Lesson 5 | Sabbath, 29 January 2022
“Moses, near the close of his work as a leader and teacher of Israel, plainly prophesied of the Messiah to come. ‘The Lord thy God,’ he declared to the assembled hosts of Israel, ‘will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.’ And Moses assured the Israelites that God Himself had revealed this to him while in Mount Horeb, saying, ‘I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.’ Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 222.
THE BRASS SERPENT
1. What attitude sometimes spread among the Israelites in the wilderness? What were the bitter consequences of an ungrateful spirit?
Numbers 21:4-6 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
“As the people journeyed from Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom, they were much discouraged, and complained of the hardships of the way…. The murmurings of the children of Israel were unreasonable, and the unreasonable always go to extremes. They uttered falsehoods in saying that they had no bread nor water. They had both given them by a miracle of God’s mercy. To punish them for their ingratitude, and complaining against God, the Lord permitted fiery serpents to bite them. They were called fiery, because their bite produced painful inflammation, and speedy death. The Israelites, up to this time, had been preserved from these serpents in the wilderness, by a continual miracle; for the wilderness through which they traveled was infested with poisonous serpents.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, pp. 40, 41.
2. What did the Israelites realize when they saw many people die from the snake bites? How did the Lord save them after they recognized and confessed their sin?
Numbers 21:7, 8 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
“Moses told the people that God had hitherto preserved them, that they had not been harmed by the serpents, which was a token of His care for them. He told them it was because of their needless murmurings, complaining of the hardships in their journey, that God had permitted them to be bitten of serpents. This was to show them that God had preserved them from many and great evils, which if He had permitted to come upon them, they would have suffered that which they could call hardships. But God had prepared the way before them. There was no sickness among them. Their feet had not swollen in all their journeys, neither had their clothes waxed old. God had given them angels’ food, and purest water out of the flinty rock. And with all these tokens of His love, if they complained, He would send His judgments upon them for their ingratitude….
“The Israelites were terrified, and humbled because of the serpents, and confessed their sin in murmuring.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, pp. 41, 42.
3. What happened to those who had been bitten by the poisonous snakes when they believed in the simple, divine solution and carried it out? Whom did the serpent on the pole represent, through which those who repented were healed not just from the venomous snake bite but also from sin?
Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
John 3:14, 15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
“The lifting up of the brazen serpent was to teach Israel an important lesson. They could not save themselves from the fatal effect of the poison in their wounds. God alone was able to heal them. Yet they were required to show their faith in the provision which He had made. They must look in order to live. It was their faith that was acceptable with God, and by looking upon the serpent their faith was shown. They knew that there was no virtue in the serpent itself, but it was a symbol of Christ; and the necessity of faith in His merits was thus presented to their minds. Heretofore many had brought their offerings to God, and had felt that in so doing they made ample atonement for their sins. They did not rely upon the Redeemer to come, of whom these offerings were only a type. The Lord would now teach them that their sacrifices, in themselves, had no more power or virtue than the serpent of brass, but were, like that, to lead their minds to Christ, the great sin offering.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 430.
A STAR FROM JACOB
4. What clear prophecy did the Lord proclaim to the Moabites concerning the light and power that would be given by the future Messiah?
Numbers 24:17, 19 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth…. 19Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.
“Before returning to his people, Balaam uttered a most beautiful and sublime prophecy of the world’s Redeemer, and the final destruction of the enemies of God: ‘I shall see him, but not now. I shall behold him, but not nigh. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and shall destroy the children of Sheth.’ He was permitted to look down through the ages to the first advent of Christ, and then forward to His second appearing, in power and glory. He would see the King above all kings, but not at present. He would behold His majesty and glory, but at a great distance. He would be among the number of the wicked dead, who should come forth in the second resurrection, to hear the awful doom, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed.’ He would behold the redeemed ones in the city of God, while he himself would be shut out with the wicked.” –Signs of the Times, December 16, 1880.
5. If God’s people want prosperity and to be spiritually well, what scepter must they recognize and honor? Who is the bright and morning star who gives faith and hope to every sinner?
Psalm 110:2 The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereun- to ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
“The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethle- hem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the De- sire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. The name of that helpless little babe, inscribed in the roll of Israel, declaring Him our brother, was the hope of fallen humanity. The child for whom the redemption money had been paid was He who was to pay the ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the true ‘high priest over the house of God,’ the head of ‘an unchangeable priesthood,’ the intercessor at ‘the right hand of the Majesty on high.’ Hebrews 10:21; 7:24; 1:3.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 52.
A PROPHET TO FOLLOW
6. What other prophecy presented the wonderful coming of the Messiah in the role of a prophet like Moses? When this privilege was presented, what were the people to do?
Deuteronomy 18:15, 16 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
“Moses was a type of Christ. He himself had declared to Israel, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.’ Deuteronomy 18:15. God saw fit to discipline Moses in the school of affliction and poverty before he could be prepared to lead the hosts of Israel to the earthly Canaan. The Israel of God, journeying to the heavenly Canaan, have a Captain who needed no human teaching to prepare Him for His mission as a divine leader; yet He was made perfect through sufferings; and ‘in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.’ Hebrews 2:10, 18 Our Redeemer manifested no human weakness or imperfection; yet He died to obtain for us an entrance into the Promised Land.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 480.
7. What is the great role of this Prophet of the Lord? What would be the consequences for those who would not listen to Him as God’s mouthpiece?
Deuteronomy 18:18, 19 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Acts 3:22, 23; 7:37 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people…. 7:37This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
“Through Moses, God’s purpose to send His Son as the Redeemer of the fallen race, was kept before Israel. On one occasion, shortly before his death, Moses declared, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.’ Plainly had Moses been instructed for Israel concerning the work of the Messiah to come. ‘I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,’ was the word of Jehovah to His servant; ‘and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.’ Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 684.