HIGHLY EDUCATED?

EDUCATION

 

Note: Our articles are for sharing and open discussion.

The Primary object of Education: To restore the image of God in man. P&P chapter 68

“By many, man’s wisdom is thought to be higher than the wisdom of the divine Teacher, and God’s lesson book is looked upon as old-fashioned, stale, and uninteresting. But by those who have been vivified by the Holy Spirit it is not so regarded.” COL 107.6

In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one,…true education is still conformed to the Creator’s plan, the plan of the Eden school.” Education pg.30

Education is for the development of character, Ed. Pg. 33

“..the great principles of education are unchanged. “They stand fast for ever and ever.”

 

The definition of Secular Education:

The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction especially at a school or university.

 Secular education ideally leads from grade school to a college degree, which is the way most people would describe a good education. College degree courses concentrate on a specific area of studies to the exclusion of all else. So an educated man in today’s world can be deficient in a host of other areas and still hold a high level degree.

 “ Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the perusal of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.”

Here we see education defined as knowledge and enlightenment intended for a higher purpose than simply serving oneself.

The word education to the christian and the word education to the unbeliever must then have separate and distinct meanings in the mind. We must come to the point where we understand clearly that someone’s training in a particular field of studies does not make him an authority on the scriptures, or things pertaining to God’s heritage. Watchmen on the walls must be guarded against such notions least the enemy infiltrate their camps and perplex the believers with heresy.

 

EDEN’S EDUCATION

 “The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all time. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor, and the parents of the human family were the students”. Education Pg 20

 “The laws and operations of nature, and the great principles of truth that govern the spiritual universe, were opened to their minds (Adam and Eve) by the infinite Author of all. In “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:6), their mental and spiritual powers developed, and they realized the highest pleasures of their holy existence.” Education  pg 22.

We today doubt, because of the world’s advance in technology, that God could have taught us the same things. If we had given Him a chance He would have already through us, confounded the world. But instead, today’s educational institutions have usurped Gods’ eternal plan:

“… and it was His purpose that, as the human family increased in numbers, they should establish other homes and schools like the one He had given. Thus in course of time the whole earth might be occupied with homes and schools where the words and the works of God should be studied, and where the students should thus be fitted more and more fully to reflect, throughout endless ages, the light of the knowledge of His glory.” Education pg 22

 

INSTITUTIONAL EDUCATION

“A disciple is not better than his teacher. But everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40

“It is the Lord’s purpose that false principles, false reasoning, and the sophistries of Satan should be kept before the minds of youth and children. Shall pagan and infidel sentiments be presented to our students as valuable additions to their store of knowledge. The work of the most intellectual skeptic are work of an infidel mind prostituted. Yet many of us lust after the school of man….. Shall men professing to believe in God gather from these unsanctified authors their expressions and sentiments, and treasure them up as precious jewels to be stored away among the riches of the mind? God forbid!” .

The enemy has constructed the world educational institutions in a manner solely to undermine God’s authority; a self-centered atmosphere where it is easy to convince the student of a Godless universe; that knowledge is for the sole purpose of serving self with no higher objective. Whether it is to exalt self by being the creator, discoverer, inventor, of this or that, or just to settle at a well-paying job, it is all for self.

The young student often enters the classroom and hears for the first time that the God of heaven, the God whom he understood as Master over all, is a mythological character much in the same category as Thor, Poseidon, Apollo, and Zeus, and others. The student rejects his parents’ teachings believing he has now discovered a higher state of consciousness, not unlike Eve as she listened to Lucifer in the garden. But God said: “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”

The truth is that very, very few students come out of these institutions with an independent view of life as was promoted; or with the ability to even question what he’s been taught. The lure of the promise of independent thought was a delusion he voluntarily submitted to, because the idea flattered the self, the ego. It promised to puts him on a level higher than his parents, whom he now considers pitiable and uninformed in things of the world! Truth is he has only abandoned God’s thoughts for the thoughts of mortal man. And in following unsanctified man, he is following Satan; now duped and his salvation stolen from him.

1 Kings 18:21 “… If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.

God recognizes only two leaders of the world. If your mind is not with God, guess who it’s with.  No one wants to think he is following the devil so the third dimension was created as default, all to the devil’s delight: a Godless universe; a random perchance existence. And in this third dimension there’s bad there’s good; we choose one or the other with no penalty either way. We live then we die, with no accounting, the end. Not that these great men can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God does not exist, just as they cannot prove the many theories they advance; but this God, this Being, is not going to get the patient scrupulous consideration they give to their theories, with years and years of research and clinical testing.

Suppose, just suppose they give God this careful consideration, and find out that God in fact does exist? They’d have to submit to Him? These great men who see themselves as gods, submitting to the one eternal God? They just cannot take the risk of that happening. But when others do the research and clinical trials of faith, as prescribed by God, and testifies in fact He does exist, they berate these people and label them mentally ill, as Freud did. He called religion, the opiate of the masses.

Seventh Day Adventist children are not immune to this higher-learning trap. The parents are mesmerized about the world’s education. So they scrimp and scratch, borrow and beg if they have to get their child to one of these institutions. It is announced with great ceremony in a form of testimony, as they stand up in church to proudly announce that despite all the challenges, their child did make it to college. Some of these same children return home for vacation their first semester from college, withdrawn, and indifferent. And if after a year they are still attending church regularly, it would be a miracle. Yet we keep sending them for their faith to be shaken by men who are in direct warfare with God.

Again: “Is itthe Lord’s purpose that false principles, false reasoning, and the sophistries of Satan should be kept before the minds of youth and children? Shall pagan and infidel sentiments be presented to our students as valuable additions to their store of knowledge. The work of the most intellectual skeptic are work of an infidel mind prostituted.”

Yet many of us lust after the school of man. And we announce with great sanctimony that if we raised our children right, they can withstand anything the world throws at them. Some of us take it as an offense that anyone would even suggest that our child could be swayed from the ways of Godliness! Our excuses are invariably that our children chose to go to college and why stop them. They would surely want to go there if they have been publicly educated, and groomed from an early age to believe college is the next logical step in their educational experience.

If in the early stages proper home schooling had been introduced, by college age, children would have become so well-rounded and mature in their thinking; and developed such wholesome interests and independence, it is unlikely most would want to go to college full-time, and in the traditional sense. In fact they would by themselves be able to tailor an educational curriculum that adapts to a continued well-rounded type of learning.

The average Institution of learning, especially higher learning, is packaged to target the job market. No time is wasted in an effort to round out the student’s experience. It makes no fiscal sense in this fast paced world. You rush the student through the process much like a product on an assembly line. He is promptly delivered to fit into his place in the employment chain.

“Another source of danger against which we should be constantly on guard is the reading of infidel authors. Such works are inspired by the enemy of truth, and no one can read them without imperiling the soul. …With a fascinating and bewitching power unbelief and infidelity fasten themselves upon the mind.”

How many of these infidel authors are required reading for some college courses?

Student are taught at these fine learning institutions that free thinking is limited by God’s word, and that one cannot think beyond the bible’s version of space, time, matter. This statement reveals one of pure ignorance of the identity of God, since God embodies in His very Person, time, space, and matter, without bounds.

These men appear confident and assured mesmerizing the young with their witticism and flair for words, seducing young minds who believe they are being liberated from the restrictions of God; when in fact they are being enslaved by unconsecrated men; men who are still secretly grappling with life’s daunting question: Why am I here? Men who die in eventual hopelessness after having planted hopelessness in so many gullible minds. And it is the way the enemy continues to solidify the enmity between God and man, as a new breed of youthful souls slip into rebellion.

These great thinkers each have theories, many, many differing theories on the same subject but no solid answers. And it’s this freedom to imagine that man finds irresistible. Imagine Eve again. They refuse to acknowledge that God, the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, the Overseer of the universe have arrived at these answers, because His thoughts are not our thoughts nor His ways our ways.

But God  said: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5.

.Since the fall of Adam, there has been a complete disconnect between the mind of God and the mind of man. God’s plan is to painstakingly take us through the pathway by faith to how He, arrived at answers. Man cannot fathom God in one, two, a thousand sittings. It is therefore easy to understand why the intellectual cannot easily grasp the claims of God.

Great godless men of influence with an exalted view of themselves, understands, are turned off and enraged that their achievements counts for nothing with God; and that they are reduced to the state of all common men in His sight. They therefore refuse to subject themselves to His authority.

1776 to 1893, is approximately how long it took to perfect the simple automobile. Simple yes when you realize it took God seven days to perfect the earth. To man an automobile may seem a phenomenal achievement. We are like babies tinkering with bits and pieces and by trial and error putting the puzzles together. And when we do we beat our chest and walk around with pride among the rest of men. And to God its foolishness since He is capable of much greater. God’s projects from start to finish, are but a twinkling, yet to walk man through the process would take an eternity considering how long man fumbles with one project. Yet, we demand He explains how He is capable of causing the stars to hang in their place.

7 “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Job 11:7-9

And with our demands not met we go about trying to prove we can come up with answers. We toss God out of the equation and because of this we spend lifetimes getting nowhere. How can God possibly explain to finite sinful man how He does what He does? God has allowed man to develop things that are useful to them in science, medicine, and technology. But this knowledge pre-existed. Man did not create this knowledge. He, God, reserves the more supernatural acts that occur in an instant, for the men who trust Him without reservation. These acts He has performed through Moses, Elijah, David, Daniel, Samson, Noah, Enoch, and others, testifies to this.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”

The mind must pass through a rigid spiritual discipline to grasp the creative powers of God through faith; a humbling of the self before an awesome Creator to receive the mind that He has. “Let this mind be in you, that is in Christ Jesus.”  Then and only then can man begin to comprehend God.

The bible sets a great example of Education in the story of Daniel. When King Nebuchadnezzar was seeking for some young men from the captives of Israel to serve in his court, these are the qualification he insisted they must posses:

 “…showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.”

  • He wanted them to have a natural ability for learning.
  • He wanted them to grasp the subject quickly.
  • He wanted them to be knowledgeable about life in general.

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to enroll them into his school for higher learning. What he did not know or probably held in contempt, was that they were already learned. They were fully graduated from the school of God. And this is what Daniel attested to in the passages below.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

 20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”

Daniel credited God for giving him understanding in all things. He was highly educated in literature and other types of disciplines. His special and supernatural gift was to understand visions and dreams. We know Daniel did not learn the gift of visions and dreams from a book. And this kind of theology is incomprehensible to a man of science: that that Daniel was able to read the king’s mind . If it’s not an experiment controlled by him, it’s not possible.

Men of science have today, by and large, accepted hypnotism. It is not supernatural? Yet they cannot believe there is a God greater and wiser who can perform supernatural wonders as He did with Daniel.

Moses rod turned into a serpent; he commanded the red sea and it obeyed; David slew a lion with his bare hands; Samson was stronger than a hundred men; the walls of Jericho crumbled to the sound of trumpets; Elijah prayed for rain and it came; Abraham’s wife Sarah had a child at a very old age; Noah’s ark floated on top of the world for 150 days.

These creative phenomena all seem like fairy tales to the unbeliever. But even through fairy tales are revealed man’s longing to achieve supernatural power; but on his own strength since he don’t want to give God the credit. They are at enmity with God.

“The same mighty truths that were revealed through these (ancient) men, God desires to reveal through the youth and the children of today. The history of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose.”

So we see there is a spiritual scientific truth played out in the heroic and supernatural acts of the ancient patriarchs and prophets.

“There is a science of Christianity to be mastered—a science as much deeper, broader, higher, than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth.”

“Start with the A B C’s in the science of reform as you would in a grade school, gradually climbing up the ladder of perfection as you would from the first grade up to a course in a. university. As you are unable to understand in the schools of the world the higher grades ahead of the lower, so you will never learn all the science in physiology or the mysteries in the laws of God from its heights down or all at once. Moreover, if you are not willing to do correctly the little things in life, what will it compel you to agonize in prayer for the power you need to accomplish the great thing?” Vol 2 SC #1 pg 3

Unbelieving men cannot access this science except through the humility of faith. It is a state to be attained only through obedience, and this obedience leads to mental and spiritual growth in all areas of life. It is a restful and abiding peaceful state that frees the intellect to comprehend the things in life that pertains to God. It is a learning which foundation is in the biblical truths and leads to the comprehension of natural science, literature, health, technical, mechanical, trades construction, and all else that is necessary for the wellbeing of mankind.

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

With the many avenues and the amount of material available for learning today, young people can create their own learning curriculum: a selective type of education and one that is pleasing to God, to self and to the rest of humanity. Learning becomes an almost autodidactic pursuit. God strengthens the intellect and there is no limit to what can be achieved in the minds of men subjected fully to their Creator. It is an education that aspires to assist in the eventual building up of God’s eternal kingdom and not one solely geared to gainful employment. It takes a great leap of faith to believe and pursue this type of education.

When “…the mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.”

Financial security is one of the major reasons people seek a worldly type of higher education. A job is promised at the end of the line. But to be really free to learn and grow boundlessly is to take into your own hands the manner and method of the great men of biblical history and once again, God would be able to produce through you men the modern world has never seen.

The single principle needed to begin to comprehend God, is faith. Once one begins to practice faith, the enmity between man and God begins to dissipate and the healing of the soul begins. God continuously reveals to the sinner the deceitfulness of the soul because unacknowledged deceit stands in the way of growth. The more deceitful the soul the steeper is the path to healing, and the revelation of God and His creative power.

In every instance of greatness with these faithful men of old, God demonstrated His creative power. All the virtues than sinful man pursues vicariously through heroic, supernatural and scientific fantasy, have already been demonstrated in the bible: eternal life: Enoch; profound wisdom and knowledge: Solomon; perfect health: Adam and Eve: supernatural strength: Samson and David; transcendence: David and Joseph; indestructibility: Noah’s ark. All these virtues were consolidated in the life of Christ.

Humanity has been so far removed from their Creator, His ways are foreign to the unrepentant sinner. “My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my ways your ways.”Isaiah 55:8

Returning to God’s way requires an effort much like a baby’s: tentative wobbly steps toward the life we once abandoned and the father we once disobeyed.

Common men, without understanding the process, steeped in satanic rebellion, some unknowingly, continue the warfare against God, pushing themselves further and further away from hope and reconciliation. They demand with hostility, that God reveal Himself to them in this state of unbelief and when this proves an impossibility, they boast that He does not exist.

Imagine the sun and a man insisting to stare into its core. All he would receives is blindness. That is what a belligerant unbeliever challenging God’s power recieves: blindness. But if he stands right beneath the sun he’d benefits from it rays. To know of God’s existence is to draw closer to him by humility and faith and be shielded from his vanquishing power. If God shall expose Himself to man in the way unbelieving man demands, man will surely die. Abraham proved that after returning from the mount. Ex 34:29, 30.

Man’s Incomprehension of God’s Power

Let’s pause to speak of God’s power. God is the power plant for the entire universe. God’s power is diffused without effort to the farthest reaches of the universe, from eternity to eternity, on every point on the compass, and to the highest height and deepest depth; and cannot be restrained by space, time, nor matter, contrary to what finite men teaches.

2 Chron 2:6 But who is able to build Him a house seeing the heavens and heavens of heavens cannot contain Him.”

“God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight. He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. He created the horizon when he separated the waters: he set the boundary between day and night.

 The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”  Job 26:7-14

His form is an ever-living consuming fire. Earth alone has forfeited itself this direct and regenerating energy because of sin; and were God to allow this energy to prematurely flood the sinful earth, the earth would be spontaneously destroyed, to make room for the new life it naturally generates; which is precisely what would happen when He appears in His glory.

God in His fullness does not, as some imagine, stretch out his hands to perform a miracle and then return to the benign. His power is continuously without effort ever alive ever active. Can you imagine approaching a Being as He?

 We may not in person approach into His presence; in our sin we may not look upon His face.” Education pg 28

Why? “No man shall see God and live.” His presence would seek to purify the sinner which means only death. If nothing in us is golden, how can a purifying fire as His preserve any part of us? This is why when He appears in all His glory, the sinner must perish. The sinner who did not make concession while he had the chance to avail himself with the covering robes of righteousness, to withstand God’s brightness, when He appears he must perish.

The only possible way God can reveal Himself to man today is in small measures. As man abandons his sinful nature and draws closer and closer to God, as he moves toward God in humility, he is constantly shedding the corruption of the flesh till there is none left. Inspiration says as we are emptied of sin God fills the vacancy with His righteousness. Only then is the sinner able to countenance God in all His vanquishing power, at the end. It is a journey of humility, faith, endurance, patience, which proves to be well worth the anticipated reward.

Therefore, it is a futile act for any sinful unrepentant soul to stand outside of God and demand He reveals himself. Not that God refuses to reveal Himself to such men, but the only purpose it would serve is to completely and utterly consume the man. And God is merciful and does nothing before its time.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

He has with generous promise, painstakingly, lovingly and patiently outlined the process toward rehabilitation whereby the human race could return to him and see His face. Matthew 7:12-14 Hebrew 10, 20 Ps 90. Man respects and easily submits to all required procedures for entrance to worldly orders and functions, yet wants to choose his own way to enter into God’s presence.

God is the embodiment and personification of power, the source, from which every living thing, animate and inanimate, springs. To get near Him is to be energized by His power or die from it. With this magnified concept of the Master in mind, man must approach His presence in prayer, study, reflection, and meditation with deep reverence; he must feel his smallness and it is where the vanquishing power of God is able to encircle him in tender embrace.

. “For I am the Lord. I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

When He next draws near to the earth, He is drawing near to exercise a version of His power which would purify and at the same time destroy.

“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: He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi.”

In Malachi 3 God sends a messenger before Him to prepare the way. Why? So the sons of levi can withstand the purifying fire He will put them through. Were He to bear down upon them as they are, there would be nothing left of them when He was through. He must find His character fully developed in them. That is the gold He finds in them which survives the purifying process. This is why when we reject God’s messengers and still believe we would see His face, it is wrong. His messages sanctifies us before His appearance.

What many ignore as Christians is that God is reclaiming his children from a world that has gone in the extreme and opposite direction to the original purpose He intended for man. The purpose of education is to restore the image of God in man. But the Christian seeks to remain largely unchanged and seeks further to find a comfortable place in a dysfunctional world where he can prosper. He wants to continue to nurture all his ambitions and wants God to support him in this effort. But not so, everything about the way we live must be re-examined in the light of God’s purpose, God’s education.

It is not that we have to find a way to fit God into our lives, but the question to ourselves is: is there anything worth preserving in our lives that can fit into God’s plan for us? And this is where the disconnection between God and man happens. This is where we fumble. We are afraid to allow God to demonstrate his purpose for us in us, as individuals. We sense, it’s going to require a massive overhaul in the life, and we are not willing.

“The human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Yet, “Not one honest soul is going to be lost.”

God knows why he says this. He knows the deceit we harbor. Honesty is the absence of deceit.

Every activity we engage in must be inspected in the light of His purpose. And anything that is contrary to His purpose must be destroyed to make room for the installation of new instructions.

Col 3:5 “Put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

The longer we hold on to our unsanctified ambitions, and selfish goals, the more it’s going to delay our spiritual growth. And the less likely God would be able to manifest His power in our lives. And when we ses the lack of His manifest power in our lives like, unanswered prayer particularly, we become despondent; our fragile faith is shaken and we ask why would God allow this or that to happen, considering we are followers of His. We cannot see it’s not due to any reneging on God’s part, but because we chose to pursue our own way instead of the way He prescribed. The covenant has to be honored on both ends.

God is intent about the utter destruction of this present system which we live under, demonstrated by the stone of Daniel 2.  He is going to blast it out of existence, till none of it is ever seen again. Nothing about this system in His infinite wisdom is worth salvaging. So why are we unwilling to let go of the ambitions we hold dear, especially when we understand whatever we think we know, came about through the sophistry of worldly education, which is the foundation of this system of Daniel 2. And by this false education Satan keeps us firmly in his grasp.

Infidel Authors—Another source of danger against which we should be constantly on guard is the reading of infidel authors. Such works are inspired by the enemy of truth, and no one can read them without imperiling the soul. It is true that some who are affected by them may finally recover; but all who tamper with their evil influence place themselves on Satan’s ground, and he makes the most of his advantage. As they invite his temptations, they have not wisdom to discern or strength to resist them. With a fascinating, bewitching power unbelief and infidelity fasten themselves upon the mind. AH 413

THEREFORE:

Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded that one may become a learner in the school of Christ.” 1MCP 5:

Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing? Job 14:4 Can we expect the youth to maintain Christian principles and to develop Christian character while their education is largely influenced by the teachings of pagans, atheist and infidels? 8 T 306:3

NOTE :Here it does not say the children of Christians are exempt because they are grounded in christian principles, therefore they know how to fight off the enemy in these institutions. It is to the Christian parent this passage is directed.

The world lives under a pseudo form of learning the enemy has intentionally developed to obliterate the truth of the existence of God, and His plan to redeem mankind. Therefore the specific command is: “Let this mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus.”

The mind is the only communicable organ in the body through which God can work. In the Christian experience there has to be a work of regeneration occurring in the mind at every given moment. It is where the restorative power of God does its mysterious work. Anything that is contrary to the will of God opposes this work.

 “…a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power.” Education. P. 29

If we hold on to a false version of the script God want to rewrite within our mind there is going to be conflict. In other words, if we want to hold on to the values of the image beast of Daniel 2 and still expect God to restructure our minds, there can only be conflict within. Therefore we must identify what it is we find so hard to let go of, and ask God to help us to daily surrender so that we can receive the wisdom He gave to Daniel, and promised us we also can have.

 

WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING

Let us take a close look at what Daniel said. “… He (God)  teaches wisdom to the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding.

Daniel is saying here only when the individual is wise and have understanding he receives wisdom and knowledge. Look at it again. He teaches wisdom to the wise, knowledge to them that understand.

Elsewhere Moses declared of the law: “This is your wisdom and your understanding.”

 And what does the law do? It reveals to us our sinful state and causes us to reach out to the hand of God to be lifted up. We become wise when we acknowledge our sinfulness.

We also know that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding.” Prov 9:10.”

 The mental faculties will strengthen and develop if you will go to work in the fear of God, in humility, and with earnest prayer” 1MCP 3:3

The scriptures declare without reservation that to claim to have understanding is not possible without the fear of the Lord. To fear someone is to acknowledge the power they have in affecting your life. Because of this particular kind of fear, Godly fear, one recognizes he must surrender to God’s authority, and the will is naturally bended in this action.

This fearing and surrendering of the will, God considers wisdom. While on the other hand He pronounces on the one who says in his heart there is no God, that he is a fool. To the wise one He begins to grant more wisdom, more understanding, and eventually supernatural gifts.

“Through the acquaintance of the soul with Christ, through an acceptance of His wisdom as the guide, His power as the strength, of heart and life. This union formed, the student has found the Source of wisdom.” Education Pg. 30

 “No other science is equal to that which develops in the life of the student the character of God.”

Wisdom settles in when the Christian recognizes God’s supreme authority. He understands his life is out of harmony with God and acquiesces to God’s authority. He seeks to rearrange his plans to harmonize with God’s.

 Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded that one may become a learner in the school of Christ.” 1MCP 5:2

He becomes wise and understanding of spiritual things. It is only then God can perform a new and mighty work in his members. God can impart to him knowledge and skills in all learning. This is the science of true education.

The following keys precepts and principles must be understood and memorized and mastered and affected in the life, before God can re-direct us:

  • The understanding of what true education is
  • The acknowledgement that institutional education is irreparably flawed.
  • The desire to become a student in the school of God.
  • Surrendering and accepting His direction.
  • Revamping our structure and system of receiving education.

We need not put too high a value on man’s education since all we are taking from this world is a renewed and regenerated life. There is nothing need preserving from this blighted earth. The reason why God has not yet manifested himself among His covenant people as He did in biblical times, is because we have refused to take pains to master these key principles in the effort of surrendering all to Him.

“In the early life of Solomon also are seen the results of God’s method of education. Solomon in his youth made David’s choice his own. Above every earthly good he asked of God a wise and understanding heart. And the Lord gave him not only that which he sought, but that also for which he had not sought–both riches and honor. The power of his understanding, the extent of his knowledge, the glory of his reign, became the wonder of the world.”

Let us as present truth believers seek to surrender fully to our Lord and ensure our eternal salvation.

 

Further Reading

There is a science of Christianity to be mastered—a science as much deeper, broader, higher, than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for men are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded that one may become a learner in the school of Christ.

Sacred history presents many illustrations of the results of true education. It presents many noble examples of men whose characters were formed under divine direction, men whose lives were a blessing to their fellow-men and who stood in the world as representatives of God. Among these are Joseph and Daniel, Moses, Elisha, and Paul–the greatest statesmen, the wisest legislator, one of the most faithful of reformers, and, except Him who spoke as never man spake, the most illustrious teacher that this world has known.

In early life, just as they were passing from youth to manhood, Joseph and Daniel were separated from their homes and carried as captives to heathen lands. Especially was Joseph subject to the temptations that attend great changes of fortune. In his father’s home a tenderly cherished child; in the house of Potiphar a slave, then a confidant and companion; a man of affairs, educated by study, observation, contact with men; in Pharaoh’s dungeon a prisoner of state, condemned unjustly, without hope of vindication or prospect of release; called at a great crisis to the leadership of the nation–what enabled him to preserve his integrity?

No one can stand upon a lofty height without danger. As the tempest that leaves unharmed the flower of the

valley uproots the tree upon the mountaintop, so do fierce temptations that leave untouched the lowly in life assail those who stand in the world’s high places of success and honor. But Joseph bore alike the test of adversity and of prosperity. The same fidelity was manifest in the palace of the Pharaohs as in the prisoner’s cell.

In his childhood, Joseph had been taught the love and fear of God. Often in his father’s tent, under the Syrian stars, he had been told the story of the night vision at Bethel, of the ladder from heaven to earth, and the descending and ascending angels, and of Him who from the throne above revealed Himself to Jacob. He had been told the story of the conflict beside the Jabbok, when, renouncing cherished sins, Jacob stood conqueror, and received the title of a prince with God.

A shepherd boy, tending his father’s flocks, Joseph’s pure and simple life had favored the development of both physical and mental power. By communion with God through nature and the study of the great truths handed down as a sacred trust from father to son, he had gained strength of mind and firmness of principle.

In the crisis of his life, when making that terrible journey from his childhood home in Canaan to the bondage which awaited him in Egypt, looking for the last time on the hills that hid the tents of his kindred, Joseph remembered his father’s God. He remembered the lessons of his childhood, and his soul thrilled with the resolve to prove himself true–ever to act as became a subject of the King of heaven.

In the bitter life of a stranger and a slave, amidst the sights and sounds of vice and the allurements of heathen worship, a worship surrounded with all the attractions of

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wealth and culture and the pomp of royalty, Joseph was steadfast. He had learned the lesson of obedience to duty. Faithfulness in every station, from the most lowly to the most exalted, trained every power for highest service.

At the time when he was called to the court of Pharaoh, Egypt was the greatest of nations. In civilization, art, learning, she was unequaled. Through a period of utmost difficulty and danger, Joseph administered the affairs of the kingdom; and this he did in a manner that won the confidence of the king and the people. Pharaoh “made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.” Psalm 105:21, 22.

The secret of Joseph’s life Inspiration has set before us. In words of divine power and beauty, Jacob, in the blessing pronounced upon his children, spoke thus of his best-loved son:

“Joseph is a fruitful bough,

Even a fruitful bough by a well;

Whose branches run over the wall:

The archers have sorely grieved him,

And shot at him, and hated him:

But his bow abode in strength,

And the arms of his hands were made strong

By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; . . .

Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee;

And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee

With blessings of heaven above,

Blessings of the deep that lieth under: . . .

The blessings of thy father have prevailed

Above the blessings of my progenitors

Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills:

They shall be on the head of Joseph,

And on the crown of the head of him that was separate

from his brethren.” Genesis 49:22-26.

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Loyalty to God, faith in the Unseen, was Joseph’s anchor. In this lay the hiding of his power.

“The arms of his hands were made strong

By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.”

 

Daniel, an Ambassador of Heaven
[Top]

Daniel and his companions in Babylon were, in their youth, apparently more favored of fortune than was Joseph in the earlier years of his life in Egypt; yet they were subjected to tests of character scarcely less severe. From the comparative simplicity of their Judean home these youth of royal line were transported to the most magnificent of cities, to the court of its greatest monarch, and were singled out to be trained for the king’s special service. Strong were the temptations surrounding them in that corrupt and luxurious court. The fact that they, the worshipers of Jehovah, were captives to Babylon; that the vessels of God’s house had been placed in the temple of the gods of Babylon; that the king of Israel was himself a prisoner in the hands of the Babylonians, was boastfully cited by the victors as evidence that their religion and customs were superior to the religion and customs of the Hebrews. Under such circumstances, through the very humiliations that Israel’s departure from His commandments had invited, God gave to Babylon evidence of His supremacy, of the holiness of His requirements, and of the sure results of obedience. And this testimony He gave, as alone it could be given, through those who still held fast their loyalty.

To Daniel and his companions, at the very outset of their career, there came a decisive test. The direction that their food should be supplied from the royal table was an

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expression both of the king’s favor and of his solicitude for their welfare. But a portion having been offered to idols, the food from the king’s table was consecrated to idolatry; and in partaking of the king’s bounty these youth would be regarded as uniting in his homage to false gods. In such homage loyalty to Jehovah forbade them to participate. Nor dared they risk the enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental, and spiritual development.

Daniel and his companions had been faithfully instructed in the principles of the word of God. They had learned to sacrifice the earthly to the spiritual, to seek the highest good. And they reaped the reward. Their habits of temperance and their sense of responsibility as representatives of God called to noblest development the powers of body, mind, and soul. At the end of their training, in their examination with other candidates for the honors of the kingdom, there was “found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” Daniel 1:19.

At the court of Babylon were gathered representatives from all lands, men of the choicest talents, men the most richly endowed with natural gifts, and possessed of the highest culture this world could bestow; yet amidst them all, the Hebrew captives were without a peer. In physical strength and beauty, in mental vigor and literary attainment, they stood unrivaled. “In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:20.

Unwavering in allegiance to God, unyielding in the mastery of himself, Daniel’s noble dignity and courteous

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deference won for him in his youth the “favor and tender love” of the heathen officer in whose charge he was. The same characteristics marked his life. Speedily he rose to the position of prime minister of the kingdom. Throughout the reign of successive monarchs, the downfall of the nation, and the establishment of a rival kingdom, such were his wisdom and statesmanship, so perfect his tact, his courtesy, and his genuine goodness of heart, combined with fidelity to principle, that even his enemies were forced to the confession that “they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful.” Daniel 6:4. {Ed 5.3}

While Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While honored by men with the responsibilities of the court and the secrets of the kingdom, he was honored by God as His ambassador, and taught to read the mysteries of ages to come. Heathen monarchs, through association with Heaven’s representative, were constrained to acknowledge the God of Daniel. “Of a truth it is,” declared Nebuchadnezzar, “that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets.” And Darius, in his proclamation “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth,” exalted the “God of Daniel” as “the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed;” who “delivereth and rescueth, and . . . worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.” Daniel 2:47; 6:25-27.

 

 

True and Honest Men
[Top]

By their wisdom and justice, by the purity and benevolence of their daily life, by their devotion to the interests of the people,–and they, idolaters,–Joseph and Daniel proved themselves true to the principles of their early

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training, true to Him whose representatives they were. These men, both in Egypt and in Babylon, the whole nation honored; and in them a heathen people, and all the nations with which they were connected, beheld an illustration of the goodness and beneficence of God, an illustration of the love of Christ.

What a lifework was that of these noble Hebrews! As they bade farewell to their childhood home, how little did they dream of their high destiny! Faithful and steadfast, they yielded themselves to the divine guiding, so that through them God could fulfill His purpose.

The same mighty truths that were revealed through these men, God desires to reveal through the youth and the children of today. The history of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.

But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature–the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.

The youth need to be impressed with the truth that their endowments are not their own. Strength, time, intellect, are but lent treasures. They belong to God, and it should be the resolve of every youth to put them to the highest use. He is a branch, from which God expects

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fruit; a steward, whose capital must yield increase; a light, to illuminate the world’s darkness.

Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity.

 

 

Elisha, Faithful in Little Things
[Top]

The early years of the prophet Elisha were passed in the quietude of country life, under the teaching of God and nature and the discipline of useful work. In a time of almost universal apostasy his father’s household were among the number who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Theirs was a home where God was honored and where faithfulness to duty was the rule of daily life.

The son of a wealthy farmer, Elisha had taken up the work that lay nearest. While possessing the capabilities of a leader among men, he received a training in life’s common duties. In order to direct wisely, he must learn to obey. By faithfulness in little things, he was prepared for weightier trusts.

Of a meek and gentle spirit, Elisha possessed also energy and steadfastness. He cherished the love and fear of God, and in the humble round of daily toil he gained strength of purpose and nobleness of character, growing in divine grace and knowledge. While co-operating with his father in the home duties, he was learning to co-operate with God.

The prophetic call came to Elisha while with his father’s servants he was plowing in the field. As Elijah, divinely directed in seeking a successor, cast his mantle upon the young man’s shoulders, Elisha recognized and obeyed the summons. He “went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” 1 Kings 19:21. It was no great work

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that was at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. As the prophet’s personal attendant, he continued to prove faithful in little things, while with daily strengthening purpose he devoted himself to the mission appointed him by God.

When he was first summoned, his resolution had been tested. As he turned to follow Elijah he was bidden by the prophet to return home. He must count the cost– decide for himself to accept or reject the call. But Elisha understood the value of his opportunity. Not for any worldly advantage would he forgo the possibility of becoming God’s messenger, or sacrifice the privilege of association with His servant.

As time passed, and Elijah was prepared for translation, so Elisha was prepared to become his successor. And again his faith and resolution were tested. Accompanying Elijah in his round of service, knowing the change soon to come, he was at each place invited by the prophet to turn back. “Tarry here, I pray thee,” Elijah said; “for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel.” But in his early labor of guiding the plow, Elisha had learned not to fail or to become discouraged; and now that he had set his hand to the plow in another line of duty, he would not be diverted from his purpose. As often as the invitation to turn back was given, his answer was, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” 2 Kings 2:2.

“And they two went on. . . . And they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over,

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that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

“And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.” 2 Kings 2:6-15.

Henceforth Elisha stood in Elijah’s place. And he who had been faithful in that which was least, proved himself faithful also in much.

Elijah, the man of power, had been God’s instrument for the overthrow of gigantic evils. Idolatry, which, supported by Ahab and the heathen Jezebel, had seduced the nation, had been cast down. Baal’s prophets had been slain. The whole people of Israel had been deeply stirred,

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and many were returning to the worship of God. As successor to Elijah was needed one who by careful, patient instruction could guide Israel in safe paths. For this work Elisha’s early training under God’s direction had prepared him.

The lesson is for all. None can know what may be God’s purpose in His discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities. Every act of life is a revelation of character, and he only who in small duties proves himself “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15) will be honored by God with weightier trusts.

 

 

Moses, Powerful Through Faith
[Top]

Younger than Joseph or Daniel was Moses when removed from the sheltering care of his childhood home; yet already the same agencies that shaped their lives had molded his. Only twelve years did he spend with his Hebrew kindred; but during these years was laid the foundation of his greatness; it was laid by the hand of one little known to fame.

Jochebed was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her burden heavy. But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the world received greater blessing. Knowing that her child must soon pass beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored to link his soul with heaven. She sought to implant in his heart love and loyalty to God. And faithfully was the work accomplished. Those principles of truth that were the burden of his mother’s teaching and the lesson of her life, no after influence could induce Moses to renounce.

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From the humble home in Goshen the son of Jochebed passed to the palace of the Pharaohs, to the Egyptian princess, by her to be welcomed as a loved and cherished son. In the schools of Egypt, Moses received the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions, noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and renowned as a military leader, he became the nation’s pride. The king of Egypt was also a member of the priesthood; and Moses, though refusing to participate in the heathen worship, was initiated into all the mysteries of the Egyptian religion. Egypt at this time being still the most powerful and most highly civilized of nations, Moses, as its prospective sovereign, was heir to the highest honors this world could bestow. But his was a nobler choice. For the honor of God and the deliverance of His downtrodden people, Moses sacrificed the honors of Egypt. Then, in a special sense, God undertook his training.

Not yet was Moses prepared for his lifework. He had yet to learn the lesson of dependence upon divine power. He had mistaken God’s purpose. It was his hope to deliver Israel by force of arms. For this he risked all, and failed. In defeat and disappointment he became a fugitive and exile in a strange land.

In the wilds of Midian, Moses spent forty years as a keeper of sheep. Apparently cut off forever from his life’s mission, he was receiving the discipline essential for its fulfillment. Wisdom to govern an ignorant and undisciplined multitude must be gained through self-mastery. In the care of the sheep and the tender lambs he must obtain the experience that would make him a faithful, long-suffering shepherd to Israel. That he might

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become a representative of God, he must learn of Him.

The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt, the affection of his foster mother, his own position as the grandson of the king, the luxury and vice that allured in ten thousand forms, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, had made an impression on his mind and character. In the stern simplicity of the wilderness all this disappeared.

Amidst the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes Moses was alone with God. Everywhere the Creator’s name was written. Moses seemed to stand in His presence and to be overshadowed by His power. Here his self-sufficiency was swept away. In the presence of the Infinite One he realized how weak, how inefficient, how short-sighted, is man.

Here Moses gained that which went with him throughout the years of his toilsome and care-burdened life–a sense of the personal presence of the Divine One. Not merely did he look down the ages for Christ to be made manifest in the flesh; he saw Christ accompanying the host of Israel in all their travels. When misunderstood and misrepresented, when called to bear reproach and insult, to face danger and death, he was able to endure “as seeing Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27.

Moses did not merely think of God, he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him. Never did he lose sight of His face.

To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him.

The great work assigned him he desired to make in

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the highest degree successful, and he placed his whole dependence upon divine power. He felt his need of help, asked for it, by faith grasped it, and in the assurance of sustaining strength went forward.

Such was the experience that Moses gained by his forty years of training in the desert. To impart such an experience, Infinite Wisdom counted not the period too long or the price too great.

The results of that training, of the lessons there taught, are bound up, not only with the history of Israel, but with all which from that day to this has told for the world’s progress. The highest testimony to the greatness of Moses, the judgment passed upon his life by Inspiration, is, “There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Deuteronomy 34:10.

 

 

Paul, Joyful in Service
[Top]

With the faith and experience of the Galilean disciples who had companied with Jesus were united, in the work of the gospel, the fiery vigor and intellectual power of a rabbi of Jerusalem. A Roman citizen, born in a Gentile city; a Jew, not only by descent but by lifelong training, patriotic devotion, and religious faith; educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis, and instructed in all the laws and traditions of the fathers, Saul of Tarsus shared to the fullest extent the pride and the prejudices of his nation. While still a young man, he became an honored member of the Sanhedrin. He was looked upon as a man of promise, a zealous defender of the ancient faith.

In the theological schools of Judea the word of God had been set aside for human speculations; it was robbed of its power by the interpretations and traditions of the rabbis.

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Self-aggrandizement, love of domination, jealous exclusiveness, bigotry and contemptuous pride, were the ruling principles and motives of these teachers.

The rabbis gloried in their superiority, not only to the people of other nations, but to the masses of their own. With their fierce hatred of their Roman oppressors, they cherished the determination to recover by force of arms their national supremacy. The followers of Jesus, whose message of peace was so contrary to their schemes of ambition, they hated and put to death. In this persecution, Saul was one of the most bitter and relentless actors.

In the military schools of Egypt, Moses was taught the law of force, and so strong a hold did this teaching have upon his character that it required forty years of quiet and communion with God and nature to fit him for the leadership of Israel by the law of love. The same lesson Paul had to learn.

At the gate of Damascus the vision of the Crucified One changed the whole current of his life. The persecutor became a disciple, the teacher a learner. The days of darkness spent in solitude at Damascus were as years in his experience. The Old Testament Scriptures stored in his memory were his study, and Christ his teacher. To him also nature’s solitudes became a school. To the desert of Arabia he went, there to study the Scriptures and to learn of God. He emptied his soul of prejudices and traditions that had shaped his life, and received instruction from the Source of truth.

His afterlife was inspired by the one principle of self-sacrifice, the ministry of love. “I am debtor,” he said, “both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the

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wise, and to the unwise.” “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Romans 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:14.

The greatest of human teachers, Paul accepted the lowliest as well as the highest duties. He recognized the necessity of labor for the hand as well as for the mind, and he wrought at a handicraft for his own support. His trade of tentmaking he pursued while daily preaching the gospel in the great centers of civilization. “These hands,” he said, at parting with the elders of Ephesus, “have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” Acts 20:34.

While he possessed high intellectual endowments, the life of Paul revealed the power of a rarer wisdom. Principles of deepest import, principles concerning which the greatest minds of this time were ignorant, are unfolded in his teachings and exemplified in his life. He had that greatest of all wisdom, which gives quickness of insight and sympathy of heart, which brings man in touch with men, and enables him to arouse their better nature and inspire them to a higher life.

Listen to his words before the heathen Lystrians, as he points them to God revealed in nature, the Source of all good, who “gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17.

See him in the dungeon at Philippi, where, despite his pain-racked body, his song of praise breaks the silence of midnight. After the earthquake has opened the prison doors, his voice is again heard, in words of cheer to the heathen jailer, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (Acts 16:28)–every man in his place, restrained by the presence of one fellow prisoner. And the jailer, convicted

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of the reality of that faith which sustains Paul, inquires the way of salvation, and with his whole household unites with the persecuted band of Christ’s disciples.

See Paul at Athens before the council of the Areopagus, as he meets science with science, logic with logic, and philosophy with philosophy. Mark how, with the tact born of divine love, he points to Jehovah as “the Unknown God,” whom his hearers have ignorantly worshiped; and in words quoted from a poet of their own he pictures Him as a Father whose children they are. Hear him, in that age of caste, when the rights of man as man were wholly unrecognized, as he sets forth the great truth of human brotherhood, declaring that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Then he shows how, through all the dealings of God with man, runs like a thread of gold His purpose of grace and mercy. He “hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” Acts 17:23, 26, 27.

Hear him in the court of Festus, when King Agrippa, convicted of the truth of the gospel, exclaims, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” With what gentle courtesy does Paul, pointing to his own chain, make answer, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” Acts 26:28, 29.

Thus passed his life, as described in his own words, “in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the

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heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” 2 Corinthians 11:26, 27.

“Being reviled,” he said, “we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat; “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 6:10.

In service he found his joy; and at the close of his life of toil, looking back on its struggles and triumphs, he could say, “I have fought a good fight.” 2 Timothy 4:7.

These histories are of vital interest. To none are they of deeper importance than to the youth. Moses renounced a prospective kingdom, Paul the advantages of wealth and honor among his people, for a life of burden bearing in God’s service. To many the life of these men appears one of renunciation and sacrifice. Was it really so? Moses counted the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. He counted it so because it was so. Paul declared: “What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7, 8, R.V., margin. He was satisfied with his choice.

Moses was offered the palace of the Pharaohs and the monarch’s throne; but the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in those lordly courts, and he chose instead

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the “durable riches and righteousness.” Proverbs 8:18. Instead of linking himself with the greatness of Egypt, he chose to bind up his life with God’s purpose. Instead of giving laws to Egypt, he by divine direction enacted laws for the world. He became God’s instrument in giving to men those principles that are the safeguard alike of the home and of society, that are the cornerstone of the prosperity of nations–principles recognized today by the world’s greatest men as the foundation of all that is best in human governments.

The greatness of Egypt is in the dust. Its power and civilization have passed away. But the work of Moses can never perish. The great principles of righteousness which he lived to establish are eternal.

Moses’ life of toil and heart-burdening care was irradiated with the presence of Him who is “the chiefest among ten thousand,” and the One “altogether lovely.” Canticles 5:10, 16. With Christ in the wilderness wandering, with Christ on the mount of transfiguration, with Christ in the heavenly courts–his was a life on earth blessing and blessed, and in heaven honored.

Paul also in his manifold labors was upheld by the sustaining power of His presence. “I can do all things,” he said, “through Christ which strengtheneth me.” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing (Rotherham’s translation), shall be able to separate

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us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Philippians 4:13; Rom. 8:35-39.

Yet there is a future joy to which Paul looked forward as the recompense of his labors–the same joy for the sake of which Christ endured the cross and despised the shame –the joy of seeing the fruition of his work. “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?” he wrote to the Thessalonian converts. “Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” I Thessalonians 2:19, 20.

Who can measure the results to the world of Paul’s lifework? Of all those beneficent influences that alleviate suffering, that comfort sorrow, that restrain evil, that uplift life from the selfish and the sensual, and glorify it with the hope of immortality, how much is due to the labors of Paul and his fellow workers, as with the gospel of the Son of God they made their unnoticed journey from Asia to the shores of Europe?

What is it worth to any life to have been God’s instrument in setting in motion such influences of blessing? What will it be worth in eternity to witness the results of such a lifework?

 

Self-knowledge leads to humility and to trust in God, but it does not take the place of efforts for self-improvement. He who realizes his own deficiencies will spare no pains to reach the highest possible standard of physical, mental, and moral excellence.MCP4;5

 

Patriachs and Prophets

Chapter 8

The Schools of the Prophets

The Lord Himself directed the education of Israel. His care was not restricted to their religious interests; whatever affected their mental or physical well-being was also the subject of divine providence, and came within the sphere of divine law.

God had commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their fathers. This was one of the special duties of every parent–one that was not to be delegated to another. In the place of stranger lips the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were to be associated with all the events of daily life. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people and the promises of the Redeemer to come were to be often recounted in the homes of Israel; and the use of figures and symbols caused the lessons given to be more firmly fixed in the memory. The great truths of God’s providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It was trained to see God alike in the scenes of nature and the words of revelation. The stars of heaven, the trees and flowers of the field, the lofty mountains, the rippling brooks–all spoke of the Creator. The solemn service of sacrifice and worship at the sanctuary and the utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God.

Such was the training of Moses in the lowly cabin home in Goshen; of Samuel, by the faithful Hannah; of David, in the hill dwelling at Bethlehem; of Daniel, before the scenes of the captivity separated him from the home of his fathers. Such, too, was the early life of Christ at Nazareth; such the training by which the child Timothy learned from the lips of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), the truths of Holy Writ.

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Further provision was made for the instruction of the young, by the establishment of the schools of the prophets. If a youth desired to search deeper into the truths of the word of God and to seek wisdom from above, that he might become a teacher in Israel, these schools were open to him. The schools of the prophets were founded by Samuel to serve as a barrier against the widespread corruption, to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the future prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors. In the accomplishment of this object Samuel gathered companies of young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious. These were called the sons of the prophets. As they communed with God and studied His word and His works, wisdom from above was added to their natural endowments. The instructors were men not only well versed in divine truth, but those who had themselves enjoyed communion with God and had received the special endowment of His Spirit. They enjoyed the respect and confidence of the people, both for learning and piety.

In Samuel’s day there were two of these schools–one at Ramah, the home of the prophet, and the other at Kirjath-jearim, where the ark then was. Others were established in later times.

The pupils of these schools sustained themselves by their own labor in tilling the soil or in some mechanical employment. In Israel this was not thought strange or degrading; indeed, it was regarded a crime to allow children to grow up in ignorance of useful labor. By the command of God every child was taught some trade, even though he was to be educated for holy office. Many of the religious teachers supported themselves by manual labor. Even so late as the time of the apostles, Paul and Aquila were no less honored because they earned a livelihood by their trade of tentmaking.

The chief subjects of study in these schools were the law of God, with the instructions given to Moses, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry. The manner of instruction was far different from that in the theological schools of the present day, from which many students graduate with less real knowledge of God and religious truth than when they entered. In those schools of the olden time it was the grand object of all study to learn the

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will of God and man’s duty toward Him. In the records of sacred history were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. The great truths set forth by the types were brought to view, and faith grasped the central object of all that system–the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world.

A spirit of devotion was cherished. Not only were students taught the duty of prayer, but they were taught how to pray, how to approach their Creator, how to exercise faith in Him, and how to understand and obey the teachings of His Spirit. Sanctified intellects brought forth from the treasure house of God things new and old, and the Spirit of God was manifested in prophecy and sacred song.

Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to Glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. Thus that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things.

Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. The proper training of the voice is an important feature in education and should not be neglected. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer. The heart must feel the spirit of the song to give it right expression.

How wide the difference between those schools taught by the prophets of God and our modern institutions of learning! How few schools are to be found that are not governed by the maxims and customs of the world! There is a deplorable lack of proper restraint and judicious discipline. The existing ignorance of God’s word among a people professedly Christian is alarming. Superficial talk, mere sentimentalism, passes for instruction in morals and religion. The justice and mercy of God, the beauty of holiness and the sure reward of rightdoing, the heinous character of sin and the certainty of its terrible results,

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are not impressed upon the minds of the young. Evil associates are instructing the youth in the ways of crime, dissipation, and licentiousness.

Are there not some lessons which the educators of our day might learn with profit from the ancient schools of the Hebrews? He who created man has provided for his development in body and mind and soul. Hence, real success in education depends upon the fidelity with which men carry out the Creator’s plan.

The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well-balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life–the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to co-operate with the divine purpose; and is so doing they are “laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.

All the varied capabilities that men possess–of mind and soul and body–are given them by God, to be so employed as to reach the highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellow-men. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise.

Were this principle given the attention which its importance demands, there would be a radical change in some of the current methods of education. Instead of appealing to pride and selfish ambition, kindling a spirit of emulation, teachers would endeavor to awaken the love for goodness and truth and beauty–to arouse the desire for excellence. The student would seek the development of God’s gifts in himself, not to excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness. Instead of being directed to mere earthly standards, or being actuated

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by the desire for self-exaltation, which in itself dwarfs and belittles, the mind would be directed to the Creator, to know Him and to become like Him.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. The great work of life is character building, and knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education. To impart this knowledge and to mold the character in harmony with it should be the object of the teacher’s work. The law of God is a reflection of His character. Hence the psalmist says, “All Thy commandments are righteousness;” and “through Thy precepts I get understanding.” Psalm 119:172, 104. God has revealed Himself to us in His word and in the works of creation. Through the volume of inspiration and the book of nature we are to obtain a knowledge of God.

It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth. As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. In the word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. The Bible is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages. It lights up the far-distant past, where human research seeks vainly to penetrate. In God’s word we behold the power that laid the foundation of the earth and that stretched out the heavens. Here only can we find a history of our race unsullied by human prejudice or human pride. Here are recorded the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of the greatest men this world has ever known. Here the great problems of duty and destiny are unfolded. The curtain that separates the visible from the invisible world is lifted, and we behold the conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil, from the first entrance of sin to the final triumph of righteousness and truth; and all is but a revelation of the character of God. In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His word the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind. Such a study will not only refine and ennoble

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the character, but it cannot fail to expand and invigorate the mental powers.

The teaching of the Bible has a vital bearing upon man’s prosperity in all the relations of this life. It unfolds the principles that are the cornerstone of a nation’s prosperity–principles with which is bound up the well-being of society, and which are the safeguard of the family–principles without which no man can attain usefulness, happiness, and honor in this life, or can hope to secure the future, immortal life. There is no position in life, no phase of human experience, for which the teaching of the Bible is not an essential preparation. Studied and obeyed, the word of God would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect than will the closest application to all the subjects that human philosophy embraces. It would give men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment–men who would be an honor to God and a blessing to the world.

In the study of the sciences also we are to obtain knowledge of the Creator. All true science is but an interpretation of the handwriting of God in the material world. Science brings from her research only fresh evidences of the wisdom and power of God. Rightly understood, both the book of nature and the written word make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the wise and beneficent laws through which He works.

The student should be led to see God in all the works of creation. Teachers should copy the example of the Great Teacher, who from the familiar scenes of nature drew illustrations that simplified His teachings and impressed them more deeply upon the minds of His hearers. The birds caroling in the leafy branches, the flowers of the valley, the lofty trees, the fruitful lands, the springing grain, the barren soil, the setting sun gilding the heavens with its golden beams–all served as means of instruction. He connected the visible works of the Creator with the words of life which He spoke, that whenever these objects should be presented to the eyes of His hearers, their thoughts might revert to the lessons of truth He had linked with them.

The impress of Deity, manifest in the pages of revelation, is seen upon the lofty mountains, the fruitful valleys, the broad, deep ocean. The things of nature speak to man of his Creator’s

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love. He has linked us to Himself by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. This world is not all sorrow and misery. “God is love,” is written upon every opening bud, upon the petals of every flower, and upon every spire of grass. Though the curse of sin has caused the earth to bring forth thorns and thistles, there are flowers upon the thistles and the thorns are hidden by roses. All things in nature testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. His prohibitions and injunctions are not intended merely to display His authority, but in all that He does He has the well-being of His children in view. He does not require them to give up anything that it would be for their best interest to retain.

The opinion which prevails in some classes of society, that religion is not conductive to health or to happiness in this life, is one of the most mischievous of errors. The Scripture says: “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied.” Proverbs 19:23. “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:12-14. The words of wisdom “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:22.

True religion brings man into harmony with the laws of God, physical, mental, and moral. It teaches self-control, serenity, temperance. Religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, and sanctifies the judgment. It makes the soul a partaker of the purity of heaven. Faith in God’s love and overruling providence lightens the burdens of anxiety and care. It fills the heart with joy and contentment in the highest or the lowliest lot. Religion tends directly to promote health, to lengthen life, and to heighten our enjoyment of all its blessings. It opens to the soul a never-failing fountain of happiness. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them that they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression leads to misery and destruction; but wisdom’s “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17.

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The physical as well as the religious training practiced in the schools of the Hebrews may be profitably studied. The worth of such training is not appreciated. There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment the laws that control our physical being must be heeded. To secure a strong, well-balanced character, both the mental and the physical powers must be exercised and developed. What study can be more important for the young than that which treats of this wonderful organism that God has committed to us, and of the laws by which it may be preserved in health?

And now, as in the days of Israel, every youth should be instructed in the duties of practical life. Each should acquire a knowledge of some branch of manual labor by which, if need be, he may obtain a livelihood. This is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but from its bearing upon physical, mental, and moral development. Even if it were certain that one would never need to resort to manual labor for his support, still he should be taught to work. Without physical exercise, no one can have a sound constitution and vigorous health; and the discipline of well-regulated labor is no less essential to the securing of a strong and active mind and a noble character.

Every student should devote a portion of each day to active labor. Thus habits of industry would be formed and a spirit of self-reliance encouraged, while the youth would be shielded from many evil and degrading practices that are so often the result of idleness. And this is all in keeping with the primary object of education, for in encouraging activity, diligence, and purity we are coming into harmony with the Creator.

Let the youth be led to understand the object of their creation, to honor God and bless their fellow men; let them see the tender love which the Father in heaven has manifested toward them, and the high destiny for which the discipline of this life is to prepare them, the dignity and honor to which they are called, even to become the sons of God, and thousands would turn with contempt and loathing from the low and selfish aims and the frivolous pleasures that have hitherto engrossed them. They would learn to hate sin and to shun it, not merely from hope of reward or fear of punishment, but from a sense of its inherent

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baseness, because it would be a degrading of their God-given powers, a stain upon their Godlike manhood.

God does not bid the youth to be less aspiring. The elements of character that make a man successful and honored among men–the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous exertion, the untiring perseverance–are not to be crushed out. By the grace of God they are to be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth. And the education begun in this life will be continued in the life to come. Day by day the wonderful works of God, the evidences of His wisdom and power in creating and sustaining the universe, the infinite mystery of love and wisdom in the plan of redemption, will open to the mind in new beauty. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Even in this life we may catch glimpses of His presence and may taste the joy of communion with Heaven, but the fullness of its joy and blessing will be reached in the hereafter. Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain.

 

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