Friday Morning Manna
June 5, 2020
The Battle for the ‘Present Truth’
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in present truth.” 2 Peter 1: 12 (see verses 1-11), Authorized Version
Jesus Christ, God Creator in the flesh (John 1: 14; 1 Tim. 3: 16) declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” John 14: 6. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you continue (abide) in My Word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8: 31, 32.
In the plan of salvation the “good news” of the gospel is that Creator of man, condescended in the incarnation to become the Savior of mankind, fallen by sin and hopeless captives of Satan, by delivering, “setting them free” by His life example as a man, “tempted in all points as man is tempted yet without sin,” and by His death on the cross as their substitute and surety from, not in, the power and bondage to sin which is “the transgression of the law (1 John 3: 4). Hence the specific name given Him at His birth, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1: 21. Notice here that while Jesus died for the sins of the world, He saves His people from their sins! That is the truth.
In Ephesians 21-32 apostle Paul elucidates on what “the truth as it is in Jesus” does when received by the believer: it produces and results in a profound transformative change from the “old man” character to the “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (v 24)’ “lets no corrupt communication proceed out of the mouth but that which is good and edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers”(v 29); “puts away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking with all malice” (v 31) and is “kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us” (v 32); and “puts away lying, every man speaking truth to his neighbor” (v 25).”
In His valedictory prayer for all His true disciples recorded in John 17: 1-26, which is the true creed of the true church, He prayed the Father, ‘Sanctify through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.” Verse 17. There is no truth that saves from sin and eternal death that the truth as it is in Jesus.
In Bible language “truth is no truth to those who do not practice it.” In the highest and most sublime sense, as further rendered urgent and definitive by end-time Bible prophecy, not all truth, is present truth—especially how “truth” now is used so loosely and has become even more subjective, relative, narrowly self-serving, politically weaponized, or worse, used by trained provocateurs to embed false narratives, exacerbate existing confusion, stoke irrationality, and spark chaos and anarchy. How often such a statement by well-known personalities and by internet influencers, etc., using their platform to declare “my truth,” in actuality the way they see and interpret things and situations, bereft of, and even in contradiction to “the truth as it is in Jesus” and “to the law and the testimony.” But when the dust of excitement and heat of the moment have dissipated later, giving way to a more rational, sober and objective view of things, the first actions and statements have already gone viral, spread like a raging wildfire so difficult to extinguish; and if at all, leaves lasting damage and scars to both perpetrators and unnumbered, unwitting victims.
“Speaking the truth to power” sounds compelling, emboldening and yes, personally empowering. But when spoken from an unsanctified heart, therefore, from unsanctified lips, “in the heat of the moment,” even in self-justified “righteous indignation,” such “truth” spoken to power is but a guttural reaction and backlash against perceived or even real abuses. While it releases pent up anger and emotions, decompresses and therefore cathartic in that sense, it unfortunately translates to a call to those like-minded and similarly-afflicted, to a primal reaction, resulting in violent and militant actions. Such may be justified by man’s wisdom and sense of justice but is never the way of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Even more so, much less does such belong to what the Word of God calls the “present, testing, sealing truths” of these last days, particularly for His people.
The following quote, while first applying the early stages of the Advent Movement certainly becomes more relevant and compelling in these last stages of the movement since these truths are denominated as “present, sealing truths,” which Satan knows all too well long before any of us were born, and therefore, hating them with demonic venom and wrath, he will do everything in his power to counteract in any way possible these present, testing truths, “knowing that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12: 12). [Words in brackets mine]:
“I saw the necessity of the messengers [all those called to and moved upon by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the comprehensive third angel’s message], especially, watching and checking all fanaticism wherever they might see it rise. Satan is pressing in on every side, and unless we watch for him, and have our eyes open to his devices and snares, and have on the whole armor of God [Eph. 6:__], the fiery darts of the wicked will hit us. “There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock [the remnant people] needs now. I have seen the danger of messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock, and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause.”
NOTE: The important points of ‘present truth’ are divinely calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul! These are the special truths for these last days that will corporately unite the faithful, loyal, commandment-keeping, overcoming remnant and will sanctify the individual. This is what “salvation is individual” ultimately boils down to. The “many other precious truths of the Bible” are truths indeed “as it is in Jesus” but are not, in these closing hours of earth’s probation, specifically “calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul.” Furthermore, these designated present truth subjects are the appointed antidote and weapons against Satan’s studied efforts to injure the cause of truth! That’s how important they are!
So what are these specific subjects of present truth of these last days? Here they are:
“But such subjects as the sanctuary, in connection with the 2300 days, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, are perfectly calculated to explain the past Advent Movement and who what our present position is, establish the faith of the doubting, and give certainty to the glorious future. These, I have frequently seen [in vision of impressions], were the principal subjects on which the messengers should dwell.”- Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 63.
A more comprehensive background and an expanded list of these present truth subjects is hereunder provided by Arthur L. White, grandson of God’s messenger:
“Writing shortly after the time of the Sabbath conferences, Ellen White stated: ‘We had to search and wait the opening of truth, receiving a ray of light here and a ray of light there, laboring and pleading for God to reveal truth to us. But now the truth is plain, its rays are brought together. The blazing light of truth when it is presented as it should be can be now seen and brought to bear upon the heart.” – Manuscript 3, Feb. 12, 1854. Published in Messenger of the Remnant, p. 39. “By the year 1850 the lines of fundamental truth were well quite understood and clearly defined. The pioneers expressed unbounded confidence that what that what they held was ‘present truth.’ “In 1855, Mrs. White made this retrospective statement: ‘By care and incessant labor and overwhelming anxiety has the work gone on until now the present truth is clear, its evidence by the candid undoubted, and it is easy to work now to carry on the paper to what it was a few years ago. The truth is now made so plain that all can see it and embrace it if they will, but it needed much labor to get it out clear as it is, and such hard labor will never have to be performed again to make the truth clear.” – Ibid, Manuscript 2, Aug. 26, 1855. “Looking back in 1905, she wrote of the certainty of the doctrinal points brought out: ‘When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given, are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scriptures which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit. . . . We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years [since 1855]. And while the Scriptures are God’s Word, and are to be respected, the applications of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.” – Ibid, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 31, 32.
What Constitutes ‘Present Truth’
“A careful study of documents of the time reveals what was denominated ‘present truth’ in the formative period. It did not, as some have thought, embrace the wealth of -prophetic interpretation, details of which were unfolded during the ensuing two to three decades, but was made up of vital ‘essentials,’ ‘pillars,’ ‘foundations.’ These may be listed as:
- The second advent of Christ.
- The binding claims of the Ten Commandments, including the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath and the perpetuity of God’s law.
- The third angel’s message in its fullness, in correct relationship to the first and second angels’ messages.
- The ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, which ministry would cease shortly before the Second Advent, with emphasis on the work beginning the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844.
- The non-immortality of the soul. “These structural doctrines formed the ‘firm platform’ which, in 1858, was described by Ellen White, upon which ‘nearly all stood firm.’ (See Early Writings, p. 259). These constituted the ‘landmarks’ enumerated by Ellen White thirty years later in connection with a discussion in which some wished to include minor points that were then being considered. Note the following statement: ‘There was much talk about standing by the old landmarks. But there was evidence that they knew not what the old landmarks were . . . . They had perverted ideas of what constituted the old landmarks [or the pillar doctrines of ‘present truth’]. The passing of time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, also the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, ‘The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.’ One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people, in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God’s law. The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks.” Ibid, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 30, 31.” (Arthur L. White, Spirit of Prophecy Treasure Chest, pp. 122, 123.
(To be continued next week, God willing)