Thomas answered, etc. - Those who deny the Godhead of Christ would have us to believe that these words are an exclamation of Thomas, made through surprise, and that they were addressed to the Father and not to Christ. Theodore of Mopsuestia was the first, I believe, who gave the words this turn; and the fifth Ecumenic council, held at Constantinople, anathematized him for it. This was not according to the spirit of the Gospel of God. However, a man must do violence to every rule of construction who can apply the address here to any but Christ. The text is plain: Jesus comes in - sees Thomas, and addresses him; desiring him to come to him, and put his finger into the print of the nails, etc. Thomas, perfectly satisfied of the reality of our Lord's resurrection, says unto him, - My Lord! and My God! i.e. Thou art indeed the very same person, - my Lord whose disciple I have so long been; and thou art my God, henceforth the object of my religious adoration. Thomas was the first who gave the title of God to Jesus; and, by this glorious confession, made some amends for his former obstinate incredulity. It is worthy of remark, that from this time forward the whole of the disciples treated our Lord with the most supreme respect, never using that familiarity towards him which they had often used before. The resurrection from the dead gave them the fullest proof of the divinity of Christ. And this, indeed, is the use which St. John makes of this manifestation of Christ. See John 20:30, John 20:31. Bishop Pearce says here: "Observe that Thomas calls Jesus his God, and that Jesus does not reprove him for it, though probably it was the first time he was called so." And, I would ask, could Jesus be jealous of the honor of the true God - could he be a prophet - could he be even an honest man, to permit his disciple to indulge in a mistake so monstrous and destructive, if it had been one?
My Lord and my God - In this passage the name God is expressly given to Christ, in his own presence and by one of his own apostles. This declaration has been considered as a clear proof of the divinity of Christ, for the following reasons:
1. There is no evidence that this was a mere expression, as some have supposed, of surprise or astonishment.
2. The language was addressed to Jesus himself - “Thomas said unto him.”
3. The Saviour did not reprove him or check him as using any improper language. If he had not been divine, it is impossible to reconcile it with his honesty that he did not rebuke the disciple. No pious man would have allowed such language to be addressed to him. Compare Acts 14:13-15; Revelation 22:8-9.
4. The Saviour proceeds immediately to commend Thomas for believing; but what was the evidence of his believing? It was this declaration, and this only. If this was a mere exclamation of surprise, what proof was it that Thomas believed? Before this he doubted. Now he believed, and gave utterance to his belief, that Jesus was his Lord and his God.
5. If this was not the meaning of Thomas, then his exclamation was a mere act of profaneness, and the Saviour would not have commended him for taking the name of the Lord his God in vain. The passage proves, therefore, that it is proper to apply to Christ the name Lord and God, and thus accords with what John affirmed in John 1:1, and which is established throughout this gospel.
A herald had been sent from God to proclaim the coming of Christ, and to call the attention of the Jewish nation and of the world to His mission, that men might prepare for His reception. The wonderful personage whom John had announced had been among them for more than thirty years, and they had not really known Him as the One sent from God. Remorse took hold of the disciples because they had allowed the prevailing unbelief to leaven their opinions and becloud their understanding. The Light of this dark world had been shining amid its gloom, and they had failed to comprehend whence were its beams. They asked themselves why they had pursued a course that made it necessary for Christ to reprove them. They often repeated His conversations, and said, Why did we allow earthly considerations and the opposition of priests and rabbis to confuse our senses, so that we did not comprehend that a greater than Moses was among us, that One wiser than Solomon was instructing us? How dull were our ears! how feeble was our understanding! DA 508.1
Thomas would not believe until he had thrust his finger into the wound made by the Roman soldiers. Peter had denied Him in His humiliation and rejection. These painful remembrances came before them in distinct lines. They had been with Him, but they had not known or appreciated Him. But how these things now stirred their hearts as they recognized their unbelief! DA 508.2
As priests and rulers combined against them, and they were brought before councils and thrust into prison, the followers of Christ rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41. They rejoiced to prove, before men and angels, that they recognized the glory of Christ, and chose to follow Him at the loss of all things. DA 508.3Read in context »
But there is a brighter side to the picture. “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted.” Let this thought be kept uppermost. In labor for the erring, let every eye be directed to Christ. Let the shepherds have a tender care for the flock of the Lord's pasture. Let them speak to the erring of the forgiving mercy of the Saviour. Let them encourage the sinner to repent, and believe in Him who can pardon. Let them declare, on the authority of God's word, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. All who repent have the assurance, “He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19. DA 806.1
Let the repentance of the sinner be accepted by the church with grateful hearts. Let the repenting one be led out from the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith and righteousness. Let his trembling hand be placed in the loving hand of Jesus. Such a remission is ratified in heaven. DA 806.2
Only in this sense has the church power to absolve the sinner. Remission of sins can be obtained only through the merits of Christ. To no man, to no body of men, is given power to free the soul from guilt. Christ charged His disciples to preach the remission of sins in His name among all nations; but they themselves were not empowered to remove one stain of sin. The name of Jesus is the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. DA 806.3Read in context »
But some doubted. So it will always be. There are those who find it hard to exercise faith, and they place themselves on the doubting side. These lose much because of their unbelief. DA 819.1
This was the only interview that Jesus had with many of the believers after His resurrection. He came and spoke to them saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” The disciples had worshiped Him before He spoke, but His words, falling from lips that had been closed in death, thrilled them with peculiar power. He was now the risen Saviour. Many of them had seen Him exercise His power in healing the sick and controlling satanic agencies. They believed that He possessed power to set up His kingdom at Jerusalem, power to quell all opposition, power over the elements of nature. He had stilled the angry waters; He had walked upon the white-crested billows; He had raised the dead to life. Now He declared that “all power” was given to Him. His words carried the minds of His hearers above earthly and temporal things to the heavenly and eternal. They were lifted to the highest conception of His dignity and glory. DA 819.2
Christ's words on the mountainside were the announcement that His sacrifice in behalf of man was full and complete. The conditions of the atonement had been fulfilled; the work for which He came to this world had been accomplished. He was on His way to the throne of God, to be honored by angels, principalities, and powers. He had entered upon His mediatorial work. Clothed with boundless authority, He gave His commission to the disciples: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” “baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19, 20, R. V. DA 819.3Read in context »
At this time Thomas was not present. He would not humbly receive the report of the disciples, but firmly and self-confidently affirmed that he would not believe unless he should put his fingers in the prints of the nails and his hand in the side where the cruel spear was thrust. In this he showed a lack of confidence in his brethren. If all should require the same evidence, none would now receive Jesus and believe in His resurrection. But it was the will of God that the report of the disciples should be received by those who could not themselves see and hear the risen Saviour. God was not pleased with the unbelief of Thomas. When Jesus again met with His disciples, Thomas was with them; and when he beheld Jesus, he believed. But he had declared that he would not be satisfied without the evidence of feeling added to sight, and Jesus gave him the evidence which he had desired. Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus reproved him for his unbelief, saying, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” EW 188.1
In like manner those who have had no experience in the first and second angels’ messages must receive them from others who had an experience and followed down through the messages. As Jesus was rejected, so I saw that these messages have been rejected. And as the disciples declared that there is salvation in no other name under heaven, given among men, so also should the servants of God faithfully and fearlessly warn those who embrace but a part of the truths connected with the third message, that they must gladly receive all the messages as God has given them, or have no part in the matter. EW 188.2
While the holy women were carrying the report that Jesus had risen, the Roman guard were circulating the lie that had been put into their mouths by the chief priests and elders, that the disciples came by night, while they slept, and stole the body of Jesus. Satan had put this lie into the hearts and mouths of the chief priests, and the people stood ready to receive their word. But God had made this matter sure, and placed this important event, upon which our salvation depends, beyond all doubt; and it was impossible for priests and elders to cover it up. Witnesses were raised from the dead to testify to Christ's resurrection. EW 189.1Read in context »
With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour's joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity. GC 647.1
As the ransomed ones are welcomed to the City of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race—the being whom He created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour's form. As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at His feet, crying: “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up and bids him look once more upon the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled. GC 647.2
After his expulsion from Eden, Adam's life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf, every victim of sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man's purity, was a fresh reminder of his sin. Terrible was the agony of remorse as he beheld iniquity abounding, and, in answer to his warnings, met the reproaches cast upon himself as the cause of sin. With patient humility he bore, for nearly a thousand years, the penalty of transgression. Faithfully did he repent of his sin and trust in the merits of the promised Saviour, and he died in the hope of a resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man's failure and fall; and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion. GC 647.3Read in context »
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. GC 674.1
One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: “He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power.” Habakkuk 3:4, margin. That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God—there is the Saviour's glory, there “the hiding of His power.” “Mighty to save,” through the sacrifice of redemption, He was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God's mercy. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power. GC 674.2
“O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto Thee shall it come, even the first dominion.” Micah 4:8. The time has come to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden, the time for “the redemption of the purchased possession.” Ephesians 1:14. The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored. “Thus saith the Lord ... that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited.” Isaiah 45:18. God's original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.” Psalm 37:29. GC 674.3
A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father's house. Those who accept the teachings of God's word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. GC 674.4Read in context »
“Like ripening grain these precious tried and faithful ones are fitting for the harvest. Their work is nearly done. They may be permitted to remain till Christ shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. They may drop out of the ranks at any time, and sleep in Jesus. But while darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, these children of the light can lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their redemption draweth nigh.... LS 272.1
“As I looked over the congregation of believers, and marked the serious, earnest expression upon their countenances, ... my eyes rested upon not a few who had a knowledge of the truth, and who, if this knowledge were but sanctified, might accomplish a work for God. I thought: If all these realized their accountability to God and their duty to their fellow men, and would work as the Lord has given them ability, what a light would shine forth from them in Massachusetts, and even extend to other States! If every one who has professed faith in the third angel's message would make the word of God his rule of action, and with strict fidelity perform his work as a servant of Christ, this people would be a power in the world. LS 272.2Read in context »
21, 22. A Foretaste of Pentecost—The act of Christ in breathing upon His disciples the Holy Ghost, and in imparting His peace to them, was as a few drops before the plentiful shower to be given on the day of Pentecost. Jesus impressed this fact upon His disciples, that as they should proceed in the work intrusted to them, they would the more fully comprehend the nature of that work, and the manner in which the kingdom of Christ was to be set up on earth. They were appointed to be witnesses for the Saviour; they were to testify what they had seen and heard of His resurrection; they were to repeat the gracious words which proceeded from His lips. They were acquainted with His holy character; He was as an angel standing in the sun, yet casting no shadow. It was the sacred work of the apostles to present the spotless character of Christ to men, as the standard for their lives. The disciples had been so intimately associated with this Pattern of holiness that they were in some degree assimilated to Him in character, and were specially fitted to make known to the world His precepts and example (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:243, 244). 5BC 1151.1
23 (Matthew 16:18, 19; 18:18). Man Cannot Remove One Stain of Sin—Christ gave no ecclesiastical right to forgive sin, nor to sell indulgences, that men may sin without incurring the displeasure of God, nor did He give His servants liberty to accept a gift or bribe for cloaking sin, that it may escape merited censure. Jesus charged His disciples to preach the remission of sin in His name among all nations; but they themselves were not empowered to remove one stain of sin from the children of Adam.... Whoever would attract the people to himself as one in whom is invested power to forgive sins, incurs the wrath of God, for he turns souls away from the heavenly Pardoner to a weak and erring mortal (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:245, 246). 5BC 1151.2
24-29. Tenderness Won Thomas—Jesus, in His treatment of Thomas, gave His followers a lesson regarding the manner in which they should treat those who have doubts upon religious truth, and who make those doubts prominent. He did not overwhelm Thomas with words of reproach, nor did He enter into a controversy with him; but, with marked condescension and tenderness, He revealed Himself unto the doubting one. Thomas had taken a most unreasonable position, in dictating the only conditions of his faith; but Jesus, by His generous love and consideration, broke down all the barriers he had raised. Persistent controversy will seldom weaken unbelief, but rather put it upon self-defense, where it will find new support and excuse. Jesus, revealed in His love and mercy as the crucified Saviour, will bring from many once unwilling lips the acknowledgment of Thomas, “My Lord, and my God” (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:222). 5BC 1151.3Read in context »
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. SR 430.1
“O Tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion.” Micah 4:8. The kingdom forfeited by sin, Christ has regained, and the redeemed are to possess it with Him. “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.” Psalm 37:29. A fear of making the saints’ inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon the new earth as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them. Those who accept the teachings of God's Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet the apostle Paul declares, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. SR 430.2Read in context »
Like faithless Thomas, you have considered it a virtue to doubt unless you could have unmistakable evidence, removing from your mind all cause for doubt. Did Jesus commend the unbelieving Thomas while granting him the evidence which he declared he would have before he believed? Jesus said unto him: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered: “My Lord and my God.” He is now compelled to believe; there is no room to doubt. Jesus then said: “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” You were represented to me as uniting with the rebel leader and his host to annoy, perplex, dishearten, discourage, and overthrow those who are battling for the right, who are standing under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Your influence, I was shown, has turned souls from keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. You have employed your talents and your skill to manufacture weapons to place in the hands of the enemies of God, to fight those who are trying to obey God in keeping His commandments. While angels have been commissioned to strengthen the things that remain, to withstand and counteract your influence, they have looked with the deepest grief upon your work to dishearten and destroy. You have caused pure, sinless, holy angels to weep. 2T 104.1
Those who are living amid the perils of the last days, days which are characterized by the masses turning from the truth of God to fables, will have close work to turn from the fables which are prepared for them on every hand, and have an appetite to feast upon unpopular truth. Those who turn from these fables to truth are despised, hated, and persecuted by those who are presenting fables to the people for their reception. Satan is at war with the remnant who are endeavoring to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. Evil angels are commissioned to employ men as their agents upon the earth. These can the most successfully exert an influence to make Satan's attacks effective against the remnant whom God calls “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This, Satan is determined to hinder. He will employ everyone who will engage in his service to hinder the chosen people of God from showing forth the praises of Him who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light. To hide, to cover up this light, to cause people to distrust it, to disbelieve it, is the work of the great rebel and his host. While Jesus is purifying His people unto Himself, redeeming them from all iniquity, Satan will employ his forces to hinder the work and prevent the perfection of the saints. He does not exert his power upon those who are all covered up with deception and walled in by fables and error, and who make no effort to receive and obey the truth. He knows he is sure of them; but those who are seeking for truth, that they may obey it in the love of it, are the ones who excite his malice and stir his ire. He can never weaken them while they keep close to Jesus; therefore he is pleased when he can lead them in a course of disobedience. 2T 105.1
When we sin against God, there is a disposition to fall behind Jesus a day's journey; we seek to separate from His company because it is distasteful, for every ray of light from His divine presence points to the sin of which we have been guilty. Satan exults over the sins which he has induced souls to commit, and he makes the most of all these failures and sins. He rehearses them to the angels of God, and taunts them with these weaknesses and failures. He is in every sense an accuser of the brethren, and exults over every sin and wrong which God's people are beguiled to commit. You, Brother V, have been engaged in this same work to quite an extent. You have taken what appeared to you like wrongs, weaknesses, and errors in the ranks of Sabbathkeeping Adventists, and have brought them to the notice of the enemies of our faith who were warring against that company unto whom angels of heaven were ministering, and whose cause Jesus, their Advocate, was pleading before His Father. He cries, “Spare them, Father, spare them, they are the purchase of My blood,” and lifts to His Father His wounded hands. You have been guilty before God of a great sin. You have been taking advantage of those things which grieve, which bring anguish upon the people of God as they see some of their numbers unconsecrated and frequently overcome by Satan. Instead of aiding these erring souls to get right, you have triumphantly made their errors conspicuous to those who hated them because they professed to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. You have made it very hard for those who were engaged in the work of saving the erring, hunting up the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 2T 106.1Read in context »
Brother P has failed to see the vital importance of the question. He has not felt the burden pressing him to search diligently, independent of any man, to find out what is truth. He has thought too much of Elder P, and has not felt the necessity of learning of One who is meek and lowly of heart. He has not been teachable, but self-confident. Our Saviour has no words of commendation for those who are slow of heart to believe in these last days, any more than He had for doubting Thomas, who boasted that he would not believe upon the evidence which the disciples rehearsed, and which they credited, that Christ had indeed risen and appeared to them. Said Thomas: “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails,” “and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Christ granted Thomas the evidence that he had declared he must have; but He reprovingly said to him: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas acknowledged himself convinced. Jesus said unto him: “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” 2T 696.1
Brother P's position has made him a weak man. He remained for quite a length of time warring against nearly everything but the Sabbath. At the same time he was fellowshiping commandment breakers, being still claimed by the Adventists who were in bitter opposition to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. He was in no condition to help them because he was in a state of indecision himself. His influence has rather confirmed many in their unbelief. With all the help, evidence, and encouragement that he has had, his standing back has displeased the Lord, while it has strengthened the hands of those who were fighting against God by their opposition to the truth. 2T 696.2
Brother P might now be a strong man possessing influence with God's people in Maine and esteemed highly in love for his works’ sake. But he inclines to the idea that his backwardness is a special virtue, rather than a sin of which he must repent. He has been very slow to learn the lessons which God has intended to teach him. He has not been an apt scholar, and has not had a growth and experience in present truth, which would qualify him to bear the weight of responsibility that he might now bear had he diligently improved upon all the light given. I was shown a time when Brother P began to make an effort to subdue himself and restrain his appetite; then he could the more easily be patient. He had been easily excited, passionate, irritable, depressed in spirit. His eating and drinking had very much to do in keeping him in this state. The lower passions bore sway, predominating over the higher powers of the mind. Temperance would do much for Brother P; and more physical exercise and labor is necessary for his health. As he made efforts to control himself, he began to grow, but did not receive that blessing in his efforts to improve that he would have received had they been made at an earlier period. 2T 697.1Read in context »
Follow on, young men, to know the Lord, and you will know that “His going forth is prepared as the morning.” Hosea 6:3. Seek constantly to improve. Strive earnestly for identity with the Redeemer. Live by faith in Christ. Do the work He did. Live for the saving of the souls for whom He laid down His life. Try in every way to help those with whom you come in contact. Strive continually to improve. Let your life fulfill the words: “Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies.” Psalm 119:98. Talk with your Elder Brother, who will complete your education, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. A close connection with Him who offered Himself as a sacrifice to save a perishing world will make you acceptable workers. When you can lay your hand on truth and appropriate it, when you can say, “My Lord and my God,” grace and peace and joy in rich measure will be yours. 6T 416.1
Open new fields, is the word from the Lord, and add to your workers. Educate young men to labor, and tarry not. Educate, educate, educate. 6T 416.2Read in context »