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. 10, No. 2 Straight and Narrow February 2001
“Christ’s Favorite Theme”
For nine years Old Paths has been dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Adventist pioneers. We have especially emphasized the doctrine of God and Christ during that time. Some have written expressing that we are too narrow in our scope with this emphasis. Yet a careful study of the teachings of Jesus Himself in the gospels reveals this very emphasis.
“Christ’s favorite theme was the paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God; He dwelt much upon the holiness of His character and His law; He presented Himself to the people as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let these be the themes of Christ’s ministers.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 40)
One can scan the four gospel accounts through and there is not one sermon on Daniel 2 or 7, not one sermon on vegetarianism, not one sermon on make-up and jewelry, not even an explicit teaching on the state of man in death! But over and over, Christ dwelt on the Father’s love and the great gift of giving His Son to die the death of the cross for sinners. Ellen White noted:
“The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, ‘Our Father.’” (Great Controversy, p. 652)
If the favorite theme of Christ was the “paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God,” what is wrong with that being our theme? Was Jesus really our example or not? While “the cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God,” (Education, p. 263) it is also the revelation that reveals and explains the great love of God towards man. Brothers and Sisters, it is not time to be quiet about this favorite theme of Christ but rather, it is time to proclaim it louder than ever before! Please consider the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 9:38: “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” I pray that if God has spoken to your heart about the need to work in some capacity in His vineyard, that you too will go forward sharing the message that was the favorite theme of Christ: “the paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God.” Editor
Camp Meeting Announcement
February and we are talking of camp meeting already? This last summer we had a blessed camp meeting here in West Virginia. It did not happen without prayer and planning. If we are to have a successful camp meeting this coming summer, we need to be praying and planning now.
We are currently planning on having a camp meeting from July 17-21. The first meeting of the convocation will be Tuesday evening the 17th, with the meetings closing out the evening of the 21st.
We will be publishing more details next month. Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated and given consideration. Please let us know your thoughts as soon as possible. Editor
and One Mediator
By Asa T. Robinson
“There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2:5.
Here is stated an interrelationship that has been made possible by the gospel, between three parties,—God the Father, the members of the human family, and the “man Christ Jesus.”
At the dawn of creation “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Man was created pure and sinless, and placed within the realm of obedience to law. So long as loyalty to the government of God prevailed, there was no discordant note heard anywhere within the bounds of the created universe.
After rebellion had broken out and been banished from heaven, man yielded to temptation and transgressed the law of God, causing a separation between God and the human family which the tempter sought to make eternal.
There is “one God” to whom the sinner must become reconciled, or else go down in eternal death. There is “one Mediator,” through whom alone such reconciliation can be effected, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. This interrelationship is still more clearly stated in the following passage: “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” 1 Cor. 8:6. Thus, through the mediation of Christ, His followers are “bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.” 1 Sam. 25:29.
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:6. When the plan of salvation is completed, there will be a reunion of the “whole family in heaven and earth,” over whom one supreme Father will preside. This is stated by the apostle in the following passage: “When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:28.
The oneness of the Creator is indelibly stamped on all His created works. All nature exhibits unity of design, showing that all must have been contrived by the same infinite wisdom and executed by the same infinite power. The same order and regularity everywhere prevails as when the chorus of the morning stars welcomed the new creation into being.
The Bible bears upon it the impress of one infinite mind—“given by inspiration of God;” “came not . . . by the will of man;” “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” It is a series of divine revelations reaching from Eden lost to Eden restored. The same Spirit that inspired the historian of creation, in the book of beginnings, breathes in Revelation, the book of endings. As stated by one writer, “The same Sun of Righteousness that rose in Eden and set on Calvary, rose again the third day, to set again nevermore.” The Bible is not only the book of God, but it is emphatically the book of one God. It is like a golden chain, passing through all time and uniting two eternities, guiding the feet of lost travelers and planting them on the shores of the eternal world.
Necessity of a Mediator
“Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.” Ps. 97:2.
If this passage were a statement of the whole truth, there would be no hope for the sinner. Man, pleading his cause in a court where only justice prevails, would be hopeless. The voice of reason would say, He made his choice, let him alone. Justice would cry, “Cut him down.” Truth would exclaim, “He and I must perish.” Aside from infinite wisdom, as revealed in the plan of human redemption, there is no process known by which mercy can be shown to an offender, except by cheating justice. Only the gospel explains how God can be “just,” and yet “the justifier.” Rom. 3:26. Thank heaven, man has an Advocate who pleads his cause at a bar where the voice of sweet mercy is heard, mingled with justice.
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne; mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.” Ps. 89:14.
Before the creation of this world and man, there was a council held between the Father and the Son, when the risk of sin had to be taken into account; and provision made to meet such a terrible emergency. Such a council is more than hinted at in the book of Job: “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man His uprightness [one who can reveal God to man]: then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (margin, “an atonement”). Job. 33:23, 24.
“Another angel comes to his aid, one of God’s thousand angels; He tells the man his faults [reveals his sin], and then in pity intercedes for him, that his life may be saved from death, since He has found a ransom for the man.”—Moffatt.
“Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race.”—The Desire of Ages, page 834.
Eternal justice would have been honored, the glory of the divine government would have been untarnished, as was the case when the angels were cast out of heaven, in man’s destruction; the honor of God’s law would have been fully vindicated by the execution of the death penalty. But the barrier of divine justice has been removed by divine love. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. How great is His love!
the Alpha and the Omega of redemption. See it in His pilgrimage across the land
of sorrows. Behold Him nailed to the shameful tree. See the blood and water
gushing from His wounded side. See the darkness shutting Him away from His
Father’s face as the floods of divine wrath roll over His soul. The answer to
all this is, “God is love.”?
This article was first published in The Review and Herald, October 31, 1929. The Seventh-day Adventists Encyclopedia gives the following information on Elder Asa T. (Known as A. T.) Robinson:
Robinson, Asa T. (1850-1949) Minister and administrator. Reared in a Christian home in New Brunswick, Canada, he went at the age of 20 to Cornish Flat, New Hampshire, to convince his brother, Dores, who was keeping Saturday as the Sabbath, of his mistake. He not only failed but was himself convinced.
In 1876 he married Loretta, the twelfth child of William Farnsworth, pioneer Sabbathkeeper in Washington, New Hampshire. Invited by S. N. Haskell to become a self-supporting colporteur in 1882, he and his wife spent several months selling Uriah Smith’s Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. Their two sons, Erban and Dores, at the time were not yet five years old. In 1884, again at Haskell’s invitation, they entered city mission work in New Bedford, Boston, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and in Brooklyn, New York. In 1886 Robinson was ordained and the next year chosen president of the New England Conference.
In 1891 Robinson went to South Africa where he organized the first conference. In his six years in that field the work grew rapidly, and a number of institutions were founded, including a college and sanitarium. It was in South Africa that Robinson instituted a new pattern of responsibility of departmental leaders to the conference that was adopted in denominational organization as a whole after the 1901 General Conference.
In 1894 Pieter Wessels and Robinson secured from Cecil John Rhodes, Prime Minister of Cape Colony and chairman of the Charter Company, a 12,000-acre tract, on which the first permanent SDA mission (Solusi) for the African people was established in 1894. Beginning in 1898 the Robinsons spent six years in various conferences in Australia, then returned to the United States. During the next 18 years he served as conference president in Nebraska, Colorado, and Southern New England. At the age of 71 he was appointed chaplain of the New England Sanitarium, and his wife served as Bible instructor among the patients.
Retired at 80, Robinson lived near Pacific Union College until his wife’s death in 1933, and from then until his death at the age of 99 he lived with a daughter. At the age of 95 he preached a sermon on “The Blessed Hope” in the college church. (Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, pp. 1222, 1223)
It would have been during the last part of Elder Robinson’s tenure at the New England Sanitarium that the above article was published. This pioneer in the movement, even well after the death of Ellen G. White, did not reflect a Trinitarian position in this article. Editor
Lore of the Mountains
Remembrance of Things Past In Herbal Medicine Chest
At this time of year one can walk into any retail drug store or grocery store and see shelves lined with cold and flu remedies. But these days, along with the sniffling, sneezing, get-a-good-night’s-sleep medicine, are herbal healing products reminiscent of colonial days.
This vast knowledge fell into the genre of quaint folklore early in this century with the advent of antibiotics and quick-acting synthetic drugs. Only a handful of herbalists coveted the old herbals and kept the “faith alive” throughout the 20th century.
However, all has very much changed. America has embraced the “kinder and gentler” ways of their grandmother’s homemade folk remedies.
Numerous plants have been used for centuries to treat the symptoms of colds and flu. For example, eating whole blackberries may help ease a sore throat. Blackberry plants are high in tannins which act as an astringent. Thawed, frozen blackberries work as well as fresh. Or drinking a cup or two of blackberry or raspberry tea is believed to also help treat diarrhea.
Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba), grows in wetland areas and along streams throughout West Virginia. This plant contains salicin, the building block of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. For thousands of years, people have made teas and tinctures of the herb to treat headaches, arthritis and to help reduce fevers and other causes of inflammation. In 1839, a German scientist isolated salicin from the flower buds of meadowsweet.
During the same period, salicin was also isolated from white willow bark, used as a treatment for the above ailments for thousands of years. Over the next thirty years, German scientists continued to tinker with the chemical until they synthesized acetylsalicylic acid However, the information remained hidden in a chemical journal until the late 1890’s when a German chemist named Felix Hoffman went looking for a treatment for his father’s rheumatoid arthritis.
No known medication at the time was helping him. He discovered the obscure chemical formula and generated a medicine that helped improve his father’s condition dramatically. Mr. Hoffman worked for the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company. After a few years of badgering company officials he convinced them to market the product. They figured no one would buy a product with such a long name so they took the “a” from acetyl and “spirin” from Spiraea to come up with aspirin.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) or purple cone-flower is another very common herbal product that people are taking to ward off colds. This species is native to the mid-west prairies and was used by Native American tribes living on the plains to treat colds and other viral diseases.
Modern scientific studies indicate that this plant may help boost immune systems. It does not actually kill viruses or bacteria directly, but increases the generation of white blood cells. Those who take it and swear by its effectiveness say that it is best taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, until the symptoms go away.
Y arrow (Achillea millefolium) is a plant that has been naturalized on this continent from Europe. It appears to have similar actions to Echinacea. Some studies have shown that yarrow may live up to its age-old reputation as a wound healer. According to legend, Achilles used the plant to stop the bleeding of his soldiers during the Trojan War.
For thousands of years, it was also used to treat inflammations, infections and as a digestive aid. Modern studies and testimonies of people who take this drug seem to confirm these uses.
Yarrow contains the same chemical found in chamomile, another naturalized plant long used to treat upset stomachs and as a mild sedative. The active chemical, chamazulene, is a volatile oil. So, when steeping a tea of the dried flowers and leaves of these plants, it is important to literally keep a “tight lid” on the pot so that as much of the oil as possible will remain in the tea.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), a lovely wildflower of the deep-rich woods of the Appalachian Mountains, was used by Native Americans to treat eye infections, sore throats and digestive complaints. They even pounded the yellow roots into a beautiful dye. This plant became so popular as a healing plant that it was collected nearly to extinction in some places.
Today, most of the goldenseal sold in the market is from cultivated sources. It has become a popular remedy as an antibacterial aid. It may also rev-up the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells in the body. This species has many advocates in the field of herbal medicine.
However, there are some that would urge more caution with its use. One chemical found in the plant, berberine, may lower blood pressure, while another chemical, hydrastine, can raise blood pressure.
While there are hundreds of native plants that scientists have studied and proven to have active medicinal properties, one has to remember natural remedies are not always safe. But some do recall those gentler times. J
Editor’s Note: We are not advocating the use of any product, natural or otherwise. Talk with a physician before taking any substance to treat an illness. There is much to learn about what constitutes a safe and effective dose, what part of a plant to use and what possible drug interactions may occur.
(This article has been reproduced courtesy of WV Nongame Wildlife & Natural Heritage News, Winter 2001, p. 6)
Concerned Publications Videos
The following videos were productions of the late Elder Bill Stringfellow and are available through Smyrna Gospel Ministries. The requested donation is $7.00 for each video, which includes postage. May God bless you lots, and lots, and lots.
“All In The Name of The Lord” Parts 1-8 (Each part is on a separate tape. Very good for non-Adventists)
“Porridge Part 1”
“Porridge Part 2”
“The Red Flag Waving”
“You Can Count On It”
“Isn’t That Interesting”
“The Big One”
“Maybe This Will Help”
“Facts in Acts, Part 1”
“Facts in Acts, Part 2”
“The N. G. Principle”
“The Hidden Miracle Messages” Parts 1-3 (Each part is on a separate tape.)
“Setting the Record Straight”
“Lots and . . . Parts 1-6 (Each part is on a separate tape.)
“Up, Up and Away”
“The Sanctuary, Part 1”
“The Sanctuary, Part 2”
“The Initials Are S.O.P”
“The Conditioning Challenge”
“Behind The Scenes”
“The Rubber–The Road”
“A Drop In The Bucket”
“A Further Look”
GIFTS OF THE CHURCH
(The following study is the first three parts of a four part study given by Elder James White in the pages of Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, for the dates December 3, 10, and 31, 1857—The fourth and final portion of this article will be published next month. This study has been slightly abridged and the referencing in this study have been updated. Editor)
“AND he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
It may be thought, by reading the caption of this article, that we have undertaken two subjects at once. But we regard the unity and the gifts of the church as being so closely connected, one dependent on the other, that we introduce them as one subject.
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith,” &c. The object of these callings and gifts, is here most plainly stated. And not until the object for which they were given shall be fully accomplished, will they be laid aside. While conversing with a certain minister on this subject some time since, he stated that the gift of prophecy was not in the church, that it ceased about 1800 years ago. We then quoted the above words of Paul to the Ephesians, to which he replied, that it was all fulfilled, and that the gifts ceased with the apostles. “But, sir, you profess to be an evangelist, or a pastor, or teacher do you not?” “Certainly,” was the reply; “Then, according to your view of this subject, your calling ran out about 1800 years since.” What did he say in reply? He was silent for this reason: he had nothing to say. Nothing is plainer from the Sacred Page than that these callings of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit run parallel.
Read the following list, and if any have ceased, please tell us which. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28) Have all ceased? Then our religious teachers are not moving under the authority of heaven. Their commission ran out 18 centuries ago [19˝ centuries today]. But if these teachers of God’s word are moving out under the high commission given by the Head of the church, “Go teach,” &c., then why not expect the manifestation of all the gifts when the church shall stand forth in the order of God?
It is the opinion of many that the working of miracles, signs and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, were designed only for the week (seven years) of confirming the covenant, by the ministry of Christ, three and a half years, and by those who heard him three and a half years. This view makes all the gifts cease at the close of that week, A.D. 34. But we hear Paul, A.D. 59, twenty five years later, saying, “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? have all the gift of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts.” (1 Corinthians 12:29-31)
Were these gifts needed in Paul’s day? they are needed now. Were they necessary to guide and sustain the early church? how much more necessary in the perilous times of the last days. Were the gifts necessary to preserve the unity and purity of that church, which had received the pure doctrines of the gospel from Christ, and had been baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost? how much more are they needed in the work of bringing out a people on to holy, apostolic ground, and in preparing them to be translated to heaven, as were Enoch and Elijah.
UNITY AND GIFTS OF THE CHURCH Part 2
“AND he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The unity of the Church of Christ, as taught in the New Testament, we regard as very important to the church in these days of apostasy, disunion and peril. But few seem to be acquainted with the plain testimony on this point; or, at least, but few feel the force of such testimony, and act upon it.
Some labor under the mistaken idea that order in the church is an abridgment of their religious rights. They have broken away from the bondage of creeds, and human organizations, and rejoice in freedom; but overlook the order, and organization of the church set forth in the Word. They continually talk of, and rejoice in the freedom they have found, and can see nothing else; while the New Testament holds out, and enjoins on them the most rigid discipline. It requires of them submission and most perfect order. A mistaken view of this subject has led many astray, hence we see a thousand and one disorderly ranters, and vain disputers, who are an annoyance to religious meetings. They cry out against the sins and confusion of Babylon, and say many truthful things; but at the same time occupy a ten-fold worse position than those they oppose and accuse. Babylon signifies confusion. But in some of these who cry out so against Babylon there is confusion enough to distract the 144,000. This is, and has been our plea, Exchange human creeds for the Divine Word. Leave human organizations for that order ordained by Heaven. In this land of boasted civil and religious liberty, the idea of gospel freedom has run with many well nigh to madness. Everything outside of their little sphere is “Sectarian,” when in fact they are the veriest sectarian bigots the world bears up. What a relief to the Remnant, when some such drew off not long since. But we fear this peaceful state of things may not long last, when another sheet of communication for the disorderly ones will be needed to develop the real feelings and views of some among us. But God’s word is a perfect guide, and if received, will work a perfect cure of the evil of which we have freely spoken.
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT.” (1 Corinthians1:4-10)
1. Paul beseeches the brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - High authority!
2. That ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but,
3. That ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
What a front such a church would present to the world! Such a church would be most powerful, and would be, in very deed, the light of the world. Many have entirely neglected to take heed to the many entreaties and exhortations of the New Testament, like the above from the great Apostle, and have taken another course like the following–
1. To beseech all in the name of Christian liberty, falsely so called, without regard for the views of their brethren.
2. To all speak their own opinions, though there be as many opinions, and divisions among them as there were persons, and,
3. To avoid being joined together in the same mind and the same judgment, lest they become sectarian.
We wish to hold up both sides of the picture, that rational people may judge for themselves, and be rooted and grounded in the truth of this subject.
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be LIKE-MINDED one toward another, according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5, 6)
1. Reference is made to Christ Jesus, as the standard of union. Read his agonizing prayer recorded in John 17. Here is a part of it. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone: but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; AS THOU, FATHER, ART IN ME, AND I IN THEE, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:15-21)
2. It does not seem to be enough that the church all speak the same things, as a Methodist Presiding Elder once told a young preacher that he might believe Mormonism or Millerism, but must preach Methodism; but the church must be of one mind according to Christ Jesus. What a rebuke on the loose, unchristian sentiment. “Only be honest, and you may believe what you please.” We will bless God that truth is a unit, and that the means ordained of God are ample to bring men and women into the one channel of divine truth, so that if they are not sanctified through the truth, it is their own fault.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be LIKE-MINDED, having the SAME LOVE, being of ONE ACCORD, of ONE MIND.” (Philippians 2:1, 2) “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” (Philippians 3:16) “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” (1 Peter 3:8) “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”(2 Corinthians 13:11-14)
We might repeat such testimony to great length; but if any will set this aside, they would treat more in the same way. Brethren, let us search for the truth diligently, on all points, especially on those of such great practical importance as the unity and gifts of the church.
UNITY AND GIFTS OF THE CHURCH Part 3
WE have shown that the gifts and callings of God, mentioned in Paul’s epistles, will run parallel to the end. In our last on this subject we spoke of the Unity of the church. We now wish to call attention to a few texts which speak of the gift of prophecy in the last days.
“And 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) It is admitted that the remnant here mentioned, are the Christians of the last generation who are embraced in the Sabbath reform, and who keep all of the commandments of God, and that the dragon makes war on them for keeping the Sabbath commandment as well as the other nine.
Well, is this all the cause of the war from the dragon? No, they also have the testimony of Jesus Christ. But what is this? If the Scriptures did not give an answer to this question, then we would give the best answer at our command; but as the angel of God gave to John a definite answer, we will give that.“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) The spirit of prophecy, then, will be with the Sabbath-keeping remnant, and will be one thing to cause the dragon to make war on them.
The dragon will let us keep nine of the commandments of God in peace. The neighbor’s cow is willing that nine lengths of the garden fence should stand firm, if she can break down one for her accommodation. But let us remember that the keeping of the commandments of God, all of them, will bring war.
And perhaps there is nothing that will excite the dragon’s wrath more, than for the spirit of prophecy to be in the church. The experience of a few years has given a faithful hint on this point, and some idea of what will be the dragon’s mode of warfare when the text shall have a complete fulfillment. The two armies, after the battle is fought and the victory is won by the saints, are thus described. (1) “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (2) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
To keep the Sabbath is regarded heresy; but the belief that the spirit of prophecy is in the church, and that “sons” and “daughters” may prophesy, as Joel said they should in the last days, is in the eyes of many perfectly contemptible. Said a professed Advent minister sneeringly, “When you can do no more in settling your church difficulties, then they are settled by a vision.” Thank God, sir, that when we have done all we can, in our extremity he reaches down his arm and delivers; that he reproves the wrong and vindicates the right, and restores harmony. Hundreds who read these lines have witnessed to their great joy, the melting of stubborn hearts, and the gushing tears, before manifestations of this kind, and the restoration of complete union to alienated hearts. Yes, thank God for the manifestation of some of the gifts. Rather let us pray that the church may enjoy them all, than to be ashamed of what God has done for us.
Those who would sneer at such manifestations, would probably prefer to witness church difficulties managed in the popular way, that is, the parties stand their ground, excuse themselves, and magnify the faults of others, get excited, and finally split up, and in some cases leave the injured to suffer, and the hypocrite to triumph. We prefer a place in that body (1 Corinthians 12) where the eye, as well as the hand the foot and the mouth, has its place, and where the iniquities of the hypocrite can be searched out. It is a frightful fact, that many calling themselves Adventists, trample under their feet the gifts which God has placed in the church, and crucify the Holy Spirit.
It would at once be presumed that nothing could survive a destruction so terrible. We are not here however informed of its results. But there is another portion of scripture, namely, Revelation 19, in which the great battle is more fully described, and we there learn that after the beast and false prophet are disposed of, the remnant, all there are left, are slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse. The earth will then be rid of its inhabitants. The wicked, without distinction or limitation, will then according to the threatening of the Lord [Jeremiah 25:31] be given to the sword. (See also Zephaniah 1.) Then will be accomplished the declaration of Isaiah: “Behold the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste and turneth it upside down. . . . The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled, for the LORD hath spoken this word.” (Isaiah 24:1, 3)
“And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne saying, It is done.” (Revelation 1617) Thus all is finished. The cup of human guilt has been filled up. The last soul has availed itself of the plan of salvation. The books are closed. The number of the saved is made up. The final period is placed to this world’s history. The vials of God’s wrath are poured out upon a corrupt generation. The wicked have drunk them to the dregs, and sunk into the realm of death for a thousand years. Reader where do you wish to be found after the great decision? But what of the saints while the “overflowing scourge” is passing over? They are the special subjects of God’s protection, in whose hands not a sparrow falls to the ground. Many are the promises which come crowding in to afford them comfort. We will notice a few.
“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” (Psalm 91:2-10)
Daniel speaks of the same time and records a gracious promise of deliverance for those who are written in the book. He says, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)
Isaiah also says, speaking of him that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly, “He shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munition of rocks; bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure.” (Isaiah 33:16) Precious promise, when the vegetable world is crisped beneath a scorching sun, and the rivers and fountains of water are turned to blood. When does it apply? When sinners in Zion are afraid, and fearfulness surprises the hypocrites, and when we are to “see the King in his beauty.” (Isaiah 33:14, 17) And in the prophecies heretofore quoted in this article we have seen that the Lord would be “the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel.” (Joel 3:16) But on this point we need not multiply testimony, since to produce it all would make it necessary to transcribe a great portion of the Bible. We will offer one reason from analogy. Israel were sheltered from the plagues that fell upon Egypt. When the Egyptians were groping about in thick darkness, the Israelites had light in their dwellings. When the hail was smiting down man and beast, and whatever was in the field, it is said, “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.” And when the first born of Egypt were smitten and there was lamentation and mourning in every dwelling, the destroying angel sheathed his weapon of vengeance as he passed over the habitations of Israel.
So will the saints be sheltered from the stormy blast and windy tempest that shall sweep over the earth in the last days. Would you have a shelter then? Ponder carefully the question. Let the voice of true wisdom answer for you, and when she has answered, do her bidding. If we are right in the application of those scriptures to which our attention has been directed, the scenes there brought to view will soon be fearful realities. It is certain that the Scriptures point us to a crowning scene of destruction and desolation as the close of earth’s sinful drama. There is yet opportunity for escape. A few moments more yet linger tremblingly upon the utmost limits of probation, ere they pass away and are gone forever. We entreat you to use them well. There is one way to secure salvation, and that is by faith in Christ and a compliance with its conditions. These conditions are not grievous. They simply require a willing and unfeigned obedience to certain precepts which are holy, just and good. “If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments.” But obedience is no obedience which does not extend to every requirement which God has given to regulate our conduct, and yield to them each implicit service. Remember then that the course of the world for six thousand years has been one of corruption; that many divine institutions have been perverted by the imaginations and inventions of the human heart. The law of God has not escaped these attempts. A “little horn,” a “man of sin,” “more daring than his fellows,” has endeavored to change and modify it. Be careful then to render obedience to God’s precepts in a manner that he requires, lest you be found following the traditions of men instead of the requirements of Heaven, and so rendering to the Lord your God a lame and unacceptable sacrifice, that will not avail you in the day of accounts. The truth only can serve as your shield and buckler in the coming battle. With it may we each, writer and reader, be well girded, that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (James White—Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 3, 10, 31 1857—The fourth and final portion of this article will be published next month.)
Each month we are continuing to work on the digital video project and as we do so, we will try to keep you updated on the progress.
Last month we announced that the message, “Who is the God of the Bible?” by David Clayton was completed. This is actually the second message in the series entitled, “The Good News About God.” We have had an excellent response from the sending out of the video.That message is available in both video cassette and audio cassette format. If you have not yet seen this message, I encourage you to request it today. It is a powerful presentation that will arouse thought and provoke conviction.
For those who are able and wish to help with the expenses, the cost of video tape production and postage is $7.00 U.S.—$10.00 outside the U.S. The cost of audio production and postage is $2.00 U.S. —$4.00 outside the U.S. For those who need multiple copies, we are requesting a donation of $3.00 for each additional video tape requested in the United States, and $4.00 for each additional tape requested outside of the United States. For example, in the United States the suggested donation for one tape would be $7.00, the suggested donation for two tapes would be $10.00, the suggested donation for three tapes would be $13.00 etc. For each audio tape, please add $1.00 for those sent within the United States and $1.50 for those to be shipped outside the United States. Duplication of these tapes is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged.
We are currently working on, and hope to have ready soon, two more titles in the series “The Good News About God.” These titles are, “The Love of God,” which is actually the first message in the series “The Good News About God,” and “The Holy Spirit,” the fourth message in the series. Lord willing, they will be ready for distribution next month. We also hope to have a message on church organization by David Clayton entitled, “God’s Government,” ready soon. We appreciate very much your prayers for this project. Allen Stump
“Go Work Today in My Vineyard”
The Lord demands service of every soul. Those to whom the living oracles have been opened, who see the truth, and yield themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to God, will understand the words of the Saviour, “Go work today in my vineyard,” to be a requirement, but not a compulsory one. God’s will is made known in his word, and those who believe in Christ will be doers of his will.
The test of sincerity is not in words, but in deeds. Christ does not say to any man, “What say ye more than others?” but, “What do ye more than others?” Full of meaning are his words, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Words are of no worth unless they are spoken in sincerity and in truth. The talent of words is made of value when it is accompanied with appropriate deeds. It is of vital consequence to every soul to hear the word, and to be a doer of the word.
Good works do not purchase the love of God, but they reveal that we possess that love. By our words and our works we reveal to the world, to angels, and to men whether we believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. If we surrender our way and will to God, we shall not work for God’s love; we shall obey the commandments of God because it is right to do this. The disciple John writes, “We love him, because he first loved us.” The true spiritual life will be revealed in every soul who is doing service for Christ. Those who are alive to Christ are imbued with his Spirit, and they can not help working in his vineyard. They work the works of God. Let every soul think prayerfully, that he may act consistently.
When Adam and Eve transgressed the command of God, they could no longer cultivate their beautiful Eden home. They were shut out of the garden, to work among the thistles and brambles that Satan had sown. Satan told our first parents that by eating of the forbidden fruit they would have higher perceptions, and be like the angels in heaven. They believed and obeyed the words of the apostate, but they proved his words a lie. Henceforth they must work among the thorns and weeds brought by the curse.
Christ came to the world with the invitation, “Go work today in my vineyard.” Satan will seek to allure by his temptations, but listen to my voice today. What blessings are here offered to every man, woman, and child! It is the privilege of all to say, “We are laborers together with God, … God’s husbandry, . . . God’s building.”
Take heed to the living oracles, which give you the precious promise of becoming a partaker of the divine nature. If you will work on the plan of addition, God will work for you on the plan of multiplication. Therefore add to your faith virtue, to your virtue knowledge, to your knowledge temperance, to your temperance patience, to your patience godliness, to your godliness brotherly kindness, and to your brotherly kindness charity. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and can not see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
If you cultivate faithfully the garden of your soul, you will not boast; for it is God that worketh in you. He is making you a laborer together with himself. Receive the grace and instruction of Christ, that you may impart to others a knowledge of how to cultivate the precious plants. Thus we may extend the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord is watching for evidences of our faith and love and patience. He looks to see if we are using every spiritual advantage to become skillful workers before we enter the paradise of God, the Eden home from which Adam and Eve were excluded by transgression. It is ours to have that beautiful garden to cultivate under the supervision of God. Eden restored,—how beautiful it will be! how pleasant will be our employment! Then let us prove our industry by doing faithful work. Do not say, with the faithless sinner, “I will not,” nor with the untrue son, “I go, sir,” and go not; but at the call of Christ let us engage in sincere service.
God has claims upon us that we can evade only at eternal loss to ourselves. But in his service there is perfect freedom. Let us consider the life of Christ. Standing at the head of humanity, serving his Father, he is a pattern of what every youth should and may be. He was given to us to show us how to live the commandments of God. He counted no sacrifice too great, no toil too hard, in order to accomplish the work he came to do. At the age of twelve he said to his earthly parent, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” He had heard the call, and taken up the work. At another time he said: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
He only serves who acts up to the highest standard of obedience. Of Christ it is said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” All who would be sons and daughters of God must prove themselves workers in the great firm with God and Christ and the heavenly angels. This is the test for every soul. Shall we prove our submission and obedience? Of those who faithfully serve him the Lord says, “They shall be mine . . . in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Ellen G. White—Youth’s Instructor, April 26, 1900)
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 -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013