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. 8 Straight and Narrow August 2002
Three Unclean Spirits
By Ben Ezra
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
We are studying Revelation 16:13-16. Although located within the account of the seven last plagues, these verses are not part of the plagues, but form a parenthetical insertion between the descriptions of the sixth and seventh plagues. The sixth plague is described in verse 12, and the seventh begins in verse 17. Our passage describes the sweep of events that have built up to that time.
This feature of inserting non-contextual parenthetical matter between the telling of the sixth and seventh plagues is in keeping with the pattern set earlier in Revelation. The first six seals, for example, are described in Revelation 6.The seventh seal doesn’t appear until Revelation 8:1, with chapter 7 being a parenthetical insertion. Likewise the first six trumpets are sounded in Revelation chapters 8 and 9. The seventh trumpet doesn’t show up until Revelation 11:15-19. All of chapter 10 and the first part of 11 are parenthetical.
Often the three unclean spirits are identified as the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. But that’s not what the text says. The three unclean spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
The dragon, which gave his power, and his seat, and great authority to the beast, has long been identified as Satan working through the ancient Roman Empire and its religion, paganism. The beast, of course, is Catholicism, and the false prophet is apostate Protestantism. With the Protestant churches being the daughters of the great whore, the succession of spiritual influences from Paganism to Catholicism to apostate Protestantism is complete.
To identify these three unclean spirits, we must notice from whence they come. They come “out of the mouth.” What comes out of our mouths? Words. Our mouths are the channel for what we say. The context seems to indicate that the three unclean spirits are three unclean teachings, which came first out of the mouth of paganism, then out of the mouth of Catholicism, then out of the mouth of apostate Protestantism. The use of the word “spirits” in reference to teachings is not new. 1 Corinthians 14:32 uses it that way. “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” Substitute the word “teachings” for “spirits” and Paul’s words are clear: The teachings of each new prophet are subject to the criteria of established prophets.
In 1 John 4:1 the writer of Revelation says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Substitute the word “teaching” for “spirit.” Isn’t he really saying, Believe not every teaching, but test the teachings that you hear? The apostle then supplies two tests. The first has to do with the human nature of Christ (1 John 4:2, 3). Antichrist would teach that Jesus did not come in our flesh. The second teaching to check is a confession that Jesus is the Son of God (verse 15).
So, back to our passage in Revelation 16:13, we are going to understand unclean spirits to be unclean teachings. Their dissemination is described to be “like frogs.” The only other place we find frogs in the Bible is in reference to the plague of frogs in Egypt. Notice the description in Exodus: “And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs.” “And the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.” Exodus 8:3, 6. The picture we get here is that the frogs were everywhere. So the three unclean teachings of Revelation 16:13, originating in the mouth of the dragon, would become pervasive everywhere.
“For they are the spirits of devils.” Verse 14. These must be the “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to.” 1 Timothy 4:1. So we could read, “For they are the doctrines of devils working miracles.” Understanding “spirits” in Revelation 16:14 to denote teachings or doctrines makes a lot of sense, because devils really don’t have spirits. And if you ignore the comma that the translators inserted after the word “devils,” it is clear that the devils, not the “spirits,” are working the miracles.
With Babylon being the hold of every foul teaching, which ones are indicated in Revelation 16:13? They would have to have come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Of all the doctrines taught in popular churches today, how many of them originated in ancient paganism, were absorbed into Catholicism, and continue to be mouthed by Protestants? Actually only three. While a good number of today’s customs may have pagan origins, the only doctrinal beliefs to have come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, are Trinitarianism, the natural immortality of the soul, and Sunday sacredness.
These three teachings supply the common points upon which the “whole world” will “gather” or unite (Revelation 16:14). For Satan’s purposes, these three points are all they need, for the first one strikes at the nature of God, the second at the nature of man, and the third at the sign of their relationship. Together they comprise the concentrate for Babylon’s wine of which all nations shall drink. Commentators generally feel that the word “he” in Revelation 16:16 would be better translated “they.” These three teachings will gather the world together.
“There has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed—however important they might be from a Bible standpoint—must necessarily be waived.”(Great Controversy, p. 444)
“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” (Ibid., p. 445)
Inspiration identifies two of the doctrines that will be used to unite the world. “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.” (Ibid., p. 588) And it goes almost without saying that the central creed of the popular churches, the doctrine of the trinity, already functions as the primary point of common belief.
As a side note, “trinity” means “tri-unity.” The prefix “tri” (three) plus the Latin word “unus” (one) forms the word “triune.” God is viewed as a tri-union. While it may be a clever concept, you won’t find God described that way in the Bible. Yet through centuries of tradition since the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381), that’s the way people have been taught to think of God.
In the following statement, James White enumerates four teachings that Protestants have inherited from the Catholic Church.
“The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” (Review and Herald, February 7, 1856)
Since a high percentage of evangelicals today reject the practice of sprinkling, it is unlikely to become a common point of doctrine to unite the world. And with no evidence of sprinkling being widely practiced in ancient paganism, we are safe to rule it out as a player in Revelation 16. That leaves from James White’s list the same doctrines we identified earlier, natural immortality, the trinity, and Sunday keeping—all three of which are held by nearly all Christians today.
The three messengers, or promoters, of these errors are, in historical order, the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. God also commissions three global messengers, the three angels of Revelation 14, one following another, to proclaim the truth on these three points and warn the world of Babylon’s wine.
“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6-12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” (Great Controversy, p. 390) ?
(Ben Ezra is a pseudonym. Editor)
This month we wish to ask our readers to be especially praying for more workers in the vineyard. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Mathew 9:38)
Please continue to pray for Maria Corklin of Pennsylvania who is has been having breathing troubles. Also remember Brother Lew McGee of Ohio who is having an undiagnosed liver problem and Doris Melchore with diabetic problems.
Please, also remember the family and friends of Daphne Burson. Sister Daphne, whom we had been praying for, died this past month. She was truly an inspiration to many. Allen Stump
The Light of the World
We are living in an age when the law of God is made void. The faith once delivered to the saints is lost sight of, and error is substituted for the word of God. The great sacrifice made by the world’s Redeemer and the claims of God upon humanity are not appreciated.
Christ is the Light of the world, the Sun of Righteousness. The world was made by him; but when he came unto his own, they knew him not. The darkness of their sinful hearts could not comprehend the blessedness of the light from above. But to his true followers, Christ says, “Ye are the light of the world.” Through them light from him has shown to humanity.
In all ages the Lord has had a people who, while holding communion with God, have by word and character called the attention of their fellow men to the grand themes that are of eternal interest to humanity. Saints and martyrs of former ages, and the disciples who were privileged to hear the lessons from the lips of Jesus, were holy and self-denying. They were beloved and honored of God above many who in our day profess to be disciples of Christ and teachers of the people, not because God is a respecter of persons, not because a clearer, brighter light shone upon them, but because they steadfastly believed the truth, and practised it in the daily life. These men faithfully improved their talents, and God registered them among his profitable servants. They were acknowledged and honored by God because they were faithful to the light which shone upon them. To those around them they reflected that light received from the Light of the world. By their close connection with heaven, and their pure and holy conversation, they became channels of light and blessing to the world. They walked humbly with their God, rejoicing, not in the favor and praise of men, but in the light of truth. They did not seek ways, nor fashion excuses, whereby they might evade obedience to the commandments of Jehovah. The chosen of God believed his word, rested on his promises; and their steadfast confidence and strong faith made them willing and able to suffer the loss of all things for his dear sake.
For this time, light is shining from the throne of God upon his people, and he sends his messengers to give that light to the world. All the light given in different ages to the children of men,—in promises, in prophecies, in threatenings, in testimony, and in example,— all has been handed down to this generation by Him in whom are hid “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” But from this source, new light is constantly received by the Christian, showing yet more clearly the way to heaven. To those who will not see the light, who refuse to walk in the path it reveals, the light becomes darkness; but on the path of him who is willing to see, anxious to hear, and earnest in his search for the truth as it is in Jesus, it shines with increasing brightness. The Lord accepts those who are not only willing to hear, but who are ready also to obey. He has said, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
It is impossible for Christians of our day to occupy the position of our fathers, to do as they have done, and stop there. We cannot be accepted and honored by God in rendering no better service, in reflecting no greater light, than they. In order for us to be blessed as were our fathers, we must improve our increased light as they improved theirs. We are required by God to act as our fathers would have done had they lived in our day, and been blessed with the privileges and opportunities granted to us. (Mrs. Ellen G. White—Youth’s Instructor, October 7, 1897)
By A. T. Jones
(Two 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)
CHURCH ORGANIZATION (2)
There has never been a system of what is called “church organization” that has not demonstrated itself to be as cruel as the devil.
The theory is that such “church,” having the true church organization, is “the true church,” which to be in is the surety of eternal salvation, and which to be separated from is the guaranty of forfeiture of eternal life.
Now it is certain that in the true Christian Church, only the true Christian Spirit must be found and only this Spirit the prevailing one.
Without this it is impossible that any church can be true, and much less be the true. What then is the true and genuine Christian Spirit?
First of all it is only the Holy Spirit of God: for the Lord would not allow His own chosen and ordained and commissioned apostles to make a single move toward anything of The Church until they had been “baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Luke 24:49; Acts 1: 4-5.
And of this the inevitable “fruit” is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;” and “Liberty;” for “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty” — liberty of thought, liberty of speech, and liberty of action. Galatians 3:22; 2 Corinthians 3:17.
This is the Christian Spirit. And this is the Spirit that rules and is manifested in every church that is Christian. And the manifestation of this Spirit is definitely defined as—
“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17.
Now in what is called “church organization,” one man, or two men, or three men, or a few men invent and form a “plan of organization,” and persuade people to accept it and to submit to it: which is in fact to submit to the rule of the men who hold the “offices,” and thereby hold “the keys” to open or shut heaven.
And when the “organization” is completed and in working order, then any member who is not conforming to the will and workings of the official-dom is required to do so. And if in obedience to Christ in His Spirit and in His truth, or is in his Christian liberty to think and speak and act, he does not do so, he is separated from the “organization” and ostracized from all recognition of the “church” and “the brethren” and thus is completely excluded from “the church.” And if any of the brethren disregard the exclusion of the Christian brother and fellowship him and receive him into their houses, then they immediately become subject to suspicion and to being “eyed:” and if this does not prove corrective then they must also be separated. And the theory is that exclusion from that “church” means the loss of eternal life.
That is, for a man’s disagreement with a man or a few men who “represent the church,” by these men in their “representing the church,” and in that their “representing God,” that man is deliberately deprived of eternal life!
Now could the devil himself be more cruel than that — to put such a penalty as that upon such an “offence” as that, which in truth is no offence either to God or man? Eternal death, for disagreement with a man!
Yet, in brief, that is exactly the process in and of the first such “church organization” — the false Catholic church — and of every other structure that is called “church organization.”
The Roman “organization” is proud of it and boasts of it as proof of her divinity.
Others repudiate that “church” with her “organization” as “the man of sin,” “the mystery of iniquity,” “the son of perdition,” and “the beast;” and yet build one of their own on the same principle and after the same pattern; and with it do the same thing.
Some of these others, indeed, have enough discernment to see the enormity of it, and compunction enough to try to evade it with the claim that in their case it does not affect the loss of eternal life to the one cast out; but is only his separation from the “organization” and its “fellowship:” because “we believe in religious liberty!”
But that is only a dodge and camouflage. For, if that be true, it is a plain confession that their “organization” and “fellowship” is not the true Church, but is no more than is any other mere club. But they do not mean anything of the kind. They do not mean to abate an iota of the claim that theirs is the true Church indeed with all that this involves or implies: that to be in it means eternal life, and that separation from it means eternal death.
And by this claim it is that they hold their power over the people. Does anybody think for a moment that for a moment any of the people would endure what they do endure there, or would stand in awe of that “church” authority or power, if they understood that all that the “organization” and association amounts to is only that of a mere human society or club?
Yet in truth and in fact and in effect, just that is all that it is. It is only the superstition that in some mysteriously ineffable way the officialdom and hierarchy of the “organization” are possessed of a spiritual power that can affect the standing of the souls of men before God — it is only this superstition that causes the people against their own conviction and their own common sense of the right, to endure or sanction the “church” procedure in many and various ways.
What else than superstition could it be that could cause people to think that some men in the “church” through election by other men or by themselves are partakers or possessors of spiritual authority or power to which all the other people of the “church” must unquestioningly defer, or else jeopardize their soul with God?
That is precisely the principle, and the superstition, of the infallibility of the pope.
The pope is elected by the cardinals, from among themselves, or by himself. No cardinal possesses or even claims any scintilla of infallibility. Yet when these cardinals who have none of it, elect one of themselves, who have none of it, and thus occupies the office and seat of pope, immediately he has all of it.
How does he get it? Where does it come from? Oh, from the office, from the seat, of course: for it is only when he speaks ex cathedra, that is “from the chair,” that he is infallible.
And every other officialdom of “church organization” is of the same stripe and the same superstition.
WHICH ONE IS THE TRUE?
One of the livest questions of the day is, What is the Church?
And this is the most important question that there ever could be in any day.
All know that there are so many things each one of which is claimed to be not only a church but The Church, that everybody all the time is forced to the question of not only which is the true Church, but what is the true Church?
Each one of them claims and asserts that it is the true Church: and yet in so many things and ways each one is conducted and managed so unlike what is Christian, that its own members as well as other people are kept perpetually under the question, Is that the true Church?
All of them but the first one of them, are perfectly sure that the first one of them is not the true Church: while that first one of them is just as perfectly sure that it is the only true Church.
And if the first one of them, the oldest one of them, the one that has the advantage of far the longest time and the most and fullest experience, the one that has had the benefit of “the ingenuity and patient care of forty generations of statesmen” that have made it “the very masterpiece of human wisdom” — if that one of them is not the true one of them, then how can any other one of them be the true?
Or in behalf of all the others must it be the acknowledged principle of this subject, that the first one of them, the one with the most experience of them all, is, and is certain to be the worst of them all.
If this be the principle of the thing, then is it not inevitable that as certainly as each or all of the others shall be given time and experience, they will go the same way? And in the like length of time will be each one just as bad as the first one?
And if that be not the principle of the thing, if age and experience have not made the first one of them to be the worst one of them, then what ground or reason of existence have all or any of the others, apart from that first one?
This inevitable dilemma is sought to be avoided by the plea, invariably adopted, that, The difficulty is not in or with the principle: the principle is correct: the difficulty is in the application of the principle: not the principle but the men.
But that is not any way of escape. For the application of the principle was, and must be always by men. And these men were always just men — plain human beings — like all other men. Always that principle will, and will have to be, applied by men — just plain human beings — like all other men.
Yet more that this: that is exactly the plea of that first one of these claimed churches. All the deviltry of the church of Rome, all the way, has been protested by members of that church within that church. The enormities of iniquity practiced by and in that church have been recorded and condemned and denounced by even the high ones of that church — bishops, archbishops, even cardinals — and who still remained orthodox members of that church because they held that the evils were not of the church nor from the church, but of the men, and only from the men who conducted the affairs of the church.
Long before The Reformation, men in that church had said harder things of the Pope and of the conduct of that church than the reformers ever said: yet these still held that it was still and ever the true church.
The standard annalist of that church itself, Cardinal Baronius, says of the papacy in the tenth century:
“In this century the abomination of desolation was seen in the temple of the Lord: and in the See of St. Peter, reverenced by angels, were placed the most wicked of men: not pontiffs but monsters.”
And Bishop Robert of Lincoln, in England, in the very presence of Pope Innocent IV and his cardinals, A. D. 1250, spoke out plainly to them:
“The clergy are a source of pollution in the whole earth: they are anti-christs and devils masquerading as angels of light, who make the house of prayer a den of robbers: and the Roman curia is the source of all the vileness which renders the priesthood a hissing and a reproach to Christianity.”
They denounced the men and the activities of the men, even of the popes and the papal court, and still apologized and pleaded for “the church” — for the machine — that alone gave to the men their power and their opportunity.
They condemned the evil practices but justified the system by which alone it was possible that these practices could not only be perpetuated, but could even exist.
Church-men were bad; but “the church,” whose members and the expression of whose life those church-men essentially were, was “the good!”
Customs were pernicious; but “the church,” whose the customs essentially were, was “the abode of sanctity!”
Practices were abominable: but “the church,” which invented many and profited by all and corrected none of the practices, was “holy!”
Popes were demoniac; but “the church,” of which the popes were “the head” — the acting will, the guiding mind — was “divine!”
See the grand churches and magnificent cathedrals!
Hear the “heavenly” music of the “divine” chants!
Catch the impressive odor of the “holy” incense!
Feel the awe of the “solemn” service, as the richly-robed ecclesiastics minister at the “altar,” kneel before the “host,” and move in “holy” procession!
Think of the wide extent of her “missions!”
Behold her “perfect organization,” by which she executes as by one man the wonders of her will, holds empires in awe, and rules the world!
Is not that the true and only “holy church?”
The church was “the ark of God,” the “ship of Salvation.” The pilot, the captain, and the crew, might all be pirates, and use every motion of the ship only for piratical purposes, and load her to the sinking point with piratical plunder, and keep her headed ever straight toward perdition, yet “the grand old ship” herself was all right and would come safely to the heavenly port.
Therefore, “cling to the ark,” “stand by the old ship,” and you will be safe and will land at last on the heavenly shore.
For instance, in direct connection with the very passage already quoted from Cardinal Beronius, in which he describes the fearful conditions of that church in the ninth century, there stand the Cardinal’s words as follows:
“Christ was then assuredly sleeping a profound sleep in the bottom of His vessel whilst the winds buffeted it on all sides and covered it with the waves of the sea. And what was more unfortunate still, the disciples of the Lord slept more profoundly than He, and could not awaken Him either by their cries or clamors.”
And in the General Council of Blase, 1432, the pope’s legate exhorted the Bohemian Christians:
“In the time of Noah’s flood, as many as were without the ark perished.”
All of this evil in that church and of that church was so chronic,and so well known that time and again when a pope died, all Europe was searched as with candles to find “a good man” to be pope. And when one was at last found who was well known and universally accepted as of model character, when he had been installed and was actually pope he was indeed the pope: and all were caused to lament that “he always would have been universally considered to be the best man for pope, if he had never become pope.”
Thus the plea utterly falls in every way that would hold that the badness of the church of Rome is because of the men and not because of the principle. It is essentially in the principle: and the principle only manifests itself in and through the men who become identified with it.
And what of the Scriptures? What say they of it? This: “the man of sin,” “the mystery of iniquity,” “the synagogue of Satan,” “the son of perdition,” “the great harlot,” “Mystery, Babylon the Great,” “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” “the mistress of witchcrafts and mother of abominations,” “the abomination of desolation.”
Does God say all of that of a thing in which there is any possible trace of good, of purity, or of truth?
Do the Scriptures deal with men, or with principles? With principles only. The whole Bible is a Book of principles only.
And as certainly as the Scriptures deal with principles and not with men, so certainly the Scriptures deal with and define and denounce the church of Rome in its principle, and not merely in its men.
The sin, the perdition, the mystery of the iniquity, the harlotry, the witchcraft, the sorcery, the abomination, of the church of Rome is in the principle of the thing: is in the essence of the thing, and not in the management of the thing: is in the essence of that thing as the church, and not in the management of it as the church.
And what is the principle of the church of Rome as the “church?” According to that principle and idea, what is the “church?” It is this:
“The society of the validly baptized faithful united together in one body by the profession of the same faith, by the participation of the same sacraments, and by obedience to the same authority, Christ, its invisible head in Heaven, and the Roman Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter, Christ’s visible representative and vicegerent on earth.” — Christian Apologetics, Sec. 200
Take out of that definition the words “Roman Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter,” and “vicegerent,” and in their place insert the name of the man, or of the Board, or of the Committee, or of the Conference or Diocese, in the case, and in principle and largely in expression, it equally defines “the church” as held and manifested in every other “church organization” in the world.
And what is the principle in it and of it? It is the visible crowded into the place of the invisible: the human into the place of the divine: the spiritual attention and obedience of souls centered in, and held under, the dominion of men instead of that of God Himself in Christ under the Holy Spirit.
The Reformers cut to the root of that whole thing at the one stroke of declaring that in truth it is not in any sense The Church. That is what made them “heretics.”
They said that it is “the abomination of self-deification in the holy place:” “the Pope is Anti-Christ and his See is that of Satan himself:” “the papacy is a general chase, by command of the Roman Pontiff, for the purpose of running down and destroying souls.”
Were they wrong? Was The Reformation a mistake in its fundamental principle and contention?
Rome claims that it was: and that as she now has eliminated the bad elements from the church, there is no longer any grounds for Protestant contention: but that all should and can now work in harmony as one.
And the professed Protestant churches, holding as tenaciously as does Rome herself the Romish principle of “the church,” and refusing the Christian principle of The Church, are ready for co-operation with Rome.
And every “church” that holds that principle of “the church” is cooperating with Rome.
Now what is the principle of The Church of the Living God? According to this principle and idea, What is The Church? It is this:
“The Church is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1: 22-23.
It is “the House of God” “built upon . . . Jesus Christ Himself . . . 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 2: 19-22.
And what is the principle in this and of this? It is more than a principle, it is a Person — the Personal God, all in all, in Christ, building His own House, for His own habitation through His own Spirit.
And the difference between these two ideas and these two realms as to The Church, is as wide as is the difference between man and God. It is just the difference that there is between man and God: between sly and designing and ambitious and deceitful men, and the open and frank and honest and meek and lowly Jesus in Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
It is the truth that the long experience of that first one of these “churches,” and the ingenuity and patient care of the more than “forty generations of statesmen” have made it “the very masterpiece of human wisdom:” and have so made it that, that “among the contrivances that have been devised for deceiving and oppressing mankind it occupies the highest place.”
It was devised for the sole purpose of deceiving and oppressing mankind; for it was devised by the arch-deceiver of mankind. The men had little to do with it beyond being the instruments of the arch-deceiver to extend his purpose and to fulfill his will. His has been always the purpose, and his the moving will, to put his church — “the synagogue of Satan” — in the place of The Church of God.
That is why the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures sets it forth as He does in the terms “the mystery of iniquity,” “the son of perdition,” etc., with never a single intimation of anything respectable or even decent: much less anything good.
That Wisdom penetrates to the seat of the life of the thing, and reveals the inherent principle of it. And what that Wisdom says that it is, that is what it is. And no ingenuity of argument, no trick to remove from the thing to the men of the thing, from the principle to the application of it, can escape or elude the inherent and essential deviltry of the thing.
The thing is simply and only Satanic. It is Satanic in its principle, it was Satanic in the beginning of its working — “the mystery of iniquity doth already work;” it has always been Satanic in its working; and it cannot be anything else, whatever may be said or done to have it be something else.
The principle, being Satanic, makes more corrupt the men who espouse it and identify themselves with it. It makes the best men bad and makes bad men worse. That is the secret of the papacy.
Error — error in the inward parts — corrupts the passions.
Truth — truth in the inward parts — sanctifies the soul.( To be continued.)
Camp Meeting Report
Many who were able to attend the West Virginia camp meeting will agree that the Lord abundantly blessed the gathering in July.
I greatly enjoyed the renewed challenge to press for higher ground in my relationship with God and His Son. I also enjoyed the fellowship with my dear brothers and sisters. One brother wrote, “I cannot tell you the rich blessings from above that I received at the West Virginia camp meeting. It will be in my thoughts for months to come.” Many others could express the same thoughts.
The theme of our camp meeting was “To know and love Him.” It seemed like every message challenged us in this area, to know God more and to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. This theme was especially present in our afternoon seminar entitled, “The Truth About God Seminar.” One thing that was different about this year’s camp meeting was the increased focus upon the issue of the truth about God. The last two years this subject was not as heavily stressed, whereas this year it seemed to be prominent in many of the messages. The interesting thing about this was that none of the speakers knew the message topics of any of the other ministers, apart from the “Truth About God Seminar.” I believe this was ordained by God, especially considering the various winds of doctrine that have recently been floating around on this subject.
Danny and Gina Campbell had been asked to conduct a vegan cooking seminar. This seminar was over-packed with people each session, where healthy and tasty samples of the recipes were served. Gina would begin the program with instruction on specific recipes and then Danny would follow with lectures on principles of nutrition.
Dr. Stephen Burks, from Ohio, gave short health talks in both the morning and evening. These talks were very interesting and contained very practical information. Lord willing, we hope to transcribe some of these talks for publication.
Friday afternoon we discussed the possibility of having a directory of believers for the purpose of being able to network and communicate among each other more effectively. (See page eleven for details.)
There was an abundance of excellent music and singing. Two different quartets sang. David and Jennifer Clayton, with Howard and Karleen Williams, from Jamaica, sang. The quartet of men singers from last year (David Clayton, Howard Williams, Melvin Stewart, and Dr. Stephen Burks), also graced the congregation several times. Dr. Burks even got several of the men together for a large men’s choir that sang three times The Smyrna quintet also dedicated a special selection to Sister Ann Ford for her hard work in helping with so many things at the church.. The young people also brought a special on Sabbath afternoon.
One the highlights of the camp meeting was a baptismal service held Sabbath afternoon, with three people dedicating their lives to the Lord. This was followed by a testimonial service where several were eager to share what the Lord had done for them.
I encourage you to make every effort to attend the next camp meeting so that you, too, can have a similar testimony. The meetings were all video taped, and both audio and video tapes of the meetings will be available, hopefully by next month. As soon as the tapes are ready, we will let you know. (We are sorry for the delay on this matter. However, just two days after the camp meeting was over, Brother Allen Stump who works with the tapes, traveled to Europe to hold meetings with David Clayton. Lord willing, there will be a full report in next month’s issue of Old Paths.) I also encourage you to request some of the audio or video cassettes from the camp meeting.
For pictures of the camp meeting click here for a copy of this issue in Acrobat format.
Directory of Believers
On Friday afternoon of the 2002 West Virginia camp meeting we held a meeting to discuss ways believers could work more efficiently together, and the need for greater cooperation among the churches around the world. We recognized that one way we could work together better would be to have a church and believer directory, listing the many Historic Seventh-day Adventist groups around the world who believe the truth about God and are unified on the rest of the early Seventh-day Adventist message. We discussed that this directory could include not only those groups that have been established with a permanent meeting place, but also those like-believers who are eager to have fellowship with others who share their faith, even if they do not yet have an established church fellowship in their area. In this way this directory could help to establish new Historic SDA church groups who believe the truth about God, as well as to help strengthen and expand existing church groups.
We often receive calls from people asking if we know of any like-believers who fellowship together in their area. Sometimes we are able to help them, and other times we are not. One thing that has hindered us somewhat in this area is that we do not give out a person’s phone number or address unless we have acquired their permission. Because we have not received permission from very many people, we are not at liberty to give out this information. This directory would provide us with that permission for those who volunteer it.
There are people who have received the truth about God and His Son, and believe the rest of the early Adventist message, who are isolated, without anyone to fellowship with. Many of these people do not realize that there may be others nearby, perhaps even in the same town, who also are isolated and without fellowship because they believe the same truths. This directory could help bring these people together, and also provide those of us who travel a church group with which to fellowship when we are in a distant location.
We realize that this is no small task. With the rapid growth of the movement, it will be very hard to keep updated and will, in time become impractical. However, we, with the great majority of the people at the camp meeting, believe that it is a workable idea. Perhaps a printed version of the directory could be followed up by up-dated editions on the Internet.
Let us state again for clarity: people or groups would only be included in this directory if they voluntarily requested that they be included. We have included a card for you to fill out and return to us if you would like to be included in this directory. Fill in only the information, that you would like to appear in the church and believer directory.
We would like to stress that this directory is for Historic Seventh-day Adventists who believe the truth about God as well as the rest of the early SDA message. In order to avoid confusion, and to help insure that people are blessed rather than hindered by this directory, we will only include those people or groups that, to the best of our knowledge, maintain the true Historic SDA message.
We believe that this directory will help to network like-believers all over the world so that we can be more effective in our witnessing and more fruitful in our own lives. For those who have been isolated from fellowship, we pray that they will soon be able to say with David, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1) We hope that this will also help us to heed the counsel of Paul when he wrote that we should, “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
Allen and Lynnford
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
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013