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. 16, No. 9 Straight and Narrow September 2007
On Eagle’s Wings
“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).”
The City Enoch Would Not Live In
The life of Enoch is very important to us as Adventists today because many of us hope for translation, just as he was translated. “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24),” and the environment Enoch lived in played a very crucial part in his walk with God.
Enoch walked with God, and yet he did not live in the midst of any city polluted with every kind of violence and wickedness, as did Lot in Sodom (Evangelism, p. 78).
The godly character of this prophet represents the state of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christs second advent. Then, as in the world before the Flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a deceptive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, Gods people will seek for purity of heart and conformity to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 88-89).
We need to remember the Bible truth that by beholding we become changed (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we behold the true image of the glory of the Lord, we are transformed into that same image, and this principle of 2 Corinthians 3:18 is true no matter what we behold. We will be changed into the image of what we behold, whether it is good or evil. If our minds are allowed to dwell on things that are not pure and holy, we will be changed into that image. For example, young men and women who play video games that accentuate and glorify violence, murder, and harm to others will grow to have a spirit like the characters they are controlling in those games.
A vision is recorded in Ezekiel 8 that describes the detestable abominations going on in the very midst of God’s people, even in Jerusalem. In chapter 9, God instructs an angel to:
… go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house (Ezekiel 9:4-6).
The Bible says that the ancient men were leaders in the rebellious apostasy mentioned in chapter 8 and that they would fall in the slaughter, but, beloved, it also says that the little children and maidens would perish with them. We might think this is not fair, but the young people had become molded by their environment. Parents especially need to be aware that the environment they allow their children to live in will mold and shape them whether they want it to or not. We need to be very careful to guard the avenues of our souls, the different senses by which we receive information, because that information will change us.
Those who would not fall a prey to Satans devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 460).
You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes, ears, and all your senses if you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 561).
Enoch guarded the avenues of his soul. He did not allow any evil molding to happen to his life. In Gospel Workers, on page 53, we read these words:
As year after year passed, deeper and deeper grew the tide of human guilt, darker and darker gathered the clouds of divine judgment. Yet Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, and teaching, striving to turn back the tide of guilt and to stay the bolts of vengeance. The men of that generation mocked the folly of him who sought not to gather gold or silver, or to build up possessions here. But Enoch’s heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion. The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt by faith in the realms of light…For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city,—the first from among men to enter there.
Even while Enoch dwelt upon earth, he was by faith dwelling and living in the realms of light. Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24). The wonderful thing is not that God took Enoch to the celestial city but that God took him to himself. Beloved, this what we should want more than anything else in this world — for God to take us to himself and to live in a way that we can bring honor and glory to God.
Many of us have chosen to have country homes because they are more wholesome and peaceful and are conducive to spiritual growth. Even thoughts about life in the city can produce negative connotations. There are two cities mentioned in both Genesis and Revelation that I would like to consider in this article and followingones in this issue of Old Paths Babel (or Babylon) and Jerusalem (or New Jerusalem), and these cities are adverse to each other.
The word Babylon means confusion and it is symbolic of all the rebellion that Satan and his angels and mankind have shown, and continue to show, God. The name of the other city, Jerusalem, comes from the word Salem, which means peace. The word Jerusalem means the teaching of peace and it is symbolic of God and his character.
Later in this series, we will discuss Jerusalem, but first let us look at the city that Enoch would not live in Babylon. The word Babylon is derived from Babel and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false, or apostate, religion. In Revelation 17, Babylon is represented as a woman, a figure we all know to be used in the Bible as a symbol for a church — a virtuous woman for a pure church and a vile woman for an apostate church.
Genesis 10 gives us the history of the origin of the city of 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 (vs. 8-10). The Bible says he was a mighty hunter before the LORD, but this translation may be a little difficult for some of us to understand. A. T. Jones said that a more exact rendering of the expression reads: He was an overbearing tyrant in Jehovahs sight (Christian Patriotism, p. 14).” Nimrod was a mighty hunter; that is, he was in defiance of God. He was not in ignorance of God but in plain defiance of God. Nimrod was the son of Cush, who was the grandson of Noah and the son of Ham.
For a time the descendants of Noah continued to dwell among the mountains where the ark had rested. As their numbers increased, apostasy soon led to division. Those who desired to forget their Creator and to cast off the restraint of His law felt a constant annoyance from the teaching and example of their God-fearing associates, and after a time they decided to separate from the worshipers of God. Accordingly they journeyed to the plain of Shinar, on the banks of the river Euphrates (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 118).
The Hebrew meaning for babel is confusion, but the Babylonians had a different understanding or definition for this word. They defined it to be the “gate of God,” meaning it was the way to God. The Babylonians said they were the gate to God, but God said they were confusion. Throughout the Scriptures, right up to the book of Revelation, the concept of Babylon is crucial because Babylon claims to be the gate of God but in reality she is confusion.
Let us notice a few of the characteristics of Babylon. In Genesis 11, we read: “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 (v. 4).” God wanted the people to disperse and fill the earth, but they wanted to stay in one place, to make a name for themselves and to become admired by the rest of humanity. We might say this was the first public declaration of humanism — a desire to maintain a human unity and social stability.
As we mentioned, Nimrod was the founder of this city. Nimrod signifies rebellion, a sneering and a contempt that is equivalent to the extremely impious rebel. (See Christian Patriotism, p. 14.) The Bible says Nimrod began to be mighty upon the earth, but, as we said, he was actually working in direct defiance to God.
Let us think about the religion of Babel for a moment. As we read the different accounts in Daniel and Jeremiah, as well as in secular history, we find out that Babylon was full of idols and image worship. Some of you are familiar with the terraced pyramids, called ziggurats, of Babylon. Many of the ziggurats were built in seven steps — one step represented the sun, one the moon, and the remaining five steps stood for the five planets that were visible at that time and the only ones known. The Babylonians worshipped the hosts of heaven. In fact, Nimrod even changed the names of the days of the week and gave them names based upon these celestial bodies. In this he showed his defiance to God because one day of the week has a special significance and a special name — the Sabbath. When he changed its name, he was, in effect, saying, “I do not need the Sabbath and I do not need the God of the Sabbath anymore.” It was pure rebellion and rebellion is one thing that Babylon stands for, along with idolatry and image worship. It is not surprising that when Nebuchadnezzar learned of the interpretation to his dream, as recorded in Daniel 2, he built an image all of gold for the people to worship. He wanted his kingdom, and all that it stood for, to continue forever.
God had warned his people very explicitly and very plainly many years earlier about idolatry, rebellion, and self-seeking:
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven (Deuteronomy 4:15-19).
From the very first communication of God with them at Sinai, they had been warned against idolatry. Immediately after the proclamation of the law the message was sent them by Moses concerning the nations of Canaan: Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. Exodus 23:24 (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 543).
You could say, “That might have been counsel for some very ignorant people to listen to and to take heed of, but we do not have anyone who will bow down to images today, at least not in our society. This is a scripture that has become out of date to us as a people because we know what the Ten Commandments say and we would never be involved in idolatry. We would never have images.” It might be true that we have not carved graven images of gold, silver, or wood to bow down to and call God, but, friends, in our lives, we may very well have things that we put before God and worship. We may have philosophies and ideas that we worship in the place of God. These verses from Deuteronomy comprise a very important warning to us. They counsel us that if we worship idols, whatever they are, we are to cast them down, remove them, and overcome them.
The Bible prophesies that image worship will be prevalent in the last days, and, in fact, it is one of the great issues that we will all face very soon, but it is not going to be an image made of gold, wood, or precious stones. In the first part of Revelation 13, John sees a beast coming up out of the sea that seems to be composed of at least four other types of beasts. We know that these beasts connect back to the seventh chapter of Daniel. This beast coming out of the sea has certain identifying marks. Those who have been students of Bible prophecy have come to the undeniable conclusion, by comparing this prophecy of Revelation 13 with history, that this beast represents the papal, or Roman, church. As we read on, though, we find it is not the only beast that is depicted in this chapter.
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live (Revelation 13:11-14).
The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the beast. It is also called an image of the beast. Then to learn what the image is like and how it is to be formed we must study the characteristics of the beast itselfthe papacy. When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of heresy (The Great Controversy, p. 443).
The papacy considers anything not orthodox to be heretical. But what does the term orthodox mean? Orthodox is a Greek term from two Greek words and it means straight teaching or right teaching. But how much pure truth does the papacy really teach? You can search her doctrines from one end to the other and there is not truth in any of them, not pure truth. It is correct they have little portions of truth woven into false doctrine to give it something to stand upon, but you cannot find a single doctrine that is pure truth all the way through. Romanism is totally corrupted, and anything that does not match up to her concept of orthodoxy is considered by her to be heretical.
What is the most important doctrine in any system of religious belief? The most important teaching is the doctrine of God — who God is and what he is like. The greatest heresy, therefore, also deals with God, and the papacy’s concept of the greatest heresy deals with what they consider to be false concepts of God. It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the support of the civil government and thus prepared the way for the development of the papacy (the beast power) and Protestantism will follow this example and seek the support of the secular power as well. According to Revelation 13:15-17, this form of idolatry (that does not involve images of gold, stone, or wood) is going to be enforced by a death decree. If we do not agree with the idolatrous philosophies and worship them, then we are going to be cut off from this world. While the Bible says that the great majority of the world bows down in this idolatrous worship, God’s people will never bow their knee to Baal or Babylon and their strength lies in hiding in Jesus. We will need to hold onto Jesus at that time, but we will not be able to do this if we have not learned to live with him and trust him now.
Let us turn to Revelation 17, which portrays another picture of Babylon:
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration (Revelation 17:1-6).
In just looking at her, Jezebel is not the kind of woman with whom holy parents would want their young son to spend time. She is not appealing to a Christian person. She is described as arraying herself with gold, precious stones, pearls, scarlet, and purple. She is full of self. The Bible tells us that even though the literal kingdom of Babylon was overthrown by the armies of Medo-Persia, the system and the philosophy of Babylon continues into all the false religions of the world today.
The composite beast of Revelation 13:2 has the mouth of a lion. In Daniel 7, the kingdom of Babylon was represented by a lion. The beast of Revelation 13 speaks with the mouth of Babylon. It has the teachings of Babylon in it.
The churches, represented by Babylon, are represented as having fallen from their spiritual state to become a persecuting power against those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. To John this persecuting power is represented as having horns like a lamb, but as speaking like a dragon More and more will all false religionists of the world manifest their evil doings; for there are but two partiesthose who keep the commandments of God and those who war against Gods holy law. One of the marked characteristics of these false religious powers in that while they profess to have the character and features of a lamb, while they profess to be allied to heaven, they reveal by their actions that they have the heart of a dragon, that they are instigated by and united with satanic power, the same power that created war in heaven when Satan sought the supremacy and was expelled from heaven (Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, pp. 29-30).
One of the marked characteristics of the false religious powers is that they speak like a lamb. They profess to be allied to heaven but by their actions show that they really are a dragon. They actually make war against God’s people.
In Revelation 17, Babylon is represented as a woman, a figure which is used to represent a church, but this is not a pure woman representing a pure church. It is a vile woman and she represents a wicked and apostate people. The Bible says in verse 5 that she is the mother of harlots. She has many daughters and she rides upon a beast. These daughters represent religious systems that are akin to her, believing and teaching her foundational doctrines. In the Bible, a beast is symbolic of a political power. The Greek word for beast in Revelation 17 is therion, which is a venomous beast. The woman is seated and rides this beast and she is pictured as controlling it, just as a rider of a horse controls his mount. This fallen religious movement will employ the power of the state to enforce her religious decrees.
What is going to be the range and the extent of Babylon’s influence? Revelation 18:3 states: “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
The great sin charged against Babylon is that she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. This cup of intoxication which she presents to the world represents the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth. Friendship with the world corrupts her faith, and in her turn she exerts a corrupting influence upon the world by teaching doctrines which are opposed to the plainest statements of Holy Writ (The Great Controversy, p. 388).
In the last days, Babylon still professes to be the “gate of God,” professes to be a lamb, and professes to be allied with heaven, but God still calls it confusion.
In Revelation 18:3, God says that all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication and, because of this, God is going to do something. God is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He does not want any of his children lost in Babylon; therefore, a call is made to come out of Babylon. In Revelation 14, we find a message that is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people because everyone needs that message. They need to come back to the worship of the true God and to give glory to him. The second angel in Revelation 14:8 says that Babylon is fallen. God’s verdict upon Babylon today is that it is fallen, it is fallen. Her great sin is that she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. That wine represents false doctrine.
In 1 John, we read of the very essence of the papacy — the antichrist. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).” The teaching that there is no real Father and Son is the very spirit of antichrist — the very spirit of the papal church. This is the main ingredient of the wine that all these other false teachings are flavored with. God says he is going to deal with Babylon.
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird (Revelation 18:1, 2).
This is straight forward and strong language. But God, who cannot lie, accurately describes the hideous nature of Babylon and right at the head of all this confusion in Babylon is the doctrine that denies the Father and the Son — the Trinity.* Do you know what follows in its train? Sunday worship and the concept of the natural immortal soul! Babylon teaches that there is salvation in sin. It teaches false concepts on the second coming of Jesus. In the place of the Lord’s Supper, there is the mass. In place of individual responsibility is the Augustinian doctrine of original sin. Babylon worships in celebration and Pentecostalism. Babylon has the music of the world, and music is a very powerful force that Satan uses greatly to his advantage. Some of the most wicked music is actually in Protestant churches today because it has a guise of Christianity, but it is really Satan’s music. Babylon represents rebellion and selfishness. Babylon represents, just like the woman in Revelation 17, worldly show and worldly display. The woman riding the beast and the second beast power mentioned in Revelation show a spirit of rule and domination, and this spirit of rule appeals to the civil and state powers to enforce the idolatrous wine and doctrine. These are some of the things that compose Babylon. God tells us that this is a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. He says in Revelation 18:3 that all nations have drunk of this wine and they have committed fornication with her, and then in verse 4 we read: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people.” Now, who is this other voice that is speaking? Is there any place in the Bible where an angel calls humanity, “My people?” Could just an angel look at us and say, “My people?” Who only has the right to look at us and say, “My people?” Jesus Christ. The voice that is speaking is none other than that of Jesus Christ. He says, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Revelation 18:4).”
The physical kingdom of Babylon ceased to exist in 539 BC, yet Babylon is still very real; therefore, the call to come out of her is given. Beloved, it is not simply a call to leave a place on the plain of Shinar by the river Euphrates. It is not simply a call to move out of a cathedral on Sunday into a home church on Saturday. That is not what coming out of Babylon means. We are to leave behind everything that makes up Babylon. In many cases, for the people of the world at least, leaving Babylon will involve a change of where, how, and when we worship. It will of necessity include that, but, beloved, if we think that because we have changed our church pew and have changed the day on which we worship that we have come out of Babylon, we are probably very sadly mistaken. Babylon means much more than that, and we have to come out of all of its confusion.
Now, I brought up a point earlier that many times it will necessitate a change of position and that has to be, in many cases because our environment and that which we are around molds and shapes us. We know this is true, so if we are worshipping in an environment where Babylon exists and is still very much alive, we have to leave that behind. Jesus says to come out. If we do not, we will become a partaker of her sins and receive of her plagues. “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities (Revelation 18:5).” We are told that the sins of Babylon will be laid open:
The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal powerall will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience (The Great Controversy p. 606).
Now, we might think this is true for the world and that it is good for the people in all false churches, but it could not have any application to us, could it? When it says “the fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority,” does it mean that when a church goes to the civil authorities to enforce their decrees they are partaking of the spirit of Babylon? It surely does!
There is one church that, for two decades, has been taking small independent groups to court over a supposed name trademark violation. This church is using the civil arm of the state to enforce its observances upon little groups of believers. This is going to become more and more prevalent as we see the end come. When the civil arm of society is used by a church, she has done a beastly thing.
It was the false doctrines that made this woman a harlot, but she is also depicted as a beast in Revelation 13. What is it that makes her a beast? Is it just the false doctrines? No, it is the fact that she goes to the civil authority to get them to enforce her false doctrines that makes her a beast power. “In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church.”
To forsake Babylon and all of its ways may be challenging to those who have drunk deeply of her wine and who have become enamored with her ways. It may mean leaving behind that which one has cherished for years. Ultimately, the call to come out of Babylon is really a call to come out of all sin and that which would mold us into anything other than the lovely pattern of Jesus. God’s biddings are his enablings.
Enoch was the first person to fully come out of Babylon and he was translated. We can each have the life experience of Enoch if we are willing to pay the price Enoch was willing to pay. The choice is ours. Jesus told us the cost:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matthew 13:44-46).
Enoch lived a life of righteousness by faith in Christ. He loved his Redeemer and was willing to forsake Babylon in all respects. Now the question we have to ask is, “Do we want this experience enough to give up all of our cherished doctrines, ideas, and things of this world?”
*This confusion is highlighted in the introduction to the 4th quarter Adult Sabbath School Lesson Guide for this year. On page 2, we read:
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3).
All things were made by Him, Jesus, and yetaccording to ScriptureJesus wept (John 11:35). The Creator wept? Even more so, Jesus was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). The Creator, a man of sorrows, despised and rejected? And He once cried out, My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46).
How could these things be? It’s because Jesus, our Creator, was also our Redeemer, and as such He was the Crucified God—the Creator who took on humanity and in that humanity suffered through a life of privation and toil that ended with Him being hung on a Roman Cross.
Thus, our Creator, the One in whom we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28), suffered in humanity in ways that none of us ever could.
The Trinitarian understanding of God causes confusion, as revealed in the above statement. While the Bible plainly teaches that Jesus is divine and has the nature of the Father, with only a few exceptions in the New Testament, the term God invariably refers to the Father and not Jesus. While Jesus is God in the sense of having the divine nature, he is not God in the sense of being the Supreme Being of the universe, which is the Father alone. (See 1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:24-28; Philippians 2:11.)
“God the Father” is a term used twelve times in the Bible. God created all things by or through his Son. (See John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16, 17, Ephesians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:2.) Interestingly, the term “God the Son” is never used in the Bible or in the Spirit of Prophecy, nor is the term “God the Holy Spirit” used in inspiration either.
When we see the term “Crucified God,” we find another term never used in inspiration. While John 1:3; 11:35: Matthew 27:46 all refer to Jesus Christ, Acts 17:28 does not! In the context of Acts 17:23-31, Paul is speaking of the Creator, the One who could not be worshipped with the works of man’s hands. Paul is speaking of the One who is so close to them that if they could feel out, they would find him, One in whose life “we live, and move, and have our being.” If we stopped reading here, we might be able to justify Acts 17:28 to be speaking of Jesus Christ, but continuing to read verses 30 and 31 quickly clears up any confusion:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Clearly, God the Father is the one who appointed the day to judge the world by “that man whom he hath ordained.” He is the one spoken of by Paul all the way through Acts 17:23-31. The Trinity doctrine, however, confuses this matter.
Our conception of God the Father being the great Architect of the plan of salvation and having a Son to give for the sins of the world is blurred when we have an unclear understanding of who God is and what the position is of Jesus, his only begotten Son. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33).” Allen Stump
This month has seen disasters around the world. Coal miners have been trapped in the United States, as well as in China. Hurricane season has arrived in the Western Hemisphere and Hurricane Dean has struck Jamaica, as well as other areas. We ask that you remember in prayer our brothers and sisters in Jamaica during the aftermath of this hurricane, as well as the rest of those we know, and do not know, that were in its path.
Lima, Peru was recently the scene of a devastating earthquake, and we ask that you remember the suffering ones there in prayer. We are thankful that Brother Aland Ashton and his family were protected during this calamity. Please see his report on page 19. We also ask for your special prayers for the new school that is starting in October. See page 14 for an article explaining it. We are very excited that our young people now have an opportunity to further their education in a Christian environment that addresses the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of their development. And last of all, may we all be found faithful to our heavenly Father in whatever tasks are at hand day by day. Until we meet again, may God richly bless you is our prayer. Onycha Holt
The City That Enoch Lives In
The city that Enoch would never have lived in is Babylon. He would not have lived in Babylon because Babylon was not in him! God has blessed humanity with the instruction, counsel, and stories of the Bible. It is truly the map to “the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).” However, the Bible only has a few verses that mention Enoch. As a people, Seventh-day Adventists have been so blessed with the writings of Ellen White and she was blessed of God to learn much from heaven about Enoch. The rich treasures of her writings on Enoch are for us to learn from and gain knowledge helpful to us as we strive to walk and live in the time when God’s people will be translated. I urge you to carefully notice the insights in the following statements:
The godly character of this prophet [Enoch] represents the state of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christs second advent. Then, as in the world before the Flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a deceptive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, Gods people will seek for purity of heart and conformity to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 88, 89).
The men of that generation had mocked the folly of him who sought not to gather gold or silver or to build up possessions here. But Enochs heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion. His mind, his heart, his conversation, were in heaven. The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt, by faith, in the realms of light (Ibid., p. 87).
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. [MATT. 5:8.] For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city-the first from among men to enter there (Gospel Workers, p. 53).
Distressed by the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, and fearing that their infidelity might lessen his reverence for God, Enoch avoided constant association with them, and spent much time in solitude, giving himself to meditation and prayer. Thus he waited before the Lord, seeking a clearer knowledge of His will, that he might perform it. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul; he lived in the very atmosphere of heaven (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 85).
From these vital paragraphs, we find, among others, the following valuable points:
As God and Enoch walked together and talked each day, God finally took Enoch to himself. He could not allow Enoch to go back to his earthly home, but took Enoch to heaven. Enoch became the first among humanity to enter into the New Jerusalem.
When people hear the call to come out of Babylon, they at times wonder where they are to go if they are to come out. Remember that coming out of Babylon is a two-fold process. It involves leaving all the false teachings and philosophies of Babylon, as well as physically leaving her cities, wicked environments, and churches. Entering into the experience that God wants us to have involves accepting God’s truth, his philosophy of life, and finding refuge in his places of peace and worship. God’s people will, like Enoch, live in the atmosphere of heaven before they set foot in the New Jerusalem.
To enter into the atmosphere of heaven here on this earth, we must worship the Father and Son, not a Trinity, for it is the Father and Son who are worshipped in heaven. We will not worship God on Sunday, but rather on the Sabbath day, for that is when we will worship in the New Jerusalem.
To enter into that atmosphere of heaven here on this earth, we will partake of the Lord’s Supper, not the mass. We will live as accountable Christians and worship God in all his dignity and not in a celebration of Pentecostalism. Our music will be majestic and not rock and roll, worldly, or sensual. To enter into that atmosphere of heaven here on this earth, our lives will be filled with the love of God and void of selfishness. To enter into the atmosphere of heaven here on this earth, we will respect the will of others to worship, or to not worship, as they please and never, never will we have a spirit of rule that appeals to the civil and state powers to enforce our doctrine or wishes.
Those who enter into the atmosphere of heaven here on this earth will at last enter into the New Jerusalem in heaven!
Jerusalem means the teaching of peace. New Jerusalem is the city of God (Revelation 3:12). Our entrance into the city will depend upon our having an experience like Enoch. Abraham had that kind of experience. He grew up in Ur of the Chaldees in the area of Babylon, but God gave him the call to come out of Babylon!
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 (Genesis 12:1).
God gave Abraham a three-fold call. He was to come out of his country, away from his kindred, and away from his father’s house. Ur was a center of moon worship and this worship had affected the family of Abraham (Joshua 24:15); therefore, the call for Abraham was not as easy as some might think. The interesting point is that if you follow the narrative of Genesis 12 through 13, you will find that it was not until Abraham had rendered obedience to all three requests that God showed him the promised land (Genesis 13:14, 15). Abraham was the first Christian to respond to a direct call to come out of Babylon!
The Apostle Paul writes of the experience of Abraham, declaring that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6).” But wait, it is not only Abraham who may have this experience, but all who have faith as Abraham did. “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (v. 7).” Abraham is used to illustrate the new covenant experience:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:26-29).
Those who, like Enoch and Abraham, receive righteousness by the faith of Christ alone are heirs to the promise. The Bible declares that we enter into the family of God by adoption. As forgiven sinners, we are accepted into the family of God. Paul writes:
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:5).
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:5).
Some might be concerned that having our inheritance based upon adoption does not provide a sufficient or a substantial case, but I can assure you that God knows and loves all of his jewels. My first son, Daniel, was adopted into our family. Though he died as an infant of only 14 months, the cord of love that bound him to us will never be broken.
Paul, writing in Hebrews, tells us that those who experience the new covenant experience will enter the heavenly Jerusalem:
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:22-24).
Those who truly have the new covenant experience will abhor evil and shun it like a plague. Like Christ, they will righteousness and hate iniquity (Hebrews 1:9). They will come out of the environment of Babylon, as well as from under her influences and away from her manner of worship, for their love for their Master constrains them to obey his every wish.
During the beginning of the Christian Chuch, as the apostles and disciples called believers to leave Judaism, you can be sure that there were plenty of adherents to Judaism that proclaimed the need to stay with the ship and that there was no where else to go. However, Jesus took those faithful souls who counted truth dearer than life or fame and brought them into fellowship with his people and with himself.
Those who are redeemed from earth will one day enter into the great city that Enoch dwells in but not without first coming out of Babylon. While the book of Revelation gives an overview of the construction of the New Jerusalem, no mortal knows the blueprint to that holy city; and the street of gold, the gates of pearl, and the foundations of precious gems are not the true value of that city. Its true value is that it is the home of God and his Christ. We are told that nothing that defiles will enter that city (Revelation 21:8). By the grace of Jesus Christ, we may have our robes washed in his blood and by faith live upon this earth in the atmosphere of heaven as we dwell with the Spirit of God in our lives day by day. I want to enter into that city. I am sure you do too. We must then forsake all that is Babylon and live by faith that we are adopted into the family of God. God loves you so much, beloved, that he gave his only begotten Son for you so that you might live in the atmosphere of that city now and live within its walls after Jesus comes. Today is the day of salvation. Please forsake all of Babylon and then, and only then, will you find peace as you live under the atmosphere of the teaching of peace. Allen Stump
ARLENES SWEET BREAD ROLLS
1 cup warm water
3 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (Kamut flour makes softer rolls.)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
These are the ingredients for a bread machine. My machine kneads the bread three times before baking, letting the dough rise between the times of kneading. You should knead the dough in the beginning, let it rise and punch it down, and then let it rise and punch down once more before shaping into rolls. If you do not have a bread machine, dissolve the yeast in half of the warm water and all of the honey and set aside for 15 minutes. Place the remaining half cup of warm water and the coconut oil in a mixing bowl and add the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and knead flour for about 10 minutes. Let rise and punch down. Let the dough rise again. Then punch down and shape into rolls. Let the rolls rise in a warm oven for 15 minutes. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Healthy Choices: Foods that Pack a Nutritional Punch
Proper nutrition is one of the eight basic laws of health. Sources: USDA, National Institutes of Health
Calcium is key to strong bones and teeth, as well as proper nerve and muscle function, and while milk is instantly considered as a source of calcium, there are many other foods that can help you get the calcium you need:
Report on the Lookout
Family Bible Camp of 2007
By David Sims
Midway through our camp, about forty of us hiked past glorious fields of fragrant flowers on our way to hell and back. “Bumpass Hell,” on Mount Lassen, is the name that was given to this place where the discoverer, named Bumpass, lost his leg when he broke through a thin crust and was severely burned. It is a 16-acre geothermal area with steam vents of up to 322°F (161°C), boiling mud holes, boiling ponds, etc. It was a vivid reminder of the power God has locked up in the secret recesses of the earth, awaiting His bidding to destroy those that destroy the earth.
August 1st to 5th, the Pacific Virtual Fellowship held a camp meeting in Lookout, California. It was well attended (almost fifty by the weekend), and the fellowship was very special. The speakers included: Thomas Akens, Keith Bauer, Chuck Clifford, Rebecca Clifford, Ken Corklin, Emil Maghiar, David Sims, Elyssa Sims, Richard Stratton, and Allen Stump. The meetings were a spiritual feast. The theme was the “Enoch Life,” and topics included: Transformed by Grace, Peace, The City Enoch Lived In, The City Enoch did not Live In, More than Conquerors, Encouraging Words, Considering Enoch, Health, How Hearest Thou?, The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus, and more. The meetings were a spiritual feast and we were sorry when they came to an end.
There was a special unity among the brethren seldom seen. This was fittingly represented when a communion service was held Friday morning. It was even more special for many who have not had this privilege for a long time. David Sims presented a message on “The Church – the Body of Christ,” and Allen Stump led out in the emblems representing the broken body and spilled blood of Christ.
Sabbath we had Sabbath School and worship in the mountains beside the pristine blue waters of Medicine Lake. It was a wonderful time, and the spiritual food was a feast. We heard about “The City Enoch Lived In.” It was highlighted by the baptism of two individuals in the crisp, clear water.
In the afternoon, we visited an ice cave and then returned back to camp where many stirring testimonies and special music were shared. Sunday, the closing message was given entitled, Transformed by Grace, and about fifteen or more young people came forward to the call to make a decision or confirm a previously-made decision to serve the Lord with their whole hearts. Almost everyone else made a commitment or re-commitment to do the same.
Time went by too fast. When it was time to go, it was too difficult to say good-bye, so we didn’t. We just said, “see you later,” for we expect to meet each one again very soon, if not on this earth, then at the feet of Jesus beside the River of the Water of Life.
Hope and Help
on the River in South America
Our story this month is about hope, and it begins with Ursula. When she was a little girl of about seven or eight years of age, she kept thinking in her mind that she wanted to be a missionary when she grew up, not just a missionary but a missionary on the river in South America. She carried this thought of being a missionary on the river in South America with her all the time she was growing up. Over time she grew to be a very nice young lady, and she met a very nice young gentleman, and they decided that it would be very nice if they married, so they did! It turned out that this very nice young man also had had in his heart and mind ever since he was a little boy a desire to be a missionary, and not just a missionary but a missionary on a river in South America! God was so good to them; however, Ursula and her husband, Calvin, had eight children over the next several years, and each one of these children they had to raise. They home schooled them to help them get a good spiritual start in life. It took Calvin and Ursula a long time to home school all eight of their children and to help them grow up to be fine men and women. All during this time, however, they kept in their hearts and their minds their hope that one day they might become missionaries on the river in South America.
Finally, after thirty-five years, their children were grown and they had moved out into their own homes. Home schooling was over, and Ursula and Calvin, who still had this special hope in their minds, decided now was the time! They learned of an old missionary boat docked on the river in South America that was not being used They talked to people about it and eventually Ursula and Calvin went to South America, but when they got to the river in South America, they found out that the boat had many problems. It had been made several years earlier and it had not been used for many years. The good news was that the main motor on the launch and the light plant were still in working condition, although they lacked filters and needed batteries and oil changes. The depth finder had been tossed into a pile of junk in a corner of the hold. It is a delicate instrument, however, and should have been mounted for the pilot in the front of the boat. The switch in the cabin for the main motor was disconnected and the horn did not work. Someone had started welding parts together in the boat but had not finished. All the pipes for running water were disconnected or had been stolen. All the water pumps were disconnected and were not in working order. All walls and ceilings were covered with mold, and dust and dirt were also stuck to the surfaces because of the continuous dampness. The nineteen windows and screens had never been washed since their installation. The boat was made of metal, and a welder was an essential piece of equipment, but someone had borrowed the welder before Ursula and Calvins arrival, and it was returned damaged beyond repair. The chain saw had also been borrowed and returned damaged. Other items had been borrowed and never returned. Any dental equipment, for this had been a dental launch, that had not been fastened down had been stolen. The bathroom was rusty to the point that the toilet could hardly be used for fear of falling through to the river. The two water drums leaked. The deck needed paint badly and there were many rust spots on it. Many times scraping the rust off left only a very thin layer of good metal. The refrigerator did not work. Fixing all these problems was a very difficult task for Calvin and Ursula, but they had had their hope of being missionaries on the river in South America too long for them to turn back now. So, they worked very hard. They gathered the equipment they needed to fix up the boat. They obtained a local person to help them work on the boat. After scraping the rust away, they painted the deck and repaired the metal bottom of the boat. They connected the pipes, the pumps were fixed, they washed and cleaned, and finally they were ready for their first trip up the Meta River!
The Meta River is about six hundred miles long, but when you consider the tributaries that feed into it with little villages of people all along the banks, it is about one thousand miles long. Calvin and Ursula wanted to be able to visit the villages along this long stretch of river and help the people with their medical needs, teach them good healthful living, and also share the good news about the great God in heaven that Ursula and Calvin served.
On their first trip upriver, they took the local person who had been helping them for a visit to her village. This was a good decision because Calvin and Ursula did not know their way on the river yet, so having a local person with them was very helpful. Or it should have been; however, the water was high when they left and their helper said, “This doesn’t look familiar at all!” The river banks were very different because the river had swollen. They went up one tributary and it was a dead end and they had to turn around and come back. The launch was driven up one tributary and then another, but each time it turned out to be the wrong branch of the river. They had hoped that by the end of the day they would be at the village, but now it was getting close to the end of the day and they had no idea where they were! They decided to spend the night along the river, so they set out their stakes and tied the boat up.
In the morning, they heard a boat coming! This boat was chugging right along as if the pilot knew exactly where he was going! Calvin said, Quick, we had better follow that boat! That boat knows where it is going and we don’t know where we are going!” So, they started up their boat, pulled up the stakes, got back out in the middle of the river, and off they went following the unknown boat! They prayed a lot because they did not know where they would end up, and do you know what happened? They ended up in the very village they needed to be at!
Another time Calvin and Ursula were on the river just before the dry season was to start. Never does it rain during the dry part of the year. They had thought they could make one more trip before the dry season arrived and they were doing just fine going down the river toward home when the river started to get shallower and shallower, and then they scraped bottom and became stuck in the middle of the river! The water was too shallow for their propeller to turn. They were stranded on a rocky sand bar. They knew it was the dry season and no rain was to come for the next six months. They thought, “What will we do? We are in the middle of the river. We cannot get food. We cannot do anything.” So, what do you think they did? They waited for a while to see if somehow the river would rise just enough for them to push themselves off the rocky sand bar. Perhaps rain upriver would flow down. Then they could start the propeller, move out to deeper water, and be off for home! But, nothing happened the next day, or the next day, or the next! After a couple of weeks of waiting and no rain, they became very concerned, so they prayed and fasted, but still it did not rain that day nor the next day. The day after that it started to drizzle just a little, but it was far from enough to raise the water level in the river, and then the sprinkling stopped. This was the dry season and it was not even supposed to drizzle. The next day it rained a little more, and then the next day more. Calvin had a measuring stick and he knew the water had to be one meter high for them to take off. When he put the stick in the water, it was not quite one meter deep, but Calvin thought, “If we do not go now, we might not ever go until the rainy season comes!” So, he started up the motor and the propeller started to churn up the rocks, clunkety-clunkety-clunk. Calvin revved up the motor, and the boat started to move! Rocks and sand started spitting out faster! Slowly the boat made its way off the rocky sand bar and into deeper water! They were on their way home!
Ursula and Calvin faced many problems on the river, but they had their hope that God wanted them there to share the message of his truth with the people along the river, some of whom did not even own a Bible or know there is a God in heaven. Some of them had never heard they could do things to help themselves be in good health. So, Ursula and Calvin told them about how to be clean and eat healthfully and how to serve the God in heaven.
Many times when Calvin and Ursula had to check the bottom of the boat, they would need to prop the ten thousand pound boat up, but they only had two hydraulic jacks to work with. So, they would prop up one end onto wood blocks, but if a big boat went by the heavy waves of its wake would knock the boat off the props and they would have to prop it up all over again. Many times they would go back and forth, up and down, until they had the work finished on the bottom of the boat, but God was with them and they knew they were doing service for him. They had hoped for thirty-five years to work on a river in South America.
Now, what I would like you to remember or to know, boys and girls, is that we have a hope also. Do you know what is our biggest and brightest hope? The Bible calls it the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). It is the hope that Jesus will return and take all of his people back to heaven with him. This is our hope and even if we have to hope for thirty-five years, or forty, fifty, sixty, or a lifetime, our hope should never grow dim because Jesus has promised to return so that where he is we can be also. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:3).” We need to carry this hope in our hearts and minds, just like Calvin and Ursula carried their hope in their hearts and minds for thirty-five years. Their hope was finally realized on the Meta River in South America, and one day our hope will be realized when we look up and see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven. I want to be there looking up. Don’t you?
By David Sims
(One of the challenges within the movement proclaiming the restoration of the truth about God is the question of how our young people may be educated and trained for true missionary work. We believe this has been a serious lack among us as a people, but we are thankful to announce that God has laid the burden to answer the call to provide training for our youth. David and Eve Sims, along with Chuck and Lisa Clifford and others, have been led of God to start what they call the Waldensian Center for the training of young people and adults for missionary service. If you, or people you know, are interested in learning how to become a self-supporting missionary worker and would like to be involved in, or help with, this project, we encourage you to read the following material from Brother Sims carefully and to enthusiastically share it with those who could be benefitted by it. As more information becomes available, it can be obtained at: http://www.7thdayhomechurchfellowships.com Editor)
On October 15, 2007, Seventh-day Home Church Fellowships will open the Waldensian Center.
The Scriptures, the Spirit of Prophecy, diligent self government, an agricultural program, along with related industries and life skills, afford a practical environment for the harmonious development of the physical, mental, and spiritual powers. Proper training will prepare the individual for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come. Through these means, we hope that each will be prepared to be a self-supporting gospel worker.
The starting location will be on forty acres in Colorado’s fruit belt on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
The individual must be at least 18 years old and a converted Sabbath-keeper who desires to serve the Lord with all the heart, soul, and strength.
“It cannot be gotten for gold,
neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it:
and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:
for the price of wisdom is above rubies (Job 28:15-18).”
For more details and an application and information packet, contact:
(Some selected quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy concerning the Waldenses and principles of Christian education have been provided below so that you might better understand the purposes and goals of this modern-day Waldensian Center.)
Parents, tender and affectionate as they were, loved their children too wisely to accustom them to self-indulgence. Before them was a life of trial and hardship, perhaps a martyrs death. They were educated from childhood to endure hardness, to submit to control, and yet to think and act for themselves. Very early they were taught to bear responsibilities, to be guarded in speech, and to understand the wisdom of silence. One indiscreet word let fall in the hearing of their enemies, might imperil not only the life of the speaker, but the lives of hundreds of his brethren; for as wolves hunting their prey did the enemies of truth pursue those who dared to claim freedom of religious faith (The Great Controversy, 1888 edition, p. 67).
The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truths sake, and with persevering patience they toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved; the valleys and the less fertile hillsides were made to yield their increase. Economy and severe self-denial formed a part of the education which the children received as their only legacy. They were taught that God designs life to be a discipline, and that their wants could be supplied only by personal labor, by forethought, care, and faith. The process was laborious and wearisome, but it was wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state, the school which God has provided for his training and development (Ibid.).
While the youth were inured to toil and hardship, the culture of the intellect was not neglected. They were taught that all their powers belonged to God, and that all were to be improved and developed for his service (Ibid.).
From their pastors the youth received instruction. While attention was given to branches of general learning, the Bible was made the chief study (Ibid., p. 68).
Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come (Education, p. 13).
Instead of educated weaklings, institutions of learning may send forth men strong to think and to act, men who are masters and not slaves of circumstances, men who possess breadth of mind, clearness of thought, and the courage of their convictions (Ibid., p. 17).
Such an education provides more than mental discipline; it provides more than physical training. It strengthens the character, so that truth and uprightness are not sacrificed to selfish desire or worldly ambition. It fortifies the mind against evil. Instead of some master passion becoming a power to destroy, every motive and desire are brought into conformity to the great principles of right. As the perfection of His character is dwelt upon, the mind is renewed, and the soul is re-created in the image of God (Ibid., p. 18).
Higher than the highest human thought can reach is Gods ideal for His children. Godlinessgodlikenessis the goal to be reached. What education can be higher than this? What can equal it in value (Ibid.)?
Greek Seminar at SGM
We are currently planning a concentrated New Testament Greek language seminar to be held October 29 – November 16 at Smyrna. Classes will be approximately two hours each day.
While we are not all needful of becoming scholars of the Greek language, a basic working knowledge will be very helpful to the serious student in learning the subtle nuances of meanings in the verses of the New Testament.
A retired language professor will teach beginning New Testament Greek to those who wish to acquire this valuable resource. The class will be limited to fifteen, and those interested should contact us soon. The seminar is offered free of charge, but each participant will need to purchase their own materials for the seminar (approximately $50 for textbook, depending on the source). Ministers and lay leaders will be given first consideration if the demand exceeds the class size limit. We will attempt to provide lodging either in homes or in areas of the chapel for those attending. Participants will need to be responsible for their own meals, except on Sabbaths when a fellowship meal at noon will be provided.
Those who will be taking the course should learn the Greek alphabet before the seminar starts:
a b g d e z q i k l m u x o p r s t u p f c j v
For further information or to request a reservation for the class, contact Allen Stump at Smyrna Gospel Ministries: 304-732-9204 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further Thoughts on Enoch and Babylon
Suppose you see a wolf and it has a label on it that says “sheep.” Maybe the wolf proclaims loudly that it is a sheep and it is, in fact, a protector of sheep and the wolf calls for all sheep who wish protection to come under its care. Do these actions make the wolf a sheep? Of course not! One’s testimony does not provide proof for any claim.
As was explained in the study “The City Enoch Would Not Live In,” Babylon is every false and apostate religion in the earth. Through the years, some have come to believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has either become Babylon or is a daughter of Babylon. What should we think of such accusations? Is it even possible for the mainline corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church to become a part of Babylon?
Often the testimonies of Ellen White are used to support the concept that the church will never fall and can never fall. Is this, however, the truth of the matter? To help find an answer, let us review some history of the Advent Movement.
The message God sent through Jones and Waggoner in 1888 included more than justification by faith. As one reviews the messages that were given by Jones and Waggoner thereafter, it is clear the message of religious liberty was a part of their message, as well as church organization. While the need for gospel order became apparent early in the Advent Movement, after some time the church was found to be moving away from a brotherhood to a hierarchy. Elder Jones especially recognized this and wrote and spoke extensively about it. With the support of Ellen White, the brethren began to recognize their need, and reform measures were instituted at the General Conference sessions of 1897 and 1901. One of the most notable reforms was made in 1901 in the abolishment of the office of the General Conference president. Ellen White made some of the most pointed remarks of her ministry at this conference session. Speaking to the delegates of the conference, with its current leadership seated behind her, she stated:
The men that have long stood in positions of trust while disregarding the light that God has given, are not to be depended upon. God wants them to be removed (General Conference Bulletin, April 3, 1901, pp. 25, 26).
Speaking during an informal meeting in the Battle Creek College Library, Ellen White emphasized the need for divine and not human leadership:
Now the Lord wants his Spirit to come in. He wants the Holy Ghost king (Spalding Magan Collection, p. 166).
Further, one of her testimonies was read that was written in 1897, which noted: It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference (Series A, no. 8, p. 29 published in the April 10, 1901 issue of the General Conference Bulletin.)
The brethren accepted her counsel at that time and adopted a new constitution that made no provision for a General Conference president. The new constitution made provision for a committee of twenty-five men. At first, the idea was discussed for a rotating chairman but when the new constitution was finally adopted, A. G. Daniells was voted permanent chairman of the committee.
While the new constitution was later acknowledged by its proponents to have some failings, it was considered a good start on the move away from the centralization and hierarchical church government that was growing in the movement. However, at the General Conference session of 1903 in Oakland, California, the delegates adopted another constitution that re-instituted the office of the president.
From her home in St. Helena, Ellen White penned a response to these events that cannot be fully appreciated without this background. We find her reply recorded in volume 8 of Testimonies for the Church on page 247:
Our position in the world is not what it should be. We are far from where we should have been had our Christian experience been in harmony with the light and the opportunities given us, had we from the beginning constantly pressed onward and upward. Had we walked in the light that has been given us, had we followed on to know the Lord, our path would have grown brighter and brighter. But many of those who have had special light are so conformed to the world that they can scarcely be distinguished from worldlings. They not stand forth as God’s peculiar people, chosen and precious. It is difficult to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged.
So, we see that Ellen White did not understand the church to have had a straight ticket into heaven regardless of her actions. Further, writing shortly after the 1888 General Conference session, she noted:
I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out (1888 Materials, pp. 356, 357).
During her life time, there is no evidence that Ellen White called “for another coming out,” but she clearly declared that it could happen.
Most Adventists who have read Ellen Whites writings have come across statements denying the church to be Babylon. The most well-known statement is found in Testimonies to Ministers and is taken from a group of four Review & Herald articles. In these articles, Ellen White gives some of the background to the events then occurring:
In the pamphlet published by Brother S. and his associates, he accuses the church of God of being Babylon, and would urge a separation from the church. This is a work that is neither honorable nor righteous. In compiling this work, they have used my name and writings for the support of that which I disapprove and denounce as error. The people to whom this pamphlet will come will charge the responsibility of this false position upon me, when it is utterly contrary to the teachings of my writings and the light which God has given me. I have no hesitancy in saying that those who are urging on this work are greatly deceived.
For years I have borne my testimony to the effect that when any arise claiming to have great light, and yet advocating the tearing down of that which the Lord through His human agents has been building up, they are greatly deceived, and are not working along the lines where Christ is working. Those who assert that the Seventh-day Adventist churches constitute Babylon, or any part of Babylon, might better stay at home (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 36, 37; originally published in The Review and Herald, August 22, 1893).
This was a part of the first of four articles entitled “The Remnant Church Not Babylon” that ran from August 22 till September 12. In this series Ellen White also wrote:
The message that has been borne by those who have proclaimed the church to be Babylon has made the impression that God has no church upon earth. Has God no living church? He has a church, but it is the church militant, not the church triumphant. We are sorry that there are defective members, that there are tares amid the wheat (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 45; originally published in The Review and Herald, August 29, 1893).
These statements are very strong and seem to many to leave no room for any exception. However, before we continue in our study, let us notice a principle of interpretation that Ellen White gave concerning her writings. She wrote: Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 57).” Time and place – the context – must be considered in all that is written.
Let us see an example of how this works. In The Great Controversy, on page 383, we read that “many of God’s people must still be in Babylon.” When this was written, it was truth and may still be truth today, but there will soon come a time when it will not be true. After probation closes, there will not be one single true child of God in Babylon. So, the time and place must be considered.
Now let us consider the time and place of the church when the articles entitled “The Remnant Church Not Babylon” were printed.
Let us first consider the church’s state prior to 1893. In July of 1888, we find the following evaluation of the people of God written by the prophet:
The facts concerning the real condition of the professed people of God, speak more loudly than their profession, and make it evident that some power has cut the cable that anchored them to the Eternal Rock, and that they are drifting away to sea, without chart or compass (The Review and Herald, July 24, 1888).
God wanted to wrap up the history of this world and allow the final events to occur, but his people were not ready! The church, which God wished to be triumphant, was still the church struggling. So, what did he do? God sent a chart and a compass in the form of the message of righteousness by faith given by Elders Jones and Waggoner to help right the ship and bring it into the eternal harbor. The 1888 General Conference session was in October and November of 1888, just months after it was evident that the church was drifting out! God was working among his people. Though many rejected the message, some accepted it. God started to work; so much so, that four years later we read the following startling testimony:
Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy. The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth (The Review and Herald, November 22, 1892; emphasis supplied).
Ellen White says that the loud cry was beginning and the latter rain was being poured out at the end of 1892. During that time, there was a Brother Stanton in the United States who was proclaiming that the Seventh-day Adventist Church had, through apostasy, become Babylon. Ellen White wrote back:
I address to you a few lines. I am not in harmony with the position that you have taken, for I have been shown by the Lord that just such positions will be taken by those who are in error. Paul has given us warning to this effect: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
My brother, I learn that you are taking the position that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, and that all that would be saved must come out of her. You are not the only man the devil has deceived in this matter. For the last forty years, one man after another has arisen, claiming that the Lord has sent him with the same message; but let me tell you, as I have told them, that this message you are proclaiming is one of the satanic delusions designed to create confusion among the churches (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 58, 59, originally published in The Review and Herald, September, 12, 1893).
Before we become too comfortable in the assurance this statement might seem to give concerning the need to “stay with the ship,” let us consider events from the time of Jesus and see if there are any possible parallels.
God had called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be his witnesses and the families of the sons of Jacob became the nation of Israel. God made many promises to Israel. One promise was found in Jeremiah and was clung to by the Jews as tenaciously as the statements from Testimonies to Ministers are clung to by Seventh-day Adventists today. Jeremiah wrote:
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
Every day as the sun came up and every evening as the moon would appear, the Jews were reassured that they would never fail to have the favor of God. Every time the tides came in and went out, the Jews felt at peace, believing that they were always to be in the favor of God.
What if a person had denounced Judaism (called it part of Babylon) in AD 25, would he or she have been right? What about in AD 27? No, they would have been wrong. However, if they had given this message after the stoning of Stephen in AD 34, would the timing have made a difference? Yes, it would have, for Daniel had prophesied that seventy weeks of years were to be given to Israel and if they failed to fulfill their purpose, God would cast them off.
At the first cleansing of temple, Jesus called it his Fathers house (John 2:16), but at the end of his ministry he said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Matthew 23:38).”
You can be sure the Jewish leaders at that time declared, concerning Jesus, “He’s an impostor!” Do you know why? They opened the scroll of Jeremiah and read Jeremiah 31:35. Caiaphas could point to the sun at day and the moon at night. He could boast of the regular tides of the sea and proclaim that Israel would be a nation before God forever! But they failed to see that this promise was made to a people who had God’s law written in their hearts. (See Jeremiah 31:31-33.)
Do you think that God has given any greater promises to any other people today than he did the Jews? He is no respecter of persons. In considering such statements, time and place have to be considered. What would God, through Ellen White, say today if she were alive? Would we find the worldliness of the church, the false doctrines such as the Trinity and the denial of the final atonement, and the alliance of the church with the civil powers to persecute believers, excused on the basis that she is always to be God’s church? Or would she be excused because every day many are being baptized into the Adventist Church, even though many of them really know nothing of true Adventism and some of them have never been exposed to Ellen White?
The destiny of our souls and those of our families may hinge upon our answers. Remember the slaughter of Ezekiel 9?
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house (Ezekiel 9:4-6).
We read in Testimonies for the Church concerning this:
Here we see that the churchthe Lords sanctuarywas the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of Gods power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus Peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show Gods people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 211).
Do you see what this is saying? The church feels the wrath first and, while we might be tempted to think that these unfaithful spiritual guardians of the people deserve what they receive, the next sentence in the testimony should cause us to shudder! Men, maidens, and little children all perish together (Ibid).”
People become molded by their environment and the sisters and even little children became hardened by the Babylonian influence the men failed to check! There is a statement in The Great Controversy that for over one hundred years Adventists have applied to other churches, but as we read it, what would time and place say concerning this statement today?
Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal powerall will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience. But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men and demand a plain Thus saith the Lord,the popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it (The Great Controversy, pp. 606, 607).
Beloved, there is a wolf in the sheepfold proclaiming loudly that it is the under shepherd. It may have the appearance of a sheep, and the wolf may at times sound like a sheep, but we all have the duty to examine the matter carefully, for our eternal destinies depend on our understanding of Babylon and our coming all the way out of Babylon to finally dwell within the New Jerusalem. Allen Stump
Message from Peru
(On August 15, 2007, a 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Peru, killing hundreds,
injuring thousands, and displacing many more. Very shortly before the earthquake
struck, we received a bright missionary report from Aland and Karina Ashton,
who are currently living and working in Lima, Peru. When we learned of
the earthquake the next day (the 16th), we wrote the Ashtons, inquiring
of their welfare. We were happy and thankful to receive the following response.
Shalom and I thank God for your concern. Yes, our dear brother, we are under God’s care and Yeshua’s (Jesus’). This earthquake was something we have never felt so strong. It seemed that the earth was opening under and we felt that the walls were like they wanted to break down. But our Heavenly Father brought this to our attention that the wrath of God is upon this nation. We knew something was coming. We hope this will call this nation to a regret for so much idolatry and carelessness about the warnings. Thanks so much to God, our dear brother, for your support. We will print as much as we can and travel to these zones. We were preaching this morning to people about how in these Catholic places of reunion that they call churches people can get killed. If the presence of God is there, will a roof collapse on their heads? In many towns where idolatry is strong the earthquake came at the time of the mass and in those towns the damage was greater. We got a wall crack and need to fix part of a ceiling made out of plastic shingles. We are really concerned about this warning, because it could have been worse with an earthquake of this magnitude. And believe us, our dear brother, it was two minutes of strong shaking, like the earth were a wave. We are going to take tracts to those areas, hoping that our Creator and Heavenly Father and Jesus will touch hearts and bring this people to his attention, as one day He in His mercy called us.
Thank you, dear brother.
God bless you and keep you. Numbers 6:24-26
Karina Ashton/Aland Ashton
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.
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013