Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 304

“We Must Obey God,” October 24

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Acts 5:29, NRSV.

In most of the religious controversies, the foundation of the trouble is that self is striving for the supremacy. About what? About matters that are not vital points at all, and that are regarded as such only because people have given importance to them. See Matthew 12:31-37; Mark 14:56; Luke 5:21; Matthew 9:3.

But let us follow the history of the men whom the Jewish priests and rulers thought so dangerous because they were bringing in new and strange teaching on almost every theological subject. The command given by the Holy Spirit, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of life,” was obeyed by the apostles....

If the priests and rulers had dared act out their own feelings toward the apostles, there would have been a different record, for the angel of God was a watcher on that occasion, to magnify His name if any violence had been offered to His servants.

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? ... Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.... And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”

Then the Holy Spirit moved upon Gamaliel, a Pharisee, a doctor of the law, who had a reputation among all the people. His advice was “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him they agreed.”

Yet the attributes of Satan so controlled their minds that notwithstanding the wonderful miracles that had been wrought in healing the sick and in releasing God's servants from prison, the priests and rulers were so filled with prejudice and hatred they could hardly be restrained. “When they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”—Letter 38, 1896.

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