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. 7 Straight and Narrow July 1997
1844, the Nature of God, and the Perfection of Character
Seventh-day Adventists believe that God entrusted the gift of prophecy to Ellen G. White. She was a teenager during the Millerite movement in the early 1840s. Her ministry of nearly eighty years has been inestimable to the advent movement. If any person was ever qualified to discuss the establishment of the advent movement and the teachings of the advent pioneers, it was Ellen G. White! A study of her writings clearly reveals four major points concerning the doctrinal development of the advent movement.
Let us notice a few brief statements from Ellen White about these four points. First, the development came from Bible study and revelation. Ellen White wrote:
Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, We can do nothing more, the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me. (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 56, 57, emphasis supplied. - See also 1 SM, pp. 206, 207.)
Second, the foundation points were established early: In the early days of the message, when our numbers were few, we studied diligently to understand the meaning of many scriptures. At times it seemed as if no explanation could be given. My mind seemed to be locked to an understanding of the Word; but when our brethren who had assembled for study, came to a point where they could go no farther, and had recourse to earnest prayer, the Spirit of God would rest upon me, and I would be taken off in vision, and be instructed in regard to the relation of scripture to scripture. (Review & Herald, June 14, 1906 - emphasis supplied.) The time under discussion here places the major points being fixed by December, 1850.
Third, Sister White declared that these points are not to be moved:
When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 161 1905)
Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracleworking power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority. (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 59 1904)
Fourth, as noted under the first point, A line of truth [was given] extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God. To move away from this established truth would be apostasy.
The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth. (Manuscript 129, 1905 - Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 390)
Two important doctrinal subjects that the movement was united on early were the ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary and the nature of God . Sadly, both of these pillars of truth have been consigned to the historical trash heap with other important truths such as our position on the papacy.
Many have discarded the sanctuary doctrine for at least two reasons. First, few have investigated for themselves what the Scriptures have to say about the sanctuary doctrine. Too many have not studied this subject out thoroughly for themselves. The types and symbols seem too hard to decode. Also, since prophecy is history before it occurs, there is a need for a certain amount of history to be known to be able to understand fulfilled prophecy. Second, many do not know how to explain the seeming delay of more than 150 years. For some the relevance of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 seems to fade away with the passing of time.
The doctrine of the nature of God has been discarded by many because it does not seem to fit into our preconceived ideas of what we believe the Scriptures teach as well as what Ellen White taught. This is largely because of what the ministers and leaders have taught the people. Their teachings are watered down to make friendship with the Evangelical world. The early Adventist view of the nature of God (non-Trinitarian) is more unpalatable to Evangelicals than the seventh-day Sabbath, the state of the dead, or even the sanctuary doctrine. How should we relate to these matters? Let us begin with some thoughts on the sanctuary teaching.
The Sanctuary Question
As noted above, far too many who claim to be under the banner of Seventh-day Adventism have not thoroughly studied the sanctuary message. The scope of this editorial is too limited to present a Bible study on the subject.* However, I suggest that a careful and prayerful study of the Scriptures be entered upon immediately by all of our people. Those who have an understanding of the investigative judgment should uncover the dust from this great teaching and sink the shaft even deeper into this mine of truth. Those who have never researched this must study for themselves. We have been wisely counseled: The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. (The Great Controversy, p. 488)
Assuming we have accepted the time calculations the early brethren discovered concerning Daniel 8:14, can we claim that prophecy to be relevant to those of us living over a century and a half beyond 1844? Let us remember we are finite beings, limited in the manner and depth of our thoughts. God is infinite and without limits. Speaking through Isaiah, He says: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) Near sightedness is one of Laodiceas spiritual eye problems. We think only of the present without keeping the big picture in mind. Gods timetable works over the vastness of eternity. Peter writes that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
Interestingly, nobody questions the significance and relevance of Calvary though it happened to occur almost two millenniums ago! The same is also true of the incarnation and the resurrection of Jesus. The time element does not affect their efficacy! Neither does the time element destroy the importance of the beginning of Christs most holy place ministry. Let us not allow Satan to steal away the precious truth of Christs final atonement by his illogical suggestions.
Yet, does understanding the proper time elements eliminate the seeming delay? Have we not been told that Jesus wanted to come soon after 1844? Yes, Jesus wanted desperately to return soon after 1844. He has always been working overtime for us. Paul tells us that it is not Jesus who delays, he writes: For yet a little while, and he [Jesus] that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37) Since Jesus is not tarrying, then we must be the procrastinators! What has caused this sinful delay?
The problem of the delay is one of sin and disobedience and both the sanctuary and the nature of God are involved. Beloved, it has not been the desire of Christ to continue the work of intercession this long. The ultimate work of Christ in the most holy place is to cleanse His people from all known sin as well as sins of ignorance! Notice what Paul writes:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. (Hebrews 6:1)
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:2628)
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:15)
The Bible plainly states that Christs church will be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; ... [and] that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:27) If Christs church has lost sight of sanctifying truth, then His people cannot put away all sin, Jesus cannot finish His intercession, nor return the second time except at our eternal loss.
The Truth About God
What sanctifying truth did Gods people not only loose sight of, but actually reject? The truth about the very nature of God and His Son! Jesus said in John 17:3 that it is life eternal to know the only true God and Jesus Christ. Proverbs 9:10 states: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Ellen White testifies to the importance of knowing God as He reveals Himself:
Like our Saviour, we are in this world to do service for God. We are here to become like God in character, and by a life of service to reveal Him to the world. In order to be coworkers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.
A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.
This is the knowledge needed by all who are working for the uplifting of their fellow men. Transformation of character, purity of life, efficiency in service, adherence to correct principles, all depend upon a right knowledge of God. This knowledge is the essential preparation both for this life and for the life to come. (The Ministry of Healing, p. 409 - emphasis supplied.)
Experiential versus Intellectual Knowledge
While Jesus said that it is life eternal to know the only true God, He did not say it was life eternal to know about, or to know of the only true God. There is a great deal of difference between knowing about somebody and actually knowing them. Most of the people in the world know about William Jefferson Clinton. They know about him being the current president of the United States of America. However, only a few know him and are personally acquainted with him. There is a great difference between having an intellectual knowledge versus an experiential knowledge. James writes: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19) Not only do the devils fully understand the truth about the Father being the Sovereign of the universe, they also know that Jesus is the Son of God. (See Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11) Further, both Satan and his confederates well know that there is a two-apartment sanctuary in heaven. However, there is no saving power just knowing these truths as facts! The plan of salvation is based upon man having a repentant heart (spirit or mind) inspired by the great love of God as demonstrated at Calvary. For the love of Christ constraineth us. (2 Corinthians 5:14a)
While knowledge will not save us, we will not be saved without a knowledge of God. (See Hosea 4:6; Romans 10:14) Yet, that knowledge of God must lead us to an experimental knowledge of Him. We have been told, When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. (Christs Object Lessons, p. 69) We cannot have the character of God perfectly reproduced in us if we misunderstand His character. Knowing and receiving an appreciation of the truth about the Father and His Son is the foundation for having the character of God reproduced in us. This is why Satan works so hard to pervert this truth in our minds. The great apostasy originally began in a denial of the love of God, as it is plainly revealed in the Word. (Upward Look, p. 135)
The final atonement of Christ in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary is a work of cleansing the believers conscience from all sin, from all rebellion, from all selfishness! (See Hebrews 9 and Leviticus 16.) To have the sinless, unselfish, unrebellious mind of Christ will require us to learn to love as He loves. John writes, We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
That love comes from knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. (See John 17:3.) May we each pray to our Father that our ministering High Priest might send us His sweet Holy Spirit that we can put away all sin and have His perfect character. Beloved, when this happens, it will stir Satan into a mad craze. The forces of the evil one will be set against Gods people, the final movements will be rapid ones, the world will be warned and Jesus will then come for His people. ?
(* I will be presenting a study on the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14 at the Illinois campmeeting for those who attend.)
|"From cover to cover, the Bible is a message of the Father's Love." (Selected)|
Nutritional Life Support
The health of our bodies is directly related to the health of the blood. The Bible tells us that the life of the flesh is in the blood. (Leviticus 17:11) The health of the blood is directly related to the nutrition we give the digestive system. The life support of the nutrition (the food) we eat is directly related to the soil. If the soil from which our food comes is not good soil with all the basic minerals and the fifty plus trace minerals, then, given time, we will suffer somewhere, somehow.
Disease is inevitable to those who are not getting complete nutritional life support. Take the people of the land of Hunza for example. Until modern junk-food was introduced, they did not know what heart trouble, cancer or arthritis was. Most everyone lived to be more than a hundred years old and did not die a suffering death, they just went to sleep. It all goes back to nutrition, exercise, and the lack of toxins in the air, food, and water.
There is no mystery to disease or health. We are what we eat, drink, and breathe. However, satisfying hunger can be deceptive. Our stomachs must be filled with good food. Gods word says to eat that which is good. (Isaiah 55:2) Often our health suffers because of unsupplied needs of our bodies. Those who are interested in maximum health will make every effort to obtain foods of the richest quality; obtain pure water for drinking; and live where the air is not polluted with industrial toxins.
The effort to obtain good nutrition, pure water, and fresh air is to be added to a program of exercise, daily sunshine, temperance, rest, and trust in divine power. Together, these ingredients make up a healthy recipe indeed.
(Brother Joe writes from his home in Tennessee where he lives with his wife Mabel and three of their children. His address is: 892 Gunter Corner, Parrottsville, TN 37843. Joes phone number is: (423) 623-0113. )
Speaking of a good recipe, we would like to share with our readers, from time to time, special recipes that are simple to make, healthful, and tasteful. If you have recipes that fits these requirements and would like to share them with the readers of Old Paths, send them to us and if space is available, we will publish them as we are able. The following recipes were contributed by Sister Kathy Shaffer. Editors
Potato Rice Casserole
6 large potatoes; sliced
1 large onion; chopped
1 cup brown rice
seasonings of your choice
Layer potatoes, onion, rice, and seasonings in three to six layers in a casserole dish with a lid. Pour enough water over the casserole to cover the rice. Bake at 350° F. covered one hour. Uncover the loaf for fifteen additional minutes for browned-top loaf.
4 cups milk; soy or nut
10-12 dates or ½ cup honey
5 T. arrowroot or a cup cornstarch
3 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
4 T. carob (3 cup powder)
1 t. Postum (optional)
Whiz all ingredients in a blender. Cook until thick. Pour into sherbet dishes or pie shell (already baked). Sprinkle with nuts or coconut if desired. Chill. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent hard film from forming on the top.
|"As the life of the body is found in the blood, so spiritual life is maintained through faith in the blood of Christ. He is our life, just as in the body our life is in the blood. In vital connection with Christ, in personal contact with him, is found health for the soul. It is the efficacy of the blood of Christ that supplies its every need and keeps it in a healthy condition." (Ellen G. White, Review & Herald, November 23, 1897)|
Importance of Bible Study
Mrs. Ellen G. White
The admonition to search the Scriptures was never more appropriate than at the present time. This is an age of unrest, and the youth drink deeply of its spirit. Would that they could be made to realize the importance and the peril of the position they occupy! Would that parents and Sabbath-school teachers could be led to see their duty to guide them wisely! Never before have there been so many important interests at stake. Never were such momentous issues before any generation as await the one now coming upon the stage of action. Never were the youth of any age or country so earnestly observed by the angels of God as are the youth of to-day. All Heaven is watching with intense interest for every indication of the characters they are forming,whether, when brought to the test, they will stand firmly for God and the right, or be swayed by worldly influences.
There are many who profess Christ, but are unacquainted with him. They do not serve Jesus, do not love his requirements. Satan is well pleased with such, for he can use them to decoy others from the right path. But those who are truly converted, whose hearts are fully set to do right and to press against the strong current of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking, are objects of his bitter hatred, and he will bring to bear against them all the opposing influences within his reach.
God has a great work to be done in a short time. He has committed to the young talents of intellect, time, and means, and he holds them responsible for the use they make of these good gifts. He calls upon them to come to the front, to resist the corrupting, bewitching influences of this fast age, and to become qualified to labor in his cause. They cannot become fitted for usefulness without putting heart and energy into the work of preparation. Christian principle must be developed by being cherished and brought into active exercise. Self-control must be gained by earnest effort aided by the grace of God. The influence of the home and the Sabbath-school should combine to aid in this work.
When the young choose the service of Christ, and prove that through divine aid they have the moral principle to govern self, they are a power for good, and an influence goes out from them that leads others to glorify God. Satan knows this, and he seeks to gain control of the talents of the young, that he may use them in his service. His bewitching snares are ever around them. He excites the natural tendency to selfishness, self-indulgence, and impatience of restraint. He allures them to ruin by absorbing their time and taking their attention, so that there is neither time nor inclination for prayer and the study of the Scriptures. He tries to make them believe that the requirements of Christ restrict their liberty and hinder their enjoyment. Is it not well to become wise as to his devices?
The service of Christ is not so hard as Satan would make it appear. It is true that liberty to sin is restricted, and we must learn to suffer reproach for Christ's sake. But the requirements of God are made in wisdom and goodness. In obeying them, the mind enlarges, the character improves, and the soul finds a peace and rest that the world can neither give nor take away. When the heart is fully surrendered to Jesus, his ways will be found to be ways of pleasantness and peace.
It is a divine law that blessings come at some cost to the receiver. Those who would become wise in the sciences must study; and those who would become wise in regard to Bible truth, that they may impart that knowledge to others, must be diligent students of God's holy word. There is no other way; they must search the Scriptures diligently, interestedly, prayerfully. Precious words of promise and encouragement, of warning, reproof, and instruction, are there found. They will learn of Christ's love, the value of his blood, and the wonderful privileges afforded by his grace.
Oh that parents and Sabbath-school workers would realize their responsibility to train the dear youth to love and understand the Bible! The knowledge of God's revealed will, in which men need make no mistake, and the faithful performance of the duties therein enjoined, would tax their mental powers to the fullest extent, and develop the moral power necessary to meet the demands of the time with energy and fidelity; and after all their research, there is beyond an infinity of wisdom, love, and power.
The Bible should ever be the Christian's text-book; of all books it should be made the most attractive to the young. If they drink deep of its spirit, they will be prepared to withstand the wiles of Satan, and to resist the temptations of this infidel age. By its simple beauty of language, its elevated sentiment, its unerring truthfulness, its tenderness and pathos, the word of God is well calculated to impress the mind and impart rich lessons; and if teachers are wise in giving instruction, they can make its sacred truths of continual interest.
(Reprinted from The Youths Instructor, May 7, 1884.)
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.)
Jesus Christ the Son of God
1. Whom did God declare Jesus Christ to be? Matt. 3:17
2. How did Jesus describe Himself to Nicodemus? John 3:16-18
3. When on trial, whom did Jesus claim to be? Mark 14:60-62
4. Whom did Peter declare Jesus to be? Matthew 16:13-16
5. What did Jesus say about Peters confession? Matthew 16:17
6. What did Paul preach after his conversion? Acts 9:19, 20
7. Whom is Jesus declared to be in the beginning of Marks gospel? Mark 1:1
8. What testimony did the Roman Centurion make at the cross? Matthew 27:54 (Also see John 12:32.)
9. What testimony did the Ethiopian eunuch give before being baptized? Acts 8:26-37 (See Note 1)
10. Who is our great High Priest? Hebrews 4:14
11. How important is it to know God and His Son? John 17:3
12. What will those who overcome the world believe? 1 John 5:5
13. What must we confess for God to dwell
1 John 4:15
14. Whom does God provide eternal life
15. May we know that we have eternal life?
1 John 5:10-13
16. Why did John write about the life of
John 20:31 (See Note 2)
1. John the Baptist, John 1:34; Nathanael, John 1:49; the disciples as a group, Matthew 14:33; declared Jesus to be the Son of God. Even the demons, among others, declared Jesus to be the Son of God: Mark 3:11; Matthew 8:29.
2. There is but one way of escape for the sinner. There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. ... A complete offering has been made; for God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Fathers person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)
Pen Pal List: If any of our young readers would like to participate in a Pen Pals List, please clearly print and send your name, age, address, (postal and/or e-mail) and a list of your hobbies or interests to Old Paths and we will print a list in an up-coming issue.
Letters to the Editor
Hello! Greetings in Jesus name! We
really enjoy Old Paths and the May issue was truly a
wonderful issue! We love to know that there are others ... that
believe in the Right Arm of our message! Praise God
it is still alive! Im ... enclosing a couple of recipes to
share. Itd be nice to have a Recipe Corner in Old
Paths too. OH
(Concerning the recipes, check out page five! Editors)
Dear Mr. Beachy,
I am not sure if you are the same man who came down to CUC last semester to hand out your tracts on the Trinity, but Id like to say that your literature has impressed me greatly. I for one had never really accepted the Trinity doctrine, so I found this material fascinating. My only question is What would motivate Adventists to change this doctrine? I did some asking around and the Adventist Heritage professor here confirmed that there was a time when Adventists didnt believe in the Trinity, ...
Though this is great news, I question how it will affect my ministry. I am a theology major, and only see complication with my relationship with the Adventist church as you did, yet I have faith.
I am presently working on a paper for my Principles of the Christian Faith class. Guess which principle I decided to write on? the Trinity. Im praying that the Lord will use it for His glory. Pray for me.
If you have anything you would like to
share with me, Id appreciate the information. May we be
found faithful doing the Lords work. MD
(We encourage all to lift this brother up in prayer and all others who are taking stands for the truth. Editors)
I would like to order two more [copies] of your wonderfully done book, The Foundation of Our Faith.
Thank you so much for the effort that went
into your manuscript and for making it available at such a cost
as to make sharing it affordable. MN
(Thank you for the nice comments Editor)
Last month we published an article entitled: Incredible which, in part, described the witnessing experience some brothers and sisters had passing out tracts and sharing their faith at some large meetings of Promise Keepers. We also noted more meetings would be held in Birmingham, Alabama, and Knoxville, Tennessee. The experiences of these meetings could truly be described as INCREDIBLE.
At these two meetings nearly 50,000 tracts were passed out. During the Knoxville meeting four brothers and one sister were able to preach in the street to around one hundred people besides the one to one and small group sharing that was occurring! While there was the expected resistance again by some, many sincere men desiring a closer walk with Christ were eager to learn more about how the Father gave up His only begotten Son to die that we might have eternal life.
June 13 and 14 were the dates for two other meetings, one in Washington, D. C., and another in Buffalo, New York. Shortly before going to press we have heard some very encouraging reports from these meetings where approximately 40,000 pieces of literature were distributed. Two upcoming meetings are scheduled for St. Louis, Missouri, at the Trans World Dome, July 1819 and at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 2526. If you would like to help pass out literature at one or both of these events, please contact brother Doug Goslin at (614) 763-2242 for further details. Smyrna Gospel Ministries would like to thank those who have helped defray the cost of the paper needed to print the tracts. With the work expanding, the needs will continue to grow. Please pray that we may plan our work so that the Lord can abundantly bless it and that we will be able to help print the literature that needs to be spread like the leaves of autumn. Editor
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail: email@example.com
Comments or questions: E-Mail us:
This page was last updated on Friday, January 18, 2013 04:12 PM.