“THEY FEARED as they entered the cloud.”
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Peter, James and John were with the Lord on the mount of transfiguration, and saw Him glorified with Moses and Elias.
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They were confused with fear at the sight of these great men who had come forth from the grave to converse with their Lord, and in the confusion Peter made a proposal, which, if followed would have changed the plan of Christian Worship as given in the scriptures by Christ and the Apostles.
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Peter wanted to be true to Jesus, but he wanted to add the names of Moses and Elias, making them equal to his Lord, saying, “Master it is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.”
But God permits no changes in His plans. To Moses He had said, “See that thou makest all things according to the pattern shown thee in the mount,” and now the same unchanging and unchangeable God would give directions to these three men, Peter, James and John, who were to transmit God’s will to the world. Even as Peter spoke there came a message that would never be forgotten by those who heard it. Let us hear it:
“While he (Peter) thus spoke; there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, THIS is my beloved Son: hear HIM.”
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There have been many things added to the teaching of Christ since the days of Peter, some of them very beautiful, and appealing, and probably came from hearts as sincere as the hearts of the apostle, but, if we are to take God at his word, they who make such additions, “Know not what they say.”
There can be but one right way in measuring the words and deeds of Christian men and women: “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
A Spiritual Inventory
The beginning of the New Year is the businessman’s time for “taking stock”, or making an inventory of all his goods, capital, etc., in order that he may estimate his prospects for a successful continuation of business.
It would be a wonderful thing if every Christian man and woman would take an inventory of their spiritual assets and liabilities, casting out all doctrines, and religious customs and personal opinions and habits that are not according to the law of God, and the testimony of Christ and the apostles.
Something in the way of a careful consideration of what we believe, and what we practice as Christian doctrine is not only advisable, it is absolutely essential to the preparation that we should make to meet the Lord at His coming.
The last days were to be filled with difficulties for the Christian: Jesus gave them this warning: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders: insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.”
If any man go after these false teachers, and their false doctrine, it will not be because of a lack of warning from our Lord himself, but rather from a failure to hear, and heed, those warnings.
And many have undoubtedly gone after these false prophets with their pleasing doctrines, in these days of deception and world-wide fraud. A well-known author, whose religious writings are read in many lands, recently made this serious charge: “The Christian religion in its present day popular form is no longer the divinely inspired religion of Jesus, but a man made system of pagan and modern ideas carefully fabricated to conceal rather than reveal, the transcendental jewels in the diadem of pristine teachings of Jesus the Christ.”
It is not so much a matter of contending with men as to the truth or falsity of the foregoing statement, as it is of making a careful search of our own hearts in an honest effort to determine to what extent the charge applies to us.
When Jesus sat at the Last Supper with his twelve followers He accused one of them of being a traitor. There was no attempt upon the part of the twelve followers to fasten the guilt upon the man who sat next to him, but each man began to search his own heart.
Matthew tells us, “And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?”
Here again we see the power of fear as these men sought to know their own hearts, and the mind of their Lord.
The fear that fills the hearts of men throughout the world today, would give place to security and peace, if men knew that they had the divine approval.
The Psalmist sang from a heart filled with the knowledge of God’s Presence, and approval, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, He leadeth me … Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art WITH me.”
God Is With Us
The popular conception of God is of a Being in some far away land, somewhere beyond the stars; One in whose presence we shall stand, to be judged, after death. But David was free from fear, even of death, because he could say, Thou art with me. The apostle Paul said to the learned company at Athens that they were seeking to worship many gods, and that there was but one true God who was ever present with man, saying, “In him we live, and move, and have our being.”
The outstanding theme of the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation is the presence of God with His people.
As the young man Jacob went on his way to Padan-aram, he heard the Lord say to him, “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest;” after twenty years, Jacob tells us that God was with him, and that his material blessings, wives, children, cattle, all that he possessed, came to him as a result of the presence of his God. Hear him say to his uncle, Laban: “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away empty. God hath seen mine affliction, and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.”
The Protector Of Nations And Men
The only hope of security, prosperity and peace, for the individual and the nation lies in the realization that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
This definite statement, as recorded in the 46th Psalm concerns Israel as a nation. It is evidently intended as a message of assurance to the people of Israel in the time of the great tribulation in the last days. There are many references, in both the Old and New Testaments to “The time of Jacob’s trouble,” when the nations of the world will be arrayed against the Israel nations, and the Psalmist reveals to Israel their one hope, and source of help, in this time of universal distress: “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
“The Lord of Hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
“He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth …
“BE STILL, and KNOW that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
“The Lord of Hosts IS WITH us the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
The prophet Isaiah records this message of assurance from Jehovah to his NATION in the last days: “Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, O MY NATION, for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make My judgment to rest for a light of the people… I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou that shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die … and forgettest the Lord thy maker …”
Any intelligent reader of the newspapers of today must admit that the Israel nation is expending billions of dollars in a vain effort to stay the advancing influence of a man who is feared by the Christian nations of the world.
That the nation has forgotten God, and blindly disregards the definite promises he has made to protect them from the combined heathen nations of the world, is the only explanation of the various, and unworkable plans that are being offered by a confused, and fear-filled leadership today.
The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations are facing the greatest crisis in human history, and yet they are either ignorantly, or wilfully disregarding the message of hope and salvation which has been openly recorded for three thousand years, and is undoubtedly intended these times of threatened disaster. It requires no stretch of the imagination to realize that the words of Almighty God as recorded in Deuteronomy, the fourth chapter, twenty-ninth and thirtieth verses were addressed to our people today: “If thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
“When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, EVEN IN THE LATTER DAYS, if thou turn to the Lord thy God … He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.”
Let all God’s people unite in seeking the Lord, saying with the Psalmist: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”