Peace In the Last Days

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway

Always. This means always, whatever the circumstances. Rejoice in the Lord. Why?

Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

Who is the Lord? The great God of the universe who is beyond all human computation, is at hand. Therefore don’t worry.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing;

Don’t worry. Do you worry? Are you anxious about this or that, or the other? Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. What should you do not to worry?

Philippians 4:6 … in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Once you have made your request known unto God, who is the great God who controls the universe, why should you worry? Why should I worry? Commit everything to God with supplication and thanksgiving. And what may be your privilege?

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A peace that passes all understanding. Of course, the God who is beyond all understanding is at hand. And to let this reality come into place in our hearts is our great need. Our present time and the days to come are of such a difficulty that if we do not have this in place we will come undone. The circumstances that are already surrounding the people of God have made them undone as it is. Those who have gone before us during the last days, ever since 1844, the majority have lost their bearings and do not know exactly where they should be. And how is the future for us? We have descriptions of the dreadful future that is still to come, let alone that which has happened in the past. The following testimony was written in the 1880’s; we are in the 21st century. What is upon us now?

We have the theory of the truth, and now we need to seek most earnestly for its sanctifying power. {5T 388.1}

We know the truth, it has been preached to us time and time again; it is in all these books, we have no question in regards to pure doctrine. What we need is its sanctifying power. We don’t need to prove it right or wrong anymore, we know it is there.

A Time of Peril

I dare not hold my peace in this time of peril. It is a time of temptation, of despondency. {5T 388.1}

Say, have you found that? Yes, severe temptations. And despondency? God’s people in despondency? Yes, we are living in a time of despondency. “I dare not hold my peace,” she said.

Everyone is beset by the wiles of Satan, and we should press together to resist his power. We should be of one mind, speaking the same things, and with one mouth glorifying God. Then may we successfully enlarge our plans and by vigilant missionary effort take advantage of every talent we can use in the various departments of the work. {5T 388.1}

That was written in the late 1880’s. “I dare not hold my peace in this time of peril.” “It is a time of temptation and despondency;” “everyone is beset by the wiles of Satan.”

The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short and that very soon every case will be decided, either for life or for death. {EW 46.1}

Do we realise? My life is being decided for life or for death, and the temptations of Satan are now greater than ever before, when that was written.

It is no time now to sink down beneath discouragement and trial; we must bear up under all our afflictions and trust wholly in the Almighty God of Jacob. The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation and through His grace come off victorious. {EW 46.1}

We are in this dreadful time that has intensified manifold from the time this statement was written. People around us are claiming to be faithful to the Lord, but are submitting to the world and its influences. What a deception Christianity is in today. They are being plugged off by Satan, and they don’t know it. You and I, are we in any less danger? How seriously we need to take hold of the realities.

Jacob’s Experience

The realities that were described by Sr. White in vision are indeed the realities of our life:

November 20, 1857, I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. Some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, were pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness were expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. {1T 179.3}

How intense an experience were they going through?

Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them. {1T 179.3}

Evil angels crowded around them, pressing their darkness upon them, to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and they distrust God and next murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. {1T 180.1}

Are we sensitive to the reality that this has been and is the predicament that we are in? You look back at your life at those times of conflict and battle that you have met, conflict and temptations that you have even failed in, and Satan comes along and says, See? you have no hope; you are totally depraved; you will not make it; your life decision has been made; you are on the wrong side. Those sorts of things came to you, as they have come to many people who have come to this message and have felt that, “This message is not of God because it gives me no hope; I am lost,” and yet these messages are rich with hope, rich with comforting truth, because, as it says, these people learnt to trust the God of the universe against all their senses. They were determining that they would not give up.

Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere from the evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them, to scatter the thick darkness. {1T 180.1}

Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these, and I saw them hastening to the assistance of those who were struggling with all their energies to resist the evil angels, and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But the angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them. {1T 180.2}

With such realities, as described here, upon us, there is yet worse to come; and Jeremiah 30:5-7 describes the intensifying conclusion – the consummation. This is an extreme experience that is yet ahead of us. We have already felt some of it. But it is going to get more intense.

Jeremiah 30:5 For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7 Alas! for that day [is] great, so that none [is] like it: it [is] even the time of Jacob’s trouble;

And here is the comfort of God’s word:

Jeremiah 30:7 … but he shall be saved out of it.

It is this last point in the scripture that we need to find our comfort in; because when we strike those times of experience that are mentioned here, Alas!, our faces go pale, great perspiration drops on the forehead; it will be so extreme that a man is experiencing the traumas of child birth. You ladies know what that is. It strikes you with an unexpected thing, doesn’t it? You think, Oh yes, it’s coming, it’s coming, and all of a sudden, Whoa! Hopeless, I can’t! How hopeless, does it feel? This is a man’s experience too. Every man holding his loins because of the agony that wipes him and strikes upon him mentally and spiritually.

How can Philippians 4:4-7 be applicable here? “Don’t worry about anything,” when there is apparently so much that strikes us that we would worry about? In Jeremiah we read, “not of peace,” and here in Philippians it says, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” The peace of God that passeth understanding will sustain us. That is what we have to understand in this scripture, Rejoice in the Lord alway, even at that time. To rejoice in the time of Jacob’s trouble; how is such a thing possible? Let us apply this.

Rejoicing in Tribulation

Jesus forewarns us:

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Try to get your head around that. Sorrow turned into joy? Rejoice always in the Lord. As God‘s people are surrounded by circumstances that cause them to weep, and to lament, Jesus says, Verily, verily, this is what is going to strike you. You shall be sorrowful and the world will rejoice. What? I am supposed to be rejoicing and I am sorrowful and the world is rejoicing? Can you understand the dilemma?

That is the experience of Psalm 73. The world is enjoying itself, and me, said David, I am punishing myself. Their eyes stand out with fatness, and I am going through this terrible time; I wonder whether I am on the right path or not. That is how serious the matter gets.

We now see that God is honestly dealing with His people, saying to them, This will be your dilemma.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

When it is written that we are to rejoice in the Lord always, it applies to the people that are actually sorrowful and weeping, and are going through extreme suffering and tribulation. And in that tribulation they can rejoice. Why? Because if I am going through this tribulation, as He has said I verily will, He has also said, In me ye might have peace. The peace that passeth understanding is found in Me, He says. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer. Rejoice that, as you are going through that, I have overcome the world. In Me you will have peace during the tribulation.

What is written about those who come to be among the 144,000 out of this period of time?

Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Tribulation, but I have overcome the world. Wash your robes. Work through this together with Me, so that you character can be made white in the blood of the Lamb.

How can we rejoice in the Lord always so that the peace of God which passes all understanding will be ours?

Romans 5:3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also:

Always, also.

Romans 5:3 …knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

What is the rejoicing? I am going through an experience. I am going through the experience of my Lord Jesus Christ, who says, I have overcome the world, trust Me. Join with Me. Let us work at it together. I am able to glory, to rejoice, in tribulation because I am going to be among that people of whom it is said, Here is the patience of the saints; because tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Blessed are they that mourn: Why? They shall be comforted. Is this directly relevant to the time of Jacob’s trouble? Is this what this rejoicing that is said to be “always” is talking about?

The Lord at Hand

But when tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob! We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. {MB 11.3}

We are struggling there; we are struggling for our life, to be able to experience the wonderful peace that we are meant to be experiencing. And here comes this blight of an experience, and we think, This is the devil! and we fight, and we are full of anxiety, and we struggle and are full of perspiration. We are struggling like Jacob did.

To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending–the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when we are rebuked of Him. {MB 11.3}

“Happy is the man whom God correcteth: . . . He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” Job 5:17-19. To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence. {MB 12.1}

What a beautiful object lesson in Jacob. He thought that an enemy was there to take his life. In the darkness he was praying, he was in touch with God, and God came to touch him, and he thought it was an enemy. What a realistic thing that is for you and me today. And unless we are really absorbing this beautiful scripture reading, when the time comes and we forget that the darkness and the trial that I am going through is actually the Lord at hand, we will not make it. But remember, everything that comes to us has come through Jesus Christ. And He will only let that come through to you and me which was designed to bring us through successfully, to overcome as Jesus overcame.

The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence. {MB 12.1}

When He revealed Himself and touched the thigh of Jacob, what did Jacob do? Oh, it’s you, O Lord! and he put his head upon His bosom and said, I will not let you go unless you bless me.

God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. {MB 12.2}

Remember the two walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus was walking with them, talking with them, and they were so besotted in their eyes with their tears that they did not recognise Him, and yet He was there to comfort them. This is our experience.

He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. {MB 12.2}

Haven’t you seen how He is doing that?

We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.  {MB 12.2}

Will you let Him? Will you let Him lift your soul into the realm of peace when the striking, horrible experiences that we are facing strike us?

As Though You Wept Not

We will be weeping while the world is rejoicing. We will be affected and we need to be able to survive through that weeping like Jacob did.

1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short:

How true that is for now? Therefore all the more reason of this:

1 Corinthians 7:29 …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.

How relevant that scripture is to us, so that although we are sorrowful,

2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;

So that as I am weeping I weep as though I wept not. O, I love that experience. When that happened to me and I didn’t really realise, I was weeping my eyes out. I was in the most horrible experience, and then came that lovely voice, “Weeping as though you wept not.” Oh, immediately the sharpness of my anguish went, and I could rejoice in the weeping. It is a weird experience, but it is true.

To know that God is at hand, therefore weeping as though you wept not, therefore rejoicing. There is the source of joy. Be of good courage, I who am there with you, who am speaking to you in the midst of your anguish and troubles, in the midst of the hopelessness that overwhelms your mind, am helping you to find mind stability in that.

You cannot produce it yourself brethren, I promise you. I have been through enough to know that I could not comfort myself at all. But it was the Lord alone, whom I love, whom I have failed miserably, who has come along and comforted me again and again not to give up, but to rise again. Let Him help me, let Him restore me, and the joy is overwhelming.

Peace in Him

John 16:33 … in me ye might have peace.

That is where your peace comes from, not from pleasant circumstances, not from any other source. If we have relied upon peace from any other source we will not survive. I strongly emphasize this: we will not survive if our peace does not come from what Jesus said, “In Me you might have peace.” The most effective source of joy in tribulation is here identified: Jesus – in Him.

The terrible struggle of Jacob’s trouble is not merely the fear of Esau, or the fear of Jezebel, or the fear of destruction, and of the terrible circumstances. That is not the prime suffering of Jacob, of you and me in these last days. What is it? It is that my sins have caused my dilemma. My sins have caused my circumstances that are so deplorable. In the midst of everything else around me I am conscious of my shocking state of condition, so that there is nothing left in me that I can boost my egocentric dependency upon, nothing.

Hezekiah was telling God what wonderful things he did for Him. That was egocentrism. And God stepped back and let him make a fool of himself; and God will let that happen to you and me if my ego is the source of my Christianity. We have to ask very carefully, How does that happen, Lord? It happens because God has so richly blessed me that I am confusing His blessings within me with myself. That is how it happens.

I can talk so wonderfully of the Lord. I can do so many wonderful things because the Lord has blessed me, and I am slipping into a sense of, I’ve got something. I’ve got something better than others. I can skite, as Hezekiah skited. And I can talk and talk and talk of the Lord, and I am talking of the Lord under my own motivation. When this strike hits I can’t talk anymore; and anything that supported me, anything that I depended upon, is gone. I have nothing left, unless I have realised that I need the Lord to survive, and that I have Him.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

What did Jesus say? “In me ye might have peace.” What is He saying and what is mentioned here? What did He go through? He went through everything that the people of Jacob’s trouble go through. Everything. All the guilt and the overwhelming tribulation that I am going through at that time is what Jesus went through. That is why He said, Be of good courage, I have overcome the world. When you are overwhelmed by absolute hopeless sensations, look at what we just read about Jesus, look at Hebrews 4:15. Remember this! It is essential to remember it when everything falls down that has been our dependency in the past.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.

Look at Him. When all the guilt of my life overwhelmed Him, and it wants to overwhelm me, In Me ye will have peace, He said. Why?

Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 

Here lies our application of “Rejoice in the Lord alway”. When everything is hopelessly crowding in upon me, it crowded in upon Jesus, and He says, In Me you can find this peace. We have the description of it and how He had to battle through that:

Someone Else’s Misery

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

This can make you rejoice in tribulation. When you are in some kind of tribulation and you see somebody beside you really struggling hard, as it says, “when you have problems, go and help someone else,” and what will it do for you? It will take your attention away from your problems and you will be able to survive.

Here is the situation: I am going through my troubles, I am going through my mind-bending, hopeless mental exercises, and there beside me is Jesus. I see Him struggling with strong crying and tears unto Him that could save Him from death. He is struggling in the days of His flesh right there beside me and I am going, Oh, my poor Jesus. The moment you do that the attention is taken from your misery, because not only is the misery that He is going through drawing your attention to someone else’s misery, but you are actually discovering the misery you have gone through in Him.

Peace, the true source of peace. In amazement I see that my horrible condition is entirely dealt with by Jesus Christ, and here is the reason for great joy. The language was so plain, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Why did he say that twice? To make you stop to think, What is he trying to get across to us? When you and I go through these horrendous experiences, remember, Rejoice alway, and again I say, Rejoice. Why Lord? Well, I can’t! and with what we have just been meditating on, this is the reason: because Jesus is right beside me. Not merely crying and yearning for God to step into His life as He was crying, but crying that the Lord would step into my life, because what we have just read from Hebrews 5 is actually couched between two expressions.

Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Then verse 10:

Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

What does this mean? As we are going through our time of severest anguish, my High Priest who is alive for evermore, after the order of Melchisedec, is still there saying, I know your tears. His tears? Your tears, that have been forced out. I know your sweat, Mine was worse, because I took yours and everyone else’s as well. Pale and quivering, lying on that wet sod, pleading with the Father in heaven. Is He still pleading with Him now? Absolutely.

And as we go through our time of anguish after the close of probation, the knowledge of God’s ever presence, even though He has finished His work in the sanctuary, is still going to sustain us, because past, present and future is all present tense in the mind that has been given you and me through the study of God’s word, the I AM mind.

Not Looking to Self

For joy in tribulation, behold Jesus. Behold the wonderful revelations of God down to the fine details that are revealed in the great everlasting covenant, and you will rejoice.

Jesus says, “Abide in Me.” These words convey the idea of rest, stability, confidence. Again He invites,”Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. The words of the psalmist express the same thought: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” And Isaiah gives the assurance, “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Psalm 37:7; Isaiah 30:15. This rest is not found in inactivity; for in the Saviour’s invitation the promise of rest is united with the call to labor: “Take My yoke upon you: . . . and ye shall find rest.” Matthew 11:29. The heart that rests most fully upon Christ will be most earnest and active in labor for Him. {SC 71.1}

When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. Hence it is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. {SC 71.2}

What will Satan do? As we go through our experience he will seek to divert our minds from Christ so that we will not survive. And how does he do it? Please, remember, because I have read this statement many times, and people keep on doing it; and then they come and go repining and whinging, Why am I going through this? Here is the answer:

The pleasures of the world, {SC 71.2}

“No, I don’t like them.”

…life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, {SC 71.2}

How many times have you centred your attention on the faults of others? That is Satan.

The pleasures of the world, life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections–to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices. Many who are really conscientious, and who desire to live for God, he too often leads to dwell upon their own faults and weaknesses, and thus by separating them from Christ he hopes to gain the victory. {SC 71.2}

Has Satan done this to you? And have you gone down under deep discouragement? Then realise that if you will keep your eyes fastened upon Jesus, away from these things, you will be able to ride above the tribulation, because, yes, the tribulation is happening, yes, the faults of others are affecting me, yes, my own faults are trying to gag me so I can’t even be happy, but while all those things are around me, I am seeing Jesus in the way we have seen Him in this meditation. He, my High Priest, experiences it all, even now.

Although it is past tense for Him, as my High Priest, as I am going through it, He knows every detail of the anguish and He is pleading with the Father, “Father, my blood! my blood!” It is the living items of Jesus that will carry us through if we will look at them, so that every time the faults of others or your own faults or the cares and perplexities of life want to occupy your mind, you know that you are going to go down with them. Every time, unfailingly, we will go down.

And if we want to stop going down, if you want to rejoice in the Lord always, then gaze livingly upon Jesus Christ. If you are getting distracted you know that is the only thing that is going to destroy you: to take your eyes off Him; and Satan is at work to do that by focusing you, your mind, my mind, on each other, on ourselves, and on our salvation, for it says:

We should not make self the center and indulge anxiety and fear as to whether we shall be saved. {SC 71.2}

Why? Doesn’t it say, Work your own salvation with fear and trembling? What does this mean? Of course, fear that you will look at yourself; that is what you must fear. When you are looking at self, Satan has got you to look at yourself and not at Christ. That is what we have to fear. But I don’t have fear, when Christ is in control of my life and I choose to look upon Him, that I am ever going to be lost. No way. Perfect peace, perfect rejoicing, always.

May God grant it to us, is my prayer.

Amen.

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Posted on September 24, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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