Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: This Is the "Day" ...

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

To this day, devout Jews observe the "day of atonement" as we read of it in Leviticus 16 and in 23:26-32. On that one day of the year, they thought of final judgment: "The tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement ... a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. ... Any person who is not afflicted of soul on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people."

The "afflicting" was not wearing a hair shirt, or self-torture in any way; it was a 24-hour fast, a closing of their shops, a time for deep heart-searching and prayer and humbling of one's soul before the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, a time to let the Holy Spirit bring the conviction of sin, a time for repentance.

And this happened every year, on the same day. But it all meant nothing, just as the offering of a lamb for their sins meant nothing, unless the people saw through the ceremonial "works" involved, and discerned that the slain lamb was a type of the Lamb of God slain for our sins on His cross, and that there is a cosmic, antitypical Day of Atonement for the world itself.

We are living in that "Day" now. It's the time when Jesus says, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day [the final judgment] come upon you unexpectedly. ... Watch therefore, and pray always ..." (Luke 21:34, 36).

This is the "Day" when we are not motivated by selfish fear, but by heart concern for Jesus that He be glorified by his people before the world and before the universe of God, and that He come from the great controversy with Satan triumphant.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 24, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: What Exactly Is This "Day of Atonement"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Some have asked about this great Day of Atonement, when God calls for a special repentance from His people. What exactly is it?

Simply put, it's His final work in the Most Holy Apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Christ Himself as great High Priest is totally dedicated to bringing an end to the sin and suffering on this earth. We are called to understand, to be in full sympathy with Him.

The cosmic Day of Atonement is just what its name says--the Day of final reconciliation ("atonement" means at-one-with). It is not a difficult idea to grasp. It's when the alienated heart of humanity is at last fully reconciled to God and His holy law. Not that every human will submit to this work of "at-one-with"; many will refuse to the bitter end. But the Lord will succeed in winning a "remnant" to full oneness with Himself.

This "remnant" will demonstrate what "all men" could experience if only they would. They will at last fully appreciate Christ for what He is. They will "grow up" out of the immaturity of "children" "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," "speaking the truth in love [agape]" (Eph. 4:13-15). Thus, in principle, they will "judge" all humanity.

Opposed and ridiculed, they will "follow the Lamb [the crucified Christ] wherever He goes. ... In their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God" (Rev. 14:1-5). This is generally thought of as just an illusion, but if it doesn't happen, Christ will forever remain embarrassed and discredited. He died specifically to achieve this goal.

The "remnant" will never be conscious that they honor Christ. The more like Him they grow to be through sanctification of the Spirit, the more unworthy will they feel themselves to be. In the final judgment they will not assume that Christ is inviting them, "Come, you blessed of My Father." They will look around expecting Him to call others, not themselves (see Matt. 25:31-40).

Fully at-one with Him, a group will overcome "even as [He] also overcame" (Rev. 3:21, KJV). His Bride will have "made herself ready" for "the marriage of the Lamb" (19:1-8). Finally, His triumph! Then at last the sacrifice of Christ will have been fully vindicated--He, not they, will be glorified.

Daniel and Revelation clearly teach that the hour of this great Day of Atonement is now.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 25, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Revelation 13 Is Beginning to "Roll"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If your house is below a killer volcano that hasn’t erupted for over a hundred years, you go to bed at night feeling quite secure, don’t you? But suppose you know that suddenly it has started rumbling, wouldn’t common sense tell you to get out and live somewhere else? Or to change the metaphor, say you live beneath an avalanche that hasn’t moved for over a century, you don’t worry. But then you learn that very recently it has suddenly moved a foot or two, then what? Once that huge mass begins to break loose, you know it’s going to roll.

Daniel and Revelation tell us of future developments that will be cataclysmic. In particular, Revelation tells of two great world powers symbolized as the first “beast,” and then “another beast” (13:1, 11). The first has always “blasphemed” God’s “name” and made war with His true people and persecuted them for 1260 years of real time (in Bible prophecy, a day is symbolic of a literal year; cf. vs. 5; 12:6, 14; Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6).

The second starts off totally different from the first. He comes up out of a comparatively uninhabited wide expanse of land and conspicuously teaches liberty of conscience (has “two horns like a lamb”). He grows phenomenally into a world power greater than anything since the Roman Empire.

Over a century ago Senator H. W. Blair of New Hampshire introduced a bill that would have abandoned our religious liberty and forced the observance of a religious day of rest--all contrary both to the Bible and to the basic principle of the American Constitution.

Largely due to the energetic effort of two young men (E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones) who by pen and voice appealed for loyalty to the First Amendment, Sen. Blair’s project was defeated--but only for a time. This great nation continued to manifest its lamb-like spirit of civil and religious liberty (which included the principle of no pre-emptive attack in war).

Now the volcano has rumbled, the avalanche has shifted; this power has begun to roar “as a dragon.” Revelation 13 is at last beginning to "roll." Simple common sense now confirms what God has said all along, “Come out of [Babylon], My people” (Rev. 14:8; 18:1-4).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 12, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Book of Hebrews--"Unfinished Business"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

A wise teacher who helps teens has come up with a good subtitle for the book of Hebrews. He calls it, "Unfinished Business." And when you read the book, that idea surfaces repeatedly. God is doing something, accomplishing a great work as our heavenly Father, as the Son who is our great High Priest, and as the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter. But what He's doing He hasn't finished yet. Heaven is excited, anxious to see His work completed.

We see a hint of the unfinished business in chapter 2. Our brother Paul is talking about the great Cosmic Insurgency being "put under," and peace restored to the universe. Our current insurgency problems throughout the world are heart-rending--we long to see rebellion conquered so war-weary people can rest and "live" in peace.

In greater circumstances, the Rebel, Satan, has masterminded an Insurgency of gigantic worldwide proportions that affects the entire universe. And the Father has promised that He will bring order and peace through Christ. "You have put all things in subjection under His feet," He says (2:8, first part).

But the sad truth is that the gigantic job isn't finished yet: "Now we do not yet see all things put under Him" (second part). "Not yet"--there's the "unfinished business." And unless you are ready to be translated at the second coming of the Savior (1 Thess. 4:16, 17), the Holy Spirit has "unfinished business" yet to accomplish in your own human heart.

What encourages us is to know that He is carrying on this work. He had "unfinished business" with His Son Jesus--when He was born as a Baby He was "holy" (Luke 1:35), but He was "not yet" ready to save the world until He had been through an intensive course of "suffering." "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Heb. 5:8, 9). The Son who was "holy" at His birth had to become "righteous" at His death (Rom. 5:18). And "suffering" was part of His training (the angels don't have it).

Therefore, don't be surprised if He permits a little suffering to come your way!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 26, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Two Classes of Saints When Jesus Returns

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The message of Christ's righteousness emphasizes the relationship between justification by faith and the Day of Atonement. But is there a difference between Martin Luther's and John Calvin's understanding of justification by faith, and the truth of Revelation 18:1-4 that "the earth [will be] lightened with His glory" just before the return of Jesus--or is there no difference? Did the 16th century Reformers grasp all of the truth of the gospel? Is salvation (full and complete) "by grace ... through faith" (Eph. 2:8), or is it partly through works?

Paul tells us that there will be two classes of saints when Jesus returns: those who are resurrected in the "first resurrection" (Rev. 20:5 and 1 Thess. 4:16, 17) and those who will be "alive and remain [and] shall be caught up together with [the resurrected saints] to meet the Lord in the air." This second group will be "translated" as Enoch and Elijah were (Heb. 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11). The question is this: will those who at last are translated be people who are smarter and have done more works? Or will they be people whose faith has grown because their understanding of the gospel has grown?

The Bible teaches that in the last days God's people will grow up "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, ... henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, ... but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. 4:13-15). They will believe all the truth that the Reformers taught more than 400 years ago, but they will also believe every further revelation of light that the Holy Spirit sends. God will have a people at last who "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth," who are "without fault before the throne of God," who "come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rev. 14:4, 5; 1 Cor. 1:7).

These truths may be agreed upon: "The gospel ... is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16), that "faith works by love" (Gal. 5:6), and that faith is dependent on the revelation of the love of Christ at the cross. Therefore, the "light [which] lightens the earth with glory" and makes possible every honest heart responding to the call from heaven, "Come out of [Babylon], My people" (Rev. 18:4), will be a clearer revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ.

What did He accomplish by His sacrifice? That love [agape] "constrains us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). When one senses a greater "hunger and thirst for righteousness," entertainment loses its charm in comparison.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 1, 2001.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sabbath School Today, Lesson 5, Quarter 4-15

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic


Lesson 5: More Woes for the Prophet


What is the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? What lessons can we learn from the prophet Jeremiah and his message to Judah that will help us know what lies ahead for Adventists? Is there any correlation between what Jeremiah was proclaiming to an unrepentant nation and what the 1888 message says to us today?

God instructs Jeremiah to observe a potter working at a wheel creating a vessel (Jer. 18:2-4). The potter wants to make the best vessel possible with the materials with which he has to work, and will work perseveringly to that end. The potter's work now and then turns out badly because of the quality of the clay.

Given the analogy that the potter is God, it can be assumed that God is not the reason for the inferior results; it is the clay/people that are corrupt. "Now and then a vessel he was making out of the clay would be spoilt in his hands, and then he would start again and mould it into another vessel to his liking" (Jer. 18:4, NEB).

The shape of Israel's future remains somewhat open. Just as the potter recreates a vessel that seems good to him in view of the possibilities inherent in the clay, so God will take corrupt Israel and work with the possibilities inherent in the human situation. Integral to that situation is the way in which Israel responds to God's continuing work; God will work with what is available, yet with God's good purposes always in mind.

Israel can respond to God's declared word in two different ways. "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them" (Jer. 18:7-10). They can repent of their evil and turn to God or they can turn away from God, not listening to God's voice. By their response the people have the God-given capacity to shape God's own response.

In Judah's case there was no repentance and the Lord permitted them to be deported in exile to Babylon. But what bearing does this have upon our own situation today as Seventh-day Adventists in view of our prophetic destiny and our failure to embrace the latter rain message of justification by faith, which is consistent with the cleansing of the sanctuary truth?

It's serious not to understand the true nature of agape. But the 1888 message teaches us to always follow His covenant agape. Critics who have given up hope cannot see how God's love could possibly be loyal to a faulty, erring church. They assume that divine love is like human love--conditioned by the value or goodness of its object and dependent on it. So they look at the enfeebled and defective condition of the church and wonder how God's love for it can be permanent.

Christ never calls us to leave the church; He calls us to repent within the church, and to "sigh and cry" positively and effectively instead of negatively. An inspired voice emphatically assures us of ultimate denominational repentance. This is implicit in statements like these: "I am instructed to say to Seventh-day Adventists the world over, God has called us as a people to be a peculiar treasure unto Himself. He has appointed that His church on earth shall stand perfectly united in the Spirit and counsel of the Lord of hosts to the end of time." [1]

The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. [2]

Christ's message to Laodicea, in fact His very character of agape, is on trial before the heavenly universe. Will it be effective? Or will century after century go by with it never accomplishing the great work it calls for?

It is clear that the Lord's greatest concern is for the human leadership of His church. "God's ministers are symbolized by the seven stars. ... Christ's ministers are the spiritual guardians of the people entrusted to their care." [3] "'These things, says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand.' These words are spoken to the teachers in the church--those entrusted by God with weighty responsibilities." [4] If they refuse Christ's special call to repent, church organization must eventually disintegrate. But leadership can respond to Christ's call, and Revelation indicates that before the end they will.

Christ respects church organization. He intends that the "angel of the church" shall repent first, and then minister the experience to the worldwide church. When the leadership of the church "in a great measure" rejected the 1888 message, [5] He did not disregard them; He permitted their unbelief to arrest the finishing of His work for over a century.

However, we have an encouraging promise to lay hold of: the time will come when the Lord will override impenitent leadership. "There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness." [6]

No one knows precisely how the Lord will take "the reins in His own hands." Although His love is infinite, His patience is not. His love for a lost world will prove greater than His patient indulgence of continued Seventh-day Adventist lukewarmness. Christ died for the world. There will come a time when He can no longer tolerate persistent, willful impenitence. He is quite capable of righteous indignation. When the time comes for it to blaze forth, "Who is able to stand?"

Thus "his wife [the church] hath made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7) to be the Bride of Christ. He deserves this practical fruitage of His sacrifice. He has suffered enough, and at last His church will give him the complete surrender that a bride gives to her husband.

Can you think of any greater tragedy in the end of history than for a disappointed Christ to stand before "the door" knocking in vain (Rev. 3:20) and ultimately turning away in the humiliation of defeat? That is what the devil wants! Why should we give in to him by default? The picture we see in Scripture indicates complete success. By virtue of the infinite sacrifice on Calvary we must choose to believe that the Laodicean message will fully accomplish its objective.

That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. He has "let out His vineyard unto other husbandmen," even to His covenant-keeping people, who faithfully "render Him the fruits in their seasons." [7]

The Laodicean church is the new covenant church. Not for her own intrinsic goodness will the Lord remain loyal to her, but because He has to be a covenant-keeping God. "Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but ... [that] the Lord your God ... may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deut. 9:5). That covenant aspect of Christ's character is the assurance that the message to Laodicea will not fail.

--Paul E. Penno

Endnotes (From the Writings of Ellen G. White):
[1] Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 397.
[2] Ibid, p. 380.
[3] Gospel Workers, pp. 13, 14.
[4] Acts of the Apostles, p. 586.
[5] Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 234, 235.
[6] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300.
[7] Prophets and Kings, pp. 713, 714.


Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: What It Takes to Be At-One With Him

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When you think of Elijah the prophet, you think of a towering personality bossing King Ahab around like he was a child. The prophet stood alone before a huge crowd on Mount Carmel, and his prayer brought heaven's endorsement in fire flashing from heaven.

But wait a moment. Think also of Elijah's humiliation, his years of apparently unanswered prayers up in the mountains of Tish as he pleaded for Israel's repentance, all apparently in vain. The Lord had given him an understanding of truth, but it brought him pain as he was forced to watch his beloved Israel sink ever deeper in the horrible morass of Baal-worship. It seems that a precious knowledge of God's truth always brings pain to God's servant who must watch his people turn from it.

No one knows how many years Elijah spent in such apparently fruitless prayer, denying himself also in fasting. Finally the Lord invited Elijah to share the "Revelation 3:21" experience: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne ..." Come Elijah, you have the good of My Israel on your heart. What do you say we do for them, to save them from utter ruin?

As we study the story, it seems that the 3-1/2 years of drought was Elijah's idea (James 5:17, 18). This drastic step was the only way the nation could be awakened to reality. (Yes, Elijah agreed with what James says when he told King Ahab there would no rain until he himself, unworthy as he may have been, gave the order for heaven to send it, "except at my word"; 1 Kings 17:1.)

As the weary 42 months dragged by and all vegetation gradually dried up, the lone but sorrowful prophet was forced to watch the people suffer and some children die; he survived only by a little water trickling through the Brook Cherith, and food the ravens brought him. And when even that brook dried up, the Lord sent him to the widow of Zarephath in pagan Sidon (giving Jesus a magnificent story to tell the people of Nazareth, Luke 4:25, 26).

You too may have sincere prayers lifted heavenward daily for the good of someone else. Elijah never stopped praying, but he also let the Lord show him what to do to bring about an answer to his prayers.

Yes, pray; but such prayer may not be enough. Ask the Lord to deepen your knowledge of His gospel, especially that "everlasting" one of Revelation 14:6, 7, which is the only way the Holy Spirit can reach the heart of your beloved one you are praying for. Come, sit with the Lord on His throne. It takes more than fasting and prayer--it takes study and understanding to be at-one with Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 7, 2008.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Like Peter, Have We Denied Christ?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Many of us can look back on our "Christian experience" since we were "converted" and lament that often we have done like Peter: denied Christ. Maybe we have been too cowardly to confess publicly our "peculiar" beliefs. Maybe we have laughed at a crude joke in order to avoid appearing puritanical. Or gone to an unchristlike movie for the same reason, wanting to be part of the social circle. Or voted with the majority to deny Christ.

Yes, thankfully we have forgiveness with the Lord (Psalm 130:4). But can we overcome this inner cowardice? The Lord is obliged to try us again and again until we finally "overcome" (see His promise in Hebrews 12:5-11). Remember, He was obliged to "test" Abraham in Genesis 22 (the offering of son Isaac), or He could never have inspired Paul to speak of him as the father of the faithful in Romans 4:11-16.

Although God had called Abraham to be the "father" of all who should be faithful, he had failed again and again to be "full of faith." In several successive incidents he had not told the truth about his wife, fearful that the Lord would not protect him. Now when he has become old and weak (120 years even then was old age), Abraham must endure the most trying of all his tests of faith--to offer his "only" son, Isaac; God cannot let Abraham close his life record without proving for all time that he deserves this wonderful title.

It's in mercy to our souls that the Lord gives us opportunity after opportunity to demonstrate that we have overcome our unbelief; hence, our trials! They do not "seem to be joyous [experiences], but grievous" (Heb. 12:11); the Lord knows that. The heavenly angels must watch with deep interest--will we bear the test?

The real issue is far greater than our own personal salvation: we are called and privileged to be key personnel seated "with [Christ] on [His] throne" in the closing up of the great controversy between Christ and Satan (see Rev. 3:21). In the final battles of the "war with the Lamb, ... those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (17:14).

The conflict may be intense, but remember that you are "with Him," not alone. Buddies in fierce battles learn to be special friends; often they have saved each other. You are developing a special oneness with Christ that you will treasure through all eternity.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 30, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: October 22--A Memorable Anniversary

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

For many Christians around the world, October 22 is a memorable anniversary of the beginning of what has been understood as the antitypical Day of Atonement--the grand fulfillment of the 2300-year prophecy of Daniel 8:14. It's the special time when, during his "time of the end" (11:35; 12:4), hearts alienated from God shall be reconciled to Him in preparation for the return of Jesus.

The world is like "as in the days before the flood" (Matt. 24:38), which means that there is a witness being borne today as Noah bore in those 120 years before the rain fell (Heb. 11:7). Only a few responded then. We are not to be surprised if only a few, comparatively speaking, respond to God's message today.

But this is also a time for special joy. Jesus is real; He is not on vacation. He is ministering from a "store" of much more abounding grace, a message imparted intimately to reconcile hearts to the Father, hearts that have been alienated.

It's the story of Job all over again. Multitudes have met disappointment in life, the shattering of their dreams, the loss of career, a poisoned love, failure of health, and in many cases among us, having to face an untimely death. And in our humanity we have been tempted to feel that either God sent the misfortune or that He was callous in permitting it (remember, temptation is not necessarily sin!).

The family of God is full of people like Job; for each one, the Savior has a special yearning of heart. Can you imagine how His heart sympathized with Job, but there was absolutely nothing that He could do; he had to let Job wrestle all alone down in the arena, or give up the great controversy and let Satan win. And can you imagine how God's heart thrilled with joy to watch Job "overcome" triumphantly? (chapter 42:7-12). Now may we also overcome, and bring joy to His heart! That's a good life work for us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 22, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Solution to God's Biggest Problem

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

God has a huge problem on His hands--sin. It has ruined this world and is getting worse ("lawlessness will abound," Matt. 24:12). Just look at any morning's news. Unless that "cancer" of sin can be overcome and defeated, it will ruin the entire universe. This is what "the great controversy between Christ and Satan" is all about.

The sacrifice of Christ 2000 years ago was wonderful; His sacrifice was complete. But not until the problem of sin can be solved and eradicated from the world and the universe, will the atonement (becoming "one" with God) be complete. Sinners are at "enmity" with Him, and He cannot solve the problem just by "zapping" them. To force them would only make the problem worse. Yes, God does have a problem! And He cannot rest until that "cancer" in His universe is overcome.

God needs some people to cooperate with Him, because His Son has become "Immanuel, God with us." He became human as well as divine; His heart is with us in this world. Those people who must help Him are called "the church." It is the place where God must demonstrate to the world and to the universe that His "gospel ... is the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16). In other words, it eradicates sin from its last refuge--the human heart. This demonstration constitutes the final judgment of the cross of Christ that will forever defeat sin.

The "cleansing" of the sanctuary in heaven therefore requires first the cleansing of the hearts of His people on earth--the stage where the drama is being played out. The "books" in heaven cannot tell a lie. But His church on earth is "lukewarm," a spiritual sickness produced by heart alienation from Christ, love of self, and love of the world. There is God's biggest problem!

The solution? Something called "the message of Christ's righteousness," a truth rooted in the cleansing of the sanctuary, "the third angel's message in verity" (see Rev. 14:6-12). "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 29, 2001.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Are God's People Too Sinful to Save?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We read in the Bible that God was so good to ancient Israel. He gave them His holy law; the Ten Commandments plus a multitude of other laws and regulations. Their duty was spelled out so clearly that no one could misunderstand.

They always tended to forget so He sent them prophet after prophet to remind them of His law. These blessings made them different from the pagan nations around them.

What more could God have done for them? He let them know His will. If only they would obey His commandments--what a wonderful nation they would be!"

But that's where the entire system broke down. Generation after generation, they disobeyed. Once in a while they made a legalistic effort at reform and repentance (union of church and state), but then went back to the familiar pattern of "blessing and retribution," which was mostly "retribution" until Israel's end in disgraceful failure in 702 B.C.

The more commandments God gave them, the more they transgressed. Finally they were worshipping at their idolatrous shrines in a more lewd way than the pagan nations around them. "The Lord ... removed them out of His sight" (see 2 Kings 17). The experiment went on for the better part of two millennia, until they ended up murdering their Messiah, the very Son of God.

What was wrong? Are God's people just too sinful for Him to be able to save them? And must this law/transgression syndrome go on forever?

The problem was simple: Israel fastened themselves under the Old Covenant at Sinai. It dominated their thinking ever after. It created "bondage" (Gal. 4:24). Paul was the first converted sinner to break through the fog. Isn't it time now to grasp the New Covenant?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 20, 2002.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Sober Warning in the Bible That Seems Easy to Forget

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a sober warning in the Bible that it seems easy for us to forget. It's in Revelation14:9-12: "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead, or in his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God."

Then chapter 15 goes on to speak of those who have met this great challenge and have accepted the third angel's message, and "have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name" who stand on the sea of glass singing the song of the Lamb forever and ever.

In fact, the entire Book of Revelation is concerned about this issue--the mark of the beast. Chapter 7 describes that same group who sing the song of the Lamb as those who have received the seal of God, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

In the Bible, a "seal" is interchangeable with a "mark." So the Book of Revelation tells us that in the last days just before Jesus' return in the clouds of heaven, the entire population of the earth will be divided into two groups: those who receive the "seal of God" and those who accept the "mark of the beast."

Pretty serious, isn't it? This requires very careful study. Revelation 13:8 says that "all who dwell on the earth" will worship the beast with the sole exception of those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. It's another crisis, which in principle is the same that the people faced when Jesus was here on earth. They were divided into two groups--those who believed He was the true Messiah as He claimed, and those who rejected Him. He asked them, "What do you think about the Christ?" (Matt. 22:42). They had to decide!

And so today, we have to decide between the mark of the beast and the seal of God. But the issue is far deeper than a superficial outward sign. "The third angel's message in verity" is the true message of righteousness by faith; it will lead to receiving the seal of God. A false, legalistic view will lead to the mark of the beast.

It's time for serious study!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 12, 1997.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: "A Remnant" Will Receive the Full Gift of Repentance

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord has a special love for the Jewish people, according to Paul's Romans (chapters 9-11). The apostle's idea is not mere personal national or ethnic pride on his part; it's theological. That is, he sees the Jews as God's chosen descendants of Abraham who were called to win the world to reconciliation with God, and thus put an end to the misery that sin has caused to the human race.

But the Jews did what all of us have done--they sinned against God. The divine call to Abraham and his descendants did not abolish the sinful nature that they, along with all of us, inherited from the fallen Adam. That "carnal mind," says Paul, "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).

In God's special call to the Jews, He allowed them to demonstrate what that carnal mind can do when it does what it wants to do. The Jews were left on their own to act out to the full that enmity in that they crucified their God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

No pagan people have ever fallen that low. Jeremiah asks, "Has a[ny other] nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit" (2:11). They have led the world in "enmity against God" and raised a cross on which they crucified Him in the most public manner possible.

Nevertheless, He has forgiven them, for when their leaders incited the Romans to drive the nails through His wrists and ankle bones, the Messiah prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34). That means He has forgiven all the Jews in a corporate or legal sense; but they as individuals can never receive the blessing of that forgiveness until they realize what the sin is (not only was, for it continues), and open their hearts to receive the gift of repentance which will always lead to confession and recovery of what they threw away

Paul says that "a remnant" will come to realize the truth and will receive the full gift of repentance (Rom. 11:5). They will lead out in the last gospel task of lighting the world with the glory of "the everlasting gospel" which will be "the third angel's message in verity." Those who were called to herald it to the world have refused to do so, "just like the Jews" who refused to evangelize their world for thousands of years.

Thank God that repentance is possible. God has faith in human beings that they will eventually respond appropriately. But why must we delay that wondrous time any longer?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 14, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Jesus Taught Us How to Live Under the New Covenant

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What does it mean to "live under the New Covenant," or the promise of God? All God's promises were made to the "Seed" (singular), which is Christ (Gal. 3:16), and the only way we come into the picture is "in Christ."

Christ was known as "the son of David" not only through physical ancestry, but because in His incarnation He "lived" in David's psalms. As the leadership of God's true church condemned Jesus, so the divinely appointed leadership of His true church in the days of King Saul condemned David. Saul was "the anointed of the Lord," and David's agony was not only the physical exertion of constantly fleeing from Saul but wrestling with the greater temptation to doubt that God had truly anointed him to be king of Israel. He had to overcome, to believe that God would take care of him.

Thus we have David's psalms written during his exile (57, 59. for example); repeatedly, the future king begins by wrestling with fear (Old Covenant-inspired!), and before the end of the psalm he erupts in New Covenant joy of believing that the Lord will not forsake but vindicate him.

A millennium later the Son of God, sent "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), which He had taken upon Himself, wrestles with the same temptation. Again He is "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15), triumphing again over our Old Covenant fears, emerging day by day into New Covenant sunlight (cf. Isa. 50:4, 5).

This goes on continually in His earthly life until the greatest temptation of all to Old Covenant unbelief as He hangs on His cross in the darkness crying, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" And there on the cross He wrestles His way through the darkness into the sunlight of New Covenant faith, crying out joyously as His heart was already bleeding to death, "You who fear the Lord, praise Him! ... He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted [Me!], nor has He hidden His face from Him [Me!], ... He heard"! (Psalm 22:23, 24).

Jesus has taught us how to live under the New Covenant.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 6, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Promise of Jesus Has Reference to Life Today

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

All through Bible history and the history of Christianity, those who seek to follow Jesus have been opposed, ridiculed, and persecuted. Always, the believer who would be faithful must "take up his cross" in order to follow the true Christ (Luke 9:23).

Elijah was opposed by the government of the Israelite nation; the opposition of the king and queen was so terrible that he was denounced as "public enemy No. 1." The same persecution was seen in King Saul's bitter hatred of David, the youth whom the Lord had "anointed" to replace him as future king. Then Jeremiah had to spend his entire lifetime enduring the persecution inflicted on him by the successive kings and leaders of Judah following the death of good king Josiah.

At first the official leadership of the nation of Israel was favorable to the message of John the Baptist, but later what they considered objective evidence made them conclude they were forced to criticize, then oppose, then reject, and finally crucify, the Man whom God had sent as their Messiah. It was the popular thing to do--shout, "Crucify Him!" (John 19:15).

Must we still "take up [our] cross" in order to be faithful to Him? Yes, but does that mean that life must be dreary, enduring sadness and loneliness? No, the promise of Jesus has particular reference to life today. He said: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).

As He walked with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:25), so He has pledged Himself to suffer and endure with His faithful disciples today. In every confrontation with Satanic falsehood, Jesus wins the victory.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 23, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Forgiveness Is More Than Pardon

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Ephesians 2:2, 3 is everyone's life story: we "once walked according to the course of this world, ... in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." Thus we can all see how we are potentially guilty of the sins of others; if we had never been saved by the Lord, think of what frightful evil we could have descended to!

So, "Out of the depths [we] have cried to You, O Lord" (Psalm 130:1). As we review our past, anguish covers us. How could we have been so foolish in our childhood and teenage years? If we had had no Savior, the sins of others would have become ours; we are by nature no better than anyone else. "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" No one.

Then there comes this glorious assurance: "But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared [reverenced]" (vss. 3, 4). The music changes from a sad minor key to a glad major key. The Lord has saved us from ruin. "Henceforth" we live in thanksgiving.

Forgiveness is more than pardon; it's the taking away of the guilt and the taking away of the sin from the heart. We hate it now and never want to do it again. No one can do that for us except the Savior of the world, our personal great High Priest.

Ephesians continues: "God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." From being depressed "in the depths" we are elevated to "sit together in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-6).

Two solemn truths stand out: (1) We are "just as the others" (takes us down several notches). We are neither sleeping under freeway passes nor confined in prisons for crimes, due to "God's rich mercy." Let's not be proud. (2) Before we were even born, "by grace [we] have been saved through faith, ... it is the gift of God" (vs. 8).

It's time now to sing His praises forever! And live to His glory, not our own.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 26, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A "Voice" That Will Be the Fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-4

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord has promised to "send" us the prophet Elijah, "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," which means now (see Mal. 4:5, 6). We will see and hear someone preach in whom there is no "self"-importance, but a man who has humbled his soul before Christ, and in whose voice there is the tenderness of the Good Shepherd mingled with the fire of the heaven-inspired voice of Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18).

Such a "voice" will be the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-4. That voice will command attention from every honest-hearted person on earth; they may never have heard such a voice before; but they will recognize it immediately.

"Elijah" is somewhere in the world today, for the Lord promised to send him, and He does not fail to keep His promises. Go to "school" with Elijah; the classroom is open. Join him at the "Brook Cherith," some place of humility where you can learn from Jesus how to lay self aside.

But how does one do it? It takes time. It takes asking; "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find" (Matt. 7:7). It takes waiting before the Lord (cf. Psalm 27). "When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek'" (vs. 8).

It takes acting on His word: getting up when He calls you, going when He sends you, and studying when He impresses spiritual hunger upon you.

I think I can be reverent and say, Get acquainted with your human friend, Elijah.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 7, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: That New Covenant Good News Melts the Angry Heart

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible is clear--God's New Covenant is His promise. Jeremiah says that the New Covenant is the same as writing His holy law in the human heart (31:31-34). Now the question of questions: When God makes a promise, is there power in the promise itself? Or is the power in your doing what's right? Is there power in the gospel itself (the gospel understood as Good News, Rom. 1:16)? Or is the power in your own obedience to the gospel?

Here's the old controversy between righteousness by faith and righteousness by faith plus works. Don't dismiss the issue; it's serious.

Sarai was the name of the lady who was Abram's wife. The best one can find is that her name meant "contentious," quarrelsome. This is borne out by what we read of her. When God says He is not accepting Hagar's child, Ishmael, as the promised "heir," she feels bad because she is the problem; she is unable to conceive a child. She blames God. Then in Old Covenant thinking she comes up with a bright idea to solve Abram's problem: she practices Old Covenant self-denial and gives her maid (Hagar) into Abram's embrace--not an easy thing for any wife to do (Gen. 16:5).

Then the affair goes sour, Hagar despises Sarai, and lords it over her--the new queen of the household, and Sarai? Cast down. So she acts out her name and berates poor Abram: "My wrong be upon you! ... The Lord judge between you and me," and she storms off in a huff (Gen. 16:5). All Abram did was exactly what she told him to do, yet now she blames him! This lady is angry with God and everybody else. Now what can God do?

He gives her some New Covenant Good News. While she is the same contentious woman, He changes her name to Sarah, which means "Princess"; and He tells her He believes in her! All the promises to Abraham are to her, too. And now, just that simple word, that New Covenant Good News, melts her proud, angry heart, and "by faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age." How? "Because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11).

Sounds like there is power in the word of God. All it needs is for someone to believe it.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 25, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Each Generation Has Had to Face a Cross

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Ever since sin entered in the Garden of Eden, there has been a cross erected. An innocent creature had to be killed, its blood shed, in order for Adam and Eve to have clothing to shield them from the cold and from their newly acquired shame of nakedness. Each new generation of those who feared and reverenced God has had to face a cross whereon self has been crucified.

Abel recognized its principle and proclaimed his faith; what did he get for his sacrifice? Death at the hands of his older brother. But wait--he gets more! "He being dead still speaks" (Heb. 11:4), which means--Abel has been preaching a powerful, soul-winning sermon for all these 6000 years! If you want to talk about "stars in somebody's crown," look at that firmament!

All Isaac did was to be born as "the child of promise," and what does he get? Persecution from his older brother, Ishmael (Gal. 4:29). But there is more: God said, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son" (vs. 30). Isaac gets an eternal inheritance.

Joseph was simply being true to his conscience, and what does he get for that? A taste of the cross: sold by his older brothers into slavery in Egypt. But the story is not ended: he becomes prime minister of Egypt. This is not fiction; it's soul-saving.

David simply defends God's people against their oppressors, the Philistines; and what does he get for it? The constant enmity of "the anointed of the Lord," against whom he will not lift up his hand. But what blessing did David get? The throne? Think more deeply: his understanding of the cross as we can read in Psalms 22 and 69.

Elijah saves Israel from ruin, is hated by the king and queen; but he is translated.

Jeremiah is called from the womb to serve the Lord, and what did he get? An entire lifetime of rejection and defamation of character at the hands of God's people, with no respite or interlude of peace. But now the Jews regard him as the greatest of the prophets.

"Whoever loses his life for My sake," says Jesus, " will save it" (Luke 9:24). They did!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 30, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Does God's Word Contradict Itself?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does God's Word contradict itself? Jesus devotes an entire chapter (Luke 15) to say that He is seeking lost sinners, not vice versa. But there are passages in the Old Testament that seem to contradict Him, implying He hides, awaiting the sinner's choice to seek and find Him.

Jesus actually sought out people to heal and resurrect. For example, there was the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:13ff.); the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (5:2-9; Jesus asked him if He could heal him!). Note His fervent appeals seeking the hearts of the leaders of the Jews (5:17ff.); and there's the bereaved widow of Nain whose funeral for her son He interrupts and raises him (Luke 7:11ff.). None of these came to Him seeking Him; He went to them seeking them. Jesus said His Father even is seeking our fellowship as though He is lonely without us. (He is! It hurts Him when we leave Him; John 4:23.)

But the Old Testament has commandments to seek and find Him, as though He hides from us. For example: "Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice; seek righteousness, seek humility: it may be you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger" (Zeph. 2:3). And, "Thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: 'Seek the Lord and live, lest He break out like fire ..." to burn you up or send a tsunami to wash you away (see the threats in Amos 5:4, 6).

And there is Jeremiah 29: "You will seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (vs. 13). If we read the context we will see that the Lord is not contradicting what Jesus said: the people have come home after 70 years of captivity-exile; at last they are tired of idolatry and Baal worship and are now eager to come to the Lord. It is not a command; it's simple future tense. It's not a threat. In close context, the prophet tells them that the joy of New Covenant living will come instead of Old Covenant fear (31:31-34).

Amos has to speak to Old Covenant-minded people with the only appeal he knows at the time--fear. The Northern Kingdom of Israel has deeply apostatized and are soon to be exiled permanently, lost to history (722 B.C.).

But now at last here comes Jesus of Nazareth "to give light to those who sit in darkness" (Luke 1:79). He is the New Covenant. He seeks the lost sheep "until He find it." And then comes Paul: the entire Old Testament is a "schoolmaster" (disciplinarian) that leads us back to where Abraham was, to be "justified by faith" (Gal. 3:22-25).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 8, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, October 05, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Next Item on the Agenda: Repentance for God's Own People

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

God's love for a lost, despairing world is seen in the message of three mighty angels who "fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach … to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people," telling (1) that "the hour of His judgment has come," (2) that "'Babylon' is fallen," that is, apostate, fallen Christianity that should lighten the earth with truth but instead has embraced self-worshipping paganism in its heart, and (3) don't "worship the beast and his image, [or] receive his mark" (Rev. 14:6-12).

The first message, which arose on time just after the end of the 1260 years that came in 1798, was given its first public presentation in 1831. A tragic rejection by the entrenched Protestant hierarchies made the "fall of Babylon" message relevant by 1844, and the identification of "the mark of the beast" has been proclaimed ever since.

But note: these three great angels can fly only "in the midst of heaven," like helicopters flying over the treetops, but they are severely limited in their effectiveness. They use all the marvelous "increase of knowledge" provided by modern technology, satellite preaching for example; but straining their resources to the limit, they could preach on for hundreds of years more, frustrated in their best efforts unless "another angel," a fourth, comes "down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth [is] lightened with his glory, and he [cries] mightily with a loud voice …" (Rev. 18:1-4).

The most poignant drama of 6000 years is seen in modern "Israel's" disdaining a "most precious message" when its "beginning" came in the closing decades of the 19th century. The result of that tragic unbelief has been the loosening of the grip of those "four angels" of chapter 7 who had been commissioned to "hold the four winds of the earth" until the sealing angels "have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads" (vss. 1-3).

In simple language, the Savior of the world has been frustrated in His purpose to bring to a triumphant close His "great controversy" with Satan. The next item on the agenda: repentance for God's own people.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 15, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Writer With "Heavenly Credentials"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you noticed at the end of yesterday's mini-message a little signature, "EJW," we had taken that one entirely from E. J. Waggoner, a writer of over a century ago who was especially gifted by the Lord with deep insights into how good the Good News is. One very observant and responsible church leader described him as having "heavenly credentials."

We introduce him to our readers for several reasons. He broke through the fog of centuries to re-discover Gospel truths that have been contended and misunderstood. For example, he bridged the chasm between Calvinism and Arminianism: Calvinism had said that God has "elected" some to be saved, and consigned others to be lost. They called this "unconditional election." Arminianism strongly opposed this idea, affirming that Christ died for everybody; but His sacrifice is ineffective, it accomplishes nothing for the sinner unless he believes.

Waggoner's breakthrough idea affirmed that Christ has "predestined" "all men" to be saved, and contrary to the Arminian idea, His sacrifice is effectual for "all." Christ has actually done something for the whole of humanity: He has given humanity salvation "in Himself," and if the sinner does not resist and reject and despise, disbelieve, and "sell" what Christ has actually given him, he will be saved.

Further, Waggoner had the idea that Calvinism needed correction in saying that those whom the Lord has predestined to be saved cannot be lost. In dying for the human race Christ has given each person freedom of choice. And many choose to reject what He has given them, as Esau did long ago (Gen. 25:33, 34).

Waggoner also discovered in the Bible a clear understanding of the difference between the Old and the New Covenants--insights that would be a great blessing to all if they could be considered.

Waggoner also rediscovered the New Testament idea of how close Christ in His incarnation has come to the human race, how He "took" on His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might not save us in sin but that He might save us now from sin. It was "most precious" truth that has within it the power to prepare a people for the coming of Christ.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 9, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Note: If you would like to access some of E. J. Waggoner's writings on the Internet, please visit:

Dial Daily Bread: Our Promises Can Add Nothing to God's Promise

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Someone in distress wrote: "I go on my knees and implore God's forgiveness. I realize that He has forgiven me, and I promise Him that I will never do it again; but alas, after a few days the temptation comes again, and again I yield."

Your experience is that of many thousands of sincere Christians; but it is not real Christian experience, because it is not the experience of Christ. He "was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." It was not because He was of a different nature from us, for inasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, "He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (Heb. 4:15; 2:14), and in all things was "made like unto His brethren" (vs. 18). Like you He, "in the days of His flesh," "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death," and He "was heard, in that He feared" (Heb. 5:7). He trusted in God, not in Himself. His words were, "I have set the Lord always before Me; because He is at My right hand, I shall not be moved" (Psalm 16:8).

Instead of promising the Lord that you will not yield again, you must take His promise that you shall not. Your mistake has been in trusting your own promises instead of the Lord's promise. It is by the "exceeding great and precious promises" of the Lord that we are made "partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). "He is faithful that promised" (Heb. 10:23), for "all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, and to the glory of God by us" (2 Cor. 1:20). "This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). Our promises can add nothing to God's promise; they are not only wholly unnecessary, but they are a hindrance. We promise that we will not do the evil thing any more; but that very promise implies the supposition of strength on our part, whereas power belongs only to God, and our strength is in recognizing that. (EJW)

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 8, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Did "God" Need to Pray to "God"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Many questions are asked about Jesus and prayer: Why did Jesus pray? Did He have to pray? We read that He was God in human flesh, "Immanuel, God with us" (Matt. 1:23). Did "God" need to pray to "God"?

If Jesus was the Son of God, couldn't He accomplish His mission on His own without getting on His knees every day and talking humbly to His heavenly Father about His problems? It takes time to pray and He had lots to do; none of us prays unless we feel the need to pray. Did He feel such a need? Or was it just an example for us to copy? And what did He pray for?

The stark truth emerges that Jesus in His incarnation had to pray. Isaiah says that "the government" of earth and heaven was "on His shoulder," a human shoulder (9:6). On His own He had to fight the infinite battle of eternity known as "the great controversy between Christ and Satan." The enemy of God had invented something never before known in the universe, a virus that threatened universal death, and it had taken up residence in fallen human flesh or human nature. That virus was sin, and it had to be defeated in that same fallen human flesh or nature, or the universe eventually would have had to succumb to sin and its "wages ... death" (Rom. 6:23).

In the human nature which Christ had "taken," He had to win the fearsome struggle with sin; He had to "condemn sin in the flesh," in "the likeness of sinful flesh" (8:3). None of the gladiators fighting hand to hand in the Roman Colosseum ever had a more fearsome personal struggle. Jesus was forced to battle on His own with none of His divine prerogatives--divine, yes; the Son of God, yes; but with no special advantage over us except His faith.

His righteousness must be limited to righteousness by faith. He must be "the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2), the Author or Inventor of faith itself. But that's just what He gives to us--"the saints ... that keep ... the faith of Jesus" today (Rev. 14:12). Accept His faith! Let that Author teach you how to pray!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 5, 2001.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."