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. 14, No. 3 Straight and Narrow March 2005
The Destiny of A Movement
By David Clayton
(The following is an edited version of study given at the recent Florida camp meeting. Editor)
Revelation 10 contains a passage that we are all very familiar with, which will be the foundation of what I will share this morning. I almost entitled this message, Movement of Destiny but I just couldnt bring myself to do that, so I prefer to call it, The Destiny of a Movement. Let us go to Revelation 10:7. I know we are familiar with this verse, but I want us to focus on it this morning and see how it relates to the movement that we belong to.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. Now, I am assuming that all of us know something of the background of the book of Revelation. There are seven angels with seven trumpets who appear in chapter 8 and they begin to blow their trumpets one after the other. When it comes to trumpet number six, there is a pause in the blowing of the trumpet and something happens. An angel comes down from heaven. He has a rainbow on his head and he is clothed with a cloud. He sets one foot on the earth and one foot on the sea and he cries with a loud voice. He raises his hand to heaven and he swears by Him that lives forever and ever that there shall be time no longer, or delay no longer as some versions put it. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he begins to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished.
One question that has fascinated Adventists over the decades is the question of, What is this mystery of God? It seems that the finishing of this mystery is a culmination point. It is a climatic event or a focal end point of the entire history of what God has been trying to do on this planet. This angel is not just stating something prophetically. He is almost, it seems, rejoicing. It is almost a shout of triumph. The mystery of God shall finally be finished when the seventh angel blows his trumpet.
I believe our pioneers did a good overall job in their interpretations of prophecy, but I think we will all realize that they were not always exactly right on everything. For example, one of the hymns that we sing has a line that goes something like this, Tell, oh tell, of grace abounding whilst the seventh trump is sounding. That song suggests that the seventh trumpet has already begun to sound. If you consider what the song says, you might tell yourself that the mystery of God is finished, but as we look at what this mystery really means, we will come to the conclusion that the mystery of God is not yet finished.
What is this mystery of God? In the New Testament, the word mystery appears several times, but it appears in the context of the work God is doing on this earth. Let us look at a few places where Paul talks about this mystery. Id like to begin first of all with 1Timothy 3:16. It says, And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh; justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
This text says several things, but primarily I want to focus on the first part of this definition. It says, God was manifest in the flesh. When you compare this with other passages, you come to the conclusion that primarily this mystery of God is the great wonder and secret of God being manifested in human flesh. This passage, of course, is speaking of Jesus. God manifested Himself through His Son in human flesh. But, look at what Paul says in Colossians 1:27, starting with verse 25: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. According to Paul, the mystery that he is talking about is the mystery of Christ in you. Earlier on, he says that the mystery is God manifest in the flesh. When Christ is manifested in you, what is that? It is God manifested in human flesh. The great mystery that is mentioned several places in the writings of Paul is the mystery of how humanity and divinity can be combined in such a way that God is revealed in human flesh.
In Ephesians 5:25-27, 30 Paul writes: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. As I was reading that verse, I thought, Why does this man exaggerate so? We are members of His flesh and of His bones? Why does Paul use this graphic statement? Are we literally a part of Jesus flesh and bones? He is trying to illustrate graphically the closeness and the bond that exists between Jesus and us. He doesnt say it is as though we are, but that we are a part of His flesh and His bones. You cant get closer than that. Paul says we are totally and entirely integrated into Christ in the fullest possible sense. What God has done for us as Christians is something to think about!
I read a book called, I Dared to Call Him Father. It was written by a high-born Muslim woman. It tells the story of how she grew up in the Islamic faith and thought that Christians were blasphemous to have the audacity and the gall to call the God of the universe, Father. She held Christianity in contempt. She thought, Who are they, creatures of flesh and blood, to call the Almighty, Father? This gave me a glimpse into the Muslim mindset. They think we are blasphemers to call God, Father, because He is the Almighty and we are just little insects down here. The book went on to tell of how she came in contact with some Christians and over a period of months, she began to understand the Christian religion until finally she decided to become a Christian. She relates the night when she knelt beside her bed and tried to say, Father. The word would not come out of her mouth. She couldnt bring herself to believe that the Father, the Almighty, could really regard her as a daughter. When she was able to finally say Father, she says she personally experienced God for the first time.
I thought, I have grown up as a Christian and I never appreciated what it means to say God is my Father. We dont realize, brothers and sisters, the wonder of Christianity. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion, all teach about a god who makes demands. Do this, this, and this, and then maybe, some day, somehow, your life will be extended and you might live forever. When we really understand the difference of Christianity, what we believe is wonderful beyond words! We have a God who gave His only-begotten Son for us. We have a God who lives in us. What an incredible thought! But, we take it for granted because we have heard this all of our lives. Sometimes we go to non-Adventist churches where others believe such darkness and we think, Boy, oh boy, I am so blessed to believe as I do. Paul says, and I think he was talking to people who once were heathen and so they could get what he was saying, For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. We dont have a Father who is an absentee landlord. He is our ever-present reality.
Perhaps you have heard of the illustration of filling a bottle with water, sand, small rocks, and large rocks. The only way to get it all in is to put the big rocks in first. That moral of doing the most important things first sticks in my mind. Every time I come to a camp meeting I am so happy chatting to people, but my prayer life suffers. I put the big rocks in the bottle last and they wont fit, and Jim reminded me to get the big rocks in first. When everyone else is talking and greeting people, find a corner and talk to the most important Person first. Even in the middle of camp meeting, get the big rocks in first, because if you dont, you will never get them in. When a sister was singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness I was thinking, How true. He was faithful to give me a little poke in the side to remind me to put the big rocks in first. If I say something sensible this morning, it is because I was reminded to put the big rocks in first. So, God is faithful.
In verse 31 of Ephesians 5, Paul continues: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery. Is the mystery how a man and his wife can become one flesh? I dont think so. That can be explained in a biology class. This is not a mystery. Paul is not talking about physical union for we all understand how that happens. He goes on to say, This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. That is the mystery. We all know the process by which two human bodies can become one, but what we dont know is the process by which two spirits can literally become one. How another intelligent being can live inside my body is the great mystery, but Paul says this happens. He says the time is going to come when this mystery is perfectly fulfilled, when the church is so imbued with the Spirit of Christ that it shall be without spot or wrinkle or blemish or any such thing. Brothers and sisters, this is the great goal of the gospel! From the beginning of time, ever since man sinned, the burden on our Fathers heart has been to have a people upon this earth who reflect His image perfectly. He purposed to bring this end result about by giving us of His own life. The great tragedy in the year 2005 is that up to this point, Satan has been able to confuse our minds and distort the truth of this thing, that it has still not been realized in His people. The great question before me, and what I put before all of you is, Where do I fit into this? Where does this movement that we belong to and that we have been promoting really fit into this great purpose, this end result that God has been dreaming about for six thousand years?
The angel of Revelation 10 says that when the seventh angel begins to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished. Lets see what happens when the angel blows his trumpet. Lets go back to Revelation chapter 11 and just follow with me while I read verse 15: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. When the seventh angel sounds, what happens? The kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of God and of His Christ. We are told that this happens at that moment. But, according to the angel in Revelation 10, when the seventh angel sounds, what will happen? The mystery will be finished. So, am I right if I conclude that the finishing of the mystery is a simultaneous event with Christ receiving His kingdom? When the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of God and His Christ, it will be at the blowing of the seventh trumpet. It will be at the same time that the mystery is finished. Both events are either parallel events or they are the same event.
In every line of prophecy in the book of Daniel there is something critical that happens before Christ receives His kingdom. In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a vision. In this vision, he saw a great image. The head of the image was of gold, followed by silver, followed by brass, followed by iron, which was followed by iron and clay. Now I am going to ask a question you dont usually ask when you are studying the image, but I am interested to hear the answer. What is the very next thing that follows the iron and clay? I dont mean generally speaking, but specifically what does Nebuchadnezzar see happening immediately following? He saw a stone cut out from a mountain. Now, I know people like the Shepherds Rod make a big thing about that but I dont agree with their interpretation, but I think they are right not to leave out the fact that the stone is cut out, because the Bible says it. Before the stone hit the image, it was cut out first and I believe that this means something. You cant just gloss over that part of the prophecy, and, if you do, you will find out later on you have left out something. The stone is cut from a mountain. By what process is it cut? The Bible tells us as well. It is cut without hands. Now, if it is cut without hands, my understanding is that the cutting of the stone is entirely the work of God. It is not done by human agency, but God cuts the stone from a mountain. It is cut without hands. You will find that this phrase appears in Daniel again. In Daniel chapter 8 it says that the horn is broken without hand. It has some significance. The stone is cut without hands and this stone that is cut without hands then destroys the image.
Now, I just want to mention something before I leave this prophecy. There is clearly something significant in the fact that the stone was cut out. You have a primary body, and from that primary, or mother, body God carves out a piece, and He works with this piece in destroying the kingdoms of this earth. There is another body that exists first. The stone becomes what? A great mountain, but the stone was cut and we say this great mountain represents Gods kingdom, but the stone is first of all cut from another mountain. So, if we are consistent, the mountain that the stone becomes can be used as a key for understanding what the first mountain is, but I will leave that for a little while and come back to it.
When you go to Daniel 7, you have a prophecy that is unquestionably parallel with chapter 2. You have the four beasts: first of all there is a lion, followed by a bear, followed by a leopard, and then followed by the nondescript, dreadful beast. On the fourth beast, but definitely next in sequence, there were ten horns, and as you look at the parallel prophecy in Daniel2 you see that the ten horns correspond to the feet of iron and clay. There was an element of iron, but it was split up into iron and clay. Here you have the beast but divided into ten partsthe same kingdom divided into smaller parts. Among the horns there came up a little horn. After the horns, what event did Daniel see happening in Daniel 7? What followed the work of the horns? The judgment! In verses 9 and 10: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered until him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
The thing that follows immediately after the division of Rome is the judgment; in fact, a judgment that is based on an examination of books. One of the things that Seventh-day Adventists are always bombarded about by other Christians and even liberal Adventists, is to say that the doctrine of the investigative judgment is foolishness. However, there is no other answer to what we see in Daniel here. The judgment takes place in heaven that is based on the examination of books. That is an investigative judgment, you may call it what you will, but the concept is the same. It is a judgment and an investigation that is based on the examination of books. And what happens? If you look, you will notice that this judgment corresponds in Daniel 2 to the stone being cut out. Consistently in the Bible, consistently, you find that when you come down to the end of time, something happens in the Christian church. Jesus spoke about it repeatedly. What He spoke about was a separation. He spoke about a dividing, a sifting, if you prefer, such as in the parable of the wheat and the tares. (Matthew 13:24-30) He also spoke about it in the parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-50) that was cast into the sea and when they dragged out the line, what did they do? They threw away the bad and kept the good. Also consider the parable of the wedding garment. (Matthew 22:2-14) Everybody came to the wedding and the king came in to examine, or judge if you please, the guests. One of the guests failed to put on the wedding garment provided by the king and was cast out. Jesus finished the parable by saying, For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14) This is clearly a statement that conveys a decision making process.
There is a great body of people on this planet today who are called by the name Christians, but according to these prophecies, from this great body there is going to be a stone cut out. There is going to be a remnant separated. There is going to be a judgment that carves out Gods true people from the rest and God will use this remnant to accomplish His final purposes on this planet. It is clearly taught in these prophecies.
Now, after the judgment takes place, the Son of Man receives His kingdom, but in Daniel 7:11 first we learn that the beast was destroyed and his body was given to the burning flame, and then it says that the Son of Man receives His kingdom. Verse 13states: I saw one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him, And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Lets go back to Revelation 11:15 and see what happened in heaven when the seventh angel sounded? And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. This is the same event described in the book of Daniel, but what I want us to look at and to notice is that before Christ receives His kingdom two things have to happen, and one of these things in particular I want us to note. The judgment has to take place and the stone has to be cut out. This comes first in all the prophecies. It comes before Christ receives His kingdom. We are looking for the coming of Jesus. We are praying about it, singing about it, dreaming about it, and preaching about it, but according to the prophecies, Jesus cannot receive His kingdom and the mystery of God cannot be finished until the judgment takes place and the stone is cut out, but something has to take place before this. As we go to Daniel chapter 8, it becomes even clearer what is involved.
In Daniel chapter 8, you find a prophecy that involves a ram and a he goat. These represent the kingdoms of Media, Persia and Greece. There is no mention of Babylon because Babylon is about to pass away at this point. Then, following, on the goat, there is an exceedingly great horn. A lot of people argue about this horn and say it represents Antiochus Epiphanes. While admitting that Chapters 2 and 7 are parallel, they say Daniel chapter 8 is not parallel with the other prophecies. The fourth prophecy that takes place in chapters 10, 11 and 12 is parallel with chapters 2 and 7, but they say Daniel 8 is like an odd sheep. Just out of the blue God decided to drop this prophecy here. Interpreting it this way and not making it parallel with the other three just does not make sense. I think it is very important to look at what this little horn that waxes exceeding great does. This little horn came from the goat.
Let us now see what this little horn did, because it is very important. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice (sacrifice is a supplied word) was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. (Daniel 8:9-12)
One of the accusations that people have brought against Seventh-day Adventists concerns the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14, we say this is talking about the investigative judgment, but when they read through the passage in Daniel chapter 8 and see what is going on, the context of the passage does not seem to suggest this, so they say our pioneers fabricated something. They say that our pioneers plucked a verse out of midair and gave it an application that is not justified when you look at the entire passage. Well, sometimes there is a little truth in every criticism, but not always the complete truth. If you come to that conclusion you have to ignore other things. I want to try to harmonize what our pioneers believed with the context of the passage and see what is really occurring.
Let us look at what the horn did. It took away the daily, it cast down the sanctuary and it cast down the truth to the ground. If you believe that this horn represented the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes, then you must conclude that the daily sacrifice, the sanctuary, and the truth that is cast down refers to the Jewish worship system. This means the offering of lambs in the Jewish temple would stop, the Jewish sanctuary would be destroyed, and the teachings that the Jews held to would be cast to the ground, but if you believe that this is talking about something greater, about something that applies in the gospel dispensation, and that this horn represents the work of Rome, then you have to apply this differently. That should be plain to see. The taking away of the daily, the sanctuary being cast down, and the truth being cast down would have to apply to events that happened in the gospel dispensation in our time. We would have to apply it differently.
Lets see what happens next. Two angels are speaking in verse 13: Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? If we are honest, it seems to me that the angel is asking about these things. How long will this work of the little horn be allowed to hamper, to destroy, and to obscure the work of God? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (v. 14) The word translated cleansed is the Hebrew word, tsadaq. Tsadaq might also justifiably be translated as vindicated, or restored, or justified. It depends on the context, right? I believe, that in the context of the passage, the primary meaning is the word, restore. Cleansed, yes, but I think the primary meaning is the word restore, and in fact, many translations of the Bible use the word restored. In context, the word restored is more applicable, because what the angel was talking about is this work that had been done by the little horn, and he was saying, How long are these things going to continue to be cast down, be taken away? And the angel says, Unto two thousand three hundred days, then the sanctuary will be restored. Then these things will be restored and, we all know when the two thousand three hundred days ended. What this is saying is that in 1844 something was to be restored. Something was to be brought back into place that had been removed by the work of this little horn. Interestingly, when you continue in the prophecy, what follows the work of the great horn? The sanctuary is restored. Although we are talking about the sanctuary being restored, notice that the restoring of the sanctuary is parallel to the judgment. It is parallel to the stone being cut out. Even if you change the word from cleansed to restored, you can still see clearly, as you look at the chart, that the restoration of the sanctuary is something that is related to the judgment, to the stone being cut out, to the separation of Gods people from the rest of Christendom. It is all tied together.
Now, what really are we talking about when we look at this? What really happened when the daily was taken away? What does it mean that the sanctuary was cast down? Go back to Daniel 8:11: Yea, (speaking of Rome) he magnified himself even to the prince of the host. This is referring to Christ, He is the prince of the host, and that is another reason why this horn could, by no stretch of the imagination, refer to Antiochus Epiphanes. He ruled over 150 years before Christ was born. This horn magnified himself to the prince of the hosts. In fact, a little later on, in verse 25 it says, And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. We are talking about a power that existed which rose up against Christ and the things that Christ stood for. This certainly never could apply to Antiochus Epiphanes. The prophecy is clearly talking about Rome.
Now, the Bible says specifically that he took away the daily, he cast down the place of Christs sanctuary and he cast down truth to the ground; truths such as the atonement, the Sabbath, and more than any other, the truth about God, as well as many other truths. The place of Christ as our only mediator was taken away. All of these things have been fulfilled in the work of Rome. All of these truths were cast down to the ground by the Papacy. In fact, as you go to the Bible and read through the New Testament, you find that there are hints and there are clear statements of some great darkness that is to come upon the Christian church. While Paul was speaking to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus in Acts 20:29, he said, For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. God opened to his mind the truth that a great darkness would come upon the Christian church. Paul looked into the future and saw something terrible coming and he tried to warn the people about it.
We can read one of these prophecies in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, where speaking of the coming of Christ, Paul writes, Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. There was to be a falling away from the faith, or what we refer to as the great apostasy.
Now, I want you to consider something. There was a time upon this planet when something existed that encapsulated everything that was necessary to bring Gods church to perfection. There was a time in the history of this earth when everything was in place that was necessary to bring Gods church to perfection. When Jesus walked on this earth, the Bible says of Him, that the people who dwelt in darkness saw a great light. Something happened on this planet more wonderful than the universe had ever seen. It is interesting that the people who walked with Jesus for three-and-a-half years came out of that experience and testified that the message they carried was the only truth, the only thing that was necessary for men to learn. In fact, the apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:11 that the gospel he received he did not learn from man. He said that if anybody brought in anything other than the gospel that he preached, that person was to be accursed. You know, one of the interesting things I notice these days, especially in our movement but I guess also everywhere, is that people are always coming up with some new light. I believe in new light, but I believe that new light is an expansion and a development upon what is already established, not brand new things that come out of the blue. When Jesus left, He said, Go into all the world and what I have given to you, preach it to every nation, and when it is preached everywhere, then shall the end come. And Paul says, But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8, 9)
What the apostles had was the glory and the light that God wanted for this planet. There was a time in the history of this world when the light that shone on this world was the true light. Those men were filled with the Holy Spirit. It was here, but the apostles told us, Jesus told us, and all the prophecies indicate, that out of that great experience there would come something that was called a falling away. Humanity and the Christian faith would rapidly go downhill. Paul said that in his time the mystery of iniquity already was at work. The mysterious, devilish power that Paul prophesied would come appeared! It took away the daily, it cast down the sanctuary to the ground, and it cast the truth to the ground. For nearly two millennia the world was in darkness, but the prophecy says it shall not always be so! The sanctuary shall be restored; men would not always grope in darkness. The principles of the papacy would not always afflict the minds of humanity; there was coming a time when, in Gods own good purpose, the sanctuary was to be restored. The truths that once existed on this earth were to return; they were to be restored. That was Gods plan. That is what this prophecy is aboutthe restoration of the sanctuary and the finishing of the mystery involved the judgment. So, I am saying our pioneers were right, but I am also saying there was a greater meaning in that statement that they did not emphasize. It is a restoration. It is a bringing back of something that was lost.
Now, to really appreciate what this means and how we fit into it, you have to ask yourself fairly and honestly the question, What is it that was lost? When you go to the New Testament, you find the true gospel being preached, yes, but what is the emphasis in the New Testament? What is the thing that these men considered to be the most essential truth of everything that they were saying? Notice what John says at the conclusion of his gospel account, But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31) The sum totality, the essence of what John goes through all this trouble of writing his gospel for, is that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, is the Son of God, and that believing this you might have life. This is the heart of the gospel. We say John 3:16 is the gospel in miniature. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Do you think that if Satan wanted to attack the truth, that if he saw a light break out on the earth and wanted to destroy it, that he would attack everything else except the greatest truth and the heart of that message? The heart of that message, the central point, is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That is the focal point of Satans attack.
Satan rarely works in the way that we expect him to. He rarely works in a straightforward and open manner. He disguises his work, doesnt he? So, he would think it to be wonderful if he could get Christians to say Jesus is the Son of God and not really believe it. In the doctrine of the Trinity Satan has produced his masterpiece and struck at the very heart of the gospel, destroying everything that ever gave us a hope of coming to perfection, everything that ever gave us a hope of fulfilling Gods purposes.
You know, I have wondered over the years why this truth about God wasnt emphasized more, but everything must be proclaimed in Gods good time. Sometimes darkness takes a long time to fully dissipate, but God promised that at the end of the two thousand three hundred days, He was going to undo all the damage that the Papacy had done. Isnt it amazing that we emphasize the Lord of the Sabbath and we talk about the investigative judgment and miss the real issues in the judgment, and that we fail to see the greater questions before the universe?
We say the Reformation was a great event, and so it was. We said in the past, and many people still insist, that in the Reformation, the gospel was restored to the world. We miss the point. What is the real heart of the gospel? Is it primarily about how man is saved? That is what the Reformation emphasized, but there is a greater question before the universe than the question of mans salvation. That question is, What kind of person is God? That is the greatest question in the universe. That is the thing that Lucifer attacked at the beginning. Before man was even created, he attacked Gods character and this is the great issue before the universe. The salvation of man is important, but it is a part of the process of restoring that truth about the kind of individual God really is. That is the real issue and the Reformation did not deal with that question. That is the heart of the gospel that the apostles preached.
When Paul said we are a part of His body, of His flesh and of His bones, those peoples minds expanded and grasped the reality that the kind of God that we serve is beyond our wildest imaginings. He is a God who loves us so much that He allowed His only begotten Son to experience intense suffering and the fear of eternal death, because of His love for His creatures. But more than that, the gospel teaches us about a God who is so wonderfully close that He gives us of His very own life. These two things have been destroyed by the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity doctrine teaches that Jesus was not actually, in the true sense, the begotten Son of God. It is difficult to escape from the truth that God says, I will dwell in them, and I will walk in them. (2Corinthians 6:16) The gospel truth is that truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1John 1:3) However, the Trinity doctrine tries to tell me that instead of this fellowship, I am dealing with a third being. It tells me that the person who is really with me is somebody else apart from my Father and my Brother, when Jesus He says, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23) Jesus prayed, I in them, and thou in me. (John 17:23) How plain! How wonderful to go to my bed at night, or to walk through a dark forest, or to go into the greatest danger and say, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. (Psalm 23:4) How wonderful!
But Trinitarians say, No, we are dealing with a stranger; a third being. God and Jesus are in heaven, but their representative, a different person, is here. They destroy the root of our salvation. They destroy the hope of fellowship by this false doctrine. I say today, without apology, that it is Satan who is responsible. He uses great agencies in doing it and he sought to destroy these truths, but God says they will not always be hidden. Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be restored. There was to come a day in Gods own good time when a movement would arise on this planet in which God would restore the truths of the gospel. The light would shine again. I am going to tell you, it is the most amazing thing to look at the beginning of the Advent movement, for you find within that movement the truth about Godthat the Father is the only true God and Jesus is the only begotten Son. (John 17:3; 3:16) When detractors write about it, they say, most of our pioneers believed in Arianism (in this context, a term loosely used to describe a non-Trinitarian belief), as they liked to call it, or Semi-Arianism, but those who are really truthful say all of our pioneers denied the trinity doctrine, for it was unanimously held by the early pioneers that God is not a Trinity. It was something that God gave to the Advent movement at the beginning. That is the most amazing thing I learned when I started to study this. I felt so cheated and so deceived. I should have been told. Even if I was a Trinitarian, I should have known about this. I should have been told that we didnt always believe in the Trinity. God gave this to the Adventist church; the truth about the Sabbath, the judgment, the heavenly sanctuary, and all these things, but especially the truth about Himself! He restored everything that the Papacy took away. God brought it back in that early Advent movement.
Why did He bring it back? Because Christs kingdom will never be set up, the final overthrow of the beast will not occur, there will never even be the judgment and the separation, until the sanctuary is restored. This is the critical thing. The catalyst that brings about all these things is the restoration of the gospel to the world. We are not dealing with just another theory or doctrine. People get excited and say, Do you know what the church has done? They have changed the teaching on the nature of Christ. Man! That is their big thing! They say, Do you know what the church has done? There are Catholics who are in the pulpits of the Adventist church. They get excited about all these things, and yet, the greatest of apostasy, they leave out! The most important issue, the heart of the gospel is left out! The thing that involves the destiny of this world, they fail to see. The Bible teaches that the gospel that came to the world in the time of the apostles is the gospel that will finish the work and perfect Gods people. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans 1:16) Our problem is not that we need a new gospel, because there never was and never will be another gospel. Our problem is that we have not understood the gospel. The darkness brought in by the papacy has corrupted our vision and today we have difficulty seeing things the way they really are. We are confused by all kinds of little sounds all over the place, but God wants us to see the real heart of it, and when we understand it and come to grips with it, like the apostles did, I tell you, the light will shine on this planet again.
So, we go to Revelation chapter 10 and here we see this mighty angel coming down from heaven, with a rainbow on his head and his face like the sun, and he has a little book in his hand. May I remind you this book is open. Everything that you read in these prophecies has a meaning and the book is open. If the book were closed, what would that suggest to you? You cant read it, it is not intended that you should understand it, but this book is open. God is saying something to us by the very fact that it is open. He is saying the contents of this book are now to be read and understood. Now, this angel raises his hand to heaven and he swears by Him that lives forever and ever that there should be time no longer. He places one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, and he takes an oath by God Almighty that there should be time no longer. When the seventh angel begins to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished. Then he goes to John and gives him the book and says, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. (Revelation 10:9) John took the book and he ate it and he said it was sweet like honey in his mouth, but as soon as it got to his belly it was bitter. And the angel said he must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (v. 11)
Interestingly, in Daniel chapter 12 you see an event that is almost exactly the same. It says Daniel saw an angel who stands upon the waters of the river. He is standing on a river, and he raises his hand, just like this one in Revelation, and he swears by Him that lives forever and ever, just like this one in Revelation, but his words are a little different. He swears that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7) The angel tells Daniel, But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. (v.4) The book to be sealed is the book of Daniel. Daniel was asking him about something that happened earlier, but he said this book is shut up and is sealed until the time of the end. Now you come to Revelation 10 and the angel has a little book, but it is open and he also says something pertaining to time, that there should be time no longer. Now, eat the book and see what happens. You cant escape the conclusion that God is saying go back to the book of Daniel, read the book of Daniel.
How do you eat the book? Spiritually speaking, the only way you can eat the book is to absorb its contents. You read and study it. There is a difference between the experience of the mouth and the experience of the belly when you eat something. In your mouth you are conscious of taste. Your experience of what you are dealing with is, to some extent, superficial. The real value and benefit of the food to you is when it gets to your belly. Only minor superficial digestion takes place in your mouth. What we see happening here is that John, representative of the Christian church, stands before the angel and he eats the book. Gods people were to take the book of Daniel and they were to read it, and when they first read it without proper understanding, when superficial digestion was taking place, they would be overjoyed. They would be filled with ecstasy, with delight, and with sweetness. In a little while, reality would set in. Better digestion would take place. They would begin to absorb what they were really dealing with, and what would happen? The experience would be bitter.
Now, I would like somebody who criticizes the beginning of the Advent movement to explain this prophecy for me. I try to be open-minded. I do try and I do pray for open-mindedness. When I read something, I not only pray about it but I try to be reasonable. I have never encountered anything that so perfectly fulfills the specifications of this prophecy as the beginning of the Advent movement. Nothing! The early Adventists studied the book of Daniel and were delighted when they read it. They anticipated the coming of Jesus. Nobody ever believed it as much as they believed it. They gave up everything for the hope and the faith that they had, but when they understood it better, they were bitterly disappointed. But look at the wonderful last line of Revelation 10. Out of that bitter experience, what happened? You must prophesy again. Where? Not just to America, England, and Jamaica, but Before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Did we ever have any commission to preach anything to the world except the everlasting gospel? Was there ever anything else to preach to the world except the everlasting gospel? Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14) And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6) The only message we ever had to preach to the world was the everlasting gospel. These people could not preach to nations, languages, tongues, and kings unless the gospel was restored. Out of this bitter-sweet experience, the gospel was finally restored and so the angel says you must prophesy again. We must understand this prophesying in the context of how John the Baptist prophesied. What miracle did John the Baptist perform? None! Yet, he was the greatest prophet. It is not saying primarily that these people are miracle workers, but that they are forerunners of Christ. They have a message that is to go to the entire planet straight from the Word of God.
Now, interestingly, it says that you must prophesy again. When was the first prophesying? If you are to prophesy again before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings, you must do something that was done before, right? The only time before that the true gospel was ever preached on this earth was in the apostolic times. All over the centuries in this darkness, it never was preached. So when the angel says you must prophesy again, he is speaking to John as a representative of the Christian Church. He is saying, now you have the message, now you can go before the world again. Up until 1844, there never was a message for the entire world apart from apostolic times. That downhill slide took it all the way, but in 1844 (if we believe in the prophecy of the 2300 days and if we can identify 1844 as the date), we have a destiny. We are a movement with a great destiny. We are a people God calls in this remnant of time and He says, Look here, I want to finish the mystery. I want Christ to receive His kingdom, but first something has to happen. That is what the angel comes down to say. He says, The mystery of God is going to be finished. So, what is the point of Revelation 10? The angel says, Before the mystery is finished, there has to be the preaching of the gospel on this planet. When that is done, then the conditions are in place that Gods people can be perfected, so that the mystery can be finished and Christ can receive His kingdom, finally, ultimately, at last.
This is what true Adventism is all about. Does it move you? It moves me. I am burdened when I think about this, because I greatly desire that you understand what this means, brothers and sisters. I desire that you should believe it, because uncertainty makes your hands weak. We might talk all we want about how wonderful Gods love is, and that God gave His Son, but until we believe in our heart of hearts that God raised us and called us to the kingdom for such a time as this, we will never take up the mantle; we will never lift the torch as it is our privilege to. We must believe that we are a people with a destiny. We are a people who God brought into existence for this moment with a great purpose. We must believe because it is the truth. If we cant believe it, what is the point? Well be having camp meetings and listening to sermons for the next one hundred years. The more I look at this, the clearer it appears to my vision. I see truth. I see God saying, Yes, I raised up the Advent movement for this. So what if there has been a great offshoot that has pirated the name and everything else that belongs to what the movement started with. So what about it? Where there are still a few people who know the truth, God will use them. All God is waiting for is people who will say, Well, Father, I believe. Here I am. Do what you will. I am ready for anything.
The disciples were not educated by the great institutions of their day. We dont have many of the highly educated among us, but I am confident when I look at us. The most educated disciple became the traitor. Maybe next in line for education might have been Matthew. He was a trained accountant, but the rest were fishermen and common people. They came off the streets and they came from the common walks of life. When they went through the school of Christ, they were not thinking like the world anymore. They were not concerned about the next mortgage payment or the security of a bank account, or the insurance policy. The only thing that possessed them was Christ and Him crucified. The love of God absorbed their minds day and night! They gave up all things because they believed and they committed themselves wholeheartedly. God will do the same thing with the least of us, if we can only believe in the truth that He has presented to us. So, I hope and pray that, by His grace, our perspective has been adjusted a little bit to really recognize what God is trying to say to us and that this will make a difference in the lives of every one of us.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10) The Scriptures instruct us to do well, especially to, and for, the brethren. Jesus also tells us, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
I want to share a special prayer request with our brethren that comes very close to my heart. About six years ago we came in contact with Abraham Hershberger and his wife, Mattie. They grew up old-order Amish, following the traditions and ways of the Amish. These dear souls grew up with an honest desire to follow truth and when presented with the Advent message, they were very quick to see the truth and desire to follow it all the way. They especially rejoiced to see the wonderful love of the only true God Who gave His only begotten Son for our sins. They also loyally embraced the keeping of all of Gods commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment. Later, they were baptized in the ocean by Brother Lynnford Beachy. I was able to personally meet Abraham and his family a few years ago and I can vouch for their honestly, kindness, hospitality, love of God and love of the brethren.
Abrahams and Matties acceptance of the truth has caused a real problem within their families and within the Amish Church. These truths that we understand to be so wonderful are not in accepted by the Amish faith. Abraham wrote some beautiful letters to his former brethren appealing to them to be open-minded and to consider the truth. (See Present Truth, September 2000.) Finally, they were disfellowshipped from the Amish Church. The Amish practice shunning and Abraham, Mattie, and their children (Melinda, Katie, Uriah, and Benjamin) were put out of the church and treated by many as if they did not exist.
Even though he has been cast out from family and church, Abraham has attempted to honor his parents all he can. For this reason, he has maintained as much of his former Amish lifestyle as possible. This includes farming, doing some woodworking, and other tasks that he can do without electricity or using mechanized farming equipment. Abraham has horses instead of a tractor.
Abraham realizes that he may never be accepted again within the Amish community. He and his family have fully cast their lot with the Advent movement. Those outside of the Amish community may not realize how hard this is, but the grace of the Lord has been sufficient for them! (2Corinthians 12:9)
Now, due to his faith, Abraham must leave the property he has rented for the last few years. It is a beautiful site in Ethridge, Tennessee, seemingly perfect for an Amish type of lifestyle. Because of his acceptance of the truth, the owner cannot in good faith sell the property to Abraham. Instead it has been sold to another person and Abraham and his family must move.
This will not be easy for Abraham and his family as there are not many places that have houses with barns, sheds, and good farming land available in his area. Your prayers are appreciated at this time to help Abraham and his family to locate a place to rent, or possibly buy, where he can continue to live his faith and try to maintain the lifestyle that he also believes he should continue. If you know of a place that might be suitable in your area (preferably mid Tennessee area), or know someone who may be able to help in this matter, please contact Abraham directly and let him know you saw this prayer request in Old Paths. Abraham does not have a phone and, of course, does not email. His address is: Abraham Hershberger, 214 Campbellsville Pike, Ethridge, TN 38456. If you write to us, we will just have to forward your message to Abraham, so if you write, please write directly to him. Even if it is just a card of encouragement, I know that he will be thankful. -- Allen Stump
The Lord through the psalmist says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; but with many, propriety of conduct and self-respect are sacrificed to the smallest temptation. One act of irreverence removes the barrier for the next step in this direction. Each succeeding step will be easier to take.
Mocking and ridicule during religious service can be expressed by the eye and gesture. The Lords name is profaned in this way, and the ministration of his word is to such a savor of death unto death. Every word, every act, and every thought given up to flow in this wrong channel, is registered in the books of heaven. A sneer will do much to efface religious impressions; it is difficult to answer, and often causes great unpleasantness. This is one of Satan's most successful weapons; but the only safe way to meet this class of opposition is to fix the eye on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Then your faith will remain untarnished. Jesus invites you to Look and live. Behold your Redeemer; think of him; talk of his love. If you do this, you will be safe. You will do a good work in reflecting the light of Bible truth, and will bear much fruit to the glory of God. And in the day of Christ's appearing, you will gain the overcomers reward, a crown of life. (Mrs. E. G. White, Youths Instructor, October 15, 1896)
Report on African Trip
By Esther McDaniel
I have been asked to give a report of my visit to East Africa, which took place in November of 2004. This was the second time that I was able to make such a visit. In October of 2003 I was privileged to visit the countries of Kenya and Tanzania. During this last trip, I visited to visit Kenya and Uganda.
The purpose of these visits was to facilitate a work with orphans through the Hearth to Hearth Ministries orphan project. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this ministry, or this project, this is a separate ministry from Smyrna Gospel Ministries, but it is a supporting ministry, and it could not exist without the help and cooperation of Smyrna. We are greatly indebted to them for their support in love, time, equipment usage, and technical expertise, as well as their prayers. I see the two ministries as working hand in hand to share the message of the truth about who God is, and how His great love is expressed to mankind in the giving of His real, true, only begotten Son.
That said, and to lay a clear background for my report, I must tell you that for the past four years, in addition to directing the Hearth to Hearth Ministries, I have also been working as a secretary to Lynnford Beachy, my son-in-law. While I truly love working for him in that capacity, I must confess that, with the tremendous growth of the orphan project in the past year, I have not been doing the position justice. We are praying that God will soon provide someone to take up these duties. [If you, or someone you know, might be interested, please contact Lynnford.]
In my work for Lynnford, I was involved in helping him organize his own visit to Africa in September of 2001, at which time I became acquainted, through e-mail, with many of the brethren that we are working with on that continent. That correspondence has continued and grown, fired to some extent Im sure, by my lifelong love for the African people.
During my visit to Tanzania in 2003, I was thrilled to meet many of these men and their familiesfrom Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenyaat a camp meeting held in Arusha. David Clayton and Howard Williams, of Jamaica, also attended that camp meeting as they were in Africa at the same time. They were holding meetings in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana so our paths crossed and they were privileged to visit our two orphanages in Kenya as well.
As I have worked with these dear brethren of Africa, it has become increasingly apparent to me that one cannot divorce the work for widows and orphans from the work of the gospel ministry. Especially on a continent so heavily ravaged by HIV/AIDS, is such a work needed. There is no way that pastors in Africa can spread the message of Gods love while ignoring the desperate needs of so many people right on their doorstep. Pastor Maurice (at the Hope for Children Center in Oyugis, Kenya) has over 1,000 names300 of them with photographsof children wishing to be in our orphanage there. Every day he sadly turns many away.
Ellen White has said: With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the world! (The Youths Instructor, March 3, 1908) My vision for the African orphan project is to take in orphaned children whom Satan is trying to destroy, and rightly train them to give the loud cry of the third angel of Revelation 14.
With that background, let me proceed to share my report of my recent visit and of the African work in general:
I was accompanied by Leon Holt and Heidi Stump (daughter of Allen Stump) from our group here in West Virginia, Leland Brummett from Virginia and Liana Manning from the state of Washington. What a blessing their participation was! The three young people (Heidi, Leland, and Liana) were a real hit with the children at the orphanages, and a help in many other ways as well.
When the African pastors learned that I was making a visit, the thought first and foremost in their minds was to hold meetings. Visitors from America are an attraction and they envisioned a means of reaching very many more people with the message. (I can remember when visitors from Africa held a similar attraction here in America.) Since the purpose of the trip was to facilitate the growth of the orphan project, there were no funds available to hold the large meetings they were hoping for, nor did we have anyone going along who was an experienced speaker. Yet I knew that meetings would be held everywhere we went. Leon Holt, who is a former educator, agreed to take on the responsibility. I do not know how we would have gotten along without him. In fact, Heidi and I (who were both well acquainted with him) were amazed to see the way God used him to reach the hearts of the people.
When we arrived at the airport in Nairobi, we were met by Pastor Moses Nyamora and his wife, Prisca, along with some of the children from the Glory Childrens Center. Pastor Maurice had also sent the van from the Hope Center, and we were introduced to its driver, Matthews. After a short interval of negotiation with the airport authorities, we were able to load our 14 70-pound packages into the van and were transported, along with them, to the Glory Center.
It was thrilling to see the way God worked to allow us to take all of those packages onto the plane in Washington, D.C. without additional charges and to, again, watch Him work to allow us to take them into the country free of duty. In addition to the gifts of clothing, books, toys, and other items for the children at our centers and for the Congolese refugee believers in Nairobi, we had a brand new computer and printer for Pastor Adam Mwambene and another used computer for Pastor K. A. Kitomari, both of whom are doing translating work in Tanzania. These had been donated for this purpose.
It was thrilling for me to again spend a bit of time with Moses and Prisca and their family. Last year when I had visited them they were living in a tiny home with nine orphans in addition to their own four children. On this visit, I was surprised to learn that the total number of children in their home(a larger home this time) had grown to 30! We all felt so welcome and at home at the Glory Center. (Three additional children have been added since our visit.) We all felt so welcome and at home at the Glory Center.
At the services on Sabbath, Leon was called upon to officiate in the dedication services for one of the Congolese refugee babies. In the afternoon, he again was called upon to dedicate a baby to God, this time in the family dwelling. Leon was very moved and humbled by these experiences.
As I have worked with Pastor Nyamora, I have often been awed by his tremendous faith in God. Over the past year as the number of children they were housing kept growing and the group of refugee believers also grew, many times I have wondered just where the money would come from to meet their needs. There have been times when things were tight. One day they even went without food, but God has never let them down. Money would be sent with the counsel, Moses, please be careful how you use this because I have no idea when there will be any more. A short time later he would inform me that he had visited the refugees and they had no food, or one of them needed emergency medical treatment, and the money was gone. I think I might have been tempted to reason that I had several orphaned children, in addition to my own family, dependent on me so I wasnt in a position to help, but Moses attitude has always been, God supplied what I hold in my hand and He will supply more to meet our needs.
One thing I hoped to accomplish on this visit was to lay the groundwork for making the Glory Center an official project of Hearth to Hearth Ministries and begin getting sponsors for the children there. At the present time, nine of their children have been sponsored.
On Monday, we set off for Oyugis and the Hope for Children Center. We have been working with Pastor Maurice and his wife, Edith, at that Center for two-and-a-half years. We have seen it grow from a few orphans in their home to the current number of 114 children. Pastor Maurice is also a man of great faith in God and God has used him tremendously in the work in Kenya. What a delight to pull up to the Hope Center and see the gates flung wide and the children stream forth, running, shouting, waving and hugging in their excitement to greet us. Many of them had mingled their tears with my own as we had parted just a year before.
This time our visit was extra special because they were all so excited to share with us the progress that had been made on their very own new orphanage. As they escorted us over the grounds and through the new dormitories, the latrines, and the partially-constructed dining hall, I could not help but be amazed at what they had accomplished. Just eight short months earlier we had received the donation to purchase the first piece of land. Already the land had been cleared and fenced, many fruit trees, avocado trees and over 2,000 pineapples had been planted and dormitories were ready for occupancy. Pastor Maurice was pleased to show me his surprise: a large tin building built entirely without our help or knowledgefrom donated used tin and other supplies furnished with his own money.
Space does not permit me to detail very much of what we saw and accomplished at the Hope Center (or anywhere). During our first week there, Leland, Liana, and Heidi spent time at the construction site while Leon and I went to the neighboring town of Kisii to hold meetings. The following week Leon, Liana, and I, accompanied by one of the orphans from Hope Center, traveled to Uganda while Heidi and Leland stayed on to help at the construction site.
The work on the new orphanage was complicated by the fact that the local government kept ordering the builders to stop building until the orphanage was registered. Pastor Maurice was not willing to do this. On October 28 just prior to our leaving the United States he wrote, I have been pleading with the people who insist that I must register our organization. First they want me to register the ministry and also the orphanage. But there are so many problems with registration as far as spiritual matters are concerned. Construction of the orphanage was halted by the authorities on five different occasions. Maurice finally decided that the thing to do was to go ahead and move in, which they did the day after we left Oyugis. The large tin building was very useful to them since the dining hall still needed a roof and all that had been accomplished on the administration building was the digging of the foundation. Maurice believed the dining hall and kitchen would be ready for use by the end of December and that the administration building would be completed by the end of January. I am trusting that they are now able to use these two buildings.
Our visit to Uganda was both thrilling and frustrating. It was thrilling because I was, again, able to meet several pastors and others with whom I had previously corresponded, and frustrating because meetings had been scheduled for every day of our visit except the last and there was just no time left in which to organize a work for orphansthe main purpose of my visit. Pastor Alfred Mukhooli had written to me two years earlier, sending a list of over 70 children that needed to be helped. I am happy to report that, in spite of the fact that I was unable to accomplish my purpose for that visit, I am confident that Gods purpose was accomplished.
The meetings were mostly well attended by people from the community and pastors of various denominations. Many orphans were also in attendance. I was very pleased to also meet Pastor William Bigirabagabo from Rwanda. He had attempted to attend the meetings at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania during Lynnfords visit and the camp meeting in Arusha, Tanzania during my visit of 2003, but was frustrated both times due to civil unrest and government red tape. On this visit he was anxious to return home early because of his wifes pregnancy. On December 20 I was delighted to receive word that their baby boy had arrived.
The last day of our stay in Uganda Leon traveled to Kampala to hold meetings while the services of a vehicle and driver were obtained to take Liana and me out to remote rural areas to visit in the homes of many widows and grandmothers who are raising large numbers of orphaned children. This voyage into the African bush was the highlight of my visit to Uganda and truly opened my eyes to the great need for bicycles if these pastors are to work effectively in their countries.
From Uganda we returned to the Hope Center for another week, and then returned to the Glory Center in Nairobi for the latter part of our last week in Africa. I was happy to again visit with Pastor Adam Mwambene who had come to pick up the computers. Before he accepted this message, he had traveled widely in East Africa in his former position with the SDA Reform Movement. It was very inspiring to listen to his reports of the spread of the message in Tanzania.
One of the days of that last week was spent at the refugee camp, visiting our believers there. We visited in the homes of refugees from both Rwanda and Congo. One cannot fully appreciate the work these African pastors are doing without an understanding of the large numbers of refugees and how they are maintained. The economy in these countries is such that the refugees are not allowed to work. They are allowed to stay in crude shelters (not unlike the homes of many non-refugee families), in exchange for their labors to the landowners, but they are not allowed to work to earn money to feed or clothe their families because that would be taking work away from the natives of that country. When these refugees accept this message and stop attending services at the Catholic Church, they are no longer allowed to receive food from the Catholic distribution centers. Truly, the pastors who work with them, and the refugees themselves, must count the cost before accepting such a message.
Our visit to Africa was a life-changing event for each of us and one that we will not soon forget. We found the African people to be warm, cheerful, genuine and hospitable. In spite of the hardships endured by those who step out to accept this unpopular message under such already-impoverished conditions, many are still following in their steps. The dedication I have witnessed in the lives of these African workers can best be summed up by a statement in a recent e-mail I received from Onward Makache of South Africa. He belongs to a group of young people who are very limited in resources are doing everything they can to spread these wonderful truths. Here is what he said, Pray for us that we might present this gospel in truth and exactness so that there will be harmony in the gospel. We are planning to die so that the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven might reach thousands of people, if He wills and permits. Surely God has taken the work into His own hands.
As for the work with orphans, God gave me this work when I least expected it. Our all-volunteer ministry is continually being challenged and we are always looking for volunteers with time and expertise to help us. Perhaps there is someone out there who is qualified to even lead out in this ministry. If so, I would be happy to remain, Lynnford Beachys secretary.
(If you would like to help with the orphan project, or contact Sister McDaniel, her postal address is, P O Box 647, Pineville, WV 24874; her phone number is (304) 294-8424; her e-mail address is, firstname.lastname@example.org Editor)
Florida Camp Meeting Report
The brethren from Orlando hosted their annual camp meeting this year from January 26 -30 at the River Forest Campground located in the southeast corner of the Ocala National Forest, on the scenic St. Johns River. This has been a camp meeting that many, especially those in the northern part of the country, have really come to look forward to and enjoy. This year we were not disappointed.
The theme of the camp meeting was prayer. The schedule was not as full as in times past and while there were enough meetings to keep all but the most robust busy, there was also some time for fellowship, reflection, and even rest for some.
Although the total attendance was not as large as in previous years, the camp meeting was well represented with brethren from several parts of the country. There is something very appealing about going to this camp meeting. It is not just the sunny weather in January. (We did have a small amount of rain and cool evenings, but the weather overall was really blessed.) The brethren that host the meetings are always so friendly and genuine, making you feel like you are at home.
Brother Jim Pendley was the main evening speaker. His talks formed a series of studies on being connected to Jesus and bearing fruit. The studies centered around John 15.Brother Jim used many Bible texts and Spirit of Prophecy references to teach, illustrate, and apply the truth of his message.
Smyrna was well represented with three speakers. Brother Dennis Robertson shared three messages that stayed very close to the theme of the camp meeting. As those who have heard Dennis in the past know he is always a very interesting speaker. Brothers Lynnford Beachy and Allen Stump also shared messages of encouragement.
Brother David Clayton was one of the favorite speakers at the meeting. He had two messages in particular that stirred the congregation. His Sabbath morning sermon, Destiny of a Movement, was on the prophecy of Revelation 10 and has been printed as the main article in this monthss issue of Old Paths. In the last message of camp meeting, David appealed for a full surrender to Christ in all things. Davids own testimony of how he had struggled with some things, and then got the victory really made the message very real and powerful.
David Harvey gave two very interesting studies on Christian education that were challenging to say the least. They sure generated a lot of discussion.
Brother David Fahnestock recorded the meetings on video tape and hopes to have copies available soon. These will be made available through Old Paths. Brother Chuck Clifford and his daughter, Rebecca, did digital audio recordings and when they become available we will also let you know.
For those with Internet access we have posted 100 pictures on the Smyrna website. The link you will need to access these pictures is: http://www.smyrna.org/2005flcm.
Many thanks to Ed Cryus, Jim & Jeri Raymond, Tim Lance, David Fahenstock, and all the rest unnamed warriors from the Orlando group that worked so hard to help make everything possible! -- Allen Stump
WV Camp Meeting Notice
After attending the Florida camp meeting, I have the camp meeting fever! I am really looking forward to the West Virginia camp meeting and I am sure that you must be also! At least I sure hope you are!
The West Virginia camp meeting will be June 21-25. We have chosen this date, in part, to help accommodate those traveling from overseas who would like to attend the General Conference Session to be held June 30July 9 in St. Louis, Missouri.
We are currently planning on speakers and/or visitors from Africa, Australia, Jamaica, and Romania, but we are praying for others as well. This should be a wonderful experience. With the camp meetings close proximity in time to the General Conference session our theme will be Sharing our Experience.
As always, we eagerly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship. As in the past, the meetings will be held at Smyrna and camping is free to all. Each camper will be responsible for their own meals, except on Sabbath when a haystack lunch will be served. Kitchen facilities will not be available but camp stoves are welcome in the camping area.
This is a camp meeting. You need to bring a tent or make other arrangements. We do not have cabins or rooms available. Smyrna has a few tents and other camping supplies for those who do not have their own and cannot afford to purchase them. The supply is limited, so if you need to use a tent, camp stove, sleeping bag, or other items we may have, please request early. We have four showers with hot and cold water available and a new walkway around them that has greatly improved their entrance. Dont forget items such as tents, bedding, flashlights, food, toiletries, and insect repellent. Let our dress and deportment be such as becomes Christians.
We plan to have some meetings for all age groups except children under age 4. Weather permitting, nightly bonfires with singing will be open to the young and young at heart.
The day after camp meeting last year some of the brave at heart from the camp meeting went on a white-water rafting trip down the lower part of the New River. I am currently planning a trip on the upper section of the New River for this year. The upper New River is much milder than its lower counterpart. This trip would most likely incorporate rafts for those who wish to ride or paddle passively and inflatable kayaks, called duckies, for those who wish to carve their own path. Duckies are stable and easy-to-use boats that allow the river runner to get a personal, close-up feel of the water. Many consider a trip on the upper New in a duckie to be just as nice, as a raft trip on the lower New. If you are interested in the trip, please let me know soon so I can be making plans. -- Allen Stump
Jamaica Camp Meeting Notice
By David Clayton
I want to simultaneously announce and make the last call of notice for the 2005 Jamaica camp meeting. The meetings will begin on the evening of Thursday the 24th of March and conclude on the morning of Monday the 28th of March. We will officially break camp on the morning of the 28th. These dates will include Good Friday and Easter Monday; both of which are public holidays in Jamaica.
The venue for this camp meeting will be Ocean View Campground near Lovers Leap in the South Field area of St. Elizabeth.
The cost to stay at the campground will be $6.00 (U.S.) per night per person. Rooms will be available for all who do not wish to tent.
A lunch will be provided each day. Each person will need to make preparations for any other meals they may wish to partake of.
Your time is almost up to plan on being there so do not delay any longer. We anticipate that it will be a high spiritual time.
Keep checking the news section of our website, http://www.restorationministry.com for further updates about our camp meeting or call us at:(876) 625-2785.
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 email@example.com
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013