The Authority of the Prophets
As a "remnant people" we have often said and heard it said that, "We have the truth!"
In the remarks on Tuesday's lesson, we read, "Though we might not act so dramatically as the folks did here, how do these incidents represent the basic responses to God's written word?" Well, we are lukewarm and barely believe anything as it is--how could we react dramatically?
The Jews, God's remnant people of the earth, were astonished and amazed, and believed Jesus to have a new doctrine!
"And immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. ... Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him" (Mark 1:22, 27).
Why were they astonished and amazed? Didn't they believe that they had the truth? Why didn't their teachers and leaders have this same effect on them? Because their teachers had been false guideposts pointing out the wrong way. Smugness removes Authority; and belief that "We have the truth" prevents further light from entering.
When truth is rejected, it is rejected with "commands" to silence the messengers and to hide, lie about, or destroy the evidence.
Jeremiah demonstrates this rejection of God's word and His messengers in Jeremiah 36:22-31. The king took a knife and cut the scroll and then burned it (vs. 23) and the king "would not listen to them" (vs. 25). The king commanded that Baruch and Jeremiah be seized (vs. 26).
But Josiah had it right; read 2 Kings 22-25, especially 22:10-13. When Josiah heard the words of the Book of the Covenant (Law), "he tore his clothes." He then sent to a prophet to inquire of the Lord because of "the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book."
The test of this Church and of this people lies in the reception or rejection of the message of 1888. Ellen White states that God Himself gave this message to His people.
We say we are the remnant, yet are we rejecting the "remnant message"? We are the people that say we have the Spirit of Prophecy, yet we seem to ignore the portions that displease us. Lip service is different than surrender; and conversion is different than outward appearance.
Writing of 1888, Ellen G. White says, "The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers [TM], p. 91).*
"I would speak in warning to those who have stood for years resisting light and cherishing the spirit of opposition. How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God's righteousness? God has given them His message. They bear the word of the Lord. ... Here was evidence, that all might discern whom the Lord recognized as His servants. But there are those who despised the men and the message they bore. They have taunted them with being fanatics, extremists, and enthusiasts. Let me prophesy unto you: Unless you speedily humble your hearts before God, and confess your sins, which are many, you will, when it is too late, see that you have been fighting against God. ... Go on a little longer as you have gone, in rejection of the light from heaven, and you are lost.
"I have no smooth message to bear to those who have been so long as false guideposts, pointing the wrong way. If you reject Christ's delegated messengers, you reject Christ. ... I entreat you now to humble yourselves and cease your stubborn resistance of light and evidence. Say unto the Lord, "Mine iniquities have separated between me and my God. O Lord, pardon my transgressions. Blot out my sins from the book of Thy remembrance" (TM 96, 98).*
A. T. Jones: "Now brethren, when did that message of the righteousness of Christ, begin with us as a people? [One or two in the audience: 'Three or four years ago.'] Which was it, three? or four? [Congregation: 'Four.'] Yes, four. Where was it? [Congregation: 'Minneapolis.'] What then did the brethren reject at Minneapolis? [Some in the Congregation: 'The loud cry.'] What is that message of righteousness? The Testimony has told us what it is; the loud cry--the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain--the loud cry of the third angel's message" (1893 General Conference Bulletin, p. 183).
"The wrath of the Lord is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book" (2 Kings 22:13). There was no honor in Josiah following the traditions of Manasseh, nor is there any honor for us to blindly follow traditions in the continuing rejection of the 1888 message and its messengers. Thank God, we don't have to reject light the Lord sends us; and thank God that around the world there are some beginning to wake up to appreciate the light the Lord sent us 120 years ago.