Behold, I will send my messenger - מלאכי Malachi, the very name of the prophet. But this speaks of John the Baptist. I, the Messiah, the Seed of God, mentioned above, will send my messenger, John the Baptist.
He shall prepare the way - Be as a pioneer before me; a corrector of civil abuses, and a preacher of righteousness.
And the Lord, whom ye seek - The Messiah, whom ye expect, from the account given by the prophet Daniel, in his seventy weeks, Daniel 9:24.
Shall suddenly come to his temple - Shall soon be presented before the Lord in his temple; cleanse it from its defilement, and fill it with his teaching and his glory.
The Messenger of the covenant - He that comes to fulfill the great design, in reference to the covenant made with Abram, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. See the parallel texts in the margin, and the notes on them.
God answers their complaints of the absence of His judgments, that they would come, but would include those also who clamored for them. For no one who knew his own sinfulness would call for the judgment of God, as being himself, chief of sinners. Augustine pictures one saying to God, “Take away the ungodly man,” and that God answers, “Which?”
Behold, I send My messenger before My face, and he shall prepare My way before Me - they, then, were not prepared for His Coming, for whom they clamored. The messenger is the same whom Isaiah had foretold, whose words Malachi uses Isaiah 40:3: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straiqht in the desert a highway for our God. Luke 1:76. Thou, child,” was the prophecy on John the Immerser‘s birth, “shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His way, to give knowledge of salvation unto His people, for the remission of their sins.” Repentance was to be the preparation for the kingdom of Christ, the Messiah, for whom they looked so impatiently.
He who speaks, is He who should come, God the Son. For it was before Him Who came and dwelt among us, that the way was to be prepared. He speaks here in His divine nature, as the Lord Who should send, and Who should Himself come in our flesh. In the Gospel, when He was come in the flesh, He speaks not of His own Person but of the Father, since “indivisible are the operations of the Trinity, and what the One doth, the other Two do, since the Three are of one nature, power and operation.” Whence Christ, in order to give no excuse to the Jews to speak against Him before the time, refers it, as He does His life John 6:57. His doctrine John 7:16 words John 3:11; John 5:43; John 8:38, John 8:40, John 8:47, John 8:55; John 12:49; John 14:10, John 14:24 and works John 4:34; John 5:19-20, John 5:26, John 5:30, John 5:36; John 6:38; John 8:28; John 9:4; John 10:25, John 10:32, John 10:37-38; John 14:10-11 to the Father.
“Those works, which do not relate to that which b uniquely belongs to each Person, being common, are ascribed now to One Person, now to Another, in order to set forth the One Substance in the Trinity of Persons.” Thus, John says John 12:41. Isaiah spoke of the unbelief of the Jews, when he “saw” the “glory” of God the Son “and spake of Him,” and Paul says Acts 28:25. that the “Holy Spirit spake” then “by” him.
And he shall prepare the way before Meo- “The same is God‘s way here, and Christ‘s there, an evident proof that Christ is one God with the Father, and that, in Christ, God came and was manifest in the flesh.” The prophets and all who turned men to righteousness, or who retained the knowledge of the truth or of righteousness or of God in the world, did, in their degree, prepare the way for Christ. But John was His immediate forerunner “before His Face,” the herald of His immediate approach; from where he is called “the end of the law, and the beginning of the Gospel,” “the lamp before the Light, the voice before the Word, the mediator between the Old and the New Testament;” “the link of the law and of grace; a new morning star; a ray, before the true Sun should burst forth,” the end of night, the beginning of day.
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple - He, Whose Coming they sought for, was Almighty God, “the God of Judgment.” He who should come, was “the Lord,” again Almighty God, since, in usage too, none else is called “the Lord,” as none else can be. The temple also, to which He was to come, the temple of God, is His own. “The messenger, or the Angel of the covenant,” plainly, even from the parallelism, is the same as “the Lord.” It was “one,” for whom they looked; one, of whose absence they complained; Malachi 2:17, “where is the God of judgment?” one, who should come to His temple, one whose coming they sought and prepared “to have pleasure in;” one, of whom it is repeated, “lo, He cometh,” one, in the day of whose coming, at whose appearing, it was asked, “who shall stand?” “All Christian interpreters are agreed that this Lord is Christ Acts 2:36, whom God hath made both Lord and Christ, and Acts 10:36. Who is Lord over all; by whom all things were made, are sustained and governed; Who is (as the root of the word implies) the basis and foundation, not of any private family, tribe or kingdom, but of all; 1 Corinthians 8:6. by whom are all things and we by Him: and whose we are also by right of redemption; and so He is Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16. Lord of lords and King of kings, deservedly called the Lord.” As then the special presence of God was often indicated in connection with “the Angel of the Lord,” so, here, He who was to come was entitled the Angel or messenger of the covenant, as God also calls Him the covenant itself.
Isaiah 42:6, “I will give Thee for a covenant of the people, a light of the Gentiles.” He it was Isaiah 63:9, “the Angel of His presence,” who saved His former people, in whom His “Name was,” and who, by the prerogative of God, would Exodus 23:21, “not pardon their transgressions.” He should be Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 8:6, “the Mediator of the new and better covenant” which is promised Jeremiah 31:32-33; Hebrews 8:9, “not according to the covenant, that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,” which “My covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord; but this shall be the covenant, that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be My people.”
Whom ye seek, are seeking, whom ye delight in - , i. e., profess so to do; “He will come,” but will be very different from Him whom ye look for, an Avenger on your enemies. Judgment will come, but it will begin with yourselves.
Shall suddenly come - o“unawares, when men should not think of them; whence perhaps it is that the Jews reckon the Messiah among what shall come unawares.” As, it is here said of His first Coming, so it is said of His second Coming (which may be comprehended under this here spoken of) that except they diligently watch for it Luke 21:35, “it shall come upon them unawares Mark 13:36. suddenly Matthew 24:44. in such an hour as they think not.” “The Lord of glory always comes, like a thief in the night, to those who sleep in their sins.”
Lo, He will come - : he insists again and calls their minds to that Coming, certain, swift, new, wonderful, on which all eyes should be set, but His coming would be a sifting-time.
Christ might have occupied the highest place among the highest teachers of the Jewish nation. But He chose rather to take the gospel to the poor. He went from place to place, that those in the highways and byways might catch the words of the gospel of truth. He labored in the way in which He desires His workers to labor today. By the sea, on the mountainside, in the streets of the city, His voice was heard, explaining the Old Testament Scriptures. So unlike the explanation of the scribes and Pharisees was His explanation that the attention of the people was arrested. He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes. With clearness and power He proclaimed the gospel message. CH 318.1
Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but He humbled Himself to take our nature that He might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the Covenant, brought the tidings of salvation. How the people flocked to Him! From far and near they came for healing, and He healed them all. His fame as the Great Healer spread throughout Palestine, from Jerusalem to Syria. The sick came to the places through which they thought He would pass, that they might call on Him for help, and He healed them of their diseases. Hither, too, came the rich, anxious to hear His words and to receive a touch of His hand. Thus He went from city to city, from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick—the King of glory in the lowly garb of humanity. “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye, through His poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. CH 318.2Read in context »
Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men. DA 34.1
Among the Jews there were yet steadfast souls, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved. These still looked for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers. They strengthened their faith by dwelling upon the assurance given through Moses, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.” Acts 3:22. Again, they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings unto the meek,” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to declare the “acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1, 2. They read how He would “set judgment in the earth,” how the isles should “wait for His law,” how the Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. Isaiah 42:4; 60:3. DA 34.2
The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” Genesis 49:10. The waning power of Israel testified that the Messiah's coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly kingdoms; and, said the prophet, “It shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44. While few understood the nature of Christ's mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who should come as a deliverer to the nations. DA 34.3Read in context »
We prayed with him, and after we left him we wrote to him and later visited him again. He finally reached the point where he gave himself to God, and he is becoming the very pillar of the church in the place where he lives. He is working with all his soul to bring his relatives to a knowledge of the truth.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901. Ev 532.1
Victory Through Faith—In this work all classes will be reached. When the Holy Spirit works among us, souls who are unready for Christ's appearing are convicted. Many come to our meetings and are converted who for years have not attended meetings in any church. The simplicity of the truth reaches their hearts. The tobacco devotees sacrifice their idol, and the liquor drinker his liquor. They could not do this if they did not by faith grasp the promises of God for the forgiveness of their sins. The truth as it is in the Word comes before high and low, rich and poor, and those who receive the message become workers with us and with God, and a strong force is raised up to labor harmoniously. This is our work.—Manuscript 3, 1899. Ev 532.2Read in context »
The Lord saw us in a sad condition, and sent to our world the only Messenger that He could trust with His great treasure of pardon and grace. Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was the delegated messenger. He was ordained to do a work that even the angels of heaven could not accomplish. He alone could be trusted to do the work required for the redemption of a world all seared and marred with the curse. And in this gift the Father gave all heaven to the world. LHU 208.3Read in context »
Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but He humbled Himself to take our nature, that He might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation. His fame as the Great Healer spread throughout Palestine. The sick came to the places through which He would pass, that they might call on Him for help. Hither, too, came many anxious to hear His words and to receive a touch of His hand. Thus He went from city to city, from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick—the King of glory in the lowly garb of humanity. MH 22.1
He attended the great yearly festivals of the nation, and to the multitude absorbed in outward ceremony He spoke of heavenly things, bringing eternity within their view. To all He brought treasures from the storehouse of wisdom. He spoke to them in language so simple that they could not fail of understanding. By methods peculiarly His own, He helped all who were in sorrow and affliction. With tender, courteous grace He ministered to the sin-sick soul, bringing healing and strength. MH 22.2Read in context »
Not at first had God revealed the exact time of the first advent; and even when the prophecy of Daniel made this known, not all rightly interpreted the message. PK 700.1
Century after century passed away; finally the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel. As the Jews departed from God, faith grew dim, and hope well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended by many; and those whose faith should have continued strong were ready to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” Ezekiel 12:22. But in heaven's council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined; and “when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, ... to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4, 5. PK 700.2
Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men. PK 700.3Read in context »
The Lord calls for many more to engage in the canvassing work.... For Christ's sake, my brethren and sisters, make the most of the hours of the new year to place the precious light of present truth before the people. The Angel of the covenant is empowering His servants to carry the truth to all parts of the world. He has sent forth His angels with the message of mercy; but, as if they did not speed on their way fast enough to satisfy His heart of yearning love, He lays on every member of His church the responsibility of proclaiming this message. “Let him that heareth say, Come.” Every member of the church is to show his loyalty by inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. A chain of living witnesses is to carry the invitation to the world. Will you act your part in this great work? CM 18.1
Both Men and Women—Jesus is calling for many missionaries, for men and women who will consecrate themselves to God, willing to spend and be spent in His service. Oh, can we not remember that here is a world to labor for? Shall we not move forward step by step, letting God use us as His helping hand? Shall we not place ourselves on the altar of service? Then the love of Christ will touch and transform us, make us willing for His sake to do and dare.—The Review and Herald, January 27, 1903. CM 18.2
Many, both men and women, can do an excellent work by canvassing for books that are full of direct, simple instruction on practical godliness.—Manuscript 81, 1900. CM 18.3Read in context »
“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” Hosea 12:4. Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea. As an evidence of his triumph and an encouragement to others to imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. And the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that he would prevail with men. He no longer feared to encounter his brother's anger, for the Lord was his defense. GC 617.1Read in context »
Jacob “had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” Hosea 12:4. Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea. PP 197.1
The error that had led to Jacob's sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now clearly set before him. He had not trusted God's promises, but had sought by his own efforts to bring about that which God would have accomplished in His own time and way. As an evidence that he had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. “Thy name,” said the Angel, “shall be called no more Jacob [the supplanter], but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” PP 197.2Read in context »
Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him, and, like Jacob beholding the vision of God, they will cry out, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” PP 252.1
As Moses waited in reverent awe before God the words continued: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.... Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” PP 252.2
Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” The reply was, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” PP 252.3
Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. “Behold,” he said, “when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?” The answer was— PP 252.4Read in context »
Of the millions of Israel there was but one man who, in that solemn hour of triumph and of judgment, had dared to transgress the command of God. Achan's covetousness was excited by the sight of that costly robe of Shinar; even when it had brought him face to face with death he called it “a goodly Babylonish garment.” One sin had led to another, and he appropriated the gold and silver devoted to the treasury of the Lord—he robbed God of the first fruits of the land of Canaan. PP 496.1
The deadly sin that led to Achan's ruin had its root in covetousness, of all sins one of the most common and the most lightly regarded. While other offenses meet with detection and punishment, how rarely does the violation of the tenth commandment so much as call forth censure. The enormity of this sin, and its terrible results, are the lessons of Achan's history. PP 496.2
Covetousness is an evil of gradual development. Achan had cherished greed of gain until it became a habit, binding him in fetters well-nigh impossible to break. While fostering this evil, he would have been filled with horror at the thought of bringing disaster upon Israel; but his perceptions were deadened by sin, and when temptation came, he fell an easy prey. PP 496.3
Are not similar sins still committed, in the face of warnings as solemn and explicit? We are as directly forbidden to indulge covetousness as was Achan to appropriate the spoils of Jericho. God has declared it to be idolatry. We are warned, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” Luke 12:15. “Let it not be once named among you.” Ephesians 5:3. We have before us the fearful doom of Achan, of Judas, of Ananias and Sapphira. Back of all these we have that of Lucifer, the “son of the morning,” who, coveting a higher state, forfeited forever the brightness and bliss of heaven. And yet, notwithstanding all these warnings, covetousness abounds. PP 496.4Read in context »
The Messenger of heaven replied, “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” PP 547.1
Gideon desired some token that the one now addressing him was the Covenant Angel, who in time past had wrought for Israel. Angels of God, who communed with Abraham, had once tarried to share his hospitality; and Gideon now entreated the divine Messenger to remain as his guest. Hastening to his tent, he prepared from his scanty store a kid and unleavened cakes, which he brought forth and set before Him. But the Angel bade him, “Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth.” Gideon did so, and then the sign which he had desired was given: with the staff in His hand, the Angel touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and a flame bursting from the rock consumed the sacrifice. Then the Angel vanished from his sight. PP 547.2
Gideon's father, Joash, who shared in the apostasy of his countrymen, had erected at Ophrah, where he dwelt, a large altar to Baal, at which the people of the town worshiped. Gideon was commanded to destroy this altar and to erect an altar to Jehovah over the rock on which the offering had been consumed, and there to present a sacrifice to the Lord. The offering of sacrifice to God had been committed to the priests, and had been restricted to the altar at Shiloh; but He who had established the ritual service, and to whom all its offerings pointed, had power to change its requirements. The deliverance of Israel was to be preceded by a solemn protest against the worship of Baal. Gideon must declare war upon idolatry before going out to battle with the enemies of his people. PP 547.3
The divine direction was faithfully carried out. Knowing that he would be opposed if it were attempted openly, Gideon performed the work in secret; with the aid of his servants, accomplishing the whole in one night. Great was the rage of the men of Ophrah when they came next morning to pay their devotions to Baal. They would have taken Gideon's life had not Joash—who had been told of the Angel's visit—stood in defense of his son. “Will ye plead for Baal?” said Joash. “Will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.” If Baal could not defend his own altar, how could he be trusted to protect his worshipers? PP 547.4Read in context »
12 (ch. 11:6). No Encouragement Given for Unbelief—There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust [Hebrews 3:12 quoted] (Letter 97, 1898). 7BC 928.3
Study to Believe and Obey—The Lord works in cooperation with the will and action of the human agent. It is the privilege and duty of every man to take God at His word, to believe in Jesus as his personal Saviour, and to respond eagerly, immediately, to the gracious propositions which He makes. He is to study to believe and obey the divine instruction in the Scriptures. He is to base his faith not on feeling but upon the evidence and the Word of God (Manuscript 3, 1895). 7BC 928.4Read in context »
Pray, yes, pray with unshaken faith and trust. The Angel of the covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Mediator who secures the acceptance of the prayers of His believing ones. 8T 179.1Read in context »
The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized. MB 11.1
Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. When David went up the Mount Olivet, “and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot” (2 Samuel 15:30), the Lord was looking pityingly upon him. David was clothed in sackcloth, and his conscience was scourging him. The outward signs of humiliation testified of his contrition. In tearful, heartbroken utterances he presented his case to God, and the Lord did not forsake His servant. Never was David dearer to the heart of Infinite Love than when, conscience-smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who had been stirred to rebellion by his own son. The Lord says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19. Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode. MB 11.2
But when tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob! We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending—the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when we are rebuked of Him. MB 11.3Read in context »
If you cling to self, refusing to yield your will to God, you are choosing death. To sin, wherever found, God is a consuming fire. If you choose sin, and refuse to separate from it, the presence of God, which consumes sin, must consume you. MB 62.1
It will require a sacrifice to give yourself to God; but it is a sacrifice of the lower for the higher, the earthly for the spiritual, the perishable for the eternal. God does not design that our will should be destroyed, for it is only through its exercise that we can accomplish what He would have us do. Our will is to be yielded to Him, that we may receive it again, purified and refined, and so linked in sympathy with the Divine that He can pour through us the tides of His love and power. However bitter and painful this surrender may appear to the willful, wayward heart, yet “it is profitable for thee.” MB 62.2
Not until he fell crippled and helpless upon the breast of the covenant angel did Jacob know the victory of conquering faith and receive the title of a prince with God. It was when he “halted upon his thigh” (Genesis 32:31) that the armed bands of Esau were stilled before him, and the Pharaoh, proud heir of a kingly line, stooped to crave his blessing. So the Captain of our salvation was made “perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10), and the children of faith “out of weakness were made strong,” and “turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:34). So do “the lame take the prey” (Isaiah 33:23), and the weak become “as David,” and “the house of David ... as the angel of the Lord” (Zechariah 12:8). MB 62.3Read in context »
In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple. God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul. “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.” Malachi 3:1-3. DA 161.1
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17. No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” Revelation 3:20. He will come, not for one day merely; for He says, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; ... and they shall be My people.” “He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” 2 Corinthians 6:16; Micah 7:19. His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21, 22. DA 161.2Read in context »
No longer have the hosts of evil power to keep the church captive; for “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,” which hath “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication;” and to spiritual Israel is given the message, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Verse 8; 18:4. As the captive exiles heeded the message, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon” (Jeremiah 51:6), and were restored to the Land of Promise, so those who fear God today are heeding the message to withdraw from spiritual Babylon, and soon they are to stand as trophies of divine grace in the earth made new, the heavenly Canaan. PK 715.1
In Malachi's day the mocking inquiry of the impenitent, “Where is the God of judgment?” met with the solemn response: “The Lord ... shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant.... But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi 2:17; 3:1-4. PK 715.2
When the promised Messiah was about to appear, the message of the forerunner of Christ was: Repent, publicans and sinners; repent, Pharisees and Sadducees; “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2. PK 715.3Read in context »
Through disloyalty, God's chosen people developed a character exactly the opposite of the character He desired them to develop. They placed their own mold and superscription upon the truth. They forgot God, and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example. Like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, they followed out every imagination of their evil hearts. Thus they made sacred things appear a farce, saying, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these,” while at the same time they were misrepresenting God's character, dishonoring His name, and polluting His sanctuary (The Southern Watchman, January 10, 1905). 4BC 1181.1Read in context »
Both the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” and the first angel's message, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come,” pointed to Christ's ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgment, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked. The mistake had not been in the reckoning of the prophetic periods, but in the event to take place at the end of the 2300 days. Through this error the believers had suffered disappointment, yet all that was foretold by the prophecy, and all that they had any Scripture warrant to expect, had been accomplished. At the very time when they were lamenting the failure of their hopes, the event had taken place which was foretold by the message, and which must be fulfilled before the Lord could appear to give reward to His servants. GC 424.1
Christ had come, not to the earth, as they expected, but, as foreshadowed in the type, to the most holy place of the temple of God in heaven. He is represented by the prophet Daniel as coming at this time to the Ancient of Days: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came”—not to the earth, but—“to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.” Daniel 7:13. GC 424.2
This coming is foretold also by the prophet Malachi: “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1. The coming of the Lord to His temple was sudden, unexpected, to His people. They were not looking for Him there. They expected Him to come to earth, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. GC 424.3
But the people were not yet ready to meet their Lord. There was still a work of preparation to be accomplished for them. Light was to be given, directing their minds to the temple of God in heaven; and as they should by faith follow their High Priest in His ministration there, new duties would be revealed. Another message of warning and instruction was to be given to the church. GC 424.4Read in context »