He that despised Moses' law - Αθετησας· He that rejected it, threw it aside, and denied its Divine authority by presumptuous sinning, died without mercy - without any extenuation or mitigation of punishment; Numbers 15:30.
Under two or three witnesses - That is, when convicted by the testimony of two or three respectable witnesses. See Deuteronomy 17:6.
He that despised Moses‘ law - That is, the apostate from the religion of Moses. It does not mean that in all cases the offender against the Law of Moses died without mercy, but only where offences were punishable with death, and probably the apostle had in his eye particularly the case of apostasy from the Jewish religion. The subject of apostasy from the Christian religion is particularly under discussion here, and it was natural to illustrate this by a reference to a similar case under the Law of Moses. The Law in regard to apostates from the Jewish religion was positive. There was no reprieve; Deuteronomy 13:6-10.
Died without mercy - That is, there was no provision for pardon.
Under two or three witnesses - It was the settled law among the Hebrews that in all cases involving capital punishment, two or three witnesses should be necessary. That is, no one was to be executed unless two persons certainly bore testimony, and it was regarded as important, if possible, that three witnesses should concur in the statement. The object was the security of the accused person if innocent. The “principle” in the Law was, that it was to be presumed that two or three persons would be much less likely to conspire to render a false testimony than one would be, and that two or three would not be likely to be deceived in regard to a fact which they had observed.
A special signal was first given by the trumpeters to call the attention of the people; then all were to be attentive and obey the certain sound of the trumpets. There was no confusion of sound in the voices of the trumpets, therefore there was no excuse for confusion in movements. The head officer of each company gave definite directions in regard to the movements they were required to make, and none who gave attention were left in ignorance of what they were to do. If any failed to comply with the requirements given by the Lord to Moses, and by Moses to the people, they were punished with death. It would be no excuse to plead that they knew not the nature of these requirements, for they would only prove themselves willingly ignorant, and would receive the just punishment for their transgression. If they did not know the will of God concerning them, it was their own fault. They had the same opportunities to obtain the knowledge imparted as others of the people had, therefore their sin of not knowing, not understanding, was as great in the sight of God as if they had heard and then transgressed. 1T 651.1Read in context »
But if we would enter the city of God, and look upon Jesus in His glory, we must become accustomed to beholding Him with the eye of faith here. The words and the character of Christ should be often the subject of our thoughts and of our conversation; and each day some time should be especially devoted to prayerful meditation upon these sacred themes. MYP 114.1
Sanctification is a daily work. Let none deceive themselves with the belief that God will pardon and bless them while they are trampling upon one of His requirements. The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit, and separates the soul from God. Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor Him. MYP 114.2Read in context »
Our workers are not reaching out as they should. Our leading men are not awake to the work that must be accomplished. When I think of the cities in which so little has been done, in which there are so many thousands to be warned of the soon coming of the Saviour, I feel an intensity of desire to see men and women going forth to the work in the power of the Spirit, filled with Christ's love for perishing souls. 7T 40.1
Those in our cities—living within the shadow of our doors—have been strangely neglected. Organized effort should now be put forth to give them the message of present truth. A new song is to be put into their mouths. They are to go forth to impart to others now in darkness the light of the third angel's message. 7T 40.2Read in context »