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Hebrews 11:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

These all died in faith - That is, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, continued to believe, to the end of their lives, that God would fulfill this promise; but they neither saw the numerous seed, nor did they get the promised rest in Canaan.

Strangers and pilgrims - Strangers, ξενοι, persons who are out of their own country, who are in a foreign land: pilgrims, παρεπιδημοι, sojourners only for a time; not intending to take up their abode in that place, nor to get naturalized in that country.

How many use these expressions, professing to be strangers and pilgrims here below, and yet the whole of their conduct, spirit, and attachments, show that they are perfectly at home! How little consideration and weight are in many of our professions, whether they relate to earth or heaven!

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

These all died in faith - That is, those who had been just mentioned - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah. It was true of Abel and Noah also that they died in faith, but they are not included in “this” declaration, for the “promises” were not particularly entrusted to them, and if the word “these” be made to include them it must include Enoch also, who did not die at all. The phrase used here, “these all died in faith,” does not mean that they died in the exercise or possession of religion, but more strictly that they died not having possessed what was the object of their faith. They had been looking for something future, which they did not obtain during their lifetime, and died believing that it would yet be theirs.

Not having received the promises - That is, not having received the “fulfillment” of the promises; or “the promised blessings.” The promises themselves they “had” received; compare Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Acts 2:39; Galatians 3:14, and Hebrews 11:33, Hebrews 11:39. In all these places the word “promise” is used by metonymy “for the thing promised.”

But having seen them afar off - Having seen that they would be fulfilled in future times; compare John 8:56. It is probable that the apostle here means that they saw “the entire fulfillment” of all that the promises embraced in the future - that is, the bestowment of the land of Canaan, the certainty of a numerous posterity, and of the entrance into the heavenly Canaan - the world of fixed and permanent rest. According to the reasoning of the apostle here the “promises” to which they trusted included all these things.

d And were persuaded of them - Had no doubt of their reality.

And embraced them - This word implies more than our word “embrace” frequently does; that is, “to receive as true.” It means properly “to draw to oneself;” and then to embrace as one does a friend from whom he has been separated. It then means to greet, salute, welcome, and here means a joyful greeting of those promises; or a pressing them to the heart as we do a friend. It was not a cold and formal reception of them, but a warm and hearty welcome. Such is the nature of true faith when it embraces the promises of salvation. No act of pressing a friend to the bosom is ever more warm and cordial.

And confessed that they were strangers - Thus, Abraham said Genesis 23:4, “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you.” That is, he regarded himself as a foreigner; as having no home and no possessions there. It was on this ground that he proposed to buy a burial-place of the sons of Heth.

And pilgrims - This is the word - παρεπίδημος parepidēmos- which is used by Abraham, as rendered by the Septuagint in Genesis 23:4, and which is translated “sojourner” there in the common English version. The word “pilgrim” means properly “a wanderer, a traveler,” and particularly one who leaves his own country to visit a holy place. This sense does not quite suit the meaning here, or in Genesis 23:4. The Hebrew word - תּושׁב towshaab- means properly one who “dwells in a place,” and particularly one who is a “mere” resident without the rights of a citizen. The Greek word means a “by-resident;” one who lives by another; or among a people not his own. This is the idea here. It is not that they confessed themselves to be wanderers; or that they had left their home to visit a holy place, but that they “resided” as mere sojourners in a, country that was not theirs. What might be their ultimate destination, or their purpose, is not implied in the meaning of the word. They were such as reside awhile among another people, but have no permanent home there.

On the earth - The phrase used here - ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς epi tēs gēs- might mean merely on the land of Canaan, but the apostle evidently uses it in a larger sense as denoting the earth in general. There can be no doubt that this accords with the views which the patriarchs had - regarding themselves not only as strangers in the land of Canaan, but feeling that the same thing was true in reference to their whole residence upon the earth - that it was not their permanent home.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We are often called to leave worldly connexions, interests, and comforts. If heirs of Abraham's faith, we shall obey and go forth, though not knowing what may befall us; and we shall be found in the way of duty, looking for the performance of God's promises. The trial of Abraham's faith was, that he simply and fully obeyed the call of God. Sarah received the promise as the promise of God; being convinced of that, she truly judged that he both could and would perform it. Many, who have a part in the promises, do not soon receive the things promised. Faith can lay hold of blessings at a great distance; can make them present; can love them and rejoice in them, though strangers; as saints, whose home is heaven; as pilgrims, travelling toward their home. By faith, they overcome the terrors of death, and bid a cheerful farewell to this world, and to all the comforts and crosses of it. And those once truly and savingly called out of a sinful state, have no mind to return into it. All true believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and the stronger faith is, the more fervent those desires will be. Notwithstanding their meanness by nature, their vileness by sin, and the poverty of their outward condition, God is not ashamed to be called the God of all true believers; such is his mercy, such is his love to them. Let them never be ashamed of being called his people, nor of any of those who are truly so, how much soever despised in the world. Above all, let them take care that they are not a shame and reproach to their God. The greatest trial and act of faith upon record is, Abraham's offering up Isaac, Ge 22:2. There, every word shows a trial. It is our duty to reason down our doubts and fears, by looking, as Abraham did, to the Almighty power of God. The best way to enjoy our comforts is, to give them up to God; he will then again give them as shall be the best for us. Let us look how far our faith has caused the like obedience, when we have been called to lesser acts of self-denial, or to make smaller sacrifices to our duty. Have we given up what was called for, fully believing that the Lord would make up all our losses, and even bless us by the most afflicting dispensations?
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 409-10

Those who would overcome must put to the tax every power of their being. They must agonize on their knees before God for divine power. Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How?—By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by His own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evil—a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them. 1SM 409.1

It was the work of Christ to present the truth in the framework of the gospel, and to reveal the precepts and principles that He had given to fallen man. Every idea He presented was His own. He needed not to borrow thoughts from any, for He was the originator of all truth. He could present the ideas of prophets and philosophers, and preserve His originality; for all wisdom was His; He was the source, the fountain, of all truth. He was in advance of all, and by His teaching He became the spiritual leader for all ages. 1SM 409.2

It was Christ that spoke through Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Melchizedek was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. And all through the generations of the past, Christ has spoken; Christ has led His people, and has been the light of the world. When God chose Abraham as a representative of His truth, He took him out of his country, and away from his kindred, and set him apart. He desired to mold him after His own model. He desired to teach him according to His own plan. The mold of the world's teachers was not to be upon him. He was to be taught how to command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. This is the work that God would have us do. He would have us understand how to govern our families, how to control our children, how to command our households to keep the way of the Lord. 1SM 409.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 130-1

The Lord Jesus demands that every soul make a reality of truth. Show that you believe that you are not half with Christ and half with the world. Of all such Christ says: “I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth.” He who appreciates the love of Christ will be an earnest worker with Christ to bring other souls as sheaves to the Master. Thorough work is always done by all who are connected with Christ. They bear fruit to His glory. But indolence and carelessness and frivolity separate the soul from Christ, and Satan comes in to work his will with the poor worldly subject. We have a great truth, but through careless indifference the truth has lost its force upon us. Satan has come in with his specious temptations, and has led the professed followers of Christ away from their Leader, classing them with the foolish virgins. TM 130.1

The Lord is coming, and we now need the oil of grace in our vessels with our lamps. I ask, Who will now be on the Lord's side? Before Jesus went away, He promised that He would return again, and receive us unto Himself, “that where I am,” He said, “ye may be also.” We are strangers and pilgrims in this world. We are to wait, watch, pray, and work. The whole mind, the whole soul, the whole heart, and the whole strength are purchased by the blood of the Son of God. We are not to feel it our duty to wear a pilgrim's dress of just such a color, just such a shape, but neat, modest apparel, that the word of inspiration teaches us we should wear. If our hearts are united with Christ's heart, we shall have a most intense desire to be clothed with His righteousness. Nothing will be put upon the person to attract attention or to create controversy. TM 130.2

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Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 542

In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the widespreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.6 AH 542.1

There are homes for the pilgrims of earth. There are robes for the righteous, with crowns of glory and palms of victory. All that has perplexed us in the providences of God will in the world to come be made plain. The things hard to be understood will then find explanation. The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.... AH 542.2

We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the City of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections, will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer's glory in the kingdom of God.7 AH 542.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 646

Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: “Your conflict is ended.” “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” GC 646.1

Now is fulfilled the Saviour's prayer for His disciples: “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” “Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.” “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.” Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin's discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine! GC 646.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 97.2

We are pilgrims and strangers in this world, traveling a path beset with dangers from those who have rejected the only One who could save them. Ingenious subterfuges and scientific problems will be held out before us, to tempt us to swerve from our allegiance, but we are not to heed them. Let every soul be on the alert. The adversary is on your track. Be vigilant, watching carefully lest some masterly snare shall take you unaware.... HP 97.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 288.3

When the Holy Spirit moves upon human minds all petty complaints and accusations between man and his fellow man will be put away. The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will shine into the chambers of the mind and heart. In our worship of God there will be no distinction between rich and poor, white and black. All prejudice will be melted away. When we approach God it will be as one brotherhood. We are pilgrims and strangers, bound for a better country, even a heavenly. There all pride, all accusation, all self-deception, will forever have an end. Every mask will be laid aside, and we shall “see him as he is.” HP 288.3

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 354.5

Thank God! It is these mansions that I am looking to. It is not the earthly mansions here, for they are to be shaken down by the mighty earthquake erelong; but it is those heavenly mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for the faithful. We have no home here. We are only pilgrims and strangers here, passing to a better country, even an heavenly.... May God help us to win the boon of eternal life. HP 354.5

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 10.2

God scatters blessings all along our path to brighten our journey and lead our hearts out to love and praise Him, and He wants us to draw water from the well of salvation that our hearts may be refreshed. We may sing the songs of Zion, we may cheer our own hearts, and we may cheer the hearts of others; hope may be strengthened, darkness turned to light. God has not left us in a dark world—as pilgrims and strangers seeking a better country, even an heavenly—without giving us precious promises to lighten every burden. The borders of our path are strewn with fair flowers of promise. They blossom all around, sending forth rich fragrance. OHC 10.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 81

Upon receiving the curse of God, Cain had withdrawn from his father's household. He had first chosen his occupation as a tiller of the soil, and he now founded a city, calling it after the name of his eldest son. He had gone out from the presence of the Lord, cast away the promise of the restored Eden, to seek his possessions and enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin, thus standing at the head of that great class of men who worship the god of this world. In that which pertains to mere earthly and material progress, his descendants became distinguished. But they were regardless of God, and in opposition to His purposes for man. To the crime of murder, in which Cain had led the way, Lamech, the fifth in descent, added polygamy, and, boastfully defiant, he acknowledged God, only to draw from the avenging of Cain an assurance of his own safety. Abel had led a pastoral life, dwelling in tents or booths, and the descendants of Seth followed the same course, counting themselves “strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” seeking “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” Hebrews 11:13, 16. PP 81.1

For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt; and the latter, in order to escape from their contaminating influence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. So long as this separation continued, they maintained the worship of God in its purity. But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. This association was productive of the worst results. “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair.” The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain's descendants, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the worshipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy character. Mingling with the depraved, they became like them in spirit and in deeds; the restrictions of the seventh commandment were disregarded, “and they took them wives of all which they chose.” The children of Seth went “in the way of Cain” (Jude 11); they fixed their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment and neglected the commandments of the Lord. Men “did not like to retain God in their knowledge;” they “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Therefore “God gave them over to a mind void of judgment.” Verse 28, margin. Sin spread abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy. PP 81.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 170

God gave to Abraham a view of this immortal inheritance, and with this hope he was content. “By faith he sojourned in the Land of Promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:9, 10. PP 170.1

Of the posterity of Abraham it is written, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Verse 13. We must dwell as pilgrims and strangers here if we would gain “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” Verse 16. Those who are children of Abraham will be seeking the city which he looked for, “whose builder and maker is God.” PP 170.2

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 699-700

Then, said the angel, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years].” For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. “In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27. In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease. PK 699.1

The one week—seven years—ended in A.D. 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. PK 699.2

The many prophecies concerning the Saviour's advent led the Hebrews to live in an attitude of constant expectancy. Many died in the faith, not having received the promises. But having seen them afar off, they believed and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. From the days of Enoch the promises repeated through patriarchs and prophets had kept alive the hope of His appearing. PK 699.3

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 182.1

Obey When the Lord Says, “Move”—The Lord has opened this matter to me decidedly. The publishing work that has been carried on in Battle Creek should for the present be carried on near Washington. If after a time the Lord says, Move away from Washington, we are to move. We are pilgrims and strangers in this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. When the Lord tells us to move, we are to obey, however inconvenient and inconsistent such a command may seem to us to be.—Letter 140, 1903. PM 182.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 28

Has the injunction of the apostle no force in this age: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”? I am daily pained with exhibitions of selfishness among our people. There is an alarming absence of love and care for those who are entitled to it. Our heavenly Father lays blessings disguised in our pathway, but some will not touch these for fear they will detract from their enjoyment. Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of doing good—waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may bless us. The Lord Himself has made us to differ,—some poor, some rich, some afflicted,—that all may have an opportunity to develop character. The poor are purposely permitted to be thus of God, that we may be tested and proved, and develop what is in our hearts. 2T 28.1

I have heard many excuse themselves from inviting to their homes and hearts the saints of God. “Why, I have nothing prepared, I have nothing cooked; they must go to some other place.” And at that place there may be some other excuse invented for not receiving those who need hospitality, and the feelings of the visitors are deeply grieved, and they leave with unpleasant impressions in regard to the hospitality of these professed brethren and sisters. If you have no bread, sister, imitate the case brought to view in the Bible. Go to your neighbor and say: “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” We have not an example of this lack of bread ever being made an excuse to refuse entrance to an applicant. When Elijah came to the widow of Sarepta, she shared her morsel with the prophet of God, and he wrought a miracle, and caused that in that act of making a home for his servant, and sharing her morsel with him, she herself was sustained, and her life and that of her son preserved. Thus will it prove in the case of many, if they do this cheerfully, for the glory of God. 2T 28.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 188

It is recorded of the holy men of old that God was not ashamed to be called their God. The reason assigned is that instead of coveting earthly possessions or seeking happiness in worldly plans or aspirations they placed their all upon the altar of God and made disposition of it to build up His kingdom. They lived only for God's glory and declared plainly that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth, seeking a better country, that is, an heavenly. Their conduct proclaimed their faith. God could entrust to them His truth and could leave the world to receive from them a knowledge of His will. 5T 188.1

But how are the professed people of God today maintaining the honor of His name? How could the world infer that they are a peculiar people? What evidence do they give of citizenship in heaven? Their self-indulgent, ease-loving course falsifies the character of Christ. He could not honor them in any marked manner before the world without endorsing their false representation of His character. 5T 188.2

I speak to the church at Battle Creek: What testimony are you bearing to the world? As your course was presented before me, I was pointed to the dwellings recently erected by our people in that city. These buildings are so many monuments of your unbelief of the doctrines which you profess to hold. They are preaching sermons more effective than any delivered from the pulpit. I saw worldlings point to them with jesting and ridicule, as a denial of our faith. They proclaimed that which the owners have been saying in their hearts: “My Lord delayeth His coming.” 5T 188.3

I looked upon the dress and listened to the conversation of many who profess the truth. Both were opposed to the principles of truth. Dress and conversation reveal that which is most treasured by those who claim to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” 5T 188.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 452

Practice economy in the use of your time. This is the Lord's. Your strength is the Lord's. If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life. Such habits, indulged, will make you bankrupt for eternity. And habits of economy, industry, and sobriety are, even in this world, a better portion for you and your children than a rich dowry. 6T 452.1

We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days. Let your influence impress souls with the sacredness of God's requirements. 6T 452.2

If in the providence of God you have been given riches, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. Invest your means in the Lord's work. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt. 6T 452.3

It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and He has bestowed this ability, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God His own. With this object it is not a sin to acquire means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be trained to habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the selfish love of money wrongfully employed that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a blessing if we regard it as the Lord's, to be received with thankfulness and with thankfulness returned to the Giver. 6T 452.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 215

Up to this time all had spoken the same language; now those that could understand one another's speech united in companies; some went one way, and some another. “From thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Verse 9. 8T 215.1

In our day the Lord desires that His people shall be dispersed throughout the earth. They are not to colonize. Jesus said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. When the disciples followed their inclination to remain in large numbers in Jerusalem, persecution was permitted to come upon them, and they were scattered to all parts of the inhabited world. 8T 215.2

For years messages of warning and entreaty have been coming to our people, urging them to go forth into the Master's great harvest field and labor unselfishly for souls. 8T 215.3

From testimonies written in 1895 and 1899 I copy the following paragraphs: 8T 215.4

“True missionary workers will not colonize. God's people are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The investment of large sums of money in the building up of the work in one place is not in the order of God. Plants are to be made in many places. Schools and sanitariums are to be established in places where there is now nothing to represent the truth. These interests are not to be established for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of spreading the truth. Land should be secured at a distance from the cities, where schools can be built up in which the youth can be given an education in agricultural and mechanical lines. 8T 215.5

“The principles of present truth are to become more widespread. There are those who are reasoning from a wrong point of view. Because it is more convenient to have the work centered in one place, they are in favor of crowding everything together in one locality. Great evil is the result. Places that should be helped are left destitute. 8T 215.6

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 165.3

As you empty the heart of self you must accept the righteousness of Christ. Lay hold of it by faith.... If you open the door of the heart, Jesus will supply the vacuum by the gift of His Spirit, and then you can be a living preacher in your home, in the church, and in the world. You can diffuse light, because the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness are shining upon you. Your humble life, your holy conversation, your uprightness and integrity, will tell to all around that you are a child of God, an heir of heaven, that you are not making the world your dwelling place, but that you are a pilgrim and a stranger here, looking for a better country, even an heavenly.... TMK 165.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 169.2

We profess to be pilgrims and strangers on earth, journeying to a better country, even an heavenly. If we are indeed but sojourners here, traveling to a land where none but the holy can dwell, we shall make it our first business to become acquainted with that country; we shall make diligent inquiry as to the preparation needed, the manners and character which we must have in order to become citizens there. Jesus, the King of that land, is pure and holy. He has commanded His followers, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). If we are hereafter to associate with Christ and sinless angels we must here obtain a fitness for such society. TMK 169.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 274.3

O that our tongues might lose their paralysis, that we might speak forth His praise! O that the spiritual torpor which has come upon the souls of men might be removed, that we might discern the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! We are to be the representatives of our Lord upon earth.... He can communicate heaven's light through you to those who sit in darkness. You that have claimed to know the Lord, you who profess to have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, reveal it to those around you. Show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. If men can make so much ado over the Queen's Jubilee, if they can manifest so much enthusiasm over a finite being, can we not speak to the glory of the Prince of Life, who is so soon to come in majesty to take His weary, worn followers to Himself; to unlock the prison bars of death, and set the captives free; to give His loved ones who sleep, a glorious immortality? Why cannot Christ be introduced into our conversation? We are almost home. Let us speak courage to the weary soldiers of the cross.... Let us tell the pilgrims and strangers of earth that we shall soon reach a better country, even a heavenly.31 TMK 274.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 357.4

Eternal realities must be kept before the mind's eye, and the attractions of the world will appear as they are—altogether profitless.... We are pilgrims and strangers who are waiting, hoping, and praying for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. If we believe this and bring it into our practical life, what vigorous action would this faith and hope inspire; what fervent love one for another; what careful holy living for the glory of God; and ... what distinct lines of demarcation would be evidenced between us and the world!20 TMK 357.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 255.2

To those who have made strange paths for their feet, the Lord offers words of encouragement. He will accept their prayers, if they will repent and be converted. Through the infinite sacrifice of Christ, and through faith in His name, they may receive the promises of God. The sons of Adam may become sons of God. O how full of thankfulness we should be that by the act of Christ in assuming humanity, fallen men are granted a second trial! Christ places them on vantage ground. Through connection with Him they may be laborers together with God. Through the grace given daily by Christ, they may be elevated and ennobled to become the sons and daughters of God. Such love is without parallel. TDG 255.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 15.3

The evidence we have of God's care and love for us is expressed in the lessons Christ gave to His disciples upon the things in nature.... The eye is not to be fastened upon deformity, upon the curse, but upon the riches of the grace of Christ that has been provided so abundantly, that we may live in this world, and act our part in the great web of humanity, and yet not be of the world. As pilgrims, as strangers looking for the bright things of God, the joy that is set before us, seeking a city whose builder and maker is God, and by beholding the provisions made for us, the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for us, talking of the blessed home, we forget the annoyances and the fretting cares of this life. We seem to breathe in the very atmosphere of that better, even the heavenly country. We are soothed, we are comforted; we are more than this, we are joyful in God. UL 15.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 219

The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? Ev 219.1

The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God, as He comes to punish the world for its iniquity. We are to prepare the way for Him by acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day.—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1914. Ev 219.2

Living Power Must Attend Message—Living power must attend the message of Christ's second appearing. We must not rest until we see many souls converted to the blessed hope of the Lord's return. In the days of the apostles the message that they bore wrought a real work, turning souls from idols to serve the living God. The work to be done today is just as real, and the truth is just as much truth; only we are to give the message with as much more earnestness as the coming of the Lord is nearer. The message for this time is positive, simple, and of the deepest importance. We must act like men and women who believe it. Waiting, watching, working, praying, warning the world—this is our work.... Ev 219.3

All heaven is astir, engaged in preparing for the day of God's vengeance, the day of Zion's deliverance. The time of tarrying is almost ended. The pilgrims and strangers who have so long been seeking a better country are almost home. I feel as if I must cry aloud, Homeward bound! Rapidly we are nearing the time when Christ will come to gather His redeemed to Himself.—The Review and Herald, November 13, 1913. Ev 219.4

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 214

If those moving from the East to the West had regarded these warnings, and had stood in the counsel of God, he would have wrought through them to the salvation of many souls. But many who moved West have set an example of love for this world and covetousness, and their works have shown that their object in settling West was for gain, and not to save souls. The special frown of God has rested upon those who have taken this course, especially upon some the Lord had called into the gospel field. 2SG 214.1

Soon after we embraced the view that the testimony to the Laodicean church applied to this time, we visited Round Grove, Ills. I will here give an extract from a letter written to Bro. Howland's family, Nov. 23, 1856. 2SG 214.2

“We are now at Bro. E.’s. Many hundred miles separate us. We have had some interesting seasons since we came to this place. There is quite a settlement of Sabbath-keepers here, from Vermont, New York and Michigan. They have been in a low state. God has afflicted Bro. E., and removed his wife. Three times she was reproved by vision, and the third time I was shown if she did not stand out of her husband's way, that he might be free to teach perishing souls the truth, God would move her out of the way. It is even so; she sickened and died. Her passage to the tomb was dark. O, it is dangerous to stand in the way of the work of God, and choose our own selfish course. Our God is merciful, yet he will not bear always. His tender Spirit is easily grieved. If ever I felt like moving carefully it is now. We must walk softly before the Lord. I feel anxious to have Jesus with me. If he goes before us, we can be of some use to others, and do good. We came to this place with trembling, but the Lord has wrought for us. We have had victory in our seasons of prayer, and victory in meeting. The melting power of God rests upon the hearers. The testimony to the Laodiceans has had an effect here. 2SG 214.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 663

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” When those who profess the faith show their lives to be consistent with their faith, then we shall see a power attending the presentation of the truth, a power that will convict the sinner and draw souls nigh to Christ. 2T 663.1

A consistent faith is rare among rich men. Genuine faith, sustained by works, is seldom found. But all who possess this faith will be men who will not lack influence. They will copy after Christ; they will possess that disinterested benevolence, that interest in the work of saving souls, that He had. The followers of Christ should value souls as He valued them. Their sympathies should be with the work of their dear Redeemer, and they should labor to save the purchase of His blood, at any sacrifice. What are money, houses, and lands in comparison with even one soul? 2T 663.2

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 113

As I realize how much has been done for us to keep us right, I am led to exclaim, Oh, what love, what wondrous love, hath the Son of God for us poor sinners! Should we be stupid and careless while everything is being done for our salvation that can be done? All heaven is interested for us. We should be alive and awake to honor, glorify, and adore the high and lofty One. Our hearts should flow out in love and gratitude to Him who has been so full of love and compassion to us. With our lives we should honor Him, and with pure and holy conversation show that we are born from above, that this world is not our home, but that we are pilgrims and strangers here, traveling to a better country. EW 113.1

Many who profess the name of Christ and claim to be looking for His speedy coming, know not what it is to suffer for Christ's sake. Their hearts are not subdued by grace, and they are not dead to self, as is often shown in various ways. At the same time they are talking of having trials. But the principal cause of their trials is an unsubdued heart, which makes self so sensitive that it is often crossed. If such could realize what it is to be a humble follower of Christ, a true Christian, they would begin to work in good earnest and begin right. They would first die to self, then be instant in prayer, and check every passion of the heart. Give up your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, brethren, and follow the meek Pattern. Ever keep Jesus in your mind that He is your example and you must tread in His footsteps. Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. He for our sins was once the meek, slain lamb, wounded, bruised, smitten, and afflicted. EW 113.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 328

True education is a grand science; for it is founded on the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Christ is the greatest Teacher this world ever knew, and it is not the pleasure of the Lord Jesus that the subjects of His kingdom, for whom He died, shall be educated in such a way that they will be led to place the wisdom of men in the forefront, and delegate to the wisdom of God, as revealed in His holy word, a place in the rear. True education is that which will train children and youth for the life that now is, and in reference to that which is to come; for an inheritance in that better country, even in an heavenly. They are to be trained for the country for which patriarchs and prophets looked. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city.” FE 328.1

The general method of educating the youth does not meet the standard of true education. Infidel sentiments are interwoven in the matter placed in schoolbooks, and the oracles of God are placed in a questionable or even an objectionable light. Thus the minds of the youth become familiar with Satan's suggestions, and the doubts once entertained become to those who entertain them, assured facts, and scientific research is made misleading on account of the way its discoveries are interpreted and perverted. Men take it upon themselves to rein up the word of God before a finite tribunal, and sentence is pronounced upon the inspiration of God according to finite measurement, and the truth of God is made to appear as a thing uncertain before the records of science. These false educators exalt nature above nature's God, and above the Author of all true science. At the very time when teachers should have been firm and unwavering in their testimony, at the very time when it should have been made manifest that their souls were riveted to the eternal Rock, when they should have been able to inspire faith in those who were doubting, they made admission of their own uncertainty as to whether the word of God or the discoveries of science, falsely so called, were true. Those who were truly conscientious have been made to waver in their faith because of the hesitation of those who were professed expositors of the Bible when they dealt with the living oracles. Satan has taken advantage of the uncertainty of the mind, and through unseen agencies, he has crowded in his sophistries, and has caused men to become befogged in the mists of skepticism. FE 328.2

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 454

Church-members are to contribute cheerfully toward the support of the ministry. They should practice self-denial and economy, that they may come behind in no good gift. We are pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, and every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. The time for saving souls is short, and whatever is not needed in supplying positive necessities, should be brought as a thank-offering to God. GW 454.1

And it is the duty of those who labor in word and doctrine to show an equal self-sacrifice. A solemn responsibility rests upon those who receive the liberal donations of the church, and administer the means in God's treasury. They are to study carefully the providences of God, that they may discern where there is the greatest necessity. They are to be co-laborers with Christ in establishing His kingdom on the earth, in harmony with the prayer of the Saviour, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10.] GW 454.2

The work all over the world is to receive consideration. New fields are to be entered. Let our brethren remember that much means and much hard labor are required to carry forward the work in new fields. GW 454.3

In planning for the cause in foreign countries, the difficulties to be met there are to be considered, and willing support must be given to the workers. Those at the heart of the cause are to examine closely into the needs of the different fields; for they are God's stewards, set for the extension of the truth in all parts of the world. They are inexcusable if they remain in ignorance regarding the needs of the work. They are to know the advantages and difficulties of each field, and then with a spirit of unselfish interest they are to work for the advancement of the cause as a whole. GW 454.4

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 325.3

Of the zealous, self-sacrificing disciples of Christ, it is written that Jesus was not ashamed to call them brethren, so fully did they manifest His Spirit, and bear His likeness. By their works they constantly testified that this world was not their home; their citizenship was above; they were seeking a better country, even a heavenly. Their conversation and affections were on heavenly things. They were in the world, but not of the world; in spirit and practice they were separate from its maxims and customs. Their daily example testified that they were living for the glory of God. Their great interest, like that of their Master, was for the salvation of souls. For this they toiled and sacrificed, counting not their lives dear unto themselves. By their life and character they made a bright track heavenward. Upon such disciples, Jesus can look with satisfaction as His representatives. His character will not be misrepresented through them.... LHU 325.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 367.6

The time of tarrying is almost ended. The pilgrims and strangers who have so long been seeking a better country are almost home. I feel as if I must cry aloud, Homeward bound! ... “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14. OHC 367.6

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 194

I hope, my dear brethren and sisters, that you will not pass your eye over these words without thoroughly considering their import. As the men of Galilee stood looking steadfastly toward heaven, to catch, if possible, a glimpse of their ascending Saviour, two men in white apparel, heavenly angels commissioned to comfort them for the loss of the presence of their Saviour, stood by them and inquired: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” 2T 194.1

God designs that His people shall fix their eyes heavenward, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the attention of worldlings is turned to various enterprises, ours should be to the heavens; our faith should reach further and further into the glorious mysteries of the heavenly treasure, drawing the precious, divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary to shine in our hearts, as they shine upon the face of Jesus. The scoffers mock the waiting, watching ones, and inquire: “Where is the promise of His coming? You have been disappointed. Engage now with us, and you will prosper in worldly things. Get gain, get money, and be honored of the world.” The waiting ones look upward and answer: “We are watching.” And by turning from earthly pleasure and worldly fame, and from the deceitfulness of riches, they show themselves to be in that position. By watching they become strong; they overcome sloth and selfishness and love of ease. Affliction's fire kindles upon them, and the waiting time seems long. They sometimes grieve, and faith falters; but they rally again, overcome their fears and doubts, and while their eyes are directed heavenward, say to their adversaries: “I am watching, I am waiting the return of my Lord. I will glory in tribulation, in affliction, in necessities.” 2T 194.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 19

The greatest help that can be given our people is to teach them to work for God, and to depend on Him, not on the ministers. Let them learn to work as Christ worked. Let them join His army of workers and do faithful service for Him. 7T 19.1

There are times when it is fitting for our ministers to give on the Sabbath, in our churches, short discourses, full of the life and love of Christ. But the church members are not to expect a sermon every Sabbath. 7T 19.2

Let us remember that we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. Let us work with such earnestness, such devotion, that sinners will be drawn to Christ. Those who have united with the Lord in the covenant of service are under bonds to unite with Him in the great, grand work of soul saving. Let church members, during the week, act their part faithfully, and on the Sabbath relate their experience. The meeting will then be as meat in due season, bringing to all present new life and fresh vigor. When God's people see the great need of working as Christ worked for the conversion of sinners, the testimonies borne by them in the Sabbath service will be filled with power. With joy they will tell of the precious experience they have gained in working for others. 7T 19.3

Our ministers are not to spend their time laboring for those who have already accepted the truth. With Christ's love burning in their hearts, they are to go forth to win sinners to the Saviour. Beside all waters they are to sow the seeds of truth. Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields. 7T 19.4

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