Table of Contents
Chap. 2 – The Creation
Chap. 6 – Seth and Enoch
Chap. 7 – The Flood
Chap. 8 – After the Flood
Chap. 12 – Abraham in Canaan
Chap. 16 – Jacob and Esau
Chap. 17 – Jacob’s Flight and Exile
Chap. 18 – The Night of Wrestling
Chap. 21 – Joseph and His Brothers
Chap. 22 – Moses
Chap. 24 – The Passover
Chap. 25 – The Exodus
Chap. 26 – From the Red Sea to Sinai
Chap. 27 – The Law Given to Israel
Chap. 28 – Idolatry at Sinai
Chap. 29 – Satan’s Enmity Against the Law
Chap. 30 – The Tabernacle and Its Services
Chap. 32 – The Law and the Covenants
Chap. 33 – From Sinai to Kadesh
Chap. 34 – The Twelve Spies
Chap. 35 – The Rebellion of Korah
Chap. 50 – Tithes and Offerings
Chap. 51 – God’s Care for the Poor
Chap. 52 – The Annual Feasts
Chap. 58 – The Schools of the Prophets
Chap. 59 – The First King of Israel
Chap. 71 – David’s Sin and Repentance
Appendix

Chap. 2 – The Creation

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spake, and it was;” “He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. He “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.” Psalm 104:5. {PP 44.1}

As the earth came forth from the hand of its Maker, it was exceedingly beautiful. Its surface was diversified with mountains, hills, and plains, interspersed with noble rivers and lovely lakes; but the hills and mountains were not abrupt and rugged, a bounding in terrific steeps and frightful chasms, as they now do; the sharp, ragged edges of earth’s rocky framework were buried beneath the fruitful soil, which everywhere produced a luxuriant growth of verdure. There were no loathsome swamps or barren deserts. Graceful shrubs and delicate flowers greeted the eye at every turn. The heights were crowned with trees more majestic than any that now exist. The air, untainted by foul miasma, was clear and healthful. The entire landscape outvied in beauty the de corated grounds of the proudest palace. The angelic host viewed the scene with delight, and rejoiced at the wonderful works of God. {PP 44.2}

After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion over all that his eye could behold; for “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over . . . all the earth. . . . So God created man in His own image; . . . male and female created He them.” Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous

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conclusions. God created man in His own image. Here is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man’s narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was “the son of God.” {PP 44.3}

He was placed, as God’s representative, over the lower orders of being. They cannot understand or acknowledge the sovereignty of God, yet they were made capable of loving and serving man. The psalmist says, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet: . . . the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, . . . and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:6-8. {PP 45.1}

Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is “the express image” (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will. {PP 45.2}

As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy. Adam’s height was much greater than that of men who now inhabit the earth. Eve was somewhat less in stature; yet her form was noble, and full of beauty. The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear. So long as they lived in obedience to God, this robe of light continued to enshroud them. {PP 45.3}

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After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them “there was not found an help meet for him.” Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved. {PP 46.1}

God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”–a helper corresponding to him–one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second sel f, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Ephesians 5:29. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one.” {PP 46.2}

God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. “Marriage is honorable” (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall , Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physica l, the intellectual, and the moral nature. {PP 46.3}

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Everything that God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed wanting that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair;

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yet the Creator gave them still another token of His love, by preparing a garden especially for their home. In this garden were trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and delicious fruit. There were lovely vines, growing upright, yet presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping under their load of tempting fruit of the richest and most varied hues. It was the work of Adam and Eve to train the branches of the vine to form bowers, thus making for themselves a dwelling from living trees covered with foliage and fruit. There were fragrant flowers of every hue in rich profusion. In the midst of the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all o ther trees. Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had the power to perpetuate life. {PP 46.4}

The creation was now complete. “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Eden bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. {PP 47.1}

The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creatio n had been accomplished. And God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” God looked with satisfactio n upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory. {PP 47.2}

After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker. {PP 47.3}

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In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people. {PP 48.1}

God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator. {PP 48.2}

God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. “The heavens declare the glory of God; an d the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” Psalm 19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the ope ning buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator. {PP 48.3}

Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. God made them free moral agents, capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevolence of His character and the justice of His requirements, and with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested. At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was

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to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our parents. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual favor with God. {PP 48.4}

God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of his very existence. He was a subject of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God’s plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule. {PP 49.1}

God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers, and presented before him the strongest possible inducements to be true to his allegiance. Obedience, perfect and perpetual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition he was to have access to the tree of life. {PP 49.2}

The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the good ly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings–the handiwork of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time–that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and lu xury, but in communion with God through His created works. If men would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the

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purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has placed within the reach of all. {PP 49.3}

To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden, “to dress it and to keep it.” Their occupation was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties. In mental and physical activity Adam found one of the highest pleasures of his holy existence. And when, as a result of his disobedience, he was driven from his beautiful home, and forced to struggle with a stubborn soil to gain his
daily bread, that very labor, although widely different from his pleasant occupation in the garden, was a safeguard against temptation and a source of happiness. Those who regard work as a curse, attended though it be with weariness and pain, are cherishing an error. The rich often look down with contempt upon the working classes, but this is wholly at variance with God’s purpose in creating man. What are the possessions of even the most wealthy in comparison with the heritage given to the lordly Adam? Yet Adam was not to be idle. Our Creator, who understands what is for man’s happiness, appointed Adam his work. The true joy of life is found only by the working men and women. The angels are diligent workers; they are the ministers of God to the children of men. The Creator has prepared no place for the stagnating practice of indolence. {PP 50.1}

While they remained true to God, Adam and his companion were to bear rule over the earth. Unlimited control was given them over every living thing. The lion and the lamb sported peacefully around them or lay down together at their feet. The happy bird s flitted about them without fear; and as their glad songs ascended to the praise of their Creator, Adam and Eve united with them in thanksgiving to the Father and the Son. {PP 50.2}

The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe–“the wondrous works of Him which is

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perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16)–afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged men’s study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. God’s glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, “the balancings of the clouds,” the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night–all were open to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest or stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and sky, God’s name was written. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude. {PP 50.3}

So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity to know, to enjoy, and to love would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God. {PP 51.1}

Chap. 6 – Seth and Enoch

To Adam was given another son, to be the inheritor of the divine promise, the heir of the spiritual birthright. The name Seth, given to this son, signified “appointed,” or “compensation;” “for,” said the mother, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Seth was of more noble stature than Cain or Abel, and resembled Adam more closely than did his other sons. He was a worthy character, following in the steps of Abel. Yet he inherited no more natural goodness than did Cain. Concerning the creation of Adam it is said, “In the likeness of God made He him;” but man, after the Fall, “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” While Adam was created sinless, in the likeness of God, Seth, like Cain, inherited the fallen nature of his parents. But he received also the knowledge of the Redeemer and instruction in righteousness. By divine grace he served and honored God; and he labored, as Abel would have done, had he lived, to turn the minds of sinful men to revere and obey thei r Creator. {PP 80.1}

“To Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.” The faithful had worshiped God before; but as men increased, the distinction between the two classes became more marked. There was an open profession of loyalty to God on the part of one, as there was of contempt and disobedience on the part of the other. {PP 80.2}

Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance. They had tasted the bitter fruits of disobedience, and had learned what every one that trample s upon God’s commandments will sooner or later learn–that the divine precepts are sacred and immutable, and that the penalty of transgression will surely be inflicted. The Sabbath was honored by

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all the children of Adam that remained loyal to God. But Cain and his descendants did not respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regardless of Jehovah’s express command. {PP 80.3}

Upon receiving the curse of God, Cain had withdrawn from his father’s household. He had first chosen his occupation as a tiller of the soil, and he now founded a city, calling it after the name of his eldest son. He had gone out from the presence of t he Lord, cast away the promise of the restored Eden, to seek his possessions and enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin, thus standing at the head of that great class of men who worship the god of this world. In that which pertains to mere earthly and material progress, his descendants became distinguished. But they were regardless of God, and in opposition to His purposes for man. To the crime of murder, in which Cain had led the way, Lamech, the fifth in descent, added polygamy, and, boastfully defiant, he acknowledged God, only to draw from the avenging of Cain an assurance of his own safety. Abel had led a pastoral life, dwelling in tents or booths, and the descendants of Seth followed the same course, counting themselves “strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” seeking “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” Hebrews 11:13, 16. {PP 81.1}

For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt; and the latter, in order to escape from their contaminating influence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. So long as this separation continued, they maintained the worship of God in its purity. But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. This association was productive of the worst results. “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair.” The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain’s descendants, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the worshipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy character. Mingling with the depraved, they became like them in spirit and in deeds; the restrictions of the seventh commandment were disregarded, “and they took them wives of all which they chose.” The children of Seth went

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“in the way of Cain” (Jude 11); they fixed their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment and neglected the commandments of the Lord. Men “did not like to retain God in their knowledge;” they “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Therefore “God gave them over to a mind void of judgment.” Verse 28, margin. Sin spread abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy. {PP 81.2}

For nearly a thousand years Adam lived among men, a witness to the results of sin. Faithfully he sought to stem the tide of evil. He had been commanded to instruct his posterity in the way of the Lord; and he carefully treasured what God had revealed to him, and repeated it to succeeding generations. To his children and children’s children, to the ninth generation, he described man’s holy and happy estate in Paradise, and repeated the history of his fall, telling them of the sufferings by which God had taught him the necessity of strict adherence to His law, and explaining to them the merciful provisions for their salvation. Yet there were but few who gave heed to his words. Often he was met with bitter reproaches for the sin that had brought such woe u pon his posterity. {PP 82.1}

Adam’s life was one of sorrow, humility, and contrition. When he left Eden, the thought that he must die thrilled him with horror. He was first made acquainted with the reality of death in the human family when Cain, his first-born son, became the murderer of his brother. Filled with the keenest remorse for his own sin, and doubly bereaved in the death of Abel and the rejection of Cain, Adam was bowed down with anguish. He witnessed the wide-spreading corruption that was finally to cause the destructio n of the world by a flood; and though the sentence of death pronounced upon him by His Maker had at first appeared terrible, yet after beholding for nearly a thousand years the results of sin, he felt that it was merciful in God to bring to an end a life o f suffering and sorrow. {PP 82.2}

Notwithstanding the wickedness of the antediluvian world, that age was not, as has often been supposed, an era of ignorance and barbarism. The people were granted the opportunity of reaching a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment. They possessed great physical and mental strength, and their advantages for acquiring both religious and scientific knowledge were unrivaled. It is a mistake to suppose that because they lived

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to a great age their minds matured late; their mental powers were early developed, and those who cherished the fear of God and lived in harmony with His will continued to increase in knowledge and wisdom throughout their life. Could illustrious scholars of our time be placed in contrast with men of the same age who lived before the Flood, they would appear as greatly inferior in mental as in physical strength. As the years of man have decreased, and his physical strength has diminished, so his mental capacities have lessened. There are men who now apply themselves to study during a period of from twenty to fifty years, and the world is filled with admiration of their attainments. But how limited are these acquirements in comparison with those of men whose mental and physical powers were developing for centuries! {PP 82.3}

It is true that the people of modern times have the benefit of the attainments of their predecessors. The men of masterly minds, who planned and studied and wrote, have left their work for those who follow. But even in this respect, and so far as mere ly human knowledge is concerned, how much greater the advantages of the men of that olden time! They had among them for hundreds of years him who was formed in God’s image, whom the Creator Himself pronounced “good”–the man whom God had instructed in all the wisdom pertaining to the material world. Adam had learned from the Creator the history of creation; he himself witnessed the events of nine centuries; and he imparted his knowledge to his descendants. The antediluvians were without books, they had no written records; but with their great physical and mental vigor, they had strong memories, able to grasp and to retain that which was communicated to them, and in turn to transmit it unimpaired to their posterity. And for hundreds of years there were seven generations living upon the earth contemporaneously, having the opportunity of consulting together and profiting each by the knowledge and experience of all. {PP 83.1}

The advantages enjoyed by men of that age to gain a knowledge of God through His works have never been equaled since. And so far from being an era of religious darkness, that was an age of great light. All the world had opportunity to receive instruction from Adam, and those who feared the Lord had also Christ and angels for their teachers. And they had a silent witness to the truth, in the garden of God, which for so many centuries remained among men. At the cherubim-guarded gate of Paradise

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the glory of God was revealed, and hither came the first worshipers. Here their altars were reared, and their offerings presented. It was here that Cain and Abel had brought their sacrifices, and God had condescended to communicate with them. {PP 83.2}

Skepticism could not deny the existence of Eden while it stood just in sight, its entrance barred by watching angels. The order of creation, the object of the garden, the history of its two trees so closely connected with man’s destiny, were undispute d facts. And the existence and supreme authority of God, the obligation of His law, were truths which men were slow to question while Adam was among them. {PP 84.1}

Notwithstanding the prevailing iniquity, there was a line of holy men who, elevated and ennobled by communion with God, lived as in the companionship of heaven. They were men of massive intellect, of wonderful attainments. They had a great and holy mission–to develop a character of righteousness, to teach a lesson of godliness, not only to the men of their time, but for future generations. Only a few of the most prominent are mentioned in the Scriptures; but all through the ages God had faithful witnesses, truehearted worshipers. {PP 84.2}

Of Enoch it is written that he lived sixty-five years, and begat a son. After that he walked with God three hundred years. During these earlier years Enoch had loved and feared God and had kept His commandments. He was one of the holy line, the preservers of the true faith, the progenitors of the promised seed. From the lips of Adam he had learned the dark story of the Fall, and the cheering one of God’s grace as seen in the promise; and he relied upon the Redeemer to come. But after the birth of his first son, Enoch reached a higher experience; he was drawn into a closer relationship with God. He realized more fully his own obligations and responsibility as a son of God. And as he saw the child’s love for its father, its simple trust in his protection; as he felt the deep, yearning tenderness of his own heart for that first-born son, he learned a precious lesson of the wonderful love of God to men in the gift of His Son, and the confidence which the children of God may repose in their heavenly Father. The infinite, unfathomable love of God through Christ became the subject of his meditations day and night; and with all the fervor of his soul he sought to reveal that love to the people among whom he dwelt. {PP 84.3}

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Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord. {PP 85.1}

His heart was in harmony with God’s will; for “can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3. And this holy walk was continued for three hundred years. There are few Christians who would not be far more earnest and devoted if they knew that they had but a short time to live, or that the coming of Christ was about to take place. But Enoch’s faith waxed the stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. {PP 85.2}

Enoch was a man of strong and highly cultivated mind and extensive knowledge; he was honored with special revelations from God; yet being in constant communion with Heaven, with a sense of the divine greatness and perfection ever before him, he was one of the humblest of men. The closer the connection with God, the deeper was the sense of his own weakness and imperfection. {PP 85.3}

Distressed by the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, and fearing that their infidelity might lessen his reverence for God, Enoch avoided constant association with them, and spent much time in solitude, giving himself to meditation and prayer. Thus he waited before the Lord, seeking a clearer knowledge of His will, that he might perform it. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul; he lived in the very atmosphere of heaven. {PP 85.4}

Through holy angels God revealed to Enoch His purpose to destroy the world by a flood, and He also opened more fully to him the plan of redemption. By the spirit of prophecy He carried him down through the generations that should live after the Flood, and showed him the great events connected with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. {PP 85.5}

Enoch had been troubled in regard to the dead. It had seemed to him that the righteous and the wicked would go to the dust together, and that this would be their end. He could not see the life of the just beyond the grave. In prophetic vision he was instructed concerning the death of Christ, and was shown His coming in glory, attended by all the holy angels, to ransom His people from the grave. He also saw the corrupt state of the world

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when Christ should appear the second time–that there would be a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation, denying the only God and the Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon the law, and despising the atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, and the wicked banished from the presence of the Lord, and destroyed by fire. {PP 85.6}

Enoch became a preacher of righteousness, making known to the people what God had revealed to him. Those who feared the Lord sought out this holy man, to share his instruction and his prayers. He labored publicly also, bearing God’s messages to all who would hear the words of warning. His labors were not restricted to the Sethites. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine Presence, the prophet of God made known the wonderful scenes that had passed before his vision. “Behold,” he declared, “the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.” Jude 14, 15. {PP 86.1}

He was a fearless reprover of sin. While he preached the love of God in Christ to the people of his time, and pleaded with them to forsake their evil ways, he rebuked the prevailing iniquity and warned the men of his generation that judgment would surely be visited upon the transgressor. It was the Spirit of Christ that spoke through Enoch; that Spirit is manifested, not alone in utterances of love, compassion, and entreaty; it is not smooth things only that are spoken by holy men. God puts into the he art and lips of His messengers truths to utter that are keen and cutting as a two-edged sword. {PP 86.2}

The power of God that wrought with His servant was felt by those who heard. Some gave heed to the warning, and renounced their sins; but the multitudes mocked at the solemn message, and went on more boldly in their evil ways. The servants of God are to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it will also be received with unbelief and mockery. The antediluvian world rejected the warning words of him who walked with God. So will the last generation make light of the warnings of the Lord ‘s messengers. {PP 86.3}

In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He

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continued to exclude himself, at certain periods, from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance. {PP 86.4}

The wickedness of men had reached such a height that destruction was pronounced against them. As year after year passed on, deeper and deeper grew the tide of human guilt, darker and darker gathered the clouds of divine judgment. Yet Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, entreating, striving to turn back the tide of guilt and to stay the bolts of vengeance. Though his warnings were disregarded by a sinful, pleasure-loving people, he had the testimony that God approved, and he continued to battle faithfully against the prevailing evil, until God removed him from a world of sin to the pure joys of heaven. {PP 87.1}

The men of that generation had mocked the folly of him who sought not to gather gold or silver or to build up possessions here. But Enoch’s heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion. His mind, his heart, his conversation, were in heaven. The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt, by faith, in the realms of light. {PP 87.2}

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8. For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of soul, that he might be in harmony with Heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the Holy City–the first from among men to enter there. {PP 87.3}

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His loss was felt on earth. The voice that had been heard day after day in warning and instruction was missed. There were some, both of the righteous and the wicked, who had witnessed his departure; and hoping that he might have been conveyed to some one of his places of retirement, those who loved him made diligent search, as afterward the sons of the prophets searched for Elijah; but without avail. They reported that he was not, for God had taken him. {PP 88.1}

By the translation of Enoch the Lord designed to teach an important lesson. There was danger that men would yield to discouragement, because of the fearful results of Adam’s sin. Many were ready to exclaim, “What profit is it that we have feared the Lord and have kept His ordinances, since a heavy curse is resting upon the race, and death is the portion of us all?” But the instructions which God gave to Adam, and which were repeated by Seth, and exemplified by Enoch, swept away the gloom and darkness, and gave hope to man, that as through Adam came death, so through the promised Redeemer would come life and immortality. Satan was urging upon men the belief that there was no reward for the righteous or punishment for the wicked, and that it was impossible for men to obey the divine statutes. But in the case of Enoch, God declares “that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. He shows what He will do for those who keep His commandments. Men were taught that it is possible to obey the law of God; that even while living in the midst of the sinful and corrupt, they were able, by the grace of God, to resist temptation, and become pure and holy. They saw in his example the blessedness of such a life; and his translation was an evidence of the truth of his prophecy concerning the hereafter, with its award of joy and glory and immortal life to the obedient, and of condemnation, woe, and death to the transgressor. {PP 88.2}
By faith Enoch “was translated that he should not see death; . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5. In the midst of a world by its iniquity doomed to destruction, Enoch lived a life of such close communion with God that he was not permitted to fall under the power of death. The godly character of this prophet represents the state of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be

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“redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christ’s second advent. Then, as in the world before the Flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a deceptive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, God’s people will seek for purity of heart and conformity to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ. Like Enoch, they will warn the world of the Lord’s second coming and of the judgments to be visited upon transgression, and by their holy conversation and example they will condemn the sins of the ungodly. As Enoch was translated to heaven before the destruction of the world by water, so the living righteous will be translated from the earth before its destruction by fire. Says the apostle: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God;” “the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. {PP 88.3}

Chap. 7 – The Flood

In the days of Noah a double curse was resting upon the earth in consequence of Adam’s transgression and of the murder committed by Cain. Yet this had not greatly changed the face of nature. There were evident tokens of decay, but the earth was still rich and beautiful in the gifts of God’s providence. The hills were crowned with majestic trees supporting the fruit-laden branches of the vine. The vast, gardenlike plains were clothed with verdure, and sweet with the fragrance of a thousand flowers. The fruits of the earth were in great variety, and almost without limit. The trees far surpassed in size, beauty, and perfect proportion any now to be found; their wood was of fine grain and hard substance, closely resembling stone, and hardly less enduring. Gold, silver, and precious stones existed in abundance. {PP 90.1}
The human race yet retained much of its early vigor. But a few generations had passed since Adam had access to the tree which was to prolong life; and man’s existence was still measured by centuries. Had that long-lived people, with their rare powers to plan and execute, devoted themselves to the service of God, they would have made their Creator’s name a praise in the earth, and would have answered the purpose for which He gave them life. But they failed to do this. There were many giants, men of great stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the most cunning and wonderful works; but their guilt in giving loose rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability. {PP 90.2}
God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They

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sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images. {PP 90.3}
In the green fields and under the shadow of the goodly trees they set up the altars of their idols. Extensive groves, that retained their foliage throughout the year, were dedicated to the worship of false gods. With these groves were connected beautiful gardens, their long, winding avenues overhung with fruit-bearing trees of all descriptions, adorned with statuary, and furnished with all that could delight the senses or minister to the voluptuous desires of the people, and thus allure them to participate in the idolatrous worship. {PP 91.1}
Men put God out of their knowledge and worshiped the creatures of their own imagination; and as the result, they became more and more debased. The psalmist describes the effect produced upon the worshiper by the adoration of idols. He says, “They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Psalm 115:8. It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worshipers of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in consequence. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . Th e earth also was corrupt before God; and the earth was filled with violence.” God had given men His commandments as a rule of life, but His law was transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result. The wickedness of men was open and daring, justice was trampled in the dust, and the cries of the oppressed reached unto heaven. {PP 91.2}
Polygamy had been early introduced, contrary to the divine arrangement at the beginning. The Lord gave to Adam one wife,
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showing His order in that respect. But after the Fall, men chose to follow their own sinful desires; and as the result, crime and wretchedness rapidly increased. Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected. Whoever coveted the wives or the possessions of his neighbor, took them by force, and men exulted in their deeds of violence. They delighted in destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference. {PP 91.3}
The world was in its infancy; yet iniquity had become so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it; and He said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.” He declared that His Spirit should not always strive with the guilty race. If they did not cease to pollute with their sins the world and its rich treasures, He would blot them from His creation, and would destroy the things with which He had delighted to bless them; He would sweep away the beasts of the fie ld, and the vegetation which furnished such an abundant supply of food, and would transform the fair earth into one vast scene of desolation and ruin. {PP 92.1}
Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many others labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God and to stay the tide of moral evil. A hundred and twenty years before the Flood, the Lord by a holy angel declared to Noah His purpos e, and directed him to build an ark. While building the ark he was to preach that God would bring a flood of water upon the earth to destroy the wicked. Those who would believe the message, and would prepare for that event by repentance and reformation, should find pardon and be saved. Enoch had repeated to his children what God had shown him in regard to the Flood, and Methuselah and his sons, who lived to hear the preaching of Noah, assisted in building the ark. {PP 92.2}
God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark and explicit directions in regard to its construction in every particular. Human wisdom could not have devised a structure of so great strength and durability. God was the designer, and Noah the master bui lder. It was constructed like the hull of a ship, that it might float upon the water, but in some respects it more nearly resembled a house. It was three stories high, with but

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one door, which was in the side. The light was admitted at the top, and the different apartments were so arranged that all were lighted. The material employed in the construction of the ark was the cypress, or gopher wood, which would be untouched by decay for hundreds of years. The building of this immense structure was a slow and laborious process. On account of the great size of the trees and the nature of the wood, much more labor was required then than now to prepare timber, even with the greater strength which men then possessed. All that man could do was done to render the work perfect, yet the ark could not of itself have withstood the storm which was to come upon the earth. God alone could preserve His servants upon the tempestuous waters. {PP 92.3}

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7. While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He gave the world an example of believing just what God says. All that he possessed, he invested in the ark. As he began to construct that immense boat on dry ground, multitudes came from every direction to see the strange sight and to hear the earnest, fervent words of the singular preacher. Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people. {PP 95.1}

Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the coming of the Flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to endur e the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they finally joined their former associates in rejecting the solemn message. Some were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the words of warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule, that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers; for none are so reckless and go to such lengths in sin as do those who have once had light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God. {PP 95.2}

The men of that generation were not all, in the fullest acceptation of the term, idolaters. Many professed to be worshipers of
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God. They claimed that their idols were representations of the Deity, and that through them the people could obtain a clearer conception of the divine Being. This class were foremost in rejecting the preaching of Noah. As they endeavored to represent God by material objects, their minds were blinded to His majesty and power; they ceased to realize the holiness of His character, or the sacred, unchanging nature of His requirements. As sin became general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally declared that the divine law was no longer in force; that it was contrary to the character of God to punish transgression; and they denied that His judgments were to be visited upon the earth. Had the men of that generation obeyed the divine law, they would have recognized the voice of God in the warning of His servant; but their minds had become so blinded by rejection of light that they really believed Noah’s message to be a delusion. {PP 95.3}
It was not multitudes or majorities that were on the side of right. The world was arrayed against God’s justice and His laws, and Noah was regarded as a fanatic. Satan, when tempting Eve to disobey God, said to her, “Ye shall not surely die.” Genesis 3:4. Great men, worldly, honored, and wise men, repeated the same. “The threatenings of God,” they said, “are for the purpose of intimidating, and will never be verified. You need not be alarmed. Such an event as the destruction of the world by the God who made it, and the punishment of the beings He has created, will never take place. Be at peace; fear not. Noah is a wild fanatic.” The world made merry at the folly of the deluded old man. Instead of humbling the heart before God, they continued their disobedience and wickedness, the same as though God had not spoken to them through His servant. {PP 96.1}
But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. Surrounded by popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended his words, for it was the voice of God to man through His servant. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn voice fell upon the ears of that generation in regard to events, which, so far as human wisdom could judge, were impossible. {PP 96.2}
The world before the Flood reasoned that for centuries the laws of nature had been fixed. The recurring seasons had come in their order. Heretofore rain had never fallen; the earth had been
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watered by a mist or dew. The rivers had never yet passed their boundaries, but had borne their waters safely to the sea. Fixed decrees had kept the waters from overflowing their banks. But these reasoners did not recognize the hand of Him who had stayed the waters, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” Job 38:11. {PP 96.3}
As time passed on, with no apparent change in nature, men whose hearts had at times trembled with fear, began to be reassured. They reasoned, as many reason now, that nature is above the God of nature, and that her laws are so firmly established that God Himself could not change them. Reasoning that if the message of Noah were correct, nature would be turned out of her course, they made that message, in the minds of the world, a delusion–a grand deception. They manifested their contempt for the warning of God by doing just as they had done before the warning was given. They continued their festivities and their gluttonous feasts; they ate and drank, planted and builded, laying their plans in reference to advantages they hoped to gain in the future; and they went to greater lengths in wickedness, and in defiant disregard of God’s requirements, to testify that they had no fear of the Infinite One. They asserted that if there were any truth in what Noah had said, the men of renown–the wise, the prudent, the great men–would understand the matter. {PP 97.1}
Had the antediluvians believed the warning, and repented of their evil deeds, the Lord would have turned aside His wrath, as He afterward did from Nineveh. But by their obstinate resistance to the reproofs of conscience and the warnings of God’s prophet, that generation filled up the measure of their iniquity, and became ripe for destruction. {PP 97.2}
The period of their probation was about to expire. Noah had faithfully followed the instructions which he had received from God. The ark was finished in every part as the Lord had directed, and was stored with food for man and beast. And now the serva nt of God made his last solemn appeal to the people. With an agony of desire that words cannot express, he entreated them to seek a refuge while it might be found. Again they rejected his words, and raised their voices in jest and scoffing. Suddenly a sile nce fell upon the mocking throng. Beasts of every description, the fiercest as well as the most gentle, were seen coming from mountain and forest and quietly making their way toward the ark. A noise as of a rushing wind was heard, and lo, birds were flocking from all
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directions, their numbers darkening the heavens, and in perfect order they passed to the ark. Animals obeyed the command of God, while men were disobedient. Guided b y holy angels, they “went in two and two unto Noah into the ark,” and the clean beasts by sevens. The world looked on in wonder, some in fear. Philosophers were called upon to account for the singular occurrence, but in vain. It was a mystery which they co uld not fathom. But men had become so hardened by their persistent rejection of light that even this scene produced but a momentary impression. As the doomed race beheld the sun shining in its glory, and the earth clad in almost Eden beauty, they banished their rising fears by boisterous merriment, and by their deeds of violence they seemed to invite upon themselves the visitation of the already awakened wrath of God. {PP 97.3}
God commanded Noah, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.” Noah’s warnings had been rejected by the world, but his influence and example resulted in blessings to his family. As a reward for his faithfulness and integrity, God saved all the members of his family with him. What encouragement to parental fidelity! {PP 98.1}
Mercy had ceased its pleadings for the guilty race. The beasts of the field and the birds of the air had entered the place of refuge. Noah and his household were within the ark, “and the Lord shut him in.” A flash of dazzling light was seen, and a cloud of glory more vivid than the lightning descended from heaven and hovered before the entrance of the ark. The massive door, which it was impossible for those within to close, was slowly swung to its place by unseen hands. Noah was shut in, and the rejecters of God’s mercy were shut out. The seal of Heaven was on that door; God had shut it, and God alone could open it. So when Christ shall cease His intercession for guilty men, before His coming in the clouds of heaven, the door of mercy will be shut. Then divine grace will no longer restrain the wicked, and Satan will have full control of those who have rejected mercy. They will endeavor to destroy God’s people; but as Noah was shut into the ark, so the righteous will be shielded by divine power. {PP 98.2}
For seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark, there appeared no sign of the coming storm. During this period their faith was tested. It was a time of triumph to the world without. The apparent delay confirmed them in the belief that Noah’s
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message was a delusion, and that the Flood would never come. Notwithstanding the solemn scenes which they had witnessed–the beasts and birds entering the ark, and the angel of God closing the door–they still continued their sport and revelry, even making a jest of these signal manifestations of God’s power. They gathered in crowds about the ark, deriding its inmates with a daring violence which they had never ventured upon before. {PP 98.3}
But upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, “Can it be that Noah was in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?” Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground. {PP 99.1}
The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. The altars on which human sacrifices had been offered were torn down, and the worshipers were made to tremble at the power of the living God, and to know that it was their corruption and idolatry which had called down their destruction. {PP 99.2}
As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God. Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence. He had delighted to control so powerful a race, and desired them to live to practice their abominations and continue their rebellion against the Ruler of heaven. He now uttered imprecations against God,
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charging Him with injustice and cruelty. Many of the people, like Satan, blasphemed God, and had they been able, they would have torn Him from the throne of power. Others were frantic with fear, stretching their hands toward the ark and pleading for admittance. But their entreaties were in vain. Conscience was at last aroused to know that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens. They called upon Him earnestly, but His ear was not open to their cry. In that terrible hour they saw that the transgression of God’s law had caused their ruin. Yet while, through fear of punishment, they acknowledged their sin, they felt no true contrition, no abhorrence of evil. They would have returned to their defiance of Heaven, had the judgment been removed. So when God’s judgments shall fall upon the earth before its deluge by fire, the impenitent will know just where and what their sin is–the despising of His holy law. Yet they will have no more true repentance than did the old-world sinners. {PP 99.3}
Some in their desperation endeavored to break into the ark, but the firm-made structure withstood their efforts. Some clung to the ark until they were borne away by the surging waters, or their hold was broken by collision with rocks and trees. The massive ark trembled in every fiber as it was beaten by the merciless winds and flung from billow to billow. The cries of the beasts within expressed their fear and pain. But amid the warring elements it continued to ride safely. Angels that excel in strengt h were commissioned to preserve it. {PP 100.1}
The beasts, exposed to the tempest, rushed toward man, as though expecting help from him. Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that these were tenacious of life, and would climb to the highest points to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty trees on the summit of hills or mountains; but the trees were uprooted, and with their burden of living beings were hurled into the seething billows. One spot after another that promised safety was abandoned. As the waters rose higher and higher, the people fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast would struggle together for a foothold, until both were swept away. {PP 100.2}
From the highest peaks men looked abroad upon a shoreless ocean. The solemn warnings of God’s servant no longer seemed a subject for ridicule and scorning. How those doomed sinners longed for the opportunities which they had slighted! How they
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pleaded for one hour’s probation, one more privilege of mercy, one call from the lips of Noah! But the sweet voice of mercy was no more to be heard by them. Love, no less than justice, demanded that God’s judgments should put a check on sin. The avenging waters swept over the last retreat, and the despisers of God perished in the black depths. {PP 100.3}
“By the word of God . . . the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:5-7. Another storm is coming. The earth will again be swept by the desolating wrath of God, and sin and sinners will be destroyed. {PP 101.1}
The sins that called for vengeance upon the antediluvian world exist today. The fear of God is banished from the hearts of men, and His law is treated with indifference and contempt. The intense worldliness of that generation is equaled by that of the generation now living. Said Christ, “As in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shal l also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:38, 39. God did not condemn the antediluvians for eating and drinking; He had given them the fruits of the earth in great abundance to supply their physical wants. Their sin consisted in taking these gift s without gratitude to the Giver, and debasing themselves by indulging appetite without restraint. It was lawful for them to marry. Marriage was in God’s order; it was one of the first institutions which He established. He gave special directions concerning this ordinance, clothing it with sanctity and beauty; but these directions were forgotten, and marriage was perverted and made to minister to passion. {PP 101.2}
A similar condition of things exists now. That which is lawful in itself is carried to excess. Appetite is indulged without restraint. Professed followers of Christ are today eating and drinking with the drunken, while their names stand in honored church records. Intemperance benumbs the moral and spiritual powers and prepares the way for indulgence of the lower passions. Multitudes feel under no moral obligation to curb their sensual desires, and they become the slaves of lust. Men are living for the pleasures
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of sense; for this world and this life alone. Extravagance pervades all circles of society. Integrity is sacrificed for luxury and display. They that make haste to be rich pervert justice and oppress the poor, and “slaves and souls of men” are still bought and sold. Fraud and bribery and theft stalk unrebuked in high places and in low. The issues of the press teem with records of murder–crimes so cold-blooded and causeless that it seems as though every instinct of humanity were blotted out. And these atrocities have become of so common occurrence that they hardly elicit a comment or awaken surprise. The spirit of anarchy is permeating all nations, and the outbreaks tha t from time to time excite the horror of the world are but indications of the pent-up fires of passion and lawlessness that, having once escaped control, will fill the earth with woe and desolation. The picture which Inspiration has given of the antediluvian world represents too truly the condition to which modern society is fast hastening. Even now, in the present century, and in professedly Christian lands, there are crimes daily perpetrated as black and terrible as those for which the old-world sinners were destroyed. {PP 101.3}
Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ’s second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God’s law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many f eel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God’s moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law. {PP 102.1}
Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and
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saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land? “There is no cause for alarm,” they cry. “Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists.” But this doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness. {PP 102.2}
As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see the same repeated in our day? While God’s servants are giving the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them from the coming destruction. {PP 103.1}
In Noah’s day philosophers declared that it was impossible for the world to be destroyed by water; so now there are men of science who endeavor to show that the world cannot be destroyed by fire–that this would be inconsistent with the laws of nature. But the God of nature, the Maker and Controller of her laws, can use the works of His hands to serve His own purpose. {PP 103.2}
When great and wise men had proved to their satisfaction that it was impossible for the world to be destroyed by water, when

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the fears of the people were quieted, when all regarded Noah’s prophecy as a delusion, and looked upon him as a fanatic–then it was that God’s time had come. “The fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened,” and the scoffers were overwhelmed in the waters of the Flood. With all their boasted philosophy, men found too late that their wisdom was foolishness, that the Lawgiver is greater than the laws of nature, and that Omnipotence is at no loss for means to accomplish His purposes. “As it was in the days of Noah,” “even thus shall it be in the days when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26, 30. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. When the reasoning of philosophy has banished the fear of God’s judgments; when religious teachers are pointing forward to long ages of peace and prosperity, and the world are absorbed in their rounds of business and pleasure, planting and building, feasting and merrymaking, rejecting God’s warnings and mocking His messengers–then it is that sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3. {PP 103.3}

Chap. 8 – After the Flood

The waters rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains. It often seemed to the family within the ark that they must perish, as for five long months their boat was tossed about, apparently at the mercy of wind and wave. It was a trying ordeal; but Noah’s faith did not waver, for he had the assurance that the divine hand was upon the helm. {PP 105.1}
As the waters began to subside, the Lord caused the ark to drift into a spot protected by a group of mountains that had been preserved by His power. These mountains were but a little distance apart, and the ark moved about in this quiet haven, and was no longer driven upon the boundless ocean. This gave great relief to the weary, tempest-tossed voyagers. {PP 105.2}
Noah and his family anxiously waited for the decrease of the waters, for they longed to go forth again upon the earth. Forty days after the tops of the mountains became visible, they sent out a raven, a bird of quick scent, to discover whether the ear th had become dry. This bird, finding nothing but water, continued to fly to and from the ark. Seven days later a dove was sent forth, which, finding no footing, returned to the ark. Noah waited seven days longer, and again sent forth the dove. When she re turned at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth, there was great rejoicing. Later “Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.” Still he waited patiently within the ark. As he had entered at God’s comman d, he waited for special directions to depart. {PP 105.3}
At last an angel descended from heaven, opened the massive door, and bade the patriarch and his household go forth upon the earth and take with them every living thing. In the joy of their release Noah did not forget Him by whose gracious care they had been preserved. His first act after leaving the ark was
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to build an altar and offer from every kind of clean beast and fowl a sacrifice, thus manifesting his gratitude to God for deliverance and his faith in Christ, the great sacrifice. This offering was pleasing to the Lord; and a blessing resulted, not only to the patriarch and his family, but to all who should live upon the earth. “The Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake. . . . While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Here was a lesson for all succeeding generations. Noah had come forth upon a desolate earth, but before preparing a house for himself he built an altar to God. His stock of cattle was small, and had been preserved at great expense; yet he cheerfully gave a part to the Lord as an acknowledgment that all was His. In like manner it should be our first care to render our freewill offerings to God. Every manifestation of His mercy and love toward us should be gratefully acknowledged, both by acts of devotion and by gifts to His cause. {PP 105.4}
Lest the gathering clouds and falling rain should fill men with constant terror, from fear of another flood, the Lord encouraged the family of Noah by a promise: “I will establish My covenant with you; . . . neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. . . . I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud. . . . And I will look upon i t, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature.” {PP 106.1}
How great the condescension of God and His compassion for His erring creatures in thus placing the beautiful rainbow in the clouds as a token of His covenant with men! The Lord declares that when He looks upon the bow, He will remember His covenant. This does not imply that He would ever forget; but He speaks to us in our own language, that we may better understand Him. It was God’s purpose that as the children of after generations should ask the meaning of the glorious arch which spans the heavens, their parents should repeat the story of the Flood, and tell them that the Most High had bended the bow and placed it in the clouds as an assurance that the waters should never again overflow the earth. Thus from generation to generation
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it would testify of divine love to man and would strengthen his confidence in God. {PP 106.2}
In heaven the semblance of a rainbow encircles the throne and overarches the head of Christ. The prophet says, “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about [the throne]. Thi s was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah.” Ezekiel 1:28. The revelator declares, “Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. . . . There was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:2, 3. When man by his great wickedness invites the divine judgments, the Saviour, interceding with the Father in his behalf, points to the bow in the clouds, to the rainbow around the throne and above His own head, as a token of the mercy of God toward the repentant sinner. {PP 107.1}
With the assurance given to Noah concerning the Flood, God Himself has linked one of the most precious promises of His grace: “As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with the e, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:9, 10. {PP 107.2}
As Noah looked upon the powerful beasts of prey that came forth with him from the ark, he feared that his family, numbering only eight persons, would be destroyed by them. But the Lord sent an angel to His servant with the assuring message: “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Before this time God had given man no permission to eat animal food; He intended that the race should subsist wholly upon the productions of the earth; but now that every green thing had been destroyed, He allowed them to eat the flesh of the clean beasts that had been preserved in the ark. {PP 107.3}
The entire surface of the earth was changed at the Flood. A third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of sin. As the water began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded
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by a vast, turbid sea, Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead. By the same means the silver and gold, the choice wood and precious stones, which had enriched and adorned the world before the Flood, and which the inhabitants had idolized, were concealed from the sight and search of men, the violent action of the waters piling earth and rocks upon these treasures, and in some cases even forming mountains above them. God saw that the more He enriched and prospered sinful men, the more they would corrupt their ways before Him. The treasures that should have led them to glorify the bountiful Giver had been worship ed, while God had been dishonored and despised. {PP 107.4}
The earth presented an appearance of confusion and desolation impossible to describe. The mountains, once so beautiful in their perfect symmetry, had become broken and irregular. Stones, ledges, and ragged rocks were now scattered upon the surface of the earth. In many places hills and mountains had disappeared, leaving no trace where they once stood; and plains had given place to mountain ranges. These changes were more marked in some places than in others. Where once had been earth’s richest treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones, were seen the heaviest marks of the curse. And upon countries that were not inhabited, and those where there had been the least crime, the curse rested more lightly. {PP 108.1}

At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. T hus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, the re are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to
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the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up. These wonderful manifestations will be more and more frequent and terrible just before the second coming of Christ and the end of the world, as signs of its speedy destruction. {PP 108.2}
The depths of the earth are the Lord’s arsenal, whence were drawn weapons to be employed in the destruction of the old world. Waters gushing from the earth united with the waters from heaven to accomplish the work of desolation. Since the Flood, fire as well as water has been God’s agent to destroy very wicked cities. These judgments are sent that those who lightly regard God’s law and trample upon His authority may be led to tremble before His power and to confess His just sovereignty. As men have beh eld burning mountains pouring forth fire and flames and torrents of melted ore, drying up rivers, overwhelming populous cities, and everywhere spreading ruin and desolation, the stoutest heart has been filled with terror and infidels and blasphemers have b een constrained to acknowledge the infinite power of God. {PP 109.1}
Said the prophets of old, referring to scenes like these: “Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence! When Thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, Thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at Thy presence.” Isaiah 64:1-3. “The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers.” Nahum 1:3, 4. {PP 109.2}
More terrible manifestations than the world has ever yet beheld, will be witnessed at the second advent of Christ. “The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Wh o can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger?” Nahum 1:5, 6. “Bow Thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out Thine arrows, and destroy them.” Psalm 144:5, 6. {PP 109.3}

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“I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.” Acts 2:19. “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent.” Revelation 16:18, 20, 21. {PP 110.1}
As lightnings from heaven unite with the fire in the earth, the mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrific streams of lava, overwhelming gardens and fields, villages and cities. Seething molten masses thrown into the rivers will cause the waters to boil, sending forth massive rocks with indescribable violence and scattering their broken fragments upon the land. Rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed; everywhere there will be dreadful earthquakes and eruptions. {PP 110.2}
Thus God will destroy the wicked from off the earth. But the righteous will be preserved in the midst of these commotions, as Noah was preserved in the ark. God will be their refuge, and under His wings shall they trust. Says the psalmist: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee.” Psalm 91:9, 10. “In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.” Psalm 27:5. God’s promise is, “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” Psalm 91:14. {PP 110.3}

Chap. 12 – Abraham in Canaan

Abraham returned to Canaan “very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Lot was still with him, and again they came to Bethel, and pitched their tents by the altar which they had before erected. They soon found that increased possessions brought inc reased trouble. In the midst of hardships and trials they had dwelt together in harmony, but in their prosperity there was danger of strife between them. The pasturage was not sufficient for the flocks and herds of both, and the frequent disputes among the herdsmen were brought for settlement to their masters. It was evident that they must separate. Abraham was Lot’s senior in years, and his superior in relation, in wealth, and in position; yet he was the first to propose plans for preserving peace. Although the whole land had been given him by God Himself, he courteously waived this right. {PP 132.1}
“Let there be no strife,” he said, “between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the righ t; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” {PP 132.2}
Here the noble, unselfish spirit of Abraham was displayed. How many under similar circumstances would, at all hazards, cling to their individual rights and preferences! How many households have thus been rent asunder! How many churches have been divided, making the cause of truth a byword and a reproach among the wicked! “Let there be no strife between me and thee,” said Abraham, “for we be brethren;” not only by natural relationship, but as worshipers of the true God. The children of God the world over are one family, and the same spirit of love and conciliation should govern them.

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affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10), is the teaching of our Saviour. The cultivation of a uniform courtesy, a willingness to do to others as we would wish them to do to us, would annihilate half the ills of life. The spirit of self-aggrandizement is the spirit of Satan; but the heart in which the love of Christ is cherished, will possess that charity which seeketh not her own. Such will heed the divine injunction, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4. {PP 132.3}
Although Lot owed his prosperity to his connection with Abraham, he manifested no gratitude to his benefactor. Courtesy would have dictated that he yield the choice to Abraham, but instead of this he selfishly endeavored to grasp all its advantages. H e “lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, . . . even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.” The most fertile region in all Palestine was the Jordan Valley, reminding the beholders of the lost Paradise and equaling the beauty and productiveness of the Nile-enriched plains they had so lately left. There were cities also, wealthy and beautiful, inviting to profitable traffic in their crowded marts. Dazzled with visions of worldly gain, Lot overlooked the moral and spiritual evils that would be encountered there. The inhabitants of the plain were “sinners before the Lord exceedingly;” but of this he was ignorant, or, knowing, gave it but little weight. He “chose him all the plain of Jordan,” and “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” How little did he foresee the terrible results of that selfish choice! {PP 133.1}
After the separation from Lot, Abraham again received from the Lord a promise of the whole country. Soon after this he removed to Hebron, pitching his tent under the oaks of Mamre and erecting beside it an altar to the Lord. In the free air of those u pland plains, with their olive groves and vineyards, their fields of waving grain, and the wide pasture grounds of the encircling hills, he dwelt, well content with his simple, patriarchal life, and leaving to Lot the perilous luxury of the vale of Sodom. {PP 133.2}
Abraham was honored by the surrounding nations as a mighty prince and a wise and able chief. He did not shut away his influence from his neighbors. His life and character, in their marked contrast with those of the worshipers of idols, exerted a
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telling influence in favor of the true faith. His allegiance to God was unswerving, while his affability and benevolence inspired confidence and friendship and his unaffected greatness commanded respect and honor. {PP 133.3}
His religion was not held as a precious treasure to be jealously guarded and enjoyed solely by the possessor. True religion cannot be thus held, for such a spirit is contrary to the principles of the gospel. While Christ is dwelling in the heart it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence, or for that light to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. {PP 134.1}
The people of God are His representatives upon the earth, and He intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world. Scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, they are God’s witnesses, the channels through which He will communicate to an unbelieving world the knowledge of His will and the wonders of His grace. It is His plan that all who are partakers of the great salvation shall be missionaries for Him. The piety of the Christian constitutes the standard by which worldlings judge the gospel. Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love, habitually exhibited, are the lights that shine forth in the character before the world, revealing the contrast with the darknes s that comes of the selfishness of the natural heart. {PP 134.2}
Rich in faith, noble in generosity, unfaltering in obedience, and humble in the simplicity of his pilgrim life, Abraham was also wise in diplomacy and brave and skillful in war. Notwithstanding he was known as the teacher of a new religion, three roya l brothers, rulers of the Amorite plains in which he dwelt, manifested their friendship by inviting him to enter into an alliance with them for greater security; for the country was filled with violence and oppression. An occasion soon arose for him to avail himself of this alliance. {PP 134.3}
Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, had invaded Canaan fourteen years before, and made it tributary to him. Several of the princes now revolted, and the Elamite king, with four allies, again marched into the country to reduce them to submission. Five kings of Canaan joined their forces and met the invaders in the vale of Siddim, but only to be completely overthrown. A large
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part of the army was cut to pieces, and those who escaped fled for safety to the mountains. The victors plundered the cities of the plain and departed with rich spoil and many captives, among whom were Lot and his family. {PP 134.4}
Abraham, dwelling in peace in the oak groves at Mamre, learned from one of the fugitives the story of the battle and the calamity that had befallen his nephew. He had cherished no unkind memory of Lot’s ingratitude. All his affection for him was awakened, and he determined that he should be rescued. Seeking, first of all, divine counsel, Abraham prepared for war. From his own encampment he summoned three hundred and eighteen trained servants, men trained in the fear of God, in the service of their master, and in the practice of arms. His confederates, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner, joined him with their bands, and together they started in pursuit of the invaders. The Elamites and their allies had encamped at Dan, on the northern border of Canaan. Flushed with victory, and having no fear of an assault from their vanquished foes, they had given themselves up to reveling. The patriarch divided his force so as to approach from different directions, and came upon the encampment by night. His attack, so vigorous and unexpected, resulted in speedy victory. The king of Elam was slain and his panic-stricken forces were utterly routed. Lot and his family, with all the prisoners and their goods, were recovered, and a rich booty fell into the hands of the victors. To Abraham, under God, the triumph was due. The worshiper of Jehovah had not only rendered a great service to the country, but had proved himself a man of valor. It was seen that righteousness is not cowardice, and that Abraham’s religion made him courageous in maintaining the right and defending the oppressed. His heroic act gave him a widespread influence among the surrounding tribes. On his return, the king of Sodom came out with his retinue to honor the conqueror. He bade him take the goods, begging only that the prisoners should be restored. By the usage of war, the spoils belonged to the conquerors; but Abraham had undertaken this expedition with no purpose of gain, and he refused to take advantage of the unfortunate, only stipulating that his confederates should receive the portion to which they were entitled. {PP 135.1}
Few, if subjected to such a test, would have shown themselves as noble as did Abraham. Few would have resisted the temptation
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to secure so rich a booty. His example is a rebuke to self-seeking, mercenary spirits. Abraham regarded the claims of justice and humanity. His conduct illustrates the inspired maxim, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18. “I have lifted up my hand,” he said, “unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” He would give them no occasion to think that he had engaged in warfare for the sake of gain, or to attribute his prosperity to their gifts or favor. God had promised to bless Abraham, and to Him the glory should be ascribed. {PP 135.2}
Another who came out to welcome the victorious patriarch was Melchizedek, king of Salem, who brought forth bread and wine for the refreshment of his army. As “priest of the most high God,” he pronounced a blessing upon Abraham, and gave thanks to the Lord, who had wrought so great a deliverance by his servant. And Abraham “gave him tithes of all.” {PP 136.1}
Abraham gladly returned to his tents and his flocks, but his mind was disturbed by harassing thoughts. He had been a man of peace, so far as possible shunning enmity and strife; and with horror he recalled the scene of carnage he had witnessed. But th e nations whose forces he had defeated would doubtless renew the invasion of Canaan, and make him the special object of their vengeance. Becoming thus involved in national quarrels, the peaceful quiet of his life would be broken. Furthermore, he had not entered upon the possession of Canaan, nor could he now hope for an heir, to whom the promise might be fulfilled. {PP 136.2}
In a vision of the night the divine Voice was again heard. “Fear not, Abram,” were the words of the Prince of princes; “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” But his mind was so oppressed by forebodings that he could not now grasp the promise with unquestioning confidence as heretofore. He prayed for some tangible evidence that it would be fulfilled. And how was the covenant promise to be realized, while the gift of a son was withheld? “What wilt thou give me,” he said, “seeing I go childle ss?” “And, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.” He proposed to make his trusty servant Eliezer his son by adoption, and the inheritor of his possessions. But he was assured that a
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child of his own was to be his heir. Then he was led outside his tent, and told to look up to the unnumbered stars glittering in the heavens; and as he did so, the words were spoken, “So shall thy seed be.” “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3. {PP 136.3}
Still the patriarch begged for some visible token as a confirmation of his faith and as an evidence to after-generations that God’s gracious purposes toward them would be accomplished. The Lord condescended to enter into a covenant with His servant, employing such forms as were customary among men for the ratification of a solemn engagement. By divine direction, Abraham sacrificed a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, each three years old, dividing the bodies and laying the pieces a little distance apart. T o these he added a turtledove and a young pigeon, which, however, were not divided. This being done, he reverently passed between the parts of the sacrifice, making a solemn vow to God of perpetual obedience. Watchful and steadfast, he remained beside the carcasses till the going down of the sun, to guard them from being defiled or devoured by birds of prey. About sunset he sank into a deep sleep; and, “lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him.” And the voice of God was heard, bidding him not to expect immediate possession of the Promised Land, and pointing forward to the sufferings of his posterity before their establishment in Canaan. The plan of redemption was here opened to him, in the death of Christ, the great sacrifice, and His coming in glory. Abraham saw also the earth restored to its Eden beauty, to be given him for an everlasting possession, as the final and complete fulfillment of the promise. {PP 137.1}
As a pledge of this covenant of God with men, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp, symbols of the divine presence, passed between the severed victims, totally consuming them. And again a voice was heard by Abraham, confirming the gift of the land of Canaan to his descendants, “from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” {PP 137.2}
When Abraham had been nearly twenty-five years in Canaan, the Lord appeared unto him, and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” In awe, the patriarch fell upon his face, and the message continued: “Behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” In
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token of the fulfillment of this covenant, his name, heretofore called Abram, was changed to Abraham, which signifies, “father of a great multitude.” Sarai’s name became Sarah–“princess;” for, said the divine Voice, “she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” {PP 137.3}
At this time the rite of circumcision was given to Abraham as “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised.” Romans 4:11. It was to be observed by the patriarch and his descendants as a token that they were devoted to the service of God and thus separated from idolaters, and that God accepted them as His peculiar treasure. By this rite they were pledged to fulfill, on their part, the conditions of the covenant made with Abraham. They were not to contract marriages with the heathen; for by so doing they would lose their reverence for God and His holy law; they would be tempted to engage in the sinful practices of other nations, and would be seduced into idolatry. {PP 138.1}
God conferred great honor upon Abraham. Angels of heaven walked and talked with him as friend with friend. When judgments were about to be visited upon Sodom, the fact was not hidden from him, and he became an intercessor with God for sinners. His interview with the angels presents also a beautiful example of hospitality. {PP 138.2}

In the hot summer noontide the patriarch was sitting in his tent door, looking out over the quiet landscape, when he saw in the distance three travelers approaching. Before reaching his tent, the strangers halted, as if consulting as to their course. Without waiting for them to solicit favors, Abraham rose quickly, and as they were apparently turning in another direction, he hastened after them, and with the utmost courtesy urged them to honor him by tarrying for refreshment. With his own hands he brought water that they might wash the dust of travel from their feet. He himself selected their food, and while they were at rest under the cooling shade, an entertainment was made ready, and he stood respectfully beside them while they partook of his hospitality. This act of courtesy God regarded of sufficient importance to record in His word; and a thousand years later it was referred to by an inspired apostle: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2. {PP 138.3}
Abraham had seen in his guests only three tired wayfarers,
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little thinking that among them was One whom he might worship without sin. But the true character of the heavenly messengers was now revealed. Though they were on their way as ministers of wrath, yet to Abraham, the man of faith, they spoke first of blessings. Though God is strict to mark iniquity and to punish transgression, He takes no delight in vengeance. The work of destruction is a “strange work” to Him who is infinite in love. {PP 138.4}
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” Psalm 25:14. Abraham had honored God, and the Lord honored him, taking him into His counsels, and revealing to him His purposes. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” said the Lord. “The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” God knew well the measure of Sodom’s guilt; but He expressed Himself after the manner of men, that the justice of His dealings might be understood. Before bringing judgment upon the transgressors He would go Himself, to institute an examination of their course; if they had not passed the limits of divine mercy, He would still grant them space for repentance. {PP 139.1}
Two of the heavenly messengers departed, leaving Abraham alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God. And the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once he had saved them by his sword, now he endeavored to save them by prayer. Lot and his household were still dwellers there; and the unselfish love that prompted Abraham to their rescue from the Elamites, now sought to save them, if it were God’s will, from the storm of divine judgment. {PP 139.2}
With deep reverence and humility he urged his plea: “I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.” There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his own righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God’s will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner’s behalf. Such a spirit all who approach God should possess. Yet Abraham manifested the confidence of a child pleading with a loved father. He came close to the heavenly Messenger, and fervently urged his petition. Though Lot had become a dweller in Sodom, he did not partake in the iniquity of its inhabitants. Abraham thought that in that populous city there must be other worshipers of the true God.
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And in view of this he pleaded, “That be far from Thee, to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: . . . that be far from Thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Abraham asked not once merely, but many times. Waxing bolder as his requests were granted, he continued until he gained the assurance that if even ten righteous persons could be found in it, the city would be spared. {PP 139.3}
Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hat red of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls going down to ruin as hopeless, as terrible, as that which befell Sodom. Every day the probation of some is closing. Every hour some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. And where are the voices of warning and entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this fearful doom? Where are the hands stretched out to draw him back from death? Where are those who with humility and persevering faith are pleading with God for him? {PP 140.1}
The spirit of Abraham was the spirit of Christ. The Son of God is Himself the great Intercessor in the sinner’s behalf. He who has paid the price for its redemption knows the worth of the human soul. With an antagonism to evil such as can exist only in a nature spotlessly pure, Christ manifested toward the sinner a love which infinite goodness alone could conceive. In the agonies of the crucifixion, Himself burdened with the awful weight of the sins of the whole world, He prayed for His revilers and murderers, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. {PP
140.2}
Of Abraham it is written that “he was called the friend of God,” “the father of all them that believe.” James 2:23; Romans 4:11. The testimony of God concerning this faithful patriarch is, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” And again, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the
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world–of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah. But He who called the patriarch judged him worthy. It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says, “I know him.” There would be on the part of Abraham no betraying of the truth for selfish purposes. He would keep the law and deal justly and righteously. And he would not only fear the Lord himself, but would cultivate religion in his home. He would instruct his family in righteousness. The law of God would be the rule in his household. {PP 140.3}
Abraham’s household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside. {PP 141.1}
In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular m atters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had beco me so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object
of worship. {PP 141.2}
It was a wise arrangement, which God Himself had made, to cut off His people, so far as possible, from connection with the heathen, making them a people dwelling alone, and not reckoned among the nations. He had separated Abraham from his idolatrous kindred, that the patriarch might train and educate his family apart from the seductive influences which would have surrounded
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them in Mesopotamia, and that the true faith might be preserved in its purity by his descendants from generation to generation. {PP 141.3}
Abraham’s affection for his children and his household led him to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents and no disobedience on the part of children. God’s law had appointed to each his duties, and only in obedience to it could any secure happiness or prosperity. {PP 142.1}
His own example, the silent influence of his daily life, was a constant lesson. The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and unselfish courtesy, which had won the admiration of kings, were displayed in the home. There was a fragrance about the life, a nobility and loveliness of character, which revealed to all that he was connected with Heaven. He did not neglect the soul of the humblest servant. In his household there was not one law for the master and another for the servant; a royal way for the rich and another for the poor. All were treated with justice and compassion, as inheritors with him of the grace of life. {PP 142.2}
“He will command his . . . household.” There would be no sinful neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children, no weak, unwise, indulgent favoritism; no yielding of his conviction of duty to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just and righteous laws. {PP 142.3}
How few there are in our day who follow this example! On the part of too many parents there is a blind and selfish sentimentalism, miscalled love, which is manifested in leaving children, with their unformed judgment and undisciplined passions, to the control of their own will. This is the veriest cruelty to the youth and a great wrong to the world. Parental indulgence causes disorder in families and in society. It confirms in the young the desire to follow inclination, instead of submitting to the divine requirements. Thus they grow up with a heart averse to doing God’s will, and they transmit their irreligious, insubordinate spirit to their children and children’s children. Like Abraham, parents should command their households after them. Let obedience to
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parental authority be taught and enforced as the first step in obedience to the authority of God. {PP 142.4}
The light esteem in which the law of God is held, even by religious leaders, has been productive of great evil. The teaching which has become so widespread, that the divine statutes are no longer binding upon men, is the same as idolatry in its effect upon the morals of the people. Those who seek to lessen the claims of God’s holy law are striking directly at the foundation of the government of families and nations. Religious parents, failing to walk in His statutes, do not command their household to k eep the way of the Lord. The law of God is not made the rule of life. The children, as they make homes of their own, feel under no obligation to teach their children what they themselves have never been taught. And this is why there are so many godless families; this is why depravity is so deep and widespread. {PP 143.1}
Not until parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with perfect hearts will they be prepared to command their children after them. A reformation in this respect is needed–a reformation which shall be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform; they need God in their households. If they would see a different state of things, they must bring His word into their families and must make it their counselor. They must teach their children that it is the voice of God addressed to them, and is to be implicitly obeyed. They should patiently instruct their children, kindly and untiringly teach them how to live in order to please God. The children of such a household are prepared to meet the sophistries of infidelity. They have accepted the Bible as the basis of their faith, and they have a foundation that cannot be swept away by the incoming tide of skepticism. {PP 143.2}
In too many households prayer is neglected. Parents feel that they have no time for morning and evening worship. They cannot spare a few moments to be spent in thanksgiving to God for His abundant mercies–for the blessed sunshine and the showers of rain, which cause vegetation to flourish, and for the guardianship of holy angels. They have no time to offer prayer for divine help and guidance and for the abiding presence of Jesus in the household. They go forth to labor as the ox or the horse goes, without one thought of God or heaven. They have souls so precious that rather than permit them to be hopelessly lost, the Son of God gave His life to ransom them; but they have little more

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appreciation of His great goodness than have the beasts that perish. {PP 143.3}
Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God should erect an altar to the Lord wherever they pitch their tent. If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to tarry. {PP 144.1}
From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy. There are homes where this principle is carried out–homes where God is worshiped and truest love reigns. From these homes morning and evening prayer ascends to God as sweet incense, and His mercies and blessings descend upon the suppliants like the morning dew. {PP 144.2}
A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion–an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. If the homes of professed Christians had a right religious mold, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be the “light of the world.” The God of heaven speaks to every faithful parent in the words ad dressed to Abraham: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.” {PP 144.3}

Chap. 16 – Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac, present a striking contrast, both in character and in life. This unlikeness was foretold by the angel of God before their birth. When in answer to Rebekah’s troubled prayer he declared that two sons would be given her, he opened to her their future history, that each would become the head of a mighty nation, but that one would be greater than the other, and that the younger would have the
pre-eminence. {PP 177.1}
Esau grew up loving self-gratification and centering all his interest in the present. Impatient of restraint, he delighted in the wild freedom of the chase, and early chose the life of a hunter. Yet he was the father’s favorite. The quiet, peace-lovin g shepherd was attracted by the daring and vigor of this elder son, who fearlessly ranged over mountain and desert, returning home with game for his father and with exciting accounts of his adventurous life. Jacob, thoughtful, diligent, and care-taking, ever thinking more of the future than the present, was content to dwell at home, occupied in the care of the flocks and the tillage of the soil. His patient perseverance, thrift, and foresight were valued by the mother. His affections were deep and strong, and his gentle, unremitting attentions added far more to her happiness than did the boisterous and occasional kindnesses of Esau. To Rebekah, Jacob was the dearer son. {PP 177.2}
The promises made to Abraham and confirmed to his son were held by Isaac and Rebekah as the great object of their desires and hopes. With these promises Esau and Jacob were familiar. They were taught to regard the birthright as a matter of great importance, for it included not only an inheritance of worldly wealth but spiritual pre-eminence. He who received it was to be the priest of his family, and in the line of his posterity the Redeemer of the world would come. On the other hand, there were obligations resting upon the possessor of the birthright. He
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who should inherit its blessings must devote his life to the service of God. Like Abraham, he must be obedient to the divine requirements. In marriage, in his family relations, in public life, he must consult the will of God. {PP 177.3}
Isaac made known to his sons these privileges and conditions, and plainly stated that Esau, as the eldest, was the one entitled to the birthright. But Esau had no love for devotion, no inclination to a religious life. The requirements that accompanied the spiritual birthright were an unwelcome and even hateful restraint to him. The law of God, which was the condition of the divine covenant with Abraham, was regarded by Esau as a yoke of bondage. Bent on self-indulgence, he desired nothing so much as liberty to do as he pleased. To him power and riches, feasting and reveling, were happiness. He gloried in the unrestrained freedom of his wild, roving life. Rebekah remembered the words of the angel, and she read with clearer insight than did her husband the character of their sons. She was convinced that the heritage of divine promise was intended for Jacob. She repeated to Isaac the angel’s words; but the father’s affections were centered upon the elder son, and he was unshaken in his purpose. {PP 178.1}
Jacob had learned from his mother of the divine intimation that the birthright should fall to him, and he was filled with an unspeakable desire for the privileges which it would confer. It was not the possession of his father’s wealth that he craved; the spiritual birthright was the object of his longing. To commune with God as did righteous Abraham, to offer the sacrifice of atonement for his family, to be the progenitor of the chosen people and of the promised Messiah, and to inherit the immortal possessions embraced in the blessings of the covenant–here were the privileges and honors that kindled his most ardent desires. His mind was ever reaching forward to the future, and seeking to grasp its unseen blessings. {PP 178.2}
With secret longing he listened to all that his father told concerning the spiritual birthright; he carefully treasured what he had learned from his mother. Day and night the subject occupied his thoughts, until it became the absorbing interest of his life. But while he thus esteemed eternal above temporal blessings, Jacob had not an experimental knowledge of the God whom he revered. His heart had not been renewed by divine grace. He believed that the promise concerning himself could not be fulfilled
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so long as Esau retained the rights of the first-born, and he constantly studied to devise some way whereby he might secure the blessing which his brother held so lightly, but which was so precious to himself. {PP 178.3}

When Esau, coming home one day faint and weary from the chase, asked for the food that Jacob was preparing, the latter, with whom one thought was ever uppermost, seized upon his advantage, and offered to satisfy his brother’s hunger at the price of the birthright. “Behold, I am at the point to die,” cried the reckless, self-indulgent hunter, “and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” And for a dish of red pottage he parted with his birthright, and confirmed the transaction by an oath. A short time at most would have secured him food in his father’s tents, but to satisfy the desire of the moment he carelessly bartered the glorious heritage that God Himself had promised to his fathers. His whole interest was in the present. He was ready to sacrifice the heavenly to the earthly, to exchange a future good for a momentary indulgence. {PP 179.1}
“Thus Esau despised his birthright.” In disposing of it he felt a sense of relief. Now his way was unobstructed; he could do as he liked. For this wild pleasure, miscalled freedom, how many are still selling their birthright to an inheritance pure and undefiled, eternal in the heavens! {PP 179.2}
Ever subject to mere outward and earthly attractions, Esau took two wives of the daughters of Heth. They were worshipers of false gods, and their idolatry was a bitter grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau had violated one of the conditions of the covenant , which forbade intermarriage between the chosen people and the heathen; yet Isaac was still unshaken in his determination to bestow upon him the birthright. The reasoning of Rebekah, Jacob’s strong desire for the blessing, and Esau’s indifference to its obligations had no effect to change the father’s purpose. {PP 179.3}
Years passed on, until Isaac, old and blind, and expecting soon to die, determined no longer to delay the bestowal of the blessing upon his elder son. But knowing the opposition of Rebekah and Jacob, he decided to perform the solemn ceremony in secret. In accordance with the custom of making a feast upon such occasions, the patriarch bade Esau, “Go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savory meat, . . . that my soul may bless thee before I die.” {PP 179.4}
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Rebekah divined his purpose. She was confident that it was contrary to what God had revealed as His will. Isaac was in danger of incurring the divine displeasure and of debarring his younger son from the position to which God had called him. She had in vain tried the effect of reasoning with Isaac, and she determined to resort to stratagem. {PP 180.1}
No sooner had Esau departed on his errand than Rebekah set about the accomplishment of her purpose. She told Jacob what had taken place, urging the necessity of immediate action to prevent the bestowal of the blessing, finally and irrevocably, upon Esau. And she assured her son that if he would follow her directions, he might obtain it as God had promised. Jacob did not readily consent to the plan that she proposed. The thought of deceiving his father caused him great distress. He felt that such a sin would bring a curse rather than a blessing. But his scruples were overborne, and he proceeded to carry out his mother’s suggestions. It was not his intention to utter a direct falsehood, but once in the presence of his father he seemed to have gone too far to retreat, and he obtained by fraud the coveted blessing. {PP 180.2}

Jacob and Rebekah succeeded in their purpose, but they gained only trouble and sorrow by their deception. God had declared that Jacob should receive the birthright, and His word would have been fulfilled in His own time had they waited in faith for Him to work for them. But like many who now profess to be children of God, they were unwilling to leave the matter in His hands. Rebekah bitterly repented the wrong counsel she had given her son; it was the means of separating him from her, and she never saw his face again. From the hour when he received the birthright, Jacob was weighed down with self-condemnation. He had sinned against his father, his brother, his own soul, and against God. In one short hour he had made work for a lifelong repentance. This scene was vivid before him in afteryears, when the wicked course of his sons oppressed his soul. {PP 180.3}
No sooner had Jacob left his father’s tent than Esau entered. Though he had sold his birthright, and confirmed the transfer by a solemn oath, he was now determined to secure its blessings, regardless of his brother’s claim. With the spiritual was connected the temporal birthright, which would give him the headship of the family and possession of a double portion of his father’s
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wealth. These were blessings that he could value. “Let my father arise,” he said, “and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.” {PP 180.4}
Trembling with astonishment and distress, the blind old father learned the deception that had been practiced upon him. His long and fondly cherished hopes had been thwarted, and he keenly felt the disappointment that must come upon his elder son. Yet the conviction flashed upon him that it was God’s providence which had defeated his purpose and brought about the very thing he had determined to prevent. He remembered the words of the angel to Rebekah, and notwithstanding the sin of which Jacob was now guilty, he saw in him the one best fitted to accomplish the purposes of God. While the words of blessing were upon his lips, he had felt the Spirit of inspiration upon him; and now, knowing all the circumstances, he ratified the benediction unwittingly pronounced upon Jacob: “I have blessed him; yea, and he shall be blessed.” {PP 181.1}
Esau had lightly valued the blessing while it seemed within his reach, but he desired to possess it now that it was gone from him forever. All the strength of his impulsive, passionate nature was aroused, and his grief and rage were terrible. He cried with an exceeding bitter cry, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” “Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?” But the promise given was not to be recalled. The birthright which he had so carelessly bartered he could not now regain. “For one morsel of m eat,” for a momentary gratification of appetite that had never been restrained, Esau sold his inheritance; but when he saw his folly, it was too late to recover the blessing. “He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” Hebrews 12:16, 17. Esau was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God’s favor by repentance, but he could find no means of recovering the birthright. His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not desire to be reconciled to God. He sorrowed because of the results of his sin, but not for the sin itself. {PP 181.2}
Because of his indifference to the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture “a profane person.” Verse 16. He represents those who lightly value the redemption purchased for them by Christ, and are ready to sacrifice their heirship to heaven for the perishable things of earth. Multitudes live for the present, with no thought or care for the future. Like Esau
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they cry, “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32. They are controlled by inclination; and rather than practice self-denial, they will forgo the most valuable considerations. If one must be relinquished, the gratification of a depraved appetite or the heavenly blessings promised only to the self-denying and God-fearing, the claims of appetite prevail, and God and heaven are virtually despised. How many, even of professed Christians, cling to indulgences that are injurious to health and that benumb the sensibilities of the soul. When the duty is presented of cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they are offended. They see that they cannot retain these hurtful gratifications and yet secure heaven, and they conclude that since the way to eternal life is so strait, they will no longer walk therein. {PP 181.3}
Multitudes are selling their birthright for sensual indulgence. Health is sacrificed, the mental faculties are enfeebled, and heaven is forfeited; and all for a mere temporary pleasure–an indulgence at once both weakening and debasing in its character. As Esau awoke to see the folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to recover his loss, so it will be in the day of God with those who have bartered their heirship to heaven for selfish gratifications. {PP 182.1}

Chap. 17 – Jacob’s Flight and Exile

Threatened with death by the wrath of Esau, Jacob went out from his father’s home a fugitive; but he carried with him the father’s blessing; Isaac had renewed to him the covenant promise, and had bidden him, as its inheritor, to seek a wife of his mot her’s family in Mesopotamia. Yet it was with a deeply troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey. With only his staff in his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through
a country inhabited by wild, roving tribes. In his remorse and timidity he sought to avoid men, lest he should be traced by his angry brother. He feared that he had lost forever the blessing that God had purposed to give him; and Satan was at hand to press temptations upon him. {PP 183.1}
The evening of the second day found him far away from his father’s tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course. The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray. But he was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before. With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still his burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off. {PP 183.2}
But God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant. The Lord compassionately revealed just what Jacob needed–a Saviour. He had sinned, but his heart was filled with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by which he could be restored to the favor of God. {PP 183.3}
Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay down upon the ground, with a stone for his pillow. As he slept he beheld a ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, while the top reached to heaven. Upon this ladder angels were ascending and descending; above it was the Lord of glory, and from
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the heavens His voice was heard: “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.” The land whereon he lay as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his posterity, with the assurance, “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” This promise had been given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was renewed to Jacob. Then in special regard to his present loneliness and distress, the words of comfort and encouragement were spoken: “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” {PP 183.4}
The Lord knew the evil influences that would surround Jacob, and the perils to which he would be exposed. In mercy He opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness. {PP 184.1}
In the vision the plan of redemption was presented to Jacob, not fully, but in such parts as were essential to him at that time. The mystic ladder revealed to him in his dream was the same to which Christ referred in His conversation with Nathanael. Said He, “Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:51. Up to the time of man’s rebellion against the government of God, there had been free communion between God and man. But the sin of Adam and Eve separated earth from heaven, so that man could not have communion with his Maker. Yet the world was not left in solitary hopelessness. The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication. Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communion with fallen man. Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the source of infinite power. {PP 184.2}
All this was revealed to Jacob in his dream. Although his mind at once grasped a part of the revelation, its great and mysterious truths were the study of his lifetime, and unfolded to his understanding more and more. {PP 184.3}
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Jacob awoke from his sleep in the deep stillness of night. The shining forms of his vision had disappeared. Only the dim outline of the lonely hills, and above them the heavens bright with stars, now met his gaze. But he had a solemn sense that God was with him. An unseen presence filled the solitude. “Surely the Lord is in this place,” he said, “and I knew it not. . . . This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” {PP 187.1}
“And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.” In accordance with the custom of commemorating important events, Jacob set up a memorial of Go d’s mercy, that whenever he should pass that way he might tarry at this sacred spot to worship the Lord. And he called the place Bethel, or the “house of God.” With deep gratitude he repeated the promise that God’s presence would be with him; and then he made the solemn vow, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set f or a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” {PP 187.2}
Jacob was not here seeking to make terms with God. The Lord had already promised him prosperity, and this vow was the outflow of a heart filled with gratitude for the assurance of God’s love and mercy. Jacob felt that God had claims upon him which he must acknowledge, and that the special tokens of divine favor granted him demanded a return. So does every blessing bestowed upon us call for a response to the Author of all our mercies. The Christian should often review his past life and recall with gratitude the precious deliverances that God has wrought for him, supporting him in trial, opening ways before him when all seemed dark and forbidding, refreshing him when ready to faint. He should recognize all of them as evidences of the watchcare of heavenly angels. In view of these innumerable blessings he should often ask, with subdued and grateful heart, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” Psalm 116:12. {PP 187.3}
Our time, our talents, our property, should be sacredly devoted to Him who has given us these blessings in trust. Whenever a special deliverance is wrought in our behalf, or new and
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unexpected favors are granted us, we should acknowledge God’s goodness, not only by expressing our gratitude in words, but, like Jacob, by gifts and offerings to His cause. As we are continually receiving the blessings of God, so we are to be continually giving. {PP 187.4}
“Of all that Thou shalt give me,” said Jacob, “I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” Shall we who enjoy the full light and privileges of the gospel be content to give less to God than was given by those who lived in the former, less favored dispensation? Nay, as the blessings we enjoy are greater, are not our obligations correspondingly increased? But how small the estimate; how vain the endeavor to measure with mathematical rules, time, money, and love, against a love so immeasurable and a gift of such inconceivable worth. Tithes for Christ! Oh, meager pittance, shameful recompense for that which cost so much! From the cross of Calvary, Christ calls for an unreserved consecration. All that we have, all that we are, should be devoted to God. {PP 188.1}
With a new and abiding faith in the divine promises, and assured of the presence and guardianship of heavenly angels, Jacob pursued his journey to “the land of the children of the East.” Genesis 29:1, margin. But how different his arrival from that of Abraham’s messenger nearly a hundred years before! The servant had come with a train of attendants riding upon camels, and with rich gifts of gold and silver; the son was a lonely, footsore traveler, with no possession save his staff. Like Abraham’s servant, Jacob tarried beside a well, and it was here that he met Rachel, Laban’s younger daughter. It was Jacob now who rendered service, rolling the stone from the well and watering the flocks. On making known his kinship, he was welcomed to the home of Laban. Though he came portionless and unattended, a few weeks showed the worth of his diligence and skill, and he was urged to tarry. It was arranged that he should render Laban seven years’ service for the hand of Rachel. {PP 188.2}
In early times custom required the bridegroom, before the ratification of a marriage engagement, to pay a sum of money or its equivalent in other property, according to his circumstances, to the father of his wife. This was regarded as a safeguard to the marriage relation. Fathers did not think it safe to trust the happiness of their daughters to men who had not made provision for the support of a family. If they had not sufficient thrift and energy to manage business and acquire cattle or lands, it was feared that
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their life would prove worthless. But provision was made to test those who had nothing to pay for a wife. They were permitted to labor for the father whose daught er they loved, the length of time being regulated by the value of the dowry required. When the suitor was faithful in his services, and proved in other respects worthy, he obtained the daughter as his wife; and generally the dowry which the father had received was given her at her marriage. In the case of both Rachel and Leah, however, Laban selfishly retained the dowry that should have been given them; they referred to this when they said, just before the removal from Mesopotamia, “He hath sold us, and hat h quite devoured also our money.” {PP 188.3}
The ancient custom, though sometimes abused, as by Laban, was productive of good results. When the suitor was required to render service to secure his bride, a hasty marriage was prevented, and there was opportunity to test the depth of his affections, as well as his ability to provide for a family. In our time many evils result from pursuing an opposite course. It is often the case that persons before marriage have
little opportunity to become acquainted with each other’s habits and disposition, and, so far as everyday life is concerned, they are virtually strangers when they unite their interests at the altar. Many find, too late, that they are not adapted to each other, and lifelong wretchedness is the result of their union. Often the wife and children suffer from the indolence and inefficiency or the vicious habits of the husband and father. If the character of the suitor had been tested before marriage, according to the ancient custom, great unhappiness might have been prevented. {PP 189.1}
Seven years of faithful service Jacob gave for Rachel, and the years that he served “seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” But the selfish and grasping Laban, desiring to retain so valuable a helper, practiced a cruel deception in substituting Leah for Rachel. The fact that Leah herself was a party to the cheat, caused Jacob to feel that he could not love her. His indignant rebuke to Laban was met with the offer of Rachel for another seven years’ service. But the father insisted that Leah should not be discarded, since this would bring disgrace upon the family. Jacob was thus placed in a most painful and trying position; he finally decided to retain Leah and marry Rachel. Rachel was ever the one best loved; but his preference for her
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excited envy and jealousy, and his life was embittered by the rivalry between the sister-wives. {PP 189.2}
For twenty years Jacob remained in Mesopotamia, laboring in the service of Laban, who, disregarding the ties of kinship, was bent upon securing to himself all the benefits of their connection. Fourteen years of toil he demanded for his two daughters; and during the remaining period, Jacob’s wages were ten times changed. Yet Jacob’s service was diligent and faithful. His words to Laban in their last interview vividly describe the untiring vigilance which he had given to the interests of his exacting master: “This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.” {PP 190.1}
It was necessary for the shepherd to watch his flocks day and night. They were in danger from robbers, and also from wild beasts, which were numerous and bold, often committing great havoc in flocks that were not faithfully guarded. Jacob had many assistants in caring for the extensive flocks of Laban, but he himself was held responsible for them all. During some portions of the year it was necessary for him to be constantly with the flocks in person, to guard them in the dry season against perishing from thirst, and during the coldest months from becoming chilled with the heavy night frosts. Jacob was the chief shepherd; the servants in his employ were the undershepherds. If any of the sheep were missing, the chief shepherd suffered the loss; and he called the servants to whom he entrusted the care of the flock to a strict account if it was not found in a flourishing condition. {PP 190.2}
The shepherd’s life of diligence and care-taking, and his tender compassion for the helpless creatures entrusted to his charge, have been employed by the inspired writers to illustrate some of the most precious truths of the gospel. Christ, in His relation to His people, is compared to a shepherd. After the Fall He saw His sheep doomed to perish in the dark ways of sin. To save these wandering ones He left the honors and glories of His Father’s
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house. He says, “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.” I will “save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey.” “Neither shall the beast of the land devour them.” Ezekiel 34:16, 22, 28. His voice is heard calling them to His fold, “a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” Isaiah 4:6. His care for the flock is unwearied. He strengthens the weak, relieves the suffering, gathers the lambs in His arms, and carries them in His bosom. His sheep love Him. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” John 10:5. {PP 190.3}
Christ says, “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.” Verses 11-14. {PP 191.1}
Christ, the Chief Shepherd, has entrusted the care of His flock to His ministers as undershepherds; and He bids them have the same interest that He has manifested, and feel the sacred responsibility of the charge He has entrusted to them. He has solemnly commanded them to be faithful, to feed the flock, to strengthen the weak, to revive the fainting, and to shield them from devouring wolves. {PP 191.2}
To save His sheep, Christ laid down His own life; and He points His shepherds to the love thus manifested, as their example. But “he that is an hireling, . . . whose own the sheep are not,” has no real interest in the flock. He is laboring merely for gain, and he cares only for himself. He studies his own profit instead of the interest of his charge; and in time of peril or danger he will flee, and leave the flock. {PP 191.3}
The apostle Peter admonishes the undershepherds: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:2, 3. Paul says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy
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Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Acts 20:28, 29. {PP 191.4}
All who regard as an unwelcome task the care and burdens that fall to the lot of the faithful shepherd, are reproved by the apostle: “Not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” 1 Peter 5:2. All such unfaithful servants the Chief Shepherd would willingly release. The church of Christ has been purchased with His blood, and every shepherd should realize that the sheep under his care cost an infinite sacrifice. He should regard them each as of priceless worth, and should be unwearied in his efforts to keep them in a healthy, flourishing condition. The shepherd who is imbued with the spirit of Christ will imitate His self-denying example, constantly laboring for the welfare of his charge; and the flock will prosper under his care. {PP 192.1}
All will be called to render a strict account of their ministry. The Master will demand of every shepherd, “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” Jeremiah 13:20. He that is found faithful, will receive a rich reward. “When the Chief Shepherd shall appear,” says the apostle, “ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. {PP 192.2}
When Jacob, growing weary of Laban’s service, proposed to return to Canaan, he said to his father-in-law, “Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.” But Laban urged him to remain, declaring, “I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” He saw that his property was increasing under the care of his son-in-law. {PP
192.3}
Said Jacob, “It was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude.” But as time passed on, Laban became envious of the greater prosperity of Jacob, who “increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.” Laban’s sons shared their father’s jealousy, and their malicious speeches came to Jacob’s ears: He “hath taken away all that was our father’s, and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And
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Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.” {PP 192.4}
Jacob would have left his crafty kinsman long before but for the fear of encountering Esau. Now he felt that he was in danger from the sons of Laban, who, looking upon his wealth as their own, might endeavor to secure it by violence. He was in great perplexity and distress, not knowing which way to turn. But mindful of the gracious Bethel promise, he carried his case to God, and sought direction from Him. In a dream his prayer was answered: “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” {PP 193.1}
Laban’s absence afforded opportunity for departure. The flocks and herds were speedily gathered and sent forward, and with his wives, children, and servants, Jacob crossed the Euphrates, urging his way toward Gilead, on the borders of Canaan. After three days Laban learned of their flight, and set forth in pursuit, overtaking the company on the seventh day of their journey. He was hot with anger, and bent on forcing them to return, which he doubted not he could do, since his band was much the stronger. The fugitives were indeed in great peril. {PP 193.2}
That he did not carry out his hostile purpose was due to the fact that God Himself had interposed for the protection of His servant. “It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt,” said Laban, “but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad;” that is, he should not force him to return, or urge him by flattering inducements. {PP 193.3}
Laban had withheld the marriage dowry of his daughters and had ever treated Jacob with craft and harshness; but with characteristic dissimulation he now reproached him for his secret departure, which had given the father no opportunity to make a parting feast or even to bid farewell to his daughters and their children. {PP 193.4}
In reply Jacob plainly set forth Laban’s selfish and grasping policy, and appealed to him as a witness to his own faithfulness and honesty. “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me,” said Jacob, “surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” {PP 193.5}
Laban could not deny the facts brought forward, and he now
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proposed to enter into a covenant of peace. Jacob consented to the proposal, and a pile of stones was erected as a token of the compact. To this pillar Laban gave the name Mizpah, “watchtower,” saying, “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” {PP 193.6}
“And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; this heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and t his pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.” To confirm the treaty, the parties held a feast. The night was spent in friendly communing; and at the dawn of day, Laban and his company departed. With this separation ceased all trace of connection between the children of Abraham and the dwellers in Mesopotamia. {PP 194.1}

Chap. 18 – The Night of Wrestling

Though Jacob had left Padan-aram in obedience to the divine direction, it was not without many misgivings that he retraced the road which he had trodden as a fugitive twenty years before. His sin in the deception of his father was ever before him. He knew that his long exile was the direct result of that sin, and he pondered over these things day and night, the reproaches of an accusing conscience making his journey very sad. As the hills of his native land appeared before him in the distance, the heart of the patriarch was deeply moved. All the past rose vividly before him. With the memory of his sin came also the thought of God’s favor toward him, and the promises of divine help and guidance. {PP 195.1}
As he drew nearer his journey’s end, the thought of Esau brought many a troubled foreboding. After the flight of Jacob, Esau had regarded himself as the sole heir of their father’s possessions. The news of Jacob’s return would excite the fear that he was coming to claim the inheritance. Esau was now able to do his brother great injury, if so disposed, and he might be moved to violence against him, not only by the desire for revenge, but in order to secure undisturbed possession of the wealth which he h ad so long looked upon as his own. {PP 195.2}
Again the Lord granted Jacob a token of the divine care. As he traveled southward from Mount Gilead, two hosts of heavenly angels seemed to encompass him behind and before, advancing with his company, as if for their protection. Jacob remembered the vision at Bethel so long before, and his burdened heart grew lighter at this evidence that the divine messengers who had brought him hope and courage at his flight from Canaan were to be the guardians of his return. And he said, “This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim”–“two hosts, or, camps.” {PP 195.3}
Yet Jacob felt that he had something to do to secure his own safety. He therefore dispatched messengers with a conciliatory
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greeting to his brother. He instructed them as to the exact words in which they were to address Esau. It had been foretold before the birth of the two brothers that the elder should serve the younger, and, lest the memory of this should be a cause of bitterness, Jacob told the servants they were sent to “my lord Esau;” when brought before him, they were to refer to their master as “thy servant Jacob;” and to remove the fear that he was returning, a destitute wanderer, to claim the paternal inheritance, Jacob was careful to state in his message, “I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.” {PP 195.4}
But the servants returned with the tidings that Esau was approaching with four hundred men, and no response was sent to the friendly message. It appeared certain that he was coming to seek revenge. Terror pervaded the camp. “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.” He could not go back, and he feared to advance. His company, unarmed and defenseless, were wholly unprepared for a hostile encounter. He accordingly divided them into two bands, so that if one should be attacked, the other might have an opportunity to escape. He sent from his vast flocks generous presents to Esau, with a friendly message. He did all in his power to atone for the wrong to his brother and to avert the threatened danger, and then in humiliation and repentance he pleaded for divine protection: Thou “saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.” {PP 196.1}
They had now reached the river Jabbok, and as night came on, Jacob sent his family across the ford of the river, while he alone remained behind. He had decided to spend the night in prayer, and he desired to be alone with God. God could soften the heart of Esau. In Him was the patriarch’s only hope. {PP 196.2}
It was in a lonely, mountainous region, the haunt of wild beasts and the lurking place of robbers and murderers. Solitary and unprotected, Jacob bowed in deep distress upon the earth. It was midnight. All that made life dear to him were at a distance,
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exposed to danger and death. Bitterest of all was the thought that it was his own sin which had brought this peril upon the innocent. With earnest cries and tears he made his prayer before God. Suddenly a strong hand was laid upon him. He thought that an enemy was seeking his life, and he endeavored to wrest himself from the grasp of his assailant. In the darkness the two struggled for the mastery. Not a word was spoken, but Jacob put forth all his strength, and did not relax his efforts for a moment. While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of his guilt pressed upon his soul; his sins rose up before him, to shut him out from God. But in his terrible extremity he remembered God’s promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for His mercy. The struggle continued until near the break of day, when the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob’s thigh, and he was crippled instantly. The patriarch now discerned the character of his antagonist. He knew that he had been in conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this was why his almost superhuman effort had not gained the victory. It was Christ, “the Angel of the covenant,” who had revealed Himself to Jacob. The patriarch was now disabled and suffering the keenest pain, but he would not loosen his hold. All penitent and broken, he clung to the Angel; “he wept, and made supplication” (Hosea 12:4), pleading for a blessing. He must have the assurance that his sin was pardoned. Physical pain was not sufficient to divert his mind from this object. His determination grew stronger, his faith more earnest and persevering, until the very last. The Angel tried to release Himself; He urged, “Let Me go, for the day breaketh;” but Jacob answered, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” Had this been a boastful, presumptuous confidence, Jacob would have been instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses his own unworthiness, yet trusts the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God. {PP 196.3}
Jacob “had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” Hosea 12:4. Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the he art of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner’s plea. {PP 197.1}
The error that had led to Jacob’s sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now clearly set before him. He had not trusted God’s promises, but had sought by his own efforts to
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bring about that which God would have accomplished in His own time and way. As an evidence that he had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. “Thy name,” said the Angel, “shall be called no more Jacob [the supplanter], but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” {PP 197.2}
Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed. His sin as a supplanter and deceiver had been pardoned. The crisis in his life was past. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered his existence, but now all was changed; and sweet was the peace of reconciliation with God. Jacob no longer feared to meet his brother. God, who had forgiven his sin, could move the heart of Esau also to accept his humiliation and repentance. {PP 198.1}
While Jacob was wrestling with the Angel, another heavenly messenger was sent to Esau. In a dream, Esau beheld his brother for twenty years an exile from his father’s house; he witnessed his grief at finding his mother dead; he saw him encompassed by the hosts of God. This dream was related by Esau to his soldiers, with the charge not to harm Jacob, for the God of his father was with him. {PP 198.2}
The two companies at last approached each other, the desert chief leading his men of war, and Jacob with his wives and children, attended by shepherds and handmaidens, and followed by long lines of flocks and herds. Leaning upon his staff, the patriarch went forward to meet the band of soldiers. He was pale and disabled from his recent conflict, and he walked slowly and painfully, halting at every step; but his countenance was lighted up with joy and peace. {PP 198.3}
At sight of that crippled sufferer, “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” As they looked upon the scene, even the hearts of Esau’s rude soldiers were touched. Notwithstanding he had told them of his dream, they could not account for the change that had come over their captain. Though they beheld the patriarch’s infirmity, they little thought that this his weakness had been made his strength. {PP 198.4}
In his night of anguish beside the Jabbok, when destruction seemed just before him, Jacob had been taught how vain is the
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help of man, how groundless is all trust in human power. He saw that his only help must come from Him against whom he had so grievously sinned. Helpless and unworthy, he pleaded God’s promise of mercy to the repentant sinner. That promise was his assurance that God would pardon and accept him. Sooner might heaven and earth pass than that word could fail; and it was this that sustained him through that fearful conflict. {PP 198.5}
Jacob’s experience during that night of wrestling and anguish represents the trial through which the people of God must pass just before Christ’s second coming. The prophet Jeremiah, in holy vision looking down to this time, said, “We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:5-7. {PP 201.1}
When Christ shall cease His work as mediator in man’s behalf, then this time of trouble will begin. Then the case of every soul will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin. When Jesus leaves His position as man’s intercessor before God, the solemn announcement is made, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11. Then the restraining Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth. As Jacob was threatened with death by his angry brother, so the people of God will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to destroy them. And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the enemies that surround them. {PP 201.2}
Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch’s long night of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God. When in his distress Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and made supplication with tears, the heavenly Messenger, in order to try his faith, also reminded him of his sin, and endeavored to escape from him. But Jacob would not be turned away. He had learned that God is merciful, and he cast himself upon His mercy. He pointed
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back to his repentance for his sin, and pleaded for deliverance. As he reviewed his life, he was driven almost to despair; but he held fast the Angel, and with earnest, agonizing cries urged his petition until he prevailed. {PP 201.3}
Such will be the experience of God’s people in their final struggle with the powers of evil. God will test their faith, their perseverance, their confidence in His power to deliver them. Satan will endeavor to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless; that their sins have been too great to receive pardon. They will have a deep sense of their shortcomings, and as they review their lives their hopes will sink. But remembering the greatness of God’s mercy, and their own sincere repentance, they will plead His promises made through Christ to helpless, repenting sinners. Their faith will not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. They will lay hold of the strength of God, as Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and the language of their souls will be, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” {PP 202.1}
Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God could not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. So in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they will have no concealed wrongs to reveal. Their sins will have been blotted out by the atoning blood of Christ, and they cannot bring them to remembrance. {PP 202.2}
Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealing with Jacob that He can in no wise sanction or tolerate evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession, and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God, and the more certain the triumph of the great adversary. {PP 202.3}
Yet Jacob’s history is an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been betrayed into sin, but who have returned
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unto Him with true repentance. It was by self-surrender and confiding faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength. God thus taught His servant that divine power and grace alone could give him the blessing he craved. Thus it will be with those who live in the last days. As dangers surround them, and despair seizes upon the soul, they must depend solely upon the merits of the atonement. We can do nothing of ourselves. In all our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. None will ever perish while they do this. The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies is before the eye of the Infinite. The register is complete; none of our offenses are forgotten. But He who listened to the cries of His servants of old, will hear the prayer of faith and pardon our transgressions. He has promised, and He will fulfill His word. {PP 202.4}
Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power. {PP 203.1}

Those who are unwilling to forsake every sin and to seek earnestly for God’s blessing, will not obtain it. But all who will lay hold of God’s promises as did Jacob, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. “Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” Luke 18:7, 8. {PP 203.2}

Chap. 21 – Joseph and His Brothers

At the very opening of the fruitful years began the preparation for the approaching famine. Under the direction of Joseph, immense storehouses were erected in all the principal places throughout the land of Egypt, and ample arrangements were made for preserving the surplus of the expected harvest. The same policy was continued during the seven years of plenty, until the amount of grain laid in store was beyond computation. {PP 224.1}
And now the seven years of dearth began to come, according to Joseph’s prediction. “And the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.” {PP 224.2}
The famine extended to the land of Canaan and was severely felt in that part of the country where Jacob dwelt. Hearing of the abundant provision made by the king of Egypt, ten of Jacob’s sons journeyed thither to purchase grain. On their arrival they were directed to the king’s deputy, and with other applicants they came to present themselves before the ruler of the land. And they “bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” “Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.” His Hebrew name had been exchanged for the one bestowed upon him by the king, and there was little resemblance between the prime minister of Egypt and the stripling whom they had sold to the Ishmaelites. As Joseph saw his brothers stooping and making obeisance, his dreams came to his mind, and the scenes of the past rose vividly before him. His keen eye, surveying the group, discovered that Benjamin was not among them. Had he also fallen
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a victim to the treacherous cruelty of those savage men? He determined to learn the truth. “Ye are spies,” he said sternly; “to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.” {PP 224.3}
They answered, “Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men; thy servants are no spies.” He wished to learn if they possessed the same haughty spirit as when he was with them, and also to draw from them some information in regard to their home; yet he well knew how deceptive their statements might be. He repeated the charge, and they replied, “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” {PP 225.1}

Professing to doubt the truthfulness of their story, and to still look upon them as spies, the governor declared that he would prove them, by requiring them to remain in Egypt till one of their number should go and bring their youngest brother down. If they would not consent to this, they were to be treated as spies. But to such an arrangement the sons of Jacob could not agree, since the time required for carrying it out would cause their families to suffer for food; and who among them would undertake the journey alone, leaving his brothers in prison? How could he meet his father under such circumstances? It appeared probable that they were to be put to death or to be made slaves; and if Benjamin were brought, it might be only to share their fate. They decided to remain and suffer together, rather than bring additional sorrow upon their father by the loss of his only remaining son. They were accordingly cast into prison, where they remained three days. {PP 225.2}
During the years since Joseph had been separated from his brothers, these sons of Jacob had changed in character. Envious, turbulent, deceptive, cruel, and revengeful they had been; but now, when tested by adversity, they were shown to be unselfish, true to one another, devoted to their father, and, themselves middle-aged men, subject to his authority. {PP 225.3}
The three days in the Egyptian prison were days of bitter sorrow as the brothers reflected upon their past sins. Unless Benjamin could be produced their conviction as spies appeared certain, and they had little hope of gaining their father’s consent t o Benjamin’s absence. On the third day Joseph caused the brothers to be brought before him. He dared not detain them longer.
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Already his father and the families with him might be suffering for food. “This do, and live,” he said; “for I fear God; if ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” This proposition they agreed to accept, though expressing little hope that their father would let Benjamin return with them. Joseph had communicated with them through an interpreter, and having no thought that the governor understood them, they conversed freely with one another in his presence. They accused themselves in regard to their treatment of Joseph: “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” Reuben, who had formed the plan for delivering him at Dothan, added, “Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.” Joseph, listening, could not control his emotions, and he went out and wept. On his return he commanded that Simeon be bound before them and again committed to prison. In the cruel treatment of their brother, Simeon had been the instigator and chief actor, and it was for this reason that the choice fell upon him. {PP 225.4}
Before permitting his brothers to depart, Joseph gave directions that they should be supplied with grain, and also that each man’s money should be secretly placed in the mouth of his sack. Provender for the beasts on the homeward journey was also supplied. On the way one of the company, opening his sack, was surprised to find his bag of silver. On his making known the fact to the others, they were alarmed and perplexed, and said one to another, “What is this that God hath done unto us?”–should they regard it as a token of good from the Lord, or had He suffered it to occur to punish them for their sins and plunge them still deeper in affliction? They acknowledged that God had seen their sins, and that He was now punishing them. {PP 226.1}
Jacob was anxiously awaiting the return of his sons, and on their arrival the whole encampment gathered eagerly around them as they related to their father all that had occurred. Alarm and apprehension filled every heart. The conduct of the Egyptian governor seemed to imply some evil design, and their fears were confirmed, when, as they opened their sacks, the owner’s money
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was found in each. In his distress the aged father exclaimed, “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” Reuben answered, “Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.” This rash speech did not relieve the mind of Jacob. His answer was, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” {PP 226.2}
But the drought continued, and in process of time the supply of grain that had been brought from Egypt was nearly exhausted. The sons of Jacob well knew that it would be in vain to return to Egypt without Benjamin. They had little hope of changing their father’s resolution, and they awaited the issue in silence. Deeper and deeper grew the shadow of approaching famine; in the anxious faces of all in the encampment the old man read their need; at last he said, “Go again, buy us a little food.” {PP 227.1}
Judah answered, “The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: but if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.” Seeing that his father’s resolution began to waver, he added, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones;” and he offered to be surety for his brother and to bear the blame forever if he failed to restore Benjamin to his father. {PP 227.2}
Jacob could no longer withhold his consent, and he directed his sons to prepare for the journey. He bade them also take to the ruler a present of such things as the famine-wasted country afforded–“a little balm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds,” also a double quantity of money. “Take also your brother,” he said, “and arise, go again unto the man.” As his sons were about to depart on their doubtful journey the aged father arose, and raising his hands to heaven, uttered the prayer , “God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” {PP 227.3}
Again they journeyed to Egypt and presented themselves
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before Joseph. As his eye fell upon Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he was deeply moved. He concealed his emotion, however, but ordered that they be taken to his house, and that preparation be made for them to dine with him. Upon being conducted to the governor’s palace, the brothers were greatly alarmed, fearing that they were to be called to account for the money found in their sacks. They thought that it might have been intentionally placed there, to furnish occasion for making them slaves. In their distress they consulted with the steward of the house, relating to him the circumstances of their visit to Egypt; and in proof of their innocence informed him that they had brought back the money found in their sacks, also other money to buy food; and they added, “We cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.” The man replied, “Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money.” Their anxiety was relieved, and when Simeon, who had been released from prison, joined them, they felt that God was indeed gracious unto them. {PP 227.4}
When the governor again met them they presented their gifts and humbly “bowed themselves to him to the earth.” Again his dreams came to his mind, and after saluting his guests he hastened to ask, “Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?” “Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive,” was the answer, as they again made obeisance. Then his eye rested upon Benjamin, and he said, “Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me?” “God be gracious unto thee, my son;” but, overpowered by feelings of tenderness, he could say no more. “He entered into his chamber, and wept there.” {PP 228.1}
Having recovered his self-possession, he returned, and all proceeded to the feast. By the laws of caste the Egyptians were forbidden to eat with people of any other nation. The sons of Jacob had therefore a table by themselves, while the governor, on account of his high rank, ate by himself, and the Egyptians also had separate tables. When all were seated the brothers were surprised to see that they were arranged in exact order, according to their ages. Joseph “sent messes unto them from before him;” but Benjamin’s was five times as much as any of theirs. By this token of favor to Benjamin he hoped to ascertain if the youngest brother was regarded with the envy and hatred that had been manifested toward himself. Still supposing that Joseph did not
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understand their language, the brothers freely conversed with one another; thus he had a good opportunity to learn their real feelings. Still he desired to test them further, and before their departure he ordered that his own drinking cup of silver should be concealed in the sack of the youngest. {PP 228.2}
Joyfully they set out on their return. Simeon and Benjamin were with them, their animals were laden with grain, and all felt that they had safely escaped the perils that had seemed to surround them. But they had only reached the outskirts of the city when they were overtaken by the governor’s steward, who uttered the scathing inquiry, “Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.” This cup was supposed to possess the power of detecting any poisonous substance placed therein. At that day cups of this kind were highly valued as a safeguard against murder by poisoning. {PP  229.1}
To the steward’s accusation the travelers answered, “Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: behold, the money, which we found in our sack’s mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.” {PP 229.2}
“Now also let it be according unto your words,” said the steward; “he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.” {PP 229.3}
The search began immediately. “They speedily took down every man his sack to the ground,” and the steward examined each, beginning with Reuben’s, and taking them in order down to that of the youngest. In Benjamin’s sack the cup was found. {PP 229.4}
The brothers rent their garments in token of utter wretchedness, and slowly returned to the city. By their own promise Benjamin was doomed to a life of slavery. They followed the steward to the palace, and finding the governor yet there, they prostrated themselves before him. “What deed is this that ye have done?” he said. “Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” Joseph designed to draw from them an acknowledgment of their sin. He had never claimed the power of divination, but was willing to have them believe that he could read the secrets of their lives. {PP 229.5}
Judah answered, “What shall we say unto my Lord? what
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shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.” {PP 229.6}
“God forbid that I should do so,” was the reply; “but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.” {PP 230.1}
In his deep distress Judah now drew near to the ruler and exclaimed, “O my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.” In words of touching eloquence he described his father’s grief at the loss of Joseph and his reluctance to let Benjamin come with them to Egypt, as he was the only son left of his mother, Rachel, whom Jacob so dearly loved. “Now therefore,” he said, “when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father forever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.” {PP 230.2}

Joseph was satisfied. He had seen in his brothers the fruits of true repentance. Upon hearing Judah’s noble offer he gave orders that all but these men should withdraw; then, weeping aloud, he cried, “I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?” {PP 230.3}

His brothers stood motionless, dumb with fear and amazement. The ruler of Egypt their brother Joseph, whom they had envied and would have murdered, and finally sold as a slave! All their ill treatment of him passed before them. They remembered how they had despised his dreams and had labored to prevent their fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these dreams; and now that they were completely in his power he would, no doubt, avenge the wrong that he had suffered. {PP 230.4}
Seeing their confusion, he said kindly, “Come near to me, I pray you;” and as they came near, he continued, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not
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grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” Feeling that they had already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he nobly sought to banish their fears and lessen the bitterness of their self-reproach. {PP 230.5}
“For these two years,” he continued, “hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives b y a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my
brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.” “And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.” They humbly confessed their sin and entreated his forgiveness. They had long suffered anxiety and remorse, and now they rejoiced that he was still alive. {PP 231.1}
The news of what had taken place was quickly carried to the king, who, eager to manifest his gratitude to Joseph, confirmed the governor’s invitation to his family, saying, “The good of all the land of Egypt is yours.” The brothers were sent away abundantly supplied with provision and carriages and everything necessary for the removal of all their families and attendants to Egypt. On Benjamin, Joseph bestowed more valuable gifts than upon the others. Then, fearing that disputes would arise among them on the homeward journey, he gave them, as they were about to leave him, the charge, “See that ye fall not out by the way.” {PP 231.2}
The sons of Jacob returned to their father with the joyful tidings, “Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” At first the aged man was overwhelmed; he could
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not believe what he heard; but when he saw the long train of wagons and loaded animals, and when Benjamin was with him once more, he was convinced, and in the fullness of his joy exclaimed, “It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.” {PP 231.3}
Another act of humiliation remained for the ten brothers. They now confessed to their father the deceit and cruelty that for so many years had embittered his life and theirs. Jacob had not suspected them of so base a sin, but he saw that all had been overruled for good, and he forgave and blessed his erring children. {PP 232.1}
The father and his sons, with their families, their flocks and herds, and numerous attendants, were soon on the way to Egypt. With gladness of heart they pursued their journey, and when they came to Beersheba the patriarch offered grateful sacrifices and entreated the Lord to grant them an assurance that He would go with them. In a vision of the night the divine word came to him: “Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again.” {PP 232.2}
The assurance, “Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation,” was significant. The promise had been given to Abraham of a posterity numberless as the stars, but as yet the chosen people had increased but slowly. And the land of Canaan now offered no field for the development of such a nation as had been foretold. It was in the possession of powerful heathen tribes, that were not to be dispossessed until “the fourth generation.” If the descendants of Israel were here to become a numerous people, they must either drive out the inhabitants of the land or disperse themselves among them. The former, according to the divine arrangement, they could not do; and should they mingle with the Canaanites, they would be in danger of being seduced into idolatry. Egypt, however, offered the conditions necessary to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. A section of country well-watered and fertile was open to them there, affording every advantage for their speedy increase. And the antipa thy they must encounter in Egypt on account of their occupation–for every shepherd was “an abomination unto the Egyptians”–would enable them to remain a distinct and separate people and would thus serve to shut them out from participation in the idolatry of Egypt. {PP 232.3}

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Upon reaching Egypt the company proceeded directly to the land of Goshen. Thither came Joseph in his chariot of state, attended by a princely retinue. The splendor of his surroundings and the dignity of his position were alike forgotten; one thought a lone filled his mind, one longing thrilled his heart. As he beheld the travelers approaching, the love whose yearnings had for so many long years been repressed, would no longer be controlled. He sprang from his chariot and hastened forward to bid his fath er welcome. “And he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” {PP 233.1}
Joseph took five of his brothers to present to Pharaoh and receive from him the grant of land for their future home. Gratitude to his prime minister would have led the monarch to honor them with appointments to offices of state; but Joseph, true to the worship of Jehovah, sought to save his brothers from the temptations to which they would be exposed at a heathen court; therefore he counseled them, when questioned by the king, to tell him frankly their occupation. The sons of Jacob followed this counse l, being careful also to state that they had come to sojourn in the land, not to become permanent dwellers there, thus reserving the right to depart if they chose. The king assigned them a home, as offered, in “the best of the land,” the country of Goshen. {PP 233.2}
Not long after their arrival Joseph brought his father also to be presented to the king. The patriarch was a stranger in royal courts; but amid the sublime scenes of nature he had communed with a mightier Monarch; and now, in conscious superiority, he raised his hands and blessed Pharaoh. {PP 233.3}
In his first greeting to Joseph, Jacob had spoken as if, with this joyful ending to his long anxiety and sorrow, he was ready to die. But seventeen years were yet to be granted him in the peaceful retirement of Goshen. These years were in happy contrast to those that had preceded them. He saw in his sons evidence of true repentance; he saw his family surrounded by all the conditions needful for the development of a great nation; and his faith grasped the sure promise of their future establishment in Ca naan. He himself was surrounded with every token of love and favor that the prime minister of Egypt could bestow; and happy in the society of his long-lost son, he passed down gently and peacefully to the grave. {PP 233.4}

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As he felt death approaching, he sent for Joseph. Still holding fast the promise of God respecting the possession of Canaan, he said, “Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury m e in their burying place.” Joseph promised to do so, but Jacob was not satisfied; he exacted a solemn oath to lay him beside his fathers in the cave of Machpelah. {PP 234.1}
Another important matter demanded attention; the sons of Joseph were to be formally instated among the children of Israel. Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with him Ephraim and Manasseh. These youths were connected, through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian priesthood; and the position of their father opened to them the avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph’s desire, however, that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his faith in the covenant promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God. {PP 234.2}
Said Jacob, “Thy two sons, Ephraim, and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” They were to be adopted as his own, and to become the heads of separate tribes. Thus one of the birthright privileges, which Reuben had forfeited, was to fall to Joseph–a double portion in Israel. {PP 234.3}
Jacob’s eyes were dim with age, and he had not been aware of the presence of the young men; but now, catching the outline of their forms, he said, “Who are these?” On being told, he added, “Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.” As they came nearer, the patriarch embraced and kissed them, solemnly laying his hands upon their heads in benediction. Then he uttered the prayer, “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, t he Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” There was no spirit of self-dependence, no reliance upon human power or cunning now. God had been his preserver and support. There was no complaint of the evil days in the past. Its trials and sorrows were no longer regarded as things that were
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“against” him. Memory recalled only His mercy and loving-kindness who had been with him throughout his pilgrimage. {PP 234.4}
The blessing ended, Jacob gave his son the assurance–leaving for the generations to come, through long years of bondage and sorrow, this testimony to his faith–“Behold, I die; but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.” {PP 235.1}
At the last all the sons of Jacob were gathered about his dying bed. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, “Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father,” “that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” Often and anxiously he had thought of their future, and had endeavored to picture to himself the history of the different tribes. Now as his children waited to receive his last blessing the Spirit of Inspiration rested upon him, and before him in prophetic vision the future of his descendants was unfolded. One after another the names of his sons were mentioned, the character of each was described, and the future history of the tribes was briefly foretold.

“Reuben, thou art my first-born,
My might, and the beginning of my strength,
The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” {PP 235.2}
Thus the father pictured what should have been the position of Reuben as the first-born son; but his grievous sin at Edar had made him unworthy of the birthright blessing. Jacob continued–

“Unstable as water,
Thou shalt not excel.” {PP 235.3}
The priesthood was apportioned to Levi, the kingdom and the Messianic promise to Judah, and the double portion of the inheritance to Joseph. The tribe of Reuben never rose to any eminence in Israel; it was not so numerous as Judah, Joseph, or Dan, and was among the first that were carried into captivity. {PP 235.4}
Next in age to Reuben were Simeon and Levi. They had been united in their cruelty toward the Shechemites, and they had also been the most guilty in the selling of Joseph. Concerning them it was declared–

“I will divide them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.” {PP 235.5}
At the numbering of Israel, just before their entrance to
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Canaan, Simeon was the smallest tribe. Moses, in his last blessing, made no reference to Simeon. In the settlement of Canaan this tribe had only a small portion of Judah’s lot, and such families as afterward became powerful formed different colonies and settled in territory outside the borders of the Holy Land. Levi also received no inheritance except forty-eight cities scattered in different parts of the land. In the case of this tribe, however, their fidelity to Jehovah when the other tribes apostatized, secured their appointment to the sacred service of the sanctuary, and thus the curse was changed into a blessing. {PP 235.6}
The crowning blessings of the birthright were transferred to Judah. The significance of the name–which denotes praise,–is unfolded in the prophetic history of this tribe:

“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as an old lion: who shall rouse him up? 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.” {PP 236.1}
The lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe, from which came David, and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” to whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage. {PP 236.2}
For most of his children Jacob foretold a prosperous future. At last the name of Joseph was reached, and the father’s heart overflowed as he invoked blessings upon “the head of him that was separate from his brethren”:

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, Even a fruitful bough by a well; Whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, And shot at him, and hated him:
But his bow abode in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob;
(From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel;)

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Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee
With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lieth under, Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed Above the blessings of my progenitors
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” {PP 236.3}
Jacob had ever been a man of deep and ardent affection; his love for his sons was strong and tender, and his dying testimony to them was not the utterance of partiality or resentment. He had forgiven them all, and he loved them to the last. His paternal tenderness would have found expression only in words of encouragement and hope; but the power of God rested upon him, and under the influence of Inspiration he was constrained to declare the truth, however painful. {PP 237.1}
The last blessings pronounced, Jacob repeated the charge concerning his burial place: “I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers . . . in the cave
that is in the field of Machpelah.” “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; the re they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.” Thus the last act of his life was to manifest his faith in God’s promise. {PP 237.2}
Jacob’s last years brought an evening of tranquillity and repose after a troubled and weary day. Clouds had gathered dark above his path, yet his sun set clear, and the radiance of heaven illumined his parting hours. Says the Scripture, “At evening time it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37. {PP 237.3}
Jacob had sinned, and had deeply suffered. Many years of toil, care, and sorrow had been his since the day when his great sin caused him to flee from his father’s tents. A homeless fugitive, separated from his mother, whom he never saw again; laboring seven years for her whom he loved, only to be basely cheated; toiling twenty years in the service of a covetous and grasping kinsman; seeing his wealth increasing, and sons rising around him, but finding little joy in the contentious and divided household ; distressed by his daughter’s shame, by her brothers’ revenge,
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by the death of Rachel, by the unnatural crime of Reuben, by Judah’s sin, by the cruel deception and malice practiced toward Joseph–how long and dark is the catalogue of evils spread out to view! Again and again he had reaped the fruit of that first wrong deed. Over and over he saw repeated among his sons the sins of which he himself had been guilty. But bitter as had been the discipline, it had accomplished its work. The chastening, though grievous, had yielded “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11. {PP 237.4}

Inspiration faithfully records the faults of good men, those who were distinguished by the favor of God; indeed, their faults are more fully presented than their virtues. This has been a subject of wonder to many, and has given the infidel occasion to scoff at the Bible. But it is one of the strongest evidences of the truth of Scripture, that facts are not glossed over, nor the sins of its chief characters suppressed. The minds of men are so subject to prejudice that it is not possible for human histories to be absolutely impartial. Had the Bible been written by uninspired persons, it would no doubt have presented the character of its honored men in a more flattering light. But as it is, we have a correct record of their experiences. {PP 238.1}
Men whom God favored, and to whom He entrusted great responsibilities, were sometimes overcome by temptation and committed sin, even as we at the present day strive, waver, and frequently fall into error. Their lives, with all their faults and follies, are open before us, both for our encouragement and warning. If they had been represented as without fault, we, with our sinful nature, might despair at our own mistakes and failures. But seeing where others struggled through discouragements like our own, where they fell under temptations as we have done, and yet took heart again and conquered through the grace of God, we are encouraged in our striving after righteousness. As they, though sometimes beaten back, recovered their ground, and were blessed of God, so we too may be overcomers in the strength of Jesus. On the other hand, the record of their lives may serve as a warning to us. It shows that God will by no means clear the guilty. He sees sin in His most favored ones, and He deals with it in them even more strictly than in those who have less light and responsibility. {PP 238.2}
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After the burial of Jacob fear again filled the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Notwithstanding his kindness toward them, conscious guilt made them distrustful and suspicious. It might be that he had but delayed his revenge, out of regard to their father , and that he would now visit upon them the long-deferred punishment for their crime. They dared not appear before him in person, but sent a message: “Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father.” This message affected Joseph to tears, and, encouraged by this, his brothers came and fell down before him, with the words, “Behold, we be thy servants.” Joseph’s love for his brothers was deep and unselfish, and he was pained at the thought that they could regard him as cherishing a spirit of revenge toward them. “Fear not,” he said; “for am I in the place
of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones.” {PP 239.1}
The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave; they hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. And when he was carried to Egypt, they flattered themselves that they were to be no more troubled with his dreams, that they had removed all possibility of their fulfillment. But their own course was overruled by God to bring about the very event that they designed to hinder. So the Jewish priests and elders were jealou s of Christ, fearing that He would attract the attention of the people from them. They put Him to death, to prevent Him from becoming king, but they were thus bringing about this very result. {PP 239.2}
Joseph, through his bondage in Egypt, became a savior to his father’s family; yet this fact did not lessen the guilt of his brothers. So the crucifixion of Christ by His enemies made Him the Redeemer of mankind, the Saviour of the fallen race, and Ruler over the whole world; but the crime of His murderers was just as heinous as though God’s providential hand had not controlled events for His own glory and the good of man. {PP 239.3}
As Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers, so
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Christ was sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His disciples. Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his virtue; so Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous, self-denying life was a rebuke to sin; and though guilty of no wrong, He was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses. And Joseph’s patience and meekness under injustice and oppression, his ready forgiveness and noble benevolence toward his unnatural brothers, represent the Saviour’s uncomplaining endurance of the malice and abuse of wicked men, and His forgiveness, not only of His murderers, but of all who have come to Him confessing their sins and seeking pardon. {PP 239.4}
Joseph outlived his father fifty-four years. He lived to see “Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.” He witnessed the increase and prosperity of his people, and through all the years his faith in God’s restoration of Israel to the Land of Promise was unshaken. {PP 240.1}
When he saw that his end was near, he summoned his kinsmen about him. Honored as he had been in the land of the Pharaohs, Egypt was to him but the place of his exile; his last act was to signify that his lot was cast with Israel. His last words were, “God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” And he took a solemn oath of the children of Israel that they would carry up his bones with them to the land of Canaan. “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” And through the centuries of toil which followed, the coffin, a reminder of the dying words of Joseph, testified to Israel that they were only sojourners in Egypt, and bade them keep their hopes fixed upon the Land of Promise, for the time of deliverance would surely come. {PP 240.2}

Chap. 22 – Moses

The people of Egypt, in order to supply themselves with food during the famine, had sold to the crown their cattle and lands, and had finally bound themselves to perpetual serfdom. Joseph wisely provided for their release; he permitted them to become royal tenants, holding their lands of the king, and paying an annual tribute of one fifth of the products of their labor. {PP 241.1}
But the children of Jacob were not under the necessity of making such conditions. On account of the service that Joseph had rendered the Egyptian nation, they were not only granted a part of the country as a home, but were exempted from taxation, and liberally supplied with food during the continuance of the famine. The king publicly acknowledged that it was through the merciful interposition of the God of Joseph that Egypt enjoyed plenty while other nations were perishing from famine. He saw, too, tha t Joseph’s management had greatly enriched the kingdom, and his gratitude surrounded the family of Jacob with royal favor. {PP 241.2}
But as time rolled on, the great man to whom Egypt owed so much, and the generation blessed by his labors, passed to the grave. And “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Not that he was ignorant of Joseph’s services to the nation, but he wished to make no recognition of them, and, so far as possible, to bury them in oblivion. “And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” {PP 241.3}
The Israelites had already become very numerous; they “were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed
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exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” Under Joseph’s fostering care, and the favor of the king who was then ruling, they had spread rapidly over the land. But they had kept themselves a distinct race, having nothing in common with the Egyptians in customs or religion; and their increasing numbers now excited the fears of the king and his people, lest in case of war they should join themselves with the enemies of Egypt. Yet policy forbade their banishment from the country. Many of them were able and understanding workmen, and they added greatly to the wealth of the nation; the king needed such laborers for the erection of his magnificent palaces and temples. Accordingly he ranked them with the Egyptians who had sold themselves with their possessions to the kingdom. Soon taskmasters were set over them, and their slavery became complete. “And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor.” “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” {PP 241.4}
The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites with hard labor, and thus decrease their numbers and crush out their independent spirit. Failing to accomplish their purpose, they proceeded to more cruel measures. Orders were issued to the women whose employment gave them opportunity for executing the command, to destroy the Hebrew male children at their birth. Satan was the mover in this matter. He knew that a deliverer was to be raised up among the Israelites; and by leading the king to destroy their children he hoped to defeat the divine purpose. But the women feared God, and dared not execute the cruel mandate. The Lord approved their course, and prospered them. The king, angry at the failure of his design, made the command more urgent and extensive. The whole nation was called upon to hunt out and slaughter his helpless victims. “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” {PP 242.1}
While this decree was in full force a son was born to Amram and Jochebed, devout Israelites of the tribe of Levi. The babe was “a goodly child;” and the parents, believing that the time of Israel’s release was drawing near, and that God would raise up a deliverer for His people, determined that their little one should
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not be sacrificed. Faith in God strengthened their hearts, “and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” Hebrews 11:23. {PP 242.2}
The mother succeeded in concealing the child for three months. Then, finding that she could no longer keep him safely, she prepared a little ark of rushes, making it watertight by means of slime and pitch; and laying the babe therein, she placed it among the flags at the river’s brink. She dared not remain to guard it, lest the child’s life and her own should be forfeited; but his sister, Miriam, lingered near, apparently indifferent, but anxiously watching to see what would become of her little brother. And there were other watchers. The mother’s earnest prayers had committed her child to the care of God; and angels, unseen, hovered above his lowly resting place. Angels directed Pharaoh’s daughter thither. Her curiosity was excited by the little basket , and as she looked upon the beautiful child within, she read the story at a glance. The tears of the babe awakened her compassion, and her sympathies went out to the unknown mother who had resorted to this means to preserve the life of her precious little one. She determined that he should be saved; she would adopt him as her own. {PP 243.1}
Miriam had been secretly noting every movement; perceiving that the child was tenderly regarded, she ventured nearer, and at last said, “Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?” And permission was given. {PP 243.2}
The sister hastened to her mother with the happy news, and without delay returned with her to the presence of Pharaoh’s daughter. “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages,” said the princess. {PP 243.3}
God had heard the mother’s prayers; her faith had been rewarded. It was with deep gratitude that she entered upon her now safe and happy task. She faithfully improved her opportunity to educate her child for God. She felt confident that he had been preserved for some great work, and she knew that he must soon be given up to his royal mother, to be surrounded with influences that would tend to lead him away from God. All this rendered her more diligent and careful in his instruction than in that of her other children. She endeavored to imbue his mind with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed
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that he might be preserved from every corrupting influence. She showed him the folly and sin of idolatry, and early taught him to bow down and pray to the living God, who alone could hear him and help him in every emergency. {PP 243.4}
She kept the boy as long as she could, but was obliged to give him up when he was about twelve years old. From his humble cabin home he was taken to the royal palace, to the daughter of Pharaoh, “and he became her son.” Yet even here he did not lose the impressions received in childhood. The lessons learned at his mother’s side could not be forgotten. They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid the splendor of the court. {PP 244.1}
How far-reaching in its results was the influence of that one Hebrew woman, and she an exile and a slave! The whole future life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother. There is no other work that can equal this. To a very great extent the mother holds in her own hands the destiny of her children. She is dealing with developing minds and characters, working not alone for time, but for eternity. She is sowing seed that will spring up and bear fruit, either for good or for evil. She has not to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the divine. Especially during their early years the responsibility rests upon her of forming the character of her children. The impressions now made upon their developing minds will remain with them all through life. Parents should direct the instruction and training of their children while very young, to the end that they may be Christians. They are placed in our care to be trained, not as heirs to the throne of an earthly empire, but as kings unto God, to reign through unending ages. {PP 244.2}
Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. Then it will be found that many of the failures and crimes of men and women have resulted from the ignorance and neglect of those whose duty i t was to guide their childish feet in the right way. Then it will be found that many who have blessed the world with the light of genius and truth and holiness, owe the principles that were the mainspring of their influence and success to a praying, Christian mother. {PP 244.3}

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At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and military training. The monarch had determined to make his adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was educated for his high station. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Acts 7:22. His ability as a military leader made him a favorite with the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a remarkable character. Satan had been defeated in his purpose. The very decree condemning the Hebrew children to death had been overruled by God for the training and education of the future leader of His people. {PP 245.1}
The elders of Israel were taught by angels that the time for their deliverance was near, and that Moses was the man whom God would employ to accomplish this work. Angels instructed Moses also that Jehovah had chosen him to break the bondage of His people. He, supposing that they were to obtain their freedom by force of arms, expected to lead the Hebrew host against the armies of Egypt, and having this in view, he guarded his affections, lest in his attachment to his foster mother or to Pharaoh he would not be free to do the will of God. {PP 245.2}
By the laws of Egypt all who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. This duty was committed to the priests. But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God, the Maker of heaven and earth. He reasoned with priests and worshipers, showing the folly of their superstitious veneration of senseless objects. None could refute his arguments or change his purpose, yet for the time his firmness was tolerated on account of his high position and the favor with which he was regarded by both the king and the people. {PP 245.3}
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches
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than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26. Moses was fitted to take pre-eminence among the great of the earth, to shine in the courts of its most glorious kingdom, and to sway the scepter of its power. His intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages. As historian, poet, philosopher, general of armies, and legislator, he stands without a peer. Yet with the world before him, he had the moral strength to refuse the flattering prospects of wealth and greatness and fame, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” {PP 245.4}
Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to be given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The magnificent palace of Pharaoh and the monarch’s throne were held out as an inducement to Moses; but he knew that the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. He looked beyond the gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch’s crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints of the Most High in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by faith an imperishable crown that the King of heaven would place on the brow of the overcomer. This faith led him to turn away from the lordly ones of earth and join the humble, poor, despised nation that had chosen to obey God rather than to serve sin. {PP 246.1}
Moses remained at court until he was forty years of age. His thoughts often turned upon the abject condition of his people, and he visited his brethren in their servitude, and encouraged them with the assurance that God would work for their deliverance. Often, stung to resentment by the sight of injustice and oppression, he burned to avenge their wrongs. One day, while thus abroad, seeing an Egyptian smiting an Israelite, he sprang forward and slew the Egyptian. Except the Israelite, there had been no witness to the deed, and Moses immediately buried the body in the sand. He had now shown himself ready to maintain the cause of his people, and he hoped to see them rise to recover their liberty. “He supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understood not.” Acts 7:25.

They were not yet prepared for freedom. On the following day Moses saw two Hebrews striving together,
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one of them evidently at fault. Moses reproved the offender, who at once retaliated upon the reprover, denying his right to interfere, and basely accusing him of crime: “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” he said. “Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?” {PP 246.2}
The whole matter was quickly made known to the Egyptians, and, greatly exaggerated, soon reached the ears of Pharaoh. It was represented to the king that this act meant much; that Moses designed to lead his people against the Egyptians, to overthrow the government, and to seat himself upon the throne; and that there could be no security for the kingdom while he lived. It was at once determined by the monarch that he should die; but, becoming aware of his danger, he made his escape and fled toward Arabia. {PP 247.1}
The Lord directed his course, and he found a home with Jethro, the priest and prince of Midian, who was also a worshiper of God. After a time Moses married one of the daughters of Jethro; and here, in the service of his father-in-law, as keeper of his flocks, he remained forty years. {PP 247.2}
In slaying the Egyptian, Moses had fallen into the same error so often committed by his fathers, of taking into their own hands the work that God had promised to do. It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by His own mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to Him alone. Yet even this rash act was overruled by God to accomplish His purposes. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had been taught–not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but upon the power of God for the fulfillment of His promises. And there were other lessons that, amid the solitude of the mountains, Moses was to receive. In the school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience, to temper his passions. Before he could govern wisely, he must be trained to obey. His own heart must be fully in harmony with God before he could teach the knowledge of His will to Israel. By his own experience he must be prepared to exercise a fatherly care over all who needed his help. {PP 247.3}
Man would have dispensed with that long period of toil and obscurity, deeming it a great loss of time. But Infinite Wisdom called him who was to become the leader of his people to spend
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forty years in the humble work of a shepherd. The habits of caretaking, of
self-forgetfulness and tender solicitude for his flock, thus developed, would prepare him to become the compassionate, longsuffering shepherd of Israel. No advantage that human training or culture could bestow, could be a substitute for this experience. {PP 247.4}
Moses had been learning much that he must unlearn. The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt–the love of his foster mother, his own high position as the king’s grandson, the dissipation on every hand, the refinement, the subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture–all had left deep impressions upon his developing mind and had molded, to some extent, his habits and character. Time, change of surroundings, and communion with God could remove these impressions. It would require on the part of Moses himself a struggle as for life to renounce error and accept truth, but God would be his helper when the conflict should be too severe for human strength. {PP 248.1}
In all who have been chosen to accomplish a work for God the human element is seen. Yet they have not been men of stereotyped habits and character, who were satisfied to remain in that condition. They earnestly desired to obtain wisdom from God and to learn to work for Him. Says the apostle, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. But God will not impart to men divine light while they are content to remain in darkness. In order to receive God’s help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to earnest and persevering prayer and effort. Wrong habits and customs must be shaken off; and it is only by determined endeavor to correct these errors and to conform to right principles that the victory can be gained. Many never attain to the position that they might occupy, because they wait for God to do for them that which He has given them power to do for themselves. All who are fitted for usefulness must be trained by the severest mental and moral discipline, and God will assist them by uniting divine power with human effort. {PP 248.2}
Shut in by the bulwarks of the mountains, Moses was alone
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with God. The magnificent temples of Egypt no longer impressed his mind with their superstition and falsehood. In the solemn grandeur of the everlasting hills he beheld the majesty of the Most High, and in contrast realized how powerless and insignificant were the gods of Egypt. Everywhere the Creator’s name was written. Moses seemed to stand in His presence and to be over-shadowed by His power. Here his pride and
self-sufficiency were swept away. In the stern simplicity of his wilderness life, the results of the ease and luxury of Egypt disappeared. Moses became patient, reverent, and humble, “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3), yet strong in faith in the mighty God of Jacob. {PP 248.3}
As the years rolled on, and he wandered with his flocks in solitary places, pondering upon the oppressed condition of his people, he recounted the dealings of God with his fathers and the promises that were the heritage of the chosen nation, and his prayers for Israel ascended by day and by night. Heavenly angels shed their light around him. Here, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the book of Genesis. The long years spent amid the desert solitudes were rich in blessing, not alone to Moses and his people, but to the world in all succeeding ages. {PP 251.1}
“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” The time for Israel’s deliverance had come. But God’s purpose was to be accomplished in a manner to pour contempt on human pride. The deliverer was to go forth as a humble shepherd, with only a rod in his hand; but God would make that rod the symbol of His power. Leading his flocks one day near Horeb, “the mountain of God,” Moses saw a bush in flames, branches, foliage, and trunk, all burning, yet seeming not to be consumed. He drew near to view the wonderful sight, when a voice from out of the flame called him by name. With trembling lips he answered, “Here am I.” He was warned not to approach irreverently: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. . . . I am the God
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of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” It was He who, as the Angel of the covenant, had revealed Himself to the fathers in ages past. “And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” {PP 251.2}
Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him, and, like Jacob beholding the vision of God, they will cry out, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” {PP 252.1}
As Moses waited in reverent awe before God the words continued: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. . . . Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children o f Israel out of Egypt.” {PP 252.2}
Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” The reply was, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” {PP 252.3}
Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. “Behold,” he said, “when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto
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them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?” The answer was– {PP 252.4}
“I AM THAT I AM.” “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” {PP 253.1}
Moses was commanded first to assemble the elders of Israel, the most noble and righteous among them, who had long grieved because of their bondage, and to declare to them a message from God, with a promise of deliverance. Then he was to go with the elders before the king, and say to him– {PP 253.2}
“The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.” {PP 253.3}
Moses was forewarned that Pharaoh would resist the appeal to let Israel go. Yet the courage of God’s servant must not fail; for the Lord would make this the occasion to manifest His power before the Egyptians and before His people. “And I will stretch out My hand, and smite Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.” {PP 253.4}
Direction was also given concerning the provision they were to make for the journey. The Lord declared, “It shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: but every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.” The Egyptians had been enriched by the labor unjustly exacted from the Israelites, and as the latter were to start on the journey to their new home, it was right for them to claim the reward of their years of toil. They were to ask for articles of value, such as could be easily transported, and God would give them favor in the sight of the Egyptians. The mighty miracles wrought for their deliverance would strike terror to the oppressors, so that the requests of the bondmen would be granted. {PP 253.5}
Moses saw before him difficulties that seemed insurmountable. What proof could he give his people that God had indeed sent him? “Behold,” he said, “they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.” Evidence that appealed to his own senses was now given. He was told to cast his rod upon the ground. As he did so, “it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.” He was commanded to seize it, and in his hand it became a rod.
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He was bidden to put his hand into his bosom. He obeyed, and “when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.” Being told to put it again into his bosom, he found on withdrawing it that it had become like the other. By these signs the Lord assured Moses that His own people, as well as Pharaoh, should be convinced that One mightier than the king of Egypt was manifest among them. {PP 253.6}
But the servant of God was still overwhelmed by the thought of the strange and wonderful work before him. In his distress and fear he now pleaded as an excuse a lack of ready speech: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou ha st spoken unto Thy servant; but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” He had been so long away from the Egyptians that he had not so clear knowledge and ready use of their language as when he was among them. {PP 254.1}
The Lord said unto him, “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?” To this was added another assurance of divine aid: “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” But Moses still entreated that a more competent person be selected. These excuses at first proceeded from humility and diffidence; but after the Lord had promised to remove all difficulties, and to give him final success, then any further shrinking back and complaining of his unfitness showed distrust of God. It implied a fear that God was unable to qualify him for the great work to which He had called him, or that He had made a mistake in the selection of the man. {PP 254.2}
Moses was now directed to Aaron, his elder brother, who, having been in daily use of the language of the Egyptians, was able to speak it perfectly. He was told that Aaron was coming to meet him. The next words from the Lord were an unqualified command : {PP 254.3}
“Thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” He could make no further resistance, for all ground for excuse was removed. {PP 254.4}

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The divine command given to Moses found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his incapacity to be a mouthpiece for God to Israel. But having once accepted the work, he entered upon it with his whole heart , putting all his trust in the Lord. The greatness of his mission called into exercise the best powers of his mind. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, and well fitted for the greatest work ever given to man. T his is an example of what God does to strengthen the character of those who trust Him fully and give themselves unreservedly to His commands. {PP 255.1}
A man will gain power and efficiency as he accepts the responsibilities that God places upon him, and with his whole soul seeks to qualify himself to bear them aright. However humble his position or limited his ability, that man will attain true greatness who, trusting to divine strength, seeks to perform his work with fidelity. Had Moses relied upon his own strength and wisdom, and eagerly accepted the great charge, he would have evinced his entire unfitness for such a work. The fact that a man feels his weakness is at least some evidence that he realizes the magnitude of the work appointed him, and that he will make God his counselor and his strength. {PP 255.2}
Moses returned to his father-in-law and expressed his desire to visit his brethren in Egypt. Jethro’s consent was given, with his blessing, “Go in peace.” With his wife and children, Moses set forth on the journey. He had not dared to make known the object of his mission, lest they should not be allowed to accompany him. Before reaching Egypt, however, he himself thought it best for their own safety to send them back to the home in Midian. {PP 255.3}
A secret dread of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, whose anger had been kindled against him forty years before, had rendered Moses still more reluctant to return to Egypt; but after he had set out to obey the divine command, the Lord revealed to him that his enemies were dead. {PP 255.4}
On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terrible warning of the Lord’s displeasure. An angel appeared to him in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him. No explanation was given; but Moses remembered that he had disregarded one of God’s requirements; yielding to the
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persuasion of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision upon their youngest son. He had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. Zipporah, fearing that her husband would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then permitted Moses to pursue his journey. In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God. {PP 255.5}
In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly angels; but there will be no security for the transgressor of God’s law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one of the divine precepts. {PP 256.1}

Chap. 24 – The Passover

When the demand for Israel’s release had been first presented to the king of Egypt, the warning of the most terrible of the plagues had been given. Moses was directed to say to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My first-born: and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born.” Exodus 4:22, 23. Though despised by the Egyptians, the Israelites had been honored by God, in that they were singled o ut to be the depositaries of His law. In the special blessings and privileges accorded them, they had pre-eminence among the nations, as the first-born son had among brothers. {PP 273.1}
The judgment of which Egypt had first been warned, was to be the last visited. God is long-suffering and plenteous in mercy. He has a tender care for the beings formed in His image. If the loss of their harvests and their flocks and herds had brought Egypt to repentance, the children would not have been smitten; but the nation had stubbornly resisted the divine command, and now the final blow was about to fall. {PP 273.2}
Moses had been forbidden, on pain of death, to appear again in Pharaoh’s presence; but a last message from God was to be delivered to the rebellious monarch, and again Moses came before him, with the terrible announcement: “Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how
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that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out.” {PP 273.3}
Before the execution of this sentence the Lord through Moses gave direction to the children of Israel concerning their departure from Egypt, and especially for their preservation from the coming judgment. Each family, alone or in connection with others, was to slay a lamb or a kid “without blemish,” and with a bunch of hyssop sprinkle its blood on “the two side posts and on the upper doorpost” of the house, that the destroying angel, coming at midnight, might not enter that dwelling. They were to eat the flesh roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, at night, as Moses said, “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.” {PP 274.1}
The Lord declared: “I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. . . . And the blood shall be to you for a toke n upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” {PP 274.2}
In commemoration of this great deliverance a feast was to be observed yearly by the people of Israel in all future generations. “This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations: ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.” As they should keep the feast in future years, they were to repeat to their children the story of this great deliverance, as Moses bade them: “Ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.” {PP 274.3}
Furthermore, the first-born of both man and beast were to be the Lord’s, to be bought back only by a ransom, in acknowledgment that when the first-born in Egypt perished, that of Israel, though graciously preserved, had been justly exposed to the same doom but for the atoning sacrifice. “All the first-born are Mine,” the Lord declared; “for on the day that I smote all the first-born
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in the land of Egypt, I hallowed unto Me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast: Mine they shall be,” Numbers 3:13. After the institution of the tabernacle service the Lord chose unto Himself the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary, instead of the first-born of the people. “They are wholly given unto Me from among the children of Israel,” He said. “Instead of the first-born of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto Me.” Numbers 8:16. All the people were, however, still required, in acknowledgment of God’s mercy, to pay a redemption price for the first-born son. Numbers 18:15, 16. {PP 274.4}
The Passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin. The sacrificial lamb represents “the Lamb of God,” in whom is our only hope of salvation. Says the apostle, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. It was not enough that the paschal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the doorposts; so the merit s of Christ’s blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe, not only that He died for the world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice. {PP 277.1}
The hyssop used in sprinkling the blood was the symbol of purification, being thus employed in the cleansing of the leper and of those defiled by contact with the dead. In the psalmist’s prayer also its significance is seen: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7. {PP 277.2}
The lamb was to be prepared whole, not a bone of it being broken: so not a bone was to be broken of the Lamb of God, who was to die for us. John 19:36. Thus was also represented the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice. {PP 277.3}
The flesh was to be eaten. It is not enough even that we believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through His word. Said Christ, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.” John 6:53, 54. And to explain His meaning He said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Verse 63. Jesus
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accepted His Father’s law, wrought out its principles in His life, manifested its spirit, and showed its beneficent power in the heart. Says John, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ they must be changed into His likeness, and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them. The spirit and work of Christ must become the spirit and work of His disciples. {PP 277.4}
The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins. The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was expressly enjoined in the law of the Passover, and as strictly observed by the Jews in their practice, that no leaven should be found in their houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin must be put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from Christ. So Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump. . . . For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the l eaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8. {PP 278.1}
Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their faith in the great
deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost with blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer. {PP 278.2}

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By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the helps that God has provided–believe and obey all the divine requirements. {PP 279.1}
As Moses rehearsed to Israel the provisions of God for their deliverance, “the people bowed the head and worshiped.” The glad hope of freedom, the awful knowledge of the impending judgment upon their oppressors, the cares and labors incident to their speedy departure–all were for the time swallowed up in gratitude to their gracious Deliverer. Many of the Egyptians had been led to acknowledge the God of the Hebrews as the only true God, and these now begged to be permitted to find shelter in the homes of Israel when the destroying angel should pass through the land. They were gladly welcomed, and they pledged themselves henceforth to serve the God of Jacob and to go forth from Egypt with His people. {PP 279.2}
The Israelites obeyed the directions that God had given. Swiftly and secretly they made their preparations for departure. Their families were gathered, the paschal lamb slain, the flesh roasted with fire, the unleavened bread and bitter herbs prepared . The father and priest of the household sprinkled the blood upon the doorpost, and joined his family within the dwelling. In haste and silence the paschal lamb was eaten. In awe the people prayed and watched, the heart of the eldest born, from the strong man down to the little child, throbbing with indefinable dread. Fathers and mothers clasped in their arms their loved first-born as they thought of the fearful stroke that was to fall that night. But no dwelling of Israel was visited by the death-dealing angel. The sign of blood–the sign of a Saviour’s protection–was on their doors, and the destroyer entered not. {PP 279.3}
At midnight “there was a great cry in Egypt: for there was
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not a house where there was not one dead.” All the first-born in the land, “from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle” had been smitten by the destroyer. Throughout the vast realm of Egypt the pride of every household had been laid low. The shrieks and wails of the mourners filled the air. King and courtiers, with blanched faces and trembling limbs, stood aghast at the overmastering horror. Pharaoh remembered how he had once exclaimed, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go.” Now, his heaven-daring pride humbled in the dust, he “called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said. . . . And be gone; and bless me also.” The royal counselors also and the people entreated the Israelites to depart “out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” {PP 279.4}

Chap. 25 – The Exodus

With their loins girt, with sandaled feet, and staff in hand, the people of Israel had stood, hushed, awed, yet expectant, awaiting the royal mandate that should bid them go forth. Before the morning broke, they were on their way. During the plagues, as the manifestation of God’s power had kindled faith in the hearts of the bondmen and had struck terror to their oppressors, the Israelites had gradually assembled themselves in Goshen; and notwithstanding the suddenness of their flight, some provision ha d already been made for the necessary organization and control of the moving multitudes, they being divided into companies, under appointed leaders. {PP 281.1}
And they went out, “about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them.” In this multitude were not only those who were actuated by faith in the God of Israel, but also a far greater number who desired only to escape from the plagues, or who followed in the wake of the moving multitudes merely from excitement and curiosity. This class were ever a hindrance and a snare to Israel. {PP 281.2}
The people took also with them “flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” These were the property of the Israelites, who had never sold their possessions to the king, as had the Egyptians. Jacob and his sons had brought their flocks and herds with them to Egypt, where they had greatly increased. Before leaving Egypt, the people, by the direction of Moses, claimed a recompense for their unpaid labor; and the Egyptians were too eager to be freed from their presence to refuse them. The bondmen went forth laden with the spoil of their oppressors. {PP 281.3}
That day completed the history revealed to Abraham in prophetic vision centuries before: “Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall
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serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” Genesis
15:13, 14. [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 3.] The four hundred years had been fulfilled. “And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the

land of Egypt by their armies.” In their departure from Egypt the Israelites bore with them a precious legacy, in the bones of Joseph, which had so long awaited the fulfillment of God’s promise, and which, during the dark years of bondage, had been a reminder of Israel’s deliverance. {PP 281.4}
Instead of pursuing the direct route to Canaan, which lay through the country of the Philistines, the Lord directed their course southward, toward the shores of the Red Sea. “For God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and the y return to Egypt.” Had they attempted to pass through Philistia, their progress would have been opposed; for the Philistines, regarding them as slaves escaping from their masters, would not have hesitated to make war upon them. The Israelites were poorly prepared for an encounter with that powerful and warlike people. They had little knowledge of
God and little faith in Him, and they would have become terrified and disheartened. They were unarmed and unaccustomed to war, their spirits were depressed by long bondage, and they were encumbered with women and children, flocks and herds. In leading them by the way of the Red Sea, the Lord revealed Himself as a God of compassion as well as of judgment. {PP 282.1}
“And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Says the psalmist, “He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.” Psalm 105:39. See also 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2. The standard of their invisible Leader was ever with them. By day the cloud directed their journeyings or
spread as a canopy above the host. It served as a protection from the burning heat, and by its coolness and moisture afforded grateful refreshment in the parched, thirsty
desert. By night it became a pillar of fire, illuminating their encampment and constantly assuring them of the divine presence.

{PP 282.2}

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In one of the most beautiful and comforting passages of Isaiah’s prophecy, reference is made to the pillar of cloud and of fire to represent God’s care for His people in the great final struggle with the powers of evil: “The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by
day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for above all the glory shall be a covering. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” Isaiah 4:5, 6, margin. {PP
283.1}
Across a dreary, desertlike expanse they journeyed. Already they began to wonder whither their course would lead; they were becoming weary with the toilsome way, and in some hearts began to arise a fear of pursuit by the Egyptians. But the cloud went forward, and they followed. And now the Lord directed Moses to turn aside into a rocky defile, and encamp beside the sea. It was revealed to him that Pharaoh would pursue them, but that God would be honored in their deliverance. {PP 283.2}
In Egypt the report was spread that the children of Israel, instead of tarrying to

worship in the desert, were pressing on toward the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s counselors declared to the king that their bondmen had fled, never to return. The people deplored their folly in attributing the death of the first-born to the power of God. Their great men, recovering from their fears, accounted for the plagues as the result of natural causes. “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” was th e bitter cry.
{PP 283.3}
Pharaoh collected his forces, “six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt,” horsemen, captains, and foot soldiers. The king himself, attended by the great men of his realm, headed the attacking army. To secure the favor of the gods, an d thus ensure the success of their undertaking, the priests also accompanied them. The king was resolved to intimidate the Israelites by a grand display of his power. The Egyptians feared lest their forced submission to the God of Israel should subject the m to the derision of other nations; but if they should now go forth with a great show of power and bring back the fugitives, they would redeem their glory, as well as recover the services
of their bondmen. {PP 283.4}
The Hebrews were encamped beside the sea, whose waters
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presented a seemingly impassable barrier before them, while on the south a rugged mountain obstructed their further progress. Suddenly they beheld in the distance the flashing armor and moving chariots betokening the advance guard of a great army. As the force drew nearer, the hosts of Egypt were seen in full pursuit. Terror filled the hearts of Israel. Some cried unto the Lord, but far the greater part hastened to Moses with their complaints: “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” {PP 283.5}
Moses was greatly troubled that his people should manifest so little faith in God, notwithstanding they had repeatedly witnessed the manifestation of His power in their behalf. How could they charge upon him the dangers and difficulties of their situa tion, when he had followed the express command of God? True, there was no possibility of deliverance unless God Himself should interpose for their release; but having been brought into this position in obedience to the divine direction, Moses felt no fear of the consequences. His calm and assuring reply to the people was, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” {PP 284.1}
It was not an easy thing to hold the hosts of Israel in waiting before the Lord. Lacking discipline and self-control, they became violent and unreasonable. They expected speedily to fall into the hands of their oppressors, and their wailings and lamentations were loud and deep. The wonderful pillar of cloud had been followed as the signal of God to go forward; but now they questioned among themselves if it might not foreshadow some great calamity; for had it not led them on the wrong side of the mountain, into an impassable way? Thus the angel of God appeared to their deluded minds as the harbinger of disaster. {PP 284.2}
But now, as the Egyptian host approached them, expecting to make them an easy prey, the cloudy column rose majestically into the heavens, passed over the Israelites, and descended between them and the armies of Egypt. A wall of darkness
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interposed between the pursued and their pursuers. The Egyptians could no longer discern the camp of the Hebrews, and were forced to halt. But as the darkness of night deepened, the wall of cloud became a great light to the Hebrews, flooding the entire encampment with the radiance of day. {PP 284.3}
Then hope returned to the hearts of Israel. And Moses lifted up his voice unto the Lord. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out t hine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” {PP 287.1}
The psalmist, describing the passage of the sea by Israel, sang, “Thy way was in the sea, and Thy paths in the great waters, and Thy footsteps were not known. Thou
leddest Thy people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:19, 20, R.V. As Moses stretched out his rod the waters parted, and Israel went into the midst of the sea, upon dry ground, while the waters stood like a wall upon each side. The light from God’s pillar of fire shone upon the foam-capped billows, and lighted the road t hat was cut like a mighty furrow through the waters of the sea, and was lost in the obscurity of the farther shore. {PP 287.2}
“The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.” The mysterious cloud changed to a pillar of fire before their astonished eyes. The thunders pealed and the lightnings flashed. “The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound: Thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of Thy thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.” Psalm 77:17, 18, R.V. {PP 287.3}
The Egyptians were seized with confusion and dismay. Amid the wrath of the elements, in which they heard the voice of an angry God, they endeavored to retrace their steps and flee to the shore they had quitted. But Moses stretched out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, rushed together and swallowed the Egyptian army in their black depths. {PP 287.4}
As morning broke it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all that remained of their mighty foes–the mail-clad bodies cast
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upon the shore. From the most terrible peril, one night had brought complete deliverance. That vast, helpless throng–bondmen unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing
behind–had seen their path opened through the waters and their enemies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph. Jehovah alone had brought them deliverance, and to Him their hearts were turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotion found utterance in songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving, the earliest and one of the most sublime that are known to man. “I will sing unto Jehovah, for He hath triumphed gloriously; The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song, And He is become my salvation:
This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war:
Jehovah is His name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath He cast into the sea: And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea.
The deeps cover them:
They went down into the depths like a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power,
Thy right hand, O Lord, dasheth in pieces the enemy. . . . Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? . . .
Thou in Thy mercy hast led the people which Thou has redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength to Thy holy habitation.
The peoples have heard, they tremble. . . . Terror and dread falleth upon them;
By the greatness of Thine arm they are as still as a stone; Till Thy people pass over, O Lord,
Till the people pass over which Thou hast purchased.
Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of
Thine inheritance,
The place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in.” Exodus 15:1-16, R.V. {PP 287.5}
Like the voice of the great deep, rose from the vast hosts of Israel that sublime ascription. It was taken up by the women of Israel, Miriam, the sister of Moses, leading the way, as they went
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forth with timbrel and dance. Far over desert and sea rang the joyous refrain, and the mountains re-echoed the words of their praise–“Sing ye to Jehovah, for He hath triumphed gloriously.” {PP 288.1}
This song and the great deliverance which it commemorates, made an impression never to be effaced from the memory of the Hebrew people. From age to age it was echoed by the prophets and singers of Israel, testifying that Jehovah is the strength and deliverance of those who trust in Him. That song does not belong to the Jewish people alone. It points forward to the destruction of all the foes of righteousness and the final victory of the Israel of God. The prophet of Patmos beholds the white-robed multi tude that have “gotten the victory,” standing on the “sea of glass mingled with fire,” having “the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” Revelation 15:2, 3. {PP 289.1}
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake.” Psalm 115:1. Such was the spirit that pervaded Israel’s song of deliverance, and it is the spirit that should dwell in the hearts of all who love and fear God. In freeing out souls from the bondage of sin, God has wrought for us a
deliverance greater than that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Like the Hebrew host, we should praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His “wonderful works to th e children of men.” Those who dwell upon God’s great mercies, and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. The daily blessings that we receive from the hand of God, and above all else the death of Jesus to bring happiness and heaven within our reach, should be a theme for constant gratitude. What compassion, what matchless love, has God shown to us, lost sinners, in connecting us with Himself, to be to Him a peculiar treasure! What a
sacrifice has been made by our Redeemer, that we may be called children of God! We should praise God for the blessed hope held out before us in the great plan of redemption, we should praise Him for the heavenly inheritance and for His rich promises; praise Him that Jesus lives to intercede for us. {PP 289.2}
“Whoso offereth praise,” says the Creator, “glorifieth Me.” Psalm 50:23. All the inhabitants of heaven unite in praising God. Let us learn the song of the angels now, that we may sing it when we join their shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist, “While
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I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” “Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee.” Psalm 146:2; 67:5. {PP
289.3}
God in His providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that He might manifest His power in their deliverance and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but He chose thi s method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in Him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them. It was “by faith” that “they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land.” Hebrews 11:29. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was
in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet. {PP 290.1}
The great lesson here taught is for all time. Often the Christian life is beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, “Go forward.” We should obey this command, even though our eyes cannot penetrate the darkness, and we feel the cold waves about our feet. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey at all. Unbelief whispers, “Let us wait till the obstructions are removed, and we can see our way clearly;” but faith courageously urges an advance, hoping all things, believing all things. {PP 290.2}
The cloud that was a wall of darkness to the Egyptians was to the Hebrews a great flood of light, illuminating the whole camp, and shedding brightness upon the path before them. So the dealings of Providence bring to the unbelieving, darkness and despair, while to the trusting soul they are full of light and peace. The path where God leads the way may lie through the desert or the sea, but it is a safe path. {PP 290.3}

Chap. 26 – From the Red Sea to Sinai

From the Red Sea the hosts of Israel again set forth on their journey, under the guidance of the pillar of cloud. The scene around them was most dreary–bare, desolate-looking mountains, barren plains, and the sea stretching far away, its shores
strewn with the bodies of their enemies; yet they were full of joy in the consciousness of freedom, and every thought of discontent was hushed. {PP 291.1}
But for three days, as they journeyed, they could find no water. The supply which they had taken with them was exhausted. There was nothing to quench their burning thirst as they dragged wearily over the sun-burnt plains. Moses, who was familiar with this region, knew what the others did not, that at Marah, the nearest station where springs were to be found, the water was unfit for use. With intense anxiety he watched the guiding cloud. With a sinking heart he heard the glad shout. “Water! water!” echo ed along the line. Men, women, and children in joyous haste crowded to the fountain, when, lo, a cry of anguish burst forth from the host–the water was bitter. {PP 291.2}
In their horror and despair they reproached Moses for having led them in such a way, not remembering that the divine presence in that mysterious cloud had been leading him as well as them. In his grief at their distress Moses did what they had forgotten to do; he cried earnestly to God for help. “And the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” Here the promise was given to Israel through Moses, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee,
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which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” {PP 291.3}
From Marah the people journeyed to Elim, where they found “twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees.” Here they remained several days before entering the wilderness of Sin. When they had been a month absent from Egypt, they made their first encampment in the wilderness. Their store of provisions had now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness, and their flocks were diminishing. How
was food to be supplied for these vast multitudes? Doubts filled their hearts, and again they murmured. Even the rulers and elders of the people joined in complaining against the leaders of God’s appointment: “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” {PP 292.1}
They had not as yet suffered from hunger; their present wants were supplied, but they feared for the future. They could not understand how these vast multitudes were to subsist in their travels through the wilderness, and in imagination they saw their children famishing. The Lord permitted difficulties to surround them, and their supply of food to be cut short, that their hearts might turn to Him who had hitherto been their Deliverer. If in their want they would call upon Him, He would still grant them manifest tokens of His love and care. He had promised that if they would obey His commandments, no
disease should come upon them, and it was sinful unbelief on their part to anticipate that they or their children might die for hunger. {PP 292.2}
God had promised to be their God, to take them to Himself as a people, and to lead them to a large and good land; but they were ready to faint at every obstacle encountered in the way to that land. In a marvelous manner He had brought them out from their bondage in Egypt, that He might elevate and ennoble them and make them a praise in the earth. But it was necessary for them to encounter difficulties and to endure privations. God was bringing them from a state of degradation and fitting them to
occupy an honorable place among the nations and to receive important and sacred trusts. Had they possessed faith in Him, in view of all that He had wrought for them,
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they would cheerfully have borne inconvenience, privation, and even real suffering; but they were unwilling to trust the Lord any further than they could witness the continual evidences of His power. They forgot their bitter service in Egypt. They forgot the goodness and power of God displayed in their behalf in their deliverance from bondage. They forgot how their children had been spared when the destroying angel slew all the first-born of Egypt. They forgot the grand exhibition of divine power at the Red Sea. They forgot that while they had crossed safely in the path that had been opened for
them, the armies of their enemies, attempting to follow them, had been overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. They saw and felt only their present inconveniences and trials; and instead of saying, “God has done great things for us; whereas we were slaves, He
is making of us a great nation,” they talked of the hardness of the way, and wondered when their weary pilgrimage would end. {PP 292.3}
The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God’s dealings with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would
have His people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan. {PP 293.1}

Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancie nt Israel. When brought into strait places, they murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. Though their present needs are supplied, many are unwilling to trust
God for the future, and they are in constant anxiety lest poverty shall come upon them, and their children shall be left to suffer. Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter,
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instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining. {PP 293.2}
Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life,
as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things. It is not th e will of God that His people should be weighed down with care. But our Lord does not tell us that there are no dangers in our path. He does not propose to take His people out of the world of sin and evil, but He points us to a never-failing refuge. He invites the weary and
care-laden, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Lay off the yoke of anxiety and worldly care that you have placed on your own neck, and “take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek a nd lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29. We may find rest and peace in God, casting all our care upon Him; for He careth for us. See 1 Peter 5:7. {PP 294.1}
Says the apostle Paul, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12. In view of all that God has wrought for us, our faith should be strong, active, and enduring. Instead of murmuring and complaining, the language of our hearts should be, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Psalm 103:1, 2. {PP 294.2}
God was not unmindful of the wants of Israel. He said to their leader, “I will rain bread from heaven for you.” And directions were given that the people gather a daily supply, with a double amount on the sixth day, that the sacred observance of the Sabbath might be maintained. {PP 294.3}
Moses assured the congregation that their wants were to be supplied: “The Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full.” And he added, “What are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the
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Lord.” He further bade Aaron say to them, “Come near before the Lord: for He hath heard your murmurings.” While Aaron was speaking, “they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.” A splendor such as they had never witnessed symbolized the divine Presence. Through manifestations addressed to their senses, they were to obtain a knowledge of God. They must be taught that the Most High, and not merely the man Moses, was their leader, that they might fear His name and obey His voice. {PP 294.4}
At nightfall the camp was surrounded by vast flocks of quails, enough to supply the entire company. In the morning there lay upon the surface of the ground “a small round thing, as small as the hoarfrost.” “It was like coriander seed, white.” The peop le called it “manna.” Moses said, “This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.” The people gathered the manna, and found that there was an abundant supply for all. They “ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it.” Numbers 11:8. “And the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” They were directed to gather daily an omer for every person; and they were not to leave of it until the morning. Some attempted to keep a supply until the next day, but it was then found to be unfit for food. The provision for the day must be gathered in the morning; for all that remained upon the ground was melted by the sun. {PP 295.1}
In the gathering of the manna it was found that some obtained more and some less than the stipulated amount; but “when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack.” An explanation of t his scripture, as well as a practical lesson from it, is given by the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians. He says, “I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a su pply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: as it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-15. {PP 295.2}
On the sixth day the people gathered two omers for every person. The rulers hastened to acquaint Moses with what had been done. His answer was, “This is that which the Lord hath
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said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” They did so, and found that it remained unc hanged. “And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find
it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.” {PP 295.3}
God requires that His holy day be as sacredly observed now as in the time of Israel. The command given to the Hebrews should be regarded by all Christians as an injunction from Jehovah to them. The day before the Sabbath should be made a day of preparation, that everything may be in readiness for its sacred hours. In no case should our own business be allowed to encroach upon holy time. God has directed that the
sick and suffering be cared for; the labor required to make them comfortable is a work of mercy, and no violation of the Sabbath; but all unnecessary work should be avoided. Many carelessly put off till the beginning of the Sabbath little things that might have been done on the day of preparation. This should not be. Work that is neglected until the beginning of the Sabbath should remain undone until it is past. This course might help the memory of these thoughtless ones, and make them careful to do their own work on the six working days. {PP 296.1}
Every week during their long sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle, designed to impress their minds with the sacredness of the Sabbath: a double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none on the seventh, and the por tion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit for use. {PP 296.2}
In the circumstances connected with the giving of the manna, we have conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was not instituted, as many claim, when the law was given at Sinai. Before the Israelites came to Sinai they understood the Sabbath to be obligat ory upon them. In being obliged to gather every Friday a double portion of manna in preparation for the Sabbath, when none would fall, the sacred nature of the day of rest was continually impressed upon them. And when some of the people
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went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, the Lord asked, “How long refuse ye to keep
My commandments and My laws?” {PP 296.3}
“The children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” For forty years they were daily reminded by this miraculous provision, of God’s unfailing care and tender love. In the words of the psalmist, God gave them “of the corn of heaven. Man
did eat angels’ food” (Psalm 78:24, 25)–that is, food provided for them by the angels. Sustained by “the corn of heaven,” they were daily taught that, having God’s promise, they were as secure from want as if surrounded by fields of waving grain on the fertile plains of Canaan. {PP 297.1}
The manna, falling from heaven for the sustenance of Israel, was a type of Him who came from God to give life to the world. Said Jesus, “I am that Bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comet h down from heaven. . . . If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51. And among the promises of blessing to God’s people in the future life it is written, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” Revelation 2:17. {PP 297.2}
After leaving the wilderness of Sin, the Israelites encamped in Rephidim. Here there was no water, and again they distrusted the providence of God. In their blindness and presumption the people came to Moses with the demand, “Give us water that we may drink.” But his patience failed not. “Why chide ye with me?” he said; “wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?” They cried in anger, “Wherefore is this, that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” When they had been so abundantly supplied with food, they remembered with shame their unbelief and murmurings, and promised to trust the Lord in the future; but they soon forgot their promise, and failed at the first trial of their faith. The pillar of cloud that wa s leading them seemed to veil a fearful mystery. And Moses–who was he? they questioned, and what could be his object in bringing them from Egypt? Suspicion and distrust filled their hearts, and they boldly accused him of designing to kill them and their children by

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privations and hardships that he might enrich himself with their possessions. In the tumult of rage and indignation they were about to stone him. {PP 297.3}
In distress Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do unto this people?” He was directed to take the elders of Israel and the rod wherewith he had wrought wonders in Egypt, and to go on before the people. And the Lord said unto him, “Behold, I will st and before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.” He obeyed, and the waters burst forth in a living stream that abundantly supplied the encampment. Instead of comm anding Moses to lift up his rod and call down some terrible plague, like those on Egypt, upon the leaders in this wicked murmuring, the Lord in His great mercy made the rod His instrument to work their deliverance. {PP 298.1}
“He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” Psalm 78:15, 16. Moses smote the rock, but it was the Son of God who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, stood beside Moses, and caused the life-giving water to flow. Not
only Moses and the elders, but all the congregation who stood at a distance, beheld the glory of the Lord; but had the cloud been removed, they would have been slain by t he terrible brightness of Him who abode therein. {PP 298.2}
In their thirst the people had tempted God, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or
not?”–“If God has brought us here, why does He not give us water as well as bread?” The unbelief thus manifested was criminal, and Moses feared that the judgments of God would rest upon them. And he called the name of the place Massah, “temptation,” and Meribah, “chiding,” as a memorial of their sin. {PP 298.3}
A new danger now threatened them. Because of their murmuring against Him, the Lord suffered them to be attacked by their enemies. The Amalekites, a fierce, warlike tribe inhabiting that region, came out against them and smote those who, faint and weary, had fallen into the rear. Moses, knowing that the masses of the people were unprepared for battle, directed Joshua to choose from the different tribes a body of soldiers, and lead them on the morrow against the enemy, while he
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himself would stand on an eminence near by with the rod of God in his hand. Accordingly the next day Joshua and his company attacked the foe, while Moses and Aaron and Hur were stationed on a hill overlooking the battlefield. With arms outstretched toward heaven, and holding the rod of God in his right hand, Moses prayed for the success of the armies of Israel. As the battle progressed, it was observed that so long as his hands were reaching upward, Israel prevailed, but when
they were lowered, the enemy was victorious. As Moses became weary, Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands until the going down of the sun, when the enemy was put to flight.
{PP 298.4}
As Aaron and Hur supported the hands of Moses, they showed the people their duty to sustain him in his arduous work while he should receive the word from God to speak to them. And the act of Moses also was significant, showing that God held their dest iny in His hands; while they made Him their trust, He would fight for them and subdue their enemies; but when they should let go their hold upon Him, and trust in their own power, they would be even weaker than those who had not the knowledge of God, and t heir foes would prevail against them. {PP 299.1}
As the Hebrews triumphed when Moses was reaching his hands toward heaven and interceding in their behalf, so the Israel of God prevail when they by faith take hold
upon the strength of their mighty Helper. Yet divine strength is to be combined with human effort. Moses did not believe that God would overcome their foes while Israel remained inactive. While the great leader was pleading with the Lord, Joshua and his brave followers were putting forth their utmost efforts to repulse the enemies of Israel and of God. {PP 299.2}
After the defeat of the Amalekites, God directed Moses, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Just before his death the great leader delive red to his people the solemn charge: “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; an d he feared not God. . . . Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under
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heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” Deuteronomy 25:17-19. Concerning this wicked people the Lord declared, “The hand of Amalek is against the throne of Jehovah.” Exodus
17:16, margin. {PP 299.3}
The Amalekites were not ignorant of God’s character or of His sovereignty, but instead of fearing before Him, they had set themselves to defy His power. The wonders wrought by Moses before the Egyptians were made a subject of mockery by the people of Amalek, and the fears of surrounding nations were ridiculed. They had taken oath by their gods that they would destroy the Hebrews, so that not one should escape, and they boasted that Israel’s God would be powerless to resist them. They had not been injured or threatened by the Israelites. Their assault was wholly unprovoked. It was to manifest their hatred and defiance of God that they sought to destroy His people. The Amalekites had long been high-handed sinners, and their crimes had cried to God for vengeance, yet His mercy had still called them to repentance; but when the men of Amalek fell upon the wearied and defenseless ranks of Israel, they sealed their nation’s doom. The care of God is over the weakest of His children. No act of cruelty or oppression toward them is unmarked by Heaven. Over all who love and fear Him, His hand extends as a shield; let men beware that they smite not that hand; for it wields the sword of justice. {PP 300.1}
Not far distant from where the Israelites were now encamped was the home of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro had heard of the deliverance of the Hebrews, and he now set out to visit them, and restore to Moses his wife and two sons. The great leader was informed by messengers of their approach, and he went out with joy to meet them, and, the first greetings over, conducted them to his tent. He had sent back his family when on his way to the perils of leading Israel from Egypt, but now he could
again enjoy the relief and comfort of their society. To Jethro he recounted the wonderful dealings of God with Israel, and the patriarch rejoiced and blessed the Lord, and with Moses and the elders he united in offering sacrifice and holding a solemn feast in commemoration of God’s mercy. {PP 300.2}
As Jethro remained in the camp, he soon saw how heavy were the burdens that rested upon Moses. To maintain order and discipline among that vast, ignorant, and untrained multitude was indeed a stupendous task. Moses was their recognized
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leader and magistrate, and not only the general interests and duties of the people, but the controversies that arose among them, were referred to him. He had permitted this, for it gave him an opportunity to instruct them; as he said, “I do make them know the statutes of God, and His laws.” But Jethro remonstrated against this, saying, “This thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” “Thou wilt surely
wear away,” and he counseled Moses to appoint proper persons as rulers of thousands, and others as rulers of hundreds, and others of tens. They should be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” These were to judge in all matters of minor consequence, while the most difficult and important cases should still be brought before Moses, who was to be to the people, said Jethro, “to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” This counsel was accepted, and it not only brought relief to Moses, but resulted in establishing more perfect order among the people. {PP 300.3}
The Lord had greatly honored Moses, and had wrought wonders by his hand; but the fact that he had been chosen to instruct others did not lead him to conclude that he himself needed no instruction. The chosen leader of Israel listened gladly to the suggestions of the godly priest of Midian, and adopted his plan as a wise arrangement.
{PP 301.1}
From Rephidim the people continued their journey, following the movement of the cloudy pillar. Their route had led across barren plains, over steep ascents, and through rocky defiles. Often as they had traversed the sandy wastes, they had seen before them rugged mountains, like huge bulwarks, piled up directly across their course, and
seeming to forbid all further progress. But as they approached, openings here and there appeared in the mountain wall, and beyond, another plain opened to view. Through o ne of the deep, gravelly passes they were now led. It was a grand and impressive scene. Between the rocky cliffs rising hundreds of feet on either side, flowed in a living tide, far as the eye could reach, the hosts of Israel with their flocks and herds. A nd now before them in solemn majesty Mount Sinai lifted its massive front. The cloudy pillar rested upon its summit, and the people spread their tents upon the plain beneath. Here was to be their home for nearly a year. At
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night the pillar of fire assured them of the divine protection, and while they were locked in slumber, the bread of heaven fell gently upon the encampment. {PP 301.2}
The dawn gilded the dark ridges of the mountains, and the sun’s golden rays pierced the deep gorges, seeming to these weary travelers like beams of mercy from the throne of God. On every hand vast, rugged heights seemed in their solitary grandeur to s peak of eternal endurance and majesty. Here the mind was impressed with solemnity and awe. Man was made to feel his ignorance and weakness in the presence of Him who “weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.” Isaiah 40:12. Here Israel was to receive the most wonderful revelation ever made by God to men. Here the Lord had gathered His people that He might impress upon them the sacredness of His requirements by declaring with His own voice His holy law. Great and radical changes were to be wrought in them; for the degrading influences of servitude and a
long-continued association with idolatry had left their mark upon habits and character. God was working to lift them to a higher moral level by giving them a knowledge of Himself. {PP 302.1}

Chap. 27 – The Law Given to Israel

Soon after the encampment at Sinai, Moses was called up into the mountain to meet with God. Alone he climbed the steep and rugged path, and drew near to the cloud that marked the place of Jehovah’s presence. Israel was now to be taken into a close and peculiar relation to the Most High–to be incorporated as a church and a nation under
the government of God. The message to Moses for the people was: {PP 303.1}
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” {PP
303.2}
Moses returned to the camp, and having summoned the elders of Israel, he repeated to them the divine message. Their answer was, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” Thus they entered into a solemn covenant with God, pledging themselves to accept Him as their ruler, by which they became, in a special sense, the subjects of His authority. {PP 303.3}
Again their leader ascended the mountain, and the Lord said unto him, “Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever.” When they met with difficulties in the way, they were disposed to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and accuse them of leading the hosts of Israel from Egypt to destroy them. The Lord would honor Moses before them, that they might be led to confide in his instructions. {PP 303.4}
God purposed to make the occasion of speaking His law a scene of awful grandeur, in keeping with its exalted character. The people were to be impressed that everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence.
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The Lord said to Moses, “Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” During these intervening days all were to occupy the time in solemn preparation to appear before God. Their person and their clothing must be freed from impurity. And as Moses should point out their sins, they were to devote themselves to humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that their hearts might be cleansed from iniquity. {PP 303.5}
The preparations were made, according to the command; and in obedience to a further injunction, Moses directed that a barrier be placed about the mount, that neither man nor beast might intrude upon the sacred precinct. If any ventured so much as to touch it, the penalty was instant death. {PP 304.1}
On the morning of the third day, as the eyes of all the people were turned toward the mount, its summit was covered with a thick cloud, which grew more black and dense, sweeping downward until the entire mountain was wrapped in darkness and awful mystery. Then a sound as of a trumpet was heard, summoning the people to meet with God; and Moses led them forth to the base of the mountain. From the thick darkness flashed vivid lightnings, while peals of thunder echoed and re-echoed among the surrounding heights. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” “The glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount” in the sight of the assembled multitude. And “the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder.” So terrible were the tokens of Jehovah’s presence that the hosts of Israel shook with fear, and fell upon their faces before the Lord. Even Moses exclaimed, “I exceedingly fear and quake.” Hebrews
12:21. {PP 304.2}
And now the thunders ceased; the trumpet was no longer heard; the earth was still. There was a period of solemn silence, and then the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick darkness that enshrouded Him, as He stood upon the mount,
surrounded by a retinue of angels, the Lord made known His law. Moses, describing the scene, says: “The Lord
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came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words.” Deuteronomy 33:2, 3. {PP 304.3}
Jehovah revealed Himself, not alone in the awful majesty of the judge and lawgiver, but as the compassionate guardian of His people: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” He whom they h ad already known as their Guide and Deliverer, who had brought them forth from Egypt, making a way for them through the sea, and overthrowing Pharaoh and his hosts, who had thus shown Himself to be above all the gods of Egypt–He it was who now spoke His law. {PP 305.1}
The law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the benefit of the Hebrews. God honored them by making them the guardians and keepers of His law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapte d to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. “Thou sh alt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. See also Deuteronomy
6:4, 5; Leviticus 19:18. In the Ten Commandments these principles are carried out in detail, and made applicable to the condition and circumstances of man. {PP 305.2}
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” {PP 305.3}
Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the Source and Sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god. {PP 305.4}
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”
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{PP 305.5}
The second commandment forbids the worship of the true God by images or similitudes. Many heathen nations claimed that their images were mere figures or symbols by which the Deity was worshiped, but God has declared such worship to be sin. The attempt to represent the Eternal One by material objects would lower man’s conception of God. The mind, turned away from the infinite perfection of Jehovah, would be attracted to the creature rather than to the Creator. And as his conceptions of God were lowered, so would man become degraded. {PP 306.1}
“I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” The close and sacred relation of God to His people is represented under the figure of marriage. Idolatry being spiritual adultery, the displeasure of God against it is fitly called jealousy. {PP 306.2}
“Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ g uilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents. By inheritance and example the sons become partakers of the father’s sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth generation. This fearful truth should have a solemn power to restrain men from following a course of sin. {PP 306.3}
“Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.” In prohibiting the worship of false gods, the second commandment by implication enjoins the worship of the true God. And to those who are faithful in His service, mercy is promised, not merely to the third and fourth generation as is the wrath threatened against those who hate Him, but to thousands of generations. {PP 306.4}
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” {PP 306.5}
This commandment not only prohibits false oaths and common swearing, but it forbids us to use the name of God in a light or careless manner, without regard to its awful significance. By the thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals to Him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and 307
thoughtless repetition of His name, we dishonor Him. “Holy and reverend is His name.” Psalm 111:9. All should meditate upon His majesty, His purity and holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of His exalted character; and His holy name should be uttered with reverence and solemnity. {PP 306.6}
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” {PP 307.1}
The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are
worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the
only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of
God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force. {PP 307.2}
God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided. “Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and . . . honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure.” Isaiah 58:13. Nor does the prohibition end here. “Nor speaking thine own words,” says the prophet.
Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath hol y, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the
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house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day. {PP 307.3}
“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the
Lord thy God giveth thee.” {PP 308.1}
Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to
their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall sta nd in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God. The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins respect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority. {PP 308.2}
This, says the apostle, “is the first commandment with promise.” Ephesians 6:2. To Israel, expecting soon to enter Canaan, it was a pledge to the obedient, of long life in that good land; but it has a wider meaning, including all the Israel of God, an d promising eternal life upon the earth when it shall be freed from the curse of sin. {PP
308.3}
“Thou shalt not kill.” {PP 308.4}
All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer”); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health–all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment. {PP 308.5}
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” {PP 308.6}
This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught th e far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed. {PP 308.7}

“Thou shalt not steal.” {PP 308.8}

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Both public and private sins are included in this prohibition. The eighth commandment condemns manstealing and slave dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest
details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the books of heaven. {PP 309.1}
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” {PP 309.2}
False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every eff ort to injure our neighbor’s reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment. {PP 309.3}
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.” {PP 309.4}
The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures. {PP 309.5}
Such were the sacred precepts of the Decalogue, spoken amid thunder and flame, and with a wonderful display of the power and majesty of the great Lawgiver. God accompanied the proclamation of His law with exhibitions of His power and glory, that His people might never forget the scene, and that they might be impressed with profound veneration for the Author of the law, the Creator of heaven and earth. He would also show to all men the sacredness, the importance, and the permanence of His law. {PP 309.6}
The people of Israel were overwhelmed with terror. The awful power of God’s utterances seemed more than their trembling hearts could bear. For as God’s great rule of right was
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presented before them, they realized as never before the offensive character of sin, and their own guilt in the sight of a holy God. They shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe. The multitude cried out to Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but
let not God speak with us, lest we die.” The leader answered, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” The people, however, remained at a distance, gazing in terror upon the scene, wh ile Moses “drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” {PP 309.7}
The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery and heathenism, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. That the obligations of the Decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additio nal precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments. These laws were called judgments, both because they were framed in infinite wisdom and equity and because the magistrates were to give judgment according to them. Unlike the Ten Commandments, they were delivered privately to Moses, who was to communicate them to the people. {PP 310.1}
The first of these laws related to servants. In ancient times criminals were sometimes sold into slavery by the judges; in some cases, debtors were sold by their creditors; and poverty even led persons to sell themselves or their children. But a Hebrew could not be sold as a slave for life. His term of service was limited to six years; on the seventh he was to be set at liberty. Manstealing, deliberate murder, and rebellion against parental authority were to be punished with death. The holding of slave s not of Israelitish birth was permitted, but their life and person were strictly guarded. The murderer of a slave was to be punished; an injury inflicted upon one by his master, though no more than the loss of a tooth, entitled him to his freedom. {PP 310.2}
The Israelites had lately been servants themselves, and now that they were to have servants under them, they were to beware of indulging the spirit of cruelty and exaction from which they had suffered under their Egyptian taskmasters. The memory of th eir own bitter servitude should enable them to put themselves in the servant’s place, leading them to be kind and compassionate, to deal with others as they would wish to be dealt with. {PP 310.3}

The rights of widows and orphans were especially guarded, and a tender regard for their helpless condition was enjoined.
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“If thou afflict them in any wise,” the Lord declared, “and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” Aliens who united themselves with Israel were to be protected from wrong or oppression. “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” {PP 310.4}
The taking of usury from the poor was forbidden. A poor man’s raiment or blanket taken as a pledge, must be restored to him at nightfall. He who was guilty of theft was required to restore double. Respect for magistrates and rulers was enjoined, and judges were warned against perverting judgment, aiding a false cause, or receiving bribes. Calumny and slander were prohibited, and acts of kindness enjoined, even toward personal enemies. {PP 311.1}
Again the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the first fruits of His bountie s. The object of all these regulations was stated: they proceeded from no exercise of mere arbitrary sovereignty; all were given for the good of Israel. The Lord said, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me”–worthy to be acknowledged by a holy God. {PP 311.2}
These laws were to be recorded by Moses, and carefully treasured as the foundation of the national law, and, with the ten precepts which they were given to illustrate, the condition of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. {PP 311.3}
The message was now given them from Jehovah: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him. But if thou shalt indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” During all the wanderings of Israel, Christ, in the pillar of cloud and of fire, was their Leader. While there were types pointing to a Saviour to come, there was also a present Saviour, who gave commands to Moses for the people, and who was set forth before them as the only channel of blessing. {PP 311.4}
Upon descending from the mountain, “Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments:
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and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” This pledge, together with the words of the Lord which it bound them to obey, was written by Moses in a book. {PP 311.5}
Then followed the ratification of the covenant. An altar was built at the foot of the mountain, and beside it twelve pillars were set up, “according to the twelve tribes of Israel,” as a testimony to their acceptance of the covenant. Sacrifices were t hen presented by young men chosen for the service. {PP 312.1}
Having sprinkled the altar with the blood of the offerings, Moses “took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people.” Thus the conditions of the covenant were solemnly repeated, and all were at liberty to choose whether or not the y would comply with them. They had at the first promised to obey the voice of God; but they had since heard His law proclaimed; and its principles had been particularized, that they might know how much this covenant involved. Again the people answered with one accord, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” “When Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood, . . . and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the t estament which God hath enjoined unto you.” Hebrews 9:19, 20. {PP 312.2}
Arrangements were now to be made for the full establishment of the chosen nation under Jehovah as their king. Moses had received the command, “Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord.” While the people worshiped at its foot, these chosen men were called up into the mount. The seventy elders were to assist Moses in the government of Israel, and God put upon them His Spirit, and honored them with a view of His power and greatness. “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” They did not behold the Deity, but they saw the glory of His presence. Before this they could not have endured such a scene; but the exhibition of God’s power had awed them to repentance; they had been contemplating His glory, purity, and mercy, until they could approach nearer to Him who was the subject of their meditations.
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{PP 312.3}
Moses and “his minister Joshua” were now summoned to meet with God. And as they were to be some time absent, the leader appointed Aaron and Hur, assisted by the elders, to act in his stead. “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai.” For six days the cloud covered the mountain as a token of God’s special presence; yet there was no revelation of Himself or communication of His will. During this time Moses remained in waiting for
a summons to the presence chamber of the Most High. He had been directed, “Come up to Me into the mount, and be there,” and though his patience and obedience were tested, he did not grow weary of watching, or forsake his post. This period of waiting
was to him a time of preparation, of close self-examination. Even this favored servant of God could not at once approach into His presence and endure the exhibitions of His glory. Six days must be employed in devoting himself to God by searching of heart, meditation, and prayer before he could be prepared for direct communication with his Maker. {PP 313.1}
Upon the seventh day, which was the Sabbath, Moses was called up into the cloud. The thick cloud opened in the sight of all Israel, and the glory of the Lord broke forth like devouring fire. “And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” The forty days’ tarry in the mount did not include the six days of preparation. During the six days Joshua was with Moses, and together they ate of the manna and drank of “the brook that descended out of the mount.” But Joshua did not enter with Moses into the cloud. He remained without, and continued to eat and drink daily while awaiting the return of Moses, but Moses fasted during the entire forty days. {PP 313.2}
During his stay in the mount, Moses received directions for the building of a sanctuary in which the divine presence would be specially manifested. “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), was the command of God. For the third time the observance of the Sabbath was enjoined. “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever,” the Lord declared, “that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. . . . Whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Exodus 31:17,
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13, 14. Directions had just been given for the immediate erection of the tabernac le for the service of God; and now the people might conclude, because the object had in view was the glory of God, and also because of their great need of a place of worship, that they would be justified in working at the building upon the Sabbath. To guard them from this error, the warning was given. Even the sacredness and urgency of that special work for God must not lead them to infringe upon His holy rest day. {PP 313.3}
Henceforth the people were to be honored with the abiding presence of their King. “I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God,” “and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory” (Exodus 29:45, 43), was the assurance given to Moses. As the symbol of God’s authority and the embodiment of His will, there was delivered to Moses a copy of the Decalogue engraved by the finger of God Himself upon two tables of stone (Deuteronomy 9:10; Exodus 32:15, 16), to be sacredly enshrined in the sanctuary, which, when made, was to be the visible center of the nation’s worship. {PP
314.1}
From a race of slaves the Israelites had been exalted above all peoples to be the peculiar treasure of the King of kings. God had separated them from the world, that He might commit to them a sacred trust. He had made them the depositaries of His law, and He purposed, through them, to preserve among men the knowledge of Himself. Thus the light of heaven was to shine out to a world enshrouded in darkness, and a voice was to be heard appealing to all peoples to turn from their idolatry to serve the living God. If the Israelites would be true to their trust, they would become a power in the world. God would be their defense, and He would exalt them above all other nations. His light and truth would be revealed through them, and they would stand forth under His wise and holy rule as an example of the superiority of His worship over every form of idolatry. {PP 314.2}

Chap. 28 – Idolatry at Sinai

While Moses was absent it was a time of waiting and suspense to Israel. The people knew that he had ascended the mount with Joshua, and had entered the cloud of thick darkness which could be seen from the plain below, resting on the mountain peak, illuminated from time to time with the lightnings of the divine Presence. They waited eagerly for his return. Accustomed as they had been in Egypt to material representations of deity, it had been hard for them to trust in an invisible being, and they had come to rely upon Moses to sustain their faith. Now he was taken from them. Day after day, week after week passed, and still he did not return. Notwithstanding the cloud was still in view, it seemed to many in the camp that their leader had deserted them, or that he had been consumed by the devouring fire. {PP 315.1}
During this period of waiting, there was time for them to meditate upon the law of God which they had heard, and to prepare their hearts to receive the further revelations that He might make to them. They had none too much time for this work; and had they been thus seeking a clearer understanding of God’s requirements, and humbling their hearts before Him, they would have been shielded from temptation. But they did not do this, and they soon became careless, inattentive, and lawless. Especially was this the case with the mixed multitude. They were impatient to be on their way to the Land of Promise–the land flowing with milk and honey. It was only on condition of obedience that the goodly land was promised them, but they had lost sight of this. There were some who suggested a return to Egypt, but whether forward to Canaan or backward to Egypt, the masses of the people were determined to wait no longer for Moses. {PP
315.2}
Feeling their helplessness in the absence of their leader, they
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returned to their old superstitions. The “mixed multitude” had been the first to indulge murmuring and impatience, and they were the leaders in the apostasy that followed. Among the objects regarded by the Egyptians as symbols of deity was the ox or calf; and it was at the suggestion of those who had practiced this form of idolatry in Egypt that a calf was now made and worshiped. The people desired some image to represent God, and to go before them in the place of Moses. God had given no manner of similitude of Himself, and He had prohibited any material representation for such a purpose. The mighty miracles in Egypt and at the Red Sea were designed to establish faith in Him as the invisible, all-powerful Helper of Israel, the only true God. And the desire for some visible manifestation of His presence had been granted in the pillar of cloud and of fire that guided their hosts, and in the revealing of His glory upon Mount Sinai. But with the cloud of the Presence still before them, they turned back in their hearts to the idolatry of Egypt, and represented the glory of the invisible God by the similitude of an ox! {PP 315.3}
In the absence of Moses, the judicial authority had been delegated to Aaron, and a vast crowd gathered about his tent, with the demand, “Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt , we wot not what is become of him.” [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 4.] The cloud, they said, that had heretofore led them, now rested permanently upon the mount; it would no longer direct their travels. They must have an image in its place; and if, as had been
suggested, they should decide to return to Egypt, they would find favor with the
Egyptians by bearing this image before them and acknowledging it as their god. {PP
316.1}

Such a crisis demanded a man of firmness, decision, and unflinching courage; one who held the honor of God above popular favor, personal safety, or life itself. But the present leader of Israel was not of this character. Aaron feebly remonstrated with the people, but his wavering and timidity at the critical moment only rendered them the more determined. The tumult increased. A blind, unreasoning frenzy seemed to take
possession of the multitude. There were some who remained true to their covenant with God, but the greater part of the people joined in the apostasy. A few who ventured to denounce the proposed image
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making as idolatry, were set upon and roughly treated, and in the confusion and excitement they finally lost their lives. {PP 316.2}
Aaron feared for his own safety; and instead of nobly standing up for the honor of God, he yielded to the demands of the multitude. His first act was to direct that the golden earrings be collected from all the people and brought to him, hoping that p ride would lead them to refuse such a sacrifice. But they willingly yielded up their ornaments; and from these he made a molten calf, in imitation of the gods of Egypt. The people proclaimed, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” And Aaron basely permitted this insult to Jehovah. He did more. Seeing
with what satisfaction the golden god was received, he built an altar before it, and made proclamation, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” The announcement was heralded b y trumpeters from company to company throughout the camp. “And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people
sat down to eat and to drink and rose up to play.” Under the pretense of holding “a fe ast to the Lord,” they gave themselves up to gluttony and licentious reveling. {PP 317.1}
How often, in our own day, is the love of pleasure disguised by a “form of godliness”! A religion that permits men, while observing the rites of worship, to devote themselves
to selfish or sensual gratification, is as pleasing to the multitudes now as in the days of Israel. And there are still pliant Aarons, who, while holding positions of authority in the church, will yield to the desires of the unconsecrated, and thus encourage them in sin.
{PP 317.2}
Only a few days had passed since the Hebrews had made a solemn covenant with God to obey His voice. They had stood trembling with terror before the mount, listening to the words of the Lord, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The glory of God still hovered above Sinai in the sight of the congregation; but they turned away, and asked for other gods. “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox.” Psalm 106:19, 20. How could greater ingratitude have been shown, or more daring insult offered, to Him who had revealed Himself to them as a tender father and an all-powerful king! {PP 317.3}
Moses in the mount was warned of the apostasy in the camp
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and was directed to return without delay. “Go, get thee down,” were the words of God; “thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it.” God might have checked the movement at the outset; but He suffered it to come to this height that He might teach all a lesson in His punishment of treason and apostasy. {PP 317.4}
God’s covenant with His people had been disannulled, and He declared to Moses, “Let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” The people of Israel, especially the mixed multitude, would be constantly disposed to rebel against God. They would also murmur against their leader, and would grieve him by their unbelief and stubbornness, and it would be a laborious and soul-trying work to lead them through to the Promised Land. Their sins had already forfeited the favor of God, and justice called for their destruction. The Lord therefore proposed to destroy them, and make of Moses a mighty nation. {PP
318.1}
“Let Me alone, . . . that I may consume them,” were the words of God. If God had purposed to destroy Israel, who could plead for them? How few but would have left the sinners to their fate! How few but would have gladly exchanged a lot of toil and bur den and sacrifice, repaid with ingratitude and murmuring, for a position of ease and honor, when it was God Himself that offered the release. {PP 318.2}
But Moses discerned ground for hope where there appeared only discouragement and wrath. The words of God, “Let Me alone,” he understood not to forbid but to encourage intercession, implying that nothing but the prayers of Moses could save Israel, but that if thus entreated, God would spare His people. He “besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?”
{PP 318.3}
God had signified that He disowned His people. He had spoken of them to Moses as “thy people, which thou broughtest out of Egypt.” But Moses humbly disclaimed the leadership of Israel. They were not his, but God’s–“Thy people, which Thou has
brought forth . . . with great power, and with a mighty
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hand. Wherefore,” he urged, “should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of
the earth?” {PP 318.4}
During the few months since Israel left Egypt, the report of their wonderful deliverance had spread to all the surrounding nations. Fear and terrible foreboding rested upon the heathen. All were watching to see what the God of Israel would do for His people. Should they now be destroyed, their enemies would triumph, and God would be dishonored. The Egyptians would claim that their accusations were
true–instead of leading His people into the wilderness to sacrifice, He had caused them to be sacrificed. They would not consider the sins of Israel; the destruction of the
people whom He had so signally honored, would bring reproach upon His name. How great the responsibility resting upon those whom God has highly honored, to make His name a praise in the earth! With what care should they guard against committing sin, to call down His judgments and cause His name to be reproached by the ungodly! {PP
319.1}
As Moses interceded for Israel, his timidity was lost in his deep interest and love for those for whom he had, in the hands of God, been the means of doing so much. The Lord listened to his pleadings, and granted his unselfish prayer. God had proved H is servant; He had tested his faithfulness and his love for that erring, ungrateful people, and nobly had Moses endured the trial. His interest in Israel sprang from no selfish motive. The prosperity of God’s chosen people was dearer to him than personal h onor, dearer than the privilege of becoming the father of a mighty nation. God was pleased with his faithfulness, his simplicity of heart, and his integrity, and He committed to him, as a faithful shepherd, the great charge of leading Israel to the Promise d Land. {PP
319.2}
As Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, the former bearing the “tables of the testimony,” they heard the shouts and outcries of the excited multitude, evidently in a state of wild uproar. To Joshua the soldier, the first thought was of an attack from their enemies. “There is a noise of war in the camp,” he said. But Moses judged more truly the nature of the commotion. The sound was not that of combat, but of revelry. “It
is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome; but the noise of them that sing do I hear.”
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{PP 319.3}
As they drew near the encampment, they beheld the people shouting and dancing around their idol. It was a scene of heathen riot, an imitation of the idolatrous feasts of Egypt; but how unlike the solemn and reverent worship of God! Moses was overwhelmed. He had just come from the presence of God’s glory, and though he had been warned of what was taking place, he was unprepared for that dreadful exhibition of the degradation of Israel. His anger was hot. To show his abhorrence of their crime, he threw down the tables of stone, and they were broken in the sight of all the people,
thus signifying that as they had broken their covenant with God, so God had broken His covenant with them. {PP 320.1}
Entering the camp, Moses passed through the crowds of revelers, and seizing upon the idol, cast it into the fire. He afterward ground it to powder, and having strewed it upon the stream that descended from the mount, he made the people drink of it. Th us was shown the utter worthlessness of the god which they had been worshiping. {PP
320.2}
The great leader summoned his guilty brother and sternly demanded, “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?” Aaron endeavored to shield himself by relating the clamors of the people; that if he had not complied with their wishes, he would have been put to death. “Let not the anger of my lord wax hot,” he said; “thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man tha t brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them,
Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” He would lead Moses to believe that a miracle had been wrought–that the gold had been cast into the fire, and by supernatural power changed to a calf. But his excuses and prevarications were of no avail. He was justly dealt with as the chief offender. {PP 320.3}

The fact that Aaron had been blessed and honored so far above the people was what made his sin so heinous. It was Aaron “the saint of the Lord” (Psalm 106:16), that had made the idol and announced the feast. It was he who had been appointed as spokesman for Moses, and concerning whom God Himself had testified, “I know that he can speak well” (Exodus 4:14), that had failed to check the idolaters in their
heaven-daring purpose.
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He by whom God had wrought in bringing judgments both upon the Egyptians and upon their gods, had heard unmoved the proclamation before the molten image, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” It was he who had been with Moses on the mount, and had there beheld the glory of the Lord, who had seen that in the manifestation of that glory there was nothing of which an image could
be made–it was he who had changed that glory into the similitude of an ox. He to whom God had committed the government of the people in the absence of Moses, was found sanctioning their rebellion. “The Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed
him.” Deuteronomy 9:20. But in answer to the earnest intercession of Moses, his life was spared; and in penitence and humiliation for his great sin, he was restored to the favor of God. {PP 320.4}
If Aaron had had courage to stand for the right, irrespective of consequences, he could have prevented that apostasy. If he had unswervingly maintained his own allegiance to God, if he had cited the people to the perils of Sinai, and had reminded them of their solemn covenant with God to obey His law, the evil would have been checked. But his compliance with the desires of the people and the calm assurance with which he proceeded to carry out their plans, emboldened them to go to greater lengths in sin than had before entered their minds. {PP 323.1}
When Moses, on returning to the camp, confronted the rebels, his severe rebukes and the indignation he displayed in breaking the sacred tables of the law were contrasted by the people with his brother’s pleasant speech and dignified demeanor, and their sympathies were with Aaron. To justify himself, Aaron endeavored to make the people responsible for his weakness in yielding to their demand; but
notwithstanding this, they were filled with admiration of his gentleness and patience. But God seeth not as man sees. Aaron’s yielding spirit and his desire to please had blinded his eyes to the enormity of the crime he was sanctioning. His course in giving his influence to sin in Israel cost the life of thousands. In what contrast with this was the course of Moses, who, while faithfully executing God’s judgments, showed that the welfare of Israel was dearer to him than prosperity or honor or life. {PP 323.2}
Of all the sins that God will punish, none are more grievous in His sight than those that encourage others to do evil. God
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would have His servants prove their loyalty by faithfully rebuking transgression, however painful the act may be. Those who are honored with a divine commission are not to be weak, pliant time-servers. They are not to aim at self-exaltation, or to shun disagreeable duties, but to perform God’s work with unswerving fidelity. {PP 323.3}
Though God had granted the prayer of Moses in sparing Israel from destruction, their apostasy was to be signally punished. The lawlessness and insubordination into which Aaron had permitted them to fall, if not speedily crushed, would run riot in wickedness, and would involve the nation in irretrievable ruin. By terrible severity the evil must be put away. Standing in the gate of the camp, Moses called to the people, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me.” Those who had not joined in the apostasy were to take their position at the right of Moses; those who were guilty but repentant, at the left. The command was obeyed. It was found that the tribe of Levi had taken no part in the idolatrous worship. From among other tribes there were great numbers who, although they had sinned, now signified their repentance. But a large company, mostly of the mixed multitude that instigated the making of the calf, stubbornly persisted in their rebellion. In the name of “the Lord God of Israel,” Moses now commanded those upon his right hand, who had kept themselves clear of idolatry, to gird on their swords and slay all who persisted in rebellion. “And there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” Without regard to position, kindred, or friendship, the ringleaders in wickedness were cut off; but all who repented and humbled themselves were spared. {PP 324.1}
Those who performed this terrible work of judgment were acting by divine authority, executing the sentence of the King of heaven. Men are to beware how they, in their human blindness, judge and condemn their fellow men; but when God commands them to execute His sentence upon iniquity, He is to be obeyed. Those who performed this painful act, thus manifested their abhorrence of rebellion and idolatry, and consecrated themselves more fully to the service of the true God. The Lord honored their faithfulness by bestowing special distinction upon the tribe of Levi. {PP 324.2}
The Israelites had been guilty of treason, and that against a King who had loaded them with benefits and whose authority they had voluntarily pledged themselves to obey. That the divine
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government might be maintained justice must be visited upon the traitors. Yet even here God’s mercy was displayed. While He maintained His law, He granted freedom of choice and opportunity for repentance to all. Only those were cut off who persisted in rebellion. {PP 324.3}
It was necessary that this sin should be punished, as a testimony to surrounding nations of God’s displeasure against idolatry. By executing justice upon the guilty, Moses, as God’s instrument, must leave on record a solemn and public protest against their crime. As the Israelites should hereafter condemn the idolatry of the neighboring tribes, their enemies would throw back upon them the charge that the people who claimed Jehovah as their God had made a calf and worshiped it in Horeb. Then though compelled to acknowledge the disgraceful truth, Israel could point to the terrible fate of the transgressors, as evidence that their sin had not been sanctioned or excused. {PP 325.1}
Love no less than justice demanded that for this sin judgment should be inflicted. God is the guardian as well as the sovereign of His people. He cuts off those who are determined upon rebellion, that they may not lead others to ruin. In sparing the life of Cain, God had demonstrated to the universe what would be the result of permitting sin to go unpunished. The influence exerted upon his descendants by his life and teaching led to the state of corruption that demanded the destruction of the whole wor ld by a flood. The history of the antediluvians testifies that long life is not a blessing to the sinner; God’s great forbearance did not repress their wickedness. The longer men lived, the more corrupt they became. {PP 325.2}
So with the apostasy at Sinai. Unless punishment had been speedily visited upon transgression, the same results would again have been seen. The earth would have become as corrupt as in the days of Noah. Had these transgressors been spared, evils would have followed, greater than resulted from sparing the life of Cain. It was the mercy of God that thousands should suffer, to prevent the necessity of visiting judgments upon millions. In order to save the many, He must punish the few. Furthermore, as the people had cast off their allegiance to God, they had forfeited the divine protection, and, deprived of their defense, the whole nation was exposed to the power of their enemies. Had not the evil been promptly put away, they would soon have fallen a prey to their numerous and powerful foes. It was necessary
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for the good of Israel, and also as a lesson to all succeeding generations, that crime should be promptly punished. And it was no less a mercy to the sinners themselves that they should be cut short in their evil course. Had their life been spared, the same spirit that led them to rebel against God would have been manifested in hatred and strife among themselves, and they would eventually have destroyed one another. It was in love to the world, in love to Israel, and even to the transgressors, that crime was punished with swift and terrible severity. {PP 325.3}
As the people were roused to see the enormity of their guilt, terror pervaded the entire encampment. It was feared that every offender was to be cut off. Pitying their distress, Moses promised to plead once more with God for them. {PP 326.1}
“Ye have sinned a great sin,” he said, “and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” He went, and in his confession before God he said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.” The answer was, “Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. Therefore now go, lead the people into the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.” {PP 326.2}
In the prayer of Moses our minds are directed to the heavenly records in which the names of all men are inscribed, and their deeds, whether good or evil, are faithfully registered. The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. If any of these depart from Him, and by stubborn persistence in sin become finally hardened against the influences of His Holy Spirit, their names will in the judgment be blotted from the book of life, and they themselves will be devoted to destruction. Moses realized how dreadful would be the fate of the sinner; yet if the people of Israel were to be rejected by the Lord, he desired his name to be blotted out with theirs; he could not endure to see the judgments of God fall upon those who had been so graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the transgressor. “Whosoever
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hath sinned against Me,” He said, “him will I blot out of My book.” {PP 326.3}
In deep sadness the people had buried their dead. Three thousand had fallen by the sword; a plague had soon after broken out in the encampment; and now the message came to them that the divine Presence would no longer accompany them in their journeyings. Jehovah had declared, “I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” And the command was given, “Put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.” Now there was mourning throughout the encampment. In penitence and humiliation “the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.” {PP 327.1}
By the divine direction the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp.” This was still further evidence that God had withdrawn His presence from them. He would reveal Himself to Moses, but not to such a people. The rebuke was keenly felt, and to the conscience-smitten multitudes it seemed a foreboding of greater calamity. Had not the Lord separated Moses from the camp that He might utterly destroy them? But they were not left without hope. The tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it “the tabernacle of the congregation.” All who were truly penitent, and desired to return to the Lord, were directed to repair thither to confess their sins and seek His mercy. When they returned to their tents Moses entered the tabernacle. With agonizing interest the people watched for some token that his intercessions in their behalf were accepted. If God should condescend to meet with him, they might hope that they were not to be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the entrance of the tabernacle, the people wept for joy, and they “rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door.” {PP 327.2}
Moses knew well the perversity and blindness of those who were placed under his care; he knew the difficulties with which he must contend. But he had learned that in order to prevail with the people, he must have help from God. He pleaded for a clearer revelation of God’s will and for an assurance of His presence: “See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou
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hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight. Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation i s Thy people.” {PP 327.3}
The answer was, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” But Moses was not yet satisfied. There pressed upon his soul a sense of the terrible results should God leave Israel to hardness and impenitence. He could not endure that his interests should be separated from those of his brethren, and he prayed that the favor of God might be restored to His people, and that the token of His presence might continue to direct their journeyings: “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” {PP 328.1}
And the Lord said, “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.” Still the prophet did not cease pleading. Every prayer had been answered, but he thirsted for greater tokens of God’s favor. He now made a request that no human being had ever made before: “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” {PP 328.2}
God did not rebuke his request as presumptuous; but the gracious words were spoken, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” The unveiled glory of God, no man in this mortal state can look upon and live; but Moses was assured that he should behold as much of the divine glory as he could endure. Again he was summoned to the mountain summit; then the hand that made the world, that hand that “removeth the mountains, and they know not” (Job 9:5), took this creature of the dust, this mighty man of faith, and placed him in a cleft of the rock, while the glory of God and all His goodness passed before him. {PP 328.3}
This experience–above all else the promise that the divine Presence would attend him–was to Moses an assurance of success in the work before him; and he counted it of infinitely greater worth than all the learning of Egypt or all his attainments as a statesman or a military leader. No earthly power or skill or learning can supply the place of God’s abiding presence. {PP 328.4}

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To the transgressor it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but Moses stood alone in the presence of the Eternal One, and he was not afraid; for his soul was in harmony with the will of his Maker. Says the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalm 66:18. But “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14. {PP 329.1}
The Deity proclaimed Himself, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” {PP 329.2}
“Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Again he entreated that God would pardon the iniquity of His people, and take them for His inheritance. His prayer was granted. The Lord graciously promised to renew His favor to Israel, and in their behalf to do marvels such as had not been done “in all the earth, nor in any nation.” {PP 329.3}
Forty days and nights Moses remained in the mount; and during all this time, as at the first, he was miraculously sustained. No man had been permitted to go up with him, nor during the time of his absence were any to approach the mount. At God’s command he had prepared two tables of stone, and had taken them with him to the summit; and again the Lord “wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 5.] {PP 329.4}

During that long time spent in communion with God, the face of Moses had reflected the glory of the divine Presence; unknown to himself his face shonen with a dazzling light when he descended from the mountain. Such a light illumined the countenance o f Stephen when brought before his judges; “and all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15. Aaron as well as the people shrank away from Moses, and “they were afraid to come nigh him.” Seeing their confusion and terror, but ignorant of the cause, he urged them to come near. He held out to them the pledge of God’s reconciliation, and assured them of His restored favor. They perceived in his voice nothing but love and entreaty, and at last one ventured to approach him. Too awed to speak, he silently pointed to the countenance of Moses, and then toward
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heaven. The great leader understood his meaning. In their conscious guilt, feeling themselves still under the divine displeasure, they could not endure the heavenly light, which, had they been obedient to God, would have filled them with joy. There is fear in guilt. The soul that is free from sin will not wish to hide from the light of heaven. {PP 329.5}
Moses had much to communicate to them; and compassionating their fear, he put a veil upon his face, and continued to do so thereafter whenever he returned to the camp from communion with God. {PP 330.1}
By this brightness God designed to impress upon Israel the sacred, exalted character of His law, and the glory of the gospel revealed through Christ. While Moses was in the mount, God presented to him, not only the tables of the law, but also the
plan of salvation. He saw that the sacrifice of Christ was pre-figured by all the types and symbols of the Jewish age; and it was the heavenly light streaming from Calvary, no
less than the glory of the law of God, that shed such a radiance upon the face of Moses. That divine illumination symbolized the glory of the dispensation of which Moses was the visible mediator, a representative of the one true Intercessor. {PP 330.2}
The glory reflected in the countenance of Moses illustrates the blessings to be received by God’s commandment-keeping people through the mediation of Christ. It testifies that the closer our communion with God, and the clearer our knowledge of His requirements, the more fully shall we be conformed to the divine image, and the more readily do we become partakers of the divine nature. {PP 330.3}
Moses was a type of Christ. As Israel’s intercessor veiled his countenance, because the people could not endure to look upon its glory, so Christ, the divine Mediator, veiled His divinity with humanity when He came to earth. Had He come clothed with the brightness of heaven, he could not have found access to men in their sinful state. They could not have endured the glory of His presence. Therefore He humbled Himself, and was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), that He might reach the fallen race, and lift them up. {PP 330.4}

Chap. 29 – Satan’s Enmity Against the Law

The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God’s law–undertaken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven–seemed for a time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels were seduced; but Satan’s apparent triumph resulted in defeat and loss , separation from God, and banishment from heaven. {PP 331.1}
When the conflict was renewed upon the earth, Satan again won a seeming advantage. By transgression, man became his captive, and man’s kingdom also was betrayed into the hands of the archrebel. Now the way seemed open for Satan to establish an independent kingdom, and to defy the authority of God and His Son. But the plan of salvation made it possible for man again to be brought into harmony with God, and to render obedience to His law, and for both man and the earth to be finally redeemed from the power of the wicked one. {PP 331.2}
Again Satan was defeated, and again he resorted to deception, in the hope of converting his defeat into a victory. To stir up rebellion in the fallen race, he now represented God as unjust in having permitted man to transgress His law. “Why,” said the artful tempter, “when God knew what would be the result, did He permit man to be placed on trial, to sin, and bring in misery and death?” And the children of Adam, forgetful of the long-suffering mercy that had granted man another trial, regardless of the amazing, the awful sacrifice which his rebellion had cost the King of heaven, gave ear to the tempter, and murmured against the only Being who could save them from the destructive power of Satan. {PP 331.3}
There are thousands today echoing the same rebellious complaint against God.
They do not see that to deprive man of the freedom of choice would be to rob him of his prerogative as an intelligent being, and make him a mere automaton. It is not God’s purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral
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agent. Like the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be subjected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is unable to resist. God made such ample provision that man need never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan. {PP 331.4}
As men increased upon the earth, almost the whole world joined the ranks of rebellion. Once more Satan seemed to have gained the victory. But omnipotent power again cut short the working of iniquity, and the earth was cleansed by the Flood from its moral pollution. {PP 332.1}
Says the prophet, “When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness, . . . and will not behold the majesty of Jehovah.” Isaiah 26:9, 10. Thus it was after the Flood. Released from His judgments, the inhabitants of the earth again rebelled against the Lord. Twice God’s covenant and His statutes had been rejected by the world. Both the people before the Flood and the descendants of Noah cast off the divine authority. Then God entered into covenant with Abraham, and took to Himself a people to become the depositaries of His law. To seduce and destroy this people, Satan began at once to lay his snares. The children of Jacob were tempted to contract marriages with the heathen and to worship their idols. But Joseph was faithful to God, and his fidelity was a constant testimony to the true faith. It was to quench this light that Satan worked through the envy of Joseph’s brothers to cause him to be s old as a slave in a heathen land. God overruled events, however, so that the knowledge of Himself should be given to the people of Egypt. Both in the house of Potiphar and in the prison Joseph received an education and training that, with the fear of God, prepared him for his high position as prime minister of the nation. From the palace of the Pharaohs his influence was felt throughout the land, and the knowledge of God spread far and wide. The Israelites in Egypt also became prosperous and wealthy, and such as were true to God exerted a widespread influence. The idolatrous priests were filled with alarm as they saw the new religion finding favor. Inspired by Satan with his own enmity toward the God of heaven, they set themselves to quench the light. To the priests was committed
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the education of the heir to the throne, and it was this spirit of determined opposition to God and zeal for idolatry that molded the character of the future monarch, and led to cruelty and oppression toward the Hebrews. {PP 332.2}
During the forty years after the flight of Moses from Egypt, idolatry seemed to have conquered. Year by year the hopes of the Israelites grew fainter. Both king and people exulted in their power, and mocked the God of Israel. This grew until it culminated in the Pharaoh who was confronted by Moses. When the Hebrew leader came before the king with a message from “Jehovah, God of Israel,” it was not ignorance of the true God, but defiance of His power, that prompted the answer, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice? . . . I know not Jehovah.” From first to last, Pharaoh’s opposition to the divine command was not the result of ignorance, but of hatred and defiance. {PP 333.1}
Though the Egyptians had so long rejected the knowledge of God, the Lord still gave them opportunity for repentance. In the days of Joseph, Egypt had been an asylum for Israel; God had been honored in the kindness shown His people; and now the long-suffering One, slow to anger, and full of compassion, gave each judgment time to do its work; the Egyptians, cursed through the very objects they had worshiped, had evidence of the power of Jehovah, and all who would, might submit to God and escape His judgments. The bigotry and stubbornness of the king resulted in spreading the knowledge of God, and bringing many of the Egyptians to give themselves to His service. {PP 333.2}
It was because the Israelites were so disposed to connect themselves with the heathen and imitate their idolatry that God had permitted them to go down into Egypt, where the influence of Joseph was widely felt, and where circumstances were favorable for them to remain a distinct people. Here also the gross idolatry of the Egyptians and their cruelty and oppression during the latter part of the Hebrew sojourn should have inspired in them an abhorrence of idolatry, and should have led them to flee for re fuge to the God of their fathers. This very providence Satan made a means to serve his purpose, darkening the minds of the Israelites and leading them to imitate the practices of their heathen masters. On account of the superstitious veneration in which animals were held by the Egyptians, the Hebrews were not
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permitted, during their bondage, to present the sacrificial offerings. Thus their minds were not directed by this service to the great Sacrifice, and their faith was weakened. When the time came for Israel’s deliverance, Satan set himself to resist the purposes of God. It was his determination that that great people, numbering more than two million souls, should be held in ignorance and superstition. The people whom God had promised to bless and multiply, to make a power in the earth, and through whom he
was to reveal the knowledge of His will–the people whom He was to make the keepers of His law–this very people Satan was seeking to keep in obscurity and bondage, that he might obliterate from their minds the remembrance of God. {PP 333.3}
When the miracles were wrought before the king, Satan was on the ground to counteract their influence and prevent Pharaoh from acknowledging the supremacy of God and obeying His mandate. Satan wrought to the utmost of his power to counterfeit the work of God and resist His will. The only result was to prepare the way for greater exhibitions of the divine power and glory, and to make more apparent, both to the Israelites and to all Egypt, the existence and sovereignty of the true and living God. {PP
334.1}
God delivered Israel with the mighty manifestations of His power, and with judgments upon all the gods of Egypt. “He brought forth his people with joy, and His chosen with gladness: . . . that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.” Psalm 105:43-45. He rescued them from their servile state, that He might bring them to a good land–a land which in His providence had been prepared for them as a refuge from their enemies, where they might dwell under the shadow of His wings. He would bring them to Himself, and encircle them in His everlasting arms; and in return for all His goodness and mercy to them they were required to have no other gods before Him, the living God, and to exalt His name and make it glorious in the earth. {PP 334.2}
During the bondage in Egypt many of the Israelites had, to a great extent, lost the knowledge of God’s law, and had mingled its precepts with heathen customs and traditions. God brought them to Sinai, and there with His own voice declared His law. {PP 334.3}
Satan and evil angels were on the ground. Even while God was proclaiming His law to His people, Satan was plotting to tempt them to sin. This people whom God had chosen, he would wrench away, in the very face of Heaven. By leading them into
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idolatry, he would destroy the efficacy of all worship; for how can man be elevated by adoring what is no higher than himself and may be symbolized by his own handiwork? If men could become so blinded to the power, the majesty, and the glory of the infinite God as to represent Him by a graven image, or even by a beast or reptile; if they could so forget their own divine relationship, formed in the image of their Maker as to bow down to these revolting and senseless objects–then the way was open for foul license; the evil passions of the heart would be unrestrained, and Satan would have full sway. {PP 334.4}
At the very foot of Sinai, Satan began to execute his plans for overthrowing the law of God, thus carrying forward the same work he had begun in heaven. During the forty days while Moses was in the mount with God, Satan was busy exciting doubt, apostasy, and rebellion. While God was writing down His law, to be committed to His covenant people, the Israelites, denying their loyalty to Jehovah, were demanding gods of gold! When Moses came from the awful presence of the divine glory, with the precepts of the law which they had pledged themselves to obey, he found them, in open defiance of its commands, bowing in adoration before a golden image. {PP 335.1}
By leading Israel to this daring insult and blasphemy to Jehovah, Satan had planned to cause their ruin. Since they had proved themselves to be so utterly degraded, so lost to all sense of the privileges and blessings that God had offered them, and to their own solemn and repeated pledges of loyalty, the Lord would, he believed, divorce them from Himself and devote them to destruction. Thus would be secured the extinction of the seed of Abraham, that seed of promise that was to preserve the knowledge o f the living God, and through whom He was to come–the true Seed, that was to conquer Satan. The great rebel had planned to destroy Israel, and thus thwart the purposes of God. But again he was defeated. Sinful as they were, the people of Israel were not destroyed. While those who stubbornly ranged themselves on the side of Satan were cut off, the people, humbled and repentant, were mercifully pardoned. The history of this sin was to stand as a perpetual testimony to the guilt and punishment of idolatry, an d the justice and long-suffering mercy of God. {PP 335.2}
The whole universe had been witness to the scenes at Sinai. In the working out of the two administrations was seen the
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contrast between the government of God and that of Satan. Again the sinless inhabitants of other worlds beheld the results of Satan’s apostasy, and the kind of government he would have established in heaven had he been permitted to bear sway. {PP 335.3}
By causing men to violate the second commandment, Satan aimed to degrade their conceptions of the Divine Being. By setting aside the fourth, he would cause them to forget God altogether. God’s claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is based upon the fact that He is the Creator, and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. Thus it is presented in the Bible. Says the prophet Jeremiah: “The Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King. . . . The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.” “Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for He is the former of all things.” Jeremiah 10:10-12, 14-16. The Sabbath, as a memorial of God’s creative power, points to Him as the maker of the heavens and the earth. Hence it is a constant witness to His existence and a reminder of His greatness, His wisdom, and His love. Had the Sabbath always been sacredly observed, there could never have been an atheist or an idolater. {PP 336.1}

The Sabbath institution, which originated in Eden, is as old as the world itself. It was observed by all the patriarchs, from creation down. During the bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were forced by their taskmasters to violate the Sabbath, and to a great extent they lost the knowledge of its sacredness. When the law was proclaimed at Sinai the very first words of the fourth commandment were, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”–showing that the Sabbath was not then instituted; we are pointed back for its origin to creation. In order to obliterate God from the minds of men, Satan aimed to tear down this great memorial. If men could be led to forget their Creator, they would make no effort to resist the power of evil, and Satan would be sure of his prey. {PP 336.2}
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Satan’s enmity against God’s law had impelled him to war against every precept of the Decalogue. To the great principle of love and loyalty to God, the Father of all, the principle of filial love and obedience is closely related. Contempt for parental authority will soon lead to contempt for the authority of God. Hence Satan’s efforts to lessen the obligation of the fifth commandment. Among heathen peoples the principle enjoined in this precept was little heeded. In many nations parents were abandoned or put to death as soon as age had rendered them incapable of providing for themselves. In the family the mother was treated with little respect, and upon the death of her husband she was required to submit to the authority of her eldest son. Filial obedience was enjoined by Moses; but as the Israelites departed from the Lord, the fifth commandment, with others, came to be disregarded. {PP 337.1}
Satan was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44); and as soon as he had obtained power over the human race, he not only prompted them to hate and slay one another, but, the more boldly to defy the authority of God, he made the violation of the sixth commandment a part of their religion. {PP 337.2}
By perverted conceptions of divine attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices necessary to secure the favor of their deities; and the most horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry. Among these was the practice of causing their children to pass through the fire before their idols. When one of them came through this ordeal unharmed, the people believed that their offerings were accepted; the one thus delivered was regarded as specially favored by the gods, was loaded with benefits, and ever afterward held in high esteem; and however aggravated his crimes, he was never punished. But should one be burned in passing through the fire, his fate was sealed; it was believed that the anger of the gods could be appeased only by taking the life of the victim, and he was accordingly offered as a sacrifice. In times of great apostasy these abominations prevailed, to some extent, among the Israelites. {PP 337.3}
The violation of the seventh commandment also was early practiced in the name of religion. The most licentious and abominable rites were made a part of the heathen worship. The gods
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themselves were represented as impure, and their worshipers gave the rein to the baser passions. Unnatural vices prevailed and the religious festivals were characterized by universal and open impurity. {PP 337.4}
Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. Yet after the Flood it again became widespread. It was Satan’s studied effort to pervert the marriage institution, to weaken its obligations and lessen its sacredness; for in no surer way could he deface the image of God in man and open the door to misery and vice. {PP 338.1}
From the opening of the great controversy it has been Satan’s purpose to misrepresent God’s character and to excite rebellion against His law, and this work appears to be crowned with success. The multitudes give ear to Satan’s deceptions and set themselves against God. But amid the working of evil, God’s purposes move steadily forward to their accomplishment; to all created intelligences He is making manifest His justice and benevolence. Through Satan’s temptations the whole human race have become transgressors of God’s law, but by the sacrifice of His Son a way is opened whereby they may return to God. Through the grace of Christ they may be enabled to render obedience to the Father’s law. Thus in every age, from the midst of apostasy and rebellion, God gathers out a people that are true to Him–a people “in whose heart is His law.” Isaiah 51:7. {PP 338.2}
It was by deception that Satan seduced angels; thus he has in all ages carried forward his work among men, and he will continue this policy to the last. Should he openly profess to be warring against God and His law, men would beware; but he disguises himself, and mixes truth with error. The most dangerous falsehoods are those that are mingled with truth. It is thus that errors are received that captivate and ruin the soul. By this means Satan carries the world with him. But a day is coming when his triumph will be forever ended. {PP 338.3}
God’s dealings with rebellion will result in fully unmasking the work that has so long been carried on under cover. The results of Satan’s rule, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, will be laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The law of God will stand fully vindicated. It will be seen that all
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the dealings of God have been conducted with reference to the eternal good of His people, and the good of all the worlds that He has created. Satan himself, in the presence of the witnessing universe, will confess the justice of God’s government and the righteousness of His law. {PP 338.4}
The time is not far distant when God will arise to vindicate His insulted authority. “The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Isaiah 26:21. “But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth?” Malachi 3:2. The people of Israel, because of their sinfulness, were forbidden to approach the mount when God was about to descend upon it to proclaim His law, lest they should be consumed by the burning glory of His presence. If such manifestations of His power marked the place chosen for the proclamation of God’s law, how terrible must be His tribunal when He comes for the execution of these sacred statutes. How will those who have trampled upon His authority endure His glory in the great day of final retribution? The terrors of Sinai were to represent to the people the scenes of the judgment. The sound of a trumpet summoned Israel to meet with God. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God shall summon, from the whole earth, both the living and the dead to the presence of their Judge. The Father and the Son, attended by a multitude of angels, were present upon the mount. At the great judgment day Christ will come “in the glory of His Father with His angels.” Matthew 16:27. He shall then sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. {PP 339.1}
When the divine Presence was manifested upon Sinai, the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire in the sight of all Israel. But when Christ shall come in glory with His holy angels the whole earth shall be ablaze with the terrible light of His presence. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.” Psalm 50:3, 4. A fiery stream shall issue and come forth from before Him, which shall cause the elements to melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in
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flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. {PP 339.2}
Never since man was created had there been witnessed such a manifestation of divine power as when the law was proclaimed from Sinai. “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Psalm 68:8. Amid the most terrific convulsions of nature the voice of God, like a trumpet, was heard from the cloud. The mountain was shaken from base to summit, and the hosts of Israel, pale and trembling with terror, lay upon their faces upon the earth. He whose voice then shook the earth has declared, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26. Says the Scripture, “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation;” “and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16. In that great coming day, the heaven itself shall depart “as a scroll when it is rolled together.” Revelation 6:14. And every mountain and island shall be moved out of its place. “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isaiah 24:20. {PP 340.1}
“Therefore shall all hands be faint,” all faces shall be “turned into paleness,” “and every man’s heart shall melt. And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them.” “And I will punish the world for their evil,” saith the Lord, “an d I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isaiah 13:7, 8, 11; Jeremiah 30:6. {PP 340.2}
When Moses came from the divine Presence in the mount, where he had received the tables of the testimony, guilty Israel could not endure the light that glorified his countenance. How much less can transgressors look upon the Son of God when He shall appear in the glory of His Father, surrounded by all the heavenly host, to execute judgment upon the transgressors of His law and the rejecters of His atonement. Those who have disregarded the law of God and trodden under foot the blood of Christ, “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,” shall hide themselves “in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains,” and
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they shall say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, . . . to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:20, 21. {PP 340.3}
Then it will be seen that Satan’s rebellion against God has resulted in ruin to himself and to all that chose to become his subjects. He has represented that great good would result from transgression; but it will be seen that “the wages of sin is death.” “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. Satan, the root of every sin, and all evil workers, who are his branches, shall be utterly cut off. An end will be made of sin, with all the woe and ruin that have resulted from it. Says the psalmist, “Thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end.” Psalm 9:5, 6. {PP 341.1}
But amid the tempest of divine judgment the children of God will have no cause for fear. “The Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16. The day that brings terror and destruction to the transgressors of God’s law will bring to the obedient “joy unspeakable and full of glory” “Gather My saints together unto Me,” saith the Lord, “those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is Judge Himself.”
{PP 341.2}
“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Malachi 3:18. “Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law.” “Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, . . . thou shalt no more drink it again.” “I, even I, am He that comforteth you.” Isaiah 51:7, 22, 12. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee,
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neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. {PP 341.3}
The great plan of redemption results in fully bringing back the world into God’s favor. All that was lost by sin is restored. Not only man but the earth is redeemed, to be the eternal abode of the obedient. For six thousand years Satan has struggled t o maintain possession of the earth. Now God’s original purpose in its creation is accomplished. “The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18. {PP 342.1}

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3. “In that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” “And Jehovah shall be king over all the earth.” Zechariah 14:9. Says the Scripture, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” “All His commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.” Psalm 119:89; 111:7, 8. The sacred statutes which Satan has hated and sought to destroy, will be honored throughout a sinless universe. And “as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.” Isaiah 61:11. {PP 342.2}

Chap. 30 – The Tabernacle and Its Services

The command was communicated to Moses while in the mount with God, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them;” and full directions were given for the construction of the tabernacle. By their apostasy the Israelites forfeited the blessing of the divine Presence, and for the time rendered impossible the erection of a sanctuary for God among them. But after they were again taken into favor with Heaven, the great leader proceeded to execute the divine command. {PP 343.1}
Chosen men were especially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. God Himself gave to Moses the plan of that structure, with particular directions as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy places made with hands were to be “figures of the true,” “patterns of things in the heavens” ( Hebrews 9:24,
23)–a miniature representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner’s behalf. God presented before Moses in the mount a view of the heavenly sanctuary, and commanded him to make all things according to the pattern shown him. All these directions were carefully recorded by Moses, who communicated them to the leaders of the people. {PP 343.2}
For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. “Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering” was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High. {PP 343.3}
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All the people responded with one accord. “They came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all His service, an d for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willinghearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.” {PP 344.1}

“And every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and sealskins, brought them. Everyone that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering: and every ma n, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. {PP 344.2}
“And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats’ hair. {PP 344.3}

“And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; and the spice, and the oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.” Exodus 35:23-28, R.V. {PP 344.4}
While the building of the sanctuary was in progress the people, old and young–men, women, and children–continued to bring their offerings, until those in charge of the work found that they had enough, and even more than could be used. And Moses caused to be proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.” The murmurings of the Israelites and the visitations of God’s judgments because of their sins are recorded as a warning to after-generations. And their devotion, their zeal and liberality, are an example worthy of imitation. All who love the worship of God and prize the blessing of His sacred presence will manifest the same spirit of sacrifice in preparing a house where He may meet with them. They will desire to bring to the Lord an offering of the very best that they possess. A house built for God should not be left in debt, for He is thereby dishonored. An amount sufficient to accomplish the work should be freely given, that the workmen
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may be able to say, as did the builders of the tabernacle, “Bring no more offerings.” {PP 344.5}
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could be taken apart and borne with the Israelites in all their journeyings. It was therefore small, being not more than fifty-five feet in length, and eighteen in breadth and height. Yet it was a magnificent structure. The wood employed for the building and its furniture was that of the acacia tree, which was less subject to decay than any other to be obtained at Sinai. The walls consisted of upright boards, set in silver sockets, and held firm by pillars and connecting bars; and all were overlaid with gold, giving to the building the appearance of solid gold. The roof was formed of four sets of curtains, the innermost of “fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work;” the other three respectively were of goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and sealskins, so arranged as to afford complete protection. {PP 347.1}
The building was divided into two apartments by a rich and beautiful curtain, or veil, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. These, like the inner covering, which formed the ceiling, were of the most gorgeous colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully arranged, while inwrought with threads of gold and silver were cherubim to represent the angelic host who are connected with the work of the heavenly sanctuary and who are ministering spirits to the people of God on earth. {PP 347.2}

The sacred tent was enclosed in an open space called the court, which was surrounded by hangings, or screens, of fine linen, suspended from pillars of brass. The entrance to this enclosure was at the eastern end. It was closed by curtains of costly material and beautiful workmanship, though inferior to those of the sanctuary. The hangings of the court being only about half as high as the walls of the tabernacle, the building could be plainly seen by the people without. In the court, and nearest the entrance, stood the brazen altar of burnt offering. Upon this altar were consumed all the sacrifices made by fire unto the Lord, and its horns were sprinkled with the atoning blood. Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the laver, which was also of brass, made from the mirrors that had been the freewill offering of the women of Israel. At the laver the priests were to wash their hands and their feet whenever
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they went into the sacred apartments, or approached the altar to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord. {PP 347.3}
In the first apartment, or holy place, were the table of showbread, the candlestick, or lampstand, and the altar of incense. The table of showbread stood on the north. With its ornamental crown, it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table the priests were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles, and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were removed, being accounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests. On the south was the seven-branched candlestick, with its seven lamps. I ts branches were ornamented with exquisitely wrought flowers, resembling lilies, and the whole was made from one solid piece of gold. There being no windows in the tabernacle, the lamps were never all extinguished at one time, but shed their light by day and by night. Just before the veil separating the holy place from the most holy and the immediate presence of God, stood the golden altar of incense. Upon this altar the priest was to burn incense every morning and evening; its horns were touched with the blood of the sin offering, and it was sprinkled with blood upon the great Day of Atonement. The fire upon this altar was kindled by God Himself and was sacredly cherished. Day and night the holy incense diffused its fragrance throughout the sacred apartments, and without, far around the tabernacle. {PP 348.1}
Beyond the inner veil was the holy of holies, where centered the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, and which formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this apartment was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which God Himself had inscribed the Ten Commandments. Hence it was called the ark of God’s testament, or the ark of the covenant, since the Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel. {PP 348.2}
The cover of the sacred chest was called the mercy seat. This was wrought of one solid piece of gold, and was surmounted by golden cherubim, one standing on each end. One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other was folded over the body (see Ezekiel 1:11) in token of reverence and humility. The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned

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toward each other, and looking reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence with which the heavenly host regard the law of God and their interest in the plan of redemption. {PP 348.3}
Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, the manifestation of the divine Presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known His will. Divine messages were sometimes communicated to the high priest by a voice from the cloud. Sometimes a light fell upon the angel at the right, to signify approval or acceptance, or a shadow or cloud rested upon the one at the left to reveal disapproval or rejection. {PP 349.1}
The law of God, enshrined within the ark, was the great rule of righteousness and judgment. That law pronounced death upon the transgressor; but above the law was the mercy seat, upon which the presence of God was revealed, and from which, by virtue of the atonement, pardon was granted to the repentant sinner. Thus in the work of Christ for our redemption, symbolized by the sanctuary service, “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. {PP 349.2}
No language can describe the glory of the scene presented within the sanctuary–the gold-plated walls reflecting the light from the golden candlestick, the brilliant hues of the richly embroidered curtains with their shining angels, the table, and the altar of incense, glittering with gold; beyond the second veil the sacred ark, with its mystic cherubim, and above it the holy Shekinah, the visible manifestation of Jehovah’s presence; all but a dim reflection of the glories of the temple of God in heaven, the great center of the work for man’s redemption. {PP 349.3}
A period of about half a year was occupied in the building of the tabernacle. When it was completed, Moses examined all the work of the builders, comparing it with the pattern shown him in the mount and the directions he had received from God. “As the Lord had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” With eager interest the multitudes of Israel crowded around to look upon the sacred structure. While they were contemplating the scene with reverent satisfaction, the pillar of cloud floated over the sanctuary and, descending, enveloped it. “And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” There was a revealing of the divine majesty, and for a time even Moses could
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not enter. With deep emotion the people beheld the token that the work of their hands was accepted. There were no loud demonstrations of rejoicing. A solemn awe rested upon all. But the gladness of their hearts welled up in tears of joy, and they murmured low, earnest words of gratitude that God had condescended to abide with them. {PP 349.4}
By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was the priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham the priesthood was regarded as the birthright of the eldest son. Now, instead of the first-born of all Israel, the Lord accepted the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. By this signal honor He manifested His approval of their fidelity, both in adhering to His service and in executing His judgments when Israel apostatized in the worship of the golden calf. The priesthood, however, was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his sons alone were permitted to minister before the Lord; the rest of the tribe were entrusted with the charge of the tabernacle and its furniture, and they were to attend upon the priests in their ministration, but they were not to sacrifice, to burn incense, or to see the holy things till they were covered. {PP 350.1}
In accordance with their office, a special dress was appointed for the priests. “Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty,” was the divine direction to Moses. The robe of the common priest was of white linen, and woven in one piece. It extended nearly to the feet and was confined about the waist by a white linen girdle embroidered in blue, purple, and red. A linen turban, or miter, completed his outer costume. Moses at the burning bush was directed to put off his sandals, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. So the priests were not to enter the sanctuary with shoes upon their feet. Particles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place. They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the sanctuary, and also to wash both their hands and their feet before ministering in the tabernacle or at the altar of burnt offering. Thus was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must be put away from those who would approach into the presence of God. {PP 350.2}
The garments of the high priest were of costly material and beautiful workmanship, befitting his exalted station. In addition
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to the linen dress of the common priest, he wore a robe of blue, also woven in one piece. Around the skirt it was ornamented with golden bells, and pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet. Outside of this was the ephod, a shorter garment of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and white. It was confined by a girdle of the same colors, beautifully wrought. The ephod was sleeveless, and on its gold-embroidered shoulder pieces were set two onyx stones, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. {PP 350.3}
Over the ephod was the breastplate, the most sacred of the priestly vestments. This was of the same material as the ephod. It was in the form of a square, measuring a span, and was suspended from the shoulders by a cord of blue from golden rings. The border was formed of a variety of precious stones, the same that form the twelve foundations of the City of God. Within the border were twelve stones set in gold, arranged in rows of four, and, like those in the shoulder pieces, engraved with the names of the tribes. The Lord’s direction was, “Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” Exodus 28:29. So Christ, the great High Priest, pleading His blood before the Father in the sinner’s behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every repentant, believing soul. Says the psalmist, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” Psalm 40:17. {PP 351.1}
At the right and left of the breastplate were two large stones of great brilliancy. These were known as the Urim and Thummim. By them the will of God was made known through the high priest. When questions were brought for decision before the Lord, a halo of light encircling the precious stone at the right was a token of the divine consent or approval, while a cloud shadowing the stone at the left was an evidence of denial or disapprobation. {PP 351.2}

The miter of the high priest consisted of the white linen turban, having attached to it by a lace of blue, a gold plate bearing the inscription, “Holiness to Jehovah.” Everything connected with the apparel and deportment of the priests was to be such as to impress the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God, the sacredness of His worship, and the purity required of those who came into His presence. {PP 351.3}
Not only the sanctuary itself, but the ministration of the
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priests, was to “serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. Thus it was of great importance; and the Lord, through Moses, gave the most definite and explicit instruction concerning every point of this typical service. The ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy place; while the yearly service was in the most holy. {PP 351.4}
No mortal eye but that of the high priest was to look upon the inner apartment of the sanctuary. Only once a year could the priest enter there, and that after the most careful and solemn preparation. With trembling he went in before God, and the people in reverent silence awaited his return, their hearts uplifted in earnest prayer for the divine blessing. Before the mercy seat the high priest made the atonement for Israel; and in the cloud of glory, God met with him. His stay here beyond the accustomed time filled them with fear, lest because of their sins or his own he had been slain by the glory of the Lord. {PP 352.1}
The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins. And there were also offerings for sabbaths, new moons, and special feasts. {PP 352.2}
Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be “without blemish.” Exodus 12:5. The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering “without blemish” could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as “a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19. The apostle Paul points to these sacrifices as an illustration of what the followers of Christ are to become . He says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything
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less than the best we can offer. Those who love Him with all the heart, will desire to give Him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will. {PP 352.3}
In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily ministration. As the inner veil of the sanctuary did not extend to the top of the building, the glory of God, which was manifested above the mercy seat, was partially visible from the first apartment. When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked toward the ark; and as the cloud of incense arose, the divine glory descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place, and often so filled both apartments that the priest was obliged to retire to the door of the tabernacle. As in that typical service the priest looked by faith to the mercy seat which he could not see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great High Priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading in their behalf in the sanctuary above. {PP 353.1}
The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By blood and by incense God was to be approached–symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul. {PP 353.2}
As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice
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were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings. {PP 353.3}
The showbread was kept ever before the Lord as a perpetual offering. Thus it was a part of the daily sacrifice. It was called showbread, or “bread of the presence,” because it was ever before the face of the Lord. It was an acknowledgment of man’s dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, and that it is received only through the mediation of Christ. God had fed Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven, and they were still dependent upon His bounty, both for temporal food and spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the showbread pointed to Christ, the living Bread, who is ever in the presence of God for us. He Himself said, “I am the living Bread which came down from heaven.” John 6:48-51. Frankincense was placed upon the loaves. When the bread was removed every Sabbath, to be replaced by fresh loaves, the frankincense was burned upon the altar as a memorial before God. {PP 354.1}
The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 6.] but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying, “God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.”
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Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary. {PP 354.2}
Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the year. The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to “cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” Leviticus 16:19. {PP 355.1}
Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration. {PP 355.2}
On the Day of Atonement two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, “one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” The goat upon which the first lot fell was to be slain as a sin offering for the people. And the priest was to bring his blood within the veil, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgression in a ll their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” {PP 355.3}
“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by t he hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited.” Not until the goat had been thus sent away did the people regard themselves as freed from the burden of their sins. Every man was to afflict his soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart. {PP 355.4}
Important truths concerning the atonement were taught the people by this yearly service. In the sin offerings presented during the year, a substitute had been accepted in the sinner’s stead; but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for the sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was
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transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied. Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, and, leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel’s guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” And as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were, with him, regarded as forever separated from the people. Such was the service performed “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:5. {PP 355.5}
As has been stated, the earthly sanctuary was built by Moses according to the pattern shown him in the mount. It was “a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;” its two holy places were “patterns of things in the heavens;” Christ, our great High Priest, is “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2. As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he beheld there “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.” He saw an angel “having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” Revelation 4:5; 8:3. Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the “seven lamps of fire” and the “golden altar” represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth . Again, “the temple of God was opened” (Revelation 11:19), and he looked within the inner veil, upon the holy of holies. Here he beheld “the ark of His testament” (Revelation 11:19), represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of God. {PP 356.1}
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Moses made the earthly sanctuary, “according to the fashion that he had seen.” Paul declares that “the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry,” when completed, were “the patterns of things in the heavens.” Acts 7:44; Hebrews 9:21, 23. And John says that he saw the sanctuary in heaven. That sanctuary, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy. {PP 357.1}
The heavenly temple, the abiding place of the King of kings, where “thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him” (Daniel 7:10), that temple filled with the glory of the eternal throne, where seraphim, its shining guardians, veil their faces in adoration–no earthly structure could represent its vastness and its glory. Yet important truths concerning the heavenly sanctuary and the great work there carried forward for man’s redemption were to be taught by the earthly sanctuary and its services. {PP 357.2}
After His ascension, our Saviour was to begin His work as our High Priest. Says Paul, “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24. As Christ’s ministration was to consist of two great divisions, each occupying a period of time and having a distinctive place in the heavenly sanctuary, so the typical ministration consisted of two divisions, the daily and the yearly service, and to each a department of the tabernacle was devoted. {PP 357.3}
As Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest in the daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place in the sinner’s behalf. {PP 357.4}
The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement. {PP 357.5}
In the great day of final award, the dead are to be “judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20:12. Then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or
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cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services of the Day of Atonement–the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted. {PP 357.6}
As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation. {PP 358.1}
Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ’s work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat. {PP 358.2}
Thus in the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day the great truths relative to Christ’s death and ministration, and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. {PP 358.3}

Chap. 32 – The Law and the Covenants

Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God; they were acquainted with its claims upon them; its precepts were written upon their hearts. When man fell by transgression the law was not changed, but a remedial system was established to bring him back to obedience. The promise of a Saviour was given, and sacrificial offerings pointing forward to the death of Christ as the great sin offering were established. But had the law of God never been transgressed, there would have been no death, and no need of a Saviour; consequently there would have been no need of sacrifices. {PP 363.1}
Adam taught his descendants the law of God, and it was handed down from father to son through successive generations. But notwithstanding the gracious provision for man’s redemption, there were few who accepted it and rendered obedience. By transgression the world became so vile that it was necessary to cleanse it by the Flood from its corruption. The law was preserved by Noah and his family, and Noah taught his descendants the Ten Commandments. As men again departed from God, the Lord chose Abraham, of whom He declared, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. To him was given the rite of circumcision, which was a sign that those who received it were devoted to the service of God–a pledge that they would remain separate from idolatry, and would obey the law of God. The failure of Abraham’s descendants to keep this pledge, as shown in their disposition to form alliances with the heathen and adopt their practices, was the cause of their sojourn and bondage in Egypt. But in their intercourse with idolaters, and their forced submission to the Egyptians, the divine precepts became still further corrupted with the vile and cruel teachings of heathenism. Therefore
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when the Lord brought them forth from Egypt, He came down upon Sinai, enshrouded in glory and surrounded by His angels, and in awful majesty spoke His law in the hearing of all the people. {PP 363.2}
He did not even then trust His precepts to the memory of a people who were prone to forget His requirements, but wrote them upon tables of stone. He would remove from Israel all possibility of mingling heathen traditions with His holy precepts, or of confounding His requirements with human ordinances or customs. But He did not stop with giving them the precepts of the Decalogue. The people had shown themselves so easily led astray that He would leave no door of temptation unguarded. Moses was commanded to write, as God should bid him, judgments and laws giving minute instruction as to what was required. These directions relating to the duty of the people to God, to one another, and to the stranger were only the principles of the Ten Commandments amplified and given in a specific manner, that none need err. They were designed to guard the sacredness of the ten precepts engraved on the tables of stone. {PP 364.1}
If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God’s law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the people practiced the principles of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need of the additional directions given to Moses. {PP 364.2}
The sacrificial system, committed to Adam, was also perverted by his descendants. Superstition, idolatry, cruelty, and licentiousness corrupted the simple and significant service that God had appointed. Through long intercourse with idolaters the people of Israel had mingled many heathen customs with their worship; therefore the Lord gave them at Sinai definite instruction concerning the sacrificial service. After the completion of the tabernacle He communicated with Moses from the cloud of glory above the mercy seat, and gave him full directions concerning the system of offerings and the forms of worship to be
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maintained in the sanctuary. The ceremonial law was thus given to Moses, and by him written in a book. But the law of Ten Commandments spoken from Sinai had been written by God Himself on the tables of stone, and was sacredly preserved in the ark. {PP 364.3}
There are many who try to blend these two systems, using the texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law has been abolished; but this is a perversion of the Scriptures. The distinction between the two systems is broad and clear. The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ “took . . . out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Colossians 2:14. But concerning the law of Ten Commandments the psalmist declares, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89. And Christ Himself says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law. . . . Verily I say unto you”–making the assertion as emphatic as possible–“Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18. Here He teaches, not merely what the claims of God’s law had been, and were then, but that these claims should hold as long as the heavens and the earth remain. The law of God is as immutable as His throne. It will maintain its claims upon mankind in all ages. {PP 365.1}
Concerning the law proclaimed from Sinai, Nehemiah says, “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments.” Nehemiah 9:13. And Paul, “the apostle to the Gentiles,” declares, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12. This can be no other than the Decalogue; for it is the law that says, “Thou shalt not covet.” Verse 7. {PP 365.2}

While the Saviour’s death brought to an end the law of types and shadows, it did not in the least detract from the obligation of the moral law. On the contrary, the very fact that it was necessary for Christ to die in order to atone for the transgression of that law, proves it to be immutable. {PP 365.3}
Those who claim that Christ came to abrogate the law of God
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and to do away with the Old Testament, speak of the Jewish age as one of darkness, and represent the religion of the Hebrews as consisting of mere forms and ceremonies. But this is an error. All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God with His chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of the great I AM. Never has He given to the sons of men more open manifestations of His power and glory than when He alone was acknowledged as Israel’s ruler, and gave the law to His people. Here was a scepter swayed by no human hand; and the stately goings forth of Israel’s invisible King were unspeakably grand and awful. {PP 365.4}
In all these revelations of the divine presence the glory of God was manifested through Christ. Not alone at the Saviour’s advent, but through all the ages after the Fall and the promise of redemption, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. Christ was the foundation and center of the sacrificial system in both the patriarchal and the Jewish age. Since the sin of our first parents there has been no direct communication between God and man. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may redeem man and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God. All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man’s Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face. {PP 366.1}
Christ was not only the leader of the Hebrews in the wilderness–the Angel in whom was the name of Jehovah, and who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, went before the host–but it was He who gave the law to Israel. [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 7.] Amid the awful glory of Sinai, Christ declared in the hearing of all the people the ten precepts of His Father’s law. It was He who gave to Moses the law engraved upon the tables of stone. {PP 366.2}
It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets. The apostle Peter, writing to the Christian church, says that the
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prophets “prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:10, 11. It is the voice of Christ that speaks to us through the Old Testament. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10. {PP 366.3}
In His teachings while personally among men Jesus directed the minds of the people to the Old Testament. He said to the Jews, “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.” John 5:39, R.V. At this time the books of the Old Testament were the only part of the Bible in existence. Again the Son of God declared, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And He added, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:29, 31. {PP 367.1}
The ceremonial law was given by Christ. Even after it was no longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the Jews in its true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemption and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. The solemn service of the sanctuary typified the grand truths that were to be revealed through successive generations. The cloud of incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represents His righteousness that alone can make the sinner’s prayer acceptable to God; the bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice testified of a Redeemer to come; and from the holy of holies the visible token of the divine Presence shone forth. Thus through age after age of darkness and apostasy faith was kept alive in the hearts of men until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah. {PP 367.2}
Jesus was the light of His people–the Light of the world–before He came to earth in the form of humanity. The first gleam of light that pierced the gloom in which sin had wrapped the world, came from Christ. And from Him has come every ray of heaven’s brightness that has fallen upon the inhabitants of the earth. In the plan of redemption Christ is the Alpha and the Omega–the First and the Last. {PP 367.3}
Since the Saviour shed His blood for the remission of sins, and ascended to heaven “to appear in the presence of God for
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us” (Hebrews 9:24), light has been streaming from the cross of Calvary and from the holy places of the sanctuary above. But the clearer light granted us should not cause us to despise that which in earlier times was received through the types pointing to the coming Saviour. The gospel of Christ sheds light upon the Jewish economy and gives significance to the ceremonial law. As new truths are revealed, and that which has been known from the beginning is brought into clearer light, the character and purposes of God are made manifest in His dealings with His chosen people. Every additional ray of light that we receive gives us a clearer understanding of the plan of redemption, which is the working out of the divine will in the salvation of man. We see new beauty and force in the inspired word, and we study its pages with a deeper and more absorbing interest. {PP 367.4}
The opinion is held by many that God placed a separating wall between the
Hebrews and the outside world; that His care and love, withdrawn to a great extent from the rest of mankind, were centered upon Israel. But God did not design that His people should build up a wall of partition between themselves and their fellow men. The heart of Infinite Love was reaching out toward all the inhabitants of the earth. Though they had rejected Him, He was constantly seeking to reveal Himself to them and make them partakers of His love and grace. His blessing was granted to the chosen people, that they might bless others. {PP 368.1}

God called Abraham, and prospered and honored him; and the patriarch’s fidelity was a light to the people in all the countries of his sojourn. Abraham did not shut himself away from the people around him. He maintained friendly relations with the kings of the surrounding nations, by some of whom he was treated with great respect; and his integrity and unselfishness, his valor and benevolence, were representing the character of God. In Mesopotamia, in Canaan, in Egypt, and even to the inhabitants of Sodom, the God of heaven was revealed through His representative. {PP 368.2}
So to the people of Egypt and of all the nations connected with that powerful kingdom, God manifested Himself through Joseph. Why did the Lord choose to exalt Joseph so highly among the Egyptians? He might have provided some other way for the accomplishment of His purposes toward the children of Jacob; but He desired to make Joseph a light, and He placed him in the
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palace of the king, that the heavenly illumination might extend far and near. By his wisdom and justice, by the purity and benevolence of his daily life, by his devotion to the interests of the people–and that people a nation of idolaters–Joseph was a  representative of Christ. In their benefactor, to whom all Egypt turned with gratitude and praise, that heathen people were to behold the love of their Creator and Redeemer. So in Moses also God placed a light beside the throne of the earth’s greatest kingdom, that all who would, might learn of the true and living God. And all this light was given to the Egyptians before the hand of God was stretched out over them in judgments. {PP 368.3}
In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt a knowledge of the power of God spread far and wide. The warlike people of the stronghold of Jericho trembled. “As soon as we had heard these things,” said Rahab, “our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11. Centuries after the exodus the priests of the Philistines reminded their people of the plagues of Egypt, and warned them against resisting the God of Israel. {PP 369.1}
God called Israel, and blessed and exalted them, not that by obedience to His law they alone might receive His favor and become the exclusive recipients of His blessings, but in order to reveal Himself through them to all the inhabitants of the earth. It was for the accomplishment of this very purpose that He commanded them to keep themselves distinct from the idolatrous nations around them. {PP 369.2}
Idolatry and all the sins that followed in its train were abhorrent to God, and He commanded His people not to mingle with other nations, to “do after their works,” and forget God. He forbade their marriage with idolaters, lest their hearts should be led away from Him. It was just as necessary then as it is now that God’s people should be pure, “unspotted from the world.” They must keep themselves free from its spirit, because it is opposed to truth and righteousness. But God did not intend that His people, in self-righteous exclusiveness, should shut themselves away from the world, so that they could have no influence upon it. {PP 369.3}
Like their Master, the followers of Christ in every age were to be the light of the world. The Saviour said, “A city that is set on

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an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house”–that is, in the world. And He adds, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This is just what Enoch, and Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses did. It is just what God designed that His people Israel should do. {PP 369.4}
It was their own evil heart of unbelief, controlled by Satan, that led them to hide their light, instead of shedding it upon surrounding peoples; it was that same bigoted spirit that caused them either to follow the iniquitous practices of the heathen or to shut themselves away in proud exclusiveness, as if God’s love and care were over them alone. {PP 370.1}
As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when after the Fall there was given a divine promise that the seed of t he woman should bruise the serpent’s head. To all men this covenant offered pardon and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal life on condition of fidelity to God’s law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of salvation. {PP 370.2}
This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. ” Genesis 17:1. The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. And the Lord declared to him, “I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:7. {PP 370.3}
Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It
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had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God’s law. {PP 370.4}
Another compact–called in Scripture the “old” covenant–was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the “second,” or “new, ” covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant. That the new covenant was valid in the days of Abraham is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God–the “two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie.” Hebrews 6:18. {PP 371.1} But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of redemption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai? In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him. He brought them down to the Red Sea–where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible–that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude to God and with confidence in His power to help them. He had bound them to Himself as their deliverer from temporal bondage. {PP 371.2}
But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught. {PP 371.3}
God brought them to Sinai; He manifested His glory; He gave them His law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: “If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then . . . ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a n holy nation.” Exodus 19:5, 6. The people did not realize
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the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Exodus 24:7. They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound to God as their deliverer from the bondage of sin. Now they were prepared to appreciate the blessings of the new covenant. {PP 371.4}
The terms of the “old covenant” were, Obey and live: “If a man do, he shall even live in them” (Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5); but “cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” Deuteronomy 27:26. The “new covenant” was established upon “better promises”–the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law. “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those day s, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33, 34. {PP 372.1}
The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth “the fruits of the Spirit.” Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. And when among men He said, “The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29. {PP 372.2}
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The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant. He says: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh”–it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law–“God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 5:1; 3:31; 8:3, 4. {PP 373.1}
God’s work is the same in all time, although there are different degrees of
development and different manifestations of His power, to meet the wants of men in the different ages. Beginning with the first gospel promise, and coming down through the patriarchal and Jewish ages, and even to the present time, there has been a gradual unfolding of the purposes of God in the plan of redemption. The Saviour typified in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law is the very same that is revealed in the gospel. The clouds that enveloped His divine form have rolled back; the mists and shades have disappeared; and Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, stands revealed. He who proclaimed the law from Sinai, and delivered to Moses the precepts of the ritual law, is the same that spoke the Sermon on the Mount. The great principles of love to God, which He set forth as the foundation of the law and the prophets, are only a reiteration of what He had spoken through Moses to the Hebrew people: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6:4, 5. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18. The teacher is the same in both dispensations. God’s claims are the same. The principles of His government are the same. For all proceed from Him “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. {PP 373.2}

Chap. 33 – From Sinai to Kadesh

The building of the tabernacle was not begun for some time after Israel arrived at Sinai; and the sacred structure was first set up at the opening of the second year from the Exodus. This was followed by the consecration of the priests, the celebration of the Passover, the numbering of the people, and the completion of various arrangements essential to their civil or religious system, so that nearly a year was spent in the encampment at Sinai. Here their worship had taken a more definite form, the laws had been given for the government of the nation, and a more efficient organization had been effected preparatory to their entrance into the land of Canaan. {PP 374.1}
The government of Israel was characterized by the most thorough organization, wonderful alike for its completeness and its simplicity. The order so strikingly displayed in the perfection and arrangement of all God’s created works was manifest in the Hebrew economy. God was the center of authority and government, the sovereign of Israel. Moses stood as their visible leader, by God’s appointment, to administer the laws in His name. From the elders of the tribes a council of seventy was afterward chosen t o assist Moses in the general affairs of the nation. Next came the priests, who consulted the Lord in the sanctuary. Chiefs, or princes, ruled over the tribes. Under these were “captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties , and captains over tens,” and, lastly, officers who might be employed for special duties. Deuteronomy 1:15. {PP 374.2}
The Hebrew camp was arranged in exact order. It was separated into three great divisions, each having its appointed position in the encampment. In the center was the tabernacle, the abiding place of the invisible King. Around it were stationed
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the priests and Levites. Beyond these were encamped all the other tribes. {PP 374.3}
To the Levites was committed the charge of the tabernacle and all that pertained thereto, both in the camp and on the journey. When the camp set forward they were to strike the sacred tent; when a halting place was reached they were to set it up. No person of another tribe was allowed to come near, on pain of death. The Levites were separated into three divisions, the descendants of the three sons of Levi, and each was assigned its special position and work. In front of the tabernacle, and nearest to i t, were the tents of Moses and Aaron. On the south were the Kohathites, whose duty it was to care for the ark and the other furniture; on the north Merarites, who were placed in charge of the pillars, sockets, boards, etc.; in the rear the Gershonites, to whom the care of the curtains and hangings was committed. {PP 375.1}
The position of each tribe also was specified. Each was to march and to encamp beside its own standard, as the Lord had commanded: “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.” “As they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.” Numbers 2:2, 17. The mixed multitude that had accompanied Israel from Egypt were not permitted to occupy the same quarters with the tribes, but were to abide upon the outskirts of the camp; and their offspring were to be excluded from the community until the third generation. Deuteronomy 23:7, 8. {PP 375.2}
Scrupulous cleanliness as well as strict order throughout the encampment and its environs was enjoined. Thorough sanitary regulations were enforced. Every person who was unclean from any cause was forbidden to enter the camp. These measures were indispensable to the preservation of health among so vast a multitude; and it was necessary also that perfect order and purity be maintained, that Israel might enjoy the presence of a holy God. Thus He declared: “The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy.” {PP 375.3}
In all the journeyings of Israel, “the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them, . . . to search out a resting place
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for them.” Numbers 10:33. Borne by the sons of Kohath, the sacred chest containing God’s holy law was to lead the van. Before it went Moses and Aaron; and the priests, bearing silver trumpets, were stationed near. These priests received directions from Moses, which they communicated to the people by the trumpets. It was the duty of the leaders of each company to give definite directions concerning all the movements to be made, as indicated by the trumpets. Whoever neglected to comply with the directions given was punished with death. {PP 375.4}
God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. Success can only attend order and harmonious action. God requires order and system in His work now no less than in the days of Israel. All who are working for Him are to labor intelligently, not in a careless, haphazard manner. He would have his work done with faith and exactness, that He may place the seal of His approval upon it. {PP 376.1}
God Himself directed the Israelites in all their travels. The place of their encampment was indicated by the descent of the pillar of cloud; and so long as they were to remain in camp, the cloud rested over the tabernacle. When they were to continue t heir journey it was lifted high above the sacred tent. A solemn invocation marked both the halt and the departure. “It came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before
Thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.” Numbers 10:35, 36. {PP 376.2}
A distance of only eleven days’ journey lay between Sinai and Kadesh, on the borders of Canaan; and it was with the prospect of speedily entering the goodly land that the hosts of Israel resumed their march when the cloud at last gave the signal for an onward movement. Jehovah had wrought wonders in bringing them from Egypt, and what blessings might they not expect now that they had formally covenanted to accept Him as their Sovereign, and had been acknowledged as the chosen people of the Most High? {PP 376.3}
Yet it was almost with reluctance that many left the place where they had so long encamped. They had come almost to regard it as their home. Within the shelter of those granite walls
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God had gathered His people, apart from all other nations, to repeat to them His holy law. They loved to look upon the sacred mount, on whose hoary peaks and barren ridges the divine glory had so often been displayed. The scene was so closely associated with the presence of God and holy angels that it seemed too sacred to be left thoughtlessly, or even gladly. {PP 376.4}
At the signal from the trumpeters, however, the entire camp set forward, the tabernacle borne in the midst, and each tribe in its appointed position, under its own standard. All eyes were turned anxiously to see in what direction the cloud would lead. As it moved toward the east, where were only mountain masses huddled together, black and desolate, a feeling of sadness and doubt arose in many hearts. {PP 377.1}
As they advanced, the way became more difficult. Their route lay through stony ravine and barren waste. All around them was the great wilderness–“a land of deserts and of pits,” “a land of drought, and of the shadow of death,” “a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt.” Jeremiah 2:6. The rocky gorges, far and near, were thronged with men, women, and children, with beasts and wagons, and long lines of flocks and herds. Their progress was necessarily slow and toilsome; and the multitudes, after their long encampment, were not prepared to endure the perils and discomforts of the way. {PP 377.2}
After three days’ journey open complaints were heard. These originated with the mixed multitude, many of whom were not fully united with Israel, and were continually watching for some cause of censure. The complainers were not pleased with the direction of the march, and they were continually finding fault with the way in which Moses was leading them, though they well knew that he, as well as they, was following the guiding cloud. Dissatisfaction is contagious, and it soon spread in the encampment. {PP 377.3}
Again they began to clamor for flesh to eat. Though abundantly supplied with manna, they were not satisfied. The Israelites, during their bondage in Egypt, had been compelled to subsist on the plainest and simplest food; but then keen appetite induced by privation and hard labor had made it palatable. Many of the Egyptians, however, who were now among them, had been accustomed to a luxurious diet; and these were the
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first to complain. At the giving of the manna, just before Israel reached Sinai, the Lord had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors; but it was furnished them for only one day. {PP 377.4}
God might as easily have provided them with flesh as with manna, but a restriction was placed upon them for their good. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many had become accustomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man–the fruits of the earth, which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden. It was for this reason that the Israelites had been deprived, in a great measure, of animal food. {PP 378.1}
Satan tempted them to regard this restriction as unjust and cruel. He caused them to lust after forbidden things, because he saw that the unrestrained indulgence of appetite would tend to produce sensuality, and by this means the people could be more easily brought under his control. The author of disease and misery will assail men where he can have the greatest success. Through temptations addressed to the appetite he has, to a large extent, led men into sin from the time when he induced Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. It was by this same means that he led Israel to murmur against God. Intemperance in eating and drinking, leading as it does to the indulgence of the lower passions, prepares the way for men to disregard all moral obligations. When assailed by temptation, they have little power of resistance. {PP 378.2}

God brought the Israelites from Egypt, that He might establish them in the land of Canaan, a pure, holy, and happy people. In the accomplishment of this object He subjected them to a course of discipline, both for their own good and for the good of their posterity. Had they been willing to deny appetite, in obedience to His wise restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed both physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment. But their unwillingness to submit to the restrictions and requirements of God, prevented them, to a great extent, from reaching the high standard which He desired them to attain, and from receiving the blessings which He was ready to bestow upon them. {PP 378.3}
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Says the psalmist: “They tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? can He provide flesh for His people? Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth.” Psalm 78:18-21. Murmuring and tumults had been frequent during the journey from the Red Sea to Sinai, but in pity for their ignorance and blindness Go d had not then visited the sin with judgments. But since that time He had revealed Himself to them at Horeb. They had received great light, as they had been witnesses to the majesty, the power, and the mercy of God; and their unbelief and discontent incurred the greater guilt. Furthermore, they had covenanted to accept Jehovah as their king and to obey His authority. Their murmuring was now rebellion, and as such it must receive prompt and signal punishment, if Israel was to be preserved from anarchy and ruin. “The fire of Jehovah burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” The most guilty of the complainers were slain by lightning from the cloud. {PP 379.1}
The people in terror besought Moses to entreat the Lord for them. He did so, and the fire was quenched. In memory of this judgment he called the name of the place Taberah, “a burning.” {PP 379.2}
But the evil was soon worse than before. Instead of leading the survivors to humiliation and repentance, this fearful judgment seemed only to increase their murmurings. In all directions the people were gathered at the door of their tents, weeping and lamenting. “The mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” Thus they manifested their discontent with the food provided for them by their Creator. Yet they had constant evidence that it was adapted to their wants; for notwithstanding the hardships they endured, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes. {PP 379.3}
The heart of Moses sank. He had pleaded that Israel should not be destroyed, even though his own posterity might then become a great nation. In his love for them he had prayed that his

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name might be blotted from the book of life rather than that they should be left to perish. He had imperiled all for them, and this was their response. All their hardships, even their imaginary sufferings, they charged upon him; and their wicked murmurings made doubly heavy the burden of care and responsibility under which he staggered. In his distress he was tempted even to distrust God. His prayer was almost a complaint. “Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favor in Thy sight, that Thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? . . . Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.” {PP 379.4}
The Lord hearkened to his prayer, and directed him to summon seventy men of the elders of Israel–men not only advanced in years, but possessing dignity, sound judgment, and experience. “And bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation,” He said, “that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. ” {PP 380.1}
The Lord permitted Moses to choose for himself the most faithful and efficient men to share the responsibility with him. Their influence would assist in holding in check the violence of the people, and quelling insurrection; yet serious evils would eventually result from their promotion. They would never have been chosen had Moses manifested faith corresponding to the evidences he had witnessed of God’s power and goodness. But he had magnified his own burdens and services, almost losing sight of the fact that he was only the instrument by which God had wrought. He was not excusable in indulging, in the slightest degree, the spirit of murmuring that was the curse of Israel. Had he relied fully upon God, the Lord would have guided him continually and would have given him strength for every emergency. {PP 380.2}
Moses was directed to prepare the people for what God was about to do for them. “Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
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Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; but even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” {PP 380.3}
“The people, among whom I am,” exclaimed Moses, “are six hundred thousand footmen; and Thou has said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them?” {PP 381.1}
He was reproved for his distrust: “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” {PP 381.2}
Moses repeated to the congregation the words of the Lord, and announced the appointment of the seventy elders. The great leader’s charge to these chosen men might well serve as a model of judicial integrity for the judges and legislators of modern times: “Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s.” Deuteronomy 1:16, 17. {PP 381.3}
Moses now summoned the seventy to the tabernacle. “And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” Like the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, they were endued with “power from on high.” It pleased the Lord thus to prepare them for their work, and to honor them in the presence of the congregation, that confidence might be established in them as men divinely chosen to unite with Moses in the government of Israel. {PP 381.4}
Again evidence was given of the lofty, unselfish spirit of the great leader. Two of the seventy, humbly counting themselves unworthy of so responsible a position, had not joined their brethren at the tabernacle; but the Spirit of God came upon them where they were, and they, too, exercised the prophetic gift. On being informed of this, Joshua desired to check such irregularity, fearing that it might tend to division. Jealous for the honor of
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his master, “My lord Moses,” he said, “forbid them.” The answer was, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” {PP 381.5}
A strong wind blowing from the sea now brought flocks of quails, “about a day’s journey on this side, and a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits above the face of the earth.” Numbers 11:31, R.V. All that day and night, and the following day, the people labored in gathering the food miraculously provided. Immense quantities were secured. “He that gathered least gathered ten homers.” All that was not needed for present use was preserved by drying, so that the supply, as promised, was sufficient for a whole month. {PP 382.1}
God gave the people that which was not for their highest good, because they persisted in desiring it; they would not be satisfied with those things that would prove a benefit to them. Their rebellious desires were gratified, but they were left to suffer the result. They feasted without restraint, and their excesses were speedily punished. “The Lord smote the people with a very great plague.” Large numbers were cut down by burning fevers, while the most guilty among them were smitten as soon as they tasted the food for which they had lusted. {PP 382.2}
At Hazeroth, the next encampment after leaving Taberah, a still more bitter trial awaited Moses. Aaron and Miriam had occupied a position of high honor and leadership in Israel. Both were endowed with the prophetic gift, and both had been divinely associated with Moses in the deliverance of the Hebrews. “I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4), are the words of the Lord by the prophet Micah. Miriam’s force of character had been early displayed when as a child she watched beside the Nile the little basket in which was hidden the infant Moses. Her self-control and tact God had made instrumental in preserving the deliverer of His people. Richly endowed with the gifts of poetry and music, Miriam had led the women of Israel in song and dance on the shore of the Red Sea. In the affections of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to Moses and Aaron. But the same evil that first brought discord in heaven sprang up in the heart of this woman of Israel, and she did not fail to find a sympathizer in her dissatisfaction. {PP 382.3}
In the appointment of the seventy elders Miriam and Aaron
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had not been consulted, and their jealousy was excited against Moses. At the time of Jethro’s visit, while the Israelites were on the way to Sinai, the ready acceptance by Moses of the counsel of his father-in-law had aroused in Aaron and Miriam a fear that his influence with the great leader exceeded theirs. In the organization of the council of elders they felt that their position and authority had been ignored. Miriam and Aaron had never known the weight of care and responsibility which had rested upon Moses; yet because they had been chosen to aid him they regarded themselves as sharing equally with him the burden of leadership, and they regarded the appointment of further assistants as uncalled for. {PP 382.4}
Moses felt the importance of the great work committed to him as no other man had ever felt it. He realized his own weakness, and he made God his counselor. Aaron esteemed himself more highly, and trusted less in God. He had failed when entrusted with responsibility, giving evidence of the weakness of his character by his base compliance in the matter of the idolatrous worship at Sinai. But Miriam and Aaron, blinded by jealousy and ambition, lost sight of this. Aaron had been highly honored by God in the appointment of his family to the sacred office of the priesthood; yet even this now added to the desire for self-exaltation. “And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath He not spoken also by us?” Regarding themselves as equally favored by God, they felt that they were entitled to the same position and authority. {PP 383.1}
Yielding to the spirit of dissatisfaction, Miriam found cause of complaint in events that God had especially overruled. The marriage of Moses had been displeasing to her. That he should choose a woman of another nation, instead of taking a wife from a mong the Hebrews, was an offense to her family and national pride. Zipporah was treated with ill-disguised contempt. {PP 383.2}
Though called a “Cushite woman” (Numbers 12:1, R.V.), the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal appearance she differed from the Hebrews in being of a somewhat darker complexion. Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. She was of a timid, retiring disposition, gentle and affectionate, and greatly distressed at the sight of suffering; and it was for this reason that Moses, when on the way to Egypt, had consented to her return to Midian.
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He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments that were to fall on the Egyptians. {PP 383.3}
When Zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength, and she made known her fears to Jethro, who suggested measures for his relief. Here was the chief reason for Miriam’s antipathy to Zipporah. Smarting under the supposed neglect shown to herself and Aaron, she regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking them into his counsels as formerly. Had Aaron stood up firmly for the right, he might have checked the evil; but instead of showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized with her, listened to her words of complaint, and thus came to share her jealousy. {PP 384.1}
Their accusations were borne by Moses in uncomplaining silence. It was the experience gained during the years of toil and waiting in Midian–the spirit of humility and long-suffering there developed–that prepared Moses to meet with patience the unbelief and murmuring of the people and the pride and envy of those who should have been his unswerving helpers. Moses “was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,” and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. They have a sincere desire to know and to do the will of God. The Saviour’s promise is, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” John 7:17. And He declares by the apostle James, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. But His promise is only to those who are willing to follow the Lord wholly. God does not force the will of any; hence He cannot lead those who are too proud to be taught, who are bent upon having their own way. Of the
double-minded man–he who seeks to follow his own will, while professing to do the will of God–it is written, “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” James 1:7. {PP 384.2}
God had chosen Moses, and had put His Spirit upon him; and Miriam and Aaron, by their murmurings, were guilty of
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disloyalty, not only to their appointed leader, but to God Himself. The seditious whisperers were summoned to the tabernacle, and brought face to face with Moses. “And Jehovah came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam.” Their claim to the prophetic gift was not denied; God might have spoken to them in visions and dreams. But to Moses, whom the Lord Himself declared “faithful in all Mine house,” a nearer communion had been granted. With him God spake mouth to mouth. “Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and He departed.” The cloud disappeared from the tabernacle in token of God’s
displeasure, and Miriam was smitten. She “became leprous, white as snow.” Aaron was spared, but he was severely rebuked in Miriam’s punishment. Now, their pride humbled in the dust, Aaron confessed their sin, and entreated that his sister might not be left to perish by that loathsome and deadly scourge. In answer to the prayers of Moses the leprosy was cleansed. Miriam was, however, shut out of the camp for seven days. Not until she was banished from the encampment did the symbol of God’s favor again rest upon the tabernacle. In respect for her high position, and in grief at the blow that had fallen upon her, the whole company abode in Hazeroth, awaiting her return. {PP 384.3}
This manifestation of the Lord’s displeasure was designed to be a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent and insubordination. If Miriam’s envy and dissatisfaction had not been signally rebuked, it would have resulted in great evil. Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human heart, and it is one of the most baleful in its effects. Says the wise man, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Proverbs 27:4. It was envy that first caused discord in heaven, and its indulgence has wrought untold evil among men. “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16. {PP
385.1}
It should not be regarded as a light thing to speak evil of others or to make ourselves judges of their motives or actions. “He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” James 4:11. There is but one judge–He “who both will bring to light the
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hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” 1
Corinthians 4:5. And whoever takes it upon himself to judge and condemn his fellow men is usurping the prerogative of the Creator. {PP 385.2}
The Bible specially teaches us to beware of lightly bringing accusation against those whom God has called to act as His ambassadors. The apostle Peter, describing a class who are abandoned sinners, says, “Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are n ot afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” 2 Peter 2:10, 11. And Paul,
in his instruction for those who are placed over the church, says, “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19. He who has placed upon men the heavy responsibility of leaders and teachers of His people will hold the people accountable for the manner in which they treat His servants. We are to honor those whom God has honored. The judgment visited upon Miriam should be a rebuke to all who yield to jealousy, and murmur against those upon whom God lays the burden of His work. {PP 386.1}

Chap. 34 – The Twelve Spies

Eleven days after leaving Mount Horeb the Hebrew host encamped at Kadesh, in the wilderness of Paran, which was not far from the borders of the Promised Land. Here it was proposed by the people that spies be sent up to survey the country. The matter was presented before the Lord by Moses, and permission was granted, with the direction that one of the rulers of each tribe should be selected for this purpose. The men were chosen as had been directed, and Moses bade them go and see the country, what it was, its situation and natural advantages; and the people that dwelt therein, whether they were strong or weak, few or many; also to observe the nature of the soil and its productiveness and to bring of the fruit of the land. {PP 387.1}
They went, and surveyed the whole land, entering at the southern border and proceeding to the northern extremity. They returned after an absence of forty days. The people of Israel were cherishing high hopes and were waiting in eager expectancy. The news of the spies’ return was carried from tribe to tribe and was hailed with rejoicing. The people rushed out to meet the messengers, who had safely escaped the dangers
of their perilous undertaking. The spies brought specimens of the fruit, showing the fertility of the soil. It was in the time of ripe grapes, and they brought a cluster of grapes so large that it was carried between two men. They also brought of the figs and pomegranates which grew there in abundance. {PP 387.2}
The people rejoiced that they were to come into possession of so goodly a land, and they listened intently as the report was brought to Moses, that not a word should
escape them. “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us,” the spies began, “and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” The people were enthusiastic; they would eagerly obey the voice of the Lord, and go up at once to possess the land. But
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after describing the beauty and fertility of the land, all but two of the spies enlarged
upon the difficulties and dangers that lay before the Israelites should they undertake the conquest of Canaan. They enumerated the powerful nations located in various parts of the country, and said that the cities were walled and very great, and the people who dwelt therein were strong, and it would be impossible to conquer them. They also stated that they had seen giants, the sons of Anak, there, and it was useless to think of possessing the land. {PP 387.3}
Now the scene changed. Hope and courage gave place to cowardly despair, as the spies uttered the sentiments of their unbelieving hearts, which were filled with discouragement prompted by Satan. Their unbelief cast a gloomy shadow over the congregation, and the mighty power of God, so often manifested in behalf of the
chosen nation, was forgotten. The people did not wait to reflect; they did not reason that
He who had brought them thus far would certainly give them the land; they did not call to mind how wonderfully God had delivered them from their oppressors, cutting a path through the sea and destroying the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. They left God out of the question, and acted as though they must depend solely on the power of arms. {PP
388.1}
In their unbelief they limited the power of God and distrusted the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. And they repeated their former error of murmuring against Moses and Aaron. “This, then, is the end of our high hopes,” they said. “This is th e land we have traveled all the way from Egypt to possess.” They accused their leaders of deceiving the people and bringing trouble upon Israel. {PP 388.2}
The people were desperate in their disappointment and despair. A wail of agony arose and mingled with the confused murmur of voices. Caleb comprehended the situation, and, bold to stand in defense of the word of God, he did all in his power to counteract the evil influence of his unfaithful associates. For an instant the people were stilled to listen to his words of hope and courage respecting the goodly land. He did not contradict what had already been said; the walls were high and the Canaanites stro ng. But God had promised the land to Israel. “Let us go up at once and possess it,” urged Caleb; “for we are well able to overcome it.” {PP 388.3}
But the ten, interrupting him, pictured the obstacles in darker colors than at first. “We be not able to go up against the people,”
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they declared; “for they are stronger than we. . . . All the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” {PP 388.4}
These men, having entered upon a wrong course, stubbornly set themselves against
Caleb and Joshua, against Moses, and against God. Every advance step rendered them the more determined. They were resolved to discourage all effort to gain possession of Canaan. They distorted the truth in order to sustain their baleful influence. It “is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof,” they said. This was not only an evil report, but it was also a lying one. It was inconsistent with itself. The spies had declared the country to be fruitful and prosperous, and the people of giant stature, all of which would be impossible if the climate were so unhealthful that the land could be said to “eat up the inhabitants.” But when men yield their hearts to unbelief they place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to what lengths he will lead them. {PP 389.1}
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.” Revolt and open mutiny quickly followed; for Satan had full sway, and the people seemed bereft of reason. They cursed Moses and Aaron, forgetting that God
hearkened to their wicked speeches, and that, enshrouded in the cloudy pillar, the Angel of His presence was witnessing their terrible outburst of wrath. In bitterness they cried out, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” Then their feelings rose against God: “Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to anot her, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Thus they accused not only Moses,
but God Himself, of deception, in promising them a land which they were not able to possess. And they went so far as to appoint a captain to lead them back to the land of their suffering and bondage, from which they had been delivered by the strong arm of Omnipotence. {PP 389.2}
In humiliation and distress “Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel,” not knowing what to do to turn them from their rash and passionate purpose. Caleb and Joshua attempted to quiet the

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tumult. With their garments rent in token of grief and indignation, they rushed in among the people, and their ringing voices were heard above the tempest of lamentation and rebellious grief: “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.” {PP 389.3}
The Canaanites had filled up the measure of their iniquity, and the Lord would no longer bear with them. His protection being removed, they would be an easy prey. By
the covenant of God the land was ensured to Israel. But the false report of the unfai thful spies was accepted, and through it the whole congregation were deluded. The traitors had done their work. If only the two men had brought the evil report, and all the ten had encouraged them to possess the land in the name of the Lord, they would sti ll have taken the advice of the two in preference to the ten, because of their wicked unbelief.
But there were only two advocating the right, while ten were on the side of rebellion.
{PP 390.1}
The unfaithful spies were loud in denunciation of Caleb and Joshua, and the cry was raised to stone them. The insane mob seized missiles with which to slay those faithful men. They rushed forward with yells of madness, when suddenly the stones dropped from their hands, a hush fell upon them, and they shook with fear. God had interposed to check their murderous design. The glory of His presence, like a flaming light, illuminated the tabernacle. All the people beheld the signal of the Lord. A mightier on e than they had revealed Himself, and none dared continue their resistance. The spies who brought the evil report crouched terror-stricken, and with bated breath sought their tents. {PP 390.2}
Moses now arose and entered the tabernacle. The Lord declared to him, “I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation.” But again Moses pleaded for his people. He could not consent to have them destr oyed, and he himself made a mightier nation. Appealing to the mercy of God, he said: “I beseech Thee, let the power of my Lord be great according as Thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy. . . . Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Thy
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mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” {PP 390.3}
The Lord promised to spare Israel from immediate destruction; but because of their unbelief and cowardice He could not manifest His power to subdue their enemies. Therefore in His mercy He bade them, as the only safe course, to turn back toward the Red Sea. {PP 391.1}
In their rebellion the people had exclaimed, “Would God we had died in this wilderness!” Now this prayer was to be granted. The Lord declared: “As ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward. . . . But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.” And of Caleb He said, “My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” As the spies had spent forty days in their journey, so the hosts of Israel were to wander in the wilderness forty years. {PP 391.2}
When Moses made known to the people the divine decision, their rage was changed to mourning. They knew that their punishment was just. The ten unfaithful spies,
divinely smitten by the plague, perished before the eyes of all Israel; and in their fate the people read their own doom. {PP 391.3}
Now they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct; but they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course rather than from a sense of their ingratitude and disobedience. When they found that the Lord did not relent in His decree, their
self-will again arose, and they declared that they would not return into the wilderness. In commanding them to retire from the land of their enemies, God tested their apparent submission and proved that it was not real. They knew that they had deeply sinn ed in allowing their rash feelings to control them and in seeking to slay the spies who had urged them to obey God; but they were only terrified to find that they had made a fearful mistake, the consequences of which would prove disastrous to themselves. T heir
hearts were unchanged, and they only needed an excuse to occasion a similar outbreak. This presented itself when Moses, by the authority of God, commanded them to go back into the wilderness. {PP 391.4}

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The decree that Israel was not to enter Canaan for forty years was a bitter disappointment to Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua; yet without a murmur they accepted the divine decision. But those who had been complaining of God’s dealings with them, and declaring that they would return to Egypt, wept and mourned greatly when the blessings which they had despised were taken from them. They had complained at nothing, and now God gave them cause to weep. Had they mourned for their sin when it was faithfully laid before them, this sentence would not have been pronounced; but they mourned for the judgment; their sorrow was not repentance, and could not secure a reversing of their sentence. {PP 392.1}
The night was spent in lamentation, but with the morning came a hope. They resolved to redeem their cowardice. When God had bidden them go up and take the land, they had refused; and now when He directed them to retreat they were equally rebellious. They determined to seize upon the land and possess it; it might be that God would accept their work and change His purpose toward them. {PP 392.2}
God had made it their privilege and their duty to enter the land at the time of His appointment, but through their willful neglect that permission had been withdrawn. Satan had gained his object in preventing them from entering Canaan; and now he urged them on to do the very thing, in the face of the divine prohibition, which they had refused to do when God required it. Thus the great deceiver gained the victory by leading them to rebellion the second time. They had distrusted the power of God to work with their efforts in gaining possession of Canaan; yet now they presumed upon their own strength to accomplish the work independent of divine aid. “We have sinned against the Lord,” they cried; “we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us.” Deuteronomy 1:41. So terribly blinded had they become by transgression. The Lord had never commanded them to “go up and fight.” It was not His purpose that they should gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to His commands. {PP 392.3}
Though their hearts were unchanged, the people had been brought to confess the sinfulness and folly of their rebellion at the report of the spies. They now saw the value of the blessing which they had so rashly cast away. They confessed that it was th eir own unbelief which had shut them out from Canaan. “We
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have sinned,” they said, acknowledging that the fault was in themselves, and not in God, whom they had so wickedly charged with failing to fulfill His promises to them. Though their confession did not spring from true repentance, it served to vindicate the justice of God in His dealings with them. {PP 392.4}
The Lord still works in a similar manner to glorify His name by bringing men to acknowledge His justice. When those who profess to love Him complain of His providence, despise His promises, and, yielding to temptation, unite with evil angels to defeat the purposes of God, the Lord often so overrules circumstances as to bring
these persons where, though they may have no real repentance, they will be convinced of their sin and will be constrained to acknowledge the wickedness of their course and the justice and goodness of God in His dealings with them. It is thus that God sets counteragencies at work to make manifest the works of darkness. And though the spirit which prompted to the evil course is not radically changed, confessions are made that vindicate the honor of God and justify His faithful reprovers, who have been opposed and misrepresented. Thus it will be when the wrath of God shall be finally poured out. When “the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all,” He will also “convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.” Jude
14, 15. Every sinner will be brought to see and acknowledge the justice of his condemnation. {PP 393.1}
Regardless of the divine sentence, the Israelites prepared to undertake the conquest of Canaan. Equipped with armor and weapons of war, they were, in their own
estimation, fully prepared for conflict; but they were sadly deficient in the sight of God and His sorrowful servants. When, nearly forty years later, the Lord directed Israel to go up and take Jericho, He promised to go with them. The ark containing His law was borne before their armies. His appointed leaders were to direct their movements, und er the divine supervision. With such guidance, no harm could come to them. But now, contrary to the command of God and the solemn prohibition of their leaders, without the ark, and without Moses, they went out to meet the armies of the enemy. {PP 393.2}
The trumpet sounded an alarm, and Moses hastened after them with the warning, “Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up,
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for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the
Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword.”
{PP 393.3}
The Canaanites had heard of the mysterious power that seemed to be guarding this
people and of the wonders wrought in their behalf, and they now summoned a strong force to repel the invaders. The attacking army had no leader. No prayer was offered that God would give them the victory. They set forth with the desperate purpose to reverse their fate or to die in battle. Though untrained in war, they were a vast multitude of armed men, and they hoped by a sudden and fierce assault to bear down all opposition. They presumptuously challenged the foe that had not dared to attack them.
{PP 394.1}
The Canaanites had stationed themselves upon a rocky tableland reached only by difficult passes and a steep and dangerous ascent. The immense numbers of the Hebrews could only render their defeat more terrible. They slowly threaded the mountain paths, exposed to the deadly missiles of their enemies above. Massive rocks came thundering down, marking their path with the blood of the slain. Those who reached the summit, exhausted with their ascent, were fiercely repulsed, and driven back with great loss. The field of carnage was strewn with the bodies of the dead. The army of Israel was utterly defeated. Destruction and death was the result of that rebellious experiment. {PP 394.2}
Forced to submission at last, the survivors “returned, and wept before the Lord;” but “the Lord would not hearken” to their voice. Deuteronomy 1:45. By their signal victory the enemies of Israel, who had before awaited with trembling the approach of t hat mighty host, were inspired with confidence to resist them. All the reports they had heard concerning the marvelous things that God had wrought for His people, they now regarded as false, and they felt that there was no cause for fear. That first defeat of Israel, by inspiring the Canaanites with courage and resolution, had greatly increased the difficulties of the conquest. Nothing remained for Israel but to fall back from the face of their victorious foes, into the wilderness, knowing that here must be the grave of a whole generation. {PP 394.3}

Chap. 35 – The Rebellion of Korah

The judgments visited upon the Israelites served for a time to restrain their murmuring and insubordination, but the spirit of rebellion was still in the heart and eventually brought forth the bitterest fruits. The former rebellions had been mere popular tumults, arising from the sudden impulse of the excited multitude; but now a deep-laid conspiracy was formed, the result of a determined purpose to overthrow the authority of the leaders appointed by God Himself. {PP 395.1}
Korah, the leading spirit in this movement, was a Levite, of the family of Kohath, and a cousin of Moses; he was a man of ability and influence. Though appointed to the service of the tabernacle, he had become dissatisfied with his position and aspire d to the dignity of the priesthood. The bestowal upon Aaron and his house of the priestly office, which had formerly devolved upon the first-born son of every family, had given rise to jealousy and dissatisfaction, and for some time Korah had been secretly opposing the authority of Moses and Aaron, though he had not ventured upon any open act of rebellion. He finally conceived the bold design of overthrowing both the civil and the religious authority. He did not fail to find sympathizers. Close to the tents of Korah and the Kohathites, on the south side of the tabernacle, was the encampment of the tribe of Reuben, the tents of Dathan and Abiram, two princes of this tribe, being near that of Korah. These princes readily joined in his ambitious schemes. Being descendants from the eldest son of Jacob, they claimed that the civil authority belonged to them, and they determined to divide with Korah the honors of the priesthood. {PP
395.2}
The state of feeling among the people favored the designs of Korah. In the bitterness of their disappointment, their former doubts, jealousy, and hatred had returned, and again their complaints were directed against their patient leader. The Israelites
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were continually losing sight of the fact that they were under divine guidance. They
forgot that the Angel of the covenant was their invisible leader, that, veiled by the clo udy pillar, the presence of Christ went before them, and that from Him Moses received all
his directions. {PP 395.3}
They were unwilling to submit to the terrible sentence that they must all die in the wilderness, and hence they were ready to seize upon every pretext for believing that it was not God but Moses who was leading them and who had pronounced their doom. The best efforts of the meekest man upon the earth could not quell the insubordination of this people; and although the marks of God’s displeasure at their former perverseness were still before them in their broken ranks and missing numbers, they did not take the lesson to heart. Again they were overcome by temptation. {PP 396.1}
The humble shepherd’s life of Moses had been far more peaceful and happy than his present position as leader of that vast assembly of turbulent spirits. Yet Moses dared not choose. In place of a shepherd’s crook a rod of power had been given him, which he could not lay down until God should release him. {PP 396.2}
He who reads the secrets of all hearts had marked the purposes of Korah and his companions and had given His people such warning and instruction as might have enabled them to escape the deception of these designing men. They had seen the judgment of God fall upon Miriam because of her jealousy and complaints against Moses. The Lord had declared that Moses was greater than a prophet. “With him will I speak mouth to mouth.” “Wherefore, then,” He added, “were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” Numbers 12:8. These instructions were not intended for Aaron and Miriam alone, but for all Israel. {PP 396.3}
Korah and his fellow conspirators were men who had been favored with special manifestations of God’s power and greatness. They were of the number who went up with Moses into the mount and beheld the divine glory. But since that time a change had come. A temptation, slight at first, had been harbored, and had strengthened as it was encouraged, until their minds were controlled by Satan, and they ventured upon their work of disaffection. Professing great interest in the prosperity of the people, they first whispered their discontent to one another and then to leading men of Israel. Their insinuations were so readily

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received that they ventured still further, and at last they really believed themselves to be actuated by zeal for God. {PP 396.4}
They were successful in alienating two hundred and fifty princes, men of renown in the congregation. With these strong and influential supporters they felt confident of making a radical change in the government and greatly improving upon the administration of Moses and Aaron. {PP 397.1}
Jealousy had given rise to envy, and envy to rebellion. They had discussed the question of the right of Moses to so great authority and honor, until they had come to regard him as occupying a very enviable position, which any of them could fill as well as he. And they deceived themselves and one another into thinking that Moses and Aaron had themselves assumed the positions they held. The discontented ones said that
these leaders had exalted themselves above the congregation of the Lord, in taking upon them the priesthood and government, but their house was not entitled to distinction above others in Israel; they were no more holy than the people, and it should be enough for them to be on a level with their brethren, who were equally favored with God’s special presence and protection. {PP 397.2}
The next work of the conspirators was with the people. To those who are in the wrong, and deserving of reproof, there is nothing more pleasing than to receive sympathy and praise. And thus Korah and his associates gained the attention and enlisted the support of the congregation. The charge that the murmurings of the people had brought upon them the wrath of God was declared to be a mistake. They said that the congregation were not at fault, since they desired nothing more than their rights; but that Moses was an overbearing ruler; that he had reproved the people as sinners, when they were a holy people, and the Lord was among them. {PP 397.3}
Korah reviewed the history of their travels through the wilderness, where they had been brought into strait places, and many had perished because of their murmuring and disobedience. His hearers thought they saw clearly that their troubles might have been prevented if Moses had pursued a different course. They decided that all their disasters were chargeable to him, and that their exclusion from Canaan was in consequence of the mismanagement of Moses and Aaron; that if Korah would be their leader, and
would encourage them by dwelling upon their good
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deeds, instead of reproving their sins, they would have a very peaceful, prosperous journey; instead of wandering to and fro in the wilderness, they would proceed directly to the Promised Land. {PP 397.4}
In this work of disaffection there was greater union and harmony among the discordant elements of the congregation than had ever before existed. Korah’s success with the people increased his confidence and confirmed him in his belief that the usurpation of authority by Moses, if unchecked, would be fatal to the liberties of Israel; he also claimed that God had opened the matter to him, and had authorized him to make a change in the government before it should be too late. But many were not
ready to accept Korah’s accusations against Moses. The memory of his patient, self-sacrificing labors came up before them, and conscience was disturbed. It was therefore necessary to assign some selfish motive for his deep interest for Israel; and the old charge was reiterated, that he had led them out to perish in the wilderness, that he might seize upon their possessions. {PP 398.1}
For a time this work was carried on secretly. As soon, however, as the movement had gained sufficient strength to warrant an open rupture, Korah appeared at the head
of the faction, and publicly accused Moses and Aaron of usurping authority which Kora h and his associates were equally entitled to share. It was charged, further, that the
people had been deprived of their liberty and independence. “Ye take too much upon you,” said the conspirators, “seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” {PP 398.2}
Moses had not suspected this deep-laid plot, and when its terrible significance burst upon him, he fell upon his face in silent appeal to God. He arose sorrowful indeed, but calm and strong. Divine guidance had been granted him. “Even tomorrow,” he sa id, “the Lord will show who are His, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto Him: even him whom He hath chosen will He cause to come near unto Him.” The test was to be deferred until the morrow, that all might have time for reflection. Then t hose who aspired to the priesthood were to come each with a censer, and offer incense at the tabernacle in the presence of the congregation. The law was very explicit that only
those who had been ordained to the sacred office should minister in the sanctua ry. And even the priests, Nadab and Abihu, had
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been destroyed for venturing to offer “strange fire,” in disregard of a divine command. Yet Moses challenged his accusers, if they dared enter upon so perilous an appeal, to refer the matter to God. {PP 398.3}
Singling out Korah and his fellow Levites, Moses said, “Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And He hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? for which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord. And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” {PP 399.1}
Dathan and Abiram had not taken so bold a stand as had Korah; and Moses, hoping that they might have been drawn into the conspiracy without having become wholly corrupted, summoned them to appear before him, that he might hear their charges against him. But they would not come, and they insolently refused to acknowledge his authority. Their reply, uttered in the hearing of the congregation, was, “Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.”
{PP 399.2}
Thus they applied to the scene of their bondage the very language in which the Lord had described the promised inheritance. They accused Moses of pretending to act under divine guidance, as a means of establishing his authority; and they declared that they would no longer submit to be led about like blind men, now toward Canaan, and now toward the wilderness, as best suited his ambitious designs. Thus he who had been as a tender father, a patient shepherd, was represented in the blackest character of a tyrant and usurper. The exclusion from Canaan, in punishment of their own sins, was charged upon him. {PP 399.3}
It was evident that the sympathies of the people were with the disaffected party; but Moses made no effort at self-vindication. He solemnly appealed to God, in the presence of the congregation, as a witness to the purity of his motives and the upright ness of his conduct, and implored Him to be his judge.
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{PP 399.4}
On the morrow, the two hundred and fifty princes, with Korah at their head, presented themselves, with their censers. They were brought into the court of the tabernacle, while the people gathered without, to await the result. It was not Moses who assembled the congregation to behold the defeat of Korah and his company, but the rebels, in their blind presumption, had called them together to witness their victory. A large part of the congregation openly sided with Korah, whose hopes were high of carrying his point against Aaron. {PP 400.1}
As they were thus assembled before God, “the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation.” The divine warning was communicated to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” But they fell upon their faces, with the prayer, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?” {PP
400.2}
Korah had withdrawn from the assembly to join Dathan and Abiram when Moses, accompanied by the seventy elders, went down with a last warning to the men who had refused to come to him. The multitudes followed, and before delivering his message, Moses, by divine direction, bade the people, “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.” The warning was obeyed, for an apprehension of impending judgment rested upon all. The chief rebels saw themselves abandoned by those whom they had deceived, but their hardihood was unshaken. They stood with their families in the door of their tents, as if in defiance of the divine warning. {PP 400.3}
In the name of the God of Israel, Moses now declared, in the hearing of the congregation: “Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then ye shal l understand that these men have provoked the Lord.” {PP 400.4}
The eyes of all Israel were fixed upon Moses as they stood, in terror and expectation, awaiting the event. As he ceased speaking, the solid earth parted, and the rebels went down alive into

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the pit, with all that pertained to them, and “they perished from among the congregation.” The people fled, self-condemned as partakers in the sin. {PP 400.5}
But the judgments were not ended. Fire flashing from the cloud consumed the two hundred and fifty princes who had offered incense. These men, not being the first in rebellion, were not destroyed with the chief conspirators. They were permitted to see their end, and to have an opportunity for repentance; but their sympathies were with the rebels, and they shared their fate. {PP 401.1}
When Moses was entreating Israel to flee from the coming destruction, the divine judgment might even then have been stayed, if Korah and his company had repented and sought forgiveness. But their stubborn persistence sealed their doom. The entire congregation were sharers in their guilt, for all had, to a greater or less degree, sympathized with them. Yet God in His great mercy made a distinction between the leaders in rebellion and those whom they had led. The people who had permitted themselves to be deceived were still granted space for repentance. Overwhelming evidence had been given that they were wrong, and that Moses was right. The signal manifestation of God’s power had removed all uncertainty. {PP 401.2}
Jesus, the Angel who went before the Hebrews, sought to save them from destruction. Forgiveness was lingering for them. The judgment of God had come very near, and appealed to them to repent. A special, irresistible interference from heaven had arrested their rebellion. Now, if they would respond to the interposition of God’s providence, they might be saved. But while they fled from the judgments, through fear of destruction, their rebellion was not cured. They returned to their tents that night terrified, but not repentant. {PP 401.3}
They had been flattered by Korah and his company until they really believed themselves to be very good people, and that they had been wronged and abused by Moses. Should they admit that Korah and his company were wrong, and Moses right, then they would be compelled to receive as the word of God the sentence that they must die in the wilderness. They were not willing to submit to this, and they tried to believe that Moses had deceived them. They had fondly cherished the hope that a new order of things was about to be established, in which praise would be substituted for reproof, and ease for anxiety and conflict.
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The men who had perished had spoken flattering words and had professed great interest and love for them, and the people concluded that Korah and his companions must have been good men, and that Moses had by some means been the cause of their destruction. {PP 401.4}
It is hardly possible for men to offer greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities He would use for their salvation. The Israelites had not only done this, but had purposed to put both Moses and Aaron to death. Yet they did not realize the necessity of seeking pardon of God for their grievous sin. That night of probation was not passed in repentance and confession, but in devising some way to resist the evidences which showed them to be the greatest of sinners. They still che rished hatred of the men of God’s appointment, and braced themselves to resist their authority. Satan was at hand to pervert their judgment and lead them blindfold to destruction. {PP 402.1}
All Israel had fled in alarm at the cry of the doomed sinners who went down into the pit, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also.” “But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, ye have killed the people of the Lord.” And they were about to proceed to violence against their faithful, self-sacrificing leaders. {PP 402.2}
A manifestation of the divine glory was seen in the cloud above the tabernacle, and a voice from the cloud spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment.” {PP 402.3}
The guilt of sin did not rest upon Moses, and hence he did not fear and did not hasten away and leave the congregation to perish. Moses lingered, in this fearful crisis manifesting the true shepherd’s interest for the flock of his care. He pleaded tha t the wrath of God might not utterly destroy the people of His choice. By his intercession he stayed the arm of vengeance, that a full end might not be made of disobedient, rebellious Israel. {PP 402.4}
But the minister of wrath had gone forth; the plague was doing its work of death. By his brother’s direction, Aaron took a censer and hastened into the midst of the congregation to “make an atonement for them.” “And he stood between the dead and the living.” As the smoke of the incense ascended, the prayers of Moses in the tabernacle went up to God; and the plague was
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stayed; but not until fourteen thousand of Israel lay dead, an evidence of the guilt of murmuring and rebellion. {PP 402.5}
But further evidence was given that the priesthood had been established in the family of Aaron. By divine direction each tribe prepared a rod and wrote upon it the name of the tribe. The name of Aaron was upon that of Levi. The rods were laid up in the tabernacle, “before the testimony.” The blossoming of any rod was to be a token that the Lord had chosen that tribe for the priesthood. On the morrow, “behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.” It was shown to the people, and afterward laid up in the tabernacle as a witness to succeeding generations. This miracle effectually settled the question of the priesthood. {PP 403.1}
It was now fully established that Moses and Aaron had spoken by divine authority, and the people were compelled to believe the unwelcome truth that they were to die in the wilderness. “Behold,” they exclaimed, “we die, we perish, we all perish.” They confessed that they had sinned in rebelling against their leaders, and that Korah and his company had suffered from the just judgment of God. {PP 403.2}
In the rebellion of Korah is seen the working out, upon a narrower stage, of the same spirit that led to the rebellion of Satan in heaven. It was pride and ambition that prompted Lucifer to complain of the government of God, and to seek the overthrow of the order which had been established in heaven. Since his fall it has been his object to infuse the same spirit of envy and discontent, the same ambition for position and honor, into the minds of men. He thus worked upon the minds of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, to arouse the desire for self-exaltation and excite envy, distrust, and rebellion. Satan caused them to reject God as their leader, by rejecting the men of God’s appointment. Yet while in their murmuring against Moses and Aaron they blasphemed God, they were so deluded as to think themselves righteous, and to regard those who had faithfully reproved their sins as actuated by Satan. {PP 403.3}
Do not the same evils still exist that lay at the foundation of Korah’s ruin? Pride and ambition are widespread; and when these are cherished, they open the door to envy, and a striving for supremacy; the soul is alienated from God, and unconsciously
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drawn into the ranks of Satan. Like Korah and his companions, many, even of the professed followers of Christ, are thinking, planning, and working so eagerly for
self-exaltation that in order to gain the sympathy and support of the people they are ready to pervert the truth, falsifying and misrepresenting the Lord’s servants, and even charging them with the base and selfish motives that inspire their own hearts. By persistently reiterating falsehood, and that against all evidence, they at last come to believe it to be truth. While endeavoring to destroy the confidence of the people in the men of God’s appointment, they really believe that they are engaged in a good work, verily doing God service. {PP 403.4}
The Hebrews were not willing to submit to the directions and restrictions of the Lord. They were restless under restraint, and unwilling to receive reproof. This was the secret of their murmuring against Moses. Had they been left free to do as they pleased, there would have been fewer complaints against their leader. All through the history of the church God’s servants have had the same spirit to meet. {PP 404.1}
It is by sinful indulgence that men give Satan access to their minds, and they go from one stage of wickedness to another. The rejection of light darkens the mind and hardens the heart, so that it is easier for them to take the next step in sin and to reject still clearer light, until at last their habits of wrongdoing become fixed. Sin ceases to appear sinful to them. He who faithfully preaches God’s word, thereby condemning their sins, too often incurs their hatred. Unwilling to endure the pain and sacrifice necessary to reform, they turn upon the Lord’s servant and denounce his reproofs as uncalled for and severe. Like Korah, they declare that the people are not at fault; it is the reprover that causes all the trouble. And soothing their consciences with this deception, the jealous and disaffected combine to sow discord in the church and weaken the hands of those who would build it up. {PP 404.2}
Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead in His work has excited suspicion; every act has been misrepresented by the jealous and faultfinding. Thus it was in the time of Luther, of the Wesleys and other reformers. Thus it is today. {PP
404.3}
Korah would not have taken the course he did had he known that all the directions and reproofs communicated to Israel were from God. But he might have known this. God had given
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overwhelming evidence that He was leading Israel. But Korah and his companions rejected light until they became so blinded that the most striking manifestations of His power were not sufficient to convince them; they attributed them all to human or s atanic agency. The same thing was done by the people, who the day after the destruction of Korah and his company came to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Ye have killed the people
of the Lord.” Notwithstanding they had had the most convincing evidence of God’s displeasure at their course, in the destruction of the men who had deceived them, they dared to attribute His judgments to Satan, declaring that through the power of the evil one, Moses and Aaron had caused the death of good and holy men. It was this act tha t sealed their doom. They had committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, a sin by which man’s heart is effectually hardened against the influence of divine grace. “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man,” said Christ, “it shall be forgiven him: b ut whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him.” Matthew
12:32. These words were spoken by our Saviour when the gracious works which He
had performed through the power of God were attributed by the Jews to Beelzebub. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God communicates with man; and those who deliberately reject this agency as satanic, have cut off the channel of communication between the soul and Heaven. {PP 404.4}
God works by the manifestation of His Spirit to reprove and convict the sinner; and if the Spirit’s work is finally rejected, there is no more that God can do for the soul. The last resource of divine mercy has been employed. The transgressor has cut himself off from God, and sin has no remedy to cure itself. There is no reserved power by which God can work to convict and convert the sinner. “Let him alone” (Hosea 4:17) is the divine command. Then “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a cert ain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26, 27. {PP 405.1}

Chap. 50 – Tithes and Offerings

In the Hebrew economy one tenth of the income of the people was set apart to support the public worship of God. Thus Moses declared to Israel: “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, . . . the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30, 32. {PP 525.1}
But the tithing system did not originate with the Hebrews. From the earliest times the Lord claimed a tithe as His, and this claim was recognized and honored. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Genesis 14:20. Jacob, when at Bethel, an exile and a wanderer, promised the Lord, “Of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” Genesis 28:22. As the Israelites were about to be established as a nation, the law of tithing was reaffirmed as one of the d ivinely ordained statutes upon obedience to which their prosperity depended. {PP 525.2}
The system of tithes and offerings was intended to impress the minds of men with a great truth–that God is the source of every blessing to His creatures, and that to Him man’s gratitude is due for the good gifts of His providence. {PP 525.3}
“He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” Acts 17:25. The Lord declares,”Every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:10. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine.” Haggai 2:8. And it is God who gives men power to get wealth. Deuteronomy 8:18. As an acknowledgment that all things came from Him, the Lord directed that a portion of His bounty should be returned to Him in gifts and offerings to sustain His worship. {PP 525.4}
“The tithe . . . is the Lord’s.” Here the same form of expression is employed as in the law of the Sabbath. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus
20:10. God reserved
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to Himself a specified portion of man’s time and of his means, and no man could, without guilt, appropriate either for his own interests. {PP 525.5}
The tithe was to be exclusively devoted to the use of the Levites, the tribe that had been set apart for the service of the sanctuary. But this was by no means the limit of the contributions for religious purposes. The tabernacle, as afterward the tem ple, was erected wholly by freewill offerings; and to provide for necessary repairs and other expenses, Moses directed that as often as the people were numbered, each should contribute a half shekel for “the service of the tabernacle.” In the time of Nehem iah a contribution was made yearly for this purpose. See Exodus 30:12-16; 2 Kings 12:4, 5; 2
Chronicles 24:4-13; Nehemiah 10:32, 33. From time to time sin offerings and thank offerings were brought to God. These were presented in great numbers at the annua l feasts. And the most liberal provision was made for the poor. {PP 526.1}
Even before the tithe could be reserved there had been an acknowledgment of the claims of God. The first that ripened of every product of the land was consecrated to Him. The first of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, the first of the oil and the wine, was set apart for God. So also were the
first-born of all animals; and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary, and were then d evoted to the use of the priests. {PP 526.2}
Thus the people were constantly reminded that God was the true proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that He sent them sunshine and rain for their seedtime and harvest, and that everything they possessed was of His creation, and H e had made them stewards of His goods. {PP 526.3}
As the men of Israel, laden with the first fruits of field and orchard and vineyard, gathered at the tabernacle, there was made a public acknowledgment of God’s goodness. When the priest accepted the gift, the offerer, speaking as in the presence of Jehovah, said, “A Syrian ready to perish was my father;” and he described the sojourn
in Egypt and the affliction from which God had delivered Israel “with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders.” And he said, “He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this
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land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land, which Thou, Jehovah, hast given me.” Deuteronomy 26:5, 8-11.
{PP 526.4}
The contributions required of the Hebrews for religious and charitable purposes amounted to fully one fourth of their income. So heavy a tax upon the resources of the people might be expected to reduce them to poverty; but, on the contrary, the faithf ul observance of these regulations was one of the conditions of their prosperity. On condition of their obedience God made them this promise: “I will rebuke the devourer
for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field. . . . And all nations shall call you blessed: for
ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:11. {PP 527.1}
A striking illustration of the results of selfishly withholding even freewill offerings from the cause of God was given in the days of the prophet Haggai. After their return from
the captivity in Babylon, the Jews undertook to rebuild the temple of th e Lord; but meeting determined opposition from their enemies, they discontinued the work; and a severe drought, by which they were reduced to actual want, convinced them that it was impossible to complete the building of the temple. “The time is not come,” they said, “the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” But a message was sent them by the Lord’s prophet: “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:2-6. And then the reason is given: “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of Mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from
dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands.” Verses 9-11. “When one came to a heap of twenty measures,
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there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labors of your hands.” Haggai 2:16, 17. {PP 527.2}
Roused by these warnings, the people set themselves to build the house of God. Then the word of the Lord came to them: “Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, . . . from this day will I bless you.” Verses 18,
19. {PP 528.1}
Says the wise man, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24. And the same lesson is taught in the New Testament by the apostle Paul: “He which soweth spa ringly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6, 8. {PP 528.2}
God intended that His people Israel should be light bearers to all the inhabitants of the earth. In maintaining His public worship they were bearing a testimony to the existence and sovereignty of the living God. And this worship it was their privilege to sustain, as an expression of their loyalty and their love to Him. The Lord has ordained that the diffusion of light and truth in the earth shall be dependent upon the efforts and offerings of those who are partakers of the heavenly gift. He might have made angels the ambassadors of His truth; He might have made known His will, as He proclaimed the law from Sinai, with His own voice; but in His infinite love and wisdom He called men to become colaborers with Himself, by choosing them to do this work. {PP 528.3}
In the days of Israel the tithe and freewill offerings were needed to maintain the ordinances of divine service. Should the people of God give less in this age? The principle laid down by Christ is that our offerings to God should be in proportion to the light and privileges enjoyed. “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Luke 12:48. Said the Saviour to His disciples as He sent them forth, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. As our blessings and privileges are
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increased–above all, as we have before us the unparalleled sacrifice of the glorious Son of God–should not our gratitude find expression in more abundant gifts to extend to others the message of salvation? The work of the gospel, as it widens, requires greater provision to sustain it than was called for anciently; and this makes the law of tithes and offerings of even more urgent necessity now than under the Hebrew economy. If His people were liberally to sustain His cause by their voluntary gifts, instead of resorting to unchristian and unhallowed methods to fill the treasury, God would be honored, and many more souls would be won to Christ. {PP 528.4}
The plan of Moses to raise means for the building of the tabernacle was highly successful. No urging was necessary. Nor did he employ any of the devices to which churches in our day so often resort. He made no grand feast. He did not invite the people to scenes of gaiety, dancing, and general amusement; neither did he institute lotteries, nor anything of this profane order, to obtain means to erect the tabernacle for God. The Lord directed Moses to invite the children of Israel to bring their offerings . He was to accept gifts from everyone that gave willingly, from his heart. And the offerings came in so great abundance that Moses bade the people cease bringing, for they had supplied more than could be used. {PP 529.1}
God has made men His stewards. The property which He has placed in their hands is the means that He has provided for the spread of the gospel. To those who prove themselves faithful stewards He will commit greater trusts. Saith the Lord, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” 1 Samuel 2:30. “God loveth a cheerful giver,” and when His people, with grateful hearts, bring their gifts and offerings to Him, “not grudgingly, or of necessity,” His blessing will attend them, as He has promised. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour
you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10. {PP
529.2}

Chap. 51 – God’s Care for the Poor

To promote the assembling of the people for religious service, as well as to provide for the poor, a second tithe of all the increase was required. Concerning the first tithe, the Lord had declared, “I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel.”
Numbers 18:21. But in regard to the second He commanded, “Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks;
that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.” Deuteronomy 14:23, 29;
16:11-14. This tithe, or its equivalent in money, they were for two years to bring to the place where the sanctuary was established. After presenting a thank of fering to God, and a specified portion to the priest, the offerers were to use the remainder for a religious feast, in which the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow should participate. Thus provision was made for the thank offerings and feasts at the yearly festivals, and the people were drawn to the society of the priests and Levites, that they might receive instruction and encouragement in the service of God. {PP 530.1}
Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, “That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.” Deuteronomy 26:12. This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality. {PP 530.2}
And further provision was made for the poor. There is nothing, after their recognition of the claims of God, that more distinguishes the laws given by Moses than the liberal, tender, and hospitable spirit enjoined toward the poor. Although God had pro mised greatly to bless His people, it was not His design that poverty should be wholly unknown among them. He declared that the poor should never cease out of the land. There
would ever be those among His people who would call into exercise
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their sympathy, tenderness, and benevolence. Then, as now, persons were subject to misfortune, sickness, and loss of property; yet so long as they followed the instruction given by God, there were no beggars among them, neither any who suffered for food.
{PP 530.3}
The law of God gave the poor a right to a certain portion of the produce of the soil. When hungry, a man was at liberty to go to his neighbor’s field or orchard or vineyard, and eat of the grain or fruit to satisfy his hunger. It was in accordance wit h this permission that the disciples of Jesus plucked and ate of the standing grain as they passed through a field upon the Sabbath day. {PP 531.1}
All the gleanings of harvest field, orchard, and vineyard, belonged to the poor. “When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field,” said Moses, “and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it. . . . When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again. . . . When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bon dman in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Leviticus 19:9, 10. {PP 531.2}
Every seventh year special provision was made for the poor. The sabbatical year, as it was called, began at the end of the harvest. At the seedtime, which followed the ingathering, the people were not to sow; they should not dress the vineyard in the spring; and they must expect neither harvest nor vintage. Of that which the land produced spontaneously they might eat while fresh, but they were not to lay up any portion of it in their storehouses. The yield of this year was to be free for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and even for the creatures of the field. Exodus 23:10, 11; Leviticus 25:5. {PP 531.3}
But if the land ordinarily produced only enough to supply the wants of the people, how were they to subsist during the year when no crops were gathered? For this the promise of God made ample provision. “I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year,” He said, “and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.” Leviticus 25:21, 22.
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{PP 531.4}
The observance of the sabbatical year was to be a benefit to both the land and the people. The soil, lying untilled for one season, would afterward produce more plentifully. The people were released from the pressing labors of the field; and while the re were various branches of work that could be followed during this time, all enjoyed greater leisure, which afforded opportunity for the restoration of their physical powers for the exertions of the following years. They had more time for meditation and prayer, for acquainting themselves with the teachings and requirements of the Lord, and for the instruction of their households. {PP 532.1}
In the sabbatical year the Hebrew slaves were to be set at liberty, and they were not to be sent away portionless. The Lord’s direction was: “When thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty. Thou shalt furnish him libera lly out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.” Deuteronomy 15:13, 14. {PP 532.2}
The hire of a laborer was to be promptly paid: “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land: . . . at his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the su n go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it.” Deuteronomy 24:14, 15. {PP 532.3}
Special directions were also given concerning the treatment of fugitives from service: “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he sha ll
choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.” Deuteronomy 23:15, 16. {PP 532.4}
To the poor, the seventh year was a year of release from debt. The Hebrews were enjoined at all times to assist their needy brethren by lending them money without interest. To take usury from a poor man was expressly forbidden: “If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.” Leviticus 25:35-37. If the debt remained unpaid

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until the year of release, the principal itself could not be recovered. The people were expressly warned against withholding from their brethren needed assistance on account of this: “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren, . . . thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother. . . . Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and
he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.” “The poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land,” “and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.” Deuteronomy 15:7-9, 11, 8. {PP 532.5}
None need fear that their liberality would bring them to want. Obedience to God’s commandments would surely result in prosperity. “Thou shalt lend unto many nations,” He said, “but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but the y shall not reign over thee.” Deuteronomy 15:6. {PP 533.1}
After “seven sabbaths of years,” “seven times seven years,” came that great year of release–the jubilee. “Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound . . . throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” Leviticus 25:9, 10. {PP 533.2}
“On the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement,” the trumpet of the jubilee was sounded. Throughout the land, wherever the Jewish people dwelt, the sound was heard, calling upon all the children of Jacob to welcome the year of release . On the great Day of Atonement satisfaction was made for the sins of Israel, and with gladness of heart the people would welcome the jubilee. {PP 533.3}
As in the sabbatical year, the land was not to be sown or reaped, and all that it produced was to be regarded as the rightful property of the poor. Certain classes of Hebrew slaves–all who did not receive their liberty in the sabbatical year–were now set free. But that which especially distinguished the year of jubilee was the reversion of all landed property to the family of
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the original possessor. By the special direction of God the land had been divided by lot. After the division was made no one was at liberty to trade his estate. Neither was he to sell his land unless poverty compelled him to do so, and then, whenever he or any of
his kindred might desire to redeem it, the purchaser must not refuse to sell it; and if unredeemed, it would revert to its first possessor or his heirs in the year of jubilee. {PP
533.4}
The Lord declared to Israel: “The land shall not be sold forever: for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me.” Leviticus 25:23. The people were to be impressed with the fact that it was God’s land which they were permitted to po ssess for a time; that He was the rightful owner, the original proprietor, and that He would have special consideration made for the poor and unfortunate. It was to be impressed upon the minds of all that the poor have as much right to a place in God’s world as have the more wealthy. {PP 534.1}
Such were the provisions made by our merciful Creator, to lessen suffering, to bring some ray of hope, to flash some gleam of sunshine, into the life of the destitute and distressed. {PP 534.2}
The Lord would place a check upon the inordinate love of property and power. Great evils would result from the continued accumulation of wealth by one class, and the poverty and degradation of another. Without some restraint the power of the wealthy would become a monopoly, and the poor, though in every respect fully as worthy in God’s sight, would be regarded and treated as inferior to their more prosperous brethren. The sense of this oppression would arouse the passions of the poorer class. There would be a feeling of despair and desperation which would tend to demoralize society and open the door to crimes of every description. The regulations that God established were designed to promote social equality. The provisions of the sabbatical year and the jubilee would, in a great measure, set right that which during the interval had gone wrong in the social and political economy of the nation. {PP 534.3}
These regulations were designed to bless the rich no less than the poor. They would restrain avarice and a disposition for self-exaltation, and would cultivate a noble spirit of benevolence; and by fostering good will and confidence between all classes, they would promote social order, the stability of government. We are all woven together in the great web of humanity,
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and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves. The law of mutual dependence runs through all classes of society. The poor are not more dependent upon the rich than are the rich upon the poor. While the one class ask a share in the blessings which God has bestowed upon their wealthier neighbors, the other need the faithful service, the strength of brain and bone and muscle, that are the capital of the poor. {PP 534.4}
Great blessings were promised to Israel on condition of obedience to the Lord’s directions. “I will give you rain in due season,” He declared, “and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. . . . I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. . . . But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do
all these commandments; and . . . ye break My covenant: . . . ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” Leviticus 26:4-17. {PP 535.1}
There are many who urge with great enthusiasm that all men should have an equal share in the temporal blessings of God. But this was not the purpose of the Creator. A diversity of condition is one of the means by which God designs to prove and develop character. Yet He intends that those who have worldly possessions shall regard themselves merely as stewards of His goods, as entrusted with means to be employed for the benefit of the suffering and the needy. {PP 535.2}
Christ has said that we shall have the poor always with us, and He unites His interest with that of His suffering people. The heart of our Redeemer sympathizes with the poorest and lowliest of His earthly children. He tells us that they are His representatives on earth. He has placed them among us to awaken in our hearts the love that He feels toward the suffering and oppressed. Pity and benevolence shown to them are accepted by
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Christ as if shown to Himself. An act of cruelty or neglect toward them is regarded as though done to Him. {PP 535.3}
If the law given by God for the benefit of the poor had continued to be carried out, how different would be the present condition of the world, morally, spiritually, and temporally! Selfishness and self-importance would not be manifested as now, but e ach would cherish a kind regard for the happiness and welfare of others; and such widespread destitution as is now seen in many lands would not exist. {PP 536.1}
The principles which God has enjoined, would prevent the terrible evils that in all ages have resulted from the oppression of the rich toward the poor and the suspicion and hatred of the poor toward the rich. While they might hinder the amassing of gr eat wealth and the indulgence of unbounded luxury, they would prevent the consequent ignorance and degradation of tens of thousands whose ill-paid servitude is required to build up these colossal fortunes. They would bring a peaceful solution of those problems that now threaten to fill the world with anarchy and bloodshed. {PP 536.2}

Chap. 52 – The Annual Feasts

There were three annual assemblies of all Israel for worship at the sanctuary. Exodus 23:14-16. Shiloh was for a time the place of these gatherings; but Jerusalem afterward became the center of the nation’s worship, and here the tribes convened for the solemn feasts. {PP 537.1}
The people were surrounded by fierce, warlike tribes, that were eager to seize upon their lands; yet three times every year all the able-bodied men and all the people who could make the journey were directed to leave their homes and repair to the place of assembly, near the center of the land. What was to hinder their enemies from sweeping down upon those unprotected households, to lay them waste with fire and sword? What was to prevent an invasion of the land, that would bring Israel into captivity to some foreign foe? God had promised to be the protector of His people. “The angel of
Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7 [A.R.V.]. While the Israelites went up to worship, divine power would place a restraint upon their enemies. God’s promise was, “I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” Exodus 34:24. {PP 537.2}
The first of these festivals, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, occurred in Abib, the first month of the Jewish year, corresponding to the last of March and the beginning of April. The cold of winter was past, the latter rain had ended, and all nature rejoiced in the freshness and beauty of the springtime. The grass was green on the hills and valleys, and wild flowers everywhere brightened the fields. The moon, now approaching the full, made the evenings delightful. It was the season so beau tifully pictured by the sacred singer:

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“The winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree ripeneth her green figs,
And the vines are in blossom,
They give forth their fragrance.” Song of Solomon 2:11-13, R.V. {PP 537.3}
Throughout the land bands of pilgrims were making their way toward Jerusalem. The shepherds from their flocks, the herdsmen from the mountains, fishers from the Sea of Galilee, the husbandmen from their fields, and sons of the prophets from the sacred schools–all turned their steps toward the place where God’s presence was revealed. They journeyed by short stages, for many went on foot. The caravans were constantly receiving accessions, and often became very large before reaching the Holy City. {PP
538.1}
Nature’s gladness awakened joy in the hearts of Israel and gratitude to the Giver of all good. The grand Hebrew psalms were chanted, exalting the glory and majesty of Jehovah. At the sound of the signal trumpet, with the music of cymbals, the chorus o f thanksgiving arose, swelled by hundreds of voices:

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing
Within thy gates, O Jerusalem. . . .
Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, . . . To give thanks unto the name of Jehovah. . . .
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:1-6, R.V. {PP 538.2}
As they saw around them the hills where the heathen had been wont to kindle their altar fires, the children of Israel sang:

“Shall I lift up mine eyes to the hills? Whence should my help come?
My help cometh from Jehovah,

Which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1, 2 (margin).

“They that trust in the Lord
Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,
So the Lord is round about His people,
From this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 125:1, 2, R.V.
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{PP 538.3}
Surmounting the hills in view of the Holy City, they looked with reverent awe upon the throngs of worshipers wending their way to the temple. They saw the smoke of the incense ascending, and as they heard the trumpets of the Levites heralding the sacr ed service, they caught the inspiration of the hour, and sang:

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, The city of the great King.”
Psalm 48:1, 2.

“Peace be within thy walls,
And prosperity within thy palaces.” “Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord.” “I will pay my vows unto the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of thee, O Jerusalem, Praise ye the Lord.”
Psalm 122:7; 118:19; Psalm 116:18, 19. {PP 539.1}
All the houses in Jerusalem were thrown open to the pilgrims, and rooms were furnished free; but this was not sufficient for the vast assembly, and tents were pitched in every available space in the city and upon the surrounding hills. {PP 539.2}
On the fourteenth day of the month, at even, the Passover was celebrated, its solemn, impressive ceremonies commemorating the deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and pointing forward to the sacrifice that should deliver from the bondage of sin. When the Saviour yielded up His life on Calvary, the significance of the Passover ceased, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover had been a type. {PP 539.3}
The Passover was followed by the seven day’s feast of unleavened bread. The first and the seventh day were days of holy convocation, when no servile work was to be performed. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year’s harvest were presented before God. Barley was the earliest grain in Palestine, and at the opening of the feast it was beginning to ripen. A sheaf of this grain was waved by the priest before the altar of God, as an acknowledgment that all was His. Not until this ceremo ny had been performed was the harvest to be gathered.
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{PP 539.4}
Fifty days from the offering of first fruits, came the Pentecost, called also the feast of harvest and the feast of weeks. As an expression of gratitude for the grain prepared as food, two loaves baked with leaven were presented before God. The Pentecost occupied but one day, which was devoted to religious service. {PP 540.1}
In the seventh month came the Feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering. This feast acknowledged God’s bounty in the products of the orchard, the olive grove, and the vineyard. It was the crowning festal gathering of the year. The land had yielded its increase, the harvests had been gathered into the granaries, the fruits, the oil, and the wine had been stored, the first fruits had been reserved, and now the people came with their tributes of thanksgiving to God, who had thus richly blessed them. {PP 540.2}
This feast was to be pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. It occurred just after the great Day of Atonement, when the assurance had been given that their iniquity should be remembered no more. At peace with God, they now came before Him to acknowledge His goodness and to praise Him for His mercy. The labors of the harvest being ended, and the toils of the new year not yet begun, the people were free from care, and could give themselves up to the sacred, joyous influences of the hour. Though only the fathers and sons were commanded to appear at the feasts, yet, so far as possible, all the household were to attend them, and to their hospitality the servants, the Levites, the stranger, and the poor were made welcome. {PP 540.3}
Like the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was commemorative. In memory of their pilgrim life in the wilderness the people were now to leave their houses and dwell in booths, or arbors, formed from the green branches “of goodly trees, branches of
palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook.” Leviticus 23:40, 42,
43. {PP 540.4}
The first day was a holy convocation, and to the seven days of the feast an eighth day was added, which was observed in like manner. {PP 540.5}
At these yearly assemblies the hearts of old and young would be encouraged in the service of God, while the association of the people from the different quarters of the land would strengthen the ties that bound them to God and to one another. Well wou ld it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of
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Tabernacles–a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them. As the children of Israel celebrated the deliverance that God had wrought for their fathers, and His miraculous preservation of them during their journeyings from Egypt, so should we gratefully call to mind the various ways He has devised for bringing us out from the world, and from the darkness of error, into the precious light of His grace and truth. {PP 540.6}

With those who lived at a distance from the tabernacle, more than a month of every year must have been occupied in attendance upon the annual feasts. This example of devotion to God should emphasize the importance of religious worship and the necessity of subordinating our selfish, worldly interests to those that are spiritual and eternal. We sustain a loss when we neglect the privilege of associating together to strengthen and encourage one another in the service of God. The truths of His word lose their vividness and importance in our minds. Our hearts cease to be enlightened and aroused by the sanctifying influence, and we decline in spirituality. In our intercourse as Christians we lose much by lack of sympathy with one another. He who shuts himself up to himself is not filling the position that God designed he should. We are all children of one Father, dependent upon one another for happiness. The claims
of God and of humanity are upon us. It is the proper cultivation of the social elements of our nature that brings us into sympathy with our brethren and affords us happiness in our efforts to bless others. {PP 541.1}
The Feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative but typical. It not only pointed back to the wilderness sojourn, but, as the feast of harvest, it celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of the harvest shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into His garner. At that time the wicked will all be destroyed. They will become “as though they had not be en.” Obadiah 16. And every voice in the whole universe will unite in joyful praise to God. Says the revelator, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the
earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.
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{PP 541.2}
The people of Israel praised God at the Feast of Tabernacles, as they called to mind His mercy in their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and His tender care for them during their pilgrim life in the wilderness. They rejoiced also in the consciousness of pardon and acceptance, through the service of the day of atonement, just ended. But when the ransomed of the Lord shall have been safely gathered into the heavenly Canaan, forever delivered from the bondage of the curse, under which “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22), they will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ’s great work of atonement for men will then have been completed, and their sins will have been forever blotted out.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing:
The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it,

The excellency of Carmel and Sharon;
They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our
God.

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, And the tongue of the dumb sing:
“For in the wilderness shall waters break out, And streams in the desert.
And the parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water: . . .
“And an highway shall be there, and a way, And it shall be called The way of holiness; The unclean shall not pass over it;
But it shall be for those:
The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

“No lion shall be there,
Nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, It shall not be found there;
But the redeemed shall walk there:
“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with songs
And everlasting joy upon their heads: They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Isaiah 35:1, 2, 5-10. {PP 542.1}

Chap. 58 – The Schools of the Prophets

The Lord Himself directed the education of Israel. His care was not restricted to their religious interests; whatever affected their mental or physical well-being was also the subject of divine providence, and came within the sphere of divine law. {PP 592.1}
God had commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their fathers. This was one of the special duties of every parent–one that was not to be delegated to another. In the place of stranger lips the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to
their children. Thoughts of God were to be associated with all the events of daily life. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people and the promises of th e Redeemer to come were to be often recounted in the homes of Israel; and the use of

figures and symbols caused the lessons given to be more firmly fixed in the memory. The great truths of God’s providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It was trained to see God alike in the scenes of nature and the words of
revelation. The stars of heaven, the trees and flowers of the field, the lofty mountains, the rippling brooks–all spoke of the Creator. The solemn service of sacrifice and worship at the sanctuary and the utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God.
{PP 592.2}
Such was the training of Moses in the lowly cabin home in Goshen; of Samuel, by the faithful Hannah; of David, in the hill dwelling at Bethlehem; of Daniel, before the scenes of the captivity separated him from the home of his fathers. Such, too, was the early life of Christ at Nazareth; such the training by which the child Timothy learned from the lips of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), the truths of Holy Writ. {PP 592.3}

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Further provision was made for the instruction of the young, by the establishment of the schools of the prophets. If a youth desired to search deeper into the truths of the word of God and to seek wisdom from above, that he might become a teacher in I srael, these schools were open to him. The schools of the prophets were founded by Samuel to serve as a barrier against the widespread corruption, to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the future prosperity of the nati on by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors. In the accomplishment of this object Samuel gathered companies of young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious. These were called the sons of the prophets. A s they communed with God and studied His word and His works, wisdom from above was added to their natural endowments. The instructors were men not only well versed in divine truth, but those who had themselves enjoyed communion with God and had received the special endowment of His Spirit. They enjoyed the respect and confidence of the people, both for learning and piety. {PP 593.1}
In Samuel’s day there were two of these schools–one at Ramah, the home of the prophet, and the other at Kirjath-jearim, where the ark then was. Others were established in later times. {PP 593.2}
The pupils of these schools sustained themselves by their own labor in tilling the soil or in some mechanical employment. In Israel this was not thought strange or degrading; indeed, it was regarded a crime to allow children to grow up in ignorance of useful
labor. By the command of God every child was taught some trade, even though he was to be educated for holy office. Many of the religious teachers supported themselves by manual labor. Even so late as the time of the apostles, Paul and Aquila were n o less honored because they earned a livelihood by their trade of tentmaking. {PP 593.3}
The chief subjects of study in these schools were the law of God, with the instructions given to Moses, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry. The manner of instruction was far different from that in the theological schools of the present day, from which many students graduate with less real knowledge of God and religious truth than when they entered. In those schools of the olden time it was the grand object of all

study to learn the

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will of God and man’s duty toward Him. In the records of sacred history were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. The great truths set forth by the types were brought to view, and faith grasped the central object of all that system–the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. {PP 593.4}
A spirit of devotion was cherished. Not only were students taught the duty of prayer, but they were taught how to pray, how to approach their Creator, how to exercise faith
in Him, and how to understand and obey the teachings of His Spirit. Sanctified intellects brought forth from the treasure house of God things new and old, and the Spirit of God was manifested in prophecy and sacred song. {PP 594.1}
Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to Glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. Thus that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things. {PP 594.2}
Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. The proper training of the voice is an important feature in education and should not be neglected. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer. The heart must feel the spirit of the song to give it right expression. {PP 594.3}
How wide the difference between those schools taught by the prophets of God and our modern institutions of learning! How few schools are to be found that are not governed by the maxims and customs of the world! There is a deplorable lack of proper restraint and judicious discipline. The existing ignorance of God’s word among a people professedly Christian is alarming. Superficial talk, mere sentimentalism, passes for instruction in morals and religion. The justice and mercy of God, the beauty of holine ss and the sure reward of rightdoing, the heinous character of sin and the certainty of its terrible results,
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are not impressed upon the minds of the young. Evil associates are instructing the youth in the ways of crime, dissipation, and licentiousness. {PP 594.4}
Are there not some lessons which the educators of our day might learn with profit from the ancient schools of the Hebrews? He who created man has provided for his development in body and mind and soul. Hence, real success in education depends upon the fidelity with which men carry out the Creator’s plan. {PP 595.1}
The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life–the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to co-operate with the divine purpose; and in so doing they are “laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians
3:9. {PP 595.2}
All the varied capabilities that men possess–of mind and soul and body–are given them by God, to be so employed as to reach the highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whos e likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting
of our fellow men. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and h appiest exercise. {PP 595.3}
Were this principle given the attention which its importance demands, there would be a radical change in some of the current methods of education. Instead of appealing to pride and selfish ambition, kindling a spirit of emulation, teachers would endea vor to awaken the love for goodness and truth and beauty–to arouse the desire for excellence. The student would seek the development of God’s gifts in himself, not to
excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness. Ins tead of being directed to mere earthly standards, or being actuated
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by the desire for self-exaltation, which in itself dwarfs and belittles, the mind would be directed to the Creator, to know Him and to become like Him. {PP 595.4}
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. The great work of life is character building, and a knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education. To impart this knowledge an d to mold the character in harmony with it should be the object of the teacher’s work. The law of God is a reflection of His character. Hence the psalmist says, “All Thy commandments are righteousness;” and “through Thy precepts I get understanding.” Psalm 119:172, 104. God has revealed Himself to us in His word and in the works of creation. Through the volume of inspiration and the book of nature we are to obtain a knowledge of God. {PP 596.1}
It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth. As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. In the word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. The Bible
is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages. It lights up the far-distant past, where human research seeks vainly to penetrate. In God’s word we behold the power that laid the foundation of the earth and that stretched out the heavens. Here only can we find a history of our race unsullied by human prejudice or human pride. Here are recorded the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of the greatest men this world has ever known. Here the great problems of duty and destiny
are unfolded. The curtain that separates the visible from the invisible world is lifted, and we behold the conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil, from the first entrance of sin to the final triumph of righteousness and truth; and all is but a revelation of the character of God. In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His word the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind. Such a study will not only refine and ennoble
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the character, but it cannot fail to expand and invigorate the mental powers. {PP 596.2}
The teaching of the Bible has a vital bearing upon man’s prosperity in all the relations of this life. It unfolds the principles that are the cornerstone of a nation’s prosperity–principles with which is bound up the well-being of society, and which are the safeguard of the family–principles without which no man can attain usefulness, happiness, and honor in this life, or can hope to secure the future, immortal life. There is no position in life, no phase of human experience, for which the teaching o f the Bible is not an essential preparation. Studied and obeyed, the word of God would give to the
world men of stronger and more active intellect than will the closest application to all the subjects that human philosophy embraces. It would give men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment–men who would be an honor to God and a blessing to the world. {PP 599.1}
In the study of the sciences also we are to obtain a knowledge of the Creator. All true science is but an interpretation of the handwriting of God in the material world. Science brings from her research only fresh evidences of the wisdom and power of God. Rightly understood, both the book of nature and the written word make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the wise and beneficent laws through which He works. {PP 599.2}
The student should be led to see God in all the works of creation. Teachers should copy the example of the Great Teacher, who from the familiar scenes of nature drew illustrations that simplified His teachings and impressed them more deeply upon the minds of His hearers. The birds caroling in the leafy branches, the flowers of the valley, the lofty trees, the fruitful lands, the springing grain, the barren soil, the setting sun gilding the heavens with its golden beams–all served as means of instruction. He connected the visible works of the Creator with the words of life which He spoke, that whenever these objects should be presented to the eyes of His hearers, their thoughts might revert to the lessons of truth He had linked with them. {PP 599.3}
The impress of Deity, manifest in the pages of revelation, is seen upon the lofty mountains, the fruitful valleys, the broad, deep ocean. The things of nature speak to man of his Creator’s
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love. He has linked us to Himself by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. This world is not all sorrow and misery. “God is love,” is written upon every opening bud, upon the petals of every flower, and upon every spire of grass. Though the curse of sin has caused the earth to bring forth thorns and thistles, there are flowers upon the thistles and the thorns are hidden by roses. All things in nature testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. His prohibitions
and injunctions are not intended merely to display His authority, but in all that He does He has the well-being of His children in view. He does not require them to give up anything that it would be for their best interest to retain. {PP 599.4}
The opinion which prevails in some classes of society, that religion is not conducive to health or to happiness in this life, is one of the most mischievous of errors. The Scripture says: “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shal l abide satisfied.” Proverbs 19:23. “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:12-14. The words of wisdom “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs
4:22. {PP 600.1}
True religion brings man into harmony with the laws of God, physical, mental, and moral. It teaches self-control, serenity, temperance. Religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, and sanctifies the judgment. It makes the soul a partaker of the pur ity of heaven. Faith in God’s love and overruling providence lightens the burdens of anxiety and care. It fills the heart with joy and contentment in the highest or the lowliest lot. Religion tends directly to promote health, to lengthen life, and to heighten our
enjoyment of all its blessings. It opens to the soul a never-failing fountain of happiness. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them that they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression leads to misery and destruction; but wisdom’s “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are
peace.” Proverbs 3:17.
{PP 600.2}
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The physical as well as the religious training practiced in the schools of the Hebrews may be profitably studied. The worth of such training is not appreciated. There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment the laws that control our physical being must be heeded. To secure a strong, well-balanced character, both the mental and the physical powers must be exercised and developed. What study can be more important fo r the young than that which treats of this wonderful organism that God has committed to us, and of the laws by which it may be preserved in health? {PP 601.1}
And now, as in the days of Israel, every youth should be instructed in the duties of practical life. Each should acquire a knowledge of some branch of manual labor by which, if need be, he may obtain a livelihood. This is essential, not only as a safe guard against the vicissitudes of life, but from its bearing upon physical, mental, and moral development. Even if it were certain that one would never need to resort to manual labor for his support, still he should be taught to work. Without physical exercise, no one can have a sound constitution and vigorous health; and the discipline of
well-regulated labor is no less essential to the securing of a strong and active mind and a noble character. {PP 601.2}

Every student should devote a portion of each day to active labor. Thus habits of industry would be formed and a spirit of self-reliance encouraged, while the youth would be shielded from many evil and degrading practices that are so often the result of idleness. And this is all in keeping with the primary object of education, for in encouraging activity, diligence, and purity we are coming into harmony with the Creator.
{PP 601.3}
Let the youth be led to understand the object of their creation, to honor God and bless their fellow men; let them see the tender love which the Father in heaven has manifested toward them, and the high destiny for which the discipline of this life is to prepare them, the dignity and honor to which they are called, even to become the sons of God, and thousands would turn with contempt and loathing from the low and selfish aims and the frivolous pleasures that have hitherto engrossed them. They would le arn to hate sin and to shun it, not merely from hope of reward or fear of punishment, but from a sense of its inherent
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baseness, because it would be a degrading of their God-given powers, a stain upon their Godlike manhood. {PP 601.4}
God does not bid the youth to be less aspiring. The elements of character that make a man successful and honored among men–the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous exertion, the untiring perseverance–are no t to be crushed out. By the grace of God they are to be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth. And the education begun in this life will be continued in the life to come. Day by day the wonderful works of God, the evidences of His wisdom and power in creating and sustaining the universe, the infinite mystery of love and wisdom in the plan of redemption, will open to the mind in new beauty. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for
them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Even in this life we may catch glimpses of His presence and may taste the joy of communion with Heaven, but the fullness of its joy and blessing will be reached in the hereafter. Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain. {PP 602.1}

Chap. 59 – The First King of Israel

The government of Israel was administered in the name and by the authority of God. The work of Moses, of the seventy elders, of the rulers and judges, was simply to enforce the laws that God had given; they had no authority to legislate for the nation . This was, and continued to be, the condition of Israel’s existence as a nation. From age to age men inspired by God were sent to instruct the people and to direct in the enforcement of the laws. {PP 603.1}
The Lord foresaw that Israel would desire a king, but He did not consent to a change in the principles upon which the state was founded. The king was to be the vicegerent
of the Most High. God was to be recognized as the Head of the nation, and His la w was to be enforced as the supreme law of the land. [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 8.] {PP 603.2}
When the Israelites first settled in Canaan they acknowledged the principles of the theocracy, and the nation prospered under the rule of Joshua. But increase of population and intercourse with other nations brought a change. The people adopted many of the customs of their heathen neighbors and thus sacrificed to a great degree their own peculiar, holy character. Gradually they lost their reverence for God and ceased to prize the honor of being His chosen people. Attracted by the pomp and display of heathen monarchs, they tired of their own simplicity. Jealousy and envy sprang up between the tribes. Internal dissensions made them weak; they were continually exposed to the invasion of their heathen foes, and the people were coming to believe that in order to maintain their standing among the nations, the tribes must be united under a strong central government. As they departed from obedience to God’s law, they desired to be freed from the rule of their divine Sovereign; and thus the demand for a monarchy became widespread throughout Israel. {PP 603.3}
Since the days of Joshua the government had never been conducted with so great wisdom and success as under Samuel’s
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administration. Divinely invested with the threefold office of judge, prophet, and priest, he had labored with untiring and disinterested zeal for the welfare of his people, and the nation had prospered under his wise control. Order had been restored, and godliness promoted, and the spirit of discontent was checked for the time. But with advancing years the prophet was forced to share with others the cares of government, and he appointed his two sons to act as his assistants. While Samuel continued the duties of
his office at Ramah, the young men were stationed at Beersheba, to administer justice among the people near the southern border of the land. {PP 603.4}
It was with the full assent of the nation that Samuel had appointed his sons to office, but they did not prove themselves worthy of their father’s choice. The Lord had, through Moses, given special directions to His people that the rulers of Israel should judge righteously, deal justly with the widow and the fatherless, and receive no bribes. But the sons of Samuel “turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.”
The sons of the prophet had not heeded the precepts which he had sough t to impress upon their minds. They had not copied the pure, unselfish life of their father. The warning given to Eli had not exerted the influence upon the mind of Samuel that it should have done. He had been to some extent too indulgent with his sons, an d the result was apparent in their character and life. {PP 604.1}
The injustice of these judges caused much dissatisfaction, and a pretext was thus furnished for urging the change that had long been secretly desired. “All the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” The cases of abuse among the people had not been referred to Samuel. Had the evil course of his sons been known to him, he would have removed them without delay; but this was not what the petitioners desired. Samuel saw that their real motive was discontent and pride, and that their demand was the result of a deliberate and determined purpose. No complaint had been made against Samuel. All acknowledged the integrity and wisdom of his administration; but the aged prophet looked upon
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the request as a censure upon himself, and a direct effort to set him aside. He did not, however, reveal his feelings; he uttered no reproach, but carried the matter to the Lord in prayer and sought counsel from Him alone. {PP 604.2}
And the Lord said unto Samuel: “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since t he day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.” The prophet was reproved for grieving at the conduct of the people toward himself as an individual. They had not manifested disrespect for him, but for the authority of God, who had appointed the rulers of His people. Those who despise and reject the faithful servant of God show contempt, not merely for the man, but for the Master who sent him. It is God’s words, His reproofs and counsel, that are set at nought; it is His authority that is rejected. {PP
605.1}
The days of Israel’s greatest prosperity had been those in which they acknowledged Jehovah as their King–when the laws and the government which He had established were regarded as superior to those of all other nations. Moses had declared to Israel concerning the commandments of the Lord: “This is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Deuteronomy 4:6. But by departing from God’s law the Hebrews had failed to become the people that God desired to make them, and then all the evils which were the result of their own sin and folly they charged upon the government of God. So completely had they become blinded by sin. {PP 605.2}
The Lord had, through His prophets, foretold that Israel would be governed by a king; but it does not follow that this form of government was best for them or according to His will. He permitted the people to follow their own choice, because they refused to be guided by His counsel. Hosea declares that God gave them a king in His anger. Hosea 13:11. When men choose to have their own way, without seeking counsel from God, or in opposition to His revealed will, He often grants their desires, in order tha t, through the bitter experience
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that follows, they may be led to realize their folly and to repent of their sin. Human pride and wisdom will prove a dangerous guide. That which the heart desires contrary to the will of God will in the end be found a curse rather than a blessing. {PP 605.3}
God desired His people to look to Him alone as their Law-giver and their Source of strength. Feeling their dependence upon God, they would be constantly drawn nearer to Him. They would become elevated and ennobled, fitted for the high destiny to which He had called them as His chosen people. But when a man was placed upon the
throne, it would tend to turn the minds of the people from God. They would trust more to human strength, and less to divine power, and the errors of their king would lead them into sin and separate the nation from God. {PP 606.1}
Samuel was instructed to grant the request of the people, but to warn them of the Lord’s disapproval, and also make known what would be the result of their course. “And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.” H e faithfully set before them the burdens that would be laid upon them, and showed the contrast between such a state of oppression and their present comparatively free and prosperous condition. Their king would imitate the pomp and luxury of other monarchs, to support which, grievous exactions upon their persons and property would be necessary. The goodliest of their young men he would require for his service. They would be made charioteers and horsemen and runners before him. They must fill the ranks of his army, and they would be required to till his fields, to reap his harvests, and to manufacture implements of war for his service. The daughters of Israel would be for confectioners and bakers for the royal household. To support his kingly state he would seize upon the best of their lands, bestowed upon the people by Jehovah Himself. The most valuable of their servants also, and of their cattle, he would take, and “put them to his work.” Besides all this, the king would require a tenth of all their income, t he profits of their labor, or the products of the soil. “Ye shall be his servants,” concluded the prophet. “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” However burdensom e its exactions should be found, when once a monarchy was established, they could not set
it aside at pleasure. {PP 606.2}

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But the people returned the answer, “Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” {PP 607.1}
“Like all the nations.” The Israelites did not realize that to be in this respect unlike other nations was a special privilege and blessing. God had separated the Israelites from every other people, to make them His own peculiar treasure. But they,
disregarding this high honor, eagerly desired to imitate the example of the heathen! And still the longing to conform to worldly practices and customs exists among the professed people of God. As they depart from the Lord they become ambitious for the gains and honors of the world. Christians are constantly seeking to imitate the practices of those who worship the god of this world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength.
Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God. For the sake of earthly distinction they sacrifice the unspeakable honor to which God has called them, of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9. {PP 607.2}
With deep sadness Samuel listened to the words of the people; but the Lord said unto him, “Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.” The prophet had done his duty. He had faithfully presented the warning, and it had been rejected. With a heavy heart he dismissed the people, and himself departed to prepare for the great change in the government. {PP 607.3}
Samuel’s life of purity and unselfish devotion was a perpetual rebuke both to self-serving priests and elders and to the proud, sensual congregation of Israel. Although he assumed no pomp and made no display, his labors bore the signet of Heaven. He was honored by the world’s Redeemer, under whose guidance he ruled the Hebrew nation. But the people had become weary of his piety and devotion; they despised his humble authority and rejected him for a man who should rule them as a king. {PP 607.4}
In the character of Samuel we see reflected the likeness of Christ. It was the purity of our Saviour’s life that provoked the wrath of Satan. That life was the light of the world, and
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revealed the hidden depravity in the hearts of men. It was the holiness of Christ that stirred up against Him the fiercest passions of falsehearted professors of godliness. Christ came not with the wealth and honors of earth, yet the works which He wrought showed Him to possess power greater than that of any human prince. The Jews looked for the Messiah to break the oppressor’s yoke, yet they cherished the sins that had bound it upon their necks. Had Christ cloaked their sins and applauded their piety, they would have accepted Him as their king; but they would not bear His fearless rebuke of their vices. The loveliness of a character in which benevolence, purity, and holiness reigned supreme, which entertained no hatred except for sin, they despised. Thus it has been in every age of the world. The light from heaven brings condemnation on all who refuse to walk in it. When rebuked by the example of those who hate sin, hypocrites will become agents of Satan to harass and persecute the faithful. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12. {PP 607.5}
Though a monarchical form of government for Israel had been foretold in prophecy, God had reserved to Himself the right to choose their king. The Hebrews so far respected the authority of God as to leave the selection entirely to Him. The choice fell upon Saul, a son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin. {PP 608.1}
The personal qualities of the future monarch were such as to gratify that pride of heart which prompted the desire for a king. “There was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he.” 1 Samuel 9:2. Of noble and dignified bearing, in the prime of life, comely and tall, he appeared like one born to command. Yet with these external attractions, Saul was destitute of those higher qualities that constitute true wisdom. He had not in youth learned to control his rash, impetuous passions; he ha d never felt the renewing power of divine grace. {PP 608.2}
Saul was the son of a powerful and wealthy chief, yet in accordance with the simplicity of the times he was engaged with his father in the humble duties of a husbandman. Some of his father’s animals having strayed upon the mountains, Saul went with a servant to seek for them. For three days they searched in vain, when, as they were not far from Ramah, [SEE APPENDIX, NOTE 9.] the home of Samuel, the servant proposed that they should inquire of the prophet concerning the missing
property. “I have here at hand

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the fourth part of a shekel of silver,” he said: “that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.” This was in accordance with the custom of the times. A person a pproaching a superior in rank or office made him a small present, as an expression of respect. {PP
608.3}
As they drew near to the city they met some young maidens who had come out to draw water, and inquired of them for the seer. In reply they were told that a religious service was about to take place, that the prophet had already arrived, there was to b e an offering upon “the high place,” and after that a sacrificial feast. A great change had taken place under Samuel’s administration. When the call of God first came to him the services of the sanctuary were held in contempt. “Men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:17. But the worship of God was now maintained throughout the land, and the people manifested an interest in religious services. There being no ministration in the tabernacle, sacrifices were for the time offered elsewhere; and the cities of the priests and Levites, where the people resorted for instruction, were chosen for this purpose. The highest points in these cities were usually selected as the place of sacrifice, and hence were called “the high places.” {PP 609.1}
At the gate of the city Saul was met by the prophet himself. God had revealed to Samuel that at that time the chosen king of Israel would present himself before him. As they now stood face to face, the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over My people.” {PP 609.2}
To the request of Saul, “Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is,” Samuel replied, “I am the seer.” Assuring him also that the lost animals had been found, he urged him to tarry and attend the feast, at the same time giving some intimation of the great destiny before him: “On whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?” The listener’s heart thrilled at the prophet’s words. He could not but perceive something of their significance, for the demand for a king had become a matter of absorbing interest to the whole nation. Yet with modest self-depreciation Saul replied, “Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?” {PP 609.3}
Samuel conducted the stranger to the place of assembly, where the principal men of the town were gathered. Among them, at
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the prophet’s direction, the place of honor was given to Saul, and at the feast the choicest portion was set before him. The services over, Samuel took his guest to his own home, and there upon the housetop he communed with him, setting forth the great principles on which the government of Israel had been established, and thus seeking to prepare him, in some measure, for his high station. {PP 609.4}
When Saul departed, early next morning, the prophet went forth with him. Having passed through the town, he directed the servant to go forward. Then he bade Saul stand still to receive a message sent him from God. “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because Jehovah hath anointed thee to be captain over His inheritance?” As evidence that this was done by divine authority, he foretold the incidents that would occur on the homeward journey
and assured Saul that he would be qualified by the Spirit of God for the station awaiting him. “The Spirit of Jehovah will come upon thee,” said the prophet, and thou “shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that t hou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.” {PP 610.1}
As Saul went on his way, all came to pass as the prophet had said. Near the border of Benjamin he was informed that the lost animals had been found. In the plain of Tabor he met three men who were going to worship God at Bethel. One of them carried th ree kids for sacrifice, another three loaves of bread, and the third a bottle of wine, for the sacrificial feast. They gave Saul the usual salutation and also presented him with two of the three loaves of bread. At Gibeah, his own city, a band of prophets returning from “the high place” were singing the praise of God to the music of the pipe and the harp,
the psaltery and the tabret. As Saul approached them the Spirit of the Lord came upon him also, and he joined in their song of praise, and prophesied with them. He spoke
with so great fluency and wisdom, and joined so earnestly in the service, that those who had known him exclaimed in astonishment, “What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” {PP 610.2}
As Saul united with the prophets in their worship, a great change was wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. The light of divine purity and holiness shone in upon the darkness of the natural heart. He saw himself as he was before God. He saw
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the beauty of holiness. He was now called to begin the warfare against sin and Satan, and he was made to feel that in this conflict his strength must come wholly from God. The plan of salvation, which had before seemed dim and uncertain, was opened to his understanding. The Lord endowed him with courage and wisdom for his high station. He revealed to him the Source of strength and grace, and enlightened his understanding as to the divine claims and his own duty. {PP 610.3}
The anointing of Saul as king had not been made known to the nation. The choice of
God was to be publicly manifested by lot. For this purpose Samuel convoked the people at Mizpeh. Prayer was offered for divine guidance; then followed the solemn ceremony of casting the lot. In silence the assembled multitude awaited the issue. The tribe, the family, and the household were successively designated, and then Saul, the son of Kish, was pointed out as the individual chosen. But Saul was not in the assembly. Burdened with a sense of the great responsibility about to fall upon him, he had secretly withdrawn. He was brought back to the congregation, who observed with pride and satisfaction that he was of kingly bearing and noble form, being “higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.” Even Samuel, when presenting him to the assembly, exclaimed, “See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?” And in response arose from the vast throng one long, loud shout of joy, “God save the king!” {PP 611.1}
Samuel then set before the people “the manner of the kingdom,” stating the principles upon which the monarchial government was based, and by which it should be
controlled. The king was not to be an absolute monarch, but was to hold his power in subjection to the will of the Most High. This address was recorded in a book, wherein were set forth the prerogatives of the prince and the rights and privileges of the people. Though the nation had despised Samuel’s warning, the faithful prophet, while forced t o yield to their desires, still endeavored, as far as possible, to guard their liberties. {PP
611.2}
While the people in general were ready to acknowledge Saul as their king, there was a large party in opposition. For a monarch to be chosen from Benjamin, the smallest of the tribes of Israel–and that to the neglect of both Judah and Ephraim, the lar gest and most powerful–was a slight which they could not brook. They refused to profess allegiance to Saul or to bring
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him the customary presents. Those who had been most urgent in their demand for a king were the very ones that refused to accept with gratitude the man of God’s appointment. The members of each faction had their favorite, whom they wished to see placed on the throne, and several among the leaders had desired the honor for themselves. Envy and jealousy burned in the hearts of many. The efforts of pride and ambition had resulted in disappointment and discontent. {PP 611.3}
In this condition of affairs Saul did not see fit to assume the royal dignity. Leaving Samuel to administer the government as formerly, he returned to Gibeah. He was honorably escorted thither by a company, who, seeing the divine choice in his selection, were determined to sustain him. But he made no attempt to maintain by force his right
to the throne. In his home among the uplands of Benjamin he quietly occupied himself in the duties of a husbandman, leaving the establishment of his authority entirel y to God. {PP 612.1}
Soon after Saul’s appointment the Ammonites, under their king, Nahash, invaded the territory of the tribes east of Jordan and threatened the city of Jabesh-gilead. The inhabitants tried to secure terms of peace by offering to become tributary to the Ammonites. To this the cruel king would not consent but on condition that he might put out the right eye of every one of them, thus making them abiding witnesses to his power. {PP 612.2}
The people of the besieged city begged a respite of seven days. To this the Ammonites consented, thinking thus to heighten the honor of their expected triumph. Messengers were at once dispatched from Jabesh, to seek help from the tribes west of Jordan. They carried the tidings to Gibeah, creating widespread terror. Saul, returning at night from following the oxen in the field, heard the loud wail that told of some great calamity. He said, “What aileth the people that they weep?” When the shameful story
was repeated, all his dormant powers were roused. “The Spirit of God came upon Saul.
. . . And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen.” {PP 612.3}
Three hundred and thirty thousand men gathered on the plain of Bezek, under the command of Saul. Messengers were

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immediately sent to the besieged city with the assurance that they might expect help on the morrow, the very day on which they were to submit to the Ammonites. By a rapid night march Saul and his army crossed the Jordan and arrived before Jabesh in “the morning watch.” Like Gideon, dividing his force into three companies, he fell upon the Ammonite camp at that early hour, when, not suspecting danger, they were least secure. In the panic that followed they were routed with great slaughter. And “they
which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.” {PP 612.4}
The promptness and bravery of Saul, as well as the generalship shown in the successful conduct of so large a force, were qualities which the people of Israel had desired in a monarch, that they might be able to cope with other nations. They now greeted him as their king, attributing the honor of the victory to human agencies and forgetting that without God’s special blessing all their efforts would have been in vain. In their enthusiasm some proposed to put to death those who had at first refused to acknowledge the authority of Saul. But the king interfered, saying, “There shall not a man be put to death this day: for today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel.” Here Saul gave evidence of the change that had taken place in his character. Instead of taking honor to himself, he gave the glory to God. Instead of showing a desire for revenge, he manifested a spirit of compassion and forgiveness. This is unmistakable evidence that the grace of God dwells in the heart. {PP 613.1}
Samuel now proposed that a national assembly should be convoked at Gilgal, that the kingdom might there be publicly confirmed to Saul. It was done; “and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the me n of Israel rejoiced greatly.” {PP 613.2}
Gilgal had been the place of Israel’s first encampment in the Promised Land. It was here that Joshua, by divine direction, set up the pillar of twelve stones to commemorate the miraculous passage of the Jordan. Here circumcision had been renewed. Here they had kept the first Passover after the sin at Kadesh and the desert sojourn. Here the manna ceased. Here the Captain of the Lord’s host had revealed Himself as chief in command of the armies of Israel. From this place they marched to the overthrow of Jericho and the conquest of Ai. Here Achan met the penalty
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of his sin, and here was made that treaty with the Gibeonites which punished Israel’s neglect to ask counsel of God. Upon this plain, linked with so many thrilling associations, stood Samuel and Saul; and when the shouts of welcome to the king had died away, the aged prophet gave his parting words as ruler of the nation. {PP 613.3}
“Behold,” he said, “I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and gray-headed; . . . and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith ? and I will restore it you.” {PP 614.1}
With one voice the people answered, “Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.” {PP 614.2}
Samuel was not seeking merely to justify his own course. He had previously set forth the principles that should govern both the king and the people, and he desired to add to his words the weight of his own example. From childhood he had been connected with the work of God, and during his long life one object had been ever before him–the glory of God and the highest good of Israel. {PP 614.3}
Before there could be any hope of prosperity for Israel they must be led to repentance before God. In consequence of sin they had lost their faith in God and their discernment of His power and wisdom to rule the nation–lost their confidence in His ability to vindicate His cause. Before they could find true peace they must be led to see and confess the very sin of which they had been guilty. They had declared the object of the demand for a king to be, “That our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” Samuel recounted the history of Israel, from the day when God brought them from Egypt. Jehovah, the King of kings, had gone out before them and had fought their battles. Often their sins had sold them into the power of their enemies , but no sooner did they turn from their evil ways than God’s mercy raised up a deliverer. The Lord sent Gideon and Barak, and “Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered
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you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelt safe.” Yet when threatened with danger they had declared, “A king shall reign over us,” when, said the prophet, “Jehovah your God was your King.” {PP 614.4}
“Now therefore,” continued Samuel, “stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call unto the Lord, and He shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day.” At the time of wheat harvest, in May and June, no rain fell in the East. The sky was cloudless, and the air serene and mild. So violent a storm at this season filled all hearts with fear. In humiliation the people now confessed their sin–the very sin of which they had been guilty: “Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we ha ve added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” {PP 615.1}
Samuel did not leave the people in a state of discouragement, for this would have prevented all effort for a better life. Satan would lead them to look upon God as severe and unforgiving, and they would thus be exposed to manifold temptations. God is merciful and forgiving, ever desiring to show favor to His people when they will obey His voice. “Fear not,” was the message of God by His servant: “ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake His people.” {PP 615.2}
Samuel said nothing of the slight which had been put upon himself; he uttered no reproach for the ingratitude with which Israel had repaid his lifelong devotion; but he assured them of his unceasing interest for them: “God forbid that I should sin aga inst the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” {PP 615.3}

Chap. 71 – David’s Sin and Repentance

The Bible has little to say in praise of men. Little space is given to recounting the virtues of even the best men who have ever lived. This silence is not without purpose; it is not without a lesson. All the good qualities that men possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. Since they owe all to God the glory of whatever they are or do belongs to Him alone; they are but instruments in His hands. More than this–as all the lessons of Bible history teach–it is a perilous thing to praise or exalt men; for if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God, and to trust to his own strength, he is sure to fall. Man is contending with foes who are stronger than he. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places.” Ephesians 6:12, margin. It is impossible for us in our own strength to maintain the conflict; and whatever diverts the mind from God, whatever leads to
self-exaltation or to self-dependence, is surely preparing the way for our overthrow. The tenor of the Bible is to inculcate distrust of human power and to encourage trust in
divine power. {PP 717.1}
It was the spirit of self-confidence and self-exaltation that prepared the way for David’s fall. Flattery and the subtle allurements of power and luxury were not without effect upon him. Intercourse with surrounding nations also exerted an influence f or evil. According to the customs prevailing among Eastern rulers, crimes not to be tolerated in subjects were uncondemned in the king; the monarch was not under obligation to exercise the same self-restraint as the subject. All this tended to lessen David ‘s sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. And instead of relying in humility upon the power of Jehovah, he began to trust to his own wisdom and might. As soon as Satan can separate the soul from
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God, the only Source of strength, he will seek to arouse the unholy desires of man’s carnal nature. The work of the enemy is not abrupt; it is not, at the outset, sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle. It begins in apparently small things–the neglect to be true to God and to rely upon Him wholly, the disposition
to follow the customs and practices of the world. {PP 717.2}
Before the conclusion of the war with the Ammonites, David, leaving the conduct of the army to Joab, returned to Jerusalem. The Syrians had already submitted to Israel, and the complete overthrow of the Ammonites appeared certain. David was surrounded by the fruits of victory and the honors of his wise and able rule. It was now, while he
was at ease and unguarded, that the tempter seized the opportunity to occupy his mind. The fact that God had taken David into so close connection with Himself and had manifested so great favor toward him, should have been to him the strongest of incentives to preserve his character unblemished. But when in ease and self-security he let go his hold upon God, David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt. He, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to execute His law, himself trampled upon its precepts. He who should have been a terror to evildoers, by his own act strengthened their hands. {PP 718.1}
Amid the perils of his earlier life David in conscious integrity could trust his case with God. The Lord’s hand had guided him safely past the unnumbered snares that had been laid for his feet. But now, guilty and unrepentant, he did not ask help and
guidance from Heaven, but sought to extricate himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had proved a snare to the king, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s bravest and most faithful officers. None could foresee what would be the result should the crime become known. The law of God pronounced the adulterer guilty of death, and the proud-spirited soldier, so shamefully wronged, might avenge himself by taking the life of the king or by exciting the nation to revolt. {PP 718.2}
Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, dishonor more bitter than death was
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before him. There appeared but one way of escape, and in his desperation he was hurried on to add murder to adultery. He who had compassed the destruction of Saul was seeking to lead David also to ruin. Though the temptations were different, they were alike in leading to transgression of God’s law. David reasoned that if Uriah were
slain by the hand of enemies in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced home to the king, Bathsheba would be free to become David’s wife, suspicion could be ave rted, and the royal honor would be maintained. {PP 718.3}
Uriah was made the bearer of his own death warrant. A letter sent by his hand to Joab from the king commanded, “Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.” Joab, already stained with t he guilt of one wanton murder, did not hesitate to obey the king’s instructions, and Uriah fell by the sword of the children of Ammon. {PP 719.1}
Heretofore David’s record as a ruler had been such as few monarchs have ever equaled. It is written of him that he “executed judgment and justice unto all his people.”
2 Samuel 8:15. His integrity had won the confidence and fealty of the nation. But a s he departed from God and yielded himself to the wicked one, he became for the time the agent of Satan; yet he still held the position and authority that God had given him, and because of this, claimed obedience that would imperil the soul of him who shou ld yield it. And Joab, whose allegiance had been given to the king rather than to God, transgressed God’s law because the king commanded it. {PP 719.2}
David’s power had been given him by God, but to be exercised only in harmony with the divine law. When he commanded that which was contrary to God’s law, it became sin to obey. “The powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1), but we are not to obey them contrary to God’s law. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, sets forth the principle by which we should be governed. He says, “Be ye followers of me, even as
I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. {PP 719.3}
An account of the execution of his order was sent to David, but so carefully worded as not to implicate either Joab or the king. Joab “charged the messenger saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
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and if so be that the king’s wrath arise, . . . then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for.” {PP 719.4}
The king’s answer was, “Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.” {PP 720.1}
Bathsheba observed the customary days of mourning for her husband; and at their close “David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife.” He whose tender conscience and high sense of honor would not permit him, even when in peril of his life, to put forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, had so fallen that he could wrong and murder one of his most faithful and most valiant soldiers, and hope to enjoy undisturbed the reward of his sin. Alas! how had the fine gold become dim! how had the most fine gold changed! {PP 720.2}
From the beginning Satan has portrayed to men the gains to be won by transgression. Thus he seduced angels. Thus he tempted Adam and Eve to sin. And thus he is still leading multitudes away from obedience to God. The path of transgression is made to appear desirable; “but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Happy they who, having ventured in this way, learn how bitter are the fruits of sin, and turn from it betimes. God in His mercy did not leave David to be lured to utter ruin by the deceitful rewards of sin. {PP 720.3}
For the sake of Israel also there was a necessity for God to interpose. As time passed on, David’s sin toward Bathsheba became known, and suspicion was excited that he had planned the death of Uriah. The Lord was dishonored. He had favored and exalted David, and David’s sin misrepresented the character of God and cast reproach upon His name. It tended to lower the standard of godliness in Israel, to lessen in many minds the abhorrence of sin; while those who did not love and fear God were by it emboldened in transgression. {PP 720.4}
Nathan the prophet was bidden to bear a message of reproof to David. It was a message terrible in its severity. To few sovereigns could such a reproof be given but at the price of certain death to the reprover. Nathan delivered the divine sentence unflinchingly, yet with such heaven-born wisdom as to engage the
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sympathies of the king, to arouse his conscience, and to call from his lips the sentence of death upon himself. Appealing to David as the divinely appointed guardian of his people’s rights, the prophet repeated a story of wrong and oppression that demanded redress. {PP 720.5}
“There were two men in one city,” he said, “the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for th e wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.” {PP 721.1}
The anger of the king was roused, and he exclaimed, “As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing is worthy to die. And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 2 Samuel 12:5, 6, margin. {PP
721.2}
Nathan fixed his eyes upon the king; then, lifting his right hand to heaven, he solemnly declared, “Thou art the man.” “Wherefore,” he continued, “hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?” The guilty may attempt, as Dav id had done, to conceal their crime from men; they may seek to bury the evil deed forever from human sight or knowledge; but “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13. “There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” Matthew 10:26. {PP 721.3}
Nathan declared: “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul. . . . Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of
the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house. . .
. Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor. . . . For thou didst it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.”
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{PP 721.4}
The prophet’s rebuke touched the heart of David; conscience was aroused; his guilt appeared in all its enormity. His soul was bowed in penitence before God. With trembling lips he said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” All wrong done to others reaches back from the injured one to God. David had committed a grievous sin, toward both Uriah and Bathsheba, and he keenly felt this. But infinitely greater was his sin against God. {PP 722.1}
Though there would be found none in Israel to execute the sentence of death upon the anointed of the Lord, David trembled, lest, guilty and unforgiven, he should be cut down by the swift judgment of God. But the message was sent him by the prophet, “T he Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Yet justice must be maintained. The sentence of death was transferred from David to the child of his sin. Thus the king was given opportunity for repentance; while to him the suffering and death of t he child, as a part of his punishment, was far more bitter than his own death could have been. The prophet said, “Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” {PP 722.2}
When his child was stricken, David, with fasting and deep humiliation, pleaded for its life. He put off his royal robes, he laid aside his crown, and night after night he lay upon the earth, in heartbroken grief interceding for the innocent one suffering for his guilt. “The elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not.” Often when judgments had been pronounced upon persons or cities, humiliation and repentance had turned aside the blow, and the Ever-Merciful, swift to pardon, had sent messengers of peace. Encouraged by this thought, David persevered in his supplication so long as the child was spared. Upon learning that it was dead, he quietly submitted to the decree of God. The first stroke had fallen of that retribution which he himself had declared just; but David, trusting in God’s mercy, was not without comfort. {PP 722.3}
Very many, reading the history of David’s fall, have inquired, “Why has this record been made public? Why did God see fit to throw open to the world this dark passage in the life of one so highly honored of Heaven?” The prophet, in his reproof to Davi d, had declared concerning his sin, “By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” Through successive generations infidels have pointed to the character of
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David, bearing this dark stain, and have exclaimed in triumph and derision, “This is the man after God’s own heart!” Thus a reproach has been brought upon religion, God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin. {PP 722.4}
But the history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was
walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God’s own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord. The word of God plainly declares, “The thing that David had done was evil in the eyes
of the Lord.” 2 Samuel 11:27, margin. And the Lord said to David by the prophet, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? . .
. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me.” Though David repented of his sin and was forgiven and accepted by the Lord, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he himself had sown. The judgments upon him and upon his house testify to God’s abhorrence of the sin. {PP 723.1}
Heretofore God’s providence had preserved David against all the plottings of his enemies, and had been directly exercised to restrain Saul. But David’s transgression had changed his relation to God. The Lord could not in any wise sanction iniquity. He could not exercise His power to protect David from the results of his sin as he had protected him from the enmity of Saul. {PP 723.2}
There was a great change in David himself. He was broken in spirit by the consciousness of his sin and its far-reaching results. He felt humbled in the eyes of his subjects. His influence was weakened. Hitherto his prosperity had been attributed to hi s conscientious obedience to the commandments of the Lord. But now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely. His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. A sense of his guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin; it made his arm feeble to execute justice in his house. His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result. He would permit things to take the ir natural course, and thus David was severely chastised. {PP 723.3}
For a whole year after his fall David lived in apparent security; there was no outward evidence of God’s displeasure. But
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the divine sentence was hanging over him. Swiftly and surely a day of judgment and retribution was approaching, which no repentance could avert, agony and shame that would darken his whole earthly life. Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear. {PP 723.4}
God intended the history of David’s fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the
lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter’s power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have fel t that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan’s ground. {PP 724.1}
Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. His conscience was not at rest. The agony of spirit which he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm. He says:

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
Through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:
My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.” Psalm 32:1-4, R.V. {PP 724.2}
And the fifty-first psalm is an expression of David’s repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God:

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness: According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out
my transgressions.
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Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. . . .
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I
shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness;
That the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins,
And blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence; And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; And uphold me with Thy free Spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; And sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation:
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.” Psalm 51:1-14. {PP 724.3}
Thus in a sacred song to be sung in the public assemblies of his people, in the presence of the court–priests and judges, princes and men of war–and which would preserve to the latest generation the knowledge of his fall, the king of Israel recounte d his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God. Instead of endeavoring to conceal his guilt he desired that others might be instructed by the sad history of his fall. {PP 725.1}
David’s repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort to palliate his crime. No desire to escape the judgments threatened, inspired his prayer. But he saw the enormity of his transgression against God; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loat hed his sin. It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart. David did not in despair give over the struggle. In the promises of God to repentant sinners he saw the evidence of his pardon and acceptance.

“For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:16, 17.
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{PP 725.2}
Though David had fallen, the Lord lifted him up. He was now more fully in harmony with God and in sympathy with his fellow men than before he fell. In the joy of his release he sang:

“I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I
not hid.
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. . . .
Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:5-7. {PP 726.1}
Many have murmured at what they called God’s injustice in sparing David, whose guilt was so great, after having rejected Saul for what appear to them to be far less flagrant sins. But David humbled himself and confessed his sin, while Saul despised reproof and hardened his heart in impenitence. {PP 726.2}
This passage in David’s history is full of significance to the repenting sinner. It is one of the most forcible illustrations given us of the struggles and temptations of humanity, and of genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Through all the ages it has proved a source of encouragement to souls that, having fallen into sin, were struggling under the burden of their guilt. Thousands of the children of God, who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up to despair have remembered how David’s sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered for his transgression; and they also have taken courage to repent and try again to walk in the way of God’s commandments. {PP 726.3}
Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God’s promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul. He has given this promise: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7. {PP 726.4}

APPENDIX

NOTE I. PAGE 258. IN THE COMMAND FOR ISRAEL’S RELEASE, THE LORD SAID TO PHARAOH, “ISRAEL IS MY SON, EVEN MY FIRST-BORN…. LET MY SON GO, THAT HE MAY SERVE ME.” EXODUS 4:22, 23. THE PSALMIST TELLS US WHY GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: “HE BROUGHT FORTH HIS PEOPLE WITH JOY, AND HIS CHOSEN WITH GLADNESS: AND GAVE THEM THE LANDS
OF THE HEATHEN: AND THEY INHERITED THE LABOR OF THE PEOPLE; THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE HIS STATUTES, AND KEEP HIS LAWS.” Psalm 105:43-45.

HERE WE LEARN THAT THE HEBREWS COULD NOT SERVE GOD IN EGYPT. {PP
757.1}
IN DEUTERONOMY 5:14, 15 WE FIND SPECIAL EMPHASIS GIVEN TO THAT PORTION OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT WHICH REQUIRES THE MANSERVANT AND THE MAIDSERVANT TO REST, AND THE ISRAELITE WAS TOLD TO REMEMBER THAT HE HAD BEEN A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT. THE LORD SAID, “THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, THOU, NOR THY SON, NOR THY DAUGHTER, NOR THY MANSERVANT, NOR THY MAIDSERVANT, NOR THINE OX, NOR THINE ASS, NOR ANY OF THY CATTLE, NOR THY STRANGER THAT IS WITHIN THY GATES; THAT THY MANSERVANT AND THY MAIDSERVANT MAY REST AS WELL AS THOU. AND REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND THAT THE LORD THY GOD BROUGHT THEE OUT THENCE THROUGH A MIGHTY HAND AND BY A STRETCHED-OUT ARM: THEREFORE THE LORD THY GOD COMMANDED THEE TO KEEP THE SABBATH DAY.” IN EXODUS 5:5 WE LEARN THAT MOSES AND AARON MADE THE PEOPLE “REST FROM THEIR BURDENS.” {PP 757.2}
FROM THESE FACTS WE MAY CONCLUDE THAT THE SABBATH WAS ONE OF THE THINGS IN WHICH THEY COULD NOT SERVE THE LORD IN EGYPT; AND WHEN MOSES AND AARON CAME WITH THE MESSAGE OF GOD (EXODUS
4:29-31), THEY ATTEMPTED A REFORM, WHICH ONLY INCREASED THE OPPRESSION. THE ISRAELITES WERE DELIVERED THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE THE STATUTES OF THE LORD, INCLUDING THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, AND THIS PLACED UPON THEM AN ADDITIONAL OBLIGATION TO KEEP THE SABBATH STRICTLY, AS WELL AS TO KEEP ALL THE COMMANDMENTS. THUS IN DEUTERONOMY 24:17, 18 THE FACT OF THEIR DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT IS CITED AS PLACING THEM UNDER SPECIAL OBLIGATION TO SHOW KINDNESS TO THE WIDOW AND THE FATHERLESS:
“THOU SHALT NOT PERVERT THE JUDGMENT OF THE STRANGER, NOR OF THE FATHERLESS; NOR TAKE A WIDOW’S RAIMENT TO PLEDGE: BUT THOU SHALT REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A BONDMAN IN EGYPT, AND THE LORD THY
GOD REDEEMED THEE THENCE: THEREFORE I COMMAND THEE TO DO THIS THING.” {PP 757.3}

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NOTE 2. PAGE 272. THAT THE PLAGUES WERE DESIGNED TO DESTROY THE CONFIDENCE OF THE EGYPTIANS IN THE POWER AND PROTECTION OF THEIR IDOLS, AND EVEN MADE THEIR GODS TO APPEAR AS CRUEL TORMENTORS OF THEIR WORSHIPERS, CAN BE SEEN FROM A STUDY OF THE EGYPTIAN RELIGION. A FEW EXAMPLES MAY SERVE TO ILLUSTRATE THIS FACT. {PP 758.1}
THE FIRST PLAGUE, TURNING THE WATER OF THE RIVER NILE AND OF ALL CANALS INTO BLOOD (EXODUS 7:19), WAS DIRECTED AGAINST THE SOURCE OF EGYPT’S VERY EXISTENCE. THE RIVER NILE WAS REGARDED WITH RELIGIOUS REVERENCE, AND AT SEVERAL PLACES SACRIFICES WERE OFFERED TO THE NILE AS TO A GOD. {PP 758.2}
THE SECOND PLAGUE BROUGHT FROGS OVER EGYPT. EXODUS 8:6. FROGS WERE HELD SACRED BY THE EGYPTIANS, AND ONE OF THEIR DEITIES, HEQA, WAS A FROG-HEADED GODDESS THOUGHT TO POSSESS CREATIVE POWER. WHEN THE FROGS, AS THE RESULT OF MOSES’ COMMAND, MULTIPLIED TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY FILLED THE LAND FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER, THE EGYPTIANS MAY HAVE WONDERED WHY HEQA WAS TORMENTING HER ARDENT WORSHIPERS INSTEAD OF PROTECTING THEM. IN THIS WAY THE EGYPTIANS WERE NOT ONLY PUNISHED BY THE SECOND PLAGUE, BUT WITNESSED ALSO CONTEMPT HEAPED UPON THEM, AS THEY SUPPOSED, BY ONE OF THEIR GODS (EXODUS 9:3), OF WHICH MANY REPRESENTED POWERFUL GODS IN THE EGYPTIANS PANTHEON. TO MENTION ONLY A FEW, WE FIND THAT THE APIS BULL WAS DEDICATED TO PTAH, THE FATHER OF ALL THE GODS, THE COW WAS SACRED TO HATHOR, ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY WORSHIPED OF ALL FEMALE DEITIES OF THE NILE COUNTRY, WHILE THE RAM REPRESENTED SEVERAL GODS LIKE KHNEMU, AND THE RAM-HEADED AMEN, WHO WAS EGYPT’S CHIEF GOD IN THE NEW EMPIRE PERIOD. HENCE, THE DISEASE WHICH SLEW THE ANIMALS DEDICATED TO THEIR DEITIES
REVEALED TO THE EGYPTIANS THE IMPOTENCE OF THEIR GODS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GOD OF THE DESPISED HEBREWS. {PP 758.3}
THE NINTH PLAGUE (EXODUS 10:21) DEALT A HEAVY BLOW TO ONE OF THE GREATEST GODS OF EGYPT, THE SUN OF GOD RA, WHO HAD BEEN CONTINUOUSLY WORSHIPED FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES OF THAT COUNTRY’S KNOWN HISTORY. IN A LAND WHICH HARDLY EVER SAW CLOUDS IN THE SKY, THE SUN WAS RECOGNIZED AS A NEVER-FAILING POWER WHICH PROVIDED WARMTH, LIGHT, LIFE, AND GROWTH TO THE WHOLE WORLD. EVERY EGYPTIAN KING CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS A “SON OF RA,” AND CARRIED THIS EXPRESSION IN HIS TITULARY. WHEN AMEN OF THEBES BECAME CHIEF GOD OF EGYPT DURING THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY, THE POWER OF THE SUN-GOD RA WAS RECOGNIZED AS SO GREAT THAT A COMPROMISE WAS MADE BY COMBINING AMEN AND RA TO MAKE ONE GOD
–AMEN-RA. A FEW YEARS AFTER THE EXODUS, WHEN IKHNATON INTRODUCED A SHORT-LIVED MONOTHEISM, THE ONLY GOD RETAINED WAS ATON, THE SUN DISK. SEEING HOW ENTRENCHED SUNWORSHIP WAS IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE EGYPTIANS, AND HOW HIGHLY THE SUN GOD RA, AMEN-RA, OR ATON WAS REVERED, WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE PLAGUE DIRECTED AGAINST THE GOD WAS BROUGHT UPON EGYPT TOWARD THE CULMINATION OF THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE GOD OF THE HEBREWS AND HIS EGYPTIAN ADVERSARIES.
{PP 758.4}

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ALSO THE TENTH PLAGUE, THE SLAUGHTERING OF THE FIRST-BORN (EXODUS 12:29), WAS STRIKING AT LEAST ONE GOD, AND THAT WAS THE KING, WHO WAS CONSIDERED TO BE HORUS, THE SON OF OSIRIS. AS THE

RULER OF THE NILE COUNTRY, HE WAS ADDRESSED BY HIS SUBJECTS AS “THE GOOD GOD.” HENCE, THE LAST PLAGUE CROWNED THE ACTIONS WROUGHT BY THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF THE HEBREW GOD. SO FAR GODS CONTROLLING THE FORCES OF NATURE OR ANIMALS HAD BEEN DISGRACED, BUT NOW A GOD LIVING IN A VISIBLE FORM AMONG THE EGYPTIANS WAS ALSO HUMILIATED BY THE DESPISED GOD OF THE HEBREWS SLAVES, OF WHOM THE PROUD PHARAOH ONCE HAD SAID, “WHO IS THE
LORD, THAT I SHOULD OBEY HIS VOICE TO LET ISRAEL GO? I KNOW NOT THE LORD, NEITHER WILL I LET ISRAEL GO.” EXODUS 5:2. {PP 759.1}
NOTE 3. PAGE 282. IN GENESIS 15:13 WE READ THAT THE LORD SAID TO ABRAHAM, “KNOW OF A SURETY THAT THY SEED SHALL BE A STRANGER IN A LAND THAT IS NOT THEIRS, AND SHALL SERVE THEM: AND THEY SHALL AFFLICT THEM FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.” THIS TEXT RAISES THE QUESTIONS WHETHER THE 400 YEARS REFER TO THE TIME OF AFFLICTION OR SOJOURNING, OR BOTH, AND WHAT THE RELATION OF THE 400 YEARS IS TO THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40, 41, AND GALATIANS 3:16, 17. {PP 759.2}
THE STATEMENT IN EXODUS 12:40, THAT “THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHO DWELT IN EGYPT, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS,” GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE ISRAELITES, FROM
JACOB’S ENTRY INTO EGYPT TO THE EXODUS, ACTUALLY SPENT 430 YEARS IN THE COUNTRY OF THE NILE. THAT THIS IMPRESSION CANNOT BE CORRECT IS OBVIOUS FROM PAUL’S INSPIRED INTERPRETATION PRESENTED IN
GALATIANS 3:16, 17, WHERE THE 430 YEARS ARE SAID TO COVER THE PERIOD BEGINNING WHEN GOD MADE HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM UNTIL THE LAW WAS PROMULGATED AT SINAI. PAUL SEEMS TO REFER TO THE FIRST PROMISE MADE BY GOD TO ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS CALLED TO LEAVE HARAN. GENESIS 12:1-3. AT THAT TIME THE 430 YEARS BEGAN, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER 12:4), WHILE THE 400
YEARS OF THE PROPHECY OF GENESIS 15:13 BEGAN THIRTY YEARS LATER, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS 105 AND HIS SON ISAAC FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER
21:5). AT THAT TIME ISHMAEL, WHO “WAS BORN AFTER THE FLESH PERSECUTED HIM [ISAAC] THAT WAS BORN AFTER THE SPIRIT” (GALATIANS
4:29; GENESIS 21:9-11), BEGINNING A TIME OF AFFLICTION OF ABRAHAM’S SEED WHICH INTERMITTENTLY WOULD BE CONTINUED UNTIL THE TIME OF THE EXODUS. ISAAC HAD NOT ONLY TROUBLES WITH HIS HALF BROTHER ISHMAEL, BUT ALSO WITH THE PHILISTINES (GENESIS 26:15, 20, 21); JACOB FLED FOR HIS LIFE FROM ESAU (GENESIS 27:41-43), AND LATER FROM LABAN (GENESIS 31:21), AND THEN WAS AGAIN IN JEOPARDY FROM ESAU (GENESIS
32:8); JOSEPH WAS SOLD INTO SLAVERY BY HIS BRETHREN (GENESIS 37:28), AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE OPPRESSED BY THE EGYPTIANS FOR MANY DECADES (EXODUS 1:14). {PP 759.3}
THE TIME FROM ABRAHAM’S CALL TO JACOB’S ENTRY INTO EGYPT WAS 215
YEARS, BEING THE TOTAL OF (1) TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LYING BETWEEN ABRAHAM’S CALL AND THE BIRTH OF ISAAC (GENESIS 12:4; 21:5), (2) SIXTY YEARS LYING
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BETWEEN ISAAC’S BIRTH AND JACOB’S BIRTH (GENESIS 25:26), AND (3) THE AGE OF JACOB AT THE TIME OF HIS MIGRATION INTO EGYPT (GENESIS 47:9). THIS LEAVES THE REMAINING 215 YEARS OF THE 430 AS THE ACTUAL TIME THE HEBREWS SPENT IN EGYPT. HENCE THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40
INCLUDES THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN AS WELL AS THEIR STAY IN EGYPT. SINCE IN THE TIME OF MOSES, PALESTINE WAS PART OF THE EGYPTIAN EMPIRE, IT IS NOT STRANGE TO FIND AN AUTHOR OF THAT PERIOD INCLUDING CANAAN IN THE TERM “EGYPT.” THE TRANSLATORS OF THE SEPTUAGINT, KNOWING THAT THE 430 YEARS INCLUDED THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN, MADE THIS POINT CLEAR IN THEIR RENDERING OF THIS PASSAGE: “AND THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHILE THEY SOJOURNED IN THE LAND OF EGYPT AND THE LAND OF CANAAN, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS.” AN ADDITIONAL CORROBORATION OF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE 430 YEARS GIVEN ABOVE IS FOUND IN THE PROPHECY THAT THE FOURTH GENERATION OF THOSE WHO HAD ENTERED EGYPT WOULD LEAVE IT (GENESIS 15:16), AND ITS RECORDED FULFILLMENT IN EXODUS 6:16-20. {PP 759.4}
NOTE 4. PAGE 316. THE ISRAELITES, IN THEIR ADORATION OF THE GOLDEN CALF, PROFESSED TO BE WORSHIPING GOD. THUS AARON, WHEN INAUGURATING THE WORSHIP OF THE IDOL, PROCLAIMED, “TOMORROW IS A FEAST UNTO JEHOVAH.” THEY PROPOSED TO WORSHIP GOD, AS THE EGYPTIANS WORSHIPED OSIRIS, UNDER THE SEMBLANCE OF THE IMAGE. BUT GOD COULD NOT ACCEPT THE SERVICE. THOUGH OFFERED IN HIS NAME, THE SUN-GOD, AND NOT JEHOVAH, WAS THE REAL OBJECT OF THEIR ADORATION.
{PP 760.1}
THE WORSHIP OF APIS WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE GROSSEST LICENTIOUSNESS, AND THE SCRIPTURE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE CALF WORSHIP BY THE ISRAELITES WAS ATTENDED WITH ALL THE LICENSE USUAL IN HEATHEN WORSHIP. WE READ: “THEY ROSE UP EARLY ON THE MORROW, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS, AND BROUGHT PEACE OFFERINGS; AND THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND TO DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.” EXODUS 32:6. THE HEBREW WORD RENDERED “TO PLAY” SIGNIFIES PLAYING WITH LEAPING, SINGING, AND DANCING. THIS DANCING, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE EGYPTIANS, WAS SENSUAL AND INDECENT. THE WORD RENDERED “CORRUPTED” IN THE NEXT VERSE, WHERE IT IS SAID, “THY PEOPLE, WHICH THOU BROUGHTEST OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, HAVE CORRUPTED THEMSELVES,” IS THE SAME THAT IS USED IN GENESIS 6:11, 12, WHERE WE READ THAT THE EARTH WAS CORRUPT, “FOR ALL FLESH HAD CORRUPTED HIS WAY UPON THE EARTH.” THIS EXPLAINS THE TERRIBLE ANGER OF THE LORD, AND WHY HE DESIRED TO CONSUME THE PEOPLE AT ONCE. {PP 760.2}
NOTE 5. PAGE 329. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE THE “COVENANT” TO WHICH THE LORD REFERRED WHEN, IN PROPOSING A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL, HE SAID, “IF YE WILL OBEY MY VOICE INDEED, AND KEEP MY COVENANT,” ETC. EXODUS 19:5. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE TERMED GOD’S “COVENANT” BEFORE THE COVENANT WAS MADE WITH ISRAEL. THEY WERE NOT AN AGREEMENT MADE, BUT SOMETHING WHICH GOD COMMANDED THEM TO PERFORM. THUS
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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS–GOD’S COVENANT–BECAME THE BASIS OF THE COVENANT MADE BETWEEN HIM AND ISRAEL. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN ALL THEIR DETAILS ARE “ALL THESE WORDS,” CONCERNING WHICH THE COVENANT WAS MADE. SEE EXODUS 24:8. {PP 760.3}
NOTE 6. PAGE 354. WHEN A SIN OFFERING WAS PRESENTED FOR A PRIEST
OR FOR THE WHOLE CONGREGATION, THE BLOOD WAS CARRIED INTO THE HOLY PLACE AND SPRINKLED BEFORE THE VEIL AND PLACED UPON THE HORNS OF THE GOLDEN ALTAR. THE FAT WAS CONSUMED UPON THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING IN THE COURT, BUT THE BODY OF THE VICTIM WAS BURNED WITHOUT THE CAMP. SEE LEVITICUS 4:1-21. {PP 761.1}
WHEN, HOWEVER, THE OFFERING WAS FOR A RULER OR FOR ONE OF THE PEOPLE, THE BLOOD WAS NOT TAKEN INTO THE HOLY PLACE, BUT THE FLESH WAS TO BE EATEN BY THE PRIEST, AS THE LORD DIRECTED MOSES: “THE PRIEST THAT OFFERETH IT FOR SIN SHALL EAT IT: IN A HOLY PLACE SHALL IT BE EATEN, IN THE COURT OF THE TENT OF MEETING.” LEVITICUS 6:26, R.V.
SEE ALSO LEVITICUS 4:22-35. {PP 761.2}
NOTE 7. PAGE 366. THAT THE ONE WHO SPOKE THE LAW, WHO CALLED MOSES INTO THE MOUNT AND TALKED WITH HIM, WAS OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IS EVIDENT FROM THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS: {PP 761.3}
CHRIST IS THE ONE THROUGH WHOM GOD HAS AT ALL TIMES REVEALED HIMSELF TO MAN. “BUT TO US THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER, OF WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE IN HIM; AND ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE BY HIM.” 1 CORINTHIANS 8:6. “THIS IS HE [MOSES], THAT WAS IN THE CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS WITH THE ANGEL WHICH SPAKE TO HIM IN THE MOUNT SINAI, AND WITH OUR FATHERS: WHO RECEIVED THE LIVELY ORACLES TO GIVE UNTO US.” ACTS 7:38. THIS ANGEL WAS THE ANGEL OF GOD’S PRESENCE (ISAIAH 63:9), THE ANGEL IN WHOM WAS THE NAME OF THE GREAT JEHOVAH (EXODUS 23:20-23). THE EXPRESSION CAN REFER TO NO OTHER THAN THE SON OF GOD. {PP 761.4}
AGAIN: CHRIST IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD. JOHN 1:1-3. HE IS SO
CALLED BECAUSE GOD GAVE HIS REVELATIONS TO MAN IN ALL AGES THROUGH CHRIST. IT WAS HIS SPIRIT THAT INSPIRED THE PROPHETS. 1
PETER 1:10, 11. HE WAS REVEALED TO THEM AS THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH, THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOST, MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL. {PP 761.5}
NOTE 8. PAGE 603. THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED, AND IS NOW MUCH AGITATED, IF A THEOCRACY WAS GOOD IN THE TIME OF ISRAEL, WHY WOULD NOT A THEOCRATICAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT BE EQUALLY GOOD FOR THIS TIME? THE ANSWER IS EASY: {PP 761.6}
A THEOCRACY IS A GOVERNMENT WHICH DERIVES ITS POWER IMMEDIATELY FROM GOD. THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL WAS A TRUE THEOCRACY. THAT WAS REALLY A GOVERNMENT OF GOD. AT THE BURNING BUSH, GOD COMMISSIONED MOSES TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT. BY SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIGHTY MIRACLES MULTIPLIED, GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT AND
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LED THEM THROUGH THE WILDERNESS AND FINALLY INTO THE PROMISED LAND. THERE HE RULED THEM BY JUDGES “UNTIL SAMUEL THE PROPHET,” TO WHOM, WHEN HE WAS A CHILD, GOD SPOKE, AND BY WHOM HE MADE KNOWN HIS WILL. IN THE DAYS OF SAMUEL THE PEOPLE ASKED THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE A KING. THIS WAS ALLOWED, AND GOD CHOSE SAUL, AND SAMUEL ANOINTED HIM KING OF ISRAEL. SAUL FAILED TO DO THE WILL OF GOD; AND AS HE REJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, THE LORD REJECTED HIM FROM BEING KING AND SENT SAMUEL TO ANOINT DAVID KING OF ISRAEL; AND DAVID’S THRONE GOD ESTABLISHED FOREVERMORE. WHEN SOLOMON SUCCEEDED TO THE KINGDOM IN THE PLACE OF DAVID HIS FATHER, THE RECORD IS: “THEN SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING INSTEAD OF DAVID HIS FATHER.” 1 CHRONICLES 29:23. DAVID’S THRONE WAS THE THRONE OF THE LORD, AND SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING OVER THE EARTHLY KINGDOM OF GOD. THE SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE DESCENDED IN DAVID’S LINE TO ZEDEKIAH, WHO WAS MADE SUBJECT TO THE KING OF BABYLON, AND WHO ENTERED INTO A SOLEMN COVENANT BEFORE GOD THAT HE WOULD LOYALLY RENDER ALLEGIANCE TO THE KING OF BABYLON. BUT ZEDEKIAH BROKE HIS COVENANT, AND THEN
GOD SAID TO HIM: {PP 761.7}
“THOU, PROFANE WICKED PRINCE OF ISRAEL, WHOSE DAY IS COME, WHEN INIQUITY SHALL HAVE AN END, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; REMOVE THE DIADEM, AND TAKE OFF THE CROWN: THIS SHALL NOT BE THE SAME: EXALT HIM THAT IS LOW, AND ABASE HIM THAT IS HIGH. I WILL OVERTURN, OVERTURN, OVERTURN, IT: AND IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM.” EZEKIEL 21:25-27. SEE ALSO CHAPTER 17:1-21. {PP 762.1}
THE KINGDOM WAS THEN SUBJECT TO BABYLON. WHEN BABYLON FELL, AND MEDO-PERSIA SUCCEEDED, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE FIRST TIME. WHEN MEDO-PERSIA FELL AND WAS SUCCEEDED BY GREECE, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE SECOND TIME. WHEN THE GREEK EMPIRE GAVE WAY TO
ROME, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE THIRD TIME. AND THEN SAYS THE WORD, “IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM.” WHO IS HE WHOSE RIGHT IT IS? “THOU . . . SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS. HE SHALL BE GREAT, AND SHALL BE CALLED THE SON OF THE HIGHEST: AND THE LORD GOD SHALL GIVE UNTO HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: AND HE SHALL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END.” LUKE 1:31-33. AND WHILE HE WAS HERE AS “THAT PROPHET,” A MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF, THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED HE HIMSELF DECLARED, “MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD.” THUS THE THRONE OF THE LORD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS WORLD AND WILL “BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS,” AND THEN IT WILL BE GIVEN HIM. AND THAT TIME IS THE END OF THIS WORLD, AND THE BEGINNING OF “THE WORLD TO COME.” {PP
762.2}
TO THE TWELVE APOSTLES THE SAVIOUR SAID, “I APPOINT UNTO YOU A KINGDOM, AS MY FATHER HATH APPOINTED UNTO ME; THAT YE MAY EAT AND DRINK AT MY TABLE IN MY KINGDOM, AND SIT ON THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.” LUKE 22:29, 30. FROM MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT OF
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CHRIST’S PROMISE TO THE TWELVE WE LEARN WHEN IT WILL BE FULFILLED; “IN THE REGENERATION WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL SIT IN THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY, YE ALSO SHALL SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.” MATTHEW 19:28. IN THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, CHRIST REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE FIGURE OF A NOBLEMAN WHO “WENT INTO A FAR COUNTRY TO RECEIVE FOR HIMSELF A KINGDOM, AND TO RETURN.” LUKE 19:12. AND HE HIMSELF HAS TOLD US WHEN HE WILL SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: “WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME IN HIS GLORY, AND ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM, THEN SHALL HE SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: AND BEFORE HIM SHALL BE GATHERED ALL NATIONS.” MATTHEW 25:31, 32. {PP 762.3}
TO THIS TIME THE REVELATOR LOOKS FORWARD WHEN HE SAYS, “THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD ARE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST; AND HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER.” REVELATION
11:15. THE CONTEXT CLEARLY SHOWS WHEN THIS WILL TAKE PLACE: “THE
NATIONS WERE ANGRY, AND THY WRATH IS COME, AND THE TIME OF THE DEAD, THAT THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED, AND THAT THOU SHOULDEST GIVE REWARD UNTO THY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, AND TO THE SAINTS, AND THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME, SMALL AND GREAT; AND SHOULDEST DESTROY THEM WHICH DESTROY THE EARTH.” VERSE 18. IT IS AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT, THE REWARD OF THE RIGHTEOUS, AND THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED THAT THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST WILL BE SET UP. WHEN ALL WHO OPPOSE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST. {PP 763.1}
THEN CHRIST WILL REIGN, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” REVELATION 19:16. “AND THE KINGDOM AND DOMINION, AND THE GREATNESS OF THE KINGDOM UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH.” AND “THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM, AND POSSESS THE KINGDOM FOREVER, EVEN FOREVER AND EVER.” DANIEL 7:27, 18. {PP 763.2}
UNTIL THAT TIME THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED ON THE EARTH. HIS KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. HIS FOLLOWERS ARE TO ACCOUNT THEMSELVES “STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH.” PAUL SAYS, “OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN; FROM WHENCE ALSO WE WAIT FOR A SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.” HEBREWS 11:13; PHILIPPIANS 3:20, R.V.
{PP 763.3}
SINCE THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL PASSED AWAY, GOD HAS NEVER DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO ANY MAN OR BODY OF MEN TO EXECUTE HIS LAWS AS SUCH. “VENGEANCE IS MINE; I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD.” ROMANS 12:19. CIVIL GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH THE RELATIONS OF MAN WITH MAN; BUT THEY HAVE NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH THE DUTIES THAT GROW OUT OF MAN’S RELATION TO GOD. {PP 763.4}
EXCEPT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, NO GOVERNMENT HAS EVER EXISTED ON THE EARTH IN WHICH GOD BY INSPIRED MEN DIRECTED THE AFFAIRS OF STATE. WHENEVER MEN HAVE ENDEAVORED TO FORM SUCH A GOVERNMENT AS THAT OF ISRAEL, THEY HAVE, OF NECESSITY, TAKEN IT UPON
THEMSELVES TO INTERPRET AND ENFORCE THE LAW OF GOD. THEY HAVE ASSUMED THE RIGHT TO
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CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE, AND THUS HAVE USURPED THE PREROGATIVE OF GOD. {PP 763.5}
IN THE FORMER DISPENSATION, WHILE SINS AGAINST GOD WERE VISITED WITH TEMPORAL PENALTIES, THE JUDGMENTS EXECUTED WERE NOT ONLY BY DIVINE SANCTION, BUT UNDER HIS DIRECT CONTROL, AND BY HIS COMMAND. SORCERERS WERE TO BE PUT TO DEATH. IDOLATERS WERE TO BE SLAIN. PROFANITY AND SACRILEGE WERE PUNISHED WITH DEATH. WHOLE NATIONS OF IDOLATERS WERE TO BE EXTERMINATED. BUT THE INFLICTION
OF THESE PENALTIES WAS DIRECTED BY HIM WHO READS THE HEARTS OF MEN, WHO KNOWS THE MEASURE OF THEIR GUILT, AND WHO DEALS WITH HIS CREATURES IN WISDOM AND MERCY. WHEN MEN, WITH HUMAN FRAILTIES
AND PASSIONS, UNDERTAKE TO DO THIS WORK, IT NEEDS NO ARGUMENT TO SHOW THAT THE DOOR IS OPENED TO UNRESTRAINED INJUSTICE AND CRUELTY. THE MOST INHUMAN CRIMES WILL BE PERPETRATED, AND ALL IN THE SACRED NAME OF CHRIST. {PP 764.1}
FROM THE LAWS OF ISRAEL, WHICH PUNISHED OFFENSES AGAINST GOD, ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO PROVE THE DUTY OF PUNISHING SIMILAR SINS IN THIS AGE. ALL PERSECUTORS HAVE EMPLOYED THEM TO JUSTIFY THEIR DEEDS. THE PRINCIPLE THAT GOD HAS DELEGATED TO HUMAN AUTHORITY THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE IS THE VERY FOUNDATION OF RELIGIOUS TYRANNY AND PERSECUTION. BUT ALL WHO REASON THUS LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A DIFFERENT DISPENSATION, UNDER CONDITIONS WHOLLY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF ISRAEL; THAT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL WAS A TYPE OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST, WHICH WILL NOT BE SET UP UNTIL HIS SECOND COMING; AND THAT THE DUTIES WHICH PERTAIN TO MAN’S RELATION TO GOD ARE NOT TO BE REGULATED OR ENFORCED BY HUMAN AUTHORITY. {PP 764.2}
NOTE 9. PAGE 608. CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, DR. EDERSHEIM SAYS: “THESE TWO POINTS SEEM ESTABLISHED: SAUL’S RESIDENCE WAS AT GIBEAH, AND HE FIRST MET SAMUEL IN RAMAH. BUT IF SO, IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, IN VIEW OF 1 SAMUEL
10:2, TO IDENTIFY THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, OR TO REGARD IT AS THE MODERN NEBY SAMUEL, FOUR MILES NORTHWEST OF JERUSALEM.” {PP 764.3}

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