“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, sigmfieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”
In the preceding context the inspired writer has spoken of the terribly grand display of the majesty of God in the dispensation of his fiery law from the summit of that mount which might be touched and that burned with fire, and blackness, and tempest, and the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words; which words they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more; for they could not endure that which was commanded. On that most fearful occasion the tribes of Israel, filled with consternation, heard the voice of words which shook the earth with terror and amazement, which caused the mountains to skip like rams, and the hills like lambs. Although that fiery law applied to the fleshly tribes, and the shuddering earth, the leaping mountains and skipping hills were emblematic of the legal dispensation, the worldly sanctuary and carnal, or fleshly ordinances, in striking contrast with the heavenly Jerusalem, the gospel state of the church in her present organization, yet the promise is given that as the former, so shall the latter also be shaken. That voice which then convulsed the earth shall also shake the heavens, and so terribly as to remove from the church whatever can be shaken, allowing nothing to remain that is not immovable.
As the carnal Israelites in the type, by their frequent unlawful affinity with the nations round about them, became corrupted from time to time so as to require the judgments of God for their purification, so the church of Christ has from time to time been infested with “strange children” who have brought in with them “divers and strange doctrines,” which have required the shaking of the heaven or church for their removal. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (II Peter 2:1,2).” And the apostle Paul is also the bearer of a special message to the church of God on the same subject; he says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (I Timothy 4:1-2).” “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (II Timothy 3:1).” From these, with many other warnings, we are admonished to look for the fulfillment of these predictions in these last days. And truly the developments of the present times afford most unquestionable demonstration of the perfect accuracy of the predictions. While the various departments of anti-christ are swiftly hurrying on to their doom, being suffered to fill up the cup of their abominations, the church of Christ is invaded by men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who have crept in unawares, who come not but to kill, and to steal and to destroy. But although all these predictions must be fulfilled in all their jots and tittles, it is nevertheless true that every plant that our Heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. All who come without grace into connection with the church of Christ shall be cast out without favor. For the fulfillment of the scriptures, for the trial of the faith and patience of the saints, and for the greater display of the righteous judgments of the Lord, God shall choose the delusions of his adversaries, and suffer them to mature their plans, promulgate their doctrines, and perplex his saints, only however until the appointed hour of judgment; for in due time his voice which once shook the earth shall shake heaven also. Also it seems to express the idea that it shall be in like manner as when in audible words his voice shook the earth in the thunder tones in which the precepts of his fiery law were uttered from Mount Sinai. But however this may be, we are perfectly confident that the shaking of heaven, as witnessed at this present time, is occasioned by the voice of God in the Scriptures.
At this very moment there is evidently an unusual agitation and stirring up of the passions and fears of nominal professors and graceless hypocrites who have had a name to live while they are dead, and a form of godliness while they deny the power thereof. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14).” “There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled (Zechariah 11:3).”
Their consternation is most unmistakably occasioned by the voice of him whose voice shall shake the heavens. But it is the power and majesty of his voice in the written word. Scriptures which uncover their deceptive doctrines and drag forth to the light their base hypocrisy are falling like bolts of wrath from heaven upon them. The ministers of Christ are led by the spirit of truth to open the batteries of heaven upon the hidden things of dishonesty. Their craft being exposed makes them desperate, and in their desperation they vent their malice against those who faithfully declare what God the Lord hath spoken. The church which is called heaven in our subject, is necessarily shaken by the conflict of truth against error; and the children of the latter, with all their inventions, doctrines, plans, merchandise and appliances are being shaken out of their concealment. All doctrines antagonistic to that of the truth, however cherished, must be exposed, and nothing suffered to remain in Zion which the truth of God condemns. This word, “Yet once more,” has an awful significance, for it signifies the removing of those things that are, or that may, or can be shaken. Nothing that the voice of God, as sounding in his word will shake, shall be suffered to remain in the immovable kingdom of our Lord. The things of the kingdom of Christ which God has established are immovable. His word will never shake, disturb or displace them. They are not things which are made, but things which are eternal. But every thing that is made, all things of time, of earthly origin, must and shall be removed, and the heaven shall be sufficiently agitated and shaken to eject from her sacred precincts whatever can be shaken. The legitimate elements of which the kingdom of Christ is composed are immutably established. Not one of her stakes shall ever be removed; not one of her cords shall ever be broken. The subjects of this kingdom can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, by angels, life, death, principalities, powers, things present or to come, height, depth, nor any other creature. The King is immovably seated. His throne is for ever and ever; his sceptre is a right sceptre; his kingdom is everlasting, and his dominion has no end. His laws are right, and will admit of no amendment, improvement nor abolition. The ordinances of his kingdom are as the ordinances of the throne of God himself. The foundation of this kingdom stands sure and steadfast; the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. The doctrine of this kingdom is the doctrine of God, that cannot change. There is nothing that properly belongs to this kingdom that can be shaken or changed. None of the things of earth could move the apostles, nor shall they be able to move or shake the everlasting purpose and grace of God, or pluck out of the hands of our Redeemer one of those whom the Father has given to him.
Wherefore, we receive a kingdom that cannot be moved. Such a kingdom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give to his saints. It is not of this world, or its subjects would fight. It is not of this world, therefore its subjects will not fight with carnal weapons. Receiving this kingdom, we do not need materials out of which to organize a kingdom, nor power to defend it, nor wisdom to improve it, nor ornaments to beautify it, but “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.” This is all we need, and this our God will abundantly supply; for “he will give grace and glory.” And as it is only by grace we are saved, so it is by grace alone that we can serve our God and King acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness (Malachi 3:3).”
November 15, 1865.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 265 - 268