Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SST #7 | Lord of Jews and Gentiles | 1888 Most Precious Message

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Matthew

Lesson 7: "Lord of Jews and Gentiles"

Millions of Seventh-day Adventists around the world are studying about how an unknown little boy and the disciples fed 5,000-plus Jews and 4,000 Gentiles "bread." You say, I thought it was Jesus who fed the multitudes "bread." Yes, but He couldn't have done it without their help.
Creation ex nihilo ended on the seventh-day in the Beginning. If Jesus couldn't make bread out of stones to relieve His hunger in the wilderness, neither could He make bread out of nothing to feed the thousands.
The rules of the great controversy require that His faith be rewarded by the responsiveness and cooperation of those who believe in Him. His ministry of agape will succeed by eliciting unselfish service from formerly self-centered sinners turned disciples. Thus Satan's accusation that it is impossible for sinners alienated from God to render compassion and love for one's neighbor, which is required by the law of God, is proven false. Grace changes human hearts.
Jesus told the disciples, "give ye them [the Jews] to eat" (Matt. 14:16). Andrew found an unknown boy who was willing to give his lunch consisting of five barley loaves and two fishes to Jesus (John 6:8-9). That showed a commendable denial of self for a hungry boy, didn't it? Was he motivated by the love of Christ?
Jesus accepted the little boy's sacrifice, thanked His Father for the pitiful little gift in His hands, prayed for His blessing upon it (John 6:11). Think of it, thanking God for a totally inadequate supply of necessary food!
Then He broke the bread, gave it to each of the disciples and as He kept on giving, the bread kept on multiplying in His hands as they went—never a great pile of it all at once, only moment by moment as the need became apparent. Thus the 5000-plus Jews were fed bread.
In the case of the "four thousand" Gentiles (Matt. 15:38, 32), when He expressed His compassion on the people being so hungry that they might collapse on their journeys home, He first asked the disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" (Matt. 15:34). Apparently they scurried off to inquire and came back, "Seven, and a few little fish." Very well, now He can do something; "He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to the disciples [He needs them to be the waiters!] and the disciples gave to the multitude" (Matt. 15:36). [1]
As the Son of God, Jesus was Spirit-filled from His birth. Surely He must have been the living embodiment of the three angels' message. How? He spoke and lived the everlasting gospel. His life was a constant call for individuals to repent and come out of the world and be separated unto God.
After thirty years of common labor in obscurity, Jesus—the Son of man—was led of the Spirit into the experience of conversion. [2]
Jesus as the Representative sin-bearer had our sin removed and the replacement was the baptism of the Holy Spirit—the latter rain. "He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him" (Matt. 3:16). Jesus was anointed as God's Apostle [sent one] to "lighten the earth with His glory" (Rev. 18:1). He bore witness to the loving character of God, which seeks and saves the lost. God does not condemn the sinner, but rather convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment—a genuine ministry of comfort to the "poor."
At His inaugural sermon in the synagogue on Sabbath morning Jesus used as His text Isaiah 61:1-3. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings. ... that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." And the message to the highways and hedges, and in the streets and lanes of the city, is emphatically carrying the gospel to the poor.
This message and work of Jesus was the fourth angel combined with the third angel's message. He taught the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He ministered the forgiveness of sins and imparted the power for a restored life to God. Christ declares that "the bread that I will give is my flesh, ... I will give for the life of the world." [3] Thus we "have no life" except what is purchased by His "flesh" and "blood" (John 6:51, 53).
Jesus gave "bread" to the Jewish multitudes, which included the common folk and leaders of the church, thus calling upon all to a corporate repentance. But the leaders rejected Jesus, the true Bread.
He gave the bread to all including the imperceptive rabble crowd who saw him as the long-looked-for Deliverer and led a populist movement to crown Him. Even the Twelve were caught up in the moment. It was for this reason that Jesus sent them away out onto the lake in a boat, and He stayed behind to disperse the multitudes (Matt. 14:22).
Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to raise up the Great Second Advent Movement. Jesus baptized this movement with the Holy Spirit. Individually we may experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit and His continual infilling all along the journey. But it is also true of us as a people that we must together experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit—the latter rain.
This is what is predicted. "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power [baptism of the Holy Spirit]; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice [the loud cry]" (Rev. 18:1).
Another angel takes us back to Revelation 14, to those three angels who have been doing a wonderful work since 1831 when William Miller gave his first Bible study on the prophecies, 185 years ago.
The Lord Jesus sent us "Bread," the beginning of the latter rain, in 1888 through His messengers A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. [4] Jesus is "Bread" for the "life of the world" (John 6:33)—Jew and Gentile. [5] Justification, forgiveness of sins, is given to all at God's initiative. To all who eat/receive this "Bread" Jesus reconciles the sin-hardened heart to God; and one cannot be reconciled to God and not be reconciled to His commandments. Thus the "Bread" is justification by faith consistent with the unique Adventist idea of the cleansing of the sanctuary truth.
Shall "we" recover in our history the unique 1888 idea of "Bread" and give it to the world? Jesus needs "waiters" in order for Him to win the great controversy.
Paul E. Penno
[1] "The food multiplied in His hands; and the hands of the disciples, reaching out to Christ Himself the Bread of Life, were never empty. The little store was sufficient for all" (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 369, 370).
[2] "After Christ had taken the necessary steps in repentance, conversion, and faith in behalf of the human race, he went to John to be baptized of him in Jordan" (Ellen G. White, The General Conference Bulletin, April 4, 1901, p. 36).
[3] The Greek word means the entire human race and the planet. We maintain that the "bread" is justification of life, which Jesus gave to all, Jew and Gentile. In reference to the "bread" the inspired pen writes, "He desires us to recognize Him in His gifts, that they may be, as He intended, a blessing to us. It was to accomplish this purpose that the miracles of Christ were performed. ... Nothing was to be lost. ... Not one word that concerned their eternal salvation was to fall useless to the ground" (The Desire of Ages, p. 368).
[4] "The Lord's message through Brethren [E. J.] Waggoner and [A. T.] Jones," "the light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren [and] has been in a great degree kept away from the world" (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 234).
[5] John 6:33-35 is not quoted in the lesson with respect to feeding the Jews and Gentiles. Thus one searches in vain for the unique idea of the 1888 message. God gives Jesus, the Bread of life, for the justification of the world.

SST #7 | Lord of Jews and Gentiles | 1888 Most Precious Message