The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
November 27, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIII. - Continued.
Jacob and the Angel.
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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and represent two classes. Jacob, the ; and Esau, the . Jacob’s night of and represents the through which the must pass just prior to the . refers to this time: “Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for is great so that none is like it: it is even the ; but he shall be saved out of it.” , in looking down to this point, says: “And at that time shall stand up, the which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” speaks of the same time: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy door about thee, hide thyself for a little moment, until the be overpast. For, behold, cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of for their ; the earth also shall disclose her , and shall no more cover her slain.”

In his distress, Jacob laid hold of the angel, and held him and wrestled with him all night. So also will the righteous, in the time of their trouble wrestle with God in prayer. Jacob prayed all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau. The righteous in their mental anguish will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the hands of the wicked who surround them. Jacob confessed his unworthiness: “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy servant.” The righteous will have a deep sense of their shortcomings, and with many tears will acknowledge their utter unworthiness, and, like Jacob, will plead the promises of God through Christ, made to just such dependent, helpless, repenting sinners.

Jacob took firm hold of the angel and would not let him go. As he made supplication with tears, the angel reminded him of his past wrongs, and endeavored to escape from him, to test and prove him. So will the righteous in the day of their anguish, be tested, proved, and tried, to manifest their strength of faith, their perseverance, and unshaken confidence in the power of God to deliver them.

Jacob would not be turned away. He knew that God was merciful, and he appealed to his mercy. He pointed back to his past sorrow for, and repentance of, his wrongs, and urged his petition for deliverance from the hand of Esau. Thus his importuning continued all night. As he reviewed his past wrongs, he was driven almost to despair. But he knew that he must have help from God or perish. He held the angel fast, and urged his petition with agonizing, earnest cries, until he prevailed. Thus will it be with the righteous. As they review the events of their past lives, their hopes will almost sink. But as they realize that it is a case of life or death, they will earnestly cry unto God, and appeal to him in regard to their past sorrow for, and humble repentance of, their many sins, and then will refer to his promise: “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” Thus will their earnest petitions be offered to God day and night. God would not have heard the prayer of Jacob, and mercifully saved his life, if he had not previously repented of his wrongs in obtaining the blessing by fraud. Every effort was put forward by Satan and his host to discourage Jacob and break his hold upon God by forcing upon him a sense of the sin of his falsehood and deception. But Jacob was not left alone; the Captain of the Lord’s host, attended by an army of angels, was close beside the depressed, fear-stricken man, that he might not perish.

The righteous, like Jacob, will manifest unyielding faith and earnest determination, which will take no denial. They will feel their unworthiness, but will have no concealed wrongs to reveal. If they had sins, unconfessed and unrepented of, to appear then before them, while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed. Despair would cut off their earnest faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God thus earnestly for deliverance, their precious moments would be spent in confessing hidden sins, and bewailing their hopeless condition.

In these days of peril those who have been unfaithful in their duties in life, and whose mistakes and sins of neglect are registered against them in the book in Heaven, unrepented of and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. Every one is to be tested and severely tried. Satan will exert all his energies, and call to his aid his evil host, who will exercise all their experience, artifice, and cunning, to deceive souls and wrest them from the hands of Jesus Christ. He makes them believe they may be unfaithful in the minor duties of life, and God will not see, God will not notice; but that Being who numbers the hairs of our head, and marks the fall of the little sparrow, notices every deviation from truth, every departure from honor and integrity in both secular and religious things. These errors and sins corrupt the man, and disqualify him for the society of heavenly angels. By his defiled character he has placed himself under the flag of Satan. The arch deceiver has power over this class. The more exalted their profession, the more honorable the position they have held, the more grievous their course in the sight of God, the more sure the triumph of Satan. These will have no shelter in the time of Jacob’s trouble. Their sins will then appear of such magnitude that they will have no confidence to pray, no heart to wrestle as did Jacob. On the other hand, those who have been of like passion, erring and sinful in their lives, but who have repented of their sins, and in genuine sorrow confessed them, will have pardon written against their names in the heavenly records. They will be hid ‘in the day of the Lord’s anger. Satan will attack this class, but like Jacob they have taken hold of the strength of God, and true to his character he is at peace with them, and sends angels to comfort and bless and sustain them in their time of peril. The time of Jacob’s trouble will test every one, and distinguish the genuine Christian from the one who is so only in name.

Those professed believers who come up to the time of trouble unprepared, will, in their despair, confess their sins before the world in words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their distress. The case of all such is hopeless. When Christ stands up, and leaves the most holy place, the time of trouble commences, the case of every soul is decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin and pollution. As Jesus leaves the most holy, he speaks in tones of decision and kingly authority: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Those who have delayed a preparation for the day of God, cannot obtain it in the time of trouble, or at any future period. The righteous will not cease their earnest, agonizing cries for deliverance. They cannot bring to mind any particular sins; but in their whole life they can see little good. Their sins have gone before hand to judgment, and pardon has been written. Their sins have been borne away into the land of forgetfulness, and they can not bring them to remembrance. Certain destruction threatens them, and, like Jacob, they will not suffer their faith to grow weak because their prayers are not immediately answered. Though suffering the pangs of hunger, they will not cease their intercessions. They lay hold of the strength of God, as Jacob laid hold of the angel; and the language of their soul is, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.”

That season of distress and anguish will require an effort of earnestness and determined faith that can endure delay and hunger, and will not fail under weakness, though severely tried. The period of probation is the time granted to all to prepare for the day of God. If any neglect the preparation, and heed not the faithful warnings given, they will be without excuse. Jacob’s course in wrestling with the angel, should be an example for Christians. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. All who desire the blessing of God, as did Jacob, and who will lay hold of the promises as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. The reason there is so little exercise of true faith, and so little of the weight of truth resting upon many professed believers, is they are indolent in spiritual things. They are unwilling to make exertions, to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for the blessing, and therefore they do not obtain it. That faith which will live through the time of trouble must be developed now. Those who do not make strong efforts now to exercise persevering faith, will be unable to stand in the day of trouble.

At the transfiguration, Jesus was glorified by his Father. From his lips came these words: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” Before his betrayal and crucifixion he was strengthened for his last dreadful sufferings. As the members of Christ’s body approach the period of their final conflict they will grow up into him, and will possess symmetrical characters. As the message of the third angel swells to a loud cry, great power and glory will attend the closing work. It is the latter rain, which revives and strengthens the people of God to pass through the time of Jacob’s trouble referred to by the prophets. The glory of that light which attends the third angel will be reflected upon them. God will preserve his people through that time of peril.

By self-surrender and confiding faith Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength. God would here fully make known to his servant that it was divine power and grace alone that could give him the life and peace he so much craved. This lesson is for all time. Those who live in the last days must pass through an experience similar to that of Jacob. Foes will be all around them, ready to condemn and destroy. Alarm and despair will seize them, for it appears to them as to Jacob in his distress, that God himself has become an avenging enemy. It is the design of God to arouse the dormant energies of his people to look out of and away from self to One who can bring help and salvation, that the promises given for just such a time may be seen in their preciousness, and relied upon with unwavering trust. Here faith is proved.

Deep anguish of soul will be felt by the people of God, yet their sufferings cannot be compared with the agony endured by our adorable Redeemer in the garden of Gethsemane. He was bearing the weight of our sins; we endure anguish on our own account. Wrestling with God — how few know what it is! To wrestle with God is to have the soul drawn out with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch, while waves of despair that no language can express sweep over the soul; and yet the suppliant will not yield, but clings with deathlike tenacity to the promise.

Jacob specified no particular thing for the Lord to bestow upon him; he sought only a blessing; he knew that the Lord would give him a blessing appropriate to meet the necessities of the case at that time. God blessed him then and there; and on the field of conflict he was made a prince among men. Thus will it be with the agonized ones who prevail with God in the time of Jacob’s trouble. Dangers thicken on every side, and it is difficult to fix the eye of faith upon the promises amidst the certain evidences of immediate destruction. But in the midst of revelry and violence, there falls upon the ear peal upon peal of the loudest thunder. The heavens have gathered blackness and are only illuminated with the blazing light and terrible glory from Heaven. God utters his voice from his holy habitation. The captivity of his people is turned. With sweet and subdued voices they say to one another, God is our friend. We shall be safe from the power of wicked men. In solemn awe they listen to the words proceeding from the throne of God. Those surrounding the righteous are then in their time of distress and inexpressible fear. The horror of despair seizes them, and these poor infatuated ones seem now to understand themselves. Those who have been deceived by the fables preached to them by their ministers now charge upon them the loss of their souls: You have preached to us falsehoods. We have believed a lie, and are lost, forever lost. 

This is the time referred to by Malachi: “Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

Jenny @ 6:37 pm
August 14, 1879 The Sufferings of Christ
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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(Continued.)

     had often resorted to with his for and . They were all well acquainted with this retreat. Even knew where to lead the murderous throng, that he might Jesus into their hands. Never before had the visited the spot with his heart so full of . It was not bodily from which the shrank, and which wrung from his lips in the presence of his disciples these mournful words: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto .” “Tarry ye here,” said he, “and watch with me.” He was bowed to the earth with mental anguish, and in an agony he prayed to his . He felt the of , and the against the violators of his .

was amazed with the horror of which enclosed him. The of were almost overpowering. These words, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” were borne upon the sympathizing air, to his disciples, in tones of startling agony. The sins of a lost world were upon him, and a sense of his Father’s anger in consequence of sin was crushing him. He arose from his prostrate position, and, yearning for the sympathy of his disciples, he came to them and found them sleeping. He roused Peter and said to him, “Simon, sleepest thou?” What, couldest not thou, who so recently was willing to go with me to prison and to death, watch with thy suffering Master one hour? “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” At the most important time, the disciples were found sleeping. It was the very time when Jesus had made a special request for them to watch with him. He knew that terrible temptations were before his disciples. He took them with him, that they might be a strength to him, and that the events they should witness that night, and the lessons of instruction they should receive, might be indelibly printed upon their memories. This was necessary that they might be strengthened for the test just before them.

But instead of watching with Christ, they were burdened with sorrow, and fell asleep. Even the ardent Peter was asleep, who, only a few hours before, had declared that he would suffer, and, if need be, die for his Lord. At the most critical moment, when the Son of God was in need of their sympathy and heartfelt prayers, they were found asleep. They lost much by thus sleeping. Our Saviour designed to fortify them for the severe test of their faith to which they would soon be subjected. If they had spent that mournful period in watching with the dear Saviour and in prayer to God, Peter would not have been left to his own feeble strength, to deny his Lord. We can have but faint conception of the inexpressible anguish of God’s dear Son in Gethsemane, as he realized the separation from his Father in consequence of bearing man’s sin. The divine Son of God was fainting, dying. The Father sent an angel from his presence to strengthen the divine sufferer. Could mortals view the amazement and sorrow of the angels as they watched in silent grief the Father separating his beams of light, love, and glory, from his Son, they would better understand how offensive is sin in his sight. As the Son of God in the garden of Gethsemane bowed in the attitude of prayer, the agony of his spirit forced from his pores sweat like great drops of blood. It was here that the horror of great darkness surrounded him. The sins of the world were upon him. He was suffering in man’s stead, as a transgressor of his Father’s law. Here was the scene of temptation. The divine light of God was receding from his vision, and he was passing into the hands of the powers of darkness. In the agony of his soul he lay prostrate on the cold earth. He was realizing his Father’s frown. The cup of suffering Christ had taken from the lips of guilty man, and proposed to drink it himself, and, in its place, give to man the cup of blessing. The wrath that would have fallen upon man, was now falling upon Christ.

The disciples roused from their slumber to find their Master standing over them in a state of mental and bodily anguish such as they never before had witnessed. They saw the grief and agony of his pale face, and the bloody sweat upon his brow, for “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” The disciples were grieved that they had fallen asleep, so that they could not pray and sympathize with their suffering Lord. They were speechless with sorrow and surprise.

The suffering Son of God leaves his disciples, for the power of darkness rushes upon him with an irresistible force which bows him to the earth. He prays as before, and pours out the burden of his soul with stronger crying and tears. His soul was pressed with such agony as no human being could endure and live. The sins of the world were upon him. He felt that he was separated from his Father’s love; for upon him rested the curse because of sin. Christ knew that it would be difficult for man to feel the grievousness of sin, and that close contact and familiarity with sin would so blunt his moral sensibility, that sin would not appear so dangerous to him, and so exceedingly offensive in the sight of God. He knew that but few would take pleasure in righteousness, and accept of that salvation which, at infinite cost, he made it possible for them to obtain. While this load of sin was upon Christ, unrealized, and unrepented of by man, doubts rent his soul in regard to his oneness with his Father.

In this fearful hour of trial Christ’s human nature longed even for the sympathy of his disciples. A second time he rose from the earth and went to them and found them sleeping. This was not a deep sleep. They were in a drowse. They had a limited sense of their Lord’s suffering and anguish. In tenderness Jesus stood for a moment bending over them, and regarding them with mingled feelings of love and pity. In these sleeping disciples he sees a representation of a sleeping church. When they should be watching, they are asleep.

“Watch ye, therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” The church of God is required to fulfill her night-watch, however perilous, and whether long or short. Sorrow is no excuse for her to be less watchful. Tribulation should not lead to carelessness, but to double vigilance. Christ has directed the church by his own example, to the source of their strength in times of need, distress and peril. The attitude of watching is to designate the church as God’s people indeed. But this sign the waiting ones are distinguished from the world, and show that they are pilgrims and strangers upon the earth.

How cruel it was for the disciples to permit sleep to close their eyes, and slumber to chain their senses, while their divine Lord was enduring such inexpressible mental anguish. If they had remained watching, they would not have lost their faith as they beheld the Son of God dying upon the cross. This important night-watch should have been signalized by noble mental struggles and prayers which would have brought them strength to witness the terrible agony of the Son of God. It would have prepared them, as they should behold his sufferings upon the cross, to understand something of the nature of the overpowering anguish which he endured in the garden of Gethsemane. And they would have been better able to recall the words he had spoken to them in reference to his sufferings, death, and resurrection; and amid the gloom of that trying hour some rays of hope would have lighted up the darkness, and sustained their faith.

Christ had told them before that these things would take place; but they did not understand him. The scene of his sufferings was to be a fiery ordeal to his disciples, hence the necessity of watchfulness and prayer. Their faith needed to be sustained by an unseen strength, as they should experience the triumph of the powers of darkness. He knew the power which the prince of darkness used to paralyze the senses of his disciples at this time when they should be watching. At this crisis, when they would meet with a great loss, they are found asleep. Again the powers of darkness press upon him with renewed force, bowing him to the earth. He leaves his disciples with a determination to conquer the prince of darkness, that man may not be held in chains of hopeless despair. Giving his disciples one look of the tenderest compassion he left them and bowed a third time in prayer, using the same words as before. The divine sufferer shuddered with amazement at this mysterious and terrible conflict.

Human minds cannot conceive of the insupportable anguish which tortured the soul of our Redeemer. The holy Son of God had no sins or griefs of his own to bear. He was bearing the griefs of others, for on him was laid the iniquities of us all. Through divine sympathy he connects himself to man, and submits as the representative of the race to be treated as a transgressor. He looks into the abyss of woe opened for us by our sins, and proposes to bridge the gulf with his own person. Those who cannot see the force of the sacred claims of God’s law cannot have a clear and definite understanding of the atonement.

It was soul-anguish that wrenched from the lips of God’s dear Son these mournful words: “Now is my soul troubled,–my soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” Christ’s soul was bearing a weight of anguish because of the transgression of God’s law. He was overwhelmed with horror and consternation at the fearful work sin had wrought. His burden of guilt was so great because of man’s transgression of his Father’s law, that human nature was inadequate to bear it. His inexpressible anguish forced from his pores large drops of blood, which fell upon the ground and moistened the sods of Gethsemane.

The sufferings of martyrs can bear no comparison with the sufferings of Christ. The divine presence was with them, in their physical sufferings. There was the hiding of the Father’s face from his dear Son. Humanity staggered and trembled in that trying hour. It was anguish of soul beyond the endurance of finite nature. It was woe condensed that brought from the trembling lips of the noble sufferer these words: “Now is my soul troubled.” “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Again from his pale lips are heard these words: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” The awful moment had come which was to decide the destiny of the world. Angels are waiting and watching with intense interest.

The fate of the world is trembling in the balance. The Son of God may even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. He may wipe the blood sweat from his brow, and leave the world to perish in their iniquity Will the Son of the infinite God drink the cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the curse of God to save the guilty? It was here the mysterious cup trembled in his hand, and the destiny of a ruined world was balanced. The world’s Redeemer sees that the transgressors of his Father’s law must perish under his displeasure. He sees the power of sin and the utter helplessness of man to save himself.

The woes and lamentations of a doomed world come up before him, and his decision is made. He will save man at any cost of himself. He has accepted his baptism of blood, that perishing millions through him might gain everlasting life. He left the heavenly courts where all was purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world which had fallen by transgression. He will not leave man in his sins. He will reach to the very depths of misery to rescue him. The sleeping disciples see not that their beloved Teacher is fainting. He falls to the earth, and is dying. Where are his disciples to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their suffering Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men? Our Saviour trod the wine-press alone and of all the people there was none with him.

Christ suffered not alone. Saith he, “I and my Father are one.” God suffered with his Son. The sacrifice that an infinite God has made in giving up his Son to reproach and agony, cannot be comprehended by man. In giving his Son for the sins of the world, God has evidenced his boundless love to man. The angels who had learned to do Christ’s will in Heaven, were anxious to comfort him. But what can they do? Such sorrow, such agony, is beyond their power to alleviate. They have never felt the sins of a ruined world, and with astonishment they behold the object of their adoration subject to grief. Although the Father does not remove the cup from the trembling hand and pale lips of his Son, he sends an angel to give him strength to drink it. The angel raises the Son of God from the cold ground, and brings him messages of love from his Father. He is strengthened and fortified. He has the assurance that he is gaining eternal joy for all who will accept redemption.
                           (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 5:45 pm