The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
November 20, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels.
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIII.
and the .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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The course which Jacob had pursued in deceiving his father was ever before him. He knew that his long exile was the result of his own deviation from strict , the . He pondered over these things day and night, his him, and making his journey very sad. How he longed to again go over the ground where he had stumbled and brought the upon his . Before his he had a sense of which made him brave under difficulties, and cheerful amid trouble and gloom. To this deep, abiding , he had long been a stranger. Yet he remembered with the which had shown him, the of the shining ladder, and the promises of and . In solemn review of the mistakes and errors of his life, and the dealings of God with him, he humbly acknowledged his own , the great of , and the prosperity which had crowned his labors.

As the hills of his native land appeared before him in the distance, the heart of the patriarch was deeply stirred. He had proved his God, and found his promises unfailing; he believed that God would be with him; yet as he drew near to Edom he had many fears of Esau, who was now able to do his younger brother great injury if so disposed. Again the Lord encouraged the heart of his servant with a token of divine care and protection. Directly before him, as if leading the way, he beheld two armies of heavenly angels marching as a guide and guard; and when he saw them he broke forth in language of praise, and exclaimed, “This is God’s host.” And he called the name of the place Mahanaim, which signifies two hosts, or camps.

Although Jacob had so great evidence that God would protect him, he felt that he himself had something to do for his own safety. He therefore sent his servants with a conciliatory message to Esau, who dwelt at Mount Seir, in the country of Edom. He did not claim the precedence for himself, but courteously addressed his brother as a superior, hoping thus to appease the anger which his former course had excited. Esau was informed of his younger brother’s safe return with abundant possessions of cattle and servants, and that he would be most happy to meet him with fraternal feelings. The messengers returned to their master with the tidings that Esau was advancing to meet him attended by four hundred men; and no response was sent to the friendly message.

It appeared certain that Esau was coming in anger to seek revenge. A feeling of terror pervaded to entire camp. Jacob was in distress. He could not go back, and he feared to advance. His company was few in numbers, and wholly unprepared for an encounter. He accordingly divided them into two bands, that if one should be attacked, the other might have an opportunity to escape. He would not fail to do all in his power to preserve his own life and the life of those dependent upon him, and then he pleaded with God for his presence and protecting care. He did not rely upon his feelings, nor upon any goodness which he possessed, but on the sure promise of God: “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 am I 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.”

Jacob halted in his journey to mature plans for appeasing the wrath of his brother. He would not rush recklessly into danger, but sent large presents to Esau by the hands of his servants, with a message well calculated to make a favorable impression. He sent his wives and children, with all his substance forward on the journey, while he himself remained behind. He thought the sight of that helpless little company would touch the feelings of Esau, who, though bold and revengeful, was yet pitiful and tender toward the weak and unprotected. If his eye rested first upon Jacob, his rage might be excited, and they would all perish.

Jacob wished to be alone with his God. It was midnight. All that made life dear to him was at a distance, exposed to danger and death. The bitterest drop in his cup of anguish was the thought that his own sin had brought this great peril upon his wives and children, who were innocent of the sin of which he was guilty. He had decided to spend the night in humiliation and prayer. God could soften the heart of his brother. God was his only refuge and strength. In a desolate place, infested by robbers and murderers, he bowed in deep distress upon the earth; his soul was rent with anguish, and with earnest cries mingled with tears he made his prayer before God. Strong hands are suddenly laid upon his shoulders. He immediately grapples his assailant, for he feels that this attack is a design upon his life; that he is in the hands of a robber or murderer. The contest is severe; neither utters a word; but Jacob puts forth all his strength, and does not relax his efforts for a moment. Thus 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 discerns the character of his antagonist. He knows that he has been in bodily conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this is why his almost superhuman efforts did not gain for him the victory. He is now disabled and suffering keenest pain, but he will not loosen his hold. He falls, a conquered foe, all penitent and broken, upon the neck of the angel.

In the inspired history of this event, the one who wrestled with Jacob is called a man; Hosea calls him the angel; while Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face.” He is also said to have had power with God. It was the Majesty of Heaven, the Angel of the covenant, that came, in the form and appearance of a man, to Jacob. The divine messenger uses some force to release himself from the grasp of Jacob; he pleads with him, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.” But Jacob had been pleading the promises of God; he had been trusting his pledged word, which is as sure and unfailing as his throne; and now, through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal, can make terms with Jesus Christ: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” What boldness is here manifested! What lofty faith, what perseverance and holy trust! Was this presumption and undue familiarity on the part of Jacob? Had it been of this character he would not have lived through the scene. His was not a self-exalted, boastful, presumptuous claim, but the assurance of one who realizes his weakness and unworthiness and the ability of God to fulfill his promise. The mistake which had led to Jacob’s sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now opened before him. He had not trusted God and his promises as he should have done. He had sought by his own works and power to bring about that which God was abundantly able to perform in his own time and way.

“And when he saw that he prevailed not against him”–the Majesty of Heaven prevailed not against a man of dust, a sinful mortal! The reason is, that man has fastened the trembling hand of faith upon the promise of God, and the divine, messenger cannot leave him who is hanging repentant, weeping, helpless upon his neck. His great heart of love cannot turn away from the suppliant without granting his request. Christ did not wish to leave him unblest when his soul was shrouded with despair; for he is more willing to give good things to them that ask him than are parents to give to their children.

The angel inquired of Jacob, “What is thy name?” and on being informed he said, “Thy name 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.” Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed; his sin as a supplanter and deceiver was pardoned. The crisis in his life had passed. God shows, in his dealing with Jacob, that he will not sanction the least wrong in any of his children; neither will he cast off and leave to despair and destruction those who are deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered Jacob’s life; but now all was changed, and how sweet was the rest and peace in God, in the assurance of his restored favor.

“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” What a morning of light and joy dawned upon Jacob. The dark, despairing shadows brooding over him the previous night had disappeared. The brightness of the sun, shining in its glory, fitly represented the heavenly light that filled his soul. He was crippled in body, but his spirit was strong in God. He bore some marks of the battle, but the victory was his.

In this instance we see of what value is man in the sight of the infinite God. When a teacher of men upon the earth, the One who appeared to Jacob said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” The promises of God are so sure to those who trust in him that he will suffer the heavens and the earth to pass away, rather than fail to fulfill the desire of them that fear him. The great lessons of peace, humility, and trust, are to be learned by all the followers of Christ.

While Jacob was wrestling with the angel on that eventful night, another angel, one of the host which the patriarch had seen guarding him in the way, was sent to move upon the heart of Esau in his sleeping hours. In his dream he saw his brother an exile from his father’s house for twenty years through fear of his anger; he witnessed his sorrow to find his mother dead; and he beheld him encompassed with the hosts of God. Esau related this dream to his four hundred armed men, and charged them not to injure Jacob, for the God of his father was with him.

The two companies at last approach each other; the sturdy chieftain with his soldiers on one side, and on the other, Jacob, pale from his recent conflict, and halting at every step, yet with a benignity and peaceful light reflected upon his countenance; in the rear an unarmed company of men, women, and children, followed by the flocks and herds. Supported by his staff the patriarch went forward to meet that band of warriors, bowing himself repeatedly to the ground as a token of respect, while his little retinue awaited the issue with the deepest anxiety. They saw the arms of Esau thrown about the neck of Jacob, pressing to his bosom him whom he had so long threatened with direst vengeance. Revenge is now changed to tender affection, and he who once thirsted for his brother’s blood shed tears of joy, his heart melted with the softest endearments of love and tenderness. The soldiers in Esau’s army saw the result of that night of weeping and of prayer; but they knew nothing of the conflict and the victory. They understood the feelings of the patriarch, the husband and father, for his family and his possessions; but they could not see the connection that he had with God, which had gained the heart of Esau from Him who has all hearts in his hand. Thus it has ever been with worldlings; the secret of the Christian’s strength is not discerned by them. His inner life they cannot understand.

Esau looked with pleasure upon his brother’s possessions. He acknowledged the presents tendered to him by Jacob, but declined to accept them, as he already possessed abundance. But Jacob urged the matter. He was a prince with God, yet as subdued and humble as a little child. “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.”

Esau invited Jacob to his home in Seir, and offered to accompany him on the journey. But Jacob had no disposition to accept the offer. He knew that Esau was now under the direct influence of the Spirit of God; when another spirit should come upon him he might greatly change in feelings. Jacob did not refuse the offer, but presented the true condition of his party, his flocks and herds; that they could not travel with the expedition which would be agreeable to Esau and his band. He urged him to return to his own place, while the party would follow on slowly. Esau desired to leave with his brother soldiers to guard him and his company; but Jacob had evidence that they were guarded by a mighty host of heavenly angels, and he courteously declined the favor. The brothers parted with tender feelings.
                           (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 6:30 pm
April 3, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                         Chapter Ten–Continued.
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                            By Mrs. E. G. White.
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All day he cherished the hope of meeting an coming to and him, or perhaps to revoke the , but no of appeared. suggested that he must be , for God had said, “Thou shalt not ,” and it was not like God to require what he had once . The second long day comes to a close, another sleepless night is spent in and , and the journey of the third day is commenced. Abraham lifts his eyes to the mountains, and upon one he beholds the promised , a bright cloud hovering over the top of . Now he knows it is all a terrible certainty, and no .

He was yet a great distance from the mountain, but he bade his servants remain behind while he placed the wood upon the shoulders of his son, and himself took the knife and fire. Abraham braced himself for the sad work which he must perform. He did not murmur against God. Isaac had been given to him unexpectedly; he had received him with gratitude and great joy, and though he was the son of his old age, the son of his love, he yet believed that the same power that gave him Isaac, could raise him again even from the ashes of the burnt sacrifice. He strengthens his soul by the evidences he has had of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Had not He, who had graciously given Isaac to him, perfect right to recall the gift?

Isaac had been a comfort, a sunbeam, a blessing to Abraham in his old age, and although this gift of God seemed so precious, so dear to him, he was now commanded to return it to the Giver. The words of God’s command showed that he fully realized the pain which Abraham must feel in obeying his requirement, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” Abraham wanted no witnesses. It was enough that God could look on and not only see the full consecration of his darling son Isaac, but read the heart and fully understand how severely he felt the test. He wished no one but God to witness this parting scene between father and son.

Abraham knew not how Isaac would receive the command of God. As they drew near the mountain, “Isaac spake to Abraham, his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” These endearing words, “My father,” pierced the affectionate heart of Abraham, and again he thought, Oh, that I, in my old age, might die instead of Isaac! Still reluctant to open before his son the true purpose of his errand, Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering.” 

Isaac assisted his father in building the altar. Together they placed on the wood, and the last work preparatory to the sacrifice is done. With quivering lips and trembling voice, Abraham reveals to his son the message that God had sent him. In obedience to the divine command, he had taken the journey. Everything was ready. Isaac was the victim, the lamb to be slain. Had Isaac chosen to resist his father’s command, he could have done so, for he was grown to manhood; but he had been so thoroughly instructed in the knowledge of God that he had perfect faith in his promises and requirements.

The patriarch assured Isaac that his affection for him was not diminished, and that he would gladly give his own life to save that of his son. But God had chosen Isaac, and his requirement must be fulfilled to the letter. Abraham told his son that the Lord had miraculously given him to his parents, and now he had required him again. He assured him that the divine promise, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” would be fulfilled; that doubtless God would raise him to life again from the dead.

Isaac at first heard the purpose of God with amazement amounting to terror. But he considered the matter fully. He was the child of a miracle. If God had accepted him as a worthy sacrifice, he would cheerfully submit. Life was dear, life was precious, but God had appointed him, Isaac, to be offered up as a sacrifice. He comforted his father, by assuring him that God had conferred honor upon him, in accepting him as an offering; that in this requirement he saw not the wrath and displeasure of God, but special tokens that the Lord loved him, in that he required him to be consecrated to himself in sacrifice. 

He encouraged the almost nerveless hands of his father to bind the cords which confined him to the altar. The last words of endearing love were spoken by father and son, the last affectionate, parental, and filial tears were shed, the last embrace was given, and the father had pressed his beloved son to his aged breast for the last time. His hand is uplifted, grasping firmly the instrument of death, when suddenly his arm is stayed. “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of Heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, Jehovah-jireh; as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of Heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

As evidence of God’s approval of the faith of Abraham, he gave him the name of “Father of the faithful.” The example of Abraham is recorded in sacred history for the benefit of his believing children. This great act of faith teaches the lesson of implicit confidence in God, perfect obedience to his requirements, and a complete surrender to the divine will. In the example of Abraham we are taught that nothing we possess is too precious to give to God.

How many now who profess to be Christians would follow the example of Abraham in yielding up to God his beloved Isaac? Yet our dearest treasure belongs to God. A solemn duty rests upon Christian parents to so educate and mould the minds of their children that they will ever have a high respect and exalted reverence for God and for everything sacred and holy. Such will feel that God’s claims must first be regarded, that nothing is too precious to sacrifice for him. Such will, like Abraham, exemplify their faith by their works.

How many now who profess to believe God, and pass for Christians, refuse to obey his voice when he calls upon them to deny self, and yield to him their darling treasures. They will hesitate, and cling to earthly things. Their affections are upon the world and the things of the world; yet some of these very ones will have the most to say about how much they have sacrificed to obey the truth. Isaac felt that it was a privilege to yield his life as an offering to God. If the Lord could accept him, he felt that he was honored.

Human judgment may look upon the command given to Abraham as severe, too great for human strength to bear. Abraham’s strength was from God. He looked not at the things which are seen with mortal vision, but at the things which are eternal. God required no more of Abraham than he had, in divine compassion and infinite love, given to man. He gave his only begotten Son to die, that guilty man might live. Abraham’s offering of Isaac was especially designed of God to prefigure the sacrifice of his Son.

Every step that Abraham advanced toward Mount Moriah, the Lord went with him. All the grief and agony that Abraham endured during the three days of his dark and fearful trial, were imposed upon him to give us a lesson in perfect faith and obedience, and that we might better comprehend how real was the great self-denial and infinite sacrifice of the Father in giving his only Son to die a shameful death for the guilty race. No other trial, no other suffering or test, which could have been brought to bear upon Abraham, would have caused such mental anguish, such torture of soul, as that of obeying God in offering up his son.

Our Heavenly Father surrendered his beloved Son to the agonies of the crucifixion. Legions of angels witnessed the humiliation and soul-anguish of the Son of God, but were not permitted to interpose as in the case of Isaac. No voice was heard to stay the sacrifice. God’s dear Son, the world’s Redeemer, was insulted, mocked at, derided, and tortured, until he bowed his head in death. What greater proof can the Infinite One give us of his divine love and pity? “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The meager conception that many have of the worth of the soul, and the sacrifice of God’s dear Son for sinful man, is shown by their works. Should God speak to them, as he did to Abraham, Sacrifice your possessions, the temporal benefits that I have lent you to advance my cause, they would look in astonishment, thinking God did not mean just what he said. Their riches are as dear to them as their children; their worldly treasure is their Isaac. To honor God with their substance, they think, is a requirement altogether too great, and they cannot believe that God means it. What have this class sacrificed for God?

Men will show all the faith they have. If God should speak to them and command them to offer one of their beloved children, they would think him a hard master. Yet he has done more than this for them. No such command will come to test and prove them. God knew to whom he spake, when he gave the command to faithful Abraham. The patriarch knew that it was God who had commanded, and that his promises were infallible. Had the Lord directed him to offer his gold, his silver, his flocks, or even his own life, he would have done so cheerfully. He would have felt that he was but yielding back to God that which belonged to him.

But there are many who know not what self-denial, or sacrifice, or devotion to God, is. They never can have extended and elevated views of the infinite sacrifice made by the Son of God to save a ruined world, until they surrender all to him. If he should speak to them in a command, as he did to Abraham, they would not be enough acquainted with his voice to understand that he did really require something of them, to show their love, and the genuineness of their faith.

The claims of God upon our love, affection, and possessions, our talents, and ourselves, are correspondingly great as was the infinite sacrifice made in giving his Son to die for sinful man. Those who really appreciate the work of the atonement, those who have a high sense of the sacrifice which Christ has made to exalt them to his throne, will count it a special honor to be partakers with him in his self-denial, sacrifice, and suffering, that they may be co-workers with him in saving souls.

There are many who profess the truth, who do not love God half so well as they love the world. God is testing and proving them. Their love of the world and of riches darkens their minds, perverts their judgment, and hardens their hearts. God has, to some of them at least, revealed his will, and called for a surrender of their Isaac to him. But they refuse to obey, and let golden opportunities pass. Precious time is bearing into eternity a record of duties unfulfilled, and of positive neglect.

Nothing we have is of true value until it is surrendered to God. The talent of means devoted to the cause and work of God, is of tenfold more value than if selfishly retained for the gratification of our own pleasure. The faith of the devoted martyrs was like that of Abraham, it was genuine. They valued the precious truth, and in their turn, although despised of men, hunted from place to place, persecuted, afflicted, and tormented, they were valued of God. There was no place for them upon the earth, but of them, says the apostle, the world was not worthy. Those who clung to the truth in face of prison, torture, and death, had faith that few now living possess.

Many have chosen a life of ease. They have exalted their earthly interests above the spiritual and eternal. They neglect to learn the hard lesson of self-denial, and of surrendering all to God. They do not count anything interesting, save that which is learned without much effort, and without involving any sacrifice of temporal enjoyment; and it is forgotten as soon as learned, because it cost them nothing.

The deepest poverty, with God’s blessing, is better than houses and lands, and any amount of earthly treasure, without it. God’s blessing places value on everything we possess; but if we have the whole world without his blessing we are indeed as poor as the beggar, for we can take nothing with us into the next world.

Those who profess to be looking for the soon coming of our Saviour, should have Abrahamic faith; a faith that is valued because it has cost them something; a faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. The example of Abraham is left on record for us upon whom the ends of the world have come. We must believe that God is in earnest with us, and that he is not to be trifled with. He means what he says, and he requires of us implicit faith and willing obedience. Then will he let his light shine around about us, and we shall be all light in the Lord.

Jenny @ 10:08 am
March 6, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                            Chapter Seven–Continued.
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                              By Mrs. E. G. White.
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Everything was now ready for the closing of the , which could not be done by from within. The scoffing multitude behold an descending from , clothed with brightness like the lightning. He closes that massive outer door, and then takes his course upward to heaven again. were the family of Noah in the ark before the rain began to descend. During this time they were arranging for their long stay while the waters should be upon . And these were days of merriment by the unbelieving masses. Because the of Noah was not fulfilled immediately after he entered the ark, they thought that he was deceived, and that it was impossible for the world to be destroyed by a flood. Notwithstanding the solemn scenes which they had witnessed, the beasts leaving the mountains and forests and going into the ark, and the angel of , clothed with brightness and terrible in , descending from Heaven and closing the door, they hardened their hearts and continued to revel and sport over the signal manifestations of divine power.

But the same power that called the world into existence, and that created man, has shut Noah into his temporary refuge. The last golden opportunity is past. All have heard the warning, God’s forbearance with that vile race is exhausted, and the swift bolts of his wrath are to be hurled upon the impenitent. Upon the eighth day the heavens gathered blackness. The muttering thunders and vivid lightning flashes began to terrify man and beast. The rain descended from the clouds above them. This was something they had never witnessed, and their hearts were faint with fear. The beasts were roving about in the wildest terror, and their discordant voices seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. The storm increased in violence until water appeared to come from heaven in mighty cataracts. The boundaries of rivers broke away, and the waters rushed to the valleys. The foundations of the great deep also were broken up. Jets of water would burst up from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, would bury themselves deep in the ground.

The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, the beautifully arranged gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven. The ruins were scattered everywhere. They had erected and consecrated to their idols altars whereon they offered human sacrifices. These which God detested were torn down in his wrath before them, and they were made to tremble at the power of the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, and to know that it was their abominations and horrible, idolatrous sacrifices, which had called for their destruction.

The violence of the storm increased, and there were mingled with the warring of the elements, the wailings of the people who had despised the authority of God. Trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. And even Satan himself, who was compelled to be amid the warring elements, feared for his own existence. He had delighted to control so powerful a race, and wished them to live to practice their abominations, and increase their rebellion against the God of Heaven. He now uttered imprecations against God, charging him with injustice and cruelty. Many of the people, like Satan, blasphemed God, and if they could have carried out their rebellion, would have torn him from the throne of justice. Others were frantic with fear, stretching their hands toward the ark, and pleading for admittance. But this was impossible. God had closed the door, the only entrance, and shut Noah in, and the ungodly out. He alone could open the door. Their fear and repentance came too late. Conscience was at last awake to know that there was a God who ruled in the heavens. They called upon him earnestly, but his ear was not open to their cry. Some in their desperation sought to break into the ark, but that firm-made structure resisted all their efforts. Some clung to the ark until they were borne away with the furious surging of the waters, or their hold was broken off by rocks and trees that were swept here and there by the angry billows. The ark was severely rocked and tossed about. With the noise of the tempest was mingled the roaring of the terrified beasts; yet amid all the warring of the elements, the ark rode safely. Angels that excel in strength guided and preserved it from harm. Every moment during that frightful storm of forty days and forty nights the preservation of the ark was a miracle of almighty power.

The animals exposed to the tempest rushed toward man, choosing the society of human beings, as though expecting help from them. Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful beasts, knowing that they would be tenacious of life, and would climb the highest points to escape the rising water. The storm does not abate its fury–the waters increase faster than at first. Some fasten themselves to lofty trees, but these trees are torn up by the roots, and carried with violence through the air, and angrily hurled, with stones and earth, into the foaming billows. As the black, seething waters rise higher and higher, the wicked flee for safety to the loftiest mountains. The solemn denunciations of Noah did not then seem to be so laughable a matter. One spot after another that promised safety was abandoned for one still higher. Men looked abroad upon a shoreless ocean. How they longed then for the opportunities, which they had slighted. How they pleaded for one hour’s probation, one more privilege of mercy, one more call from the lips of Noah. But mercy’s sweet voice was no more to be heard by them. She had stepped down from her golden throne, and stern, imperative justice had taken her place. The pitiless waves finally sweep over the last retreat, and man and beast alike perish in the black depths.

Fifteen cubits above the highest mountains did the waters prevail; but Noah and his family were safe in the ark, under the protecting care of God. The Lord had shut out all his foes, and he was never more to hear their taunts and sneers. Often it seemed to this family of God’s providence that they must go to destruction as their boat was swept hither and thither. It was a trying ordeal; but Noah believed God. He had the assurance that God was caring for them. A Divine Hand was upon the helm.

As the waters began to abate, the Lord caused the ark to rest upon the top of a cluster of mountains which had been preserved by his power and made to stand fast all through that violent storm. These mountains were but a little distance apart, and the ark moved about and rested upon one, then another, and was no more driven upon the boundless ocean. This gave great relief to all within the ark.

Anxiously did Noah and his family watch the decrease of the waters. He wished to go forth upon the earth again, and sent out a raven which flew back and forth, to and from the ark. Not receiving the information he desired, he sent forth a dove, which finding no rest, returned to the ark. After seven days the dove was again sent forth, and when the olive leaf was seen in its mouth, there was great rejoicing by this family which had so long been shut up in the ark. Again an angel descends from Heaven and opens the door of the ark. Noah could remove the top, but he could not open the door which God had shut. God spoke to Noah through the angel and bade him go forth with his family out of the ark, and bring forth with them every living thing. 

Noah did not forget Him who had so graciously preserved them, but immediately erected an altar and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar, thus showing his faith in Christ the great sacrifice, and manifesting his gratitude to God for their wonderful preservation. Noah’s offering came up before God like a sweet savor. He accepted the sacrifice, and blessed the patriarch and his family. Here a lesson is taught all who should live upon the earth, that for every manifestation of God’s mercy and love toward them, the first act should be to render to him grateful thanks and humble worship.

Lest man should be terrified with gathering clouds and falling rains, and should be in continual dread, fearing another flood, God graciously encourages the family of Noah by a promise. “And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. 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 it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

What a condescension on the part of God! What compassion for erring man, to place the beautiful, variegated rainbow in the clouds, a token of the covenant of the great God with man! This rainbow was to evidence to all generations the fact that God destroyed the inhabitants of the earth by a flood, because of their great wickedness. It was his design that as the children of after generations should see the bow in the cloud, and should inquire the reason of this glorious arch that spanned the heavens, their parents should explain to them the destruction of the old world by a flood, because the people gave themselves up to all manner of wickedness, and that the hands of the Most High had bended the bow, and placed it in the clouds, as a token that he would never bring again a flood of waters on the earth. This symbol in the clouds was to confirm the belief of all, and establish their confidence in God; for it was a token of divine mercy and goodness to man. Although God had been provoked to destroy the earth by the flood, yet his mercy still encompasseth the earth. God says when he looks upon the bow in the cloud, he will remember. He would not have us understand that he would ever forget; but he speaks to us in our own language, that we may better understand him.

A rainbow is represented in Heaven round about the throne, also above the head of Christ, as a symbol of God’s mercy encompassing the earth. When man, by his great wickedness, provokes the wrath of God, Christ, man’s intercessor, pleads for him, and points to the rainbow in the cloud, as evidence of God’s great compassion for erring man; also to the rainbow above the throne and upon his head, emblematical of the glory and mercy from God resting there for the benefit of repentant man.

After Noah had come forth from the ark, he looked around upon the powerful and ferocious beasts which he brought out with him and then upon his family, numbering only eight, and was greatly afraid that they would be destroyed by the beasts. But the Lord sent his angel to say to Noah, “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 hands are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

Previous to this time God had given man no permission to eat animal food. But every living substance upon the face of the earth upon which man could subsist had been destroyed; therefore God gave Noah permission to eat of the clean beasts which he had taken with him into the ark. God said to Noah, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things.” God had formerly given them the herb of the ground and the fruit of the field, but now, in the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed, he permitted them to eat animal food.

Jenny @ 9:20 am