The Signs of the Times


June 3, 1886

The Permanence of Truth


During all the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness, Jesus, who was equal with the Father, was their leader and guide. Enshrouded in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, his presence was ever with them. There were symbols and shadowy types pointing to a Saviour to come; there was also a present Saviour, who gave commands directly to Moses for the children of Israel, and who was set forth before them as the only channel of blessings. The sacrificial system was designed to typify the Saviour, who was to become the perfect offering for sinful man. ST June 3, 1886, par. 1

In the Jewish age, all the revealings of God to his people, everything relating to his worship, was closely connected with the sanctuary,—with the tabernacle in the wilderness, and afterward with the temple. Here God was worshiped; here the sacrificial offerings were presented before him. Here was the breastplate of the high priest, set with precious stones, from which messages from Jehovah were received. Here, in the holy of holies, overshadowed by the wings of cherubim, dwelt the perpetual token of the presence of the Holy One, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Here was the ark of the covenant, containing the tables of the law,—the ark which was to Israel the symbol of the divine presence, and the pledge of victory in battle. Idols could not stand before the sacred ark of God, and death was the penalty of a rash, irreverent touch or the glance of curiosity. ST June 3, 1886, par. 2

All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God with his chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of the great I AM. Never has he given to the sons of men more open manifestations of his power and glory than when he alone was acknowledged as Israel's ruler, and gave the law to his people. Here was a scepter swayed by no human hand; and the stately goings forth of Israel's invisible King were unspeakably grand and awful. ST June 3, 1886, par. 3

Truly this was a wonderful dispensation, and those who speak derisively of the old Jewish law and the Dark Ages, should remember that they are treading on holy ground. While we rejoice today that our Saviour has appeared on earth, and that the offering for sin typified in the ceremonial law has become a reality, we are not excusable in harboring feelings of disrespect for that period when Christ himself was the leader of his people. Those who do this may not know what they are doing; but they are showing themselves ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They show that they need divine enlightenment, a more intelligent knowledge of God and his word. ST June 3, 1886, par. 4

The Christ typified in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law is the very same Christ that is revealed in the gospel. The clouds that enshrouded his divine form have rolled back; the mists and shades have disappeared; and Jesus, the world's Redeemer, stands revealed. He came just as the prophecies foretold that he would come. In his life and death, type met antitype, and the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish church found their fulfillment. He appeared among men, not as the Messiah that the Jews expected,—a king coming in power and glory to conquer their enemies and to exalt their favored nation, but as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He, the Majesty of Heaven, condescended to be our friend, our counselor, our guide, our perfect pattern, as well as our redeemer. “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” ST June 3, 1886, par. 5

God's work is the same in all time, although there are different degrees of development, and different manifestations of his power to meet the wants of man in the different ages. Commencing with the fall, down through the patriarchal and Jewish ages, even to the present time, there has been a gradual unfolding of the purposes of God in the plan of redemption. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel through Christ; they looked for the salvation of the race through man's substitute and surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face, as a man talks with his friend. ST June 3, 1886, par. 6

Through the sacred record, we may hold converse with the patriarchs, and listen to Moses as he legislates for Israel. We hear to the warnings of the prophets as they look down through the ages, and reveal scenes that are to take place even down to the close of time. And as we see the events which they have foretold transpiring just as they predicted, we are brought into closer sympathy with these men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. ST June 3, 1886, par. 7

As time rolls on, and new truths are revealed, light is thrown on that which has been known from the beginning; we see new beauty and force in the inspired word, and we study its sacred pages with a deeper and more absorbing interest. We see the significance of the Jewish economy, and the character and purposes of God are made manifest in his dealings with his chosen people. How grand was the arrangement of God to preserve the knowledge of himself, and of his law, which is the foundation of his government in Heaven and upon earth. Although darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people, the Lord would not leave himself without a witness. ST June 3, 1886, par. 8

In the solemn service of the temple, the grand truths were typified which were to be revealed through successive generations. The cloud of incense bore upward the prayer of the contrite heart. The bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice testified of a Redeemer to come, and from the holy of holies the visible token of the divine presence shone forth. Thus through age after age of idolatry and apostasy, the star of hope was kept shining in the darkened moral heavens, until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah. Now, Christ, the true sacrifice, has shed his blood for the remission of sins, and is presenting it before the Father in our behalf. But the increased light that shines upon our pathway should not tempt us to despise the beginning. Every additional ray of light that we receive gives us a clearer and more distinct understanding of the plan of redemption, which is the working out of the divine will in the salvation of man. ST June 3, 1886, par. 9

God made man in his own image. He laid the foundations of the earth, and dressed it in the garb of beauty; he created all the wonders of the land and the sea. And he requires man to reverence his commandments, which were spoken amid such displays of divine power and majesty, and to obey them without questioning the feasibility or convenience of such obedience. The example of Adam and Eve should be a sufficient warning to us against any disobedience of the divine law. Their sin in listening to the specious temptations of the enemy, brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, and, had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would have plunged the race into hopeless despair. ST June 3, 1886, par. 10

Let none for a moment deceive themselves with the thought that their sin will not bring its merited punishment. Their transgressions will be visited with the rod, because they have had the light, but have walked directly contrary to it. God will not more lightly pass over any violation of his law now than in the day when he pronounced judgment against Adam. The Saviour of the world raises his voice in protest against those who regard the law of God with carelessness and indifference. Said he: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.” ST June 3, 1886, par. 11

It is the grossest presumption for mortal man to venture upon a compromise with the Almighty, in order to secure his own temporal interests. “I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God,” is thundered from Sinai; and we may not disregard that voice because the words were spoken more than three thousand years ago, and were addressed to the lineal descendants of Abraham. The Lord requires willing sacrifice. No partial obedience, no divided interest, is accepted by Him who declares that the iniquities of the fathers shall be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate him, and that he will show mercy unto thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments. ST June 3, 1886, par. 12

There is nothing in the word of God to be thrown aside; there is nothing in the plan of redemption that is unimportant or that may be lightly disregarded. The Bible gives us an account of the dealings of God with man from the creation to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven; it carries us even farther in the future, and opens before us the glories of the city of God, and the beauty and perfection of the earth made new, the saints’ secure abode. But although the long line of events extends through so many centuries, and new and important truths are from time to time developed, that which was truth in the beginning is the truth still. The increased light of the present day does not contradict or make of none effect the dimmer light of the past. ST June 3, 1886, par. 13

All the truths of revelation are of value to us; and in contemplating things of eternal interest, we shall gain true perceptions of the character of God. The cultivation of reverence for him will affect the daily life. The entire character will be elevated and transformed. The soul will be brought into harmony with Heaven. The believer will become Christ-like, and will finally obtain an abundant entrance into the city of God. ST June 3, 1886, par. 14