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THE REFINER'S FIRE PRIOR TO THE SECOND PENTECOST

            Meditation:   “We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.  {2 Testimonies for the Church, pg.  355.1}.

          God in His providence has led our SDA leaders  in the Fourth Quarter of 2008 to promote a very, very, potent subject:  “THE REFINER’S FIRE”.

          We will now quote from the introduction of this Sabbath School Lesson to see what were the main points of emphasis that were presented in the quarterly to the world wide church.

          “This quarter we will study the Word of God and see how other flesh and blood, though radiated in faith, nevertheless faced despair, betrayal, disappointment, loss, injustice, and abuse (sound like anything you can relate to?)  How did they cope?  What did they learn?  What can their examples teach us?  As we look at these people, their experiences, their struggles, and their trials of faith (which might be much like our own), we must always see them contrasted against the background of the Cross.  We must always remember that no matter what anyone faces, Jesus Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, went through much worse.

        “Our lessons are not a theodicy, the justification of God in the face of evil.  Instead, as we’ve said, they’re an attempt to help us work through the inevitable suffering we all face here in a world where sin is as easy as breathing.  What we will try to show is that pain, suffering, and loss don’t mean that God has abandoned us; they mean only that, even as believers, we share now in the common lot of a fallen race.  The difference is that for us, through Jesus and the hope He offers, meaning and purpose can be found in what seems meaningless and purposeless and that somehow, even if we can’t imagine how, we can trust the promise that `all things work together for good to them that love the Lord-the God who, though He made all things, suffered all things, too (and that’s why we love Him).”   (Lesson Quarterly page 2, par. 3, 4, 5, page. 3, Par. 0, 1)

          Having a proper understanding of the aforementioned issues is very vital in our Christian growth and development.  Notwithstanding, the topic itself needs to be more thoroughly dealt with because it is a life and death issue.  As we further explain the topic you will see that a lack of the proper understanding of  “The Refiner’s Fire”, could mean our eternal loss.

          Let us now look at the context in which the statement “The Refiner’s Fire” was used in the Bible.

        “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.   For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept [them]. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? ”   Malachi 3:1-7.

          What can we learn from these verses?

 1.  The Lord is to suddenly visit His temple–the church-to cleanse and purify it.

 2.  In this purging ordeal Jesus is likened unto “The Refiner’s Fire” and “The Fuller’s Soap.”

 3.  Before this takes place, He sends His messenger with a message to warn the people.

 4.  It is apparent that only a few will survive this refining process.

 5.  Only after this refining process will His people offer unto Him an offering in Righteousness.

          In going through that Quarterly for 3 months, did you perceive or conclude that Jesus Christ was likened to the “Refiner’s Fire?.”  “Did you realize that this was talking about the literal purification of the remnant church?”

          “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”  Malachi 4:5.

          The Lord here further illustrates that this cleansing process is called the Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord.   The Lord in His mercy though, sends an Elijah message to warn the people before He comes, but because the people in general will not take heed to the warning, His cleansing operation will be “sudden”, a complete surprise to them and that is why the question was asked, “But who may abide the day of His coming?”

          Going back to Malachi 3, we will read the continuing verses.

          “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.   Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].”   Malachi 3:8-10.

          It is certain that we are all familiar with these verses.  Unfortunately, we have not read them in connection with previous verses.  As Heaven views the present situation, He sees His people destitute of the special Elijah’s message of the purification of the church.    Although many of us do return our tithes and offerings, the Lord is saying that if the tithe is not used to promote this special message of the “Great and Dreadful Day”, He is being robbed because the people are not being fed with “meat in due season”.

WHAT IS MEAT IN DUE SEASON, AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?

          “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”   Matthew 24:45, 46.

          “We are in the great day of atonement, when our sins are, by confession and repentance, to go beforehand to judgment. God does not now accept a tame, spiritless testimony from His ministers. Such a testimony would not be present truth. The message for this time must be meat in due season to feed the church of God. But Satan has been seeking gradually to rob this message of its power, that the people may not be prepared to stand in the day of the Lord.  {1Selected Messages pg. 124.3}.

          “There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is "present truth" that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause.”  {Early Writings pg. 63.1}.

          “If those who have been in the church for weeks and months have not learned the straightness of the way, and what it is to be Christians, and cannot hear all the straight truths of the Word of God, it were better that they were cut off from Israel.  It is too late in the day to feed with milk.  If souls a month or two old in the truth, who are about to enter the time of trouble such as never was, cannot hear all the straight truth, or endure the strong meat of the straightness of the way, how will they stand in the day of battle?  Truths that we have been years learning must be learned in a few months by those who now embrace the Third Angel’s Message.”   {Manuscript Release, No. 22—3}.

(Please contact us for a detailed study on Zechariah 4).

          “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.     For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:” Isaiah 28:9, 10.   

          “For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.   But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.   Hebrews 5:13 14.

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