“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?” Isaiah 58:1-3. In this connection, read Exodus 31:12-18. Isaiah 56:1-18, Isaiah 55.
The people here described realize that they have not the favor of God; but instead of seeking His favor in His own way, they enter into a controversy with God. They ask why, since they observe so many ceremonies, the Lord does not give them special recognition. God answers their complaints: “Behold, in the day of your fast, ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.”
These fasts are only outward show, mere pretense, a mockery of humility. These worshipers, while mourning and lamenting, retaining all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not humbled, nor cleansed from spiritual defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of the heavenly influence. They manifest no repentance, nor faith that works by love and purifies the soul. They are unjust and selfish in their dealings, mercilessly oppressing those whom they regard as their inferiors. Yet they charge God with a neglect to manifest His power to them and exalt them above others because of their righteousness. The Lord sends them a message of positive reproof, showing why they are not visited by His grace.
He says, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” Will they accept this reproof and pray for true repentance? Will they put away their sins and seek for pardon?
There is a work for them to do. They are to bring the atmosphere of heaven into their families, and into their association with their fellow men. They are to represent the character of God, even as it was revealed to Moses. “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” Exodus 34:5-7.
They are to deal with existing evils as the Lord has directed them. They are not to bind themselves in a covenant with the world. The instruction which God gave through Moses to Israel is for His people today: “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee,” for Satan works through those who know not God, those who do not acknowledge Him as their Creator and Ruler. “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves,” the groves in which they erected their idol altars, “for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
When men will cease to depart from the principles established by Jehovah, a reformatory influence will be received from God, and will be imparted through His consecrated agencies. Their connection with the living God will be shown by their obedience to the laws of His kingdom. They will put away all coarseness and harshness. Then His ordinances will be correctly represented as holy, just, and righteous.
The Lord says, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the band of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6, 7.
Here are set forth the duties devolving upon the members of the church. All who are connected with the God of Israel will represent His character, and will cooperate with Him, as having a real interest in His great work.
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity.
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
Where do we find the people who are thus addressed? Who is it that shall build the old waste places, and raise up the foundation of many generations? Where are the people who have had light from heaven to see that a breach has been made in the law of God?
In the Revelation, John says, “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament” Revelation 11:19. John saw in vision the Lord’s people looking for His coming and searching for truth. As the temple of God was opened unto His people, the light of the law of God, which was in the ark, shone forth. Those who receive this light are brought to view in the proclamation of the third angel’s message.
This angel is seen flying in the midst of heaven, “saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb…. Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
This is the people that are repairing the breach in the law of God. They see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment has been supplanted by a spurious sabbath, a day that has no sanction in the Word of God. Amid great opposition they become loyal to their God, and take their position under the standard of the third angel.
To John was presented a view of the persecution of God’s people in the last period of the earth’s history. The description of the persecuting power is given in Revelation 13. The churches and the world are united in trampling upon God’s commandments, and all who obey His precepts they threaten with death.
In (Revelation 12:17), we read, that “the dragon was wrath with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This explains the working of patience in the saints.
But “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” John sees “them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image, and over his mark and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” And he says, “They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” This is the same company mentioned by Isaiah, to whom it was promised that they should ride on the high places of the earth, and be fed with the heritage of Jacob their father.1White, Ellen Gould. “A Warning for This Time.” 1900. Ms48, Letters & Manuscripts. The Ellen G. Whie Estate, NP. Web.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||White, Ellen Gould. “A Warning for This Time.” 1900. Ms48, Letters & Manuscripts. The Ellen G. Whie Estate, NP. Web.|