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. 11, No. 10 Straight and Narrow October 2002
“I am not Ashamed”
by Allen Stump
One of the most powerful statements of faith by the Apostle Paul is found in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” While Paul at times made mistakes in judgment, inspiration nowhere records a two-faced image of Paul. Paul was not as some are; strong for Christ one moment and encouraging around like believers, and then too ashamed of Jesus to testify among non-believers, fearful of ridicule or non-acceptance.
Actually shame, from where we get the word, “ashamed,” is defined as: “A negative emotion caused by an awareness of wrongdoing, hurt ego, or guilt.” The first place in the Bible where ashamed is mentioned is in Genesis 2:25: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Before sin entered there was no shame. Remember that there are three things that bring shame, (wrong doing, hurt ego, or guilt), all of which are associated with sin. In their innocence, Adam an Eve were not ashamed being naked, but after their sin they hid when God called them. “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:9, 10) The power of God’s spirit was strong at work in the hearts of Adam and Eve and they greatly felt the burden of their guilt. 6,000 years later, as God’s spirit is being stifled in the hearts of sin loving people, the feeling of shame for sin is hardly felt today.
When I was a freshman in high school, I had an English teacher by the name of Sigel Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a man who silently commanded respect. He never raised his voice. He never lost his cool. His classes were the most productive in the school because he controlled his classes well and always maintained an environment where learning could take place. If a student started to misbehave in the slightest manner or become disorderly, Mr. Taylor knew just how to speak to that student to, as we would say in the older days, “shame him.” Never speaking in a way to hurt the student, but in a manner so as to make the student clearly realize the “sinfulness of his sin,” Mr. Taylor always maintained a learning atmosphere.
That was thirty-two years ago. As we approach the end and wickedness is so great, I don’t think that the same approach would work with most young people today. Many have turned away from God’s Spirit so much that they do not feel guilt from sin or even recognize wrongdoing.
However, the Bible says that ultimately, God will expose the guilt of the ungodly, putting them to shame in a manner they cannot deny (Daniel 12:2). God puts to shame the wise of the world by exposing their guilt before Him and by choosing to save the “foolish” of this world by a “foolish” message.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 1:18-31)
God’s Love is Beyond Shame
The Lord Jesus “who, over-against the joy set before him—did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down.” (Hebrews 12:2 Young’s Literal Translation) Jesus had the guilt of the world upon Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 say that He was “made ... to be sin for us.” He had done no wrong; He was not guilty of sin; He had no ego, (the Greek word for “I”) to hurt! Yet, Jesus was not ashamed of dying, naked upon a cruel cross for you and me. Why?? Because of His great love for us and the equally great desire to redeem us from all aspects of sin and restore us to full fellowship with God.
In exchanging the divine “form” for human nature, the Lord Jesus has become one with us. “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11)
Please think about this for a moment. Jesus came from as far as one could, to as low as one could and He was not ashamed to do so! You might think that that is too strong a statement to say that Christ came to the lowest form possible. Was not man originally made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)? Yes, but what is viler than a sinner? Even the lowly pig has a purpose and fulfills it quite well. Maggots may appear very distasteful, but they faithfully fulfill their purpose. But man, who was made in God’s image very poorly reflects that image today. Yet One, who was “the express image” of the Father’s person, accepted the “form of a slave.” (Philippians 2:7)
Furthermore, God, of Whom we are all ultimately from, is not ashamed of those who are seeking for the heavenly New Jerusalem. (See Hebrews 11:6)
We are not to be Ashamed
The Father and His Son are not ashamed of you and the real Christian will not be ashamed of Them, or the gospel message. The real gospel is good news, not bad news or something we have to be apologetic or ashamed of. No, the real gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1:16)
Some call the truth about God having a Son “heresy,” because their ego is bruised by the non-acceptance the world has for the truth. Because of the shame it brings from the world, because of the pressure to conform, many accept the belief that God is a trinity. Some whose consciences are pricked and know better, worship God in fellowships even when they know that lies are being taught about God instead of the truth.
The man who said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ also told Felix: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” (Acts 24:14)
Paul lost friends, authority, power, church membership, and finally his life, because he was not ashamed of the reproach Christ and the gospel bring.
Today many equate church membership with a golden pass through the pearly gates. They are not willing to suffer the shame of others for our Lord who despised not the shame for us! This was also a problem in the time of Jesus. John 12:42 states: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.”
A detailed illustration of this is recorded in the ninth chapter of John. Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. After being questioned by the Jews concerning his healing, the formerly blind man’s parents were called in by the Jews. “And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind.” (John 9:19, 20) So far, so good; the parents have been honest so far, but notice what they said next and why:
“But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:21,22) Because of the fear of man, the fear of being excommunicated from the church, these parents denied the miracle working power and love of God! However, the healed man who did confess Jesus was cast out. (verse 34) The really good news in the story is that after he was cast out, Jesus personally sought him out to give him comfort and help. (verse 35)
We are told in the Scriptures not to fear man! “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6) Jesus has promised to give us His abiding presence. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18) “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:5b,6)
God has always required His people to stand up and make their position clear. Let us note just a few stories from the Bible. In Exodus 32 is the account of Israel making and bowing down to a golden calf while Moses was on the mount. After the calf had been destroyed, Moses made a clear public call for those who wished to be noted to be on the LORD’s side. (Exodus 32:26)
Joshua, the successor to Moses as the visible leader of Israel, called upon the people to make a public choice. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
When Nebuchadnezzar set up the golden image in the plain of Dura, all the rulers from Babylon as well as the rulers from the vassal states were required to be there. No doubt the puppet king of Judah was there as well. When the music was played, all were to bow down and worship the image or be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. But Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were worshipers of God and had purposed in their hearts that they would rather die than bow down to the king’s image and sin against God. Publicly, in the clear sight of those who would accuse them, they refused to bow. Their witness was clear and God honored their witness. Even though God did not prevent them from being thrown into the furnace, He sent His Son to be with them and deliver them! That’s what the Father does for those who honor Him. “For them that honour me I will honour.” (1 Samuel 2:30)
Writing to New Testament Christians, Paul said, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:9-11) Notice that we are to confess with our mouth, in other words, we are to make a public confession of Jesus and that God, the Father, raised Him from the dead. Those who truly love and appreciate Jesus, will not be ashamed of Him.
Even though Paul lost all that the world had to offer him, he was not ashamed of the gospel. Writing from prison, knowing that his life was soon to be taken from him for the gospel’s sake, Paul said, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2Timothy 1:12) In the book, The Desire of Ages, on 355 we read the following council:
“The servant is not above his master. The Prince of heaven was called Beelzebub, and His disciples will be misrepresented in like manner. But whatever the danger, Christ’s followers must avow their principles. They should scorn concealment. They cannot remain uncommitted until assured of safety in confessing the truth. They are set as watchmen, to warn men of their peril. The truth received from Christ must be imparted to all, freely and openly. Jesus said, ‘What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.’” (Desire of Ages, p. 355)
Christ Crucified Makes the Difference
What enabled men like Paul, Daniel, Moses, John the Baptist, and others to stand up for their Lord? Concerning John the Baptist, we read the following: “He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings.” (Desire of Ages, p. 103)
Notice the sequence. John had first looked, beheld, and bowed before the Divine, and in so doing, he could stand tall and erect before the men of earth. Praise God that He is no respecter of persons. The experience holy men of old had, we can too. However, it will not happen if we are not looking, beholding, and bowing low before the Lord.
An incomplete or faulty experience will not suffice in the time of trial. The experience of Peter before his conversion well illustrates this. The night Jesus was betrayed and arrested he had told Jesus, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” Matthew 26:35 Not only Peter, but all the disciples thought that they were ready to die for Jesus. When the mob came to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and attempted to decapitate Malchus. Thankfully, God intervened and he only cut of Malchus’ ear which Jesus healed. However, when the disciples saw that Jesus was not going to fight, they all fled and forsook Him. Later, when John and Peter gained entrance to the judgment hall, the words of Jesus’ prophecy concerning Peter’s betrayal were fulfilled to the letter.
“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.” (Matthew 26:69-72) Peter was ready to fight men, but a damsel (young girl) frightened him!
“If he had been called to fight for his Master, he would have been a courageous soldier; but when the finger of scorn was pointed at him, he proved himself a coward. Many who do not shrink from active warfare for their Lord are driven by ridicule to deny their faith.” (Desire of Ages, p. 712)
John was not bothered because his witness was clear. “The disciple John, upon entering the judgment hall, did not try to conceal the fact that he was a follower of Jesus. He did not mingle with the rough company who were reviling his Master. He was not questioned, for he did not assume a false character, and thus lay himself liable to suspicion. He sought a retired corner secure from the notice of the mob, but as near Jesus as it was possible for him to be. Here he could see and hear all that took place at the trial of his Lord. Peter had not designed that his real character should be known. In assuming an air of indifference he had placed himself on the enemy’s ground, and he became an easy prey to temptation.” (Desire of Ages, pp, 711, 712)
When the reality of denying his Lord came to Peter, he wept bitter tears of true repentance. After his conversion he became the leading spokesperson for the early church on the day of Pentecost. The Jewish leadership “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Peter’s forgiveness and conversion was so thorough that he was never accused of denying his lord, but rather he was noted as being bold. We can, also, if we have been with Jesus!
Like John, Peter, and Paul, as we see the crucified Jesus, we realize that self must be put to death. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Confession: Now or Later
The Bible says that all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and bow down to God. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:10, 11) “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) Pilate, Caiaphas, Hitler, even Satan, will bow down and “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” I will do it and so will you. The question is, when and where will we do it. We can do it here and now or at the end of the 1,000 years outside the holy city with Satan and the lost. The choice is ours. The Scriptures state:
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2Timothy 2:12) “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32, 33) This is not an arbitrary decision of Christ. He longs to be able to stand for us. However, when we deny Jesus and are ashamed of Him, He is not able to reproduce His perfect character in us and we cannot be allowed to enter the kingdom of God.
Friend, God’s love is without shame for you. The Father gave His only begotten Son for you. Jesus suffered the shame of the cross for you. With that love, how can you be ashamed of the wonderful salvation, God through Christ, has provided? God requires, even demands a testimony and confession for Him because only in this manner can we be sanctified. We shall all make a confession, will it be here and now, or 1,000 years from now, outside the city when it is too late. God has left no stone unturned for our salvation, His love has been boundless. “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Isaiah 5:4) Let the testimony of the psalmist be our experience: “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.” (Psalm 116:12-14) ?
Please especially pray for Michael Sibanda who is, unjustly accused of murder, on death row, in prison in Africa. Michael is a Christian who has accepted the Adventist message including the truth about God. His mother Melody Tshabalala is also a believer. You may write them words of encouragement at: 1031 Emaganwimi, P.O Nkulumane, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
“Remember them that are in bonds.” (Hebrews 13:3)
This month we wish to again ask our readers to be especially praying for more workers in the vineyard. Editor
The Roots of
The next message in the series “The Good News About God,” is ready for distribution. It is entitled, “The Roots of the Trinity,” and given by David Clayton. Although similar in content to the article, “The Pagan Roots of Trinitarianism” (see page 9 of this issue), this video covers a great deal more from another author’s complementary angle.
There are both Seventh-day Adventists, and non-Adventists versions. However, the only difference is the address trailer at the end. Although there are a few Ellen White statements in the presentation, they are quoted as any other reference source would be, and not as a prophetic authority.
This message, like all “The Good News About God” series, is available in NTSC or PAL format. All the messages contained on the videos are available in audio cassette format as well. The suggested donation is $7.00 plus postage for videos, and $2.00 plus postage for cassettes. Editor
THIS IS THE CHURCH
By A. T. Jones
(Four months ago we began the publication of this study. “This is the Church” is the third of a three-part series written by Elder Jones entitled: “Ecumenism and Biblical Ecclesiology.” The first two parts are “From Babylon to New Jerusalem” and “The Greater Purpose.” Editor)
What is The Church?
What does the Word of God say that The Church is?
It is by the Word of God only, and by the study of the Word of God only, that anybody can ever know what The Church is.
It is The Church of God, not the church of men. And it being The Church of God, only He can possibly know or tell what it is.
And the church, being only of the thought and conception of God, when He expresses that thought in telling what The Church is, then that thought in telling what The Church is, then that thought as expressed in His Word, will be as far above any conception or thought of man’s, as God is above man, and as the mind of God is greater than any mind of man.
Therefore, in the study of this subject, as well as any other subject of the thought and Word of God, the first thing for every person to do is to accept and follow implicitly the following instruction:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; . . . for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 7-9.
This being so, and “the things of God no man knowing but the Spirit of God,” plainly it is only by the revelation of the Spirit of God that these things can be known by any man: by the Spirit of God taking these high and deep things of God and making them plain to us and putting them upon our minds and thus giving them to us as really our own. John 14: 26; 16: 13-15; 1 Corinthians 2: 9-12.
In this way, then, let us study the word and thought of God on what is The Church. What, then, does He say that The Church is?
“The Church is His body, the fulness of Him Who filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1: 22-23.
The Church is the fulness of Him. Who is He, the fulness of Whom The Church is? Plainly only God, for it is “The Church of the Living God.”
What is the fulness of Him, whose fulness The Church is? What is the fulness of God, for The Church is the fulness of Him?
I might with profit to every one, stop right here in this study, and let each reader spend a whole month in thinking and meditating and studying on this one question only, What is the fulness of the Living God? For whoever gets the fullest and best view of what is the fulness of the Living God, will have the fullest and best view of what is The Church of the Living God: for The Church is the fulness of Him.
What then is fulness of Him? First of all, it is the fulness “of all in all;” for The Church is “the fulness of Him who filleth all in all.” The fulness of all in all is simply the fulness of infinity. And the fulness of Him Who filleth all in all, is only the fulness of the Infinite One — “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
And again: “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance . . . All nations before Him are as nothing: and are counted to Him as less than nothing and vanity.” Isaiah 40: 15-17.
How near to the fulness of all the oceans and seas is “a drop of a bucket?”
And yet that is the measure of “all the nations” to the fulness of God — to the fulness of Him who filleth the all in all, whose fulness is The Church. Please read Genesis 13:16 and get the suggestion there of what is the fulness that is the Church.
Now please think on that “fulness of God” which The Church is, and then ask yourself When The Church is all the fulness of God, then what kind of an idea of either God or The Church can any men have who think that they can “organize The Church” or “organize a church?” or who think that a structure of the pinhead conception of finite-minded, blunder-thinking, man can be The Church of the Living God, “the fulness of Him Who filleth all in all!!”
Is it not perfectly evident that any man who ever proposed, or thought of, “organizing a church” or of “organizing The Church,” by that very thing shows absolutely that he has no possible correct or true thought of what The Church is or What God is?
The Church is the fulness of God: and the fulness of God manifest is The Church: so that the idea of The Church is the idea of God. A person’s comprehension of The Church is his comprehension of God.
In the nature of the case, whoever thinks that he can “organize The Church,” in that implies that he thinks that he can organize the fulness of God: and so that he is above God. And that is exactly where the word of God places the one who first attempted it — “the man of sin, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God.”
Such ones as that can organize the fulness of their god: and this very easily, for it so small. And thus every man-organized church in the world, is the manifestation of the god of that man, just like any other heathen idol.
But when The Church is the fulness of The Living God, it is perfectly plain and conclusive that nobody but God Himself can possibly organize it. And when He organizes and builds His own Church in and unto the fulness of Himself — “the fulness of Him Who filleth all in all” — then it is equally plain and conclusive that the Church will be truly The Church that is the manifestation only of the true and Living God.
The question of The Church and of the organization of The Church is just the same old world-old question of whether God shall be Himself in His own way and in His own place, or whether man-made idols shall be the respective gods of little cliques and coteries in men’s ways and in the place of God.
Before you start the next chapter please think and mediate and pray on the question, What is the fulness of God — “the fulness of Him who filleth all in all?” For thus you will be studying what The Church is.
What is the Church?
What is the Church?
“The House of God, is the Church of the Living God.” 1 Timothy 3:15.
“The Apostle and High Priest of our profession was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all His House.
“And Moses verily was faithful in all His House as a servant, for a testimony of those things that were to be spoken after. But Christ was faithful over His own House: whose House are we if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:1-6.
“Ye, as lively stones are built up a spiritual House.” 1 Peter 2:5.
“Ye are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
“In whom, all the Building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an Habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2: 19-22.
“Ye are God’s Building.” 1Corinthians 3:9.
“I will build My Church.” Matthew 16:18.
The Church of God, then, is the House of God, of His own building, through Christ His own named Builder.
It is built “an holy Temple, in the Lord,” “for an Habitation of God, through the Spirit.”
Now what are the dimensions of this House of God? How extensive must be its capacity, to be such a Temple and such a Habitation of God that it shall reflect and express “all the fulness of God?”
And who could be the Builder? What man or men could possibly build “The House of God which is The Church of the Living God,” that shall contain so as to express “all the fulness of God?”
Were not men long ago challenged up on this very point? Please read: “Who is able to build Him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?” 2 Chronicles 2:6.
“Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house that I have builded?” 2 Chronicles 6:18.
“The Heaven is My Throne and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that ye will build unto Me? Isaiah 66:1.
And this challenge is carried over into the field of Christian thought and things; and is repeated to hold up all who would be “builders” of The Church or in The Church which is “The House of God” — “You builders:”
“The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet: Heaven is My Throne, and earth My footstool, what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord?” Acts 7: 48-49; 4:11.
Accordingly men, who undertake to build or to “organize” The Church or a church, in that very thing show their own utter ignorance of all that is The Church in truth.
And they never do build Him an house. Always they build to themselves an house where in the place of God, themselves shall sit and reign and rule utterly unlike God. No. The Church is the House of God, It is built only for the habitation of God, the place which He has made for Him who is equal with God, and therefore able and capable to compass and understand and truly express the thought of God in His “Eternal Purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When this Eternal Purpose was purposed only in Christ Jesus, then it is utterly impossible for any other than Christ in person to be The Builder or the Organizer of The Church.
And so only it is: “He shall build The Temple of the Lord; even He shall build The Temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory,” Zechariah 6: 12-13.
And “He” came and earned the position, and, by divine merit as well as by divine right, took the position of that Builder: “I will build My Church.”
But “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the mystery of iniquity,” soon came in, and with its working supplanted Him as the builder, and became himself the builder of what is proposed as “the church,” but which these builders built only for themselves and for their own glory, in which always there has sat this “man of sin” above God, and “showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
And the wicked course of that mystery of iniquity has been followed in the building of more others than there are days in the year: each one of them presented as the true Temple and the true House of God, but which in truth is only the habitation of men, who sit and rule there in place of God.
But the time has come, and now is, when the Mystery of God is once more to have its place above the mystery of iniquity: and this unto its glorious finishing. And this mystery is God manifest, “God manifest in the flesh,” “Christ in men the hope of glory.” And in this, again it will be, as at the first, that God only, in Christ only, by the Holy Spirit only, will be the Builder of His own House unto its finishing in its own native glory and beauty. Revelation 10:7; Ephesians 5:27.
And so it is written: “Speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things who is the Head even Christ, from whom” and “in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord . . . for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 4: 15-6; 2: 21-22.
There is the Builder of The Church, the Organizer of The Church, and He is only Christ the Head.
There is the Building of The Church, the organizing of The Church, and it is all only from Him who is the Head, by the Holy Spirit.
And that is the House of God: a fit and becoming “House of habitation” for Him Who first “built all things,” and “Whom the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain.”
Where is the house that ye will build unto Me — “you builders” — saith the Lord?
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum [The Word of God abideth forever.]?
(This concludes this series. Restoration Ministries has recently published this series of studies in booklet form. They have been gracious to share to few hundred with us. The suggested donation per booklet is $1.00 U.S. Because of our limited supply, those needing more than a few booklets will need to contact Restoration Ministries directly for multiple copies. Their address is: P. O. Box 23, Knockpatrick, Manchester, Jamaica W.I.)
(We have been asked to make the following announcement. This was supposed to have been in last months issue, but we failed to get it in. We are sorry for the delay about this. Editor)
The InternaThe tional Institute of Original Medicine (IIOM) is earnestly seeking a mature lady that would like to live in the country and be a cook, housekeeper and medical missionary for our ministry. In exchange for domestic service, IIOM will provide room, board, telephone, and upkeep, and a small monthly stipend. This position provides the right individual with an opportunity to become a Naturopathic Doctor of Original Medicine. And this position includes paid tuition, books, manuals, access to computer, paid internships and vast research library. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Dr. Nancy or Dr. Duane McEndree at (731) 845-5443?
Gina Campbell asked us to announce that there was an error in the Harvest Nut Loaf recipe given at the West Virginia camp meeting during the cooking seminar. Two ingredients were left out. They were 2 cups of soy milk and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Sorry for any failed loafs!?
The Pagan Roots of Trinitarianism
By Ben Ezra
Protestants inherited the doctrine of the trinity from the Catholic Church. And where did the Catholics get it? Neither the Jews nor the early Christians believed in a 3-in-1 God. Trinitarianism actually originated in paganism. Alexander Hislop, in his classic work, The Two Babylons, has documented the early prevalence of trinitarianism throughout the pagan religions. Here are a few excerpts:
“In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolise that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day.” (The Two Babylons,p. 16)
“The Papacy has in some of its churches, as, for instance, in the monastery of the so-called Trinitarians of Madrid, an image of the Triune God, with three heads on one body. The Babylonians had something of the same. Mr. Layard, in his last work, has given a specimen of such a triune divinity, worshipped in ancient Assyria.” (Ibid., p. 17)
“In India, the supreme divinity, in like manner, in one of the most ancient cave-temples, is represented with three heads on one body, under the name of ‘Eko Deva Trimurtti,’ ‘One God, three forms.’ In Japan, the Buddhists worship their great divinity, Buddha, with three heads, in the very same form, under the name of ‘San Pao Fuh.’” (Ibid., pp. 17, 18)
“At a very early period, an important change had taken place in the Babylonian notions in regard to the divinity; and that the three persons had come to be, the Eternal Father, the Spirit of God incarnate in a human mother, and a Divine Son, the fruit of that incarnation.” (Ibid., p. 19)
“While this was the theory, the first person in the Godhead was practically overlooked. As the Great Invisible, taking no immediate concern in human affairs, he was ‘to be worshipped through silence alone,’ that is, in point of fact, he was not worshipped by the multitude at all. The same thing is strikingly illustrated in India at this day. Though Brahma, according to the sacred books, is the first person of the Hindoo Triad, and the religion of Hindostan is called by his name, yet he is never worshipped, and there is scarcely a single Temple in all India now in existence of those that were formerly erected to his honour. So also is it in those countries of Europe where the Papal system is most completely developed. In Papal Italy, as travellers universally admit (except where the Gospel has recently entered), all appearance of worshipping the King Eternal and Invisible is almost extinct, while the Mother and the Child are the grand objects of worship. Exactly so, in this latter respect, also was it in ancient Babylon. The Babylonians, in their popular religion, supremely worshipped a Goddess Mother and a Son, who was represented in pictures and in images as an infant or child in his mother’s arms. From Babylon, this worship of the Mother and the Child spread to the ends of the earth. In Egypt, the Mother and the Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. In India, even to this day, as Isi and Iswara; in Asia, as Cybele and Deoius; in Pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer, or Jupiter, the boy; in Greece, as Ceres, the Great Mother, with the babe at her breast, or as Irene, the goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms; and even in Thibet, in China, and Japan, the Jesuit missionaries were astonished to find the counterpart of Madonna and her child as devoutly worshipped as in Papal Rome itself; Shing Moo, the Holy Mother in China, being represented with a child in her arms, and a glory around her, exactly as if a Roman Catholic artist had been employed to set her up.” (Ibid., pp. 19-21)
“The worship of the goddess-mother with the child in her arms continued to be observed in Egypt till Christianity entered. If the Gospel had come in power among the mass of the people, the worship of this goddess-queen would have been overthrown. With the generality it came only in name. Instead, therefore, of the Babylonian goddess being cast out, in too many cases her name only was changed. She was called the Virgin Mary, and, with her child, was worshipped with the same idolatrous feeling by professing Christians, as formerly by open and avowed Pagans. The consequence was, that when, in A.D. 325, the Nicene Council was summoned to condemn the heresy of Arius, who denied the true divinity of Christ, that heresy indeed was condemned, but not without the help of men who gave distinct indications of a desire to put the creature on a level with the Creator, to set the Virgin-mother side by side with her Son. At the Council of Nice, says the author of ‘Nimrod,’ ‘The Melchite section’ - that is, the representatives of the so-called Christianity of Egypt - ‘held that there were three persons in the Trinity - the Father, the Virgin Mary, and Messiah their Son.’ In reference to this astounding fact, elicited by the Nicene Council, Father Newman speaks exultingly of these discussions as tending to the glorification of Mary.” (Ibid., p. 82)
“Is there one, who fears God, and who reads these lines, who would not admit that Paganism alone could ever have inspired such a doctrine as that avowed by the Melchites at the Nicene Council. . . ? Is there one who would not shrink with horror from such a thought? What, then, would the reader say of a Church that teaches its children to adore such a Trinity? . . . If this is not Paganism, what is there that can be called by such a name?” (Ibid., p. 89)
We learn from the New King James Version Bible that “the triquetra (from a Latin word meaning “three-cornered”), which is on the New King James Version, is an ancient symbol for the Trinity.” The symbol is actually three interlocking 6’s. Fromits paganorigin, the trinity symbol is still used today by a number of New Age and Satanist groups. It was popularized by satanist Aleister Crowley (c.1900) for the Royal Arch (Lucifer) of the 3rd Degree of the York Order of Masonry. The symbol’s shape is duplicated as three initiates join arms and feet, while repeating the names of the ancient pagan trinity. ?
I just read the “Report on European Trip.” It was very interesting. You are doing a very interesting and great work for our mighty Savior and Lord....Enclosed please find _____ and thank you so much for all the work you do to get the important message out. You people are working so hard. MN
Thanks for “Report on European Trip.” At first I thought “I don’t want to read this,” but as I settled down to prayer I knew by God’s grace there is much still wrong with my heart. I picked up the Old Paths and read and realized, “I do want to read this!” My heart was warmed, oh so strangely by your report. It was almost like reading a new chapter in Acts. I kept thinking “WOW” as I read of the troubles along the road to get to where so few people were gathered and yet I know it only takes a couple of people sparked by God’s truth to start a blaze. I’m still in the Amen phase resulting from your report. Though I cannot afford a donation at this time I, or rather Christ, is doing it anyway. You could hardly afford a trip to Europe. Please accept my small offering with thanks to our Father and His Son. I am humbled with the grateful knowledge He’s not given up on me. CT
Hello Friends, just finished reading about the European Trip. Praise God. You need not answer this, I know you are exceedingly busy. But you know, I cried while reading it.
Because we do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, and never could, we are just as cut off here as though we were in a foreign country that was 95% Catholic. I home church and get so hungry for fellowship. I do not have a car, and am on a very tight budget as 6 years ago I sold everything and we started a self supporting mission in the BWI teaching and sharing as you are doing. I wanted to get rid of my property so it could do some good before Christ came. My son runs the mission and he runs into a lot of the same over there. The trinity is entrenched in our people. I hunger for like believers. I have found two families that have been willing to study with me and both have accepted this truth. We study together when we can, but as I read your report, the tears just streamed down my face. I so wish that I could be doing more. Be with like believers, my heart longs for that. God bless you for your Old Paths, it is wonderful. INTERNET
The Present Truth and Old Paths, when they arrive, I don’t put down until I’ve read them through. keep presenting the TRUTH. God will take care of the rest. CANADA
Thank you for your ministry and also for the newspaper you send me. AUSTRALIA
Thanks for all the Old Paths I’ve received but I want to unsubscribe. INTERNET
I appreciated the article in Old Paths, April edition, “The Personality and Character of God written by Brothers Beachy and Stump. Please tell them they did an excellent job of presenting the message. NC
Would you please send us “The Spirit of Antichrist” video, one in Adventist and one in non-Adventist formats. Thank you so much. We do appreciate getting Old Paths and Present Truth. TN
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for sending me monthly the Old Paths. I enjoy reading them and they open the way to understand the Bible truth more. I recognized how many false theories and doctrines benumb God’s people’s minds. We have no time to waste and we must “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. CANADA
This spring I requested and received all the back issues of Present Truth. I have read ALL of them, and have been pleased and blessed in doing so. I have a request which is–please send me all the back issues of Old Paths. Your ministry has greatly blessed me. The world in these end times needs the truths you are presenting, especially, the truth about God. UT
First of all, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your newsletters, Old Paths and Present Truth. They are a real blessing to me. I wanted to attend your camp meeting in July, but couldn’t make it this year. I am giving Bible studies and need to introduce these people to our wonderful Lord. It isn’t enough to just teach them doctrines. Would you please send me a complete set of your lessons, Christ Our Righteousness. AZ
Thank you for the information Smyrna Ministries has been putting out. I have received, through various friends, many tapes and booklets with inspiring information about our Father. I am also receiving the Old Paths magazine and am delighted in reading the articles on what is the true church. May the Lord continue to bless your work and my prayers are with you all. FL
Thank you for all of your mailings of the Old Paths. I enjoy all of them. That last one by Ben Ezra I especially appreciated. Thank you. MO
Thank you so much for sending Old Paths. This and Open Face [published by David Clayton in Jamaica] are our favorite reading and studying! What a blessing you are to our family through your publications. Thank you so much. We’ve enclosed a donation towards your ministry and pray it will reach you. Your ministry and David Clayton’s ministry are very, very special. God truly speaks through you. We wish you all the best. AUSTRALIA
I want to thank you for the items you sent to me when I responded to your media deck card. I found these items to be very enlightening and I am sharing them with my Sabbath study class. I wish to study into these matters a little deeper. One message I got from Sr. White’s books was that in the end times messages would come from within our church, but be rejected by the church leaders. So when our leaders reject a message/messenger, I like to look at it for myself as the Bible and Mrs. White instructs. TX
Keep passing out this material and preach the kingdom of God is at hand! God Bless. Keep going to the end. Our King is coming to deliver us from this present evil world. Thanks for the tapes. I am sharing them. FL
Thank you for the Omega pamphlet and tape. Incredible! I’ve been in and out of the SDA church for over 15 years and this is the first I’ve heard of the argument over the Trinity doctrine. Sadly, I believe we have been infiltrated by more than that, and I’m sure you already know. I’ve visited many of our churches across the country before settling back in Connecticut and all of them are become mere social clubs. There is no discipling, no mentoring, no assistance in overcoming sin, and resulting no effect, no impact on the community at large. The Lord certainly has His hands full. The people who do have a gift for helping others turn it into a business and now help is available for astronomical fees but if you haven’t the money, you’re relegated to a bench position in the local social car of a hell-bound train that just disgusts me, frustrates me, and angers me back out of the church. Pray for my soul brothers and sisters, whoever you folks may be.CT
I would still very much like to read your studies on the Abomination of Desolation and the Sanctuary in Heaven if they are available. Studying into what you have sent so far I can say I have become non-Trinitarian. It clicked my brain/heart to a passage I read long ago in The Story of Redemption by Mrs. White, and at that time what she said made the same sense as what I’m reading now.
Thank you for hanging onto that truth and for spreading it. I can’t help but wonder why Mrs. White didn’t stress the point more in other writings. I would guess that it was not a controverted point in her time–the pioneers knew it, and with so many other issues to deal with, truths to reveal, unity to strive for, etc., that she simply moved on to where her gifts were needed. CT
We appreciate your material and the work that you are doing and are enclosing a donation which we hope will assist in the continuation of your wonderful ministry. AUSTRALIA
From a publication I have got information that you are offering some free material in order to study and understand better some important items. I would be interested in the following: 1) Did They Believe in the Trinity?, The Foundation of Our Faith, God’s Mystery Finally Understood, The Persons of God. Awaiting the requested publications, I thank you in advance and send my greetings. ITALY
(Did They Believe in the Trinity? and The Foundation of Our Faith, are two of our more read titles. We do not distribute, The Persons of God, and the book, God’s Mystery Finally Understood, is currently out of print. Editor)
Thank you so much for your information you have sent to us. We are searching it diligently to see “whether these things are so.” Enclosed is a donation to help with the expenses. WI
Thanks for the trust and all the info! I’m reading and being blessed. I would love to be added to the Old Paths mailing list. Thanks. TN
I am very interested in receiving literature from your establishment since I believe that there are plenty of truths revealed in your literature. I would like to have your monthly newsletter sent to me and also have my name added to your mailing list. I am an avid seeker of truth and I love the Word of God. I would also like to request Old Paths monthly newsletter or study paper. I am also interested in receiving other literature and any information necessary for ordering your literature. ST. LUCIA
Thank you sooooo much and may God’s richest blessings ever rest continually upon you and yours. MI
God bless all of you at Smyrna. Thank you for your ministries. Your material is a great witness for the truth. Looking forward to further correspondence. If you have any problems with receiving personal checks, please let me know. Again, God bless you. KY
(When making out checks, please make them payable to Smyrna Gospel Ministries.Sister Ford, Treasurer)
Your literature makes my day. UT
I would like the free book entitled Shelter in the Storm. We enjoy all the booklets and letters from you. I thank you so much . I know this will help in the work some where. CA
The book The Foundation of Our Faith has been a blessing to us. We would like five of them to share. Please let us know the cost. Thank you. TN
Videos & Cassettes:
I’m an 85- year-old great grandmother and I started a Bible study meeting in our home for a small group of young married couples and we watched “All in the Name of the Lord,” Part 1 and I really enjoyed it. So would you please send me Parts 2, 3 and 4 to get the children involved. I’ve appreciate your sending me the letter. MI
Please send me the video on “Alpha and Omega.” We have so much enjoyed your other videos. I have learned lots from them. I thank God there are still people on this earth who will stand for truth. AR
Thank you again for your videos and literature. These have been a real blessing to us here. I am enclosing ______ for your work there and may God bless you to continue providing such. WA
Please send a copy of your book [Shelter in the Storm] to the address listed below. I listen to your [radio] program and I really enjoy it. Thank you. WV
Thank you and Lynnford and the ministry for coming to our area with such clear presentations of the everlasting gospel. We also listened to the presentations on the video and audio tapes. They are powerful. Keep up your good work. We’ll send you some information on our health ministries soon and hope to come to camp meeting this year. TN
Thank you for the notes Mrs. Ford puts in with the receipts. It helps to know a little of what’s going on in your ministry. Pray all is well. You are in our prayers and know you are anxious for camp meeting. FL
I am writing to you this morning because [last] night we come together to decide how we will begin the work? We decided first to begin with a study group about the Bible, the true God’s word, and we began building a series of studies about many subjects about the real God (it will be about the trinity lies). We also have developing our [web]site. We have many pages ended and we are using all books you send to us on it. It will be a great page. We have 1/3 of it finished. Our group is in progress but the local church decided to call some escolar of Adventist University to preach to the others in church about the trinity. We think that is happening to awake her because of this decision of the SDA local association. We will go ahead with our group and we plan to show all truth that we would discover.
I talked to you about our pages. We put the ADS page about the trinity and among the issues we put many answers, many of the answers come from the books you send to us. BRAZIL
Youth’s Corner – Power of Song
The melody of praise is the atmosphere of heaven; and when heaven comes in touch with the earth, there is music and song,—“thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”
Above the new-created earth, as it lay, fair and unblemished, under the smile of God, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” So human hearts, in sympathy with heaven, have responded to God’s goodness in notes of praise. Many of the events of human history have been linked with sacred song
The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul. As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids his children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing his word in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.
It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song,—and temptations lose their power, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!
The value of song as a means of education should never be lost sight of. Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure, and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy. Let there be singing in the schools, and the pupils will be drawn closer to God, to their teachers, and to one another.
As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings, and will be more susceptible to their power.
As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels’ song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven’s communion begins on earth. We learn here its keynote. (Mrs. E. G. White—Youth’s Instructor, March 29, 1904)
Camp Meeting News
by Allen Stump
This summer has been very busy for me attending various camp meetings and one-day Sabbath meetings. I am sorry that time and space have limited the ability to report on all these meetings. I would like to mention a few here for the encouragement of our readers.
In June I had the privilege to attend the first week of the camp meeting in Cañon City, Colorado. Although day-time temperatures were high, God blessed with some excellent messages from several different speakers. I was very encouraged.
In August, I attended the Grass Valley, California camp meeting. It was very well attended and what impressed me was the manner in which the spirit of God directed the topics of presentation and the spirit which the believers expressed towards each other. There were several new believers there, some with no Adventist background.
In September I attended the Washington state camp meeting held near Wenatchee. Again, there were several people from different backgrounds attending seeking truth. I could clearly see the Lord drawing His people together, bringing them out of all phases of Babylon as we are entering the last days.
FYI: The 2003 West Virginia camp meeting will be held June 17-21. Start planning now to attend.
2002 West Virginia Camp Meeting Video Tapes
We are thankful to announce that the videos from the 2002 West Virginia camp meeting are ready. We are very sorry for the delay. Due to improper settings when the videos were recorded, some of the audio from the introduction and trailer scenes do not exactly match the rest of the tapes and some of the tapes are not in stereo. However, the main messages are all intact. The suggested donation is $7.00 U. S. per tape. Please request by tape number. (See the November 2002 Old Paths) Audio cassettes are not ready yet, but we hope to have them soon. ?
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
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