Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)


Ms 170, 1904

Diary/Thoughts on Exodus 19 and 31; Diary Fragments


Circa 1904

Previously unpublished.

Thoughts on Exodus 19 and 31

I wish to have all who claim to be the denominated people of God, as represented in Exodus 31:12-18, to see that which Jesus Christ, enshrouded in the pillowy cloud, charged Moses to speak to the children of Israel in regard to the importance of the Sabbath, as contained in the thirty-first chapter of Exodus. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 1

While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, satanic suggestions came through the captains and the elders. They looked on the unbelieving side and worked out their purposes to turn their course back to Egypt. Aaron's experience and responsibilities were very great; not a thread of the speech of the people should have been woven into their present experience after beholding the great majesty and glory of God. [It] was of such greatness and power that they begged Moses to hear the words from God and give it to them, lest they, hearing [God's] voice, should not live. All had heard the voice of God and trembled, and their hearts failed them as the words given with a loud voice rolled from the mountain covered with smoke and flame. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 2

Moses was afterward brought within that cloud, and God concealed His great glory, [so] that mortal man, by being [a] partaker of the divine nature, could be strengthened to behold of God all that he could endure. Moses was strengthened to hear, and then to give, the whole substance to the whole encampment. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 3

After the law had been given from Sinai, Moses stood with the people to hear the words of the Lord. Then he was commanded to come up into the mount to obtain the specifications of their service and the details of their obligation in service. [He was in the mount] forty days and forty nights. While all Israel, who had been denominated by their own consent as God's special people, were awaiting the return of Moses, they themselves should have been in humble converse with God, teaching their children the solemn covenant God had made with them if they would be obedient to the words they had listened to from the mount. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 4

In the absence of Moses’ grand and authoritative influence, Aaron and Joshua found that they were deficient to manage that large congregation of more than a million people. Had every man in office been faithful to do his appointed office faithfully and prayerfully, Satan would not have had such power in his deceptive working on the minds of the people. They lost their faith that Moses would come to them again. They talked and they speculated; they had not the right spirit and did not keep their covenant with God as His denominated people, so that God could fulfill His covenant with them. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 5

While the people had this favorable opportunity to meditate and purify their souls from idolatry, Moses was in that cloud talking with God and receiving the Ten Commandments. Forty days was a limited time for God to communicate His judgment and laws in a book. The whole period could have been spent to the greatest profit in meditating upon the commandments spoken to them in a loud voice accompanied with the greatest magnitude of holy grandeur. There was certainly enough for them to talk about and to impress every officer, every prince in Israel, [who were over] the companies of thousands and hundreds and lesser numbers, but they were becoming jealous, envious, and they brought discouragement. They lost their love one for another and their very faith in the covenant made by the Lord. Supposing they were to speedily enter the promised land, they talked of the things which would [result from] their preeminence, when every man should have worked upon the principles involved. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 6

“And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord spake unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” [Exodus 19:3-8.] 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 7

Here is the first date of that great charter by which Israel was incorporated. The date was “the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. ... they came to the desert of Sinai, and pitched in the wilderness.” [Verses 1, 2.] 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 8

The law had been given in such awful majesty that the people had entreated that the words might come to them through Moses and not direct from the voice of God, for they could not endure it. After [such] manifestation and such power from Sinai, was there not enough for them to solemnly contemplate—to feel their humiliation—because they had talked again and again their unbelief whenever they were tried and proved? How much had they treasured up of all their experience to establish them and make them certain that the Lord was leading them by Moses and the He would establish His servant Moses, that they should believe Him forever? 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 9

One thing I wish to impress upon all minds—that the first power, their Maker, was the One who ordained the covenant between Himself and His people. The people had revealed their weakness and instability; they were not true and loyal to their God. The more humble are the people of God in their own opinion, the more will the Lord Jesus place them in positions of security, to be persons that can be trusted, if they will make God alone their trust. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 10

When the people were alone, while Moses was in the mount, was the very time God was proving their capabilities to be trusted. They took the words of the Lord, given them on condition of faithfulness and perfect obedience, and lifted themselves up into self-importance, as to be depended upon. How many times must the [Lord] be disappointed through the perverse, unsanctified characters the leaders developed? They became lifted up unto vanity and self-importance, and then came emulation and strife. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 11

In the idolatry expressed in making a golden calf, Aaron was the man responsible, receiving the gifts and fashioning the golden calf. The officers and appointed leaders said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings ... and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” [Exodus 32:4-6.] [They] mingled their sacred services with their apostasy and rebellion against the Lord. Here we see the ill-effects of a rebellious movement. If God had not commanded Moses to come to Him in the mount and then kept him in His presence, the people might have had cause for complaint. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 12

Ministers in responsible positions are to understand that Satan in watching his opportunity to create disturbances through his rebellious [followers] and get advantage thereby. All can see that the enemy of God and Christ stands watching for his opportunity to obtain advantage. How speedily, when the brakes are not [put] on by men whom God has trusted with His work, will fury and violence, deception and idolatrous actions, reveal the true state of a man's heart. [They are so] influenced and corrupted by the father of lies who is prepared to act with such zeal and such determination that some will consider these men, who lead away from the truth, are the men who have a zeal for God. The responsible men, in responsible places, are the men who are to be true as steel to their trust. Men who will venture to take steps decidedly opposed to the light God as given, when once they start in a path God has forbidden, will lead many in the same way. And then the disorderly elements will be developed. The man who would never had supposed or thought of such things will be influenced and corrupted by such men as ought to know better; they ought to have distinguished between the true and the false. Oh, may God pity His flock, for they are in need of men solid as a rock, who stand unmoved by any of the pretenses Satan may devise! But many go over on Satan's side and lie in wait to deceive. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 13

Such a multitude was carried down in the wrong course, the few who abhorred the course dared not open their lips; the rebellion ran so high, [they] feared it would arouse a more fierce determination. They walked contrary to God. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 14

Every kind of supposition was set afloat, every deceptive influence working out the reason for Moses’ detention. Men who were not truly and genuinely converted framed groundless reasons in regard to Moses’ continued absence. “Make us gods to go before us,” [they said.] [They were] weary of waiting for the instruction Moses would bring them, when the Lord had given them the very instruction He wanted them to have. They had [promised that] all that the Lord had said they would obey. But here is their self-assurance. The leaders of Israel, when the call [came,] “Make us gods to go before us,” virtually threw off the charter by which Israel was incorporated. When they said, “Make us gods to go before us,” they exchanged the living God for gods created by the apostasy of Israel; in [their] hearts they returned to Egypt. See Acts 7:39, 40. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 15


Diary Fragments (c. 1904)

We read Exodus 18:13-24. “And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.” [Verses 25-27.] 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 16

Moses, having been called of God to redeem Israel from the house of bondage, was not the law-giver. The Lord Jesus Christ was their Redeemer from the house of bondage, through Moses to act as His agent, receiving the words from Christ and ever stating before the people his authority—the words of the law of God: “The Lord saith. ...” Moses was to answer the questions and make known the will of God. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 17


I would speak to those who have had all the privileges to hear and understand and to live the truth. Those who have had great light should have a high sense of their accountability to God to use that light by setting it on a candlestick that it may give light to all that are in the house—in this world. I have a report to leave, for I am not well. I have been made to understand the position of those at Battle Creek who have had great light and are not walking in the light God's Word has outlined for them. There will not be a vestige of excuse for one or many that have made a failure. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 18


I have not been able to sleep since 12 o’clock, but I have a message from the Lord to bear to our people. Present to the people everywhere at this time the perpetuity of the law of Jehovah. Present to them that the only foundation for Sunday observance has its origin not in the Word of God, but in the papal authority. Now let all consider that the time has come to reason from cause to effect. We must, as ministers of the Word, delay not to impress the people more decidedly in defining our authority for keeping the original Sabbath of Jehovah. Please read the word in Genesis. 19LtMs, Ms 170, 1904, par. 19