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. 8 Straight and Narrow August 1998
John Paul II
Issues New Apostolic
Letter on Sunday Celebration
Over 100 years ago Ellen White wrote: The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophets words: The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)
For over 100 years the Adventist people have been watching the signs of the times. Truly we are rapidly approaching the fulfillment of the above statement. On Sunday, July 5, 1998, in his weekly address Pope John Paul II sternly reminded Catholics to obey the Third Commandment and go to church on the Lords day. (Associated Press) During his address, John Paul II announced he would release an apostolic letter on the sanctity of Sunday the following Tuesday. The apostolic letter, Dies Domini - the day of the Lord, is a 104 page response to what John Paul II sees as a banalization of the Sunday rest. The release of this document is too close to our press time to provide a complete report but we will give some sample statements from each section with a few observations. The apostolic letter contains an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion. All the emphasis is in the original except where noted.
The introduction of the letter begins: The Lords Day as Sunday was called from Apostolic times Right at the beginning John Paul II perpetuates the falsehood surrounding Sunday sacredness. Sunday is never called the Lords day in the Bible and neither is its origin in the Christian church traceable to Apostolic times. The main focus of the introduction is to establish the rasion detre for Sunday keeping, basing it primarily on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, or Sunday. The letter states that The Resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental event upon which Christian faith rests.
Quoting from the Vatican Council, John Paul II declares that For Christians, Sunday is the fundamental feastday. This statement takes on a special significance in light of the growing popularity of feast-day keeping among Seventh-day Adventists. The focus of Sunday becomes the Mass with the sharing of the Eucharist.
Near the end of the introduction we find this statement: Given this array of new situations and the questions which they prompt, it seems more necessary than ever to recover the deep doctrinal foundations underlying the Churchs precept, so that the abiding value of Sunday in the Christian life will be clear to all the faithful. The doctrinal foundation that all Catholic teaching is based upon is the Trinity doctrine. The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church. (Handbook for Todays Catholic, p. 11) John Paul II is simply saying that the foundation of the Trinity helps to make the abiding value of Sunday in the Christian life clear to all the faithful.
I. Dies Domini
The Celebration of the Creators Work
The first chapter of John Paul IIs letter discusses the relationship of Sabbath and Sunday in connection to creation. Much of this section mimics close to the truth. Note the following statements:
As John writes in the Prologue of his Gospel: Through him all things were made, and without him was made nothing that was made (1:3). Paul too stresses this in writing to the Colossians: In him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible .... All things were created through him and for him (1:16). This active presence of the Son in the creative work of God is revealed fully in the Paschal Mystery, in which Christ, rising as the first fruits of those who had fallen asleep (1 Cor 15:20), established the new creation and began the process which he himself will bring to completion when he returns in glory to deliver the kingdom to God the Father ..., so that God may be everything to everyone (1 Cor 15:24,28).
Many references to the Old Testament are given and the following statement is of interest: The Sabbath precept, which in the first Covenant prepares for the Sunday of the new and eternal Covenant, is therefore rooted in the depths of Gods plan. In the next paragraph we read: Sunday is the day of rest because it is the day blessed by God and made holy by him, set apart from the other days to be, among all of them, the Lords Day. John Paul IIs letter makes it clear that Sunday is not the Sabbath, yet the Bible mentiones the Sabbath as the day blessed by God, made holy by him, and set apart from the other days to be, among all of them, the Lords Day. (See Isaiah 58:13; Mark 2:27, 28)
The last section of chapter 1 is subtitled, From the Sabbath to Sunday. It states:
Because the Third Commandment depends upon the remembrance of Gods saving works and because Christians saw the definitive time inaugurated by Christ as a new beginning, they made the first day after the Sabbath a festive day, for that was the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. The Paschal Mystery of Christ is the full revelation of the mystery of the worlds origin, the climax of the history of salvation and the anticipation of the eschatological fulfilment of the world. What God accomplished in Creation and wrought for his People in the Exodus has found its fullest expression in Christs Death and Resurrection, though its definitive fulfilment will not come until the Parousia, when Christ returns in glory. In him, the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath is fully realized, as Saint Gregory the Great declares: For us, the true Sabbath is the person of our Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why the joy with which God, on humanitys first Sabbath, contemplates all that was created from nothing, is now expressed in the joy with which Christ, on Easter Sunday, appeared to his disciples, bringing the gift of peace and the gift of the Spirit (cf. Jn 20:19-23). It was in the Paschal Mystery that humanity, and with it the whole creation, groaning in birth-pangs until now (Rom 8:22), came to know its new exodus into the freedom of Gods children who can cry out with Christ, Abba, Father! (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). In the light of this mystery, the meaning of the Old Testament precept concerning the Lords Day is recovered, perfected and fully revealed in the glory which shines on the face of the Risen Christ (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). We move from the Sabbath to the first day after the Sabbath, from the seventh day to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi!
II. Dies Christi
The Day of the Risen Lord
and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit
Chapter two emphasizes the need to look to the resurrection to fully understand the Lords Day. Bible references such as 1 Corinthians 16:2 and Acts 20:7-12 are listed as support for the beginning of Sunday observance. The Sabbath is called the Jewish Sabbath even though the Scriptures call it the Sabbath of the LORD. (Exodus 20:10)
Midway through the chapter John Paul II states: Sunday is the day above all other days which summons Christians to remember the salvation which was given to them in baptism and which has made them new in Christ.
In reference to the pagan association with Sunday, John Paul II writes: Wise pastoral intuition suggested to the Church the christianization of the notion of Sunday as the day of the sun, which was the Roman name for the day and which is retained in some modern languages. This was in order to draw the faithful away from the seduction of cults which worshipped the sun, and to direct the celebration of the day to Christ, humanitys true sun.
In his grand uplifting of Sunday John Paul II continues: Given these different dimensions which set it apart, Sunday appears as the supreme day of faith. Yes, Sunday is the day of faith. Finally, Sunday is declared to be An indispensable day! The Lords Day has structured the history of the Church through two thousand years: how could we think that it will not continue to shape her future? Given its many meanings and aspects, and its link to the very foundations of the faith, the celebration of the Christian Sunday remains, on the threshold of the Third Millennium, an indispensable element of our Christian identity.
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. (Great Controversy, p. 581) The future according to Bible prophecy is clear: just as Sunday observance has been demanded by the church in the past, its observance will be demanded as the church enters the new millennium!
The Eucharistic Assembly: Heart of Sunday
Physically and spiritually, the centerpiece of John Paul IIs letter is the third chapter. Here the emphasis is on the Eucharist. It is called the heart of Sunday. The Eucharist is not only a particularly intense expression of the reality of the Churchs life, but in a sense its fountain head... The Sunday Eucharist... because of its special solemnity and the obligatory presence of the community ... becomes the paradigm for other Eucharistic celebrations. . Therefore, the dies Domini is also the dies Ecclesiae.
Parents are reminded that it is their duty to teach their children to participate in the Sunday Mass. While the homes of the faithful are referred to as domestic churches, small group Masses are not to be encouraged. This is to help ensure that the life and unity of the Church community are fully safeguarded and promoted. This push toward meetings of large attendance will stand in marked contrast to small home churches that make up the little flock. (See Luke 12:32)
As in every Eucharistic celebration, the Risen Lord is encountered in the Sunday assembly at the twofold table of the word and of the Bread of Life. The table of the word offers the same understanding of the history of salvation and especially of the Paschal Mystery which the Risen Jesus himself gave to his disciples: it is Christ who speaks, present as he is in his word when Sacred Scripture is read in the Church. This homily is to prepare the way for the celebration of the Mass. (The term celebration and its variations are used at least ninety-nine times in the document.) The table of the word leads naturally to the table of the Eucharistic Bread and prepares the community to live its many aspects, which in the Sunday Eucharist assume an especially solemn character.
John Paul II writes: The Mass in fact truly makes present the sacrifice of the Cross. Under the species of bread and wine, upon which has been invoked the outpouring of the Spirit who works with absolutely unique power in the words of consecration, Christ offers himself to the Father in the same act of sacrifice by which he offered himself on the Cross. In this divine sacrifice which is accomplished in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once and for all in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. To his sacrifice Christ unites the sacrifice of the Church.
The Pope claims that in this idolatrous Mass the priest has the power to offer the same Christ who died on the cross in an unbloody manner again and again each time that the Eucharist is offered. The Bible however says that, Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins. (1 Peter 3:18) The Bible also says that without [the] shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
The Mass is said to help prepare the disciples of Christ for their mission. Receiving the Bread of Life, the disciples of Christ ready themselves to undertake with the strength of the Risen Lord and his Spirit the tasks which await them in their ordinary life. Under the section, The Sunday Obligation we read the following:
Since the Eucharist is the very heart of Sunday, it is clear why, from the earliest centuries, the Pastors of the Church have not ceased to remind the faithful of the need to take part in the liturgical assembly.
Even if in the earliest times it was not judged necessary to be prescriptive, the Church has not ceased to confirm this obligation of conscience, which rises from the inner need felt so strongly by the Christians of the first centuries. It was only later, faced with the half-heartedness or negligence of some, that the Church had to make explicit the duty to attend Sunday Mass: more often than not, this was done in the form of exhortation, but at times the Church had to resort to specific canonical precepts.
As we near the last closing events of earths history the half-heartedness and negligence of some will be dealt with. This false Sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892)
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. (Revelation 13:15-17)
IV. Dies Hominis
Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest, and Solidarity
In virtue of its significance as the day of the Risen Lord, celebrating Gods work of creation and new creation, Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the day most suitable for learning how to rejoice and to rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy.
Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things about which we worry give way to spiritual values; Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.
While in the past, the Papacy has sought to protect her own views and even force them upon others, they have never regarded the views of those they have disagreed with as worthy of protection. The joy of liberty in what is termed the Lords day is explained by John Paul II:
Christ came to accomplish a new exodus, to restore freedom to the oppressed. He performed many healings on the Sabbath (cf. Mt 12:9-14 and parallels), certainly not to violate the Lords Day, but to reveal its full meaning: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mk 2:27). Opposing the excessively legalistic interpretation of some of his contemporaries, and developing the true meaning of the biblical Sabbath, Jesus, as Lord of the Sabbath (Mk 2:28), restores to the Sabbath observance its liberating character, carefully safeguarding the rights of God and the rights of man. This is why Christians, called as they are to proclaim the liberation won by the blood of Christ, felt that they had the authority to transfer the meaning of the Sabbath to the day of the Resurrection. (emphasis supplied)
John Paul II does not claim the change from Sabbath to Sunday to have come due to Bible decree, but rather from the supposed authority the believers claimed to have. Jesus said this type of worship is vain which teaches for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)
V. Dies Dierum
Sunday: The Primordial Feast,
Revealing the Meaning of Time.
Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of time. It has nothing in common with the cosmic cycles according to which natural religion and human culture tend to impose a structure on time, succumbing perhaps to the myth of eternal return. The Christian Sunday is wholly other! Springing from the Resurrection, it cuts through human time, the months, the years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target: Christs Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christs glory in the event of the Resurrection.
Thus from the creation to the second advent, Sunday is upheld as the glue that binds the institution of the Catholic Church together.
The conclusion begins with this summarizing statement: The spiritual and pastoral riches of Sunday, as it has been handed on to us by tradition, are truly great. When its significance and implications are understood in their entirety, Sunday in a way becomes a synthesis of the Christian life and a condition for living it well. It is clear therefore why the observance of the Lords Day is so close to the Churchs heart, and why in the Churchs discipline it remains a real obligation. (emphasis supplied)
The latest apostolic letter from John Paul II reveals anew the deep interest the Papacy has in the promotion of Sunday. As the next millennium approaches, the Papacy will be stressing the importance of Sunday as never before. Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. ... And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things. (H. F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons.) qqq
The Cleansing of the Sanctuary
By A. T. Jones
The cleansing of the sanctuary and the finishing of the mystery of God are identical as to time and are also so closely related as to be practically identical in character and event.
In the figure of the true in the sanctuary service made visible, the round of service was completed annually, and the cleansing of the sanctuary was the finishing of that figurative and annual service. And this cleansing of the sanctuary was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all the uncleanness of the children of Israel because of their transgression in all their sins, which, by the ministry of the priesthood in the sanctuary, had been brought into the sanctuary during the service of the year.
The finishing of this work of the sanctuary and for the sanctuary was, likewise, the finishing of the work for the people. For in that day of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which was the Day of Atonement, whosoever of the people did not by searching of heart, confession, and putting away of sin take part in the service of the cleansing of the sanctuary was cut off forever. Thus the cleansing of the sanctuary extended to the people and included the people as truly as it did the sanctuary itself. And whosoever of the people was not included in the cleansing of the sanctuary and was not himself cleansed, equally with the sanctuary, from all iniquity and transgression and sin was cut off forever. Leviticus. 16:15-19, 29-34; 23:27-32.
And this was all a figure for the time then present. That sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry was a figure of the true, which is the sanctuary, sacrifice, priesthood, and ministry of Christ. And that cleansing of the sanctuary was a figure of the true, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, from all the uncleanness of the believers in Jesus because of all their transgression in all their sins. And the time of this cleansing of the true is declared in the words of the Wonderful Numberer to be unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed, which is the sanctuary of Christ in A.D. 1844.
And, indeed, the sanctuary of which Christ is the High Priest is the only one that could possibly be cleansed in 1844, because it is the only one that there is. The sanctuary that was a figure for the time then present was destroyed by the army of the Romans who came and destroyed that city (Dan. 9:26) and that sanctuary and even its place was to be desolate even until the consummation. Therefore the only sanctuary that could possibly be cleansed at the time referred to by the Wonderful Numberer, at the end of the two thousand and three hundred days, was alone the sanctuary of Christthe sanctuary of which Christ is High Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and the true tabernacle of which Christ, at the right hand of God, is true Priest and Minister; the sanctuary and true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man.
What this cleansing means is plainly declared in the very scripture which we are now studyingDaniel 9:24-28. For the angel of God, in telling to Daniel the truth concerning the two thousand and three hundred days, tells also the great object of the Lord in this time as it relates to both the Jews and the Gentiles. The seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years of the limitation upon the Jews and Jerusalem is definitely declared to be to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Daniel 9:24.
That is the true purpose of God in the sanctuary and its service in all time: whether in the figure or in the true, whether for Jews or for Gentiles, whether on earth or in heaven. Seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years, was the limitation set for the Jews to have this accomplished for and in themselves. To accomplish this, to that people, of all people, Christ Himself came in person to show to them the Way and to lead them in this Way. But they would not have it. Instead of seeing in Him the gracious One who would finish transgression and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness to every soul, they saw in Him only Beelzebub the prince of the devils; only One instead of whom they would readily choose a murderer; only One who as King they would openly repudiate and choose a Roman Caesar as their only king; only One whom they counted as fit only to be crucified out of the world. For such a people as that and in such a people as that, could He finish transgression and make an end of sins and make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness?Impossible. Impossible by their own persistent rebellion. Instead of His being allowed by them to do such a gracious and wonderful work for them, from the depths of divine pity and sorrow He was compelled to say to them: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Matthew 23:37, 38; 21:43.
The nation to whom the kingdom of God was given, upon its rejection by the Jews, was the Gentiles. And that which was to be done for the Jews in the four hundred and ninety years which were limited to them, but which they would not at all allow to be done for themthat is the identical thing to be done for the Gentiles, to whom the kingdom of God is given, in the eighteen hundred and ten years allotted to them. And that work is to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. This can be done alone in the finishing of the mystery of God in the cleansing of the true Christian sanctuary. And this is done in the cleansing of the true sanctuary, only in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the perfecting of the believers in Jesus, on the one hand, and on the other hand in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the destruction of the wicked and the cleansing of the universe from all taint of sin that has ever been upon it.
The finishing of the mystery of God is the ending of the work of the gospel. And the ending of the work of the gospel is, first, the taking away of all vestige of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousnessChrist fully formedwithin each believer, God alone manifest in the flesh of each believer in Jesus, and, secondly, on the other hand, the work of the gospel being finished means only the destruction of all who then shall not have received the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10), for it is not the way of the Lord to continue men in life when the only possible use they will make of life is to heap up more misery for themselves.
Again, in the service of the earthly sanctuary, we have seen that when the work of the gospel in the annual course was finished in behalf of those who had taken part in it, then all those who had taken no part in it were cut off. Which was a figure for the time then present and which plainly teaches that in the service of the true sanctuary when the work of the gospel shall have been finished for all those who have a part in it, then all those who do not have a part in it will be cut off. Thus, in both respects, the finishing of the mystery of God is the final ending of sin.
The service in the earthly sanctuary shows also that in order for the sanctuary to be cleansed and the course of the gospel service there to be finished, it must first be finished in the people who have a part in the service. That is to say: In the sanctuary itself, transgression could not be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity could not be made, and everlasting righteousness could not be brought in, until all this had been accomplished in each person who had a part in the service of the sanctuary. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed until each of the worshipers had been cleansed. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed so long as, by the confessions of the people and the intercessions of the priests, there was pouring into the sanctuary a stream of iniquities, transgression, and sins. The cleansing of the sanctuary, as to the sanctuary itself, was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all the transgression of the people which, by the service of the priests, had been taken into the sanctuary during the service of the year. And this stream must be stopped at its fountain in the hearts and lives of the worshipers, before the sanctuary itself could possibly be cleansed.
Therefore the very first work in the cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the people. That which was preliminary and essential to the cleansing of the sanctuary itself, to the finishing of the transgression and bringing in everlasting righteousness, there, was the finishing of transgression, and the making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness in the heart and life of each one of the people themselves. When the stream that flowed into the sanctuary was thus stopped at its source, then, and then alone, could the sanctuary itself be cleansed from the sins and transgression which, from the people, by the intercession of the priests, had flowed into the sanctuary.
And all that was a figure for the time then presenta figure of the true. Therefore by this we are plainly taught that the service of our great High Priest in the cleansing of the true sanctuary must be preceded by the cleansing of each one of the believers, the cleansing of each one who has a part in that service of the true High Priest in the true sanctuary. It is plain that transgression must be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for all iniquity must be made, and everlasting righteousness must be brought in, in the hearts experience of every believer in Jesus, before the cleansing of the true sanctuary can be accomplished.
And this is the very object of the true priesthood in the true sanctuary. The sacrifices, the priesthood, and the ministry in the sanctuary which was but a figure for the time then present, could not really take away sin, could not make the comers thereunto perfect, whereas the sacrifice, the priesthood, and the ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary does take away sins forever, does make the comers thereunto perfect, does perfect forever them that are sanctified.
(This article is reprinted from the book, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection. )
Halfway Across the World
The fertile plains of central Czechoslovakia and the ragged hills of northern Tennessee have very little in common, except in the case of a prisoner in Prague and an escaping Methodist Episcopalian matron in Tennessee.
Matthias Dolanscious was thrown into the Prague jail on the charge of heresy during the persecution days in Bohemia. Due to his refusal to accept the national form of religion over and above his Christian faith, he had not only been placed in one of the filthiest and most isolated prisons in existence, he had almost completely been ignored. His meager meals, brought to him once or twice a week, were of the quality he fed to his farm animals before his arrest. His cruel neglect caused him to suffer tremendously.
One day he discovered that the lack of regular or substantial meals was all part of a dastardly scheme being conducted by the prison guards. To get proper nutrition and be allowed better sanitary privileges, a prisoner had to pay the guards. Cruel as it was, it was the only way a man could possibly hope to survive. But he did not have any money or any way of obtaining any, so he took it to the Lord in earnest prayer.
Even though some of Gods people, through Gods overall plan of salvation, are allowed to bear witness through martyrdom, God still provides for safety and long life for others. Apparently Dolanscious was to fit into the program whereby he would witness through a long and productive life.
During the pioneer days in America, a raiding party of Indians, believed to be Cherokee, captured a certain Methodist Episcopalian lady and carried her far from her home. She was treated very inhumanely.
One day the Indian braves found some liquor in a trading post which they later burned to the ground. That night they drank all of the confiscated alcohol, staying up until the very early pre-dawn hours. While they were all in a deep sleep, the Tennessee wife and mother slipped out of the camp and made her escape. Walking as fast and long as she could before taking a break, she placed a great distance between the drunken Indians and herself.
Sitting on the bare ground in a small clearing, she came to the horrible realization that she did not know how to get back home. She felt that she was going in the right direction, but she knew that many people had died in the woods even though they felt they knew their way.
She prayed a great deal to God for His intervention in her life. She pleaded for Him to show her how to get back to her home and family. And with trust in His provisions, she continued to walk onward.
Late in the afternoon, she came to a well-worn path. She recognized it as the same one she had seen the Indians use as they dragged her mercilessly away from her farm. The path led into two directions. If she took the right one, she would be on her way home. If she took the wrong one, she would wind up right back in the cruel hands of the savages.
Both the man in prison and the escaping housewife got direct answers to their prayers. God gave to one guidance and to the other gold.
But both of them got their answers to prayer through the same type of heaven-sent instrument.
As Matthias petitioned the God of heaven for help, he was very explicit in his prayer. Please, Lord, he pleaded, Send me some money so that I can not only get something to eat, but so I can also get someone to help get me released. 1 have so much to do for Your work and Ill do it harder and more effectively. Please send me the money, please.
The Tennessee pioneer housewife also believed in coming straight to the point. Oh my God, you led the children of Israel all the way out of bondage to the Promised Land and I believe you can easily lead me to my family. Please show me which way Im supposed to take on this path. Please, Lord, direct my steps.
Then, as Dolanscious got off his knees as he had done many, many times before, all during the night and practically all of the day, he saw an object sitting in the one tiny opening high up in the wall that was supposed to be a window. He walked over below the window and stared at it to make sure that he was not imagining it. As he got close, it left. But it left a small piece of cloth in the narrow ledge.
As he stood on the small, partially broken stool, he could just reach the ledge with the tip of his fingers. He finally was able to get the cloth and pull it off the ledge. As he got it to the edge of the ledge, a piece of gold fell out of it!
The stunned prisoner was able to bargain with the valuable gem and get his needed food as well as make contact with a friend who worked very diligently to get him released a few weeks later.
The bewildered escapee stood on that Tennessee path pleading with her Maker for directions. As she pondered the life-and-death decision, her eyes were drawn downward. There, near her feet, was a certain moving object. It was the same kind of object that had brought the Prague prisoner his gold.
She looked at it as it hesitated around her feet for a few seconds and then proceeded down the path to her right. After about ten feet, it turned around, came back to her feet once again.
Unable to make out the meaning of it all for a few moments, she just stood there, semiparalyzed. The object took off once again down the path to her right.
When she did not move this second time, the little object came back one more time! This time it created quite a stir at her feet and slowly made its way down the path . . . in the same direction as before.
Somehow she had not been able to grasp the significance of it all. Then it came to her. Surely, this is the workings of God!, she said out loud, Praise His Holy Name!
And with this vocal expression of her confidence in Gods sustaining power, she took off down the path to her right. But as she turned the first curve, in the same direction as that little tiny creature had gone, she was surprised to see that it had vanished!
Within seven hours, the excited and confident lover of Christ was united with her loved ones.
Two believers on two continents.
Two separate miraculous deliverances by the one God of the universe.
Two separate believers in two distant countries delivered by the God of heaven and earth through the same type of instrument . . . a small bird. 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
Living by Faith
1. How are the just to live? Romans 1:17
2. Has this been true in all ages? Hebrews 11
3. In whom only should we have faith? Acts 4:12
4. Should man put confidence in the flesh? Philippians 3:3-10
5. In whom can we have confidence? 1 John 5:13, 14
6. To whom are all the promises of eternal happiness given? Revelation 3:21 (See note 1.)
7. What will those who overcome inherit? Revelation 21:7 (See note 2.)
8. How may we gain victories? 1 John 5:4, 5
9. Where was Pauls strength? Galatians 2:20
10. In whom may we make our boast? Psalm 34:2
11. In what only did Paul glory? Galatians 6:14
12. If Christ is living in the heart, may we always have victory? Philippians 4:13 (See note 3.)
13. What brought the walls of Jericho down? Hebrews 11:30
14. Why was the story of Jericho recorded? Romans 15:4
15. Whom do we battle against? Ephesians 6:12
1. See also Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12.
2. The inheriting is not the overcoming; that is only the reward for overcoming. The overcoming is now; the victories to be gained are victories over the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of lifevictories over self and selfish indulgences. The man who fights and sees the foe give way, may rejoice; nobody can keep him from rejoicing, for joy comes spontaneously as the result of seeing the enemy give way. Some folks look with dread upon the thought of having to wage a continual warfare with self and worldly lusts. That is because they do not as yet know anything about the joy of victory; they have experienced only defeat. But it isnt so doleful a thing to battle constantly, when there is continual victory. (Living by Faith, p. 13)
3. John says that he that is born of God overcomes the world through faith. Faith lays hold of the arm of God, and His mighty power does the work. (Ibid.) Also see 1 Corinthians 15:57.
Lord, Send Me
Recently our family had the privilege of meeting with the Baden family in Michigan. What a blessing we received to see the witness this family, by Gods grace, is presenting. The hospitality that Steve, Doris, Melissa, and John shared was really appreciated. As noted in June, Melissa (age 16) is publishing a special newsletter for young people entitled, Lord, Send Me. We wish to encourage all the youth to check this fine paper out. Those who would like to assist with this project may send postage stamps directly to Melissa to help with the mailing expenses. You may request to have your name on the mailing list by writing to Melissa at: P. O. Box 2984, Holland, MI 49422-2984. Allen Stump
J N X K X O V E R C O M E C J L
R N J U S T W N Q F Y B O M B E
H C U B R Y P O L J H N K C L U
Z Y Z B J S J M G A F L G T V M
D R T H L P S J A I U F T O P C
U A I L E A L E D S G A H V A Z
P V R M E O C E N D B O Q W F K
R L E X Z M N K D H K J X J I R
G A H H J C Z Z K Y S R Z O N R
K C N V E Q D Q B G E I Q Y E M
E J I S I B I F B B M V F U J W
I N U Z T V J N H Q K V I L X J
B Y S S E N I P P A H R Q L E I
S O V Y S X O P T H S E L F X S
S E S I M O R P D H T I A F E I
S K T I J E R I C H O S S O R C
Word List: Selfishness , Just, Joy, Happiness, Live, Faith, Overcome, Cross, Flesh, Confidence, Jericho, Battle, Promises, Inherit, Calvary
Gods invitation comes to each youth, My son, give me thine heart; I will keep it pure; I will satisfy its longings with true happiness. God loves to make the youth happy, and that is why he would have them give their hearts into his keeping, that all the God-given faculties of the being may be kept in a vigorous, healthful condition. (The Youths Instructor, January 5, 1887)
Laboring in America
By Doug Goslin
In the past few months the Lord has given His people the opportunity to share the gospel in eight major cities by distributing tracts at Promise Keeper rallies. Several thousand fliers have been passed out that explain our faith, opening to the minds of many the fact that America plays a major role in the prophecies of the Bible while offering a free copy of America in Prophesy (The Great Controversy). The cities visited so far have been: Detroit, Los Angeles, Little Rock, Philadelphia, Fresno, Knoxville, St. Petersburg, and Columbia, Missouri. This has allowed people from different parts of the country to help. We wish to thank those from Detroit, Arizona, California, and Florida, as well as the regulars for helping out in this first leg of the effort.
One of the greatest rewards in this endeavor is being able to reach hundreds of thousands of people with the truth. We are able to share many of the same concerns that some of them have, such as the problems of hierarchies within church governments, where America is referred to in the Bible, and why is there one truth but so many different beliefs. God is helping us to find many thinking Christians that desire spiritual fellowship.
In Columbia, Missouri, I had the blessing of meeting a man that we had been in contact with since the Stand In The Gap meeting where an estimated one million men attended. He has been reading the book America in Prophesy and teaching from it in his Sunday School class. In California we are enjoying wonderful results, especially with a group of young Christians who want further contact. Peter Pecoraro in Philadelphia writes, Thank you so much for sending me Present Truth. I really appreciate it and may peace always be with you.*
One encouraging letter we received stated: I recently found your leaflet on the ground at a Promise Keepers meeting in PA. I really appreciated the insight I got from reading it. My wife and I are both looking forward to receiving our copy of America in Prophecy so we can get even more info. Please send it soon!
The Promise Keeper meetings always end with altar calls. Mature Christians are solicited as evangelists to help pray for and with the respondents. They also ask that the evangelists help follow up with the brothers that are dedicating their lives to God. By Gods grace, He has opened the way for us to help in this area! Instead of Sunday-keeping Trinitarians praying with these men who gave their lives to the Lord, we are able to pray with them and get their phone numbers and addresses. This has proven to be an excellent way to reach the people.
There will be eleven more rallies this summer with at least 150,000 fliers needed. All help (manpower, prayer, or financial) for this project will be greatly appreciated.
*Present Truth is an evangelistic publication for non-Adventists. We have included the latest copy of Present Truth, for your study, with this issue of Old Paths. Present Truth now reaches nearly four hundred non-Adventist families. Anyone who wishes to receive it monthly may do so by simply requesting it. Present Truth is also available in bulk orders for those who wish to personally pass out copies. One family in Woodbridge, New Jersey, has requested several hundred copies just to pass out to the areas where they live! Praise the Lord! The list is growing rapidly and any support will be greatly appreciated. qqq
(You may contact Brother Doug Goslin at 13264 Jobes Rd., Newark, Ohio 43055. His e-mail address is: email@example.com. His phone number is (740) 763-2242.)
God will soon do great things for us if we lie humble and believing at His feet. . . . More than one thousand will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications. (Review and Herald, November 10, 1885)
Health Food Store Update
Whatsoever you eat and whatsoever you drink, do all to the glory of God. In the last issue of Old Paths you read about our new health food store. We would like to inform you that if all of our people are supportive of this God-given opportunity, this store could be a financial blessing to all the workers in the field. How? Right now our store is operating in the red. We have a need for means to support the work being done here. What exactly is being done at the store? The right arm of the three angels messages is the health message. We have people counseling, witnessing, giving health talks and helping many through natural remedies. Once our debt is taken care of, profits from the store will provide tithes and offerings which will be available to help all the laborers in the field. The harvest is ready and the laborers are few. How can you support this cause and be doubly blessed at the same time? By placing any orders for your health and natural beauty needs with us, through our toll free number: 1-877-885-3663. (Note: it will help our phone costs if your calls are on Fridays.) Please remember HEALTHWAY, your store for all your herbs, vitamins, and bulk needs.
We at Cincinnati and
Wake-Up Ministries are looking forward to serving you. May God bless you always.
Arizona Camp Meeting
As mentioned in last months insert, The Church at Wilhoit is having a camp meeting September 9-13 in Wilhoit, Arizona (about 1½ hours northwest of Phoenix). We do hope that you will plan to be be there.
We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst. The convocations of the church, as in camp-meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God's appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain. (R&H, March 2, 1897)
The first meeting will be September 9 at 7 p.m., with the remaining meetings to begin at 10 a.m. on the 10th, continuing until noon Sunday, the 13th of September. Call (520) 442- 9868 and ask for Kim. She will have the answers to your questions.
Florida Camp Meeting
There will be a camp meeting from November 12-15 at the River Forest group campground located in the southeast corner of the Ocala National Forest on the banks of the scenic St. Johns River.
For more information contact Bill Hayes (904) 684-2214 or Doug Goslin (740) 763-2242.
In 1996 we published the first printing of the book, Did They Believe in the Trinity? which contained thirty-six pages of quotes from early Adventist pioneers regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. This book reveals what the early Adventists believed about the trinity. It is shocking for many to realize that the church they attend has undergone some major changes in their beliefs since the time of Ellen Whites death. We have had many very good responses from this book.
Nearly seven thousand
of these books have been distributed and it is now being reprinted with additional pioneer
quotes and four pages of Ellen White statements supporting the teachings and writings of
the early Adventist pioneers. For more details, see the flyer that accompanies this issue
of Old Paths.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail email@example.com
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013