Old Paths

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

Vol. 6, No. 6 Straight and Narrow June 1997


THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION

The foundation of the plan of redemption is the giving of God’s Son to die for man’s sins. In the book of Zechariah we read: “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord: Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12,13)

The Hebrew word translated “counsel” (etsah) means advice, or by implication, a plan. (See Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary #6098.) The Hebrew word translated “peace” is defined as: “peace, friendship; with God especially in covenant relationship.” (Brown-Driver-Briggs') In the Septuagint, the Greek equivalent, soteria, (Strong's Greek Dictionary #4991) means salvation, or to deliver. (See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.) The “counsel of peace” is the “plan of redemption.”

THE GOSPEL ILLUSTRATED

God revealed to the universe what was involved in this plan through the experience of Abraham and Isaac. The book of Genesis records for us the dynamic illustration:

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:1, 2)

God asked Abraham to yield up that which was most dear to him, his only son, whom he loved. This was a very severe test for Abraham to go through. However, because Abraham deeply comprehended God's love for him, he did not withhold his dearly beloved. Abraham knew that God would not withhold His dearly beloved either. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. ... And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And He said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Genesis 22:3, 9-12)

God did not ask Abraham to make a sacrifice that He Himself was not willing to make. The Father was keenly aware of the anguish of soul that Abraham was going through for He had made the decision to yield up His only begotten Son in eternity past. While he made the trip to the mountain of Moriah, Abraham had three days to contemplate his decision. Abraham’s grief was immense as he journeyed to that destination. For three long days his thoughts were filled with the realization that he must yield up his only begotten son. This brief time of Abraham’s anguish and bitter anticipation was but a fraction of the time and suffering that God the Father experienced. He had eons of time to wait before finally yielding up His only begotten Son. One Christian writer has expressed it in these beautiful words:

“It was to impress Abraham’s mind with the reality of the gospel, as well as to test his faith, that God commanded him to slay his son. The agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man's redemption. No other test could have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of his son. God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, ‘It is enough.’ To save the fallen race, the King of glory yielded up His life. What stronger proof can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God?” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 154)

Though Abraham was completely willing and ready to sacrifice his son, he was spared the final completion of his sacrifice. “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13)

The expression “in the stead” means “for the sake of, in place of, in exchange or return for.” (Strong's) God sent a ransom to die instead of Isaac. The Father has also sent a ransom to die in our “stead.” From the oldest book of the Bible we read: “If there be a messenger with him, a interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man His uprightness: Then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.” (Job 33:23, 24) God has provided a ransom, even His only begotten Son. Jesus said that He was “sent” from God. (See John 4:34; 5:23, 24, 30, 36; etc.)

Praise Him for His goodness is everlasting! God the Father had counseled with His Son and prepared this plan before the foundation of the world. The book of Revelation says that Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) Peter writes: “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Peter 1:19,20)

The plan of redemption had been decided long before man was made, for God knows the end from the beginning. The experience of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross was a revelation of the immense pain and suffering that sin has brought to the heart of God since its inception, and will continue until sin is finally eradicated.

God has, by the gift of Christ, made redemption possible, but how do we attain it? The Bible says: “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:6,7) We have redemption through His blood, not only by His death, but also by His life within us. If Christ had not died, then we could not be forgiven of our sins. The blood of animals was not enough: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4)

Let us notice how that redemption was attained. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13) Christ was made a “curse” in place of us.

“For He [the Father] hath made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Christ was made to be sin for us, and became a curse in our stead, and “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) The penalty for sin is death, not just a physical death that we know as “sleep,” but an eternal separation from God. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20) For Christ to pay the wages of sin, He must also suffer this complete separation from God.

Those who reject salvation and stand before God to suffer the “second death” will consciously realize that they will never live again. This utter separation from God and life is the worst realization of the wicked. For “they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah 16) This is the experience that Christ had when He cried out with bitter anguish, “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

REVELATIONS FROM PSALM 88

Many of the Psalms prophetically relate the earthly experience of Jesus. Psalm eighty-eight reveals some of the thoughts of Jesus during His last hours: “I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength.” (Psalm 88:4) Isaiah adds these thoughts: “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out his soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)

Christ was “counted” with them that will be destroyed forever, both body and soul. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 that we should “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Christ offered His “soul” for the salvation of man, not merely a physical death, but a complete separation from God. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)

Psalm 88:5 says: “Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.” Jesus knew this Scripture. He felt that He was counted with the transgressors whom the Lord remembers no more. This is the experience that those who suffer the “second death” will have. They will be as though they had not been.

Jesus says in Revelation 1:5 that He “is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Here Christ is called the first begotten of the dead. Was Christ the first to be raised from the dead? No! Moses was raised from the dead before Jesus. (See Matthew 17; Jude 9) Christ was the first, and only, One that was raised after suffering the “second death.” In fact, Jesus is the only One in the universe to have truly and fully died!

“Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.” (Psalm 88:6) Christ suffered the worst death that anyone has ever, or will ever, suffer. He was laid in the lowest pit. This is not referring to the physical pain that Christ endured, but the emotional turmoil Jesus suffered when He realized His Father’s displeasure, and, though He had not sinned, He would suffer eternal death for the salvation of even one person. Christ made the conscious decision that He was willing to die for eternity if just one soul could live with God forever.

At any moment the Son of God could have cried to His Father to deliver Him. He said: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53) Yet, Jesus went on, knowing that many would be saved, even if it meant He would never live again. “And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36) “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:11a)

Concerning the weight of the sin placed upon Jesus we read: “Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.” (Psalm 88:7) The Hebrew word that was translated “lieth hard” is camak (Strong’s #5564). This word is also used in Leviticus 1:4, and means “to lean upon, to rest upon.” (Brown-Driver-Briggs’) “And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” (Leviticus 1:4) Just as the sinner in the sin offering was to put his full weight upon the innocent lamb, so Christ received the full weight of our transgressions. The wrath of the Lord “laid hard” upon the Son of God.

“Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.” (Psalm 88:8) Christ was shut up in the tomb, and He could not bring Himself forth.

RAISED BY HIS FATHER

There is a statement of Christ’s found in John 10:17, 18 that has been misunderstood concerning His death and resurrection. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” A misunderstanding of this text has led many sincere people to think that Jesus taught that HE was going to raise Himself from death and the grave. This was not the case!

The Greek word that was translated “take” is lambano. It means to “take” or “to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain, to get back.” (Thayer's) Lambano is used in John 10:18, but is there translated “received.” Christ laid down His life that He might receive it again. The Greek word that was translated “power” is exousia which means “authority, [or] permission.” (Thayer's) Christ had permission to lay down His life so that He could receive it again from the Father. Christ could not, and did not, raise Himself from the dead, or else He could not have been dead to begin with.

The Bible plainly teaches that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Notice the clear testimony:

The Bible says more than thirty times that God the Father raised Christ from the dead. Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, or else He was not really dead. The plan of salvation hinges upon our understanding and acceptance of the death of Jesus. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

The condition experienced in death is what Christ experienced while in the grave. “Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” (Psalm 88:10-12) “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psalm 146:4) “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) When Christ was asleep in the tomb, His sleep was as the rest of the dead, who know nothing, and whose thoughts have perished.

Psalm 88:14 gives further insight into Christ’s thoughts on the cross: “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?” (Psalm 88:14) This experience wrung from Him the cry: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) The reason God hid His face from His Son is found in Isaiah. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

Christ took upon Him the iniquity of us all, and at that point He stood before God as one who had sinned, which caused His Father to hide His face from Him. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

All of our sin and guilt was placed upon the divine Son of God. Because of this, God can bestow Christ’s perfect righteousness upon you. You can stand before God as one who had not sinned. Further, Christ’s victory makes complete obedience possible to the believer. All this is made possible by the death of Christ, for in Him “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

If Christ did not die as a complete being, a ransom for our sins, then we are still in our sins, and our faith is in vain. “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:16,17)

God wishes for all men to come into a knowledge of the following truth: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6) God would have us all come unto the knowledge of the truth, which is that there is one God, and one Mediator, the Son of God, who gave Himself a ransom for all. Beloved, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” (Hebrews 2:3) Do not reject this wonderful salvation that God has provided for us. Praise God and His Son for working out this plan of redemption for the salvation of man.

Lynnford Beachy

(Brother Lynnford Beachy writes from his home in southern Illinois. The first version of this article was originally printed in the August 1995 edition of The Advent Movement Fulfilled. You may contact Lynnford at P. O. Box 65, New Burnside, IL 62967. His phone number is (618) 777-2701. His e-mail address is appropriately: Berean@smyrna.org


Greetings from Europe!”

(An update on the exciting events happening in Europe the last couple of weeks.)

Sabbath in Germany

Our brother in Christ, Jon, (the young German man who translated Holland 1995) and I traveled to a Reform SDA church in Solingen, Germany, where God blessed with the opportunity to break the bread of life with these dear souls. This is the same church that invited me to give two different seminars in 1996. It was great to see them again and we were much encouraged. Jon and I drove all night and part of Sunday from Germany to Rome to get video interviews for the “History of the Trinity” documentary.

Robbed in Rome!

While in Rome we spent a good day shooting video only to be robbed of both video cameras that evening. Talk about disappointment; talk about your heart sinking to your shoes; talk about feeling all alone in a foreign country! Yes, welcome to Rome! Jon and I started back to Germany that evening, sleeping in the car for several hours (we couldn’t lock the car because the window was broken out). My only comfort was in claiming precious Bible promises such as: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

On our way north through Switzerland we stopped to ask for tourist information. When the secretary heard about our experience at Rome she invited us to be guests in her home that evening! Just a few weeks before, she had taken her name off the Catholic church books because she recognized the many false teachings. We were able to have a three-hour Bible study with her and one of her friends. This lady, Judith, was so excited and happy that she invited Heidi and me to come back and stay in her home and have Bible studies together. This we did for three days and the Lord really blessed. Please pray for Judith. We have a true friend in Switzerland.

International Camp-meeting

I’m writing this note from Holland right now but have spent the last few days at an international independent S. D. A. campmeeting in Germany. Around 150 people are attending from several different countries. I have distributed some of Allen’s and Lynnford’s books about the history of the Trinity. They received the books very well, but more importantly, several have become good friends. One family invited us to stay with them and preach the message in Poland. Who knows? I’m planing on returning to this campmeeting tomorrow (it lasts a week) and pass the books out to the rest of the people. Please pray for me and my family. I feel so helpless and unable to rightly witness for our beloved Saviour.

Several young people have shown an interest in returning to America with our family, so practice your German. We plan to arrive home in America around the 8th of June and are looking forward to seeing you all again at the Illinois campmeeting [See page 11.] when I can share more details. Wish I could be with brother Doug at the Promise Keepers meetings. [See “Incredible,” page 8.] Large crowds are a great opportunity! Thank you for your love and prayers.

Your brother in Christ,

Fred Allaback


Youth’s Corner
Search the Scriptures
Mrs. Ellen G. White

Dear children, I have feared there was a lack on your part in searching the Scriptures. Nothing should divert you from obeying this command. Time given you to prepare for heaven is precious, and the way to find out your duty to God, and learn the narrow path leading to heaven, is to search God's holy word. By that word you will see that it is no small thing to be a Christian.

In order to be a follower of Jesus, you must be often found studying the Word. Go to it for counsel, for direction, for knowledge, and you will find it sufficient for all this. It will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.

There is an evil among the young that has caused me hours of sorrow. The reading of story-books and newspapers of the day. Dear children, as long as you do this, the religion of Jesus cannot dwell in your heart. What does the reading of these story-book and newspapers do for you? Does it make you sober-minded? Does it fit you for prayer in secret? Does it adorn the Christian? Does it show to the world that you love religion, and your Bible, and that your thoughts are much on God and heaven? Does it show that you are walking with God and holding communion with him? Answer these questions to your God.

In every case where there is a thirst for light and vain reading, the word of God lies neglected, and there is no thirst for holy and pure reading, the more you read these books, the greater is your thirst for reading, and the religion of Jesus is crowded out. You may still retain the name and form, but these are only a curse, when the vital part is gone. The mind that should be stayed upon God, is under an unhealthy excitement, and prayer is hardly thought of. I know it is sin to read the books and papers of the day. It poisons the mind that should be pure to serve the Law of God. And again, time is wasted; time that is not your own, but lent you of God; and he holds you responsible for it; and in the day of judgment you must give an account what disposition you have made of your time.

You have an influence. You not only injure your own soul, but you encourage others to follow your example, and the end thereof you will find to be death. Jesus is crowded out of your thoughts, and vanity and folly takes its place. Your mind is perverted, if not corrupted. Some have reasoned, even parents, that it was harmless reading. But it is hurtful enough to grieve the Spirit of God away, and destroy the soul.

You should profess the religion of Jesus, and the Third Angel's Message understandingly. You do not want to believe the truth merely because your parents do, but because the Bible teaches it. Then search the Scriptures, that you may know yourself that you have a well-grounded hope. Dear children you must have an experience in the things of God. Acquaint yourselves with the word of God, that if need be, you can tell others your reasons for believing as you do.

I have had an experience in this matter. I have ever had a natural love for reading; but since I have learned to prize the approbation of God, and have tasted the sweetness of his love, I have had a work to do, to lay aside vain reading, and turn to God's word. At times I have been overcome, by my love of reading. And O how soon my soul was barren, and my love for the word of God gone. It was difficult to fix my mind upon God, or approach him as I should. And I could not find comfort or peace again until I humbly confessed my sin to God. Many of the young that I am acquainted with have had the same experience. I have not only had an experience in this matter, but God has shown me in vision the withering effects of this unprofitable reading. I dare not keep silent longer, lest the blood of your souls be found in my garments.

Children, I want to arouse you to this evil. I want you to awake, and now take the word of God as the man of your counsel. It may be difficult for you to love to study the word of God at once, when you have not been in the habit of studying it, but God will help you. Pray for his forgiveness for neglecting his holy word so long, and then beg of the Lord to give you love and interest in his word, be in earnest in the matter. When I lose my love for the Bible I am alarmed. I know that I do not love Jesus if I do not love to search the Book that testifies of him.

(Reprinted from The Youth's Instructor, June 1, 1856.)

 

Christ Our Righteousness

(We wish to encourage all who are young, at least in heart, to study these lessons and fill in the blanks with answers from the Bible.)

Considering Christ

1. Whom should we consider? Hebrews 3:1


2. What happens when we consider Christ and His glory? 2 Corinthians 3:18


3. Whom did Paul center all his preaching around? 1 Corinthians 2:2


4. What is the gospel (good news) the power of? Romans 1:16, 17


5. Through whom only does salvation come? Acts 4:10-12


6. Who is our only access to the Father? John 14:6


7. Why is it necessary for Christ to be “lifted up”? John 3:14, 15 (See Note 1)


8. What will happen to men when Jesus is“lifted up”? John 12:32


9. Who is both the Author and Finisher of our faith? Hebrews 12:1, 2


10. Why also should we consider Christ? Hebrews 12:3 (See Note 2)


11. What does God instruct us to do when we need wisdom? James 1:5


12. Where is all true wisdom contained? Col. 2:1-3


13. What does the Bible call any wisdom not from God? Romans 1:21, 22


14. What are two things Christ is declared to be? 1 Corinthians 1:24


15. Why else should we consider Christ? 1 Corinthians 1:30 (See Note 3)


Notes:

1. “This ‘lifting up’ of Jesus, while it has primary reference to His crucifixion, embraces more than the mere historical fact; it means that Christ must be ‘lifted up’ by all who believe in Him, as the crucified Redeemer, whose grace and glory are sufficient to supply the world’s greatest need; it means that He should be ‘lifted up’ in all His exceeding loveliness and power as ‘God with us,’ that His Divine attractiveness may thus draw all unto Him.” (Christ Our Righteousness, p. 6)

2. The Greek word for “contradiction” is antilogia (antilogia), which means hostility or strife.

3. “We are ignorant, wicked, lost; Christ is to us wisdom, righteousness, redemption. What a range! From ignorance and sin to righteousness and redemption. Man’s highest aspiration or need cannot reach outside the bounds of what Christ is to us, and what He alone is to us.” (Ibid., p. 8)

(This is the first study in a series of sixteen lessons of the Righteousness of Christ based on E. J. Waggoner’s book, Christ Our Righteousness. A complete printed set of these lessons is available from Smyrna Gospel Ministries. The suggested donation is $3.00 for the first set and $1.50 for each additional lesson set requested.)

Correction

We wish to acknowledge that we have incorrectly credited the source of two articles in the Youths’ Corner. The March and May issues carried articles that we incorrectly labeled as being written by Sister J. J. Russell. These articles were from James A. Tucker’s book Windows on God’s Word. Sister Russell had used these in her paper, Daniel’s Band, published for the youth in Australia and we failed to credit the correct source. Editor


Incredible

“INCREDIBLE” is the word used by two brothers to describe the witnessing experience that occurred on May 23 and 24 at Solider Field in Chicago. Brethren from several different states recently gathered there to pass out tracts on the three angels’ messages at a meeting of “The Promise Keepers.”

The Promise Keepers was founded in 1990 by Bill McCartney, former head football coach at the University of Colorado. Promise Keepers are Christian men who are best known for their religious meetings in large stadiums. Beginning with 4,200 men gathering at the University of Colorado in 1991, their meetings have grown to have more than one million attending twenty-two stadiums meetings across America.

Promise Keepers claim to encourage “men to live godly lives and to keep seven basic promises of commitment to God, their families, and fellow man. Promise Keepers seeks to unite Christian men of all races, denominations, ages, cultures, and socio-economic groups, believing that accountable relationships among men are critical in helping one another become promise keepers in their relationships with God, their wives, their children, and each other.” (Promise Keepers official web-site. Home URL: http://www.promisekeepers.org)

Promise Keepers does not claim to be a denomination. However, Promise Keepers cross all denominational bearers promoting ecumenism. Men may be Promise Keepers who ascribe to their brief statement of belief and commit themselves to be loyal to the seven promises of Promise Keepers.

Promise Keepers’ Statement of Beliefs

The Promise Keepers’ statement of beliefs is given as follows:

“1. We believe that there is one God eternally existing in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.”

“2. We believe that the Bible is God's written revelation to man and that it is verbally inspired, authoritative, and without error in the original manuscripts.”

“3. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death on the cross to provide for our redemption, bodily resurrection and ascension into heaven, present ministry of intercession for us, and His return to earth in power and glory.”

“4. We believe in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, that He performs the miracle of new birth in unbelievers and indwells believers, enabling them to live godly lives.”

“5. We believe that man was created in the image of God, but because of sin, was alienated from God. Only through faith, trusting in Christ alone for salvation which was made possible by His death and resurrection, can that alienation be removed.” (Ibid.)

Three of the five statements express belief in the Trinity. Statement number two expresses belief in the  “verbal” inspiration of the Scriptures and the last statement concerns man’s salvation. The only statement that a member of the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church would not agree with would be statement number two. Adventists have long believed in “thought inspiration” as opposed to verbal inspiration. However, a true “historic” Seventh-day Adventist could not agree with the tenor of the statements that profess belief in the “Trinity” without using the term.

The Seven Promises

The seven promises that a Promise Keeper is to be loyal to are listed as:

“1. A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“2. A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.”

“3. A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.”

“4. A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.”

“5. A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.”

“6. A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.”

“7. A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20 ).” (Ibid.)

The “seven promises” seem outwardly to be wonderful goals of spiritual commitment. In fact, the first five are accurate Biblical goals that God clearly has for His people. The seventh promise speaks of the need for the Promise Keeper “to influencing his world.” Just how this is done is not mentioned. Promise Keepers claim not to be “a political or partisan organization.” (Ibid.)

Statement On Reconciliation

Statement number six, which they call their “Statement On Reconciliation,” needs a much closer look. Promise Keepers are to be “committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.” While we applaud the need for healing over racial barriers, we have to be greatly concerned about the crossing of denominational barriers for the sake of “unity.”

Promise Keepers claim to hold “to the biblical view of reconciliation. The Bible instructs that God the Father, by sacrificing His own Son on the cross, ‘reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’(II Corinthians 5:18). Whether a man desires to reconcile with his family, the members of his church, or with his brothers and sisters of a different race or denomination, he must first be reconciled vertically with God through Jesus Christ. Only then can he be reconciled horizontally to his brother.”

“The impact of the cross, then, is that God’s love breaks down the walls of separation between God and man, and between man and man, regardless of race or denomination. Therefore, genuine biblical reconciliation is a divine mandate given every Christian believer by God, predicated upon the atoning blood of Christ. (See Colossians 3:11, Ephesians 2:14.)”

“To execute reconciliation, Promise Keepers has adopted four key biblical principles detailed in the book Breaking Down Walls, by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein” (Ibid.)

One principle is “Intentionality.” Under this principle, Promise Keepers are encouraged to “visit an ethnically or denominationally different church at least four times a year.” (Ibid.)

Real Biblical Unity

Is this the Biblical view of unity? We agree that we must be reconciled to God before we can we reconciled to man. John writes, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (1 John 4:20) Part of being reconciled to God involves receiving the mind of God. (See Philippians 2:5.) That mind loves the sinner but hates sin in all forms including false doctrine! Paul plainly declares “heresies” to be a work of the flesh that will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:20, 21)  God condemns Babylon for teaching false doctrine. (Revelation 14:8; 18:2, 3)  The doctrine that ties the Promise Keepers together is the central pillar of the Papacy: the Trinity!

Bible prophecy indicates that the “image to the beast” is formed in America as apostate Protestantism seeks the aid of the civil powers for the enforcement of her doctrine. She will claim to be seeking the favor of God and will even “make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” (Rev. 13:13) This pseudo revival has Satan as its true founder. Using the false wine of ecumenism, he gathers the fallen churches into a confederacy which claims outwardly to be seeking the favor of God, while they are really under the banner of the prince of evil. God plainly says that He is not involved in this false revival.

True Bible unity and reconciliation will only be obtained through the truth. God does want His people to come into unity, but it is a “unity of the faith.” (Ephesians 4:13)  The Bible declares that there is “one faith,” not many! (Ephesians 4:5) God’s watchmen will be in unity: “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” (Isaiah 52:8)  God does not want His people to be confused on doctrine, but united on what they teach: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

To help bring this true unity about, God is sending a special message to call His people together in the truth in these last days. It is found in Revelation 14:7-10: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:7-10)  Those who receive the message are described as those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12) God will have a people who will keep all ten commandments, not just eight or nine.

Incredible Witnessing Experience

It was knowing the true Biblical view on unity and realizing that many Promise Keepers are sincere in their efforts that constrained some brethren to visit the Promise Keepers’ meeting in Chicago. Two different tracts were prepared for distribution. One was entitled, “The Father’s Position and Responsibility.” The first part was an adaptation from The Adventist Home, pages 211 and 212. The second part of the tract was called, “A Letter from Jesus.” This gave a powerful appeal for the reader to consider thoughtfully whom he was worshiping.  The second tract began with a study on the sacrifice and faith of Jesus. Tying this message into Revelation 14:12, the tract closed with a study on the Sabbath.

About a dozen brethren passed out approximately 15,000 tracts to Promise Keepers. The response was “INCREDIBLE!” While there was opposition from some, many sincere men requested prayer and information on how they could serve their Lord better. The experience was tremendously uplifting for those who participated. The truth of Proverbs 11:25 was shown again: “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

Brother Doug Goslin spearheaded this effort. He is organizing witnessing efforts for other Promise Keepers’ meetings this summer. Birmingham, Alabama, will be host to a meeting on May 30 and 31 and Knoxville, Tennessee, will be the site for a meeting June 6 and 7. These, along with other summer meetings, will climax in their million men, “Stand in the Gap” meeting on October 4 on the Mall in Washington, D.C. We are expecting to print over a quarter of a million tracts for these events. Approximately 35,000 men attended the meeting in Chicago. Even with 15,000 tracts being distributed, we reached only a fraction of the people. More laborers are needed for the fields. For information on how you may be a part of one or more of these efforts, please contact Brother Doug Goslin at 13264 Jobes Rd., Newark, OH  43055, or call (614) 763-2242 or (614) 763-4026.

Allen Stump


Letters to the Editor

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Campmeeting Notice

We are glad to announce that the 7th-Day Adventist Home Church in New Burnside, Illinois, is hosting a ten-day campmeeting from June 27 - July 6. The main theme of this campmeeting will be “Get Ready, Jesus is Coming. Some of the topics that will be covered are, The Signs of His Coming, Salvation, Current Events, The Mark of the Beast, The Seal of God, The Law and the Sabbath, The 144,000, Perfection, the Seventy Weeks, and The 2300 Days. Some of the speakers will be: Fred Allaback, Lynnford Beachy, Doug Goslin, Joe Harricharan, Willis Smith, Allen Stump, and others.

Location: This campmeeting will be held at the Community Center in New Burnside, Illinois. We gave details and directions to the campmeeting in the last newsletter. Please refer to or call Crystal Culp at (618) 996-3424 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. After 4:30 p.m. please call Randall Mercer at (618) 996-3596 or Lynnford Beachy at (618) 777-2701.

Accommodations: While there are no accommodations available at the Community Center, there will be plenty of room for tents next door and in the country just a mile away. There are also several motels within 25 miles. Some of the phone numbers are, Best Inns in Marion 1-800-237-8466, Hospitality House in Vienna (618) 658-2722, Super 8 Motel in Marion 1-800-800-8000, Budget Inn in Vienna (618) 658-2802, Comfort Inn in Marion 1-800-221-2222, Dixon Motel in Vienna (618) 658-3831, Holiday Inn in Marion (618) 997-2326, Motel 6 in Marion (618) 993-2631. Plaza Motel in Harrisburg 1-800-416-6835.

What to Bring: A willing heart ready to fellowship and learn God’s Word, Bibles, notebooks, and study reference books such as concordances, Spirit of Prophecy books, etc., tents, bedding, flashlight, food, toiletries, modest casual and Sabbath  clothes, special music, etc.

Schedule: The first meeting will be 7 p.m. on Friday evening, June 27. We will be having meetings daily. There will be an early-bird morning meeting from 6:30 a.m. - 7 a.m. Beginning 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. there will be studies followed by a fifteen minute break, then from 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. we will have another meeting. We will then break for lunch and fellowship. One of the highlights of the campmeeting will be the Question and Answer time from 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. This will be a time for everyone to ask Biblical questions and receive response from different ministers as well as contributions from laymen. We will have an evening evangelistic meeting each night starting at 7 p.m.

Special Activities: We will have nature walks in the near-by state parks (which are very beautiful) with object lessons for all the young and young in heart. You should bring appropriate clothing if you would like to go on the nature walks. Other special activities are currently being planned.

Materials Available: We will also have literature available for purchase along with health foods, vitamins, and herbs. (We will be having some health talks as well.)

We are expecting a large turn out.Please pray this will be the best campmeeting yet. Please remember that we are representing the Lord Jesus to the people of the New Burnside community. May our whole conversation be that of heaven. Parents will be responsible for their children at all times. Please do all within your ability to make it to the campmeeting. We will be passing out fliers in the community to get as many of the local people to come as possible. This will be a great opportunity for outreach and fellowship. May the Lord bless you richly.

Lynnford Beachy


“Eternal life depends upon believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the man who surrenders his right to believe, surrenders eternal life.” ( A. T. Jones, Civil Government and Religion, page. 38 )


Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Phone: (304) 732-8609; Fax: (304) 732-9204; Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.

Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail berean@smyrna.org

Comments or questions: E-Mail us:

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 18, 2013 04:11 PM.