(Deuteronomy xxix. 29.)
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed along unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Thus spake Moses unto the children of Israel when he was about to be separated from them by death. Rehearsing to them the substance of the law of which he was the minister, the temple blessings which should be enjoyed by their obedience, and the temporal judgments they should suffer and their disobedience, he gave them to understand that the words of the law were a sufficient rule for their observance, leaving all the whys and wherefores with him who is too wise to err; and that it was required of them to obey implicitly all that he enjoined upon them, without gainsaying or asking to be informed why or for what special purpose they were required of them, any further than it had been his pleasure to inform them. Secret things, which belong alone to God, are things which she is pleased to retain with himself, which are not given by revelation to any, but are retained in the hidden counsel of his sovereign well. Angels may desire to look into them, but
“Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God the reason gives;
Nor dare the holy angels pry
Between the folded leaves.”
What belongs to us and to our children are the things which God has given us. It is sacrilegious to ask for more or to be satisfied with less than God has been pleased to give us by revelation. It is not only irreligious, but unreasonable and presumptuous, fourth finite beings to ask or expect to know the unfathomable depth of God’s infinite knowledge and wisdom.
When the disciples asked Jesus concerning the time of the end of the world, he replied, saying, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven; neither the Son, but the Father only.” Thus clearly implying that it was not a matter of revelation, but held with the secret things which are put in his own power. All revelation of God and of the things of his spirit are revealed to us through Christ as the Son of God and Mediatorial Head of the church, so that no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and him to whomsoever the Son will reveal him; so all divine revelation is made by and through our Lord Jesus Christ. But while the secret things, which are only known to the Father, the long alone to God, all that God has revealed in his word and by his spirit is given of God, and belongs to us and to our children unto whom they are revealed.
We are not to construe these words of Moses to mean that there is nothing revealed of God and belonging to us more than what we already know and comprehend; for all that is contained in the sacred volume of the holy scriptures is a revelation which belongs to all unto whom it is given, an “was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” – Romans xv. 4. To this and the apostle ballot his knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus, according to the riches of his Glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man; that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith, that they being rooted and grounded and love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and the height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that they be filled with the fullness of God.– Eph. iii. 14-19.
Some, from a misunderstanding and consequent misapplication of our text, have feared to search for clearer views than they have on the doctrine of the bible, lest they should be found presumptuously to be prying into the secret things, which belongs alone to God. In our own experience in our younger days, when we have asked how certain popular theories can be sustained by the scriptures, we have been told that they were secret things of God which we have no right to inquire into. Those who lie in wait to mislead and deceive the honest inquirers after truth, will warn them to beware lest they indulge an undue inquiry after the things which belong not to us nor to our children. But we may rest assured that all that is contained in the scriptures is given for our learning, and is matter of revelation, and does belong to the Zion or church of God and to her children, and that it is not of a private interpretation. The scriptures are an open volume of precious truth, which God has graciously given for our instruction, and in which the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto every good work. It is therefore not only the privilege, but also the duty of all the saints to search them diligently, and given to them the more earnest heed, lest any time they should let them slip. The warning voice of an inspired apostle admonishes us in these impressive words, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not refuse to him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we refuse him to speaketh from heaven.” – Heb. xii. 25. God spake unto the carnal Israelites by Moses; and they that despised Moses’ law, or word spoken by him, died without mercy. The words which God spake unto the fathers by the prophets or steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. God has now in these last days spoken unto us by his Son; and all who live by faith upon the Son of God shall live, not on bread alone, but on every word which proceeds from the mouth of God. What God has spoken to us belongs therefore to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of his law which he has written in our hearts. What he has not spoken, or given by revelation, to us, does not belong to us, and therefore we are not to add to nor diminished the sacred volume; but we are commanded to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded us: no more, no less.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Signs of the Times
Volume 48, No. 19
October 1, 1880.