The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
March 11, 1880 The Plagues on Egypt
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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The Lord directed to go again to the , and repeat the promise of deliverance, with a fresh assurance of . Moses went as he was commanded; but the people were in no mood to receive him; their hearts were full of bitterness, the lash was still sounding in their ears, the cry of anguish and distress drowned all other sounds, and they would not listen. Moses bowed his head in and , and again was heard by him.–”Go in, speak unto , king of , that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.” The discouraged man replied, If the children of Israel, thine own circumcised people, will not hearken unto me, how then shall Pharaoh, who is uncircumcised and an idolater, hear me? Moses’ heart seemed utterly crushed. Yet still he was kept to duty. He was told now to take Aaron with him, and directed, “Thou shalt speak all that I command thee;” told to go before Pharaoh and again request “that he send the children of Israel out of his land.” He was informed that the monarch would not give his consent until God should lay his hand in judgment upon Egypt and bring Israel out by his almighty power. Every punishment which the king rejected would render the next chastisement more close and severe, until his proud heart should be humbled, and he should acknowledge the Maker of the heavens and the earth as the living and all-powerful God. The Lord would bring up his people from their long servitude in a signal manner, giving the Egyptians an opportunity to exhibit the feeble wisdom of their mighty men, and array the power of their gods in opposition to the God of Heaven. He would show them by his servant Moses that the Maker of the heavens and the earth is the living and all-powerful God, above all gods; that his strength is mightier than the strongest,–that Omnipotence could bring forth his people with a high hand and with an outstretched arm. He would punish the Egyptians for their idolatry, and for their proud boasting of the mercies bestowed upon them by their senseless gods. God would glorify his own name, that other nations might hear of his power and tremble at his mighty acts, and that his people might be led to fully turn from their idolatry to render to him pure worship. 

Obedient to the command of God, Moses and Aaron again entered the lordly halls of the king of Egypt. There, surrounded by the massive and richly sculptured columns, and the gorgeousness of rich hangings and adornments of silver and gold, and gems, before the monarch of the most powerful kingdom then in existence, stood these two men of the despised race, one with a rod in his hand, come once more to deliver their request that he would let their people go.

The king demanded a miracle. Moses and Aaron had been previously directed of God how to act in case such a demand should be made, and Aaron now took the rod and cast it down before the king. It became a serpent. The monarch sent for his “wise men, and the sorcerers,” who at his command, “cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” The only effect on the king was to make him more settled and firm in his purpose than before.

The magicians did not really cause their rods to become serpents, but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, made them appear like serpents, to counterfeit the work of God. Satan assisted his servants, in order to deceive the people, and encourage them in their rebellion. Pharaoh would grasp at the least evidence he could obtain to justify himself in resisting the work of God performed by Moses and Aaron. He told these servants of God that his magicians could do all these wonders. The difference between the work of God and that of the magicians was, one was of God, the other of Satan. One was true, the other false.

Moses and his brother were next directed to meet the king as he visited the river in the morning, and standing upon its bank they were again to repeat their message to him, and as proof that God had indeed sent them, they were to stretch out the rod over the waters in all directions, thus changing them into blood. It was done, and the river ran blood, and all the water in their houses was changed to blood, the fish died, and the water became offensive to the smell. But “the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments,” changing in the same way the water drawn from wells. Still the king hardened his heart, and refused to yield. For seven days the plague continued, the inhabitants being obliged to dig wells to supply themselves with water. 

Another effort at moving the king was now made. The rod was again stretched out over the waters, and frogs came up from the river and spread over the country,–into the houses, and bed-chambers, and ovens, and kneading-troughs. The magicians with their enchantments appeared to bring up similar animals. The general nuisance soon became so intolerable that the king was earnest to have it removed. But although the magicians had succeeded in producing frogs, they could not remove them. When Pharaoh saw this he was somewhat humbled, and desired Moses and Aaron to entreat the Lord for him, that the plague might be stayed. They reminded the haughty king of his former boasting, and asked where was now the vaunted power of his magicians; then they requested him to appoint a time for their prayers, and at the hour specified the living cause was removed, though the effect remained; for the frogs, perishing, polluted the atmosphere.

The work of the magicians had led Pharaoh to believe that these miracles were performed by magic; but he had abundant evidence that this was not the case when the plague of frogs was removed. The Lord could have caused them to disappear and return to dust in a moment; but he did not do this, lest, after they should be removed, the king and the Egyptians should say that it was the result of magic, like the work of the magicians. The frogs died, and were then gathered together in heaps. Here the king and all Egypt had evidence which their vain philosophy could not dispose of, that this work was not accomplished by magic, but was a judgment from the God of Heaven.

When the king was relieved of his immediate distress, he again stubbornly refused to let Israel go. Aaron, at the command of God stretched out his hand and caused the dust of the earth to become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh called upon the magicians to do the same with their enchantments, but they could not. The work of God was thus shown to be superior to the power of Satan. The magicians themselves acknowledged that their imitative power was at an end, saying, “This is the finger of God.” But the king was still unmoved.

Still another trial was made, after another appeal to “let the people go.” Flies filled the houses and swarmed upon the ground, so that “the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.” These were not such flies as harmlessly annoy us at some seasons of the year; but they were large and venomous. Their sting was very painful to man and beast. It had been previously stated that the land of Goshen would be exempt from this visitation, which was accordingly found to be true.

Pharaoh now sent for the two brothers, and told them that he would allow the Israelites to offer sacrifices in Egypt itself; but this offer was refused. Certain animals were regarded as objects of worship by the Egyptians, and such was the reverence in which these creatures were held that to slay one, even accidentally, was a crime punishable with death. Moses assured the king that it was impossible for them to sacrifice to God in the land of Egypt; for they might select for their offering some one of the animals which the Egyptians considered sacred.

Moses again proposed to go three days’ journey into the wilderness. The king consented and begged the servants of God to entreat that the plague might be removed. They promised to do this, but cautioned him against dealing deceitfully with them. The plague ceased at their prayer. But the king’s heart had become hardened by his persistent rebellion, and he still refused to let the people go.

Jenny @ 8:17 pm
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
January 15, 1880 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Sixteen–Continued.
in .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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While Joseph was still confined in , an event occurred which formed a turning-point in his life. became offended with two of his officers, the and the , and they were cast into , and, as it appears, were placed under Joseph’s especial care. One morning he observed that they were looking very sad. He kindly inquired, “Wherefore look ye so sadly today? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a , and there is no of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not belong to ? Tell me them, I pray you.” Then the related to Joseph his , which he , that after the butler would be restored to the king’s favor, and deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand as he had formerly done.

The chief butler was filled with to Joseph because of the interest he had manifested for him, and the kind treatment he had received at his hands; and, above all, for relieving his distress of mind, by interpreting the dream. Then Joseph, in a very touching manner, alluded to his own captivity, and entreated him, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house; for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into a dungeon.”

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he was encouraged to make known his dream. As soon as he had related it, Joseph looked sad. He understood its terrible meaning. Joseph possessed a kind, sympathizing heart, yet his high sense of duty led him to give the truthful interpretation. He told the chief baker that the three baskets upon his head meant three days; and that, as in his dream, the birds ate the baked meats out of the upper basket, so they would eat his flesh as he hung upon a tree.

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” The butler was guilty of the sin of ingratitude. After he had obtained relief from his anxiety by Joseph’s cheering interpretation, he thought that he should, if restored to his position, certainly remember the captive Joseph, and speak in his favor to the king. He had seen the interpretation of the dream exactly fulfilled, yet in his prosperity he forgot Joseph in his affliction and confinement. Ingratitude is regarded by the Lord as among the most aggravating sins. But although abhorred by God and man, it is of daily occurrence. 

Two years longer Joseph remained in his gloomy prison. The Lord then gave Pharaoh remarkable dreams. The king was troubled because he could not understand them. He called for the magicians and wise men of Egypt, and related his dreams to them, but was greatly disappointed to find that with all their magic and boasted wisdom, they could not explain them. The perplexity and distress of the king increased. As the chief butler saw his anxiety, the thought of Joseph came to his mind, and at the same time a conviction of his forgetfulness and ingratitude. “Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day.” He then related to the king the dreams which he and the chief baker had, which troubled them as the dreams now troubled the king, and said, “And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.”

It was humiliating to Pharaoh to turn away from the magicians and wise men of his kingdom to a Hebrew servant. But his learned and wise men have failed him, and he will now condescend to accept the humble services of a slave, if his troubled mind can obtain relief.

“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me; God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Joseph’s answer to the king shows his strong faith and humble trust in God. He modestly disclaims all honor of possessing in himself superior wisdom to interpret. He tells the king that his knowledge is not greater than that of those whom he has consulted. “It is not in me.” God alone can explain these mysteries. “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river; and behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favored; and they fed in a meadow; and behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. And the lean and the ill-favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine; and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke.

“And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good; and behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them; and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears; and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one. God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill-favored kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.”

Joseph told the king that there would be seven years of great plenty. Everything would grow in abundance. Fields and gardens would yield more plentifully than ever before. And these seven years of abundance were to be followed by seven years of famine. The years of plenty would be given that he might prepare for the coming dearth. “And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.”

The king believed all that Joseph had said. He felt assured that God was with him, and was impressed with the fact that he was the most suitable man to be placed at the head of affairs. He did not despise him because he was a Hebrew slave, for he saw that he possessed an excellent spirit. “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath sheweth thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.”

Jenny @ 7:17 pm