“ Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12 KJV.
“‘And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.’ The divine Majesty descended in a cloud with a glorious retinue of angels, who appeared as flames of fire.
‘And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mount; and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.’ Thus the Lord, in awful grandeur, speaks his law from Sinai, that the people may believe. He then accompanies the giving of his law with sublime exhibitions of his authority, that they may know that he is the only true and living God. Moses was not permitted to enter within the cloud of glory, but only draw nigh and enter the thick darkness which surrounded it. And he stood between the people and the Lord.
After the Lord had given them such evidences of his power, he tells them who he is: ‘I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’ The same God who exalted his power among the Egyptians, now speaks his law:
‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Sabbath day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
‘Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
‘Thou shalt not kill.
‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.
‘Thou shalt not steal.
‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.’
The first and second commandments spoken by Jehovah are precepts against idolatry; for idolatry, if practiced, would lead men to great lengths in sin and rebellion, and result in the offering of human sacrifices. God would guard against the least approach to such abominations. The first four commandments were given to show men their duty to God. The fourth is the connecting link between the great God and man. The Sabbath, especially, was given for the benefit of man, and for the honor of God. These last six precepts show the duty of man to his fellow-man.
The Sabbath was to be a sign between God and his people forever. In this manner was it to be a sign—all who should observe the Sabbath, signified by such observance that they were worshipers of the living God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. The Sabbath was to be a sign between God and his people as long as he should have a people upon the earth to serve him.
‘And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off; and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from Heaven.’ The majestic presence of God at Sinai, and the commotions in the earth occasioned by his presence, the fearful thunderings and lightnings which accompanied this visitation of God, so impressed the minds of the people with fear and reverence to his sacred majesty, that they instinctively drew back from the awful presence of God, lest they should not be able to endure his terrible glory. Again, God would guard the children of Israel from idolatry. He said unto them, ‘Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.’ They were in danger of imitating the example of the Egyptians, and making to themselves images to represent God.” EGW, SOP, Vol 1, 1870, pp. 234-238
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