Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 29, 1875

Christ and the Law

By Mrs. E. G. White

Jesus would convince his enemies that his teachings and miracles did not supplant the law, detract from its dignity, or lessen its claims. His works were in strict accordance with both the moral and the ceremonial law. Christ was the angel who went before Moses, and guided the travels of the children of Israel in the wilderness. God had said to Israel, “Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” Exodus 23:20-22. This angel, Christ, gave Moses the ceremonies and ordinances of the Jewish law to be repeated to the people.

The rebellion of Israel against the law and authority of God, caused their destruction. The honor God had given them of being thus conducted by his Son, increased their sin. The charges of the Jews that Christ did not regard the law of Moses, was without the least foundation. Christ was a Jew, and, to the hour of his death upon the cross, observed the law binding upon the Jews. But when type met antitype, at the death of Christ, then the offering of the blood of beasts became valueless. Christ made the one great offering in giving his own life, which all their former offerings had foreshadowed, which terminated the value of all the sacrificial offerings of the Jewish law.

Since the fall, no immediate communication could exist between God and man, only through Christ, and God committed to his Son, in a special sense, the case of the fallen race. Christ has undertaken the work of redemption. He purposes to maintain the full honor of God's law, notwithstanding the human family have transgressed it. He will redeem from its curse all the obedient who will embrace the offer of mercy by accepting the atonement so wonderfully provided. Through his mediatorial work, Christ will fully vindicate the holiness and immutability of his Father's law.

Adam and Eve at their creation had knowledge of the original law of God. It was imprinted upon their hearts, and they were acquainted with the claims of law upon them. When they transgressed the law of God, and fell from their state of happy innocence, and became sinners, the future of the fallen race was not relieved by a single ray of hope. God pitied them and Christ devised the plan for their salvation by himself bearing the guilt. When the curse was pronounced upon the earth and upon man in connection with the curse was a promise that through Christ there was hope and pardon for the transgression of God's law. Although gloom and darkness hung, like the pall of death, over the future, yet in the promise of the Redeemer, the star of hope lighted up the dark future. The gospel was first preached to Adam by Christ. Adam and Eve felt sincere sorrow and repentance for their guilt. They believed the precious promise of God, and were saved from utter ruin.

Paradise was lost to Adam and the curse was pronounced upon the earth because of the transgression of the Father's law, and death came because of sin. Adam found by sad experience that it was easier to transgress the commandments of God than to resist and press back the tide of moral wretchedness that was pressing in upon him. Those who lived before the flood were favored in having a knowledge of the law of God communicated to them by Adam who had conversed with God and angels in Eden. He lived among them nearly one thousand years, and by his teachings, example, and humble obedience to all God's requirements, exalted the law of God. He sought to turn his posterity from transgression to a life of obedience and faith in a Saviour to come.

The knowledge of the law of God was preserved from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham and from Abraham to Moses, for the benefit of all who should live upon the earth. The blessings upon the patriarch Abraham for obedience are repeated to Isaac in these words: “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statues [statutes], and my laws.”

Enoch first received instruction from Noah [Adam], and he observed the law of God, and served him with singleness of heart. He became so pure in character that the Lord communicated his will to him, and through holy vision revealed the great events connected with Christ's second appearing, and also the wickedness that would prevail just prior to the end. Enoch was a faithful preacher of righteousness, and sought to turn men from the transgression of the law to faithful obedience. He walked with God three hundred years, giving to the world a faithful example in a pure and spotless life, which was in marked contrast with that rebellious and self-willed generation who boasted of their open disregard of God's holy law. His testimony was not regarded because men loved sin better than holiness. Enoch was borne by angels to Heaven without seeing death.

In the destruction of the inhabitants of the old world by the flood is clearly represented the [fate] of all those who continue to transgress the law of God. Enoch's translation to Heaven represents the commandment-keeping people of God who will be alive upon the earth when Christ shall come the second time, and who will be glorified in the sight of those who hated them because they would keep the commandments of God. These also will be translated to Heaven without seeing death, as Enoch and Elijah were.

The great wickedness of the people before the flood had reached unto Heaven. And the Lord made known to Noah that he would destroy man, whom he had created, from off the earth by the waters of the flood, because of their continual transgression of his law. Noah warned the people. He believed the word of God, and faithfully preached to that sinful generation, and made every effort to turn them from transgression to obedience. But he was unsuccessful. Only his own family at last received his message. The terrible judgments of God in their destruction should have been sufficient warning to all who should afterward live upon the earth, that God will surely punish those who disregard his law. But as the people multiplied upon the earth, men became bold in their transgression of God's law. Idolatry existed and increased to a fearful extent, until the Lord left the hardened transgressors to follow their evil ways, and he chose Abraham from an idolatrous family, and made him the depositary of his law for future generations.

The Lord communicated his will to Abraham through angels. Christ appeared to him, and gave him a distinct knowledge of the requirements of the moral law, and of the great salvation which would be accomplished through himself. Abraham was appointed of God to preserve the truth amid the prevailing sins and corruptions which were increasing. But the descendants of Abraham departed from the worship of the true God, and transgressed his law. They mingled with the nations who had no knowledge or fear of God, and gradually imitated their customs and manners, until God's anger was kindled against them, and he permitted them to have their own way and follow the devices of their own corrupt hearts. He had conferred special blessings upon Abraham because he was faithful in keeping his commandments, and had chosen his family as his peculiar treasure.

God revealed to Abraham his purposes through vision. He was shown in a figure that his posterity would become bondmen to an idolatrous nation, because of their transgression of the law of God, and that they would be punished for their apostasy.

But when they humbled themselves before God, and acknowledged his dealings, and cried unto him earnestly for deliverance from the oppressive yoke of the Egyptians, their cries, and their promises to serve God and to be obedient to his law if he would break from off them the oppressive yoke of bondage, reached Heaven. God answered their prayers in a most wonderful manner, and Israel was brought forth from Egypt and taken to himself as his peculiar treasure.

After the Lord had made a covenant with Israel in a most solemn manner to be a peculiar treasure unto him, they were brought forth out of their tents and from their encampments to meet with God. And the Lord graciously condescended to come down upon Mount Sinai, not to give a new law, but to speak, with an audible voice in the hearing of all the people, his law which already existed. The presence of God made the mountain sacred, and neither man nor beast was permitted to touch the mountain on penalty of death. The Hebrews were instructed that everything that was connected with God must be regarded with the greatest reverence. They were greatly exalted in thus being made the depositaries of his law. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount.

The Lord made the occasion of speaking his law a scene of awful grandeur and sublimity, in accordance with its exalted character. The ten commandments were spoken amid thunder and flame, and in great power and glory. The voice of the Lord was like a trumpet, waxing louder, and louder, and in a full volume rolled down the mountain. The earth trembled and quaked, and the very mount seemed to be moving from its foundation. The best of Israel shook with fear, and fell upon their faces before the Lord. The awe-inspiring voice, and the terrible glory displayed upon the mount were to them most impressive.

God accompanied the declaration of his law with the most sublime exhibitions of his power, that the Hebrews might never forget the scene, and that they might be impressed with profound veneration for the Author of the ten commandments. In this, the Lord shows to all men the sacredness and importance of his law. The law of ten precepts was by no means given exclusively to Israel, to be confined to them as a people, but the Hebrews were made the depositaries of the law which was to be handed down to us. The entire history of the children of Israel was “written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.” No Hebrews could so fully estimate the sacredness and exalted character of God's law as those who accepted Christ as their Redeemer. He was the foundation of the entire Jewish system.

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