Lessons from the Children of Israel, Part IV

There are very few passages of Scripture that can be classified as sad passages, but Numbers 20, for several reasons, is indeed a very sad chapter.

First of all, it is sad because two of Israel’s leaders die. A third leader is told that he will die at a later point in time. This chapter is also sad because of the rebellion that once again manifests itself in the lives of the children of Israel and provokes Moses to such an extent that he loses out in going into the Promised Land. This is to stand as an object lesson not only to people throughout the ages but also to those in positions of leadership throughout history, that every aspect of decorum, attitude, and demeanor must be above all reproach.

It is one thing to kick a hole in a wall of your home, while you are there by yourself, because of the frustrations that you have encountered, but it is completely another thing to kick a hole in a wall while the congregation is watching. Such an action will be held in altogether a different light as far as God is concerned. If there is anything that this chapter tells us, it is that very fact.

As we study this chapter, there is one thing that repeatedly comes through: How are the chosen of God going to react to adverse circumstances? Have you had any adverse circumstances come your way? How did you react to them? The older we become and the more experiences we have, the greater is our accountability in developing refined, Christian characters, so that those who are looking to us for words of encouragement and help will find the highest levels of example. At least it should be that way.

In my experience, as I have watched the adverse behavior of church members, I do not find myself nearly as disappointed as when I see such behavior in those of leadership. When I see those to whom I have looked and held in high esteem fail, because of their own internal passion in how they relate to issues, I am much, much more disappointed.

“Then came the children of Israel, [even] the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.” Numbers 20:1. We need to remember that at this point in time there was almost an entirely new congregation than the one that found themselves at Kadesh when the ten spies gave their reports after scouting the Promised Land. (See Numbers 13.) At the time of their first stop in Kadesh, members of the present congregation were 20 years old or younger. The children of Israel made their wanderings; they experienced the manna falling in the wilderness on every day but the Sabbath day, with a double portion on Friday. Their shoes never wore out, nor did their clothes. This generation experienced all of these miracles and then found themselves back at Kadesh.

“And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it [is] no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither [is] there any water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts [also]. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This [is] the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.” Numbers 20:2–13.

This rebellion occurred because the children of Israel had not yet learned the lessons God wanted them to learn. This generation that now finds itself at Kadesh is a generation that has to go through its own particular test.

Often, we who are parents, having raised our children in the Lord, think that there is a special blessing due us by God. He is expected to work a miracle because of our faithfulness in providing them occasions of worship and rehearsing to them the stories of God’s miracles. We often think that they should, as a result of what we have done, be able to develop Christian characters and be ushered into a life of righteousness without going through their own testing times. It never works that way. Every generation must go through its test. Every individual must be tested, to see if he or she has learned of God to the extent that his or her character is ready for the kingdom of heaven. No one enters into the kingdom of heaven just because they are born of a certain line—their parents are in ministry or in medical work or in church leadership or whatever—without going through the test. Every generation has to have its test. The 40 years, which had been decreed upon the children of Israel as a punishment, were almost over.

Death of Miriam

As the camp was assembled there at Kadesh for the second time, Miriam passed on to her death and was buried there. There is little reference to this. Miriam, of course, was a prophetess of God. Remember, she was the one who, as the older sister of Moses and Aaron, led the singing on the shore of the Red Sea when Pharaoh and his hosts were thrown into the deep. As nearly as we can tell chronologically, Miriam was about 130 years old when she died. There is not much more recorded concerning her life. There may be a reason for that. Like Aaron, Miriam had also sinned greatly in her jealousy regarding Moses. She was probably about 90 years old at that point in time. She should have been old enough to know better.

There is one true lesson in this, even for Moses, and that is that one’s age does not prevent one from sinning. Some people, when referring to righteousness by faith, have jokingly called it righteousness by senility, in that, upon becoming old, an individual becomes unable to have the grasp or comprehension to distinguish between right and wrong. Therefore, they reason, the Lord looks upon the past life and governs accordingly. I do not think that is how God views this situation.

Accountability of Leadership

There is a great deal of significance placed upon the sins of leaders, and those sins bring a greater penalty than the sins of the members of the congregations. I have for some time now been pondering about how we are to relate to leadership today. One of the greatest needs in the historic movement is that of true leadership and organization.

In Scripture, I find that those who have been called to positions of leadership are going to be held to a greater accountability. They are going to be held to a greater accountability, because they have been placed in a position of leadership over the congregation, and they are to lead that congregation in the right way under any and all circumstances.

“The sins of good men, whose general deportment has been worthy of imitation, are peculiarly offensive to God. They cause Satan to triumph, and to taunt the angels of God with the failings of God’s chosen instruments, and give the unrighteous occasion to lift themselves up against God.” The Story of Redemption, 168. Leaders hold a special place in the eyes of God. Not only are they accountable for their own sins, but they are also accountable as to how they influence their congregation and the stands that they take. The congregation is not held to that accountability.

As we read this story of Moses and the children of Israel, there is the tendency for us to look at what Moses did, and say, “I just don’t see it as that bad of a situation.” We have a tendency to make the same rationalization regarding Eve at the tree. “I just don’t see that it was that bad.” But God sees the example that it sets, and we see the consequences of the disobedience. Concerning whether or not Miriam, will be in the kingdom of heaven, the Scriptures are silent. It just says that Miriam died and was buried there. She failed to enter into the Promised Land.

Blinded by Unbelief

The next part of the narrative reads as though there had not been any interval of years. One may perceive that it was the old generation that was at Kadesh just a short time before, but it was a different generation—a generation that had not learned the lessons of the previous generation.

“Just before the Hebrew host reached Kadesh, the living stream ceased that for so many years had gushed out beside their encampment. It was the Lord’s purpose again to test His people. He would prove whether they would trust His providence or imitate the unbelief of their fathers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 413.

As mentioned before, being raised in a good Seventh-day Adventist home does not guarantee for you a place in the kingdom of heaven. You have no guarantee just because you had the benefit of being raised in that type of home. You must have your own tests. You will be brought through trials to test your own individual experience. God is going to prove every person. If you do not meet a test, if you fall and fail in a test, God is going to bring you right back around, and you will find yourself at the very same place again.

This is basically what happened with the children of Israel. Where had they before failed? The first generation failed at Kadesh. The whole congregation had moved through the experiences of the numerous times God had provided every possible example for them of faithfulness, bringing them around again and again to the same, exact place. God will do that.

These people who had rejoiced that the water was available to them day by day by day, should have rejoiced when it stopped. Why should they have rejoiced when it stopped? Because they were going to enter into the Promised Land. They should have seen this as evidence—a sign to them. This was a sign that they should have understood, just as Jesus tells us, in Matthew 24, “These are the signs that are going to come to pass. Watch for this; watch for that. When you see these things, lift up your head.” They should have known they were getting close to entering the Promised Land. Their wilderness wandering was nearly over.

“Had they not been blinded by their unbelief, they would have understood this. But that which should have been an evidence of the fulfillment of God’s promise was made the occasion of doubt and murmuring.” Ibid. 414. Here, for a short while, was an opportunity for them to walk by faith instead of by sight, but the first trial developed the same, turbulent, unthankful spirit that had been manifested by their fathers. No sooner was the cry for water heard in the encampment than they forgot the hand that had for so many years supplied their wants, and instead of turning to God for help, they murmured against Him.

Missed Learning Opportunity

What a situation for a learning opportunity! It was this generation’s first occasion to be tried, but they had the history of their parents’ generation. When the Israelites had set up camp, during the early days of their freedom, they found that they were without water. (See Exodus 17.) They came to Moses, and at the Lord’s instruction, Moses struck the rock in Horeb and water flowed. Paul says that Rock followed them. That Rock was Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 10:2–4.) Had God supplied their need there? He certainly had.

Now this generation was experiencing the same trial, but something was wrong. They repeated the same sin. That tells me that there was a failure on the part of the older generation to instruct the younger ones as to the blessings of God. It tells me that they perhaps did not have worship together as they gathered around the campfire each evening. They neglected to recount the blessings of God in their past history.

This generation did not know; they did not have enough instruction, so when they faced an experience similar to that of their parents, they did not know what to do. This can happen. Parents can fail to instruct their children as to the faithfulness of God. When the children are brought into trying experiences, they do not know what to do.

There was also a problem with the younger generation that should have been seeking for knowledge—What can you tell me about the faithfulness of God—Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Grandpa, Grandma? What can you tell me? What has been your experience? You have lived much longer than I. They did not learn, nor were they taught.

Discontented Hearts; Reckless Tongues

One thing is for sure. As far as we know, there was a failure. Numbers 20:3 says, “And the people chode with Moses.” They do not just come to Moses with a plea for water. “Moses, I am thirsty. Moses, my animals are panting.” It says, they “chode with Moses.”

To be concluded . . .

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life. He may be contacted by e-mail at: mikebaugher@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

The Destroying Effect of Evil Speaking and Gossip

Gossip—small talk, hearsay, rumor, scandal—is the major element used by Satan to destroy love and unity within the church.

“Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 465.

We read from God’s holy word the following, “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.” Numbers 12:1.

From the pen of inspiration we are given an insight into this whole experience. God’s servant records: “Moses felt the importance of the great work committed to him as no other man had ever felt it. He realized his own weakness, and he made God his counselor. Aaron esteemed himself more highly, and trusted less in God. He had failed when entrusted with responsibility, giving evidence of the weakness of his character by his base compliance in the matter of the idolatrous worship at Sinai. But Miriam and Aaron, blinded by jealousy and ambition, lost sight of this. Aaron had been highly honored by God in the appointment of his family to the sacred office of the priesthood; yet even this now added to the desire for self-exaltation. ‘And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath He not spoken also by us’ [Numbers 12:2]? Regarding themselves as equally favored by God, they felt that they were entitled to the same position and authority.

“Yielding to the spirit of dissatisfaction, Miriam found cause of complaint in events that God had especially overruled. The marriage of Moses had been displeasing to her. That he should choose a woman of another nation, instead of taking a wife from among the Hebrews, was an offense to her family and national pride. Zipporah was treated with ill-disguised contempt.

“Though called a ‘Cushite woman’ (Numbers 12:1, R.V.), the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal appearance she differed from the Hebrews in being of a somewhat darker complexion. Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. She was of a timid, retiring disposition, gentle and affectionate, and greatly distressed at the sight of suffering; and it was for this reason that Moses, when on the way to Egypt, had consented to her return to Midian. He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments that were to fall on the Egyptians.

“When Zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength, and she made known her fears to Jethro, who suggested measures for his relief. Here was the chief reason for Miriam’s antipathy to Zipporah. Smarting under the supposed neglect shown to herself and Aaron, she regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking them into his counsels as formerly. Had Aaron stood up firmly for the right, he might have checked the evil; but instead of showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized with her, listened to her words of complaint, and thus came to share her jealousy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 383, 384.

Evidence before us is the fact that Miriam’s jealousy produced evil speaking and gossip, but how did she and Aaron come to be affected by jealousy?

  1. In the appointment of the seventy elders, Miriam and Aaron had not been consulted, and their jealousy was excited against Moses.
  2. At the time of Jethro’s visit, while the Israelites were on their way to Sinai, the ready acceptance by Moses of the counsel of his father-in-law had aroused in Aaron and Miriam a fear that his influence with the great leader exceeded theirs.
  3. In the organization of the council of elders, they felt that their position and authority had been ignored.
  4. Because they had been chosen to aid Moses, they regarded themselves as sharing equally with him the burden of leadership, and they regarded the appointment of further assistance as uncalled for.

This seeming disregard of their authority by Moses fanned into operation the flames of jealousy or envy which ultimately gave rise to evil speaking and gossip, and this spirit of evil speaking and gossip that was now alive and active, due to irresponsible attitudes of Miriam and Aaron, would have soon leavened the whole camp of Israel. Ever keep in mind the fact that jealousy is an attribute of Satan, which means that gossip is of Satan and therefore will only produce a harvest of cruel deeds. We are counseled:

“Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human heart, and it is one of the most baleful in its effects. Says the wise man, ‘Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?’ Proverbs 27:4. … ‘Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.’ James 3:16.

“It should not be regarded as a light thing to speak evil of others or to make ourselves judges of their motives or actions. ‘He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.’ James 4:11. There is but one judge—He ‘who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.’ 1 Corinthians 4:5. And whoever takes it upon himself to judge and condemn his fellow men is usurping the prerogative of the Creator.” Ibid., 385.

As a name, Miriam belongs to a family of words having different root-form; all of which suggest bitterness, Mary, Maria. Miriam, then, the same as Mary, means bitterness or rebellion. This she lived out in the prime of her days!

Let’s examine closer Miriam’s life in relation to this incident. Miriam was the eldest child of Amram and Jochebed, and the sister of Aaron and Moses. Miriam owed much to her ancestry. She was the daughter of godly parents and the sister of two of Israel’s greatest figures. We have no biblical evidence that Miriam was ever married. Her interests were not matrimonial; they were national. Her mission was not domestic; it was patriotic. Miriam is wellknown as a prophetess, and she was highly respected in Israel. The Bible, we can all agree, is an honest book that gives only the truth. It tells the naked truth of those it describes. Blemishes, as well as beauties, are revealed in spite of the person! Miriam, for instance, rebelled against the mission of her life, namely to protect and labor in association with God’s leader whom she had been the means of saving for his country.

Miriam was, above all things, a faithful patriot, with a love for her country greater than the love for her renowned brother. Jealousy led Miriam to reject both the position of Moses as the leader of Israel and his partner in the wife he took unto himself. She found the management and marriage of Moses most distressing, most annoying! Miriam as a church member and more so as a leader became careless and irresponsible because of envy, which led her to turn against her own brother. Isn’t this the same attitude that many of us who profess to be Christians display towards each other who are namely our brothers and sisters?

It was not so much feminine jealousy on Miriam’s part as patriotic jealousy, which gave rise to her gossiping spirit. She was a confirmed member of the Hebrew race and set against any foreign alliance. How often do we, as confirmed Seventh-day Adventists, become troubled concerning those who have come in and joined us who were of a different faith or of another Adventist church? How often are we affected because of their rise to authority within the precincts of the church? We share our burdens with each other about the intruders positioning themselves in our church to take away our positions and belittle our authority.

But Miriam’s greatest offense was her sarcastic rejection of the leadership of her brother, Moses. Hitherto she had been a symbol of unity, cooperation, and support as she shared in the triumphs and hopes of Israel. Now, unfortunately, she is prominent as a leader of discord, division and discontent. “It was envy,” Ellen White wrote, “that first caused discord in heaven, and its indulgence has wrought untold evil among men.” Ibid. So Miriam was now doing the service of Satan. Was this her original desire and intention? Did she desire to bring division, discord and strife between herself and her younger brother?

From the book The Desire of Ages, 323 is found sobering counsel: “Closely connected with Christ’s warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ [Matthew 12:34]. But the words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are.”

You will notice that Aaron is paired with Miriam in this ungodly ordeal. We know from the record that Miriam was the instigator and spokes-woman in the revolt. The Holy Scripture says, “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses.” Numbers 12:1.

Why is it that Miriam did not seek out Moses and express to him her concern? Why did she seek out Aaron, in whom she found a listening ear? Well, it is no doubt because she and Aaron shared a closer relationship, because when Moses was away growing up in the palace and the wilderness, Aaron was there with her. Miriam knew well her brother’s weak and strong points of character, one who would quickly sympathize and agree even if it was wrong, and who would understand, one who would not be quick to oppose, condemn and rebuke.

Miriam understood Aaron and Aaron understood Miriam! For the little she knew of Moses, he was too exact, unbending and regimental as well as overly religious. Aaron was far easier to talk with! It is on this basis, against this background, that we have this cooperative effort.

Personal jealousy and fear of their own respective leadership are mingled in their question, “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?” Numbers 12:2. What we see here is that Miriam and Aaron aspired to a joint partnership in state power and in the government of Israel, but they failed! Miriam’s chief error consisted in her effort to break down the God-given authority of Moses and thereby imperil the unity and hope of the nation. This would most effectively be accomplished through the same method that Lucifer used in heaven, namely gossip, evil surmising and evil speaking.

No doubt, this will be the result in every church in which members cherish the Miriam and Aaron Syndrome. In every church where the spirit of gossip and evil speaking is encouraged; unity, love, trust and hope are destroyed. It has been said that one of the torments of jealousy is that it can never turn away its eyes from the thing that pains it.

Up to this time Moses was unaware of the evil work being done by the two closest persons to him in his leadership, but God knew, for the Holy Scripture declares, “The Lord heard it.” Numbers 12:2. God heard the evil conversation of Miriam and Aaron. He will always hear the gossipers in conversation, and He will certainly pay for the work done by such individuals!

“And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.” Verses 4–10.

Many times gossipers seek to conceal themselves and their accomplice, but God in time will reveal such individuals the way He knows best and in most cases for their good and the benefit of His church. We are told in the book Patriarchs and Prophets that, “This manifestation of the Lord’s displeasure was designed to be a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent and insubordination. If Miriam’s envy and dissatisfaction had not been signally rebuked, it would have resulted in great evil.” Ibid., 385.

Notice that the very one whom Miriam was gossiping about was the same one who had to pray for her in order that she be spared. This spirit that Moses possessed should be the same spirit all share who are victims of gossip and evil speaking.

The significance of God’s attitude concerning the discipline of Miriam is worth noting. In spite of His forgiving mercies, she never escaped a lesser discipline; she, being a temporary leper, was shut out of the camp for seven days. Due to Miriam’s ungodly behavior the church was brought to a halt for one week at least! It’s no different today, for the progress of the church will be greatly affected by gossipers and evil-surmisers. Indeed, “Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 465.

Is it possible that the confidence Moses placed in Aaron and Miriam had been shaken as to make him walk alone from that point onward? Well, Miriam accepted her discipline, repented of her sins, and remained faithful until death.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor: And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.” Numbers 20:23–26.

“Aaron’s work for Israel was done. Forty years before, at the age of eighty-three, God had called him to unite with Moses in his great and important mission. He had co-operated with his brother in leading the children of Israel from Egypt. He had held up the great leader’s hands when the Hebrew hosts gave battle to Amalek. He had been permitted to ascend Mount Sinai, to approach into the presence of God, and to behold the divine glory. The Lord had conferred upon the family of Aaron the office of the priesthood, and had honored him with the sacred consecration of high priest. He had sustained him in the holy office by the terrible manifestations of divine judgment in the destruction of Korah and his company. It was through Aaron’s intercession that the plague was stayed. When his two sons were slain for disregarding God’s express command, he did not rebel or even murmur. Yet the record of his noble life had been marred. Aaron committed a grievous sin when he yielded to the clamors of the people and made the golden calf at Sinai; and again, when he united with Miriam in envy and murmuring against Moses. And he, with Moses, offended the Lord at Kadesh by disobeying the command to speak to the rock that it might give forth its water. …

“For his sin at Kadesh, Aaron was denied the privilege of officiating as God’s high priest in Canaan—of offering the first sacrifice in the goodly land, and thus consecrating the inheritance of Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 425, 426.

If there was hope for the gossipers Miriam and Aaron, then there is certainly hope for every gossiper today! Jesus stands today and says to each one, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.” Jeremiah 3:13, 14.

I firmly believe that Aaron and Miriam will be in heaven, simply because they repented and submitted themselves to God’s discipline. Why not follow in the footsteps of Aaron and Miriam? Amen!!!

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-882-3900.

Women in the Bible

An article in an Eastern paper says: “Women were not permitted to speak in the early Christian churches. The Bible takes no more account of women generally than the Koran or any other Eastern book.”

Nothing could surprise us more than to read this statement in a paper which ought to know better. Women were not only degraded among Eastern nations, but they are always degraded where Christian civilization is unknown. It is in the diffusive benevolence of Christianity that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.

And the New Testament is not contrary to the Old, in this respect. Sarah was honored in the promise and birth of a son, as well as Abraham. She was called by name as the mother of “the seed,’’ to the exclusion of all others. Her name was changed as well as that of her husband.

Miriam was honored as well as her brothers, Aaron and Moses. Dr. Smith, in his Bible Dictionary says, “In Micah. 6:4 she is reckoned as amongst the three deliverers. She is the first personage in that household to whom the prophetic gifts are directly ascribed; Miriam the Prophetess, is her acknowledged title,” “judged Israel.” She was also a deliverer in the day of their trouble, as Barak refused to lead the armies of Israel against the Canaanites unless she went with him. And Jael, the wife of Heber, has honorable mention in the song of triumph which they sang. When Josiah repaired the temple, and learned by the book of the law which was found therein that there had been a great departing from the ways of God, and that wrath was like to come upon Israel, they took counsel of “Huldah the prophetess,” and the king and the priest and the king’s officers gave attention to the word of the Lord by her.

In Joel’s prophecy of the present dispensation it was said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” No promise was given there to the men which was not given also to the “handmaids.” On the day of Pentecost Peter quoted this prophecy without any suppression or diminution, and soon after we find a remarkable fulfillment in the household of Philip, the evangelist, who had four daughters “which did prophesy.” If four sons in any one family ever prophesied we certainly have no record of it.

The number of women of whom honorable mention is made for their labors in the gospel is not small. Now, in view of these facts, how can any man in this age say that the Bible does not notice women, or give them a place in the work of God? The Lord chooses his own worker, and he does not judge as man judges. Man looks at the appearance; God judges the heart, and he never makes mistakes. Happy for the people when they can heartily coincide with His judgment, and be co-workers with him, instead of taking an independent course, and choosing their own way, which is sure to lead to darkness, confusion, and ruin.

The Signs of the Times, October 30, 1879.