Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18

452/524

Ms 132, 1903

God’s Chosen People

NP

November 8, 1903 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 981; MM 91-94; UL 326.

I have been instructed to call the attention of our people to the instruction given by the Lord to Israel regarding the importance of separation from the world. In the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy we read: 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 1

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. ... 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 2

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding nation. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” [Verses 1, 2, 5-9.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 3

“When the Lord shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations from before thee, ... and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; neither shalt thou make marriages 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 son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 4

“But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall destroy their altars, and break down 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. 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. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 5

“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.” [Deuteronomy 7:1-10.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 6

A Departure from Right

Under David’s rule, the people of Israel gained strength and uprightness from obedience to God’s law. But the kings that followed strove for self-exaltation. They took to themselves glory for the greatness of the kingdom, forgetting how utterly dependent they were upon God. They regarded themselves as wise and powerful, because of the honor showed them by fallible, erring men. They became corrupt, immoral, and rebelled against the Lord, turning from Him to the worship of idols. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 7

God bore long with them, calling them often to repentance. But they refused to hear, and at last God spoke in judgment, showing them how weak they were without Him. He saw they were determined to have their own way, and He gavest them into the hands of their enemies who spoiled their land and took captive the people. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 8

The alliances made by the Israelites with their heathen neighbors resulted in the loss of their identity as God’s peculiar people. They became leavened by the evil practices of those with whom they formed forbidden alliances. Affiliation with worldlings cause them to lose their first love and their zeal for God’s service. The advantages they sold themselves to gain brought only disappointment and caused the loss of many souls. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 9

The experience of Israel will be the experience of all who go to the world for strength, turning away from the living God. Those who forsake the mighty One, the source of all strength, and affiliate with worldlings, placing on them their dependence, become weak in moral power, as are those in whom they trust. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 10

God comes with entreaties and assurances to those who are making mistakes. He seeks to show them their error and to lead them to repentance. But if they refuse to humble their hearts before Him, if they strive to exalt themselves above Him, He must speak to them in judgment. No semblance of nearness to God, no assertion of connection with Him, will be accepted from those who persist in dishonoring Him by leaning upon the arm of worldly power. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 11

God’s Word to Us Today

Today God’s word to His people is: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 12

God’s people are to be distinguished as a people who serve Him fully, nobly, wholeheartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and Him only. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 13

The Sign Between God and His People

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” [Exodus 31:12-17.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 14

Do not these words point us out as God’s denominated people? and do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us? The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations “for a perpetual covenant.” [Verse 16.] The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and His people, and it will be so forever. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 15

Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederation with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God so plainly set forth in His law. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 16

We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 17

The Lord is testing His people, to see who will be loyal to the principles of His truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels’ messages. In the discharge of our duties, we are neither to despise or fear our enemies. To bind ourselves up by contracts, or in partnerships, or business associations with those not of our faith is not in the order of God. We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of His work; for this is not the way of the Lord. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 18

Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon Him, committing ourselves and our present and future to His wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ and our acceptance, through faith in Him, of God’s abounding grace. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 19

I pray that my brethren may realize that the third angel’s message means much to us, and that the observance of the true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve Him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honor God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with Him, that we may receive His blessings—the blessings so essential for a people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives is greatly to dishonor God. Thus we turn from His commandments, which are our life, denying that He is our God and we His people. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 20

“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.” [Deuteronomy 7:9, 10.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 21

Where shall we be before the thousand generations mentioned in this Scripture are ended? Our fates will have been decided for eternity. We shall either have been pronounced worthy of a home in the everlasting kingdom of God, or we shall have received sentence of eternal death. Those who have been true and faithful to their covenant with God, those who, remembering Calvary, have stood firmly on the side of truth, ever striving to honor God, will hear the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] But those who have given God only half-hearted service, allowing their lives to be conformed to the ways and practices of the world, will hear the sad words, “Depart from Me; I know you not.” [Luke 13:25, 27.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 22

The Home of the Faithful

“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.” [Revelation 21:23-27.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 23

“And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” [Revelation 22:3, 4.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 24

Who are these?—God’s denominated people; those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they?—those who have kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ; those who have owned the crucified One as their Saviour. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 25

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.” [Verse 5.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 26

“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Verse 14.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 27

A Right Knowledge of God

I have a message to bear to those who feel sure that they are prepared to do medical missionary work. Do those engaged in this work realize that we are nearing the end of this earth’s history, and that we should understand fully the work before us? The very first thing that medical missionaries need to do is to gain a right conception of God, not a conception based on their own human judgment, but a conception based on a constant study of God’s Word and of the character and life of Christ. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 28

God’s Word and His works contain the knowledge of Himself that He has seen fit to reveal to us. We may understand the revelation that He has thus given of Himself. But it is with fear and trembling, and with a sense of our own sinfulness, that we are to take up this study, not with a desire to try to explain God, but with a desire to gain that knowledge which will enable us to serve Him more acceptably. Let no one venture to explain God. Human beings cannot explain themselves, and how, then, dare they venture to explain the Omniscient One? Satan stands ready to give such ones false conceptions of God. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 29

To the curious I bear the message that God has instructed me not to frame answers to the questions of those who enquire, in regard to the things that have not been revealed. The things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children. Beyond this, human beings are not to attempt to go. We are not to attempt to explain that which God has not revealed. We are to study the revelation that Christ, the great Teacher, has given of the character of God, that in spirit and word and act we may represent Him to those who know Him not. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 30

In regard to the personality and prerogatives of God, where He is and what He is, this is a subject which we are not to dare to touch. On this theme silence is eloquence. It is those who have no experimental knowledge of God who venture to speculate in regard to Him. Did they know more of Him, they would have less to say about what He is. The one who in the daily life holds closest communion with God, and who has the deepest knowledge of Him, realizes most keenly the utter inability of human beings to explain the Creator. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 31

Let men beware how they seek to look into the mysteries of The Most High. As the ark of the Lord was being taken from the land of the Philistines into Canaan, the men of Bethshemesh, curious to know what made the ark so powerful, ventured to look into it. And God “smote of the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Jehovah, He smote of the people seventy men, and fifty thousand men: and the people mourned, because Jehovah had smitten the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before Jehovah, this holy God?” [1 Samuel 6:19, 20.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 32

Again, when the ark was being taken from Kirjath-jearim, Uzzah put forth his hand to steady it. “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of the Lord God.” [2 Samuel 6:7.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 33

Keeping the flocks of his father-in-law in Midian, Moses saw one day a strange sight—a bush burning, and yet not consumed. And he said, “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” But as he drew near, there came to him out of the bush the command, “Draw not nigh hither; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” “And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” [Exodus 3:3, 5, 6.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 34

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there stood over against him, with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” [Joshua 5:13-15.] God always has been. He is the great I AM. The psalmist declares, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.” [Psalm 90:2.] He is the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity. “I am the Lord, I change not,” He declares. [Isaiah 57:15; Malachi 3:6.] With Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8.] He is infinite and omnipresent. No words of ours can describe His greatness and majesty. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 35

The Bible teaching of God is the only teaching that it is safe for human beings to follow. We are to regulate our faith by a plain, “Thus saith the Lord.” The knowledge of Himself that God desires us to gain from His Word will, if brought into the daily life, make men and women strong to resist evil and fit them to represent Him. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 36

We need to study the simplicity of Christ’s teachings. He urges the need of prayer and humility. These are our safeguards against the erroneous reasoning by which Satan seeks to lead us to turn aside to other gods and to accept misleading theories clothed by him in garments of light. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 37

A man who is spiritually blind is easily led by those who improve every favorable opportunity to advance theories and conjectures regarding God. The one deceived by Satan imparts to a fellow being the new light that he supposes he has received, as Eve placed the forbidden fruit in the hand of Adam. Unenlightened heathen are in no worse condition spiritually than is the man who has known the truth, but has accepted error. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 38

*****

We should regard it as a great privilege to look upon the works of God and point to them as evidences of His love and goodness. Parents should teach their children to look from nature to nature’s God. As we see on every hand the tokens of His love and care for us, our hearts go out in praise and thanksgiving, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?” [Revelation 15:3, 4.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 39

Steadfastly Resisting the Enemy

Satan presents his theories cautiously at first, and if he sees that his efforts are successful, he brings in theories that are still more misleading, seeking to lead men and women away from the foundation principles that God designs shall be the safeguards of His people. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 40

Let not our medical missionary workers accept theories that God has not given to any one. God will not excuse men for teaching theories that Christ has not taught. He calls upon His army of workers to fall into line, taking their stand under the banner of truth. He warns them to beware of occupying their time in the discussion of matters that God has not authorized any human being to discuss. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 41

Let us put on every piece of the Christian armor and steadfastly resist the enemy. We shall have to meet fallen angels and the prince of the powers of darkness. Satan is by no means asleep; he is wide-awake and is playing the game of life for the souls of the people of God. He will come to them with flattery of all kinds, in the hope of leading them to swerve from their allegiance. He desires to call their attention from the real issues to false theories. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 42

Ministers and physicians, sound an alarm. Call upon the people of God to be true and faithful. Be on your guard. Remember that as you co-operate with God, you have as your helpers angels that excel in strength. Accept not the theories advanced by those who are not standing on the true foundation, those who are charmed with that [of] which they do not know the true meaning. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 43

Wake up, my brethren, wake up and lift the danger signal. Sound the warning. Let no man persuade you to accept theories that are opposed to the truths of God’s Word. The servants of God have a solemn message to bear to this fallen, sin-cursed world. They are to hold aloft the banner on which is inscribed the words, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] Those who are working in harmony with God will be of one heart and one mind. With unflagging zeal they will proclaim the message, “Prepare to meet thy God.” [Amos 4:12.] They will not unite with worldlings, but will take their stand firmly in defense of the principles of truth. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 44

Things must now be called by their right name. Backsliding leaders are not to be honored as men who are holding their confidence firm. God is in earnest with us. We are to sound the note of warning. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 45

Wake up, for Christ’s sake, wake up. May God give success to those who are trying to arouse the sleepy watchmen. Of many of those who profess to be shepherds of the flock, God says, “They are unfaithful. They have left their first love. Unless they repent, I will come suddenly, and will remove their candlestick out of his place.” [See Revelation 2:4, 5.] 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 46

Go to work now, without delay. How many judgment calls must the Lord make before His people cease to provoke Him to His face? Should He deal with them according to their backsliding, according to their worldliness and to the way in which they have called darkness light and light darkness, they would have no further calls to repentance, no more evidence or light to trifle with. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 47

God’s people provoke Him by their idolatry and by their union with worldlings. He says, “My Spirit shall not always strive with men. I will not always bear with the perversity of those who lead souls from the narrow way into paths of uncertainty and falsehood. Unless those who have been often reproved make a decided change, they will be left to follow their own way.” His blessings will be taken from those who choose darkness rather than light, those who choose false guides rather than true. To those who disregard the evidence given them, making no difference between truth and error, the light bestowed will become darkness, and how great will be that darkness. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 48

God sent Christ into the world as the great Medical Missionary. In our work, we are to bear the messages that He bore when in our world. We are to preach the gospel and heal the sick. Medical missionary workers are to stand before the world as God’s representatives, witnessing to the importance of the truth for this time. All with whom they come in contact should see that they have a living connection with the great Medical Missionary who gave His life that through the work of the Holy Spirit men and women might be convinced of sin and led to repentance. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 49

The Circulation of The Lifeboat

It is well that efforts should be made to circulate The Lifeboat. But our missionary efforts are not to end with the circulation of this paper. The people need present truth—something more than is given them in The Lifeboat. Let the truth go forward in advanced lines. There is great danger of limiting the message that should now be borne to arouse men and women. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 50

Every worker should now come into line. The Lord is soon coming, and we need faithful pastors who will carry the work forward in stronger lines. The bread of heaven must be given to starving souls. The gospel message must be distinctly proclaimed, that people may be aroused to prepare to meet their God. Christ has commissioned every one who believes the gospel to make known its saving power. “Go ye therefore,” He says, “and teach all nations. ... And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] Let those who are engaged in the circulation of our literature realize more clearly the obligation resting upon them to fulfil this commission. Let them sow beside all waters. 18LtMs, Ms 132, 1903, par. 51