Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 176

was done as He had directed. No one should deceive himself with the belief that any of God’s commandments are not necessary or that He will accept a substitute for what He has required. There is no command that God has placed in His Word that we may obey or disobey as we choose and not suffer the consequences.

“Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, ‘Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, ... for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.’” The great leader reminded his brother of the words of God, “Before all the people I must be glorified.” Aaron was silent. The death of his sons in so terrible a sin—a sin that he now saw to be the result of his own neglect of duty—twisted the father’s heart with anguish. But he must not by any show of grief seem to sympathize with sin. The congregation must not be led to find fault with God.

The Lord wanted to teach His people to recognize and accept the fairness of His corrections, so that others might respect Him. God rebukes that false sympathy for the sinner that tries to excuse sin. Those who do wrong do not realize the enormity of transgression, and without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit they remain partially blind to their sin. It is the duty of Christ’s servants to show these erring ones their danger. Many have lost because of false and deceptive sympathy.

Nadab and Abihu would never have committed that fatal sin if they had not first become partially drunk by freely using wine. They were disqualified for their holy work by their intemperance. Their minds became confused and their moral senses dulled so that they could not tell the difference between the sacred and the common. God gave the warning to Aaron and his surviving sons, “Do not drink ... when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.” The use of alcoholic drinks prevents people from realizing the sacredness of holy things or the permanent authority of God’s requirements. All who were in positions of responsibility were to maintain strict temperance so that their minds might be clear to know the difference between right and wrong.

The same obligation rests on every follower of Christ. “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9). When alcoholic drinks are used, the same effects will follow as in the case of those priests of Israel. The conscience will lose its sensitivity to sin and a hardening will take place, till the difference between the common and the sacred will not seem important. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The solemn and fearful warning is addressed to the church of Christ in all ages: “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:17).

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