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. 6 Straight and Narrow June 2005
by David Clayton
(Editors Note: The following study is an edited version of a sermon preached at the 2005 Jamaican camp meeting. I believe that the principles it teaches are extremely important to the people of God at this time.)
I have learned that many times our attitude, our usefulness, and our focus in life depend on the foundational principles upon which we build. If those foundational principles are not correct, then that which we build is sure to end in failure. One of the foundational principles that we need to understand involves the issue of Babylon, its identity and nature.
One of the certainties that Christians agree upon is that we are all supposed to “come out of Babylon.” I don’t say just Seventh-day Adventist people or people who believe in the Godhead message. I say all Christians. Everybody knows that they are to come out of Babylon. We are certain of that. Even the Rastafarians curse Babylon, although they say that Babylon is the police, some Christians and other things. People do not have a problem understanding that we are to come out of Babylon. The problem is the difficult understanding what Babylon is! Almost every religious group that you go to has a different definition of Babylon. When you consider it carefully, most people have been in the business of simply moving people from one place to the next when they say come out of Babylon. If you leave your seat and you sit in a seat in my church, you are out of Babylon. To most people, it is simply a matter of changing your geographic location and then you are out of Babylon. If you join my church or my religious group, you are out of Babylon. I want to demonstrate that there are foundational principles that go much deeper than that.
It is interesting that A. T. Jones (and I want us to remember this principle), said people always attacked the leaders of the Catholic Church. There were holy men in the Catholic Church way back in the days when it was just going into apostasy. There were people right through the ages that stood up and spoke against the abuses of these men. You know that one of the popes had children with his own daughter. Some of these popes were murderers, thieves, open criminals, and yet they remained as the head of the church. There were people inside the Catholic Church that spoke out strongly against these abuses but, do you know what they did? They always blamed the people for the condition. They always deplored the men they chose to be popes and the people who were in the position of bishops. Jones noted:
They denounced the men and the activities of the men, even of the Popes and the papal court, but still apologized and pleaded for the machine.
They condemned the evil practices, but justified the system by which alone it was possible that those practices could not only be perpetuated, but could even exist.
The times were evil, but “the church,” which made the times what they were, was “righteous!”
Church-men were bad; but “the church,” whose members and the expression of whose like those churchmen essentially were, was “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 of these practices, was “holy!”
Popes were demoniac; but the church, of which the Popes were the head the acting will, the guiding mind was divine! (Lessons from the Reformation, p. 104)
They always condemned the men, but they justified the system that created the men. They found it a most amazing thing that they would pick a most godly man to be the next pope or the next bishop and then to their utter astonishment, as soon as he became pope or bishop he became utterly corrupt. They wondered why it was that people couldn’t stay loyal and faithful even when they appeared that way at the beginning. The problem was not with the men. The problem was with the system that kept on corrupting the men, and that is why I say if we don’t build on the right foundational principles we find that something always goes wrong at the top. Jones continued:
So long as this delusion was systematically inculcated, blindly received, and fondly hugged, of course reformation was impossible.
But as soon as there arose men with the courage of conviction and the confidence of truth, and spoke out plainly and flatly that the Roman system is not The Church at all in any feature or in any sense, then The Reformation had begun.
That is how The Reformation came. And without that The Reformation never could have come. (Ibid., p. 106)
Brothers and sisters, as we look at our movement and this message that we have to take to the ends of the world, we need to be certain that we are building on the right principles, because if we are not, the same problems that have come to every church over the past two thousand years are going to destroy this movement. Mark my words. You can’t build on the same principles as the papacy and end up in a different place. Principles shape and determine what we become, so our foundational principles must be right. It is interesting that we can look at the Bible and the foundational principles of Jerusalem and of Israel and we then can find that the foundational principles of Babylon are very distinct and are the exact opposite of Zion’s.
To discover the foundational principles of Babylon we need to go back to the very beginning where Babylon began, at Babel. “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel.” (Genesis 10:8-10) Nimrod could not have been a servant of God because Babel was the place where the people rose up in rebellion against God to such a degree that God was compelled to confound their language and scatter them abroad upon the face of the earth.
Now, let’s notice a couple of things about Nimrod that will give us some insight into the kind of person he was. Nimrod was the great grandson of Noah. Cush, the son of Ham, was the father of Nimrod, and Ham was the son of Noah who looked upon his father’s nakedness. Under inspiration, Noah cursed Ham’s descendents. Nimrod was in such a state of rebellion against God that Nimrod’s name became proverbial upon the earth. By the third generation there were actually large groups of people living on the earth, and if you do the mathematics, you find out that this was easily possible in the space of five or six hundred years, considering how long these people lived. Even if they only lived two hundred years you would have had a pretty high population beginning to develop.
The Bible says Nimrod became a “mighty hunter before the LORD.” The study of history and of language reveals the idea behind this phrase, a “mighty hunter before the Lord.” Does it mean that he walked in the presence of God as a mighty hunter? Then how could he have built Babel? No, rather it suggests that he was opposed to God. When the people came out of the flood, they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jehovah had delivered them. They knew that there was no way humanity could have saved them from that catastrophe. They began to depend upon God even more and trust in Him, but two generations later Nimrod came and became such a prominent man that they began to depend on him and looked at him in such a way that they might say about another, “this man is great just like Nimrod, the one who is a mighty hunter instead of God.”
The idea is that the people began to come to the conclusion that instead of God being their protector, Nimrod was the one who was protecting them. He was a mighty hunter. If it were wild beasts or if it were bands of roving bandits, Nimrod, who was a mighty warrior, became the defender and protector of these people. He became a proverb. They began to look to him instead of looking to God. The Bible says that the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, later to become the foundation of the place that we call Babylon. That is very interesting. Nimrod was the first man upon earth who gathered the people together in groups and made himself a king over them. Before that time you had family groups. Each man became the head of his tribe and they lived in loose communities. No one dared to become a king. These people at first looked to God as their king. The ruler was simply the viceroy of the king.
Before him no ruler bore or claimed the title or dignity of king but only of “viceroy” of the god, that was held to be the king.
This clearly indicated the time when God was known as King and the true Ruler. And this time was so recent that even idolatrous men had not gotten so far from God that any one could be bold enough to claim the dignity and wear the title of king.
But Nimrod was just the bold man to do this, and was the first man in the world to do it.
The name Nimrod signifies, “rebellion, supercilious contempt,” or “the extremely impious rebel.”
He asserted his authority over religion along with all other things, and compelled all within the dominion to be of the idolatrous religion which he dictated. (Ibid., p. 409)
Nimrod gathered these groups together, placed them in communities called cities and he became the head over these people, setting himself up as their protector, and notice what happened when this system developed on the earth.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
The name Babel, in Hebrew means confusion. God made them confused at Babel, and it represents the futility of man’s attempt to be in the place of God. The very name carries that idea. But on that foundation, it says, Nimrod based his kingdom. Interestingly however, in the Chaldean language the term simply means, “the gate of heaven.”
Notice when the people built this place, they had three motives in mind, and I want us to mark those motives because I believe these are the foundational principles of Babylon.
First Principle of Bablyon: Salvation by Works
Nimrod and his followers wanted to build a tower to reach heaven. Why did they want to reach heaven? Which heaven did they want to reach? What was their purpose? Why would men even attempt to reach heaven? There are some suggestions that one of the ideas they had in mind was that they wanted to become great in the eyes of other people. Physically, they wanted an edifice that everybody would admire, but also I believe there is the suggestion that they were looking for a way to save themselves in case disaster came again. Remember they lived about two hundred years after the flood, which covered the highest mountain on the face of the earth. So, quite likely they were trying to build a tower so that they would have an escape route in case something like that happened again. This graphically illustrated mans way. They didnt want to depend on God. Nimrod devised a way that man would not need to depend on God but would have salvation just the same. That is a foundational principle of Babylon. I will be saved by my own inventions. I will be saved in my way. I will work out a way that I can have what God is offering and I dont need to go His way. That is the first principle of Babylon.
Second Principle of Babylon: The Desire for Adoration
The second principle is found where they said, “Let us make us a name.” When people want to make a name, what is the background motivation? What do they desire? Fame! Power! Recognition! I want people to know that I am somebody. I want people to look at me and admire what I am about. I don’t want people to think I am a back-of-the-wall somebody. I want them to know I am somebody big. When they look at me, they must have a desire to bow their heads. “Let us make a name.” The second principle of Babylon is the desire for adoration and even worship.
Third Principle of Babylon: Congregate Together
The third thing it says is, “Lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the earth.” What was wrong with being scattered abroad? God told man at the beginning that he should be fruitful and fill the earth. God’s intention was that humanity should scatter everywhere and fill the earth. Nimrod set out to defy God’s injunction and make man congregate together because human wisdom says there is safety and strength in numbers. If we congregate together, we become bigger and bigger, more prominent, and we can make a bigger impact on the world. So, the third principle of Babylon is to congregate.
You know, that is the basic principle of trade unions, right? Workers get together and they say that one person cannot make much impression, and we cannot get our rights, but when five hundred of us come together, the management will have to listen to us. The problem is when five hundred people come together and you are number five hundred one. They say we are going to demand this, and you say that you are not in agreement, but if you are a part of the union, by its very title of union, the implication is that what the majority says, you have to go with it. That is the whole idea behind a union, and that is one of the reasons why Ellen White very strongly counseled against Seventh-day Adventists becoming a part of a union. In fact, she said that the trade unions are one of the agencies that will bring a time of trouble upon this world such as never was. I know people just take it for granted that they join a union. You become a teacher, they give you the forms and you sign and become a part of the JTA (Jamaica Teacher’s Association). For almost any job you get, someone will say you cannot work there if you are not part of the union. The desire to compel people to conform to the majority, to do what the majority says and to toe the line, began with Nimrod. What the majority says usually comes from a particular mind. To bend everybody to the will of another person, that principle is still very much alive in the world today. Even more alarming, when you think about it carefully, this principle is the foundation of every denomination.
The Principles of Babylon are Exactly the Opposite of Christianity
I want you to think about what we are looking at this morning very seriously, because if you don’t understand the foundational principles, you build upon the same fallacy and think you are doing God’s way. How many churches today really want to stay? I read something that a Christian man said and I wrote it down in my Bible because it struck me so much. This Christian man said, “Let me be nothing and be unknown in the world for your sake.” At the moment I read it, it was so contrary to my inner feelings that I wrote it down. I wanted to remember it. I wanted it to be the basis of my life, to be unknown. Imagine, I would get up and I would preach in Poland, Russia, Germany, America, all over the world, and then I would come to the end and you would say, “David Clayton, who is that?” Nobody knows of me, and all the work I ever did somebody else gets credit for it. Does anybody really want that? Can anybody really want to be nothing, to be unknown and receive no credit for all his work, so that all the people might say, “Praise Jesus,” and nobody ever knows that they existed? Who could desire that? Yet, true Christianity is for me to die and Christ to live, but that is not the principle of Babylon. Babylon’s principle is, “I will do something but I need the credit. I want to make a name that men may wonder in admiration when they see what I am building.”
Adventism has compromised, bent over backwards, and given up so many of her principles in order to make a name in the world and be accepted and recognized in the world. If you want to make a name, you don’t stand against the popular tide. Every church that ever was started out to glorify Christ. I believe even that which is the papacy started this way, but it didn’t start as the papacy. It started as a part of the apostolic church. Their goal and their motive was the glory of Christ. In a couple hundred years, it became the most corrupt thing on the planet. Why? Because men rose up who desired the preeminence, who wanted to use worldly principles and human wisdom to build a tower that would reach to heaven so that the empires of the world would look up and say, “What a wonderful thing is the Christian Church.” They began to build on human principles, upon the principles of Nimrod, and the result was the papacy. It happened to the churches of the Reformation. It happened to the Adventist church. My question is, “Shall it happen to us?”
What bothers me is that in some places I see people concentrating on the church service. They are more concerned about building their congregation than about the work. Where in the Bible did Jesus say, “Go ye therefore and build churches?” Churches happen because people accept the truth and fellowship together, but, the church is incidental. We were not called to raise up churches and make a name for ourselves. We were called to go into the entire world and preach the message to every creature night and day. That is the Christian’s consideration—that, and to live a holy life. Our coming together must be to strengthen and encourage one another to go back to the task. It is what we live for.
I see Christians concerned about the forms of worship more than about the work. I read something long ago in a book called, Papal Power, by Henry T. Hudson. Some of the statements jumped out at me while I was reading it and I wrote them down because they struck me. He wrote, “A militant movement that is on the warpath loses its vitality when loyalty switches imperceptibly from its ideals to its institutions.” What are the ideals? They are the goals, the dreams, the desires that you had at the beginning. Little by little, as you begin to work, the movement begins to grow and you start making churches, and little by little, do you know what you do? You stop thinking about what you started out with and you start building churches and your concern becomes maintaining the churches instead of doing the work. That is what happened to these denominations and Adventism. They are more concerned about preserving the institution than advancing with the work and truth. If we don’t recognize the foundational principles and remember what we have been called unto, we will make the same mistake.
I would like to show you what the foundational principles of Zion are. If I asked you where and with whom did Israel begin, what would you answer? Abraham. Just like Babylon began with Nimrod, almost at the same time but a couple of decades later, Abraham came on the scene.
The Truth Revealed in Abraham’s Experience
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1, 2) Interestingly, do you know where Abraham came from originally? He was from Ur of the Chaldees, which was in southern Babylonia. Abraham was the first man of God that was told to come out of Babylon and in all the ages it is the same principle. God has always been saying to His people, “Come out of Babylon. You can’t stay there and worship me aright.” I am conceding that God’s people are in Babylon. Most of them, we are told, are still in Babylon. What we need to understand is that being in Babylon is not so much your geographic location, but it has to do with the concept of your mind equally or even more so. If you have the Babylonian principles and ideas, are you out of Babylon if you are sitting in a special seat? No, absolutely not! The seed is in you and will be brought into the full-blown Babylonian appearance, even if right now it is only latent. If the principles are there, it is going to blossom and bear fruit. It is imperative that we build on the right foundation.
God said to Abraham, “I don’t want you to build a tower. I am going to bless you. My salvation will be upon you. Your salvation will be in Me. I will bless you, but what I want you to do is come out of Babylon and I will make you a great nation. I will make your name great.” Babylon says, “Let us gather together.” What does God say? “Get out. Leave your family. The plan I have for you cannot be accomplished by consolidation and centralizing. You need to go out and separate. Go apart.”
Babylon is based on a principle of confederacy. Zion is based on a principle of separation. Let me give you an example of what I mean. I don’t like to see anybody from our group to go anywhere. Some of our brethren went to England, some went to America, and then some more went to England. Every time it happened, I felt so unhappy because I think we get a little weaker. Some of our singers are gone and the fellowship is a little less because some are gone. When I was studying this, I thought, “What am I talking about? England is a mission field.” Do you know how many believers there are in England? There are just a handful. Why would I regret any one of our people going to England? If they go there with the message, that is God’s plan for spreading the news, isn’t it? I had the wrong idea. I was after consolidation, the same Babylonian principle. God wants the message to spread. He wants it to go. So, anywhere that God’s people go let them carry the message. If they keep their focus, that is God’s way of propagating the message. He says, “I will do it.” What we must do is follow in the way that He leads.
Interestingly, when you read the story of Abraham you find over and over where God says, “I will do this for you and I will do that for you,” but there is always a condition. When you read through you will see in Genesis 12:8 that Abraham “builded an altar unto the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.” In Genesis 13:4 we read “Abram called on the name of the LORD.” In verse 18 of the same chapter it says Abraham “built … an altar unto the LORD.” Everywhere you go, you find Abraham worshipping God, and all the promises of God to Abraham are summed up in Genesis 15:1: “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abraham in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” What was God saying to Abraham? “I am all you need or will ever need. Don’t be afraid. When you have Me you have everything.” Abraham believed God. He believed that he needed nothing more than God.
When God said to come out from his home, to leave his family and friends, Abraham did not tarry. He said, “Just point the way.” He left everything and everybody behind and he went out to wander the world because he had God and in having God, Abraham knew he had everything. That is the foundation of Zion. Zion finds everything in God and His Son. That is why Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18) What is this rock? That rock is the confession that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is God’s Christ. He is God’s Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus is everything that we need or will ever need. He is God’s Anointed One, the Promised One we have desired for 4,000 years. He is the One upon whom we build our church, our experience, everything. He is Lord and Master, not just of something called the church but of my life as an individual.
Babylon is built upon a principle of human control. There is a Nimrod somewhere in every Babylon. There is somebody human at the head whose wisdom is looked up to by people. Sometimes we call him the pastor, sometimes the bishop, sometimes the pope, and sometimes it is called the General Conference, but do you know what the basic idea is? The mind of a man or the minds of a few men control the mind and the thinking of the many. That is the basic principle of Babylon.
Do you know what God’s principle is? Each one of us builds upon the foundation of Christ. Our ears hear a voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) When we all hear the same voice, do you know what? We shall all see eye-to-eye because we are drinking from the same fountain with the one Spirit controlling us. Then we will see eye-to-eye, then we will all sing the same song. That is the principle of Zion. We cooperate and work together, yes, but not because a human mind controls us like it happens in Babylonian systems.
You can understand why the Bible calls it Babylon the Great in Revelation. The whole world has drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Religious and secular people worldwide drink the wine of Babylon. One of the greatest, if not the greatest trouble in the world is the control of men over men. Do you know how many people would accept the gospel truth if they would only stop listening to their leaders? They can’t break the yoke that makes them think, “This man went to the university. This man has been my leader. My mother learned at his feet when she was a little girl. This man is God’s representative in this place and if he tells me that the sun is made of mud, I believe him.”
Who is Really Speaking for God?
Such idols set up in a persons mind destroys his ability to think and it happens in every phase of human life; however, it cannot be the principle upon which Zion is built. As we consider this, we will know we need to make it practical in our lives. This is not always so easy because sometimes people will say, “The Lord says, or the Spirit says such and such,” and we wonder if the Lord really said that. But, what is the alternative? Do I say, “Well, then, because I don’t think the Lord is speaking to you, I am going to be the leader here, and although you said the Lord said it, I am telling you, Don’t do that. Don’t think in that way.” Am I to be God? Am I to be judge over you and tell you that God never said that to you? What alternative are we to take? Is it better to bind people because we think we have greater wisdom and greater spirituality, or is it better to encourage people to seek for the real experience and trust God to bless and to do His work in His way? Which is better? If we truly feel someone is deceived, we do not have to follow that person nor do we need to try to force our thoughts upon them. As we study the Bible, we see clearly the principle of individual accountability to God. We cannot build on any other principle. This is a problem that always arises when people think they are hearing from God and they are not. You know, some want the crown but they won’t bear the cross. Some want to be recognized as God’s mouthpiece, but they never do what it takes to develop that kind of relationship that God can speak through. It has always been a problem.
Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of God when Ahab wanted him to fight a war with him and four hundred prophets came. (1 Kings 22:6) One of them, Zedekiah, put two horns on his head and he began to walk like a cow and said, “Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.” (verse11)
But Jehoshaphat had said, “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?” (verse 7) He was not feeling good about the matter. As a man of God, why didn’t he follow what he should have known to be the leading of God? Then Ahab said, “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Jehoshaphat said to send for him, and when he came he said, “Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” (verse 15) He was mocking Ahab and Ahab knew it. The king required of the prophet to tell the truth, so Micaiah said, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.” (verse 17) Ahab said, “Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?” (verse 18) And one of the false prophets, Zedekiah, came and smote Micaiah, and said, “Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?” (verse 24)
Now please think carefully about this? What proof did anybody have of which prophet was a false prophet? Who could prove who was a false prophet? They had two different messages, right? One set says, “God is talking to me and He says do this.” One single man comes and says, “God says do this,” and another comes and back-hands him and says, “God won’t talk to you.” How would you know whom God is talking to? The only way we can know is if we are in contact with God ourselves. If we don’t have personal contact with God, dogs may eat us for supper! Even Jehoshaphat, who should have known better and who felt so uneasy in his mind, followed the four hundred false prophets because he and Ahab were friends. He went with him to battle and it was the mercy of God that his life was saved that day, but Ahab was eaten by dogs. His blood was lapped up by dogs that day.
God was merciful to Jehoshaphat and saved his life. The one prophet that they smote and questioned his connection to God, that prophet’s words came true. You will find in the Bible many places where a confrontation occurred between people who claimed to be the prophets of God yet who were not hearing from God. The challenge I have for you is, “How do you know that you are hearing from God?” Be careful that you don’t try to receive the crown until you first bear the cross. The Lord says it is a certain kind of people that He deals with. He was able to deal with Abraham because they really knew each other. He knew that he would instruct his family to follow in the way of the Lord. God said to Abraham that He would bless him, but God wanted him to do some things and Abraham said, “Anything You say.” His heart belonged to God wholeheartedly.
Do you remember the story of the two prophets? (1 Kings 13) God sent a prophet to Israel to tell Jeroboam that children were going to be sacrificed on the altar that they were dedicating to a false god. The prophet pointed his finger at the altar and the altar split in two. King Jeroboam pointed at the prophet and said, “Lay hold on him!” (1 Kings 13:4) When he pointed his hand toward the prophet in denunciation, his hand withered up, he couldn’t move it. He came back and he begged the prophet to pray for him. The prophet prayed for him and his hand came back. The same God who told the prophet to give Jeroboam this message also told him not to eat any food in that place. So, the prophet got on his donkey and left for home but he stopped to rest under an oak tree. Then the Bible says an old prophet came. I don’t know what kind of prophet, but he had heard about the other prophet and ran him down and said, “Come home with me, and eat bread.” (verse 15) Perhaps he wanted a little bit of the reflected glory. The first prophet told the old prophet:
“I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.” (verses 16, 17)
Do you know what the other one said? “I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” Here were two men claiming to be prophets of God. I believe that the old prophet believed what he was saying. He couldn’t even tell that he was a false prophet. He couldn’t even tell when God was talking to him, he was so confused. He was drinking from dirty, shallow water and confusing it with the deep, clear water that comes from the throne of God. He was confused and he confused a good prophet, too. The first prophet lost his life that day because of listening to somebody instead of listening to God.
I don’t know whose voice you are hearing or who is talking to you. The world says you must bend and bow because a certain man is God’s mouthpiece and this church is God’s church. Beloved, I can’t put my eternal life on that kind of basis! I must have a foundation where I know Him for myself and be aware that when I say this that I am not fooling myself. It is easy to say, “The Lord says this and the Spirit impresses me of that.” Don’t fool yourselves. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14) “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1) These are the ones who are guided by God, not just the ones who run at their mouth. Let us make sure, brothers and sisters, that we are built on the true foundation. When we all build on that same foundation, we won’t have problems of disagreements, arguments, and confusion. This is what we must search for. This is God’s way of unity, of building on the church, and it is the only way that will work.
God’s Work Through Gideon
I have always wished that we could have more people accept the truth. Why are we not making more of an impact? I believe one of the reasons is because we are building on wrong principles. Another reason is that we are losing sight of our mission, but I want to put something else into the mix for us to think about. A whole nation came against Israel at one time. I don’t know how many millions, but it was a vast army and when they appeared, everybody in Israel was afraid. These people were thinking of turning them into servants almost, because every time they came they took all their crops and all the food they had. So instead of Gideon taking the grain that he had cut to where he normally threshed it, he took his wheat to another place, so that if the enemy came by they wouldn’t find it. The angel of God came to him and told him that he was to be used to deliver Israel and finally Gideon believed him. So Gideon called all the men together and 32,000 people came to fight an army of a few million. You would think that was very unequal and that it didn’t make sense, but do you know what God said? Let’s read it in Judges 7:2: “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” That is Babylon’s principle of saving themselves by numbers, by wisdom, by education, and by their own hand. When you go to school and get an education and that is the basis for your eloquence and the basis of winning souls, who gets the credit? You might say, “Praise God for the work that is done,” but in your heart it would have to be “Praise your education.” God doesn’t want that! God knew that the people were too many and might boast and say that they delivered themselves. God knows human nature. In verse three God says to Gideon, “Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand;…” Man, 32,000 people came to go to war and 22,000 of them were scared to death! What a good thing God gave them a chance to turn back. Can you imagine going to battle and 22,000 men start running away? They would have lost the battle before they even started, and that is how people are today even among fewer numbers. They are political crowds. They begin to think on the enthusiasm of a score of real believers who work hard and a few hundred wishy-washy people get caught up in the spirit of the thing. They tremble in their boots but they want a part of the name and to receive some of the glory and they hope that the real believers, the small score in front, can do the work and they get the glory.
God gave Gideon’s army a chance to leave and 22,000 turned back and showed their true nature. That left 10,000 men. Verses 4-6 states:
“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.”
Out of 32,000, God said all that He could use was just 300. They were going to fight an army numbering as “grasshoppers for multitude,” (verse 12) and the worst thing is that they were not to take a sword with them, or a spear, or a single arrow. All they were to take were some battle torches and something to cover the fire; three hundred men without a single weapon in their hands! Even the biggest fool in the world would never at the end of that say, “Boy, Gideon, we really did a great work.”
I want to tell you something amazing about how stupid people are. After they had destroyed this great army, they fought among themselves and eventually destroyed one another. In Judges 8:22 we read, “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou has delivered us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon had better sense. “And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you,” (verse 23) and it would be will that Christians might always remember that, because the first thing some would have done would have been to make him General Conference President. We can’t afford to forget these principles. We can’t afford it.
Gideon had a bastard son who, after Gideon died, killed Gideon’s seventy other children and made himself king over Israel. He caused great confusion in Israel. Eventually a woman dropped a stone on his head and killed him. That is what happens when people follow human principles, Babylonian principles.
I want to conclude by saying that words are just a medium of bringing thoughts to our minds. What happens afterward is between us and Gods Spirit. I hope you have not misunderstood what I am trying to convey. Please remember these principles, because if we build aright, God will make us a great name. More than that, God will bless all nations through us, if we build on the principles of Zion; whereas, if we build on the principles of Babylon, we are going to end up in utter confusion, just like they did at Babel. May God bless you and grant that His words may remain in your hearts.
(You may contact David by phone at: 876-625-2785; His e-mail address is: David@restorationminsitry.com. You may send postal mail to him in care of: Restoration Ministries, PO Box 23, Knockpatrick, Manchester, Jamaica.)
Youths Instructor Be Lovely
Dear Children: I have been thinking how much good every one of you might do, if you would only try. Some children are willing to part with some of their little treasures to make others happy. They are quite free to give when it is in their power, but there is something more that they can do. It costs nothing, yet it is more difficult to give than all their treasures. It is KIND WORDS. I have been in families where unkind, fretful words cast a shadow upon the whole household, and I have felt the same darkness falling upon me. I have heard older children speak unkindly and fretfully to the younger members of the family, and have watched its effects upon the little ones who possessed happy dispositions, but were soured and spoilt through unkind and fretting words.
How careful an older sister should be of her young brother or sister lest her influence should prove an injury to him or her. Above all things should she exert a happy influence upon the young members of the family. If she tries, she can do much to make home happy, and shed a sunshine in the family. But it is too often the case that the older children do not realize that their influence tells, and that they are responsible for the influence they exert. I have felt grieved as I have seen them watch almost every move of the little brother or sister, not with a view to help them, to encourage them, to make them happy; but to fret at, complain of, and tease them, until there is stamped upon their countenance a disagreeable, cross expression. This can be removed now if the work is taken hold of cheerfully, patiently and energetically; and happy countenances may be seen, and sunshine be in the dwelling instead of a shadow.
When the sister is tempted to break out into a fretful, fault-finding strain, I would say, Stop, ask yourself what good result will your words produce? Will they make the little brother or sister any better? or will they plant in their little breasts bitter, unhappy feelings? Then say to yourself, I will try to speak just as sweetly and pleasantly as I can. It will act like a charm. You may not see the good results in a moment, but every time you check this fretful, fault-finding spirit, it will give you grace to stand against the next temptation. Persevere. Dont be discouraged if you do fail at first. If the tongue goes in its wonted course a few times when you are not on your guard, do not give up the battle. Go to God, and often plead with him for strength. It will be given. Jesus has promised to hear the needy when they cry. Claim the promise; it will be verified. Try in the strength of the Lord to cast a sunshine in the family. There are no shadows in heaven. All is happiness. There will be no fretful ones there; no unhappy looks; no unkind words; but every countenance will be radiant with joy. In heaven there will be an eternal sunshine. (Mrs. Ellen G. White - Youths Instructor, May 1, 1859)
From Vlad Ardeias, Romania:
My dear brothers and sisters, we as a family are now facing a new experience in our life, and we need your support in prayer! Recently my mother, Gabriela, was diagnosed with cancer. Though this seems bad, we recognized God’s merciful hand in this situation. We know that God has a purpose and plan to draw her, and all of us, closer to Him by this experience. She is currently at our mountain-side home in the country, and we are using simple natural treatments.
Though a very kind-hearted person, my mother has not accepted Jesus as her Saviour. However, after two days she asked me to give her some books to read but, on second thought, she said: “Maybe I should begin with the study of the Bible.” Last night she reminded my sister, “do not forget to pray before going to bed,” and now she is so full of peace! But the battle for her soul continues! If she will be healed, the name of the Lord will be praised in the biggest hospital in our capital, Bucharest, at my mother’s workplace (she is a nurse), in her family (her husband who is not my father, is an atheist) and in her life! Please end your prayer with the Lord’s words: “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:15) “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” (Psalms 103:3)
An Earnest Appeal from Maurice Anyango
by Esther McDaniel
(Editors Note: Many, many Christians have witnessed financial irresponsibility among ministries and many have sadly been at the wrong end of abuse. It has been our desire to work in a financial manner that is as far above reproach as possible. Not only do we wish the work of the ministry at Smyrna to be above reproach, we do not want to, in any manner, bring a reproach upon our Master. Therefore, our manner of work at Smyrna Gospel Ministries has been conducted without making financial appeals for the work that we do. We have asked God directly for our needs and He has been faithful. However, at times, we realize that there are needs that must to be brought before the people. The Apostle Paul made direct appeals for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-3) so the process is not without Biblical precedent. Recently Sister Esther McDaniel received a stirring letter from Pastor Maurice from the Hope for Children Center in Kenya requesting that we post an appeal for help for the starving and hungry around them. Sister Esther requested counsel and I asked her to write something explaining the matter for our readers. This notice receives my highest recommendation. Pastor Allen Stump)
On May 5th, I received the following from Pastor Maurice of the Hope for Children Center in Kenya:
Esther, surely, Africa is a poor continent and I just don’t know how this situation can be rectified. It is so painful to see my people dying of hunger. I just don’t know what to do about it. I know that so many rich people are using their wealth to uplift the kingdom of Satan. They use their money in things that displease God.
I don’t know the language I can use to convince the whole world to consider the plight of the poor. I am shocked to inform you of two young orphans less than one mile from the Hope Center that just died of starvation! Nobody told us they were starving. We could have at least called them to have a single meal a day. They would have survived. But now they are no more.
Esther, you must consider yourself blessed because you do not always see this kind of situation. You would weep buckets of tears. You are blessed because you live in a continent where people no longer starve, at least, there is always something on the table for the majority of Americans. I am sure you know that is not the situation here.
I just don’t know how to make request for special donation for the starving in my country this time. I made it last year and people responded. I want to assure you that we saved so many from death. I just don’t know how to request again. It is painful to see many starving. Is there a way that you can put this request forward to see if there could be some response? Jesus said, “Ask and ye shall be given, knock and the door shall be opened unto you.”
For the sake of my starving people, I ask. For their sake, I knock. And I will knock again.
God has been using fewer than 100 people from America, Australia, Jamaica and Poland in a mighty way to bring life to the 120 orphans at Hope Center. Very many of these people do not share our unique message, yet God has opened their hearts to help. In just one years’ time, in addition to feeding, clothing, and educating these children, a van was purchased, an orphanage was built, and the work was expanded to include a second orphanage in Kenya as well as a work for widows and orphans in Uganda. In addition, the Hope for Children Center distributed over $10,000 worth of food to the hungry. Of that amount, $5,000 (in addition to two computers and a printer) was given directly to Pastor Maurice by a stranger from Texas who was visiting the orphanage and saw the work they were doing in distributing food.
God says He chooses the weak things of the world and the things that are despised (1 Corinthians 1:27, 28). I dont need to tell you that black Africans have long been despised by much of the rest of the world. Yet God has especially chosen them for Himself. The Spirit of God is a Spirit of self-sacrificing, self-emptying love. He revealed this when He gave His Son to the human race. When we pray for His Spirit, do we truly want that Spirit?
Smyrna Gospel Ministries has invited Pastor Maurice to come and speak at the West Virginia camp meeting. Hearth to Hearth Ministries is trying to raise funds to also bring his wife and three young children. Some of you may be asking if that ticket money could not be better used to feed the hungry. I know I asked that question as well. Perhaps this is true. Yet I wonder what kind of a spirit can live in this land of wastefulness and luxury and yet deny the blessing of meeting with the brethren, and the opportunity to correct many misconceptions, to one who has given so much of her young life to help God’s needy children, when it is within his/her power to grant it. If you could see the bed Sister Edith sleeps on, the fire she cooks over, the gentle manner in which she ministers to the children under her care, the smile on her face and the song in her heart, your heart would be melted and your spirit renewed. If we would truly open our hearts, the hungry would be fed as well.
Lord willing, Pastor Maurice and his family plan to be in the United States for three months. He would like to speak in various places all over our country to raise awareness of the work that needs to be done among the thousands of orphans of his country, and so many other African countries. It was my desire to show them America and introduce them to our culture and people, but I believe that God would be pleased to have many of you to share in that privilege and blessing as well. If you would like to host Pastor Maurice and his family, arrange for a meeting in your area, and/or if you are willing to do a bit of driving, perhaps we could relay them across America and allow them the opportunity to share what God has done, is doing, and greatly desires to do in Africa. Time is short and what we do, we must do quickly. Any ideas or suggestions are most welcome. God doesnt need weeks for planning. He only needs willing hearts and hands, and He has well over a thousand ways in which to use them. He even specializes in last-minute rescues.
May the Spirit of God truly fill us, enable us and use us to His glory.
Funds for this project should not be sent to Smyrna but directly to Hearth to Hearth Ministries. For further information, please contact Sherry Joliet. Her email address is: email@example.com. Sherrys phone number is: 814-374-4284. You may also inquire regarding our Spotlight on Orphans newsletter and a video showing a bit of the Hope Center food distribution project of last year.
WV Camp Meeting Announcement
Here we go for the final West Virginia camp meeting announcement. Our annual camp meeting will be June 21-25 this year. 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 30–July 9 in St. Louis, Missouri.
The theme, “Sharing our Experience,” is very appropriate considering the nearness of the Lord’s return. Breaking custom with the past, Lynnford Beachy and I will each give a series of presentations. I will be having the evening meetings after Tuesday night, speaking on the topic, “Surety in Jesus,” especially as it relates to the camp meeting theme.
In the last two months we have learned that there are over forty visitors from Africa that plan to attend and wish to go to the General Conference Session with us. Caring for and transporting that many people is challenging to say the least. To help with the transportation we have purchased a used forty-four passenger school bus. Anyone who has extra tents, sleeping bags, and other items they can bring will be appreciated.
Randy and Dee Dee Herman will be sharing some very practical health messages each night that I speak. Randy and Dee Dee have a very humble, caring approach that I know you will appreciate.
Overseas Ministers Visiting
Vlad Ardeias will be coming from Romania to share his testimony and witnessing experiences. Provided he is able to receive a visa, Pastor Maurice from the Hope for Children’s Center in Kenya, Africa will be at the camp meeting to bring us an up-to-date report of the progress of the orphanage and the work of spreading the gospel there. Pastor Paul Agyeman from Ghana also plans on being here.
Pastor David Clayton from Restoration Ministries will be the special late morning speaker. We are also planning on having a communion service so please do not leave any spiritual preparations undone. Brother Howard Williams of Restoration Ministries will lead out in the communion service.
Sabbath School Workshop
Sister Ann Ford will be holding a workshop on how to conduct children’s Sabbath Schools. Currently there is a need in many home churches to have some kind of special program for the young children that get lost in adult level discussions. Sister Ford will give you ideas and instruction on how you can start working more effectly with the young people in your group.
Family Life Seminar
Sister Onycha Holt from Smyrna, an experienced social worker and serious Bible student, will be speaking each day on family life issues. Her plan is to emphasize the roles God has given to the husband/father, wife/mother, and children of the home as outlined in the Bible. Sister Holt will, as time allows, offer counseling to those who are interested.
Godhead Panel Discussion
A new feature this year will be a seminar on the Godhead that will include a presentation followed by questions and a group discussion on the topic of the day. David Clayton, Malcolm McCrillis, myself, and some of the other ministers will be working together as a panel to answer questions and to moderate the discussion.
Youth Meetings Planned
We plan to have some meetings for all age groups except children under age four. Weather permitting, nightly bonfires with singing and fellowship will be open to the young and young at heart. To help the mothers who need a place to go when their children are fussing or when they just need a relaxing place, we will be sending a live video stream into the fellowship hall dedicating it as a mothers’ room area.
Come Ready to Camp
This is a camp meeting. You need to bring a tent or make other arrangements. We have four showers with hot and cold water available and a new walkway around them that has greatly improved their entrance. Don’t forget items such as tents, bedding, flashlights, food, toiletries, and insect repellent. Let our dress and deportment be such as becomes Christians.
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 his/her 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.
For those who wish, there are motels in the area. The nearest motels are: The Pocahontas Motel (304) 436-2250; Woody’s Motel, (304) 732-6540; The Cow Shed, (304) 732-7000; Twin Falls State Park Resort, (304) 294-4000. If you need a room, please call early as the better motels fill up fast at that time due to a large influx of ATV riders and tourists.
I know that this West Virginia Camp Meeting is going to be great. Just writing the announcement encourages me! Brothers and Sisters, dont let man, beast, or any other creature keep you from being there. See you in June! Allen Stump
Colorado Camp Meeting Announcement
by Rebecca Clifford
There will be a camp meeting this year in Crawford, Colorado, August 31 through September 4 and we want to invite all who can come to join us in study, prayer, and fellowship.
The camp meeting speakers will be: Brother Lynnford Beachy from West Virginia, Brother Howard Williams from Jamaica, Brother Ken Corklin from Pennsylvania, Brother David Sims from California, Brother Richard Stratton from Colorado, and Brother Thomas Akens from Colorado.
We are also having revival meetings in a nearby town the 1st thru the 3rd of September that everyone is welcome to attend. If there is any interest we will also be having a field trip and picnic to a nearby marble quarry the 5th.
If you would like more information please call me, Rebecca Clifford, at 970-921-3862, or you may write by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit my web site: http://lampandlight.youthforgod.net/Upcomingcampmeeting.html. for more information. We hope to see you here, may God bless!
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