FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
November 14, 2014
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER TWO – Part X
TWO SUPERNATURAL AGENCIES WORKING FOR OR AGAINST US
In this mini-series on angels—both the heavenly and the evil ones—we aim to:
1. Become even more conscious of and discerning of the two kinds of angels contending against each other right in our midst every moment of the day. They are: a) our guardian-recording angels, belonging to the loyal two-thirds of the heavenly host under the command of Michael the Archangel—Jesus Christ’s title as their Commander-in-Chief (Rev. 12: 7-9; Dan. 10: 13, 21; 12: 1; Jude 9), and their appointed work in the plan of redemption and in the cosmic conflict, so we can intelligently co-operate with these supernatural ministers, avoiding doing anything that may grieve them away.
For when “the wall of protection,” departs from us, we are left as sport of: b) the fallen angels, the devils, the evil spirits, numbering one-third of the original number who lost the first war, in heaven (Rev. 12: 4) who are under the command of “the great dragon, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” Rev. 12: 9.
2. Encourage the habit of individually testing and proving all doctrinal assertions and/or miraculous manifestations by the Holy Scriptures, demanding a clear “Thus says the Lord,” “It is written”—not by “feelings,”“impressions,” or “imaginations.” Note:
“[Isaiah 8:20 quoted]. The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers.
The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle is to be tested. . . .None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, (1911), p. 593.
First, let’s consider two of the last major events of Christ’s life and work on earth for the salvation of man—His glorious resurrection and, in contrast, His quiet ascension to the heavenly courts to perform His closing work of atonement as our merciful High Priest, Mediator, Advocate, and Judge. After that He returns in all His undimmed glory!
TWO ANGELS APPEAR TO THE DISCIPLES AT HIS RESURRECTION. Excerpts from The Desire of Ages by E.G. White, pp. 788-794, “Why Weepest Thou?”” chapter 82, based on Matt.28: 1, 5-8; Mark 16: 1-8; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20: 1-18:
“The women who had stood by the cross of Christ waited and watched for the hours of the Sabbath to pass. On the first day of the week, very early, they made their way to the tomb, taking with them precious spices to anoint the Savior’s body. They did not think about His rising from the dead. The sun of their hope had set, and night had settled down in their hearts. As they walked, they recounted Christ’s works of mercy and His words of comfort. But they remembered not His words, “I will see you again.’ John 16: 22.
“Ignorant of what was even then taking place, they drew near the garden, saying as they went, ‘Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?’ . . . . And lo, the heavens were suddenly alight with glory that came not from the rising sun. The earth trembled. They saw that the stone was rolled away. The grave was empty. . . .
“Mary Magdalene was the first to reach the place; and upon seeing the stone removed, she hurried away to tell the disciples. Meanwhile the other women came up. As they lingered about the place, suddenly they saw that they were not alone. A young man clothed in shining garments was sitting by the tomb. It was the angel who had rolled away the stone. He had taken the guise of humanity that he might not alarm the friends of Jesus. Yet about him the light of the heavenly gory was still shining, and the women were afraid.
They turned to flee, but the angel’s words stayed their steps. ‘Fear not ’ he said; ‘for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified.’ He is not here for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead.’ Again they look into the tomb, and again they hear the wonderful news. Another angel in human form is there, and he says, ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spoke to you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’. . . .
“Mary ]Magdalene] had not heard the good news. She went to Peter and John with the sorrowful message, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of this sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him.’ The disciples hurried to the tomb, and found it as Mary had said. They saw the shroud and the napkin, but they did not find their Lord. Yet even here was the testimony that He was risen. The graveclothes were not thrown heedlessly aside, but carefully folded, each in a place by itself. John ‘saw, and believed.’ . . . . It was Christ Himself who had placed those graveclothes with such care.
When the mighty angel came down to the tomb, he was joined by another, who with his company had been keeping guard over the Lord’s body. As the angel from heaven rolled away the stone, the other entered the tomb, and unbound the wrappings from the body of Jesus. But it was the Savior’s hand that folded each, and laid it in its place. In His sight who guides alike the star and the atom, there is nothing unimportant. Order and perfection are seen in all His work.” – pp. 788, 789.
THE SAME ANGELS APPEAR TO THE ELEVEN DISCIPLES AT CHRIST’S ASCENSION
The Desire of Ages, pp. 830-832, “To My Father, and Your Father,” chapter 87 based on Luke 24: 50-53; Acts 1: 9-12:
“As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. Not Mount Zion , place of David’s city, not Mount Moriah , the temple site, was to be thus honored. There Christ had been mocked and rejected. There the waves of mercy, still returning in stronger tide of love, had been beaten back by hearts as hard as a rock [John 1:11]. Thence, Jesus, weary and heart-burdened, had gone forth to rest in the Mount of Olives .
The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood on Mount Olivet , with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem . The groves and glens of the mountain had been consecrated by His prayers and tears. Its steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus [Martha, and Mary] at Bethany . In the Garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone.
From this mountain He was to ascend to heaven. Upon its summit His feet will rest when He shall come again [Zech 14: 4]. Not as a man of sorrows [Isa. 53: 3], but as a glorious and triumphant King He will stand at Olivet, while Hebrew hallelujahs mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as mighty host shall swell the acclamation, Crown Him Lord of all!
“Now with the eleven disciples Jesus made His way toward the mountain. . . . Upon reaching the Mount of Olives, Jesus led the way across the summit, to the vicinity of Bethany . Here he paused, and the disciples gathered about Him. Beams of light seemed to radiate from His countenance as He looked lovingly upon them. . . . words of the deepest tenderness were the last that fell upon their ears from the lips of their Lord.
With hands outstretched in blessing, and as if in assurance of His protecting care, He slowly ascended from among them, drawn heavenward by a power stronger than any earthly attraction. As He passed upward, the awe-stricken disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord. A cloud of glory hid Him from their sight; and the words came back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ At the same time there floated down to them the sweetest and most joyous music from the angel choir.
“While the disciples were still gazing upward, voices addressed them which sounded like sweetest music. They turned, and saw two angels in the form of men, who spoke to them, saying, ‘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. These angels were of the company that had been waiting in a shining cloud to escort Jesus to His heavenly home.
The most exalted of the angel throng, they were the two who had come to the tomb of Christ’s resurrection, and they had been with Him throughout His life on earth. With eager desire all heaven had waited for the end of His tarrying in a world marred by the curse of sin. The time had now come for the heavenly universe to receive their King. Did not the two angels long to join the throng that welcomed Jesus? But in sympathy and love for those whom He had left, they waited to give them comfort. ‘Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?’ Hebrews 11: 14.”
(To be continued next week).