THE ALTERING OF GOD’S PURPOSE
In Type. Numbers 14:32-34
"Altering of My purpose." -Margin. "Ye shall know My alienation." R.V. "The revoking of My promise." -Margin R.V. "Ever since they left Egypt, Satan had been steadily at work to throw hindrances and temptations in their way, that they might not inherit Canaan. And by their own unbelief they had repeatedly opened the door for him to resist the purpose of God." P.P. 423. "God had made it their privilege and their duty to enter the land at the time of His appointment; but through their willful neglect that permission had been with-drawn. Satan had gained his object in preventing them from entering Canaan." -Id. 392. Through the ten unfaithful spies Satan succeeded in turning Israel back into the wilderness.
"Moses faithfully set before them their errors, and the transgression of their fathers. They had often felt impatient and rebellious because of their long wandering in the wilderness; but the Lord had not been chargeable with this delay in possessing Canaan; He was more grieved than they because He could not bring them into immediate possession of the promised land, and thus display before all nations His mighty power in the deliverance of His people. With their distrust of God, with their pride and unbelief, they had not been prepared to enter Canaan. They would in no way represent that people whose God is the Lord; for they did not bear His character of purity, goodness, and benevolence. Had their fathers yielded in faith to the direction of God, being governed by His judgments, and walking in His ordinances, they would long before have been settles in Canaan, a prosperous, holy, happy people. Their delay to enter the goodly land dishonored God, and detracted from His glory in the sight of surrounding nations."—Id. 464.
Of the capture of Jericho we read: "Long had God designed to give the city of Jericho to His favored people, and magnify His name among the nations of the earth. Forty years before, when he led Israel out of bondage, He had proposed to give them the land of Canaan. But, by their wicked murmurings and jealousy, they had provoked His wrath, and He had caused them to wander for weary years in the wilderness, till all those who had insulted Him with their unbelief were no more. In the capture of Jericho, God declared to the Hebrews that their fathers might have possessed the city forty years before, had they trusted in Him as did their children." —Vol. 4:162.
God’s Promise Revoked
"God had declared that He would give them the country, and they should have fully trusted Him to fulfill His word. … In their unbelief they were limiting the work of God, and distrusting the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. … They distorted the truth in order to carry their baneful purpose. … Thus they manifested their disrespect for God and the leaders He had appointed to conduct them. … Moses prevailed with God to spare the people; but because of their arrogance and unbelief, the Lord could not go with them to work in a miraculous manner in their behalf. Therefore, in His divine mercy He bade them adopt the safest course, to turn back into the wilderness toward the Red Sea. He also decreed that, as a punishment for their rebellion, all the adults who left Egypt, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, should be forever excluded from Canaan. They had utterly failed to keep their promise of obedience to God, and this released Him from the covenant that they had so repeatedly violated." —Id. 149-153. "God had purposed better things for them." —P.P. 428.
Modern Application. 1 Corinthians 10:11
"The history of the report of the twelve spies has an application to us as a people. The scenes of cowardly complaining and drawing back from action when there are risks to be encountered, are re-enacted among us today. The same unwillingness is manifested to heed faithful reports and true counsel as in the days of Caleb and Joshua. … Satan is wide awake, and working warily in these last days, and calls for men of spiritual nerve and stamina to resist his artifices. … The church needs faithful Calebs and Joshuas, who are ready to accept eternal life on God’s simple condition of obedience." —Vol. 4:154-156.
"The history of ancient Israel is written for our benefit. … Many who, like ancient Israel, profess to keep God’s commandments, have hearts of unbelief while outwardly observing the statues of God. Although favored with great light and privileges, they will nevertheless lose the heavenly Canaan that God had promised them as the reward of their obedience. As a people we lack faith. In these days few would follow the directions given through God’s chosen servant as obediently as did the armies of Israel at the taking of Jericho. … Faith is the living power that presses through every barrier, overrides all obstacles, and plants its banner in the heart of the enemy’s camp God will do marvelous things fo those who trust in Him. It is because His professed people trust so much in their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf, that they have no more strength. … God works mightily for a faithful people, who obey His word without questioning or doubt." —Id. 162-164.
Speaking of the Kadesh-Barnea experience of ancient Israel, Sister White said: "The lesson of this record is for us. The Lord had prepared the way before His people. They were very near the promised land. A little while and they would have entered Canaan. They themselves delayed the entering. In the first place, it was they who requested that spies should be sent into Canaan showed a lack of faith; for God had told the people plainly that they were to take possession of the land. Why then did they need to send spies to search it? Had they put their trust in God, they could have gone straight in. God would have gone before them. … Brethren and Sisters, from the light given me, I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His word, they could today be in the heavenly Canaan." —General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903.
Work of Satan
"Satan’s snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people." —Vol. 5:160. "As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul." —P.P. 457. Many times did the servant of the Lord declare that the spirit of opposition to the message of 1888 was inspired by Satan. See T.M. pp.77-81. Because the Advent Movement was at the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan worked desperately to defeat the purpose of God.
Through the efforts of Satan the glorious message that began in 1888 at the Minneapolis General Conference was made of none effect. It was rejected and despised by many, and while others acknowledged it to be true they failed to take it to heart and enter into the experience of righteousness by faith. This is paramount to a rejection. "Has not the Lord Jesus sent message after message of rebuke, of warning, of entreaty to these self-satisfied ones? Have not His counsels been despised and rejected? Have not His delegated messengers been treated with scorn, and their words been received as idle tales? Christ sees that which man does not see. He sees the sins which, if not repented of, will exhaust the patience of a long-suffering God. Christ cannot take up the names of those who are satisfied with their own self sufficiency. He cannot importune in behalf of a people who feel no need of His help, who claim to know and possess everything. … In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious message of the righteousness of Christ. We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess,—gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, eye-salve of spiritual discernment. … Now is the day of gracious opportunity and privilege. Let us not be a traitor to holy, sacred trusts, as were the Jews. Resist not grace, abuse not privileges, smother not in your human pride the convictions of the Spirit of God. Despise not warnings, settle not down in hardness of heart, in confirmed impenitence, as did Pharaoh, the rebellious king of Egypt. Let every one listen to the voice of the True Shepherd, and not only hear but obey, and it will be well with your soul." —R.H. July 23, 1889.
Ridiculed and Rejected
"The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means; the seeds sown there in some hearts are ready to spring into life and bear a like harvest. The tops have been cut down, but the roots have never been eradicated, and they still bear their unholy fruit to poison the judgment, pervert the perceptions, and blind the understanding of those with whom you connect, in regard to the message and the messengers. When by thorough confession, you destroy the root of bitterness, you will see light in God’s light. Without this thorough work you will never clear your souls. … There has been a departure from God among us, and the zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart, has not yet been done. … The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgiveness only through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advocates righteousness by faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, and rejected." Life Sketches, pp. 326, 327. Vision of Nov. 3, 1890.
"To accuse and criticize those whom God is using, is to accuse and criticize the Lord, who has sent them. All need to cultivate their religious faculties that they may have a right discernment of religious things. Some have failed to distinguish between pure gold and mere glitter, between the substance and the shadow." "We should be the last people on earth to indulge in the slightest degree the spirit of persecution against those who are bearing the message of God to the world. This is the most terrible feature of unchristlikeness that has manifested itself among us since the Minneapolis meeting. Sometime it will be seen in its true bearing, with all the burden of woe that has resulted from it." —Special Testimony, "Danger of Adopting a Worldly Policy in the Work of God." Quoted in "General Conference Bulletin," Feb. 7, 8, 1893, p. 184.
False Ideas and Standards
"False ideas that were largely developed at Minneapolis have not been entirely uprooted from some minds. Those who have not made thorough work of repentance under the light God has been pleased to give to His people since that time, will not see things clearly, and will be ready to call the messages God sends, a delusion." —Id. "There are those who have prided themselves on their great caution in receiving ‘new light’, as they term it; but they are blinded by the enemy, and cannot discern the works and ways of God. Light, precious light comes from heaven, and they array themselves against it. What next? These very ones will accept messages that God has not sent, and thus will become even dangerous to the cause of God because they set up false standards." —Special Testimony, "To Brethren in Responsible Positions," p. 12. Quoted in "General Conference Bulletin." Feb. 7, 8, 1893, p. 182.
Only Assented To
"I feel a special interest in the movements and decisions that shall be made at this conference regarding the things that should have been done years ago, and especially ten years ago, when we were assembled in Conference, and the Spirit and power of God came into our meeting testifying that God was ready to work for this people if they would come into working order. The brethren assented to the light God had given, but there were those connected with our institutions, especially with the Review and Herald office and the Conference, who brought in elements of unbelief, so that the light that was given was not acted upon. It was assented to, but no special change was made to bring about such a condition of things that the power of God could be revealed among His people. … Year after year the same acknowledgment was made, but the principles which exalt a people were not woven into the work. We are living in the last time. We are standing as it were on the very borders of the final conflict." —General Conference Bulletin" April 3, 1901, p. 23. To assent to the truthfulness of a message and not act upon it is equivalent to a rejection. A message that is not accepted is rejected even thought it may be acknowledged as the truth.
In the chapter entitled "Rejecting the Light," in Testimonies to Ministers, is the following: "God says to His servants, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up they voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ But when the plain, straight testimony comes from lips under the moving of the Spirit of God, there are many who treat it with disdain. … I inquire of those in responsible positions in Battle Creek, what are you doing? You have turned your back, and not your face, to the Lord. … What is the message to be given at this time? It is the third angel’s message. But that light which is to fill the whole earth with its glory, has been despised by some who claim to believe the present truth. Be careful how you treat it. Take off the shoes from your feet; for you are on holy ground. Beware how you indulge the attributes of Satan, and pour contempt upon the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I know not but some have even now gone too far to return and repent. I state the truth. The souls who love God, who believe in Christ, and who eagerly grasp every ray of light, will see light, and rejoice in the truth. They will communicate the light. They will grow in holiness. Those who receive the Holy Spirit will feel the chilling atmosphere that surrounds the souls of other by whom these great and solemn realities are unappreciated and spoken against." —pp. 89,90.
Holy Spirit Departing
"The Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. They have chosen darkness rather than light. These men are parties to the ruin of souls. They have interposed themselves between the heaven-sent light and the people. They have trampled upon the Word of God, and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit." —Id.90, 91. Then follows a description of the message by justification by faith as presented at the Minneapolis Conference in 1888.
The charge that the men who rejected the message of righteousness by faith were intercepting the light and keeping from God’s people, was also made in a letter written by Sister White to the Miller Brothers, July 23, 1889: "The very men who ought to be on the alert to see what the people of God need that the way of the Lord may be prepared, are intercepting the Light God would have come to His people and rejecting the message of His healing grace." Surely no one can read or hear these statements from divine inspiration regarding the crisis that came to the Advent Movement as the result of the Minneapolis Conference and the message of righteousness by faith, without knowing that it was indeed the antitype of the Kadesh-Barnea experience of ancient Israel that delayed their entrance into the Canaan land for many years and turned them back to wander in the wilderness. Here is the real cause of the tarrying time.
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