From Eternity Past



Note 1, page 177: One of the important reasons why the Lord delivered Israel from slavery to Egypt was that they might keep His holy Sabbath. The Egyptians did not give them religious liberty, so the Lord “brought forth His people . . . that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.” Psalm 105:43-45. Evidently Moses and Aaron renewed the teaching about the holiness of the Sabbath, because Pharaoh complained to them, “Ye make [the people] rest from their burdens.” Exodus 5:5. This would indicate that Moses and Aaron began a Sabbath reform in Egypt. EP 549.1

The Lord told the Israelites that in keeping His Sabbath day, they should “remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and for that reason the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15, NEB. EP 549.2

The observance of the Sabbath was not to be a commemoration of their slavery in Egypt, however. Its observance in remembrance of creation was to include a joyful remembrance of deliverance from religious oppression in Egypt that made Sabbath observance difficult. In the same way, their deliverance from slavery was forever to kindle in their hearts a tender regard for the poor and oppressed, the fatherless and widows: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. . . ; that is why I command you to do this.” Deuteronomy 24:17, 18. EP 549.3

Note 2, page 187: The plagues the Lord sent on Egypt humiliated their gods and cast contempt on their idol-worship. The Nile River was regarded with religious reverence, and sacrifices were offered to it as a god. The first plague was directed against it. Exodus 7:19. EP 549.4

The second plague brought frogs. Exodus 8:6. One of the Egyptian deities Heqa was a frog-headed goddess, and frogs were considered sacred. The Apis bull was dedicated to Ptah, the cow was sacred to Hathor, and the ram represented Khemu and Amen. The disease brought upon their cattle and animals was directed against their sacred animals. Exodus 9:3. EP 550.1

The ninth plague was directed against one of their greatest gods, the sun god Ra. Exodus 10:21. The tenth plague (Exodus 12:29) was directed against Pharaoh as a god, who was considered to be Horus, the son of Osiris. EP 550.2

Note 3, page 220: When the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, they professed to be worshiping God. But it was like the Egyptians‘ worship of Osiris, by means of an image. The Egyptians‘ worship of Apis was immoral, and the Israelites‘ worship of the golden calf apparently was the same. Moses says the Israelites “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” Exodus 32:6. The Hebrew word for “play” denotes singing and dancing, which among the Egyptians was sensual and indecent. The Hebrew word for “corrupted” in verse 7 is the same as that in Genesis 6:11, 12, which refers to the people before the Flood corrupting themselves. This explains the terrible nature of this apostasy. EP 550.3

Note 4, page 229: The Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant the Lord made with His people. But the covenant itself was the Lord‘s promise to write the law in their hearts (see Jeremiah 31:31-34), so that it would be their joy to obey. EP 550.4

Note 5, page 246: There were two ways in which the sin (or the record of its forgiveness) was transferred to the sanctuary from the sinner: by some of the blood of the sin offering being sprinkled before the veil behind which was the ark; or by the flesh being eaten by the priest. See Leviticus 4:1-21; 6:24-26; 10:17, 18. EP 550.5

Note 6, page 256: The Ten Commandments were given by Christ. See 1 Corinthians 8:6; Acts 7:38; Isaiah 63:9; Exodus 23:20-23; John 1:1-3, 14; 1 Peter 1:10, 11. EP 551.1

Note 7, page 437: The government of Israel was a theocracy, that is, government by God directly. When Israel and Judah repeatedly violated God‘s law and rejected His rulership, the Lord finally withdrew from them His direct government and left them to what they desired—subjection to man. Thus they came under the successive dominion of Babylon, Medo-Persia, the Greek Empire, and finally Rome. EP 551.2

Since then, there has been no government anywhere to which God has delegated the authority that He gave to the king of Israel in the days of the theocracy. The Bible teaches a separation of church and state (Matthew 22:17-22), and therefore religious liberty for all. Earthly governments may not force the conscience or usurp the place reserved to God alone in the theocracy of Israel. Not until the second coming of Christ will God again establish His theocracy. Until then, men must not arrogate to themselves authority over the human conscience that God has not entrusted to them. EP 551.3