Old Paths

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14


Vol. 11, No. 3    Straight and Narrow    March 2002


The Son of God Died

By J. H. Waggoner

(For some time I have felt the need to reprint at least three chapters from J. H. Waggoner’s book, The Atonement in the Light of Nature and Revelation. These chapters (4-6) deal with the death of Christ and how our view of the Godhead directly affects our understanding and appreciation of the atonement. Waggoner was an evangelist, author, and editor. He accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message in 1852. In 1881 he succeeded James White as editor of Signs of the Times. The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia states that “Waggoner was an eloquent speaker, a good editor, and a most industrious worker. He wrote with clarity and precision.” (p. 1564) A reading of this article will clearly attest to the last statement. The February issue of Old Paths began this reprint with chapter four. This study is chapter five. Lord willing, the April issue will carry chapter six.  Editor)

Some affect to think it derogatory to the character of God that his Son should suffer for us—the innocent for the guilty. But all such must have views of the divine Government unworthy of the subject; unworthy of the eternal truth and infinite justice of a holy God. The Lord has said that death was the penalty of transgression, and that his law should not be set aside, nor its penalty relaxed; for he would by no means clear the guilty. Ex. 34:7. Was it necessary for God to keep his word? If so, in order to man’s salvation, it was necessary to clear man from guilt—to save him from sin; for, as guilty, in sin, he could by no means be cleared.  Reason attests that the salvation of a sinner can only be effected by providing a willing and honorable substitute. The Bible attests that God gave his own Son, and the Son gave himself to die for us. What reason, in the name of justice and mercy, demands, the Bible reveals in the gift of that holy One in whom infinite justice and mercy unite.

We think that all who have read carefully our remarks upon the requirements of the moral system, pages 32-54 [Chapter 3, “The Moral System”], must accept the conclusion, that a substitutionary sacrifice is the only means whereby the broken law may be vindicated, or the honor of the Government maintained, and a way opened for the pardon and salvation of the sinner.

The Scripture plan of atonement has this peculiarity, that it presents one offering for many offences, or, in truth, for many offenders. And this is true whether we consider it in the light of the Old or the New Testament; of the type or the antitype. Their sacrifices under the Levitical law were, indeed, “offered year by year continually” (Heb. 10:1), but on the day of atonement, the offerings of which were the heart and substance of the whole system, a goat was offered for all the people. Lev. 16:15.

The declaration of the apostle Paul, in Heb. 10:4, is too reasonable to admit of any dispute. He says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goals should take away sins.” A bull and a goat were offered on the day of atonement, on which day the high priest took the blood into the most holy place. To these the apostle refers. His statement is founded on what may be termed the law of equivalents. While the greater may be accepted for the less, strict justice would forbid that the less should be accepted for the greater. A goat is not as valuable as a man. Its blood or life is not as precious, of as great worth, as the blood or life of a man. How much less could a goat answer as the just equivalent of a whole nation! If your neighbor owed you an ounce of silver, you would feel insulted if he offered you in payment an ounce of brass; but, on the contrary, you would consider him both just and generous if he offered to pay you with an ounce of gold. Even so, a man might consider himself demeaned, were he under sentence of death, if the Government should offer to accept the life of a goat in his stead. “Am I,” he might inquire, “of so little worth that I can be ransomed by a goat?”

Again, it would not only lower the dignity of a man, but it would give us a mean idea of the justice and importance of the law. If the broken law can be vindicated by the sacrifice of a goat, a dumb animal, the law itself could not be considered of great value or importance.

But how different would the case appear if the Government should announce that the law was so just, so sacred, and its violation so odious in the sight of the lawgiver and of all loyal subjects, that nothing less than the life of a prince royal could be accepted as a substitute for the transgressor. The announcement of the fact that no less a sacrifice would be accepted, without any reason being given, would at once raise the law in the estimation of every one who heard it, and overwhelm the transgressor with a sense of the enormity of his crime. Now he might inquire, “Is it possible that my sin is so great that I can be saved only by such a great sacrifice?” By this it will be seen, as we shall yet more fully consider, that the value of the Atonement—its efficacy as a vindication of the justice of the law and the honor of the Government—consists entirely in the dignity of the offering.

And this is by no means a reflection on the requirements or the sacrifices of the Levitical system. If considered as a finality—as having no relation to anything to follow—they do indeed appear insignificant and entirely worthless. But if considered as types of a greater offering yet to be made; as illustrations of man’s desert for his transgression, and of God’s abhorrence of sin, by which the sinner subjects himself to the penalty of death, they served a useful purpose. And in the prophecies of the Old Testament we find that a greater and more honorable sacrifice was set forth to Israel, as in Dan. 9:24-26, where it was announced that the promised Messiah should be cut off, but not for himself; and in Isa. 52 and 53 where he who was to be exalted very high, before whom kings should shut their mouths, was to be “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.” How impressive are the words of the prophet: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

We insist, and we think with the very best reason, that the Mosaic law reaches its logical conclusion only in the Christian system, even as the prophecies of an exalted sacrifice find their fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth, the son of David. And the objection raised against the idea of the Son of God dying for man, for the transgression of his Father’s holy law, is as contrary to reason as it is to the Scriptures. Were all men thoroughly imbued with a sense of the justice and the just requirements of the law of God, and would accept just conclusions in regard to those requirements, they could not fail to admire, with wonder and with awe, “the mystery of godliness” as presented in the offering of the Son of God as our ransom.

The law of God must be honored and vindicated by the sacrifice offered for its violation; therefore the death of Christ, the Son of the Most High, shows the estimate which he places upon his law. We can have correct views of either, the offering or the law, only as far as we have correct views of the other. Now, as the glory of God was the first great object of the gospel, Luke 1:14, and, as we have seen, the honor of the law must be the chief object of an atonement, we shall best be able to estimate the value of the law of God by having just views of the price paid for man’s redemption from its curse. And it is also true that they only can properly appreciate the gift of Christ who rightly estimate the holiness and justice of that law for which he died. They who accuse us of lightly esteeming the Saviour because we highly esteem the law of God, only prove that their study of governmental relations, and of the Bible conditions of pardon, has been exceedingly superficial.

What, then, was the sacrifice offered for us? the price paid to rescue us from death? Did Christ, the Son of God, die? Or did a human body die, and God’s exalted Son leave it in the hour of its suffering? If the latter be correct, it will greatly detract from the value and dignity of the Atonement; for the death of a mere human being, however sinless, would seem to be a very limited sacrifice for a sinful race. But, however that might be, we should not question God’s plan, if that was the plan. But what say the Scriptures? This must be our inquiry. To these we appeal.

It is by many supposed that the pre-existent being, the Son of God, could not suffer and die, but that he left the body at the moment of its death. If so, the only humiliation the Son manifested was to leave Heaven and dwell in such a body; and so far from the death of the body being a sacrifice on the part of the higher nature, it was only a release and exemption from the state of humiliation. This would hardly justify the Scripture declarations of the amazing love of God in giving his Son to die for the sins of the world.

The Methodist Discipline has a statement concerning the Son of God, which we think is quite in harmony with the Scriptures. “Two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried.” We can only regret that we seldom meet with a Methodist author who takes a position as Scriptural as this of the Discipline.

The view which we call in question supposes that there were two distinct natures in the person of Christ; but we do not so read it in the sacred oracles. But if it be so—if there were two distinct natures united for a season, and separated in death, we must learn it in the revelation concerning him. What, then, are the terms in which this distinction is revealed? What terms express his higher, or divine nature, and what terms express his mere human nature? Whoever attempts to answer these questions will find the position utterly untenable. “Christ” expresses both combined. “Christ, the Son of the living God”—“The man Christ Jesus,” both refer to the same person or individual; there are no forms of speech to express his personality higher than the Son of God, or Christ; and the Scriptures declare that Christ, the Son of God, died.

The divinity and pre-existence of our Saviour are most clearly proved by those scriptures which refer to him as “the Word.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3. This expresses plainly a pre-existent divinity. The same writer again says: “That which was from the beginning, … the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1. What John calls the Word, in these passages, Paul calls the “Son,” in Heb. 1:1-3. “God … hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” In other places in this letter this same exalted one is called Jesus Christ. In these passages we find the divinity or “higher nature” of our Lord expressed. Indeed, language could not more plainly express it; therefore it is unnecessary to call other testimony to prove it, it being already sufficiently proved.

The first of the above quotations says the Word was God, and also the Word was with God. Now it needs no proof—indeed it is self-evident—that the Word as God, was not the God whom he was with. And as there is but “one God,” the term must be used in reference to the Word in a subordinate sense, which is explained by Paul’s calling the same pre-existent person the Son of God. This is also confirmed by John’s saying that the Word “was with the Father.” 1 John 1:2; also calling the Word “his Son Jesus Christ.” Verse 3. Now it is reasonable that the Son should bear the name and title of his Father, especially when the Father makes him his exclusive representative to man, and clothes him with such power—“by whom he made the worlds.” That the term God is used in such a sense is also proved by Paul, quoting Ps. 45:6, 7, and applying it to Jesus. “But unto the son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, . . . therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Heb. 1:8, 9. Here the title of God is applied to the Son, and his God anointed him. This is the highest title he can bear, and it is evidently used here in a sense subordinate to its application to his Father.

It is often asserted that this exalted one came to earth and inhabited a human body, which he left in the hour of its death. But the Scriptures teach that this exalted one was the identical person that died on the cross; and in this consists the immense sacrifice made for man—the wondrous love of God and condescension of his only Son. John says, “The Word of life,” “that which was from the beginning,” “which was with the Father,” that exalted, pre-existent One “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” 1 John 1:1, 2.

This testimony of inspiration makes the Word that was with the Father from the beginning, a tangible being appreciable to the senses of those with whom he associated. How can this be so? For an answer we turn to John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” This is plain language and no parable. But these are not the only witnesses speaking to the same intent. Says Paul, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself;” more literally, divested himself, i. e., of the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Phil. 2:5-8.

Again Paul speaks of him thus: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same.” Heb. 2:14. The angel also announced to Mary, that her son Jesus should be called the Son of the Highest; and, “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35. Not that the “Son of the Highest” should dwell in and inhabit that which should be born of her, but her son was the holy, pre-existent one, thus by the energy of the Holy Spirit “made flesh.” Now if the human nature of Christ existed distinct from the divine, the foregoing declarations will not apply to either; for, if that were so, the pre-existent Word was not made flesh; it was not the man, nor in the fashion of a man, nor did the man, the servant, ever humble himself, or divest himself of divine glory, never having possessed it. But allowing that the Word—the divine Son of the Most High—was made flesh, took on him the seed of Abraham, and thus changed the form and manner of his existence by the mighty power of God, all becomes clear and harmonious.

Having noticed the humiliation of the exalted Son of God, we come to the question at issue: Who or what died for man? The answer is, Christ, the Son of the Most High; the pre-existent one that was with God in the beginning; the Word, who was made flesh. Now that the scriptures quoted all refer to the “higher nature” of Christ, the pre-existent Son of God, no one can doubt. Indeed, if the incarnation of the Holy One is not therein revealed, it cannot be revealed at all, and Socinianism is the only resort. But it is therein revealed plainly; and it is equally plain that the same Word, or Son, or Christ, died for our sins. We remarked that the titles of the Father are given to the Son, whereby he is called God. In Isa. 9:6, 7, he is called the son given; the child born; Wonderful; Counsellor; the mighty God; the everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace; and he is to sit upon the throne of David.

These expressions clearly identify the anointed of God, even Jesus. And he is evidently called here Prince of Peace in the same capacity that he is called the “King of Peace,” in Heb. 7, because “he is our peace,” Eph. 2:14, or makes peace for us on the throne of his Father; for it is only in his priestly office that he is King of Peace, that is, a priest after the order of Melchisedec. But Paul again says that he is our peace, reconciling us unto God by the cross, we being “made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Eph. 2:13-16. We have seen the necessity of blood to make an atonement, and that the high priest never entered the holies without it; and Christ, the King of Peace, our High Priest, obtains redemption for us “by his own blood.” See Heb. 6:20; 7:1-3; 8:1; 9:11, 12. Therefore that exalted one referred to in Isa. 9:6, 7, shed his blood or laid down his life for us. Again he is prophesied of under the name Immanuel, which Matthew said means “God with us.” The angel said he should “save his people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21, 23. And Paul said he accomplished this or put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, purging us “by his own blood.” Heb. 9:11-14, 26.

The gospel according to John, as quoted, takes up the Word, in the beginning, as God, with God, by whom all things were made; says the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; represents him as saying he came from the Father and returned to him; as praying that the Father would restore to him the glory which he had with him before the world was; relates how he taught and wrought miracles; was falsely accused of the Jews; was put to death on the cross; his blood was shed; he was buried, and rose again from the dead.  Now we ask the candid reader to look at this testimony, and answer: Is the history of any other person given in this book than of him who is called the Word, who was in the beginning? And if any other individual or person was referred to, who was that person?

Phil. 2:5-8, as quoted, speaks of Christ as being in the form of God; he thought it not robbery to be equal with God; was made in the likeness of man; humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Again we appeal to the candid: Is not all this spoken of one person? Or did one person humble himself, and another become obedient to death?

Paul, in Col. 1:14-20, uses the same form of expression that he does in Heb. 1. He says of the Son: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, … all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself.” Here is a description of power, of authority, of fullness, of divinity, truly wonderful; yet this exalted one, by whom all things were created, has made peace by the blood of his cross, and was raised from the dead; he is the head of the church, and we have redemption through his blood. Such testimony cannot be avoided; it needs no comment.

Jesus, in his testimony to the churches, takes up the same idea expressed by his apostle in Col. 1, as being creator of all, and first-born of every creature, and says: “I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead.” Rev. 1:17, 18. Here it is expressly affirmed that he who is the first and the last, was dead.  Thus it is abundantly shown that Christ, the Son of the Most High, the Word, by whom the worlds were made, in whom all things consist, the first and the last, the image of the invisible God, in whom all fullness dwells, was made flesh and laid down his life, to purge us from sin, and to redeem us to God by his own blood.

We have remarked that we should not question God’s plan, whatever that might be. But we find that there is a fitness, a conformity to the necessity of things, in God’s arrangements. The value of the Atonement is not merely in the appointment of God; for, were it so, “the blood of bulls and of goats” might have answered every purpose, had God so appointed. But Paul says it is not possible that such blood should take away sin, or purge the conscience. Again, it is not in mere suffering; for, were that the case, man might atone for himself were he to suffer long enough. But it is evident from every principle of just government, that a man under the condemnation, to death, of a holy, just, and immutable law, could never make atonement for himself. But, the value of the atonement really consists in the dignity of the offering.

As a man under condemnation could not make an atonement for himself, so no one of the race could make atonement for another, all being alike involved in sin. And we may go further than this: Were a part of the human race unfallen, or free from sin, they could make no atonement for the other part, inasmuch as they would still be the creatures of God, and the service of their lives would be due to him. Therefore, should they offer their lives to God for their fellow-creatures, they would offer that to which they had no absolute right. He who owes all that he possesses cannot justly give his possession to pay the debts of another.

And the same reasoning would hold good in the case of the angels. They are but the “fellow-servants” of all on earth who serve God. Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9. The life of an angel would be utterly inadequate for the redemption of man, as the angels are dependent creatures as man is, and as really owe to God the service of their lives as man does.

And again, as man has been in rebellion, were it possible for him to extricate himself from his present difficulty, he could give no security—no satisfactory assurance, that he would never again turn from his duty. And of the angels, we must say that sin has entered their ranks; the “Son of the Morning” exalted himself to his ruin. Isa. 14:12-15; the covering cherub lifted up himself against God. Eze. 28:13-17. Any redemption wrought by them, or by beings of that order, would still leave distrust in regard to the security of the Government from any future attempts against its authority.

But there was one Being to whom this reasoning and these remarks would not apply. It was the Son of God. He was the delight of the Father; glorified with him before the world was; adored and worshiped by angels. Prov. 8:30; John 17:5; Heb. 1. All creatures were made by and for him, and he upheld all things by the word of his Father’s power. John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:3. Enjoying the glory of the Father, he sat with him upon the throne from which all law proceeded. Now it is evident that he to whom such remarks will apply could make an offering that would meet the necessities of the case in every respect. He possessed the requisite dignity to magnify and vindicate the honor of the law of his Father in suffering its penalty. He was the Truth as well as the Life, and he said the law of his Father was in his heart, which was a guarantee that he would do no violence to the law himself, but would shield it from desecration and rescue it from reproach, even to the laying down of his life in its behalf. He was so far removed by nature and position from the rebellion that he could not be suspected of any complicity with it. He was so well acquainted with his Father’s holiness and justice that he could realize, as no other could, the awful condition of the sinner, and the terrible desert of his sin. He was so pure and exalted that his sufferings and death would have the desired effect upon the minds of those who were the recipients of his grace, to produce in them an abasement of themselves and an abhorrence of the sins which caused him to suffer, and thus to guard against a future rebellion amongst them whom he redeemed. And he left that throne of glory and of power and took upon him the nature of fallen man. In him were blended “the brightness of the Father’s glory” and the weakness of “the seed of Abraham.” In himself he united the Lawgiver to the law-breaker—the Creator to the creature; for he was made “sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He was a connecting link between Heaven and earth; with one hand on the throne of God, and the other reaching down to grasp the poor, ruined creatures under the condemnation of a holy law. He “humbled himself” as it is not possible for any other to do. “He was rich” in a sense, and to an extent, that no other was. He had something to offer, of value far beyond our comprehension, and he freely gave it all for us. For our sakes he became poor. He left that glory to take upon himself grief, and toil, and pain, and shame, and to suffer even unto death; a death the most cruel that the malice of his enemies could invent, to save his enemies from well-deserved ruin.

“O Lamb of God, was ever pain,

Was ever love, like thine?”

Well might an inspired one exclaim, “Oh! the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Well might he pray that we “may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.”

With this clear testimony before us, we are better prepared to appreciate the law of God, to the honor of which such an amazing sacrifice has been offered. If we estimate it according to the price paid for its vindication, we are lost in wonder, and can only pray with David, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Ps. 119:18. The law is holy and just, and without a sacrificial offering, man must have perished. And what an offering! the brightest ornament of Heaven, by whom the Eternal Father made all things, who was worthy to receive the worship of angels, became obedient to death to redeem guilty man from the curse of his Father’s law, thus showing to a wondering universe that the law cannot be set aside, nor its judgments reversed. Truly has the Lord fulfilled his promise, to “magnify the law and make it honorable.” Isa. 42:21. All the statements of the Bible writers are shown by this to be fully warranted, in regard to its perfection, completeness, as containing the whole duty of man, the elements of justification, a rule of holiness, etc.; also the remark previously made, that the holiness of this law, and of course of those who would keep it perfectly, is that which grows out of the attributes of God, as pure and changeless as Heaven itself. And we leave it to the candid judgment of those who lightly esteem and wantonly break the law, if God in justice spared not his Son, his well beloved Son in whom he greatly delighted, but let him suffer its penalty when he took its transgressions upon him, how can they hope to escape his justice and his wrath in the great coming day, if they continue to transgress it? Reader, can you hope that God will be more favorable to you if sin be found upon you in that day, than he was to his Son? True, his death was expiatory; he died for you; but do not therefore presume on his grace, but turn from sin, and live to his pleasure and glory. Do not abuse his mercy, because he grants the “remission of sins that are past,” by claiming indulgence for sins in the future. Be warned in time, for Christ is not the minister of sin, but of righteousness. He will not save you in sin, but from sin. While the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to his law, the Christian can say, “I delight in the law of God.” Rom. 7:22; 8:7.  May this be your happy experience. (J. H. Waggoner—The Atonement in Light of Nature and Revelation, 1884 Edition, pp. 146-163)


“Alpha and Omega” Video

About five years ago, Bible Truth Productions released the video, “The Alpha and the Omega.” This 35-minute video explored the history of the “alpha of deadly heresies” with the Kellogg pantheism crisis in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It then demonstrated that the acceptance of the Trinitarian doctrine within the Seventh-day Adventist Church was “the omega” that would follow.

This video has been out of production and distribution for the last couple of years. We are thankful to announce that, with the permission of Brother Fred Allaback, the author, we have revised this video and we are re-releasing it for distribution. Copies may be requested from Smyrna and the suggested donation is $7.00/video plus postage. The presentation is available in NTSC (U.S.) or PAL (Europe-Africa-Australia) formats. Please remember that duplication of this tape, as well as all of our materials, is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. Allen Stump


Camp Meeting News

Though it is only March, I want to encourage all who can, to plan on attending at least one camp meeting this year. There are currently three camp meetings scheduled that we know of. We hope to hear that brethren in other areas are planning for meetings as well and will pass that information along as we receive it.

JAMAICA CAMP MEETING: This year the believers in Jamaica will be having an early camp meeting. Brother David Clayton would like to invite all the brethren to the camp meeting in Jamaica, March 28–April 1. For more details contact David at: (876) 904-7392, david000@cwjamaica.com.

COLORADO CAMP MEETING: Brother Richard Stratton will be hosting a camp meeting June 6-15 in Cañon City, Colorado. You may expect warm days and cool nights. For information you may contact Richard at: (719) 269-1438.

WEST VIRGINIA CAMP MEETING: Smyrna would like to invite all who can, to attend our annual camp meeting, this year being held July 2–6. We hope that the camp meeting being during the 4th of July week\weekend, will assist those with difficult work schedules. However, for those not camping, it may make finding an available motel more difficult. The nearest motels are: Pocahontas Motel, (304) 436-2250; Woody’s Motel, (304) 732-6540; The Cow Shed, (304) 732-7000; and Twin Falls State Park Resort, (304) 294-4000. Twin Falls State Park also has an excellent camp ground for those needing RV hook ups.

Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend. Details on these and other meetings will be published as plans are made. Allen Stump


PASTOR BOB’S
CONFESSION

The April 2001 issue of Old Paths carried the lead article, “Pastor Bob’s Confession.” This study by retired Pastor Bob Habenicht detailed his “Berean search plan.”

Beginning with the confusion within Adventism on the issue of the incarnation in the eighties, Pastor Bob goes back to his experience working in the Michigan Conference as a minister, faithfully distributing the book, Questions on Doctrine. As the years went by and he began to look closer at what was going on in Adventism, he realized that “Creeping Compromise had deeper roots than” he imagined! He realized that the great majority of the church was asleep and, sadly, he had to confess that he had been asleep also.

The further Pastor Bob dug into the issues of controversy, the more he found his own need to repent of his lukewarmness and to confess his own need to be honest with his Lord.

The travel on his journey really accelerated when he got the April 22, 1999 issue of “the good old Review.” The lead article entitled “Heresy or Hopeful Sign?” challenged Pastor Bob as he had never been challenged before. Reading this article, along with further study, helped Pastor Bob to see that the move to Trinitarian theology was an “Omega Class turnaround” for the church. The importance of the truth about God is emphasized strongly in this study, explaining clearly how the gospel and the issue of salvation is at stake.

This article has been reprinted in a twenty-four page booklet for sharing with your Seventh-day Adventist brothers and sisters. Pastor Bob truly writes from a perspective they can understand and relate to. The suggested donation is $1.00/copy plus postage. Allen Stump


Youth’s Corner – Christ Declaring His Mission

Part 1

The Son of God came to the world as a restorer. He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Every word he uttered was spirit and life. He spoke with authority, conscious of his power to bless humanity, and deliver the captives bound by Satan; conscious also that by his presence he could bring to the world fulness of joy. He longed to help every oppressed and suffering member of the human family, and show that it was his prerogative to bless, not to condemn.

It was no robbery for Christ to do the works of God; for this was the purpose he came from heaven to fulfil, and for this the treasures of eternity were at his command. In the disposal of his gifts he was to know no control. He passed by the self-exalted, the honored, and the rich, and mingled with the poor and oppressed, bringing into their lives a brightness, a hope, and an aspiration they had never before known. He pronounced a blessing on all who should suffer for his sake, declaring: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Christ distinctly appropriated to himself the right to authority and allegiance. “Ye call me Master and Lord,” he said, “and ye say well; for so I am.” “One is your Master, even Christ.” Thus he maintained the dignity that belonged to this name, and the authority and power he possessed in heaven.

There were occasions when he spoke with the dignity of  his own true greatness. “He that hath ears to hear,” he said, “let him hear.” In these words he was only repeating the command of God, when from his excellent glory the Infinite One had declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Standing amid the frowning Pharisees, who sought to make their own importance felt, Christ did not hesitate to compare himself with the most distinguished representative men who had walked the earth, and to claim pre-eminence above them all.

Jonah was one of these men, held in high estimation by the Jewish nation. His voice had been heard throughout Nineveh, and had made kings and the highest nobility tremble. His words of warning from God had humbled the mightiest in that wicked city, and had made them understand that there was a living God who was about to punish them for their iniquity. Because the Ninevites heard the message of mercy to some purpose, because they humbled their hearts and repented at the preaching of Jonah, the God of heaven was revered before the heathen world. As Christ recalled to the minds of his hearers, Jonah’s message and his instrumentality in saving that people, he said: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”

Christ knew that the Israelites regarded Solomon as the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter over an earthly kingdom. By special appointment of God, he had built their first magnificent temple, which was a marvel of beauty, richness, and glory, and gave influence and dignity to Israel as a nation. He was endowed with wisdom, and his name had been glorified by them. To be superior to him was, in their eyes, to be more than human, to possess the prerogatives of Deity. Yet Christ declared: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”  (Mrs. E. G. White, Youth’s Instructor, September 23, 1897)


 Update on the Work in Africa

By Lynnford Beachy

Last year, from the middle of August to the middle of September, Howard Williams and I went to three countries in Africa (Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania) to hold meetings with the brethren there to make clear the message of the Father and His Son. In each of the three countries we had very good responses from those who attended. Many people learned about the truth for the first time. Some, who had heard about the message, gained a clearer understanding of it and a great burden to share it with others.

Since that time the work in Africa has mushroomed beyond what we could have imagined. Many more people have learned the truth about God through the labors of the ministers we visited, and several more workers have arisen to share this message. We are continually receiving reports of how the message is spreading in Africa. To give you some idea of the progress of the message in Africa, I would like to share some of the reports and letters with you.

Tanzania

Tanzania was the last country we visited, but this visit probably had the broadest influence because we had invited several ministers from other countries and from distant parts of Tanzania.

Brother Patrick Katambo traveled a long distance to attend our meetings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Along the way he contracted malaria and yellow fever, so he was not able to attend all the meetings. Yet he received enough to want to share it with others. Recently he wrote:

Thank you very much for the communication through Present Truth magazine. Now I’m working for this truth. The doctrine of the truth about God, the trinity, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit makes the people arise from the spiritual darkness. I am receiving calls from those who need to hear the truth.

I have been spreading the tracts you gave me in Dar es Salaam that makes me to have invitations in order [for people] to hear more about this message; my weapon now is short. Things are going well. On November 17th one more group has joined in the truth, so now we are four groups in our part. Invitations for seminars are increasing. I find it difficult to meet the demand. The members whom we share the message with are about 38 who are in different parts of my area…

My joy is to get serving our Master. God bless you in your service to feed the world.

Because Patrick Katambo is sharing the truth about God, he and his family have recently been asked to leave their home, which is owned by his former church employer, the Seventh-day Adventist Reformed Movement (IMS), yet he has decided to continue to preach the truth. Please pray for him, his family, and the people he is witnessing to.

Another brother in Tanzania, Kaahahkira Kitomary, traveled many miles to study with us in Dar es Salaam. He was very interested in the message, and as you will see, he has begun sharing it with many people. He wrote:

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. I believe you and your family and those who share our belief are doing well.

I am pleased to inform you that I have been to Mbulu/Babati for a period of almost two weeks and I am now back in Arusha. God enabled me to visit three churches and to have motivation meetings wherein we studied various subjects together about One God, Jesus the only Son of God and who the Holy Spirit is.

Everybody was very impressed on the subjects taught… The Love of God, The God of the Bible, The Holy Spirit, Satan’s Deadliest Lie, The Law of God, The Law of God as changed by the PAPACY, etc. We have perused “The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity.”

After the meeting people decided to unite and live in that truth and they are prepared to go on with the studies…

They are requesting that lessons be prepared in Kiswahili so that they can understand and be prepared to defend themselves whenever and wherever they are confronted with questions. If you are agreeable, the lessons are to be prepared as soon as possible, on the following: “The God of the Bible,” “The Love of God,” “God’s Plan to Save You,” “The Truth About God,” “The Importance of Knowing the Truth About God,” “The Holy Spirit,” “The Law of God,” “The Reward of the Wicked,” and “What the Bible Says About Hell…”

A church that did not attend sent some representatives because they came from a very long distance. They requested that I visit them after the meeting. I have not been able to do so because of my poor health after teaching for many hours all alone and during the night and I had to translate the subjects in their native languages. I also suffered from malaria and my health is still not good and I have to rest for a while. There is a group of people who stay a long distance but are interested to participate. The whole zone has 56 people.

Areas which need to be visited are Tanga, Kangata, Mbulu/Kutta, Mto wa Mbu. I am unable to visit any place at the moment because the funds you sent to me have been spent on visits, e-mail expenses, etc… Some people need to be baptized…

I am in contact with Br. Katambo. Many in Mwanza zone have accepted the truth but I am not sure how many, but they are many, …

I am sure our good Lord will bless you for all your sacrifices. We shall always pray for God’s blessings.

E-mail expenses in Africa are very high. There are many e-mail cafés that send and receive e-mail for a fee. All of the people we are corresponding with through e-mail use these services. It is very quick, but the cost adds up quickly as well.

Because of the great commotion this message has caused in the Seventh-day Adventist Reformed Movement (IMS), several of the top leaders were sent to Tanzania to deal with the problem. We recently received this report:

Eventually the decision was made that we either have to stop immediately the non-trinitarian message or we continue and face the cutting edge of the church manual.

We have taken our position that we cannot stop, and thus we will go forward. Last Sabbath marked our first non-trinitarian conference which brought together 17 people. This shocked our brethren very much.

Therefore, we are sure the cutting edge of the church manual is upon our necks.

Now how much this affects us individually? We have to say that first our financial support from which we depended is stopped. Our biggest trouble now is: How do we get food for our families? How do we send our children to school? For example, Brother Mwambene’s son has passed examination to join secondary school. This means more expenses to the parents. He needs US $200 to enable him to send the son to new school. What do we do?

Leave alone the threat of being evicted from the house where one of us lived, as already informed. Money is needed for preparation of our small gardens for vegetables. Please help us. Signed, Patrick Katambo, K. A. Kitomary, and Adam Mwambene.

Of the three countries we visited, the brethren in Tanzania will probably notice a financial hardship most due to this message, because at the time we were there, all of these brethren were employed by a Trinitarian church that is very opposed to the non-Trinitarian message. Their employment will cease if they continue to preach this message, and yet, they have decided to preach the message anyway, because it is the truth.

The only people who were able to attend our meetings in Tanzania from another country were two brothers from Uganda.

Uganda

The work is progressing nicely in Uganda after the brethren returned to their home country with a zeal to spread the truth about God and His Son. Recently one of the brethren wrote:

We started our meetings on 13th through 27th January 2002. Every day God gave us the grace as it is in Jesus Christ. Great interests were aroused in the hearts of many. Hearts were touched by the grace of God…

Our subjects were, “Who is Telling the Truth About God?”; “His Character”; “His Son”; and “The Holy Spirit”; “How You Can Avoid Receiving the Mark of the Beast and 666”; “Last Day Events”; “Individuality in Religion”; “The Supreme Gift of God”, etc. Great opposition was raised against the messages. Churches came together and prayed and fasted that God should strike (plague) us. We were branded as cults. But our heavenly Father saw us through… Our hosts, Mr. Isaac and wife, gave their hearts to the loving Jesus. Even others promised to be fellowshipping with us… Friends, we need a good place where people can worship God with great freedom.

This brother, Fred Musungu, lives in Uganda, where he, along with some other ministers, is busy spreading the truth about God and His Son. Please pray for the work in Uganda.

Zambia

Perhaps one of the most thrilling visits was our visit to Zambia. There, many people accepted the message who had never heard about it before. After we left, several brothers carried on the work in a very enthusiastic way, reaching many people for the truth. Recently some brothers went to neighboring Congo to share the message. After their trip Benny Kayamba wrote:

We are happy to share with you our Mission Report “To Congo with Love.” Our first meeting was held Thursday morning the 3rd of January 2002 in a hall that we had rented in a city of Kipushimine. In a few minutes there were several people coming; about 90 people attended the first meeting. The following day there were 125 in attendance. The third day there were 109 in attendance. The fourth day there were 128, and by the end of the last meeting there were 140 in attendance.

After we shared with them the fundamental truth about one God and His Son, Jesus Christ, many people were very excited about the message and determined to share it with others.

Dear Brother Lynnford, one of the major needs in Congo is literature. Translations into French and other Congolese languages are now complete. $700 is needed for printing tracts!

Mission Zambia, we collected 15 boxes of tracts from Brother Ephraim from Zimbabwe on the 31st of December 2001. We distributed 10,000 tracts on the 1st of January 2002 in Lusaka’s west townships and compounds and we also distributed 12,500 in Lusaka’s east townships and compounds. The remaining tracts and booklets will be used in Bible correspondence and seminars. Funds needed for mission Zambia: $300 for e-mails and stamps for postage. Hundreds of people were crowding around us and hundreds were passing by without tracts because we could not reach them. The people accepted our literature with hugs, tears and smiles! Praise be to God.

I hope to hear from you soon. May Almighty God bless you all as you continue dispensing His everlasting gospel to all parts of the world.

In response to a letter published a couple months ago, a dear sister has purchased a bicycle for Brother Benny Kayamba to replace the one that had been stolen. Praise the Lord that this portion of his needs have been met.

The brethren in Zambia have their heart in this message, and wish to give all they have to spread it to the world before it is too late. Please pray for these brethren, that the Lord will provide all their needs to spread the message of God’s love in Africa.

Zimbabwe

We cannot end without mentioning Zimbabwe. This was the first country we visited, and we found the people well grounded in the truth. The Lord provided the means to purchase a small printing machine similar to a Risograph. With this machine they have been able to produce some literature. As you read in the previous letters, they have been able to provide Zambia and Congo with some literature. However, they are very short on funds to cover the cost of paper and ink. For this reason they have not been able to print much literature yet. Please pray for these brethren, that the Lord would provide the funds needed that they can continue printing and provide literature to several countries in the area.

Brother Ephraim Ngwenya, who leads out in the group, is well grounded in the message and had even written a small booklet on the subject of the Father and His Son before we met him at his home. If you would like to help finance the printing work in Africa, please let us know and we will provide you with the necessary information.

Conclusion

All the brethren mentioned in this short article are busy spreading the message about the love of the Father in giving up His only begotten Son. They are also preaching the Sabbath and the truth about the state of the dead and the non-immortality of the soul. Please pray for all these brethren as they spread the truth. It is spreading like wildfire. Currently these brethren are receiving little, if any, support to do the work they are doing. There are so many needs, especially regarding literature, and our limited funds cannot come close to fulfilling these needs. If the Lord impresses you to help any of these brethren in Africa, please let us know and we will give you the necessary information. One hundred US dollars is enough to support a minister and his family for one month in many parts of Africa, including his rent and food. However, when meetings are being held, and traveling needs arise, more expenses must be met. Money is able to go further in Africa, so any donation sent will be multiplied.

I am excited about the work in Africa, yet there are many more countries to be reached. We are currently in contact with brethren in several other African countries who are eager to receive a visit in their own country. Some ministers in these other countries have accepted the truth and are preaching it as well.

I pray that you will be encouraged to know that the work is advancing, God is in control, and none will be able to stop it. This report is a condensed and updated account from the February, 2002 issue of Present Truth.


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 - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail berean@smyrna.org

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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013