The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
January 23, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Three–Concluded.

            The Fall of                                                                 -
 
                             By Mrs. E. G. White.
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quite well understood that his companion had transgressed the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love. reasoned that the said they should not surely , and his words must be , for she felt no signs of God’s displeasure, but a pleasant influence, as she imagined the felt. Adam regretted that Eve had left his side; but now the deed was done. He must be separated from her whose society he had loved so well. How could he have it thus? His love for Eve was strong, and in utter he resolved to share her fate. He reasoned that Eve was a part of himself; and if she must die, he would die with her; for he could not bear the thought of separation from her. He did not think that God, who had him a living, beautiful form out of the dust of the ground, and had given him Eve to be his , could supply her place. After all, might not the words of this wise be correct? Eve was before him, just as lovely and beautiful, and apparently as innocent, as before this act of . She expressed greater, higher love for him than before her disobedience, as the effect of the she had eaten. He saw in her no signs of . She had told him of the happy influence of the fruit, of her ardent love for him, and he decided to brave the consequences. He seized the fruit and quickly ate it, and, like Eve, felt not immediately its ill effects.

Eve had thought herself capable of deciding between right and wrong. The flattering hope of entering a higher state of had led her to think that the serpent was her especial friend, possessing a great interest in her welfare. If she had sought her husband, and they had related to their Maker the words of the serpent, they would have been delivered at once from his artful temptation.

God instructed our first parents in regard to the tree of knowledge, and they were fully informed relative to the fall of Satan, and the danger of listening to his suggestions. God did not deprive them of the power of eating the forbidden fruit. He left them as free moral agents to believe his word, obey his commandments and live, or believe the tempter, disobey and perish. They both ate, and the great wisdom they obtained was the knowledge of sin, and a sense of guilt. The Lord would not have them investigate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, for then they would be exposed to Satan masked. He knew that they would be perfectly safe if they touched not the fruit.

Our first parents chose to believe the words, as they thought, of a serpent; yet he had given them no tokens of his love. He had done nothing for their happiness and benefit; while God had given them everything that was good for food, and pleasant to the sight. Everywhere the eye might rest was abundance and beauty; yet Eve was deceived by the serpent, to think that there was something withheld which would make them wise, even as God. Instead of believing and confiding in their Creator, she basely distrusted his goodness, and cherished the words of Satan.

After Adam’s transgression he at first imagined himself rising to a new and higher existence. But soon the thought of his transgression terrified him. The air, that had been of a mild and even temperature, seemed to chill the guilty pair. They had a sense of sin, and felt a dread of the future, a sense of want, a nakedness of soul. The sweet love and peace seemed removed from them, and in their place a want of something came over them that they had never experienced before. They then for the first turned their attention to the external. They had not been clothed, but were draped in light as were the heavenly angels. This light which had enshrouded them departed. To relieve the sense of nakedness which they realized, their attention was directed to seek a covering for their forms; for how could they meet the eye of God and angels unclothed.

Their crime is now before them in its true light. Their transgression of God’s express command assumes a clearer character. Adam censured Eve’s folly in leaving his side, and being deceived by the serpent; but they both flattered themselves that God, who had given them everything to make them happy, might yet excuse their disobedience, because of his great love to them, and that their punishment would not be so dreadful after all.

Satan exulted in his success. He had tempted the woman to distrust God, to question his wisdom, and to seek to penetrate his all-wise plans. And through her he had also caused the overthrow of Adam, who, in consequence of his love for Eve, disobeyed the command of God, and fell with her.

The news of man’s fall spread through Heaven–every harp was hushed. The angels cast their crowns from their heads in sorrow. All Heaven was in agitation. The angels were grieved at the base ingratitude of man, in return for the rich blessings which God had bestowed upon him. A council was held to see what must be done with the guilty pair. The angels feared that they would put forth the hand, and eat of the tree of life, and thus perpetuate a life of sin.

The Lord visited Adam and Eve, and made known to them the consequence of their disobedience. And as they hear God’s majestic approach, they seek to hide themselves from inspection of him whom they delighted, while in their innocence and holiness, to meet. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” This question was asked by the Lord, not because he needed information, but for the conviction of the guilty pair. Adam acknowledged his transgression, not because he was penitent for his great disobedience, but to cast reflection upon God. “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” The woman was then addressed: “What is this that thou hast done?” Eve answered, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The Lord then addressed the serpent” Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” As the serpent had been exalted above the beasts of the field, he should be degraded beneath them all, and be detested by man, inasmuch as he was the medium through which Satan acted. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground.”

God cursed the ground because of the sin of Adam and Eve in eating of the tree of knowledge, and declared, “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” He had apportioned them the good, but withheld the evil. Now he declares that they shall eat of it, that is, they shall be acquainted with evil, all the days of their life.

The race from that time forward was to be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. A life of perpetual toil and anxiety was appointed unto Adam, instead of the happy, cheerful labor which he had hitherto enjoyed. They should be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally come to dissolution. They were made of the dust of the earth, and unto dust should they return.

Adam and Eve were informed that they must lose their Eden home. They had yielded to Satan’s deception, and believed that God would lie. By their transgression they had opened a way for Satan to gain access to them more readily, and it was not safe for them to remain in the garden of Eden, lest in their state of sin they gain access to the tree of life, and perpetuate a life of sin. They entreated to be permitted to remain, although they acknowledged that they had forfeited all right to blissful Eden. They promised that they would in the future yield implicit obedience to God. They were informed that in their fall from innocence to guilt, they had gained no strength, but great weakness. They had not preserved their integrity while they were in a state of holy, happy innocence, and they would have far less strength to remain true and loyal in a state of conscious guilt. At these words the unhappy pair were filled with keenest anguish and remorse. They now realized that the penalty of sin was death.

It was Satan’s studied plan that Adam and Eve should disobey God, receive his frown, and then partake of the tree of life, that they might perpetuate a life of sin. But holy angels were immediately commissioned to guard the way to the tree of life. Around these angels flashed beams of light on every side, which had the appearance of glittering swords.

Many regard the punishment of Adam’s transgression as too severe a penalty for so small a sin. The enemy of all righteousness has blinded the eyes of sinners, so that sin does not appear sinful. Their standard of what constitutes sin is vastly different from God’s standard. Should those who regard Adam’s sin as a matter of very small consequence look a little deeper, they would see the great mercy of God in giving Adam the smallest possible test. It could scarcely be called a self-denial on his part to refrain from partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, for he already had everything necessary to supply his wants. A compassionate God gave no severe test, no strong temptation that would tax human endurance beyond the power to resist. The fruit itself was harmless. If God had not forbidden Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, their action in taking it would not have been sinful. Up to the moment of God’s prohibition, Adam might have eaten of the fruit of that tree without realizing any harm. But after God had said, Thou shalt not eat, the act became a crime of great magnitude. Adam had disobeyed God. In this was his sin. The very fact that Adam’s trial was small, made his sin exceeding great. God tested him in that which was least, to prove him; and with the prohibition he stated that the punishment consequent upon his disobedience would be death. If Adam could not bear this smallest of tests to prove his loyalty, he surely could not have endured a stronger trial had he been taken into closer relationship with God, to bear higher responsibilities. He evidenced that God could not trust him; should he be exposed to Satan’s more determined attacks, he would signally fail.

God created man in his own image, after his likeness, free from sin, and with organs well developed. The earth was to be populated with intelligent beings who were only a little lower than the angels. But God would first prove the holy pair, and test their obedience; for he would not have a world filled with beings who would disregard his laws. Adam did the worst thing he could do under the circumstances. In doing that which God had expressly forbidden he set his will against the will of God, thus waging war with his requirements. The pen of inspiration has with accuracy traced the history of our first parents’ sin and fall, that all generations may be warned not to follow Adam’s example, in the slightest disregard of God’s requirements. Had the test been in regard to larger matters, men might have excused the sin of disobedience in what they call smaller things. But God made the test with Adam upon things that are least, to show man that the slightest disobedience to his requirements is sin in every sense of the word. God, the Governor of the universe, has made all things subject to law; things apparently insignificant, and things of the greatest magnitude, are all governed by laws adapted to their natures. Nothing that God has made has been forgotten or left to blind chance. To man, as being endowed with reasoning powers and conscience, God’s moral law is given to control his actions. Man is not compelled to obey. He may defy God’s law, as did Adam, and take the fearful consequences; or by living in harmony with that law he may reap the rewards of obedience.

Ministers of our time give from their pulpits license to sin, in saying to the sinner, that the law of God is not binding upon man, and that it is impossible for him to keep it. It was then impossible for Adam to keep God’s law, and why should the punishment of transgression have fallen upon him? The very fact that disobedience to God in one of the smallest requirements brought such woe to our world shows that any disregard of his law will surely be followed by the penalty, which is death. Ministers who make war upon the law of God, are gathering in their garments the blood of souls. They are working in harmony with the great rebel.

Jenny @ 1:16 pm
February 28, 1878 Never Yield the Sabbath.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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We are in receipt of a number of from different individuals, who are in our , asking advice upon the matter of keeping the . In their cases, the injunction of the apparently conflicts with their ideas of or necessity in other respects. One in particular is in much of mind as to her . She is the support of her aged , and could easily maintain them in if she pursued her work upon the . She therefore asks if the is not as binding upon her as the fourth, and that if, in keeping the latter, she should fall short, in her estimation, of the requirements of the fifth commandment, would she not be justified in disregarding the fourth? We deeply sympathize with these tried ones in their perplexity and distress, and have endeavored to write a few words of and to them and others who are under similar .

We would say to all who are thus in regard to their duty, Upon no consideration are you excusable in violating the fourth commandment. It is no violation of the Sabbath to perform works of necessity, as ministering to the sick or aged, and relieving distress. Such works are in perfect harmony with the . was ever active upon the Sabbath, when the necessities of the and came before him. The Pharisees, because of this, accused him of , as do many today who are in opposition to the . But we say, Let God be , and every man a who dares make this against the .

Jesus answered the accusation of thus, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have and not , ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He had already declared to them that he had kept his . When he was accused of in the matter of the , he turned upon his with the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” In summing up his answer to the questioning of the Pharisees he said, “Wherefore it is to do well on the Sabbath days.” Here Christ justified his work as in perfect harmony with the Sabbath law. Ministers who profess to be embassadors of Christ, yet assert that he did not regard the Sabbath day, and thus endeavor to justify themselves in disregarding it, make the same accusation against Christ as did the Pharisees. They certainly select poor company in those caviling Jews who persecuted the .

It may not be convenient for you and many others to keep the Sabbath day holy by refraining from worldly business; but God has not left this matter to our choice; we are not at liberty to mold our principles according to our circumstances. His requirements are positive; they are, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not; “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,” etc.

The fifth commandment is sacred; but if you should transgress any of the first four precepts of the decalogue, wherein is revealed the duty of man to his Creator, you would not be in a favorable position for the sacred observance of the last six commandments which specify the duties of man to his fellow man. To break any one of the commandments which specify the duty of man to God is to violate the principles of the entire law. The pen of inspiration records that he who offends in one point is guilty of offense in all. Thus, should the Sabbath of the fourth commandment be disregarded, and man prove recreant to the claims of God upon him, will this disobedience prepare him to fulfill the requirements of the law which specifies his duty to his earthly parents? Will his heart be fitted through transgression of a plain precept of Jehovah upon the first table of stone, to keep the first precept on the second table. We are required, by this commandment, to honor our parents, and we are unnatural children if we do not obey this precept. But if love and reverence are due our earthly parents how much more is reverence and love due our heavenly Parent.

We take the position that the fifth commandment is binding upon the son and daughter, although they may be old and gray-headed. However high or humble their station in life they will never rise above or fall below their obligation to obey the fifth precept of the decalogue, that commands them to honor their father and mother. Solomon, the wisest and most exalted monarch that ever sat upon an earthly throne, has given us an example of filial love and reverence. He was surrounded by his courtly train, consisting of the wisest sages and counselors, yet, when visited by his mother, he laid aside all the customary ceremonies attending the approach of a subject to an oriental monarch. The mighty king, in the presence of his mother, was only her son. His royalty was laid aside, as he rose from his throne and bowed before her. He then seated her on his throne, at his right hand.

Those who have been taught to obey and honor their earthly parents will the more readily yield to the claims of their heavenly Parent, and honor the Creator of man and of the world. The fifth commandment is the only one of the six to which a promise is annexed: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This carries us forward to the period when the saints shall possess the kingdom under the whole heavens, in the renewed earth.

Special blessings are also promised to those who honor and keep holy the day which God has sanctified and blessed; and, in giving us the ten commandments, our wise and merciful Father has not enjoined their observance upon us, and yet made it necessary that, in keeping one, we should break another of those holy precepts. If the requirements of parents from their children involves their breaking the law of God, there should be no question in regard to duty. God’s claims are imperative. The son or daughter should respectfully say to the parent, I love and honor you, my earthly parents; but I love and fear God more. His commands must be obeyed at any cost to myself. In thus standing true to principle the child does not dishonor his parents in the Bible sense. The purity and firmness of his principles may be the means of bringing unbelieving parents to realize the high claims which God has upon them. Should this be the case will he not have shown in the fullest sense that he has attained the Bible standard of honoring his parents?

Should he fail in bringing the parents he loves to acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment, still the child has met the requirements of God if he has faithfully done his duty, in meekness and love, to his parents; if he has shown them the utmost respect, caring for them in temporal things, as well as spiritual, yet remained firm in his adherence to the commands of God, notwithstanding their opposition. There is no more effectual way of proving our obedience to the fifth commandment, than that of manifesting our reverence for all God’s holy laws.

Sacrilegious minds and hearts have thought they were mighty enough to change the times and laws of Jehovah; but, safe in the archives of heaven, in the ark of God, are the original commandments, written upon the two tables of stone. No potentate of earth has power to draw forth those tables from their sacred hiding-place beneath the mercy-seat. The fourth precept of the decalogue remains unchanged, holding the same claims upon man, as when the ten commandments were thundered, amid smoke and flame, from the holy mount.

We observe the equity of God’s requirements in the fourth commandment: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” The Sovereign of heaven and earth gives us six days for our own use, and reserves only one for himself, and upon that he places his blessing, and sanctifies it. He requires man to sacredly observe that day, not using it for his own worldly advantage or pleasure. It is the tribute God requires men to render him for the benefits he has given them.

We should spend a portion of the Sabbath in religious meditation, and in considering the blessings and wonders of God in his created works, manifested alike amid the rugged mountain scenery, where mountain top rises above mountain top, where terrible ravines, and rocks broken apart by the earthquakes, and the lightnings, bear the unmistakable marks of One who has trodden the mountains in his anger; and in the softer aspect of nature, where the lofty trees, the babbling brooks, the green grass and tinted flowers express the love of the Infinite God. When we behold rugged mountains, the lesson of Sinai should be repeated to us, and we should contemplate that scene when Jehovah spake his law in the hearing of all the vast army of Israel.

The foundation of the Sabbath was laid in Eden, and it is to be perpetuated through all time and eternity. The sin of Adam caused his expulsion from Eden. Fearful indeed was the curse pronounced upon the transgressor of the law of God. While we deplore the sin and fall of Adam, let us beware of following his example of disobedience. Thank God that the Sabbath institution was not included in the blessings lost with Eden. That sacred institution does not rest upon vain speculation; the authority and evidence sustaining it are strong and irresistible; Infidelity may assail it, yet it remains incontrovertible.

God in mercy has sent light and messages of warning to the world in reference to his law which has been trampled upon. There is a people who reverence and fear God, and who respond to his messages of warning, who repent of their transgression of the law of God, and, through faith in the merits of Christ, receive pardon for their transgression. God, through his prophet commends, and gives precious promises to those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord: “And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

The prophet here refers to the breach made in the law of God, by the breaking down of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This precept has been made waste by the man of sin; and the professed Christian world has accepted a day which he has substituted for the sanctified Sabbath of the Lord. Shall we be of the number who are repairing the breach made in the law of God? or shall we be of the number who receive the mark of the beast, by observing the human institution rather than the divine, thus nourishing the child of papacy?

We do not write thus because we suppose you ignorant of the evidences of the Sabbath, and the binding claims of the entire law of God; but we desire to refresh your minds, that you may become established in the present truth.

Those who have accepted unpopular truth have always been obliged to make great sacrifices. Persecution has fallen heavily upon some. We have the lives of the apostles as our ensamples; but above all we have the life of Christ our great Exemplar presented before us. The beloved disciple tells us he was banished to the isle of Patmos, “For the word of God, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” While on that desolate island, to his unspeakable joy, his dear Master and Lord stood before him, the very one with whom he had walked and talked when they were together in the world, upon whose bosom he had learned, whose great heart of love had beat beneath the pressure of his head, whose sufferings he had witnessed, and whose visage had been marred more than the sons of men.

The Saviour was revealed to John, not in his humiliation, but in his majesty, as he now is, and as he will be revealed when he shall come in his glory. John saw not a Saviour on the cross, not a man of sorrows, but the glorified Son of God, clothed in a garment of light, and girded with a golden girdle. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like brass when it gleams in a furnace. The sound of his voice was like the sound of many waters; and his countenance shone like the sun in its noon-day splendor.

The world may not appreciate our faith; they may laugh and sneer at our peculiarities of belief; we may be derided for not following the customs of the world. The word of God declares that the world knows us not, because it knew him not. But when Christ comes to earth again he will appear glorious as John saw him to be; and we have the precious promise that “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We must look away from the difficulties of our present position, and fasten our eyes on the glories of our heavenly home, taking courage at the prospect of that bright future when we shall see Christ as he is, and be made like unto him.

John found in his solitude and exile that the Lord had not forgotten him. From this we may learn that God is a shield and helper in every emergency, to those who believe and trust in him. When surrounded by difficulties, dangers, and discouragements, we must not yield faith and principle, but cherish every precious ray of light granted us, and be true to our God given responsibilities.

You who are perplexed and afflicted, look up and be encouraged. Commit your ways in faith to the sympathizing Redeemer. He has identified his interests with yours, and is afflicted in your affliction. He will help you bear your burdens. Never give up the Sabbath. Hold fast the sanctified day, and the promises which God has attached to its observance. Is it reasonable to suppose that God would make you more prosperous in transgressing his law than in rendering cheerful obedience to it? How easily could his hand hedge up the way which Satan now presents to you in such a flattering light. God promises his Israel that if they will keep his statutes and his laws he will bless them in their houses, in their fields and in all their undertakings; but if they disobey his holy statutes his curse will fall upon them. May God help you to understand that he who feeds and cares for the ravens will not forget his children.

Jenny @ 3:59 pm