Sabbath, August 11, 2007
“… If you are truly consecrated, God will, through your instrumentality, bring into the truth others whom He can use as channels to convey light to many that are groping in darkness.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 63.
Ancient Israel And Its Failure
1. What prophecies foretold the fact that God would have to reject ancient Israel?
Matthew 21:37-43 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
“With a father’s heart, God bore with His people. He pleaded with them by mercies given and mercies withdrawn. Patiently He set their sins before them, and in forbearance waited for their acknowledgment. Prophets and messengers were sent to urge God’s claim upon the husbandmen; but instead of being welcomed, they were treated as enemies. The husbandmen persecuted and killed them. God sent still other messengers, but they received the same treatment as the first, only that the husbandmen showed still more determined hatred.
“As a last resource, God sent His Son, saying, ‘They will reverence My Son.’ But their resistance had made them vindictive, and they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill Him, and let us seize on His inheritance.’ We shall then be left to enjoy the vineyard, and to do as we please with the fruit….
“The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 293, 294.
2. Why were many of God’s chosen people broken off from the olive tree?
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
1 Peter 2:6-8 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Roman 11:20, first part – Well; because of unbelief they were broken off.
“The warning was not heeded by the Jewish people. They forgot God, and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example. Like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, they followed out every imagination of their evil hearts. Thus they made sacred things appear a farce, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these’ (Jeremiah 7:4), while at the same time they were misrepresenting God’s character, dishonoring His name, and polluting His sanctuary….
“The Jewish rulers did not love God; therefore they cut themselves away from Him, and rejected all His overtures for a just settlement.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 291-293.
“No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent.” –The Review and Herald, June 29, 1897.
Asolemn Lesson For Us
3. Is any church exempt from being rejected?
Romans 11:17-21 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
“Because they failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, the children of Israel were set aside, and God’s call was extended to other peoples. If these too prove unfaithful, will they not in like manner be rejected?” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 304.
“The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. If her moral character and spiritual state do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon her, she will be found wanting.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 83.
“Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 67.
4. Because of ancient Israel’s departure from God, which people were selected to carry on the message of salvation?
Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Romans 2:28, 29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 11:11-13 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
“As a people the Jews had failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, and the vineyard was taken from them. The privileges they had abused, the work they had slighted, was entrusted to others.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 296.
“That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. He has ‘let out His vineyard unto other husbandmen,’ even to His covenant-keeping people, who faithfully ‘render Him the fruits in their seasons.’ Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among the spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 7l3, 714.
5. What fruit produced by God’s Spirit is He looking for in spiritual Israel today?
Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
“In the spiritual as in the natural world, obedience to the laws of God is the condition of fruit bearing….
“It was the privilege of the Jewish nation to represent the character of God as it had been revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ Exodus 33:18, 19. ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 34:6, 7. This was the fruit that God desired from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they were to show that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 305, 285, 286.
6. What makes fruit bearing possible?
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. What will motivate “spiritual Jews” to bear fruit, thus revealing to the world that they cherish God’s grace?
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
“We are to show to the world and to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate the wonderful love of God for fallen humanity and that we are expecting larger and yet larger blessings from His infinite fullness….
“In this crisis, where is the church to be found? Are its members meeting the claims of God? Are they fulfilling His commission, and representing His character to the world?” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 299, 302.
“Every member should be a channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that the Saviour desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and His character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for men and women through whom God can reveal the power of Christianity.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 600.
Fulfilling Our Mission
8. How will modem Israel finish the work that has been entrusted to them?
Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
“As the time comes for it [the message of the third angel] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them.” –The Great Controversy, p. 606.
9. Who alone will take part in the great work of calling the honest in heart from the fallen churches?
Revelation 3:18, 20, 21 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
“I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” –Early Writings, p. 71.
“The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God will triumph with it.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 135.