Old Paths

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

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14


Vol. 17, No.5 Straight and Narrow May 2008


“From the stars that in their trackless courses through space follow from age to age their appointed path, down to the minutest atom, the things of nature obey the Creator’s will (Steps to Christ, p. 86).”
  NGC 1300, a spiral barred galaxy is 88,000 light years across and 69 million light years from earth. — Photo courtesy of Hubblesite.org

 

The Holy Spirit

By Onycha Holt and Allen Stump

Introduction

Just as the atmosphere bathes our earth with its presence, so God’s Spirit is here everywhere present. There is nowhere we can flee from God’s Spirit. In 1872, our forefathers stated it this way in “A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists,” which was “a brief statement of what” was “with great unanimity, held by” Seventh-day Adventists.

That there is one God…everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7.

Nothing further was said about the Holy Spirit in this document until Article XIV, wherein the work of the Holy Spirit in the transformation of character was noted, and Article XVI, in which the gifts of the Spirit were discussed. In this article, we will look more closely at the attributes of the Holy Spirit, and we hope the points presented will be a blessing to you. We cannot cover all aspects of the Holy Spirit in one article, and for greater depth of study we refer you to the April, May, and June 2006 issues of Old Paths, in which a series on the Holy Spirit was published and to the book The Foundation of our Faith, all of which is available online or from Smyrna Gospel Ministries.

Summary

Bible terms for the Holy Spirit: “the Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2); “My Spirit” (Genesis 6:3); “Thy holy spirit” (Psalm 51:11); “spirit of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2); “Spirit of your Father” (Matthew 10:20); “Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 3:16); “the Spirit of his Son” (Galatians 4:6); “Spirit of Christ” (1 Peter 1:11); and “the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:2).

The nature of God and Christ is divine Spirit: John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Hebrews 9:14; Acts 5:3, 4.

The Spirit is spoken of as belonging to God or Christ: Genesis 1:2; Psalm 139:7, 8; John 15:26; Matthew 10:20; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11.

The Spirit and mind are used interchangeably and also express the personality of God’s Spirit: Isaiah 40:13; Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 13:14.

The Father and Son share the same Spirit: Romans 8:9; Luke 4:18; Proverbs 8:23; John 5:26; Hebrews 1:9; John 17:5.

God is omnipresent by his Spirit: Psalm 139:7, 8; Jeremiah 23:24; 1 Kings 8:27.

The Spirit and its work is represented as wind: Genesis 3:8; John 3:3-8; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-4.

The words of Christ are spirit: John 6:63; Deuteronomy 32:2; Proverbs 1:23; Ezekiel 2:1, 2.

Discussion

The Master Teacher was about to give one of his most important lessons. He had to make plain for deaf ears to understand and blind eyes to see something that was intangible and so he chose the illustration of wind. One of us might have chosen light, or even rain, to demonstrate this elusive concept, but Jesus chose the example of wind and the more we mediate upon his choice, the more amazing it becomes, for there is much to understand about how wind can simplify the hard-to-define qualities of the Holy Spirit, as well as much to understand about how attributes of the sun and water help clarify our understanding of God’s Spirit.

The concept of light seems to be a good choice to help explain the work of the Holy Spirit. Light dispels darkness and illuminates the path our feet must tread. Light is silent and works almost effortlessly. The dawn moves into the rooms of our homes with ease and lightens every corner without fanfare. It is impossible to escape sunlight and it cannot be turned away. Just as God’s Spirit fills the earth, so does light encircle our globe. Sunlight cannot be held in our hands and molded to our wishes, but it can be focused and used to start a fire. All these physical properties of sunlight help us to more clearly understand the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12).” Jesus did not use light, however, to illustrate the Spirit of God.

Water, on the other hand, cleanses (sunlight does also to a lesser degree) and is the perfect fluid. God promises to “be as the dew unto Israel (Hosea 14:5),” and the promise of the gift of his Spirit is couched in the metaphors of early and latter rain (Deuteronomy 32:2). Water is necessary to life both in the plant kingdom as well as in the animal kingdom. Nothing can live without access to water; whereas, there are creatures that are able to live in total darkness in the depths of the sea or in the deepest caves, as well as human beings who live deprived of sight. Jesus offered the woman at the well “living water (John 4:10),” and God promises to “pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring (Isaiah 44:3).” Nevertheless, Christ did not use water to demonstrate the work of the Spirit of God.

Bread, or food, would also seem to have been a good illustration of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said he is “the bread of life (John 6:35),” and in the Sermon on the Mount he promised that he who hungers after righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6). No plant or animal can live without nourishment, and neither can we have spiritual life without the Spirit of God. Jesus, however, did not use bread to portray the work of the Holy Spirit. He used, instead, the wind. Speaking to Nicodemus, he said:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).

In Mexico, the Cordonazo blows with the force of a hurricane. In the Rocky Mountains, the Chinook can raise temperatures 20 to 40 degrees in a matter of minutes. In Australia, the Willy-willy stirs up dust, and the Nor’wester can blow for days in New Zealand. The furious Santa Ana winds are famous for fueling fires in southern California. The Etesian refreshes the Mediterranean Sea area and the Williwaw blows in the Strait of Magellan. These are only a few of the world’s major wind forces that blow on a regular basis year after year, and they all occur because the direct rays of the sun warm the air at the equator which, in turn, results in atmospheric movements known, in part, as trade winds, prevailing westerlies, and polar easterlies.

In using the illustration of the wind to explain the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has beautifully incorporated, on a secondary basis, the properties of light and water with the property of wind, for it is sunlight that starts the movement of air in the first place, and it is sunlight that allows for moisture on the earth’s surface to evaporate into the air which later returns to the earth as dew or rain, metaphors of the Holy Spirit! By using the wind to illustrate the Holy Spirit, we can see the dependence of wind on sunlight and the dependence of rain on the atmosphere (which becomes wind when it moves). Sunlight is not dependent on either the wind or the rain. On the other hand, wind is dependent on the sun. There is no wind without the sun. Water is not needed for wind to occur; instead, the wind carries and holds the water which later distills as dew or rain. All of this teaches us, in an indirect way, just what Jesus taught his disciples when he said that he would be the Holy Spirit that would come to them as the Comforter. He is the “wind” that connects with the sunlight and gives the precious rain!

Another important concept of wind is the fact that the closer you are to the ground, the less forceful the wind is. Where land and air touch, in fact, there is no movement of air at all. Delicate flowers close to the ground do not face the same force that trees experience on a mountaintop. God is wonderful and only gives us what we can handle. Hopefully, we will stand as sturdy oaks during the storms ahead because we have been able to grow from a fragile flower into a spiritual giant who can stand tall in the full fury of the wind on a mountain’s peak.

When the testing time shall come, those who have made God’s Word their rule of life will be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their foliage. So the false-hearted professor may not now be distinguished from the real Christian, but the time is just upon us when the difference will be apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled, and the half-hearted and hypocritical will waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity (The Great Controversy, p. 602).

Ezekiel was shown in vision the work of the Holy Spirit on lifeless Israel:

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them (Ezekiel 37:1-8).

After bone came to bone and sinew to sinew, what happened? The wind came!

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army (vs. 9, 10).

The Lord God promises to give us life and to give us hope:

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD (vs. 11-14).

What is this spirit that God promises will give us life and hope? In the Old Testament, the word spirit is almost always translated from the Hebrew word ruwach, which Strong’s Concordance defines as wind or breath, and even a violent exhalation. It can also figuratively mean life or anger, and, in addition to being translated spirit, ruwach also is translated air, anger, blast, breath, cool, mind, tempest, wind, and whirlwind. Gesenius devotes nearly a page and a half of his lexicon to defining ruwach and its various nuances.

In the New Testament, the Greek word usually translated spirit is pneuma. Strong’s Concordance defines pneuma as “a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze.” Figuratively, it can mean a spirit; the rational soul; an angel, demon, or God; Christ’s spirit; and the Holy Spirit. This is very similar in concept to the Hebrew ruwach.

Both ruwach and pneuma; however, also carry the concept of mind or intellect. Isaiah 40:13 states: “Who hath directed the Spirit (ruwach) of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?” The Septuagint (LXX) for this verse reads: “Who has known the mind (Greek: nous) of the Lord? and who has been his counselor, to instruct him?” Paul quotes this verse in Romans 11:34, as well as in 1 Corinthians 2:16. “For who hath known the mind (nous) of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor (Romans 11:34)?” We can see that both the translators of the Septuagint and Paul understood the concept of spirit and mind to be closely related.

However, spirit goes much further than just the concept of mind. It is the very essence of being or the inner person. Suppose a person has become paralyzed and is lying in a bed unable to move or even speak, though his mind and thoughts are clear. Is a paralyzed body the real essence of a person? Twice Luke recorded that Jesus “waxed strong in spirit (Luke 1:80; Luke 2:40).” Luke is not speaking here of a physical process but of a development of that aspect of a person that cannot be explained in physical terms. To illustrate this further, notice these words Paul wrote to the believers:

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ (Colossians 2:5).

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed (1 Corinthians 5:3).

Words are used to express the thoughts and concepts of the mind, and words are defined by Jesus to be spirit: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).” This truth is taught by parallelism in Proverbs 1:23: “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” The parallel is between spirit and words. In Ezekiel we also read: “And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me (Ezekiel 2:1, 2).” Here we are told that the words God speaks are synonymous with his Spirit that enters. Many times, when God pours out his Spirit, he does it through words and concepts, and it is often referred to as rain. This is why Ellen White describes the latter rain as “greater light” in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, page 507.

In addition to the relationship we find in the Bible between words and spirit, we also find an association of power with the Holy Spirit.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fullness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible love. Lost in wonder, the apostles exclaimed, “Herein is love.” They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 38).

The Scripture also calls Jesus the “word of God,” and Jesus stated that he came to deliver the Word of God to men:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:10).

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things (John 8:28).

Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) “not only in character, but in form and feature (The Great Controversy, p. 645).” Does God have a physical form akin to man? Both Daniel and Ezekiel testify that he does: In Daniel 7 and Ezekiel 1 we read that God has a physical form:

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. . . . I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him (Daniel 7:9, 13).

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it (Ezekiel 1:26).

But there is another aspect to God, as well. Jesus said “God is a Spirit (John 4:24).” God’s Spirit is his inner being, mind, thoughts, and personality; which is not restricted to physical form. If God is a two-dimensional being, bodily form and spirit, then man, who is made in his image, is also a two-dimensional being. This is not to be confused with the concept of the immortal, undying soul. An important difference between the Creator and the creature must be noted. God’s inner spirit can consciously dwell apart from his physical form. Upon death, man’s spirit (breath) returns to God and is never consciously separate from his physical form. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul compares the divine spirit with the human spirit:

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

Even though God has a bodily form, it is by his Spirit that God can be omnipresent. David wrote:

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there (Psalm 139:7, 8).

Here we see Hebrew parallelism in verse 7, with the terms “spirit” and “presence” used interchangeably. The Spirit of God is not an extra God but his inner person, that aspect of God that is not limited to the physical sphere. The term “God the Holy Spirit” is never found in inspiration. Neither the Bible nor Sister White ever used that term. It is a man-made expression to promote the idea of a third being that is coequal and coeternal with God and Christ.

While the Bible does not speak of “God the Holy Spirit,” it does speak of the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ.”

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).

And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly (1 Samuel 11:6).

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (Job 33:4).

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (1 Corinthians 3:16)?

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow (1 Peter 1:11).

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (Romans 8:9-11).

These usages are in the possessive form, with the last reference (Romans 8:9) using “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ” interchangeably. God and his Son share the same Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).” Jesus said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him because he had been anointed to preach the gospel. Jesus was “set up [anointed] from everlasting (Proverbs 8:23).” The very term “Christ” means “the Anointed One.” God anointed Christ with his Spirit in eternity past and then again at his baptism (Matthew 3:16). This spirit God wishes for all to have, for we are told in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mind or spirit that was in Christ was the mind – spirit of the Father. In fact, Paul states that “the Lord is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17, Greek).” Paul further states, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17).” Ellen White amplified this by saying that Christ “united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh (The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900).” As his divine spirit dwells in our flesh, we become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and victorious in our battle with sin. “In Christ divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an overcomer is through becoming a partaker of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ (The Youth’s Instructor, June 30, 1892).”

Counterfeit Holy Spirit

As Christ was anointed with the Spirit of God, so we need the infilling of God’s Spirit to give strength to our dry bones and life to the heart and sinew. However, God’s Spirit is not the only spirit that can fill our hearts and minds. As an illustration, let us consider the many similarities between the work of evil in our world and the work of the parasite birds such as the brown-headed cowbird. The female cowbird does not build a nest of her own but from the trees and bushes of her neighborhood stealthily keeps watch on the nest-building activity of her neighbors at the forest’s edge. Once the cowbird selects a host nest, she regularly visits it during construction when the owners are absent. She watches the first egg being laid and then quickly sneaks in during the grey of dawn to lay her own egg while the mother is away from the nest and before incubation has begun. Satan also carefully watches our movements and is ever ready to snatch away truth and replace it with deceptions of his own design:

Satan ever works to carry out to completion the scheme of rebellion which he originated in the courts of heaven. When Jesus, the sinner’s only hope, draws the soul by the cords of his love, the enemy begins a work of opposition, and tries to turn the attention of the one who is moved to seek Jesus, to the world. He engages the mind of the seeker in his delusive snares, and catches away the word of truth; for his falsehoods seem more palatable to the natural heart than do the truths of heavenly origin, and men accept them, rejecting the word of truth. But we can be saved only through the reception of the truth, whose power will sanctify and refine the soul, for the gospel of Christ is adapted to the need of a fallen, apostate race (The Review & Herald, May 31, 1892).

It only takes a few seconds for a cowbird to lay her egg in a host nest, and then she is off! She lets the owner of the nest hatch her egg and feed her offspring, and often the rightful young of the nest die either through starvation or by being deliberately pushed over the edge of the nest by the baby intruder. So it is with Satan’s efforts. His “offspring” quickly overpowers the good seed of God’s Word, and, unless we carefully weed out Satan’s devices, he will overtake and control our movements.

It is amazing that even though some birds refuse to be surrogate parents and will destroy the cowbird egg or will abandon a nest containing an intruder egg, many birds are deceived into caring for the cowbird from egg to fledgling, thinking it is their own offspring. Adult birds often much smaller than the nestling work diligently to feed it, and they seem oblivious to the fact that their own brood is starving and slowly dying. Just so, many Christians continue in their supposed Christian walk, doing what they have always done and thinking they are worshipping God but are oblivious to who is on the throne they are bowing before:

Then I saw the Father rise from the throne and in a flaming chariot go into the Holy of Holies within the vail, and did sit. There I saw thrones which I had not seen before. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and most of those who were bowed down rose up with him. And I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after he rose up, and they were left in perfect darkness. Those who rose up when Jesus did, kept their eyes fixed on him as he left the throne, and led them out a little way, then he raised his right arm and we heard his lovely voice saying, wait ye, I am going to my Father to receive the Kingdom. Keep your garments spotless and in a little while I will return from the wedding, and receive you to myself. And I saw a cloudy chariot with wheels like flaming fire. Angels were all about the chariot as it came where Jesus was; he stepped into it and was borne to the Holiest where the Father sat. Then I beheld Jesus as he was before the Father a great High Priest. On the hem of his garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Then Jesus shewed me the difference between faith and feeling. And I saw those who rose up with Jesus send up their faith to Jesus in the Holiest, and praying, Father give us thy spirit. Then Jesus would breathe on them the Holy Ghost. In the breath was light, power and much love, joy and peace. Then I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne. They did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne and pray, My Father give us thy spirit. Then Satan would breathe on them an unholy influence. In it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy and peace. Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children. I saw one after another leave the company who were praying to Jesus in the Holiest, go and join those before the throne and they at once received the unholy influence of Satan (The Day Star, March 14, 1846).

Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, Satan is closely watching us and knows just when to try to deceive us. In Europe, female Cuckoos (another parasite bird) spend a long time watching over their territory. They watch the Reed Warblers as they build their nests and start their broods. The female Cuckoo has to time her egg-laying to just when the surrogate Reed Warbler starts to lay her eggs. It is not known how the hen cuckoo gets the timing right, as she cannot see the Reed Warbler’s eggs from her perch in the trees, but most likely she knows by the behavior of the warbler. Just so, Satan cannot read our thoughts and cannot know for sure what we are mentally dwelling upon, but he can get a nearly accurate picture by our behavior.

Satan cannot read our thoughts, but he can see our actions, hear our words; and from his long knowledge of the human family, he can shape his temptations to take advantage of our weak points of character. And how often do we let him into the secret of how he may obtain the victory over us. Oh, that we might control our words and actions! How strong we would become if our words were of such an order that we would not be ashamed to meet the record of them in the day of judgment. How different will they appear in the day of God from what they seem when we utter them (The Review & Herald, February 27, 1913).

When the hen cuckoo is out of egg-laying phase with the Reed Warbler she has chosen as a surrogate parent, the cuckoo eats all the warbler eggs so that the warblers are forced to start another brood, and Satan also seeks to destroy any barriers we have placed between him and ourselves so that he can gain control of our lives. He knows that all that is needed for him to be victorious in our lives is just one area that we refuse to relinquish the control of to God.

The great controversy between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness has not abated one jot or tittle of its influence as time has gone on. The stern conflict between light and darkness, between truth and error, is deepening in its intensity. The synagogue of Satan is intensely active, and in this age the deceiving power of the enemy is working in the most subtle way. Every human mind that is not surrendered to God and is not under the control of the Spirit of God, will be perverted through satanic agencies (The Review & Herald, April 14, 1896).

God will accept nothing but purity and holiness; one spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will forever debar them from heaven, with all its glories and treasures (Counsels on Health, p. 568).

As one flaw makes the chain worthless, so one defect will spoil the character, and if not overcome, will gain the mastery (The Signs of the Times, August 26, 1897).

In just ten seconds the Cuckoo can fly into a warbler’s nest, push the warbler egg over the edge of the nest, lay her own egg, and be gone! In less than ten seconds Satan can suggest to our minds the embryo of a deception or an impure desire that, if dwelt upon, will be the cause of our eternal ruin. Jesus has promised, however, to finish the good work he has started in us. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)” and he is the “the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

We have the great privilege of living during this antitypical Day of Atonement, and the great possibility of being part of the 144,000 lies before us. We are told to “strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand (The Review & Herald, March 9, 1905).” God has great plans for us and if we will cooperate with him and surrender our lives totally to him, he will fill us with his Spirit and a great wind will blow upon us. Bone will come to bone and sinew to sinew, and we shall “shine as the brightness of the firmament; and…as the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3).” What a wonderful promise! What an incredulous opportunity!?

Quiz

1. To what in nature did Jesus compare the work of the Spirit?

2. What is the Hebrew word most often translated spirit?

3. What was the Holy Spirit symbolized by at Pentecost?

4. What did Christ receive when he was anointed by God?

5. List two texts that speak of the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit.

Bonus: According to Ellen White, what happens to those who do not follow Jesus into the Most Holy Place?

Answers to March’s Quiz:

1. Some texts that declare Jesus to be the Son of God are: John 3:16; John 20:31; Mark 1:1; Acts 8:37; Luke 1:35; etc.

2. Arius believed that God the Father and Jesus were of similar substance.

3. The term Semi-Arian best describes the belief of the Adventist pioneers.

4. Hebrews 1:8 is quoted from Psalm 45:6 LXX.

5. Ephesians 2:9 tells us that “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).”

Bonus: The Bible teaches that God the Father alone has an absolute immortality (1 Timothy 6:16). If Jesus was a part of a being that could not die, than the cross of Calvary would only have been an act and the one upon it could not have died.


Commentary on the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for Second Quarter

The April, May, June 2008 issue of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, is entitled “The Wonder of Jesus.” In these lessons, the author, Dr. Roy Adams, examines the person of Jesus and his wonderful life, works, and teachings. After carefully studying through the lessons, we believe that there are many serious issues that need to be addressed.

Last month we published the first of three small booklets that offer comments paralleling the current lessons of the quarterly. The second booklet is now available on the Internet (http://www.smyrna.org).

These booklets will contain extra study material to help those using the Study Guide in their quest for truth and to help them intelligently discuss the lessons, from an informed perspective, in their local Sabbath Schools.

We have printed extra booklets for those who wish to share copies with their classmates or teachers. The suggested donation is $.50 each, plus postage, but if you need copies and funds are an issue, let us know and we will share while supplies last. Two years ago the Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Guide for the second quarter was on “The Holy Spirit.” We printed comments in Old Paths at that time and the response was without precedent. Please obtain and share as many of these truth-filled booklets as you can!


Living Epistles By Glen Ford

God wants us to be living epistles for him that when men see us they see Jesus. 1 Peter 3:1 says: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [or the lifestyle] of the wives.” By your lifestyle, you may win your husband who does not pay much attention to God’s Word but who sees it in you. He sees you living it out and thinks, “This is good. I like what I see in my wife. She portrays Jesus to me and I want what she has.”

There is a story of a man who had seen Jesus in the life of his wife. She had decided to be baptized against his wishes and when she came home and reached the gate, her husband said, “You know, you have never crossed me in any thing all the way through our lives and I told you, Mary, not to go and be baptized. And I told you if you were baptized not to come back to me.” She said, “John, this is the only home I have and you are my husband.” Then he said, “You come to me,” and he took her in his arms and said, “Mary, I want what you have.” And he was converted.

I want to tell you of a little experience I had back in World War II. I was on a hospital ship that was about 450 feet long, a big white ship with a Red Cross on the side. It was named the Ernestine Koranda. We were a floating hospital, and we went all over Europe. We went to England and over to the Philippines when the war was raging in the Pacific. We made trips back and forth across the ocean to pick up patients. On this trip we had taken on about 150 nurses to carry up to Korea where they were needed. Several of us were elected to stand guard in the corridor of the nurses’ quarter. One night I was appointed to be on guard and the officer of the day came down. He was my company commander. Of course, I saluted him. He told me to be at ease, but I thought, “What have I done?! What kind of trouble am I in?” He told me to be at ease, however, and said, “You know, we have been on this ship several months and you have been an inspiration to me. I was raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home and my parents wanted to send me to school to be a doctor. I should be a doctor now,” but here he was a lieutenant. He said, “I went away from the Lord, but I want to come back.” I was young at the time, and I did not know what to say to him. He told me, with tears streaming down his face, “I have observed you and I want to be a Christian. I want to come back.” I had never had that kind of experience before, and I did not know what to say. He borrowed some books from me and sent them back, but I never saw him again because he got out of the service before I did. I just pray that he did come back to the Lord.

I want to tell you another little story. Brother Leon has spoken to us about his father; how his father read to him, how he looked up to his father and admired him, and how his father helped him in many ways. My father did not claim to be a Christian. In fact, he used a lot of curse words and many times when he spoke to you it was with cursing and swearing. When he sent you for something, he wanted you to be back before you had even gotten started. He kept you in a condition of being a nervous wreck. He never read one Bible verse to me that I can recall. My mother read to us every night, especially during the winter time. She would read from the Bible and also from The Great Controversy, and I learned a lot then. She would read chapter after chapter in the book and some of those chapters are pretty long. My dad sat through all that and we children did too. We sat around the fire at night and couldn’t make any noise. Then mother would have prayer, and I came to follow Jesus. One day, I came home from South Carolina, where I was living at the time, and I took my dad to town because I had a car. He never did own a car. On the way back, and I know just where we were in our travels, he said: “Glen, I just want to tell you your life has been a witness, and I want to be a Christian.” I had never seen him read the Bible, and I just want to say to you that you may be the only Bible a person will ever read. I believe that my father did decide to follow Christ. He did not know a lot about how to be a Christian except what he had seen in Mother and maybe in me, but if the world could just see Jesus in us, it will make them want Jesus and what a blessing that would be.


West Virginia Camp Meeting

Don’t forget to be planning for the West Virginia Camp Meeting June 10-14. There will be great Bible preaching, several health talks, a series on horticulture, updates on recent legal developments concerning thought crimes, youth meetings, and great fellowship; so please do not miss this opportunity to come. For details call us.

 Pennsylvania Camp Meeting

Seed of Truth Ministries will be hosting the Pennsylvania Camp Meeting from July 2-6, 2008. There will be health and cooking classes, along with many sermons and Bible talks. The speakers will be announced at a later date. This is a tent-style camp meeting, so you will need to bring tents, sleeping bags, camping gear, food, etc. A Sabbath lunch will be provided. We pray all may attend. Seed of Truth Ministries is also in the process of putting together a catalog of available materials (books, DVDs, etc.) and a newsletter. If you would like to be on our list, please email us at seedoftruth@comcast.net or write us at Seed of Truth Ministries, PO Box 233, Cranberry, PA 16319.


Bible Reading on Genesis 9-12

1. After the flood, God gave mankind permission to eat meat, but what did he require of man if he ate meat?

2. The rainbow was the sign of a covenant between God and __________.

3. In Genesis 6:8, Noah is the first person in the Bible to be mentioned in connection with grace and in Genesis 7:1 the first person to be mentioned as righteous, but what sin of his is recorded in chapter 9? In Hebrews 11, Noah is accounted with the worthies. What may we learn from this?

4. Who were the three sons of Noah?

5. Nimrod established Babel, but who established Nineveh?

6. What does the name Peleg mean?

7. Why was the tower of Babel built?

8. Who were the brothers of Abraham? He is listed first among them but, according to the chronological record, could not have been the oldest. Why is he mentioned first?

9. What three things did Abraham have to remove himself from before God would show him the promised land?

10. Why could Abraham say to Pharoah that Sarai was his sister and it be partly true?

Bonus: Because God would justify the heathen through faith what did he preach to Abraham?

Answers to last month’s quiz on Genesis 5-8

1. By what name did God call our first parents? Adam – Genesis 5:2.

2. What principle in Genesis 5:3 helps us to understand the divinity of Jesus Christ? It is the law of reproduction that one produces after his kind. Jesus is the express image of the father’s person (Hebrews 1:3). His divinity does not depend upon absolute eternal existence but rather that he is indeed the only begotten Son of God.

3. Except for Adam, which patriarchs in Genesis 5 were the youngest when their first-mentioned children were born, and how old was thye? Mahalaleel and Enoch – 65 years old.

4. What does “the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men” in Genesis 6:4 mean? “The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain’s descendants, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 81).”

5. What was the wickedness of the world like in Noah’s day? (Also check margin note on Genesis 6:5.) The whole imagination and purpose and desire was wicked and filled with violence.

6. Ellen White states, “Guided by holy angels, they ‘went in two and two unto Noah into the ark,’ and the clean beasts by sevens (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 98).” So we know that Noah did not have to gather the animals. What Bible verse in chapter 6 would, while not mentioning angels, indicate that Noah did not gather the animals? “Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive (Genesis 6:20).”

7. In Genesis 7:2 it states that the clean animals were to go on the ark by “sevens.” Does this mean seven animals or seven pairs of animals? What reasons can we give for our answer? It may mean pairs for the Hebrew word is used twice and if it was only to be seven, it would have been used once.

8. In Genesis 7:16 it is stated that the “LORD shut” Noah in the ark. This was done seven days before the flood. What prophetic significance does this have? When probation closes at the end of time and Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place, there will be a space of time when the world knows not that their probation is closed. It will seem like the righteous were wrong, as the world thought Noah was wrong.

9. How high upon the earth did the flood waters rise? Can you compute this to an approximate height above sea level today? Fifteen cubits above the highest mountain (Genesis 7:20). If the standard cubit of about 18 inches was used, then 15 cubits equals about 22 ½ feet. Mt. Everest is the highest mountain at 29,028 feet (8,848 meters), so that puts the waters at about 29,050 ½ feet above current sea levels.

10. Where did the Ark come to rest? How is this answer different than the common belief? Not on Mount Ararat, but in the Mountains of Ararat. In a region, not on a specific mountain.

11. Why did God command Noah to take the clean beasts by sevens into the ark? They were used for sacrifices (Genesis 8:20), and some were later eaten as permission was given in chapter 9.

12. What sign of hope did the dove bring back to Noah to indicate “that the waters were abated from off the earth?” An olive leaf.

Bonus: Why might the promise of Genesis 8:22 have seemed strange to Noah? Before the flood the earth had an even temperature and climate and that there had been no winter or distinct seasons. (Fossils of tropical forests have been found in Antarctica, for example.)


“The Begats

Is there hope of overcoming our inherited tendencies toward evil?

By Llewellyn A. Wilcox

“You know, it’s easy for her to be a Christian. She was born good.”

“I’m sorry I flew off the handle the way I did, but I’m really not to blame for it; I inherited an awful temper.”

Did you ever hear anyone talk that way? Did you ever talk that way?

I wonder if you know the “Begats.” I think every one ought to know the “Begats.” As a typical American, I have scant interest in genealogies. Some friends of mine are very proud to trace their pedigrees back to royalty or nobility in Europe. Most Americans have descended from John Smith, Pocahontas, Miles Standish, or Priscilla, or somebody who came over on the “Mayflower.” I’m not particularly interested in my genealogy. But there is one record that I am intensely interested in. There is one family tree that does not bore me. There is one lineage that is glorious. I used to call it the “Begats.”

“Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren; and Judah begat Perez and Zerah of Tamar; and Perez begat Hezron; and Hezron begat--” Matthew 1:1-17, A.R.V.

Well, those are the “Begats.” And to me they are not a dry, uninteresting, attenuated genealogy. They are alive and vivid, and aglow with interest. For that is the way that Christ the Saviour is introduced to the reader of the New Testament.

There are two things about His ancestry which, as revealed by the “Begats,” are very interesting and very striking. The first is that He came of a line of kings; and the second, that He came of a line of crooks.

Some poet has written in a verse of satire,

“My ancient but ignoble blood
Has crept through scoundrels since the Flood.”

That was true of Jesus.

We do not worship the Christ today because He had royal blood in His veins. Kings have been from the very beginning, on the whole, not a very respectable lot. And it seems to me that one lesson of the “Begats” is the truth that even in the most high-sounding genealogy, there is none righteous, no, not one.

Let us look for a moment at this pedigree. There was Jacob the supplanter; and Judah, whose children were born of an impure woman; there was Rahab, the harlot of Jericho; there was Ruth, once the pagan woman of Moab; there was David, whose son and heir was begotten by a woman whose husband he murdered in order that he might have his wife; there was Rehoboam, Abijah, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Amon, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, of whom uniformly it is recorded that they “did evil in the sight of the Lord;” there was Ahaz, the leader of apostasy; and the wicked and cruel Manasseh, who caused his sons to pass through the fire. Yes, Jesus came of a line of sinners.

And I am glad for that. For it helps me to understand how He can be “touched with the feeling” of all my infirmities. He came where I was. He stood in my place. In his veins was the incubus of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and destroy. For four thousand years the race had been deteriorating in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of humanity at its worst. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.

“If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.” – Desire of Ages [p. 117].

It is good to know that. He, the Son of God, became the Son of man, that I, a son of man, might become a son of God. He became as I am that I might become as He is. He partook of my human nature that I might partake of His divine nature. In every temptation that assails, it is strength to know that just such a temptation in all of its overwhelming force attacked Him, – attacked Him where, by heredity, He was weakest, – attacked him in unexpected times and ways; and that, with equal tendencies toward evil, in spite of bad blood and inherited meanness, by the same power to which I have access, He conquered. He won for me. He offers me His victory for my own – a free gift. And so in all these things I am more than conqueror through Him that loved me.

Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. (Llewellyn A. Wilcox — Originally published in The Signs of the Times, March 22, 1927.)


Youth’s Corner — God Still Sends Ravens

Our story this month takes place about sixty-five years ago, but before I tell you this story, do you know what the very first book of the Bible is? Genesis, that’s right, and the first chapter in Genesis tells about what? Creation! Now, do you think God still is in control of all the things that are in this world? Yes, he is! After God made the land, the plants, and the animals, we read in Genesis about a flood. Now, did God command any of the animals at the time of the flood? How do we know that he did? He sent his angel to send all the animals to the ark! Let us move on to 1 Kings 17 and the story of Elijah. Is there an example of God commanding animals in the story of Elijah? In this story, God told Elijah to flee to the brook Cherith where he would have water to drink, and then God said, “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee (1 Kings 17:4).”

Now, the question I have is, “Do you think that God still has command of everything today, including the ravens?” Yes, he does. Our story takes place in the country of Greece about sixty-five years ago. At that time, a civil war was occurring in Greece. That means people in the country of Greece were fighting each other over who would be in charge of the government. This was a very bad civil war and Brother Christoforides, who was in charge of the Adventist Church in part of Greece, was hiding in his house, along with his wife and their 8-month-old little baby. Fighting was going on all around them. Machine guns were firing, along with other guns, and it was not safe to open the door even to peek outside. They stayed inside, but their food was getting less and less, and finally the milk was gone and the baby had nothing to drink. When all the food was gone, their greatest worry was not for themselves but for their baby. How could they get milk for him? They had just a half of a candle left, but they hardly used it because they knew it would soon be gone and then they would be left in the dark.

They did not know how long the civil war would last. The only way they knew they could get help was to pray! And that is exactly what they did. They asked God to please take care of them during the civil war. Their food was all gone and there was no milk for the baby! Was Elijah’s food all gone when he fled to the brook Cherith? Yes, he had no food, but God had promised to feed him and Elijah depended on God to fulfill his word.

One day Brother and Sister Christoforides heard a strong RAP, RAP, RAP at the door, and they did not know what it meant. Was the enemy coming to get them? Would the door burst open and they be taken away? They huddled together in the back of the room, but the person at the door did not go away. There was a louder knock this time, and Brother Christoforides said, “I will go to the door, and if they take me away, they take me away.” So he opened the door slowly and standing in the doorway was a soldier with a gun, wearing a backpack, and he walked right in and went straight to the back of the room where they had been huddled. The soldier took his backpack off, put it on the table, and said, “Are you Mr. Christoforides?” What do you think he said? Nothing! He could only nod his head yes. “These are for you,” the soldier said and then turned around and left just as quickly as he had come. Brother and Sister Christoforides opened the backpack, and do you know what they found? Food! And milk for the baby! Just enough food and milk to last for a few days. They did not know who sent the food, and they did not know who the soldier was, but they thanked God for the food.

Now, there is only enough room in a backpack to hold food for a few days and soon the food was gone. Do you know what happened next? They heard another knock at the door in the middle of the sounds of the rat-tat-tats of machine guns. They slowly opened the door and there was another soldier! He walked right in. His gun was drawn to protect himself because he walked through enemy fire to get to the Christoforides’ house. He took his backpack off, opened it up and inside was more food! The soldier took the food out and said, “This is for you.” And then he left! The food lasted for a few more days, and they were so thankful to have more food. A few days later there was another knock at the door, another soldier, and more food!

Brother Christoforides learned from one of the soldiers that the food was being sent by a commander in the army on one side of the civil war. He had met Brother Christoforides the year before. The commander was not an Adventist and was not even a Christian, but he knew that Brother Christoforides and his family were pinned in by the civil war and that they could not get out. Just as God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah, God impressed this earthly commander to send food to Brother Christoforides and his family, and that is just what happened. Every few days the commander sent more food until the civil war quieted down and Brother Christoforides could circulate in the city. God took care of Brother Christoforides and his family just as God took care of Elijah. Even though it was not a raven that brought food and dropped it at the doorstep of the Christoforides family, God used a commander in the army to send food to them.

There are two beasts spoken of in Revelation 13, and the second beast will command everyone to worship an image made to the first beast, and those who do not worship the image will be marked for death. We may have to flee just as Elijah fled to the brook Cherith, but just as God commanded the ravens to take care of Elijah and God sent the soldiers with food for Brother Christoforides, his wife, and little baby, God will take care of us. We do not need to worry about it, for God’s promises are sure and he cannot lie! — Onycha Holt


“He who upholds the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, at the same time cares for the wants of the little brown sparrow that sings its humble song without fear (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 86).”

Prayer Requests: Please pray for Sister Etha Brummett who is now home, recovering from a serious highway accident that happened on a recent trip to Romania. Also, many among God’s flock are struggling with other health issues that are in need of prayer, and we humbly ask that you join us in prayer for their improved health and strength. Also, we ask you to pray that God will provide workers in the field, especially here at Smyrna, for the harvest is ripe and we all want to go home as soon as we can! We also think of those who are taking a stand for God’s truth, causing finances, employment, and family situations to be in jeopardy. Please join us in prayer that God will bless each one and provide for every need.


Correction: In the April issue, page 3, column 2, paragraph 3, the Council of Constantinople is listed as being in AD 318, but should have been AD 381. Also, in the next paragraph, the first sentence should begin: “Fifty years later, …” Editor 


Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Assistant  Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!