Special Testimony, No. 10, p. 5-6:
The money expended to prepare ministers for work was essential at the time when there was so much opposition to the light that God was giving in regard to justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ, which is abundantly imputed to all who hunger and thirst for it. But the Lord has set before you another work,—the work of extending the truth by establishing centers of interest in cities, and sending workers into the highways and hedges.
The message of the gift of God’s own righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, the teaching of “righteousness according to righteousness,” was God’s special message in its time. Now the Lord calls his people forward for “another work,—the work of extending the truth by establishing centers of interest in cities, and sending workers into the highways and hedges.”
The first of these was God’s special message in 1888 and onward; the latter is God’s special message in 1897 and onward. This does not mean that the first—the message of God’s righteousness—ends now, and is to be dropped in order to take up the message to the highways and hedges. Not at all. The first still continues, while the last is added to it. Indeed, the first was, and is still, the preparation for the last; only the first was the special message then, while the last is added to it, and is the special message now.
It is like the three messages of Revelation 14. The first one was the special message when it arose; then when the second message arose, it was the special message, though the first one did not then cease: the two went on together, with the emphasis on the second. Then when the third message arose, it, in turn, became the special message; the first two did not cease, but all three go on together,—one great threefold message,—with the emphasis on the third.
So now, the message of the righteousness of God was the special message when it arose; and now that the other work is given,—the call to the highways and hedges,—the first does not cease, but both go on together, with the emphasis on the last.
Therefore the message to the highways and hedges is just as certainly the present message for God’s people to accept and proclaim today as was the message of the righteousness of God in its day, and as the second in its day, and as the third is today.
Indeed, as pointed out before, this is the last call of the last call of the third angel’s message itself; it is the third angel’s message for this hour. And instead of any previous phase of the third angel’s message being left behind, they all culminate in this, and go on with increased power and glory; and so the message will swell into the loud cry, and lighten the earth with the glory of God.
That this may the better be seen, another word says that the work “brought to view in Isaiah 61:1-3” is “the very work that should be done,” and that it “has been strangely neglected.” What is the work brought to view in Isaiah 61:1-3? Here it is; read it:
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
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; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Jesus stood in the synagogue that day, and read this scripture:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
The message to the highways and hedges, and in the streets and lanes of the city, is emphatically carrying the gospel to the poor. Therefore the work brought to view in Isaiah 61:1-3, and the work in the highways and hedges and the streets and lanes of the cities, is precisely the same work. Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 14:23, and Revelation 18:1-4 compose the third angel’s message as it is now, in the last quarter of 1897.
Remember, too, that when Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-3 that day in the synagogue, and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,” he at that time entered upon the last period of his work in the world. When that phase of his work ended, all was ended.
And now that this is the time when God’s people enter upon the same work as that upon which Jesus then entered, it is likewise true that we now enter upon the last phase of the work given us to do. And when this shall be ended, all will be ended.
Bear in mind, also, that these words which Jesus read that day in the synagogue, and which he said were that day fulfilled, begin thus: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;” and that only a few days before this he had been baptized with the Holy Ghost, in order to do that which thus lay before him in the last period of his work on the earth.
And as that is precisely the work now placed before us, and upon which we are now to enter, it is thus absolutely certain that the time has come for us to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. As it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, in order to do this work that then lay before him, how much more is it necessary that we be baptized with the Holy Ghost, in order to do this identical work that is now placed before us.
Do not forget that Jesus had been a perfect Christian all his days on earth up to the time when he must enter upon this work; yet he must be baptized with the Holy Ghost before he could enter upon this work. The Holy Spirit had been with him every hour of his life on earth, up to that time; yet before he could do the work that then lay before him, his closing work, it was necessary that he should be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Therefore if you and I had been all our days as perfect Christians as was Jesus up to that time, yet it would be necessary for us to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, in order to do this same work, the closing work. And if the Holy Spirit had been with us as he was with Jesus the first thirty years of his life on earth, yet in order for us to do the work which is now placed before us, we would have to be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Have we been such perfect Christians all our days as was he all his days?—Oh, no. Then how much more do we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit than did he! Have we had the Holy Spirit in our lives as had he those thirty years of his life?—Oh, no. Then how much more do we need the baptism of the Holy Ghost than did he!
Yet it was essential to the completion of the work of God in that day, that he should be baptized with the Holy Ghost. In that closing period of his work, there were trials, persecutions, temptations, and the cross to meet, which he could not meet successfully without this baptism of the Holy Spirit.
So likewise it is essential to the completion of the work of God in this our day, that we be baptized with the Holy Ghost. In this closing period of our work, there are trials, persecutions, temptations, and crosses for us to meet, which we cannot meet successfully without this same baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Not only do we need this, not only must we have it, but thank the Lord we can have it. God longs for us to receive it. The Father loves us just as he loves Jesus. And praise his holy name, when he places before us the same work that lay before Jesus, he gives us the same Holy Spirit in full measure, to fit us for that work, just as he gave it to Jesus.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift, for his tender love, and for his gentle leading of his people.
Other articles by A.T. Jones:
- The One Example
- The First Commandment
- A Complete Savior
- Jehovah or Baal–Which?
- The Science of Salvation
- The Powers That Be
- The Mission of the Spirit
- Shall Religion be Taught in the Public Schools?
- Ministers of God
- Breaking Bread on the First Day
- Human Nature and Its Restraints
- Follow Me
- John Bunyan
- Origin of the Doctrine of Natural Immortality