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SDA Writers on the Mystery of God

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 10, 2008

“As the Jews had departed from God, faith had grown dim, and hope had well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended. To the. masses of the people, death was a dread mystery; beyond was uncertainty and gloom.”

“In ‘the region and shadow of death,’ men sat unsolaced. With longing eyes they looked for the coming of the Deliverer, when the darkness should be dispelled, and the mystery of the future should be made plain.


Many of God’s servants and messengers in Old Testament times had similar experiences. Abraham’s call to the land of Canaan, his journey to Egypt and back, his strange experience with Abimelech, king of Gerar, and many other providences must have been full of mystery to him. They could not be “understood by themselves.” But when they were all brought together in the central purpose of God to establish a model nation for Himself in this ruined world, they could be understood.

But although Abraham could not understand the meaning of these single, detached events as they came along one by one, he believed in God. He knew God had spoken to him. He obeyed by rendering prompt and full cooperation in carrying out the divine purpose. He wrote no prophecies. He worked no miracles. He made some mistakes. Yet of Abraham the Lord said, “He is a prophet.” Gen. 20:7.


Again in Romans 16:25, 26, we find Paul closing the epistle with the same words: “Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”

It is worthy of notice that in these two scriptures Paul points out that our reception of grace and the call to apostleship have for their purpose our own obedience and the obedience of those to whom we give the gospel. He recognizes that this obedience is an operation of faith, and that the “Scriptures of the prophets” have as their purpose the giving of the gospel to all nations to make men obedient.

The consistent revelation of the Scriptures is that obedience is the act of faith, and that the righteousness of Christ which faith brings to us is His perfect obedience to the will of His Father.

Pg 44 The Atoning Work of Christ His Sacrifice and Priestly Ministry By C. H. WATSON

The apostle Paul assures us that the first part of this prophecy will have its fulfillment in the resurrection of the just:

“Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Cor. 15:51-55.

For this victory Paul thanks God, and declares that it is given us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 57. But reference again to the prophecy of Isaiah reveals the fact that the completeness of this victory is made possible only by the whole experience of Christ in His work for us, and by the whole service of Christ in our behalf—by His life in the flesh, by His death on the cross, by His resurrection from the dead, by His life after death, by His second coming, by His power in raising the dead, by His destruction of sin and of those who have chosen to serve sin, and by the entrance of His people into the eternal city.

Sometimes we hear of Christ having obtained complete victory for us upon the cross. But we need to understand the relationship of what Christ did for us on the cross to this complete victory of which Isaiah has prophesied, and of which Paul has written. Thank God for the victory won for us by Christ on the cross. There “His right hand and His holy arm had gotten Him the victory. As a conqueror He planted His banner on the eternal heights.” There the purpose of Satan was defeated and his kingdom wrested from his control. It was there that Christ met the powers of darkness in their most intense and determined efforts to defeat and ruin Him. And it was there He triumphed gloriously over them. And inasmuch as He was there in our stead, He did it all for us. Therefore the victory that He there gained was ours.

That victory is basic to all that can be understood as triumph in the great struggle, but it was not in itself complete. It yet remained to be seen if death would be “swallowed up of life.” If the Lord had permitted victory to rest with what was accomplished on the cross, we still would be under the curse, and subject to death. The aged apostle John, near the close of a long experience, wrote that faith is the victory. But faith, according to Paul, is vain if Christ had victory only on the cross. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” 1 Cor. 15:14, 17. To free us from our sins, Jesus died as our substitute, rose again from the dead, and was accepted for us by the Father, and He makes atonement for us before the Father by ministering His own blood in our behalf.

Pg 73-75 The Atoning Work of Christ His Sacrifice and Priestly Ministry By C. H. WATSON

The purpose of the parable is to teach by comparison, analogy, and illustration. Jesus, the master teacher, employed this method with great success. He used parables to expound deep spiritual truths. He told true-to-life stories to make clear to His hearers the true meaning of life. These brought out lessons that explained the mysteries of His kingdom. Jesus was not concerned with pro pounding problems. The primary function of His parable was to get a commitment from His hearers to a new life experience. He had come to earth to set up a new kingdom, and He was inviting His hearers into this kingdom. This is why many of His parables are an exposition of the virtues of the kingdom of heaven. He was eager to reveal rather than conceal the mystery of this kingdom.

Although His parables seemed clear and convincing to mynah heard them, there were some to whom His teaching was obscure. These were spectators more often than followers; they heard but did not understand. Although generally those who were willing to commit their lives to God could grasp the meaning of the parables, there were occasions when even the disciples asked for interpretation (see Mt 13:36). Men’s minds were darkened because they either willfully refused to listen with open minds to the Master’s messages of salvation or they distorted His message by their preconceptions.

Pg 219-220 A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics Gordon M. Hyde

The controversy, indeed, is caused by the limitations of men’s intellects, that and the pride of opinion. They are few who can stride with the sweep and sometimes the involvement of Paul’s logic, especially as strained through the screen of the Elizabethan speech of our common Bible versions. But there are many ambitious amateur theologians; their arguing furnishes mental exercise and, they claim, spiritual gain. As a backwoods church elder put it: “The good Book says, ‘Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.’ Ye cain’t git the gospel if ye don’t argufy.”

Justification—the forgiveness of sin, the making of a man to be righteous in God’s sight—is an experience, not an argument. It is the new birth. The babe may not understand how he was born, but he knows that he is alive. Afterward he may or he may not learn the science; just now he is enjoying the effects. The mind may help the soul to understand the theology of the .new birth, but there have been many born into the family of God who have never been able to explain the process. Without doubt a knowledge of true theology clarifies the science of Christianity; and they who can add to virtue, knowledge, are better able to give a reason for their faith and to be

teachers of men. Yet many there are who, like the thief on the cross, have a promise of heaven without a theological course, and who, like the children upon whose heads Jesus laid His hands, are the pattern of the kingdom.

Sweep away all the dialectics of sectarians, and you come to the kernel of the science of salvation, which is Christ. Receive Christ into the life, and you live. Out of that life come all the virtues, all the graces, all the powers, all the wisdom of the Christian. And how achieve this experience? By reception of the Word of God, illumined and vitalized by the Holy Spirit. Christ is the life and the love of God. He is revealed partly in His works, more fully in His Word. Study the Bible, drink in its revelations and its teachings, open the mind to the lessons of God in nature, study the controls of the Divine Hand in human history, and you are receiving Christ. This process, continued day by day, year by year, transforms the man from his natural self into the image of the Divine. Christ dwells within, and there is harmony with God; the law of God is kept. This ensures justification by faith; this brings sanctification; this induces Christian service. No other formula, no other process, can make the Christian. Like the creation of God, it is simple, yet profound. With it, man lives; without it, no matter how learned in theology, man dies.

Pg 584-585 Captains of the Host Arthur Whitefield Spalding

“What was the loom? Christ in His human flesh. What was it that was made there? [Voice: The garment of righteousness.] And it is for all of us. The righteousness of Christ—the life that He lived for you and for me, that we are considering tonight, that is the garment. God the Father—God was in Christ reconciling the  world to Himself. ‘His name shall be called Immanuel’—that is ‘God with us.’ Now then, He wants that garment to be ours, but does not want us to forget who is the weaver. It is not ourselves, but it is He who is with us. It was God in Christ. Christ is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be woven and transformed into us through these sufferings and temptations and trials which we meet. And God is the weaver, but not without us. It is the cooperation of the divine and the human—the mystery of God’ in you and me—the same mystery that was in the gospel and that is the third angel’s message. This is the word of the Wonderful Counselor.

Pg 241-242 The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts LEWIS HARRISON CHRISTIAN

” Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation .of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus

Christ forever.” 2 ‘

” By revelation he made known unto me the mystery; an I wrote afore in few words, . . . which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. . . Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath” been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” 3

It has been said that in the Old Testament the gospel lies concealed; in the New Testament it is revealed. As expressed by another, ” As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teachings of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ himself. In every part it was a symbol of him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon him to whom they pointed.


Many instances are given in the Scriptures in which a door is used in this sense. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, says, “A great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” Again, in his second letter to the Corinthians, he says, ” When I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in. my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother.” 9 He also made request of the Colossians on this wise: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.”

From these scriptures it appears that openings for the proclamation of the truth are called open doors; and from the words spoken to the Philadelphia church it would seem that at the time this people were called out, men were making strenuous efforts to close the door of utterance against them. As the Philadelphia church passed through the trial, holding fast to his ” word ” and ” name,” the word of the Lord to them was, that he would place before them an open door that no man could shut.


“Here is the same mystery as that the Son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner, but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He

[sic] was made to be sin in order that we [sic] might be made righteousness.” (Pp. 27, 28.)

Such was the exchange—our sins for His righteousness.


“The mystery of revelation challenges investigation, for there are mines of truth to be opened to God’s people. We must put off self-righteousness, we must reach loftier heights.”

We are to “seek the righteousness of Christ,” Mrs. White admonished, anticipating the Waggoner theme of the Conference. We are to “search for truth as for hidden treasures.” Regrettably, she added, some are “destitute of spirituality.” We must be “sanctified” by the “truth.” Then comes this appeal: “Let us commence right here in this meeting. . . . We want the Spirit of God here now. . . . May God help us to be clean in spirit.”



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