The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2


Chapter 1—The First Advent of Christ

The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that his life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. He was of as much more value than man as his noble, spotless character, and exalted office as commander of all the heavenly host, were above the work of man. He was in the express image of his Father, not in features alone, but in perfection of character. 2SP 9.1

The blood of beasts could not satisfy the demands of God as an atoning sacrifice for the transgression of his law. The life of a beast was of less value than the life of the offending sinner, therefore could not be a ransom for sin. It could only be acceptable with God as a figure of the offering of his Son. 2SP 9.2

Man could not atone for man. His sinful, fallen condition would constitute him an imperfect offering, an atoning sacrifice of less value than Adam before his fall. God made man perfect and upright, and after his transgression there could be no sacrifice acceptable to God for him, unless the offering made should in value be superior to man as he was in his state of perfection and innocency. 2SP 9.3

The divine Son of God was the only sacrifice of sufficient value to fully satisfy the claims of God's perfect law. The angels were sinless, but of less value than the law of God. They were amenable to law. They were messengers to do the will of Christ, and before him to bow. They were created beings, and probationers. Upon Christ no requirements were laid. He had power to lay down his life, and to take it again. No obligation was laid upon him to undertake the work of atonement. It was a voluntary sacrifice that he made. His life was of sufficient value to rescue man from his fallen condition. 2SP 10.1

The Son of God was in the form of God, and he thought it not robbery to be equal with God. He was the only one, who as a man walked the earth, who could say to all men, Who of you convinceth me of sin? He had united with the Father in the creation of man, and he had power through his own divine perfection of character to atone for man's sin, and to elevate him, and bring him back to his first estate. 2SP 10.2

The sacrificial offerings, and the priesthood of the Jewish system, were instituted to represent the death and mediatorial work of Christ. All those ceremonies had no meaning, and no virtue, only as they related to Christ, who was himself the foundation of, and who brought into existence, the entire system. The Lord has made known to Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the ancient worthies, especially Moses, that the ceremonial system of sacrifices and the priesthood, of themselves, were not sufficient to secure the salvation of one soul. 2SP 10.3

The system of sacrificial offerings pointed to Christ. Through these, the ancient worthies saw Christ, and believed in him. These were ordained of Heaven to keep before the people the fearful separation which sin had made between God and man, requiring a mediating ministry. Through Christ, the communication which was cut off because of Adam's transgression was opened between God and the ruined sinner. But the infinite sacrifice that Christ voluntarily made for man remains a mystery that angels cannot fully fathom. 2SP 10.4

The Jewish system was symbolical, and was to continue until the perfect Offering should take the place of the figurative. The Mediator, in his office and work, would greatly exceed in dignity and glory the earthly, typical priesthood. The people of God, from Adam's day down to the time when the Jewish nation became a separate and distinct people from the world, had been instructed in regard to the Redeemer to come, which their sacrificial offerings represented. This Saviour was to be a mediator, to stand between the Most High and his people. Through this provision, a way was opened whereby the guilty sinner might find access to God through the mediation of another. The sinner could not come in his own person, with his guilt upon him, and with no greater merit than he possessed in himself. Christ alone could open the way, by making an offering equal to the demands of the divine law. He was perfect, and undefiled by sin. He was without spot or blemish. The extent of the terrible consequences of sin could never have been known, had not the remedy provided been of infinite value. The salvation of fallen man was procured at such an immense cost that angels marveled, and could not fully comprehend the divine mystery that the Majesty of Heaven, equal with God, should die for the rebellious race. 2SP 11.1

As the time drew near for the Son of God to make his first advent, Satan became more vigilant in preparing the hearts of the Jewish people to be steeled against the evidences he should bring of his Messiahship. The Jews had become proud and boastful. The purity of the priesthood had not been preserved, but was fearfully corrupted. They retained the forms and ceremonies of their system of worship, while their hearts were not in the work. They did not sustain personal piety and virtuous characters. And the more they were wanting in the qualifications necessary to the sacred work, as priests of the most high God, the more tenacious were they of outward show of piety, zeal, and devotion. 2SP 12.1

They were hypocritical. They loved the honors of the world, and were ambitious to become exalted through riches. In order to obtain their desire, they improved every opportunity to take advantage of the poor, especially of the widow and fatherless. They exacted heavy sums of money of those who were conscientious, on various pretenses, for the Lord's treasury, and used the means thus dishonestly obtained for their own advantage. They were themselves rigorous to outwardly keep the law. They appeared to show great respect for traditions and customs, in order to obtain money from the people to gratify their corrupt ambition. 2SP 12.2

Traditions, customs, and needless ceremonies, were repeated to the people, which God had not given them through Moses or any other one. These originated from no higher source than man. The chief priests, scribes, and elders, forced these upon the people as the commandments of God. Their hearts were hard and unfeeling. They showed no mercy to the poor and unfortunate. Yet, at the same time, while praying in the market-places, and giving alms to be seen of men, and thus putting on the outward semblance of goodness, they were devouring widows’ houses by their heavy taxes which they laid upon them. They were apparently exact in outward forms when observed of men; for they wished to give impressions of their importance. They wished the people to have exalted ideas of their zeal and devotion to religious duties, while they were daily robbing God by appropriating the offerings of the people to themselves. 2SP 12.3

The priesthood had become so corrupt that the priests had no scruples in engaging in the most dishonest and criminal acts to accomplish their designs. Those who assumed the office of high priest prior to, and at, the time of Christ's first advent, were not men divinely appointed to the sacred work. They had eagerly aspired to the office through love of power and show. They desired a position where they could have authority, and practice fraud under a garb of piety, and thereby escape detection. The high priest held a position of power and importance. He was not only counselor and mediator, but judge; and there was no appeal from his decision. The priests were held in restraint by the authority of the Romans, and were not allowed the power of legally putting any one to death. This power rested with those who bore rule over the Jews. Men of corrupt hearts sought the distinguished office of high priest, and frequently obtained it by bribery and assassination. The high priest, clad in his consecrated and expensive robes, with the breastplate upon his breast, the light flashing upon the precious stones inlaid in the breastplate, presented a most imposing appearance, and struck the conscientious, true-hearted people with admiration, reverence, and awe. The high priest was designed in an especial manner to represent Christ, who was to become a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. This order of priesthood was not to pass to another, or be superseded by another. 2SP 13.1

The Jewish nation had corrupted their religion by useless ceremonies and customs. This laid a heavy tax upon the people, especially the poorer classes. They were also under bondage to the Romans, and required to pay tribute to them. The Jews were unreconciled to their bondage, and looked forward to the triumph of their nation through the Messiah, the powerful deliverer foretold in prophecy. Their views were narrow. They thought the Coming One would, at his appearing, assume kingly honors, and, by force of arms, subdue their oppressors, and take the throne of David. Had they, with humble minds and spiritual discernment, studied the prophecies, they would not have been found in so great error as to overlook the prophecies which pointed to his first advent in humility, and misapply those which spoke of his second coming with power and great glory. The Jewish people had been striving for power. They were ambitious for worldly honors. They were proud and corrupt, and could not discern sacred things. They could not distinguish between those prophecies which pointed to the first advent of Christ, and those that described his second, glorious appearing. The power and glory described by the prophets as attending his second advent, they looked for at his first advent. Their national glory was to them their greatest anxiety. Their ambitious desire was the establishment of a temporal kingdom, which they supposed would reduce the Romans to subjection, and exalt themselves with authority and power to reign over them. They had made the proud boast to those to whom they were in subjection, that they were not to oppress them long; for their reign would soon commence, which would be more exalted and glorious than even that of Solomon. 2SP 14.1

When the time was fulfilled, Christ was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger, surrounded by the beasts of the stall. And is this indeed the Son of God, to all outward appearance a frail, helpless babe, so much resembling other infants? His divine glory and majesty were vailed by humanity, and angels heralded his advent. The tidings of his birth were borne with joy to the heavenly courts, while the great men of the earth knew it not. The proud Pharisees and scribes, with their hypocritical ceremonies, and apparent devotion to the law, knew nothing of the Babe of Bethlehem. They were ignorant of the manner of his appearing, notwithstanding all their boasted learning and wisdom in expounding the law and the prophecies in the schools of the prophets. They were devising means to advantage themselves. Their study was as to the most successful manner to obtain riches and worldly honor, and they were wholly unprepared for the revelation of the Messiah. They looked for a mighty prince, who should reign upon David's throne, and whose kingdom should endure forever. Their proud and lofty ideas of the coming of the Messiah were not in accordance with the prophecies which they professed to be able to expound to the people. They were spiritually blind, and were leaders of the blind. 2SP 15.1

In Heaven it was understood that the time had come for the advent of Christ to the world, and angels leave glory to witness his reception by those he came to bless and save. They had witnessed his glory in Heaven, and they anticipate that he will be received with honor in accordance with his character, and the dignity of his mission. As angels approach the earth, they first come to the people God had separated from the nations of the world as his peculiar treasure. They see no especial interest among the Jews, no eager waiting and watching that they may be the first to receive the Redeemer, and acknowledge his advent. 2SP 16.1

In the temple, which had been hallowed by daily sacrificial offerings, prefiguring his coming, and symbolizing his death, no preparations are being made to welcome the Saviour of the world. The Pharisees continue to repeat their long, meaningless prayers in the streets, to be heard of men, in order to obtain the reputation of great piety and devotion. 2SP 16.2

The angels from Heaven behold with astonishment the indifference of the people, and their ignorance in regard to the advent of the Prince of Life. The proud Pharisees, claiming to be God's chosen people, in their hypocritical devotions, are proclaiming the law, and exalting traditions, while men of other nations are dealing in fables, and are worshiping false gods. All alike were ignorant of the great event which prophecy had foretold would transpire. 2SP 16.3

Angels behold the weary travelers, Joseph and Mary, making their way to the city of David to be taxed, according to the decree of Caesar Augustus. Here, in the providence of God, Joseph and Mary had been brought; for this was the place prophecy had predicted that Christ should be born. They seek a place of rest at the inn, but are turned away because there is no room. The wealthy and honorable have been welcomed, and find refreshment and room, while these weary travelers are compelled to seek refuge in a coarse building which shelters the dumb beasts. 2SP 17.1

Here the Saviour of the world is born. The Majesty of Glory, who filled all Heaven with admiration and splendor, is humiliated to a bed in a manger. In Heaven, he was surrounded by holy angels; but now his companions are the beasts of the stall. What humiliation is this! Wonder, O Heavens! and be astonished, O earth! 2SP 17.2

As there are none among the sons of men to herald the advent of the Messiah, angels must now do that work which it was the honored privilege of men to do. But the angels, with the glad tidings of the birth of the Saviour, are sent to the humble shepherds, and not to the learned Jews, who profess to be the expounders of prophecy; for they have no heart to receive it. 2SP 17.3

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.” Humble shepherds, who are guarding their flocks by night, are the ones who joyfully receive their testimony. Suddenly the heavens are lighted up with a brightness which alarms the shepherds. They know not the reason of this grand display. They do not at first discern the myriads of angels that are congregated in the heavens. The brightness and glory from the heavenly host illuminate and glorify the entire plain. While the shepherds are terrified at the glory of God, the leading angel of the throng quiets their fears by revealing himself to them, saying, “Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good-will toward men.” 2SP 17.4

As their fears are dispelled, joy takes the place of astonishment and terror. They could not, at first, bear the radiance of glory, which attended the whole heavenly host, to break upon them suddenly. One angel only appears to the gaze of the watching shepherds to dissipate their fears, and make known their mission. As the light of the angel encircles them, the glory rests upon them, and they are strengthened to endure the greater light and glory attending the myriads of heavenly angels. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger, And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” 2SP 18.1

The shepherds are filled with joy, and as the bright glory disappears, and the angels return to Heaven, they are all aglow with the glad tidings, and hasten in search of the Saviour. They find the infant Redeemer, as the celestial messengers had testified, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in the narrow confines of a manger. 2SP 19.1

The events which had but just transpired, have made indelible impressions upon their minds and hearts, and they are filled with amazement, love, and gratitude for the great condescension of God to man in sending his Son into the world. The shepherds spread the joyful tidings everywhere, of the wondrous glory they had seen, and the celestial praises they had heard from the lips of the heavenly host. 2SP 19.2

The King of glory stooped low to take humanity; and angels, who had witnessed his splendor in the heavenly courts, as he was worshiped by all the heavenly hosts, were disappointed to find their divine Commander in a position of so great humiliation. 2SP 19.3

The Jews had separated themselves so far from God by their wicked works, that angels could not communicate to them the tidings of the advent of the infant Redeemer. God chooses the wise men of the East to do his will. 2SP 19.4

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” These men were not Jews; but they had been waiting for the predicted Messiah. They had studied prophecy, and knew the time was at hand when Christ would come; and they were anxiously watching for some sign of this great event, that they might be among the first to welcome the infant heavenly King, and worship him. These wise men were philosophers, and had studied the works of God in nature. In the wonders of the heavens, in the glories of the sun, moon, and stars, they traced the finger of God. They were not idolaters. They lived up to the dim light which shone upon them. These men were regarded by the Jews as heathen; but they were more pure in the sight of God than the Jews who had been privileged with great light, and who made exalted professions, yet did not live up to the light God had given them. These wise men had seen the heavens illuminated with light, which enshrouded the heavenly host who heralded the advent of Christ to the humble shepherds. And after the angels returned to Heaven, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the heavens. 2SP 20.1

This light was a distant cluster of flaming angels, which appeared like a luminous star. The unusual appearance of the large, bright star which they had never seen before, hanging as a sign in the heavens, attracted their attention. They were not privileged to hear the proclamation of the angels to the shepherds. But the Spirit of God moved them out to seek this heavenly Visitor to a fallen world. The wise men directed their course where the star seemed to lead them. And as they drew nigh to the city of Jerusalem, the star was enshrouded in darkness, and no longer guided them. They reasoned that the Jews could not be ignorant of the great event of the advent of the Messiah, and they made inquiries in the vicinity of Jerusalem. 2SP 20.2

The wise men are surprised to see no unusual interest upon the subject of the coming of the Messiah. They fear that after all they may not have read the prophecies correctly. Uncertainty beclouds their minds, and they become anxious. They hear the priests repeating and enforcing their traditions, and expounding the law, and exalting their religion, and their own piety. They point to their phylacteries, and the borders of their garments, upon which the precepts of the law and their traditions are inscribed, as evidences of their devotion, while they denounce the Romans and the Greeks as heathen and sinners above all men. The wise men leave Jerusalem not as confident and hopeful as when they entered it. They marvel that the Jews are not interested and joyful in prospect of this great event of the advent of Christ. 2SP 21.1

The churches of our time are seeking worldly aggrandizement, and are as unwilling to see the light of the prophecies, and receive the evidences of their fulfillment, which show that Christ is soon to come, as were the Jews in reference to his first appearing. They were looking for the temporal and triumphant reign of Messiah in Jerusalem. Professed Christians of our time are expecting the temporal prosperity of the church, in the conversion of the world, and the enjoyment of the temporal millennium. 2SP 21.2

The wise men plainly stated their errand. They were in search of Jesus, the king of the Jews, for they had seen his star in the east, and had come to worship him. 2SP 22.1

The city of Jerusalem was thrown into great excitement by the sayings of the wise men. The news was immediately carried to Herod. He was exceedingly troubled, yet disguised the discomfiture, and received the men with apparent courtesy. 2SP 22.2

The advent of Christ was the greatest event which had taken place since the creation of the world. The birth of Christ, which gave joy to the angels of Heaven, was not welcome to the kingly powers of the world. Suspicion and envy were aroused in king Herod, and his wicked heart was planning his dark purposes for the future. The Jews manifested a stupid indifference to the story of the wise men. But Herod is intensely interested and excited. He summons the scribes, and the chief priests, and urges upon them to search carefully prophetic history, and tell him where the infant king was to be born. The careless indifference and apparent ignorance of the scribes and chief priests, as they turn to their books for the words of prophecy, irritate the fully aroused king. He thinks they are trying to conceal from him the real facts in regard to the birth of the Messiah. He authoritatively commands them to make close search in relation to their expected king. 2SP 22.3

“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.” 2SP 22.4

Although Herod received the wise men with apparent respect, yet the intimation by them of the birth of a king to reign in Jerusalem, excited his envy and hatred against the infant whom he thought might prove his rival, and drive him, or his descendants, from the throne. A storm of opposition and satanic fury took possession of Herod, and he determined to destroy this infant king. Yet he put on a calm exterior, and requested a private interview with the wise men. He then inquired particularly the exact time the star appeared. He apparently hailed the supposition of the birth of Christ with joy, expressing a desire to be immediately informed by the wise men, that he might be among the first to show him true honor by worshiping him also. The wise men were not able to read the heart of the tyrant Herod; but God, who is acquainted with every emotion of the soul, with the intents and purposes of the heart, was not deceived by his hypocritical pretenses. His power will protect and preserve the precious infant Saviour from Satan's devices, until his mission on earth is accomplished. “When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo! the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” 2SP 23.1

After the wise men had left Jerusalem, they again saw, to their great joy, the guiding star in the heavens, which directed them to the birthplace of our Saviour. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” The wise men found no loyal guard to debar their entrance to the presence of Christ. The honorable of the world are not in attendance. In place of the people who should have welcomed with grateful homage the Prince of Life, he is surrounded with dumb beasts. 2SP 24.1

The glory of God attending the angelic host, had scarcely disappeared from the plains of Bethlehem when the malice of envious Herod was aroused in opposition to the infant Saviour. This king understood that Christ was to reign over a temporal kingdom, and he was utterly averse to the idea of a Jewish king. The chief priests and scribes had professed to understand the prophecies in reference to the appearing of Christ. They had repeated to the people the prophecies which relate to the second appearing of Christ in power and great glory, to put down all authority, and to rule over the whole earth. They had in a boastful, resentful manner, asserted that Christ was to be a temporal prince, and that every kingdom and nation was to bow in submission to his authority. 2SP 24.2

These priests had not searched the prophecies with an eye single to the glory of God, or with a desire to conform their lives to the high standard marked out by the prophets. They searched the Scriptures to find ancient prophecies which they could in some way interpret to sustain their lofty pride, and to show with what contempt God regarded all the nations of the world except the Jews. They declared that the power and authority they were then compelled to respect and obey, would soon come to an end; for Messiah would take the throne of David, and, by force of arms, restore the Jews to their liberty, and to their exalted privileges. The understanding of the Jews was darkened. They had no light in themselves. They were seeing the prophecies through their own perverse understanding. Satan was leading them on to their own ruin. And Herod was determined to defeat the purposes of the Jews, and to humble these proud boasters, by destroying Christ as soon as he should be found. 2SP 24.3

After the mission of the wise men had been accomplished, they were purposing to return, and bear the joyful news to Herod of the success of their journey. But God sent his angel in the night season to turn the course of the wise men. In a vision of the night they were plainly told not to return to Herod. They obeyed the heavenly vision. “And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.” 2SP 25.1

The Lord moved upon the wise men to go in search of Jesus, and he directed their course by a star. This star, leaving them when near Jerusalem, led them to make inquiries in Judah; for they thought it was not possible for the chief priests and scribes to be ignorant of this great event. The coming of the wise men made the whole nation acquainted with the object of their journey, and directed their attention to the important events which were transpiring. God well knew that the advent of his Son to earth would stir the powers of darkness. Satan did not want that light should come into the world. The eye of God was upon his Son every moment. The Lord had fed his prophet Elijah by a miracle when upon a long journey. He could obtain food from no other source. He rained manna from Heaven for the children of Israel. The Lord provided a way for Joseph to preserve his own life, and the life of Jesus, and that of the mother, by their fleeing into Egypt. He provided for the necessities of their journey, and for their sojourn in Egypt, by moving upon the wise men of the East to go in search of the infant Saviour, and to bear him valuable offerings as a token of honor. The Lord is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He directed the course of Joseph into Egypt, that he might there find an asylum from the wrath of a tyrannical king, and the life of the infant Saviour be preserved. The earthly parents of Jesus were poor. The gifts brought to them by the wise men sustained them while in the land of strangers. 2SP 26.1

Herod waited anxiously for the return of the wise men; for he was impatient to carry out his determined purpose to destroy the infant King of Israel. After he had waited long for the knowledge he desired, he feared his purpose might be thwarted. He reasoned thus: Could those men have read the dark deed he premeditated? Could they have understood his design, and purposely avoided him? This he thought was insult and mockery. His impatience, envy, and hatred, increased. He was stirred by his father, the devil, to seek the accomplishment of his purpose by a most cruel act. If he should fail in carrying out his murderous intent by pretense and subtlety, he would, by power and authority, strike terror to the hearts of all the Jews. They should have an example of what their king would meet, should they seek to place one upon the throne in Jerusalem. 2SP 26.2

And here was a favorable opportunity to humble the pride of the Jews, and bring upon them a calamity which should discourage them in their ambition to have a separate government, and become the glory of the whole earth, as they had proudly boasted. Herod issued a proclamation to a large body of soldiers, whose hearts were hardened by crime, war, and bloodshed, to go throughout Bethlehem and all the coasts thereof, and massacre all the children from two years old and under. Herod designed in this cruel act to accomplish a double purpose: first, to exercise, by this bold act, his power and authority over the Jews; and, second, to silence their proud boastings in regard to their king, and also make his own kingdom secure, by murdering the infant prince whom he envied and feared. This cruel work was accomplished. The sword of unfeeling soldiers carried destruction everywhere. The horror and distress of parents were beyond description. The wailing cries of bereaved mothers, as they clasped their expiring infants to their breasts, rose above the coarse jests and imprecations of the soldiers, while they cried to Heaven for vengeance on the tyrant king. 2SP 27.1

All this terrible calamity was suffered of God, to humble the pride of the Jewish nation. Their crimes and wickedness had been so great that the Lord permitted the wicked Herod to thus punish them. Had they been less boastful and ambitious, their lives pure, their habits simple and sincere, God would have preserved them from being thus humiliated and afflicted by their enemies. God would, in a signal manner, have made the wrath of the king harmless to his people, had they been faithful and perfect before him. But he could not especially work for them, for their works were abhorred by him. 2SP 28.1

The Jews had excited the envy and hatred of Herod against Christ, through their false interpretation of the prophets. They taught that Christ was to reign over an earthly empire, in unsurpassed glory. Their proud boasting presented the Saviour of the world, and his mission to the earth, altogether in a false light. Their lofty ideas and their proud boasting did not result as Satan had at first purposed they should, in the destruction of the infant Saviour, but rebounded back upon themselves, filling their homes with mourning. Jeremiah, in prophetic vision, says: “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” But Herod did not long survive his cruel work. He died a fearful death. He was compelled to yield to a power he could not turn aside or overcome. 2SP 28.2

After Herod was cut off from the earth, the angel again warned Joseph to return to the land of Israel. He was desirous to make his home in Judah or Bethlehem; but when he heard that the son of the tyrannical Herod reigned upon his father's throne, he was afraid that the purposes of the father might be carried out by the son in murdering Christ. While in his perplexity, not knowing where to locate, the Lord, through his angel, again selected for him a place of safety. “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” 2SP 29.1

This was the reception the Saviour met as he came to a fallen world. He left his heavenly home, his majesty, and riches, and high command, and took upon himself man's nature, that he might save the fallen race. Instead of men glorifying God for the honor he had conferred upon them in thus sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, by giving him a place in their affections, there seemed to be no rest nor safety for the infant Saviour. Jehovah could not trust to the inhabitants of the world his Son, who came into the world that through his divine power he might redeem fallen man. He who came to bring life to man, met, from the very ones he came to benefit, insult, hatred, and abuse. God could not trust his beloved Son with men while carrying on his benevolent work for their salvation, and final exaltation to his own throne. He sent angels to attend his Son and preserve his life, till his mission on earth should be accomplished, and he should die by the hands of the very men he came to save. 2SP 29.2