Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 46, 1889

Brethren in Healdsburg

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 10, 1889

Portions of this letter are published in 8MR 346; 5T 696-698.

Dear Brethren in Healdsburg:

I hear that there is some difficulty to reconcile the statement in [Testimonies, Vol. 1,] page 292. I see that there is not a full expression of that which I wished to convey. The magicians’ rods did become serpents (to all human sight), so that Satan’s object was accomplished to bind up the minds of the Egyptians in darkness and resistance against God. Please read page 293: “The magicians wrought not by their own science alone, but by the power of their god, the devil, who ingeniously carried out his deceptive work of counterfeiting the work of God.” Here is the explanation fully brought out that there need be no confusion in this matter, for the explanation is given. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 1

Exodus, Chapter 7, verse 12. “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” This was the special work of Satan to leave the impression on the minds of the Egyptians that the message brought them was of no real value as from a superior Being, for these men were only magicians and sorcerers. The statement that they did become serpents is that to all appearance to beholders they were real serpents; but as Satan cannot give life or create life as did God, it was not possible that they were living serpents, but the magicians did bring serpents to counterfeit the work of God, making them appear exactly like the true. Satan was seeking [to give Pharaoh] some subterfuge or excuse for disregarding the miracle of God which he had witnessed, and in his stubbornness [to] disregard the divine command. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 2

Again I say they were serpents in all appearance to counterfeit the work of God, but God alone can create and give life. Satan made the serpent a medium through which he could compass the fall of Adam and Eve in Eden. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 3

Satan will work still greater wonders before men, to make the world believe him to be Christ come the second time to our world. He transforms himself into an angel of light, but while he bears the appearance in every particular as far as appearance goes, he is not Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 4

The swallowing up of the counterfeited serpents was not accepted by Pharaoh as a special work of God’s power, but a superior kind of magic above the power of the magicians; and he was, by this counterfeit work, emboldened in his rebellion to fortify himself against conviction. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 5

I have now presented before you in [Testimonies, Vol. 1,] the Bible language. The rods of the magicians became serpents, but only counterfeit, yet to all human eyes they were serpents; but as Satan cannot create, they were serpents only by illusion; but there was nothing that appeared to distinguish them from the serpent produced by the Lord through the agency of Moses and Aaron. The Lord caused the living to swallow up the counterfeit, showing the advantage of the real above the spurious. 6LtMs, Lt 46, 1889, par. 6