THE TRIUMPHS OF FAITH
Secret of Victory. 1 John 5:4, 5
The Exodus Movement had twice been turned back from the borders of the promised land through lack of faith. "They could not enter in because of unbelief." The serpent experience gave them a vision of Christ and the cross and through faith they conquered the serpent-enemies and were saved. This lesson of faith was the beginning of a new experience for Israel. It was the starting place of a victorious march toward Canaan. The vision of the cross marked the turning point in the detour around Edom when the Israelites turned their backs toward Egypt and their faces toward Canaan for the last time. Faith was the victory that led them onward toward their long sought goal.
The journey from the wilderness infested with poisonous reptiles to the banks of the Jordan and the victorious campaigns along the way is described in Num. 21:10-35, and Deut. 2:17-3:17. The Israelites were no longer "much discouraged because of the way," but were filled with hope and faith and courage. "After passing to the south of Edom, the Israelites turned northward, and again set their faces toward the promised land. Their route now lay over a vast, elevated plain, swept by cool, fresh breezes from the hills. It was a welcome change from the parched valley through which they had been traveling, and they pressed forward, buoyant and hopeful." —P.P. 433. The time had come in the history of the Exodus Movement when there should be delay no longer in the fulfillment of God's purpose and the fruition of their hopes.
The ten spies had lost hope and courage because of the giants that possessed the promised land. Num. 13:25-28, 31-33. While this report was somewhat exaggerated it was partly true. Anak was the father of a race of giants called Anakim. There were three tribes of them and they possessed Hebron, Debir and Anak. Goliath was of the race of Anak. These giants so frightened the ten spies that they rendered "an evil report" and threw the whole camp into discouragement and confusion. The fear of giants delayed the entrance of Israel into the promised land for forty years. In the meantime the giants multiplied and strengthened their fortification. Now they are conquered by faith the courageous Israelites. Impregnable fortresses were captured and nothing could stand before them.
As the Israelites faced these giants and fortresses the Lord sent them the message: "Ye shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you." —Deut. 3:22. One of the great nations that attempted to block the progress of the Exodus Movement was Bashan which was ruled over by giant king Og whose bed was 13 feet long and 6 feet wide. The Lord fought for them and the hosts of Israel captured every stronghold and overcame every obstacle. "It was the Captain of the Lord's host who vanquished the enemies of His people, and He would have done the same thirty eight years before, had Israel trusted in Him. Filled with hope and courage, the army of Israel eagerly pressed forward, and, still journeying northward, they soon reached a country that might well test their courage and faith in God. Before them lay the powerful and populous kingdom of Bashan, crowded with great stone cities that to this day excite the wonder of the world, … 'threescore cities … with high walls, gates, and bars, besides unwalled towns a great many." —P.P. 435.
"The houses were constructed of huge black stones, of such stupendous size as to make the buildings absolutely impregnable to any force that in those times could have been brought against them. It was a country filled with wild caverns, lofty precipices, yawning gulfs, and rocky strong-holds. The inhabitants of this land, descendants of a giant race, were themselves of marvelous size and strength, and so distinguished for violence and cruelty as to be the terror of all surrounding nations. … The hearts of many in Israel quaked with fear. But Moses was calm and firm. … The calm faith of the leader inspired the people with confidence in God. They trusted all to His omnipotent arm, and He did not fail them. Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord's host. The Lord led the army, the Lord discomfited the enemy, the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel." —P.P. 435, 436.
Past Mistakes Seen
For the first time the Israelites were able to see and acknowledge their past mistakes and those of their fathers. "In the conquest of Gilead and Bashan there were many who recalled the events which nearly forty years before, had, in Kadesh, doomed Israel to the long desert wandering. They saw that the report of the spies concerning the promised land was in many respects correct. The cities were walled and very great, and were inhabited by giants, in comparison with whom the Hebrews were mere pygmies. But they could now see that the fatal mistake of their fathers had been in distrusting the power of God. This alone had prevented them from at once entering the goodly land." —P.P. 436. During their wilderness wanderings the Israelites had been irritated by being reminded of the crisis and failure at Kadesh-Barnea and they refused to assume the blame for the long delay. With the rebirth of faith and its consequent deepening spiritual experience, the past was seen in a new light and the true significance of the Kadesh-Barnea crisis was clearly understood. It was doubtless explained to them in the light of their new experience.
Result of Delay
The long delay had given the enemies of Israel opportunity to strengthen their defense and prepare to make a strong resistance. "When they were at first preparing to enter Canaan, the undertaking was attended with far less difficulty than now. God had promised His people that if they would only obey His voice He would go before them and fight for them; and He would also send hornets to drive out the inhabitants of the land. The fears of the nations had been greatly aroused, and little preparation had been made to oppose their progress. But when the Lord now bade Israel go forward, they must advance against alert and powerful foes, and must contend with large and well-trained armies that had been preparing to resist their approach. … The difficulties in the way had greatly increased since they refused to advance when bidden to do so in the name of the Lord." —P.P. 436, 437.
The Advent Movement
The serpent experience of ancient Israel during their detour of the land of Edom helps to determine where we are in the journey of the Advent people. We are making the turn of the last detour of our pilgrimage to the heavenly Canaan. The great and terrible spiritual wilderness through which we have been passing has produced a great deal of murmuring, complaining and criticism and many have been "much discouraged because of the way," and have cast away their confidence in the movement and its leadership. The great serpent and his fellow demons have been infecting God's remnant people with the deadly virus of sin. Christ is now being exalted in modern Israel and pointed to as the only remedy for sin and the only hope of salvation. A heaven-sent message is now sounding through the church calling attention to the uplifted cross and its dying sacrificial Victim. The antitype of the uplifted brazen serpent will be more fully met as the vision of Christ and Calvary is increased and the message to behold the Lamb of God swells into the loud cry.
Our location in the journey toward the heavenly Canaan is further identified by the following quotations: "When the children of Israel were journeying through the wilderness, the Lord protected them from venomous serpents, but the time came when, because of Israel's transgression, impenitence, and stubbornness, the Lord removed His restraining power from these reptiles, and many of the people were bitten and died. Then it was that the brazen serpent was uplifted, that all who repented and looked to it in faith might live. In the time of confusion and trouble before us, a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation, the uplifted Saviour will be presented to the people in all lands, that all who look to Him in faith may live." —Vol. 8:50. This is the time of trouble that immediately precedes the close of probation and the falling of the seven last plagues. The uplifting of Christ is one of the greatest of all signs that the end is near and the journey is about over. We are certainly now entering "the time of confusion and trouble" mentioned in this quotation and it is time to lift up the crucified Saviour before the church and the world.
The message at this time must center in Christ and the cross. "It is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men. … The theme that attracts the heart of the saints is Christ and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love. Present Him thus to the hungering multitudes, and the light of His love will win men from darkness to light, from transgression to obedience and true holiness. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can do." —C.O.L. pp. 160, 161.
No Human Glory
Not until the Israelites learned to distrust self and give all glory to Christ, their Leader, did their march of triumph begin. We are unprepared for the evil days ahead until we humble ourselves and exalt Christ and appropriate His righteousness. "The days in which we live are eventful and full of peril. The signs of the coming of the end are thickening around us, and events are to come to pass that will be of a more terrible character than any the world has yet witnessed. … If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ, and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner. Human wisdom will not avail to devise a plan of salvation. Human philosophy is vain, the fruits of the loftiest powers of man are worthless, aside from the great plan of the divine Teacher. No glory is to redound to man ; all human help and glory lies in the dust; for the truth as it is in Jesus is the only available agent by which man may be saved. Man is privileged to connect with Christ, and then the divine and human combine; and in this union the hope of man must rest alone." —Id. Quoted from the R.H. Nov. 22, 29, 1892.
That the message of the uplifted Saviour and His imputed and imparted righteousness will soon be accepted and the Advent Movement turned Zionward for the last time is evident from many statements in the Spirit of Prophecy. "The Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you the truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name. Just how soon this refining process will begin, I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred." "The purging and cleansing will surely pass through every church in our land that has had great opportunities, and has passed then by unheeded." —T.M. 373, 414. "The power which stirred the people so mightily in the 1844 movement will again be revealed. The third angel's message will go forth, not in whispered tones, but with a loud voice." —Vol. 5:252.
A Great Revival. Acts. 3:19-21
"Repent, therefore, and reform your lives, so that the record of your sins may be cancelled, and that there may come seasons of revival from the Lord." —Wey. This great heaven-sent revival will come just before the close of probation and the return of Christ. "I have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently passed before me in the night season. There seemed to be a great movement—a work of revival—going forward in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding to God's call." —T.M. 515. "Before the final visitation of god's judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. … Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time. to prepare a people for the Lord's second coming." —G.C. 464.
A genuine revival is always accompanied by a reformation. "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 manifested before the great day of Pentecost. Hundreds of 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." —Vol. 9:126. That this reformation will save our institutions which are now called "prisoners of hope" is also stated. "Though in many respects our institutions of learning have swung into worldly conformity, though step by step have advanced toward the world, they are prisoners of hope. Fate has not so woven its meshes about their working that they need to remain helpless and in uncertainty. If they will listen to His voice and follow His ways, God will correct and enlighten them, and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the world." —Vol. 6:145. In F.E. p. 290, we are told that "God will bring them back." What is said of these institutions is also true of the entire movement. God will bring us back to Himself and lead us into the heavenly Canaan. The movement will triumph gloriously.
A Divine Visitation. Isaiah 52:1-10
Here is pictured the divine visitation that turns the captivity of modern Israel. "When Jehovah returneth to Zion." —R.V. "When the Lord shall convert Zion." -Douay. "All your sentinels are shouting in a triumph song, for they see the Eternal face as He returns to Zion." —Moffatt. This is a description of the Laodicean message and the blessed results of its acceptance. Zion is asleep and without the garments of Christ's righteousness. God calls for her to awake and arise from the dust and "sit on my throne." —R.V. The church is unconverted and unready for the coming of the Bridegroom. The glory of the Lord had departed because of the Laodicean condition, but now the Lord "returns" with Pentecostal power and the latter rain is poured out and the work finished. This glorious visitation of the divine power and work of revival and reformation is also pictured in Micah 7:15-10 and Joel 2:1, 12-32. When the Advent people turn to the Lord with all our hearts, "He will return and repent and leave a blessing behind Him."
The Lord in Control
Even though many will oppose the message calling for a revival and reformation and will manifest a lack of faith, the Lord has promised to take control of the Advent Movement and lead it to victory. "Unless those who can help in … are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel's message shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins into His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work in righteousness." —T.M. 300.
Result of Delay
The long delay occasioned by the lack of faith of the Advent people has resulted in a great increase in the strength and strongholds of the enemy. The finishing of the work forty years ago would have been much easier in many ways than at the present time. Every form of evil has experienced a mighty growth. Catholicism, Spiritism, Modernism, and Atheism, and scores of other isms and enemy institutions have greatly fortified their positions during the wilderness wanderings of the Advent Movement. They now seem as impregnable as the fortifications and walled cities before the children of Israel. "The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity, she will have to do in a terrible crisis, under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or with-held, must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith." —Vol. 5:463.
An Important Date
1888 is not only an important date in the history of the Advent Movement because of the message that began at that time, but also because it marked the beginning of Satan's greatest efforts to strengthen his positions and thwart the purpose of God through His remnant people. In Oklahoma City a group of men and women have been meeting weekly to worship the Devil. They receive communications from "The Masters," an invisible army of teachers. One who left the group reported the following message from the spirit world: "Preach anything except salvation by grace. Ridicule the efficacy of the blood of Christ. Emphasize the wonderful teaching of Jesus, always stressing that He was no more divine than any other man." "Preach self-righteousness, for, 'know ye not that ye are gods in the making and no soul is ever lost?'" "In 1888 Satan changed his plan and prepared to take advantage of the Age of Intellectual Egotism, which is now in full bloom. Orders were given to appeal to Intellect and Reason in high places. Christian churches are to be changed into synagogues of Satan." "The Devil desires a Federation of Churches. This Federation eventually will merge into a Brotherhood of Religion and finally into a Universal Religion." —From an article in the "Sunday School Times" of May 7, 1932, by Dr. Arthur I. Brown, entitled "Facing the Atheists - In college and outside."
But notwithstanding the fact that the enemy has greatly strengthened his position since 1888, when the Lord returns to Zion and takes the reins of the Advent Movement into His own hand, His remnant people will become an invincible army that goes forth conquering and to conquer. "Then will the church of Christ appear fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." —Vol. 5:82. Great giants of evil and apparently impregnable fortifications will fail to stop the progress of the people of God who have had a vision of Christ and Calvary. Freely acknowledging and confessing the sins and mistakes of the past that have delayed the coming of Christ and the triumphs of His message, the members of the Advent Movement will march forward victoriously toward their heavenly goal.
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