Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 38, 1898

Lessons from Israel


March 11, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in CD 375.

As a healer, Christ was thronged day after day. After He had healed those who were afflicted, whoever they might be, [He] said to them, Go, and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee. The great misery He found in the world would not have been if God’s heritage had conformed to His expressed requirements. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 1

Christ was the invisible leader of the children of Israel, their guide, their protector. The great Physician who healed the sick in Palestine was the same Physician who had said when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, “When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, ... and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 2

“Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them, neither shalt thou make marriage with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son; for they will turn away thy sons from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against thee, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye do with them: ye shall destroy their altars and break their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire; for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 3

“The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 4

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and keep his commandments to a thousand generations: and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” [Deuteronomy 7:1-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 5

There are conditions that are to be strictly observed by those who would preserve health and life. But if men and women do what the Lord has forbidden them to do, will they not suffer the consequence of their wrong action? Christ specified many things that the children of Israel should do in order to ensure the favor of God. They were not to do these things by arbitrary authority or compulsion. The Lord has given us evidence that He is not arbitrary. He revealed love that is without a parallel by giving Himself in His only begotten Son to save men by giving them a second probation, in which they might form a new character by obedience to Him. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 6

After telling the people what they must do, God told them what He would do for them. “The Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.” [Verse 15.] “When they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” [Exodus 15:23-26.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 7

Please read Deuteronomy 28:1-13. The Lord plainly told His people that every blessing would come to them if they would keep His commandments and be a peculiar people. He warned them through Moses in the wilderness, specifying that health would be the reward of obedience. The state of the mind has largely to do with the health of the body, and especially with the health of the digestive organs. As a general thing, the Lord did not provide His people with flesh meat in the desert, because He knew that the use of this diet would create disease and insubordination. In order to modify the disposition, and bring the higher powers of the mind into active exercise, He removed from them the flesh of dead animals. He gave them angels’ food, manna from heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 8

Every week this manna repeated the lesson that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. On the Sabbath day, no manna fell; for on Friday the Lord gave enough for two days. This standing miracle was a repetition of the Sabbath law given in Eden. Let us go back to the work of Christ in creating our world and man. He gave to Adam, the father of all living, a garden filled with fruits good for food, saying, “To you it shall be for meat.” [Genesis 1:29.] This was the Creator’s original plan. One animal of God’s creation was not to use another animal for food. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 9

Flesh-eating was permitted in consequence of the fall. But until after the flood, animal food was not used. By the flood all vegetation was destroyed, and the Lord, instead of working a miracle, gave those who were preserved from the waters of the flood permission to eat animal flesh. Swine’s flesh has ever been prohibited. But notwithstanding that the swine was made only as a scavenger, notwithstanding that the Lord pronounced it unclean, and forbade the use of its flesh, because it chooses to eat everything that is defiled, yet men and women look upon its flesh as a sweet morsel. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 10

The use of animal food has become, to the meat-eating portion of the human family, the principal article of food. It is erroneously supposed to give physical strength and endurance. But this is false, and is contradicted by facts. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are the foods which will keep the human machinery in the best running order and increase the higher faculties of the human being. More and purer blood is made by fruits and grains than can be produced by the use of flesh, which is a stimulant. Flesh-eating is destructive to health. It was never the original plan of God for man to subsist upon this diet. Therefore the Lord did not say to the children of Israel, Ye shall have no meat. But He took them away from the fleshpots of Egypt. And when He could just as easily have wrought a miracle to give them a flesh diet, He gave them instead bread from heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 11

But even though the people had bread from heaven, they murmured and complained. “Our soul loatheth this light bread,” they said. They hankered after the fleshpots of Egypt. They cried in the ears of the Lord, “Who shall give us flesh to eat. We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all beside this manna before our eyes.” [Numbers 21:5; 11:4-6.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 12

The Lord had promised that He would remove all sickness from them, and put none of the plagues which He had put upon Egypt upon them. The blessing of the Lord rested upon them. They had abundance of food for all their necessities. But they despised the food sent from heaven to satisfy their wants. The depraved appetite they had indulged in Egypt led them to hanker after animal food. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 13

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto thee seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. And say unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.” [Verses 16-18.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 14

The people greatly displeased and dishonored God by their course. Depraved appetite was mastering them. “Who shall give us flesh to eat?” they said. “For it was well with us in Egypt.” [Verses 4, 18.] This was a falsehood. The heard servitude and oppression, and the cruel abuse and deprivation they suffered, caused them to cry unto God, and to lament and wail over their anguish. The Lord heard their cries, and sent Moses and Aaron to deliver them. Angels of God were with these representative men, enabling them to execute the will of God, preserving them, and bringing plagues upon the Egyptians. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 15

Out of the land of Egypt the Lord redeemed His people with a strong hand and a stretched out arm. He was determined to rescue them from slavery. He took them from their cruel servitude, and set them on high, to be a sign and a hope to all similarly situated, teaching all to put their trust in God, and cry unto Him for He will deliver them, and magnify His name. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 16

The proud nation of Egypt was to learn that the places God had made rich were polluted by tyranny. Notwithstanding their possessions, they could not be called great, because they were slaves to appetite and uncontrolled passions. In their luxury they cared nought for God. The Lord wrought wondrously for Israel at the Red Sea, opening a path for them through its waters. When the presumptuous army of Egypt followed them, He looked upon the army, and confusion came upon them. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, Christ bade Moses stretch his hand over the waters, and the armies of Egypt were destroyed, Pharaoh and all his host. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 17

The Lord declared in regard to the deliverance of the children of Israel, “I have given Egypt for thee.” [Isaiah 43:3.] In order that the purpose of God might be accomplished, the land was laid desolate. God delivered Israel after four hundred years of bondage, and took them into the wilderness, that they might be under the guidance of the unseen leader and teacher. He who is wonderful in counsel led them in the ways of God. He wrought in behalf of His chosen ones as a living, personal Redeemer, to show his own power over nature and science, as the God, the mighty God, who made nature. He would teach His people that if they were contrite in heart, a powerful Ruler would work for them with nature for His servant, to show his supreme command and control over all powers that ventured to oppress. He would stand forth as the only God, showing them that there is no god before Him. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 18

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, ... I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he is become my salvation: ... Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee. Thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright, as in heaps, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; ... my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them, they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” [Exodus 15:1, 2, 6-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 19

But the Lord was not trusted by the children of Israel as the One who would give them the food that would best preserve their health. “Man did eat angels’ food;” but this food, that would have proved a blessing to them, they despised. They cried for meat, and the Lord gave it to them. See Numbers 11:19-23, 31-33. “He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven, and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowl like the sand of the sea: and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were filled: for he gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust, but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 20

“For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.” [Psalm 78:25-38.] 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 21

Please read the seventy-eighth Psalm carefully. The children of Israel worked constantly against a good God. Through their disobedience, they were brought into the state that was the sure result of their own course of action. They repented under rebuke and chastisement, but fell again under temptation, self-indulgence, and self-gratification. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 22

The history of the children of Israel, from their entrance into Egypt until their deliverance from Egypt, is an object lesson to the world. The Lord took them out of the house of bondage, and bore them as upon eagle’s wings, and brought them unto Himself, that they should be under His supervision, and dwell under the shadow of the throne of the Most High. But they followed their own way, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. And when Jesus, the great General of the heavenly army, who had led them through the wilderness, came to this earth, perverted piety and legal religion held sway. Without piety or godliness, the people could not discern the Prince of life in His humble, unpretentious appearance. Notwithstanding that He did among them works that no other man had done or could do, they refused Him. They witnessed His miracles; they saw Him going about as a Healer, a Restorer of the moral image of God in man; yet they killed the Prince of life. 13LtMs, Ms 38, 1898, par. 23