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says, “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me." Yet such was their steadfastness in the faith that he declares, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now."''
Terrible is the struggle that takes place between the forces of good and of evil in important centers where the messengers of truth are called upon to labor. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” declares Paul, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
Till the close of time, there will be a ! conflict between the church of God and those who are under the control of evil angels.
The early Christians were often called to meet the powers of darkness face to face. By sophistry and by persecution the enemy endeavored to turn them from the true faith. At the present time, when the end of all things earthly is rapidly approaching, Satan is putting forth desperate efforts to ensnare the world. He is devising many plans to occupy minds, and to divert attention from the truths essential to salvation. In every city his agencies are busily organizing into parties those who are opposed to the law of God. The arch-deceiver is at work to introduce elements of confusion and rebellion, and men are being fired with a zeal that is not according to knowledge. * Phil. 1:29, 30, 3–5.
? Eph. 6:12.
Wickedness is reaching a height never before attained, and yet many ministers of the gospel are crying, “Peace and safety." But God's faithful messengers are to go steadily forward with their work. Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they are to advance fearlessly and victoriously, never ceasing their warfare until every soul within their reach shall have received the message of truth for this time.
AFTER leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance.
In preaching to the Thessalonians, Paul appealed to the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Christ in His ministry had opened the minds of His disciples to these prophecies; “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Peter, in preaching Christ, had produced his evidence from the Old Testament. Stephen had pursued the same course. And Paul also in his ministry appealed to the scriptures foretelling the
1 Luke 24:27.
birth, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. By the inspired testimony of Moses and the prophets, he clearly proved the identity of Jesus of Nazareth with the Messiah, and showed that from the days of Adam it was the voice of Christ which had been speaking through patriarchs and prophets.
Plain and specific prophecies had been given regarding the appearance of the Promised One. To Adam was given an assurance of the coming of the Redeemer. The sentence pronounced on Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," : was to our first parents a promise of the redemption to be wrought out through Christ.
To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.""
Moses, near the close of his work as a leader and teacher of Israel, plainly prophesied of the Messiah to come. “The Lord thy God,” he declared to the assembled hosts of Israel, “will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.” And Moses assured the Israelites that God Himself had revealed this to him while in Mount Horeb, saying, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him." 3 . Gen. 3:15; 22:18; Gal. 3:16.
Deut. 18:15, 18.
The Messiah was to be of the royal line; for in the prophecy uttered by Jacob the Lord said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.”'
Isaiah prophesied: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified
Jeremiah also bore witness of the coming Redeemer as a Prince of the house of David: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.” And again: “Thus saith the Lord: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burntofferings, and to kindle meat-offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.”'
* Gen. 49:10. • Isa. 11:1; 55:3-5. • Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:17, 18.
15 - Acts