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From Eternity Past

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    The People Demand a Meat Diet

    After three days’ journey open complaints were heard. These originated with the mixed multitude, many of whom were continually finding fault with the way in which Moses was leading them, though they knew that he was following the cloud. Dissatisfaction is contagious, and it soon spread in the encampment.EP 264.2

    Again they began to clamor for flesh to eat. Many of the Egyptians among them had been accustomed to a luxurious diet, and these were the first to complain.EP 264.3

    God might as easily have provided them with flesh as with manna, but it was His purpose to supply food better suited to their wants. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man, the fruits of the earth which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden. For this reason the Israelites had been deprived in a great measure of animal food.EP 264.4

    Satan tempted them to regard this as unjust and cruel. He saw that unrestrained indulgence of appetite would tend to produce sensuality, and by this means the people could be more easily brought under his control. Through appetite he has, to a large extent, led men into sin from the time he induced Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Intemperance in eating and drinking prepares the way to disregard all moral obligations.EP 264.5

    God brought the Israelites from Egypt that He might establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, holy, and happy people. Had they been willing to deny appetite, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength, clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment.EP 264.6

    Says the psalmist: “They tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? ... can He provide flesh for His people? Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth.” Psalm 78:18-21. They had been witnesses to the majesty, power, and mercy of God; and their unbelief and discontent incurred the greater guilt. They had covenanted to obey His authority. Their murmuring was now rebellion, and as such it must receive prompt punishment if Israel was to be preserved from anarchy and ruin. “The fire of Jehovah burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” The most guilty of the complainers were slain by lightning from the cloud.EP 265.1

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