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. 9, No. 2    Straight and Narrow     February 2000


A Non-Prophet
Movement?

Was Ellen G. White a prophet? Some state that since she never directly claimed to be a prophet, she was not a prophet. Does that lack of claim disqualify her from being a prophet? Some who wish to be rid of her counsel and influence are quick to quote the following statement: “I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess.” By itself, this may seem to settle the question. However, let us look at the statement in context:

“During the discourse [at Battle Creek, October 2, 1904], I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Some were surprised at this statement, and as much is being said in regard to it, I will make an explanation. Others have called me a prophetess, but I have never assumed that title. I have not felt that it was my duty thus to designate myself. Those who boldly assume that they are prophets in this our day are often a reproach to the cause of Christ.

“My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people.”—Letter 55, 1905. (Selected Messages, book one, pp. 35, 36.)

Ellen White said that she did not have a burden to call herself a prophet. Some assume that because there is no record of her calling herself a prophet, she may not have been a prophet. However, if we follow this reasoning, we would also reject Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, even Paul and Jesus Christ and many others from being Bible prophets because they made no such boast. Do we reject them because they did not claim to be prophets? Amos even stated that he was not a prophet, “Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit.” (Amos 7:14)

Please be assured that even though many Bible writers never claimed to be prophets, they are described in the Bible as such:

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” (Acts 2:16)

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, ...” (Matthew 12:17)

“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]. And he left them, and departed.” (Matthew 16:4)

“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:)” (Matthew 24:15)

In fact, almost every time some man or woman is described as being a prophet, the description is not given directly by the prophet, but by another, or indirectly from the prophet quoting the “word of the LORD.” Sometimes the Bible writers made note of this concerning themselves and sometimes they did not.

Today, Adventism experiences a great deal of prejudice from the world and the professed Christian churches. Yet the prejudice was even greater in the beginning of the Advent movement. Not only were those claiming to be prophets distrusted, but especially women who made such claims, and especially if they came from some “offshoot cult group” such as Seventh-day Adventists were considered. Ellen White was too smart to give ammunition to the enemies of God’s people. She did refer to herself as a messenger and noted that her work included much more than the term prophet comprehended. A study of her life clearly reveals to me that she was a prophet.

God does not give gifts without a reason. The gift of prophecy is one of the gifts of the spirit mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4.

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. ... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:8, 11)

These gifts are “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) God would not have given this gift and others without a need. Personally, I am spiritually and mentally weak enough that I appreciate any and all the help the Lord Jesus Christ wills to send me. What about you?

A proper understanding of Ellen White’s role should not cause us to give up the Bible or have a third canon of Scripture. She stated:

“If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.” (Testimonies  for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 605)

Many prophets are mentioned in the Bible who wrote inspired material which was not saved for the canon of Scripture. Here are some Bible verses that support this:

“Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer.” (1 Chronicles 29:29)

“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?” (2 Chronicles 9:29)

“Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.” (2 Chronicles 12:15)

“Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 20:34)

“And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 21:12)

Here we find mention of Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, Iddo, Shemaiah, Jehu, and even Elijah as writing inspired materials that were not placed in the Bible. I ask sincerely, Did God give these writings to be disregarded? No! Neither did He give us the gift of prophecy in the last days to be discarded.

The gift of prophecy is described in the Bible as having a special work for God’s people in the last days. In the book of Isaiah we read, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. ... And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:11, 12, 16) God is going to recover His remnant in the last days “like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” What does Hosea say about that? “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.” (Hosea 12:13)

I believe that the gift of prophecy is not ended. Too many texts tell us this to seriously argue otherwise. (See Revelation 16:6; 18:20, 24, Joel 2, etc.) I also believe that in raising up the Advent movement, God used Ellen G. White in a remarkable manner. The gift of prophecy is noted in the book of Revelation as a characteristic of the remnant. (Revelation 12:17; 19:10) To say that it begins and ends with Ellen White would not be correct. However, to say that Ellen White did not have a special function would not be correct either. If God raised up the Advent movement, and I believe He did, then the gift of prophecy should have been manifested among the early believers. If Ellen White did not fulfill this office of the Spirit, then who did?

Allen Stump


A Special Prayer of Praise

An Update on Hans

Events that have affected our family the last three and a half months have produced some deep soul searching. For those who were unaware, on October 1, 1999 my, son, Hans was diagnosed to have a spinal cord tumor. Surgery was performed on the 3rd with about 70% of the tumor being removed. The November 1999 issue of Old Paths details the early events. This article wishes to give some of the current details.

Hans StumpMonday, the third of January, Hans had an MRI scan on his head and spine. The procedure lasted over three hours! We were scheduled to see one of Hans’ doctors the sixth hoping to get the results. To our surprise, Dr. Kurczynski, better known as “Dr. K” to her patients, called to say that she had the results of the scan and that they showed no evidence of any tumor at all! She further stated that she believed there was a very low chance for a reoccurrence of the problem. The joy to our hearts and tears to our eyes could not be suppressed. God has truly answered many, many prayers.

Hans still has to deal with the damage to the nerve system that was caused by the tumor. He still is not recovered 100% in his strength or coordination. Only time will reveal how much of his lost functions will be restored. However, he has been able to discontinue the use of his walking-cane and is even able to run a few steps at a time. Again, we praise God for His goodness to us.

At this time we would like to express another “thank you” to everyone who prayed for Hans and asked others to pray as well. We know there were many people all over the world praying for Hans. We believe that this was the most important ingredient in his healing.

We wish to extend a special thanks to those who sent financial support to help with the medical expenses. I have tried to write to each and express my thankfulness, but if in the stress of the situation we have failed to thank anyone, please forgive us and accept our sincerest thanks for your consideration.

Even with Hans’ good report, my professional time in the ministry will still be limited. Not only does Hans still need special attention, but without my “right hand” at full strength, I will have to attend to matters of responsibility that he carried in the past. The last few years Charmaine and I have depended on Hans a great deal and we have learned the last three months just how much we had depended on him. Please keep us all in prayer and that Hans may continue to heal and be completely restored. Above all, pray that we will be drawn closer to the Father and His only begotten Son.

Allen & Charmaine Stump


Special Tape Offer

Howard WilliamsOn December 18th the Smyrna Chapel was blessed to have Brother Howard and Sister Karlene Williams, of Restoration Ministries in Jamaica visiting. Brother Williams preached an excellent study on the judgment which was video taped and is available for those interested in this important subject. The end of the tape also has some selected singing.

The suggested donation for a copy of this powerful, Scripture filled tape, is $6.50 plus actual postage. Send your requests to Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128B, Welch, WV  24801.


 The Context of
Hebrews 9

By David Clayton

For one hundred and fifty-five years Seventh-day Adventists have embraced and taught doctrines that have made them the subject of scorn, ridicule and even outright antagonism. Of all the doctrines that we have held, the one which has been most assaulted, and which has most aroused the ire of other Christians, is our concept of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary with the corollary doctrines of the investigative judgment and the final atonement.

In examining the arguments of some of those who have opposed this doctrine I discovered that one of their main points of contention was the book of Hebrews, and in particular, Hebrews chapter 9. It is claimed that this chapter teaches clearly that Christ went immediately into the Most Holy Place and immediately began the work of the anti-typical Day of Atonement when He returned to heaven in AD 31. Is this true? Does Hebrews chapter 9 teach this?

I must admit that for many years I was of the settled opinion that this was the teaching of Hebrews 9. It seemed to me that in this chapter the apostle Paul clearly taught that Jesus went once and for all into the “holiest of all,” immediately upon His ascension. However, after giving it some serious thought, I came to the conclusion that Paul was examining the ministry of Christ from the angle of the privileges which He obtains for us; that He has made it possible for us to have full and complete access to the Father’s presence, and that this was one lesson to be learned from the typology of the Day of Atonement ceremony. However, I believed that there was another meaning to the type, which was that Christ’s ministry for us was to be in two phases, with the final phase being the experience of the final cleansing and purification of the church. I therefore concluded that in studying the symbolism of the sanctuary services we should look more at the meaning of the services and try to discover what they represented, rather than to believe that there was any literal sanctuary in heaven where the reality of these ceremonies actually took place.

Later, however, I was compelled to revise my thinking for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I could see that the Bible clearly speaks of four literal sanctuaries:

In Hebrews 8:3 and Hebrews 9:1 there is the very clear and unmistakable teaching that the sanctuary on earth (the Old Testament sanctuary) was a representation of a real temple in heaven. This was the original pattern from which the earthly sanctuary was built (Hebrews 8:5). The service of the heavenly sanctuary also involved “divine ordinances.” (Hebrews 9:1) This seemed to be supported by the book of Revelation where, over and over, John was shown scenes in heaven either the “temple of God in heaven,” or the furniture and vessels of the temple such as the altar, the censer, the candlestick, the ark of the covenant, etc.

Secondly, I could see that if there were no literal sanctuary in heaven, it would mean that I would not only have to abandon the books of Hebrews and Revelation, but I would also have to confess that the Advent faith was a fraud and Ellen White also would have to be a plain liar. However, it was plain to me that Ellen White and the Bible were in perfect harmony in teaching that there is a literal sanctuary in heaven.

Who is Confused?

So I decided to take a closer look at Hebrews chapter 9 and carefully examine the arguments of the apostle Paul. So many people claimed that Hebrews 9 taught that Jesus immediately entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension; that the anti-typical Day of Atonement began in AD 31. Were they correct? Was Desmond Ford right when he stated, “Hebrews 9 is an embarrassment to Seventh-day Adventists?” So I began to study. By listening to various arguments and by comparing different translations I began to discover that it was not as clear and straightforward as I had been led to believe. I was more than a little surprised to discover that there were hardly two translations of the Bible which translated the Greek word “hagia” the same in Hebrews 9. Some examples are, “holy place,” “sanctuary,” “holy places,” and “holiest of all.” Here, I discovered, was a chapter where the scholars and theologians seemed to be thoroughly confused because, although the Bible versions had been translated by supposedly the best scholars of Greek and Hebrew, they were often in disagreement on the words used in Hebrews 9. This provided a very good reason for me to dig a little deeper. Let us just look at Hebrews 9:8 in five different versions and see how the Greek word, “hagia” is translated. Literally the word means “holies.” However, notice what the translators have come up with.

You don’t really have to be a genius to see that Greek scholars and theologians are very uncertain as to the meaning of the word “hagia” as it is used in Hebrews 9. Here some of these eminent scholars, perhaps the best in the world, have translated the same word in such a way that in one case it means the entire sanctuary, in another way, the first apartment, in a third way, the second apartment, and in still another manner, both apartments. Which of these interpretations or translations is correct? This is not a question of people using different manuscripts. Every single Greek manuscript from which these versions were translated uses the same word, “hagia,” in the verses in question. This is not a question of which manuscript was used, but rather, it is a question of how the translators interpreted the passage.

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible was published in 1946 and was prepared by 32 scholars. The council that authorized the translation directed that it should embody “the best results of modern scholarship.” In preparing it, the advice and counsel of fifty-two representatives of the cooperating denominations were secured. (See preface.)

The New International Version was published in 1973. It was a “completely new translation of the Holy Bible made by over a hundred scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts.” (See preface.)

The scholars who prepared the New King James Version stated that their work was done in cooperation with “competent scholars who are governed by the biblical principle of divine authority of the Holy Scriptures.” (See preface.)

The New American Standard Bible declared in its preface: “In the preparation of our work numerous other translations have been consulted along with the linguistic tools and literature of biblical scholarship. Decisions about English renderings were made by consensus of a team composed of educators and pastors. Subsequently, review and evaluation by other Hebrew and Greek scholars outside the editorial board were sought and carefully considered.” (See preface.)

A Question of Interpretation

Hundreds of the best scholars were involved and yet, in the passages under consideration, they have given the same word at least four different meanings. Which one is correct? Undoubtedly, the problem arises from the interpretation of the passage. You will notice that Green’s Literal Translation renders the word as “holies.” This is the exact literal translation of the word. Why didn’t the translators of the other versions translate the word as “holies”? Or, as Young’s Literal Translation has it, as “holy places”? Well, as I will explain, they had at least two other considerations apart from the literal meaning of the word which affected the way they translated that word.

Now what I am about to explain is not very difficult to understand. However, I have had at least two people say to me, “your interpretation requires changing the words of Scripture. If it is the truth, there should be a simpler way to explain it.” My reply is to ask you to look at the various translations, since neither you nor I are students of Greek. Then ask yourself the question, which version is correct? Which of these groups of scholars really understood the passage and chose the right word or words? Also, why is the same word translated in so many different ways in the King James Version? (“sanctuary” Hebrews 9:1; “holiest of all” Hebrews 9:8; “holy place” Hebrews 9:12, 25; “holy places” Hebrews 9:24)

The first consideration which affected these scholars was their understanding of the context. Some of them concluded that Hebrews 9 was talking about Jesus’ work on the anti-typical Day of Atonement. These scholars chose to translate the word, “hagia,” as “holiest of all,” or “most holy place.” Others believed that it was talking about Jesus’ work in the heavens, generally, rather than at any particular time. These translated the word as “holy places,” or “the sanctuary.”

The second consideration, and the one which I believe is most important, is the way the apostle Paul defined the word at the beginning of the chapter. This surely must be the most important factor because the only person, apart from God who knew beyond doubt the exact meaning of what the author was saying, was the author himself! Surely, if he tells us what a certain word means, then the only sensible and reasonable thing to do is to accept that this is what the word means! Does that seem simple enough? But suppose the context seems to contradict the meaning of the word? If the Bible is the inspired word of God, this is not possible. Go back and study the context again until you find a way to harmonize the word and the context. Then you will know that you have found the truth. Those scholars, who have taken this approach and accepted Paul’s definition of the word, have translated the word as “holy place.” Let us now see how they arrived at this translation.

Paul’s Definitions

In Hebrews 9:1-3 Paul describes the sanctuary and its two apartments and tells us very clearly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the name by which the sanctuary and its two apartments were called.

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary (hagi4n).” (Hebrews 9:1) [If you are using a Netscape browser, the transliteration of some of the Greek words may not appear properly. A “4” may appear in the place of an “o” with the proper accent mark. To view file properly use Internet Explorer 5.0 or view the Adobe Acrobat version of the file.] 

In this text Paul uses the Greek word “hagi4n” when speaking of the entire sanctuary. Literally, the word means “holy.” However, it was evidently the word that the Hebrews used when referring to the entire sanctuary. Then in verse two he says,

“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary (hagia).” (Hebrews 9:1)

We see very clearly that in this verse Paul was referring to the first apartment of the sanctuary. It contained “the candlestick, the table and the shewbread.” Paul says that this was called the “hagia.” What does his expression, “which was called,” mean? He was simply saying, “This is the name by which it is known. This is the word which we use when we are referring to this apartment of the sanctuary.” Now notice that in the King James Version this word has been translated as “the sanctuary.” However, this translation is wrong. It was not called “the sanctuary.” It was called “the holy place.” How could the translators translate the word “hagi4n” which means holy, and the word “hagia,” which means holies, as the same entire sanctuary? This is the first indication that they were a little confused.

Then in verse three Paul says,“And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all (hagia hagion).” (Hebrews 9:1)

So notice that the term used when referring to the Most Holy Place is the term, “hagia hagion” which literally means, holies of holies.

Let us bear something in mind: Paul was writing the in Greek language, to Greek-speaking Hebrew Christians. They would have had no problems with translation. When he wrote “hagi4n” they would immediately think of the entire sanctuary. ‘When he said “hagia” they would, of course, think of the first apartment, and when he referred to “hagia hagion,” naturally their minds would turn to the most holy place.

Now as we proceed with our study of the rest of the chapter I would like you to bear a startling fact in mind. In Hebrews 9:3 Paul speaks of the “hagia hagion,” or the Most Holy Place. There is no other place in the entire book of Hebrews where he ever again uses this expression! How is it then, that as you read various translations of the Bible you find the expressions, “holiest of all,” and “Most Holy Place appearing in verses 8, 12, 24, 25, and in other places? The fact is that, in every case, the word used is “hagia,” and, as Paul clearly, definitely and unquestionably shows in verse two, this is the name of the HOLY place, not the MOST HOLY place!

If you need to check out this information, I would like to explain that the word “hagia” may appear in one of three forms. It may appear as either “hagia,” “hagi4is” or “hagi4n.” This is because in the Greek language the form of a word may change, depending on where the word falls in the sentence. However, though the form changes, yet it is still the same word “hagia” referring to the holy place. An interlinear translation of the Bible will bring this out. Strong’s Concordance will not help much because it will only give the basic word from which we get the plural and other forms of the word, “hagi4n.” Let us bear all this in mind as we now proceed to examine the rest of the chapter.

What Lesson?

Hebrews 9 verses six and seven says; “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” In these two verses, it seems that the ministry of the priests in the first apartment is being contrasted with the ministry of the high priest once per year in the second apartment or the Most Holy Place. Verse 8 says:

“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” (Hebrews 9:8)

Here we are told that in this daily and yearly service, the “Holy Ghost” was trying to teach us something. What was the lesson? Let us take careful notice of the lesson that was being taught because this will help us to understand what the whole chapter is talking about. The lesson was this: As long as the first tabernacle was still standing (was still applicable; was still being used by God) then the way into the Holy Place was not yet made manifest—was not revealed. Please look again at verse 8. Do you see where it says, “the way into the holiest of all?” Well, the word used for “holiest of all” is the word “hagia.” It should have been properly translated as “the holy place,” not “the most holy place.” The lesson then, is that as long as the original earthly tabernacle was still being used, the way into the heavenly holy place was not yet revealed. This is why these services in the earthly tabernacle had to be repeated every day and every year without ceasing. The continual repetition, daily and yearly, was a lesson by the “Holy Ghost” to teach us that the fullness of the real experience in the heavenly sanctuary could not be realized until the earthly system was abolished.

Please refer back to verse 7. Notice the word “but” in the phrase, “but into the second….” This word “but” could also be translated as “moreover,” “also,” or “and.” In fact, it is the same Greek word, “de,” which is translated as “also” in verse 1. This word should have been translated as “moreover” or “also” in verse 7, because you see, verses 6 and 7 are not being contrasted with each other. Paul was not saying, “the work of the first apartment was limited, but the second apartment was real.” No, he was saying, “the work of the first apartment and also the work of the second apartment were limited in the earthly tabernacle.” Though these services were repeated daily and yearly in a never-ending cycle, yet they never made the people perfect. The services in neither apartment of the earthly ever truly dealt finally with sin. Verses 9 and 10 emphasize this more fully. These services “could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience.” This was true of the service of both apartments. Paul was not saying, “the service of the holy place was limited, but the service of the most holy place was effective.” His point is that both the daily service described in verse 6 and the yearly service of verse 7 were ineffective. These “stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” (Hebrews 9:10) These services, in fact, were a symbol of the present time. The King James Version has translated this as “the time then present.” However, every other version of the Bible has correctly translated this phrase as, “the present time.” You see, Paul was saying that the services in the first, or earthly tabernacle were a symbol of the present time or the present age, meaning the period this side of the cross. All the ordinances of the sanctuary in both apartments were a symbol of the present era: a symbol of the period of time since Calvary. He was not saying, as some have erroneously concluded, that the ministry of the first apartment represented the Old Testament era while the ministry of the second apartment represented the New Testament period. Nothing of the services of the first tabernacle was effective. It was all a symbol representing the present age. The services in the first apartment represented some aspect of Christ’s New Testament work and the services in the second apartment represented another aspect of His New Testament work. Examine verses 6 to 10 very carefully and you will see that this is the whole point of these verses. It is the earthly sanctuary and its services versus the heavenly. Therefore verse 11 speaks of Christ as being the High Priest of a “greater and more perfect tabernacle.”

In verse 12 we are told that Christ entered in “once into the holy place.” The word, which is here translated as “holy place” is the word “hagia.” The translators of the King James Version got it right in this verse. However, several of the later translations have rendered this word “the most holy place,” revealing once again a lack of consistency and a misunderstanding of the passage.

Bulls and Goats

There is a phrase that occurs in this verse, which a great many people have misunderstood and misapplied. It is the term, “the blood of goats and calves.” In verse 13 it appears again: “the blood of bulls and of goats,” and once again we find it in verse 19: “The blood of calves and of goats.” Those who claim that Hebrews 9 speaks of Christ’s work in the Most Holy Place on the antitypical Day of Atonement claim that this reference to the blood of “bulls and goats” is a clear reference to the Day of Atonement because Leviticus 16:14, 15 mentions that bulls and goats were offered on the day of atonement. Once again, however, we find that those who come to this conclusion are guilty of jumping to conclusions before actually examining the facts.

Was there any time, apart from the Day of Atonement, when the blood of bulls and goats was offered? Let us take a closer look at verse 19 as well as verses 20-23.

“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” (Hebrews 9:19-23)

What event is Paul speaking of here? When did Moses use the blood of “calves and goats” to sprinkle the book, the people, the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry? Was this referring to the Day of Atonement? Absolutely not! We find the event referred to in Exodus 24:5-8 and, lo and behold, it had nothing to do with the Day of Atonement, but rather with the beginning, the inauguration, the establishing of the first covenant!

“And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:5-8)

Let us not be confused because in verse 14 of Hebrews 9, Paul speaks of the purging of the conscience, and in verse 23 he also speaks of the patterns of things in the heavens being “purified.” It is crystal clear that Paul is not here speaking of the Day of Atonement purging and purification. In verse 13 he speaks of the blood of bulls and goats purifying the flesh, but he also, in the same sentence, refers to the “ashes of a heifer” doing the same thing. Were the ashes of a heifer used in the Day of Atonement services? Numbers 19:9-19 describes the use of the ashes of the heifer and, not surprisingly, we find once again that it has nothing to do with the work of the Day of Atonement.

Likewise, verse 22 speaks of things being “purged” and verse 23 speaks of things being “purified,” but verses 19-21 make it clear that Paul was speaking of the purging and purification of the people, and the entire camp of Israel at the time when the first covenant was instituted. The Day of Atonement is never the issue in this chapter. Careful reading will make it abundantly clear that the issue is the old covenant, its priests and its services versus the new covenant, its high priest and its services.

Once per Year,
or Year after Year?

The final verse from this chapter, which we will look at, is verse 25. It says: “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others.” (Hebrews 9:25)

Here, the word “hagia” is correctly translated as “the holy place” in the King James Version, even though many other translations have rendered it as “the most holy place.” The question is, did the high priest minister in the first apartment with the “blood of others,” or was it only on the Day of Atonement that he ministered? And was his ministry only in the Most Holy Place? Hebrews 7:27 gives us the answer.

“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:27)

According to Paul, the author of Hebrews, the high priest ministered “daily.” This must have been in the first apartment, for no one could enter the second apartment except on the Day of Atonement once per year. This daily and once yearly work of the high priest continued year after year (or every year—see chapter 9:25). The Israelite could never come to the place where at the end of a year he could say, “now it is finished. I don’t need to do it again next year.” No, next year and the following year and the one after that, he had to do it all over again. The earthly ministry could symbolize the work, but it could never accomplish it. This is the whole point of Hebrews 9.

I have read and listened to several critics of Adventism as they explained Hebrews 9. They have done more to strengthen my faith than to harm it. As I have seen the inconsistencies, the misapplications, and the confusion in the way these critics have approached this chapter, I have been thrilled to find that this is the route that men have had to take in order to attempt to destroy the truth. I am satisfied that if Adventism was such a fraud as the majority of Christendom claims, then men should not have to resort to such twisting of the Scriptures to discredit it.

Within the Veil

Before concluding this article there are two associated passages in the book of Hebrews that I must briefly comment on. The first of these is Hebrews 6:19, 20. It says:

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:19, 20)

These verses seem to suggest to some that at the time when the letter to the Hebrews was written, Jesus was already in the Most Holy Place. It states in these verses that our Forerunner has entered, “within the veil.” Once again we need to be careful about jumping to conclusions. While it is true that in the books of Leviticus and Exodus the term, “within the veil,” always referred to within the most holy place, yet we should not assume that the term in the book of Hebrews means the exact same thing. The fact is that there were two veils in the sanctuary: the first, at the entrance to the sanctuary before the first apartment; the second separating the first from the second apartment. Paul was writing more than a thousand years later, in a different culture, under different circumstances and in a different language. In order to understand what he meant when he used this phrase, “within the veil,” we must compare this with other references that Paul made to “the veil” in this epistle.

In Hebrews 9:3 Paul refers to the veil that separated both apartments and calls it the “second veil.” Why does he need to specify the “second” veil? If the term, “the veil,” always meant the veil that separated both apartments, why did Paul feel that he had to specify the second veil when referring to it? Isn’t it obvious that when he simply says “the veil,” he is not referring to the second veil, but rather to the first? I believe that reasonable thinking will lead us to that conclusion.

Once again, Paul is not speaking specifically of the work of Jesus in any particular apartment or phase of His priestly work. His point, over and over again, is that Jesus has entered the heavenly sanctuary; He has entered within the veil where none of the common people could ever go. When an Israelite entered the courtyard of the temple to offer his sacrifice and turned his eyes towards God’s dwelling place, there would meet his gaze the barrier of the veil: the first veil. Within that building was the presence of God. He could never enter there, could never personally encounter God. Now, Paul says, Jesus has gone within the veil on our behalf. He has entered the sanctuary, God’s dwelling place on our behalf, and in Him we also have complete access to God and to the benefits of the priests’ ministry. How could Jesus enter the second veil before going through the first? Clearly, in the book of Hebrews the term, “within the veil” refers to the first veil, the entrance to the sanctuary and the first apartment.

A New and Living Way

The final passage which I will comment on is Hebrews 10:19, 20:

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” (Hebrews 10:19, 20)

Once again, of course, the word translated as “holiest” is the word “hagia.” It is referring, not to the second, but to the first apartment. Here we are told that we are to enter the holy place by a new and living way. What is this way? What is the new and living way? This way is His flesh. You see, there was an old and dead way. This old and dead way into the sanctuary was by the flesh and blood of animals. As the blood of animals was taken into the sanctuary and as the priests ate of the flesh of the sacrifices, the people symbolically gained entrance to the sanctuary through their sacrifices. Yet, inasmuch as these were only symbols, this was an old and dead way. Now there is a new way by which we can go through the veil. This is a living way. It is real and not a mere symbol. This way is the flesh of Christ. As He, our great High Priest enters within the veil (into the sanctuary) He bears our form, he inhabits our human flesh. In Him, we also gain access to the heavenly sanctuary, God’s dwelling place. In Him, we also go through the veil. Therefore, let us have no reservations or doubts. Let us in full confidence enter by faith into the heavenly sanctuary where all the benefits symbolized by the rituals of the earthly sanctuary are to be fully realized in every believer who trusts in Christ and the work He is doing on our behalf, “within the veil.”


New Tracts Available

We are happy to be able to make available to you several new tracts that have just been printed for the first time. There has been a great need for us to have short tracts we can hand out clearly showing the biblical reasons for our beliefs on some of our distinctive doctrines. These tracts are taken from articles written by Lynnford Beachy that appeared in our monthly newsletter designed for non-Adventists entitled Present Truth. They are written in a way to help reveal God’s character of love in each of the doctrines presented. We believe these tracts will be a help to you in sharing the gospel with your friends and family.

Below is a list of the new tracts along with a brief description of their contents.

 

God’s Plan to Save You!

This tract gives a brief history of Satan’s rebellion and his success in getting this world to join him in his rebellion, along with a Bible study demonstrating God’s plan to save mankind from destruction. It also shows the necessity in God’s plan for the complete death of His Son, and has a strong appeal for the unconverted to give their lives to Christ. This is a good tract to give to anyone from the drunk on the street to the preacher in a church.

 

The Truth About God

This tract gives a thorough Bible study on what the Bible really says about God and His Son. This is a must for all those who wish to share this message with others.

 

The Importance of Knowing
the Truth About God

This tract gives an overview of some of the reasons why it is so important to have a correct understanding about God and His Son. It shows how having a wrong concept about God affects our understanding of God’s love, the sacrifice of His Son, the death of Christ, the cost of redemption for mankind, and subverts the atonement made for our sins.

 

What the Bible Says About Hell!

This tract gives a thorough Bible study tracing the Hebrew word “sheol,” and the Greek words “gehenna” and “hades,” from which we get our English word “hell,” through the Bible and demonstrates what the Bible really says on this subject. This study also covers man’s state in death as well as the final destruction of the wicked.

 

The Reward of the Wicked

This tract gives a thorough study on what the Bible says will be the final reward of the wicked. It is written in a way to uplift the character of God and reveal His great love even in the destruction of the wicked. It is designed to dispel misconceptions on this subject that cause people to look upon God as an unjust tyrant.

 

The Love of God

This tract has been in print for several months, but has not been announced previously. It is a short study attempting to reveal the immense sacrifice of God in giving up His only begotten Son. It looks into Christ’s struggle in Gethsemane and His determination to even die forever if it meant the salvation of you and me. This is a good tract to give out to anyone who needs a deeper understanding of God’s love [that means everyone].

 

The Holy Spirit

This tract has been advertised before, but has just been reprinted. It gives a thorough Bible study on the Holy Spirit of God.

 

We believe these tracts will be a great help in spreading the gospel of God’s love to the world, and therefore we are including some of them with this month’s mailing of Old Paths. We are in the process of preparing more tracts as well and will keep you informed. If you would like to order more copies of these tracts contact us and let us know how many you would like. The suggested donation for all these tracts is $5.50/100 or $50.00/1000, which includes shipping.

    Editors

“Unvarnished truth must be spoken, in leaflets and pamphlets, and these must be scattered like the leaves of autumn”. -- Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 231

 


Youth’s Corner

 Little Sins

When preparing to journey to Europe, I found, among the articles of clothing I needed, some woolen goods which at first appeared all right, but when brought to the light and shaken thoroughly, revealed the destructive work of moths. Had we not made close inspection, we should not have discovered their depredations. The moth is so small a creature as to be scarcely observable; but the traces of its existence are apparent, and the destruction that it makes with fur and woolen goods shows that it is a practical worker, although out of sight and unsuspected.

Thinking of the secret but destructive work of these moths, reminded us of some human beings we had known. How often our hearts have been pained by some sudden revelation in the outward actions of those for whom we had hoped better things, bringing to light their true character, that had heretofore been hidden from the sight of all! When held up before the light of God’s word, the character is found to be like the moth-eaten garment, which, when shaken out and examined, reveals the destructive work that has been going on secretly for years. While they have a form of godliness, sins small in their eyes have been eating into the warp and woof of their character; and that which at a casual glance appeared lovely, is unsightly and disgusting to look upon. Could the actor, as he entered upon this path of wrong, have seen himself as he appeared when his true character was opened to the light, he would have been as terrified and startled as was Hazael when Elisha told him what a wicked and cruel course he would pursue in the future. He made answer, “What, is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing?” Little sins oft repeated become habit, and demoralize the soul. They work for a time unperceived, but are at length brought to the light.

The formation of character is a work that is steadily advancing, and how careful children and youth should be in regard to the habits they form! You will be for time and eternity what the habits you now form make you. Your principles and practices once formed determine your character. No one suddenly develops, as did Hazael, into a deep-dyed sinner, cruel and merciless. It took time for the moth to do its work of destruction so quietly in the dark; and it takes time, little by little, for a child or youth to be easy and happy and feel secure in a course of prevarication, a course of sin hidden from human eyes. Any one act, either good or evil, does not form the character, but thoughts and feelings indulged, prepare the way for acts and deeds of the same kind. A single glass of wine may lead to the formation of a habit most difficult to overcome, and is the first step which may lead to dishonesty, theft, and murder. What you do once, children and youth, you will do more readily the second time. It is the starting in any wrong course that must be guarded against. Be careful not to let your feet take the first step in any evil way. If you will lay the foundation for your character in a pure, virtuous life, seeking help and strength from God, your character will not be like the moth-eaten garment, but it will be firm and solid.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If you are indeed a child of God, you will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let the youth ever remember that there is something to escape, evils to shun. God has given his children faculties, the right employment of which would make them happy. The Lord never designed that they should be employed for our destruction. The structure of a strong, well-balanced character is made by a faithful performance of individual acts of duty in little things. You need, dear youth, to be particular in regard to your words. Your deportment, the spirit and feelings that you cherish, care and thoughtfulness in the things which are least in every-day life, form the true test of character.

This life is full of gracious opportunities, which you can improve in the exercise of your God-given abilities to bless others, and in so doing bless yourself, without considering self in the matter. Trivial circumstances oftentimes prove a decided blessing to the one who acts from principle, and has formed the habit of doing right because it is right. Seek for a perfect character, and let all you do, whether seen and appreciated by human eyes or not, be done with an eye single to God’s glory; because you belong to God, and he has redeemed you at the price of his own life. Be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest; learn to speak the truth, to act at all times the truth. Let the heart be fully submitted to God. If controlled by his grace, you will do little deeds of kindness, take up the duties lying next you, and bring all the sunshine into your life and character that it is possible to bring, scattering the gifts of love and blessing along the pathway of life. Your works will be far-reaching as eternity. Your life-work will be seen in heaven, and there it will live, through ceaseless ages, because it is found precious in the sight of God. (Ellen G. White - Youth’s Instructor, December 15, 1886)


New Baby Arrival

We are happy to announce a new arrival. Josiah Lynnford Beachy was born to Lynnford and Kendra Beachy on December 22. He weighed 9 lbs. and was 21 inches long. This picture taken when he was less than 24 hours old.

Josiah Beachy


Clarification

It has come to our attention that a reference in last month’s article, “The Sanctuary in Heaven?” was not clearly noted. On page ten in the second column we found this statement:

“Paraphrased and amplified this verse says: We know there is a real sanctuary in heaven because when Moses was about to make the earthly tabernacle, God told Him that he must make it according to the pattern which he showed him. So Moses was shown the design of the heavenly sanctuary, and was instructed to make the earthly one according to the same pattern.

The reference of Hebrews 8:5 was given in the preceding paragraph. The author was both paraphrasing and amplifying the text. The reference was not from the Amplified Bible. Any reference to the Amplified Bible will be noted with the reference capitalized and italicized.

Editors


Report from Miami, Florida by Benjamin Vela

[The first part of this report was received December 12, 1999] Since our last baptism last month, we have been passing a lot of Christmas tracts out.

Because we are created children of God, we all belong to the family of the Father. I hope that the love of the Father will grow in us, and that there will be more communication between us like the real Father and Son. Two weeks ago God marvelously opened two large apartment buildings with locked doors so we could pass out literature. We were able to give more than 300 fliers in a couple of hours. After the missionary trip, Brother Steve found a $1.00 bill on a sidewalk near the park where we worship. This was like a token that God will provide mightily for the work. Last week He opened one large buildings’ back door. After placing fliers on nine floors of homes, we later went back to the door God opened, and found it locked, and we could not enter it then. Also, last week we had a total of twelve souls at the rented synagogue. Actually the rabbi decided to let us use it for free. We dedicated a one year old girl named Tiana, it was a real joy.

We are hoping to rent a building once a month. Also we hope to have one health meeting and one evangelistic meeting per month, starting January or February..

[Received January 17.] Last Sabbath we had a Catholic woman visit the synagogue, she had also visited the park church the week before. The first sabbath she took notes. This last Sabbath she came, and after the sermon she said, “All my questions have been answered.” let pray that we will have her again.

Sincerely, in the Spirit of Christ, for the glory of the Father. Our prayers are for you all.

Benjamin Vela


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. 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