The Signs of the Times


March 21, 1900

The True and the False


Education means far more than many teachers, with all their supposed knowledge, understand. If the human family had appreciated the instruction given by the great Teacher to men in all ages and in all time, how different the race would be! Were we privileged to see what would have been had men and women been obedient to God's teaching, we would see a new world, a world bearing the impress of heaven. ST March 21, 1900, par. 1

Our heavenly Father has made every provision that this should be. Read the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John. There we are shown what God desires to do for the human race. If the Holy Spirit should come upon us as it came upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, eyes now blinded would be opened; the scales would fall from them. ST March 21, 1900, par. 2

Ever since the fall men have disobeyed God. The Lord gave Cain and Abel directions regarding the sacrifice they were to bring Him. Abel, a keeper of sheep, obeyed the Lord's command, and brought a lamb as his offering. This lamb, as it was slain, represented the Lamb of God, who was to be slain for the sins of the world. Cain brought as an offering the fruit of the ground, his own produce. He was not willing to be dependent on Abel for an offering. He would not go to him for a lamb. He thought his own works perfect, and these he presented to God. ST March 21, 1900, par. 3

“And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” Abel offered of the first-fruits of his flock, just as God had directed. “But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very worth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well”—in accordance with My directions—“shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well”—disregarding My word—“sin lieth at the door.” ST March 21, 1900, par. 4

Cain talked with Abel about their sacrifices, and charged God with partiality. Abel reasoned with his brother, repeating to him the very words of God's command to them both regarding the offerings He required. But Cain was provoked because his younger brother should presume to teach him. He allowed envy and jealousy to fill his heart. He hated Abel because he was preferred before him. As he pondered over the matter, he grew still more angry. He saw his mistake in offering only his own substance before the Lord, without the fitting sacrifice of a lamb; but he determined to vindicate himself and condemn Abel. Satan worked through him, inspiring him with a desire to kill his brother. ST March 21, 1900, par. 5

“And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” There was a witness to this scene,—a heavenly Watcher. He who established the system of sacrifices and offerings, saw the whole transaction. ST March 21, 1900, par. 6

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.” Because of Cain's sin, the earth was cursed a second time. ST March 21, 1900, par. 7

By this history the Lord would teach all men that His Word is to be implicitly obeyed. Cain and Abel represent two classes,—the wicked and the righteous, those who follow their own way and those who conscientiously keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. The enemy of God and man tempted both Cain and Abel; but while Cain accepted the temptation, Abel refused it. ST March 21, 1900, par. 8

Abel did not try to force Cain to obey God's command. It was Cain, inspired by Satan and filled with wrath, who used force. Furious because he could not compel Abel to disobey God, and because God had accepted Abel's offering and refused his, which did not recognize the Saviour, Cain killed his brother. ST March 21, 1900, par. 9

The two parties represented by Cain and Abel will exist till the close of this earth's history. The well-doer, the obedient man, does not war against the transgressor of God's holy law. But those who do not respect the law of God oppress and persecute their fellow-men. They follow their leader, who is an accuser of God and of those who are made perfect through obedience. ST March 21, 1900, par. 10

“This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that ye should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” The Cain-spirit, which leads men to accuse, condemn, imprison, and put to death their fellow-men, has waxed strong in our world. The transgressors of God's plain commands are inspired by the spirit of Satan to harm their fellow-men, because they differ from them in religious belief. They disregard God's law, enacting man-made laws, and trying, by their cruel inventions, to compel men to blaspheme God, as they themselves are doing. But they have been given no right to do this. Those who pass sentence of pain and death upon their fellow-men because of a difference of religion, will have just such sentence passed upon them if they continue to transgress. By their works they bear testimony that should Christ come the second time as He came the first time, they would reject Him and put Him to death. ST March 21, 1900, par. 11

Like Cain, men are today violating a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” God has sanctified and blessed the seventh day, requiring all men to keep it sacred as His memorial of creation. But, inspired by the arch-deceiver, man has set up a rival rest day, which God regards as He did the offering of Cain. Like Cain, those who worship this idol are offended because God's chosen people will not reject the day specified in His law as holy, to keep a rest day of man's creation. They try to force their fellow-men to worship this idol. Thus did Nebuchadnezzar, when he set up a golden image in the plains of Dura, and in his pride and self-exaltation sought to compel all to bow down to it. As Cain set aside God's holy command, and offered a sacrifice of his own choice, so men have set aside God's holy Sabbath, and have exalted one of their own creation. And as Cain was filled with bitterness against Abel, so they are filled with bitterness against those who by keeping God's Sabbath cast reflections upon the worship of a day which bears no divine sanction or appointment. ST March 21, 1900, par. 12

Thus it has been, and thus it will be till the end of time. Sin is Satan's attribute, and it is always leagued against good. The spirit of Cain is manifest in all false religions. Satan's work is to condemn and destroy, to take away man's liberty and destroy his life. Transgression always leads men to act as Satan's agents, to carry out his purposes against God and righteousness. ST March 21, 1900, par. 13

In Nazareth Christ announced that His work was to restore and uplift, to bring peace and happiness. He came to this world to represent the Father, and He revealed His divine power by giving life to the dead, by restoring the sick and suffering to soundness and health. He was in this world as the tree of life. ST March 21, 1900, par. 14

Satan is at war with Christ, the divine Restorer. His agents are leagued against the Saviour's work of elevating and ennobling man. The first death in our world was caused by the working out of Satan's principles; and ever since that time Christ and His followers have been the object of his malignant hate. ST March 21, 1900, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White