The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
February 12, 1880 The Great Controversy - Birth and Early Life of Moses
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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     The were not slaves. They had never sold their cattle, their lands, and themselves to for food, as many of the had done. They had been granted a portion of land wherein to dwell, on account of the services which had rendered to the Egyptian nation. Pharaoh appreciated his wisdom in the management of all things connected with the kingdom, especially in the preparation for the long years of famine. As a token of his gratitude, he not only offered to and his sons the best part of the land of Egypt as a dwelling-place, but exempted them from all taxation, and granted to Joseph the privilege of supplying them liberally with food through the whole continuance of that dreadful famine. The king said to his counselors, Are we not indebted to the God of Joseph, and to him, for this abundant supply of food? While other nations are perishing, we have enough. His management has greatly enriched the kingdom.

“And Joseph died and his brethren, and all that generation.” And “there rose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph,” By this we are to understand, not one who was ignorant of Joseph’s great services to the nation, but who wished to make no recognition of them, and, as much 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.”

The Israelites had already become very numerous. “They  were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Under Joseph’s fostering care, and the favor of the king who was then ruling, the Israelites had been advanced to positions of honor and trust, and 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 excited the fears of the king and his people, lest in case of war they should join themselves with the enemies of their masters. They had, however, become too useful to be spared. Many of them were able and understanding workmen, and the king needed such laborers for the creation of his magnificent palaces and halls. Accordingly he ranked them with that class of slaves who had sold their possessions and themselves to the kingdom. Taskmasters were set over them, and their slavery soon 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.”

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. And because they failed to accomplish their purpose they hardened their hearts to go still further. Orders were now issued to the women whose employment gave them facilities for such acts to destroy every Israelite male child at its birth. Satan was the mover in these matters. He knew that a deliverer was to be raised up among the Hebrews, and he thought that if he could move the king to destroy the children, the purpose of God would be defeated. The women feared God; they dared not murder the Hebrew children; and the command of the king was not obeyed. The Lord approved their course, and prospered them; but the king became very angry when he learned that his orders had been disregarded. He then made the command more urgent and extensive. He charged all his people to keep strict watch, saying, “Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”

While this cruel decree was in full force, Moses was born. His mother concealed him for three months, and then finding that she could keep him no longer with any safety, she prepared a little vessel of bulrushes, making it water-tight by means of lime and pitch, and after laying the child therein she placed it among the flags at the river’s brink. His sister lingered near, apparently indifferent, yet all the time anxiously watching to see what would become of her little brother. Angels were also watching, that no harm should come to the helpless infant, placed there by an affectionate mother, and committed to the care of God by her earnest prayers. And these angels directed the footsteps of Pharaoh’s daughter to the river, near the very spot where lay the innocent stranger. Her attention was attracted to the little vessel, and she sent one of her waiting-maids to fetch it. When she had removed the cover she saw a lovely babe; “and behold the babe wept, and she had compassion on him.” She knew that a tender Hebrew mother had taken this means to preserve the life of her much-loved babe, and she decided at once that it should be her son. The sister of Moses immediately came forward and inquired,”Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?” And her mission was given.

Joyfully sped the sister to her mother, and related to her the happy news, and conducted her with all haste to Pharaoh’s daughter. The child was committed to the mother to nurse, and she was liberally paid for the bringing up of her own son. Thankfully did this mother enter upon her now safe and happy task. She believed that God had preserved the life of her child, and she faithfully improved the precious opportunity of educating him for a life of usefulness. She was more particular in his instruction than in that of her other children; for she felt confident that he was preserved for some great work. By her faithful teachings she instilled into his young mind the fear of God, and love for truthfulness and justice. She earnestly pleaded with God that her son might be preserved from every corrupting influence. She taught him to bow and pray to God, the living God, for he alone could hear him and help him in every emergency. She sought to impress his mind with the sinfulness of idolatry. She knew that he was soon to be separated from her influence, and given up to his adopted royal mother, to be surrounded with influences calculated to make him disbelieve in the existence of the Maker of the heavens and the earth.

The instructions which Moses received from his parents were such as to fortify his mind, and shield him from being corrupted with sin, and becoming proud amid the splendor and extravagance of court life. He had a clear mind and an understanding heart, and never lost the pious impressions he received in youth. His mother kept him as long as she could, but was obliged to separate from him when he was about twelve years old, and he then became the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Here Satan was defeated. By moving Pharaoh to destroy the male children, he had thought to turn aside the purposes of God, and destroy the one whom God would raise up to deliver his people. But that very decree, appointing the Hebrew children to death, was the means overruled by God to place Moses in the royal family, where he had advantages to become a learned man, and eminently qualified to lead his people from Egypt. Pharaoh expected to exalt his adopted grandson to the throne. He educated him to stand at the head of the armies of Egypt, and lead them to battle. Moses was a favorite with Pharaoh’s host, and was honored because he conducted warfare with superior skill and wisdom. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” The Egyptians regarded him as a remarkable character. 

Angels instructed Moses that God had chosen him to deliver the children of Israel. The rulers among the Israelites were also taught by angels that the time for their deliverance was nigh, and that Moses was the man whom God would use to accomplish this work. Moses thought that his people were to be delivered by warfare, and that he would stand at the head of the Hebrew host, to lead them against the Egyptian armies. Having this in view, he guarded his affections that they might not be strongly placed upon his adopted mother or upon Pharaoh, lest it should be more difficult for him to remain free to do the will of God.

The pride and splendor displayed at the Egyptian court, and the flattery he received, could not make him forget his despised brethren in slavery. He would not be induced, even with the promise of wearing the crown of Egypt, to identify himself with the Egyptians, and engage with them in their idolatrous worship. He would not forsake his oppressed brethren, whom he knew to be God’s chosen people. The king commanded that Moses should be instructed in the worship of the Egyptians. This work was committed to the priests, but they could not, by any threats or promises of reward, prevail upon Moses to engage with them in their heathen ceremonies. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and that he would be disowned by Pharaoh’s daughter, unless he renounced his Hebrew faith. But he was firm in his determination to render homage to no object save God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, to whom alone reverence and honor are due. He even reasoned with the priests and idolatrous worshipers upon their superstitious veneration of senseless objects. They could not answer him. Yet his firmness in this respect was tolerated, because he was the king’s adopted grandson, and was a universal favorite with the most influential in the kingdom.

Jenny @ 6:42 pm
February 5, 1880 The Great Controversy, Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Sixteen-Concluded.
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                              By Mrs. E. G. White.
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The sons of 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 old man was overwhelmed; he could not believe what he heard, yet their words brought a faintness to his heart. But when he saw the carriages and the long line of loaded animals, and when was at his side once more, he felt reassured, and, in the , exclaimed. “It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive. I will go and see him before I die.” The brothers then made their humiliating confession to their father, and entreated his forgiveness, for their treatment of Joseph. Jacob had not suspected them of such cruelty, but he saw that God had overruled it all for good, and he forgave and blessed his erring children.

Jacob and his sons, with their families and numerous attendants, were soon on their way to Egypt. With gladness of heart they pursued their journey, and when they came to Beersheba the aged 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 words came to Jacob: “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; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.”

The meeting of Joseph and his father was very affective. Joseph left his chariot, and ran to meet his father on foot, and embraced him, and they wept over each other. “And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.”

Joseph took five of his brethren to present to Pharaoh, and receive from him a grant of land for their future home. He did not wish them to be exposed to the temptations which must surround them if engaged in the king’s special service, amid the corrupting, idolatrous influences at court; therefore he counseled them, when the king should ask them of their occupation, to tell him frankly that they were shepherds. The monarch, on learning this fact, would not seek to exalt them to some honorable position for Joseph’s sake; for the occupation of a shepherd was regarded in Egypt as degrading. When taken before Pharaoh they followed the wise counsel of their God-fearing brother; and the king gave Joseph permission to settle his father and his brethren in the best part of the land of Egypt. He selected Goshen, a well-watered, fertile country, affording good pasture for their flocks. Here, also, they could worship God, undisturbed by the ceremonies attending the idolatrous service of the Egyptians. The country round about Goshen was inhabited by the Israelites, until with power and mighty signs and wonders, God brought his people out of Egypt.

Not long after their arrival in Egypt, Joseph brought his father also to be presented to Pharaoh. The patriarch was unawed by the pomp of royalty, and the magnificence surrounding him. 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. The king struck by his venerable appearance, inquired, “How old art thou?” Jacob answered, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years. Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Jacob had seen much trouble and suffered much perplexity. The jealousy of his wives had brought a long train of evils, and the sinful course of some of his children had made the father’s life very bitter. But his last years were more peaceful. His sons had turned from their evil ways, Joseph had been restored to him, and, surrounded by every comfort which the prime minister of Egypt could bestow, and in the society of his children, he passed down gently and calmly toward the grave.

A short time before his death, his children gathered about him to receive his blessing, and to listen to his last words of counsel. As he addressed them for the last time the Spirit of God rested upon him and he laid open before them their past lives, and also uttered prophecies which reached far into the future. Beginning with the eldest, he mentioned his sons by name, presenting before those who had followed a sinful course the light in which God regarded their deeds of violence, and that he would visit them for their sins. Reuben had taken no part in selling Joseph, but previous to that transaction he had grievously sinned. Concerning him, Jacob uttered the following prophecy: “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power; unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.

He then prophesied in regard to Simeon and Levi, who had practiced deception to the Shechemites, and then, in a most cruel, revengeful manner, destroyed them. These brothers were also the most guilty in the case of Joseph. “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united! for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”

In regard to Judah, the fathers words of inspiration were more joyful. His prophetic eye looked hundreds of years into the future, to the birth of Christ, and he said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

Jacob predicted a cheerful future for most of his sons. Especially for Joseph he uttered words of eloquence of a happy character: “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.)” “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.

Jacob was an affectionate father. He had no resentful feelings toward his sorrowing children. He had forgiven them. He loved them to the last. But God, by the spirit of prophecy, elevated the mind of Jacob above his natural feelings. In his last hours, angels were all around him, and the power of God rested upon him. His paternal feelings would have led him to utter, in his dying testimony, only expressions of love and tenderness. But under the influence of inspiration he uttered truth, although painful.

After the death of Jacob, Joseph’s brethren were filled with gloom and distress. They thought that Joseph had concealed his resentment, out of respect for their father; and now that he was dead, he would be revenged for the ill treatment he had suffered at their hands. They dared not appear before him, but sent a messenger, “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 brethren came and fell down before him, with the words, “Behold, we be thy servants.” He met them with the comforting and assuring reply, Fear not; 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. Joseph loved his brethren, and he could not bear the thought that they regarded him as harboring a spirit of revenge toward them.

The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ, Joseph’s brethren purposed to kill him, but were finally content to sell him as a slave, to prevent his becoming greater than themselves. They thought they had placed him where they would be no more troubled with his dreams, and where there would not be a possibility of their fulfillment. But the very course which they pursued, God overruled to bring about that which they designed never should take place–that he should have dominion over them.

The chief priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that he would draw the attention of the people away from themselves. They knew that he was doing greater works than they ever had done, or ever could perform; and they knew that if he was suffered to continue his teachings, he would become higher in authority than they, and might become king of the Jews. They agreed together to prevent this by privately taking him, and hiring witnesses to testify falsely against him, that they might condemn him and put him to death. They would not accept him as their king, but cried out, Crucify him! crucify him! But by murdering the Son of God, they were bringing about the very thing they sought to prevent. Joseph, by being sold by his brethren into Egypt, became a saviour to his father’s family. Yet this fact did not lesson the guilt of his brethren. 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 enemies was just as heinous as though God’s providential hand had not controlled events for his own glory and the good of man.

Joseph walked with God. And when he was imprisoned, and suffered because of his innocence, he meekly bore it without murmuring. His self-control, his patience in adversity, and his unwavering fidelity, are left on record for the benefit of all who should afterward live on the earth. When Joseph’s brethren acknowledged their sin before him, he freely forgave them, and showed by his acts of benevolence and love that he harbored no resentful feelings for their former cruel conduct toward him.

The life of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, was a pattern of benevolence, goodness, and holiness. Yet he was despised and insulted, mocked and derided, for no other reason than because his righteous life was a constant rebuke to sin. His enemies would not be satisfied until he was given into their hands, that they might put him to a shameful death. He died for the guilty race; and, while suffering the most cruel torture, meekly forgave his murderers. He rose from the dead, ascended up to his Father, and received all power and authority, and returned to the earth again to impart it to his disciples. He gave gifts unto men. And all who have ever come to him repentant, confessing their sins, he has received into his favor, and freely pardoned. And if they remain true to him, he will exalt them to his throne, and make them his heirs to the inheritance which he has purchased with his own blood.

Jenny @ 6:36 pm
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
December 4, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and his Angels.
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIV.
Jacob’s Second Visit to .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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made his home in , and having purchased a piece of land he erected his , and close beside it his , and dedicated them to . The sons of Jacob were not all governed by . Their treatment of the Shechemites was to . Their father was kept in ignorance of their purpose until the work of was accomplished; and when he learned what had been done he severely rebuked them for their treacherous, revengeful course. and attempted to defend themselves by urging that they had thus avenged the wrong done to their sister. But Jacob assured them that nothing could justify their conduct; for the of one man they had caused the innocent inhabitants of a whole city to . These people had placed confidence in them, and thus had been . The had been dishonored. Jacob felt deeply ; he knew that and had been practiced, and he felt that he would now be hated and despised by the inhabitants of the country around them.

He saw, too, that treachery and cruelty was growing upon his sons, and that they were forgetting God, and allowing infidelity to come into their hearts. He knew that there was cause for self-condemnation in this matter, and he began to reflect upon his own conduct in allowing his beloved Rachel to conceal her father’s gods which she had stolen, when he should have destroyed at once everything which would lead to infidelity.

There were false  gods in the camp of Israel, and he had not used prompt means to destroy them; and idolatrous  worship was more or less practiced by his household. He knew that should God deal with them, in the present instance, according to their crime, he would permit the surrounding nations to take vengeance upon them.

While Jacob was thus bowed down with trouble, the Lord had compassion upon him, and directed him to leave his place and move southward to Bethel. At the mention of this name the patriarch is reminded not only of his vision of the angels, ascending and descending, and of God above them speaking to him words of comfort, but also of the vow which he had made there, that if God would keep and bless him, the Lord should be his God. And he reflects thus: Have I been as faithful to my promise as God has been to me? He saw and felt the necessity of being more thorough and decided in his family, to put away everything that savored of idolatry. He determined to cleanse the camp, that his company might go to this sacred spot free from defilement. He therefore stands up and addresses them: “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.”

He then, with trembling voice and quivering lip, related to them his perplexity; when but a youth he left his father’s tent, a lonely traveler, afraid of his life, with no earthly friend to comfort or encourage. Passing Hebron and Moriah, he came, in the evening of the second day, to Bethel, the spot made sacred by the sacrifices and prayers of Abraham. He felt heart-sick and friendless in his solitude, and lay down to sleep. It was here that God gave him that encouraging dream of the heavenly ladder which reached from earth to Heaven. Angels of God were ascending and descending upon this ladder of shining brightness, and the Lord himself stood above it, and spoke to him these encouraging words: “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land.”

On awaking from this dream, Jacob felt that the spot was peopled with angels, and that God was looking with tender love and compassion upon him, and he there set up a memorial signifying that he would ever remember the loving-kindness of God.

As Jacob thus reviewed the goodness and mercy of God to him, his own heart was subdued and humbled; and he had taken the most effectual way to reach the hearts of his children, and lead them to reverence the God of Heaven when they arrived at Bethel. Not in the least did any of his family hesitate to obey his commands. All that were with him delivered up their idols, and also their earrings, and he buried them under an oak near Shechem. The patriarch felt that humiliation before God was more in keeping with their position than was the wearing of gold and silver ornaments.

Jacob had now done his duty in cleansing his household from idolatry, and he set out with them on his journey to Bethel. For the sake of his servant Jacob, who had no part in the cruelty practiced on the Shechemites, the Lord caused fear to fall upon the inhabitants of the land, that they did not arise to avenge the deed done to Shechem. The travelers moved on their way unmolested, and came to Bethel. Here Jacob, in obedience to the divine command, immediately erected an altar, upon which he performed the vow made when on his journey from Canaan to Mesopotamia. Of all the substance that had been placed with him in trust, he rendered an offering to God, although it took from him quite a large share of his possessions. The self-denial and beneficence here manifested, rebukes the self-indulgence of many professed Christians, and the meager offerings which they bring to God. Many put into the Lord’s treasury a sum less than the price of their cigars, and far less than the cost of the ornaments that adorn their persons and their houses, and the hurtful luxuries upon their tables. Eternity will reveal the narrowness and selfishness of these minds. What will be their feelings when Christ shall reveal to them the value of souls, and the infinite importance of their salvation?

The Lord accepted the offering of Jacob, and met with and blessed him, and renewed his covenant with him. As a lasting memorial of this additional token of divine favor, Jacob again erected a pillar of stone, which he consecrated in the usual manner.

Jacob’s heart yearned to visit his early home once more, and look again upon his aged father’s face. With his family, he journeyed toward Hebron. Before they had proceeded far on the way, Rachel gave birth to Benjamin. She had only a moment’s space of life in which to name him, when she died, calling him Benoni, the son of my sorrow. But Jacob named him Benjamin, the son of my right hand, and my strength. Rachel was buried where she died, and above her grave was placed a stone monument to perpetuate her memory.

Rebekah, his mother, was dead; and while they were at Bethel, Deborah, his mother’s nurse, also died, and was there buried with expressions of great sorrow, for she had been an honored member of his father’s family. The meeting of Jacob with his father was a joyful one to both father and son. Isaac was very old, blind, and dependent; but he lived some years after the return of his son.

At the death-bed of their father, the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, met and united their grief. Once Esau had looked forward to this event as a time when he would be revenged upon Jacob for stealing from him his father’s blessing; but his feelings had greatly changed. Jacob was now wealthy, and he returned to Esau the blessing of possession so recklessly sold for a mess of pottage. Therefore the two brothers, no longer separated by enmity, jealousy, and hatred, parted from each other because of their possessions. Jacob also knew that their religious faith was so unlike it would be better for them to live apart. Jacob’s character was greatly modified and refined by the blessing received from the angel in that night of terrible conflict, and ever after he was reverenced by all who knew him. His trials had not been in vain.

Jenny @ 6:45 pm