The Review and Herald


September 14, 1886

The Law Immutable


How wonderful in its simplicity, its comprehensiveness and perfection, is the law of Jehovah! In the purposes and dealings of God there are mysteries which the finite mind is unable to comprehend. And it is because we cannot fathom the secrets of infinite wisdom and power that we are filled with reverence for the Most High. RH September 14, 1886, par. 1

There are men who proudly boast that they believe only what they can understand. But the folly of their vaunted wisdom is apparent to every thoughtful mind. There are mysteries in human life, and in the manifestations of God's power in the works of nature,—mysteries which the deepest philosophy, the most extensive research, is powerless to explain. RH September 14, 1886, par. 2

But there is no mystery in the law of God. The feeblest intellect can grasp these rules to regulate the life and form the character after the divine Model. If the children of men would, to the best of their ability, obey this law, they would gain strength of intellect and power of discernment to comprehend still more of God's purposes and plans. And this advancement may not only be continued during the present life, but it may go forward during the eternal ages. RH September 14, 1886, par. 3

However far we may advance in the knowledge of God's wisdom and his power, there is ever an infinity beyond. RH September 14, 1886, par. 4

Men shut out from their souls the rays of divine light by refusing to walk in it as it shines upon them. How many will sacrifice purity of heart, the favor of God, and their hope of heaven, for selfish gratification or worldly gain! The question comes home to every soul, Shall I obey the voice from heaven, in God's ten words, or shall I join with the multitude who trample upon the law of Jehovah? RH September 14, 1886, par. 5

God will not always bear with the sinner. Christ declares that there is a greater sin than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown. It is the sin of those who have a knowledge of Christ's life and his death in their behalf, but who continue to transgress the law of God. They may look upon Calvary, they may see the Son of God agonizing in the garden and dying upon the cross, and yet many for whom he has made this great sacrifice refuse to obey the law which he died to vindicate. It will indeed be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment than for the transgressors of God's law. RH September 14, 1886, par. 6

The infinite sacrifice which Christ has made to magnify and exalt the law, testifies that not one jot or tittle of that law will relinquish its claims upon the transgressor. Christ came to pay the debt which the sinner had incurred by transgression, and by his own example to teach man how to keep the law of God. Said Christ, “I have kept my Father's commandments.” In consideration of all the facts so clearly establishing the claims of God's law, with heaven and eternal life in view to inspire hope and induce effort, it is inconceivable how so many professing to be servants of God, can set aside his law and teach sinners that they are not amenable to its precepts. What a fatal delusion! Satan first devised this heresy, and by it he enticed Eve into sin. The sad results of that transgression are before us. RH September 14, 1886, par. 7

We are living in a land of bondage and of death. Multitudes are enslaved by sinful customs and evil habits, and their fetters are difficult to break. Iniquity, like a flood, is deluging the earth. Crimes almost too fearful to be even mentioned, are of daily occurrence. Shall we say that all this is because men live in obedience to the will of God, or is it because ministers and people hold and teach that its precepts have no binding force? RH September 14, 1886, par. 8

Men professing to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion speak of the Jewish age as one of darkness. They represent the religion of the Hebrews as consisting of mere forms and ceremonies, and present in striking contrast the glorious light and privileges of the gospel age. While it is pleasing to God that we prize the blessings of the gospel, he is dishonored, and Christ's mission is misrepresented, by those who belittle his work in ancient times, as seen from the history of Adam down to the Christian era. RH September 14, 1886, par. 9

In what contrast to the teachings of these men are the words of Moses, the prophet whom God honored above all other mortals, talking with him face to face, as a man speaketh with a friend. Moses possessed a spirit which is rarely found at the present day. He had a sacred regard for the right, a morality unmingled with selfishness and policy, and grandly rising above respect for times and people. Moses fully understood the force of his words, as he challenged the Hebrew host: “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” RH September 14, 1886, par. 10

Moses understood the sacred character and value of the divine law. Israel was highly honored of God, and the surrounding nations looked with admiration and wonder upon them. Their laws and discipline, when compared with the laws of other nations, seemed even to their enemies in every way superior to their own. Moses stands forth superior in wisdom and integrity to all the sovereigns and statesmen of earth. Yet this man claims no credit for himself, but points the people to God as the source of all power and wisdom. Where is there such a character among men of this age? Those who would speak contemptuously of the law of God, are dishonoring him and casting a shadow over the most illustrious character presented in the annals of men. RH September 14, 1886, par. 11

In that memorable sermon upon the mount, in which our Saviour announced to his followers the principles of his government, he expressly declares the perpetuity of the moral law. His solemn warnings to the neglecters and despisers of the law of God are echoing down, even to our time: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” And in consideration of the claims of the law, he continues: “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.” RH September 14, 1886, par. 12

Obedience to the law of God was the only condition upon which ancient Israel was to receive the fulfillment of his promises. Obedience to that law will bring as great blessings to individuals and to nations now as it would have brought to the Hebrews. The history of that people was recorded for our benefit. We should study it with a prayerful heart, and seek to shun the sins that brought upon them the wrath of God. RH September 14, 1886, par. 13

Christ came to teach men the way of salvation. And when the shadowy services of the former dispensation were no longer of any value,—when type had met antitype in the death of Christ,—then we might expect that if the law of ten commandments were no longer binding, Christ would declare its abrogation. If the Old Testament Scriptures were no longer to be regarded as a guide for Christians, he would make known the fact. RH September 14, 1886, par. 14

Let us briefly notice a few events that occurred after the resurrection. As two of the disciples were traveling to Emmaus, conversing in sad tones of their disappointed hopes, Jesus himself, concealing his identity, drew near, and with words of sympathy sought to draw from these sorrowing ones the cause of their grief. Although they had reason to regard with distrust and fear all men outside the little circle of believers, yet they freely unburdened their hearts to this stranger. Now was the time for Jesus to give those lessons which he would have repeated to his followers in all coming time. He reproved those disciples for their unbelief in not accepting the word of God just as it reads. And “beginning at Moses and the prophets,” he expounded to them the scriptures concerning his mission and his work. He then impressed upon them the fact that Jesus did come exactly as foretold by the prophets. The hopes of the disciples were revived as the words of the Old Testament were clothed with new life and power. Their hearts burned within them, and when Christ made himself known, they were ready to accept him as the risen Saviour. RH September 14, 1886, par. 15

The same night he revealed himself to the disciples assembled at Jerusalem. He did not point to the mighty works which he had done, to awaken their faith in him as the promised Redeemer. But he went back to Moses and the prophets and explained the scriptures concerning himself. The Old Testament, the “sure word of prophecy,” is the only key that will unlock the New Testament Scriptures, and show that Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel is the Son of God, the long-expected Messiah. RH September 14, 1886, par. 16

Holy prophets have foretold the manner of Christ's birth, the events of his life, his mission, and his death and resurrection. In the Old Testament we find the gospel of a coming Saviour. In the New Testament we have the gospel of a Saviour revealed as prophecy had foretold. The light of the gospel in the New Testament reflects its glory back upon the Jewish age, showing the significance and importance of the typical sacrifices prefiguring the Lamb of God. RH September 14, 1886, par. 17

There is no discord between the teachings of Christ in the Old Testament and his teachings in the New. While the Old Testament is constantly pointing forward to the true Offering, the New Testament shows that the Saviour foretold by prophecy, and prefigured by the typical offerings, has come. The dim glory of the Jewish age has been succeeded by the brighter, clearer glory of the Christian age. But not once has Christ stated that his coming destroyed the claims of God's law. RH September 14, 1886, par. 18

In the very last message to his church, by way of Patmos, the risen Saviour pronounces a benediction upon those who keep his Father's law: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” RH September 14, 1886, par. 19