3. Restorers of Paths to Dwell in
By John Thiel, Restoration of the Marriage Institution Seminar, Study 3, mp3
We live so very close to the coming of Jesus. It is just around the corner. The experience of God’s faithful people living in these very last days is here identified, they are approved of God.
Isaiah 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places:thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 13 If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father:for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The most focused Scripture we are looking at is verse 12 where is says ‘they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places. Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations.’
When you read these Scriptures it doesn’t spell out specifically that it is for the people in the last days, however if you connect these Scriptures with Acts 3, then you will identify indeed that it belongs to the people in the last days. To be of the Lord in this time is what this text depicts. There are a people who have achieved that.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the Presence of the Lord; 20 And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
The people, the reformers, who are to restore the old path to dwell in, are living in the time of the end to restore all things and then Jesus can come. Acts 3 speaks in support of Isaiah 58. In verse 19 of Acts 3 it says to be of these people we are to repent and be converted that our sins may be blotted out when the times of the refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Just prior to Jesus coming is the refreshing which is the latter rain. This can only take place in the lives of the people who are the restorers who are repenting and whose sins are blotted out. The restitution of all things takes place before Jesus Second Advent. The preparation for Jesus First Advent has its counterpart for the preparation for Jesus Second Advent which is outlined in the Scripture and shows us the connection.
Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The message of Elijah and the restoration by him is before the great day of the Lord’s coming. Jesus made direct reference to this.
John the Baptist
Matthew 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was to restore all things in the preparation of the first coming of Jesus and then there is a direct parallel for the second coming of Jesus. God’s people who live in the last days have to do the same work of restoring all things before Jesus comes again. What principles did John the Baptist restore? He preached the restoration of the divine institutions including the marriage institution. He pointed out to Herod that he was married to a divorcee. Interesting point. His simple dress and health reform are a message for us. This is the characteristics of God’s people who will uphold the institutions of the past and restore them. In this statement reference is made to Isaiah 58;
Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel’s message, those who avow themselves God’s commandment- keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations. 4 Bible Commentary 1151
They are identified by God to be Reformers and restorers of path’s to dwell in. As we study the bible in these last days and see so many confusions of doctrines, we must understand the processes so we can intelligently cooperate with them. In this scripture we see the actual engagement that connects the Isaiah 58 people with the central theme of the gospel. Here we have a company who make an experience with Jesus.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Legal religion binds us in bondage.
Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
If you are really in the gospel religion and one ray of light strikes you, what will you be doing? You will be mourning, you will be in heaviness.
Isaiah 61:3 that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.
What will these people do who are addressed here? They shall build.
Isaiah 61:4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
In Isaiah 58 it says they that shall be of thee. Who will be the people that are of Him? Here they are. A people that have been taken through the gospel exercises that are lamenting and mourning over their sinful condition and Jesus in His wonderful love reaches to them and changes them step by step. As He changes them, they build the old waste places. They shall raise up the former desolations. They are the repairers of the waste places. Here is the study of being part of this company. Their own life is in connection with Jesus doing this work as seen in verses 1-3. The Words of Jesus link beautifully into this picture. He shows us what is involved here to be meek and brokenhearted, those who were under the captivity of their weakness and sin.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
Jesus places Himself under His Father.
John 15:2 Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away:and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
Are you getting the picture? As the people try to change, they can’t. Only when they are in Christ.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches:He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:for without Me ye can do nothing.
What a beautiful story. The Pharisee thinks he can do it. Here are a people that are approved of God, a people who are depending on bearing fruit through Christ. Without Him we can do nothing. This connection as it was depicted in Isaiah 61 where it speaks of a people who are bound, who are captives and He is releasing them to be in them and they in Him, a twofold connection. This is beautifully delineated on Jesus part.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.
Here we see how Jesus is partaking of the same flesh and blood so that He can embrace us in our flesh and blood so that we are in Him and He in us. What is our part to be in Him?
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death:that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:
This is what baptism is all about. As Jesus became one with us we can become one with Him at the point of His death. There we become part of Him. If we will die with Him, we will rise with Him. This is where God’s people are connected with Jesus in the terrible sufferings of His death. When the law of God, one ray of His glory shines upon me it shows up all my defects. The apostle Paul says, “I was alive without the law ones, but when the law came, sin revived and I died.” Finished – death.
Why did Jesus die? Because we need to die when the law shows up our misery. Jesus came and touched us as it says in Isaiah 61 that I would give them a beautiful privilege, going through that experience and coming through successfully. They are a people who are in connection with Him.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ:nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
I in Him and He in me. This is the connecting link. And the life which I now live, I live by my faith? No, by the faith of the Son of God. Not the faith in, but the faith of. This is what Jesus has established in the gospel and the people who live in Christ by dying with Him and raising up with Him into new life are the people who live by the faith of Christ.
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
This is the hidden Manna. Repent and be converted as we read in Acts to restore all things. It is a deliberate harmonious interactivity to be part of such a people who are restorers of path to dwell in. Why are they restorers of paths to dwell in? Because in themselves they are connecting with Jesus and engage in the purification as it says That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. This experience from John through Hebrews, through Romans, through Galatians and Colossians is declared under inspiration as a rare experience today.
The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the Churches. 6 Bible Commentary 1075
She wrote that in 1897. If that was a rare experience at that time, what is it today? Have you got Church perplexities? Wherever you look there are Church perplexities. Why? Because the real thing that I have just delineated is so rare. Why is it so rare?
Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ. 6 Bible Commentary 1075
That is a serious situation today. That is why the Churches are full of trouble because people are still exerting self. If a person is truly dead he doesn’t feel. Do you squeal when someone hurts you emotionally? That means you are not dead. This is exactly what Sister White writes. A dead person can’t feel anything. The real thing of death at baptism is a rare thing. Self did not die, they were buried alive. That is why in preparation for baptism there is a careful examination of what I am actually doing. Am I really dying, really resigning? Am I giving up everything I know and everything I don’t know, as A T Jones describes it? So it doesn’t matter if I fall into the bottom of the sea tomorrow it is all surrendered. Is this your heart’s reality?
Every individual, by his own act, either puts Christ from him by refusing to cherish His Spirit and follow His example, or he enters into a personal union with Christ by self-renunciation, faith, and obedience. We must, each for himself, choose Christ, because He has first chosen us. This union with Christ is to be formed by those who are naturally at enmity with Him. It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud heart. This is close work, and many who profess to be followers of Christ know nothing of it. They nominally accept the Saviour, but not as the sole ruler of their hearts. The Faith I Live By 135
Is that easy? Many who profess to be followers of Christ know nothing of what I just explained. Examine with me what that would mean on the subject of marriage. If the people do not know this experience, how will their marriage go? We’ll explore it in this Seminar. The fact is it speaks very clearly already. If in today’s society the Christians don’t even know what it means to be really in Christ Jesus we would expect marital dilemmas.
Isn’t that exactly what we see today? Not only is there 51% divorces but a large number of them who did not divorce are living a dead marital state. Consequently the Churches do not comprise that company. We know just by reasoning from text to text. Where do we stand? The Churches do not comprise such a company because they do not understand that subject.
Isaiah 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Very soon it is going to be that way. Sodom and Gomorrah is going to take place. It’s just not far away. But at the present time there is still a very small remnant. That’s why it hasn’t happened yet. Here is the description of a once faithful Church – a virgin that has fallen.
Amos 5:2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise:she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
A very small remnant in Jeremiah 3 of only one in a city and two in a family will be left.
The Remnant of Her Seed
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Not the remnant of her, but the remnant of her seed. Here it speaks of those who follow what the testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of Prophecy is all about. You get the complete picture of a small company of people who are reformers and restorers of path to dwell in because they are the few who die with Jesus and rise again with Him. They are in Christ repenting and recognizing their deplorable condition and letting the Lord take them up the scale. This little remnant and their experience who live just before the coming of Jesus is described in God’s Word.
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send My Messenger, and He shall prepare the way before Me:and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in:behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Here it speaks of purging as we read in John 15.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Every branch in Me points us to Revelation.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.
God produces a people who will have the righteousness of God. As you embrace that you begin to appreciate that indeed there are a people who are restorers of the paths to dwell in while they themselves are being restored. They are being purged. Their experience is like sitting in the fire so that the gold is absolutely purified.
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried:they shall call on My name, and I will hear them:I will say, It is My people:and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
I love that picture. By comparing these scriptures one with another, what picture are we picking up? The restorers of the path to dwell in are being thoroughly purged with fire. They are the little majority, the little small remnant, the city that came with a thousand but leaving only a hundred. The city that came out with a hundred leaving only ten. The one in the city, and two in a family. This small company that is being thoroughly burnished and purified. They are the restorers of path to dwell in.
Zephaniah 3:12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth:for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
This is the picture. Those branches in Me as Jesus said, the people who have known the experience of death and resurrection with Jesus are now branches in Him and He is in them. In that experience they are doing the suffering together with Jesus and as they suffer with Him they are purged.
Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. In every affliction God has a purpose to work out for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon earth and fastens our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. My Life Today 93
As you go through these terrible circumstances, you think oh, I don’t love this world anymore! Isn’t this a horrible place to live in and being involved in all these things and you want to flee into the arms of the Lord. Praise the Lord for the affliction. Praise the Lord for the blow that destroys my idol, for the providence that weakens my hold on the earth.
The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” We should receive with gratitude whatever will quicken the conscience, elevate the thoughts, and ennoble the life. The fruitless branches are cut off and cast into the fire. Let us be thankful that through painful pruning we may retain a connection with the living Vine; My Life Today 93
If I am a fruitless branch I am being cut off. People are being cut off, thrown out but if we are still in it. Thank God that the painful pruning still reveals that I am still connected with the living vine.
….for if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. The very trial that taxes our faith the most severely and makes it seem as though God had forsaken us is to lead us more closely to Him. My Life Today 93
Wasn’t Jesus seemingly forsaken by His Father and what did it do for Him? It drove Him closer to His Father until He said: ‘Father into Your Hands I commend My Spirit.’ He died and He wants us to do exactly the same. Instead of saying God has forsaken me I may as well give up, no, I am suffering with Him.
The very trial that taxes our faith the most severely and makes it seem as though God had forsaken us is to lead us more closely to Him, that we may lay all our burdens at the feet of Christ and experience the peace which He will give us in exchange. . . . God loves and cares for the feeblest of His creatures, and we cannot dishonor Him more than by doubting His love to us. O let us cultivate that living faith that will trust Him in the hour of darkness and trial! My Life Today 93
That hour of darkness and trial Jesus Christ Himself experienced with us. I in them, and will we let Him stay in us to purge us is the challenge. It is these people who go through all this heaviness and brokenness at the cross and that carry the cross daily and see their true condition and keep on looking so that they can be purified; it is these people that are the restorers of the paths to dwell in.
He will turn their heaviness into joy. They will convey the true principles of restoration for they are restoring the image of Christ in themselves. Now take that into a marriage situation. Those of you who are married know what it is like, it is not easy. When the love, that is meant to exist in a marriage is so severely tested, if I am going through the tests willingly and permit God to purge me individually from my un-Christ like attitudes, then I am a restorer of the marriage institution. Can you see that? But if I don’t do that then I am not a restorer of the marriage institution. I am going just the rest of the way in misery in the marriage. Not only in the marriage but also in God’s Church. As it is in the home so it is in the Church. This is also written. Jesus is waiting that these people are restored in Him and with Him in everything.
Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. Christ’s Object Lessons 69.1
They are the restorers of paths to dwell in for they are in Christ and are being purged. When they have fully restored all things then Christ can come. It is self- evident. This is the picture that is the framework that lies behind every aspect of what the people of God are restoring. The activity with what they are occupying their mind with in the time of the 3-angels message, in the time of Jesus ministering in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, the work that they are doing is clearly outlined;
God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Christ declares to His followers:”Ye are the light of the world.” To every soul that accepts Jesus the cross of Calvary speaks:”Behold the worth of the soul:’Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'” Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which He made for their redemption, will actuate all His followers. 5Testimonies 455/456
In this work of purifying their own lives because they are in Christ being prepared to go through this dreadful purging experience, they are going out in the love of Jesus and occupying themselves with this grand work by affecting their own lives and the lives of others. Nothing is permitted to hinder this work. Think about it in reference to the marriage institution.
Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the Word of truth. The subject of the Sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days. Great Controversy 488
If you open your mind to this picture, how do you feel about arguing the divorce and remarriage question? Does it carry much weight? We’ll see how well it exists as we keep on going. But I am just showing you this framework when our focus is so intently on purifying our lives so we will be ready for Jesus to come and we restore every faulty characteristic and every idol as we go through these purging experiences. We are concentrating in letting God purify us personally and individually as then we wouldn’t even think of divorcing anybody in the first place. In reference of this how can one even think wanting to remarry somebody after they have been divorced? Can you see the picture? It completely clarifies things. It actually tells us this in the Bible.
1.Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short:it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it:for the fashion of this world passeth away.
In our last study we saw that marriage passes away on earth. There is no sexuality in heaven. As we know of the shortness of time in which we are living, this whole subject of marriage carries a total different message in it than what people appreciate it to be. Yes, marriage is precious and we will study the true institution of marriage and we will see it in its beauty.
However only if we are in Jesus is it like that. Those who don’t want to be in Jesus and separate from us, that’s the way it is going to be. Those that are left in the little remnant, are they occupied with the desire of remarrying again? Or are they occupied with purifying their lives? Think about that – be as though they had none. If one runs away from you, are you going to try to get another one if you are already as though that had none? It is self-evident. So it is so close to the coming of Jesus. This is the mind occupation.
In this age of the world, as the scenes of earth’s history are soon to close and we are about to enter upon the time of trouble such as never was, the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women. 5 Testimonies 366
If she wrote this then where are we situated today? As we are on the brink going through traumatic experiences following this company, why should we be occupied with this question of divorce of remarriage? Nothing must interfere with our purification.
But very few of those who have received the light are doing the work entrusted to their hands. There are a few men of unswerving fidelity who do not study ease, convenience, or life itself, who push their way wherever they can find an opening to press the light of truth and vindicate the holy law of God. But the sins that control the world have come into the churches, and into the hearts of those who claim to be God’s peculiar people. Many who have received the light exert an influence to quiet the fears of worldlings and formal professors. There are lovers of the world even among those who profess to be waiting for the Lord. There is ambition for riches and honor. Christ describes this class when He declares that the day of God is to come as a snare upon all that dwell upon the earth. This world is their home. They make it their business to secure earthly treasures. They erect costly dwellings and furnish them with every good thing. 5 Testimonies 456
They indulge themselves in the marriage question as they did in the times of Noah before the flood – marriage and giving in marriage and when Jesus comes they are not ready.
They find pleasure in dress and the indulgence of appetite. The things of the world are their idols. These interpose between the soul and Christ, and the solemn and awful realities that are crowding upon us are but dimly seen and faintly realized. 5 Testimonies 456
The branch that is in Christ is interposed by these things and it falls off as dry and barren. For those who understand what this company is all about, are to understand the issues at stake that are laid them out before them. They know the calling of the Lord upon them. They are the people who are of the Lord and are restoring and He calls upon them to do it.
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
The credentials of God’s Church is His glory, His love. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples because you are closely wrapped up with Me and you are the branches that are being purged and the glory and love of God depicts you, this company that chooses to press together under this message as totally different to the rest of the world around them. Those out there are in darkness, they quibble about their doctrines, they quibble about the things they can and can’t do legalistically. While they are all occupied doing that in their darkness here is a people that are standing out. They are described in the book of Daniel.
Arise and Shine
Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
They are turning to righteousness, because they are not legalistic, they are uplifting the righteousness of God, they are shining brightly.
Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly:and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
This is the purpose of this Seminar, to be an understanding people. We are to look at it not merely as a legalistic exercise but to understand the entire framework. If you can understand then God calls for you to enter this company and engage in the restoration of all things. That is the work. That is the picture. May God help us to be restorers of paths to dwell in.
Further reading: http://sabbathsermons.com/category/marriage-2/