Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2.
John the Baptist in his desert life was taught of God. He studied the revelations of God in nature. Under the guiding of the Divine Spirit, he studied the scrolls of the prophets. By day and by night, Christ was his study, his meditation, until mind and heart and soul were filled with the glorious vision.
He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was lost sight of. He beheld the majesty of holiness and knew himself to be inefficient and unworthy. It was God’s message that he was to declare. It was in God’s power and His righteousness that he was to stand. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs because he had bowed before the King of kings.
With no elaborate arguments or finespun theories did John declare his message. Startling and stern, yet full of hope, his voice was heard from the wilderness: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” With a new, strange power it moved the people. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.
Unlearned peasants and fishermen from the surrounding country; the Roman soldiers from the barracks of Herod; chieftains with their swords at their sides, ready to put down anything that might savor of rebellion; the avaricious tax gatherers from their toll booths; and from the Sanhedrin the phylacteried priests—all listened as if spellbound; and all, even the Pharisee, and the Sadducee, the cold, unimpressible scoffer, went away with the sneer silenced and cut to the heart with a sense of their sins. Herod in his palace heard the message, and the proud, sin-hardened ruler trembled at the call to repentance.
In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, such a work as that of John is to be done. God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord.... As a people ... we have a message to bear—“Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12). Our message must be as direct as was the message of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding that his life was imperiled, he did not hesitate to declare God’s Word. And our work in this age must be done as faithfully.
In order to give such a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him lose sight of self. John had by nature the faults and weaknesses common to humanity; but the touch of divine love had transformed him.—Testimonies for the Church 8:331-333.
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