had espoused against the followers of Jesus. His mind was deeply stirred. In his perplexity he appealed to those in whose wisdom and judgment he had full confidence. The arguments of the priests and rulers finally convinced him that Stephen was a blasphemer, that the Christ whom the martyred disciple had preached was an impostor, and that those ministering in holy office must be right.

Not without severe trial did Saul come to this conclusion. But in the end his education and prejudices, his respect for his former teachers, and his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God. And having fully decided that the priests and scribes were right, Saul became very bitter in his opposition to the doctrines taught by the disciples of Jesus.

His activity in causing holy men and women to be dragged before tribunals, where some were condemned to imprisonment and some even to death, solely because of their faith in Jesus, brought sadness and gloom to the newly organized church, and caused many to seek safety in flight.

Those who were driven from Jerusalem by this persecution “went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. Among the cities to which they went was Damascus, where the new faith gained many converts.

The priests and rulers had hoped that by vigilant effort and stern persecution the heresy might be suppressed. Now they felt that they must carry forward in other places the decided measures taken in Jerusalem against the new teaching. [114] For the special work that they desired to have done at Damascus, Saul offered his services. “Breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” he “went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Thus “with authority and commission from the chief priests” (Acts 26:12), Saul of Tarsus, in the strength and vigor of manhood, and fired with mistaken zeal, set out on that memorable journey, the strange occurrences of which were to change the whole current of his life.

On the last day of the journey, “at midday,” as the weary travelers neared Damascus, they came within full view of broad stretches of fertile lands, beautiful gardens, and fruitful orchards, watered by cool streams from the surrounding mountains. After the long journey over desolate wastes such scenes were refreshing indeed. While Saul, with his companions, gazed with admiration on the fruitful plain and the fair city below, “suddenly,” as he afterward declared, there shone “round about me and them which journeyed with me” “a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13), too glorious for mortal eyes to bear. Blinded and bewildered, Saul fell prostrate to the ground.

While the light continued to shine round about them, Saul heard, “a voice speaking . . . in the Hebrew tongue” (Acts 26:14), “saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” [115]

Filled with fear, and almost blinded by the intensity of the light, the companions of Saul heard a voice, but saw no man. But Saul understood the words that were spoken, and to him was clearly revealed the One who spoke—even the Son of God. In the glorious Being who stood before him he saw the Crucified One.

Upon the soul of the stricken Jew the image of the Saviour’s countenance was imprinted forever. The words spoken struck home to his heart with appalling force. Into the darkened chambers of his mind there poured a flood of light, revealing the ignorance and error of his former life and his present need of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

Saul now saw that in persecuting the followers of Jesus he had in reality been doing the work of Satan. He saw that his convictions of right and of his own duty had been based largely on his implicit confidence in the priests and rulers. He had believed them when they told him that the story of the resurrection was an artful fabrication of the disciples. Now that Jesus Himself stood revealed, Saul was convinced of the truthfulness of the claims made by the disciples.

In that hour of heavenly illumination Saul’s mind acted with remarkable rapidity. The prophetic records of Holy Writ were opened to his understanding. He saw that the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, had been foretold by the prophets and proved Him to be the promised Messiah. Stephen’s sermon at the time of his martyrdom was brought forcibly to Saul’s mind, and he realized that the martyr had indeed beheld “the glory of God” when he said, “Behold, I see the heavens [116] opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55, 56. The priests had pronounced these words blasphemy, but Saul now knew them to be truth.

What a revelation was all this to the persecutor! Now Saul knew for a certainty that the promised Messiah had come to this earth as Jesus of Nazareth and that He had been rejected and crucified by those whom He came to save. He knew also that the Saviour had risen in triumph from the tomb and had ascended into the heavens. In that moment of divine revelation Saul remembered with terror that Stephen, who had borne witness of a crucified and risen Saviour, had been sacrificed by his consent, and that later, through his instrumentality, many other worthy followers of Jesus had met their death by cruel persecution.

The Saviour had spoken to Saul through Stephen, whose clear reasoning could not be controverted. The learned Jew had seen the face of the martyr reflecting the light of Christ’s glory—appearing as if “it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15. He had witnessed Stephen’s forbearance toward his enemies and his forgiveness of them. He had also witnessed the fortitude and cheerful resignation of many whom he had caused to be tormented and afflicted. He had seen some yield up even their lives with rejoicing for the sake of their faith.

All these things had appealed loudly to Saul and at times had thrust upon his mind an almost overwhelming conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah. At such times he had struggled for entire nights against this conviction, and always he had ended the matter by avowing his belief [117] that Jesus was not the Messiah and that His followers were deluded fanatics.

Now Christ had spoken to Saul with His own voice, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” And the question, “Who art Thou, Lord?” was answered by the same voice, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” Christ here identifies Himself with His people. In persecuting the followers of Jesus, Saul had struck directly against the Lord of heaven. In falsely accusing and testifying against them, he had falsely accused and testified against the Saviour of the world.

No doubt entered the mind of Saul that the One who spoke to him was Jesus of Nazareth, the long-looked-for Messiah, the Consolation and Redeemer of Israel. “Trembling and astonished,” he inquired, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

When the glory was withdrawn, and Saul arose from the ground, he found himself totally deprived of sight. The brightness of Christ’s glory had been too intense for his mortal eyes; and when it was removed, the blackness of night settled upon his vision. He believed that this blindness was a punishment from God for his cruel persecution of the followers of Jesus. In terrible darkness he groped about, and his companions, in fear and amazement, “led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

On the morning of that eventful day, Saul had neared Damascus with feelings of self-satisfaction because of the confidence that had been placed in him by the chief priest. To [118] him had been entrusted grave responsibilities. He was commissioned to further the interests of the Jewish religion by checking, if possible, the spread of the new faith in Damascus. He had determined that his mission should be crowned with success and had looked forward with eager anticipation to the experiences that he expected were before him.

But how unlike his anticipations was his entrance into the city! Stricken with blindness, helpless, tortured by remorse, knowing not what further judgment might be in store for him, he sought out the home of the disciple Judas, where, in solitude, he had ample opportunity for reflection and prayer.

For three days Saul was “without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” These days of soul agony were to him as years. Again and again he recalled, with anguish of spirit, the part he had taken in the martyrdom of Stephen. With horror he thought of his guilt in allowing himself to be controlled by the malice and prejudice of the priests and rulers, even when the face of Stephen had been lighted up with the radiance of heaven. In sadness and brokenness of spirit he recounted the many times he had closed his eyes and ears against the most striking evidences and had relentlessly urged on the persecution of the believers in Jesus of Nazareth.

These days of close self-examination and of heart humiliation were spent in lonely seclusion. The believers, having been given warning of the purpose of Saul in coming to Damascus, feared that he might be acting a part, in order the more readily to deceive them; and they held themselves [119] aloof, refusing him their sympathy.

He had no desire to appeal to the unconverted Jews, with whom he had planned to unite in persecuting the believers; for he knew that they would not even listen to his story. Thus he seemed to be shut away from all human sympathy. His only hope of help was in a merciful God, and to Him he appealed in brokenness of heart.

During the long hours when Saul was shut in with God alone, he recalled many of the passages of Scripture referring to the first advent of Christ. Carefully he traced down the prophecies, with a memory sharpened by the conviction that had taken possession of his mind. As he reflected on the meaning of these prophecies he was astonished at his former blindness of understanding and at the blindness of the Jews in general, which had led to the rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah.

To his enlightened vision all now seemed plain. He knew that his former prejudice and unbelief had clouded his spiritual perception and had prevented him from discerning in Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah of prophecy.

As Saul yielded himself fully to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he saw the mistakes of his life and recognized the far-reaching claims of the law of God. He who had been a proud Pharisee, confident that he was justified by his good works, now bowed before God with the humility and simplicity of a little child, confessing his own unworthiness and pleading the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Saul longed to come into full harmony and communion with the Father and the Son; and in the intensity of his [120] desire for pardon and acceptance he offered up fervent supplications to the throne of grace.

The prayers of the penitent Pharisee were not in vain. The inmost thoughts and emotions of his heart were transformed by divine grace; and his nobler faculties were brought into harmony with the eternal purposes of God. Christ and His righteousness became to Saul more than the whole world.

The conversion of Saul is a striking evidence of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin. He had verily believed that Jesus of Nazareth had disregarded the law of God and had taught His disciples that it was of no effect. But after his conversion, Saul recognized Jesus as the one who had come into the world for the express purpose of vindicating His Father’s law. He was convinced that Jesus was the originator of the entire Jewish system of sacrifices. He saw that at the crucifixion type had met antitype, that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Redeemer of Israel.

In the record of the conversion of Saul important principles are given us, which we should ever bear in mind. Saul was brought directly into the presence of Christ. He was one whom Christ intended for a most important work, one who was to be a “chosen vessel” unto Him; yet the Lord did not at once tell him of the work that had been assigned him. He arrested him in his course and convicted him of sin; but when Saul asked, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” the Saviour placed the inquiring Jew in connection with His church, there to obtain a knowledge of God’s will concerning him. [121]

The marvelous light that illumined the darkness of Saul was the work of the Lord; but there was also a work that was to be done for him by the disciples. Christ had performed the work of revelation and conviction; and now the penitent was in a condition to learn from those whom God had ordained to teach His truth.

While Saul in solitude at the house of Judas continued in prayer and supplication, the Lord appeared in vision to “a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias,” telling him that Saul of Tarsus was praying and in need of help. “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight,” the heavenly messenger said, “and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

Ananias could scarcely credit the words of the angel; for the reports of Saul’s bitter persecution of the saints at Jerusalem had spread far and wide. He presumed to expostulate: “Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name.” But the command was imperative: “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”

Obedient to the direction of the angel, Ananias sought out the man who had but recently breathed out threatenings against all who believed on the name of Jesus; and putting his hands on the head of the penitent sufferer, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee [122] in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

“And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

Thus Jesus gave sanction to the authority of His organized church and placed Saul in connection with His appointed agencies on earth. Christ had now a church as His representative on earth, and to it belonged the work of directing the repentant sinner in the way of life.


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Many have an idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His recognized followers on earth. Jesus is the friend of sinners, and His heart is touched with their woe. He has all power, both in heaven and on earth; but He respects the means that He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men; He directs sinners to the church, which He has made a channel of light to the world.

When, in the midst of his blind error and prejudice, Saul was given a revelation of the Christ whom he was persecuting, he was placed in direct communication with the church, which is the light of the world. In this case Ananias represents Christ, and also represents Christ’s ministers upon the earth, who are appointed to act in His stead.

In Christ’s stead Ananias touches the eyes of Saul, that they may receive sight. In Christ’s stead he places his hands upon him, and, as he prays in Christ’s name, Saul receives the Holy Ghost. All is done in the name and by the authority of Christ. Christ is the fountain; the church is the channel of communication.”(AA, p. 112-122)


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