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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.11 Straight and Narrow November 2008


“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”

 

“Let this Mind be in You”

In a tract entitled “Sinful Flesh,” A. T. Jones made this fascinating statement:

The Lord Jesus took the same flesh and blood, the same human nature, that we have, flesh just like our sinful flesh, and because of sin, and by the power of the Spirit of God through the divine mind that was in Him, “condemned sin in the flesh.” Rom. 8:3. And therein is our deliverance (Rom. 7:25); therein is our victory. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “A new heart will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you [Ezekiel 36:26] (paragraph 13).”

Let us remember that in 1888 God sent the message of the revelation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ through A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. In the above quoted tract, Jones is laying out a simple plan for victory over sin. He states that our Lord took upon himself sinful flesh and “by the power of the Spirit of God through the divine mind that was in Him, ‘condemned sin in the flesh.’ Rom. 8:3.”

Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:21).” We gain further insight through the following statement:

In Christ dwelt the fullness of the God-head bodily. This is why, although tempted in all points like as we are, he stood before the world untainted by corruption, though surrounded by it. Are we not also to become partakers of that fullness? and is it not thus, and thus only, that we can overcome as Christ overcame (The Signs of the Times, October 10, 1892)?

As Jesus overcame “by the power of the Spirit of God through the divine mind that was in Him,” and we are to overcome in the same way, then we must have this same mind or Spirit.

Both Paul and John are clear that we are to have the mind of Jesus Christ. Paul states: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).” He further says, “we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).”

John states, “And we have known that the Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind (1 John 5:20, Young’s Literal Translation).” (The Greek word for “understanding” in the King James Version is dianoian (diavnoian). It is defined as “the mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring . . . mind, i.e. spirit, way of thinking and feeling . . . thoughts, either good or bad {Online Bible Greek Lexicon}.” Dianoia is used thirteen times in the New Testament and is translated “mind” nine of those times.) The Bible at times uses the terms mind and spirit interchangeably. For example, Isaiah 40:13 states: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?” Paul quotes this verse in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 2:16, where he asks: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” The difference between the two is accounted for when we realize that Paul was quoting from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament). Under inspiration, Paul accepted the substitution of “mind” for “spirit” as proper and correct. (See also Romans 11:34 and Ezekiel 11:5.)

Thus, both Paul and John agree that we are to have the mind or spirit of Jesus Christ. The importance of this is emphatically stated by Paul when he writes: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9).” Without the Spirit or mind of Christ we have nothing, but what kind of mind is this that we are to receive? Paul states clearly in Philippians that it is a mind of humility and service. He writes concerning Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus meekly and humbly laid aside the form of God and emptied himself and became as a man. What a wonderful Saviour we have! But we might ask, “What more we can know of this mind of Jesus other than it was a humble mind?” To help understand this, let us notice that Paul states that Jesus laid aside “the form of God.” This would be equivalent to laying aside his omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and immortality. But did Jesus cease being divine? If not, why?

Luke gives us insight into “the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven–the incarnation of the Son of God (That I May Know Him, p. 25).” Luke 1:35 records the words of Gabriel to Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” The word “thing,” though not italicized in the KJV, is supplied by the translators. “Holy” in the Greek text is hagion (a{gion) in adjective form. The Greek grammar demands a word for it to modify and the best word grammatically for it to modify is not “thing” but “spirit.” From Mary was to be born a holy spirit, but it was to have the flesh of Mary and of all mankind. Ellen White expresses the humiliation of Jesus this way:

Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam (The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900).

Notice the expression “a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh.” In Hebrews10:5 Paul quotes the words of Jesus: “A body hast thou prepared me.” The “me” in the verse is Jesus Christ. The one preparing the body is the Father. So, if Jesus laid aside the form of God, who or what was the “me” that God prepared a body for? It was the divine spirit of Jesus Christ. A mind akin to the Father who is the embodiment of pure love. (See 1 John 4:8, 16.)

Some have supposed that the mind of Jesus was carnal, but this could not be, for we read in Romans 8:6-9:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 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 (Romans 8:6-9).

Christ was not carnally-minded but was spiritually-minded and brought life and light to us. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).” We are cautioned to carefully guard the mind:

When the mind is not under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, Satan can mold it as he chooses. All the rational powers which he controls he will carnalize (In Heavenly Places, p. 163).

We are to overcome as Jesus did by combining divinity with humanity, and Peter states that we are to become “partakers of the divine nature” through the “exceeding great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).” The greatest of these promises is that we might have the humble, meek mind or Spirit of Jesus Christ, and as we combine divinity and humanity we will overcome!

In his name, through his grace, man may be an overcomer, even as Christ was an overcomer. 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).

By combining his divine Spirit with our humanity we may overcome as he did and do the works that he did.

“Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” This is close language. Who can stand the test? The word of God is to us a daguerreotype [picture] of the mind of God and of Christ, also of man fallen, and of man renewed after the image of Christ, possessing the divine mind. We may compare our thoughts, feelings, and intentions with the picture of Christ. We have no relationship with Him unless we are willing to work the works of Christ (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 537).

Notice in this statement that Romans 8:9 is quoted in reference to the Spirit of Christ but that Ellen White speaks of the mind of Christ and the mind of God. To have this mind was the intention of God from the very beginning:

It was a wonderful thing for God to create man, to make mind. The glory of God is to be revealed in the creation of man in God’s image, and in his redemption. One soul is of more value than a world. God created man that every faculty might be the faculty of the divine mind (1888 Materials, p. 1430).

A. T. Jones agreed perfectly with this concept when he wrote: “Adam had the mind of Jesus Christ in the garden; he had the divine mind--the divine and the human were united, sinlessly (1895 General Conference Bulletin, p. 327).”

 That which was to be in the beginning of creation will be restored in the re-creation or redemption of man. When we have the mind of Christ that does not mean that we lose our individuality and become robots, but we certainly have the mind-set of Jesus and think like he does as we partake of the divine nature. When Adam came forth from the hand of God, he had his own individual mind and personality even though he had all the faculties of the divine mind.

At the 1895 General Conference Session, A. T. Jones gave a series of talks on the three angels’ messages. One of the most vital was Sermon Number 17. In that message he stated:

Therefore “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” That conquers sin in the sinful flesh. By his promise we are made partakers of the divine nature. Divinity and humanity are united once more when the divine mind of Jesus Christ by His divine faith abides in human flesh. Let them be united in you and be glad and rejoice forevermore in it (1895 General Conference Bulletin, p. 329).

God’s plan is that we might partake of the divine nature by having the mind of Jesus Christ. Let us remember that the text in Philippians says to “Let this mind be in you.” Self must die and surrender fully to Jesus. His Spirit will not forcefully enter into men and women, but for all who wish to have Christ more than life itself or the things of this world we have the assurance that his “biddings are enablings (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333).” Allen Stump


Prayer Requests

We would like to begin our prayer requests this month with a prayer of thanksgiving for each of you. We continually pray that each issue of Old Paths will be a blessing to every reader. Let’s also remember Brother Lynnford Beachy in prayer this month as he begins to use a new copy machine in Florida to print the Present Truth newsletter and that each issue of this paper will also be a blessing to all of its readers. We again entreat your prayers for God’s work around the world and especially concerning a possible trip to South America. And last but not least, we ask that you please lift high the needs of the work here at Smyrna, for there is much to be done and so little time. Editor


The Doctrine of Sin Part 2

By Allen Stump

Perhaps the two most influential theologians in Christian history have been Athanasius (293–373B.C.) and Augustine (354–430 B.C.) or, as they are known today, Saint Athanasius and Saint Augustine. The scope of their work should not be undervalued, for these two men made an imprint upon Christian theology in the two most vital areas that form the basis of all the doctrines in Christianity–Athanasius and his support for the trinity doctrine and Augustine for his theology on sin. Sadly, however, these “saints” did not have saintly theology. Athanasius helped to lay the groundwork for the denial of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, and Augustine, with his doctrine of sin, laid the groundwork for predestination and a theology that, instead of providing victory over sin, gives only defeat in sin.

The subject of righteousness by faith is one of the great teachings of the Bible but also one of the most controversial subjects, with a multitude of various thoughts proclaimed as being the right way. We are going to continue our study about sin in this article, and you might think this strange since the Christian’s goal is righteousness and not sin, but we must know the foe that we fight.

Last month, in Part 1 of this series, we quoted from Richard Taylor’s work, A Right Conception of Sin, concerning the impact one’s view of sin has upon the rest of one’s theology. The importance of the doctrine of sin has also been noted by other theologians such as Norman Gulley, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Southern Adventist University, who in 1990 wrote a series of six articles for the Adventist Review on Jesus with the theme “Model or Substitute?” The first article was a call for unity on the subject of the nature of Christ. The second article was the real beginning of the theology and, not surprisingly, Gulley began by stating:

In their assessment of the ministry of Christ, some Adventists see Him primarily as example, others primarily as substitute, these two conflicting views spring from two differing understandings of what constitutes sin (Adventist Review, January 25, 1990).

One’s understanding of both the nature of Christ and the nature of man is affected by one’s understanding of sin, and upon these building blocks almost all the rest of one’s theology is built. To believe that the doctrine of sin is not important is either naive or a demonstration of ignorance. 

Let us now continue with an overview of the two main views of sin that are found within Adventist theology. The first view we will discuss arises from the theology of Augustine. This view states that sin is primarily our basic nature. Humans are born sinners and all we are and do is polluted with sin. We will call this the nature view. This is the view that Gulley accepts, and it affects his understanding of Christ’s nature in the incarnation. In this view, Jesus could not have had a sinful nature in the incarnation, for, as Gulley stated:

Christ was a sinless sacrifice–it had to be, as prefigured in type. Sin, whether in His nature or in act, would have disqualified Him from being our substitute. For He would have needed a substitute Himself (Adventist Review, February 8, 1990).

One’s understanding of sin of course affects one’s understanding of sinlessness. If Jesus is to have “perfect sinlessness” and one’s nature is sin, than to have perfect sinlessness, Jesus must not partake in the least of man’s sinful nature.

John Calvin was the leading Protestant advocate of the nature view of sin. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, this view lead Calvin to write: “all, without exception, are originally depraved. .... Guilt is from nature .... , even infants bringing their condemnation with them from their mother’s womb, suffer not for another’s, but for their own defect. … men are born vicious .... We are all sinners by nature (Book II, chapter 2, part 2, sections 6-10; part 3, section 27).”

This view was not accepted into Adventist circles until the book Questions on Doctrine was published in 1957. Larry Kirkpatrick documented this in his paper, “A Wind of Doctrine Blows Through the Church: The Alternate Hamartiology of Questions on Doctrine,” given at the Questions on Doctrine 50th Anniversary Conference held at Andrews University October 24-27, 2007. 

Let us now look at the view that early Adventism accepted and that we believe the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy support.

This view of sin we will call the choice view. Sin involves choice rather than nature. This view is defined by 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” The Spirit of Prophecy not only fully agrees with this statement but emphatically declares: “Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is ‘the transgression of the law’ (The Great Controversy, p. 492).” (See also Selected Messages, book 1, page 320; The Review and Herald, April 3, 1888 and June 10, 1890; The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1894; and the General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1897 for other such emphatic statements.) This is a very simple definition and the clearest Biblical definition for sin available to us. We might ask then: “Why should we search so earnestly for texts that require interpretations based upon eisegeis to support a different definition of sin? Is it to find acceptance among evangelicals or others who likewise have accepted an unbiblical definition for sin from Augustine and others?” Instead of accepting a clear and simple definition of sin, one that the Spirit of Prophecy agrees with, we are trying to justify an unsound belief. This reminds me of the practice of those who try to support Sunday sacredness from scattered texts such as Revelation 1:10 and Acts 20:7.

Before going further, let us consider the term “righteousness by faith.” Broken down into its most basic components, it can be expressed as right doing by trusting the word of God. Righteousness is defined as “right doing (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312).” In fact, we are told: “The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right--because right doing is pleasing to God (Ibid., p. 97; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise stated).” Faith, according to Matthew 8:8-10, is trusting the word of God to do the very thing it claims to be able to do. Notice how this breaking down of the term righteousness by faith fits the definition of the Bible and not the definition of Augustine.

There is also a third concept that says sin is separation from God or a broken relationship. No clear verse can be brought forth to establish this; however, Isaiah 59:2 states: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” It is sin that separates one from God. According to Genesis 3, we find that Adam sinned and then was separated from God.

Interestingly, if you study the sanctuary service you will not find any sin offerings to atone for the “sin of our nature.” Instead, sin offerings are for the violation of God’s holy law.

The Augustinian doctrine of sin says that we are born to fallen parents, into a fallen world, with a fallen nature and that we are guilty and condemned by these very natures and all of what we are and what we do is sin.

The Bible doctrine of sin says that we are born to fallen parents, into a fallen world, with a fallen nature, but we are not guilty or condemned by these things. Instead, we become guilty when we choose to say no to God and use our sinful natures against God. At its roots, sin is a choice we make. To believe that men and women are sinners by nature leads to erroneous concepts of salvation, the law of God, the Sabbath, and worse still, to erroneous concepts about God.

If we examine sin in association to the concept of sinlessness we can also come to an understanding of its meaning. While the Bible does not use the expression sinlessness, the Spirit of Prophecy does. Notice this statement from The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898:

In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:17). He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. He was the Lamb “without blemish and without spot”...

We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.

Here we are told that Christ’s sinlessness was perfect and that we should have no misgivings regarding it. We should not doubt in the least his sinlessness. While we are assured that he was subject to “the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed,” was this sinlessness due to his nature as well as the choices he made? The following statements clarify:

The Saviour is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also live lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God's grace has power to sanctify the heart (The Review and Herald, April 1, 1902).

Heaven tells us that we “might also live lives of sinlessness” as did Jesus. If men and women can “live lives of sinlessness” with a sinful nature, than could Jesus not also have done the same or do we dare claim that he could do less than we can?

Everyone who by faith obeys God’s commandments, will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression (Maranatha, p. 224).

From these statements we can see that sinlessness does not refer to the nature of the individual unless that nature is changed before Jesus comes. Such a teaching did surface once in Adventism around the turn of the 20th century in the Indiana Conference. This doctrine, which was termed “holy flesh,” taught that man is born a sinner by nature. This movement was denounced by Ellen White in the strongest of terms, declaring that “there is not a thread of truth in the entire fabric (G. A. Roberts, The Holy Fanaticism; Ellen G. White Estate Document File #190, p. 4).”

Perhaps part of the problem we have had in dealing with the doctrine of sin is distinguishing between the sin itself and the effects of sin that we see in our world. Sin can be viewed in two areas: evil and its results, whether those results are consequences of my personal sin or the sin of others, and the guilt associated with our personal disloyalty to God. These two concepts can be simple to understand with a few illustrations. When sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were not the only ones affected. The entire world, in fact, was affected.

Today, beautiful roses have thorns, as Genesis 3:18 promised, but when our flesh is torn by the rose, do we say the rose is guilty of anything? Of course not. The thorns are a result of Adam’s sin, not our own, but we still suffer the consequences for what Adam did.

We have violent storms such as Katrina, Rita, and Charlie which claimed many lives and destroyed much property. We know that such storms would never have happened if there had not been sin. We think of such storms as a result of evil, but there is no guilt ascribed to storms. The same is true with earthquakes such as the Lisbon and San Francisco earthquakes. While evil is seen in them, there is no guilt.

If a toddler goes to a drawer, finds a loaded pistol, and tragically kills his sibling because he believed the gun was a new toy, we say that an evil deed has happened. The child has killed, but do we ascribe guilt to the child? Do we lock the child in jail for life? Of course not. However, if that child sixteen years later picks up the same gun from the same drawer and shots the same brother or sister, we now have a very different situation. We would want to know if it was an accident and if not there would be guilt.

 According to Isaiah 65:25, the wolf and the lamb will lie together in the New Earth. But what about today? The wolf will kill the sheep, but do we ascribe guilt to the wolf? No, this is part of the effects of the sin in the world.

We live in a sinful world where the effects of sin are all around us and all of this planet is caught in the cross fires of the effects of sin. This will all be removed one day, but what we now need is power and freedom over the guilt and power of sin.

Jesus is the Lamb Slain from the Foundation

Genesis 2:16, 17 records the first commandment of God to Adam: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Yet after Adam ate of the fruit he did not die. How do we solve this enigma? Do we say that he began to die or that he spiritually died that day? In the last book of the Bible we find help. There Jesus Christ is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).” So does this help us or seemingly make things more confusing? Jesus was not slain until about 4,000 years after sin came to this earth. Turning to the writings of Ellen White we find some help:

Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his [Adam’s] case?--Because a ransom was found. God’s only begotten Son volunteered to take the sin of man upon himself, and to make an atonement for the fallen race (The Review and Herald, April 23, 1901).

Here we see that the death penalty that would have been at once carried out was not enforced because a ransom was found. Not the second person of a so-called trinity, but the “only begotten Son” of God volunteered to take man’s place. Jesus did not wait, however, until Adam repented. No, that would have been too late. Notice the timing:

The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, “Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance.” (The Faith I Live By, p. 75).

As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary (Ibid.).

The instant man sinned, Christ stepped between the dead and the living. In whatever manner Adam was “the dead” or if he was a heart beat from death, Jesus was there. It was because of the intercession of Jesus that Adam could live. Although 4,000 years prior to Calvary, Adam was living under the blood of Jesus Christ. Notice how Paul declares that the work of Jesus undoes the sin of Adam:

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Romans 5:18).

By Adam condemnation came upon all men, but the Son of God was not content to allow that to remain, and by Christ’s life the free gift of justification of life comes upon all. Justification reverses the condemnation that Adam brought. “By His wonderful work in giving His life, He restored the whole race of men to favor with God (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 343).” E. J. Waggoner of 1888 agreed with this when he wrote: “As the condemnation came upon all, so the justification comes upon all. Christ has tasted death for every man. He has given himself for all (Waggoner on Romans, p. 101).” Whatever condemnation Adam’s sin brings upon us, the death of Jesus reverses. A baby, though born with a sinful nature, is not born in sin, but under the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. If the nature view of sin advocated by Augustine is true, then how could an infant receive personal forgiveness for its personal guilt, yet it has no consciousness of guilt or forgiveness? Who should choose for the baby?

Are all the sins of a person who accepts Christ and is baptized totally forgiven? Are their sins really cast “into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).” According to the book of Acts, when someone was baptized they received remission (forgiveness) of their sins (Acts 21:38; 10:43). But according to the nature view of sin promoted by Augustine, even after we rise from the waters of baptism, we are just as much sinners as we were before the new birth because the primary sin of our nature has not been removed by conversion and will not until Jesus comes.

Even though one may choose to die rather than transgress God’s holy law, that person is still just as guilty of the primary sin of nature as he was when he was in open rebellion against God, and he needs continual forgiveness of that sin as much as ever. How can this person be forgiven when the intercession of Jesus has ceased? How can he stand in the “sight of a holy God without an intercessor (Early Writings, p. 280)?”

Clearly, according to this false view of the nature of sin, there can be no possibility of sinlessness among the saints despite the testimony of Jesus saying that they can “live lives of sinlessness.” The Augustinian nature view of sin may be the popular view of Catholicism, Protestantism, and even contemporary Adventism, but it is not compatible with the historic, inspired Adventist understanding of the great controversy theme!

During our time on this earth, Christ does not take away the results of sin, but he does deal with the guilt and condemnation and later the atonement of Jesus will finally cover the whole broad scope of sin.

Evil is still here for now. We still have death, even for born-again people. The sinful nature is not removed at conversion but guilt is, as we receive a new mind from Jesus in place of the carnal mind. The sinful nature of the saints will be changed when Jesus comes back at the second coming, but today we may have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

So, as we have seen, sin involves our own personal transgression, all the evil that is in this world around us, the results of those sins, and the personal guilt of each sinner. What we need to also understand is what bridges the acts of evil to guilt.

Let us now go to the Bible and see how these concepts are brought out. Let us begin with two stories Jesus told in the thirteenth chapter of Luke. The first story is in verses 1-3:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:1-3).

Some Galileans had come to Jerusalem to worship and Pilate thought that they were there for an insurrection. Pilate had them killed as they were in the very act of sacrificing. From this answer of Jesus, it appears that the people did, in fact, think that these men had been very great sinners and the proof was in the way that they had been killed. However, Jesus assured the people that it was not proper to think this and that the Galileans did not die because they were greater sinners, the point being that humanity many times suffers the consequences of evil found in the world when it is not their personal guilt that is involved.

The second story illustrates this too:

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:4, 5).

Men had been working on a tower and it fell, killing eighteen men. It was not right to draw the conclusion that these eighteen men died because they were great sinners. The fact that men come to a sudden and violent death is not proof that they are particularly wicked. These verses help us to see that the first death is not proof of an individual’s guilt before God. The first death comes to all, those who believe and those who do not believe, as a result of the effects of sin. We receive the first death as a result of our own personal sin, but sickness may be the result of sin with which we have not been personally involved.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:1-3).

This man was born blind and Christ’s disciples wanted to know if it was his sin (and if it was the man’s sin, then somehow he had to have sinned before he was born while still in his mother’s womb) or the sins of his parents that caused him to be born blind. Jesus clarified that it was not the personal sin of the man nor of his parents, but rather it was for the glory of God. Oh, that such Scripture might be made plain to all. After sharing this study, I received the following letter:

Thank you so very much for sharing what was on your heart . . . I certainly found much of your sharing helped me to deal with several issues that have entered into my world in the past few months. Some persons can just be plain cruel. I have been told that because of my sins I was cursed with medical issues and because [of this] my son was cursed with Down’s syndrome from my womb.

While it is true that many times we suffer the consequences of our own personal sins, it is not right to label all sickness and death accordingly. It is best to follow the counsel of Matthew 7:1 and allow the Lord to be judge. But going back to our story of the man born blind, what did Jesus do about this? He re-created good eyesight into the man, giving us a foretaste of how he will deal with the results of sin. Peter tells us that this sin-blighted earth will one day be re-created and all things made new (2 Peter 3:13). (See also Revelation 21:5.)

There is one more important point we need to see concerning the man born blind. Jesus healed him, but did he forgive the man for his blindness? No, while Jesus forgave sins, he never forgave any one for sickness or for having a sinful nature. Jesus does not forgive us of our fallen natures, for there is nothing to forgive. God has a plan to deal with evil and with all guilt. Notice what Jesus says:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (John 5:24, 25).

How do we explain what Jesus said in verse 24 about having everlasting life? 1 John 5:13 boldly declares that Christians may know that they have eternal life now! The power of guilt to bring the second death will not touch one Christian. Today we may be free from all guilt and condemnation. As we have the abiding Christ living in us, we have his everlasting life. Those who abide in Christ will not face the final, great, white-throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-14), but we still live in a world of evil and will die the first death as the result of evil and the effects of Adam’s sin. However, in John 5:25 we find the answer to the first death. It is the resurrection, and Jesus has declared that there will be two general resurrections, one for the righteous and another for the wicked.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28, 29).

God does not hold us responsible for the results of the sins of humanity in general, but what does bridge the gap between sin and personal guilt? The following verses from John help to make this very clear.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father (John 15:24).

Jesus states that because the people had seen his works of love, the light of God’s goodness had become plain to them and they were now accountable due to this light given. If they had chosen to accept this great light, they would not have had sin, but in their rejection of the light they were now accountable for sin. We become guilty based upon our reaction to the light given and the choices we make. Notice what Jesus said concerning the Pharisees that saw the miracle of the man born blind:

And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:40, 41).

The Pharisees were born into a sinful world and to sinful parents with sinful natures. Jesus did not tell them, however, that they had sin because of this but rather because they chose to reject the light that was sent from heaven to them. Notice what Jesus said about Capernaum:

And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee (Matthew 11:23, 24).

Where would you have rather lived and raised a family–Capernaum or Sodom? I would dare say that many more acts of gross sin were done in Sodom, but why did Jesus say that it would be better for Sodom? Capernaum had the greater light and chose to reject that light.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ezekiel 18:20).

Notice that is it the soul that sinneth that dies, not the soul that inherits sin.

It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 306).

Notice that the consequences of the sin are shared, not the guilt. James wrote: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).” When the light of God’s requirements as shown in his holy law become clear, we are under obligation to obey them or we incur guilt, but until the truth is clear, we are not condemned by God because we are not in known rebellion against him. For example, someone accepts Christ as their Saviour, fully desiring to serve him, and they begin to attend church on Sunday, not having heard of the seventh-day Sabbath. Do they break the seventh-day Sabbath every week? Yes, they do. Does God, however, hold them accountable, and do they incur guilt in the eyes of God? No, because they have not knowingly rebelled against God, but let the light of God’s truth become known to them and they then become responsible. Sin is imputed to them the first Sabbath that they disregard the commandment. Guilt comes because of the choices we make not because of our natures!

Light makes manifest and reproves the errors that were concealed in darkness; and as light comes, the life and character of men must change correspondingly, to be in harmony with it. Sins that were once sins of ignorance because of the blindness of the mind, can no more be indulged in without incurring guilt. As increased light is given, men must be reformed, elevated, and refined by it, or they will be more perverse and stubborn than before the light came (Gospel Workers, 1892, pp. 104, 105).

Here we clearly see that sins of ignorance do not incur guilt, condemnation or the disfavor of God, but once light has come, or even the opportunity to have the light, then responsibility for the sin and guilt will be against those who rebel against that light.

Said the angel: “If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 116).

Temptation and Sin

At this point, we would like to notice the clear distinction that the Bible makes between temptation and sin. Some believe that there is no real difference or that it is a sin to be tempted from within ourselves apart from Satan. James 1:14 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” A lust is a desire for anything that is not in harmony with the will of God. Are these lusts from without ourselves? No, for James specially mentions lusts of our own. The Greek word for “enticed” is deleazo (deleazw) and it means to bait. A person is tempted when they have a desire that is not in accordance with the word of God and is baiting them or encouraging them to do wrong. According to the Bible, this is not sin. Augustine would have denied such a teaching and declared the temptation of our own desires to be sin; however, the text goes on: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” When the lust has conceived, then there is sin. But what does it mean to for the lust or desire to be conceived? Notice the following statements:

The sin of evilspeaking begins with the cherishing of evil thoughts. Guile includes impurity in all its forms. An impure thought tolerated, an unholy desire cherished, and the soul is contaminated, its integrity compromised (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 177).

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence. Oh, that we each might become a savor of life unto life to those around us (The Review and Herald, March 27, 1888)!

Choice and free will are the issues. Men and women are born with sinful natures and at times wrong thoughts come to the mind. You cannot help that, for it is your nature, but you can choose what to do with those thoughts. If you cherish or tolerate them, they become sin. Instead of cherishing or tolerating the thoughts, you may by the power of the indwelling Christ do as Jesus did and banish the wrong thoughts.

The Augustinian version of sin says that the very thought at its beginning before it is cherished or tolerated is sin. James says, however, it is sin when it is “conceived,” in other words when it is “cherished” or “tolerated.”

God condemns because of disloyalty not because we have been born with defective natures or what we are. He will at last condemn those who are in opposition to his will of righteousness. The gospel is to heal our minds by transformation of character, but our sinful flesh will wait until translation. The Bible demands that we yield our wills and our minds to God. This we can do by the grace “of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).” To be continued:


Ellen G. White and The Truth About God, Part 4

By Allen Stump and Onycha Holt
 

(Earlier this year we published the DVD “Ellen G. White and the Truth About God.” The following is an edited transcript of part of the presentation.   Editor)

Publishers’ Use of Capitalization: Another type of editorial change that has been made is the use of capitalization to emphasize the concept of deity. The first example we will note is from The Desire of Ages. The original edition copyrighted in 1898 reads:

Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power (The Desire of Ages, p. 671, 1898 edition; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted).

But in 1940 it was changed to have capitalization:

Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power (The Desire of Ages, p. 671, 1940 edition).

The 1940 edition with capitalization makes it appear that Ellen White believed in a pro-trinitarian position. The phrase “third person of the Godhead” was published seven times while Ellen White was alive. (See The Review and Herald, May 19, 1904 and November 19, 1908; The Signs of the Times, December 1, 1898; The Watchman, November 28, 1905; Special Testimonies, series A, number 10, pages 25, 37; and The Desire of Ages, page 671, 1898 edition.) Each time the term “third person” was published it was in the lower case. Standard rules for capitalizing the titles of Deity have not changed since Ellen White’s death; however, this term has been republished six times since her death in the upper case, including the changing of The Desire of Ages reference into the upper case.

Another example of using capitalization is seen in the following comparison: 

Evil had been accumulating for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power (Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, Series A, no. 10, p. 25).

But in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, “third person” is now capitalized:

Evil had been accumulating for centuries and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 392).

The footnote at the bottom of page 392 in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers reads: “The articles in this section are from Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers (Series A, Nos. 9-11, 1897-1898). This article is from No. 10, pp. 25-33.” Every time the phrase “third person of the Godhead” was published under the pen of Ellen G. White while she was alive it was always in the lower case! Since her death, it has been republished at least six times in the upper case.

One reference to the “third person” that was correctly republished in the lower case is found in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. This statement calls the divine Spirit “that converting, enlightening and sanctifying power.”

Christ determined that when he ascended from this earth, he would bestow a gift on those who had believed on him, and those who should believe on him. What gift could he bestow rich enough to signalize and grace his ascension to the mediatorial throne? It must be worthy of his greatness and his royalty. He determined to give his representative, the third person of the Godhead. This gift could not be excelled. He would give all gifts in one, and therefore the divine Spirit, that converting, enlightening and sanctifying power, would be his donation (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1,052; 1,053; original source Southern Watchman, November 28, 1905.)

To be continued:


Quiz on Genesis 29-32

1. Whose son was Laban and what was his relationship to Jacob?

2. How is Leah physically described compared to Rachel? Which sister would you say had the better character and why?

3. How did the time pass for Jacob while laboring for Rachel? Why was this so?

4. What did Jacob tell Laban when he found he had received Leah for a wife instead of Rachel?

5. What would the fact that Jacob could not tell it was Leah until the morning suggest?

6. Name the eleven sons of Jacob in the order of their birth with their mother’s names also.

7. What did Rachel tell Jacob when she was childless?

8. What was Jacob’s reaction to Rachel?

9. What evidence can we find in Genesis 30 to suggest that Jacob usually spent the evenings in Rachel’s tent?

10. How many years did Jacob work for Laban to receive his wives and how many years for cattle and flocks? What did Jacob testify concerning his personal work and labor to protect the flocks of Laban?

11. How many times had Laban changed Jacob’s wages?

12. What did Rachel and Leah mean in Genesis 31:14?

13. What had Rachel done that caused her father to be especially upset?

14. Why did Laban not harm Jacob as he apparently intended to do?

15. On his way back home, whom did Jacob see?

16. How many men were coming with Esau?

17. Why did Jacob send so many presents ahead to Esau?

18. How did Jacob order this wives and children in the event of a battle?

19. What does Hosea say about Jacob wrestling with the angel?

20: “Jacob’s experience during that night of wrestling and anguish represents the trial through which the people of God must pass just before Christ’s second coming (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 201).” One of the prophets wrote of this experience. Where can we find those verses?

Answers to Quiz on Genesis 25-28

1. Keturah bore six children of Abraham.

2. With Hagar’s son, Ishmael, Abraham had seven sons by concubines.

3. Abraham was 175 years old when he died.

4. Abraham was buried by Ishmael and Isaac at the cave of Machpelah.

5. Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah and sixty years old when his sons were born.

6. God told Rebekah that the two children she was to have would be two nations, with the elder serving the younger.

7. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of red lentils.

8. Paul calls Esau a “profane person” in Hebrews 12:16.

9. Isaac tried to tell the men of Gerar that Rebekah was his sister, similar to what Abraham had done.

10. The people of Gerar were Philistines.

11. The three wells mentioned in Genesis 26 with their meanings are: Esek–contention, Sitnah–hatred, and Rehoboth–room.

12. Abimelech, Ahuzzath, and Phichol all recognized that the LORD was with Isaac.

13. Isaac and Rebekah were not happy with the first marriage of Esau because he married a Hittite and not someone from among his people.

14. Isaac wished for Esau to prepare “savoury meat” for him before the birthright blessing was to be bestowed.

15. Failing eyesight allowed Jacob to trick Isaac into believing that he was Esau.

16. Jacob lied to his dad four times by telling him: 1. He was Esau, his firstborn; 2. He had done according to what his father had commanded even though he had commanded him nothing concerning this; 3. The LORD brought the deer to him quickly; 4. Again that he was his son, Esau.

17. When Isaac learned that he had not given Esau the blessing, he “trembled very exceedingly.”

18. Though Esau cried bitter tears, “he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears,” indicating that while he was sorry he had lost the wealth of the birthright, he did not appreciate the spiritual side of the birthright.

19. Isaac died at the age of 180 and Jacob was seventy-seven years old when he first left home!


True Remedies Part 5 – Fresh Air

(The following study is an edited version of a discussion on health between Dr. Glenn Waite and the congregation during the 2008 camp meeting.   Editor)

Can you stand up, take a very deep breath and then blow it all out? When you breathe, you need to exhale everything. If you breathe shallowly, a stagnant residual remains down in your lungs—air that does not circulate well—and this can cause problems for your body. We need to take good, deep breaths and blow out as much as we can every time, but sometimes we forget.

Green plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. This adds to the amount of oxygen in the air, but when the trees and plants are removed and replaced by shopping malls and parking lots in cities, it decreases how much oxygen is getting into the air. It is more healthy to be out in nature where you have green plants that put out extra oxygen to breathe in. I think this is one of the reason why we have counsel to as much as possible get out of the cities, get into the country, and grow our own fruits and vegetables. Here there are plants producing oxygen so that we can breathe better.

 Ellen White talks about using the abdominal muscles for proper breathing and when you take a deep breath you have to use your abdominal muscles.

 The one who sits and stands erect is more likely than others to breathe properly. But the teacher should impress upon his pupils the importance of deep breathing. Show how the healthy action of the respiratory organs, assisting the circulation of the blood, invigorates the whole system, excites the appetite, promotes digestion, and induces sound, sweet sleep, thus not only refreshing the body, but soothing and tranquilizing the mind…To ensure correct delivery in reading and speaking, see that the abdominal muscles have full play in breathing and that the respiratory organs are unrestricted (Education, pp. 198, 199).

When you take a deep breath you have to use the abdominal muscles to get the breath in fully and then you also have to use the abdominal muscles to get the breath out. Ellen White also makes the point that an improper type of clothing can cause a problem with free circulation of the pure air we breathe.

An almost endless train of disease results from unhealthful modes of dress, and careful instruction on this point should be given. Impress upon the pupils the danger of allowing the clothing to weigh on the hips or to compress any organ of the body. The dress should be so arranged that a full respiration can be taken and the arms be raised above the head without difficulty. The cramping of the lungs not only prevents their development, but hinders the processes of digestion and circulation, and thus weakens the whole body (Ibid.).

Every article of dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full, natural respiration. Everything worn should be so loose that when the arms are raised the clothing will be correspondingly lifted (The Ministry of Healing, p. 293).

Ellen White also instructs us that the environment around our homes should be free from decaying vegetation because this contaminates the air. She also says shade trees and shrubbery can interfere with the rays of the sun; however, we do need some shade trees and shrubbery to produce more oxygen. She emphasizes that no unclean or decaying matter should be allowed within the house because this matter puts its aroma and what she calls “death-producing germs” into the air we breathe. She also speaks of the importance of proper ventilation and that if we do not have free circulation in the bedrooms they become damp, along with the beds, bedding, and curtains, and then organisms breed in the bedding, the curtains and other things. This can add to air pollution in the home.

We are told by Ellen White that our bedrooms should have a free circulation of air day and night. It is important in our sleeping rooms that we do not breathe in the same air over and over. You exhale carbon dioxide, and if you do not have fresh circulation, you will re-breathe some of that carbon dioxide. She also tells us that sometimes we will furnish our houses with expensive possessions and then will not let in the sunlight or the air because it might destroy those things we have purchased, when really it would be simpler to not buy as expensive furniture and keep the air circulating so that we have pure air to breathe.

Of course, we think that getting out of the cities and into the country is healthful, but there might be certain areas of the country where there is a lot of pollen or a lot of dust with much wind blowing, and this dust and pollen can also create problems, causing allergies and certain types of pulmonary diseases. Ellen White speaks of the health-restoring effects of the fragrance of certain trees especially associated with open air in the country.

A question was asked about the concentration of oxygen in the air today and if there is a difference in the cities. Dr. Waite’s response: It depends on the altitude. At sea level the air is usually 21% oxygen and the rest nitrogen and other gases, but at higher altitudes it can be down to 19, 18, even 17%, depending on high you go. There are air pollutants and hydrocarbons in the city that may displace a little bit of the oxygen and you don’t have as much greenery in the cities to replace the oxygen.

Question from the audience: What is the mechanism in the human body that causes you to breathe and does the body sense the amount of oxygen or carbon dioxide? Dr. Waite’s response: In the posterior brain or first part of the spinal cord you have a reticular activating system that activates the breathing whether you are conscious of it or not and sends the stimulus to have the breathing go automatically. The other mechanism is if you do not exhale enough carbon dioxide, then the amount of acid in the blood rises and you get a stimulus from the acidity in the blood that causes you to breathe more. This can also cause you to breathe more when you are exercising?

Question: After a thunderstorm, is the air better for us and do you recommend home ozone machines? Answer: You get some ozone, O3, after a thunderstorm. It is unstable and does not last very long but it does give you more oxygen. It is O3 instead of the O2 molecule, and it has a negative charge. If you breathe too much ozone it can be harmful to the respiratory tract. There are treatments for cancer and other things that are a type of bath but they only come up to the neck. You are not breathing the ozone because it can be toxic in the airways, but it is absorbed through the blood and it actually increases the amount of white cells in the blood and other beneficial things. The machines you can buy for your homes should not have that much ozone and should not be toxic and at those levels it should be health-benefitting. After a thunderstorm, the ozone is not enough to cause toxic conditions, so it is healthful. Ozone in high concentration is toxic for the airways and can cause damage to the lungs, but the amounts after thunderstorms and from the machines produced for the homes are not high enough to cause damage.

A question was asked if it is beneficial for people with respiratory problems to have fresh ventilation in the bedrooms day and night and when there is a lot of dampness at night. Dr. Waite’s response: Yes, it is beneficial for everybody, even those with respiratory diseases. You do not, however, want a free draft on a person to chill them. You want the circulation to be free throughout the room and it is actually even more beneficial for persons who have diseases in the lungs to have air in which they are not re-breathing carbon dioxide or other pollutants. Ellen White talks about sick rooms that are not given free air and sunlight and she has a very good point. Microorganisms which are resistant to almost every known antibiotic grow in the sick room. When other people come into that poorly-circulated, unlit room, they can get sick with these organisms. Sometimes people will go to a hospital and pick up an extra disease that they did not have when they were first admitted. Dampness encourages the breeding of extra, harmful organisms that can also contaminate the air, and we should avoid dampness, mold, and other such things in our houses,.

A question was asked if a person who lives in a forest at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet will get enough oxygen. Dr. Waite’s response: It would depend on the individual. If you are in good health, you would get enough. Some persons with diseases would not get enough. A person who has been in good health would certainly get enough oxygen, and with the greenery you would get a little more oxygen than you would get at other places at the same altitude without the greenery. As far as the altitude goes, people acclimate to the altitude. Commercial airlines pressurize their cabins to the barometric equivalent of the pressure found at 8,000 to 10,000 feet, and most people will adjust to that altitude. Of course, you are sitting and not doing exercise, but if you went to a higher altitude and started doing exercises then you might have some problems for a few days until you become acclimated. People with either lung or heart conditions living at sea level sometimes find that when they go to a higher altitude they have difficulty breathing after a day or two. The altitude change is performing a natural respiratory stress test upon them.

The question was asked if using a wood stove in the home causes the oxygen to be used up. Dr. Waite’s answer: With any sort of combustion at home, whether it is wood, propane, or another substance being burned, you have to watch out for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, and if you breathe too much of it you have carbon monoxide poisoning which needs emergency treatment in the hospital. The first treatment is ventilation and air, which is what they do in the hospital. The body does try to eliminate carbon monoxide but if you get too much, it causes death. It causes acidosis and destruction of the cells. Because carbon monoxide is both odorless and colorless, people have no way of knowing how much carbon monoxide is in the air, and some people will not even get a headache but will just become unconscious.


Tasty Recipe

Pumpkin Patch Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Puree in blender 12 ounces firm silken tofu and then blend into the tofu:

8 ounces nondairy cream cheese

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup sweetener

3 tablespoons flour

1½ teaspoons coriander and up to 1 teaspoon other seasonings, if you wish

½ teaspoon sea salt

Pour this mixture into a pie crust (graham cracker preferable) and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight before serving.
 

Shared by Elaine Nailing—Thanks!


Youths’ CornerDr. Wilfred Grenfell

Our story this month takes place in a land that is not very far from America, and it is a land that John James Audubon, the famous naturalist, called “the most extensive and dreariest wilderness” he had ever seen. Even the people who lived there called it the land of Cain! It was a very harsh place to live, and this place is called Labrador. Labrador is the most eastern part of Canada. If you follow the east coast of America to the north, you will come to the island of Newfoundland and just north of this island but attached to Newfoundland, is Labrador. Our story is about the very extensive wilderness of Labrador.

And it is also about Alexander. Alexander was an orphan who went to a church school in the far north of North America in the area of Labrador, and since he did not have a mother or a father or grandparents or even distant relatives who cared about him, he was not the best-behaved student in school. In fact, he was often in lots of mischief and was constantly trying the patience of his teachers. Well, one day the principal walked up to Alexander in the corridor and said, “Alexander, I need your help!” Now, Alexander was perhaps nine years old at this time, and he had never before heard anyone say to him that they needed his help, so the words caught his attention and he thought to himself, “How can anyone need my help? I am a problem to these teachers!” He continued, however, to listen to the principal. “In about a month our school is going to put on a pageant and I want you to be Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. Here is a book I want you to read so you will know all about him.” Then she said again, “I need your help,” and went into her office.

Alexander did not say he would help, and he kind of chuckled about it to himself, but after his friends left him, he went to the principal’s office and told her, “I can’t promise you that I will help you in the pageant, but I will read this book if you want me to.” And he did read all about Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. It was so interesting that he read another book! And another! In fact, he read all the books he could find on his level about the doctor, and when it was time for the school pageant, he agreed to portray Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. He did not have to say anything in the pageant but only to dress up like Dr. Grenfell and stand on the auditorium platform while someone else spoke about him.

Well, about fifteen months later, when Alexander was a little older–maybe 11 or 12–Dr. Grenfell came to his area. When Alexander heard Dr. Grenfell would be speaking at a church in his town, he said to himself, “I want to go and see this man.” Since he was still a young fellow, he could not find a very good seat, but he wormed his way through the crowd up to the front of the meeting hall where the steps going up to the platform were, and he found a spot on the steps where he could sit. There was a post in the way, however, so he had to crane his neck around the post to see Dr. Grenfell, but he listened and was happy to be there. Do you know what Dr. Grenfell said near the end of his talk? “I need your help!” There were those words again! He felt like Dr. Grenfell was speaking directly to him. “I need your help with the mission projects that I am doing,” he said. Dr. Grenfell was a missionary and he did need help. He continued, “If you cannot give money to help, at least you can tell other people about the medical work I am doing for the people and maybe they can give money, and maybe one day you can come and help me on my boat trips up and down the coast of Labrador.”

Alexander listened to the doctor and right away in his heart a desire started to grow. He wanted to go and help Dr. Grenfell, but he was too young. He had to finish high school first. Remember, he was an orphan, and he obtained little jobs here and there to help support himself. When he was paid for his work, however, he always saved some money. Do you know what he was putting the money aside for? To be with Dr. Grenfell on his missionary boat! It was not until his second year in college that he had saved up enough money for this trip and then he contacted Dr. Grenfell.

But before I tell you about the trip, let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Grenfell. Dr. Grenfell was born in England, and he was so smart that he did not have to study very hard in school. When he grew up, he decided he would be a doctor just like his father, but while he was growing up he liked sports, and not books, the best. He was a very husky, rugged type of person who was strong and liked the out-of-doors. He could do just about anything outside that he wanted to do. He also loved the ocean. The country of England is on an island and so the ocean was nearby to Wilfred. When he was little, he often went out on boat trips with his father, and as he grew up he went out on the ocean by himself. He loved sports so much that one time he took a soccer ball with him on the boat and while out on the ocean he and his friends kicked the soccer ball around when suddenly it careened over the edge into the ocean! Wilfred jumped right in after it! The captain of the boat, however, did not like that because he knew people can drown when they jump overboard, but Wilfred believed he was strong enough to swim back to the boat. This was the type of person Wilfred was—he loved the ocean and he was strong and fearless. After he became a doctor, he heard another missionary speak about the northern slopes of America and how there was no doctor there to treat the people because they were so isolated in a cold and hostile wilderness. Because it was such a hard environment, nobody went there to help the people. So Wilfred decided, “I’ll go.”

When he arrived in Labrador, Dr. Grenfell found that the life of the Inuit (similar to Eskimos) was very harsh indeed. There were no doctors for the people. The men were mostly fishermen out on the cold sea and if any one broke an arm or a leg while out fishing, the only way back was on the rough boat that was tossed to and fro. Often the trip back jostled them so much that it made their injuries worse, and then once they returned not many people could help them, so Dr. Grenfell did what he could to help. He became the doctor for Labrador, and he established little home hospitals, so to speak, all up and down the coast. He also helped the children and started schools. There were times when he would go out through the northern sea that the boat would be covered with ice and snow the whole time he was out. Icebergs and ice floes were in the sea. You may have heard the story of the dogs Moody, Watch, and Spy. I believe this story is about Dr. Grenfell. Once, after he had taken a shortcut across the bay to tend to a sick boy, he and his sled and dogs became marooned on an ice pan that was being blown out to sea, and he could not be rescued until the next day.

But let us go back to Alexander. Alexander slowly saved up his money, and finally he was able to contact Dr. Grenfell and say that he was ready to help him that summer when Alexander was out of school. So! Off he went with a group of other young people to help Dr. Grenfell on a boat that went up and down the coastline of Labrador. On their return trip, after having been on the boat for about eight or nine weeks and with the weather rough but not yet snowy and freezing, Alexander asked Dr. Grenfell, “Dr. Grenfell, how do you know that God called you up here to the northern coast of North America to work? How did you know God was asking you to do something?” And this is how Dr. Grenfell answered: “Well, it is not something I learned overnight, but what happened is that whenever I found someone who needed help, I helped him. I helped someone this day and another person the next day, and this happened over and over. I kept helping people, and helping people is what led me eventually to Labrador. God led me step by step and day by day through my helping others. This is how you start—you start to know God’s will by helping others and through helping others God will lead you to fulfill his plan for you.” Dr. Grenfell was a good steward of his talents and resources. He used them to bless others and we can do the same. Then Dr. Grenfell said something else, “God needs you.” Alexander’s ears were pricked again! His principal had been the first to say “I need you to help me,” Dr. Grenfell later said “I need you to do something for me,” and now Alexander heard that God needed him!

We can use our talents to help others in our homes, in our church families, and in the community, and one day one of you may grow up to be a doctor like Dr. Grenfell or you may work for God in another way, but God needs all of us to work for him. “For we are labourers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9).” Onycha Holt



God’s Garden

Plant three rows of peas~
 Peace of mind...
Peace of heart...
Peace of soul...
  

Plant four rows of squash~
quash gossip...
Squash lying...
Squash wickedness...
Squash selfishness...

 

Plant four rows of lettuce~
Lettuce be faithful...
 Lettuce be kind...
 Lettuce be obedient...
Lettuce really love one another...

 

You will have no garden without turnips~
Turnup for meetings...
Turnup for service...
Turnup to help one another...
 

 Water freely with patience~cultivate with Love~
There is much fruit in your garden
Because you reap what you sow.

To conclude our garden~we MUST have thyme~
Thyme for God...
Thyme for Scripture study...
Thyme for prayer...

Happy Gardening~

Submitted by Tamela Bridges


The Economic Crash and the End of Time

By Allen Stump

Shortly before we went to press last month, the United States’ economy took a sharp dive and this was followed by the world economy sharply going downward. Since then, the United States government has produced a seven hundred billion dollar bailout. Similar bailouts have been initiated by other countries around the world. Many investors in the stock market have seen the value of their holdings drop drastically. The world appears headed for a depression. Does this signal the end is finally here? Regardless of the exact significance of these economic events, we surely are at the end of time. Things do not have much longer to continue one way or the other.

However, we do believe that national ruin, followed by global ruin, is not far off. We do not all live in little communities any more on this planet. All the trade and global affairs interact with each other. Despite the fact that the United States has gone from being the greatest creditor nation to the greatest debtor nation in the world within the time since WW II, she is still the major player in the world stock markets and business sphere. How should we see the current events?

First and foremost, it is a call for spiritual renewal. Jesus did not say to get ready. He said, “Therefore be ye also ready (Matthew 24:44).” We need spiritual preparation for the times ahead. The issues involving the mark of the beast are soon to be upon us and only those whose lives are fortified with Bible truths and are hid in Christ shall stand.

Over 100 years ago God, through his prophetess, gave call upon call to get out of the cites.

The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive. Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies (Country Living, pp. 9, 10).

Friends, it is time to not only leave the large cities but the small ones as well and find places in the country. You might think you can do this anytime. But as we can see, the economy can crash very quickly and our money may be worthless. Gasoline may become scarce or not available, prohibiting travel for those wanting to leave. If you have seen what the large cities have been like during some of the recent storm evacuations, you will have some idea of the difficulty those who live in the cities may face. While you have the chance, get out of the cities, for the time is not far away when you will not be able to flee.

But a word of caution: It is time to leave the cities not only because of their impending doom, but also because of their great wickedness.

In harmony with the light given me, I am urging people to come out from the great centers of population. Our cities are increasing in wickedness, and it is becoming more and more evident that those who remain in them unnecessarily do so at the peril of their soul’s salvation (Ibid., p. 9).

[God’s] people are not to crowd into the cities. He wants them to take their families out of the cities, that they may better prepare for eternal life. In a little while they will have to leave the cities. These cities are filled with wickedness of every kind (General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903).

Let us not be fooled, however, into thinking that if we move into the country all will be well, for it is very easy to bring the wickedness of the city into our homes. All it takes is a radio, television, DVD player, magazine or other similar media device. This is not to say that all radio, television, DVDs or magazines are wrong, but many are the mediums that Satan now uses to catch us unaware and bring the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life into our country homes. So, instead of our homes becoming a little Eden, they are simply outposts for New York City, Chicago or London, and our media devices become the channels for Satan to extend the borders of his kingdom!

As far as possible we should seek to be out of debt. When our money is worthless and our property is gone, we will be the only thing that is left. In Revelation 6:15, slavery is spoken as existing when Jesus returns. It will not be only over issues of race, nationality or ethnic background but also over economics! I knew an Adventist that at one time had a house, a nice truck, a car, a pool, and many things, all of which had been bought on credit. When asked what he might do if we could not buy or sell, he said, “Let the bank come and get it all. I will not care what they take at that time.” I soberly tried to let him know that the items might not have enough value at that time and would not be taken but rather he, his wife or the children might be taken. Sobering to think on!

Those living in the southern hemisphere are entering into their spring. Where we can, we should try to grow all of our food, for there will be a day when we will not be able to buy food ever again if we are to be faithful to the Lord.

In July, I had heard that something would happen to affect the United States and disrupt the lives of Americans. Perhaps this was prophetic. From the same source, we have heard that something may happen in February 2009 that will be much more severe than the market crash of September. I have also heard that the Papacy is trying to bring events to a point in early November just before the election, so that things will happen in American such as have never happened before to change America’s way of life forever. Time will shortly show if either of these reports are true, but whether they are true or not true, our time is limited and we need to be ready.

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to consider these matters solemnly and carefully, for your time to consider them freely is just about over.


“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18


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!