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From Eternity Past

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    Moses’ Christlike Love for Israel

    As the people were roused to see the enormity of their guilt, it was feared that every offender was to be cut off. Moses promised to plead once more with God for them.EP 226.4

    “Ye have sinned a great sin,” he said, “and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” In his confession before God he said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now if Thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.”EP 226.5

    In the prayer of Moses, our minds are directed to the heavenly records in which the names of all men are inscribed, and their deeds, good or evil, are registered. The book of life contains the names of all who have entered the service of God. If any of these by stubborn persistence in sin become finally hardened against His Holy Spirit, their names will in the judgment be blotted from the book of life.EP 226.6

    If the people of Israel were to be rejected by the Lord, Moses desired his name to be blotted out with theirs; he could not endure to see the judgments of God fall upon those who had been graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the transgressor. “Whosoever hath sinned against Me,” He said, “him will I blot out of My book.”EP 227.1

    In deep sadness the people buried their dead. Three thousand had fallen by the sword; a plague had soon after broken out in the encampment; and now the message came to them that the divine Presence would no longer accompany them in their journeyings: “I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” And the command was given, “put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.” In penitence and humiliation, “the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.”EP 227.2

    By divine direction, the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp.” This was further evidence that God had withdrawn His presence from them. The rebuke was keenly felt, and to the conscience-smitten multitudes it seemed a foreboding of greater calamity.EP 227.3

    But they were not left without hope. The tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it “the tabernacle of the congregation.” All who were truly penitent and desired to return to the Lord were directed to repair thither to confess their sins and seek His mercy. When they returned to their tents, Moses entered the tabernacle. The people watched for some token that his intercessions in their behalf were accepted. When the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the entrance of the tabernacle, the people wept for joy, and they “rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door.”EP 227.4

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