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. 7, No. 3 Straight and Narrow March 1998


Michael: Who is Like God

The word “archangel” is only used two times in the Bible and only in Jude 9 is a name, Michael, associated with it. Who is Michael the archangel? Is He a created being, or an angel exalted to a higher position than the other angels; or could He be much more?

The expression “archangel” is from two Greek words: arcw (archo) which means chief and aggeloV (aggelos) which means angel. Together they mean chief or prince of the angels. An archangel does not have to be an angel to be chief or prince over them.

The name Michael itself gives us a clue. In the Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, names were very important and had significant meanings. The name Michael means “He who is like God.” Michael, therefore, is One who is like God and is the chief or prince of the angels.

Michael the archangel is also called “the great Prince” in the Old Testament and is mentioned by name three times, each by the angel, Gabriel. The first time is in Daniel 10:13 when Gabriel explains the reason for his delay in coming to interpret Daniel’s vision. The second is in Daniel 10:21: “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”

Gabriel has a very exalted position for he is one of a rare group of heavenly beings mentioned in the Bible by name. It was Gabriel who was sent first to Zacharias to tell him of the coming birth of his son, John, (Luke 1:11-19) and then to Mary to give her the good news that she was to become the mother of the coming Saviour. (Luke 19:26-38) But as great as Gabriel is, Michael the Prince is greater.

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”  (Daniel 12:1)

Michael is the one who stood up for, or defended, the children of Israel, and He is directly involved in delivering God’s chosen people at the end of the world. But Michael is not the only name the Defender of Israel goes by. Carefully note the following texts:

“And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them.” (Exodus 14:19)

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Exodus 13:21-22)

The pillar of cloud and fire was a defense for the children of Israel. The Presence that was in the pillar is called “the angel of God” and “the LORD.” The angel of God is also known as the angel of the LORD, or simply the angel. The characteristics of this angel are Godlike and could not be found in a created being.

“In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants   of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.” (Zechariah 12:8)

The promise given is that the house of David will be “as God, as the  angel of  the LORD.” Here the parallel construction of the text shows them as being the same. God intervened for His people through the work of His angel.

Hosea 12:3-4 says concerning Jacob: “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed.”

Genesis 32:24-29 is the account of Jacob wrestling all night with the angel. Again, this was not a created being, for in verse 30 Jacob declares, “...I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” We know Jacob did not see God the Father face to face because John 1:8 says that no man has seen God at any time. Who is this “angel” who is like God and was able to change him from being Jacob “the supplanter” to Israel, “he will rule as God”?

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” (Exodus 23:20-21)

We begin to see here how very special this “Angel” is, for He has the power to forgive sins. Luke 5:21 says that only God can forgive sins, but in this same passage in Luke, Jesus had just told the man with palsy that his sins were forgiven. Another interesting thing about this “Angel” is that God’s name, or character, is in Him, making Him One who is like God. In John 5:43 Jesus said that He had come in His Father’s name: making Him the One who is like God. You may ask, “How can Jesus be the ‘Angel of the LORD’ when He is the begotten Son of God, and not a created being?” This is no problem when you understand that the word “angel” (aggeloV aggelos) means “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent,” which could be anyone sent by God, not just celestial beings with wings. Even the apostle Paul referred to himself as an angel of God. (See Galatians 4:14.) Without doubt Jesus was sent by the Father as He Himself stated many times. (See John 4:34; 6:57; etc.)

The apostle Paul confirms who the Angel was that was with the Israelites in the wilderness: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)


The pillar of cloud and fire was a defense for the children of Israel.


Paul is telling the Corinthian church that Christ was the Rock that followed their fathers. What followed them was the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. (Exodus 13:22) All these things represent the intervention of God’s Son, the only Mediator ordained on behalf of mankind. (See 1 Timothy 2:5.)

Consider the angel of the LORD who appeared to Moses in a burning bush and called Himself the I AM: “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:2-5)

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:13-14)

This Angel is truly a “messenger” from God for Moses is commanded to remove his shoes as an act of worship. In Revelation 22:8-9, the apostle John has just seen a vision that overwhelms him and he begins to worship at the feet of the attending angel. This angel is not the same, he forbids John to worship him because he is a “brother” prophet, another created being like John. Worship belongs only to God.

A similar experience is recorded in Joshua 5:13-15: “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”

Here Joshua finds himself in the presence of the “Captain?” of the host of God, whom he is allowed to worship. Then he is given the very same command that the Angel of the LORD gave to Moses some forty years before: to remove his shoes for he is on holy ground. “And Joshua did so.” The word “host” is used to describe the army or host of God’s angels. The Hebrew word for “captain” is the same word used for “prince” when describing Michael  in Daniel 12:1, meaning the Captain of the host and the Prince of the angels are the same. Remember, the word “archangel” means chief or prince of the angels. Archangel means captain of the LORD’s host, prince of the angels. Jesus is also referred to as “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25), “the Prince of life” (Acts 3:15), and “a Prince and a Saviour.” (Acts 5:31) A prince is the son of a king!

Recall back at the burning bush, Moses asked the Angel what His name was, to which He replied, “I AM.”  Who is the I AM? Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) The same Greek expression, egw eimi (ego eimi), used in John 8:58, is used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew “I am” of Exodus 3:14. Just as He told Moses two thousand years before from a burning bush, Jesus now told those standing around Him who He really is. He is the source of life for the people of God. (See John 5:26; 11:25.)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25)

As the Father raised up His Son from the dead, even so He has given authority for the Son to raise up those who sleep in Him. (2 Corinthians 4:14) It is the voice of the Son of God that will wake the righteous dead at the second coming: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

It is this shout or command of the voice of the Archangel that causes the dead in Christ to rise. True to His promise the command comes from Jesus, whom the Scriptures declare to be the one and only Lord: “But 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 Corinthians 8:6)

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)

Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel. He is the Prince of life, Son of the King of all the universe, Captain of the angelic host of God, the Lord of hosts. He is so exalted because the Father has exalted Him to sit at His right hand, (Acts 5:31) worthy of worship because the Father has commanded it to be so. (See Hebrews 1:6.) All will someday come to confess this truth, to the glory of God the Father.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every  knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under  the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ  is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Pat Kroeger

(This article was adapted from a tract written by Sister Kroeger entitled “Michael the Archangel.” These tracts are available directly from Sister Kroeger. You may contact her at 845 Bleemel Lane, Mt. Washington, KY 40047 for details.)


Religious Deception

It will not take long to read this study and I hope you will read right through to the end. If you do, then your eyes will be opened to the startling delusion that is rapidly sweeping over the whole world and gathering the people of planet earth into the camp of Satan.

The Bible speaks in many places of a terrible persecution that will arise against the people of God in the last days, just before Jesus returns. Jesus warned: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matthew 10:22, 23)

Speaking of last-day persecution, Revelation 13:15-17 states: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”


The deceivers of the last days will be people that the whole world will be inclined to trust.


Most of us are aware of this coming crisis. However, there is one aspect of it that is so unexpected and for which we are so unprepared, that there is the greatest danger that even some of us who mean to do well will be swept away in the confusion that accompanies this final crisis.

Whenever the Bible speaks of the last days, one word comes up repeatedly: the word “deceive.” Jesus said that “many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11) The Bible reveals in several passages that the devil and his agents will deceive the people on this earth, and that most people will be lost because of believing these deceptions. Now please consider the following question very carefully: What is the most effective way of deceiving a person? Well, if I wanted to deceive you, I would first need to gain your trust and confidence by behaving in a way that would convince you that I am a sincere person and one that you can trust. The more completely I can get you to believe in me, the easier it will be for me to deceive you. Please consider that point very carefully. The deceivers of the last days will be people whom the whole world will be inclined to trust. In fact, they will call upon the name of Christ, they will preach and do miracles in His name, and they will be popular and well respected. Jesus said: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22, 23; see also Luke 6:26) These are the people whom Jesus was warning against when He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

Notice that they come to you in “sheep’s clothing.” What does this indicate? It shows that outwardly they appear to be followers of Christ; the world accepts that they are followers of Christ. All men believe that these are good people. It is only the elect of God, those whom the Holy Spirit has taught and led, who can discern the true nature of these false prophets. This is a vital point to remember. People, overall, are looking at men such as David Koresh, the leader of the Davidian cult who was killed at Waco, and Jim Jones, the head of the Jonestown cult that committed mass suicide in Guyana several years ago, and saying: “These are the false prophets and the deceivers that the Bible is talking about.” But please consider: How many people did these men deceive? Not very many at all. In fact, most people were suspicious of them and regarded them as dangerous. The Bible tells us that the real deceivers of these last days will deceive “many.” (Matthew 24: 11) The Bible says that this includes “them that dwell on the earth,” (Rev.13: 14) and “the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 16: 14)

It is clear then, that these deceivers will be popular people. Accepted and admired by the whole world, recognized and highly regarded by the political leaders, they will be people who call themselves Christians!

Let us list the marks that identify these deceivers:

In other words, my friend, do not look for these dangerous deceivers among the various little cults and fanatical groups around the world. These do not have the influence or the power to deceive very many people. We must look for these wolves in “sheep’s clothing” among the popular churches and denominations of today! What a shocking idea – to look for these deceivers in my own church? Yes! This is exactly what the Bible is trying to tell us. The only people who can truly deceive us are those in whom we put our confidence, and in whom do we put more confidence than the leaders of our own church? This is the shocking truth, my friend. Think about it for a moment and you will realize that I am telling the truth.

Please do not be foolish and toss this study aside and forget the thoughts presented here. Let me ask you; do you place such little value on your soul? Are you so loyal to men, to human leaders, that you will sacrifice your soul in the hope that they know what they are doing? Surely my friend, you will have the good sense to take note of the warnings of Jesus and learn to put no confidence in men.

When the world praises Christians, then you may know that these are false Christians. Our Saviour proclaimed: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26) When your church is friendly with  political leaders and accepted and highly regarded by the people of earth, then you may know that you belong to a false church; not the true church of God. Upon the authority of God’s word I tell you this!! Get out of that church, reject those leaders, or you will lose your soul!

The spirit of true Christianity is always in conflict with the spirit of the world. Therefore, sinners will always hate and dislike true Christianity. How then can God’s people be popular with the world? God’s word says: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19) “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)


When the world praises Christians, then you may know that these are false Christians.


Yet, my friend, the world loves and appreciates the popular Christianity of today! Does not this tell you something? Can those who serve Satan find harmony with those who love God? No, it is impossible! The striking truth is this: The popular Christianity of today has so turned from the true way of Christ that it no longer has any idea of what constitutes true righteousness. The world has no problem with it. They can fellowship together at ecumenical gatherings such as “national days of fasting,” “prayer breakfasts,” etc. At all these gatherings we find secular, political leaders fellowshipping in harmony with church leaders and speaking from the pulpits of churches.

Something is wrong! With the voice of a trumpet the facts shout at you.  Something is wrong! The stage is set. The actors are in place. Now you can see them. They have the appearance of sheep, but if you look carefully through the eyes of the word of God, you can see that they have the teeth, and the voices, and the hearts of ravening wolves. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Now that you can see them for what they are, the pertinent question is this: What are the deceptions with which they have confused and intoxicated the people of the world? (See Revelation 17:2.)

It is impossible to answer this question in this study, but if you would like to understand more on the matter, please write to us for the tract entitled, “The Mark of The Beast.” However, I would like to give you a hint: Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-27 that it does not matter much whether you claim to be a Christian or not. He made it plain that the important thing is for you to be obedient to His commandments.

It is very plain that the false Christianity of the last days will deceive people into thinking that they may disobey God and yet have salvation. The commandments of men will be exalted to the place where they are obeyed above the commandments of God.

The whole world will be deceived because they have put their trust in these false shepherds. They have come to believe that they are God’s servants because they use the name of Christ; because they are gifted speakers; because they are “educated” men; because the world highly regards them. Therefore, when they present an idea that is contrary to God’s word the whole world will accept it, because the world regards them as the servants of God. They will reject God’s commands and choose the traditions of men just as men did in the days of Christ. (See Mark 7:9.)

Friends, I am talking about your minister, your church leaders – the principal religious men of your denomination. I beg of you in God’s name, do not put your trust in these men. God’s word warns us, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. (Jeremiah 17:5) Take heed to the warnings of God’s word. These men who are seeking popularity and power, who have been trained in the schools and the ways of the world, can never think in the ways of Christ.

Study the word of God and obey it. This is your only safety. Ask God for wisdom as you study, and then obey! Let no man take your crown. (See Revelation 3:11.) God will be your teacher. (See John 16:13; Jeremiah 31:34)

I trust that you are one of the elect who will saved from the greatest deception of these last days.

David Clayton

(This study was adapted from a tract that Brother David wrote and published for public distribution. You may contact brother Clayton by writing to: Restoration Ministries P.O. Box 25, Knockpatrick Manchester, Jamaica W.l.)


News Items:

Florida Camp Meeting: As noted last month, Brother Doug Goslin is scheduling a camp meeting for March 26-29 at the Ocala National Forest, River Forest Campground, which is located near the St. Johns River. The campground road is on Rt. 42,  mile west of the intersection of Rt. 42 and Rt. 44. It is very easy to find!

Check-in time will begin at noon, Thursday. The camping fee will be $25 per family. This is a very nice campground, which has showers and bathrooms. Trailers may be brought but there will be no hookup facilities. All RV’s must be self-contained. Do not forget your tents, bedding, flashlight, food, toiletries, modest clothes, special music, etc.

We wish to encourage all the believers in the Southeast to attend because this will be a very uplifting experience! For further information you may contact  Sister Peggy Nemeth at (352) 821-1681 qqq

Jamaican Press Challenge: Last month we made an appeal in behalf of our Jamaican brethren for funds to help purchase a printing press. God has greatly moved upon the hearts of the brethren. One brother has donated a good used printing press for the project. To date, a little over $2,000 has been sent in for the project. This can be used for shipping costs and the purchasing of supplies and other equipment needed. We are amazed by the moving of the Lord. However, there is still a great need for other pieces of equipment such as a plate maker, folder, staplers, etc. All donations for this project can be sent to Smyrna and should be clearly labeled: “Jamaican Press.”

On behalf of our brethren in Jamaica we would like to thank those of a willing spirit who are helping to make this project a reality! qqq

Video Series Introduction Finished: Brother Fred Allaback has a demonstration tape available for the new series on the restoration of the great truths of the Bible. It is an excellent and dynamic beginning to a very important project. You may contact Fred about the project at: 5250 Johnstown Rd., Mt. Vernon, OH 43050, or you may e-mail Fred at: info@bibletruth.org. qqq


Youth's Corner

Even by the Very Smallest

An army runner was saved from instant death by, well. ... you’ll see.

As he made his way across the dead and dismembered bodies strewn across the ravaged battlefield back to his company with orders from the battalion commander, the sound of bullets and bombs had been silenced. With a relative sense of safety, he walked on being thankful that, at least for a while, there was a calm in the senseless storm.

Approximately two-thirds of the way across the devastated field, he was suddenly stopped by an unusual sight. It hovered right before him, at perfect eye level.

At first, he thought that he was suffering from fatigue and was seeing a mirage.

“It can’t be,” he said to himself, “not out here in the midst of a raging war!”

But it not only was real, it came right up to him and stopped no more than three inches from his face. He started to step forward when it lunged forward, pushing him a couple of steps backward.

And then it happened!

A gigantic shell hurled through the air and landed right in the very spot from which he had been literally pushed!

“I would have been killed!” he gasped. “I would have been killed!”

But that little object, probably less than an ounce in weight, kept him from losing his life. It was a definite miracle because he had not seen one since he had gone off to war ... and surely not right out in the middle of an all-out war, in the midst of an awful battle .

But it was there, and it did save his life.

The Psalmist foretold it in Psalm 91:1 when, under inspiration of God who sent that very little object to save a life, he said, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

The strange little object? It was a butterfly!

(This story was reprinted from the book, The Hand That Still Intervenes, - W. A. Spicer and Helen Spicer Menkel 1982 by Concerned Publications. Permission to reprint this article was graciously granted by the publishers.)


The LORD Our Righteousness

1. What does God delight in? Micah 7:18


2. How great is God’s mercy? Ps. 103:11


3. How is the mercy of God manifest? Psalm 103:12, Micah 7:19


4. Read the parable of Luke 18:9-14. In one word, what did the publican ask for? Luke 18:13


5. How did the publican return home? Luke 18:14


6. If we confess our sins, will God forgive us? 1 John 1:9


7. How many have sinned? Romans 3:23


8. How many shall be justified by the
deeds of the law? Romans 3:20


9. How are we justified or made righteous? Romans 3:24, 25


10. Is righteousness really a free gift from God? Romans 5:17


11. Upon whom is the righteousness of God bestowed? Romans 3:22


12. By what is this righteousness witnessed? Romans 3:21


13. When we are in Christ Jesus, whose righteousness do we have? Philippians 3:8, 9


14. Can God be just and justify the sinner at the same time? Romans 3:26 (See note 1.)


15. What would the Shepherd be called who would save Israel? Jeremiah 23:6


Notes

1. “‘Being made righteous freely.’ How else could it be?   Since the best efforts of a sinful man have not the least effect toward producing righteousness, it is evident that the only way it can come to him is as a gift. That righteousness is a gift is plainly stated by Paul in Rom. 5:17:  ‘For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.’ It is because righteousness is a gift that eternal life, which is the reward of righteousness, is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Christ Our Righteousness, p. 63)


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

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

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

This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013