The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
May 6, 1880 Giving of the Law
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.

On the morning of the all the children of Israel obeyed the through and drew near the mount with fear and solemnity. Awful and grand was the place of , and elevated the pulpit from which he was about to deliver his memorable . The of the did not originate at ; but by a long, degrading servitude in they had become confused in the minds of all . The Lord had now brought them out into this place, grand with solitude, that he might more clearly impress upon their minds the nature of his requirements by speaking his law with an audible voice.

They were here to receive the most wonderful revelation ever made by God to man. The cloud which rested upon the mount, enveloping the Father and the Son and the retinue of holy angels, become more black and dense. Soon from its thick darkness came vivid flashes of lightning, followed by deep, hoarse peals of thunder which echoed and re-echoed among the mountains, causing the most careless to tremble. Then followed a period of solemn painful silence. The flashes of light sent forth from the cloud revealing the solemn scenery with wonderful brilliancy, left the cloud denser and more fearfully dark in contrast with the bright shining of his power. The mountain shook to its very foundation beneath the tread of the Divine Majesty.

Moses was then called up, and charged once more to go down and see that the bounds were in order, and the sanctity of the mountain observed, after which he and Aaron were to go upward toward the summit. Then the Lord in awful grandeur, speaks his law from Sinai, that the people may believe. He accompanies the giving of his law with sublime exhibitions of his authority, that they may know that he is the only true and living God. Moses was not permitted to enter within the cloud of glory, but only to draw nigh, and enter the thick darkness which surrounded it, thus standing between the people and the Lord.

After God had given them such evidences of his power, he tells them who he is: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” The same God who exalted his power among the Egyptians, now speaks his law:– 
     “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. 
     “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.  

     “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
     “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made Heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
     “Honor they father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

     “Thou shalt not kill.
     “Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
     “Thou shalt not steal.

     “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

     “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.” 

The first and second commandments spoken by Jehovah are precepts against idolatry. This sin if practiced, would lead men to great lengths in rebellion, and would result in the offering of human sacrifices. God would guard against the least approach to such abominations. The first four commandments were given to show men their duty to God; the last six, to show the duty of man to his fellow-man.

The fourth commandment is the connecting link between the great God and man. All who should observe the Sabbath would signify by such observance that they were worshipers of the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Thus the Sabbath was to be a sign between God and his people as long as he should have a people upon the earth to serve him.

When the congregation of Israel beheld the terrific manifestations of God’s presence at Sinai, they shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe. They felt indeed that God was there. When Moses and Aaron descended, they were greeted by the multitude with the cry, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” The leader answered, “Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” The people, however, remained at a distance, gazing in terror upon the stupendous scene, while Moses again “drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”

Again the Lord seeks to guard his people against idolatry by commanding Moses to say unto them, “Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.” They were in danger of imitating the example of the Egyptians, and making to themselves images to represent God. The Lord then continued to lay down certain rules which should govern them and the blessings which would be theirs if they obeyed. These are his words: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.” The angel who went before Israel was the Lord Jesus Christ. “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works; but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”

God would have his people understand that he alone should be the object of their worship; and when they should overcome the idolatrous nations around them, they should not preserve any of the images of their worship, but utterly destroy them. Many of these heathen deities were very costly, and of beautiful workmanship, which might tempt those who had witnessed idol worship, so common in Egypt, to regard these senseless objects with some degree of reverence. The Lord would have his people know that it was because of the idolatry of these nations, which had led them to every degree of wickedness, that he would use the Israelites as his instruments to punish them, and destroy their gods.

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, and Canaanite, and Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me; for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.”

After Moses had received the judgments and also the promises from the Lord, and had written them for the people, he “came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” Moses then wrote their solemn pledge in a book, and offered sacrifices unto God for the people. “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people; and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” Thus the people ratified their solemn pledge to the Lord to do all that he had said, and to be obedient.

Jenny @ 4:57 am
April 22, 1880 Israel Arrives at Sinai
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
The , obedient to the onward movement of the , left , having tarried there some time, and journeyed on toward . Their line of march had been across open plains, over steep ascents, and through narrow defiles. Again and again, when they had crossed a sandy waste, and their further progress seemed impossible because of the huge piles of massive rocks which lay directly in their way, a narrow passage would appear, and when this was passed, another barren, uninteresting plain would open to their view.

It was through one of these deep, gravelly passes that they were now called to pass. What a scene was this! Millions of people walled in by abrupt cliffs of rocks which rise hundreds of feet on either side, following a by day, and guarded at night by a , as if the eye of God were fastened directly upon them. Christ in this wilderness school is here giving his people their first lessons in faith and trust in God.

Finally they come to a long range of mountains, upon which the cloudy pillar rests. The people encamp beneath its shadow, and while locked in slumber, the bread from Heaven gently falls upon the encampment. In the early morning, as the sun begins to brighten behind the dark ridge of eastern mountains, its soft, golden tints penetrate the dark gorges, seeming to those weary, almost discouraged travelers, like golden beams of mercy from the throne of Heaven.

Anxious eyes often turn in wonder upon the pillar of cloud hanging over the mount. The immense, rugged piles of granite rocks, with their irregular shapes and peaks, seem thrown together in the wildest confusion. The whole country seems strangely solemn to the weary travelers. They frequently contrast the verdant valleys of Egypt with these dark, and cheerless ravines, and the bustling activity of their former home, with the mountain solitude.

Here the Lord had gathered his people to himself, that he might talk with them. There was nothing here that they chose to worship, nothing to divert their minds, and nothing upon which they would fasten their affections. Everything was calculated to make man feel his nothingness in the presence of him who has “weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.”

Soon after their arrival at Sinai, Moses received a divine summons to ascend the mountain. Alone he climbed the steep and jagged rocks, placing his feet in steps made without hands; and far up on those solitary heights, God informed him that Israel was now to be taken into close and peculiar connection with himself, and that they were to become an organized church in the wilderness, and a nation whom he would govern. These are the words which he spake:–

“Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Moses came down, and having assembled the elders of Israel, he repeated to them the message of God. When it was made known to them, they answered: “All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do.” Here they entered into a solemn covenant with God to accept him as their ruler, by which they became, in a special sense, the subjects of his divine authority.

Again Moses ascended, and the Lord said unto him, “Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever.” When the Hebrews met with difficulties in the way, they were disposed to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and accuse them of leading the host of Israel from Egypt to destroy them. God would now honor Moses before them, that they might be led to confide in his instructions.

The Lord was about to come near to his people; they were to hear his law spoken, not by angels, but by himself; and Moses was now commanded to prepare them for that solemn event: “Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” The people were required to refrain from worldly care and labor, and to possess devotional thoughts. God required them also to wash their clothes. He is no less particular now than he was then. He is a God of order, and requires his people to observe habits of strict cleanliness. Those who worship God with uncleanly garments and persons, do not come before him in an acceptable manner. He is not pleased with their lack of reverence for him, and he will not accept the service of filthy worshipers, for they insult their Maker. The Creator of the heavens and the earth considered cleanliness of so much importance that he said, “And let them wash their clothes.” Some who profess to be followers of Christ, call order and neatness, pride. They seem to consider it a virtue to leave their houses and premises in a disorderly, unimproved condition, thinking that they will thus give evidence of their disregard for temporal things, and their high estimate of spiritual things. But this same neglect and slothfulness which characterizes their business life, will be imparted to their religious life. Their religious experience will be defective. Says the apostle: “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” God requires his people to be neat and orderly. All his directions to the children of Israel were of a character to establish habits of order and cleanliness in their dress, and in their surroundings. This was essential in order for them to preserve health, and to exert a proper influence upon other nations as a people adopted by the living God.

The Lord continued his instructions to Moses: “And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it. Whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death. There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live. When the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.” This command was designed to impress the minds of this rebellious people with a profound veneration for God, the author and authority of their laws.

Three days the people were before the mount. During this time, they had ample opportunity to review their past course of murmuring and impatience, and to repent. God had given them his gracious promise that they should become a peculiar treasure unto him, on condition of obedience; but if they were disobedient he would reject them, and choose another people.

Many regard the Jewish economy as an age of darkness. They have received the erroneous idea that repentance and faith had no part in the Hebrew religion, which they claim consisted only of forms and ceremonies. But the children of Israel were saved by Christ as virtually as is the sinner of today. By faith they saw Christ in those types and shadows which pointed forward to his first advent and death, when type should meet anti-type. They rejoiced in a Saviour to come, typified by sacrificial offerings, while we rejoice in a Saviour who has come. That which was expectation to ancient Israel, is certainty to modern Israel. The world’s Redeemer was in close connection with his people then, being enshrouded in that cloudy pillar. Let us not say, then, that they had not Christ in the Jewish age. The inspired apostle writes: “By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” “esteeming the reproaches of Christ of greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”

The command given to Moses to sanctify the people, brought great responsibility upon him. He was to faithfully point out their past errors, that they might, by humiliation, fasting, and prayer, purify their hearts from the defilement of sin, as well as cleanse themselves from all outward impurities. When the children of Israel were doing all they could to remove from them all defilement of the flesh and spirit, they were doing the same work that God requires us to do if we would be brought into close communion with him. However severe and close the battle to overcome wrong habits, and sinful indulgences, it must be fought and the victory gained. After the power of the will is brought into activity, then there must be a firm reliance upon Christ. When Israel thirsted in the wilderness, and yielded to sinful murmurings, Christ was to them what he is to us, a compassionate mediator, and he pardoned their transgressions. After man has done what he can to cleanse the soul-temple, then Christ’s blood alone will avail for us, as Christ’s typified blood availed for ancient Israel.

Jenny @ 4:49 am