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From Eternity Past

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    Revolt and Open Mutiny

    These men, having entered upon a wrong course, stubbornly set themselves against Caleb and Joshua, against Moses, and against God. They distorted the truth in order to sustain their baleful influence. “It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof,” they said. This was not only an evil report; it was a lying one. The spies had declared the country to be fruitful, and the people of giant stature, which would be impossible if the climate were so unhealthful that the land could be said to “eat up the inhabitants.”EP 271.4

    Revolt and open mutiny quickly followed. The people seemed bereft of reason. They cursed Moses and Aaron, forgetting that enshrouded in the cloudy pillar, the Angel of His presence was witnessing their terrible outburst of wrath. Then their feelings rose against God: “Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Thus they accused not only Moses but God Himself, of deception, in promising them a land they were not able to possess.EP 272.1

    Caleb and Joshua attempted to quiet the tumult. They rushed in among the people, and their ringing voices were heard above the tempest of rebellious grief: “If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them and the Lord is with us: fear them not.”EP 272.2

    By the covenant of God, the land was ensured to Israel. But the false report of the unfaithful spies was accepted. The whole congregation were deluded. The traitors had done their work. If only the two men had brought the evil report and all the ten had encouraged them to possess the land in the name of the Lord, they would still have taken the advice of the two in preference to the ten, because of their wicked unbelief.EP 272.3

    The cry was raised to stone Caleb and Joshua. The insane mob rushed forward with yells of madness, when suddenly the stones dropped from their hands, and they shook with fear. God interposed. The glory of His presence, like a flaming light, illuminated the tabernacle. None dared continue their resistance. The spies who brought the evil report crouched terror-stricken and sought their tents.EP 272.4

    Moses now arose and entered the tabernacle. The Lord declared to him, “I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation.” But again Moses pleaded for his people. “I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as Thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy... . Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”EP 272.5

    The Lord promised to spare Israel from immediate destruction; but because of their unbelief and cowardice He could not manifest His power to subdue their enemies. Therefore in His mercy He bade them turn back toward the Red Sea.EP 273.1

    In their rebellion the people had exclaimed, “Would God we had died in this wilderness!” Now this prayer was to be granted: “As ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward... . But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.” And of Caleb He said, “My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” As the spies had spent forty days in their journey, so the hosts of Israel were to wander in the wilderness forty years.EP 273.2

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