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. 5   Straight and Narrow  May 1998

The Abomination
of Desolation

Daniel 8:11, describing the rise of the Papacy, says, “Yea, he magnified himself even against the prince of the host, and from him the daily was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down” (marginal reading used). Verse 12 adds, “and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.”

The Bible clearly teaches that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) That is the Biblical position.

This essential truth of 1 Timothy 2:5 was rejected by the Papacy. They profess belief in one God, but their one God is not the Father as the Bible consistently says, but rather a Trinity. 1 Timothy 2:5 also clearly says that Jesus is not that one God, but the Mediator between that one God and men.

Christ’s position is thus presented in the Scriptures as that of Mediator between God and men. “The mystic ladder of his [Jacob’s] dream represented Jesus, the only medium of communication between God and man.” (Steps to Christ, p. 20)

“It is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us. . . . And thus Christ is the medium of communication of man with God, and of God with men.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 143)

Christ held this mediatorial position before His incarnation, yes, even before the fall of man. It is simply the position He holds. “Christ was appointed to the office of Mediator from the creation of God, set up from everlasting to be our substitute and surety.” (Signs of the Times, April 26, 1899)

“From everlasting He was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted Him, were to be blessed.” (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 247)

It is this everlasting mediatorial work of Christ, this continual position which He has always had, which constitutes the “daily” which the Papacy has denied. The concept of a mediatorial Son of God is incompatible with the basic premises of the doctrine of the Trinity.

Daniel 8:11 says, “And the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” The word “place” here means foundation or basis. “In other words, the anti-God horn power attacks the very basis of the intercession of the heavenly sanctuary with its mediatorial and saving activities on behalf of the faithful.” (Gerhard F. Hasel, Symposium on Daniel, Frank B. Holbrook, editor, p. 414)

What is the foundation of Christ’s mediatorial work in the sanctuary? Upon what is His mediatorial role based?

The foundation of Christ’s mediation is His Sonship to God. Being the Son of God, He can mediate between God and men.

“‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ . . . The truth which Peter had confessed is the foundation of the believer’s faith.” (Desire of Ages, p. 412)

This connection between Christ’s mediatorial role and His Sonship is emphasized in the fifth chapter of Hebrews:

“And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee . . . saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. . . . Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 5:4-10)

Jesus is priest because God designated Him as such. Notice that the very same authority which affirms Christ’s Sonship to the Father also designates His mediatorial role: “He that said . . . Thou art my Son . . . saith also . . . Thou art a priest for ever.” Thus Christ’s mediation is irremovably tied to His Sonship. To accept His mediation requires an acceptance of His Sonship to God.

Since the “daily” refers to the mediatorial work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the basis of that mediatorial work calls into view His position as the Son of God, and since Daniel 8:11 predicted that the little horn would take away that daily and cast down that foundation, we must ask the question, When, and under what circumstances, did the Papacy fulfill this prophecy? To answer that question, we must go back to history.

When Was the Daily Taken Away?

The date for the taking away of the daily is determined by comparing the two answers given for a single question asked in Daniel 12.

Question: “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (verse 6)

Answer #1: “It shall be for a time, times, and an half.” (verse 7)

Answer #2: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (verse 11)

In answer to the question asked in Daniel 12:6, two time periods are given, both of which extend “to the end of these wonders.” Knowing the dates for the first time period, we can easily figure the starting point of the second.

What Happened in the Year A. D. 508?

Most history books say very little about the year 508, yet one significant event stands out.

“In Europe, one of the major events that year was the conclusion of the war between Clovis, king of the Franks (later France), and the Visigoths, whom he defeated and pushed into Spain.” (William H. Shea, Bible Amplifier—Daniel 7-12, p. 220)

Before we discuss the year 508 further, we must go back to the year 496. In that year Clovis, king of the Salian or Merovingian Franks, became the first of the pagan barbarians to adopt Catholicism. The Anglo-Saxons were still pagan, but all the other Germanic kingdoms had accepted the Arian form of Christianity. In the conversion of Clovis, the Catholic Church acquired a champion upon whose military might would hang the theological future of Europe.

“It is evident, from the language of Gregory of Tours, that this conflict between the Franks and the Visigoths was regarded by the orthodox party of his own and preceding ages as a religious war, on which, humanly speaking, the prevalence of the Catholic or the Arian creed in western Europe depended.” (The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. I, p. 286)

It is necessary at this point to clarify what was the so-called “Arianism” which was held by the Goths and the other Germanic peoples.

“Although the Goths refused to believe as the church of Rome did, and as a consequence have been branded as Arians, Romanism actually meant little to them. In fact, it meant little to Ulfilas, their great leader. The Goths refused to go along with the mounting innovations being introduced into the church of the caesars, which church quickly branded any competitor as Arian.” (Benjamin Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant, p. 141)

“Since his ancestors were from Asia Minor (the province where the apostle Peter had been especially instructed by God to plant the gospel), Ulfilas was undoubtedly influenced by the doctrines of the apostle to the Jews; and he rejected the liberal and unscriptural teachings which had flooded many western churches. He was a believer in the divine revelation of the Old Testament, as well as that of the New Testament. He impressed upon the Gothic people a simple, democratic Christianity. Like Patrick and Columba, he apparently kept the seventh day as the Sabbath.” (Ibid., p. 143)

In actuality, by the year 508 it had been more than a century since the term “Arian” meant a follower of Arius. At this point “Arian” simply meant “non-trinitarian.”

So the year 508 brings us to a showdown between Trinitarianism and non-Trinitarianism.

“For the first time the diffusion of belief in the nature of the Godhead became the avowed pretext for the invasion of a neighboring territory.” (Milman, History of Latin Christianity, quoted in A. T. Jones, The Two Republics, p. 526.)

Actually, the war between the Franks and the Visigoths represented the culmination of a series of victories by Clovis. In 496 he had defeated the Alemanni, and in 500 the Burgundians. But of greatest consequence would be the outcome of his campaign against the Visigoths.

It was in the year 507 that Clovis and his Frankish army met the army of the Visigoths under their king, Alaric II. Alaric, realizing his weakness, tried to delay the confrontation, hoping help would come from Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths. But no help came, and soon the Visigoths were in flight and Alaric was slain.

“The victorious Franks pursued them as far as Bordeaux (Burdigala), where Clovis passed the winter, while Thierry, his son, was overrunning Auvergne, Quincy, and Rouergue. The Goths, whose new king was a minor, made no further resistance; and in the following year the Salian chief took possession of the royal treasure at Toulouse. He also took the town of Angouleme.” (The Historian’s History of the World, Vol. 7, p. 473)

“A. D. 508. A short time after these events, Clovis received the titles and dignity of Roman patricius and consul from the Greek emperor Anastasius.” (Walter C. Perry, The Franks, p. 85)

“In 508 Clovis received at Tours the insignia of the consulship from the eastern emperor Anastasius.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. “Clovis,” Vol. VI, p. 563)

Historians who give only brief treatment to this war generally focus on the year 507, during which Alaric was killed. Yet, as the above references correctly indicate, the Franks continued their conquest of Visigothic territory until well into the year 508. The conclusion of the war, and the imperial recognition of it, occurred in the year 508.

“Nor was his a temporary conquest. The kingdom of the West Goths and the Burgundians had become the kingdom of the Franks. The invaders had at length arrived, who were to remain. It was decided that the Franks, and not the Goths, were to direct the future destinies of Gaul and Germany, and that the Catholic faith, and not Arianism, was to be the religion of these great realms.” (Richard W. Church, The Beginning of the Middle Ages, pp. 38, 39)

“Thus in A.D. 508 terminated united resistance to the development of the papacy. The question of supremacy between Frank and Goth, between the Catholic and Arian religions, had then been settled in favor of the Catholics.” (Daniel and the Revelation, 1944 ed., p. 330)

“Thus when Clovis and the Franks defeated the Arian Visigoths and drove them into Spain, it was also a theological victory for the bishop of Rome.” (Bible Amplifier—Daniel 7-12, p. 220)

“Thus was the bloody course of Clovis glorified by the Catholic writers, as the triumph of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity over Arianism.” (The Two Republics, p. 528)

And thus was the basis of Christ’s perpetual mediatorial role “taken away” by Trinitarianism in the year 508, just as the prophecy predicted.

The Abomination of Desolation

In His forecast from the Mount of Olives, Jesus mentioned “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” Christ’s prophecy had multiple application (See LDE 18, DA 628, GC 36). The abomination of desolation was to be a sign to Christians just before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It was also a sign to Christians just before spiritual Jerusalem was given unto the Gentiles to be trodden under foot for forty-two months. To both it was the signal that the time had come to flee into the wilderness.

As to the setting up of the abomination of desolation, Daniel tells us when it would occur:

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11) The context of this passage indicates that these 1290 days would conclude at the same time as did the 1260 days. So to find out when the abomination of desolation was “set up,” just subtract 1290 from 1798. 1798 – 1290 = 508

What is the abomination of desolation? Ellen White explains:

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.’ Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21. When the idolatrous standards of the Romans should be set up in the holy ground, which extended some furlongs outside the city walls, then the followers of Christ were to find safety in flight.” (The Great Controversy, p. 26)

According to inspiration, the abomination of desolation is to be understood as “the idolatrous standards of the Romans.” Just as the planting of pagan Rome’s standard was a sign to the Christians in Jerusalem, so the planting of papal Rome’s standard would be a sign that the time of its supremacy was about to begin.

Outside Jerusalem the armies of Rome planted pagan Rome’s standard. And it was military power that planted papal Rome’s standard as well. This time it was the armies of Clovis, king of the Franks. “It is to them [the Franks] that the political inheritance of the Roman Empire passed; to them came the honor of taking up and carrying on . . . the political work which Rome had been doing.” (George Burton Adams, Civilization During the Middle Ages, pp. 137-144)

Papal Rome’s standard is the creed for which it stands. When the creed of the papacy had won military victory and was planted on the ground where truth had once stood, that would be a sign that the church was to flee into the wilderness.

Elder J. N. Loughborough presented this point clearly:

“In the setting up of this abomination that maketh desolate’ (Dan. 12:11), we see that five distinct steps were taken:—

“1. Forming a creed, expressing their faith in man-made phrases instead of adhering to the word of the Lord.

“2. Making that man-made creed a test of fellowship, and denouncing all as heretics who would not assent to the exact wording of their creeds.

“3. Making the creed a rule by which all heretics must be tried. Many were thus declared sinners whose faith was more in harmony with the direct statements of the Bible than that of those who decreed against them.

“4. Constituting themselves a tribunal for the trial of heretics, and excluding from their fellowship all who would not assent to their creeds. Not content to debar such from church privileges in this world, they declared them subjects for the lake of fire.

“5. Having thus kindled a hatred in their own hearts against all who did not conform to their creeds, they next invoked and obtained the aid of the civil power to torture, and kill with sword, with hunger, with flame, and with beasts of the earth, those whom they had declared unfit to remain in the world.

“Then appeared on the stage of action one class of professed Christians with a head over them, actually declaring that he was God on earth, persecuting another class of Christians who were conscientiously following the Lord and his Word.” (J. N. Loughborough, The Church, Its Organization, Order, and Discipline, pp. 76, 77)

According to Elder Loughborough the abomination of desolation had to do with the formation of the Catholic creed. So the next question is, Upon what creed does Catholicism stand? What was its first and basic creed? “The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church.” (Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p. 11)

Clovis’ victory over the Visigoths was recognized as the great turning point. It determined that Trinitarianism would rule in Western Europe. Thus the standard of the Romans was established by military power in the year 508, all in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel 12:11.

Why Church and State First United

History reveals that church and state first united for the purpose of overthrowing what they termed Arianism. It was to establish the Trinitarian creed that the Catholic Church first sought the arm of the civil government.

“Two major elements come together here: (1) the blending of the political arm of the state and the religious arm of the church, and (2) the use of the arms of the state to accomplish the ends of the church. With the defeat of the Visigoths as heretical Arian Christians, the church came to use the military power of the state to enforce its dogma. . . . Thus the setting up of the abomination of desolation of Daniel 12:11 can be seen as the union of church and state and what the church set out to accomplish through the power of the state. This had the effect of eclipsing the true ministry of Christ as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.” (Bible Amplifier—Daniel 7-12, pp. 220, 221)

“It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the papacy—the beast.” (The Great Controversy, p. 443)

Catholicism Arose by Crushing Arianism

“It was evident that the spread of Arianism would check the onward march of Catholicism, and that the possession of Italy and its renowned capital by a people of the Arian persuasion would be fatal to the supremacy of a Catholic bishop.” (Daniel and the Revelation, p. 121)

“It was especially for the purpose of exterminating this heresy [the Arian faith] that Justinian decreed the pope to be the head of the church and the corrector of heretics.” (Ibid., p. 268)

“The contest between Arianism and the orthodox Catholicism was the means of enthroning the papacy. . . . Every principle of truth was crushed, and with 538 was ushered in the Dark Ages.” (S. N. Haskell, The Story of Daniel the Prophet, p. 266)

Paul described it this way: “There [shall] come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Catholicism and Paganism United to
Crush the Most Essential Truths About God

Notice how Inspiration describes the uniting of paganism and apostate Christianity:

“I saw the company of idolaters . . . lower their banner and then approach that firm Christian company and make propositions to them.” (Early Writings, p. 212)

This is what Daniel 11:30 refers to when it says, “He shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.”

“These apostate Christians, uniting with their half-pagan companions, directed their warfare against the most essential features of the doctrine of Christ.” (The Story of Redemption, p. 324, emphasis supplied)

Daniel 11 describes the essence of the apostasy in this way:

“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers.” (Daniel 11:37)

“And a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour.” (Daniel 11:38)

“With a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory.” (Daniel 11:39)

“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)

“There were some, however, who were not misled by these delusions. They still maintained their fidelity to the Author of truth and worshiped God alone.” (The Story of Redemption, p. 323)

“It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church.” (Ibid., p. 324)

History Will Be Repeated

“The prophecy in the eleventh of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Much of the history that has taken place in fulfillment of this prophecy will be repeated. In the thirtieth verse a power is spoken of that shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: ‘so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. . . .’ Scenes similar to those described in these words will take place.” (Letter 103, 1904, pp. 5, 6)

“These comments suggest that whereas the prophecy has had a valid fulfillment in the past, much of the history will be repeated.” (Don F. Neufeld, Review and Herald, July 8, 1976)

“We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Many of the prophecies are about to be fulfilled in quick succession. Every element of power is about to be set to work. Past history will be repeated; old controversies will arouse to new life, and peril will beset God’s people on every side.” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 116)

“Said Paul: ‘There’ shall ‘come a falling away, . . . and that man of sin be revealed.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image of the beast.” (The Great Controversy, pp. 443, 444)

How Long Shall Be the
Vision Concerning the Daily?

In the description of the papal apostasy in Daniel 8, the focus of attention is its effect on the “daily,” or continual, mediatorial role of Christ, and the “place,” or foundation/basis, of His sanctuary ministry. Truth was cast to the ground and the transgression/abomination of desolation was set up. This was to be accomplished by military force of arms, as “an host was given him against the daily.” (verse 12)

Daniel then heard a conversation between two heavenly beings. The question asked in verse 13 was, “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?”

The answer given was, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (verse 14)

To fully understand the answer, we must catch the point of the question. The question really was, How long will the truth about the “one God, and one mediator between God and men”—that truth which lies at the foundation of the sanctuary doctrine—how long will that truth be taken away?

And the answer is given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days.” Therefore, in 1844, not only would Christ begin the great work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary, but the truth about Christ which lies at the foundation of that great work, would be restored. In 1844 the true doctrine of God, taken away by the papacy, would once again be understood by God’s people.

Therefore, according the book of Daniel, we should find a group of believers who began the Advent movement holding the original, apostolic view of God. History confirms this to be the truth.

Ben Ezra

(Ben Ezra is the pen name of a brother who writes from North America. Editor)

“Faith is the depending upon the word of God only, and expecting that word only to do what the word says.

“Justification by faith, then, is justification by depending upon the word of God only and expecting that word only to accomplish it.” (A. T. Jones, Review & Herald, January 17, 1899)

A Letter On the Seriousness of the Times

(Recently I received a letter from Elder J. Reynolds Hoffman that read in part: “Just a brief word to thank you for your kindness in sending me your newsletter. … In the last few years, from our Adventist pulpits, we seldom hear anything about the signs of the soon coming of our Lord. I feel that our very name Adventist indicates the special message we should be giving to the world. Have we lost our sense of mission? … On a recent Sabbath I gave away copies of the enclosed sheet. What you read is horribly possible. It is supported by the Writings of EGW. The world as we now know it can come to an end in any 24 hour period. Time is short.” Editor)

The possibility of another U.S. war with Iraq has been front-page news for weeks. This is serious business. I must discuss it with you. The fate of the entire world hangs here. It won’t be “over there. It will shake every American including YOU. Turn off the T. V. Read this page seriously.

Everywhere you hear about “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” This means Biological weapons-Germ Warfare—the scattering of deadly germs in our major American population centers. One drop is deadly. Against this kind of attack we have no defense. It is this fear that drives our government towards war with Iraq.

Here is an example using New York City where I lived for ten years: Saddam Hussein has dedicated agents in and around New York City. Boxes of deadly Anthrax bacteria are thrown against the sides of the trains inside the subway tunnels at a dozen or more stations; a hundred thousand people would die on the first day. Remember, a million people come to work in New York City every morning and leave every night. Unburied decaying bodies would be everywhere. In our open society we have no way to stop this. New York City would become a ghost town. No one would dare go in. No explosions or bomb damage — just the dead and dying everywhere! Helpless!

Another consequence- — New York is the financial capital of the world. The effect on business worldwide would be catastrophic. To maintain order we would have dictatorship overnight.

What about the “agreement” between the UN and Baghdad? It means next to nothing. Saddam does not keep his word. Newsweek magazine of March 9, page 28 says: “The possibility of using force is as great today as it was a week ago.” Saddam has bought extra time to perfect his plan.

Let’s talk about other cities. A low flying plane can dump hundreds of pounds of Anthrax into the water supply of Southern California, and people will die like flies. What about Chicago? A small truck can drive through the heart of the city at night scattering bacteria everywhere and Chicago dies. If the people of our large cities were told the whole truth they would panic. Does this sound like a fantasy? Somewhere I read, “Get out of the cities.” Any idea who wrote this? Ponder this:

“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.” (Great Controversy, pp. 589, 590 - emphasis supplied.)

Do you know what desolation means? It means nobody lives there. I write this page not to frighten, but to arouse and awaken. We have now arrived at perhaps the greatest crisis in world history. I fear that the church is asleep and celebrating instead of weeping between the porch and the altar. We have major responsibilities both inside and outside of the church to sound a warning. Time is running out. Jesus will come again when enough people pray with a whole heart, “Thy kingdom come.”

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

J. Reynolds Hoffman
P. O. Box 565
Winchester, OR 97495 (541) 673-2223

The Unsharpened Knife

The Russians had a custom that took place immediately after each meal. The wife or mother would sharpen the large kitchen knife on the edge of the table. It was a token of their trust that there would be another meal to look forward to.

A certain wealthy Russian widow owned a lovely home, two thousand acres of land, one hundred fifty milk cows, fifty horses, servants, and over fifty thousand dollars in the safe when the war broke out.

The invading soldiers took her land, burned her home, scattered or killed her servants, confiscated all her money, and led away her cows and horses. She was penniless. Only a small barn remained.

Her son and daughter in-law were both killed, leaving to her care three orphaned grandchildren - a girl fourteen, another eight, and the third six.

Living in the barn and working as best they could, they soon found themselves almost completely destitute. With the two eldest girls and the grandmother working from early in the morning till late at night, and the youngest knitting socks, a little black bread and milk was their total remuneration.

Once the little family ended their noon meal only to realize that they were not working that day and there was absolutely nothing in the way of bread or milk in the house. The grandmother assured the children that God would somehow provide their evening meal.

“But, grandmother,” the little girl said, “you don’t really believe that we’re going to get anything to eat tonight, do you?”

“Why, of course I do,” the concerned and burdened grandmother replied. “what makes you think that?”

“Because you didn’t sharpen the knife after lunch, that’s why.”

The worried grandmother did not realize that she had forgotten to perform the prayerful act of faith in sharpening the knife. But the little girl had noticed it. So she gave the knife a few extra strokes across the makeshift table she had made from discarded lumber behind their barn home. She prayed with each stroke.

“There, that does it!” she said proudly. “God will provide our dinner. You just wait and see.”

“Let me sharpen it some,” the little girl said as she gently took the knife from her grandmother.

As she made the symbolic gestures she had seen her own mother and now her grandmother do so many times, she prayed out loud.

“Lord, please don’t send us just a piece of bread. Send us a whole loaf; for you know, Lord, we need a whole loaf.”

That evening there was no bread. It was a severe test of faith to the godly grandmother who knew the children were expecting the answer to the little girl’s prayer.

Before bedtime there was a knock at the door. As the door was opened, there stood a man, an old friend of the former prosperous years. He also had been wealthy, but had been the victim of the invaders. He had walked over eighteen miles that day to see them. As he sat down with eager eyes watching his every move and gesture, he said apologetically that he hardly knew why he had come, but that he had been deeply impressed to visit his old friend, the grandmother. Then turning to the grandchildren, he asked,

“You children don’t know what I have brought for you.”

“Yes we do,” said the little one.

“Oh, yeah, what have I brought you,” he asked with a big smile.

“You have brought us a loaf of bread-not a piece of bread, but a whole loaf,” she answered.

“Well, well,” the elderly man replied, “how in the world did you know that?”

“Because,” the little girl continued very enthusiastically, “we prayed to God to send us a loaf of bread. And we prayed for Him to send us a full, large loaf, because we needed it.”

“Well,” he said again, “that’s exactly what I have for you. That is the impression I got.”

And out from under his heavy winter coat he drew out one of the long loaves which the European bakers take from their ovens.qqq

(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.)

Christ Our Righteousness

Acceptance with God

1. Whom does Paul say God has purchased? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

2. What was the price God paid to purchase us? 1 Peter 1:18, 19

3. Why did God give His Son for us? Titus 2:14; Galatians 1:4

4. For whom did God give His Son? John 3:16

5. Did Christ die for any certain group of people? Romans 5:6-8 See note 1.

6. Is Christ satisfied with the purchase that He made on Calvary? Isaiah 53:11; Hebrews 12:2

7. Did Jesus know what He was getting when He purchased man? John 2:24, 25

8. Will Christ accept us when we come to Him? John 6:37

9. What has God given to us? 1 John 5:11, 12

10. Can we know that God accepts us and gives us eternal life? 1 John 5:13; John 6:47

11. What do we need in order to make this a reality? Hebrews 11:1 See note 2.

12. How do we become the children of God? Galatians 3:26

13. How do we obtain this faith? Romans 10:17

14. What privilege is given to the believer? John 1:12

15. Why have these precious promises been given? 2 Peter 1:4


1. Christ died for but one group, sinners! Since the Bible teaches that “all have sinned,” then Christ died for every man, woman, and child ever born. This is why John 3:16 states that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

2. “If you should hear God say with an audible voice that you are His child, you would consider that sufficient witness.  Well, when God speaks in His word, it is the same as though He spoke with an audible voice; and your faith is the evidence that you hear and believe.” (Christ Our Righteousness, p. 79)

Africa Bible Project

Heidi Stump (daughter of the editor) is currently involved with a missionary project to help send Bibles to young people in Africa who do not have the ability to purchase them. She has sent out several Bibles to date and is receiving requests on a regular basis. With the Bible she sends study lessons and literature. The project has been a real blessing to Heidi to be able to minister to the needs of other young people. Any young people who would like to help with this project by sending Bibles and corresponding with the recipient should write Heidi in care of Smyrna Gospel Ministries.

Attitudes and the Spirit of Prophecy

A dilemma Adventists face today is their attitude toward the Spirit of Prophecy. It has always been an issue, but grows more acute with the passing of time.

The Adventist Review once carried an editorial entitled, “What Happened to the Mormons?” The editor was intrigued by the fact that Mormons were winning so much publicity in the media, while Adventists are relatively an obscure sect. This phenomenon is also seen in the Junior Encyclopedia Britannica, which has many columns of print and pictures introducing Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the Mormons as well as Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science; but Ellen White is not even mentioned. This strange anomaly prevailed in ancient Israel. During the reign of King Ahab, there were 450 false prophets against a single true one.

This peculiar state of things seems to be related to the fact that Mormons have great respect for their false prophet, and Christian Scientists honor Mary Baker Eddy; while God’s Sabbath-keeping people read little of Ellen White’s writings, and a number of their own scholars write and preach sermons against her. The book Messages to Young People is not read in SDA educational institutions, it is virtually a proscribed book. Very seldom do we see her books promoted with other religious publications. Why? Because her books call for holy living. Like apostate Israel of old, some of God’s people today want to live like the world. They say to the seers, “See not, and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” (Isaiah 30:10)

This basic motive is the root cause of the aversion to the truth in three other moot topics. The mind of the flesh may be summed up in one line, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14)

The same text tells of “this man,” whose “citizens hate him,” as a nobleman who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.” In that kingdom He has another group of citizens who love Him and keep His commandments. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

The “nobleman,” Jesus Christ, is still in that “far country” to receive for himself a kingdom through the investigative judgment. His citizens are being segregated into those who hate Him and those who love Him and live up to the holy standards He has set. They trust in His grace to obey the wisdom of the Spirit of Prophecy to prepare for the great tribulation that will reveal the loyalty of every soul.

As it was in the days of the apostles, so it has been with Advent believers since 1844. God chose “the weakest of the weak” as His messenger for 70 years to build up His church. Satan sent his agents to sow tares among the wheat. As a result, from our limited perspective, God’s plan of salvation appears to be delayed, or even defeated, but it will certainly end in victory.

David Lin

(The above article is part of a larger study by David Lin entitled, “Adventist DilemmasHe writes from his current home in California where his address is: 7771 Aberdeen, Highland, CA  92346. You many e-mail David at: DavidLLin@aol.com.)

A Message to You From Sister White

We are homeward bound. A little longer, and the strife will be over. May we who stand in the heat of the conflict, ever keep before us a vision of things unseen—of that time when the world will be bathed in the light of heaven, when the years will move on in gladness, when over the scene the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming, “There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.” “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” let us “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.” EGW_Signature.gif (3144 bytes)



(A reproduction of a personally autographed message placed by Ellen G. White in gift copies of her books. Source: The Spirit of Prophecy Treasure Chest, inside cover.)

The Abominations
of Mystical Babylon

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:4, 5)

Babylon’s wine is mentioned in Revelation 14:8; 17:2; and 18:3. “The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk” with that wine (17:2). That is to say that they are “under the influence” of her wine. This wine, therefore, may be identified as that which through her influence has been received by the world.

Revelation 17:4 characterizes the contents of her cup as “abominations and filthiness of her fornication.” Those “abominations” are the wine which she has made all nations drink.

The word abomination is often associated in the Bible with idolatry.

1 Peter 4:3 speaks of “abominable idolatries.” “And he did very abominably in following idols.” 1 Kings 21:26. “Asa . . . put away the abominable idols [abominations, margin] out of all the land.” (2 Chronicles 15:8)

The abomination that brought “desolation” to Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s time — “this abominable thing that I hate”—was idolatry, “in that they went . . . to serve other gods.” (Jeremiah 44:2-6)

Many scriptures call the worship of other gods abomination.

“If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities . . . Certain men are gone out from among you . . . saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou inquire . . . and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword.” (Deuteronomy 13:12-15)

“If there be found among you . . . man or woman, that hath . . . gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; . . . and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman,  . . unto thy gates, . . . and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.” (Deuteronomy 17:2-5)

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 identifies as abominations various occult practices including the making of their sons and daughters to “pass through the fire.” Jeremiah 32:35 indicates this abomination to be performed in the worship of the false gods Molech and Baal.

The word “abominations,” or  “abominable,” appears seven times in Ezekiel chapter 8 where God’s people are exposed in their worship of heathen deities. And the sighing and crying which qualifies one to receive the seal of God in chapter 9 is on account of those very abominations.

When worship is directed to anything other than the only true God or His Son Jesus Christ, scripture calls it abomination.

Ellen White described the abomination of desolation as the “idolatrous” standards of the Romans. (See Great Controversy, p. 26.) “Idolatrous” indicates the worship of false gods. Those banners represented the gods of the Romans.

We now return to Revelation 17 and the abominations of Babylon. What false gods are worshipped by Babylon?

Ancient Babylon had three prominent gods: “The wise men of Babylon assigned mystical religious numbers to their many deities. The leading god of their classical trio was Anu. His assigned number was 60, the base figure in the sexagesimal system.” (C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares, Vol. 1, pp. 49, 50.)

Babylon therefore, stands for tritheistic theology. This theology must constitute the abominations found in her golden cup, the wine which she has made all nations drink.

Revelation 17:5 says that Babylon the Great (the papacy) is “the mother of . . . [the] abominations of the earth.” In other words, the earth received these abominations from her.

To summarize: The papacy, according to Revelation 17, has been the means by which the worship of a false god has been received by the world. The wine, the abomination which she has made the world to be under the influence of, is the false god which she has led the world to worship.

Ben Ezra

(Ben Ezra is the pen name of a brother who writes from North America. Editor)

Editorial: 1844 Under Attack

Since the beginning of Seventh-day Adventism, the common target for Satan’s darts has been the doctrine of the sanctuary and the Biblical teaching of the investigative judgment which began in 1844. Satan knows far better than most the truth of Psalm 77:13: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”

Through the last 150–plus years challenges have came and gone. Today my confidence in the teaching of the sanctuary and 1844 is stronger than ever. While the writings of Ellen G. White support this doctrine, it is my personal Bible study that provides me with the confidence I have concerning 1844.

Sadly, many in Adventism today do not share this same confidence. Some, even among those who claim to know the truth about God, have opted for a more modern theology—rejecting the truth that God gave to His people in 1844. The Lord willing, this coming spring and summer we will be publishing Bible–based studies on the subject of the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary and its relationship to the plan of salvation. I believe that these studies will be of great benefit to all.


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