They shall perish - Permanently fixed as they seem to be, a time shall come when they shall be dissolved, and afterward new heavens and a new earth be formed, in which righteousness alone shall dwell. See 2 Peter 3:10-13.
Shall wax old as doth a garment - As a garment by long using becomes unfit to be longer used, so shall all visible things; they shall wear old, and wear out; and hence the necessity of their being renewed. It is remarkable that our word world is a contraction of wear old; a term by which our ancestors expressed the sentiment contained in this verse. That the word was thus compounded, and that it had this sense in our language, may be proved from the most competent and indisputable witnesses. It was formerly written weorold, and wereld . This etymology is finely alluded to by our excellent poet, Spencer, when describing the primitive age of innocence, succeeded by the age of depravity: -
"The lion there did with the lambe consort,
And eke the dove sat by the faulcon's side;
Ne each of other feared fraude or tort,
But did in safe security abide,
Withouten perill of the stronger pride:
But when the World woxe old, it woxe warre old,
Whereof it hight, and having shortly tride
The trains of wit, in wickednesse woxe bold,
And dared of all sinnes, the secrets to unfold."
Even the heathen poets are full of such allusions. See Horace, Carm. lib. iii., od. 6; Virgil, Aen. viii., ver. 324.
Thou remainest - Instead of διαμένεις, some good MSS. read διαμενεῖς, the first, without the circumflex, being the present tense of the indicative mood; the latter, with the circumflex, being the future - thou shalt remain. The difference between these two readings is of little importance.
They shall perish - That is, the heavens and the earth. They shall pass away; or they shall be destroyed. Probably no more is meant by the phrase here, than that important changes will take place in them, or than that they will change their form. Still it is not possible to foresee what changes may yet take place in the heavenly bodies, or to say that the present universe may not at some period be destroyed, and be succeeded by another creation still more magnificent. He that created the universe by a word, can destroy it by a word and he that formed the present frame of nature can cause it to be succeeded by another not less wonderful and glorious. The Scriptures seem to hold out the idea that the present frame of the universe shall be destroyed; see 2 Peter 3:10-13; Matthew 24:35. “But thou remainest.” Thou shalt not die or be destroyed. What a sublime thought! The idea is, that though the heavens and earth should suddenly disappear, or though they should gradually wear out and become extinct, yet there is one infinite being who remains unaffected and unchanged.
Nothing can reach or disturb him. All these changes shall take place under his direction, and by his command; see Revelation 20:11. Let us not be alarmed then at any revolution. Let us not fear though we should see the heavens rolled up as a scroll, and the stars falling from their places. God, the Creator and the Redeemer, presides over all. He is unchanged. He ever lives; and though the universe should pass away, it will be only at his bidding, and under his direction. “And they all shall wax old.” Shall “grow” or become old. The word “wax” is an Old Saxon word, meaning to grow, or increase, or become. The heavens here are compared to a garment, meaning that as that grows old and decays, so it will be with the heavens and the earth. The language is evidently figurative; and yet who can tell how much literal truth there may be couched under it? Is it absurd to suppose that that sun which daily sends forth so many countless millions of beams of light over the universe, may in a course of ages become diminished in its splendor, and shine with feeble lustre? Can there be constant exhaustion, a constant burning like that, and yet no tendency to decay at some far distant period? Not unless the material for its splendor shall be supplied from the boundless resources of the Great Source of Light - God; and when he shall choose to withhold it, even that glorious sun must be dimmed of its splendor, and shine with enfeebled beams.
He who taught Adam and Eve in Eden how to tend the garden, desires to instruct men today. There is wisdom for him who drives the plow and sows the seed. Before those who trust and obey Him, God will open ways of advance. Let them move forward courageously, trusting in Him to supply their needs according to the riches of His goodness. MH 200.1
He who fed the multitude with five loaves and two small fishes is able today to give us the fruit of our labor. He who said to the fishers of Galilee, “Let down your nets for a draft,” and who, as they obeyed, filled their nets till they broke, desires His people to see in this an evidence of what He will do for them today. The God who in the wilderness gave the children of Israel manna from heaven still lives and reigns. He will guide His people and give skill and understanding in the work they are called to do. He will give wisdom to those who strive to do their duty conscientiously and intelligently. He who owns the world is rich in resources, and will bless everyone who is seeking to bless others. MH 200.2
We need to look heavenward in faith. We are not to be discouraged because of apparent failure, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich treasures for the faithful worker to garner, stores richer than gold or silver. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads for His people a table in the wilderness, will never cease. MH 200.3Read in context »
It reveals cowardice to move so slowly and uncertainly in the labor line—that line which will give the very best kind of education. Look at nature. There is room within her vast boundaries for schools to be established where grounds can be cleared and land cultivated. This work is essential to the education most favorable to spiritual advancement; for nature's voice is the voice of Christ, teaching us innumerable lessons of love and power and submission and perseverance. Some do not appreciate the value of agricultural work. These should not plan for our schools, for they will hold everything from advancing in right lines. In the past their influence has been a hindrance. 6T 178.1
If the land is cultivated, it will, with the blessing of God, supply our necessities. We are not to be discouraged about temporal things because of apparent failures, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, stores richer than gold or silver. The niggardliness laid to her charge is false witness. With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of man. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads a table for His people in the wilderness, will never cease. 6T 178.2
Serious times are before us, and there is great need for families to get out of the cities into the country, that the truth may be carried into the byways as well as the highways of the earth. Much depends upon laying our plans according to the word of the Lord and with persevering energy carrying them out. More depends upon consecrated activity and perseverance than upon genius and book learning. All the talents and ability given to human agents, if unused, are of little value. 6T 178.3Read in context »
Study carefully the first chapter of Hebrews. Become interested in the Scriptures. Read and study them diligently. “In them ye think ye have eternal life,” Christ said, “and they are they which testify of Me.” It means everything to us to have an experimental and individual knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, “whom He hath sent.” “For this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”—Special Testimonies On Education, March 23, 1896. FE 404.1
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”—to those who are not self-sufficient, but who are willing to learn. What was the work of the God-given messenger to our world? The only-begotten Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to our world as a teacher, an instructor, to reveal truth in contrast with error. Truth, saving truth, never languished on His tongue, never suffered in His hands, but was made to stand out plainly and clearly defined amid the moral darkness prevailing in our world. For this work He left the heavenly courts. He said of Himself, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The truth came from His lips with freshness and power, as a new revelation. He was the way, the truth, and the life. His life, given for this sinful world, was full of earnestness and momentous results; for His work was to save perishing souls. He came forth to be the True Light, shining amid the moral darkness of superstition and error, and was announced by a voice from heaven, proclaiming, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at His transfiguration this voice from heaven was again heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” FE 405.1Read in context »