15. Eyes to Heaven

By John Thiel, Lessons from the Life of Nebuchadnezzar Conference, Audio: mp3

Our convention has played out before us in a very living picture the operation of God upon a soul whom He took from the quarry of the world, a rough stone, until he came forth beautifully purified. The lesson is for us to understand what God wants to do with every one of us. As it was with Nebuchadnezzar:

Even so, the mighty cleaver of truth has taken out a people from the quarry of the world and is fitting this people, who profess to be the children of God, for a place in His heavenly temple. We want the cleaver of truth to do its work for us. {3MR 231.4}

Do you know what a cleaver is? If you buy a knife set, one of them is a cleaver – a lengthy block of metal very sharp, with which you chop and separate flesh from bone, if you are a butcher, and whatever is needed: that is the instrument that cleaves, that separates. The truth is a cleaver, and the cleaver of truth is to do its work for us.

We are taken from the quarry of the world. The material must not be a dead substance but living souls, and these souls must be brought out of the quarry of the world, where the hand of God can fit them for the temple in heaven. We are here as probationers, and we must pass under the hand of God. {3MR 231.4}

You want to really appreciate what this is saying. “We must pass under the hand of God.” What is the meaning of this?

All rough edges and rough surfaces must be removed {3MR 231.4}

Are there still some rough edges in our personality? They must be removed. All rough edges and rough surfaces must be removed;

…and we must be stones fitted for the building. We are brought into church capacity with defects of character, {3MR 231.4}

When you discover your defects of character in the church, or the defects of character of others in the church, don’t become discouraged; don’t become judgmental. Criticism is not part of God’s plan. In the church are people who have been quarried from the world and have rough edges.

We are brought into church capacity with defects of character, but we must not retain them. We must be fitted and squared for the building. We must be “laborers together with God,” for we are “God’s husbandry,” we are “God’s building.” In view of this we must see that our temple is not defiled with sin. We should be lively stones, not dead ones, but live ones that will reflect the image of Christ. We must be worshipers in spirit and in truth. {3MR 231.4}

A lot of people, when they join the church, don’t realise that this is what it is about. They come with their rough surface and character defects, and they think that, Jesus loves me, I am justified; everything is wonderful, praise the Lord! Then when certain things happen, they say, This shouldn’t be happening to us. But we are under the hand of God, and those defects of character, those faulty practices, as with Nebuchadnezzar and his idolatry, must be removed. We have discovered in the study of this man that we also have idols of self, the natural heart, and an unwillingness to submit exactly to what God says. Nebuchadnezzar was taken from the quarry, and he was taken right through until finally it all changed, over repeated exercises. This is a lesson from Nebuchadnezzar for us today. Our study of Nebuchadnezzar has brought us to the point of his demented state; and, as we have seen, dementia comes as a result of the conflict between the Spirit and the flesh. Nebuchadnezzar kept on resisting inside of himself, while at the same time giving God the glory; and it went back and forth, until finally for seven years he was in that demented state.

If the story had stopped here, we may all conclude as many infidels in the world conclude, that which described here:

Infidels have made the most of these unfortunate cases, attributing insanity to religion; {5T 443.4}

If Nebuchadnezzar, under God’s instruction, would have remained insane, then we would have also concluded that religion does make people insane. But because there is a battle between the Spirit and the flesh in us; because God works upon us through His Spirit, and our flesh fights against that, and it goes to and fro, up and down, yo-yoing in our experience, there comes a point in time to the genuine, intense Christian, where it drives him into a state bordering on dementia. And if people don’t have the answers that come from our story here, they end up in dementia.

The onlooker, the infidel, says, “See? Religion makes you demented.”

…but this is a gross libel and one which they will not be pleased to meet by and by. {5T 443.4}

If Nebuchadnezzar would have stayed in his mad state, then we would say, It happens to me too; I will go insane if I stay in this back and forth experience. But let us consider this. What was it that caused Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity? Was it religion? What is it that causes mental confusion in professed Christians?

Christ longs to give those who do not understand him, correct views of his character, to set them right, to take away their burden of sin and resistance, and give them rest. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

That is the religion of Christ. He longs to give them a correct understanding of Himself. There are many Christians today who do not have a correct understanding of Him. We have seen this through our conference. Have we had a few incorrect understandings of Him? We have learned something of God: God is not the God that we thought He was; and the religion that we have been practising hasn’t been perfect at all. The true understanding of God does not make a man insane.

The divine Comforter is full of pity, sympathy, and love, and seeks to woo them to God. He seeks to direct their attention to Christ as he really is, full of mercy, compassion, and pardoning love, willing to forgive their transgression and sin, when they repent and seek him for forgiveness. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

Our attention is not directed to Christ as we think He is, but as He really is. In Alcoholics Anonymous they say to their people, You worship God as you know Him. But if we come to know God as we know Him, we are still off the mark. We have to know Jesus as He really is. Jesus is trying to help us see that He is a forgiving, compassionate, pardoning, loving God, willing to forgive our transgressions and sins, when we repent and seek Him for forgiveness;

But Satan interposes his hellish shadow between Christ and the soul. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

Why did Nebuchadnezzar go insane? Why do people go into confusion?

The sinner sees not Jesus, but fastens his gaze upon the cloud of darkness, and desires not the Lord of life and glory. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

Haven’t you done that sometimes? Haven’t we sometimes had to say, Where are you looking? We look at the darkness around us instead of Jesus. We look at the negatives around us; we look at people’s faults. But what are we doing? When we start to criticise, and note the faults of others, we depart from Jesus. That work comes from Satan. He interposes so that our attention is taken from Jesus to the snakes. Remember the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. They looked at the snakes when they were told to look at the serpent on the pole. That is exactly what Satan makes us do. We pay attention to the darkness that Satan is throwing upon our path. What happens when Jesus comes with His directions into our life? We desire not the Lord of life and glory; because the Lord of life and glory is put in a false light by Satan.

He does not realize that Jesus alone can give him peace and rest, and quiet the tempest that Satan has created in the human soul, and so he does not come unto him. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

The tempest that Satan has created in the human soul – Why did Nebuchadnezzar go insane? Because he was permitting Satan to create a tempest in his soul. That is why he went insane. God had given him all the evidences. After the first dream was explained he fell down and worshipped Him. When the fiery furnace situation took place and he was insane in anger because these young men would not bow to the image, and he threw them into the fiery furnace, his whole character changed for that time, because he saw the amazing interposition, and he worshipped God again, and commanded everybody to recognise the God of the Hebrews. God touched his soul, and Nebuchadnezzar wanted Him, but Satan interposed his darkness. As Satan interposed his darkness, Nebuchadnezzar went back to his idolatrous behaviour and his human pride. This is what Satan does with every human being; and if there is anybody that is going to go insane, it is not because of religion, it is not because of Jesus; it is because Satan has interposed.

Under the dark cloud of impenitence, sinners are in a state of insanity. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

What is the state of insanity? It is the tempest that Satan has created. The dark cloud of impenitence is revealed when God shines a light across our path and we receive it gladly, but then we become impenitent. That is what creates insanity.

They will not listen to reason, and Jesus, their best Friend, is accounted as an enemy, and those who believe in him are also placed in the same light. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

In Jacob’s trouble, when the angel touched Jacob, who did he think it was? He thought it was an enemy. Nebuchadnezzar was troubled, here was God, and he had worshipped Him although it cut right across his path, but he also was resisting. He kept on resisting while at the same time acknowledging God. It is weird. This is the weirdness that Satan puts across our experience with our natural heart – we regard God as an enemy. For seven years Nebuchadnezzar was in that state, tossed to and fro in his mind, suffering from dementia. But there was an insanity with hope because he still had within his mind the memories of the experiences of God, however there was the other part in him that was fighting it, and he was going insane.

Such is the power of the deceiver, who whispers his suggestions in the ear of the unbeliever, that Paul asks, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

He wrote that to the Galatians. They had become bewitched; they had become legalists.

Truth has everything commendable in it, yet many are making the sad mistake of rejecting the truth, which would bring to them peace, rest, and salvation. The Holy Spirit comes early and often with the message of salvation to the impenitent heart, only to be rejected. {ST, November 26, 1894 par. 3}

That happened in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. At first he accepted, then he rejected; then he accepted again, and then he rejected. What a state of madness. It took him right to the point when God gave him the second dream, and after he explained the dream to Nebuchadnezzar Daniel counselled him, and said, Don’t let this happen to you, but break off your iniquities by righteousness. He appealed to him. But after twelve more months, Nebuchadnezzar even ridiculed the convictions he had had of that dream. This is the impenitence that is generated by Satan by his whispering to men. Nebuchadnezzar’s astrologers and wise men also whispered to him. At first he was going to kill them, but afterwards, when they whispered to him, he was side-tracked again. This is the cloud that comes between the true religion and the soul. And Jesus is trying so hard to give us the correct view of Himself.

When finally Nebuchadnezzar came to that state of insanity when he said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” the word came from the watcher, telling him, Now is your time. The dream he had had came flashing into his mind, and the contrast between Satan’s shadow and the power that he had been convicted of before, drove him into that insanity.

But God continued working upon his insane mind until the time came. When the explanation was given to him it was the same words that had already been laid out before his mind:

Daniel 4:25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will

Until you know – God worked upon his mind, even in his insanity. Insanity is not blotto in your mind: you are constantly going back and forth, and you can’t control your mind anymore. God kept on coming to him with the memory of right, and his resistance kept on disturbing it, and it went back and forth until:

Daniel 4:34 …at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:

Nebuchadnezzar remained in a condition of insanity; his mind went back and forth so that it couldn’t control itself to come into any reasonable stability, until in his demented state he did what the demoniacs did – they saw Christ, and looked upon Him, and they went to worship Him. When Nebuchadnezzar in his demented state decided to look up to heaven, then his insanity was reversed; then the religion of Christ came to its full light.

The religion of Christ, so far from being the cause of insanity, is one of its most effectual remedies; for it is a potent soother of the nerves. {5T 443.4}

Insanity happens when we wear our nerves on the outside. But when we look at Jesus correctly and we appreciate what He is trying to show us as to who He really is, then “the religion of Christ, so far from being the cause of insanity, is one of its most effectual remedies; for it,” that religion of Jesus, the true inroads of His amazing goodness and love, “is a potent soother of the nerves.” I stand here to testify of that. I know it to be true. When my nerves, which are an inheritance I have received from my forbearers, want to take their course, I embrace the beauty of the atonement of Jesus, and it soothes every troublous mind; every nerve is soothed. That is the true religion of Jesus.

What is it that we suffer under when we are only half-converted? Christians in half-conversion are liable to insanity because in their half-converted state the natural heart is permitted to interfere with the Spirit of God working there. This is what we see played out in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience. But after forty-three-odd years from the time that he met Daniel and his friends to the time where for seven years he was in utter madness, at the end of those years the precious conclusion that we want understand and embrace took place. What happened when he lifted up his eyes to heaven?

In Daniel’s life, the desire to glorify God was the most powerful of all motives. … And his constant recognition of the God of heaven before kings, princes, and statesmen, detracted not one iota from his influence. King Nebuchadnezzar, before whom Daniel so often honored the name of God, was finally thoroughly converted, {4BC 1170.5}

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the most glorious world empire that ever existed, was finally thoroughly converted. That is what thrills my soul when I study what God has done through his life.

…and learned to “praise and extol and honour the King of heaven” (RH Jan. 11, 1906). {4BC 1170.5}

He learned it through those forty three years, seven of which was insanity. In that insanity he finally learned, and became thoroughly converted.

The once proud monarch had become a humble child of God; the tyrannical, overbearing ruler, a wise and compassionate king. {PK 521.2} 

Whereas before he was ending up in cruelty, now, after those seven years, he became a wise and compassionate king, a humble child of God.

He who had defied and blasphemed the God of heaven, now acknowledged the power of the Most High and earnestly sought to promote the fear of Jehovah and the happiness of his subjects. {PK 521.2} 

He didn’t do any more forceful things; he just sought to create the happiness of his subjects.

Under the rebuke of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Nebuchadnezzar had learned at last the lesson which all rulers need to learn–that true greatness consists in true goodness. He acknowledged Jehovah as the living God, saying, “I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” {PK 521.2} 

That was his experience. He was abased because he walked in pride, but he was converted. There lies a wonderful interactivity, which we need to really to take to heart.

As we gaze upon this conversion and what happened in consequence of all those years of to’s and fro’s, and his mind finally going into that insanity of to’s and fro’s in his brain, now when he looked up to heaven, this is what happened:

The chastening that came upon the king of Babylon wrought reformation in his heart, and transformed him in character. He now understands God’s purpose in humiliating him. In this chastisement he recognizes the divine hand. {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 3}

Like Jacob did when he was fighting, It is the divine hand! I will not let you go unless you bless me. So it was when Nebuchadnezzar looked up to heaven. He recognised that his chastisement was the divine hand.

Before his humiliation he was tyrannical in his dealings with others, but now the fierce, over-bearing monarch is changed into a wise and compassionate ruler. Before his humiliation he defied and blasphemed the God of heaven, but now he humbly acknowledges the power of the Most High, and earnestly seeks to promote the happiness of his subjects. {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 3}

What a different thing. No more overbearing pressure upon the people around him, but, like a humbled child of God, promoting the happiness of his subjects.

At last, under the rebuke of God, the king had learned the lesson which all kings and rulers need to learn, {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 4}

And so it must be with us. It must come to a point where at last we come to a complete and thorough conversion, so that we are no longer rough and ugly in our character. This is the lesson which we all need to learn. That is what the whole study of our conference has been about.

Thus the king upon the Babylonian throne became a witness for God, giving his testimony, warm and eloquent, from a grateful heart that was partaking of the mercy and grace, the righteousness and peace, of the divine nature. {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 5}

He, the king of Babylon, wrote a chapter of the Bible – Daniel chapter four.

God’s design that the greatest kingdom of the world should show forth his praise, was now fulfilled. {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 5}

The head of gold, not only in power as a worldly empire, but in spiritual terms. The head of gold – a witness by his life. You can imagine how the whole realm felt, their king went insane. He is out there on the fields with the animals, eating grass. And what a witness when he came back to and spoke the way he did. That is a powerful witness. Those who know us, who know what we were like, if we will permit God to polish us to such a point that we can stand before them and they can say, This is a miracle; it will be witness for God.

The public proclamation in which Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged his guilt and the great mercy of God in his restoration, is the last act of his life as recorded in Sacred History. {YI, December 13, 1904 par. 6}

I love God as to how He dealt with Nebuchadnezzar, and I love Nebuchadnezzar. I want to meet him some day. But I won’t meet him unless I follow his own lessons that he gave me.

Have we learnt the lesson individually? As a church, have we, as Adventist believers, learnt the lesson from Nebuchadnezzar that God can humble all pride? Remember, we are studying the book of Daniel in chapter four, which book was closed until the end of the world. What we are studying here is for the people who must be among the 144,000, the people who come to the end of the world. This lesson needs to be understood by everyone.

The lesson that the Lord would have all humanity learn from the experience of the king of Babylon is that all who walk in pride He is able to abase. By stern discipline Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the lesson that God, not man, is Ruler, that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. So man today must learn that God is supreme. When men gain success in the work of the Lord, it is because God has given them this success, not for their own glory, but for God’s glory. He who seeks to steal a ray of light from the glory of the Lord will find that he will be punished for his presumption. {PM 139.4}

The punishment is the same as with Nebuchadnezzar – insanity. That is what happens when self bloats itself up; it goes to all proportions, and it drives you in contrast to God’s purity and righteousness and sanity.

Let a people boast themselves in their own wisdom, let them exalt self and indulge pride, and the result will surely follow. As surely as the sun shines by day, so surely does pride go before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. {PM 140.2}

What happened to Laodicea? We are enriched, and increased with goods, and we have need of nothing. Is that pride? What happens to a church, or an individual, who begins to feel that, We have it. We are the church of God! This has rung in my ears from all denominations, “We are the church.” “We are the ones.” God is the one, and He has proven it throughout history in every succeeding generation. The moment a church became proud of its position, they fell. It then moves on to the next church.

Let a church become proud and boastful, and that church will be laid low. Let those in charge of any institution become presumptuous, taking to themselves the credit for the success that has come to them in certain lines, let them glory in their wisdom and their efficiency, and they will certainly be brought to humiliation.–Lt 114, 1903. {PM 140.2}

We can be very spiritually proud. “I have brought so many people into the church. I have done this, and I have done that.” That is surely going to crash my life down. When those kinds of things happen, as this conference has brought a deep conviction to us, and we see, I have really had some faulty characteristics inside of me; we come away from this conference with a deep conviction, but what happened when Nebuchadnezzar had a deep conviction? Did he always remember it? Can we see the danger in entering this new year after we have been so powerfully impacted by this message, that we can lose it again? We want to learn from Nebuchadnezzar that, I don’t want to get into that total insanity; I want to be able to see my way through; and the answer is found in the lessons we learn from him.

We have come to this conference, we have spent much effort, much money; what are we going to get for it? It used to impact me time and time again when I was ministering in the Reform, and in the IMS: All the money spent to go to conferences, the effort and the suffering entered into, and then the people get totally disappointed because there is no powerful, true understanding of Jesus that comes to them, and they still go home with many questions in their minds. What a waste of money. We have spent our time, money and effort here; we have received some powerful messages, strong convictions about myself. Let us not be like Nebuchadnezzar, but let us make the value of our expenses pay. Will we go back and return to our old rut, our usual way, and fall under the threat of waiting for dementia? Israel of old became demented. They never became such a powerful nation again. They deteriorated from the time of Babylon down through the time of Christ, and how demented they were then. They even crucified their own Lord and Saviour. But look at the powerful messages that were given to Israel if they would repent, and what God had in view for His church that would receive Him. Under Babylonian captivity Ezekiel wrote these words as he prophesied about what would happen to the Jews:

Ezekiel 33:27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; [As] I live, surely they that [are] in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that [is] in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that [be] in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. 29 Then shall they know that I [am] the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.

God says, This is what is going to happen. And this is indeed what happened. Then God says to Ezekiel, Look what they do to you. You are a preacher of Mine, and look what Israel does to your preaching:

Ezekiel 33:30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.

Even the people who were in captivity were still speaking against Ezekiel and Jeremiah who was left behind.

Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee [as] my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them:

Does that sound familiar today? People come and listen to the sermons, and they profess to be in love with God’s word; but when it comes to God wanting them to do, they don’t do.

Ezekiel 33:31 …for with their mouth they show much love, [but] their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou [art] unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

Just as God brought Nebuchadnezzar out of insanity, so He can also bring His people who have become insane, if they will repent and will start doing His words by turning their face to heaven. He can bring them out of insanity as well.

Ezekiel 33:28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

Israel/Judah became a desert. But what is possible to a desert experience?

Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

A desert can bud and blossom. Those of Jacob can take root.

Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, [and] the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompense; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes.

This is the possibility for people who have become like Nebuchadnezzar – insane, a desert, a hopeless case. What can happen if they will look to heaven? They can flourish just like Nebuchadnezzar did. But what shall we do that this be our reality? What was it that happened to Nebuchadnezzar internally? He looked up to heaven, and his reason returned to him, and he received again his kingdom; and the subjects were submissive to him, and he blessed them with compassion and kindness. He was thoroughly converted. What must we do?

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

“O, I am insane, I need help.” Nebuchadnezzar looked to the heavens, and there was his help.

Psalm 121:2 My help [cometh] from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

When God’s people look up in all their anxieties – and remember what they are; remember how we become anxious and we look away from Jesus and we look to the darkness around us and we become totally overwhelmed by all these horrible sensations – but when we look to heaven and trust in the God who is over all, the God that Nebuchadnezzar discovered, then there will be perfect recovery and perfect peace, as it was for him.

What is meant by this description of Psalm 121? What does it mean to look to heaven? There are two very important scriptures that give us the answer of this looking up to heaven that will make the difference. The first one can be found in Hebrews:

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] rejected, and [is] nigh unto cursing; whose end [is] to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Did God forget the labour of love of Nebuchadnezzar? Nebuchadnezzar admonished the people, God is great! and God did not forget that. Did Nebuchadnezzar minister to the saints? Daniel and his three friends, yes.

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Do we want to have that hope that we see demonstrated in Nebuchadnezzar? Look up to heaven. What does it mean? Show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.

Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

What does it mean to look to heaven? It is to diligently embrace what God is trying to do for us. That diligence is expressed again in 2 Peter. In the first chapter, the apostle Peter conveys the fact that we can be partakers of the divine nature, and then add to that faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience. All those things are things that we need to put into practice and to be diligent about; and this is what it means to look to heaven – to follow this diligently.

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.

What is present truth for us? That which was once delivered to the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That is present truth. We know today that E. G. White had written that if they would have accepted the 1888 message Jesus could have come. But she said, We have to go back into the wilderness again. Since they went back into the wilderness the great number of Adventist believers have indeed lost their direction as to what was originally taught in the Seventh-day Adventist faith. The whole book of Daniel was the truth that established them on that platform of truth, along with the book of Revelation. The book Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, is today no longer understood and believed in all its dimensions.

Today God wants His people to hold on to present truth, which is going to provide and produce the 144,000. He wants His people to hold on to the three angels’ messages in their practical reality. This is what we have been contemplating here – practical realities. It depends on us whether we will look to heaven to our Helper to sustain in today’s perilous circumstances a faith that existed among the early Adventists. Sister White identifies it – in 1905 she said: “Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years?” (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 53.2). We better study these truths diligently, because by studying them we are looking to heaven. Heaven came near and touched these people, and we want to be on their platform.

This is present truth. You know these things, but be established in the present truth. The book of Daniel is for our time, and our contemplation is for the purpose that we will learn the lessons from Nebuchadnezzar, and come through purged as gold, that we will be without fault, and be among the 144,000. It is my prayer that God will do that for us. We have learnt the ropes; we have learnt the details of the present truth in the doctrines that have been given us; but what is the truth for? That it may develop a character that will be fit for a place in the kingdom of heaven. This character is first rough, but as it is when you go to a quarry, you can recognise that there is a precious gem inside of that rock. So you take the rock, and you do what God does. What does He do? He takes off the rough; first with hammer and chisel, then He grinds it, and then He lets it rub shoulder with others. It goes round and round in the tumbler, until finally it comes out with a beautiful sheen by which you can see the character of God reflected. This is present truth.

May God help us to come away from this conference with a determination to be diligent, and remember that the truth we believe in is meant to make us sweet, loving, fragrant Christians. This is my prayer that we will not forget the impressions received here.

Amen.

Posted on May 8, 2015, in Nebuchadnezzar Life Lessons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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