SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW)

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Chapter 31

1-6 (1 Timothy 5:13). Meddling Punished by Death—The Lord loves to see His work done as perfectly as possible. In the wilderness, the Israelites had to learn to accomplish with exactness and promptness the work connected with the order of the camp and especially the work of the tabernacle, its ornaments, and its service. All had to learn before they could accomplish this, to them new work. They had to be trained before they could do it as God desired. There were men there ready to give counsel and advice and to meddle with the work of mounting and dismounting the tabernacle; and those who neglected their special work to meddle with the work of others, thinking they had special wisdom and knew how it should be done, were put to death. Each one had to be taught the value of promptness and exactness in every position of trust. The memory had to be taxed, and they had to realize the responsibility of doing everything in due time. 1BC 1108.1

This is the discipline which the Lord anciently gave to His people, and it is the discipline which should exist in our missions, our colleges, our publishing houses, our sanitariums. God likes to see men understand their weak points, and instead of closing their eyes to their defects, they should make persevering efforts to overcome them (Manuscript 24, 1887). 1BC 1108.2

How Could the Work Be Done?—Israel had been held all their days in the bondage of Egypt, and although there were ingenious men among them, they had not been instructed in the curious arts which were called for in the building of the tabernacle. They knew how to make bricks, but they did not understand how to work in gold and silver. How was the work to be done? Who was sufficient for these things? These were questions that troubled the mind of Moses. 1BC 1108.3

Then God Himself explained how the work was to be accomplished. He signified by name the persons He desired to do a certain work. Bezaleel was to be the architect. This man belonged to the tribe of Judah,—a tribe that God delighted to honor (Manuscript 29, 1908). 1BC 1108.4

2-7. Did Not Depend on Skilled Egyptians—In ancient times, the Lord instructed Moses to build Him a sanctuary. The people were to provide the material, and skillful men must be found to handle the precious material. Among the multitude were Egyptians, who had acted as overseers for such work, and thoroughly understood how it should be done. But the work was not dependent upon them. The Lord united with human agencies, giving them wisdom to work skillfully. [Exodus 31:2-7 quoted.] 1BC 1108.5

Let the workmen in the service of God today pray to Him for wisdom and keen foresight, that they may do their work perfectly (Manuscript 52, 1903). 1BC 1108.6

13 (ch. 25:8). Sabbath Kept During Construction—God directed that a tabernacle should be built, where the Israelites, during their wilderness-journeying, could worship Him. Orders from heaven were given that this tabernacle should be built without delay. Because of the sacredness of the work and the need for haste, some argued that the work of the tabernacle should be carried forward on the Sabbath, as well as on the other days of the week. Christ heard these suggestions, and saw that the people were in great danger of being ensnared by concluding that they would be justified in working on the Sabbath that the tabernacle might be completed as quickly as possible. The word came to them, “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep.” Though the work on the tabernacle must be carried forward with expedition, the Sabbath must not be employed as a working day. Even the work on the Lord's house must give way to the sacred observance of the Lord's rest day. Thus jealous is God for the honor of His memorial of creation (The Review and Herald, October 28, 1902). 1BC 1108.7

18. Original Law in Heavenly Ark—I warn you, Do not place your influence against God's commandments. That law is just as Jehovah wrote it in the temple of heaven. Man may trample upon its copy here below, but the original is kept in the ark of God in heaven; and on the cover of this ark, right above that law, is the mercy seat. Jesus stands right there before that ark to mediate for man (Manuscript 6a, 1886). 1BC 1109.1

Law Preserved in Ark—“And He [Christ] gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communicating with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written by the finger of God.” Nothing written on those tables could be blotted out. The precious record of the law was placed in the ark of the testament and is still there, safely hidden from the human family. But in God's appointed time He will bring forth these tables of stone to be a testimony to all the world against the disregard of His commandments and against the idolatrous worship of a counterfeit Sabbath (Manuscript 122, 1901). 1BC 1109.2

There are abundant evidences of the immutability of God's law. It was written with the finger of God, never to be obliterated, never to be destroyed. The tables of stone are hidden by God, to be produced in the great judgment-day, just as He wrote them (The Review and Herald, March 26, 1908). 1BC 1109.3

When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to the things written in the books, then the tables of stone, hidden by God until that day, will be presented before the world as the standard of righteousness. Then men and women will see that the prerequisite of their salvation is obedience to the perfect law of God. None will find excuse for sin. By the righteous principles of that law, men will receive their sentence of life or of death (The Review and Herald, January 28, 1909). 1BC 1109.4