Reading No. 5 – Wednesday, December 10, 2003
By Anton Salaviov, New Zealand
Soon after Adam and Eve transgressed, our first parents profoundly understood the difference between spiritual light and darkness through their own experience. Spiritual darkness marred their happiness, mind, heart and life, separating them from everything they loved. It robbed them and their children the future peace. At that sad moment of darkness they received a small ray of spiritual light, which was enough to fill their hearts with hope. This ray of spiritual light came from their Creator and Father, who loved them even though they had transgressed; and God forgave them their sins and promised them salvation according to His plan.
It is necessary for us now, approximately 6000 years later, to comment on the effect of the destructive power of this spiritual darkness which has enveloped mankind, resulting in unrighteousness, suffering and death. Daily reports testify of this. The people on our earth tremble with fear for their future. It is a definite sign of the end of our sinful world and Jesus Christ’s soon second coming. The dark night will soon come to an end, and the everlasting day will commence both in the literal and spiritual sense. The redeemed will be in the New Jerusalem, where “the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” Revelation 21:23-25.
Dear brethren and friends, you are all invited to attend this incredible and eternal event, but it is not necessary to wait. The light of the Lamb can shine in your hearts and lives even today and forever. If you desire this light, then say honestly, yes! Then God will respond, “Let there be light,” and the Holy Spirit will make a new radiating creature from your void, solitary and dark soul. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” John 1:4,5,9,10.
The true Light, “which lighteth every man” was Jesus Christ. He was the Son of God and the Son of men. He was given, as the most precious gift, which heaven could bestow, to every person on this earth. He came as the promised One to drink our cup, full of bitter suffering and death, because He loves us. Jesus came not only to forgive our sinful past, but also to be a living, sinless example for us, for He took upon Himself our sinful nature. He came to encourage us, showing us how to overcome sin and to be like Him. He would like to be in us, to be our helper, power and light to illuminate our dark and dangerous way of life, today and for ever. He is the Light and the Truth which sets us free and makes us happy. Jesus Christ can enlighten our darkness. The light of the love of Jesus Christ still shines from the cross of Calvary. By His proven love to us, He encourages us with the words in Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The name of this path is “holiness.” “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” We don’t need to worry. God will lead us on the highway of “holiness” with loving care. Even “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Isaiah 35:8.
It is a sad fact that Israel as God’s nation rejected the Light sent from heaven by killing their long expected Messiah. Why do so many Christians today also refuse to accept Jesus as He is? Are we afraid to allow Jesus to shine in our life? Surely the light of God’s standard of righteousness will reveal many unclean things and sins in you and me. Would we like the light of Christ to reveal our nature with all its evil and change it, or do we prefer to cover it in darkness? The choice is ours. “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28.
David’s thoughts have a very deep meaning and are important for our salvation, particularly at this moment, when Jesus as High Priest is doing His final work in the heavenly sanctuary. These inspired words were actually David’s experience and his heartfelt, deep desire.
David was a brave, faithful, honest and joyful person, but he had many reasons to be sad and he suffered. Once, he even ran far away into the wilderness of Judah to protect his life from the king of Israel. The difficult circumstances in which he lived encouraged feelings of depression and oppressive darkness. Even then, he had peace and hope in his soul. David wrote in Psalm 63:2: ‘To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.” Today, many people are not inspired or encouraged when they look to Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary, but for David it was a source of light and warmth for his discouraged heart. It was this light that expelled the darkness. He enjoyed meditating upon the sanctuary for in every detail he saw a symbol of God’s love.
Looking at the objects in the sanctuary, David not only saw the enlightening power of God, but he also saw himself as a candle kindled by God’s fire. “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28. Paul expressed similar thoughts in 2 Corinthians 4:6-10: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” David and Paul as faithful Christians, had amazing experiences which we too can share if we are faithful Christians. God would like every one of us to be an “earthen vessel” for the precious oil of the Holy Spirit and a “candle” with the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Our Lord is eagerly waiting for us to cooperate with Him and reflect His light of love and righteousness to others, who are in the world of spiritual darkness. Yes, every one is encouraged to shine, but don’t forget that being a candle means, “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
Jesus reveals something of great importance in the parable of the ten virgins. Matthew 25:1-13. We are warned that our lamps need to be alight, especially now, when it is dark, at midnight. We can only take part in the marriage supper together with the bridegroom Jesus, if the heavenly fire is burning in our lamps. According to the parable, the burning lamps showed which were the wise and which the foolish virgins. The foolish virgins were not wise enough to accomplish something very simple-to bring along reserve oil. What kind of spiritual virgins are we? How much heavenly oil-Holy Spirit-do we need to see us through the waiting time? There is only one sufficient measure during the time of the latter rain-a full abundant measure of the Holy Spirit.
How can we receive the full measure of heavenly oil?
The answer of this and many other important questions is hidden in the sanctuary. Today, the holy heavenly temple is more open than ever, and can reveal to us, the last generation on earth, its sacred mysteries. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:19. If we daily consider the heavenly sanctuary as David did, and recognize the incredible sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, our hearts will be warmed by the fire of Christ’s infinite love for us. He will show us how He can supply the full measure of the anointed oil to help us shine with the light of the holy fire. In Zechariah 4:2 -6, 12-14 God has revealed the mystery of how we can obtain the needed oil for our spiritual candles. “What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof… 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…. And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?… Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” This is the spiritual way of supplying the heavenly oil. The meaning of the above mentioned symbols is: •The two olive trees and two golden pipes are the main source of sacred oil: these represent the Old and New Testament, the Word of God-Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit richly imparted.
“Concerning the two witnesses, the prophet declares further, ‘These are the two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.’ ‘Thy Word,’ said the psalmist, ‘is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ Revelation 11:4; Psalm 119:105. The two witnesses represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Both are important testimonies to the origin and perpetuity of the law of God. Both are witnesses also to the plan of salvation.”-The Great Controversy, p. 267. “Let the holy oil, which comes from the two olive branches, burn with a holy radiance upon the altar of your soul. The work of these olive branches represents the richest impartation of the Holy Spirit.” -(Letter 123, 1904) -Mind, Character and Personality, vol.1, p. 318.
•The golden oil flows through the seven pipes. These are God’s good servants. “It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God.” -Christ’s Object Lessons, p.419.
•The seven lamps are the human agent and God’s church. “It is the golden oil that the heavenly messengers empty into the golden tubes, to be conducted into the golden bowl, that creates a continuous, bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to the human agent that keeps him a bright and shining light for God … Into the hearts of those united to God by faith, His golden oil of love flows freely.” (Manuscript 27, March 30, 1897) -This Day With God, p. 98.
•Revelation 1:20: “And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Warning, only sacred fire is to be used to give light. “In our connection with any line of God’s work, we must use the sacred fire. Supposed human ability and efficiency is common fire, but this is unacknowledged by God. A decided position must be maintained upon the high platform of eternal truth. The time has come when all who work in Christ’s lines will have the mark of God in words, in spirit, in character, in their honour of Immanuel.” -Good Health, November 1, 1898.
The message from the sanctuary is clear. Jesus is the only, true, original light, who can enlighten the spiritual darkness. We cannot shine of ourselves, but only by reflecting the light of Christ. First we must receive the original light-Christ, before we can impart it. Our entire light must come from Him and from no other source. We can only be a light, if we are one with Christ, if we are one with the Holy Spirit, because He is one with Christ. Then we shall be like the seven pipes and lamps shining with the fire of unity and love. Any other light is not acceptable! “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” 1 John 1:7.
This is our message and the way we must act to complete the mission of the other angel of 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.” Yes, we have a wonderful message, full of the redeeming light of Jesus Christ, our righteousness. “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” Isaiah 62:1. “But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.