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Deuteronomy 29:29

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The secret things belong unto the Lord, etc. - This verse has been variously translated. Houbigant renders it thus: Quae apud Dominum nostrum abscondita sunt, nobis ea filiisque nostris palam facta sunt ad multas aetates, "The things which were hidden with the Lord our God, are made manifest to us and our children for many generations." I am not satisfied with this interpretation, and find that the passage was not so understood by any of the ancient versions. The simple general meaning seems to be this: "What God has thought proper to reveal, he has revealed; what he has revealed is essential to the well-being of man, and this revelation is intended not for the present time merely, nor for one people, but for all succeeding generations. The things which he has not revealed concern not man but God alone, and are therefore not to be inquired after." Thus, then, the things that are hidden belong unto the Lord, those that are revealed belong unto us and our children. But possibly the words here refer to the subjects of these chapters, as if he had said, "Apostasy from God and his truth is possible. When a national apostasy among us may take place, is known only to God; but he has revealed himself to us and our children that we may do all the words of this law, and so prevent the dreadful evils that shall fall on the disobedient."

The Jews have always considered these verses as containing subjects of the highest importance to them, and have affixed marks to the original ולבנינו לנו lanu ulebaneynu, "to Us and to our Children," in order to fix the attention of the reader on truths which affect them individually, and not them only, but the whole of their posterity.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God - This verse seems to be added as a solemn admonition on the part of Moses, in order to close the series of blessings and curses which he has delivered. The sense seems to be this: “The future, when and how these good and evil things will take effect, it lies with the Lord our God to determine; it pertains not to man‘s sphere and duty. God‘s revealed will is that which we must carry out.” The 17th of our Articles of Religion concludes with much the same sentiment.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews' rejectionjust as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, Ro 11:33. We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all Divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 279

“Those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever;” but “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” Deuteronomy 29:29. The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out in conjectures regarding the nature of God; but the effort will be fruitless. This problem has not been given us to solve. No human mind can comprehend God. Let not finite man attempt to interpret Him. Let none indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion. 8T 279.1

Even the angels were not permitted to share the counsels between the Father and the Son when the plan of salvation was laid. Those human beings who seek to intrude into the secrets of the Most High show their ignorance of spiritual and eternal things. Far better might they, while mercy's voice is still heard, humble themselves in the dust and plead with God to teach them His ways. 8T 279.2

We are as ignorant of God as little children, but as little children we may love and obey Him. Instead of speculating in regard to His nature or His prerogatives, let us give heed to the word He has spoken: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. 8T 279.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 171

It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings. The full radiance is beyond our vision. Ed 171.1

As we contemplate the great things of God's word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge. As we gaze, the vision widens; stretched out before us we behold a boundless, shoreless sea. Ed 171.2

Such study has vivifying power. The mind and heart acquire new strength, new life. Ed 171.3

This experience is the highest evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible. We receive God's word as food for the soul, through the same evidence by which we receive bread as food for the body. Bread supplies the need of our nature; we know by experience that it produces blood and bone and brain. Apply the same test to the Bible; when its principles have actually become the elements of character, what has been the result? what changes have been made in the life? “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. In its power, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have been transformed into the image of God. This change is itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27. Ed 171.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 173

I would say to those who hold views contrary to this plain declaration of Christ, Upon such matters silence is eloquence. It is presumption to indulge in suppositions and theories regarding matters that God has not made known to us in His Word. We need not enter into speculation regarding our future state. 1SM 173.1

To my ministering brethren I would say, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Do not bring to the foundation wood, and hay, and stubble—your own surmisings and speculations, which can benefit no one. 1SM 173.2

Christ withheld no truths essential to our salvation. Those things that are revealed are for us and our children, but we are not to allow our imagination to frame doctrines concerning things not revealed. 1SM 173.3

The Lord has made every provision for our happiness in the future life, but He has made no revelations regarding these plans, and we are not to speculate concerning them. Neither are we to measure the conditions of the future life by the conditions of this life. 1SM 173.4

Matters of vital importance have been plainly revealed in the Word of God. These subjects are worthy of our deepest thought. But we are not to search into matters on which God has been silent. Some have put forth the speculation that the redeemed will not have gray hair. Other foolish suppositions have been put forward, as though these were matters of importance. May God help His people to think rationally. When questions arise upon which we are uncertain, we should ask, “What saith the Scripture?” 1SM 173.5

Let those who wish for something new seek for that newness of life resulting from the new birth. Let them purify their souls by obeying the truth, and act in harmony with the instruction Christ gave to the lawyer who asked what he must do in order to inherit eternal life. 1SM 173.6

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 113

It is one of Satan's devices to lead the people to accept the fables of infidelity; for he can thus obscure the law of God, in itself very plain, and embolden men to rebel against the divine government. His efforts are especially directed against the fourth commandment, because it so clearly points to the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth. PP 113.1

There is a constant effort made to explain the work of creation as the result of natural causes; and human reasoning is accepted even by professed Christians, in opposition to plain Scripture facts. There are many who oppose the investigation of the prophecies, especially those of Daniel and the Revelation, declaring them to be so obscure that we cannot understand them; yet these very persons eagerly receive the suppositions of geologists, in contradiction of the Mosaic record. But if that which God has revealed is so difficult to understand, how inconsistent it is to accept mere suppositions in regard to that which He has not revealed! PP 113.2

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Deuteronomy 29:29. Just how God accomplished the work of creation He has never revealed to men; human science cannot search out the secrets of the Most High. His creative power is as incomprehensible as His existence. PP 113.3

God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God's word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. Because the Creator and His works are so far beyond their comprehension that they are unable to explain them by natural laws, they regard Bible history as unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments, will be led to go a step further, and doubt the existence of God; and then, having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. PP 113.4

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