Ellen G. White Writings

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The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, Page 41

Chapter 3—Life and Mission of John

About the time of the birth of John, the Jews were in a deplorable condition. And in order to keep down insurrection, they were allowed to have a separate government, in name, while the Romans virtually ruled them. The Jews saw that their power and liberty were restricted, and that, in reality, they were under the Roman yoke. The Romans claimed the right to appoint men to the priesthood, and to remove them from office at will. Thus was there a door opened for the priesthood to become corrupt. The priests, not being divinely appointed, abused their office, and were unfaithful in their ministrations. Men of corrupt morals, with money and influence, obtained the favor of those in power, and succeeded in attaining to the priesthood. The whole country felt their oppression, and revolt and dissension were the result of this state of things.

The pious Jews were looking, believing, and earnestly praying, for the coming of the Messiah. God could not manifest his glory and power to his people through a corrupt priesthood. The set time to favor his people had come. The faith of the Jews had become clouded, in consequence of their departure from God. Many of the leaders of the people brought in their own traditions, and enforced them upon the Jews, as the commandments of God. The pious Jews believed, and trusted in God that he would not leave his people in this condition, to be a reproach to the heathen.

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