Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord - Rather, “Then shall we know, shall follow on to know the Lord,” i. e., we shall not only know Him, but we shall grow continually in that knowledge. Then, in Israel, God says, “there was no knowledge of Him;” His “people was destroyed for lack of it” Hosea 4:1, Hosea 4:6. In Christ He promises, that they should have that inward knowledge of Him, ever growing, because the grace, through which it is given, ever grows, and “the depth of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge is unsearchable, passing knowledge.” We “follow on,” confessing that it is He who maketh us to follow Him, and draweth us to Him. We know, in order to follow; we follow, in order to know. Light prepares the way for love. Love opens the mind for new love. The gifts of God are interwoven. They multiply and reproduce each other, until we come to the perfect state of eternity. For here “we know in part” only; then “shall we know, even as we are known. We shall follow on.” Where shall we “follow on?” To the fountains of the water of life, as another prophet saith; “For He that hath mercy upon them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them” Isaiah 49:10. And in the Revelations we read, that “the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters” Revelation 7:17. The bliss of eternity is fixed; the nearness of each to the throne of God, the “mansion” in which he shall dwell, admits of no change; but, through eternity, it may be, that we shall “follow on to know” more of God, as more shall be revealed to us of that which is infinite, the Infinity of His Wisdom and His Love.
His going forth - that is, the going forth of God, “is prepared,” firm, fixed, certain, established, (so the word means) “as the morning.” Before, God had said, He would withdraw Himself from them; now, contrariwise, He says, that He would “go forth.” He had said, “in their affliction they shall seek Me early or in the morning;” now, “He shall go forth as the morning.”: “They shall seek for Him, as they that long for the morning; and He will come to them as the morning,” full of joy and comfort, of light and warmth and glorious radiance which shall diffuse over the whole compass of the world, so that “nothing shall be hid from its light” and “heat.” He who should so go forth, is the same as He who was to “revive them” and “raise them up,” i. e., Christ. Of Him it is said most strictly, that “He went forth,” when from the Bosom of the Father He came among us; as of Him holy Zacharias saith, (in the like language,) “The Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Christ goeth forth continually from the Father, by an eternal, continual, generation. In He “came forth” from the Father in His Incarnation; He “came forth” to us from the Virgin‘s womb; He “came forth,” from the grave in His Resurrection. His “coming forth, as the morning,” images the secrecy of His Birth, the light and glow of love which He diffuseth throughout the whole new creation of His redeemed.: “As the dawn is seen by all and cannot be hid, and appeareth, that it may be seen, yea, that it may illuminate, so His going forth, whereby He proceeded from His own invisible to our visible became known to all,” tempered to our eyes, dissipating our darkness, awakening our nature as from a grave, unveiling to man the works of God, making His ways plain before his face, that he should no longer “walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth - So of Christ it is foretold, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth” Psalm 72:6. Palestine was especially dependent upon rain, on account of the cultivation of the sides of the hills in terraces, which were parched and dry, when the rains were withheld. The “former,” or autumnal “rain,” fell in October, at the seed-time; the “latter” or spring “rain,” in March and April, and filled the ears before harvest. Both together stand as the beginning and the end. If either were withheld, the harvest failed. Wonderful likeness of Him who is the Beginning and the End of our spiritual life; from whom we receive it, by whom it is preserved unto the end; through whom the soul, enriched by Him, hath abundance of all spiritual blessings, graces, and consolations, and yieldeth all manner of fruit, each after its kind, to the praise of Him who hath given it life and fruitfulness.
Then shall we know - We shall have the fullest evidence that we have not believed in vain.
If we follow on to know the Lord - If we continue to be as much in earnest as we now are.
His going forth - The manifestation of his mercy to our souls is as certain as the rising of the sun at the appointed time.
And he shall come unto us as the rain - As surely as the early and the latter rain come. The first, to prepare the earth for the seed; this fell in autumn: the second, to prepare the full ear for the harvest; this fell in spring. Here is strong confidence; but not misplaced, however worthless the persons were. As surely as the sun, who is now set, is running his course to arise on us in the morning, and make a glorious day after a dreary night, so surely shall the Lord come again from his place, and the Sun of righteousness shall arise on our souls with healing in his wings. He is already on his way to save us.
The natural and the spiritual are to be combined in the studies of our schools. The operations of agriculture illustrate the Bible lessons. The laws obeyed by the earth reveal the fact that it is under the masterly power of an infinite God. The same principles run through the spiritual and the natural world. Divorce God and His wisdom from the acquisition of knowledge, and you have a lame, one-sided education, dead to all the saving qualities which give power to man, so that he is incapable of acquiring immortality through faith in Christ. The author of nature is the author of the Bible. Creation and Christianity have one God. All who engage in the acquisition of knowledge should aim to reach the highest round of progress. Let them advance as fast and as far as they can; let their field of study be as broad as their powers can compass, making God their wisdom, clinging to Him who is infinite in knowledge, who can reveal the secrets hidden for ages, who can solve the most difficult problems for minds that believe in Him who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man can approach unto. The living witness for Christ, following on to know the Lord, shall know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” By honesty and industry, with a proper care of the body, applying every power of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom in spiritual things, every soul may be complete in Christ, who is the perfect pattern of a complete man. FE 375.1
He who chooses a course of disobedience to God's law is deciding his future destiny; he is sowing to the flesh, earning the wages of sin, even eternal destruction, the opposite of life eternal. Submission to God and obedience to His holy law bring the sure result. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” This is a knowledge of such value that no language can describe it; it is of highest worth in this world, and is far-reaching as eternity. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” FE 376.1
When we aim at a low standard, we shall reach only a low standard. We commend to every student the Book of books as the grandest study for the human intelligence, as the education essential for this life, and for eternal life. But I did not contemplate a letting down of the educational standard in the study of the sciences. The light that has been given on these subjects is clear, and should in no case be disregarded. But if the word of God which giveth light, and giveth understanding to the simple, had been welcomed into the mind and the soul-temple, as a counselor, as a guide and instructor, the human agent living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, there would have been no need of reproof because of the backslidings of the students after the blessing of God had come to them in rich rays of divine light, to glow in heaven's holy fire upon the altar of their hearts. Many allowed amusements to have the supremacy. This was not the course that Daniel pursued in obtaining the education which revealed through him the supremacy of heavenly wisdom above all the wisdom and knowledge of the highest schools in the courts of proud Babylon. God opens the understanding of men in a marked manner if His words are brought into the practical life of the student, and the Bible is recognized as the precious, wonderful book that it is. Nothing is to come between this book and the student as more essential; for it is that wisdom which, brought into the practical life, makes men wise through time and through eternity. God is revealed in nature; God is revealed in His word. The Bible is the most wonderful of all histories, for it is the production of God, not of the finite mind. It carries us back through the centuries to the beginning of all things, presenting the history of times and scenes which would otherwise never have been known. It reveals the glory of God in the working of His providence to save a fallen world. It presents in the simplest language the mighty power of the gospel, which, received, would cut the chains that bind men to Satan's chariot. FE 376.2Read in context »
Those who have held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will be wide awake during the time that the third angel's message is proclaimed with great power (The Review and Herald, October 13, 1904). 7BC 984.1
(2 Timothy 2:14-16; see EGW on ch. 16:14-17.) Message Prepares for Translation—Amid the confusing cries, “Lo, here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!” will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon. It is the truth, not fanciful ideas, that is efficacious. The eternal truth of the Word will stand forth free from all seductive errors and spiritualistic interpretations, free from all fancifully drawn, alluring pictures. Falsehoods will be urged upon the attention of God's people, but the truth is to stand clothed in its beautiful, pure garments. The Word, precious in its holy, uplifting influence, is not to be degraded to a level with common, ordinary matters. It is always to remain uncontaminated by the fallacies by which Satan seeks to deceive, if possible, the very elect. 7BC 984.2
The proclamation of the gospel is the only means in which God can employ human beings as His instrumentalities for the salvation of souls. As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, the Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see His statutes, and will write upon the hearts of the truly penitent His law. The animating Spirit of God, working through human agencies, leads the believers to be of one mind, one soul, unitedly loving God and keeping His commandments—preparing here below for translation (The Review and Herald, October 13, 1904). 7BC 984.3Read in context »
The True Witness addresses the church of Ephesus, saying: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4, 5. 6T 421.1Read in context »
The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel's message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel's message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel. GC 611.1
The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the “former rain” was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the “latter rain” will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3. “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.” Joel 2:23. “In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:17, 21. GC 611.2
The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are “the times of refreshing” to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.” Acts 3:19, 20. GC 611.3Read in context »