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    October 8, 1885

    “The Sure Foundation” The Signs of the Times, 11, 38.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.1

    Every structure that is of any account must be built upon a foundation. In the close of the sermon on the mount, our Saviour graphically but accurately describes the consequence of building without any foundation. When “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house,” it fell, because it was built upon the sand. The same thing would have happened to the house which was built upon a foundation, if the foundation could been removed. The tendency of the present age is to superficiality, but a good, solid foundation is nevertheless as necessary as it ever was.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.2

    We believe that “the foundations,” to which the psalmist refers in the text just quoted, are nothing else than the law of God-the ten commandment. To demonstrate this is the object of this article. The psalmist continues in the next verse: “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” This shows that there is an intimate connection between “the foundations,” and the throne of God and the temple in heaven. What this connection is, we proceed to show.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.3

    In the 25th chapter of Exodus we find directions concerning the building of the sanctuary. The sanctuary was to be a dwelling-place for God. See verse 8. From the 26th chapter we learn that it was an oblong building, and inclosed on three sides with boards, and on the fourth by a cloth curtain, and that by a similar curtain it was divided into two apartments-the holy place and the most holy place. In the holy place there was an altar of incense, a golden candlesticks, and a table of show-bread. Exodus 40:22-27. In the most holy place was the ark of the testimony (Exodus 26:37), and it is to this that we wish to call especial attention.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.4

    This ark was a wooden box overlaid and lined with pure gold. Its cover was termed the “mercy-seat,” and was of solid gold, having on each end a cherub beaten out of the same piece of pure gold. “And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” Exodus 25:20, 21. Read carefully the preceding verses.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.5

    What this “testimony” was, we easily find by the comparison of a few texts of Scripture. In Exodus 24:12 we read: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Moses went up, and was there forty days and forty nights, during which time he received the instructions found in chapters 25-31. After noting these instructions, the sacred narrative continues: “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.6

    We notice that the tables of testimony were tables of stone. Tracing them further, we find (Exodus 32:15-19) that when Moses came down from the mount, with the two tables in his hand, he broke them at the foot of the mount, in his righteous anger at the idolatry of the people. This experience is detailed by Moses in the 9th of Deuteronomy, and in the 10th chapter he proceeds with the narrative as follows:-SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.7

    “At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.” Deuteronomy 10:1-5.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.8

    We have now positive assurance that the “testimony” that was placed in the ark was the ten commandments, and that it was on this account that the ark of was called “the ark of the testimony.” Now note again in Exodus 25, that the cover to the ark was called the “mercy-seat,” and that upon it were two cherubim, one on each end. The Lord said: “And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:21, 22. God dwelt between the cherubim upon the mercy-seat above the testimony, and it was this that made it necessary for the high priest to burn incense when he ministered in the most holy place. The cloud of incense veiled the glory of God, which obscured, would have caused his death. Leviticus 16:3, 13.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.9

    Now to the point of all this. The Jewish tabernacle, and all things connected with it, were patterned after something that Moses had seen in the mount. Exodus 25:9, 40. They were “patterns of the things in the heavens;” and “the holy places made with hands” were only “figures of the true” holy places in Heaven. Hebrews 9:23, 24. There must be, then, a real tabernacle in Heaven, and this is plainly stated in Hebrews 8:1, 2: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum; we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.10

    “A minister of the sanctuary.” There is but one, since that built by Moses was only a miniature representation of the true tabernacle in the heavens, which the Lord pitched. This temple in Heaven has been seen by mortal eye. The beloved disciple says: “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his Testament.” Revelation 11:19. This temple in Heaven is the special dwelling-place of God. “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20. “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” Psalm 11:4.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.11

    We already noted that not only the tabernacle, but all its furniture, was modeled after things in the heavens. Said the Lord to Moses: “According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:9. After giving directions concerning the ark, the table, and the candlestick, he repeated the injunction: “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which we showed the in thee mount.” Exodus 25:40. Accordingly we find (Revelation 11:19) that the ark of the testament is one of the things in the temple in heaven.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.12

    Now remember that in the earthly tabernacle God’s dwelling-place was above the ark, between the cherubim that were upon the mercy-seat. Exodus 25:21, 22; Leviticus 16:3, 13. Then since the earthly tabernacle was a type of God’s real dwelling-place,-the temple in Heaven,-it must be that the ark of the testament was a figure of God’s throne in heaven. To corroborate this conclusion, we read that God’s real dwelling-place is between the cherubim. Says David, in prayer to God: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1. Again: “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved.” Psalm 99:1. Here the fact that God reigns is connected with his sitting between the cherubim, showing conclusively that when reigning upon his throne he is between the cherubim. God sits between the cherubim; he reigns; therefore the people should tremble. When Hezekiah was in trouble, he “prayed for the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubim, thou art God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.” 2 Kings 19:15. And the Lord, speaking of Satan under the figure of the king of Tyre, said: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.13

    These texts show plainly that the cherubim upon the mercy-seat, from between which God spoke to the people, were representations of the cherubim that cover the throne of God in heaven, and that therefore the mercy-seat, supported by the ark, was a figure of God’s throne. This is why the most holy place and the ark were considered so sacred.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.14

    But if the ark and the mercy-seat were a representation of God’s throne, then the tables of testimony-the ten commandments-which it contained must be considered as showing the relation existing between the real throne of God in heaven and the original copy of the ten commandments. The ark existed for the sole purpose of holding the law, and therefore the ten commandments must be considered as forming the foundation of God’s throne. David says: “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” Psalm 97:1, 2. Now when we read (Psalm 119:172) that God’s commandments are righteousness, and further, that they are God’s righteousness (Isaiah 51:6, 7), we are assured that the ten commandments which God spoke from Sinai, and which were copied on tables of stone, form the foundation of God’s throne.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.15

    A throne is the symbol of royal power and authority. We speak of “the throne of England,” meaning the Government of England; therefore we state the literal fact, that the ten commandment are the foundation of God’s throne, it is equivalent to saying that they formed the basis of God’s Government; that all of God’s judgments are in harmony with them, and that they cover every act of his in the government of his creatures.SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.16

    From these facts thus briefly stated, the following conclusions are evident:-SITI October 8, 1885, page 601.17

    1. The law of God-the ten commandments-is the law of the universe. “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” Psalm 103:19. Not only this earth, but all the world and the Heaven of heavens are subject to his authority, and amenable to his holy law. The highest angel in Heaven, and the lowest saint on earth; the arch deceiver and the most simple of his deluded victims, are alike judged by that perfect law. No righteous act or thought is outside of its sanctions, and no evil can be conceived that it does not condemn.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.1

    2. The law of God was in existence before the creation of the earth. When the foundations of the world were laid, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:4-7. The “sons of God” were the subjects of his righteous Government, and therefore subject to the law of God, which is the basis of that Government. In proof of this, and also of the preceding proposition, read Psalm 103:20: “Bless, the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, harkening unto the voice of his word.” Since the ten commandment law is perfect contains, as we have seen, all the principles of God’s Government, there can be no other commandments for the angels to obey. All commands of God are comprised within the precepts of Sinai.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.2

    3. The ten commandments can never have any end. Since they are the foundation of God’s throne, they must endure as long as it endures, and it must endure as long as God himself exists, for if he were not Supreme Ruler he would not be God. Now listen to the sublime words of the psalmist: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Psalm 90:1, 2. More emphatic language could not be used. But since it is impossible for God to exist apart from his Government, that must also be to everlasting, and the ten commandments, the basis of that Government, must have an equal duration.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.3

    4. The law of God, is unchangeable. Not only can it not be abolished, but not one of its precepts can undergo the slightest alteration. We speak not of mere verbal changes which do not affect the sense, but of changes in the force or application of law. Since the law is the foundation of God’s throne, its 1en precepts may be considered as the ten pillars constituting the foundation. It was doubtless with this idea in mind that Bishop E. O. Haven named his book which contained his ten sermons on the law,-one sermon on each commandment,-“The Pillars of Truth.” When workmen wish to make any repairs in the foundation of a building, they put up a prop underneath, to take the place of the defective foundation while repairs are being made. But what can be placed under the throne of the universe to uphold it while repairs are being made in any of its corner-stones? Nothing. Men may theorize about a change in the fourth commandment, but such a change is an impossibility. To make it would be to make a revolution in the Government of Heaven. It may be urged that God has power to make such a change, but one thing God cannot do: He cannot deny himself. “If we believe not, yet he abide faithful; He cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13. God’s law is his will (Romans 2:17, 18); it is his righteousness; a transcript of his own nature; a photograph of his character. Therefore for God to make a change in the law would show that his character had undergone a change, and that is an impossibility. With him is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. If his law was the truth in the days of David (Psalm 119:142), it could not be changed without becoming a lie, and it is only the enemies of God who seek to do this. These facts absolutely prove the proposition that God’s law is absolutely unchangeable. They enable us to better appreciate the words of the psalmit: “Thy word is truth from the beginning; and everyone of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119:160.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.4

    5. It follows as a necessary conclusion, that the saints through all eternity will yield obedience to the law. To do otherwise would make them no more saints, but traitors. Some people tell us that a righteous man has no need for the law of God. But the psalmist thought otherwise, for He said: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3. To say that because God’s people are all righteous, therefore they have no need of the law, is like saying that because no one falls over a precipice at the top of which a strong barrier has been erected, therefore the barrier is unnecessary. None are more interested than the righteous, in having the law of God preserved intact through the ages of eternity. It alone attests their loyalty to God. It is to them a sure pledge that no power in the universe can endanger their rights as subjects of the God of Heaven. It shows them that it is not in vain that they make the eternal God their refuge, and that he who in his excellency rides upon the heavens to the help of his people, is abundantly able to protect all who put their trust in him.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.5

    May the Lord hasten the day when his kingdom shall come; when his will shall be done in all the earth even as it is now done in Heaven (see Psalm 119:20); when his children shall all be righteous; when “his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” E. J. W.SITI October 8, 1885, page 602.6

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