The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 15, 1880 Journeyings of the Israelites
Filed under: EG White Articles

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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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While wandering in the , the were preserved by a continual of in the falling of the . In the morning they were to go out and gather food for the day,–an for every person. They were commanded not to let any of this remain until the morning; nevertheless, some of them did attempt to keep a supply until the next day; but it bred worms and became offensive.

On the , it was found that a double quantity had been deposited, and the people gathered two omers for every person. When the rulers saw what they were doing, they hastened to acquaint of this apparent violation of his directions; but his answer was, “This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy unto the Lord. Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over, lay up for you, to be kept until the morning.” They did so, and found that it remained unchanged. And Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord. Today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.”

The Lord is no less particular now in regard to his Sabbath, than when he gave the foregoing special directions to the children of Israel. He required them to bake that which they would bake, and seethe (that is, boil) that which they would seethe, on the sixth day, preparatory to the rest of the Sabbath. Those who neglect to make suitable preparation on the sixth day for the Sabbath, violate the fourth commandment, and are transgressors of God’s law. In his instructions to the Israelites, God forbade baking and boiling upon the Sabbath. That prohibition should be regarded by all Sabbath-keepers, as a solemn injunction from Jehovah to them. The Lord would guard his people from indulging in gluttony upon the Sabbath, which he has set apart for sacred meditation and worship.

The Sabbath of the Lord is a day of rest from labor, and the diet should then be more simple, and a less quantity should be taken, than upon the six working days. Many have erred in failing to practice self-denial upon the Sabbath. They partake of full meals, as on the six laboring days, and as a consequence, their minds are beclouded, they are stupid and drowsy, and often suffer with headache. In this condition they can have no truly devotional feelings, and the blessing resting upon the Sabbath, does not prove a blessing to them. The sick and suffering require care and attention upon the Sabbath as well as upon other days of the week; and it may be necessary for their comfort to prepare warm food and drinks. In such instances, it is no violation of the fourth commandment to make them as comfortable as possible. The great Lawgiver is a God of compassion as well as of justice.

God manifested his great care and love for his people in sending them bread from heaven. “Man did eat angels’ food;” that is, food provided for them by the angels. The three-fold miracle of the manna–a double quantity on the sixth day, and none upon the seventh, and its keeping fresh through the Sabbath, while upon other days it would become unfit for use–was designed to impress the Israelites with the sacredness of the Sabbath. After they were abundantly supplied with food, they were ashamed of their unbelief and murmurings, and promised to trust the Lord for the future; but they soon forgot their promise, and failed at the first trial of their faith.

After leaving the wilderness of Sin, the children of Israel encamped in Rephidim, where there was no water. Again they distrusted the providence of God, and such was their blindness and presumption that they now came boldly up to Moses with the demand, “Give us water, that we may drink!” His patience failed not. “Why chide ye with me?” he said, “Wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?” “Wherefore is this,” they cried, “that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”

Thus they began again to reason from the promptings of their own natural heart. The pillar of cloud seemed to them a fearful mystery, and as to that man Moses, who was he, and what object had he in attempting to lead them out of Egypt? They even accused him of designing to kill them and their children with privations and hardships, and then enriching himself with their possessions. But Moses prayed earnestly, and the Lord directed him to take the elders of Israel, and the rod wherewith he smote the river, and to go on before the people. And “Behold,” says the Lord, “I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.” He did so, and the water gushed out in such abundance as to satisfy their thirst.

The cloud of glory rested directly before the rock. Had that cloud been removed, the people would have been destroyed by the brightness of the glory. Christ would have been revealed in his glorious form standing by the rock. But as it was, the glory of the Lord was seen by all the congregation who stood at a distance.

Here we see the matchless mercy of Jesus Christ displayed. Instead of commanding Moses to lift up his rod and call down some terrible plague upon the wicked leaders in this murmuring, as he had done upon the Egyptian leaders, he was simply told to take some of the leading men of Israel to be eye-witnesses of a miracle which Christ himself would perform for their deliverance. 

It was Moses who “clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths,” who “brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” It was he who smote the rock, but it was Christ who stood beside him and caused the life-giving water to flow.

In their thirst, the people had tempted God, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” If God has brought us here, why does he not give us water as well as bread? That if showed criminal unbelief, and Moses feared that the judgments of God would rest upon them for their sin. And he called the name of the place Massah, temptation, and Meribah, chiding, as a memorial of their wicked murmurings.

God directed the children of Israel to encamp in that place, where there was no water, to prove them, to see if they would look to him in their distress, or murmur as they had previously done. They should have known that he would not permit those to perish with thirst, whom he had promised to take unto himself as his people. But instead of humbly entreating the Lord to provide for their necessity, they murmured against Moses, and demanded of him, water. God had been continually manifesting his power before them in a wonderful manner, to make them understand that all the benefits which they received came from him; that he could give them, or remove them, according to his own will. At times they had a full sense of this, and humbled themselves greatly before the Lord; but when brought into straight places they charged all their troubles upon Moses, as though they had left Egypt to please him.

Had not the Lord been slow to anger, and mercifully considerate of the ignorance and weakness of the children of Israel, he would have destroyed them in his wrath. He exercises the same pitying tenderness toward modern Israel. But we are less excusable than was ancient Israel. We have had every opportunity to elevate and ennoble our characters, which they did not have. We also have their history, recorded that we may shun their example of unbelief and impatient murmuring and rebellion.

Had they reformed and become obedient to God’s commandments, he would have established them in the land of Canaan, a holy and happy people, without a feeble one in all their ranks. But their lack of faith called down upon them the just displeasure of God; and so it will upon us in these last days if we do not trust God any further than we can see. We should seek God in prayer, constant, earnest, heartfelt, prayer. He will reward all who diligently seek him, for he has told us that the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous availeth much.

The children of Israel tarried some time in this pleasant spot where there was plenty of water. The Amalekites, a tribe inhabiting that part of the country through which they were passing, became greatly disturbed by this. They felt that their territory had been invaded by this immense number of people, and they now came out to make war against them. Moses therefore directed Joshua to choose out soldiers and take them on the morrow to give battle with the enemy, while he himself would stand upon an eminence near by, with the rod of God in his hand. Accordingly, the next day Moses and Aaron and Hur took their position on the top of an adjoining hill, while Joshua and his company attacked the foe.

As the battle progressed, it was found that while Moses held up his hands toward heaven, entreating help from God, Israel prevailed; but when, through weariness, they were lowered, the enemy was victorious. Aaron and Hur stayed up the arms of Moses, and so, through the rest of that day, success was with the Israelites, and at its close the enemy was put to flight.

This act of Moses, in reaching up his hands toward heaven, was to teach Israel that while they made God their trust, and exalted his throne, he would fight for them, and subdue their enemies. But when they should let go their hold upon his strength, and should trust to their own power, they would be even weaker than those who had not the knowledge of God, and their enemies would prevail against them. Then “Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi; for he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” If the children of Israel had not murmured against the Lord, he would not have suffered their enemies to make war with them. 

Before Moses reached Egypt on his mission to deliver the Israelites, he had, as we have seen, sent his wife Zipporah and her sons back to her father’s house. When Jethro heard of the deliverance of the Hebrews, he visited Moses in the wilderness, and brought to him his wife and children. On learning of their approach, the great leader went out to welcome them, and after the first greetings and salutations had been exchanged, he conducted them to his tent. Here he related all the wonderful dealings of God with Israel. Jethro rejoiced, and blessed the Lord in words that show the devoutness of his heart, and having offered sacrifices to God, he made a feast to the elders of Israel.

Jethro’s discerning eye soon saw that the burdens upon Moses were very great, as the people brought all their matters of difficulty to him, and he instructed them in regard to the statutes and law of God. He therefore counseled Moses to select proper persons and put them as rulers over thousands, also others over hundreds, and again others over tens. The men chosen for these important positions were to be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” The most difficult cases were to be brought before Moses, who was to be the people, said Jethro, “to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”

This advice was followed, and not only was Moses relieved of too heavy a burden, but more perfect order was established among the people. “And Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.”

The leader of Israel was not above receiving instruction from his father-in-law. The Lord has greatly exalted Moses, and had wrought wonders by his hand; yet he did not conclude that because God had chosen him to instruct others, he needed not to be instructed, He gladly listened to the suggestions of Jethro, and adopted his plan as a wise arrangement.

Jenny @ 4:43 am
April 8, 1880 Journeyings of the Israelites
Filed under: EG White Articles

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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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After leaving the , the , guided by the , journeyed through the . Although the scenery around them was most dreary, composed of solemn looking destitute of , , and the sea stretching far away behind them, its banks strewn with the bodies of their enemies, they were in the consciousness of their , and for a time every thought of was hushed.

But for three days they journeyed without finding any water to quench their thirst, having that only which they had been commanded to take in their vessels. and were acquainted with this route, and knew that after traveling several days in the way in which they were then going they would find only bitter water. With what intense anxiety, therefore, mingled with forebodings, did they watch the leading of the pillar of cloud. And how the heart of Moses ached as the people gave the glad shout, Water! water! and it was echoed all along the line. Men, women, and children in joyous haste rush to the water, when lo, what a moan of anguish breaks forth from that vast company,–the water is bitter.

In their grief and disappointment, they reproach Moses for having led them in such a way, and do not consider that the Divine Presence in that mysterious cloud had been leading Moses and Aaron as well as themselves. Filled with sorrow as he saw the suffering of the people, Moses did that which the people should have done: he prayed earnestly to God, and he did not cry in vain. The Lord showed him a tree to which had been imparted healing properties, so that on its being cast into the fountain, the water became pleasant to the taste.

God here made a covenant with his people, through their leader:–If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

From Marah the people journeyed to Elim where they found “twelve wells of water and three-score and ten palm trees.” In this delightful spot they remained several days before entering the wilderness of sin. When they had been a month away from Egypt, they made their first encampment in this wilderness. Their store of provisions had now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness and their flocks also were fast diminishing. Famine seemed to be staring them in the face, and as they followed the cloudy pillar over the desert wastes, doubts filled their hearts, and again they murmured, even the rulers and elders of the people joined in complaining against the leaders of God’s appointment: “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full! for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” The children of Israel seemed to possess an evil heart of unbelief. They were unwilling to endure hardships in the wilderness. When they met with difficulties, they would regard them as insurmountable obstacles. Their confidence would fail, and they would see nothing before them but death.

They had not really suffered the pangs of hunger. They had food for the present necessities, but they feared for the future. They could not see how the hosts of Israel were to subsist, in their long travels through the wilderness; and in their unbelief they saw their children famishing. The Lord was willing that their supply of food should be cut short, and that they should meet with difficulties, that their hearts might turn to Him who had hitherto delivered them. He was ready to be to them a present help. If, in their want, they would call upon him, he would manifest to them tokens of his love and continual care. But they were unwilling to trust the Lord any further than they could witness before their eyes the continual evidences of his power. If they had possessed true faith and a firm confidence in God, inconveniences and obstacles, or even real suffering, would have been cheerfully borne, after the Lord had wrought in such a wonderful manner for their deliverance from bondage.

The Lord had promised that if they would obey his commandments no disease should rest upon them, and it was criminal unbelief in them to anticipate that themselves and children might die of hunger. They had suffered greatly in Egypt by being overtaxed with labor. Their children had been put to death, and in answer to their prayers of anguish, God had mercifully delivered them. He had promised to be their God, to take them to himself as a people, and to lead them to a large and good land. But they were ready to faint at any suffering they should have to endure in the way to that land. They had suffered much while in bondage to the Egyptians, but now they could not endure hardships in the service of God. They were ready to yield to gloomy doubts, and to sink in discouragement when they were tried.

The sinful course of the Israelites is recorded as a warning to the people of God now upon the earth. Many look back to them, and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had given them such repeated evidence of his love and care. They think that they would not have proved so ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of far less consequence. They do not know themselves. God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things; and they endure the trial no better than did ancient Israel.

Many have then present wants supplied, yet they will not trust God for the future. They manifest unbelief, and sink into despondency and gloom. Some are in continual trouble lest they shall come to want, and their children suffer. When difficulties arise, or when they are brought into strait places–when their faith and their love to God are tested–they shrink from the trial, and murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. Their love does not prove pure and perfect, to bear all things. The faith of the people of the God of Heaven should be strong, active, and enduring–the substance of things hoped for. The language of such will be, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name; for he hath dealt bountifully with me. Self-denial is considered by some to be real suffering. Depraved appetites are indulged. And a restraint upon the unhealthy appetite would lead even many professed Christians now to start back, as though actual starvation would be the consequence of a plain diet. And, like the children of Israel, they would accept slavery, diseased bodies, and even death, rather than to be deprived of some hurtful indulgence. Bread and water is all that is promised to the remnant in the time of trouble.

God was not unmindful of the wants of his people, and in his wisdom he provided the needed supply. He said to their leaders; “I will rain bread from Heaven for you.” The Lord designed to prove them, and by indulgence through miraculous provision for their wants to test them to see whether they would keep his commandments or no. The Lord promised to supply them through Moses with abundance of food. By his power he would give them flesh to eat in the evening and in the morning bread in abundance. Moses told them that their murmurings were not against him, but against the Lord. He that was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud heard all their murmurings and bitter complaints. While Aaron was speaking to the congregation there was a remarkable change in that pillar of cloud.

The Lord designed to give the Israelites evidences of his presence that they might be held in restraint and subordination as they knew the presence of the Lord, not merely the man Moses, was guiding them. Evidences of this kind were the books of knowledge opened to their senses that they should learn in regard to God, and his fear be before them. The greatest changes were to be wrought in the characters of these demoralized people. God was working by his power to lift them up through a knowledge of himself. Thus a visible manifestation of the glory of God was given them; a splendor which they had never witnessed, which symbolized the Divine presence. While the people were greatly terrified at this revelation of God, and feared his judgments, an audible voice came from the glory commanding Moses and Aaron to draw near to the cloudy pillar in which his glory was manifested. And the Lord talked with Moses and Aaron, and the Israelites heard his voice, saying that he had heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, and repeated his promise of flesh in the morning and bread in the evening. There God gave them evidence that he would supply their necessities, protect and preserve them, if they would be obedient to his commandments. In the evening the quails covered the ground about the camp. And in the morning the ground was covered with a strange substance, in small, white grains of the size of coriander seed, hard, and pleasant to the taste. The children of Israel knew not what it was, so they called it manna, which means, What is it? Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, gather of it every man, according to his eating, an omer for every man according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.”

The people gathered the manna, and found that there was a sufficiency for the entire company. They “ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” We are also told that “the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

According to the direction of Moses they were to gather an omer (about five pints) for every person; and they were not to leave of it until the morning. Some attempted to keep a supply until the next day, but what they laid by bred worms and became offensive. The supply for each day was to be gathered each morning; for as the heat of the sun increased, the substance melted and disappeared.

Jenny @ 4:37 am
October 24, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

We are often pained as we see the little moral power possessed by the professed followers of Christ. When tempted on the point of appetite, few will firmly stand the test. Many turn from light and knowledge, and sacrifice principle to indulge their taste. They eat when they have no need of eating, and at irregular periods, because they have no moral strength to resist their inclinations. As the result of this gratification of taste, the abused stomach rebels, suffering follows, and a weary taxation of the friends of the sufferer.

Many indulge appetite at the expense of health and the powers of intellect, so that they cannot appreciate the plan of salvation. What appreciation can such ones have of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and of the victory he gained upon the point of appetite? It is impossible for them to have exalted views of God, and to realize the claims of his law. Many of the professed followers of Christ are forgetful of the great sacrifice made by him on their account. The Majesty of Heaven, in order to bring salvation within their reach, was smitten, bruised, and afflicted. He became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In the wilderness of temptation he resisted Satan, although the tempter was clothed with the livery of heaven. Christ, although brought to great physical suffering, refused to yield a single point, notwithstanding the most flattering inducements were presented to bribe and influence him to yield his integrity. All this honor, all these riches and glory, said the deceiver, will I give thee if thou wilt only acknowledge my claims.

Could we at this time have entered the heavenly courts, and seen with what intense interest the holy angels watched the conflict of their loved Commander with the fallen foe, we should see greater significance in this long fast of Christ than it is now possible for us, with our darkened senses, to comprehend. Christ, the Commander of Heaven, was emaciated by long fasting; and his human nature fainted when the conflict was ended. The Son of God appeared to be dying from hunger and the effects of his warfare with Satan. But angels lifted his fainting head, served him with nourishing food, and ministered unto him. Never will so severe a test be brought to bear upon man, as that which the Captain of his salvation endured before him.

There was great rejoicing and triumph in the heavenly courts that Satan, who had deceived even the heavenly angels, and drawn a third part of heaven into his rebellion, had been vanquished at every point by the Prince of Life. Hosannas rung through heaven that Christ had repulsed the fallen foe, and resisted every temptation upon the point of appetite, redeeming Adam’s disgraceful failure by his own triumph.

Christ has given us an example of temperance in his own life. Where so many professed Christians fail, and are led captive by appetite and inclination, the Saviour was firm. Oh! what salvation would there now be for the race if Christ had been as weak in moral power as man? No wonder that joy filled heaven as the fallen chief left the wilderness of temptation a conquered foe. Christ has power from his Father to give his divine grace and strength to man - making it possible for us, through his name, to overcome. There are but few professed followers of Christ who choose to engage with him in the work of resisting Satan’s temptations as he resisted and overcame.

Professed Christians who enjoy gatherings of gaiety, pleasure, and feasting, cannot appreciate the conflict of Christ in the wilderness. This example of their Lord in overcoming Satan is lost to them. This infinite victory which Christ achieved for them in the plan of salvation is meaningless. They have no special interest in the wonderful humiliation of our Saviour, and the anguish and sufferings he endured for sinful man, while Satan was pressing him with his manifold temptations. That scene of trial in the wilderness was the foundation of the plan of salvation, and gives to fallen man the key whereby he, in Christ’s name, may overcome.

Many professed Christians look upon this portion of the life of Christ as they would upon a common warfare between two kings, and as having no special bearing upon their own life and character. Therefore, the manner of warfare, and the wonderful victory gained, have but little interest for them. Their perceptive powers are blunted by Satan’s artifices, so that they cannot discern that he who afflicted Christ in the wilderness, determined to rob him of his integrity as the Son of the Infinite, is to be their own adversary to the end of time. Although he failed to overcome Christ, his power over man is not weakened. All are personally exposed to the temptations that Christ overcame; but strength is provided for them in the all-powerful name of the great Conqueror. And all must, for themselves, individually overcome. Many fall under the very same temptations wherewith Satan assailed Christ.

Although Christ gained a priceless victory in behalf of man in overcoming the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, this victory will not benefit man unless he also gains the victory on his own account.

Man now has the advantage over Adam in his warfare with Satan; for he has Adam’s experience in disobedience and his consequent fall to warn him to shun his example. Man also has Christ’s example in overcoming appetite and the manifold temptations of Satan, and in vanquishing the mighty foe upon every point, and coming off victor in every contest.

If man stumbles and falls under the temptations of Satan, he is without excuse; for he has the disobedience of Adam as a warning, and the life of the world’s Redeemer as an example of obedience and self-denial, and the promise of Christ that “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

The great trial of Christ in the wilderness on the point of appetite was to leave man an example of self-denial. This long fast was to convict men of the sinfulness of many things in which professed Christians indulge. The victory which Christ gained in the wilderness was to show man the sinfulness of the very things in which he takes such pleasure. The salvation of man was in the balance, and to be decided by the trial of Christ in the wilderness. If Christ was a victor on the point of appetite, then there was a chance for man to overcome. If Satan gained the victory through his subtlety, man was bound by the power of appetite in chains of indulgence which he could not have moral power to break. Christ’s humanity alone could never have endured this test; but his divine power, combined with humanity, gained in behalf of man an infinite victory. Our Representative in this victory raised humanity in the scale of moral value with God.

Every man born into the world with reasoning powers has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be. The blessings of this life and the blessings of the immortal life, are within his reach. He may build up a character of mental and moral worth, gaining new strength at every step in life. He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, and grace to grace.

His faculties will improve by use, and the more wisdom he gains, the more he will be able to acquire, and his intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus continually increase and develop into greater strength and beauty.

On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control or of moral and religious stamina. His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the laws of God, and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away. It is easier for him to stand still and be dragged backward by the powers of evil, which are always active, than to struggle against them, and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity. 

We are free moral agents. We may obey the law of God, and secure eternal gain and lead others into the path of right, or we may transgress the law of God, and bring the penalty of disobedience upon us. There is glory above us that we may reach; and there is an abyss of wretchedness below, into which we may plunge. It requires less exertion to consent to go backward and downward than to urge our way forward through every obstacle. Thus many go down through inaction, who might be bright and shining lights. –Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 11:01 pm