March 1997, Vol. 6, No. 3
The Everlasting Gospel
The Love of God
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
The Everlasting Gospel
The Only Gospel
The Effects are Everlasting
The term everlasting gospel is used only once in the Bible. The apostle John wrote that he saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6) It is termed everlasting for at least three reasons.
First, God devised the plan of salvation, the formulation of the good news, in eternity past before the creation of this world. The book of Revelation states Jesus Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8) Ultimately, the everlasting gospel goes infinitely back in time before Lucifer or any other beings were created, to a time when only the Father and His Son existed.
Second, the everlasting gospel is the same plan for all sinners in all ages. Enoch, Abraham, David, and other Old Testament worthies will be saved just as Peter, John, and Paul.
Third, the effects of the everlasting gospel are forever to destroy all love of sin and give man eternal life.
Devised in Eternity Past
Zechariah wrote concerning the plan of the everlasting gospel calling it the counsel of peace. (Zechariah 6:13) This counsel has been an ongoing work of the Father and Son for the salvation of man. Jesus taught a parable about the cost of discipleship recorded in Luke 14:25-33. In this parable, Jesus tells us that we must count the cost of discipleship. He is also teaching us that God was willing to count the cost involved in the creation of beings with free will and the cost of redeeming those beings should they choose to rebel.
Free will was imperative or man would have been little more than a robot or an automation. He could not love and serve God from the heart. Yet, if God created beings with free will, there would be the possibility that these beings could rebel. What would He do? God and His Son in Their infinite omniscience knew that rebellion would in fact come led by the highest of all created beings! God and His Son also knew that the only way the hearts of the disobedient could be wooed back to Them would be through a demonstration of love.
However, they would need the greatest demonstration of Gods love the world could ever know. Therefore, God gave Himself in giving His only begotten Son to die for man. Jesus Himself said that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Jesus claimed to be the truth. (John 14:6) Under oath, Jesus acknowledged to the high priest that he was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. (see Mark 14:61, 62 and Matthew 26:63) If Jesus said He was the Son of God, sent of the Father, to die for the sins of man, then how dare we believe anything else! This is the demonstration of love needed. Paul says:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
God commended or demonstrated His love to us in giving His only begotten Son to die in our place. Please note that it was not an associate, but Gods only begotten Son, and if the Scriptures state that God sent His Son, He must have had a Son to send. The sonship of Christ did not start when Jesus came to this world and was born of Mary! Jesus, the Son of God, one equal with Gods law, would give His life to atone for the sinner and just as importantly, give the demonstration of love needed to change the heart of man. To this plan, both the Father and the Son pledged themselves.
The Only Gospel
While the illustrations of Gods plan have been different at various times in the history of man, these different illustrations all pointed to Calvary and the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. The issue is not faith verses works, but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6) The record for both the Old Testament and the New Testament are the same.
Ellen White agreed wholeheartedly with this truth. She places great emphasis in her writings on this important doctrine. Listed below are a few examples:
There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. (Faith and Works, p. 19)
The blood of Christ was shed to atone for sin and to cleanse the sinner; and we must take hold of the merits of Christs blood, and believe that we have life through his name. Let not the fallacies of Satan deceive you; you are justified by faith alone, but faith in Christ does not absolve you from obligation to keep Gods unchangeable law, which is as sacred as his throne. Faith is essential, but genuine faith will enable its possessor to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. (Signs of the Times, March 24, 1890)
This message [Righteousness by faith as presented by Elders Jones and Waggoner] was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92)
No sinner redeemed in Gods Kingdom will have anything in which to boast except the cross of Christ. Paul could rightly say for each of us: But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14) Abraham will not be saved by works and neither will the apostle Paul be saved without works. They will both be saved by true faith that works by love and purifies the soul. (Ibid., p. 185) True obedience shows that justification by faith which works by love has taken place in the soul.
The truth that God really gave His only begotten Son to die so that we might gain an appreciation of His love and be justified by faith is the basis of the message that God entrusted to the Advent movement to proclaim as the everlasting gospel. It was not a new gospel, but a recovering of the true message that had been darkened by the influence of Satan working in apostate churches. The preaching of Elders A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner during the late 1880s through the turn of the century clarified this important truth.
We greatly appreciate the efforts of both those who claim to be historic Adventists and those who claim to believe the 1888 message. However, both the Adventist pioneers (historic) and Jones and Waggoner (1888 message) believed that Jesus was the literal Son of God, begotten of the Father before time and eternity. The majority that label themselves as historic Adventists or believers in the 1888 message reject this truth. We cannot proclaim the real everlasting gospel if we are missing one of the most essential parts of it.
God, through His servant Ellen White, sent a stirring testimony in 1895:
There are many who have outgrown their advent faith. They are living for the world, and while saying in their hearts, as they desire it shall be, My Lord delayeth His coming, they are beating their fellow servants. They do this for the same reason that Cain killed Abel. Abel was determined to worship God according to the directions God had given. This displeased Cain. He thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain. (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 77, 78)
Today some have outgrown their advent faith. They believe that God did not give the truth about the Father and the Son to the pioneers, but rather they were deceived in this critical area. History tells us that the corporate church, like Cain, did not want to worship God on His terms, but according to their own selfish way. To be like the churches around them, they must believe in the dark papal doctrine of the Trinity that strikes a deep blow to the everlasting gospel because it hides the true love of God.
Recently, my wife pointed out a testimony she had read printed in Landmarks magazine (March 1996). There I read the following quote:
I am instructed that the Lord, by His infinite power, has preserved the right hand of His messenger for more than half a century, in order that the truth may be written out as He bids me write it for publication, in periodicals and books, Why? Because if it were not thus written out, when the pioneers in the faith shall die, there would be many, new in the faith, who would sometimes accept as messages of truth teachings that contain erroneous sentiments and dangerous fallacies. Sometimes that which men teach as special light is in reality specious error, which, as tares sown among the wheat, will spring up and produce a baleful harvest. And errors of this sort will be entertained by some until the close of this earths history. (This Day with God, p. 126)
Since the death of Sister White, many in the ranks of Adventism have introduced erroneous sentiments and dangerous fallacies about the Father and His Son. This Ellen G. White quote was in an excellent article entitled Are There Weeds in your Field? Ironically, the paragraph just before the Ellen G. White quote said:
We need to be opening our minds to the truth and find books that have been written by people who are mature and experienced Christians and love the truth. In the nineteenth century there was a man named J. N. Andrews. He knew several other languages as well as biblical languages. He made the comment one time to someone he knew that if the New Testament was lost, he could reproduce it from memory. He was an outstanding biblical scholar. He was also a student of history and wrote the History of the Sabbath, a fascinating book. (John Grosboll, Landmarks, March 1996, p. 8)
Elder Grosboll implies that Andrews was a mature and experienced Christian. History documents this truth. The author also claims that Andrews was an outstanding biblical scholar. We wholeheartedly agree! When the brethren needed someone to research the question of when to begin keeping the Sabbath, they asked Andrews. What is of special interest in connection to the everlasting gospel is what Andrews thought concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine Landmarks supports. In a Review article: The Three Angels of Rev. XIV, 6-12, Andrews, speaking of the fall of Babylon, wrote in part:
The cause of the fall of Babylon is thus stated: she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Her fornication was her unlawful union with the kings of the earth. The wine of this, is that with which the church has intoxicated the nations of the earth. There is but one thing that this can refer to; viz., false doctrine. This harlot, in consequence of her unlawful union with the powers of earth, has corrupted the pure truths of the Bible, and with the wine of her false doctrine, has intoxicated the nations. A few instances of her corruption of the truths of the Bible must suffice:
1. The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul. This was derived from the Pagan mythology, and was introduced into the church by means of distinguished converts from Paganism, who became fathers of the church. This doctrine makes man's last foe, death, the gate to endless joy, and leaves the resurrection as a thing of minor importance. It is the foundation of modern spiritualism.
2. The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 6, 1855)
J. N. Andrews, the outstanding biblical scholar, accepted the truth about the Father and Son and rejected the papal doctrine of the Trinity. The counsel of Ellen White was for us not to forget the truth that God in His mercy had given to His people. The truth about the relationship between God and Christ is clear enough for all but the sleepiest Laodicean to see. God is the real Father of Jesus Christ and Jesus is the Fathers only begotten Son. Both the pioneers of the Advent movement and the 1888 messengers knew it and proclaimed it!
Both Abraham and Paul will be saved, but not because they knew a different God! Neither will we be saved by a different God than the one J. N. Andrews, Joseph Bates, James and Ellen White, and the rest of the Advent pioneers knew! In the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. (Acts 17:30) The light is shining forth with greater clarity than ever and its effects will be eternal.
The Effects are Everlasting
One effect of the everlasting gospel will be to vindicate the character of God and stop every mouth of their charges against God. When Christ came to our world, Satan was on the ground, and disputed every inch of advance in his path from the manger to Calvary. Satan had accused God of requiring self-denial of the angels, when he knew nothing of what it meant himself, and when he would not himself make any self-sacrifice for others. This was the accusation that Satan made against God in heaven; and after the evil one was expelled from heaven, he continually charged the Lord with exacting service which he would not render himself. Christ came to the world to meet these false accusations, and to reveal the Father. (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 533) Even Satan and all of his sympathizers will acknowledge that they were wrong. Philippians 2:10 states, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. With the destruction of Satan, his followers, and all love of sin, the everlasting gospel has insured that affliction shall not rise up the second time. (Nahum 1:9)
The everlasting gospel will also bestow everlasting life upon the repentant sinner. Jesus said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. (John 6:51) To know God and His Son brings eternal life to the believer. Jesus said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3) The Apostle John wrote: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:11-13) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (1 John 2:24, 25) Allen Stump
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THE LOVE OF GOD
How can we Love God Perfectly?
Three Steps to Overcome Sin
Gethsemane and the Cross
The Feelings of Christ
Worshipping Another Jesus?
Jesus said, If ye love me, keep 5083 my commandments. (John 14:15)* The same Greek word is used in verse 23. If a man love me, he will keep 5083 my words. (John 14:23). One Interlinear translation states: If you love me, you will keep 5083 my commandments.
This verse is a statement about a cause and effect relationship rather than a command. Jesus says that if we love Him, then the natural result of that love will be that we will keep His commandments. If we do not love God, then we cannot, and will not, keep His commandments.
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:35-40)
If we love God with all our heart, then surely we would never have any other gods before Him. We would not make, and bow down to, any graven image, or break the Sabbath, or take His name in vain. And surely, if we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we wouldnt think of murdering them, or bearing false witness against them. If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, then we would honor our parents, and we would not covet or commit adultery. For this reason, Paul could say, with certainty, these words:
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
To love God with all our heart is the first and great commandment. Obviously we cannot break this one and still be keeping the commandments of God, for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
As we can clearly see, if we are striving to keep Gods commandments, then our first and highest goal is to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. If we love God perfectly, then we will keep His commandments perfectly.
How can we Love God perfectly?
One of the greatest principles of scripture is stated by John: We love Him, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We can see that the only reason given for man loving God is because He first loved us. If we are to love God, then we must first comprehend His love for us. Our love for God will be in direct proportion to how much we understand and appreciate His love for us. If you see that God loves you a little bit, then your love for Him will be very little. If you see that God loves you so much that He would even yield up that which is most precious in His sight, His only begotten Son, then your love for Him will be like that of Abraham, who was willing to give up His only begotten Son to show his love for God.
Before we can love God, we must first understand His love for us. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9,10) God has revealed His great love wherewith He loved us, by yielding up His only begotten Son.
Three Steps to Overcome Sin
There are three steps to overcome sin completely. Leave out one of these, and it is impossible. And we have known 1097 and believed [that God sent His only begotten Son. v.9] the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect. (1 John 4:16,17). Our love for God will be made perfect by knowing, believing, and then dwelling in His love for us, which is shown by His sending His only begotten Son into the world.
First, we must know Gods love for us. We must have a clear understanding of the immense sacrifice that God, the Father, went through in giving up His only begotten Son for us. Secondly, we must believe in that love. We must trust in Gods love so much that it causes us to act upon that belief. Faith produces actions because faith works. (Galatians 5:6) Thirdly, we must dwell in that love. We do this by continually meditating on His love for us: always being preoccupied with His love for us.
We are not expected just to know the love of God, but also believe it, let it become a part of us, and live it out in our daily lives. Isaiah 7:9 plainly states, If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. We cannot believe something until we know it. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)
How can we know the love of God toward us so that we can believe it, and dwell in it, which will perfect our love for Him? The apostle John writes, Hereby perceive 1097 [know] we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. (1 John 3:16). To know Gods love for us, we must look at how Christ laid down His life for us, then we will better understand the sacrifice that the Father made by yielding up His Son. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us. (1 John 3:1)
Gethsemane and the Cross
And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to His disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And He taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, 1568 and to be very heavy; 85 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch [give strict attention to]. And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. (Mark 14:32-35) Jesus asked His disciples to watch what was going on because He wanted them to know and believe the love that God had to them, so that their love for God might have been perfected.
Take a look at what happened in the garden of Gethsemane. Lets first examine the definition of the Greek word translated sore amazed. Thayer defines it to mean, To throw into amazement, or terror, to alarm thoroughly, to terrify, to be struck with terror. (Thayers Greek Lexicon) Something happened in the mind of Jesus that caused Him to be terrified, so much that He prayed three times that the hour might pass from Him.
The next word used to describe the condition of Jesus is the word translated very heavy. It means, To be in distress (of mind); (To be sated to loathing). (Strongs Greek Dictionary). Something was going on inside the mind of Jesus that caused Him to be in distress. The sins of the world were upon him. He was suffering in man's stead, as a transgressor of his Father's law. (Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879)
The Feelings of Christ
The LORD laid on Him the iniquity (guilt) of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) Jesus was experiencing the guilt of us all. He experienced the shame that we feel when we sin, only magnified many times, and it caused a separation between God and Himself. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have come between you, that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 margin)
God truly loves us enough to give up His only begotten Son, and He wants us to behold, or to dwell on, that precious truth. For the love of Christ constraineth 4912 [compels or preoccupies] us. (2 Corinthians 5:14) We are to be preoccupied with the wonderful truth that God so loved the world that He allowed His only begotten Son to experience our guilt, and to suffer the consequences of having that guilt laid upon Him.
Now the end 5056 [point aimed at, or goal] of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved [aiming at] have turned aside unto vain jangling. (1 Timothy 1:5,6) Some who have not focused on Gods love have swerved from the faith. We must focus on our goal, which is to love God by knowing His love for us.
God knows that if we dwell upon the wonderful love that He has for us that it will mold and shape us like nothing else can. If we will constantly have a conscious realization of the love that God has for us and appreciate that love, then we will finally be disgusted with sin and refuse to allow it to dwell in us any longer. The Scriptures definitely state that by the grace of God man can overcome sin! For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5) If we expect to overcome the world, then we must believe that Jesus really is the only begotten (born) Son of God, and that God gave Him up for us.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. (1 John 5:10)
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. (Matthew 17:5)
God says that Jesus is His only begotten Son. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Jesus, speaking of Himself, says; When there were no depths, I was brought forth 2342 [born]; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth. (Proverbs 8:24). Verses 24 and 25 in The 1965 Bible in Basic English state: When there was no deep I was given birth, when there were no fountains flowing with water. Before the mountains were put in their places, before the hills was my birth. The Hebrew word that is translated here as brought forth is in the Pulal form of the verb and can only carry the definition of this form of the verb, which is to be made to writhe, be made to bear, to be brought forth (Brown, Drivers, Briggs Lexicon) The Septuagint for Proverbs 8:25 says: Before the mountains were settled, and before all hills, he begets me. Jesus is the literal Son of God, begotten in heaven before the world was.
It is only by knowing and believing that God so loved the world that He actually gave up His only begotten Son that we can truly have our love for God perfected. Therefore, only by knowing and believing that God sent His only begotten Son into the world can we perfectly keep His commandments.
It will be impossible to be a part of the 144,000 if we have a distorted view of Gods love. It is a distortion of Gods character to say that Jesus was not brought forth of the Father. The common evangelical Trinitarian teaches that Jesus was merely a friend or some kind of an associate with God. This false view fails to realize the wonderful sacrifice that God made by yielding up that which was most dear to Him, His only begotten Son, whom He brought up and grew to love more and more, even as a man grows to love his child that came out of him. Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him. (Proverbs 8:30) Any parent who loves his or her children knows that it would be much harder to give up a child to die than to die themselves. Gods love for us is much greater than we have yet realized.
Jesus declared of Himself, For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. (John 16:27). Jesus came out from God, and it was with a great struggle that God allowed His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world. Thank God for such love, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:10)
Trinitarians who reject the literal sonship of Christ cannot fully understand the benevolence of God, in that it was a struggle for the King of the universe to yield up His only begotten Son. In their misunderstanding they cast a false light on the character of God, limiting their own love for their Creator. In doing this they make it impossible for themselves to love God perfectly or keep His commandments perfectly, excluding them from the remnant of Israel. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: (Zepheniah 3:13)
Here are some words of wisdom from a prominent author. All deceptive dealings, all untruthfulness regarding the Father and the Son, by which their characters are presented in a false light, are to be recognized as grievous sins. There are those who have become apt scholars in this deceptive work. (E.G. White, Special Testimonies, series b, no. 2, p.10)
Worshipping Another Jesus?
Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, stated: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) Paul was concerned that men would come and preach another Jesus. This has happened, and sadly enough, many have fallen into the trap of believing in another Jesus, and receiving another spirit. Has this happened to you?
Gods remnant people will completely overcome sin, and there will not be found in them a lying tongue. I encourage you all to study your Bibles and get to know your God. Daniel was talking about the people in the last days when he said this; But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32) Lynnford Beachy
* The small numbers that are used after a word represent a Greek word that was translated into the English word it follows. Whenever you see the number 5083 it is the same Greek word, no matter what English word was chosen by the translators. F Back to beginning of article.
Old Paths is now available on the Internet. The current site lists issues back to November of 1996. Lord willing, we plan to publish several more back issues soon. We also plan on having the new book, The Foundation of Our Faith, available in an on-line version soon. You can access our Web Site by typing in the following address: http://www.smyrna.org.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12)
Unbelievable as it may seem, some species of shell creatures are more dangerous than rattlesnakes. The poison in the daggers these shells carry is strong enough to kill a person in a few hours. The daggers are intended for protection against natural enemies, such as fish, other shells, or an octopus, as well as for killing the marine creatures the shells feed on.
All of the beautifully marked cone shells of tropical and semitropical waters are carnivorous and all carry daggers. However, some of them carry unpoisoned daggers while others have poisoned ones, and some are more dangerous than others. The most deadly of the shells is the textile cone, a deep-yellow shell decorated with white blotches and wavy yellow lines.
An examination of a textile cone reveals that the deadly dagger is enclosed within its muscular proboscis. Like a sword in a sheath, the long, sharp, curved blade with the barb on the end can be forced outward or drawn inward by strong muscles at the base. A tube leads from the base of the dagger to a poison sac. When the blade is thrust out, the sac is compressed and poison spurts beyond the tip of the blade for several inches. The shell often leaves its blade in its victim, but always has a ready supply of replacements on hand.
Men who live in the South Seas recognize the poisonous shell varieties and are usually able to avoid their sting. When they are accidentally stabbed they slash the wound to let the blood flow wash out most of the poison. Without this treatment they would die.
Some men, unfamiliar with cone shells, begin collecting them with the idea of making a quick fortune, only to be stabbed to death before they realize what has happened. Sometimes our human natures leads us in directions that seem good but in the end are unwise. By trusting our own wisdom we often make mistakes. When we trust in Jesus, who is the Source of wisdom, we will be saved from difficulties. (Reprinted from Youths Daniels Band, September 1996 - Julia Joy Russell)
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