Manuscript 40, 1897
Manuscript 45, May 14, 1897
Manuscript 104, September 28, 1897
Manuscript 26, March 11, 1904
[In Matthew 27:26] we have a picture portrayed before us. Here the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, without one charge proved against Him, without being convicted of a single crime, is given by the ruler [Pilate] to a shameful death. But who is responsible? In the day of God, before the assembled universe, who will suffer punishment for this act?--those who claimed to be the most pious people on earth....
The scene transacted in Jerusalem at the betrayal and rejection of Christ represents the scene that will take place in the future history of the world, when Christ is finally rejected. The religious world will take sides with the first great rebel, and will reject the message of mercy in regard to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus....
There are only two classes. Each party is distinctly stamped, either with the seal of the living God, or with the mark of the beast or his image. Each son and daughter of Adam chooses Christ or Satan as his general. All who place themselves on the side of the disloyal are under Satan's black banner and stand charged with rejecting and despitefully using Jesus Christ. They are charged with deliberately crucifying the Lord of life and glory.
God has a controversy with the world and with the professed Christians, who accept the fallacies of the great apostate, which are prepared to suit every class in the Christian world, and who discard the law of God pronounced by the inspiration of God's Spirit to be "holy, and just, and good" [Romans 7:12]....
The scene of the judgment hall in Jerusalem is a symbol of what will take place in the closing scenes of the earth's history. The whole world will [either] accept Christ, the truth, or they will accept Satan, the first great rebel, and apostate, robber, and murderer. If they accept Satan, they identify their interests with the chief of all liars and with all who are disloyal, while they turn from a no less personage than the Son of the infinite God.
When the world is at last brought up for trial before the great white throne, to account for their rejection of Jesus Christ, God's own Messenger to our world, what a solemn scene it will be. What a reckoning will be made for nailing to the cross one who came to our world as a living epistle of the law. He lived the law of God's government; He was an expression of God's character. And men who now reject God's law crucify the Son of God afresh. They identify themselves with those who crucified Him on the cross of Calvary between two thieves.
The world is not improving. "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" [2 Timothy 3:13]. The world will not improve till God goes out of His place to punish the world for her iniquity. Then the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain....The scenes of the betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ will again be reenacted on an immense scale. People will be filled with the attributes of Satan. The delusions of the arch enemy of God and man will have great power. Those who have given their affections to any leader but Christ will find themselves under the control, body, soul, and spirit, of an infatuation that is so entrancing that under its power souls turn away from hearing the truth to believe a lie. They are ensnared and taken, and by their every action, they say, "Release unto us Barabbas, but crucify Christ."
The scenes enacted at the cross are being reenacted in the churches that have departed from truth and righteousness; it is being revealed what human nature will be and do when the love of God is not an abiding principle in the soul. We need not be surprised at anything that may take place now. We need not marvel at any developments of horror. Those who trample under their unholy feet the law of God have the same spirit as had the men who insulted and betrayed Jesus. Without any compunctions of conscience they will do the deeds of their father the devil. They will ask the question that came from the traitorous lips of Judas, "What will ye give me, if I betray unto you Jesus, the Christ?"
Those who choose Satan as their ruler will reveal the spirit of their chosen master, who caused the fall of our first parents. By rejecting the divine Son of God, the personification of the only true God, who possessed goodness, mercy, and untiring love, whose heart was ever touched with human woe, and accepting a murderer in His place, the people showed what human nature can and will do, when the restraining Spirit of God is removed and men are under the great apostate. Just to that degree that light is refused and rejected will there be misconception and misunderstanding. Those who reject Christ and choose Barabbas will work under a ruinous deception. Misrepresentation, the bearing of false witness, will grow under open rebellion....
From those who boldly witness for Christ, men will hear sacred truth that never before heard it. In some hearts the seed will take root. The converting power of God will win souls from darkness to light. Some of the very men on the judgment seat, lawyers and jurors, will embrace the truth, and in their turn will confess Christ before kings and rulers by their loyalty to all the commandments of God, especially the Sabbath command, which will be made, as it always has been, the test question....
Christ showed that without the controlling power of the Spirit of God, humanity is a terrible power for evil. Unbelief, hatred of reproof, will stir up satanic influences. Principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places will unite in a desperate companionship. They will be leagued against God in the person of His saints. By misrepresentation and falsehood they will demoralize both men and women who to all appearances believe the truth. False witnesses will not be wanting in this terrible work.
"And ye shall be betrayed by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls" [Luke 21:16-19]. Christ will restore the life taken, for He is the Life-giver, and He will beautify the righteous with salvation and immortal life. After speaking of the end of the world, Jesus comes back to Jerusalem, the city then sitting in pride and arrogance, and saying, "I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow" [see Revelation 18:7]. As His prophetic eye rests upon Jerusalem, He sees that as she was given up to destruction, the world will be given up to its doom. The scenes that transpired at the destruction of Jerusalem will be repeated at the great and terrible day of the Lord, but in a more fearful manner....
As men throw off all restraint, and make void His law themselves, as they establish their own perverted law, and try to force the consciences of those who honor God and keep His commandments to trample the law under their feet, they will find that the tenderness which they have mocked will be exhausted....
Christ's eye takes in the retribution that will be visited upon all the adversaries of God....A world is represented in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the warning given then by Christ comes sounding down the line to our time: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring" [Luke 21:16-19]. Yes, they shall pass their borders, and destruction will be in their track. They will engulf the ships that sail upon their broad waters, and with the burden of their living freight, they will be hurried into eternity, without time to repent.
There will be calamities by land and sea, "men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" [Luke 21:26, 27]. In just the same manner as He ascended will he come the second time to our world. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" [verse 28].
With Satan at their head to imbue them with his spirit, men may afflict God's people; they may cause pain to the body; they may take away the temporal life, but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ. We are not our own. Soul and body, we have been bought with the price paid upon the cross of Calvary, and we are to remember that we are in the hands of Him who created us. Whatever Satan may inspire evil men to do, we are to rest in the assurance that we are under God's charge, and that by His Spirit He will strengthen us to endure.
There is no greater evidence that Satan is working than that men who profess to be sanctified to God's service persecute their fellow-beings, because they do not believe the same doctrines that they themselves believe. These will rush with fury against God's people, falsifying, stating things they know are untrue, thus showing that they are inspired by him who is an accuser of the brethren and a murderer of the saints of God.
But if God permits tyrants to do with us as the priests and rulers did to His Son, shall we give up our faith and go back to perdition? It is not because God does not care for us that He permits these things to be, for He declares, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" [Psalms 116:15]. "He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight" [Psalms 72:12, 14].
The time is soon to come when the Lord will say, "Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thee as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain" [Isaiah 26:20, 21]. Let the many who claim to be Christians be full of satanic hatred, because they cannot force the consciences of God's people; not long hence they will stand before, not earthly judges, but before the Judge of all the earth, to render an account for the pain they have caused the bodies and souls of God's heritage. They may indulge now in false accusations; they may deride those whom God has appointed to do His work; they may consign His believing ones to prison, to the chain gang, to banishment, to death, but for every pang of anguish, every tear shed, they must answer.
For every drop of blood drawn forth by torture, for all they have burned by fire, they will receive punishment. God will reward them double for their sins. They have drunk the blood of the saints, and have become intoxicated with exultation. God says to His ministers of judgment, "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord who judgeth her" [Revelation 18:6-8].
Human enactments, laws manufactured by satanic agencies under a plea of goodness and restriction of evil, will be exalted, while God's holy enactments are despised and trampled underfoot. And all who prove their loyalty by obedience to the law of Jehovah must be prepared to be arrested, to be brought before councils that have not for their standard the high and Holy law of God, but have made stringent laws inspired by him whose attributes were manifested at the trial of Christ. "We have a law," these men said, "and by our law he ought to die" [John 19:7]....
In these religious zealots we have a sample of what humanity will do when they have the word that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and work directly contrary to it, irrespective of the consequence, the future retribution upon their neighbors or themselves....
The kingdom of darkness is extending over the world, and is embracing every sphere of action of men. There are evil spirits working effectually upon every mind that can be led into apostasy through any cause whatever. The spirit of evil energizes the children of rebellion...A demoniacal spirit takes possession of men in our world. They combine the perverted animal life with the perverted human animal-intelligence, making them human demons, detestable in the sight of God in proportion as they manifest the attributes of the satanic demon intelligence by culture, will rend and destroy man formed in the divine similitude, because he cannot control the conscience of his brother and make him disloyal to God's holy law....
Satan was not a rough specimen of humanity. He had been one of the highest angels next to Christ. All his beauty and intelligence and excellence were derived from God. But he misapplied his powers....He has an ever increasing energy in using that acquired knowledge. Thought is poisoned, and the force of wickedness, the abuse of his powers to hurt and destroy God's heritage, will measure the daring of humanity, and their cruel satanic treatment of man against his fellow man. The more pain they can cause, the more complete is their work in destroying God's heritage, and the more joy they give to the fallen apostate.
The world is represented in the apostate churches who are trampling upon the word of God, transgressing His whole law. They know not what spirit they are of, nor the end of the dark tunnel through which they are passing. They are hastening forward, deceived, deluded, blind, to the first and second deaths. The vast tide of human will and human passion is leading to things they did not dream of when they discarded the law of Jehovah for the inventions of man, to cause oppression and suffering to human beings....
The wicked rulers, the apostate churches, have been converted to the world, and they show just exactly what they would do in this age of the world, if they dared. If Christ were on the earth today, they would have no more desire for Him than had the Jewish nation at His first advent....Rulers and teachers, who have caused souls to stumble over their perverted teachings; statesmen, senators, governors, all people who might have understood the prophecies, but who did not read and search to see if they were applicable for this time and concerned their individual selves, will be taken in the snare. They will reap eternal loss. They will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy....
"And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him" [Luke 22:64, 65]. Here we see how professedly righteous men can act out the spirit of Satan to carry their wicked purposes through envy and jealous and religious bigotry. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" [Genesis 3:15]. This enmity was revealed as soon as man transgressed God's Holy Law. His nature was changed; it became evil. He was in harmony with the prince of darkness, and there was a confederacy formed.
There is no warfare between Satan and the sinner, between fallen angels and fallen men. Both possess the same attributes, both are evil through apostasy and sin. Then let all who read these words understand for a surety that, wheresoever transgression against God's holy law exists, there will always be a league against good. Fallen angels and fallen men will unite in desperate companionship. Satan inspires the disloyal elements to work in harmony with his spirit.
Christ has pledged himself to engage in the conflict with the prince and power of darkness and bruise the serpent's head, and all who are the sons of God are His chosen ones, His soldiers, to war against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. It is an unwearied conflict of which there is to be no end, until Christ shall come the second time without sin unto salvation to destroy him who has destroyed so many souls through his masterly deceiving power.
Jesus refrained from taking a course that would bring such a crisis in His life as to cut short His lifework. The opposition of the priests and rulers at Jerusalem had driven the mighty Healer from their midst. He restricted, for a time, His labors to Galilee. Often He left one field of labor for another, in order to escape from those who were seeking His life. When He was rejected at Nazareth, and His own townsmen tried to kill Him, He went down to Capernaum, where the people "were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power" [Luke 4:32]. He did not, by rushing into danger, hasten a crisis. He knew that He was to receive the world's hatred, He knew that His work would result in His death, but prematurely to expose Himself would not be the will of His Father.
From this we are to learn a lesson. As time goes by we shall have to encounter an opposition that will become more and more intense. As enmity is aroused in various places against those who observe the Sabbath of the Lord, it may become a necessity for God's people to move from those places to places where they will not be so bitterly opposed. God does not require His children to remain where, by the course of wicked men, their influence is made of no effect, and their lives are endangered. When liberty and life are imperiled, it is not merely our privilege, it our positive duty to go to places where the people are willing to hear the word of life, and where the opportunities for preaching the word will be more favorable.
There is a large field in which to labor for the salvation of souls, and unless loyalty to God requires it, His servants are not to imperil their lives. They are not to be discouraged by persecution, but when their work is hedged up in one place, they are to seek a place where they can continue to labor for the salvation of souls, where there are people whose hearts have not, by unbelief, been hardened against the truth.
Christ moved quietly from one place to another, traveling on foot. He knew that some of those who heard His words would gladly receive the truths He taught. After His ascension, many who, during His ministry, had listened to His words, openly acknowledged their belief in Him as the Son of God.