Hath been chief in this trespass - They who are the first men have been the most capital offenders; so Virgil, Aen. ix. 783: -
Unus homo, vestris, o cives, undique septus
Aggeribus, tantas strages impune per urbem Ediderit?
Juvenum primos tot miserit orco?
"Shall one, and he enclosed within your walls,
One rash imprisoned warrior, vanquish all?
Calm you look on, and see the furious foe
Plunge crowds of heroes to the shades below!"
The first of the Trojan youth were the chief, the most illustrious; so we say the first men of the kingdom for the nobles, etc.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). 2SM 121.1
The Lord's injunction, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), refers not only to the marriage of Christians with the ungodly, but to all alliances in which the parties are brought into intimate association, and in which there is need of harmony in spirit and action. The Lord gave special direction to Israel to keep themselves distinct from idolaters. They were not to intermarry with the heathen nor form any confederacy with them: “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: but ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:12-14). 2SM 121.2Read in context »
The children of the world are called the children of darkness. They are blinded by the god of this world, and are led by the spirit of the prince of darkness. They cannot enjoy heavenly things. The children of light have their affections set on things above. They leave behind them the things of this world. They fulfill the command: Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” Here is the conditional promise: “I will receive you.” From the beginning, Christ has chosen His people out of the world and required them to be separate, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. If they love God and keep His commandments, they will be far from having the friendship, and loving the pleasures, of the world. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. 1T 279.1
The prophet Ezra, and other faithful servants of the Jewish church, were astonished when the princes came to them saying: “The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations.” “And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that Thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; should we again break Thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not Thou be angry with us till Thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, Thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before Thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before Thee because of this.” Ezra 9:1, 13-15. 1T 279.2
2 Chronicles 36:14-16: “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which He had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” 1T 280.1Read in context »
It was in the providence of God that those who returned with Ezra had had special seasons of seeking the Lord. The experiences through which they had just passed, on their journey from Babylon, unprotected as they had been by any human power, had taught them rich spiritual lessons. Many had grown strong in faith; and as these mingled with the discouraged and the indifferent in Jerusalem, their influence was a powerful factor in the reform soon afterward instituted. PK 619.1
On the fourth day after the arrival, the treasures of silver and gold, with the vessels for the service of the sanctuary, were delivered by the treasurers into the hands of the temple officers, in the presence of witnesses, and with the utmost exactitude. Every article was examined “by number and by weight.” Ezra 8:34. PK 619.2
The children of the captivity who had returned with Ezra “offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel” for a sin offering and as a token of their gratitude and thanksgiving for the protection of holy angels during the journey. “And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.” Verses 35, 36. PK 619.3Read in context »