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. 18, No.10 Straight and Narrow October 2010


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)
 

The Fourth Angel’s Message

(If you have not read the study entitled “The Second Angel’s Message” printed in the August 2009 issue of Old Paths, we encourage you to write for a free copy or to  read it on the Internet at  http://www.smyrna.org.    Editor)

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:1-5)

Perhaps none of the messages in the book of Revelation cause as much internal struggle and agitation as the message of Revelation 18:1-5. The message of the first angel of Revelation 14 commands one to fear, worship, and give glory to God. The message of the second angel announces the fall of Babylon but, of itself, does not directly call for action. The message of the third angel declares the results of worshiping the beast and of receiving its mark, but this message also does not make a direct appeal for action. The message of the fourth angel, however, calls for direct action in one’s relationship to Babylon.

To be able to fulfill this command, one must have an understanding of what Babylon is in order to flee from her. In the August issue of Old Paths for this year, we presented a study on the second angel’s message in which we examined the concept of Babylon. In that study, we noted that “the term ‘Babylon’ is derived from ‘Babel,’ and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion” (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 381). In Revelation 17, we also saw that Babylon is representative of the papal church and that her daughters are the Protestants “that cling to the doctrines and traditions of Rome and follow her worldly practices” (Ibid., p. 233). In our study of the second angel, we saw that Babylon, as mentioned in Revelation 14:8, specifically speaks of the Protestant churches that refused the light of the first angel’s message. Thus, Babylon can be very specific or very broad to include all false religious systems.

Ellen White tells us that in the last work of warning the world, the second angel’s message is to be repeated and joined with the third angel’s message it is  to  swell into a loud cry in the giving of the fourth angel’s message.

When Jesus began his public ministry, he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Among the last acts of his ministry was the second cleansing of the temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel’s message is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” And in the loud cry of the third angel’s message a voice is heard from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”  (The Review and Herald, December 6, 1892)

Ellen White speaks of the loud cry of the third angel’s message and quotes it as saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Where in the third angel’s message does it say this? It does not directly say this in the third angel’s message, but she connects the third angel’s message with the message of the angel in Revelation 18, sometimes called “the fourth angel” or “that other angel.”  These messages combine and swell into a loud cry.

The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. (Early Writings, p. 277)

So the message of the fourth angel comes in and joins with the message of the third angel about the mark of the beast and it swells to a loud cry.

When we think of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, we think of them as symbolic of human beings giving a message from heaven. We do not see literal angels in the air preaching. John saw angels, but the angels were symbolic of messengers. The Greek word for angel is aggelos (a“ggeloV) which means messenger.

Based upon this, we would generally agree that the application to the fourth angel is symbolic. However, we also have statements to consider in which Ellen White says that she “saw” things in heaven. While Ellen White had some visions that were symbolic, most of her visions were to be interpreted literally and the few that were symbolic were clearly revealed to be such. Now, please carefully notice this language:

I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Ibid.)

Here, and in other passages, Ellen White explains what she has seen in a sense that appears very literal. So while humanity is entrusted with the messages to be given, God commissions a “mighty angel” to aid in this work.

Please mark the magnitude and importance of the messages and even their sacredness:

We are to throw aside our narrow, selfish plans, remembering that we have a work of the largest magnitude and highest importance. In doing this work we are sounding the first, second, and third angels’ messages, and are thus being prepared for the coming of that other angel from heaven who is to lighten the earth with his glory. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 406; all emphasis in this article supplied unless otherwise noted)

Now let us look at Revelation 18:1-5 and notice the message, verse-by-verse. “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” (Revelation 18:1). After what things? Revelation 18 follows chapters 16 and 17. In chapter 16 we have the seven last plagues, and in Revelation 17 we have the judgment of the great whore. It is clear that the plagues do not come until after the close of probation, but in Revelation 18 we find a message to come out of Babylon lest we be lost. The giving of the message of the fourth angel happens before the plagues fall and before probation closes, and all the evidence tells us that the time for this message of the fourth angel is now upon us. We realize, therefore, that when John says “after these things,” he means after seeing the events in the vision as recorded to this time. He is not speaking of a chronological time line of fulfilled events prior to Revelation 18, so do not get tripped up on this. Throughout the book of Revelation, we find that many of the events do not follow a chronological order but rather shift back and forth. There are time sequences that repeat themselves with various emphases.

This angel is said to come down from heaven having great power. The Greek word for “great” is megalen and it means great, majestic power. It is built from the word mega, a prefix used in English to denote something huge or enormous such as mega-trucks. The word translated “power” is from the root word exousia. This word for “power” does not mean power in the sense of physical force, but rather it means power in the sense of authority.

After twelve critical days during the 1962 Cuban missile crises between the United States and the United Soviet Socialist Republic, President Kennedy sent his brother, Robert, to make an offer to the Soviet government through the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. It was Saturday night, and if things were not be resolved by Monday morning, there was going to be war. The situation was critical. Though Robert Kennedy was the attorney general and not the president, he came in the authority of the president, and the message was received as from the highest authority. Thankfully, the next day it was announced that the missiles would be withdrawn. As Christians, we have in Revelation 18 a message from the highest authority. We are not to speak these messages of ourselves. These are not common words but words from heaven, from the highest authority. When we proclaim the message of the fourth angel, we are not sounding our own message but a message from the highest authority in heaven.

Notice that the effect is to lighten the earth with the glory of God. There are different ways that the glory of God is manifested. In Luke 2 we read that during the birth of Jesus there were shepherds in the fields, and suddenly “the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:9). This glory was one that radiated, or illuminated, the shepherds and that which they were around. But there is another kind of glory. The prophecy of Habakkuk 2:14 said that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” This glory is not one of physical illumination but rather one of God’s character being revealed to humanity. This is what Paul meant when, in writing to the Corinthians, he stated:

 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. … For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6)

This does not mean that one can go to a mirror (glass) and he or she see their face shining or glowing, reflecting the character of God. These verses are speaking of the character of Christ shining through his people. In Revelation 18 it says that the earth was lightened, and it is to be so with the glory of the character of God.

The angel “cried mightily with a strong voice.” This is not a quiet or soft-pedaled message. “Babylon is fallen is fallen,” the message of the second angel, is again sounded.

The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is again given, with the addition of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 194)

In 1844 the message went out that Babylon had fallen due to its rejection of the first angel’s message. These people were not yet tested upon the Sabbath, the sanctuary, the state of the dead, or even upon the truth about God. They were tested upon the advancing light of the first angel’s message concerning the second coming of Christ. Since that time, has more light been presented to these churches? Of course. Great light concerning the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the sanctuary, and the truth about God has been presented to the churches, and while we admit the light has not had the presentation it has deserved, it has been presented but, sadly, rejected.

Ellen White speaks not just of doctrines but of “the addition of corruptions.” The lowering of standards is appalling. You might not know it, but when John Wesley began what we today know as the Methodist Church, he wrote In his Advice to the People Called Methodists, with Regard to Dress: “Wear no gold, no pearls, or precious stones.  . . .  I do not advise women to wear rings, earrings, necklaces” (The Encyclopedia of World Methodism, 1977 edition, vol. 2, p. 717). This standard concerning dress and ornaments became part of the Methodist church manual Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church and continued until at least 1852, an important date because of its close proximity to 1844. We do not wish to make a hobby-horse out of this specific issue, but we do use it as an illustration of the direction of not only the Methodist Church but the Adventist Church as well.

Today it is hard to see the difference between the people who profess to be God’s people and the world. I was looking at the website of the Adventist University in South Korea recently, and on their front page they have a young woman dressed in a miniskirt and high heels. I have been in one of the dormitories at Andrews University on a Friday evening and heard heavy rock music coming from the auditorium for a worship service. If the prophet were alive today, what would she think?

It is not just the nominal churches that have fallen, but even the professed church of God. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everywhere we went, people would recognize us as Seventh-day Adventist people because we are a different and peculiar people?

In Ezekiel 8 we have some specific areas in which those who profess to be God’s church have fallen since 1844. God showed Ezekiel abominations that were occurring in Jerusalem. Chapter 8 of Ezekiel is an enacted prophecy. God showed Ezekiel literal events occurring in Jerusalem among God’s people which were prophetic of literal events that would happen among God’s people at the end of time. The first two abominations are bad enough, but with each abomination the prophet is told that he would see worse things. “Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do” (Ezekiel 8:13). Notice what that greater abomination is in verse 14: “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Who was Tammuz and why would women be weeping for him?

Tammuz was the illegitimate son of  Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod. After Nimrod died, Semiramis proclaimed that he had left to be the sun god. When she became pregnant after Nimrod’s death, she claimed that the sun rays of Nimrod had impregnated her. After Tammuz became a man, he was killed on a hunting excursion by a wild boar. Forty days of weeping or mourning were proclaimed for Tammuz, and buns with “T”s upon them (hot-cross buns) were baked in his honor. It was proclaimed that he had ascended to the sun to be with his father, Nimrod. Thus Tammuz was a false type of Christ, a false son of God. Professed Christianity worships Tammuz today in the form of the second person of the trinity.

Ezekiel 8 is a prophecy informing us that a false Christ would come into the worship of God’s professed people. This false Christ is found in the doctrine of the trinity, a doctrine which is the foundation of Adventism’s new theology. This theology represents a Christ that is very different from the Christ of the Scriptures.

You may not feel that this prophecy, despite its context (See the article in this paper entitled “Visions of God”), has any relevance today, but please remember what God inspired Ellen White to write:

Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. (Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 338)

 The fourth abomination in Ezekiel 8, which is mentioned as an even greater abomination, is given in verse 16:

And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. (Ezekiel 8:16)

These leaders in apostasy have their backs to the sanctuary. What has Adventism done with its sanctuary message? Have we cherished it and held it as sacred? Have we upheld its truths? We have been told:

The Lord has made his people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. (The Home Missionary, July 1, 1897)

We are to raise the truth to a higher level, not discard or water it down. But if you look at the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and examine statement number 24, “Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary,” you will find it is simply a paraphrase of the theology of the apostate book Questions on Doctrine.

 Notice the beginning of Fundamental Belief #24:

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.

Now notice the parallel thought from the book Questions on Doctrine:

When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, … that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross. (p. 355, 1957 ed.)

It should not be forgotten that the book Questions on Doctrine denied the final atonement, declaring that Jesus accomplishes nothing for us in his ministry in the Most Holy Place after 1844 (page 381).

Mainline Adventism has turned its back on the true Christ and on the sanctuary, and Ezekiel goes on to say that the final rejection involves the worship of the sun. If you examine these abominations, you will see that the first three have already been fulfilled, and the fulfillment of this last one is coming rapidly. Easter Sunday sunrise services and ecumenical services on Sunday are becoming more frequent in Adventism, and it is only logical for this to happen. Adventism has accepted the “god” of Babylon (the trinity), and it is only reasonable that they should join hands with the other worshipers of Baal and worship Baal on the day dedicated to the trinity — Sunday!

There is celebration, Pentecostal-style worship in Adventism now. The church’s medical and educational work have all followed the ways of the world. The literature fails to give that certain sound, yet the Spirit of Prophecy has declared that “in a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 140). The very work of giving the message in print has been replaced with books, many of which not only teach the doctrines of Babylon but also do not awaken the lightest of spiritual sleepers.

When we see the additional “corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844,” we have a duty to speak up. Only those who sigh and cry about the abominations will receive the seal of God.

Before we read a statement from The Great Controversy, there is a principle of interpretation that we should consider. Not all prophecy is understood when it is first given to the prophet. In the 8th chapter of Daniel, for example, Daniel was given some things that were plain to understand and some things which he did not understand and even caused him to faint. In fact, Daniel had to wait several years for the vision of chapter 9 which explained chapter 8, and even then it is doubtful that Daniel himself understood every detail of the prophecy. Clearly none of the Adventist pioneers understood Daniel 8:14 until after 1844.

But prophecy is given not simply to tell the future but to build faith. Jesus said, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe” (John 13:19).

Sometimes we do not always understand a prophecy until it has been fulfilled, and I would like to propose that part of the following prophecy comes under that category:

Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained [propelled] to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power--all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. (The Great Controversy,  pp. 607, 608)

Truth, once accepted, can be rejected. The rejection does not have to be at the beginning. Ellen White does not say in this prophecy which churches are meant, but as the proverb goes, “if the shoe fits ...wear it.” Does the shoe fit Adventism? Have we been recipients of great blessings and great truths? Of course we have! Furthermore, we will be held accountable in the degree that we have had opportunity to have this truth. Ellen White speaks of “the fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority.” Would Adventists do this? This must not apply to Adventism, right? Wrong! Just “google” the expression “trademark SDA” and see what you get! The trademark lawsuits are well-known in most circles today and are the beginning of more lawsuits to come.

There are many different groups of Baptists. There are Southern, American, Free-will, Hard-shell, Independent Baptists, etc., but as morally fallen as the Baptist churches  are, I have never heard of one suing another for using the name Baptist! Yet they experienced a moral fall in 1844, but we say that Adventism has not had any such fall.

Habitation of Devils

“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils” (Revelation 18:2). A habitation is a place of dwelling. As Christians we are not to partake of the things of the world. At a carnival one may find something that is called a “haunted house.” It is a house that is staged to have a frightful appearance, usually by things that have spiritualistic associations. As Christians, do we believe in such things in “real life?” In the Bible, we read not simply about houses but about human beings being inhabited, or possessed, by demons. This is a reality. We know that there are very real, unseen forces, both good and bad, in this world. But, beloved, if you knew that your house had become inhabited by even one demon and you could not remove that evil spirit from your house, would you live there? Would you even stay one night? I do not think any wise Christian would be so presumptuous. If we would not knowingly dwell with one demon, would we live with many demons? Of course not! Yet Babylon is the residence or “hold of every foul spirit.”

The Greek word translated “hold” is phulake (fulakh;), which means prison. The good news is that Babylon is the living place, or the prison, for demons. It is the only place you will find them! So if you avoid Babylon, you may avoid demons, but tread in Babylon and you will walk with demons! Demons will not be with God’s people, for they have allowed the three angels’ messages to do their work, and they have responded to the message of the fourth angel to come out of Babylon!

Babylon is said to be “the hold of every foul (akathartos) spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” A foul spirit is defined in Mark 9:25 and Matthew 12:43 as a demon, a fallen angel, an unclean spirit.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul (akathartos) spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. (Mark 9:25)

When the unclean (akathartos) spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. (Matthew 12:43)

Babylon is also a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Jeremiah 5:26, 27 says:

For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit.

Jeremiah compares houses of deceit with the cages of birds. But instead of doing wickedness, the people should have been, according to Jeremiah 5:23-25, praying for the early and latter rain. Sadly, though, instead of praying for the Spirit of God, they have brought deceit and deception into God’s people.

All Nations Have Drunk of the Wine

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The root word for nations is ethnos, and it is usually translated “gentiles.” We get our word “ethnic” from this word. God is saying that all people who are not saved will receive of the wine of his wrath.

Kings and Merchants

“And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” Both civil and laity are here, and they have profited by the abundance (dunamis) of her delicacies (strenos). The word for “abundance” is the same word from which we have dynamite (explosive power). The word rendered delicacies (strenos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means rudeness, insolence, and pride; and hence revel, riot, and luxury. So, through the power of her rudeness and her arrogance, she has ruled.

Another Voice from Heaven

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people” Revelation 18:4. This voice is of divine origin, for no angel can call God’s people “my people.” Now we have a direct command, but from whom, specifically, does it come? In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, we read:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God has bought us and paid for us with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18). He wants us for eternity, but if we do not come out of Babylon, we will be a partaker of her sins, receive of her plagues, and be lost.

Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). God is holy, and he wants his people to be holy. “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). If we are not a holy people, we will not be able to spend eternity with God.

The plagues will fall on those who are lost in sin. While not all the plagues are universal (The Great Controversy, page 628), the first plague is said to fall “upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2). Can those who have the mark of the beast be saved? Not according to the third angel’s message. If we do not come out of Babylon, we will be lost. Isaiah says:

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (Isaiah 13:19)

Today Sodom and Gomorrah are “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7). When God destroys mystical Babylon, it will not come back, and if we stay in Babylon, we will be destroyed; it is just that plain.

Concerning this, there are two issues that should be considered. Firstly, there is the issue of corporate accountability. God held Israel as a body accountable for Achan’s sin (Joshua 7). Thirty-six men fell at Ai, and God was dishonored because of his sin. “God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 269). This is a solemn thought. We might believe that we can be a part of an apostate body and not participate in the apostasy, but God says that if you are going to be a part of this, you will be held accountable! If you are there, you had better be speaking up and attempting to do something to stifle the sin and wickedness. Do not think you can be neutral and stay in God’s favor because:

Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. (Ibid., vol. 3, p. 281)

If you are simply neutral, God counts that worse than being in open hostility against him!

Secondly, there is the principle that people are affected by their environments. By beholding, one becomes changed (2 Corinthians 3:18). In 1 Samuel 15, we find what sounds like one of the cruelest commands of the Bible:

Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:1-3)

Even the children had crossed a line that was not visible to human eyes. The wicked environment of sin had so contaminated the children that they also had to be destroyed. Today archaeology has revealed some of the great wickedness of the nations upon which Israel was to bring judgment. We might wonder why the animals were not to be spared. Surely they could not sin. But today we know that many of the animals were sick with venereal diseases, and so all was slated for destruction. Is there anywhere else in the Bible we find something concerning a destruction of the wicked? Notice this reference from Ellen White, which includes a quotation from Ezekiel 9:5, 6:

Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women ...

Men, maidens, and little children all perish together. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 211)

Why? Why does it happen to the children? Because their environment has been so tainted that they also have become corrupted to the point of no return. Oh, parents, please think twice about every influence that is upon and around your children. God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). If you have children and you allow them to be in Babylon, you are preparing them for eternal loss. You may think that both you and they are strong enough to resist the influences, but God will not be mocked. In Early Writings, we read:

But all who received it [4th angel’s message] withdrew from the world and were closely united with one another. (p. 245)

Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven, and I heard voices which seemed to sound everywhere, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel's message in 1844. The glory of God rested upon the patient, waiting saints, and they fearlessly gave the last solemn warning, proclaiming the fall of Babylon and calling upon God’s people to come out of her that they might escape her fearful doom.

     The light that was shed upon the waiting ones penetrated everywhere, and those in the churches who had any light, who had not heard and rejected the three messages, obeyed the call and left the fallen churches. Many had come to years of accountability since these messages had been given, and the light shone upon them, and they were privileged to choose life or death. Some chose life and took their stand with those who were looking for their Lord and keeping all His commandments. The third message was to do its work; all were to be tested upon it, and the precious ones were to be called out from the religious bodies. A compelling power moved the honest, while the manifestation of the power of God brought a fear and restraint upon their unbelieving relatives and friends so that they dared not, neither had they the power to, hinder those who felt the work of the Spirit of God upon them. The last call was carried even to the poor slaves, and the pious among them poured forth their songs of rapturous joy at the prospect of their happy deliverance. Their masters could not check them; fear and astonishment kept them silent. Mighty miracles were wrought, the sick were healed, and signs and wonders followed the believers. God was in the work, and every saint, fearless of consequences, followed the convictions of his own conscience and united with those who were keeping all the commandments of God; and with power they sounded abroad the third message. I saw that this message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry.  (Ibid., pp.  277, 278)

Beloved, we must flee Babylon while we can still free ourselves of its sticky tentacles. The longer we wait to leave, the harder it will be. Lot learned that lesson, and I met a man who had been an Adventist minister who learned that lesson also. This minister was well-known in a large city in the United States. He had separated from the mainline Adventist Church over issues of administration, yet still taught the Sabbath and the main truths of Adventism. He later became the leader of the city’s ministerial association. He was well-loved and respected by those inside his congregation and by many outside. Pope John Paul II was coming to his city, and he had been chosen by the ministerial association to welcome the pope and to give him the key of the city! This he knew was wrong, but he did not know what to do and still keep his evangelical friends happy. I personally sat with him in his office just a few short hours before the arrival of the pope. He was perspiring profusely as he clutched his pen, trying to write down the words of his speech, all the while saying: “I don’t know what to say!” I encouraged him to contact the organizers of the event and let them know he could not participate, but he was already in so deeply that he failed to find the courage to back out. Instead of denouncing the pope as the man of sin, he welcomed him into the city!

In that event, beloved, I saw a microcosm of what it will be like for many Adventists when the mark of the beast is urged upon the people. Step-by-step compromise has prepared the people to accept the mark of the beast. In fact, inspiration has told us:

 The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 81)

This brother was not threatened with imprisonment or death. There might have been derision and insult, but what are these or even death compared to having the approbation of God?

God is going to finish the work in a way that will not seem in the common order, and he must do that because the “common order” of the church has become a part of Babylon.

Unless those who can help are roused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, p. 19)

Dearly beloved, we are to “ lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1). Beloved, we have a great work and the privilege of living during the time of the loud cry ahead of us. What a shame it would be if we do not fulfill the work of the other angel when it joins with the voice of the third angel and swells to a loud cry.

I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant. (Early Writings, p. 261)

Ellen White says that there will be people in the churches that believe that God is still working for them. The health programs and hospitals are still servicing people and evangelism is still pushing forward, but these things are simply a smoke screen of Satan to make the people think that God is still involved.

In closing, I want to share a statement that must be considered in time and place:

I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out. While we will endeavor to keep the “unity of the Spirit” in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry.  (1888 Materials, pp. 356, 357)

Here, Sister White was referring to the Minneapolis Conference of 1888, and she said “that a reformation must go through the churches.” She was not talking about the Baptist Church or the Methodist Church but about the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ellen White did not say in this statement that there had to be another coming out or that there would not be another coming out, but, as she was looking at the things happening after 1888, she said that she had “hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out.” In other words, in her mind it was not set in concrete that there would never have to be another coming out. There might, indeed, have to be another coming out, just as when she and the early pioneers received the light of the second angel’s message that Babylon has fallen and obeyed that call in 1844 to come out of those fallen churches. It would depend upon the actions of men and women how the history would be written. When Ellen White said that there might have to be another coming out, she was speaking specifically of a coming out from the Adventist churches. Her statement was written in 1889. What would Ellen White say today about the way the doctrines have been changed and the very pillars of our faith undermined? What would Ellen White say today if she could see the corruptions that have entered into the church? I believe that she would proclaim exactly what God says in Revelation 18:4, with a loud voice.

The fourth angel gives us a command to leave Babylon or be lost. God will not force you to leave. He will allow you to be lost if you cherish a church organization more than fellowship with him. Those who are truly honest and willing to know and follow the truth will do so, for we are told: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). Will you do his will in the matter of the fourth angel?  Allen Stump


Prayer Requests

We kindly ask all of our readers to remember Brother Aland Ashton, who lives and ministers in Peru, in prayer, along with his family. He was recently hospitalized due to a serious illness, but we are thankful to learn that he has recently been able to return home. He continues to need, however, much medical care.

Also, Pastor Stump’s mother, Mary Sinnett, recently fell and suffered a broken hip. She has had surgery and continues to be hospitalized. We ask for your sweet prayers on her behalf for her continued recovery.

Pastor Stump held meetings in Toronto, Canada, on two recent occasions with very good attendance, and we ask that you remember the work in this area as men and women grow in their knowledge and love of truth.

This last month in South Korea there has been quite an agitation on the truth about God as well as some conflict from the conference. We ask that you will remember our brethren there, and we hope to have a report for you next month.


The Church Walking with the World

Then the sons of the World and the sons of the Church
  Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
  Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
  “I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
  But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
  And mockingly said, aside––
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
  And her shame is her boast and pride.”
The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
  And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
  And heads were covered with shame;
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
  From Him who sat on the throne,
“I know thy works, and how thou has said,
  ‘I am rich,’ and hast not known
That thou art naked, poor and blind,
  And wretched before my face;
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
  And blot thy name from its place.”
Matilda C. Edwards 


Visions of God” and the
Investigative Judgment

What really makes one a Seventh-day Adventist? Is it the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath and a belief in the soon second coming of Jesus? Sometimes when asked what makes us different from other Christians the response is that we don’t eat pork. And that is true that we do not eat the pig and most of us do not eat the cow either.

The real crux of Adventism, however, is found in our study of the Bible prophecies, especially those of Daniel and Revelation and more specifically those prophecies that point to the final judgment such as Daniel chapters 7-9 and Revelation 14:6-12. In other places of the Bible, we also find great truth concerning some of these events that support and complement Daniel and Revelation.

Yet finding those supporting texts is not always easy. At times we are so concerned with the details of prophecy that we fail to see the big picture. It is like the old story of not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Sometimes we approach the Bible to see all the minute details and meanings, and that is fine, for it needs to be done to be able to have all the pieces that make up the big picture. But when we find them, we have to put all the details together in light of each other to see the big picture. Each tree is needed to make up the forest, but if we only look at one tree, no matter how closely, we will not see the forest!

Careful Bible study will show that the first eleven chapters of Ezekiel form a microcosm of the investigative judgment of God as described in the court scene of Daniel 7. And it is only as we see the big picture made up of the details Ezekiel supplies that we can grasp the full significance of Ezekiel. These are enacted prophecies that deal with the investigative judgment.

The investigative judgment is perhaps the most ridiculed doctrine in all of Adventism. Those who keep Sunday as the day of rest and worship disagree with Adventists on this issue, but most do not consider us a cult due to it. Many mistakenly think that we do not believe in hell. Of course, the hell we believe in is much hotter than that which never is able to burn up the wicked. Adventists are ridiculed for their diet, at times, and for their standards, but theologically the one issue that Adventism rises and falls on is the investigative judgment, a doctrine hated by most professing evangelicals. As taught by true Adventism, this doctrine is unacceptable to evangelicals. They do not wish to believe that the atonement was not finished at the cross with the death of Jesus and they claim that the Adventist idea of the investigative judgment rests upon very shaky ground biblically.

But, beloved, “we have not followed cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16). As we study through Ezekiel chapters 1, 8, 9, and 11 and look at the other chapters too, we see a clear picture of the investigative judgment. Now we cannot in the scope of this study deal with many of the details of eleven chapters, but we can look at enough of chapter one and some of the other sections to be able to form a clear picture of what God is portraying. We will see that it is indeed a microcosm of the investigative judgment of God as described in the court scene of Daniel 7.

Ezekiel is a compact book in comparison to time. The first 24 chapters of Ezekiel happen in the space of no more than six years. The siege of Jerusalem began in January 588 BC, only 3 ½ years after the call of Ezekiel. This was prophesied in chapter 24. Jerusalem fell in July 586 BC. Word got back to Ezekiel shortly thereafter, as recorded in chapter 33, verses 21 and 22. Thus, the last warning about judgment came to the people in a short period of time. Ezekiel’s ministry did not last three or four decades as did Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s.

With this background, let us begin by carefully reading the first part of Ezekiel chapter 1 and some verses from chapters 9 and 10. The timing of the events of the first chapter of Ezekiel can be determined with great accuracy. They occurred in July 592 BC, “the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity.”

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. (Ezekiel 1:1-13)

For verse 13, the RSV says: “In the midst of the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.” Later, we will see why this is a better translation.

And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. (Ezekiel 1:14)

And the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which he was, to the threshhold of the house. (Ezekiel 9:3)

Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshhold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. … Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshhold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. (Ezekiel 10:4, 18)

 Then the cherubim raised their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel 11:22, 23)

Ezekiel says he “saw visions of God” (1:1). We call this a theophany or an appearing of God. As unique as this theophany is, Ezekiel’s vision in chapter 1 deals more with the objects that Ezekiel saw than with God, but it is these objects that make up the supporting cast in the vision of God and enable us to see the big picture.

According to  Ezekiel 1:4, the prophet sees this whirlwind of activity coming from the north. The RSV translates the later part of the verse to say: “a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze.”

Four Living Creatures

Ezekiel then sees the four living creatures (Ezekiel 1:5-14). These creatures are later identified as cherubim.  “And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar” (Ezekiel 10:15). These obviously are the same beings in Revelation 4:6, 7 but with minor differences noted. However, their appearance, while fascinating, is not the main point of interest to us concerning them. Aside from their appearances, we wish to note three principle features about the cherubim.

Firstly, they have wings (Ezekiel 1:6, 8, 11, 14). Wings are used for flight; specifically for motion through the air. We see this concept of motion in Ezekiel 1:8, 12, 14. Secondly, as we noted earlier from the RSV, they have “burning coals of fire” (Ezekiel 1:13 RSV). Thirdly, the living creatures are involved in intense activity!

Four Wheels

Next in the vision, our attention is drawn to the four wheels, one for each living creature.

The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.… And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:16, 17, 18-21)

In basic principle, wheels, like wings, are used for motion. Wheels are for motion upon the ground which the wheels touch from time to time (vs. 19, 21). The wheels are going somewhere, too, but let us first see what they are taking with them!

The Firmament

And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. (Ezekiel 1:22-25)

This firmament is spread out above the heads and wings of the living creatures. This firmament is in motion, for the living creatures move with it, and, on command, they bring it to a stop.

God’s Throne

The final part of chapter 1 is about God and his throne.

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. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

At the heart of the vision is the person and glory of God. God’s seat is upon his throne which is supported by the firmament and which is over the living creatures and the wheels. Now, we can begin to see the bigger picture of it all. The cherubim, the wheels, and the firmament all have something in common. They are moving! And not only are they moving, but God is moving. He is in motion. God is going somewhere, and that is the central point of this vision. This is the forest that we must see in addition to the trees.

The movement we see in Ezekiel concerning God and his throne is not a back-and-forth, rocking-chair type of movement. No! God is moving, and his movement, as in all he does, is intentional and directional. God is the one who commands the living creatures, the wheels, and the firmament in their direction; and he does this with a purpose.

The logical question we might ask next is, Where is God moving? According to Ezekiel 1:4, God is coming from the north. He is going either southeast towards Babylon or southwest to Judah and Jerusalem. We later learn from chapters 9-11 that his goal is Jerusalem.

The north, is symbolic of where God sits. “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Psalm. 48:2). The sides of the north was the place that Lucifier desired to be: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13). Due to the layout of the terrain around Judah, the north was also the direction from which Babylon came against Judah, though the city of Babylon itself was in a more easterly direction from Jerusalem than northerly.

Before we continue there is a principle of certain prophecies that we should consider and that is the dual nature of some prophecies. I am not advocating that all prophecies have dual or multiple fulfillments. However, there are some prophecies that, according to inspiration, have more than one fulfillment. For example, Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” Jesus said that this prophecy applied to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12-14). Yet it was not “the great and dreadful day of the LORD” at that time. That must come later. Inspiration tells us: “The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ” (The Faith I Live By, p. 290). Some portions of Matthew 24 are noted by most Bible students as having a dual nature in their fulfillment.

Ezekiel chapters 8-11 are an enacted prophecy. These chapters are speaking of literal events in the literal city of Jerusalem during the time of Ezekiel that will be fulfilled to the letter in the last days. In this context, the principle point of the vision in the first chapter of Ezekiel is that God was moving by means of his heavenly chariot to the site of his earthly residence, his temple in Jerusalem.

How do we know that this is a prophecy about events in the last days? The context of Ezekiel 9 deals with the seal of God. Those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations” (Ezekiel 9:4) done in the church receive a special mark and are not cut down by the those with the slaughter weapons. Those not receiving the special mark will receive the mark of the beast and be lost. As one studies the Testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy, there are several statements that plainly speak of this prophecy being a last-day prophecy. Notice the following from Ellen White which she states after quoting from Ezekiel 9:1, 3-6:

 Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary to put on garments of vengeance and pour out His wrath in judgments upon those who have not responded to the light God has given them. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 207, 208)

After discussing judgment upon nations, Ellen White continues to give us the time setting in such plain language that all can understand:

The prophet, looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision. The nations of this age have been the recipients of unprecedented mercies. (Ibid., p. 208; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

Later in the testimony we read this warning for God’s people:

The day of God’s vengeance is just upon us. The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. (Ibid., p. 212)

In volume 3 of the Testimonies for the Church, page 266, we read how this is connected to the sealing and the 144,000:

The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration [Ezekiel] of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” [Ezekiel 9:4]

So, the context of Ezekiel, as well as these statements, clearly shows the prophecy of Ezekiel to be for the last days, and in this prophecy we see God moving to the most holy place of his temple where the last work of judgment begins— when the seal of God is finally given and the mark of the beast is determined.

The Judgment of God

Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3 contain the prophet’s commission and charge. Chapters 4-7 contain a series of indictments against Judah for her transgressions which would result in three judgments: sword, famine, and pestilence (Ezekiel 7:15). In Ezekiel 6:4; 7:10, 11, God speaks of Judah’s idolatry, pride, and violence. These things finally climax in the vision of the four abominations of chapter 8.

The time setting for this vision is September 591 BC (Ezekiel 8:1). This indicates that from the time Ezekiel saw the throne of God in movement until the final judgment was finished, God was in his temple fourteen months. But why did he go to his temple and what was he to do there? The glory of God was in the temple already in the form of the Shekinah, but in Ezekiel we find not just the glory of God but God himself moving to the temple. God goes to his temple to perform a particular work, and the mode in which he travels there places a great emphasis upon the important nature of the work.

The nature of chapters 2-7 with the rest of the vision reveals that God’s movement deals with judgment. God is sitting in judgment upon his people in his temple for fourteen months!

He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house (Ezekiel 9:1-6).

It is clear that what has happened in chapter 9 is the result of judgment.  There were two classes: One class is left for destruction, the other received a mark “t” (Hebrew: taw) on their foreheads. The taw, being the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, has been suggested by some to symbolize these faithful ones as the last of the righteous or the remnant to be saved. 

However, we also find an interesting concept when we remember that the Hebrew Taw is equivalent to our “t.” With that information, some have found the following statement of Ellen White’s to be insightful:

What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. (Marantha, p. 243)

Fulfillment in Ancient Judah

Historically, the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar’s army besieged and conquered Jerusalem a few years after the vision was given. The judgment was brought against the city with coals of fire (Ezekiel 1:13; 10:2).

And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. (2 Kings 25:9)

Yet, despite the great destruction, there was a difference made between two groups in Judah — the righteous and the wicked. There was to be a remnant saved and those not of the remnant would be destroyed. The deduction is that this division is made up during the judgment of God in his temple. The execution of the sentence was the result of decisions reached during the session of judgment in the temple.

Fulfillment in Modern Judah

The fulfillment in modern Judah is soon to happen, for we noted earlier concerning this prophecy: “Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 207, 208). As in ancient times, so in modern times; judgment will be brought against the house of God:

And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. (Ezekiel 9:5, 6)

Here we see that the church — the Lord’s sanctuary — was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 211)

As in ancient times, there is a difference between those who receive the seal of God and those who receive the mark of the beast, determined by the judgment of God in the most holy place.

The Departure of God

In both the type and the antitype, God leaves his temple for two reasons. Firstly, he is driven out by the rebellious sins of the people. “He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary” (Ezekiel 8:6)? Other translations state:

And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary?” RSV

And he said to me, Son of man, hast thou seen what these do? They commit great abominations here so that I should keep away from my sanctuary. LXXE*

God’s departure from the temple is not an arbitrary action, but he is driven from his house. In addition to this, there has been a polarization of the righteous and the wicked. All the cases are finally decided for eternity because all cases are forever fixed! Motion begins — God is moving.

And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. (Ezekiel 9:3)

Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house. (Ezekiel 10:4)

Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. (Ezekiel 10:18)

The sound of the cherubim’s wings is heard in Ezekiel 10:5, indicating that they are ready to move. Interestingly, except for guarding the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24), the cherubim are connected with the mercy seat in the most holy place of the sanctuary. In Ezekiel 10, they are mentioned in the first nine verses, then in verses 15, 16, and 18-20! In chapter 1 they are only called living creatures. Now they are called cherubim, so as to clearly connect them to the sanctuary service, and their departure from temple with God is another way of stating how emphatically God’s temple or church has been abandoned. The wheels are set in motion (verse 13). God’s divine chariot is moving because God is leaving his temple

The movement of God’s throne, his chariot, shows a progression. Firstly, it is seen at the threshold of the temple building (Ezekiel 10:4). Secondly, the cherubim (which move with God’s throne) are seen moving to the east gate of the temple (Ezekiel 10:19). Thirdly, the chariot crosses the Kidron Valley to rest for a moment over the Mount of Olives as God, his judgment now complete, takes his final leave of his house (Ezekiel 11:22, 23). This is a reciprocal action of chapter 1, except that instead of going back towards the north he leaves towards the east.

When God left his temple, he did not depart back in the direction from which he had come — the north, the direction from which the earthly agents of his judgment, the Babylonian army, came. He departed to the east in the direction of his exiled people who would yet return to his land and city.

In Revelation 16:12, under the sixth vial, the river Euphrates is dried up to make way for the kings of the east. Many commentators believe that the kings of the east represent Jesus and the heavenly hosts coming back for the redeemed.

Conclusion

The broad view of Ezekiel where every tree is allowed to have its proper place in the view of the forest presents a vindication of the investigative judgment doctrine and a God who is seeking to save and not destroy.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Ezekiel presents a God in control and a heaven that is full of intense activity, working to save mankind. Will you let heaven save you?

As the power of darkness works from beneath with intense activity, so let God’s human agents work more vigilantly, co-operating with the divine, giving the trumpet a certain sound. Present the living oracles of God, showing the relation of the law and righteousness, and let no watchman fail to sound an alarm, and take up the warning coming from heaven, that all may be aroused to watch for souls, as they who must give an account. Light from heaven is waiting to be imparted to those who will walk in the light, as the light is given them. Let the workers for God manifest tact and talent, and originate devices by which to communicate light to those who are near and to those who are afar off. It is no time now to tolerate sleepy watchmen, and they never should have been tolerated. The experience of those who are working under the leadership of the principalities and powers of darkness, will be gained rapidly, and be abundant in suggestion. But because it has been so difficult to arouse from their lethargy the many who have long professed to know the truth, wicked spirits in high places have rapidly advanced their enterprises, and made their plans to hedge up the way of the Lord’s army of workers. May the Lord show those who have long been hindrances to the cause of God, who have placed stumbling-blocks in the way of those who would have advanced, what they have been doing, and may they make diligent work of repentance; for they have weakened the hands of others, and have given the enemy every advantage. Time has been lost, golden opportunities have been unimproved, because men have lacked clear, spiritual eyesight, and have not been wise to plan and devise means and ways whereby they might preoccupy the field before the enemy had taken possession. These men may think that they have done a very wise work; but the judgment will show that their warfare has been against Christ and his work. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, March 24, 1896)

* The focus of this study does not include the abominations that are covered in Ezekiel 8. But we believe that a brief note on these abominations may be needed by some in order to more fully grasp why they are such abominations to God. In Ezekiel 8, the prophet is shown four different abominations with each succeeding abomination being described as greater than the previous one. The first abomination is the image of jealousy which are sun pillars — phallic symbols. God commanded that these images were to be cast down and destroyed (Exodus 34:11-14). These phallic symbols are still used today in professed Christian churches, even Adventist ones. They are called steeples.

The second abomination that Ezekiel was shown concerned idols portrayed upon the walls of the temple (Ezekiel 8:7-12). These represented images of the divine. God did not reveal himself physically to Israel and never asked them to make any images of himself. “And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12).

Would not the mind have clearer, more perfect ideas of angels, of Christ, of all spiritual things, if no pictures were made to represent heavenly things? (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 171)

The artist may do his best to represent the things his eyes have never seen, but his representations are so far beneath the reality that I am pained as I behold them. Neither God nor heaven nor Christ, who is the image of the Father, can be truly represented by the art of man. (The Publishing Ministry, p. 219)

Modern Israel finds much use of this abominations in its worship and publications.

The third abomination shown to Ezekiel was women weeping for Tammuz. Tammuz was the illegitimate son of  Semiramis, who had been the wife of Nimrod. After Nimrod died, Semiramis proclaimed that Nimrod had gone to be the sun god. When she became pregnant after Nimrod’s death, she claimed that Nimrod had impregnated her as the sun god. After Tammuz became a man, he was killed on a hunting excursion by a wild boar. Forty days of weeping were proclaimed for Tammuz, and buns marked with “T”s upon them were baked in his honor. It was proclaimed that he had ascended to the sun to be with his father, Nimrod. Thus, Tammuz was a false type of Christ, a false son of God. Professed Christianity worships Tammuz today in the form of the second person of the trinity.

The fourth abomination that Ezekiel saw was men with their backs to the temple, facing east and worshiping the sun. You might not think that is done in professed Christianity today, beloved, but let us think. The day that the sun was worshiped was the day of the sun or Sunday. Today almost all of professed Christianity worships on the day of the sun. Furthermore, these men have their backs to God’s sanctuary, representing a rejection of the sanctuary ministry.

So far, we have applied these abominations to nominal Christianity, but can they apply to Adventism? Remember that it is the remnant that is brought to view in Ezekiel. It is in Jerusalem that we find these things happening. Are there sun pillars or steeples in Adventism today? Do Adventists use images of God and Christ in their worship and in their publications? Does Adventism today worship Jesus as the true, only begotten Son of God, as the pioneers did, or do they worship a false Jesus? Does Adventism promote such things as Easter sunrise services and ecumenical services? Clearly, the first three have all come into Adventism, and the fourth is making progress. Have we rejected the sanctuary message? Perhaps not in name, but in reality we have rejected the final atonement that is to bring a people to perfection. Perfection is no longer acceptable in the mainstream of Adventism. Final generation theology has been pronounced a deception and against the order of God by the seminaries. Surely things must be at an end, beloved. Remember that only those who sigh and cry over these abominations will receive the seal of God.   Allen Stump


Going Forward by Faith

By Ann Ford

In recent months, my mind has often reflected on some spiritual nuggets that have blessed me many times over. I pray that they will be a blessing to you.

When my husband, Glen, and I first met, both of us had the same burden to share the gospel with the world. He already lived in a “dark county,” so our first mission was, by God’s grace, to raise up a church and build a lighthouse in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Working as a team, we were blessed to accomplish our goals of giving Bible studies, visiting the shut-ins, etc., while raising up a church. Another goal was to witness the second coming of Jesus — together.

During the 2008 West Virginia Camp Meeting, we learned of the death of the mother of Glen’s five children. We immediately went to be with the children, especially with Glen’s oldest son, David, who had been his mother’s care provider for twelve years. We knew the children’s mother had had cancer and many other health issues, and we also knew that many times death can be a blessing in disguise.

Just two and an half months later, we received a phone call and learned that David had experienced a massive heart attack. We immediately left to be with him. Arriving after eleven hours on the road, we retired for the evening. At three in the morning, we learned that David had died. Glen’s youngest son and David’s two boys joined Glen and me as we went to see David one more time. Glen, who dearly loved the Lord, stood by David’s body and prayed and praised God for the sixty years he was permitted to have him. “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Through my tears, my thoughts turned to Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When challenges come our way, and they will, we just need to claim God’s precious promises. Somehow good will come out of our loss of David.

Just a couple of months later, tragedy struck again when I learned that my grandson, Jason, who had lived with us for eight years and who was like our own child, was killed in a one vehicle accident, and his father, who was traveling with him, had been flown to a shock trauma facility. Our grandson’s wife and infant daughter were pulled out of the wreckage just before it went up in flames. The news was devastating, and my concern was about how I would tell Glen and about what would happen to the young wife and 13-month-old child he left behind.

Thirty-four years earlier, Glen and I had been in an accident in which the people in the other vehicle were killed and Glen and I seriously injured. The pastor that visited us at that time mentioned Isaiah 55:8, 9, which states: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Someone once said we are not supposed to bury our children or grandchildren—they are supposed to bury us. Here is where we have to go forward by faith, not by sight or feelings.

Glen and I were now grieving the loss of his firstborn and my grandson, but we had each other and that was such a blessing. We would console one another by reading and mediating upon God’s word and the Spirit of Prophecy and by praying together. Glen was the priest of our home and my strength, and we were best friends. He would say to me, “You and me, that’s all that matters.”

Little did I know that just two months later Glen would be in an accident which would ultimately lead to his death in two weeks. By this time, all kinds of questions were flooding my mind, and briefly I wondered why, why, why? I didn’t have an answer, but I knew that God’s word and his promises are sure. Then I recalled: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). As I looked through a veil of tears at my beloved of thirty-six years, I remembered: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job: 1:21). The Lord allowed Glen to be taken. Providence?

The Lord in His providence has brought this trial [offering of Isaac] upon Abraham to teach him lessons of submission, patience, and faith—lessons that were to be placed on record for the benefit of all who should afterward be called to endure affliction. God leads His children by a way that they know not, but He does not forget or cast off those who put their trust in Him. He permitted affliction to come upon Job, but He did not forsake him. He allowed the beloved John to be exiled to lonely Patmos, but the Son of God met him there, and his vision was filled with scenes of immortal glory. God permits trials to assail His people, that by their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” Jeremiah 29:11. The very trials that task our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace which He will give us in exchange.

God has always tried His people in the furnace of affliction. It is in the heat of the furnace that the dross is separated from the true gold of the Christian character. Jesus watches the test; He knows what is needed to purify the precious metal, that it may reflect the radiance of His love. It is by close, testing trials that God disciplines His servants. He sees that some have powers which may be used in the advancement of His work, and He puts these persons upon trial; in His providence He brings them into positions that test their character and reveals defects and weaknesses that have been hidden from their own knowledge. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 129-130)

Dear Ones, though trials will come our way, let us go forward by faith and not by sight or feelings, and let us be among those that say: “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” Isaiah 25:9.


 Who Said It?

Here are some familiar quotations from the Bible. Can you name the speaker? Check the references if you do not know who is speaking.

1.    “Go and search diligently for the young child … that I may come and worship him also.”

2.    “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

3.    “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people.”

4.    “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

5.    “Blessed art thou among women.”

6.    “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.”

7.    “Command this stone that it be made bread.”

8.    “It is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles.”

9.    “How can a man be born when he is old?”

10.    “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

11.    “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people.”

12.    “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”

13.    “Fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth.”

14.    “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”

15.    “Art thou the King of the Jews?”

16.    “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”

17.    “Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.”

18.    “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

19.    “Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.”

20.    “Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou are come.”

21.    “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”

22.    “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear.”

23.    “Grace be unto you, and peace.”

24.    “What thou seest, write in a book.”

25.    “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith.”

26.    “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”

27.    “The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.”

28.    “I arose a mother in Israel.”

Place the  number of the clue beside the name

_____ Stephen – Acts 7:60

_____ Mary Magdalene – John 20:13

_____ Ananias – Acts 9:13

_____ Jesus – Revelation 2:19

_____ Pilate – Mark 15:2

_____ Philip – John 14:8

_____ Caiaphas – John 11:50

_____ Job – Job 42:2

_____ Nicodemus – John 3:4

_____ Simeon – Luke 2:34

_____ Ahasuerus – Esther 3:11

_____ John – Revelation 1:4

_____ Zacharias – Luke 1:68

_____ Joshua – Joshua 24:14

_____ Peter – Luke 9:33

_____ Deborah – Judges 5:7

_____ Gamaliel – Acts 5:35

_____ the devil – Luke 4:3

_____ Elisabeth – Luke 1:42

_____ Mary – Luke 1:46

_____ Thomas – John 14:5

_____ Jesus – Revelation 1:11

_____ Paul – Acts 16:28

_____ Herod – Matthew 2:8

_____ Cornelius – Acts 10:33

_____ Martha – John 11:24

_____ Jesus – Matthew 4:17

_____ John – Revelation 1:3

Quiz on Job 15-17

1. Who is the speaker in Job chapter 15?

2. What would the “east wind” in Job 15:2 represent? Give at least two Scriptural references.

3. Was the statement of Job 15:6 true? What verse in Matthew 26 would be parallel in thought?

4. Carefully read Job 15:12. If the last part of verse 12 was a response to Job at that time, what does it tell us?

5. What is the exposition of God’s ways with man based upon, as recorded in Job 15:17-35?

6. According to these verses, what will happen to the riches of the wicked?

7. In effect, what is Job called in Job 15:34?

8. Who is the speaker in Job chapters 16 and 17?

9. Job 16:1-6 has the speaker reproving his friends for their unmerciful attitudes. What did he say he would do differently in Job 16:5 if the roles were reversed?

10. At what part in Job 16 does the speaker begin to describe God as being at the head of his troubles, although he does not understand why God is at the head of these troubles?

11. Explain the expression “My face is foul with weeping” (Job 16:16) or give another translation.

12. Although the speaker may feel God is against him, the speaker declares that heaven has what to vindicate him?

13. Explain Job 16:20.

14. What is the Hebrew word for “breath” in Job 17:1?

15. What would be a modern translation or understanding of the phrase “put me in surety with thee” from Job 17:3?

16. The speaker in Job 17:6 declared that he would become a byword, and he did achieve such a status but not as he thought at that time. What would he be especially noted for? Hint: James 5.

17. What did the speaker mean in Job 17:7b?

18. What did the speaker hold out as his hope in Job 17:11-16?

19. Who does the speaker symbolically describe as his sister in the 17th chapter of Job?

Answers to Quiz on Job 11-14 

1. The speaker in Job chapter 11 is Zophar.

2. In verses 2-6, Zophar expresses a desire for a declaration from God that would convince Job of Job’s sin.

3. Job 10:7 might be used as support to justify the speakers statement in Job 11:4, but Job 9:20 might be used to show he misunderstood Job.

4. The New Testament text that could be a reference for Job 11:8 is Ephesians 3:18.

5. The statement in Job 11:20 was especially cruel to Job because he had wished for death.

6. The speaker in chapters 12-14 is Job.

7. In Job 12:3, Job was saying that he knew the ancient wisdom as much as did his friends.

8. God is spoken of as having wisdom and strength in Job 12:13, 16.

 9. An Old Testament text to reference well with Job 12:18 is Daniel 5:6.

10. In Job 13:4, Job is saying that his friends were not telling the truth and were no better than physicians that could not cure.

11. The expression “if ye so secretly accept persons” mean to  show partiality.

12. Job declared that his trust in God was so strong that even if he were to slay him, Job would still trust God.

13. In Job 13:23, Job is asking what his sin was that he deserved this experience.

14. According to Job 13:26, Job suggests that it may be the sins of his youth that have brought his trials.

15. A New Testament reference for Job 14:4 is Matthew 7:17, 18.

16. Job 14:15 does not say that we have a set number of days upon the earth that cannot be changed. For example, in the second commandment God promises long life to those who honor their parents.

17. Job 14:12 does not teach there is  no resurrection but just not in Job’s time.

18. The Hebrew word translated “grave” in Job 14:13 is Sheol and means the underworld or the place of no return.

19. Job 14:22 is a poetic personification.


 Crunchy Oat Crackers

3 cups quick oats

2 cups flour (1/2 cup rye, 3/4 cup whole wheat, 3/4 cup unbleached white)

1 cup wheat germ

1 cup unhulled sesame seeds

1 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup olive oil

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix liquid ingredients together first and then stir into dry ingredients. Mix well until the dough holds a ball shape. Divide into one large ball and two smaller balls of equal size. Roll out between waxed paper and place onto a large pizza pan and two cookie sheets that have been sprayed with oil. Continue rolling out on the pans until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into squares. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until dry and crispy.


The Rest of the Story

(Many of our readers are well-familiar with the name of Bill Stringfellow. Bill was a dynamic and energetic SDA minister who spoke out bravely against apostasy, no matter the cost. When he encountered the truth about God, he accepted it despite losing many close friends because of his acceptance of truth. Bill produced many truth-filled videos over the years. A few sad years ago, this servant of Christ rested from his labors, but his works still follow him. Bill’s widow and worker in the ministry, Dee, has entrusted to us the master video recordings from their library, and we have converted them to DVD format. If you would like some of these truth-filled DVDs, please request them by the title or the video number. The suggested donation per presentation is $6.00 which includes the cost of postage. Please request them using the title or video number    Editor)

There is a story Bill used to tell of an old preacher who was so tired that he needed to get away from it all. So, he saddled his horse and started to wander through the forest that was just behind his property. As he was riding through the trees and praising the Lord for His mercy and for the peace and quiet, he looked across the meadow in front of him and saw a small cabin. He rode toward it, and as he came closer he saw an old lady sitting in her rocker on the porch. He drew up to the porch, greeted her and asked: “Do you live here all by yourself?” As she kept rocking, she answered: “Yes, sir, just Jesus and me; just Jesus and me.” 

There have been many times since Bill died that I have felt it is just Jesus and me, but, still, in my heart I know that I have so much to be thankful for and that I am blessed beyond measure. Knowing the message of the truth of the Father and his Son is a blessing for which I so often thank God. 

When I have an opportunity to share this truth, many times I will say, “This is not something that we discovered in our studies. This message was shared with us, and it has been so through the years with others as well.” 

We were traveling from a meeting in California where Bill had just turned down an offer to join hands with another independent ministry because there were things there with which we just could not be in agreement even though it had been a very nice offer. We stopped in Colorado Springs to worship on Sabbath meeting with a group who rented an old Methodist church. After the service, a young Australian came to us and offered us a small pamphlet, asking us to please read it prayerfully. 

Through the years, many people have shared with us different articles that either they had written or that had been given to them. Usually it was my job, upon our return home, to go over the material and decide if Bill needed to hear about it or not, but this time Bill started reading the material given to us in Colorado Springs. We were headed back home to Minnesota in our little Mazda 323. I was driving and Bill had climbed into the back seat to rest a bit, but within about thirty minutes he climbed back over into the front seat and said: “I want you to listen to this.” He started reading from the pamphlet given to us. It was the truth about God and his Son! Our lives were not the same after that! We both became so busy looking up Bible texts, studying them, and rereading passages over and over again. Isn’t truth wonderful! 

Bill knew then that we would have to make his videos on this subject. As he started working on the first video, he came up from the basement where his office was. I was sitting on the sofa, and he said, “Is this the right thing?” I told him, “I can’t see it any other way. Can you?” And he smiled and went back to the basement. His first videos on this great message were The Red Flag is Waving, Parts 1 & 2. 

After those videos came out, we lost many of our supporters. We knew that would happen, but you know you can never outdo the Lord. Others filled their places. 

Sometimes, when you have a day of people calling and giving you long speeches on how wrong you are, telling you that “the church” is not going to like it, and stating that you are teaching “spiritualism,” it becomes a long day, but the Lord always gives you a blessing to uplift you and give you courage to keep going. Shortly after this, Bill received a call from a young man in West Virginia. They had a long conversation about the Godhead message. The Lord took care of us every step of the way, and I have never doubted his love and care for his children. 

As the years passed, Bill’s health became worse and he could see that he was not going to be able to make many more videos, but he wanted to redo The Red Flag Is Waving videos. He felt that he had not done a good job with them, and so the last videos that he made were Porridge I and Porridge II. There were times that he just had to stop taping because he was hurting so badly. 

How grateful I am that the Lord can still use the work that Bill did and that he truly loved doing. 

Right now I am living in the western part of the state of Washington. I moved here from Tennessee over six years ago. Most of my Sabbaths have been just Jesus and me, but now I study with one of my sister’s neighbors who has also become a good friend. Studying the Bible is new to her, and being able to share God’s love for us has been such a blessing to me. 

God bless you lots and lots and lots! Dee Stringfellow


Video Presentations by Bill Stringfellow

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 1    CP-DVD-01

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 2    CP-DVD-02

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 3    CP-DVD-03

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 4    CP-DVD-04

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 5    CP-DVD-05

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 6    CP-DVD-06

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 7    CP-DVD-07

All In the Name of the Lord, Part 8    CP-DVD-08

Special Message, “A.A.A.A.”    CP-DVD-09

Special Message, “That’s Why”    CP-DVD-10

Special Message, “You Can Count On It”    CP-DVD-11

Special Message, “Isn’t that Interesting”    CP-DVD-12

Special Message, “The Image”    CP-DVD-13

Special Message, “The Big One”    CP-DVD-14

Special Message, “Maybe This Will Help”    CP-DVD-15

Special Message, “The Difference”    CP-DVD-17

Special Message,  “Let’s Worship”.    CP-DVD-18

Special Message,  “Facts in Acts,” Part 1    CP-DVD-19

Special Message,  “Facts in Acts,” Part 2    CP-DVD-20

Special Message, “The N. G. Principle”    CP-DVD-21

Special Message, “The Hidden Miracle Messages,” Part 1    CP-DVD-22

Special Message, “The Hidden Miracle Messages,” Part 2    CP-DVD-23

Special Message, “The Hidden Miracle Messages,” Part 3    CP-DVD-24

Special Message, “The Parallel”    CP-DVD-25

Special Message, “Setting the Record Straight”    CP-DVD-26

Special Message, “How?”    CP-DVD-27

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 1    CP-DVD-28

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 2    CP-DVD-29

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 3    CP-DVD-30

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 4    CP-DVD-31

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 5    CP-DVD-32

Special Message, “Lots and . . .,” Part 6    CP-DVD-33

Special Message, “B.T.”    CP-DVD-34

Special Message, “What Again?”    CP-DVD-35

Red Flag Waving, Part 1    CP-DVD-36-1

Red Flag Waving, Part 2    CP-DVD-36-2

Porridge, Part 1    CP-DVD-37

Porridge, Part 2    CP-DVD-38

“The Homestretch”    CP-DVD-39

“Up, Up and Away”    CP-DVD-40

“The Initials Are S.O.P.”    CP-DVD-43

“The Conditioning Challenge”    CP-DVD-44

“The Bonus”    CP-DVD-45

“Behind the Scenes”    CP-DVD-46

“You”    CP-DVD-47

“The Rubber-The Road”    CP-DVD-48

“The Drop-Outs”    CP-DVD-49

“It’s Undeniable”    CP-DVD-50

“The Reply”    CP-DVD-53

“A Further Look”    CP-DVD-54


Meetings in Sacramento

Pastor Stump will be holding meetings at 2860 Jefferson Boulevard., Sacramento, California, on October 3, 2009. We realize this is a short notice, but we hope that those in the Sacramento area can attend these meetings. The meetings will begin at 11:00 a. m.

Pastor Stump had planned on speaking at the camp meeting in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, on the 3rd; however, a unique opportunity came up on that Sabbath to visit a church group in Sacramento, and Pastor McCrillis graciously allowed me to be excused so that I could visit with this group.


Youth’s Corner — Herman

Our story this month is about Herman, who is still living as far as I know. When Herman was a teenager, he believed God wanted him to be a preacher, but he had a problem. He was very afraid to speak in front of a group of people! In fact, when he was young he was asked to read the mission story at his little church one Sabbath morning (this church had only six members!), and he tried to be brave but after two sentences, he said shakily, “I can’t do this!” And he sat down.

Later on, Herman attended academy and the students at the academy sometimes presented programs at a local nursing home. One time Herman was asked to give a little talk, and he did! This time he made it through all that he was supposed to read! He was a little older and a little more grown up, and he actually finished his presentation, but on the way home, do you know what all of his friends told him on the bus? They told him he had done a terrible job and that he should never do it again! In fact, even the principal of the academy spoke to him later and said, “You know, farmers can witness for God. You do not have to be a preacher to be a witness for God. You can witness even as a farmer!” He said this because he also felt that Herman should not be a preacher.

Herman had a girlfriend in academy and as much as the girlfriend liked him, she also told him: “Maybe you shouldn’t be a preacher. You just don’t seem to have a way with words and when you stand in front of a group of people, you get so scared that it is hard to you to even speak!”

Now, if this many people had told you the same thing they told Herman, you might have thought that perhaps they knew what they were talking about, but not Herman! He did not give up but kept trying to be comfortable when speaking to a group of people! Later on, the school went on another trip to a nearby church to present a program and because they knew Herman wanted to be a preacher so badly, they again asked him to give a little talk. Do you know what happened this time? It worked! All his fears were gone. It was like his mouth could now form words. He spoke with enthusiasm, with effectiveness, and with happiness, and Herman later became a very appreciated preacher. He stood in front of congregations and spoke with ease.

One of the reasons I am telling this story is because Herman did not give up, even though at first he was very afraid! Many people tried to talk him out of preaching, but he kept trying to do what he believed God wanted him to do, and he was eventually successful. Maybe you are afraid to speak or sing in front of a group of people, but you can keep trying just like Herman did. God has a plan for you and one day you just might bless others with your voice.

Even Moses had a hard time when he thought of speaking to Pharaoh. God told Moses he wanted him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out into the wilderness. God wanted Moses to go to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go.” Even though we know that Moses later proved to be a very great leader and that he listened to God and led the great multitude of people out of Egypt and through the wilderness in spite of their many problems, Moses was at first afraid that the Egyptians would not believe him. He tried to excuse himself by saying he was slow of speech and slow of tongue. Finally, God told him he would send Aaron to help him. Even though we love Moses, and Moses is now in heaven, he had a hard time going back to Egypt.

Sometimes fear, however, is good, for there are some things we should be afraid of. Karsatoa and Toban lived on the island of New Britain. New Britain is in the Pacific Ocean north of Australia near Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. A few decades ago, Karsatoa and Toban wanted to share the message of our heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, with the villagers on another island, but in order to get to that island they had to pass an island filled with people who did not like Karsatoa and Toban and what they had to say about the God of heaven. These people had their own gods which they worshiped, and they were very angry with Karsatoa and Toban because they were telling everyone about the God in heaven and about Jesus Christ. They were so angry that they threatened to kill Karsatoa and Toban if they continued preaching, but Karsatoa and Toban said, “We cannot stop. We have to go to this island, but we will go at night. We will paddle quietly past the hostile people and get around their island in darkness and then everything will be okay.”

Karsatoa and Toban had prayer before they left, then at the front of their canoe they put a lantern that gave just enough light to light the path ahead of them so they could see if there were any logs in the way, and they started paddling. When they came close to the island where the people were who had threatened to kill them, they saw something off to the side of their canoe––the biggest sting ray they had ever seen! It was lying in the shallow water near the coast of the island. They stopped paddling to watch what the sting ray would do. It wasn’t moving but was just floating softly in the water. Once Karsatoa and Toban had stopped paddling, however, they heard something. They heard the swish, swish of paddles moving through the water. People from the hostile island were in their canoes and paddling out! Somehow they knew Karsatoa and Toban were coming by. Karsatoa and Toban heard swish, swish over here, swish, swish over there, and swish, swish behind them! They were being surrounded by enemies!

Do you know what happened next? There was a big noise behind them! The sting ray had aroused to activity! Karsatoa and Toban bent down in their canoe just in time, for the sting ray flew out of the water and over them, knocking off the lantern in the process, and landed in the water in front of the canoe with a big splash! Then the sting ray slithered under the canoe, raised it up on its back and carried the canoe safely through the wicked people. They could not even throw their spears at Karsatoa and Toban because the lantern had been knocked overboard and they could not see them!

Karsatoa and Toban had a certain fear in the sense that they knew the threats of the enemy island were real, so they did their best to stay safe and traveled by night. They were not deterred from serving God, and they protected themselves the best way they knew how. God, who has promised to never to leave us or forsake us, sent a sting ray to help get Karsatoa and Toban past their enemies. Now, I do not understand how God can maneuver sting rays in such a manner, but he has ways we cannot begin to understand, and if we will just trust him and do what he asks us to do, he will protect and help us. He called Karsatoa and Toban to share his truth with the people on neighboring islands, and he called Herman to be a preacher, even though Herman at first could not even speak in front of six people!

God changed Herman to be a good speaker, God kept Toban and Karsatoa safe as they worked for him, and he will help us too if we will just be willing to do his will. Onycha Holt


(The story of Karsatoa and Toban is adapted from Guide’s Greatest Miracle Stories, edited by Helen Lee.     Editor)


Children’s Corner

The Little Streets 

“Tomorrow I’ll do it” says Bennie;

“I will by and by,”
 says Seth;

“Not know—pretty soon,”
 says Jennie;

“In a minute,” says little Beth.

  Oh dear little people! remember

  That, true as  the stars in the sky,
 Pretty–soon, and By–and–by
 Lead, one and all,
 As straight, they say,
 As the king’s highway,
 To the city of Not–at–All

  Youth Instructor, December 7, 1899

Do You Have a Talent Like Stephen??

Stephen Foster wrote his first song when he was 16 years old, and before he died he wrote 286 songs. He wrote about America and about people. “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Oh! Susanna” are two of his songs. His music made other people happy. J

Matching

Adam   

Methuselah   

Abraham   

Isaac   

Boaz   

Kish  

Saul  

Jesse 

David  

Ahaz   

  Jacob

  Joseph

  Enos

  Noah

  Mephibosheth

  Rehoboam

  Solomon

  Jonathan

  Manasseh

  Jesse

References: Genesis 5; Genesis 30; Ruth 4; 1 Samuel 9; 1 Samuel 12; 1 Kings 12; 2 Kings 18; 2 Kings 21


Knowing Your ABCs—Vitamin K

Why Is Vitamin K Important? 

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is necessary for the synthesis of the human proteins that mediate both coagulation and anticoagulation in the blood supply, and it is believed to also be necessary for the synthesis of proteins involved in bone metabolism and vascular biology. Until recently, however, research about vitamin K has been very sparse, for vitamin K was at first thought to be vital only for the coagulation of blood, and even today research continues to be limited. Coagulation is vital, of course, because without the ability to coagulate blood every mammal would bleed to death following any injury. In fact, this vitamin was named for this necessary ability by Dr. Henrik Dam, a Dane who discovered the vitamin in 1929 after he observed this characteristic of “koagulation” (Danish for coagulation). (Dr. Dam and Dr. Edward Doisy, who later discovered the chemical nature and structure of vitamin K, shared the Nobel Prize in 1943 for their discoveries concerning this very important substance.)

Even though vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, the body stores very little of it; and even though these stores can be rapidly depleted without regular dietary intake, God has provided a recycling process so that our bodies can reuse this vital substance! While this recycling process allows our daily intake to be lower than it would need to be otherwise, it is this cycling process that Coumadin and like medications are able to sabotage, to the benefit of those at risk for stroke, heart attack, and/or the formation of blood clots and to the detriment of the rodent population exposed to poisonous compounds (rat poison) that interfere with their vitamin K recycling and thus kill by inducing lethal hemorrhage.

Is a Deficiency Possible?

In nature, there are two chemical derivatives of this vitamin—K1 and K2. In humans, vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria (E. coli, for example) in the large intestine, and a deficiency of K2 is rare but can occur (following the use of certain medications, for example). Vitamin K1, on the other hand, is obtained from our diets and is so prevalent in our food supply that a deficiency is also rare. Deficiencies of vitamin K (either form) can occur, however, in newborn infants, in people who suffer from liver damage or disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and bulimia, and in those who may be taking certain medications that interfere with the body’s utilization or re-utilization of vitamin K (anticoagulants, for example). An informative website on the relationship between diet and anticoagulant medication is found at http://www.dietitian.com/vitamink.htm.

In addition to these two natural forms of vitamin K, there are three synthetic forms of vitamin K—K3, K4, and K5 (all of which are often used in the pet food industry), and while no toxicity has been demonstrated with K1 (naturally found in foods) and with K2 (naturally produced by the body), toxicity has been shown with large doses of vitamin K3. It should be noted that this form of vitamin K is also sometimes used in vitamin supplements for humans.

Sources of Vitamin K

Some experts believe the chief source of vitamin K for humans is the K2 derivative, the form that is synthesized by bacteria in the large intestine, but dietary sources of vitamin K1 are plentiful. K1 is primarily found in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, and kale and in broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. It is also found in moderate amounts in blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, pumpkin, carrot juice, and other foods; so an average diet is usually not lacking in K1. Two tablespoons of parsley, for example, contain 153% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K1.

Some vegetable oils, especially soybean oil, also provide a mild to moderate source of vitamin K, but you should understand that hydrogenation of these oils causes the form of the vitamin K they contain to be less biologically active than that found in other K1 sources. In fact, vitamin K in the hydrogenated vegetable oil is half as active with a clot-forming protein and completely inactive with a bone-forming protein. “So hydrogenated oils shouldn’t be considered an important source of vitamin K,” emphasized Dr. Sarah Booth, director of the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, in an article she recently authored. (See www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jan00/green0100.htm.)

It is also important to realize that large doses of vitamin A and vitamin E have been found to work against the body’s utilization of vitamin K. Excess vitamin A appears to interfere with vitamin K absorption and a form of vitamin E seems to inhibit some vitamin K-dependent enzymes.

For a comprehensive list of the different foods containing vitamin K, please visit the website for the United States Department of Agriculture at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR18/nutrlist/sr18w430.pdf.

Other Possible Benefits of Vitamin K

Dr. Sarah Booth also noted in an article in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care that “research has shown poor vitamin K intake may be associated with conditions such as bone fractures, bone loss, hardening of the arteries, and osteoarthritis,” and she noted that many seniors are not meeting the recommended intake of vitamin K, even though they are consuming more vitamin K now than in their younger years. (See www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/62759.php.) Interest in research on the role vitamin K plays with bone density and in its relationship to osteoporosis, heart disease, and cerebral ischemic accidents (strokes) may increase as the aging population in the United States continues to increase, but for now only a handful of researchers worldwide are studying vitamin K.

In another research paper by Dr. Booth and colleagues, it was noted that study volunteers with the highest blood levels of vitamin K1 were associated with the lowest risk among participants of having osteoarthritis in the hands and knees.

In the Framingham Heart Study, a vitamin K intake of approximately 250 mcg/day was associated with a decreased risk of hip fracture. This is the amount of vitamin K an individual would consume in a little more than ½ cup of chopped broccoli or in a large salad of mixed greens. Replacing dietary saturated fats such as butter and cheese with monounsaturated fats such as are found in olive oil and canola oil will also increase dietary vitamin K intake and may also decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Because older adults are at increased risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture, an adequate intake of vitamin K1 is especially relevant, although the required intake for optimal function of all vitamin K-dependent proteins is not yet known. 

What about Supplements?

Supplements of vitamin K should not be necessary as long you do not have any health issues that limit your body’s ability to utilize the vitamin and if you are daily including in your diet adequate amounts of leafy, green vegetables and/or other sources of vitamin K1. Supplemental vitamin K especially should not be included in your daily regime if you are prescribed a blood-thinning medication. For common questions about how much vitamin K to include in your diet if you are taking an anticoagulant medication, please visit the dietician’s website mentioned earlier.

Conclusion

We praise God again for the wonderful way he has made our bodies, and for the special ingredients he has placed in the foods we enjoy. May we all treasure his wonderful ways with man! Onycha Holt


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!