Indian Valley, Va.
I am inclosing you a letter Elder H. H. Lefferts wrote me. I enjoyed the letter and thought others would be glad to read it. If you think it is worth space in your paper you can publish it. I was with Elder Lefferts in Pennsylvania the 2nd Sunday in October. I asked him his views on the choosing of the seventy elders spoken of in the 11th chapter of Numbers. After he had returned home he wrote me the letter which I am inclosing.
Yours in faith and hope,
L. A. HARRIS
Dear Brother Harris
I trust that you made your bus connections on time, and that you had a safe journey to your home and that you found Sister Harris and others of your care, none the worse for your having been briefly away from them. Your visit was short, it seems almost a dream that you were here at all. Since your visit, I have bad some further reflections on the 11th of Numbers.
The Israelites complained against Moses because they had no flesh to eat, so the Lord gave them flesh in the form of abundant quails. So much of it, that it became offensive to them; they found that they did not want what they thought they wanted. It is often the case. We cry for this or that; but when the Lord grants it, we find it to be offensive to us and not what we wanted at all. It is bad when God’s people murmur against Him; and we never do it but to our own confusion and chastening.
Moses was displeased, but not with the Lord, I think. He was displeased at the murmurings of the people over whom he had charge. But he did say to the Lord that the business of looking after this great [host of] people was too heavy a burden for him, and wished to die rather than any longer have so great responsibility. The Lord heard him and provided a remedy. So it is always. Whatever responsibility, no matter how heavy, He puts on us, He always makes a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it. He tells us to cast our burdens on Him, and assures us He cares for us. He did this with Moses. Moses was so burdened that he desired rather to die; but death for him was not the way of escape at that time. Instead the Lord gave him 70 of the elders of Israel to help him. I do not understand that He took from Moses the spirit wholly; but that He took from Moses “of his spirit” and put it upon the 70. Moses was not thus deprived of the spirit that he had, but the 70 were each of them given of the same spirit which Moses had. By this distribution of the spirit, without thereby making Moses have any the less of it, the ability to prophesy came upon the 70. Moses was thereby no less a prophet than he had been, but those who hitherto had not been able to prophesy were now enabled to prophesy along with Moses. In other words, Moses now had a companionship and fellowship in this matter which before he had been alone in.
Do we not see in this a type of Christ? It is said of Christ that He had the fulness of the Spirit without measure. After Christ ascended on high, He gave gifts unto men: for instance, the Spirit came upon the apostles in their measure, but not in the fulness which Christ alone has. By His ascension to the right hand of God, Christ has since made distribution of His Spirit among the saints of this gospel age by giving unto each a measure of His own Spirit. It is by this power alone, that any of us are enabled to serve the people of God in the gospel. In so doing, Christ is not thereby robbed: He still has the fulness of the Spirit and is not made any the poorer by His distribetion of gifts among us.
The sun shines on you, it shines on me, it shines on everybody; but because the sun shines on me, you are not thereby deprived of it; the people on the other side of the world are not deprived of sunshine because it shines on us here in America. The sun is not used up nor worn out because it has shone for 6,000 years. Neither is Christ in His fulness in any wise diminished because He bestows a measure of His Spirit on His servants to minister to His people in Christ’s stead. Likewise Moses was not robbed nor diminished in the measure of the spirit which he had, because the Lord took “of his spirit” and put it upon the 70.
As for the two who remained in the camp and who also prophesied, Moses would not allow them to be silenced. He would have been glad if the whole people could have prophesied. So Paul in one of his letters to the churches, tells us not to “despise prophesyings.” Let us acknowledge the truth, no matter who preaches it. We are not to believe all we hear because this or that man says it; yet we are to prove all things and hold fast only that which is good, - that is, that which conforms to the scriptures and to the experience of the saints. Let us test any man’s prophesyings by the word of God and by the work of the Word in our hearts; and if he speaks according to this word, then let us rejoice as Moses did, whether the man who prophesies belongs in the sanctuary or somewhere out in the camp.
I give you this for what it is worth. You are free to use it as you like. Any views I may have belong to the whole household and are not my private property. The Lord be with you.
Yours in gospel bonds,
H. H. LEFFERTS
Old Faith Contender, Vol. 20, No. 12