FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
September 26, 2014
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER TWO- Part III
Conversion and Renovation. After true conversion (and reconversion, whenever necessary), the Christian’s path forward is growth, character renovation (or perfection, Matt. 5: 48, K.J.V.)—a progressive process of a lifetime covering the whole person–mind, heart, body, and spirit (vital principle; mental disposition). In His wisdom and love, God converted fallen, cursed earth into the fitting-up place for Heaven–not some conjured-up place “between heaven and hell” called “Purgatory!”
Safe and Sound. It begins with deliverance from the despotic and enslaving power of sin— being saved (rescued, snatched) from the clutches of Satan, the tempter, deceiver, accuser, and destroyer of man. Rescued from this spiritually and physically degraded condition, the now “saved” soul is to be made sound—i.e., freed from defects; flawless.
It is also a battle and a march. So the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Captain of our salvation provides him with “the whole armor of God” described in Ephesians 6: 10-18, as he daily battles with the “old man,” self trying to reassert itself again, with Jesus as the Commander-in-Chief of His spiritual army, which is also His family on earth joined to the family in heaven, having just One living Head! Eph. 3: 14-21; 4: 15.
How Spiritual Israel will reach and enter heavenly Canaan. The typical epic experience of ancient Israel’s dramatic deliverance from Egyptian bondage was in order to (a) free them up to worship Him, (b) be purified from the heathen practices and perverted tastes they had acquired, and to (c) inherit the promised earthly Canaan. How does its antitype, spiritual Israel, reach and finally enter the Heavenly Canaan? By reaching the stature Christ modeled for us in His humanity.
Paul says it best: “Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4: 13, A. V. E. G. White wrote:
“The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something more than an imaginary religion. A stately form of worship and high devotional ceremonies do not constitute a light to the world, and yet truth that is looked upon and admired in the same was as a beautiful picture or lovely flower, and not brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, is thought by many to all that is required in a worshipper . . .
“We shall be saved eternally when we enter in through the gates into the city. Then we may rejoice that we are saved, eternally saved. But until then we need to heed the injunction of the apostle, and to ‘fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it.’ (Heb. 4: 1). Having a knowledge of Canaan, singing the songs of Canaan, rejoicing in the prospect of entering into Canaan, did not bring the children of Israel into the vineyards and olive groves of the Promised Land. They could make it theirs only by occupation, by complying with the conditions, by exercising living faith in God, by appropriating His promises to themselves . . .
“Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith [Heb. 12: 2], and when we yield to His hand we shall steadily grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. We shall make progress until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul, expelling the love of sin that leads to rebellion against, and transgression of the law of God . . . . Through the agency of the Holy Spirit the character is transformed and the mind and will of the human agent are brought into perfect conformity to the divine will, and this is conformity to the divine standard of righteousness [the law, which is “holy, just, and good,” Rom. 7: 12].
To those who are thus transformed [“by the renewing of the mind,” Rom. 12: 2] Christ will say, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have theright to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev. 22: 14.”- The Youth’s Instructor, Feb. 17, 1898.
NOAH VS. THE LONG-LIVED ANTEDILUVIAN GENERATION
Gen. 6: 1-22; 7: 1-24; Matt. 24: 37-51. Noah, whose name means “rest,” the tenth patriarch from Adam, descended from the righteous line of Seth, was called to stand alone against the wicked antediluvian generation—type of the last generation of man just before Christ’s second coming—our generation.
E.G. White wrote in Patriarchs and Prophets (emphasis mine):
Repentance and reformation, belief and preparation. “Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many others labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God, and to stay the tide of moral evil. A hundred and twenty years before the flood, the Lord by a holy angel declared to Noah His purpose, and directed him to build an ark. While building the ark he was to preach that God would bring a flood of water upon the earth to destroy the wicked. Those who wouldbelieve the message, and would prepare for that event by repentance and reformation, should find pardon and be saved. . . . .
Faith and Works. – “’By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.’ Heb. 11: 7. While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He gave the world and example of believing just what God says. All that he possessed, he invested in the ark. As he began to construct that immense boat on dry ground, multitudes came from every direction to see the strange sight, and to hear the earnest, fervent words of the singular preacher. Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people.- Ibid, pp. 92, 93.
Not once-saved-always saved. – “Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the coming of the flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to endure the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they finally joined their former associates in rejecting the solemn message. Some were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the words of warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule, that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers [2 Pet. 3: 1-9]; for none are so reckless and go to such lengths in sin a do those who have once had light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God. . . .”- Ibid, pp. 95, 96.
The beginnings of antinomianism. – “As sin became general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally declared that the divine law was not longer in force; that it was contrary to the character of God to punish transgression; and they denied that His judgments were to be visited upon the earth. Had the men of that generation obeyed the divine law, they would have recognized the voice of God in the warning of His servant; but their minds had become so blinded by rejection of light that they really believed Noah’s message to be a delusion.
“It was not the multitudes or majorities that were on the side of right. The world was arrayed against God’s justice and His laws, and Noah was regarded as a fanatic. Satan, when tempting Eve to disobey God, said to her, ‘You shall not surely die.’ Gen. 3: 4. Great men, worldly, honored, and wise men, repeated the same.”- Ibid, p. 96.
Two kinds of Sorrow and Repentance.- In one word, Noah’s key message was, repent. Genuine repentance includes deep sorrow for sin, submission to God’s revealed will, and complete forsaking of “sins which so easily ensnare (beset, K.J.V.) us.” (Heb. 12: 1). This is the same nature of the urgent message and plea of genuine prophets and messengers of God till probation closes. There are two kinds of sorrow and repentance with their respective results. Paul says: “Godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Cor. 7: 10, N.K.J.V.
Noah’s example is a grand demonstration of faith proved by works, obedience being the fruit of faith, i.e., “faith that works by love.” Gal. 5: 6. “By their fruits you shall know them.” James 2: 17-26; Matt. 7: 15-23; Gen. 6: 1-22; 7: 1-24. However, motion and even frenzied activity does not automatically mean real or spiritual life exists; the movements may be run or orchestrated by a machine or computer-generated virtual reality, not by a conscious, conscientious, willing choice, and response. Thus, spiritual robots and marionettes abound today.
Paul describes them as prevalent in the last days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unholy, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the form of godliness by denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3: 1-5, N.K.J.V.
Sodom and Gomorrah. Luke compares today’s moral degeneracy and depravity to the ancient twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah who so provoked God’s merciful yet righteous indignation that He reduced them to ashes. See Luke 17: 28-37. “Remember Lot’s wife.” Verse 32. Why? The haunting specter of Lot’s wife, instantly turned into a ghostly white salt statue, preserving her body language of fatal obsession over her doomed earthly possessions, stands as a somber warning to all who persistently idolize the perishable riches of this earth over the eternal, imperishable riches God has promised to all those who love Him. (To be continued next week).