The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 8, 1880 Journeyings of the Israelites
Filed under: EG White Articles

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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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After leaving the , the , guided by the , journeyed through the . Although the scenery around them was most dreary, composed of solemn looking destitute of , , and the sea stretching far away behind them, its banks strewn with the bodies of their enemies, they were in the consciousness of their , and for a time every thought of was hushed.

But for three days they journeyed without finding any water to quench their thirst, having that only which they had been commanded to take in their vessels. and were acquainted with this route, and knew that after traveling several days in the way in which they were then going they would find only bitter water. With what intense anxiety, therefore, mingled with forebodings, did they watch the leading of the pillar of cloud. And how the heart of Moses ached as the people gave the glad shout, Water! water! and it was echoed all along the line. Men, women, and children in joyous haste rush to the water, when lo, what a moan of anguish breaks forth from that vast company,–the water is bitter.

In their grief and disappointment, they reproach Moses for having led them in such a way, and do not consider that the Divine Presence in that mysterious cloud had been leading Moses and Aaron as well as themselves. Filled with sorrow as he saw the suffering of the people, Moses did that which the people should have done: he prayed earnestly to God, and he did not cry in vain. The Lord showed him a tree to which had been imparted healing properties, so that on its being cast into the fountain, the water became pleasant to the taste.

God here made a covenant with his people, through their leader:–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, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

From Marah the people journeyed to Elim where they found “twelve wells of water and three-score and ten palm trees.” In this delightful spot they remained several days before entering the wilderness of sin. When they had been a month away from Egypt, they made their first encampment in this wilderness. Their store of provisions had now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness and their flocks also were fast diminishing. Famine seemed to be staring them in the face, and as they followed the cloudy pillar over the desert wastes, 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 flesh-pots, 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.” The children of Israel seemed to possess an evil heart of unbelief. They were unwilling to endure hardships in the wilderness. When they met with difficulties, they would regard them as insurmountable obstacles. Their confidence would fail, and they would see nothing before them but death.

They had not really suffered the pangs of hunger. They had food for the present necessities, but they feared for the future. They could not see how the hosts of Israel were to subsist, in their long travels through the wilderness; and in their unbelief they saw their children famishing. The Lord was willing that their supply of food should be cut short, and that they should meet with difficulties, that their hearts might turn to Him who had hitherto delivered them. He was ready to be to them a present help. If, in their want, they would call upon him, he would manifest to them tokens of his love and continual care. But they were unwilling to trust the Lord any further than they could witness before their eyes the continual evidences of his power. If they had possessed true faith and a firm confidence in God, inconveniences and obstacles, or even real suffering, would have been cheerfully borne, after the Lord had wrought in such a wonderful manner for their deliverance from bondage.

The Lord had promised that if they would obey his commandments no disease should rest upon them, and it was criminal unbelief in them to anticipate that themselves and children might die of hunger. They had suffered greatly in Egypt by being overtaxed with labor. Their children had been put to death, and in answer to their prayers of anguish, God had mercifully delivered them. He 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 any suffering they should have to endure in the way to that land. They had suffered much while in bondage to the Egyptians, but now they could not endure hardships in the service of God. They were ready to yield to gloomy doubts, and to sink in discouragement when they were tried.

The sinful course of the Israelites is recorded as a warning to the people of God now upon the earth. Many look back to them, and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had given them such repeated evidence of his love and care. They think that they would not have proved so ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of far less consequence. They do not know themselves. God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things; and they endure the trial no better than did ancient Israel.

Many have then present wants supplied, yet they will not trust God for the future. They manifest unbelief, and sink into despondency and gloom. Some are in continual trouble lest they shall come to want, and their children suffer. When difficulties arise, or when they are brought into strait places–when their faith and their love to God are tested–they shrink from the trial, and murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. Their love does not prove pure and perfect, to bear all things. The faith of the people of the God of Heaven should be strong, active, and enduring–the substance of things hoped for. The language of such will be, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name; for he hath dealt bountifully with me. Self-denial is considered by some to be real suffering. Depraved appetites are indulged. And a restraint upon the unhealthy appetite would lead even many professed Christians now to start back, as though actual starvation would be the consequence of a plain diet. And, like the children of Israel, they would accept slavery, diseased bodies, and even death, rather than to be deprived of some hurtful indulgence. Bread and water is all that is promised to the remnant in the time of trouble.

God was not unmindful of the wants of his people, and in his wisdom he provided the needed supply. He said to their leaders; “I will rain bread from Heaven for you.” The Lord designed to prove them, and by indulgence through miraculous provision for their wants to test them to see whether they would keep his commandments or no. The Lord promised to supply them through Moses with abundance of food. By his power he would give them flesh to eat in the evening and in the morning bread in abundance. Moses told them that their murmurings were not against him, but against the Lord. He that was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud heard all their murmurings and bitter complaints. While Aaron was speaking to the congregation there was a remarkable change in that pillar of cloud.

The Lord designed to give the Israelites evidences of his presence that they might be held in restraint and subordination as they knew the presence of the Lord, not merely the man Moses, was guiding them. Evidences of this kind were the books of knowledge opened to their senses that they should learn in regard to God, and his fear be before them. The greatest changes were to be wrought in the characters of these demoralized people. God was working by his power to lift them up through a knowledge of himself. Thus a visible manifestation of the glory of God was given them; a splendor which they had never witnessed, which symbolized the Divine presence. While the people were greatly terrified at this revelation of God, and feared his judgments, an audible voice came from the glory commanding Moses and Aaron to draw near to the cloudy pillar in which his glory was manifested. And the Lord talked with Moses and Aaron, and the Israelites heard his voice, saying that he had heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, and repeated his promise of flesh in the morning and bread in the evening. There God gave them evidence that he would supply their necessities, protect and preserve them, if they would be obedient to his commandments. In the evening the quails covered the ground about the camp. And in the morning the ground was covered with a strange substance, in small, white grains of the size of coriander seed, hard, and pleasant to the taste. The children of Israel knew not what it was, so they called it manna, which means, What is it? Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, gather of it every man, according to his eating, an omer for every man according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.”

The people gathered the manna, and found that there was a sufficiency for the entire company. They “ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” We are also told that “the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

According to the direction of Moses they were to gather an omer (about five pints) 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 what they laid by bred worms and became offensive. The supply for each day was to be gathered each morning; for as the heat of the sun increased, the substance melted and disappeared.

Jenny @ 4:37 am
December 18, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and his Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XV.
and .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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Of the twelve , the one for whom he had special love was ; for he was the son of his beloved wife , and one of the children of his old age. He was a son of remarkable beauty. His oldest sons had arrived at manhood, and had developed unhappy traits of . There was continual among the eleven; they were neither just nor toward each other. The and which were cherished by the several mothers making the family relation very unhappy, were instilled by word and example into the minds and hearts of the children, who grew up , , and uncontrollable. They would not endure provocation, for they had too long cherished and . These will ever be found to be the result of . Each of the mothers is and lest her own children shall not receive due attention from the father; and again they experience and whenever they are made to feel that another is preferred before them. Children who grow up together surrounded by such elements are most likely to indulge in resentment for every supposed slight, and revenge for any imaginary wrongs. There is that in polygamy which dries up human affection, and tempts to the loosening of ties which should be held sacred.

Jacob’s life was made very bitter by the conduct of his sons. Joseph had another spirit; he was cheerful and happy, and possessed great love for his father whose heart was bound up in his child. This preference for Joseph was unwisely manifested, and called out the revengeful disposition of his other sons. When Joseph saw the wicked course pursued by his brethren he remonstrated with them; but they hated him for his entreaties, and for daring to reprove them who were so much older than he, and accused him of being a spy upon their actions. As Joseph saw that his words and entreaties only excited wrath against himself, he laid the plans and evil purposes of his brethren before his father, which gave him knowledge of many things he otherwise would not have known. The fathers of children among the Hebrews were made responsible in a great degree for the sins of their children, when they were left without the exercise of authority and restraint. When the father’s solicitude was expressed to his sons in a voice tremulous with grief, and he implored them to have respect for his gray hairs and not make his name a reproach, and to be despised because of their course, the sons felt sorry and ashamed before their father, because their wickedness was known, but felt envious and jealous of Joseph because he had informed his father of their course of sin. Jacob flattered himself that his sons repented of their wickedness, and he trusted they would reform.

Jacob unwisely gave expression to his love for Joseph in making him a present of a coat of beautiful colors. This only increased the hatred of his brothers against him; for they thought Joseph had stolen their father’s affections from them, and they considered themselves ill treated and deprived of their father’s confidence and love. They did not see that their own wicked course was a continual shame and disgrace to his gray hairs, and that his affections centered upon Joseph because of his purity and true excellence of character.

The Lord gave Joseph a dream which he related; Jacob would have been alarmed had he suspected the hatred and malicious feelings this dream aroused in the hearts of his sons against his beloved child. Joseph dreamed that while they were all engaged binding sheaves of grain, his sheaf arose and stood upright, and the sheaves of all the rest stood round about and bowed before his sheaf. No sooner was his dream related than they all understood its significance. His brothers exclaimed with indignation, “Shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?” Their hatred toward him burned deeper in their hearts than before. Soon the Lord gave Joseph another dream of the same import, but more strikingly significant. This dream he also related to his father and his brethren. He said, “Behold I have dreamed a dream more, and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.” The interpretation of this dream was quite as quickly discerned as was that of the first. “And his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.”

Like a youthful prophet Joseph stood before them in the simplicity of virtuous innocence, his beautiful countenance lighted up with the spirit of inspiration. His brethren could but admire his purity and goodness; but they did not choose to leave their wicked course and become virtuous and noble like him. The spirit that actuated Cain was fastening upon them. Like him they hated their brother because he was innocent and righteous and beloved of his father, while they were wicked and a source of grief to their father as Cain was to his father.

Joseph’s father had confidence that the Lord was revealing the future to his son; but his words of apparent severity did not satisfy his elder sons, for the voice of tremulous affection betrayed his true feelings. He called to mind the promise of God to Abraham, to Isaac, and to himself. His heart had been grieved and disappointed in his older sons, but as he saw the qualities of mind possessed by Joseph, his hopes centered in him. He hoped that God would wonderfully bless him, the eldest son of his beloved Rachel. The favor with which Jacob regarded Joseph could not be concealed, and the gorgeous colored coat which he had given him was a clear evidence to his sons of his partiality. This they thought gave them sufficient reason for harboring jealousy, hatred, and revenge in their hearts.

These brothers were obliged to move from place to place in order to secure better pasturage for their flocks, and sometimes they did not see their father for months. At one time Jacob directed them to go to Shechem, a place which he had purchased. After they had been gone some time, and he had received no word from them he feared that evil might have befallen them, knowing that they were near where their cruelty had been practiced upon the Shechemites. So he sent Joseph to Shechem to find his brethren, and bring him word of their condition. Had Jacob known the true feelings of his sons toward Joseph, he would not have trusted him alone with them; but they had concealed their wicked purposes from him.

When Joseph arrived at the place where his father supposed his brethren were, he did not find them. As he was traveling from field to field in search of them, a stranger learned his errand and told him they had gone to Dothan. He had already traveled fifty miles, and, a distance of fifteen more lay before him. This was a long journey for the youth; but he performed it cheerfully, desiring to relieve the anxiety of his beloved father, and longing to see his brethren who were enshrined in his affections. But he was illy repaid for his love and obedience.

At length he saw his brethren in the distance and hastened to greet them. They also saw him coming, his gay colored coat making him easily recognized; but as they beheld it, their feelings of envy, jealousy, and hatred, were aroused. They did not consider the long journey he had made on foot to meet them; they did not think of his weariness and hunger, and that as their brother he had claims upon their hospitality, their tender consideration and brotherly love. The sight of that coat which signalized him in the distance filled them with a Satanic frenzy. “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.”

There seemed to be a common feeling of deadly hatred in their hearts. They had engaged in carnage and destruction until their feelings had become calloused. The indulgence of one known sin deadens the conscience so that it is more easily overcome with the next temptation. Thus step by step the course of sin and transgression is pursued until there is a harvest of crime through the indulgence of the first sin. These men regardless of the consequences, had passed on from stage, to stage hardening their hearts in the indulgence of sin until they had to all intents and purposes the spirit of Cain. They were enraged that Joseph had heretofore informed against them, and they looked upon him as a spy.

They had ere this decided that if a favorable opportunity offered they would slay him; the proposition was made, “Come now, therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”

This terrible purpose would have been carried out had not Reuben shrunk from participating in the murder of his brother. He plead for Joseph, showing with clear arguments what guilt would ever rest upon them, and, that the curse of God would come upon them for such a crime. He proposed to have him cast alive into a pit, and left there to perish, meaning to take him out privately and return him to his father. He left their company, fearing that his feelings would betray his design.

Joseph came on, glad and joyful that the object of his long search was accomplished. But, instead of a pleasant greeting, he met only scorn, abuse, and fierceness of looks which terrified him. He was immediately seized, and the coat which had created so much hatred, was stripped from him with the most taunting remarks. He had never before received such treatment and he expected his brethren would immediately kill him. His mind runs back to his home, his father, and the blessing he had received as he parted from him, and then he anticipated the sorrow he would feel at his death and the guilt of his murderers. He entreated them to spare his life, but all to no avail; he was helpless in the hands of infuriated men whose hearts were insensible to pity, and whose ears were deaf to the cry of anguish. But the eye of God was upon him, and Joseph’s cries of distress reached his throne. His brethren thrust him into a dark pit and then sat down to enjoy their customary meal. But while they were eating, they saw a company of Ishmaelites approaching, and Judah, who was beginning to regret what had been done, suggested that here was an opportunity to sell their brother and obtain money, which would be better than leaving him to perish in the pit; for said he, is he not our own flesh? Then, too, Judah thought that he could be disposed of by being removed entirely from them. All agreed to the proposition of Judah; Joseph was drawn up out of the pit, and heartlessly sold as a slave.
                            (To be continued).

Jenny @ 7:00 pm