Then shall we know - We shall have the fullest evidence that we have not believed in vain.
If we follow on to know the Lord - If we continue to be as much in earnest as we now are.
His going forth - The manifestation of his mercy to our souls is as certain as the rising of the sun at the appointed time.
And he shall come unto us as the rain - As surely as the early and the latter rain come. The first, to prepare the earth for the seed; this fell in autumn: the second, to prepare the full ear for the harvest; this fell in spring. Here is strong confidence; but not misplaced, however worthless the persons were. As surely as the sun, who is now set, is running his course to arise on us in the morning, and make a glorious day after a dreary night, so surely shall the Lord come again from his place, and the Sun of righteousness shall arise on our souls with healing in his wings. He is already on his way to save us.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord - Rather, “Then shall we know, shall follow on to know the Lord,” i. e., we shall not only know Him, but we shall grow continually in that knowledge. Then, in Israel, God says, “there was no knowledge of Him;” His “people was destroyed for lack of it” Hosea 4:1, Hosea 4:6. In Christ He promises, that they should have that inward knowledge of Him, ever growing, because the grace, through which it is given, ever grows, and “the depth of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge is unsearchable, passing knowledge.” We “follow on,” confessing that it is He who maketh us to follow Him, and draweth us to Him. We know, in order to follow; we follow, in order to know. Light prepares the way for love. Love opens the mind for new love. The gifts of God are interwoven. They multiply and reproduce each other, until we come to the perfect state of eternity. For here “we know in part” only; then “shall we know, even as we are known. We shall follow on.” Where shall we “follow on?” To the fountains of the water of life, as another prophet saith; “For He that hath mercy upon them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them” Isaiah 49:10. And in the Revelations we read, that “the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters” Revelation 7:17. The bliss of eternity is fixed; the nearness of each to the throne of God, the “mansion” in which he shall dwell, admits of no change; but, through eternity, it may be, that we shall “follow on to know” more of God, as more shall be revealed to us of that which is infinite, the Infinity of His Wisdom and His Love.
His going forth - that is, the going forth of God, “is prepared,” firm, fixed, certain, established, (so the word means) “as the morning.” Before, God had said, He would withdraw Himself from them; now, contrariwise, He says, that He would “go forth.” He had said, “in their affliction they shall seek Me early or in the morning;” now, “He shall go forth as the morning.”: “They shall seek for Him, as they that long for the morning; and He will come to them as the morning,” full of joy and comfort, of light and warmth and glorious radiance which shall diffuse over the whole compass of the world, so that “nothing shall be hid from its light” and “heat.” He who should so go forth, is the same as He who was to “revive them” and “raise them up,” i. e., Christ. Of Him it is said most strictly, that “He went forth,” when from the Bosom of the Father He came among us; as of Him holy Zacharias saith, (in the like language,) “The Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Christ goeth forth continually from the Father, by an eternal, continual, generation. In He “came forth” from the Father in His Incarnation; He “came forth” to us from the Virgin‘s womb; He “came forth,” from the grave in His Resurrection. His “coming forth, as the morning,” images the secrecy of His Birth, the light and glow of love which He diffuseth throughout the whole new creation of His redeemed.: “As the dawn is seen by all and cannot be hid, and appeareth, that it may be seen, yea, that it may illuminate, so His going forth, whereby He proceeded from His own invisible to our visible became known to all,” tempered to our eyes, dissipating our darkness, awakening our nature as from a grave, unveiling to man the works of God, making His ways plain before his face, that he should no longer “walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth - So of Christ it is foretold, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth” Psalm 72:6. Palestine was especially dependent upon rain, on account of the cultivation of the sides of the hills in terraces, which were parched and dry, when the rains were withheld. The “former,” or autumnal “rain,” fell in October, at the seed-time; the “latter” or spring “rain,” in March and April, and filled the ears before harvest. Both together stand as the beginning and the end. If either were withheld, the harvest failed. Wonderful likeness of Him who is the Beginning and the End of our spiritual life; from whom we receive it, by whom it is preserved unto the end; through whom the soul, enriched by Him, hath abundance of all spiritual blessings, graces, and consolations, and yieldeth all manner of fruit, each after its kind, to the praise of Him who hath given it life and fruitfulness.
The transgressors were given many opportunities to repent. In their hour of deepest apostasy and greatest need, God's message to them was one of forgiveness and hope. “O Israel,” He declared, “thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee?” Hosea 13:9, 10. PK 283.1
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord,” the prophet entreated; “for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3. PK 283.2
To those who had lost sight of the plan of the ages for the deliverance of sinners ensnared by the power of Satan, the Lord offered restoration and peace. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,” He declared: “for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found. PK 283.3Read in context »
On the other hand, there are some who, instead of wisely improving present opportunities, are idly waiting for some special season of spiritual refreshing by which their ability to enlighten others will be greatly increased. They neglect present duties and privileges, and allow their light to burn dim, while they look forward to a time when, without any effort on their part, they will be made the recipients of special blessing, by which they will be transformed and fitted for service. AA 54.1
It is true that in the time of the end, when God's work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God's church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church. AA 54.2
But near the close of earth's harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest “in the time of the latter rain.” In response, “the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.” “He will cause to come down ... the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain,” Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23. AA 55.1Read in context »
Prayer is heaven's ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character. The divine influences that come in answer to the prayer of faith will accomplish in the soul of the suppliant all for which he pleads. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; and the promise is, “Ye shall receive.” AA 564.1
It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building that was to be the abiding place of His glory. It is in the mount with God—in the secret place of communion—that we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity. In all ages, through the medium of communion with heaven, God has worked out His purpose for His children, by unfolding gradually to their minds the doctrines of grace. His manner of imparting truth is illustrated in the words, “His going forth is prepared as the morning.” Hosea 6:3. He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday. AA 564.2Read in context »
The members of the church were united in sentiment and action. Love for Christ was the golden chain that bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and in their lives were revealed the joy and peace of Christ. They visited the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and kept themselves unspotted from the world, realizing that a failure to do this would be a contradiction of their profession and a denial of their Redeemer. AA 579.1
In every city the work was carried forward. Souls were converted, who in their turn felt that they must tell of the inestimable treasure they had received. They could not rest till the light which had illumined their minds was shining upon others. Multitudes of unbelievers were made acquainted with the reasons of the Christian's hope. Warm, inspired personal appeals were made to the erring, to the outcast, and to those who, while professing to know the truth, were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. AA 579.2
But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth. One by one the old standard-bearers fell at their post. Some of the younger workers, who might have shared the burdens of these pioneers, and thus have been prepared for wise leadership, had become weary of oft-repeated truths. In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, but not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the gospel. In their self-confidence and spiritual blindness they failed to discern that these sophistries would cause many to question the experiences of the past, and would thus lead to confusion and unbelief. AA 580.1Read in context »