LEST WE FORGET
History Repeated. Deuteronomy 1:1, 3
Deuteronomy is a Greek name given by Alexandrian Jews to the fifth book of Moses when they translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek and thus produced the Septuagint Version,—the one used by Christ and the apostles. The name means "repetition" or "repetition of the law," because it is a repetition of all of the instruction given to Israel during their forty years of wandering as well as a review of their experiences while they were "under the divine rebuke." The book of Deuteronomy was given by Moses in a series of discourses on the banks of the Jordan in the plains of Moab just before the Israelites entered the promised land. "Moses gave the whole book of Deuteronomy in discourses to the people." —P.P. 503.
The series of sermons began with the heaven-sent message given at Mount Sinai that led the Israelites to Kadesh-Barnea, the gateway to the promised land. Deuteronomy 1:5-8. Moses then dwells at great length on the Kadesh-Barnea crisis resulting in the divine sentence that sent them back into the wilderness for a forty year delay. The period of wandering is now over and Moses delivers his message in the eleventh month of the fortieth year. Throughout the entire series of discourses, Moses lays special emphasis on the Kadesh-Barnea experiences as the cause of their failure to inherit the promised land "at the time of God's appointment." During their wilderness wanderings while they were "under the divine rebuke" the Israelites resented being reminded of their mistakes and rebellions, but now as they are repeated near the end of their journey they see them in a new light. As they look back over the forty years from the banks of the Jordan their past history takes on a new significance. At last they are willing to freely acknowledge their mistakes and confess them.
Forget Not. Deuteronomy 8:2-5; 9:7
"Remember and forget not" seems to be the key-note of this series of sermons that closed the career of their great leader. It was his farewell message and was delivered with great earnestness and power. He told them to "ask now of the days that are past" and never to forget the divine leadership of the Exodus Movement and the purpose and love of God in leading them from Egyptian bondage to the land of promise and freedom. See Deuteronomy 4:32-40. "Moses stood before the people to repeat his last warnings and admonitions. His face was illumined with a holy light. His hair was white with age, but his form was erect, his countenance expressed the unabated vigor of health, and his eye was clear and undimmed. It was an important occasion, and with deep feeling he portrayed the love and mercy of their Almighty Protector. … The people of Israel had been ready to ascribe their troubles to Moses; but now their suspicions that he was controlled by pride, ambition, or selfishness, were removed, and they listened with confidence to his words." —P.P. 463, 464.
"Moses faithfully set before them their errors, and the transgressions of their fathers. They had often felt impatient and rebellious because of their long wandering in the wilderness; but the Lord had not been chargeable with this delay in possessing Canaan. He was more grieved than they because He could not bring them into immediate possession of the promised land, and thus display before all nations His mighty power in the deliverance of His people. With their distrust of God, with their pride and unbelief, they had not been prepared to enter Canaan. They would in no way represent that people whose God is the Lord, for they did not bear His character of purity, goodness, and benevolence. Had their fathers yielded in faith to the direction of God, being governed by His judgments, and walking in His ordinances, they would long before have been settled in Canaan, a prosperous, holy, happy people. Their delay to enter the goodly land dishonored God, and detracted from His glory in the sight of the surrounding nations." —P.P. 464.
Commemorated in Song
Not only did Moses repeat the experiences of Israel's past history and urge them to "remember" and "forget not," but they were to talk about them and repeat them to their children. It was of vital importance that they see the past in the proper light and never forget their mistakes and experiences. To help them remember, Moses commemorated the history of the past in a song which he composed under divine direction and inspiration. Deuteronomy 31:19-22. This song is found in Chapter 32 and is called "The Song of Moses" as was the one he composed and Israel sang on the shores of the Red Sea following their deliverance from Egypt. The 105th, 106th, and 107th Psalms are other songs composed for the same purpose and these too may have been written by Moses who was the author of some of the Psalms. In all of these songs the Israelites were especially reminded of the mistakes that caused the long delay in reaching their goal.
It is evident that one of the most essential parts of the preparation of the Israelites to enter the earthly Canaan was a clear view of the history of the past and especially of the errors and mistakes of their fathers. They could not enter into the promised land until they recognized these mistakes and confessed them. Therefore their last study was concentrated on their past history in the light of God's love and leadership. On the banks of the Jordan they must look backward before they could go forward. This was the final lesson in the school of experience and training that would prepare them to triumph gloriously. This review would strengthen their faith for the crossing of the Jordan and the conquest of Canaan.
The Advent Movement
Since "we are repeating the history of that people," we too must get a vision of the past just before our pilgrim journey is ended. Just before the end, the Advent people will review their past history and see it in a new light. … We must study and understand the antitypes of the two Kadesh-Barnea experiences of ancient Israel and profit by the mistakes of our fathers especially during the 1888 crisis. We must acknowledge and confess the mistakes of our fathers and see to it that we do not repeat them and thus further delay the final triumph of the Advent Movement. The history of the past must be reviewed and studied in the light of these mistakes and their consequence in a long delay of the coming of Christ. Such a vision will explain many puzzling questions and will greatly strengthen our faith in the divine leadership of the Advent Movement. It is for this purpose that this series of studies are being given and published. It is evident that the end is near and that such a vision of the past is an essential part of the preparation for entrance into the heavenly Canaan.
Review Exodus Movement
The best way to review our past history in the light of God's purpose and leadership is through the study of the Exodus Movement of which it is the antitype. "The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record of God's dealings with the wanderers of the desert in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in all ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have his people in these days review with a humble heart and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan." —P.P. 293.
Lest We Forget
In Vol. 8, p. 107 is the beginning of a chapter entitled "Forgetfulness" which starts as follows: "All who profess to be children of God, I would invite to consider the history of the Israelites, as recorded in the one hundred and fifth, the one hundred and sixth, and the one hundred and seventh Psalms. By carefully studying these Scriptures, we may be able to appreciate more fully the goodness, mercy, and love of God." After quoting these Psalms the servant of the Lord continues: "These things … are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. … The record of Israel's forgetfulness has been preserved for our enlightenment. In this age God has set His hand to gather unto Himself a people from every nation, kindred, and tongue. In the Advent Movement He has wrought for His heritage, even as He wrought for the Israelites in leading them from Egypt." —Page 115.
The Chief Lesson
The chief lesson to be learned from the study of the Exodus Movement as a type of the Advent Movement is the reason for the long delay in the coming of Christ. That too was the chief reason why Moses reviewed the past history of the Israelites just before their final triumph. Continuing, the same writer said: "Had the Adventists in the early days still trusted to the guiding hand that had been with them in their past experience, they would have seen the salvation of God. If all who had labored unitedly in the work of 1844 and received the third angel's message, and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts. A flood of light would have been shed upon the world. Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work would have been completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of His people." —Page 116. "It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness. He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, happy people. But 'they could not enter in because of unbelief.' Because of their backsliding and apostasy, they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the promised land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God." —G.C. 458. Nothing explains this long delay like the study of the two movements.
Our Only Safety
Our only safety as we face the future is to remember that God has been the Leader of the Advent Movement from the beginning, and that He will continue to lead till the church militant becomes the church triumphant. "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history." —"Life Sketches," p. 196. "In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and in confidence in Christ as Leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us." —T.M. 31. We are told that the same divine leadership that has guided the Advent Movement in the past will continue to the end and nothing proves this more conclusively than the study of the two movements. It is therefore high time that God's remnant people are making a thorough study of this subject.
Law Repeated. Deuteronomy 4:1-9
Moses also called attention in his farewell sermons to the binding claims of the law given at Mount Sinai. The law is referred to in practically every chapter of Deuteronomy being mentioned no less than fifty times. The discourses of Moses therefore constituted a call to God's great standard of righteousness and conduct. It was a lifting up of the standard in preparation for entrance into the promised land. "Before relinquishing his position as the visible leader of Israel, Moses was directing to rehearse to them the history of their deliverance from Egypt and their journeyings in the wilderness, and also to recapitulate the law spoken from Sinai. When the law was given, but few of the present generation were old enough to comprehend the awful solemnity of the occasion. As they were soon to pass over Jordan and take possession of the promised land, God would present before them the claims of His law, and enjoin upon them obedience as the condition of prosperity." —P.P. 463. Moses gave directions that the law be repeated or reread to all Israel every 7 years. Deuteronomy 31:10-13. Joshua repeated the necessity of strict obedience to the law of God as the basis of prosperity. Joshua 1:7, 8. See also Deuteronomy 28-30.
The Antitype. Isaiah 62:10-12
Just before the Advent Movement reaches its destination "the way of the people" will be prepared by casting or lifting "up the highway" of holiness, gathering "out the stones" or stumbling blocks, and lifting "up a standard for the people." We are told that those who preach the Laodicean message "upon which the destiny of the church hangs" and which brings the shaking and the latter rain, will "exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth." See E.W. 270. The Laodicean message with its complete remedy which embraces the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ, call for a high standard. Its standard is perfection as revealed in the character of Christ of which the law is the transcript. The lifting up of the standard of righteousness by which we will be measured in the judgment will take place just before the latter rain and the entrance of God's remnant people into the heavenly Canaan.
Price of Victory
Reaching the high standard demanded by the Laodicean message is the price of the seal of God, the latter rain, and triumph with the movement. "Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon as as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost." —Vol. 5:214.
"If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. … Some are willing to receive one point, but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. … Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation." —Vol. 1:187, 188.
Death of Moses. Deuteronomy 34
The prophet of the Exodus Movement did not live to see the final triumph of the movement. After giving all of the instruction necessary to take Israel into the promised land, and after being given a vision of the future home of his people which embraced the new earth, Moses died and was buried in the land of Moab on the east side of the Jordan. The leadership of the movement was placed upon Joshua who in the strictest sense was not a prophet but one chosen to carry into effect the instructions given through Moses. After his death the instruction given through Moses was appreciated more fully and obeyed more implicitly than during his lifetime. "The Israelites deeply mourned for their departed leader. … Never till he was taken from them had they so fully realized his unswerving faith. With a new and deeper appreciation, they recalled the precious lessons he had given while still with them." —P.P. 481. No prophet has ever been fully accepted or his work appreciated till after his or her death. Passing time always enhances the value of the writings of a prophet in the estimation of God's people.
The prophet of the Advent Movement did not live to witness the final triumph of the cause she loved and served so long and faithfully. But before she died all of the instruction necessary to the finishing of the work was given in detail so that there is no need of another such instrument. Many have attempted to take her place but their claims have been so weak and the attempt to imitate her methods and messages so apparent that they have been unable to get a following. It is the duty of the leaders of the Advent Movement to carry out the instructions given in such detail through the gift of prophecy. Many visions of the heavenly Canaan cheer the Advent people along their march through the desert of sin toward the promised land.
Every passing year since the death of Mrs. E. G. White makes her counsels and instructions to be more greatly appreciated. It has always been hard to accept a living prophet because they are human like their fellows and their many rebukes and corrections produce prejudices and even enmity. Now the instruction can be read the studied for what it is worth without the interference of personal feelings and prejudices. As the years go by the divine origin of the prophetic gift in the Advent Movement becomes more apparent. The permanency and success of the various lines of work established through the Spirit of Prophecy as well as the fulfillment of the many predictions made are piling up proof of the genuineness of this spiritual gift among God's remnant people. This gift has been the greatest of all factors in the guiding, controlling, preserving and unifying of the Advent people in their world-wide gospel enterprise. It has held the movement together and made it in many ways the marvel of the religious world in this generation. If time should last long enough Sister White would be accorded a place among the leading prophets of the church by the religious world. As in the case of the other prophets centuries would be required to bring about this result. But God's remnant people do not need centuries or even decades to establish their confidence. We have had experiences and demonstrations enough to prove that the work is of the Lord and that the stability and prosperity of the Advent Movement depends upon our attitude toward it. "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2 Chronicles 20:30.
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