From the beginning of sin Christ was with His people to dispute the authority of Satan, for He saw that the conflict must be carried on here in the earth. Satan withstood the Son of God in every effort to redeem His people. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and in the pillar of fire by night, Christ directed, guided, counseled the children of Israel in their journeyings from Egypt to Canaan. But how unwilling were the children of Israel to be led, how unwilling to be controlled by the voice of the Angel of the Lord! How eager they were in vindicating their own course, in justifying themselves in their rebellious feelings, and in following their own ideas and plans!  

     It was the mighty Counselor who was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud and fire, and who was beholding the encampment of His people. It was He who corrected them in their evil ways, and encouraged them to trust in the living God to lead them safely to the Land of Promise. They were continually under the eye that never slumbers nor sleeps, and yet they murmured against Moses, the man whom God had appointed as their visible leader, and to whom Jesus Christ talked face-to-face, as a man talketh with his friend.        Notwithstanding the fact that the Lord wrought through His servant Moses, yet when the enemy tempted them to evil surmising, jealousy, and faultfinding, they did not resist his temptations and stand firmly for principle.  

     But their failure is explained by the Inspired Word, and a warning given to us upon whom the ends of the world are come, lest we also fall after the same example of unbelief. . . .

CTr 108

     Christ was the leader of the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, He led and guided them. He preserved them from the perils of the wilderness, He brought them into the land of promise, and in the sight of all the nations that acknowledged not God He established Israel as His own chosen possession, the Lord's vineyard.    

     To this people were committed the oracles of God. They were hedged about by the precepts of His law, the everlasting principles of truth, justice, and purity. Obedience to these principles was to be their protection, for it would save them from destroying themselves by sinful practices. And as the tower in the vineyard, God placed in the midst of the land His holy temple. 

     Christ was their instructor. As He had been with them in the wilderness, so He was still to be their teacher and guide.

COL 287

      Christ is over all the works of His creation. In the pillar of fire, He guided the children of Israel, His eyes seeing past, present, and future. He is to be recognized and honored by all who love God. His commandments are to be the controlling power in the lives of His people.

CET 81

   Jesus stood at the head of that vast army. The cloudy column by day and the pillar of fire by night represented their divine Leader. But the Hebrews did not patiently bear the test of the Lord. Their voices were lifted up in reproaches and denunciations against Moses, their visible leader, for bringing them into this great peril. They did not trust in the protecting power of God nor recognize His hand staying the evils that surrounded them. In their frantic terror they had forgotten the rod with which Moses had changed the water of the Nile to blood, and the calamities which God had visited upon the Egyptians for their persecution of His chosen people. They had forgotten all the miraculous interpositions of God in their behalf.    

     "Ah," they cried, "how much better for us had we remained in bondage! It is better to live as slaves than to die of hunger and fatigue in the desert, or be slain in war with our enemies." They turned upon Moses with bitter censure because he had not left them where they were instead of leading them out to perish in the wilderness.    

     Moses was greatly troubled because his people were so wanting in faith, especially as they had repeatedly witnessed the manifestations of the power of God in their favor. He felt grieved that they should charge upon him the dangers and difficulties of their position, when he had simply followed the express commands of God. But he was strong in the faith that the Lord would bring them into safety; and he met and quieted the reproaches and fears of his people, even before he could himself discern the plan of their deliverance. 

4T 22