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

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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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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
March 7, 1878 The Law from Sinai.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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When the children of left they pursued their journey, winding up a narrow opening through the bold rocks of the . They gradually ascended higher and higher, until there opened before them a wide extended plain, enclosed by granite ridges and towering toward the . ’s range stood before them in somber , its rocky crags towering aloft directed the eyes of the travelers . Awful, silent reigned over all. What a contrast was this scene to the busy activity of ! Here there was nothing to distract the , nothing to speak to the senses but the stern granite pinnacles pointing toward . had commanded to bring his people to this place of natural and sublimity, that they might hear his voice, and receive the book of heaven.

previous to this the had lighted the path through the that God had opened before the marching of his people. They had since then made their way slowly onward through the ; and God, by his , had wrought for them in their necessity. When they were parched with they had against God, forgetful of what he had done for them; but God did not forget them, he gave them from the flinty rock, and rained down to satisfy their ; and, through his , taught them lessons of in his .

The whole now encamped in the plain, in full view of . Then followed the days of for the great scene which was to make a most vivid upon their minds. The Lord gave express directions in regard to this preparation which must be made by his people. “And the Lord said unto Moses, go unto the people and them today and tomorrow; and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the ; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people, upon .” The people were required to refrain from , and to cultivate devotional thoughts to put away their sins, to be free from all personal uncleanness, and to cherish an abiding sense of the holiness of God whose voice they were soon to hear.

God commanded Moses to put bounds around the mount, that no man or beast should touch it, for God was to sanctify the mount by his presence, and the contact of sinful man with that divine presence would result in the instant death of the former. The people moved about, making these solemn preparations with subdued deportment, and hushed voices, while their eyes were instinctively drawn toward the rugged heights of Mount Horeb. They obeyed the directions of Moses with alacrity, waiting to hear the words of God spoken through him, telling them what next they should do.

The camp was now alive with subdued excitement and expectancy. At length the trumpet is lifted to the lips of Moses, and the word peals forth, Let all the people come now and meet with God! The trumpeters, who have been waiting for this signal, take up the sound and repeat the command all along the line, wakening the resounding echoes of the mountains. The people obey the summons, and hurry from their tents with pale and anxious faces. They gather around the mount, and stand with bated breath, in solemn awe. Every murmur is hushed until the stillness is painful. Suddenly the mighty pealing of a trumpet is heard from the mount, followed by terrific thunder and lightning, while an earthquake shakes the mountain from base to summit, and, from the black and terrible cloud hanging over it like a pall, issues smoke and fiery flames.

The deafening thunder reverberates from mountain top to mountain top, and seems to roll with awful power down the sides of Mount Horeb, and resound throughout the earth. It appears to the people that the mountain will be shattered into fragments and fall upon and cover them. The Hebrews fall prostrate to hide from their eyes the mystery and grandeur of the mount as it groans and trembles under the footsteps of the God of heaven. Wives cling to their husbands and children to their parents in terror, many begging to be removed from the fearful scene. Long concealed sins were there confessed in broken utterances, and repentance and humility softened the hearts and subdued the spirits of the most hardened and reckless.

The Lord now calls to Moses. He answers to the call. Then the Lord bids him come up to him into the mount. The eyes of all are turned toward their leader. Will he dare to go? Moses did not hesitate to obey, but with calm and trustful faith, passed up the quivering mountain with slow and solemn steps, amid smoke and flame, and is lost to the sight of the astonished people, while the mount remained shrouded in darkness, and volumes of thunder rolled down its quaking sides. At length Moses descends the mount.

The scene increases in awful grandeur as God speaks forth his holy law. At length the people instinctively retreat from the mount leaving Moses standing alone. The majesty and terror of this scene brings vividly before our minds the solemn events of the judgment, when the Prince of heaven shall come the second time, and the loud voice of the trumpet shall resound from one end of the earth to the other, penetrate the prison house of death, and break the sleep of the dead, who shall come forward to receive according to the deeds done in the body.

The Hebrews in terror cried to Moses, “Speak thou with us, and let not the Lord speak to us lest we die.” They did not discern their Advocate with the Father, standing between him and sinful man, and claiming the erring people of Israel as the purchase of his own blood. They did not recognize in the voice that caused them such terror the voice of the angel that had conducted their travels from Egypt to Sinai.

Many can only discern in Sinai’s God a Sovereign, Legislator, and Judge; but he has also given us there a true portrayal of his character as a loving as well as a just Father in this record, “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

The Sovereign of the world has made known, in the ten commandments, the principles that should govern mankind. He requires the implicit obedience of his subjects, and if they refuse this, they are disloyal to the God of heaven. Two mighty principles are declared in those ten precepts. On the first table of stone were inscribed the four precepts showing the duty of man to God; and on the second table were the six showing the duty of man to his fellow man. Christ, who spoke the law, declared that all the law and the prophets hang upon the two chief commandments that illustrate those two great principles. They contain in brief the whole duty of man, to love God supremely and to love his neighbor as himself.

The law of the ten commandments, given in awful grandeur from Sinai, can never be repealed while the heavens and the earth remain. All enlightened law and government had its origin in those ten words of the Almighty. Those who speak slightingly of the moral code are blinded by sin, and are on the side of the great rebel, who has ever been at war with the law of God which is the foundation of his government in heaven and on earth. When God issues a proclamation that men are guiltless if they cease to love him, to reverence his name, and to keep holy his Sabbath–then, and not till then will the law of God be abrogated.

God requires of his subjects obedience, not to nine-tenths of the law, but to every one of the ten precepts. They are like the links of a chain; if one is broken the chain is of no value. The violation of one commandment makes us commandment breakers; and we must yield willing obedience to all the precepts of Jehovah if we would be true commandment-keepers, for “He that offendeth in one part is guilty of all.”

Those who profess to be ministers of God, yet teach the people that God’s holy law has no longer any claims upon them, are working directly against Christ. They say to the sinner, You are no longer under the terror of Sinai, and the bondage of the law; only come to Jesus, and believe in him and you will be saved. But how can these teachers define sin to their hearers? The apostle Paul gives us this definition, “Sin is the transgression of the law. What shall we say then, is the law sin? Nay, I had not known sin but by the law, for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. For without the law sin was dead; for I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came sin revived and I died, wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

David exclaims, “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.” David had transgressed the law, and the law held him a prisoner until he repented of his sin, and was pardoned through faith in the virtue of the promised Redeemer. There is no power in the law to remove a single defect, nor to save the sinner from the consequence of his transgression. But when the sinner is convicted by the light of the law, then he has a work to do: Repentance toward God because of transgression of his law, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, the sinners substitute and surety. Then pardon and free salvation may be his. But Jesus Christ will never save any one who has a knowledge of the law of God, yet lives in transgression of it.

Christ came to earth to maintain and exalt the divine law, by himself suffering the penalty of sin, and to thereby evidence that God will in no wise clear the guilty. Many claim that the law of God is done away with; but Christ said: “Until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” The ceremonial law of sacrificial offerings, pointing to Christ, ceased at the death of Christ, but his mission to earth was to vindicate the supreme law of God, not to annul it. If this latter could have been done, the Son of God need not have died to redeem sinful man. But because the law of God was as changeless as his character, it was necessary in order to preserve the authority of the universal Sovereign, and at the same time save man from the consequences of his transgression, that Jesus Christ should die, a sinless offering for a sinful world. The death of Christ therefore testifies to the immutability of God’s law.

Many accept nine of the commandments, but are troubled about the fourth. They see no fault in the first, which commands that we should have no gods before the Infinite One, neither in the second, which prohibits image-worship, nor in the third which provides against the profanation of God’s name. But the fourth seems difficult for them to comprehend; and they inquire why the world at large, and the churches do not observe the seventh day, and especially why the ministers do not teach its observance from their pulpits.

Ministers decide to accept a papal institution in the place of the day which God sanctified and blessed, rather than to be singular from the world, and incur the inconveniences resulting from such a reform. But their disloyalty does not excuse others in showing disrespect to the God of heaven, by trampling upon the sanctity of the day he has set apart for man to observe.

The fourth commandment is the only one that defines who is the living God. It points us back to creation, and to Eden: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed and sanctified the seventh day.” Thus this precept bears the signet or seal of the Creator. The fourth commandment occupies a central position in those regulations which define man’s duty to God, and to his fellow men. It is the golden link which unites finite man to the Infinite God. What authority has man to flout at or object to this prominent precept more than to any one of the other nine?

The specific rules for the government of the social and religious life of the Hebrews, were given to Moses for the Israelites, and embraced the principles of the ten commandments. But those commandments themselves spoken by the voice of God in hearing of all the people, and engraven on the two tables of stone, were given for the benefit of all mankind, and were to endure through all time. Because the transgression of the fourth commandment is so general, does not lessen the sin of the transgressor. God holds man responsible for the observance of every one of his precepts.

Because the professed teachers of the people declare that the Sabbath law is no longer binding upon man, shall we lay aside our Bibles to accept their statement? Shall we trust our-souls to the ministers? Can they answer for us in the day of God? When Christ announced that he was the Anointed One, if the Jews had searched the Scriptures for themselves, to ascertain if his words were true, they would not have been wrapped in error and bigotry. But they believed what the priests and rulers told them, that Christ was an impostor, and darkness closed about them. We do not wish to place ourselves in a position similar to that of the unbelieving Jews. We would follow the injunction of our Saviour: “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.”

The transgressor of the divine law will be in a fearful position in the day of God. No tears or prayers, or reformation can justify him before the Almighty. There is but one name given under heaven and among men that can save the sinner from the condemnation of the law. The name of Jesus is efficacious to the sinner during his probation. Jesus never broke the law of his Father; he honored and magnified it, and bore its curse for us. Repentance toward God, and simple faith in the blood of Christ, and obedience to the law of God will save the sinner; for Christ will then impute to him his righteous character. But the blood of Christ will never atone for a sin unrepented and unconfessed.

Oh that the people would seek wisdom for themselves, and consider the great truths of God’s word! Their eternal interests are involved in these matters, and none can afford to make a mistake. All our difficulties and questioning doubts will depart, if we but accept Christ as our teacher, and learn wisdom of him.

Jenny @ 4:14 pm