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An independent SDA Ministry
Proclaiming the 3 angels Messages and

   Abiding in the Father and His Son

 
 

 The Last Elijah

Chapter Two

Another Voice from the Past

 

As the elderly man made his way down the steep trail, his mind was in turmoil yet filled with wonder and awe. How could he ever find the words to share what he had just experienced? Human language and even imagination could never frame the glory or place in context the power he had witnessed. The trail was steep and often he had to steady himself with his staff.  His thoughts focused on that staff as memories flooded his mind. It seemed like only yesterday when he had used this staff to direct sheep and defend them from wild animals that sought to feed from his herds. He reminisced about those long yet peaceful 40 years in the wilderness.

          He had arrived there as a forty year old man and a fugitive on the run. He had been raised in Egypt but was a man of quick temper. Although adopted as royalty and in line for the throne, his temper had led him to murder an Egyptian officer and he was forced to flee. The trek across the desert had almost left him a dead man. Yet God had been with him and he had found refuge in the person of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Time had gone by and as Moses tended Jethro’s sheep, he began to change. Spending time with Jethro and his family, Moses fell in love with one of Jethro’s daughters. Jethro saw potential in Moses and with Jethro’s consent they were married.

          Over the next forty years, he and Zipporah had a happy peaceful life. In love, they had brought two children into the world.  Moses had become dependent upon God and learned meekness and patience as a shepherd. When he was eighty years old, God found him to be the meekest man on the earth. He would have been content to spend his remaining years in this quiet solitude with his family. But all that had changed.

          He remembered that day when God had appeared to him in the bush that burned but was not consumed. He remembered how in spite of his reservations, God had sent him back to Egypt. His mind spun remembering the events of Egypt. God had used him, with that rod now in his hand, to rain ten devastating plagues down upon Egypt and free His people. They were a rough nation of people with quick tempers like he once had, but Moses loved them. God had worked many mighty miracles to free them and now here they were at the mountain of God. God had given them His ten statutes of guidance and promise but His voice had been too much for them. In fear they had asked Moses to be a mediator between God and themselves. They swore that all that the Lord had said they would do. Moses had then gone up into the mountain to be with God as their representative.

          Now after forty days on that mountain with God, he was making his way back down. Though filled with awe and amazement, he was also deeply worried. God had revealed to him that Israel was in profound trouble. They had made an image of their own creation and attributed their deliverance from Egypt to it. God had indicated that He would destroy them and start over with Moses. Again he used the rod to steady himself. He was still strong but the way was steep and he was carrying a treasure. In his hands were also two tables of sapphire stone. God had written His statutes on them with His own finger. These were the same statutes that the people had sworn to keep less than two months ago. Moses marveled at this and held them securely as he rounded the next corner.

There he found Joshua waiting. He had waited for Moses with patience and faith for the same forty days.  “We must hurry” cried Joshua, “there is a sound of war in the camp.” But Moses knew that there was no war, at least of the physical kind. There was a much more serious type of war going on and Israel was losing. They quickly hurried down. As they drew near the camp Moses exclaimed “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.  Ex. 32:18

When they finally rushed around the last corner and came out above the camp, Moses saw their singing, dancing, naked forms, worshiping around the golden calf and his anger waxed hot.

We all know the story of how he threw down the tables of stone and broke them against the base of the mountain. He ground up the image and made them drink it. He allowed all who were on God’s side to come to him and then the sons of the tribe of Levi were sent out with the sword to destroy those who remained in rebellion. Three thousand had chosen to die in rebellion instead of repenting. It is what happens next that we must understand.

The leadership of Israel had been established by God. It was God who had chosen Moses as the leader and Aaron was to be second in command. This was not up to debate. In all matters of God’s interaction with man, He is not disorganized. In every movement of God, He establishes a gospel order in which to direct and bless His children. Through gospel order, God provides three benefits for His people. Gospel order provides a system of authority, protection, and blessing. Deny or defy any one of these and you lose all three. We will explore this in more detail further in the book.  Let’s now take a closer look at their rebellion.

And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. Exodus 32:1

When the children of Israel lost confidence in the prophet of God, they removed themselves from God’s channel of authority and thus also lost their blessing, and protection. The next layer of protection should have come from their leadership in Aaron. But he lost confidence in Moses (God’s appointed prophet) and thus failed to protect and guide them. Finally, the father of each family should have protected his family but there is no evidence that they stood firm. With the loss of confidence in God’s prophet, the movement went into apostasy.

This is a lesson we as God’s final remnant must learn. The peril of this deception is ominous with its foundations having already been placed among us. “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony.” FLB 296

When Moses saw their great peril, he described it in the following manner. “And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:25-26. 

Without being under the channel of God’s choosing, the people were “naked” and vulnerable. We must remember that there was no city built there. There was no physical city gate. Moses stood in the breach of Israel’s spiritual vulnerability. By choosing to come to Moses, they were placing themselves back into gospel order and thus the leadership and protection of God through His divinely appointed channels. In a few pages we will return to this story but we first must look at the reason for studying Moses. This chapter is entitled another voice from the past. It is now that we must look at and identify this voice.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Revelation 15:3

Here in Revelation we see that at the end of time, those of us who comprise the 144,000 of God will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. What does it mean to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Why Moses? How does his voice compare or harmonize with the voice of Elijah. What did they have in common with Christ and how does it apply to us? These are important questions that we must answer if we are going to be part of that 144,000. Those two voices echoing from the past have a singular message we must understand. They are indeed tied intimately to the mission of Christ. It was these very same two that were sent to comfort and strengthen Jesus on the mount where He was transfigured. They gave our Lord comfort and helped strengthen Him for His trial and crucifixion.

How, one might ask, are these voices in harmony?  The voice of Elijah was a cry to choose between worshiping Jehovah or false gods. How does that relate to Moses? We find our answer in Moses’ prophecies pointed to our time (latter days).

 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” Deuteronomy 4:26-31

One might be tempted to think that this is not relating to us but to the fall of Israel in the time of Babylon but this would be a mistake. God warns us that the message of Elijah would be sent just before the great and terrible day of the Lord and that it is tied to Moses and God’s Law.

“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” (Mal 4:4-5) Note the following quote. “Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Corinthians 10:11. " 7MR pg 417

Let’s go back to the coming of Elijah as seen in type with John the Baptist and look at Christ’s words. “And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:7-15

Christ Himself identified John as a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy. Let’s look at the conditions in the church at that time. There was no apparent outward worshiping of idols. But there was instead a concept of God and the Messiah that totally eclipsed the truth concerning them both. The Jews therefore were guilty of spiritual idolatry. The mission of John was to make a straight path (narrow truth or doctrine) for Christ. John was sent to correct their view of the Father and Son. Their idolatry was one of spiritual and doctrinal nature.

          One might ask, does God really see false doctrinal views of Himself as idolatry? Consider the following quote by Ellen G. White. “Are we followers of God as dear children, or are we servants of the prince of darkness? Are we worshipers of Jehovah, or of Baal? of the living God, or of idols? No outward shrines may be visible, there may be no image for the eye to rest upon, yet we may be practicing idolatry. It is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood or stone. Thousands have a false conception of God and His attributes. They are as verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. Are we worshiping the true God as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, in nature, or are we adoring some philosophical idol enshrined in His place? ST Feb 8, 1883

          In Israel during the time of Christ’s first coming, this was exactly what they had done. Their wrongly conceived and mistaken concepts of the Father and Son lead them to reject Christ and to crucify the Son of God. Yet John the Baptist was only a type in the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy. The anti-type or final fulfillment would occur just ”before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD”.  Why would this voice need to again be heard in our time? To answer this, we must also hear a different voice echoing from our near past.