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Insights #10 June 6, 2015
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Second Quarter 2015 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Following Jesus in Everyday Life”
For the week of June 6, 2015

Over one hundred times Ellen White describes the reception which "we" gave to His special message in 1888 as being "just like the Jews." She says the message has been largely rejected.

She even went so far as to say that if Jesus had been present personally and physically at our 1888 General Conference and in meetings thereafter, "we" would have treated Him as "the Jews treated Christ." [1] Speaking of the opposition, she said: "Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus--all this had passed before me point by point. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to ... leave Minneapolis." [2]

Christ was largely rejected by the Jewish leaders. She called "our reception" of the 1888 message "the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message. ... By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. ... The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world." [3]

Christ was not totally rejected by those in attendance at the headquarters, only largely so. And the "most precious message" the Lord sent us was not totally "opposed" or "kept away" from our people and from the world--only "in a great measure" and "in a great degree." Christ came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but there were some who did receive Him--as many as received Him.

And thank God, there were a few who opened their hearts to the message that was the "beginning" of the Loud Cry of Revelation 18 and of the Latter Rain. But the largely accomplished rejection has long delayed the coronation of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Christ failed to make a positive impact on the heart of the religious system. Likewise, in parallel, the "special messengers" whom "the Lord in His great mercy sent" us failed to make a positive impact at the heart of our religious system.

A very few examples of Ellen White's frequent "just like the Jews" statements are as follows: you "reject Christ in the person of His messengers," "similar to that of the Jews when they rejected the Lord of life and glory;" "Christ knocked for entrance but no room was made for Him;" "in the very same way that the Jews treated the light Christ brought them;" "had Christ been before them [our brethren] they would have treated Him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ." [4]

By 1899, A. T. Jones made an appeal. "It is not individual confession that is wanted so much as a General Conference confession. It is a General Conference clearing of ourselves that is needed." [5]

GUILT OF OUR SPIRITUAL FOREFATHERS

"From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation" (Luke 11:51). This Zacharias was murdered about 856 B.C. [6]

Jesus said that the Jewish leaders of His day were actually guilty of the murder of a man whom their forefathers had killed nearly 800 years before they were born. If the Jews of His day were guilty of a crime committed eight centuries before they were born, is it impossible that we today also share the guilt of our spiritual forefathers of a mere 125 years ago?

Jesus' hearers in His day took exactly the same attitude toward their church history that we do toward ours. They denied their corporate involvement with their ancestors in murdering the prophets. "Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. ... The blood of all the prophets ... may be required of this generation" (Luke 11:47-50). Jesus made clear to them that their fathers' guilt was their guilt

Jesus recognized that the "children" were partakers of the same spirit and of the same sins as the "fathers." This they soon demonstrated in murdering Christ and His apostles. This was corporate guilt. They actually became guilty of Cain's sin of four thousand years earlier.

Jesus said, "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered" (Luke 11:52). The saddest annal in Seventh-day Adventist history is that a greater sin was added to the unbelief of 1888 at Minneapolis: The incontrovertible evidences of the Holy Spirit's approval of the message, demonstrated in the wonderful revivals, only confirmed the stubborn opposition of the leading brethren. "When they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more!" [7] "The light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light." [8]

Wonder, O heavens! And be astonished, O earth! Never since the rejection by Israel of her King of glory has the heavenly universe witnessed a more inexcusable and shameful failure on the part of the chosen people of God, led by their leaders. Mrs. White did not hesitate to apply to the leading brethren the famous "woes upon the Pharisees." [9]

Not one of us is intrinsically better than another. Of every sinner we can say, "There but for the grace of God am I." We have no righteousness intrinsically our own--all is of Christ.

We are each individually responsible for the murder of Christ unless "we individually repent toward God" for that sin. [10] In other words, if we are sinners at all, it is that sin of which we are potentially guilty.

True guilt is complete guilt, not merely conscious guilt. The Jews whom Christ charged with the murder of Zacharias were unconscious of their guilt. But they were nonetheless guilty.

Is it possible that unconscious guilt on our part has hindered the gift of the Latter Rain? Aside from clear and specific repentance, we are potentially guilty of every sin that we could commit, if we had the opportunity.

--Paul E. Penno

Endnotes:
[1] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1478.
[2] Ibid., p. 309.
[3] Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235.
[4] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 398, 512, 734, 911, 1479.
[5] A. T. Jones, "General Conference Proceedings," The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference (Worcester, Mass), Feb. 24, 1899, p. 3.
[6] 2 Chronicles 24:20.
[7] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1325, 1326.
[8] Ellen G. White "The Time of Test," Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.
[9] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 76.
[10] Ibid., p. 38.