The Desire of Ages

“The most beautiful book ever written on the life of Christ.”

—Library of Congress

by E.G. White

The complete book

plus Reader’s Guide, Promise Passages, 4 maps, and 2 indexes

Plus —

The Crucifixion: Historical and Medical Facts

Harvestime Books

The Desire of Ages
by E.G. White
Published by Harvestime Books Altamont, TN 37301 USA
Printed in the United States of America Cover and Text Copyright © 2002

“Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss.” —Desire of Ages, 107.

This book: This edition includes the complete original book. Nothing the author wrote has been omitted or changed.

Explanation of bracketed numbers on page tops: These refer to comparable, standardized paging in the original, cloth-cover edition. Additional copies: For additional copies of this book at remarkably low prices in boxful quantities, write to Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN 37301. When you write, ask for a copy of our “Missionary Book Order Sheet,” containing low-cost boxful prices of this and other books, such as Great Controversy, Ministry of Healing, Christ’s Object Lessons, Bible Readings, etc.


HELPS IN THE STUDY OF DESIRE OF AGES The Story behind This Book 10

This Edition 12
Reader’s Guide to the Life of Christ 13

Bible Stories for the Whole Family Map Section 20

MAP 1 — Judea and Galilee 21 

MAP 2 — Galilee and Phoenicia 22

MAP 3 — Jerusalem 23

MAP 4 — Environs of Jerusalem 24

Precious Promise Passages 25 

Prophecies about Christ 30 

Encouraging Paragraphs 33


1 “God with Us” 35

Matthew 1:23

2 The Chosen People 43

John 1:11

3 “The Fullness of Time” 47

Galatians 4:4; Genesis 49:10

4 Unto You a Saviour 54

Luke 2:1-20

5 The Dedication 58

Luke 2:21-38

6 “We Have Seen His Star” 66

Matthew 2

7 As a Child 73

Luke 2:39-40

8 The Passover 80

Luke 2:41-51

9 Days of Conflict 89

Luke 2:51


10 The Voice in the Wilderness 97

Luke 1:5-23, 57-80; 3:1-18; Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8

11 The Baptism 110

Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22

12 The Temptation 115

Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13

13 The Victory 126

Matthew 4:5-11; Mark 1 :12-13; Luke 4:5-13

14 “We Have Found the Messias” 132

John 1:19-51

15 At the Marriage Feast 144

John 2:1-11


16 In His Temple 155

John 2:12-22

17 Nicodemus 167

John 3:1-17

18 “He Must Increase” 176

John 3:22-36

19 At Jacob’s Well 181

John 4:1-42

20 “Except Ye See Signs and Wonders” 193

John 4:43-54

21 Bethesda and the Sanhedrin 198

John 5:1-47


22 Imprisonment and Death of John 213

Matthew 11:1-11; 14:1-11; Mark 6:17-28; Luke 7:17-28

23 “The Kingdom of God is at Hand” 226

Mark 1:14-15

24 “Is Not This the Carpenter’s Son?” 232

Luke 4:16-30

25 The Call by the Sea 240

Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11

26 At Capernaum 247

Mark 1:21-22; Luke 4:32

27 “Thou Canst Make Me Clean” 257

Matthew 8:2-4; 9:14, 32-34; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-28

28 Levi Matthew 268

Matthew 9:9-17; Mark 2:14-22; Luke 5:27-39

29 The Sabbath 278

Luke 6:3-4; Mark 2:27-28; Matthew 12:5-6

30 “He Ordained Twelve” 287

Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16

31 The Sermon on the Mount 296

Matthew 5:1-48; 6:1-34; 7:1-29

32 The Centurion 313 226 232

Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-7

33 Who Are My Brethren? 319

Matthew 12:22-50; Mark 3:20-35

34 The Invitation 327

Matthew 11:28-30

35 “Peace, Be Still” 332

Matthew 8:23-34; Mark 4:35-41; 5:1-20; Luke 8:22-39

36 The Touch of Faith 341

Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56

37 The First Evangelists 346

Matthew 10:1-42; Mark 6:7-11; Luke 9:1-6

38 Come Rest Awhile 357

Matthew 14:1-2, 12-13; Mark 6:30-32; Luke 9:7-10

39 “Give Ye Them to Eat” 363

Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13

40 A Night on the Lake 371

Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:14-21

41 The Crisis in Galilee 378

Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23

42 Tradition 392

John 3:36


43 Barriers Broken Down 396

Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-36

44 The True Sign 402

Matthew 15:29-39; 16:1-12; Mark 7:31-37; 8:1-21

45 The Foreshadowing of the Cross 409

Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-38; Luke 9:18-27

Contents 7

46 He Was Transfigured 419

Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:24; Luke 9:28-36

47 Ministry 424

Matthew 17:9-21; Mark 9:9-29; Luke 9:37-45

48 Who is the Greatest? 430

Matthew 17:22-27; 18:1-20; Mark 9:30-50; Luke 9:46-48


49 At the Feast of Tabernacles 442

John 7:1-15, 37-39

50 Among Snares 450

John 7:16-36, 40-53; 8:1-11

51 “The Light of Life” 460

John 7:16-36, 40-53; 8:1-11

52 The Divine Shepherd 475

John 10:1-30

53 The Last Journey from Galilee 482

Luke 9:51-56; 10:1-24

54 The Good Samaritan 493

Luke 10:25-37

55 Not with Outward Show 501

Luke 17:20-22

56 Blessing the Children 506

Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17

57 “One Thing Thou Lackest” 512

Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23

58 “Lazarus, Come Forth” 517

Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-44

59 Priestly Plottings 530

John 11:47-54

8 The Desire of Ages

60 The Law of the New Kingdom 536

Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34

61 Zacchaeus 542

Luke 19:1-10

62 The Feast at Simon’s House 547

Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-11;
Luke 7:36-50; John 11:55-57; 12:1-11


63 “Thy King Cometh” 559

Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19

64 A Doomed People 569

Mark 11:11-14, 20-21; Matthew 21:17-19

65 The Temple Cleansed Again 577

Matthew 21:12-16, 23-46; Mark 11:15-19, 27-33; 12:1-12; Luke 19:45-48; 20:1-19

66 Controversy 590

Matthew 22:15-46; Mark 12:13-40; Luke 20:20-47

67 Woes on the Pharisees 600

Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 20:45-47; 21:1-4

68 In the Outer Court 612

John 12:20-43

69 On the Mount of Olives 619

Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-38

70 “The Least of These My Brethren” 630

Matthew 25:31-46

71 A Servant of Servants 636

Luke 22.7-18, 24; John 13:1-17


72 “In Remembrance of Me” 646

Matthew 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23

73 “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” 655

John 13:31-38

74 Gethsemane 676

Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-50; Luke 32:39-53; John 18:1-12

75 Before Annas and Caiaphas 687

Matthew 26:57-75; 27:1;
Mark 14:53-72; 15:1;
Luke 22:54-71; John 18:13-27

76 Judas 704

John 6:70; 13:27; Matthew 26:48; 27:4

77 In Pilate’s Judgment Hall 712

Matthew 27:2, 11-31; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-40; 19:1-16

78 Calvary 732

Matthew 27:31-53; Mark 15:20-38; Luke 23:26-46; John 19:16-30

79 “It is Finished” 749

John 19:30

80 In Joseph’s Tomb 757

Matthew 27:54; John 19:34-37;
Luke 23:46; 23:56; Matthew 27:62-65


81 “The Lord is Risen” 768

Matthew 28:2-4, 11-15

82 “Why Weepest Thou?” 776

Matthew 28:1, 5-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18

83 The Walk to Emmaus 782

Luke 24:13-33

84 “Peace Be Unto You” 787

Luke 24:33-48; John 20:19-29

85 By the Sea Once More 794

John 21:1-22

86  “Go Teach All Nations” 802

Matthew 28:16-20

87  “To My Father and Your Father” 815

Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-12


The Crucifixion:
Historical and Medical Facts 822

Principles of Healthful Living 833

INDEXES Scripture Index 842

Story Index 850

Helps in the Study of Desire of Ages

The Story behind This Book 

The book you now have in hand has been acclaimed for nearly a hundred years as one of the most sensitively beautiful presentations of the earthly life of Christ ever to be written. And yet, during much of the time that the manuscript was being penned, the author suffered intensely from a very painful rheumatic condition—with only her right hand and arm free from pain and able to move freely. With that hand she wrote The Desire of Ages in the last decade of the nineteenth century.

The Story behind this Book 11

Many experts in the field have considered this book to be one of the most most accurate and spiritually helpful biographies of the life of Christ ever written. The curator of the religious book section of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the largest library in the world, was asked if he would name the book that he considered to be the finest book on the life of Christ, either in or out of print. An expert in his field and well-acquainted with the holdings and accessions of the Library of Congress on the life of Christ, both in English and other languages, he replied without hesitation: “The book, Desire of Ages, by Ellen G. White, is the most beautifully written book on the life of Christ in the Library of Congress.”

Several years ago, one who had come to love that particular book was attending summer school at a state university in Massachusetts, when the following incident occurred:

“One day our teacher, who had just returned from an extended study of literature in Europe, asked each member of the class to come the next day with three quotations from a favorite author. The name was not to be given, and the class was to be asked to name the author by the selections read.

“I was the first one called on, and although there were forty-eight in the class, no one else was called upon. The entire time was taken up in dliscussing the three quotations I presented—passages from The Desire of Ages. No one could name the author. Then to my happy surprise, the teacher said:

“ ‘Well, class, that is from the pen of Mrs E.G. White.’ She spoke at length, saying she knew nothing of the author’s religion, but she felt able to declare herself as to literature; and she said it was a pity Mrs. White’s writings were not better known in the literary world. She said she was going to make a strong statement, but she meant every  word of it. Of all the writings she knew, outside of the Bible, were none so full of beauty, so pure, and yet so simple, as the writings of Mrs. E.G. White.”

12 The Desire of Ages

Other books by this same author are available from the present publisher. Who was this woman who penned such beautiful books? A recent volume, Prophet of the End, also obtainable from this publisher will provide you with an easily read but comprehensive biography of her fascinating life. You can obtain a copy of it by mail from this publisher for $2 plus postage. Very frail in childhood, Ellen White was in her adult years to travel from state to state and continent to continent. One hundred thousand pages of manuscripts were eventually to come from her pen, all written amid a busy life as a wife, mother, and public speaker. This amounted to 25 million handwritten words (for she never used a typewriter or shorthand). Ellen White wrote 4,500 magazine articles and over a hundred published books. Many of her books went into millions of copies, and a number of them were translated into a sizeable number of foreign languages. Careful research at the Library of Congress has disclosed that she is the fourth most translated author (man or woman) in the history of literature, its most translated woman writer, and the most translated American author of either sex. By the time of her death at the age of eighty-seven in 1915, she had writ- ten more than any other woman in history, and far more than all but a few men.

And yet quantity did not result in lowered quality. Turn to chapter one of this book, The Desire of Ages, and begin reading. You will quickly see why so many value this book enough that they read it over and over again.

2 - This Edition

To our knowledge, this new edition is the lowest-priced, indexed edition of The Desire of Ages to be found anywhere. For this special edition, the author of this introduction prepared a set of unique helps, found on the next few pages, that should greatly help you in your study of this exquisitely worded volume.

Guide to the Earthly Life of Christ 13

 These helps were made amid prayer that they might be the means of encouraging many more to read this precious book—and find the Man that the book continually points them to—Jesus Christ their only Lord and Saviour. —vf

3 - Reader’s Guide to the Earthly Life of Christ

This Reader’s Guide will provide you with a quick overview of this book and the entire earthly life of Christ. It will help you approximately date events and locate them in relation to the major activities and travels of Jesus during His three-and-a-half year ministry. The paging in this Guide is keyed to the pages of the book you now have in hand. It should prove to be a great help in your study of the years that Jesus ministered here in our world.


(Autumn, 4 B.C. - Autumn, AD. 27)

Why God’s Son came to this world (33-53). Birth of Jesus (54-55). Announcement to the shepherds (55-57). Presentation at the Temple (58-65). Visit of the wise men (66-70). Flight to Egypt (70-72). Return to Nazareth (72-73). Childhood of Jesus (73-80). First Passover visit (80-89). Youth and young manhood (89-97). Announcement to Zacharias (97-100). Birth of John the Baptist (100-104).

2 - EARLY MINISTRY (Autumn, A.D. 27 - Spring, A.D. 28)

Ministry of John the Baptist (104-109). The Baptism of Christ (110- 114). The Temptation (115-132). Jesus declared to be the “Lamb of God” (132-137). The first disciples (137-144). The wedding at Cana (144-154).

14 The Desire of Ages

(First Passover, A.D. 28 - Second Passover, A.D. 29)

First Passover: First cleansing of the Temple (155-166). Discussion with Nicodemus (167-176). Ministry in Judea and John’s statement (176-181). The Samaritan woman (181-193). The nobleman’s son (193-197). John imprisoned (213-220 [Death: 221-226]). Second Passover: The invalid at Bethesda (198-202). Rejection by the Sanhedrin: Close of the Judean Ministry (202-213).

(Second Passover, A.D. 29 - Third Passover, A.D. 30)

Opening of the Galilean Ministry (226-231). First rejection at Nazareth (232-240). To Caparnaum: The call by the sea (240-246). How Jesus spoke (247-250). The demoniac in the synagogue (250-254). Peter’s mother-in-Jaw; the sick healed at evening (254-257). First Galilean Tour: The first leper (257-263). The paralytic lowered through the roof (263- 268). Call of Levi-Matthew (268-278). Plucking grain on the Sabbath; the man with the withered hand (278-280). Appointment of the Twelve (280-287). Sermon on the Mount (296-313). The centurian’s servant (313-316). Second Galilean Tour: The widow’s son at Nain (316-319). Visit of Jesus’ mother and brothers; blind and dumb demoniac; the un- pardonable sin (319-331). The storm on the lake stilled (332-336). The demoniacs of Gadara (336-341). Matthew’s feast (270-272). Jairus’ daughter (341-342). The invalid woman (342-346). The inquiry by John’s disciples; Jesus’ comment about John (272-276). Jesus’ invi- tation to come to Him (327-331). Third Galilean Tour: Sending of the Twelve (346-348). The martyrdom of John the Baptist (359-360). Third Passover: Feeding the five thousand (363-371). Jesus walks on the lake (374-377). Sermon on the bread of life; rejection in Galilee (371- 373). Contention about tradition and ceremonial defilement (378-391).

5 - RETIREMENT FROM PUBLIC MINISTRY (Third Passover, A.D. 30 - Autumn, A.D. 30)

Withdrawal to Phoenicia (396-402). A deaf-mute healed; other miracles in Decapolis; feeding the four thousand; the demand for a sign (402- 409). Withdrawal to Caesarea Philippi; the great confession (409-419). The Transfiguration (419-424). The demon-possessed boy (424- 430). A secret journey through Galilee: question on who is the greatest; the Temple half-shekel (430-442).

Guide to the Earthly Life of Christ 15

6 - MINISTRY IN SAMARIA AND PERAEA (Autumn, A.D. 30 - Passover, A.D. 31)

Secret journey to the feast of tabernacles (442-447). Teaching in the Temple (447-450). The adulteress (450-459). The Light of the world (460-468). The argument about descent from Abraham (466-468). The man born blind (458-474). The Good Shepherd; at the feast of dedica- tion (472-482). Final departure from Galilee; opening of the Samarian- Peraean ministry; mission of the Seventy (482-493). The good samaritan (493-500). In the home of Mary and Martha (518-519). The raising of Lazarus (517-530). When and how the Kingdom comes (501-505). Blessing the children (506-511). The rich young ruler (512-516). Jesus foretells His death; the ambition of James and John (533-538). Zacchaeus (542-546). Simon’s feast (542-546). The betrayal plot (503- 506, 548-549, 552-553).

7 - PASSION WEEK (Fourth Passover, Spring, A.D. 31)

Fourth Passover: The triumphal entry (559-569). The fruitless fig tree (569-576). Second cleansing of the Temple; the leaders challenge Jesus’ authority (577-590). Paying tribute to Caesar (590-592). Marriage and the resurrection (592-597). The great commandment (597- 599). Jesus silences His critics (599). Woes upon scribes and Pharisees; the widow’s mite (600-606). Interview with certain Greeks; continual need to walk in the light (612-619). Retirement to the Mount of Olives; Christ predicts coming events and His Second Advent (619- 630). The sheep and the goats (630-635). Preparation for the Passover; Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (636-645). The Lord’s Supper; the betrayer is revealed (646-655). Parting counsel in the Upper Room and on the way to Gethsemane: A warning to Peter and the Ten; the True Vine; a warning of persecution; the coming of the Comforter; Jesus’ intercessory prayer (655-675) in Gethsemane; the three prayers and the betrayal (676-687). The Jewish Sanhedrin; trials before Annas and Calaphas (687-704).

16 The Desire of Ages

 Judas’ confession and suicide (704-705). The Roman trials: The first trial before Pilate (712-718). The hearing before Herod Antipas (718-721). The second trial before Pilate (721- 731). The CrucifIxion (732-748). The meaning of “It is finished” (749- 756). The burial; placement of the Roman guard at the tomb (757-767).


The earthquake, resurrection, and the lying report (768-775). Visitors to the empty tomb: the women, Peter and John, Mary meets Christ (776-781). The walk to Emmaus (782-787). The two appearances in the Upper Room (787-793). Appearance by the Lake of Galilee, the miracle of the fish; Peter forgiven and assigned his work (794-801). Appearance on a mountain in Galilee; the Great Commission (802- 814). To the Mount of Olives; the Ascension; the words of the angel; the return of the disciples to Jerusalem; Christ enters heaven and the presence of the Father (815-821).

4 - Bible Stories for the Whole Family in Desire of Ages

The Birth of Jesus 54-58

He is Dedicated in the Temple 58-65

The Journey of the Wise Men 66-73

The Childhood of Jesus 73-80

Jesus’ Twelfth-year Visit to Jerusalem 80-89

How Jesus as a Child Treated Others  89-97

The Birth and Upbringing of John the Baptist 97-104

John the Baptist Begins His Ministry 104-109

 The Baptism of Jesus 110-114 

Jesus is Tempted in the Wilderness 115-132

The First Disciples Come to Jesus  132-144

 Jesus’ First Miracle at Cana 144-154 

 Jesus Cleanses the Temple 155-166

Bible Stories for the Whole Family


Nicodemus Visits Him at Night 167-176

The Unselfishness of John the Baptist 176-181

The Woman at the Well in Samaria 181-193

The Nobleman’s Son is Healed 193-197

The Healing at the Pool of Bethesda 198-213

John the Baptist is Imprisoned 213-220

The Death of John the Baptist 221-226

The Time of Jesus’ Ministry Fulfilled Prophecy 226-231

Jesus is Rejected in Nazareth 232-240

Jesus Calls Peter, James, and John 240-246

How Jesus Spoke to Men 247-250

Jesus Heals the Demoniac at Capernaum 250-254

Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-law and Others 254-257

The Leper Who Sought Healing from Jesus 257-263 

Jesus Heals the Paralytic at Capernaum 263-268

The Disciples of John Come to Jesus 268-270

New Wine and Old Bottles 276-278

Jesus and the Bible Sabbath 278-287

Jesus Ordains the Twelve; What They Were Like 287-295

Christ Gives the Sermon on the Mount 296-313 

Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant 313-316

Matthew the Tax-collector Becomes a Disciple 316-319

Matthew’s Feast for the Publicans 270-272

The Widow’s Son is Raised from the Dead 272-276

The Brothers of Jesus 319-326

Jesus Invites All to Come to Him 327-331 

Jesus Stills the Storm on the Sea 332-336 

The Two Demoniacs at Gergesa are Healed 336-341

The Ruler’s Daughter is Healed 341-342 

Healing Comes with a Touch 342-346

The Twelve are Instructed and Sent as Evangelists 346-357 

Jesus Says to Come Apart and Rest 357-363

The Feeding of the Five Thousand 363-371


Jesus Walks on the Water 374-377

Many in Galilee Reject Christ  378-391

Scribes and Pharisees Try to Entrap Christ 392-396

Jesus Heals the Canaanite Woman’s Daughter 396-402

The Feeding of the Four Thousand 402-403 

Jesus Explains the True Sign 403-409 

“Whom Say Ye that I Am?” 409-415

Jesus Reproves Peter 415-419

Jesus is Transfigured on the Mount 419-424 

The Boy with the Dumb Spirit is Healed 424-430

The Money in the Mouth of the Fish 430-433 

“Except Ye Become as Little Children” 433-442 

Jesus Goes to the Feast 442-447

If Any Man Thirst, Let Him Come” 447-450

The Scribes Seek to Entrap Him  450-455

OffIcers are Sent to Arrest Him 455-457

Jesus Forgives the Adulterous Woman 457-459

I am the Light of the World” 460-466

Jesus Declares His Pre-existence 466-468

The Man Blind from Birth is Healed 468-474

Jesus the Good Shepherd 475-482

Jesus Begins His Last Journey to Jerusalem 482-484 

The Samaritans Refuse to Receive Him 484-493

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy 493-500

The Story of the Good Samaritan 501-506

The Nature of Christ’s Klngdom

Jesus Blesses the Children 506-511

The Rich Young Ruler 512-516

The Raising of Lazarus 517-530

Jesus is Condemned by the Council 530-536

The Ministry of Serving 536-541  

Zacchaeus Meets Jesus 542-546

Mary’s Ointment at Simon’s Feast 547-559

The Desire of Ages

Bible Stories for the Whole Family 19

The Triumphal Entry 559-569

The Cursing of the Fig Tree 569-576

The Second Cleansing of the Temple 577-580 

 Asking for His Authority 580-583

The Parable of the Two Sons 583-584

Slaying the Husbandman’s Son 584-585

The Foundation Stone 585-590 

 “Render Unto Ceasar” 590-592

Is There Marriage in Heaven? 592-597

The Great Commandment 597-599

What Think Ye of Christ? 599

The Pretense of the Pharisees 600-604

The Widow’s Mite 604-606

Pharisaical Deceptions 606-612

Greeks Come to See Jesus 612-619 

 Prophecies of the Future 619-630

Those Who Shall Inherit the Kingdom 630-635

In the Upper Room 636-638

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet 638-645 

The Lord’s Supper 646-655

Instruction in the Upper Room 655-675

In the Garden of Gethsemane 676-687

The Trial before Annas and Caiaphas 687-704 

The History of Judas 707-712

The First Trial before Pilate 712-718

The Trial before Herod 718-721

The Trial before Hbefore Pilate 721-731

The Road to Calvary 732-735

Prophecies Fulfilled at Crucifixion 735-739 

The Thief on the Cross 739-742

Jesus Cares for His Mother 742-743

The Death of Christ 743-748

“It is Finished” 749-756

Sabbath Rest in the Tomb 757-768

20 The Desire of Ages

The Resurrection of Christ 768-775

In the Garden 776-781

The Walk to Emmaus 782-787

Jesus Appears to His Disciples 787-791 

Thomas Sees Jesus 791-793

When the Nets Almost Broke 794-796 

Jesus Forgives Peter 796-801

The Great Commission 802-814

The Ascension 815-821

5 - Map Section

On the next four pages, you will find a very helpful set of maps. They were drawn especially for this edition of Desire of Ages. They show every place mentioned in Desire of Ages, with the exception of Egypt.

MAP 1 — Judea and Galilee

This map shows the lower part of Palestine in the time of Christ.

MAP 2 — Galilee and Phoenicia

This map shows the upper part of Palestine at that time.

MAP 3 — Jerusalem

This map indicates key locations during the last week prior to the crucifixion.

MAP 4 — Environs of Jerusalem

This map shows shows Jerusalem and the area to the east of it—where the Mount of Olives was located.

“The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” —Psalm 84:11

Precious Promise Passages 25

6 - Precious Promise Passages to Desire of Ages

Are there times when the world seems to cave in on top of you? When these experiences come, as they will come, our only comfort and safety is in fleeing to Jesus. Promises from the Bible and similar books can bring great comfort at such times.

Here are a number of promise passages from the book you now have in hand. These promises have been placed here so that they can easily be found when you need them. The number reference in each instance refers to the page and paragraph number where you may quickly find the promise for which you are looking. For example, one of the promise passages is “Perfect peace amid the storms of life: 334:6-335:2.” This promise passage begins on page 334, paragraph 6, and continues over to the end of the second paragraph on page 335. Here are one hundred and ten promise passages.

The fearful risk the Father took when He sent His Son.

58:1 in this paperback edition [49:1 in the standard edition]

God’s love for us is stronger than death; consider all the riches that He gave to Jesus to share with us. 64:3 [57:1]

What Jesus was like as a child. 73-80 [68-74]

How to spend a thoughtful hour each day considering the life of Christ. 88:4 [83:4]

How Jesus as a youth related to those who tried to needle and persecute Him. 89-97 [84-92]

How John the Baptist was prepared for his lifework. 100:4-104:3 [100:4-103:3]

You are God’s beloved child. Here is the way to His throne opened to you. 114:1-2 [113:1-2]

The nature of man that Christ took. 118:1-2 [117:1-2] When in time of great weakness, satan tempts you.

121:3:123:0 [120:2-121:2]

26 The Desire of Ages

United to Him by faith, satan cannot overcome us. But victory comes through the Word. 125:3-126:0 [123:3-4]

Apart from our own choice, satan cannot compel us to sin. 127:1-2 [125:1-2]

Overcoming by believing God and claiming His promises.

126:3-1283 [125:4-129:0]

Not until we reach heaven can we realize what it cost the Godhead to get us there. 132:1 [131:2]

What it was like to look into the face of Jesus. 138:1 [137:4- 138:0]

How to enter the ministry of “come and see.” 141:6-42:1 [141:2-142:2]

God provides a feast that becomes continually richer for the soul. 149:1 [148:3]

How God intends to cleanse your heart and change your life.

159:3-160:0 [161:1-162:0]
How conversion takes place in the life. 171:1-3 [172:3-173:1]

The light shining from the cross is drawing us to Jesus. 175:1 [175:5-176:0]

Do you attract attention to Jesus or to yourself? 178:2-3 [179:4-180:0]

Emptied so we can be filled without measure. 179:1 [181:1] Quenching our thirst at the living springs that flow from heaven. 183:2-3 [187:2-3]

The earnest longing that Jesus has that you will come to Him. 188:2 [191:1]

Harvest from a one-soul audience that reaches out to yet more. 192:4-193:2 [194:4-195:2]

Clinging to Him always brings the victory. 195:3-196:1

Asking and, then, believing that we have received. 197:1-2

Do not wait to feel; believe and act upon it. 200:2 [203:2] So utterly surrendered, He accepted the Father’s plans for Him. 206:2-207:2 [208:2-209:2]

If you could see where He is leading, you would understand the path you are on. 226:1 [224:5-225:0]

Precious Promise Passages 27

The countless dangers we have been preserved from by the angels. 236:4 [240:3]

The greatest discovery that man can make. 242:3-243:2 [246:1-3]

The men that God can, and will, use. 244:1-246:3 [251:2] How Jesus spoke to people. 248:2-250:2 [253:3-255:1] Rejecting the Inspired Scriptures is an invitation for demons to enter. 253:1-255:0 [258:2-259:0]

The prayer life of Jesus. 255:5-256:0 [89:6-90:0;

There was no self-assertion in His life. 256:2-257:3

He will immediately grant you forgiveness of sin. 262:1-

263:0 [266:1-2]
How you can receive forgiveness of sin. 262:3-263:0

[266:1-2]; 264:3-265:2 [268:1-4]
Are you willing to follow wherever He may lead? 269:5


How men reacted to the attitude that Christ took toward them. 270:5 [274:2]

Lessons from God’s holy Sabbath. 278:2-287:1 [281-289] Rest and peace by communion with God amid the scenes of nature. 288:2-289:0 [291:1]

God takes men as they are and, then, changes them. 292:2

God needs us and is calling us now to work with Him. 294:3-

295:3 [296:4-297:3]
Lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. 296:1-313:2

What to do when satan tells you that you are a sinner. 315:3-

316:1 [317:1]
satan cannot hold you when you flee to Jesus. 318:3-319:0

Whatever the sin, it can be forgiven. 320:1 [321:3-322:0]

(The unpardonable sin is persistently refusing to repent, come to Christ, and ask to be forgiven.)

The gradual blinding that is the sin against the Holy Spirit. What is all that is included in it? 321:1-323:1 [322:2- 4:2]

28 The Desire of Ages

The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, and He will not yield it, except by our own choice. 322:3-323:0 [324:1]

Our next-of-kin, Christ, intends to redeem us. His love for us is deeper than that of anyone else. 325:4-326:0 [327:1-4]

A sweet chapter: Christ invites you to come to Him. 327:1- 331:1 [328-332]

Perfect peace amid the storms of life. 334:6-335:0 [336:1-337:0]

Reach out and touch. 343:1 [343:5]

Here is genuine, personal religion. 344:2 [347:1]

You are God’s plan for revealing Christ to the world. 345:3

How to strengthen and increase your blessings. 345:3-346:0

How Jesus spoke to men. 350:2-351:0 [353:1] Daily treasuring the truth. 353:1-2 [355:1-2] Never surrender the truth by compromising it. 354:2


God’s deepest concern is for you and everyone else in this world. 355:1 [356:3]

Twelve ways to deny Christ. 355:3-356:1 [357:1-2] The danger of overwork and under-prayer. 361:1 [362:2] Deepening our prayer life. 361:2-362:2 [362:3-363:2] Entering the deeper rest. 362:1-163:0 [363:1-3] What to do when difficulties press hard. 367:2-368:0


How to share your little and multiply loaves as you do it.

368:1-371:1 [369:2-371:3]
Taking His hand when you are about to go under. 376:2

What it means to partake of Christ. 385:2-386:0 [389:3-


The life of Christ is in His Word; how to make the Scriptures part of you. 386:1-388:0 [390:2-391:2]

satan can erect no barriers around you that Christ cannot break through. 401:1-2 [403:1-2]

The evidence that the gospel is true. 405:3-406:0 [407:1]

Precious Promise Passages 29

Sincerely desiring God’s glory is the religion of Christ.

408:2-409:0 [409:3]
No man is to dictate your beliefs. 414:2 [414:3] Bearing the cross. 417:1-418:0 [416:3-417:2] You can never perish while you do this. 427:1-428:0

How to strengthen faith and dissolve doubt 428:3-430:0


The basic difference between Christ’s kingdom and that of satan’s. 434:1-436:3 [435:2-437:4]

How to be free in Christ. 463:4-464:1 [466:3-4]
What happens when the repentant sinner fixes his eye upon

Jesus. 439:1 [439:3-440:0]
The cry of Christ to the thirsty soul. 449:2-450:1

You can know from Scripture what the truth is. 455:1-2

Christ is the Shepherd, the door, and the fold. 475:1-482:0


Christ’s victory is ours; satan can be a conquered foe. Here is how it can be so. 489:1-5 [490:4-493:3]

Let the children come to Jesus. 506:1-510:0 [511:1-512] Jesus knows the burden of every mother’s heart. 507:2-

508:0 [512:1-3]
Training your children for heaven. 508:1-511:3 [512:4-

The “one thing” that Martha needed. 518:1-519:0 [525:1-

Those who will stand nearest to Christ. 538:7-539:2


Christ’s kingdom is based on different principles than those of the world. 540:1-541:3 [550:1-551:2]

Evidence of genuine repentance. 545:2-546:0 [555:6- 556:1]

Christ deeply values those who try to obey Him. 553:4- 554:1 [564:4-5]

Christ can lift up the most hopeless and save the most helpless. 558:1-559:2 [568:1-5]

Twelve sentence prophecies of Christ. 568:3-569:9

30 The Desire of Ages

What it means to fall on the Rock and be broken. 588:4-

590:0 [599:3-600:2]

Christ values the motive and appreciates your sincere effort.

605:4-606:0 [615:3]
How to prepare for the end of time. 619:2-630:0 [627-641] What beholding Christ at Calvary can do for you. 655:1-

655:2 [661:2-3]

The closing scenes in the life of Christ should be studied over and over again. “It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones.” —page 88:4 [83]

Here are the “closing scenes” chapters in this book:

Final messages from your precious Jesus. 655:3-675:3 [662-680]

Entering Gethsemane. 676:1-687:1 [685-697]

His sufferings before Annas and Caiaphas. 687:2-704:0

In Pilate’s judgment hall. 712:1-731:2 [723-740]

Behold Him at Calvary. 732:1-748:1 [741-757]

The meaning of “It is finished.” 749:1-756:4 [758-764] 

The Sabbath of rest in the tomb. 757:1-768:1 [769-778] 

Christ the Lord is risen! 768:1-775:2 [779-787]

Come alone to the garden. 776:1-781:4 [788-794] 

Walk with Him to Emmaus. 782:1-787:1 [795-801]

In the Upper Room. 787:2-793:2 [802-808]

Peter restored. 794:1-801:3 [809-817]

He gives you your commission. 802:1-814:2 [818-828] 

REJOICE! Jesus Christ, your Lord and Saviour, has gone to heaven to minister to your needs,—and He is coming back soon! 815:1-821:3 [829-835]

7 - Old Testament Prophecies about Christ

The Old Testament prophecies of Christ are astounding and worthy of our most careful study.

Old Testament Prophecies about Christ 31

 Because they are often difficult to locate, we have arranged them here in classified order. On the next page you will find predictions about the birth of Jesus and events in His life. On the page following it, you will find prophecies about His nature, person, and mission.

The study of the life of Christ, and the prophecies pointing to Him, constitute a most thrilling study. And that is what this entire book is all about The more we study the life and character of Christ, the more we shall love Him, and want to become like Him. By beholding we become changed. Studying this book and your Bible will help you become like Him.

Predicted centuries before His birth. Jesus came and fulfilled hundreds of predictions. Here are a few of the prophecies. Read and believe! Jesus is your Saviour, your Lord and your God. He is your hope for this life and for the life to come.

[Webmaster note: 'Spell check and correction' have scrambled some of the references.  Please go to Contact Us and we will make corrections as you indicate. Thanks!]


THE SEED OF THE WOMAN—Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4; 1 Tim 2:15; Rev 12:5.

 BORN OF A VIRGIN—Psalm 86:16; 116:16; Isa 7:14; Jer 31:22: Micah 5:3; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:26-35. 


OF THE RACE OF THE HEBREWS—Ex 3:18; John 4:9; 18:35. 

OF THE SEED OF ABRAHAM—Matt 1:1; John 8:56; Acts 3:25; Heb 2:18. 

OF THE LINE OF ISAAC—Gen 1719; 21:12; 26:4; Rom 9:7; Gal 4:23-28; Heb 11:18. 

OF JACOB (ISRAEL)—Gen 28:4-14; Ex 4:22; Num 24:7-17; Psalm 135:4, etc.; Isa 41:8; 49:6; Jer 14:8; Luke 1:68; 2:32; Acts 28:20. 

OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH—1 Chron 5:2; Mlcah 5:2; Matt 2:6; Heb 7:14; Rev 5:5. 

OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID— 2 Sam 7:12-5; 1 Chron 17:11-14; 2 Chron 6:42; Psalms 89:4-4:36; 132:10-17; Isa 9:7; 11:1; 55:34; Jer 23:5-6; Amos 9:11; Matt 1:1; Luke 1:69; 2:4; John 7:42; Acts 2:30; 13:23; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16. 

BORN AT BETHLEHAM, THE CITY OF DAVID—Micah 5:2; Matt 2:6; Luke 2:4; John 7:42. 

HIS SUFFERINGS—Gen 3:15; Psalms 22:1- 22:1.18; 31:13; 89:3845; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:28; Zech 13:6, 7; Matt 28:31; Luke 24:26; John 1:29; Acts 32:35. 

HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS—Num 21:9; Psalms 16:10; 22:16; 31:22; Isa 53:8-9; Dan 9:26; Matt 20:19; 26:2; John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32-33; 1Cor 15:3; Col 2:14; Phil 2:8 

32 The Desire of Ages

HIS ENTOMBMENT AND EMBALMMENT—Isa 53:9; Matt 26:12; Mark 14:8; John 12~7; 19:40; 1 Cor 15:4. 

HIS RESURRECTION ON THE THIRD DAY—Psalms 16:10; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24; John 1:17; Matt 12:40; 16:4; 21:63; John 2:19; Acts 2:27-31; 13:35; 1 Cot 15:4. 

HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN—Psalms 8:5- 6; 47:5; 68:18; 110:1; Acts 1:9; 2:33; John 20:17; Eph 4:8-10; Heb 1:3; 2:9; Rev 12:5. 

HIS SECOND ADVENT—Isa 40:10; 62:11; Jer 23:56; Psalm 50:1-6; Job 19:25-29; Matt 24:3-30; 25:31-34; 26 64; John 5:25. 28-30; Acts 17:31; 24:25; Heb 9:28; Rev 14:14; 19:11-17.

THE SON OF GOD—2 Sam 7:14; 1 Chron 17:13; Psalms 2:7; 72:1; Prov 30:4; Dan 3:25; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; Matt 3:17; 17:5; John 1:34-50; 3:16- 18; 20:31; Heb 1:1-5; Rom 1:4; 1 John 4:14; Rev 1:5-8. THE SON OF MAN—Psalm 8:4-5; Dan 7:13; John 1:51; 3:13; 5:17; Matt 18:13; 26:67; Heb 2:7; Rev 1:13; 14:14. 

THE HOLY ONE—Deut 33:8; Psalms 16:10; 89:19; Isa 10:17; 29:33; 49:7; Has 11:9; Hab 1:12; 3:3; Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 434; 1 John 2:20. 

THE RIGHTEOUS ONE—Isaiah 41:2; Jer 23:5; Zech 99; Psalm 34:19, 21; Luke 1:17; Matt 27:19.24; Luke 23:41; Acts 3:14; 1:52; 22:14; 1 John 2:1,29; James 5:6. 

THE WISDOM OF GOD— Prov 8:22-30; Matt 11:19; Luke 11:49; 1 Cot 1:24. 

THE WORD OF GOD— Gee 15:14; 1 Sam 3:1.21; 2 Sam 7:4, I Kingsl7:8-24; Psalm 33:6; Isa 40:8; Jer 25:3; Micah 4:2; John 1:1-14; 3:34; Luke 1:2; Heb 4:12; 11:3; 1 Pet 1:23; 2 Pet 3:5; Rev 19:13. 

THE REDEEMER OR SAVIOUR— Gen 48:16; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 19:14; Isa 41:14; 44:6; 47:4; 59:20; 62:11; 63:1; Jer 59:34; Matt 1:21; 4:42; Luke 2:11; John 1:29; Acts 5:31; Rom 11:20; Rev 5:9. 

THE LAMB OF GOD—Gee 22:8; Isa 53:7; John 1:29; Acts 8:32-35; 1 Pet 1:18; Rev 5:6; 13:8; 15:3; 21:22; 22:1. 

THE MEDIATOR, INTERCES- SOR AND ADVOCATE—Job 33:23: Isa 53:12; 59:16; Luke 23:34; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:15; 1 Jn 2:1; Rev 5:9. 

SHILOH. THE APOSTLE—Gen 49:10; Ex 4:13; Matt 15:24; Luke 4:18; John 9:7; 17:3; 20:21; Heb 3:1. 

THE HIGH PRIEST—Psalm 119:4; Isa 59:16; Heb 3:1; 4:14; 5:10; 9:11. 

THE PROPHET LIKE MOSES—Deut 18:15-19; Mark 6:15; Luke 24:19; John 1:17-21; 6:14; Acts 3:22-23. 

THE LEADER, DR CHIEF CAPTAIN—Josh 5:14; 1 Chron 5:2; Isa 55:4; Micah 5:2; Dan 9:25; Matt 2:6; Heb 2:10. 

THE MESSIAH. CHRIST, KING OF ISRAEL—i Sam 2:10; 2 Sam 7:12;1 Chron 17:11; Psalm 2:2,6;45:1,6; 72:1; 89:38; Isa 61:1; Dan 9:26; Matt 2:24; 16:18; Luke 23:2; John 1:41-49; 6:69; Acts 4:26-27; 10:38. 

THE GOD OF ISRAEL—Ex 24:10.11; Josh 17:19; Judges 11:23: 1 Sam 5:11; 1 Chron 17:24; Psalms 41:13; Isa 45:3; Ezek 8:4; Matt 15:31; 22:37; John 20:38. 

KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS—Psalm 89:27; 110:1; Dan 7:1314; Matt 28:18; ‘John 3:35; 13:3; 1 Car 15:25; Eph 1:20-22; Col 3:1; Rev 19:16.

Special Quotations from the Book 33

“God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him.”—page 226.

“Worry Is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God surpreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.”—page 329.

“In every difficulty we are to see a call to prayer. There is no one living who has any power that he has not received from God, and the source whence it comes Is open to the weakest human being.”—page 659-660.

“Those who decide to do nothing In any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promlsed.”—page 661.

“The way to heaven is consecrated by the Saviour’s footprints. The path may be steep and rugged, but Jesus has traveled that way; His feet have pressed down the cruel thorns, to make the pathway easier for us. Every burden that we are called to bear He Himself has borne.”—page 480.

“Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the eternal throne. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss. Then we shall cast our crowns at His feet, and raise the song, ‘Worthy Is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor.’ ”—page 132.

34 The Desire of Ages

“Our Redeemer has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father. All may have a home in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare . . ‘Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.’ ”—page 114.

“Every promise In God’s Word is ours. ‘By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ are we to live. When assailed by temptation look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the Word. All its strength is yours.”—page 125-126.

“Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His Word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His Word you will receive strength.”—page 200.

“At all times and In all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent In answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter.”—page 662.

“As the mother teaches her children to obey her because they love her, she is teaching them the first lessons in the Christian life. The mother’s love represents to the child the love of Christ, and the little ones who trust and obey their mother are learning to trust and obey the Savlour.”—page 509.

“The approval of God rests with loving assurance upon children and youth who cheerfully take their part In the duties of the household, sharing the burdens of father and mother. Such children will go out from the home to be useful members of society.”—page 78.

God with Us [19-20] 35

Chapter 1

“God with Us”

“His name shall be called Immanuel, . . . God with us.”

“The light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is seen “in the face of Jesus Christ.” From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was “the image of God,” the image of His greatness and majesty, “the outshining of His glory.” It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love,—to be “God with us.” Therefore it was prophesied of Him, “His name shall be called Immanuel.”

By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,— God’s thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, “I have declared unto them Thy name,”— “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”—“that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which “angels desire to look,” and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God: and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.


This chapter is based on Matthew 1:23.

36 The Desire of Ages

In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. “His strength setteth fast the mountains.” “The sea is His, and He made it.” Ps. 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father’s love.

Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.

The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.

But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father.”

God with Us [20-22] 37

“I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, rep- resenting the character of the great Giver, the law of life.

In heaven itself this law was broken. Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world.

The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Mal. 4:2.

38 The Desire of Ages

The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Rom. 16:25, R.V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Lucifer had said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; . . . I will be like the Most High.” Isa. 14:13, 14. But Christ, “being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:6, 7, R.V., margin.

This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.

Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, “Lo, I come.” “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me. . . . Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.” Heb. 10:5-7. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity,—the invisible glory in the visible human form.

God with Us [22-24] 39

This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The symbol chosen for the representation of the Deity was a lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions. This enshrined the Infinite. The all-merciful God shrouded His glory in a most humble type, that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God communicated with Israel, revealing to men His will, and imparting to them His grace. God’s glory was subdued, and His majesty veiled, that the weak vision of finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Phil. 3:21, R.V.), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men.

God commanded Moses for Israel, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8), and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, R.V., margin.

Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour’s life on earth, we see “God with us.”

40 The Desire of Ages

satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Heb. 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Heb. 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He says, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Ps. 40:8. As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by satan, He made plain to men the character of God’s law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.

By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey. It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, “I AM THAT I AM. . . . Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Ex. 3:14. This was the pledge of Israel’s deliverance. So when He came “in the likeness of men,” He declared Himself the I AM. The Child of Bethlehem, the meek and lowly Saviour, is God “manifest in the flesh.” 1 Tim. 3:16. And to us He says: “I AM the Good Shepherd.” “I AM the living Bread.” “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” John 10:11; 6:51; 14:6; Matt. 28:18. I AM the assurance of every promise. I AM; be not afraid. “God with us” is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of our power to obey the law of heaven.

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In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. “Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” Isa. 53:5.

Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.”

By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe.

42 The Desire of Ages

 It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Heb. 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.

Of His people God says, “They shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land. For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!” Zech. 9:16, 17. The exaltation of the redeemed will be an eternal testimony to God’s mercy. “In the ages to come,” He will “show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” “To the intent that . . . unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known . . . the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph. 2:7; 3:10, 11, R.V.

Through Christ’s redeeming work the government of God stands justified. The Omnipotent One is made known as the God of love. satan’s charges are refuted, and his character unveiled. Rebellion can never again arise. Sin can never again enter the universe. Through eternal ages all are secure from apostasy. By love’s self-sacrifice, the inhabitants of earth and heaven are bound to their Creator in bonds of indissoluble union.

The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died,—here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men,

The Chosen People [25-27] 43

 “and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” And through endless ages as the redeemed walk in the light of the Lord, they will praise Him for His unspeakable Gift,— Immanuel, “God with us.”

Chapter 2

The Chosen People

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour’s coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them “as a root out of a dry ground;” He had “no form nor comeliness;” and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Isa. 53:2; John 1:11.

Yet God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men.

In the call of Abraham the Lord had said, “I will bless thee; . . . and thou shalt be a blessing: . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Gen. 12:2, 3. The same teaching was repeated through the prophets. 


This chapter is based on John 1:11.

44 The Desire of Ages

Even after Israel had been wasted by war and captivity, the promise was theirs, “The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” Micah 5:7. Concerning the temple at Jerusalem, the Lord declared through Isaiah, “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples.” Isa. 56:7, R.V.

But the Israelites fixed their hopes upon worldly greatness. From the time of their entrance to the land of Canaan, they departed from the commandments of God, and followed the ways of the heathen. It was in vain that God sent them warning by His prophets. In vain they suffered the chastisement of heathen oppression. Every reformation was followed by deeper apostasy.

Had Israel been true to God, He could have accomplished His purpose through their honor and exaltation. If they had walked in the ways of obedience, He would have made them “high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor.” “All people of the earth,” said Moses, “shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.” “The nations which shall hear all these statutes” shall say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Deut. 26:19; 28:10; 4:6. But because of their unfaithfulness, God’s purpose could be wrought out only through continued adversity and humiliation.

They were brought into subjection to Babylon, and scattered through the lands of the heathen. In affliction many renewed their faithfulness to His covenant. While they hung their harps upon the willows, and mourned for the holy temple that was laid waste, the light of truth shone out through them, and a knowledge of God was spread among the nations. The heathen systems of sacrifice were a perversion of the system that God had appointed; and many a sincere observer of heathen rites learned from the Hebrews the meaning of the service divinely ordained, and in faith grasped the promise of a Redeemer.

Many of the exiles suffered persecution. Not a few lost their lives because of their refusal to disregard the Sabbath and to observe the heathen festivals.

The Chosen People [27-29] 45

 As idolaters were roused to crush out the truth, the Lord brought His servants face to face with kings and rulers, that they and their people might receive the light. Time after time the greatest monarchs were led to proclaim the supremacy of the God whom their Hebrew captives worshiped.

By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. During the centuries that followed, they suffered from the oppression of heathen foes, until the conviction became fixed that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But with too many of the people obedience was not prompted by love. The motive was selfish. They rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to na- tional greatness. They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry. In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but this teaching had been misinterpreted. It was intended to prevent them from conforming to the practices of the heathen. But it was used to build up a wall of separation between Israel and all other nations. The Jews looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles.

After the return from Babylon, much attention was given to religious instruction. All over the country, synagogues were erected, where the law was expounded by the priests and scribes. And schools were established, which, together with the arts and sciences, professed to teach the principles of righteousness. But these agencies became corrupted. During the captivity, many of the people had received heathen ideas and customs, and these were brought into their religious service. In many things they conformed to the practices of idolaters.

As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. 

46 The Desire of Ages

In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.

With all their minute and burdensome injunctions, it was an impossibility to keep the law. Those who desired to serve God, and who tried to observe the rabbinical precepts, toiled under a heavy burden. They could find no rest from the accusings of a troubled conscience. Thus satan worked to discourage the people, to lower their conception of the character of God, and to bring the faith of Israel into contempt. He hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven,—that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law.

While the Jews desired the advent of the Messiah, they had no true conception of His mission. They did not seek redemption from sin, but deliverance from the Romans. They looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor’s power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion. Thus the way was prepared for them to reject the Saviour.

At the time of the birth of Christ the nation was chafing under the rule of her foreign masters, and racked with internal strife. The Jews had been permitted to maintain the form of a separate government; but nothing could disguise the fact that they were under the Roman yoke, or reconcile them to the restriction of their power. The Romans claimed the right of appointing and removing the high priest, and the office was often secured by fraud, bribery, and even murder.

The Fullness of Time [29-31] 47

 Thus the priesthood became more and more corrupt. Yet the priests still possessed great power, and they employed it for selfish and mercenary ends. The people were subjected to their merciless demands, and were also heavily taxed by the Romans. This state of affairs caused widespread discontent. Popular outbreaks were frequent. Greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy, were eating out the very heart of the nation.

Hatred of the Romans, and national and spiritual pride, led the Jews still to adhere rigorously to their forms of worship. The priests tried to maintain a reputation for sanctity by scrupulous attention to the ceremonies of religion. The people, in their darkness and oppression, and the rulers, thirsting for power, longed for the coming of One who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. They had studied the prophecies, but without spiritual insight. Thus they overlooked those scriptures that point to the humiliation of Christ’s first advent, and misapplied those that speak of the glory of His second coming. Pride obscured their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish desires.

Chapter 3 

“The Fullness  of the Time”

“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4:4, 5.

The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried.


This chapter is based on Galatians 4:4; Genesis 49:10.

48 The Desire of Ages

 Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” Eze. 12:22.

But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking fur- nace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be four hundred years. “Afterward,” He said, “shall they come out with great substance.” Gen. 15:14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh’s proud empire battled in vain. On “the selfsame day” appointed in the divine promise, “it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Ex. 12:41. So in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.” Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. The nations were united under one government. One language was widely spoken, and was everywhere recognized as the language of literature. From all lands the Jews of the dispersion gathered to Jerusalem to the annual feasts. As these returned to the places of their sojourn, they could spread throughout the world the tidings of the Messiah’s coming.

At this time the systems of heathenism were losing their hold upon the people. Men were weary of pageant and fable. They longed for a religion that could satisfy the heart.

The Fullness of Time [31-33] 49

 While the light of truth seemed to have departed from among men, there were souls who were looking for light, and who were filled with perplexity and sorrow. They were thirsting for a knowledge of the living God, for some assurance of a life beyond the grave.

As the Jews had departed from God, faith had grown dim, and hope had well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended. To the masses of the people, death was a dread mystery; beyond was uncertainty and gloom. It was not alone the wailing of the mothers of Bethlehem, but the cry from the great heart of humanity, that was borne to the prophet across the centuries,—the voice heard in Ramah, “lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matt. 2:18. In “the region and shadow of death,” men sat unsolaced. With longing eyes they looked for the coming of the Deliverer, when the darkness should be dispelled, and the mystery of the future should be made plain.

Outside of the Jewish nation there were men who foretold the appearance of a divine instructor. These men were seeking for truth, and to them the Spirit of Inspiration was imparted. One after another, like stars in the darkened heavens, such teachers had arisen. Their words of prophecy had kindled hope in the hearts of thousands of the Gentile world.

For hundreds of years the Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language, then widely spoken throughout the Roman Empire. The Jews were scattered everywhere, and their expectation of the Messiah’s coming was to some extent shared by the Gentiles. Among those whom the Jews styled heathen were men who had a better understanding of the Scripture prophecies concerning the Messiah than had the teachers in Israel. There were some who hoped for His coming as a deliverer from sin. Philosophers endeavored to study into the mystery of the Hebrew economy. But the bigotry of the Jews hindered the spread of the light. 

50 The Desire of Ages

Intent on maintaining the separation between themselves and other nations, they were unwilling to impart the knowledge they still possessed concerning the symbolic service. The true Interpreter must come. The One whom all these types prefigured must explain their significance.

Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man’s utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God’s government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men.

Among the Jews there were yet steadfast souls, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved. These still looked for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers. They strengthened their faith by dwelling upon the assurance given through Moses, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.” Acts 3:22. Again, they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings unto the meek,” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to declare the “acceptable year of the Lord.” Isa. 61:1, 2. They read how He would “set judgment in the earth,” how the isles should “wait for His law,” how the Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. Isa. 42:4; 60:3.

The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” Gen. 49:10. The waning power of Israel testified that the Messiah’s coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly kingdoms; and, said the prophet, “It shall stand forever.” Dan. 2:44. 

The Fullness of Time [33-36] 51

While few understood the nature of Christ’s mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who should come as a deliverer to the nations.

The fullness of the time had come. Humanity, becoming more degraded through ages of transgression, called for the coming of the Redeemer. satan had been working to make the gulf deep and impassable between earth and heaven. By his falsehoods he had emboldened men in sin. It was his purpose to wear out the forbearance of God, and to extinguish His love for man, so that He would abandon the world to satanic jurisdiction.

satan was seeking to shut out from men a knowledge of God, to turn their attention from the temple of God, and to establish his own kingdom. His strife for supremacy had seemed to be almost wholly successful. It is true that in every generation God had His agencies. Even among the heathen there were men through whom Christ was working to uplift the people from their sin and degradation. But these men were despised and hated. Many of them suffered a violent death. The dark shadow that satan had cast over the world grew deeper and deeper.

Through heathenism, satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.

The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense.

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 They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of satan for its destruction.

The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant. The very priests who ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.

The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,—to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world’s Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!

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Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world.

With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should do this, satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the allegiance of heavenly beings. He had declared that the principles of God’s government make forgiveness impossible. Had the world been destroyed, he would have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the worlds above. But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. Though corruption and defiance might be seen in every part of the alien province, a way for its recovery was provided. At the very crisis, when satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace. Through every age, through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race. Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been continually exhibited. And when the fullness of the time had come, the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled.

satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.

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Chapter 4

Unto You a Saviour

The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. His glory was veiled, that the majesty of His outward form might not become an object of attraction. He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow Him. The character of the Messiah had long been foretold in prophecy, and He desired men to accept Him upon the testimony of the word of God.

The angels had wondered at the glorious plan of redemption. They watched to see how the people of God would receive His Son, clothed in the garb of humanity. Angels came to the land of the chosen people. Other nations were dealing in fables and worshiping false gods. To the land where the glory of God had been revealed, and the light of prophecy had shone, the angels came. They came unseen to Jerusalem, to the appointed expositors of the Sacred Oracles, and the ministers of God’s house. Already to Zacharias the priest, as he ministered before the altar, the nearness of Christ’s coming had been announced. Already the forerunner was born, his mission attested by miracle and prophecy. The tidings of his birth and the wonderful significance of his mission had been spread abroad. Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer.

With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth. 


This chapter is based on Luke 2:1-20.

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The Jewish nation had been preserved as a witness that Christ was to be born of the seed of Abraham and of David’s line; yet they knew not that His coming was now at hand. In the temple the morning and the evening sacrifice daily pointed to the Lamb of God; yet even here was no preparation to receive Him. The priests and teachers of the nation knew not that the greatest event of the ages was about to take place. They rehearsed their meaningless prayers, and performed the rites of worship to be seen by men, but in their strife for riches and worldly honor they were not prepared for the revelation of the Messiah. The same indifference pervaded the land of Israel. Hearts selfish and world-engrossed were untouched by the joy that thrilled all heaven. Only a few were longing to behold the Unseen. To these heaven’s embassy was sent.

Angels attend Joseph and Mary as they journey from their home in Nazareth to the city of David. The decree of imperial Rome for the enrollment of the peoples of her vast dominion has extended to the dwellers among the hills of Galilee. As in old time Cyrus was called to the throne of the world’s empire that he might set free the captives of the Lord, so Caesar Augustus is made the agent for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in bringing the mother of Jesus to Bethlehem. She is of the lineage of David, and the Son of David must be born in David’s city. Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, “shall He come forth . . . that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. But in the city of their royal line, Joseph and Mary are unrecognized and unhonored. Weary and homeless, they traverse the entire length of the narrow street, from the gate of the city to the eastern extremity of the town, vainly seeking a resting place for the night. There is no room for them at the crowded inn. In a rude building where the beasts are sheltered, they at last find refuge, and here the Redeemer of the world is born.

56 The Desire of Ages

Men know it not, but the tidings fill heaven with rejoicing. With a deeper and more tender interest the holy beings from the world of light are drawn to the earth. The whole world is brighter for His presence. Above the hills of Bethlehem are gathered an innumerable throng of angels. They wait the signal to declare the glad news to the world. Had the leaders in Israel been true to their trust, they might have shared the joy of heralding the birth of Jesus. But now they are passed by.

God declares, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” Isa. 44:3; Ps. 112:4. To those who are seeking for light, and who accept it with gladness, the bright rays from the throne of God will shine.

In the fields where the boy David had led his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch by night. Through the silent hours they talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David’s throne. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

At these words, visions of glory fill the minds of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph, are associated with His coming. But the angel must prepare them to recognize their Saviour in poverty and humiliation. “This shall be a sign unto you,” he says; “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears. He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender regard for their human weakness, he had given them time to become accustomed to the divine radiance. Then the joy and glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lighted up with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song,__

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, good will toward men.”

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Oh that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Rev. 19:6.

As the angels disappeared, the light faded away, and the shadows of night once more fell on the hills of Bethlehem. But the brightest picture ever beheld by human eyes remained in the memory of the shepherds. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

Departing with great joy, they made known the things they had seen and heard. “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God.”

Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when shepherds listened to the angels’ song. Humanity is still as much the object of heaven’s solicitude as when common men of common occupations met angels at noonday, and talked with the heavenly messengers in the vineyards and the fields. To us in the common walks of life, heaven may be very near. Angels from the courts above will attend the steps of those who come and go at God’s command.

The story of Bethlehem is an exhaustless theme. In it is hidden “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” Rom. 11:33. We marvel at the Saviour’s sacrifice in exchanging the throne of heaven for the manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but the beginning of His wonderful condescension. 

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It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.

satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life’s peril. He longs to shield his dear one from satan’s power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. “Herein is love.” Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth!

Chapter 5 

The Dedication

About forty days after the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, and to offer sacrifice. This was according to the Jewish law, and as man’s substitute Christ must conform to the law in every particular.

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 He had already been subjected to the rite of circumcision, as a pledge of His obedience to the law.

As an offering for the mother, the law required a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. But the law provided that if the parents were too poor to bring a lamb, a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering, might be accepted.

The offerings presented to the Lord were to be without blemish. These offerings represented Christ, and from this it is evident that Jesus Himself was free from physical deformity. He was the “lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19. His physical structure was not marred by any defect; His body was strong and healthy. And throughout His lifetime He lived in conformity to nature’s laws. Physically as well as spiritually, He was an example of what God designed all humanity to be through obedience to His laws.

The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men.

In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the dedication of the first-born was again commanded. While the children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians, the Lord directed Moses to go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My first-born: and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born.” Ex. 4:22, 23.

Moses delivered his message; but the proud king’s answer was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Ex. 5:2. 


This chapter is based on Luke 2:21-38.

60 The Desire of Ages

The Lord worked for His people by signs and wonders, sending terrible judgments upon Pharaoh. At length the destroying angel was bidden to slay the first-born of man and beast among the Egyptians. That the Israelites might be spared, they were directed to place upon their doorposts the blood of a slain lamb. Every house was to be marked, that when the angel came on his mission of death, he might pass over the homes of the Israelites.

After sending this judgment upon Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, “Sanctify unto Me all the first-born, . . . both of man and of beast: it is Mine;” “for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the Lord.” Ex. 13:2; Num. 3:13. After the tabernacle service was established, the Lord chose the tribe of Levi in the place of the first-born of all Israel to minister in the sanctuary. But the first-born were still to be regarded as the Lord’s, and were to be bought back by a ransom.

Thus the law for the presentation of the first-born was made particularly significant. While it was a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only-begotten Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the first-born of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world.

What meaning then was attached to Christ’s presentation! But the priest did not see through the veil; he did not read the mystery beyond. The presentation of infants was a common scene. Day after day the priest received the redemption money as the babes were presented to the Lord. Day after day he went through the routine of his work, giving little heed to the parents or children, unless he saw some indication of the wealth or high rank of the parents. Joseph and Mary were poor; and when they came with their child, the priests saw only a man and woman dressed as Galileans, and in the humblest garments. There was nothing in their appearance to attract attention, and they presented only the offering made by the poorer classes.

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The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name “Jesus” on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.” Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest’s arms; and when he enrolled the child’s name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance.

The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the Desire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. The name of that helpless little babe, inscribed in the roll of Israel, declaring Him our brother, was the hope of fallen humanity. The child for whom the redemption money had been paid was He who was to pay the ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the true “high priest over the house of God,” the head of “an unchangeable priesthood,” the intercessor at “the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Heb. 10:21; 7:24; 1:3.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. In the temple the Son of God was dedicated to the work He had come to do. The priest looked upon Him as he would upon any other child. But though he neither saw nor felt anything unusual, God’s act in giving His Son to the world was acknowledged.

62 The Desire of Ages

This occasion did not pass without some recognition of Christ. “There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

As Simeon enters the temple, he sees a family presenting their first-born son before the priest. Their appearance bespeaks poverty; but Simeon understands the warnings of the Spirit, and he is deeply impressed that the infant being presented to the Lord is the Consolation of Israel, the One he has longed to see. To the astonished priest, Simeon appears like a man enraptured. The child has been returned to Mary, and he takes it in his arms and presents it to God, while a joy that he has never before felt enters his soul. As he lifts the infant Saviour toward heaven, he says, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”

The spirit of prophecy was upon this man of God, and while Joseph and Mary stood by, wondering at his words, he blessed them, and said unto Mary, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna also, a prophetess, came in and confirmed Simeon’s testimony concerning Christ. As Simeon spoke, her face lighted up with the glory of God, and she poured out her heartfelt thanks that she had been permitted to behold Christ the Lord.

These humble worshipers had not studied the prophecies in vain. But those who held positions as rulers and priests in Israel, though they too had before them the precious utterances of prophecy, were not walking in the way of the Lord, and their eyes were not open to behold the Light of life.

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So it is still. Events upon which the attention of all heaven is centered are undiscerned, their very occurrence is unnoticed, by religious leaders, and worshipers in the house of God. Men acknowledge Christ in history, while they turn away from the living Christ. Christ in His word calling to self-sacrifice, in the poor and suffering who plead for relief, in the righteous cause that involves poverty and toil and reproach, is no more readily received today than He was eighteen hundred years ago.

Mary pondered the broad and far-reaching prophecy of Simeon. As she looked upon the child in her arms, and recalled the words spoken by the shepherds of Bethlehem, she was full of grateful joy and bright hope. Simeon’s words called to her mind the prophetic utterances of Isaiah: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. . . . And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isa. 11:1-5; 9:2-6.

Yet Mary did not understand Christ’s mission. Simeon had prophesied of Him as a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as a glory to Israel. Thus the angels had announced the Saviour’s birth as tidings of joy to all peoples. God was seeking to correct the narrow, Jewish conception of the Messiah’s work. He desired men to behold Him, not merely as the deliverer of Israel, but as the Redeemer of the world. But many years must pass before even the mother of Jesus would understand His mission.

64 The Desire of Ages

Mary looked forward to the Messiah’s reign on David’s throne, but she saw not the baptism of suffering by which it must be won. Through Simeon it is revealed that the Messiah is to have no unobstructed passage through the world. In the words to Mary, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,” God in His tender mercy gives to the mother of Jesus an intimation of the anguish that already for His sake she had begun to bear.

“Behold,” Simeon had said, “this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” They must fall who would rise again. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken before we can be uplifted in Christ. Self must be dethroned, pride must be humbled, if we would know the glory of the spiritual kingdom. The Jews would not accept the honor that is reached through humiliation. Therefore they would not receive their Redeemer. He was a sign that was spoken against.

“That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” In the light of the Saviour’s life, the hearts of all, even from the Creator to the prince of darkness, are revealed. satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are “thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” Jer. 29:11. It declares that while God’s hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that  there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me.

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At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.

By the life and the death of Christ, the thoughts of men also are brought to view. From the manger to the cross, the life of Jesus was a call to self-surrender, and to fellowship in suffering. It unveiled the purposes of men. Jesus came with the truth of heaven, and all who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit were drawn to Him. The worshipers of self belonged to satan’s kingdom. In their attitude toward Christ, all would show on which side they stood. And thus everyone passes judgment on himself.

In the day of final judgment, every lost soul will understand the nature of his own rejection of truth. The cross will be presented, and its real bearing will be seen by every mind that has been blinded by transgression. Before the vision of Calvary with its mysterious Victim, sinners will stand condemned. Every lying excuse will be swept away. Human apostasy will appear in its heinous character. Men will see what their choice has been. Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy will then have been made plain. In the judgment of the universe, God will stand clear of blame for the existence or continuance of evil. It will be demonstrated that the divine decrees are not accessory to sin. There was no defect in God’s government, no cause for disaffection. When the thoughts of all hearts shall be revealed, both the loyal and the rebellious will unite in declaring, “Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? . . . for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Rev. 15:3, 4.

66 The Desire of Ages

Chapter 6 

“We Have Seen His Star”

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him.”

The wise men from the East were philosophers. They belonged to a large and influential class that included men of noble birth, and comprised much of the wealth and learning of their nation. Among these were many who imposed on the credulity of the people. Others were upright men who studied the indications of Providence in nature, and who were honored for their integrity and wisdom. Of this character were the wise men who came to Jesus.

The light of God is ever shining amid the darkness of heathenism. As these magi studied the starry heavens, and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking clearer knowl- edge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures. In their own land were treasured prophetic writings that predicted the coming of a divine teacher. Balaam belonged to the magicians, though at one time a prophet of God; by the Holy Spirit he had foretold the prosperity of Israel and the appearing of the Messiah; and his prophecies had been handed down by tradition from century to century. But in the Old Testament the Saviour’s advent was more clearly revealed. The magi learned with joy that His coming was near, and that the whole world was to be filled with a knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

The wise men had seen a mysterious light in the heavens upon that night when the glory of God flooded the hills of Bethlehem.