They were both righteous - Upright and holy in all their outward conduct in civil life.
Before God - Possessing the spirit of the religion they professed; exercising themselves constantly in the presence of their Maker, whose eye, they knew, was upon all their conduct, and who examined all their motives.
Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless - None being able to lay any evil to their charge. They were as exemplary and conscientious in the discharge of their religious duties as they were in the discharge of the offices of civil life. What a sacred pair! they made their duty to God, to their neighbor, and to themselves, walk constantly hand in hand. See the note on Matthew 3:15. Perhaps εντολαι, commandments, may here mean the decalogue; and δικαιωματα, ordinances, the ceremonial and judicial laws which were delivered after the decalogue: as all the precepts delivered from Exodus 21:1; to Exodus 24:1; are termed δικαιωματα, judgments or ordinances.
Both righteous - Both “just” or holy. This means here more than external conformity to the law. It is an honorable testimonial of their “piety” toward God.
Walking in - Keeping the commandments. To walk in the way that God commands is “to obey.”
Ordinances - Rites and customs which God had ordained or appointed. These words refer to all the duties of religion which were made known to them.
Blameless - That is, no fault or deficiency could be found in them. They were strict, exact, punctual. Yet this, if it had been mere “external” observance, might have been no proof of piety. Paul, before his conversion, also kept the law “externally” blameless, Philemon 3:6. But in the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth it was real love to God and sincere regard for his law.
The church that Christ presents before the throne of His glory is without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Do you want to be among those who have washed their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb? then, “cease to do evil; learn to do well”; walk in the commandments and ordinances of your God blameless. You are not to ask whether it suits your convenience to keep the truth of heaven. You are to take up your cross and follow Jesus, cost what it may. You will find that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911. RC 54.6Read in context »
Only the Father Could Release Christ—He who died for the sins of the world was to remain in the tomb the allotted time. He was in that stony prison house as a prisoner of divine justice. He was responsible to the Judge of the universe. He was bearing the sins of the world, and His Father only could release Him. A strong guard of mighty angels kept watch over the tomb, and had a hand been raised to remove the body, the flashing forth of their glory would have laid him who ventured powerless on the earth. 5BC 1114.1
There was only one entrance to the tomb, and neither human force nor fraud could tamper with the stone that guarded the entrance. Here Jesus rested during the Sabbath. But prophecy had pointed out that on the third day Christ would rise from the dead. Christ Himself had assured His disciples of this. “Destroy this temple,” He said, “and in three days I will raise it up.” Christ never committed sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. His body was to come forth from the tomb untarnished by corruption (Manuscript 94, 1897). 5BC 1114.2
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339. The inquiry of fathers and mothers should be, “What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?” We have brought before the reader what God has said concerning the course of the mother before the birth of her children. But this is not all. The angel Gabriel was sent from the heavenly courts to give directions for the care of children after their birth, that parents might fully understand their duty. CD 225.1
About the time of Christ's first advent the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias with a message similar to that given to Manoah. The aged priest was told that his wife should bear a son, whose name should be called John. “And,” said the angel, “thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” This child of promise was to be brought up with strictly temperate habits. An important work of reform was to be committed to him, to prepare the way for Christ. CD 225.2
Intemperance in every form existed among the people. Indulgence in wine and luxurious food was lessening physical strength, and debasing the morals to such an extent that the most revolting crimes did not appear sinful. The voice of John was to sound forth from the wilderness in stern rebuke for the sinful indulgences of the people, and his own abstemious habits were also to be a reproof of the excesses of his time.—The Signs of the Times, September 13, 1910 CD 225.3
The efforts of our temperance workers are not sufficiently far-reaching to banish the curse of intemperance from our land. Habits once formed are hard to overcome. The reform should begin with the mother before the birth of her children; and if God's instructions were faithfully obeyed, intemperance would not exist. CD 225.4Read in context »