The Great Controversy
Between Christ & His Angels & Satan & his Angels
An easy to read and fast moving panorama of the Story of Redemption!
The angels as they left heaven, in sadness laid off their glittering crowns. They could not wear them while their commander was suffering, and was to wear a crown of thorns. Satan and his angels were busy in that judgment hall to destroy humanity and sympathy. The very atmosphere was heavy and polluted by their influence. The chief priests and elders were inspired by them to abuse and insult Jesus, in a manner the most difficult for human nature to bear. Satan hoped that such insult and sufferings would call forth from the Son of God some complaint or murmur; or that he would manifest his divine power, and wrench himself from the grasp of the multitude, and thus the plan of salvation at last fail.
Peter followed his Lord after his betrayal. He was anxious to see what would be done with Jesus. And when he was accused of being one of his disciples, he denied it. He was afraid of his life, and when charged with being one of them, he declared that he knew not the man. The disciples were noted for the purity of their words, and Peter, to deceive, and convince them that he was not one of Christ's disciples, denied it the third time with cursing and swearing. Jesus, who was some distance from Peter, turned a sorrowful reproving gaze upon him. Then he remembered the words which Jesus had spoken to him in the upper chamber, and also his zealous assertion, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. He denied his Lord, even with cursing and swearing; but that look of Jesus melted Peter at once, and saved him. He bitterly wept and repented of his great sin, and was converted, and then was prepared to strengthen his brethren.
The multitude were clamorous for the blood of Jesus. They cruelly scourged him, and put an old purple, kingly robe upon him, and bound his sacred head with a crown of thorns. They put a reed in his hand, and mockingly bowed to him, and saluted him with, Hail king of the Jews! They then took the reed from his hand, and smote him with it upon the head, causing the thorns to penetrate his temples, sending the trickling blood down his face and beard.
It was difficult for the angels to endure the sight. They would have delivered Jesus out of their hands; but the commanding angels forbade them, and said that it was a great ransom that was to he paid for man; but it would be complete, and would cause the death of him who had the power of death. Jesus knew that angels were witnessing the scene of his humiliation. I saw that the feeblest angel could have caused that multitude to fall powerless, and delivered Jesus. He knew that if he should desire it of his Father, angels would instantly release him. But it was necessary that Jesus should suffer many things of wicked men, in order to carry out the plan of salvation.
There stood Jesus, meek and humble before the infuriated multitude, while they offered him the meanest abuse. They spit in his face-that face which they will one day desire to be hid from, which will give light to the city of God, and shine brighter than the sun -- but not an angry look did he cast upon the offenders. He meekly raised his hand, and wiped it off. They covered his head with an old garment; blindfolded him, and then struck him in the face, and cried out, Prophesy unto us who it was that smote thee. There was commotion among the angels. They would have rescued him instantly; but their commanding angel restrained them.
The disciples had gained confidence to enter where Jesus was, and witness his trial. They expected that he would manifest his divine power, and deliver himself from the hands of his enemies, and punish them for their cruelty towards him. Their hopes would rise and fall as the different scenes transpired. Sometimes they doubted, and feared they had been deceived. But the voice heard at the mount of transfiguration, and the glory they there witnessed, strengthened them that he was the Son of God. They called to mind the exciting scenes which they had witnessed, the miracles they had seen Jesus do in healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the deaf ears, rebuking and casting out devils, raising the dead to life, and even rebuking the wind, and it obeyed him. They could not believe that he would die. They hoped he would yet rise in power, and with his commanding voice disperse that blood-thirsty multitude, as when he entered the temple and drove out those who were making the house of God a place of merchandise; when they fled before him, as though a company of armed soldiers were pursuing them. The disciples hoped that Jesus would manifest his power, and convince all that he was the King of Israel.
Judas was filled with bitter remorse and shame at his treacherous act in betraying Jesus. And when he witnessed the abuse he suffered, he was overcome. He had loved Jesus, but loved money more. He did not think that Jesus would suffer himself to be taken by the mob which he had led on. He thought that Jesus would work a miracle, and deliver himself from them. But when he saw the infuriated multitude in the judgment hall, thirsting for his blood, he deeply felt his guilt, and while many were vehemently accusing Jesus, Judas rushed through the multitude, confessing that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood. He offered them the money, and begged of them to release Jesus, declaring that he was entirely innocent. Vexation and confusion kept the priests for a short time silent. They did not wish the people to know that they had hired one of Jesus' professed followers to betray him into their hands. Their hunting Jesus like a thief and taking him secretly, they wished to hide. But the confession of Judas, his haggard and guilty appearance, exposed the priests before the multitude, showing that it was hatred that had caused them to take Jesus. As Judas loudly declared Jesus to be innocent, the priests replied, What is that to us? See thou to that. They had Jesus in their power, and they were determined to make sure of him. Judas, overwhelmed with anguish, threw the money that he now despised at the feet of those who had hired him, and in anguish and horror at his crime, went and hung himself.
Jesus had many sympathizers in that company, and his answering nothing to the many questions put to him amazed the throng. To all the insults and mockery not a frown, not a troubled expression was upon his features. He was dignified and composed. He was of perfect and noble form. The spectators looked upon him with wonder. They compared his perfect form, his firm, dignified bearing, with those who sat in judgment against him, and said to one another that he appeared more like a king to be entrusted with a kingdom than any of the rulers. He bore no marks of being a criminal. His eye was mild, clear and undaunted, his forehead broad and high. Every feature was strongly marked with benevolence and noble principle. His patience and forbearance were so unlike man, that many trembled. Even Herod and Pilate were greatly troubled at his noble, God-like bearing.
Pilate from the first was convicted that he was no common man, but an excellent character. He believed him to be entirely innocent. The angels who were witnessing the whole scene noticed the convictions of Pilate, and marked his sympathy and compassion for Jesus; and to save him from engaging in the awful act of delivering Jesus to be crucified, an angel was sent to Pilate's wife, and gave her information through a dream that it was the Son of God in whose trial Pilate was engaged, and that he was an innocent sufferer. She immediately sent word to Pilate that she had suffered many things in a dream on account of Jesus, and warned him to have nothing to do with that holy man. The messenger bearing the communication pressed hastily through the crowd, and handed it to Pilate. As he read it he trembled and turned pale. He at once thought he would have nothing to do in the matter; that if they would have the blood of Jesus he would not give his influence to it, but would labor to deliver him.
When Pilate heard that Herod was at Jerusalem he was glad, and hoped to free himself from the disagreeable matter altogether, and have nothing to do in condemning Jesus. He sent him, with his accusers, to Herod. Herod was hardened. His murdering John left a stain upon his conscience which he could not free himself from, and when he heard of Jesus, and the mighty works done by him, he thought it was John risen from the dead. He feared and trembled, for he bore a guilty conscience. Jesus was placed in Herod's hands by Pilate. Herod considered this act an acknowledgment from Pilate of his power, authority and judgment. They had previously been enemies, but then they were made friends. Herod was glad to see Jesus, for he expected that he would work some mighty miracle for his satisfaction. But it was not the work of Jesus to gratify his curiosity. His divine and miraculous power was to be exercised for the salvation of others, but not in his own behalf.
Jesus answered nothing to the many questions put to him by Herod; neither did he regard his enemies who were vehemently accusing him. Herod was enraged because Jesus did not appear to fear his power, and with his men of war, derided, mocked and abused the Son of God. Herod was astonished at the noble, God-like appearance of Jesus, when shamefully abused, and feared to condemn him, and he sent him again to Pilate.
Satan and his angels were tempting Pilate, and trying to lead him on to his own ruin. They suggested to him that if he did not take any part in condemning Jesus, others would; the multitude were thirsting for his blood; and if he did not deliver Jesus to be crucified, he would lose his power and worldly honor, and would be denounced as a believer on the impostor, as they termed him. Pilate, through fear of losing his power and authority, consented to the death of Jesus. And notwithstanding he placed the blood of Jesus upon his accusers, and the multitude received it, crying, His blood be on us and on our children, yet Pilate was not clear; he was guilty of the blood of Christ. For his own selfish interest, and love of honor from the great men of earth, he delivered an innocent man to die. If Pilate had followed his conviction, he would have had nothing to do with condemning Jesus.
The trial and condemnation of Jesus were working on the minds of many; and impressions were being made which were to appear after his resurrection; and many were to be added to the Church whose experience and conviction should be dated from the time of Jesus' trial.
Satan's rage was great as he saw that all the cruelty which he had led the chief priests to inflict on Jesus had not called forth from him the least murmur. I saw that, although Jesus had taken man's nature, a power and fortitude that was God-like sustained him, and he did not depart from the will of his Father in the least.
See Matthew 27.
The Son of God was delivered to the people to be crucified. They led the dear Saviour away. He was weak and feeble through pain and suffering, caused by the scourging and blows which he had received, yet they laid on him the heavy cross upon which they were soon to nail him. But Jesus fainted beneath the burden. Three times they laid on him the heavy cross, and three times he fainted. They then seized one of his followers, a man who had not openly professed faith in Christ, yet believed on him. They laid on him the cross, and he bore it to the fatal spot. Companies of angels were marshaled in the air above the place. A number of his disciples followed him to Calvary in sorrow, and with bitter weeping. They called to mind Jesus' riding triumphantly into Jerusalem, and they following him, crying, Hosanna in the highest! and strewing their garments in the way, and the beautiful palm branches. They thought that he was then to take the kingdom and reign a temporal prince over Israel. How changed the scene! How blighted their prospects! They followed Jesus; not with rejoicing; not with bounding hearts and cheerful hopes; but with hearts stricken with fear and despair they slowly, sadly followed him who had been disgraced and humbled, and who was about to die.
The mother of Jesus was there. Her heart was pierced with anguish, such as none but a fond mother can feel. Her stricken heart still hoped, with the disciples, that her Son would work some mighty miracle, and deliver himself from his murderers. She could not endure the thought that he would suffer himself to be crucified. But the preparations were made, and they laid Jesus upon the cross. The hammer and the nails were brought. The heart of his disciples fainted within them. The mother of Jesus was agonized, almost beyond endurance, and as they stretched Jesus upon the cross, and were about to fasten his hands with the cruel nails to the wooden arms, the disciples bore the mother of Jesus from the scene, that she might not hear the crashing of the nails, as they were driven through the bone and muscle of his tender hands and feet. Jesus murmured not; but groaned in agony. His face was pale, and large drops of sweat stood upon his brow. Satan exulted in the sufferings which the Son of God was passing through, yet feared that his kingdom was lost, and that he must die.
They raised the cross after they had nailed Jesus to it, and with great force thrust it into the place prepared for it in the ground, tearing the flesh, and causing the most intense suffering. They made his death as shameful as possible. With him they crucified two thieves, one on either side of Jesus. The thieves were taken by force, and after much resistance on their part, their arms were thrust back and nailed to their crosses. But Jesus meekly submitted. He needed no one to force his arms back upon the cross. While the thieves were cursing their executioners, Jesus in agony prayed for his enemies, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. It was not merely agony of body which Jesus endured, but the sins of the whole world were upon him.
As Jesus hung upon the cross, some who passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, as though bowing to a king, and said to him, Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. The Devil used the same words to Christ in the wilderness, If thou be the Son of God. The chief priests and elders and scribes mockingly said, He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. The angels who hovered over the scene of Christ's crucifixion were moved to indignation as the rulers derided him, and said, If he be the Son of God let him deliver himself. They wished there to come to the rescue of Jesus, and deliver him; but they were not suffered to do so. The object of his mission was almost accomplished. As Jesus hung upon the cross those dreadful hours of agony, he did not forget his mother. She could not remain away from the suffering scene. Jesus' last lesson was one of compassion and humanity. He looked upon his mother, whose heart was well nigh bursting with grief, and then upon his beloved disciple John. He said to his mother, Woman, behold thy Son. Then said he to John, Behold thy mother. And from that hour John took her to his own house.
Jesus thirsted in his agony; but they heaped upon him additional insult, by giving him vinegar and gall to drink. The angels had viewed the horrid scene of the crucifixion of their loved commander, until they could behold no longer; and veiled their faces from the sight. The sun refused to look upon the dreadful scene. Jesus cried with a loud voice, which struck terror to the hearts of his murderers, It is finished. Then the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, the earth shook, and the rocks rent. Great darkness was upon the face of the earth. The last hope of the disciples seemed swept away as Jesus died. Many of his followers witnessed the scene of his sufferings and death, and their cup of sorrow was full.
Satan did not then exult as he had done. He had hoped that he could break up the plan of salvation; but it was laid too deep. And now by Jesus' death, he knew that he must finally die, and his kingdom be taken away and given to Jesus. He held a council with his angels. He had prevailed nothing against the Son of God, and now they must increase their efforts, and with their cunning and power turn to Jesus' followers. They must prevent all they could from receiving salvation purchased for them by Jesus. By so doing Satan could still work against the government of God. Also it would be for his own interest to keep from Jesus all he could. For the sins of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ, and overcome, at last will be rolled back upon the originator of sin, the Devil, and he will have to bear their sins, while those who do not accept salvation through Jesus will bear their own sins.
Jesus' life was without worldly grandeur, or extravagant show. His humble, self-denying life was a great contrast to the lives of the priests and elders, who loved ease and worldly honor, and the strict and holy life of Jesus was a continual reproof to them, on account of their sins. They despised him for his humbleness, and purity. But those who despised him here, will one day see him in the grandeur of heaven, and the unsurpassed glory of his Father. He was surrounded with enemies in the judgment hall, who were thirsting for his blood; but those hardened ones who cried out, His blood be on us and on our children, will behold him an honored King. All the heavenly host will escort him on his way with songs of victory, majesty and might, to him that was slain, yet lives again a mighty conqueror. Poor, weak, miserable man spit in the face of the King of glory, while a shout of brutal triumph arose from the mob at the degrading insult. They marred that face with blows and cruelty which filled all heaven with admiration. They will behold that face again, bright as the noonday sun, and will seek to flee from before it. Instead of that shout of brutal triumph, in terror they will wail because of him. Jesus will present his hands with the marks of his crucifixion. The marks of this cruelty he will ever bear. Every print of the nails will tell the story of man's wonderful redemption, and the dear price that purchased it. The very men who thrust the spear into the side of the Lord of life, will behold the print of the spear, and will lament with deep anguish the part they acted in marring his body. His murderers were greatly annoyed by the superscription, The King of the Jews, placed upon the cross above his head. But then they will be obliged to see him in all his glory and kingly power. They will behold on his vesture and on his thigh, written in living characters, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. They cried to him mockingly, as he hung upon the cross, Let Christ the King of Israel descend from the cross, that we may see and believe. They will behold him then with kingly power and authority. They will demand no evidence then of his being the King of Israel; but overwhelmed with a sense of his majesty and exceeding glory, they will be compelled to acknowledge, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The shaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks, the darkness spread over the earth, and the loud, strong cry of Jesus, It is finished, as he yielded up his life, troubled his enemies, and made his murderers tremble. The disciples wondered at these singular manifestations; but their hopes were all crushed. They were afraid the Jews would seek to destroy them also. Such hate manifested against the Son of God they thought would not end there. Lonely hours the disciples spent in sorrow, weeping over their disappointment. They expected that he would reign a temporal prince; but their hopes died with Jesus. They doubted in their sorrow and disappointment whether Jesus had not deceived them. His mother was humbled, and even her faith wavered in his being the Messiah.
But notwithstanding the disciples had been disappointed in their hopes concerning Jesus, yet they loved him, and respected and honored his body, but knew not how to obtain it. Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor, had influence, and was one of Jesus' true disciples. He went privately, yet boldly, to Pilate and begged his body. He dared not go openly; for the hatred of the Jews was so great that the disciples feared that an effort would be made by them to prevent the body of Jesus having an honored resting place. But Pilate granted his request, and as they took the body of Jesus down from the cross, their sorrows were renewed, and they mourned over their blighted hopes in deep anguish. They wrapped Jesus in fine linen, and Joseph laid him in his own new sepulchre. The women who had been his humble followers while he lived still kept near him after his death, and would not leave him until they saw his sacred body laid in the sepulchre, and a stone of great weight rolled at the door, lest his enemies should seek to obtain his body. But they need not have feared; for I beheld the angelic host watching with untold interest the resting place of Jesus. They guarded the sepulchre, earnestly waiting the command to act their part in liberating the King of glory from his prison house.
Christ's murderers were afraid that he might yet come to life and escape them. They begged of Pilate a watch to guard the sepulchre until the third day. Pilate granted them armed soldiers to guard the sepulchre, sealing the stone at the door, lest his disciples should steal him away, and say that he had risen from the dead.
See Matthew 27.
The disciples rested on the Sabbath, sorrowing for the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, rested in the sepulchre. The night had worn slowly away, and while it was yet dark, the angels hovering over the sepulchre knew that the time of the release of God's dear Son, their loved commander, had nearly come. And as they were waiting with the deepest emotion the hour of his triumph, a strong and mighty angel came flying swiftly from heaven. His face was like the lightning, and his garments white as snow. His light dispersed the darkness from his track, and caused the evil angels who had triumphantly claimed the body of Jesus, to flee in terror from his brightness and glory. One of the angelic host who had witnessed the scene of Jesus' humiliation, and was watching his sacred resting place, joined the angel from heaven, and together they came down to the sepulchre. The earth shook and trembled as they approached, and there was a mighty earthquake. The strong and mighty angel laid hold of the stone and quickly rolled it away from the door of the sepulchre, and sat upon it.
Terrible fear seized the guard. Where was now their power to keep the body of Jesus? They did not think of their duty, or of the disciples stealing him away. They were amazed and affrighted, as the exceeding bright light of the angels shone all around brighter than the sun. The Roman guard saw the angels, and fell as dead men to the ground. One angel rolled back the stone in triumph, and with a clear and mighty voice, cried out, Thou Son of God! Thy Father calls thee! Come forth! Death could hold dominion over him no longer. Jesus arose from the dead. The other angel entered the sepulchre, and as Jesus arose in triumph, he unbound the napkin which was about his head, and Jesus walked forth a victorious conqueror. In solemn awe the angelic host gazed upon the scene. And as Jesus walked forth from the sepulchre in majesty, those shining angels prostrated themselves to the ground and worshiped him; then hailed him with songs of victory and triumph, that death could hold its divine captive no longer. Satan did not now triumph. His angels had fled before the bright, penetrating light of the heavenly angels. They bitterly complained to their king, that their prey had been taken violently from them, and that he whom they so much hated had risen from the dead.
Satan and his angels had enjoyed a little moment of triumph that their power over fallen man had caused the Lord of life, to be laid in the grave; but short was their hellish triumph. For as Jesus walked forth from his prison house a majestic conqueror, Satan knew that after a season he must die, and his kingdom pass unto him whose right it was. He lamented and raged that notwithstanding all his efforts and power, Jesus had not been overcome, but had laid open a way of salvation for man, and whosoever would, might walk in it and be saved.
For a little, Satan seemed sad and showed distress. He held a council with his angels to consider what they should engage in next to work against the government of God. Said Satan, You must hasten to the chief priests and elders. We succeeded in deceiving them and blinding their eyes, and hardening their hearts against Jesus. We made them believe he was an impostor. That Roman guard will carry the hateful news that Christ is risen. We led the priests and elders on to hate Jesus, and to murder him. Now hold it before them in a bright light, that as they were his murderers, if it becomes known that Jesus is risen, they will be stoned to death by the people, in that they killed an innocent man.
I saw the Roman guard, as the angelic host passed back to heaven, and the light and glory passed away, raise themselves to see if it were safe for them to look around. They were filled with amazement as they saw that the great stone was rolled from the door of the sepulchre, and Jesus was risen. They hastened to the chief priests and elders with the wonderful story of what they had seen; and as those murderers heard the marvelous report, paleness sat upon every face. Horror seized them at what they had done. They then realized that if the report was correct, they were lost. For a little they were stupefied, and looked one to the other in silence, not knowing what to do or say. They were placed where they could not believe unless it be to their own condemnation. They went aside by themselves to consult what should be done. They decided that if it should be spread abroad that Jesus had risen, and the report of such amazing glory, which caused the guard to fall like dead men, should come to the people, they would surely be enraged, and would slay them. They decided to hire the soldiers to keep the matter secret. They offered them much money, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept. And when the guard inquired what should be done with them for sleeping at their post, the priests and elders said that they would persuade the governor and save them. For the sake of money the Roman guard sold their honor, and agreed to follow the counsel of the priests and elders.
When Jesus as he hung upon the cross, cried out, It is finished, the rocks rent, the earth shook, and some of the graves were shaken open; for when Jesus arose from the dead, and conquered death and the grave; when he walked forth from his prison house a triumphant conqueror; while the earth was reeling and shaking, and the excellent glory of heaven clustered around the sacred spot, obedient to his call, many of the righteous dead came forth as witnesses that he had risen. Those favored, resurrected saints came forth glorified. They were a few chosen and holy ones who had lived in every age from creation, even down to the days of Christ. And while the chief priests and Pharisees were seeking to cover up the resurrection of Christ, God chose to bring up a company from their graves to testify that Jesus had risen, and to declare his glory.
Those who were resurrected were of different stature and form. I was informed that the inhabitants of earth had been degenerating, losing their strength and comeliness. Satan has the power of disease and death, and in every age the curse has been more visible, and the power of Satan more plainly seen. Some of those raised were more noble in appearance and form than others. I was informed that those who lived in the days of Noah and Abraham were more like the angels in form, in comeliness and strength. But every generation has been growing weaker, and more subject to disease, and their lives of shorter duration. Satan has been learning how to annoy men, and enfeeble the race.
Those holy ones who came forth after the resurrection of Jesus appeared unto many, telling them that the sacrifice for man was completed, that Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, had risen from the dead, and added, We be risen with him. They bore testimony that it was by his mighty power that they had been called forth from their graves. Notwithstanding the lying reports circulated, the matter could not be concealed by Satan, his angels, or the chief priests; for this holy company, brought forth from their graves, spread the wonderful, joyful news; also Jesus showed himself unto his sorrowing, heart-broken disciples, dispelling their fears, and causing them gladness and joy.
As the news spread from city to city, and from town to town, the Jews in their turn were afraid for their lives, and concealed the hate they cherished towards the disciples. Their only hope was to spread their lying report. And those who wished this lie to be true, believed it. Pilate trembled. He believed the strong testimony given, that Jesus was risen from the dead, that many others he had brought up with him, and his peace left him forever. For the sake of worldly honor; for fear of losing his authority, and his life, he delivered Jesus to die. He was now fully convinced that it was not merely a common, innocent man of whose blood he was guilty but the blood of the Son of God. Miserable was the life of Pilate; miserable to its close. Despair and anguish crushed every hopeful, joyful feeling. He refused to be comforted, and died a most miserable death.
Herod's heart grew still harder, and when he heard that Jesus had arisen, he was not much troubled. He took the life of James; and when he saw that this pleased the Jews, he took Peter also, intending to put him to death. But God had a work for Peter to do, and sent his angel and delivered him. Herod was visited with judgment. God smote him in the sight of a great multitude as he was exalting himself before them, and he died a horrible death.
Early in the morning before it was yet light, the holy women came to the sepulchre, bringing sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus, when lo! they found the heavy stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre, and the body of Jesus was not there. Their hearts sunk within them, and they feared that their enemies had taken away the body. And, behold, two angels in white apparel stood by them; their faces were bright and shining. They understood the errand of the holy women, and immediately told them that they were seeking Jesus, but he was not there, he had risen, and they could behold the place where he lay. They bid them go tell his disciples that he would go before them into Galilee. But the women were frightened and astonished. They hastily ran to the disciples who were mourning, and could not be comforted because their Lord had been crucified; they hurriedly told them the things which they had seen and heard. The disciples could not believe that he had risen, but, with the women who had brought the report, ran hastily to the sepulchre, and found that truly Jesus was not there. There were his linen clothes, but they could not believe the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead. They returned home marveling at the things they had seen, also at the report brought them by the women. But Mary chose to linger around the sepulchre, thinking of what she had seen, and distressed with the thought that she might have been deceived. She felt that new trials awaited her. Her grief was renewed, and she broke forth in bitter weeping. She stooped down to look again into the sepulchre, and beheld two angels clothed in white. Their countenances were bright and shining. One was sitting at the head, the other at the feet, where Jesus had lain. They spoke to her tenderly, and asked her why she wept. She replied, They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
And as she turned from the sepulchre, she saw Jesus standing by her; but knew him not. Jesus spoke tenderly to Mary, and inquired the cause of her sorrow, and asked her whom she was seeking. She supposed he was the gardener, and begged of him, if he had borne away her Lord, to tell her where he had laid him, and she would take him away. Jesus spoke to her with his own heavenly voice, and said, Mary. She was acquainted with the tones of that dear voice, and quickly answered, Master! and with joy and gladness was about to embrace him; but Jesus stood back, and said, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. Joyfully she hastened to the disciples with the good news. Jesus quickly ascended up to his Father to bear from his lips that he accepted the sacrifice, and that he had done all things well, and to receive all power in heaven, and upon earth, from his Father.
Angels like a cloud surrounded the Son of God, and bid the everlasting gates to be lifted up, that the King of glory might come in. I saw that while Jesus was with that bright, heavenly host, and in the presence of his Father, and the glory of God surrounded him, he did not forget his poor disciples upon earth; but received power from his Father, that he might return unto them, and while with them impart power unto them. The same day he returned, and showed himself to his disciples. He suffered them then to touch him, for he had ascended to his Father, and had received power.
But at this time Thomas was not present. He would not humbly receive the report of the disciples; but firmly, and self-confidently affirmed that he would not believe, unless he should put his fingers in the prints of the nails, and his hand in his side where the cruel spear was thrust. In this he showed a lack of confidence in his brethren. And if all should require the same evidence, but few would receive Jesus, and believe in his resurrection. But it was the will of God that the report of the disciples should go from one to the other, and many receive it from the lips of those who had seen and heard. God was not well pleased with such unbelief. And when Jesus met with his disciples again, Thomas was with them. The moment he beheld Jesus he believed. But he had declared that he would not be satisfied without the evidence of feeling added to sight, and Jesus gave him the evidence he had desired. Thomas cried out, my Lord and my God. But Jesus reproved Thomas for his unbelief. He said to him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.
So, I saw, that those who had no experience in the first and second angels' messages1 must receive them from those who had an experience, and followed down through the messages. As Jesus was crucified, so I saw that these messages have been crucified. And as the disciples declared that there was salvation in no other name under heaven, given among men; so, also, should the servants of God faithfully and fearlessly declare that those who embrace but a part of the truths connected with the third message2 must gladly embrace the first, second and third messages as God has given them, or have no part nor lot in the matter.
I was shown that while the holy women were carrying the report that Jesus had risen, the Roman guard were circulating the lie that had been put in their mouths by the chief priests and elders, that the disciples came by night, while they slept, and stole the body of Jesus. Satan had put this lie into the hearts and mouths of the chief priests, and the people stood ready to receive their word. But God had made this matter sure, and placed this important event, upon which hangs salvation, beyond all doubt, and where it was impossible for priests and elders to cover it up. Witnesses were raised from the dead to testify to Christ's resurrection.
Jesus remained with his disciples forty days, causing them joy and gladness of heart, and opening to them more fully the realities of the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to bear testimony to the things which they had seen and heard, concerning his sufferings, death and resurrection; that he had made a sacrifice for sin, that all who would, might come unto him and find life. He with faithful tenderness told them that they would be persecuted and distressed; but they would find relief in referring to their experience, and remembering the words he had spoken to them. He told them that he had overcome the temptations of the Devil, and maintained the victory through trials and suffering, that Satan could have no more power over him, but would more directly bring his temptations and power to bear upon them, and upon all who should believe in his name. He told them that they could overcome, as he had overcome. Jesus endowed his disciples with power to do miracles, and he told them that although wicked men should have power over their bodies, he would at certain times send his angels and deliver them; that their lives could not be taken from them until their mission should be accomplished. And when their testimony should be finished, their lives might be required to seal the testimonies which they had borne. His anxious followers gladly listened to his teachings. They eagerly feasted upon every word which fell from his holy lips. Then they certainly knew that he was the Saviour of the world. Every word sunk with deep weight into their hearts, and they sorrowed that they must be parted from their blessed, heavenly teacher; that after a little they should no more hear comforting, gracious words from his lips. But again their hearts were warmed with love and exceeding joy, as Jesus told them that he would go and prepare mansions for them, and come again and receive them, that they might ever be with him. He told them that he would send them the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide, bless and lead them into all truth; and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
See Matthew 27:52-53, chap.28; Mark 16:1-18;
Luke 24:1-50; John chap.20; Acts chap.12