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. 9 - Straight and Narrow - September 1997


THE SEVENTH DAY

(This article is an abridged, edited version of E. J. Waggoner’s study as printed in his book, The Gospel in Creation, pp. 145-169)

RESTING WITH THE LORD

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

This is the grand summary of creation, and the account of the celebration of it. The days of creation are sufficiently designated by being numbered, but the day that celebrates creation complete is honoured by having a name. The name of the seventh day is “Sabbath.” Thus a double purpose is served. By the naming of the seventh day it is distinguished from all other days, and by the numbering of the others without naming them the fact that the Sabbath is a definitely — recurring day is made prominent. But the text tells its own story as to the day which is the Sabbath; and it is one of the sure commandments of God, which “stand fast for ever and ever.” (Psalm 111:8) What we are to do here is to call attention to the spiritual lessons to be learned from the giving of the Sabbath to man.

Christ, as we well know, is the great Creator. He is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16, 17)

“Without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) When the record says that in six days God made the heavens and the earth, it means God in Christ, for Christ is the only manifestation of God that is known to men. Therefore, also, we know that it must have been Christ who rested upon the seventh day, after completing the work of creation, and that it was Christ who blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. Thus the Sabbath day is in an emphatic sense the “Lord’s Day.”

Why was the Sabbath made? “The Sabbath was made for man.” (Mark 2:27) It is for him, in the sense that it is not against him. It is not an arbitrary thing imposed upon man, — something for him to keep simply because God says so, — but something that is given him for his help. It is a blessing that God has bestowed upon him. It is among the “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” which His Divine power has given unto us. (2 Peter 1:3)

Why was the Sabbath given? The Lord, through the prophet, gives the answer in these words: “And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20) Mark, it is a sign by which the people are to know God. Therefore there is no room for the supposition that the Sabbath was simply for the purpose of distinguishing the Jews from other people. It was made before the Jews had any existence. It was that they might know God; and that which would serve to make them know God, would serve the same purpose for all other people. It was given to Adam in the beginning for the same purpose, — that He might know and remember God.

But how would the Sabbath be a sign that men might know God? The answer to this is found in the Epistle to the Romans: “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from [or, ever since] the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19, 20) We have only to recall some of the things noted in the preceding pages to see how God is known by His works.

Yet again the question comes, How does the Sabbath make us know the true God? Why, we have just read that the eternal power and Godhead of the Creator are seen from the things that He has made; and the Sabbath is the great memorial of creation. The Lord rested upon the seventh day, after the six days of creation, and He blessed and sanctified the day, because that in it He had rested from all his works. So we read, “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” Some versions give, more literally, “He hath made a memorial for His wonderful works.” (Psalm 111:2-4)

The one thing necessary for man to learn in this life is God. The poet may tell us that the proper study of mankind is man; but the Lord tells us that the proper study of mankind is God. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24) Knowing Him, we have all that is worth knowing, for He is the truth, and all the truth. Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, and in Him are contained “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)

The Sabbath is for the purpose of keeping in mind the creative power of God, which is His distinguishing characteristic. But creative power is the power of the Gospel, so that that which celebrates creation also celebrates redemption. Christ is the Redeemer, because in Him were all things created. He bestows the grace of God to men by His creative power. The power that saves men is the power that created the heavens and the earth. So when the Psalmist says that the Lord has made a memorial for His wonderful works, he immediately adds, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” In Christ the grace of the Father is revealed. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) He imparts His grace, which affords help in time of need, by the same mysterious and mighty power by which He created the earth; by the same power by which the sun’s rays impart life to the plants on the earth.

Note how inseparably Christ is connected with the Sabbath. It is by Him that all things were created, and that they all are upheld. But the works of God reveal His eternal power and Godhead; and Christ is the power of God, and in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Therefore the works of creation show the power and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Sabbath is the great memorial of the wonderful works of God in Christ, and so it is the great sign of the Divinity of Christ. To keep the Sabbath as God appointed it at creation is to acknowledge the Divinity of Christ. Just to the extent that one fails to keep the Sabbath of the Lord in spirit and in truth, does he fail to recognize the Divinity of Christ, and to receive the benefit that comes from the fact of His Divinity.

This is indicated in the words of Christ to the Pharisees who unjustly accused Him and His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, because they satisfied their hunger on that day, and because He healed a man on the Sabbath. Said He, “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” (Matthew 12:8) It is no small thing that He is Lord of the Sabbath day. To be Lord of the Sabbath day means that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth — that He is Lord of all.

There is a special blessing connected with the Sabbath. It is true that very many who profess to keep the Sabbath do not receive that blessing; but that is because they do not really know of it. The statement of the Scripture is, that God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it. He blessed the day. There is no day of the week when men may not be blessed by the Lord. Indeed, both good and bad are alike the subjects of the blessings of God every day. Not only so, but those who seek the Lord may find special blessings at any time. The Lord is always near at hand, and lies always ready to bless; but there is a blessing that goes with the Sabbath day that cannot be found anywhere else. It is the Sabbath blessing. God has put His blessing upon the Sabbath, and the Sabbath blessing goes only with the Sabbath. Nobody can find a thing where it is not. The Sabbath blessing has not been placed upon any day except the seventh; therefore it cannot be found anywhere else.

What is this blessing for? — It is for the same purpose that all the blessings of God are given. “Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:26) God blesses men, not because they are good, but in order that they may become good. All His blessings are for the purpose of turning them away from sin to Himself. If men do know the Lord, then the blessings that He bestows are for the purpose of drawing them still closer to Him. So it is with the Sabbath. It is to turn men to God, by reminding them of His goodness and of His gracious power. The power of creation is the power of Christ. Christ is of God, “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) The power by which He gives us these things is the power by which He created the worlds. Therefore we find a deeper meaning in the words of the Lord, “Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” (Ezekiel 20:12) The blessing of the Sabbath is the blessing of sanctification. As the Sabbath is the memorial of God’s creation, so is it to make known to us the power of God, to make us entirely new creatures in Christ.

SABBATH REST

The word “Sabbath” means rest. It is the untranslated Hebrew word signifying rest. So where we read, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,” it is the same as though it read, “The seventh day is the rest of the Lord thy God.” That this is so will be plain to any one who recalls the statement that on the seventh day God rested from all His works which He had made.

Now let it be remembered that it is the Sabbath of the Lord that we are called upon to keep. In these days we hear such terms as “The Jewish Sabbath,” “The Christians’ Sabbath,” etc.; but the only Sabbath that the Bible tells of is “The Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep.” (Exodus 31:13) The Lord speaks of the Sabbath as “my holy day.” (Isaiah 58:13) Therefore it is the Lord’s rest that we are to keep. Not merely are we to abstain from our own work on the day on which the Lord rested, but we are to keep His rest. What does this mean? Let us see.

The Saviour tells us that “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24) More exact is the marginal reading of the Revised Version, “God is Spirit.” He is not merely one of a number of spirits, but He is Spirit. He is a spiritual, not a physical, Being. Does that mean that He is only a shadow? Not by any means. The only enduring things are those that are spiritual. God is substance, for it is declared that Christ is “the very image of His substance.” (Hebrews 1:3 R.V.) It is a mistaken idea that we are so prone to get, that spiritual things are unreal. “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44) Christ’s body after His resurrection, the body with which He ascended to heaven, was certainly a spiritual body; yet it was very real and tangible. We cannot tell what a spiritual body is, but we know that it is infinitely higher and more perfect than our physical bodies. It is not subject to the limitations that natural, physical bodies are.

God is Spirit, therefore the rest that He took after creation was spiritual rest. There was no physical weariness incurred in creating the earth. “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.” (Isaiah 40:28) Creation was not a physical work; it was wholly spiritual. God spake, and it was. (Psalm 33:9) And His word is spirit. (John 6:63) Therefore, to keep God’s Sabbath, or rest, is to enjoy spiritual rest. The Sabbath is not designed for mere physical rest, but for spiritual. It has a higher meaning than is commonly attached to it. True, we are enjoined to cease from doing our own labour on that day, but the cessation from physical labour on the Sabbath day is but an emblem of the spiritual rest which God gives to those who accept Him as the Creator of all things. Without spiritual rest there is no true Sabbath — keeping. The Lord says, that they who turn away their feet from the Sabbath, and do not do their own ways on His holy day, but call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, shall delight themselves in the Lord. (Isaiah 58:13, 14) A man may refrain from labour on the seventh day as scrupulously as ever the strictest Pharisee did; yet if he does not know and delight in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is not keeping the Sabbath of the Lord. True Sabbath rest can be found only in Christ.

Let it not be forgotten, that the Sabbath was given to man in Eden before sin entered into the world. Work was given to Adam, but it was not wearisome labour. Labour is no part of the curse, but weariness from labour is. It was not until after the fall that it was said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:17-19) All this was because he had sinned. If he had remained loyal to God, the earth would have yielded bountifully only that which is good, and labour would have been a pleasure. Yet the Sabbath would have been observed, not as a rest for the body, which would never have become weary, but as a season of delightful communion with God.

A practical lesson may be learned right here in regard to Sabbath legislation. If the Sabbath were merely for the purpose of giving men physical rest, in order that they might be able to begin the next week’s pursuit of wealth the more eagerly, it would be possible for the Government to require all men to keep the Sabbath. But since the rest of the Sabbath is a spiritual rest, the impossibility of compelling anybody to keep the Sabbath must be apparent. Spiritual pertains to the Spirit of God. The rest of the Sabbath, being spiritual, is the rest which only the Spirit of God can give, and the Spirit of God is not subject to acts of Parliament, or the decrees of courts. Even if the seventh day, the day which the Lord Himself blessed and sanctified, were the day sought to be enforced, the result would be the same. God does not use compulsion, and He has not authorized any man or body of men to use it in His place. The Sabbath is for man; it is the greatest blessing that God has for man. It is that which shows him the power by which he may be saved. To compel men, therefore, to keep the Sabbath, would be the same as to compel them to be saved. Christ says that He will draw men to Him, but He does not drive them. He is the Good Shepherd; as such He goes before His sheep, and leads them by His voice, but He does not drive them with a club.

It is clear that mere bodily recuperation is not the object of the Sabbath day, and that merely refraining from bodily toil does not at all constitute the sum of Sabbath-keeping. Yet entire cessation of our own work, of whatever kind it may be, is enjoined on the seventh day. This not alone for the purpose of giving us time to contemplate the works of God without interruption, but to impress a much needed lesson of trust in God. As we cease all our labour by which we earn our living, we are reminded of the fact that God supplies us not only with spiritual blessings, but also with all temporal necessities.

We thereby acknowledge that although, in obedience to His command, we labour for our daily bread, we are as dependent upon Him as though we did nothing.

A proper understanding of the Sabbath and its object, therefore, would for ever set at rest the inquiry that often arises in the minds of persons who are convinced that they ought to obey God in the matter of Sabbath observance. The question is, “If I should keep the seventh day, how could I make a living? I shall doubtless lose my position, and since comparatively few people keep that day, and it is the principal business day of the week, I shall not be able to find employment. What can I do?” I say such a question will never be asked by one who knows the nature and object of the Sabbath. He will know that the Sabbath itself points out the answer. The very idea of Sabbath observance is that of perfect trust in God, whose power brought the universe from nothing, and upholds it, and whose love for His creatures is equal to His power to do them good.

It will also solve the question, or rather prevent its arising, as to whether a man should in an extremity labour on the Sabbath in harvest, when that seems to be the only hope of securing the crop. He will know that the God who alone can make the corn grow, is fully able to protect it, or to make ample provision for him in another way if it should be destroyed. But all will understand that perfect Sabbath — keeping is consistent with bestowing all needful care upon the afflicted; for the Sabbath itself reminds us that God is “gracious and full of compassion.” (Psalm 11:4)

THE REST THAT REMAINS

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them [the Jews]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter [they shall not enter] into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. … There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from His own works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 9:1-10)

The rest that is here spoken of is evidently the rest that remains for the people of God which the ancient Jews did not obtain because of unbelief. That which they received in the land of Canaan was only a shadow of the real rest which God had promised them. The same Gospel of the kingdom, which is preached to us, was first preached to them. But what has the seventh day to do with that eternal rest in the kingdom of God? We shall see.

The Sabbath is the memorial of creation, as we have seen. But let it not be forgotten that the Sabbath was given at the time when “God saw all that He had made; and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) So the Sabbath commemorates a perfect creation. It reminds us that the earth was not always in the condition in which we now see it. Then, since no word of God can fail, and every purpose will be carried out, just as surely as the Sabbath reminds us of a perfect creation completed for the dwelling – place of man, it assures us that the earth will be renewed, and made fit for the dwelling — place of those who shall be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

“They shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:16-18)

God made the earth, and placed man upon it. When man was created, he was upright; therefore God intended the earth to be inhabited by a race of perfect beings. To these beings He gave the Sabbath, that they might keep in mind their Creator, and thus retain their perfection. That perfection was not merely physical perfection, but it was spiritual as well. Man, in perfection of character, was made in the image of God. So he was to observe the Sabbath, as a reminder of the spiritual perfection that he had received from God, and that could be preserved by Him alone. Now it is to that perfect condition that the Lord is going to restore the earth, and through the gospel He is preparing a perfect people to inhabit the restored earth. Although man has fallen, and the earth has been defiled, the Sabbath still remains, a fragment of Eden, both as a reminder to man of what God prepared in the beginning, and as a means of lifting him up to that high position, so that he may enjoy it when it is restored.

The rest that remains, therefore, is the earth renewed and Eden restored. The works were finished from the foundation of the world. That is, as soon as the earth was created, it was man’s rest. Man was given work to do, but it was not wearisome work. A strictly literal rendering of Genesis 2:15 would be, that God caused man to rest in the garden which He had planted. He gave man rest in the earth that was ready for his enjoyment. The proof of this is found in the words, “And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.” Then the Sabbath was given to man as a sign that he was to rest to all eternity with the Lord. That is, he was to enjoy spiritual rest, — perfect freedom from all sin.

During the six days God had been speaking the words that brought the earth to its perfect condition. Then He rested. He ceased speaking, and His word, which liveth and abideth for ever, continued to uphold that which was created. So God rested upon His word. He could rest from the work of creation in perfect confidence that His word would uphold the universe. So when we keep the Sabbath of the Lord, we simply take the rest that comes from settling down upon the promises of God.

Thus it is that “we which have believed do enter into rest.” And he that hath entered into rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Before men fully accept the simple word of the Lord everything is from self. The works of the flesh are only sin; and even though men profess to serve God, and have earnest desires to do right, their own works to that end are failures. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) But when we realize the power of the word of God, and know that it is able to build up those who trust it, then we cease our own works, and allow God to work in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Then all our works are wrought in Him, and they are right. This is indeed rest. The rest that comes when we realize that salvation does not come from ourselves, but from the word which made the heavens and the earth, and which upholds them, is the rest which the Sabbath brings to us when it is kept as the Lord designs.

Notice that we are to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. It is holy, and so we are to keep it. We are not to make it holy, for that would be impossible; only God could do that. No act of ours can add to, or detract from, its holiness. Neither are we to make ourselves holy, so that we may keep it properly. That we could not do. But the same power that sanctified the Sabbath day will sanctify us. That power is the power that made the universe. It is creative power by which we are to be sanctified, for Christ is the Creator, and He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. God has given us the Sabbath, — the memorial of His creative power, — that we may know that He is the God that sanctifies us.

This is the rest that Christ gives to all that come to Him. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28, 29) We are to come and rest upon the word that upholds the universe. This is what the Sabbath means. It commemorates creation; but redemption is simply the power that created all things, working to restore them. So the Sabbath marks the highest Gospel attainments.

We have seen that the Sabbath was given in Eden, and that it is a part of that rest upon which God entered. When kept in spirit and in truth, it is a bit of Eden preserved for us, through all the changes wrought by the curse. And as God made not the earth in vain, but formed it to be inhabited by the same class of people whom He first placed upon it, so it will yet be. Therefore the Sabbath is not only a portion of the original Eden preserved for us, but it is also identical with that rest that will be enjoyed by the saints of God throughout eternity. Heaven does indeed begin upon earth for those who fully accept the Saviour, and who give themselves to Him without reserve. The Sabbath — a fragment of Paradise — spans the chasm from Eden lost till Eden restored, and as it is the memorial of the first, it is the pledge of the second.

Is not the Sabbath, then, indeed a delight? Can any one who understands what it means regard it in any other light than a blessing? The man of God has given us a song for the Sabbath day, in which he shows how it is to be regarded, and what it is to do for us. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” (Psalm 92:1-4) We are to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. We are to be overcomers “through him that loved us.” So when we are beset with temptation, we have only to think of the power of God, — the power that made the worlds from nothing, — and know that it will be put forth for our deliverance if we will but accept it. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, and there is nothing able to withstand Him. All the hosts of Satan have no power when engaged in a contest with the Lord. Christ has “spoiled principalities and powers.” (Colossians 2:15) So when we rest ourselves on that power, the victory is already won. The things that God has made remind us of His power, and so we triumph in the works of His hands. This glorious victory is what the Sabbath is intended to bring to us.

So as the Sabbath is the sign of a perfect creation, it is the seal of a new creature in Christ. It is therefore the seal of God, ministered by the Spirit of God. As it came from Paradise, and is a part of the rest of Paradise, so it shows that those who keep it in spirit (not in form merely) are, through the mighty power of God, destined for a place in Paradise. And thus it will come to pass that, in the ages to come, when Eden is restored, all flesh shall come together from Sabbath to Sabbath to worship God, whose love, power, and kindness in Christ have brought them to share the glories of His presence. And as they assemble on those thrice-blessed Sabbath days, they will sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” But the redeemed host will not be alone in their praises. All the works of God praise Him even now, while groaning, and waiting for the redemption; but then, when every trace of the curse will have been removed, and the gospel has brought back the original creation, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,” will in perfection unite as with one voice in saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Revelation 5:12, 13)

E. J. Waggoner


STAND IN THE GAP

“Stand in the Gap” is the slogan for the Promise Keepers meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. on October 4, 1997. The leadership made a strong appeal to Christian men from all over the country to come to this million man march.

Why was this gathering called? The leaders plainly state in their promotional video that they are calling men from all over the country to come to Washington, D.C. to confess their sins and “rise up in unity, crossing every boundary of race, culture, … and denomination.” To cross denominational barriers is to compromise what we believe, for the sake of having a supposed “unity.” Is this Bible unity? “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Bible unity is a unity of belief, not a unity of friendship. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13)

A single world religion will be the result of the Promise Keepers meeting their goals. Brethren, this is the ecumenical movement prophesied in Revelation 13 coming together right before our eyes! What are we going to do about it?

The Promise Keepers

For the past few years the Promise Keepers have been meeting in different cities across the country with gatherings averaging about 50,000 men per city this year. Many of the men who come to these meetings are sincerely seeking to do the will of God and become better leaders of their families. This is good and commendable. Sadly however, many have been trained to believe that the will of the Lord is to unite with fellow Christians regardless of the belief system they may hold or their understanding of the character of God. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

Promise Keepers have a list of seven promises that they pledge to keep. Promise number six states, “A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.” (Promise Keepers web site - emphasis supplied.) This is the ecumenical movement which is seeking to unite every denomination, including the Catholic Church, under one common religion.

The leadership of this movement has stated that it wishes to unite men of every denomination on a common ground. What common ground do you suppose they are planning to unite upon? Protestants accept as binding upon them the first three councils of the Catholic church, as well as the changing of the fourth commandment.

There has been a breach made in the law of God, a breach that the vast majority of Christians today accept. This breach must be repaired prior to the second coming of our Lord. The papacy has made changes in the law of God as Daniel prophesied: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:25)

Prophecy indicates that God will have a people to restore the breach that has been made in the law of God. “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:12)

With all the churches wanting to join under a common religion, we are more than ever obliged to give a sound of warning, and let people know about the change in the commandments of God. “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.” (Psalm 119:126)

The Ecumenical Movement

The ecumenical movement is spoken of in Revelation 13. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” (Revelation 13:11, 12)

“Now, from the description given in the Word, anyone can see that the Beast is the Papacy; and, in the nature of things, the Image of the Beast, is the Image of the Papacy. What, then, in a word, is the Papacy? — It is a union of the Church and the State, with the Church supreme, and using the power of the State for her despotic and persecuting purposes. And the Beast was formed by the union of the fallen Church with the mighty world-power of Rome. In the nature of things, therefore, the Image of the Beast must be another great and notable instance of the fallen Church uniting with a mighty world-power, and using that power of the State, in the likeness of the Papacy.” (A.T. Jones, The Great Nations of Today, page 166)

How can we tell when the United States has formed an image to the beast of Revelation 13? We need merely to look at how the first beast was formed.

The Forming of the First Beast

The papacy formed a creed, expressing their faith in man-made phrases, rather than the Word of the Lord. Then they made that man-made creed a test of fellowship and denounced all as heretics who would not assent to the exact wording of their creed. They set themselves up as a tribunal to judge all those who would not assent to their creed. They finally gained the aid of the state to torture and kill all those who would not conform to their man-made creed. This completed the forming of the first beast of Revelation 13. capital

The United States will unite with the fallen churches of this country to form the image to the beast. United together they will enforce the creeds of the fallen churches. Persecution of those who will not adhere to the wording of their man-made creeds will be the inevitable result. This will complete the forming of the image to the beast.

What Can I Do?

We are making a strong appeal to you as a fellow Christian to help us in spreading the message of Revelation 14:6-12 to the dear souls attending the Promise Keepers meetings.

We are getting a tract ready that covers the ecumenical movement, which brings out the change of the fourth commandment. Fred Allaback, with counsel from the brethren, is preparing this tract for this large gathering. Please pray for him as he is preparing this tract. Pray also for the people who will be receiving the tracts that their minds will be open and the Lord will be able to reach their hearts for His kingdom.

The end is upon us, and if we do not warn people of the sudden tribulation that is about to come upon this world, then they may be lost due to our neglect!

We want to encourage you to be a part of the work in getting this literature out to the people. You are invited to personally come to Washington, D.C. to help distribute literature. If you wish to help with the distribution of these fliers, please contact Brother Doug Goslin for further details. Doug has been extremely active organizing this effort and you can reach him by phone at his home in Ohio at (614) 763-2242, or you can e-mail him at believe@infinet.com.

You may not be able to go to Washington, D.C. to help pass out fliers. If not, surely you could help in another way. The largest single expense is the cost of printing the material. We can print 150,000 fliers for around $2000, which is much cheaper than they can be commercially printed. We prayerfully ask for your consideration on this project to help distribute the three angels’ messages to thousands who may never otherwise hear the message. If the Lord has laid it on your heart to help with the printing expense, all financial assistance should be forwarded to Smyrna.

Lynnford Beachy


“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” (The Great Controversy, p. 445)


“Unto the Third…”

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalms 139:14) Oh how little appreciation we have shown for this fact in the very habits that we keep within our very souls. Everything from the food we eat to the slothful ways in which we approach these gifts and tasks that the Lord has bestowed upon us, shows how thankless we are.

Recently, I was sitting in the comfort of my living room thinking about an article I read in the Boston Globe. This article stated that the gender of a child is not determined until the necessary elements have united to form an embryo. As I thought about this, my mind began to reel in various directions involving lifestyles and what must go wrong with the fertilization process, or genetic coding process, that would cause a person to be born with attributes that point to the opposite gender rather than to his or her obvious sex. At this point my mind began to contemplate statements from Biblical writers and other Christian authors who have studied health. One statement that really stuck out in my mind was this one:

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they [Adam & Eve] had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. Nevertheless, those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. As we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 491)

This brought me to an astounding thought: Genetic miscoding and “genetic” or “inherited” diseases must be attributable to the bad health habits of our ancestors. God created Adam perfect with no inherent disease of any kind. Yet today, through no fault of their own, people are born with “inherited” or “genetic” health problems. I believe that the poor health habits of the ancestors have caused these problems and I would like to share with you why this is so.

Appetite is the basis of the death brought upon humanity by our first parents, and the Bible states that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) Abuse of the body, doing that which the Lord does not intend for us to do, is sin. When we do any of these harmful things, we begin to die as did Adam and Eve! This does not only depend on what we do personally, but we are also left with the results, at times, of that which our forefathers have done which affected their genetic coding; in turn, affecting the natural function of various organs of the body. Fetus development, pancreas function, and heart function are a few of the things that may be affected simply by the habits of our parents and grandparents; and to this we must add problems that come from what we ourselves do!

The Bible states that the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the third and fourth generation. Let us pay attention to the wording of this verse, Brethren: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Deut. 5:9) As we can see here, He does forgive us (the sinner) but not the sin.  This is evident by the fact that the curse carries on down to the third and fourth generation.

Some people make appetite a god simply because they choose to listen to a candy bar calling out, “I will give you quick energy. I do not have to be cooked. I am not that bad!” However, the Bible says: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:25) This means to eat moderately of even the good food that God has given us and to abstain completely from those things that are harmful to our body; that tear down our defenses and destroy our immune systems. Notice these pointed Scriptures:  “It shall be a perpetual statute [a never-ending commandment] for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17) “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:13)

True scientists and geneticists agree with Inspiration that the basic building blocks for proper functioning of the body require nutritional support to function correctly. This includes everything from basic organ function down to the very cells and molecules being formed by the creation and use of enzymes. One Bible student has noted:

“Everything of a stimulating nature as tea, coffee, or flesh meats, he should avoid. These are all too stimulating, too great a tax to the nervous system. They do not impart strength as he supposes to the nerves, but take the strength from the nerves and use his reserve force, vital force. They have an exhilarating influence at first, but in the end [leave] him just as much below the medium, as through their influence he was raised above the medium. These things are an injury, and he should by degrees leave all stimulating, irritating causes and eat food that will not stimulate and draw upon the strength of the nerves, thus having an influence to debilitate the nervous system. He will for a time feel the need of these hurtful brain — and nerve — weakening indulgences, but in time he will recover as much by their disuse as he has lost through their use.” (MR, vol. 5, p. 298)

The very basic energy created from right living is called “vital force” or “constitution.” When this vital force is lost or diminished, the whole body suffers.  This includes the brain that, as we all know, controls all physical functions of the body, not the least of which are, the very essentials of child production!  So, if from the time we are born till we are old, our habits focus around those things mentioned above, and also more obvious evils such as alcohol and drugs, they will affect our physical and mental processes.

The act of sinning is a conscious decision of the individual despite the genetic flaws that have come about via the bad living habits of the parents, but Satan is the one responsible for the physical depletion of these poor deluded souls to the extent that the third and fourth generations become a completely new breed of man. Brethren, Satan has also duped man into believing that God created a group of souls that were not created in his likeness when, in actuality, it is through the degrading habits of man that Satan has caused this genetic morphing of man into something less than the image of God.

When the mind is destroyed by bad living habits there is no defense against the other delusions or temptations that Satan throws at us because our minds have been weakened and affected negatively. Every nerve and brain crippling habit we have affects the thought processes and, in conjunction, affects every physical function within us!

Friends, this is not the time to point the finger at others. Instead, let us be concerned about our own condition! Are we following the health reform messages of the Scriptures? If not, should we be surprised at the results of it in our lives? I dare say not!  Are we any better than those others? Any closer to sanctification? Dare I ask, even any closer to justification?!

Brethren, do we look at a man or woman and condemn him or her based on what habits we see when, in actuality, we should feel pity, because we may be in no better condition than that individual, who may have been born with a genetic illness caused from the intemperance of their ancestors? Does not the Bible say that “the iniquity [deliberate, known sin] of the fathers shall be visited upon the third and fourth generation?” Truly we are what we eat for, when we eat garbage, our bodies become garbage and we think garbage!

Brethren, God will not pour His latter rain upon one selfish, sin-loving person who clings to any sin, whether it be a perverted appetite, or pharisaic pride and selfishness. May God grant us a love that sweeps away judgment of others for we are no better than the worst sinner. We all need the grace of God because “all have sinned.” (Romans 6:23) James declares, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  (James 2:10)

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) Now is the time to fortify the mind, to prepare, to gain the kingdom of God, and all the rest of heaven shall be added unto us. Amen.

Paul Thompson

(Brother Paul Thompson writes from his home in Tennessee where he lives with his wife Cathy. Their address is 1668 Buckner Rd, Monterey, TN 38574. Paul’s phone number is (615) 839-3996. You may e-mail Paul at: infosource@multipro.com. Paul has a web site which features health and prophecy. The URL is: http://www.multipro.com/the3_angels. Paul also publishes a study paper entitled The Berean Message.)


Youth’s Corner

Beautifully Adorned

Have you ever seen a male wood duck? If you have, you probably remember what a strikingly handsome creature he is!

Many naturalists consider the wood duck the most beautiful bird in North America! And its glowing red-hot-colored eyes, yellow feet, brown neck and chest are just the beginning of its amazing wardrobe. Add sprinkles of soft, cinnamon speckles to its buff wing areas, then add some iridescence to make his royal blue wing feathers and green cap shimmer in the sunlight, and you’ll have a hint of what a really regal and dignified duck he is! Woodduck

Is it just a coincidence that such beauty exists in so many creatures? Those who do not love God or honor the revelation of His eternal Word say that all things just miraculously evolved because of practical needs. What purpose, then, does the male wood duck’s extravagant plumage serve?

Many of man’s most practical machines are hardly beautiful-yet they function with precision and purpose. Wouldn’t a wood duck function just as well if he were all a drab olive green, or if he had more ordinary colors to camouflage him from his enemies? Most birds do.

I suggest we open our eyes to nature’s great multitude of witnesses, and bow our hearts to the obvious truth. Our Creator enjoys beauty, and He gave us the gift of color vision so we also can enjoy it. May we appreciate not only the bare mechanical things of the creation, but His spiritual and aesthetic gifts too.

(This article was reprinted with permission from the January 1996 issue of Nature’s Friend Magazine. Nature’s Friend Magazine is published monthly by Pilgrim Publishers, a conservative nondenominational Christian publisher, at 22777 State Road 119, Goshen, Indiana, 46526. Nature’s Friend Magazine has long been a favorite at the Stump home and we highly recommend it to the readers of Old Paths. Editor)


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.)

Christ as Creator

1. What are the very first words of the Bible? Genesis 1:1


2. How long was God involved in creation? Exodus 20:11


3. How long does the Bible declare a day to be? Genesis 1:5 (See Note 1)


4. How did God create the heavens and earth? Psalm 33:6, 9; Hebrews 11:3


5. Did Jesus participate in the creation? John 1:1-3


6. Does the expression, “all things” mean even our world? John 1:10


7. Through whom did God create the worlds? Hebrews 1:1, 2


8. What is the testimony of God concerning His Son’s creative ability? Hebrews 1:8-10


9. Was there any created thing not made by Christ? Col. 1:16


10. Had anything existed before Christ? Col. 1:17


11. How does “the Holy One” desire us to behold Him? Isaiah 40:25, 26


12. What distinguishes the true God from the false gods? Jeremiah 10:10-12


13. How did the Psalmist express this truth? Psalm 96:5 (See Note 2)


14. To whom are we to commit the keeping of our souls? 1 Peter 4:19


Notes:

1. See also Genesis 1:8, 13, 19, 23, 31. Since the Word of God is true and cannot lie, the story of creation completely rules out the idea that man evolved from some lower form of life over a long period of time.

2. “Let no one imagine that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father, or would ignore the Father. That cannot be, for they are One, and Their interests are identical. We honor the Father in honoring the Son. ... We are mindful of Paul’s words, that ‘to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him’ (1 Cor. 8:6); ... it was by Him that God made the worlds. All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father; even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father; but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christ’s rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated.” (Christ Our Righteousness, pp. 19, 20)


Address Note: Brother Lynnford Beachy has recently moved here, to West Virginia, to help with the printing of literature. If you would like to contact him, please write to the address below. You can also reach him by phone at the office number.


Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Home phone: (304) 732-8609; Office: (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