The Gift of Heaven

“Jesus began with the first book written by Moses, and traced down through all the prophets the inspired proof in regard to his life, his mission, his suffering, death, and resurrection. He did not deem it necessary to work a miracle to evidence that he was the risen Redeemer of the world; but he went back to the prophecies, and gave a full and clear explanation of them to settle the question of his identity, and the fact that all which had occurred to him was foretold by the inspired writers. Jesus ever carried the minds of his hearers back to the precious mine of truth found in the Old-Testament Scriptures. The esteem in which he held those sacred records is exemplified in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, where he says, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.’ The apostles also all testify to the importance of the Old-Testament Scriptures. Peter says: ‘For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ Luke thus speaks of the prophets who predicted the coming of Christ: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people; and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.’

“It is the voice of Christ that speaks through the prophets and patriarchs, from the days of Adam even down to the closing scenes of time. This truth was not discerned by the Jews who rejected Jesus, and it is not discerned by many professing Christians today. A beautiful harmony runs through the Old and New Testaments; passages which may seem dark at a first reading, present clear interpretations when diligently studied, and compared with other scripture referring to the same subject. A careful search of the prophecies would have so enlightened the understanding of the Jews that they would have recognized Jesus as the predicted Messiah. But they had interpreted those predictions to meet their own perverted ideas and ambitious aspirations.

“The disciples had been confused by the interpretations and traditions of the priests, and hence their darkness and unbelief in regard to the trial, death, and resurrection of their Master. These misinterpreted prophecies were now made plain to the understanding of the two disciples, by Him who, through his Holy Spirit, inspired men to write them. Jesus showed his disciples that every specification of prophecy regarding Messiah had found an exact fulfillment in the life and death of their Master. He addressed them as a stranger, and as one who was astonished that they had not interpreted the Scriptures correctly, which would have relieved them from all their difficulties.

“Although Jesus had previously taught them in regard to the prophecies, yet they had been unable to entirely relinquish the idea of the temporal kingdom of Christ at his first coming. Their preconceived views led them to look upon his crucifixion as the final destruction of all their hopes. But when, in the midst of their discouragement, they were shown that the very things which had caused them to despair formed the climax of proof that their belief had been correct, their faith returned with increased strength. They now comprehended many things which their Master had said before his trial, and which they could not at that time understand. Everything was clear and plain to their minds. In the life and death of Jesus they saw the fulfillment of prophecy, and their hearts burned with love for their Saviour.

“Many professed Christians throw aside the Old Testament, and shut themselves up to the New. The cry now is, ‘Away with the law and the prophets, and give us the gospel of Christ.’ If the life of Christ and the teachings of the New-Testament Scriptures were all that was necessary to establish belief, why did not Jesus upon this occasion merely refer to the doctrines he had taught, the wisdom and purity of his character, and the miracles he had performed, as sufficient evidence of his Messiahship?

“The history of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as that of the Son of God, cannot be fully demonstrated without the evidence contained in the Old Testament. Christ is revealed in the Old Testament as clearly as in the New. The one testifies of a Saviour to come, while the other testifies of a Saviour that has come in the manner predicted by the prophets. In order to appreciate the plan of redemption, the Scripture of the Old Testament must be thoroughly understood. It is the glorified light from the prophetic past that brings out the life of Christ and the teachings of the New Testament with clearness and beauty. The miracles of Jesus are a proof of his divinity; but the strongest proofs that he is the world’s Redeemer are found in the prophecies of the Old Testament compared with the history of the New. Jesus said to the Jews ‘Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.’ At that time there was no other scripture in existence save that of the Old Testament; so the injunction of the Saviour is plain.”1

*     *     *

“Before us is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ—obedient to all the principles of the law of God. But of ourselves we are utterly powerless to attain to this condition. All that is good in human beings comes to them through Christ. The holiness that God’s Word declares we must have before we can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as we bow in submission to the discipline and restraining influence of the Spirit of truth.

“Humanity’s obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ’s righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of true obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he or she is to pray to the Savior to heal the disorders of their diseased souls. They have not the wisdom and strength without which mortals cannot overcome. These belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help. . . .

“The reason that many who once knew and loved the Savior are now in darkness, wandering far from Him, is because in self-confidence and self-sufficiency they have followed their own inclinations. They walked not in the way of the Lord—the only way of peace and happiness. By disobedience they cut themselves off from receiving His blessings, when by obedience they might have gone forward in His strength.

“The abundant evidence given by God that He desires the salvation of all will be the condemnation of those who refuse the gift of heaven. At the last great day, when all will be rewarded or punished according to their obedience or disobedience, the cross of Calvary will appear plainly before those standing before the Judge of all the earth to receive sentence for eternity. They are made capable of comprehending something of the love that God has expressed for fallen human beings. They see how greatly He has been dishonored by those who have continued in transgression, choosing sides with Satan, and showing contempt for the law of Jehovah. They see that obedience to this law would have brought them life and health, prosperity and eternal good.”2

  1. Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 208-211
  2. The Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.

Star Icon
Popular Resources