Seven thousand in Israel - That is, many thousands; for seven is a number of perfection, as we have often seen: so, The barren has borne seven - has had a numerous off-spring; Gold seven times purified - purified till all the dross is perfectly separated from it. The court and multitudes of the people had gone after Baal; but perhaps the majority of the common people still worshipped in secret the God of their fathers.
Every mouth which hath not kissed him - Idolaters often kissed their hand in honor of their idols; and hence the origin of adoration - bringing the hand to the mouth after touching the idol, if it were within reach; and if not, kissing the right hand in token of respect and subjection. The word is compounded of ad, to, and os, oris, the mouth. Dextera manu deum contingentes, ori admovebant: "Touching the god with their right hand, they applied it to their mouth." So kissing the hand, and adoration, mean the same thing -
Inter adorandum, dexteram ad osculum referimus, totum corpus circumagimus: Nat. Hist. lib. xxviii., cap. 2. -
"In the act of adoration we kiss the right hand, and turn about the whole body."
Cicero mentions a statue of Hercules, the chin and lips of which were considerably worn by the frequent kissing of his worshippers:
Ut rictus ejus, et mentum paulo sit attritius, quod in precibus et gratulationibus, non solum id venerari, sed etiam osculari solent. - Orat. in Verrem.
I have seen several instances of this, especially in the paintings of old saints: the lips and mouth of beautiful paintings literally worn away by the unmerciful osculations of devotees.
Yet I have left me - Rather, as in the margin. “Seven thousand” faithful Israelites shall survive all the persecutions of Ahab and Jezebel, and carry down the worship of Yahweh to another generation. Elijah is mistaken in supposing that he only is left. The number is manifestly a “round” number, not an exact estimate. Perhaps it is, moreover, a mystical or symbolic number. Compare Revelation 7:5-8. Of all the symbolic numbers used in Scripture, seven is the most common.
Every mouth which hath not kissed him - Idolaters sometimes kissed the hand to the object of their worship Job 31:26-27; at other times they kissed the actual image (marginal reference).
(Vs. 9-12; see EGW on ch. 16:13-16.) The Signet of Heaven—John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His Father's name written in their foreheads. They bore the signet of heaven. They reflected the image of God. They were full of the light and the glory of the Holy One. If we would have the image and superscription of God upon us, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity. We must forsake every evil way, and then we must trust our cases in the hands of Christ. While we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure (The Review and Herald, March 19, 1889). 7BC 978.1
Christ Formed Within—[Revelation 14:1-3 quoted.] Why were they so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory (Manuscript 13, 1888). 7BC 978.2
Eternal Interests Supreme—Those who have in their foreheads the seal of the infinite God will regard the world and its attractions as subordinate to eternal interests (The Review and Herald, July 13, 1897). 7BC 978.3Read in context »
There is a necessity, it is true, for expending money judiciously in advertising the meetings and in carrying forward the work solidly. Yet the strength of every worker will be found to lie, not in these outward agencies, but in trustful dependence upon God, in earnest prayer to Him for help, in obedience to His word. Much more prayer, much more Christlikeness, much more conformity to God's will, is to be brought into the Lord's work. Outward show and extravagant outlay of means will not accomplish the work to be done. 9T 110.1
God's work is to be carried forward with power. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need to understand that God will add to the ranks of His people men of ability and influence who are to act their part in warning the world. All in the world are not lawless and sinful. God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. There are God-fearing men and women in the fallen churches. If this were not so, we would not be given the message to bear: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.... Come out of her, My people.” Revelation 18:2-4. Many of the honest in heart are gasping for a breath of life from heaven. They will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in the beauty and simplicity with which it is presented in God's word. 9T 110.2Read in context »
The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon us. The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliance will then go out in darkness. Those who have assumed the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will then appear in the shame of their own nakedness. PK 188.1
Among earth's inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law. Even now they are appearing in every nation, among every tongue and people; and in the hour of deepest apostasy, when Satan's supreme effort is made to cause “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” to receive, under penalty of death, the sign of allegiance to a false rest day, these faithful ones, “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,” will “shine as lights in the world.” Revelation 13:16; Philippians 2:15. The darker the night, the more brilliantly will they shine. PK 188.2
What strange work Elijah would have done in numbering Israel at the time when God's judgments were falling upon the backsliding people! He could count only one on the Lord's side. But when he said, “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life,” the word of the Lord surprised him, “Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal.” 1 Kings 19:14, 18. PK 189.1Read in context »
Elijah humbled himself until he was in a condition where he would not take the glory to himself. This is the condition upon which the Lord hears prayer, for then we shall give the praise to Him. The custom of offering praise to men is one that results in great evil. One praises another, and thus men are led to feel that glory and honor belong to them. When you exalt man, you lay a snare for his soul, and do just as Satan would have you. You should praise God with all your heart, soul, might, mind, and strength; for God alone is worthy to be glorified (The Review and Herald, March 27, 1913). 2BC 1035.1
43, 44. Elijah's Heart Search—The servant watched while Elijah prayed. Six times he returned from the watch, saying, There is nothing, no cloud, no sign of rain. But the prophet did not give up in discouragement. He kept reviewing his life, to see where he had failed to honor God, he confessed his sins, and thus continued to afflict his soul before God, while watching for a token that his prayer was answered. As he searched his heart, he seemed to be less and less, both in his own estimation and in the sight of God. It seemed to him that he was nothing, and that God was everything; and when he reached the point of renouncing self, while he clung to the Saviour as his only strength and righteousness, the answer came. The servant appeared, and said, “Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand” (The Review and Herald, May 26, 1891). 2BC 1035.2Read in context »