Do you know?
DO YOU KNOW?
Dear brethren in Laodicea, do you know that prophecy positively declares that the people of God in the Laodicean church are in a critically dangerous condition and know it not? Well, brethren, whether or not you realize it, whether or not you believe it, that precisely is the case. And if you hope to enter into eternal life, you must believe it, and that without delay. Whatever else you may believe or disbelieve, this one thing you must, "for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct."--Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
And remember that above all people, the Laodiceans should not only be the last but the least inclined to criticize, for they themselves, says the True Witness, are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," without so much as suspecting it, but are indeed even imagining that they are "rich, and increased with goods, and" in "need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17). How, then, can they be in a position truly to know anything about others!
Think, brethren, and rouse to life! This cannot possibly be the voice of an enemy.
And remember that the Lord "surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits,--because it is truth."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106.
"No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ....We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it."--Gospel Workers, p. 301.
"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them."--Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106, 107.
"He will use men for the accomplishment of His purpose whom some of the brethren would reject as unfit to engage in the work."--Review and Herald, Feb. 9, 1895.
Now, in the light of the foregoing statements, will you not, Brother, Sister, take time carefully and prayerfully to ascertain whether or not God is leading in this reformatory work? He has promised to all who will do this, that He will not leave them in darkness but will guide them into all Truth! So will you not take Him at His Word, and try Him?
We plead with you to, for already "the agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world," says Inspiration, "and the final movements will be rapid ones....The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah....Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis....Soon everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that those things that can not be shaken may remain....
"It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth."--Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 11, 13, 15, 16.
In view of these solemn realities even now looming before our eyes, no longer, Brother, Sister, hide yourself in the darkness. Stand in the light, lest you stumble and fall and not be found. Come, take time, and
--LET US REASON TOGETHER.
The Laodicean church, the last of the seven churches (Rev. 2, 3), being figurative of the Christian church in her last period, our time, the message on record to her is therefore the last message to the church. So, plainly, if there is any Bible subject essential for the church to study, the message to the Laodiceans certainly is.
Although satisfied with their attainments, the Laodiceans who believe and take God at His Word will not question Him concerning their condition but will, whether they see it or not, acknowledge that they are in a "sad deception..... wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. 3:17. Having honestly made this acknowledgment, they will, in consequent obedience to the True Witness's counsel to buy of Him eyesalve which He alone can supply, be enabled to anoint their eyes with it.
Those, though, who recline in the false security of self-complacence, will pay no attention to the warning counsel, and will as a result lose everything--be spued out (verse 16)! Yet how few does this dread threat alarm! How few does it impel to find out where the trouble lies and how they stand! How few, indeed, does it even trouble! And O how few incline to inquire into it for fear that it may rebuke their evil course and deprive them of some sinful pleasure which they dearly cherish! Surprisingly, yet all too truly, hundreds!
Then, too, there being instilled in them a great fear of false prophets, and not at all awakened in them the expectation of true ones (although there can be no false where there are no true), they are now therefore almost beyond reach.
Behind their careless attitude is seen the truth that "the pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 53), while behind the deeply instilled fear of false prophets, is seen the false watchman's carefulness to keep them from coming in contact with the messengers whom God has sent to them.
This friendly visitor is endeavoring, therefore, to awaken an interest in you, dear Laodicean, to go to the bottom of the matter, to make sure of your salvation. So will you not be courteous enough to sit down with it in humble, impartial, prayerful study which must repay you many, many, times more than what you put into it?
"As many as I love," says the Lord, "I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 3:19-22.
There is a divine law that converts every honest effort into joy, a personal experience with God, and eternal life. So awake, my friend, and take note, not of what you think you are or will be, but of what the Lord says you are and must be. Begin your investigation with the ensuing
--SEVEN QUESTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION.
1. Who is Laodicea?
2. Whom does the angel represent?
3. What is meant by being wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked?
4. What is it to be "lukewarm"?
5. Why does God prefer one either cold or hot rather than lukewarm?
6. What is the eyesalve
7. Should Laodicea fail to repent, how would her shame be uncovered?
--IN NEED OF NOTHING?
The right answers to these seven important questions to every truth-seeking Christian today will, if understood and heeded, rescue each from the shameful and dangerous Laodicean condition, and safeguard his salvation. This it will do ever so soon as he takes to heart
--THE FACTS ON THESE SEVEN QUESTIONS.
The Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, describes the condition of each of the seven churches, the last of which is the Laodicean. These churches, admittedly, portray the Christian church in seven different periods; the seventh, Laodicea, depicting her in the period just before the "harvest," the last in which the "wheat and tares" are commingled, and the one in which she is to experience the separation of the bad from among the good (Matt. 13:30, 47 through 49).
Since in her every section, the church must be true to her name (it alone being her identification), we shall therefore consider
--THE NAME, LAODICEA.
Being compounded of the Greek words "lao" and "deci," the one meaning "people," also "speak," the other meaning "judgment," the two together meaning people proclaiming judgment, the name Laodicea, therefore, identifies a church proclaiming the judgment hour (Dan. 7:9, 10; Rev. 14:6, 7).
As the S.D.A. church is the only one to proclaim judgment, and as each of the seven messages is addressed to the angel of the respective churches, the message to Laodicea is accordingly
--ADDRESSED TO THE S.D.A. ANGEL.
In The Revelation, chapter 1, the churches are symbolized by seven candlesticks, and the angels of the churches, by the seven stars (Rev. 1:20).
Being the attendants of the candlesticks (churches), the angels are thus seen to be the ministry, whose responsibility is to have the lamps trimmed, filled with oil, and burning brightly, so that the church may give light to all about her.
Hence as the Laodicean angel, him to whom the condemnatory message is sent, is symbolical of the ministry in Laodicea, he should consequently be the more anxious to discover where the trouble lies, for he is, says the Lord,
--WRETCHED, MISERABLE, POOR, BLIND, AND NAKED.
With a ministry wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, what church (candlestick) could possibly stay lighted? And with her light thus gone out or but flickering dimly, how could she lighten the world as God has set her to do? Through the eyes of the True Witness, therefore, the tragedy of Laodicea is starkly seen--"sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people" (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337), while a sin-benighted world plunges on hell-bent in its darkness! O what a piteous plight! And yet it is so utterly overlooked!
With both ministry and laity in such a pitiful state of darkness, it is clear to be seen that though the Laodicean church is the last in the order of the seven, God cannot lighten the world and prepare His people for the Kingdom with her when she is in darkness and unprepared herself. Hence the necessity of a new order, a new ministry, as predicted in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80, and in Zephaniah 3:11, 12.
Then it will come to pass that "only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming this message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry."--Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.
In the light of these facts, the prophetic message to the angel of the Laodiceans must obviously be brought and proclaimed by someone other than the angel himself. But this, of course, is the very thing that neither the ministry nor the laity expect or wish to happen. For the sake of the faithful, nevertheless, it is happening.
So since God's Word says that the ministry of the Laodicean church is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and that neither they nor the laity are aware of the fact, it lends heavy underscoring to the statements: "Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!" (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337); and "the message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception."--Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
Although they are in this horrible predicament, one which should make them tremble and fear, and give anything to get out of, yet they continue
--LUKEWARM--NEITHER COLD NOR HOT.
Deceived and about to lose their lives, though as ignorant of their peril as a mouse before the trap snaps shut, they are satisfied (lukewarm) in the devil's trap, as they make toward its delectable bait--a false hope of enjoying the feast in Paradise!
When one finds himself in a climate which is neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, a temperature desired and sought by all, there he basks as a pauper become a prince! So it is with the Laodiceans, as represented in prophecy, though their supposed palace is nothing but a death trap!
To rescue one from such a "terrible deception" is a task which calls for the utmost wisdom not only because the victim is blindly inured to the perilous condition he is in, while his rescuers are endeavoring to save him from perishing, but also because he considers them as his enemies, false prophets, instead of as his friends and deliverers, messengers from God!
From the life line, the saving message, which they pleadingly hold forth to him, he recoils. And consequently by his attitude against them, he shouts: Away, away, I am rich and increased with goods: I have need of nothing; I have all the truth. "I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come."--Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65.
In protesting that they are not wretched (not unhappy), not miserable (not troubled), not poor (not in need of truth), not blind (not benighted or illiterate), not naked (not without the righteousness of Christ), the Laodiceans are contradicting the True Witness, rejecting His counsel, and discrediting His remedy
As only the "salve" (truth) will heal them from their deadly Laodicean malady, hence if they fail to avail themselves of the cure (to search for truth as for hidden treasure) and to apply it (to repent), they will be spued out. O, Brother, Sister, will you not call for the "salve"? or will you continue in your wretchedness, miserableness, poverty, blindness, and nakedness, and thus compel Him to spue you out and to
--UNCOVER YOUR SHAME?
So far, my brethren, that your shame might not appear, God has not exposed the sins which you have cherished and kept under cover. No longer, though, will He bear with you. So for your soul's sake, cease adding sin to sin; repent, and return to the Lord; argue no longer that you have all the Truth, but come have a good feast of It. God will just as gladly accept you and make a feast for you as did the father of the prodigal accept his son and make a feast for him.
Be not like the Jew. But open your heart; cast out its pride, its prejudice, and its self-conceit; let them not deprive you of eternal life at such a late hour as this. If you repeat the mistake of the Jews, your shame and your loss will be much greater than theirs--as much greater as are your light and your opportunities and privileges. Yea, beyond comparison!
So will you not, then, we plead with you, end your long Laodicean sickness and poverty, and no longer imagine that you are
--RICH, INCREASED WITH GOODS.
Never do you even so much as intimate that you have all the buildings, all the institutions, all the money, all the workers, all the converts you need! Your only boast is of having no need of truth! This attitude, therefore, God says, is the way in which you are saying, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." It is the source of your trouble, and the thing which the Lord expects you to confess and to repent of.
The angel's (the ministry's) false claim of being rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing, does not make him a liar, but rather shows him to be a victim of ignorance and delusion. But his thinking that he has and knows all the truth, makes his condition even more perilous than a liar's, for a liar knows that he is lying. O awake, Brother, Sister, awake! awake!
--DO AS DID NATHANIEL.
Come and see!--See what? Others also as yourself, rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing? with the excuse that the need to take care of the material things of life (Luke 14:15-19) forbids their accepting the invitation?
Indeed not!--See the Laodiceans from the streets and lanes--"the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind" (Luke 14:21), gladly availing themselves of the remedy!
But, alas, not all who come, remain, for "when any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." And others, "when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word," are offended. These are they "that received the seed into stony places." "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty." Matt. 13:19 through 23.
Though the "bad" along with the "good" are still coming (for we are yet in the period in which the wheat and the tares are commingled, the good and the bad fish are together in the net), you need not be of the tares or of the "bad fish." Be of the wheat, do as the "good": lay aside your own thoughts and ways, then take the Lord's, for He says: "...My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:8, 9.
And finally, never be like a Pharisee who can see the mote in his brother's eye, but cannot see the beam in his own (Matt. 7:3). For after all, "Who art thou?" asks the Lord. Art thou thyself not a Laodicean? How "judgest" thou "another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." Rom. 14:4.
Never mind the other fellow, my lukewarm brethren: you have barely enough time to look after yourself. And moreover, do not measure the truth with the rod of man, but with the rod of God: "Hear ye the rod, and [Him] Who hath appointed it" (Mic. 6:9) urges the Lord.
Will you not take His counsel? If you will, then without further delay, send your name and address for Present Truth literature--the feast which, though worth everything, will cost you nothing. And besides being the only cure for your blindness, it will thrill and satisfy your hungry soul with something truely rich and extraordinary!
Then all of us together "shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints....As we apply the golden eye-salve, we shall see the glories beyond. Faith will cut through the heavy shadow of Satan, and we shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. When we see this as it is, as the Lord desires us to see it, we shall be filled with a sense of the immensity and di-versity of the love of God."--Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 368. And then we shall no longer ask--WHOSE ADVICE IS TO BE FOLLOWED?
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