Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

287/339

Ms 60, 1900

The Transgression of God’s Law

NP

August 20, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in LDE 248; 4BC 1155; 12MR 145-146.

Truth is sown for the righteous. Christ came to sow the world with truth, that man might have a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. If men receive the truth in its correct bearings, it will be because they search the Scriptures to understand for themselves what saith the Lord, that they may obey His voice. But in this age of the world the masses of the people have turned away their ears from hearing the Word of the Lord, lest they should be disturbed by His plainly specified requirements. Their condition is described by the prophet Jeremiah: 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 1

“Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord: Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I harkened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turneth to his course, as a horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” [Jeremiah 8:4-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 2

This description is now being fulfilled to the letter in the religious world. The Lord declares: “Every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush; therefore shall they fall among them that fall; in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.” [Verses 10-12.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 3

This representation is true of those who claim to be teachers of the people and who are leading them astray. They refuse obedience to the Word of the Lord. Yet they say, “The law of the Lord is with us.” [Verse 8.] Especially is this fulfilled in their course with regard to the original Sabbath of Jehovah. Instead of observing the memorial Sabbath, the day that God has blessed and sanctified, they honor a spurious sabbath, a heathen, idol sabbath. They exalt it by their man-made theories. And they declare, “The law of the Lord is with us,” and all who violate the Sunday will be dealt with according to our laws. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 4

“I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. Whey do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there; for the Lord our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan; the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 5

“For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be calmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord. When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” [Verses 13-22.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 6

The prevalence of sin is alarming; the world is being filled with violence as in the days of Noah. Would the world be in its present condition if those who claim to be the people of God had reverenced and obeyed the law of the Lord? It is the rejection of the truth, man’s dispensing with the commandments of God, that has produced the condition of things which now exists. God’s Word is made of none effect by false shepherds. The decided opposition of the shepherds of the flock to the law of the Lord reveals that they have rejected the Word of the Lord and have put their own words in its place. In their interpretation of the Scriptures they teach for doctrines the commandments of men. In their apostasy from the truth they have encouraged wickedness, saying, “We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us.” [Verse 8.] The words of Christ to the Pharisees are applicable to them. Christ said to these teachers, “Ye are both ignorant of the Scriptures and of the power of God.” [Matthew 22:29.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 7

The religious teachers by their false interpretation of the Scriptures have changed the law of the Lord, especially the Sabbath commandment. In this they have in a marked manner apostatized from God. They have accepted false theories, teaching and living their falsehoods. It is in vain that these falsehoods are received as truth. Notwithstanding the great zeal manifested in promoting Sunday observance and exalting man-made laws as supreme, the work is transgression, a perversion of truth. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 8

All man-made laws to make sacred that which bears no sanctity in the Word of God are in vain. The wise men themselves might well be ashamed of their work, for they cannot find in the Scriptures one word of proof for Sunday observance, and they themselves are ensnared with their own heresies and false interpretations of the Word of the Lord. Whatever excellence may be attributed to Sunday observance, the custom is of human not divine origin. It rests on the authority of the priests and teachers of the people. These men are placing contempt on the law of God, especially upon the fourth commandment. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 9

In this they know not what they are doing. The fourth commandment is the golden link of heaven to bind up the first four precepts, which state the duty of man to his God, requiring supreme love and supreme reverence to the living God. God gave the Sabbath as the memorial of His creative work, as a sign that He is the true God, the only One to be honored and obeyed. The first four commandments stand forth in their moral dignity and superiority above all the words of man. If these first four precepts are obeyed, man is then prepared to obey the last six commandments, which are summed up in the precept, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” [Leviticus 19:18.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 10

Let men change or set aside the first four commandments of the law, and they become the sport of Satan’s temptations. They will not love God supremely or their neighbor as themselves. Their understanding and spiritual conception of doctrine is perverted. They lead man into disobedience and transgression through their perverted explanations of Scripture, explanations which mean rejection of a definite “Thus saith the Lord.” Consequently it is seen by Him who never makes a mistake that there is no wisdom, holiness, or virtue in them. Their rejection of the Word of the Lord and acceptance of fables is a plain witness against them. It shows that they are subject to the cunning vagaries of the great deceiver. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 11

The condition of our world today is just as the prophet has represented that it would be near the close of this earth’s history. That which was true of the scribes and teachers and rulers in Christ’s time is no less true of the religious world today. All who follow the practice of the scribes and teachers in the days of Christ will come under the condemnation of the heavenly universe in this our day. Darkness has deepened in the earth. In Christ’s day the Word of God was presented by the greatest Teacher the world ever knew; and the law of the Lord in its true significance, with its divine authority, was ignored, despised, rejected, declared to be no longer binding upon the human family. The same thing is done today. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 12

Because of his rebellion against God, Satan was exiled from heaven; but he has continued to carry forward the same work on the earth in exciting rebellion and apostasy. That which he failed to accomplish in heaven he is zealously at work to accomplish on the earth. And he has achieved marked success. The Christian world has accepted his theories. Through his deception of earthly powers, he has gained that which he failed to gain in heaven. The testimony of heaven is that men in this age are manifesting apostasy and departing from the Lord’s precepts even as did ancient Israel. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 13

Holiness is wholeness for God. It means perfect obedience to every precept of the law of God. This is the only true moral excellence. A character in harmony with the law of God is the only character which will receive His approval. It shows that man has by faith received Jesus Christ who came to this world to die for the transgressors of God’s law. Christ by His own obedience to the law places man on vantage ground with God, giving him another trial. Thus probation is granted to man, opportunity is given him to show his hatred of sin, the transgression of the law, and to return to his loyalty to God. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 14

Is it possible for the law of God to be changed or set aside? Nay, verily; for that law is immutable, eternal. It is forever to hold its claim of obedience upon every soul who has opportunity to gain a knowledge of the will of God. The responsibility of men today is proportionate to the light they receive through the messages of warning God has given. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 15

To abrogate the law of God is as impossible as it would be for God to abolish Himself. The law of God’s kingdom is a transcript of His character. Men may talk of Christ. They may claim to be saved by Christ. They may talk of righteousness. But the only true righteousness is entire conformity to the law of Jehovah. Righteousness, goodness, virtue, purity, all mean conformity to the law of God. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 16

It is coming now to be seen that the false shepherds have turned men away from the laws of the kingdom of God to exalt their own theories and suppositions. The prevailing impiety in the world, the wickedness which has been growing to such fearful proportions, is the result of their own man-made theories in opposition to God’s law. Their work will soon react upon themselves. Then will be witnessed the scenes described in (Revelation 18), when the judgment of God shall fall upon mystic Babylon. 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 17

Then will be seen the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord by the prophet Hosea: “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish ... My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject me. Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against thee; therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priests; and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.” [Hosea 4:1-3, 6-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 60, 1900, par. 18