Manuscript Releases, vol. 19 [Nos. 1360-1419]


The Causes of the Jewish Rejection of Christ

March, 1891

It has been demonstrated that man by searching cannot find out God. The most learned men in the days of Christ—philosophers, legislators, priests, in all their pride and superiority—could not interpret God's character. They could not discern spiritual things. The ancient pages of the oracles of the gods were turned over and over again, but did not give the wise men any help in solving the problem. 19MR 252.2

When, in the fullness of time, Christ came to our world, it was darkened and marred by the curse of apostasy and spiritual wickedness. The Jews had wrapped themselves about with the dark mantle of unbelief. They kept not the commandments of God, but regarded as of more importance their own traditions. “In vain do they worship Me,” the Saviour declared, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and may other such like things ye do.... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” And at another time He said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” 19MR 252.3

Those whom He addressed regarded themselves as exalted above all other peoples. To them, they proudly boasted, had been committed the oracles of God. The earth was languishing for a teacher sent from God; but when He came just as the living Oracles specified He would come, the priests and the instructors of the people could not discern that He was their Saviour, nor could they understand the manner of His coming. Unaccustomed to accept God's Word exactly as it reads, or to allow it to be its own interpreter, they read it in the light of their maxims and traditions. So long had they neglected to study and contemplate the Bible, that its pages were to them a mystery. They turned with aversion from the truth of God to the traditions of men. 19MR 253.1

The Jewish nation had reached a critical time in its history. Much was at stake. Would human ignorance give way? Would there be a thirsting for a deeper knowledge of God? Would this thirst develop into a longing for spiritual drink, as the thirst of David developed into a longing for water from the well of Bethlehem? Would the Jews turn from the influence of false teachers, which had perverted their senses, and call upon God for divine instruction? 19MR 253.2

Many were sitting in the shadow of death, waiting for the Sun of Righteousness to break forth upon them. And when Christ came as a human being, a flood of light was shed upon the world. Many would have received Him gladly, choosing to walk in the light, if the priests and the rulers had only been true to God, and had guided the people aright by giving to them a true interpretation of the truths of the Word. But so long had the leaders misapplied the Scriptures, that the people were misled by falsehoods. It seemed as if a misapplication of the teachings of God's Word was the special work of those who should have stood as faithful sentinels of truth. 19MR 253.3

The Jews, as a nation, refused to accept Christ. They turned from the only One who could have saved them from eternal ruin. A similar condition of things exists in the so-called Christian world today. Men who claim to understand the Scriptures are rejecting God's law, and are exerting a strong, determined influence against it. They make the keeping of God's commandments a matter of condemnation. What is the result? Look at the course of the youth growing up around us. 19MR 254.1