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.1 Straight and Narrow January 2009
“Children are an heritage of the LORD (Psalm 127:3).”
Strength for Each Day
by Allen Stump
Day by day in our Christian life, we encounter challenges both old and new that require energies and perseverance with which to tackle them; but many times we try to live the Christian life in our own strength, which is really no strength. We cannot live, however, on our own strength, for Jesus said that we of ourselves are powerless. He declared, for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). While we have no power of ourselves, God has promised us power, strength, and grace for all our needs. We have a second problem, however, that is most likely a greater problem than acknowledging we are powerless outside of Jesus Christ. That problem is trying to live today, tomorrow, or any future day on yesterdays spiritual food and yesterdays spiritual strength. This is an impossibility, friends, because it is not Gods way.
We have been promised great things, including strength for each task ahead of us. The Lord told Joshua, Be strong and of a good courage (Joshua 1:9). We all need courage and the Lord is the source of that courage, but we also need strength. We also need strength for each day as it comes to us. In his parting blessings to the children of Israel, Moses said to Asher: Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).
This was Moses, the man of God (Deuteronomy 33:1), speaking. Moses was a man of God, and Israel did well when they listened to him. Moses led the children of Israel to the brink of the Promised Land, but he himself was not allowed to enter because of his sin at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh. Moses eyesight was still strong, and his vitality was strong even at 120 years of age (Deuteronomy 34:7). Moses was a majestic sight for man to look upon. His energies were not abated. What thoughts were running through his mind when God refused him entrance to the land of Canaan? Perhaps he remembered the burning bush experience or the plagues in Egypt and walking fearlessly through a hail storm that killed all else in its pathway. Perhaps he remembered the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Ten Commandments, or the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. But now God gave a command to Moses which required more strength to accomplish than anything he had ever faced. God said to Moses:
Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people (Deuteronomy 32:49, 50).
God had greatly used Moses time and again for forty years. God had held up the arms of Moses spiritually and literally during this time. Now he tells Moses to go up to Mt. Nebo and die. The nakedness and the bluntness of the word of God amazes me at times. Gods word was clear and decisive. God does not participate in favoritism. Even Moses the man of God is not an exception. But God will give him the strength for the mission.
Before Moses goes to Mount Nebo, he leaves a parting blessing for all of Israel. Jesus left a parting blessing to his disciples just before he went back to heaven. In Luke we find these words recorded:
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luke 24:50, 51).
All the blessings of God are found in and through Christ, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Every promise of God finds its affirmative in him, and through him can be said the final amen, to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, Phillips). The promise to Joshua, I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Joshua 1:5) finds its counterpart in Hebrews 13:5, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. All the blessings of God, including strength, are in and through Christ.
What Is the Promise of Deuteronomy 33:25?
As thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25). This promise is one of strength and even rest. The Hebrew word translated strength is dobe and is only used in this one place in the Scripture. Commentators are divided over its proper translation, with some feeling it should be translated rest. If we were to combine the two thoughts, we might see dobe as strength that provides rest. When one is strong, one has the ability to finish ones tasks and then rest; however, a weak person may have to toil on and on and never find rest, for his or her tasks will not have been completed.
God, being omniscience and omnipotent, knows our daily needs and will provide the strength for each day, but a principle of Scripture is that the strength is provided daily, on a day-by-day basis. Notice the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34).
Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).
Notice that we are not taught to pray for tomorrows bread but for the food of today. We are not to worry about tomorrows needs and problems. Jesus says we have enough problems and evil each day, and we do not need to add to it.
Israel had left Egypt, had crossed the Red Sea, and had spent forty years in the wilderness. Now a new generation was to go into the Promised Land. It would have to battle for the land; there would be conflicts and struggles ahead. Seven years were devoted to conquering the land before the people could settle down, but God did not say, As your weeks are, as your months are, or as your years are so shall thy strength be, but as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
When Jesus said Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, he was also promising that sufficient unto the day is the strength thereof. Whatever evil Satan hands over to us, God will give us strength for it.
Day by day the manna fell;
O to learn this lesson well!
Still by constant mercy fed,
Give me Lord, my daily bread.
Day by day, the promise reads,
Daily strength for daily needs;
Cast foreboding fears away;
Take the manna of today.
Lord! my times are in thy hand;
All my sanguine hopes have planned,
To thy wisdom I resign,
And would make thy purpose mine.
Thou my daily task shalt give;
Day by day to thee I live;
So shall added years fulfill,
Not my own, my Fathers will.
Josiah Conder, 1836
Strength for today will not do for tomorrow or next week or next year. We need a fresh supply each day. Daily devotions are indispensable for Christians. What if God gave us all of our blessings for a whole year at once? We would not be able to endure this program. Think of parallels from the physical world. We need rain to water the earth. It is a great blessing, but if we were to receive a years supply of water in one day we would all be flooded. We need and value sunshine; it is a blessing. If God, however, sent a years supply of sunshine in one day, we would all surely die.
God sent the manna daily, except Sabbath, to Israel. The pupils of Rabbi Ben Jochai once asked him, with regard to the manna sent to the Israelite host in the wilderness, Why did not the Lord furnish enough manna to Israel for a year all at one time? Rabbi Jochai replied:
I will answer you with a parable, responded the teacher. Once there was a king who had a son to whom he gave a yearly allowance, paying him the entire sum on a fixed day. It soon happened that the day on which the allowance was given was the only day in the year when the father ever saw his son. So the king changed his plan and gave his son day by day that which sufficed for the day. And now the son visited his father every morning. Thus God dealt with Israel (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/d/a/daymanna.htm quoted from, Nutter, Charles S. & Wilbur F. Tillett. The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church, p. 240).
Oh, that our love for God would not require him to keep us poor or ill so that we might seek him!
As various and different as our days are, so is the strength that God offers. The longer one lives, the more varied he or she knows life to be. God is saying that whatever kind of strength is required he will provide just that strength. I have been reading through the book of Job again, and I am always amazed at how difficult Jobs situation was and how God supplied his needs. I might look upon Job and think I could not do what he did. Perhaps you know a modern-day Job who has lost a son or employment or who has been sick and assailed with other problems and you think that you could not go through that. Well, that is true! With the strength that God has supplied you today, you could not go through those trials because that is not the strength you need for today. Whatever trials and challenges you face today, however, God has already seen and has carefully measured each one and has provided you with the strength for that need. Paul assures us of this in this wonderful promise: 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). It was with this assurance of strength in the divine and a distrust in self that the solitary monk, Martin Luther, rode into Worms to face certain death before the greatest tribunal that man could post in his day.
As the Reformer proceeded on his journey, he was everywhere regarded with great interest. An eager multitude thronged about him, and friendly voices warned him of the purpose of the Romanists. They will burn you, said some, and reduce your body to ashes, as they did with John Huss. Luther answered, Though they should kindle a fire all the way from Worms to Wittenberg, the flames of which reached to heaven, I would walk through it in the name of the Lord; I would appear before them; I would enter the jaws of this behemoth, and break his teeth, confessing the Lord Jesus Christ.Ibid., b. 7, ch. 7.
The news of his approach to Worms created great commotion. His friends trembled for his safety; his enemies feared for the success of their cause. Strenuous efforts were made to dissuade him from entering the city. At the instigation of the papists he was urged to repair to the castle of a friendly knight, where, it was declared, all difficulties could be amicably adjusted. Friends endeavored to excite his fears by describing the dangers that threatened him. All their efforts failed. Luther, still unshaken, declared: Even should there be as many devils in Worms as tiles on the housetops, still I would enter it.--Ibid., b. 7, ch. 7. (The Great Controversy, p. 153)
When called to stand before the counsel Luther declared that the things he had written were the truth of Gods word and that he boldly declared that he could not retract. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen. Ibid., b. 7, ch. 8 (Ibid., p. 160).
During the judgeship of Samuel after God had supernaturally provided a great victory for Israel over the Philistines, Samuel set up a stone monument and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us (1 Samuel 7:12). The name Ebenezer means, stone of help. The stone did not help Israel but it did remind them that God was their help. Just as God helped Israel in their time of weakness, he will help us in our times of weakness. The very place you are weak is the very place he supplies strength. During Jesus discourse about last day events after he left the temple for the last time, he spoke of people whose thoughts would be centered upon the world and the fear that comes thereby: mens hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth (Luke 21:26). But we may contrast this to Isaiah 40:31: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The Surety of the Promise for Each Individual
There was a day not too distant when a mans word was his bond. I remember when I was younger that my father, due to heart disease, failed his pilots physical. Since he was deemed legally unfit to fly, he decided to sell his Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane. After advertising it and receiving an offer that he accepted verbally over the phone, he received a call from the lieutenant governor of Alabama offering to buy the airplane. When told it had already been promised to another, the lieutenant governor offered to pay my dad considerably more money for it than he had at first settled. But my dad refused stating kindly that his word was his bond. Today, sadly, it is very different. Men worthy of trust are few and far between. If a politician says he will not raise taxes when elected, you can almost be sure he will. Friends, concerning the words we hear, they are only as good as the one who proclaims them. It all depends upon who says the words. But beloved, what about God? The Bible says he is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4).
The Creator of all things says that our strength will be as the days we have. His word brings something out of nothing. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6, 9). That word which creates is powerful: For the word of God is quick, and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). No matter what our need, Gods omnipotence cannot be run dry with our trials. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Furthermore, we are told that, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). As Charles Spurgeon noted,
We never need be afraid. If our troubles should become high as mountains, Gods grace would become like Noahs floodit would go twenty cubits higher till the mountains were covered (Sermon preached August 22, 1858).
What is the character of the God who has promised that our days would be as our strength? He is the one who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten Son for us (John 3:16). He is the one who emptied all of the resources of heaven in the gift of his Son to us. Paul noted, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)? This is the God who has promised us strength. He is the Father and God of Jesus Christ and in giving his matchless Son for us, he has given all that he could. Nothing has been withheld. If God will do that to save us, he will give us the strength to live the Christian life, and we can be sure that victory is ours.
God says that as our days are so shall our strength and we may claim this promise because he is our God. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10). The God of heaven is not someone elses God; he is our God. We may claim him and depend upon him for his word is true, his word is sure, and his word is for us because he is our God!
The Difference the Promise Makes in our Lives
Let us call the Apostle Paul to witness to the difference that God makes in the life of the believer. Paul noted that he was the least of apostles and in fact, not worthy to be an apostle, For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9). Then later he wrote, Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). Later Paul would declare that he was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). From the least of the apostles to the least of the saints to the chief of sinners, as Pauls realization of his weakness became clear, grace was more dear to him and Gods strength was realized in his life. He could testify to the truth which Jesus told him, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He knew that he could do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [him] (Philippians 4:13) and that God would supply all of his need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Beloved, God strengthened Paul and since our God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), he will strengthen us. He strengthened Martin Luther. You might not think you could ever stand as Luther, but you can because Luther was no better than Elijah, a man who was subject to like passions such as we all posses. Just like us, Luther was naturally weak and unable to do even one good deed. Because Luther could clearly see his weakness God could use him, and God will use you also when you know you are weak.
Let us call the Patriarch Job to witness to the difference that God makes in the life of the believer. In one day he lost virtually all of his possessions and his family, save his wife. Events that were so terrible, that only one of the various calamities would have crushed the spirit of many men until they were but dust. But Job did not deal with only one catastrophe; he had many in a single day. But, God had already measured out Jobs need and had given his strength so that Job could say, Naked came I out of my mothers womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).
God has promised strength for today. He himself will see that it is done, and it will make a difference in our lives. Perhaps there are problems in our homes and families. God has strength. Maybe the children are demanding and needful of our attention and time. God has strength. Perhaps we have challenges in our work. God has strength. Perhaps we are fearful and need strength to cope with the possibility that we might suffer from a terrorist attack. God has strength. Maybe we are concerned for the events that we know Bible prophecy predicts will soon come upon the earth. We may claim as our own the promise:
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation (Psalm 91:5-9).
Beloved, we may receive strength from God, but he will not force himself upon us. If we want his help, he is there for us. What a blessing Asher received, but we may have this blessing too if the Lord is our God. As you have trials and challenges, God will supply strength. Do not concentrate upon your problems and look to yourself. All you will see is discouragement and need. The never-failing Scriptures tell us that we are to be looking unto Jesus . . . consider[ing] him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds (Hebrews 12:2, 3). Since the real battleground is in the mind, we may be of special courage to know that we have this precious promise of assurance of strength.
I must conclude by saying, though, that the promise of Deuteronomy 33:25 is not for the rejecter of God and his word. It is not for the unconverted. If you are struggling with life apart from God you will not have strength to go on. You need God first and foremost, and he is eager to come to meet you. As your heart receives repentance and you begin to turn to him, he has already been looking for you from a long way off. If you will give your heart to him, he will honor his word for you and he will do it today. Today you will have strength for this day with God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Fathers wise bestowment,
Ive no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what he deems best
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day, the Lord himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares he fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of his child and treasure
Is a charge that on himself he laid;
As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me he made.
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faiths sweet consolation
Offered me within thy holy word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Eer to take, as from a fathers hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
Karolina W. Sandell-Berg, translated from Swedish to English by Andrew L. Skoog
Dear Brothers and Sisters, It is with great joy that we mention for your consideration the upcoming meetings that are being planned for South America. Please pray that the message can be given to as many people as possible and that Gods name can be glorified.
Please continue to pray for the Fords son, Kevin Dubbs, as he recovers from the terrible automobile accident that also took the life of his son, Jason. Also, remember Amanda, Jason’s wife, as she must now make a difficult adjustment and Glen and Ann that Jesus may bind up their broken hearts. Editor
Quiz on Genesis 37-40
1. About which four brothers did Joseph bring an evil report to his father?
2. What was the reaction of Josephs brothers to the preferred treatment that he received at his fathers hand?
3. Did Josephs brothers understand the meaning of the two dreams he related to them?
4. Where were Josephs brothers watching sheep when he found them?
5. What was the brothers first plan against Joseph?
6. Which brother tried to plan an escape for Joseph?
7. Contrast the last part of Genesis 37:24 with verse 25. What do you learn?
8. For how much was Joseph sold?
9. What happened to Er, Judahs firstborn son, and why?
10. What did Judah promise Tamar?
11. What did Tamar do to make Judah believe her to be a harlot?
12. What judgment did Judah first pronounce upon Tamar when he found out she had played the harlot?
13. Which twin of Tamar was born second?
14. How many times and which verses in Genesis 39 state that the Lord was with Joseph?
15. What only did Potiphar withhold from Joseph?
16 Why did Potiphar not have Joseph killed?
17. Which two of Pharaohs servants were cast into the jail with Joseph?
Answers to quiz on Genesis 33-36
1. As Esau approached Jacobs party, Jacob arranged his family in the following order: First the handmaids and their children, then Leah and her children, and then Rachel and Joseph and by so doing he indicated their comparative value.
2. As he was going on his way to meet Esau, Jacob sent flocks before him to appease his brother.
3. Along with their earrings, Jacob commanded those of his household to give up their strange gods (idols).
4. The Bible does not say if Dinah was a willing participant when she was defiled by Shechem, but there is no record of her protesting. It was, however, clearly a crime in the eyes of Simeon and Levi. No doubt Shechem was defiled by this act also, but the man who attempted such a wicked thing was already defiled in his heart while the woman might be pure.
5. The deaths of Deborah, Rebekahs nurse, and Rachel are mentioned in Genesis 35.
6. Reubens association with Bilhah cost him the double portion birthright blessings.
7. Isaac lived five years longer than Abraham.
8. Esau dwelt at Seir.
9. The princes of Esau went by the title of Duke.
10. In comparing Genesis 35:16-19 with 30:1, we can learn many lessons. One is that we should not seek to overturn Gods revealed will and that we should be humble and accept his will, for it is always best.
Isaac was 151 years old when Joseph was born and Joseph was 17 when sold into slavery; thus, Isaac was 168 years old when Joseph was reported to him as having being eaten by a wild beast. Isaac died before knowing the truth of the matter and will no doubt rejoice to meet Joseph in the kingdom and learn what really happened.
An Update From Brother Beachy
by Lynnford Beachy
A few months ago, we informed the readers of Present Truth about our new printing facility, and we would now like to update our readers of Old Paths concerning this project.
On August 19, 1991, God called me out of the world to serve him. From that day forward, God has given me a strong desire to share the gospel with as many people as I could. Within a couple years, God called me to share the gospel through printed material. Since 1993, I have been involved in writing and editing Christian literature.
We have been printing Present Truth each month since January, 1998. For the first nine years, I was physically involved in the printing of it, along with all the preparations involved in mailing it. For over two years now, I have been unable to physically help to print Present Truth, because my family and I have moved away from West Virginia where our print shop is located. This has placed an extra burden upon our brethren in West Virginia, who are already heavily burdened with printing Old Paths, along with a multitude of other tasks of producing books, tracts, DVDs, etc. I have wanted to start a print shop to help relieve this burden, as well as to allow others to participate in the printing work.
Some dear believers, Jim and Jerri Raymond, who live near Orlando, Florida, received a visit from a pastor who challenged them with a question: What are you doing to share the gospel with those around you?
This challenge started a desire in their hearts to begin printing literature to share with others. They offered to help with the printing work and to provide a room for a printing machine to print Present Truth. They had been preparing a room for this purpose, even before anything was decided and there was no printing machine available. They just wanted to be ready to help.
At the beginning of our last trip across the United States from Arizona, my wife and I were fully intending to return to the western part of the country before winter, but God impressed us to pray about going to Florida to help get the printing work started there. After prayer, we both were impressed that God wanted us to go to Florida. Shortly after this decision, a dedicated family donated the funds to purchase a printing machine. Now the newly-prepared room is equipped with a copy machine where we have printed the last two issues of Present Truth. This machine is a used, but in good condition, Canon Color Image Runner irc3200 and is capable of printing 32 pages per minute in either color or black and white. It is a large laser printer and copy machine. One amazing feature of this machine is its ability to print both sides of each page, then arrange the pages in the proper order, staple them in the middle and fold them, so they come out like a booklet, though not at as high a rate of speed as just plain copying.
As of November, 2008, we began printing Present Truth in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Even though it will be printed and mailed from Florida, Present Truth is still published and funded by Smyrna Gospel Ministries. I am thankful to God for expanding his printing work, and I pray it will expand even more.
I would like to leave you with the same challenge Jim and Jerri were given. What are you doing to share the gospel with those around you? Some machines such as we have are fairly inexpensive to buy pre-owned (from $2,000 to $2,500) and to operate (0.5-1.6 cents per page for ink). It would be wonderful to have many more print shops around the world. Please let me know if you would like more information regarding how to acquire one of these machines. You can contact me at our new address:
577 Eden Park Avenue
Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714
Ellen G. White and the Truth About God Part 5
By Allen Stump and Onycha Holt
Clarification of Other Ellen G. White Statements
The next two statements deal with the personhood of the Holy Spirit. The first of these statements was published in Evangelism:
We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds (Manuscript 66, 1899; Evangelism, p. 616).
This statement is from a talk given at the Avondale School on April 15, 1899. This talk was never published during Ellen Whites lifetime. Part of it was first released in 1946 with the publication of Evangelism. A further portion of it was published in 1990 in Manuscript Releases, volume 7, page 299, and then in 1994 more of it was released in Sermons and Talks, volume 2, pages 136-139. The entire talk has not yet been published, but from Sermons and Talks we know that the above quotation is not the full sentence. The point that Sister White was making is seen in the context of the whole statement:
We have been brought together as a school, and we need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds, unseen by human eyes; that the Lord God is our Keeper and Helper. He hears every word we utter and knows every thought of the mind (Sermon and Talks, vol. 2, pp. 136, 137).
Ellen White was making it clear that she was not advocating that the Holy Spirit was merely some impersonal force, but the person of the Lord God who was constantly with them watching and listening to everything that happened. If she was trying to teach the Trinity, she failed, for the school did not adopt the Trinity doctrine at that time and the great weight of evidence from her writings is clearly on the nontrinitarian side of the issue.
Another controversial statement is found in Evangelism, page 617:
The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
The key to understanding this statement is found in Sister Whites quotation of 1 Corinthians 2:11. This text, in essence, says that only man knows his spirit and only God knows his Spirit. In other words, man is to mans spirit as God is to Gods spirit. Nobody who properly understands the spirit of man would say that his spirit is a separate part or an entity apart from himself. We also use the term spirit of Satan but never to say that there is another demon besides Lucifer that is separate and apart from him doing an evil work. Ellen White wrote concerning the Holy Flesh movement in Indiana at the beginning of the 20th century:
I bore my Testimony, declaring that these fanatical movements, this din and noise, were inspired by the spirit of Satan, who was working miracles to deceive if possible the very elect (Letter 132, to Brother and Sister S. N. Haskell, October 10, 1900).
In Early Writings on page 56, Ellen White speaks of Satan breathing out his spirit as an unholy influence upon those who failed to arise with Jesus as he went to the Most Holy Place. In these usages of spirit for man and for Satan, we would never think of the spirit being an entity apart from the individual. Due to the teaching of the Trinity doctrine, however, most are trained to automatically assume that when we read of Gods Spirit it is someone apart from the Father. If we simply understand the identity of Gods Spirit in a similar context to the way we understand the identity of man and his spirit, most of the problems are quickly resolved. Our spirit is our inner self, who we are, and is not an individual in addition to us.
The next statement concerns the use of the term the three highest powers in heaven:
We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven,the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God (Evangelism. p. 617).
This statement, like the heavenly trio statement, is taken from page 51 of Special Testimonies, Series B, number 7. All the background is the same as we discussed earlier article. She is writing concerning the Kellogg crisis and is encouraging her readers to remain faithful to the truths that had been held for fifty years. In connection with this statement of Ellen White, it is highly interesting to note a statement that Uriah Smith made fourteen years earlier at the 1891 General Conference Session. After sharing several Bible verses about the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, he noted:
You will notice in these few verses the apostle brings to view the three great agencies which are concerned in this work: God, the Father; Christ, his Son; and the Holy Spirit (General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 14, 1891, vol. 4, p. 147).
This statement is remarkable because Elder Smith explains that the Pioneers understood the use of the term three great agencies in a way that is in harmony with the teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a third, separate being but rather the Spirit of the Father and his Son.
One statement that is often used to quiet unwanted discussion on the Holy Spirit is found in The Acts of the Apostles:
The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden. (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 52)
It is important to know what this statement is saying, as well as what it is not saying. Ellen White plainly states that the nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. This is true. No man can adequately define the nature of his own spirit, let alone the Spirit of God. However, this statement does not say that we cannot know the identity of the Holy Spirit. The basis for the statement in The Acts of the Apostles is from a letter written to a Brother Chapman in 1891. Ellen White wrote to Brother Chapman in regard to his belief that the Holy Spirit was the angel Gabriel. She wrote in part:
Your ideas of the two subjects you mention do not harmonize with the light which God has given me. The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct.
It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, which the Father shall send in My name. I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you [John 14:16, 17]. This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter
There are many mysteries which I do not seek to understand or to explain; they are too high for me, and too high for you. On some of these points, silence is golden.
I hope that you will seek to be in harmony with the body. ...
You need to come into harmony with your brethren (Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, pp. 175-180).
Ellen White was encouraging Brother Chapman to come into line with the nontrinitarian message the brethren were teaching in 1891.
We have seen that none of the statements of Ellen White that are supposed to be at the forefront of supporting the Trinity doctrine actually uphold it.
A study of Ellen Whites writings, allowing the weight of evidence to play its proper role, will guide the honest student into truth just as the study of the Scriptures as a whole, is a perfect chain of truth.
Perhaps we have all personally known people who, in their study of the godhead, have not been able to successfully deal with many of the statements of Ellen White, people who have held both a Trinitarian, as well as a nontrinitarian, position. Sadly, some of these people have come to the conclusion that there is not a solid, consistent position in her writings. And do you know what they have done? They have come to the conclusion that Ellen White was a false prophet and have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. But, as we have seen in this study, there is a straight consistency in her thinking on the matter of the godhead, and it has only been the biases and the work of men altering her writings that have allowed this confusion to exist. Even though people might tell you that Ellen White spoke out of both sides of her mouth on this issue, we want to encourage you to not give up your confidence in the testimony of Jesus, this precious gift that God in his infinite wisdom and mercy has given to the remnant people, because the Spirit of Prophecy will prove as an anchor to hold Gods people safe and secure in these last days.
When Ellen White wrote over a hundred years ago that we needed to hold fast to the faith that had sustained the movement for the previous fifty-five years, she was clearly speaking of a faith whose fundamental principles included a nontrinitarian doctrine on God. We have seen clear evidence that Ellen White believed that the Father is the Sovereign of heaven, the supreme ruler of the universe, and the ultimate author and source of all things. We have seen that she believed that Jesus Christ is truly Gods Son, the one through whom he has created all things and the one by whom our redemption comes. We deny the position of evangelicals such as Walter Martin who claim that Ellen White changed her views and later accepted the Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity, but instead we have seen that Ellen White understood that the Holy Spirit was the personal presence of the Father himself and of the Son.
Friends, be assured that God raised up the Advent Movement in truth and that he gave us a solid immoveable foundation for our faith. He gave us a truth that admits of no compromise and we are so thankful that he has confirmed this truth to us through the testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of Prophecy, which was manifested unmistakably in the life of Ellen G. White. It is our prayer that the material in this presentation has helped to clarify questions you have had and to substantiate your faith in the leading of God among his people.
Counsels on the Proper Use of Water
By Ellen White
(Recently, we ran a series of articles by Dr. Glenn Waite based upon his 2008 West Virginia camp meeting talks, which covered some of the eight laws of health. He was not able to cover all eight laws in his limited time. To help supplement our understanding of the proper use of water, we are publishing these counsels on the need for using much water, both internally and externally. I know that if we will heed these counsels they will be a great blessing to us. Just getting this article ready has encouraged me to refill my drinking glass. . . Editor)
The Internal Use of Water
In health and in sickness, pure water is one of heavens choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system and assists nature to resist disease. The external application of water is one of the easiest and most satisfactory ways of regulating the circulation of the blood (The Ministry of Healing, p. 237).
Many make a mistake in drinking cold water with their meals. Taken with meals water diminishes the flow of the salivary glands; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or iced lemonade, drank with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again. Hot drinks are debilitating; and besides, those who indulge in their use become slaves to the habit. Food should not be washed down; no drink is needed with meals. Eat slowly, and allow the saliva to mingle with the food. The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must first be absorbed. Do not eat largely of salt, give up bottled pickles, keep fiery, spiced food out of your stomach, eat fruit with your meals, and the irritation that calls for so much drink will cease to exist. But if anything is needed to quench thirst, pure water drank some little time before or after the meal is all that nature requires. Never take tea, coffee, beer, wine, or any spirituous liquors. [I am sure that today Ellen White would add Coke, Pepsi, and the like to this group.] Water is the best liquid possible to cleanse the tissues.
Very hot food ought not to be taken into the stomach. Soups, puddings, and other articles of the kind, are often eaten too hot, and as a consequence the stomach is debilitated. Let them become partly cooled before they are eaten. . .
Our Saviour warned his disciples that in the last days, just prior to his second coming, a state of things would exist very similar to that which preceded the flood. Eating and drinking would be carried to excess, and the world would be given up to business and pleasure. This state of things does exist at the present time. The world is largely given up to the indulgence of appetite; and the disposition to follow its customs and maxims will bring us into bondage to perverted habits,habits that will make us more and more like the doomed inhabitants of Sodom.
Excessive indulgence in eating and drinking is sin. Our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the great blessing of health reform, that we may glorify him by obeying the claims he has upon us (The Review & Herald, July 29, 1884).
The External Use of Water
By bathing, the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is clearer, and every faculty is livelier. The bath is a soother of the nerves. It promotes general perspiration, quickens the circulation, overcomes obstructions in the system, and acts beneficially on the kidneys. Bathing helps the bowels, stomach, and liver, giving energy and new life. Digestion is promoted by bathing, and instead of the system being weakened, it is strengthened. Instead of increasing liabilities to cold, a bath properly taken fortifies against a cold, because the circulation is improved. The blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow through all the blood vessels is obtained (The Health Reformer, June 1, 1872).
I have been shown that a great amount of suffering might be saved if all would labor to prevent disease, by strictly obeying the laws of health. Strict habits of cleanliness should be observed. Many, while well, will not take the trouble to keep in a healthy condition. They neglect personal cleanliness, and are not careful to keep their clothing pure. Impurities are constantly and imperceptibly passing from the body, through the pores of the skin, and if the surface of the skin is not kept in a healthy condition, the system is burdened with impure matter. If the clothing worn is not often washed, and frequently aired, it becomes filthy with impurities which are thrown off from the body by sensible and insensible perspiration. And if the garments worn are not frequently cleansed from these impurities, the pores of the skin absorb again the waste matter thrown off. The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape, are taken back into the blood, and forced upon the internal organs. Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system, which effort produces fevers, and what is termed disease (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, pp. 140, 141).
Not I but Christ – A Testimony from France
By Marc Fury
As I begin to write the following article, Not I but Christ, I desire the Spirit of God to guide me. Indeed, God wants to use all his children in his vineyard, even the humblest ones, but the first condition for service is to die to self and to let our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ live in us through his Holy Spirit.
Everything good in men and women is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches us to reveal righteousness in our lives. The greatest work that can be done in our world is to glorify God by living the character of Christ. God will make perfect only those who will die to self. Those who are willing to do this can say, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p, 1109; emphasis supplied).
Twelve years ago, when I was only seventeen years old, my God and his Son Jesus Christ helped me to realize that my life was upon the broad road headed towards death and not the narrow way that leads to eternal life. At that time, I was not even aware that a doctrine of God existed and could be counterfeited by Satan to lead Gods children astray. I considered my understanding of God as a fact, yet this understanding was still being shaped in me in the same way as students who only know evolutionism believe this theory to be a scientific fact while they are still trying to grasp its contradicting assertions.
Thus in 1996, while I was sincerely striving against all the known evils in my life, I decided to study my Sabbath School lesson very carefully. Do you know what the subject of the quarterly was? It was The Holy Spirit. As I had never heard any other teaching, I sincerely believed all that was taught in the lessons, and so the idea that the Holy Spirit is a third God or person apart from the Father and the Son was instilled within me.
Beloved, God does not abandon his children. They must fight him to leave, and God did not abandon me, but he worked wonderful things in my life. One of them was the way he showed me who I would marry months before I ever met her. This could only be from God because today, eight years later, I am still convinced about it as we share the same love for Gods truth. There was a problem, however. I was attributing all my victories and blessings to my false understanding of the Holy Spirit; that is, another God being in his own right, sent by Jesus to take over the leading of the lives of his disciples.
Three years ago something was happening in my prayer life which I could not explain. I unwillingly started to feel that praying to God in the name of Jesus did not make any sense. Why should I pray to God the Father in the name of his Son Jesus if they are both the same God? And why should I pray to them/him since it is God the Holy Spirit who is in charge of my life? Of course, I could not put these words as clearly on my problem; but it was real, and my communication with heaven seemed to be compromised, which worried me. My prayers began to resemble transcendental meditation more and more and I did not know what to say to this mysterious being called Holy Spirit. During this time God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ seemed each day to be a little farther away in heaven, mysteriously blended in one single God along with my best friend the Holy Spirit.
As I write this article, I do not know you, dear reader, it might be that you still hold to that belief called the Trinity, teaching that the only true God from the Bible is a mysterious blend of three persons called God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each one being the only true God on his own. If this is the case, God wants to give you light at this very moment, and my prayer is to allow God to use me in that sense.
A few months before I realized something was wrong, a sister in the faith had sent me some documents and asked my opinion about them. I told another brother who knew her about these documents. He mentioned that according to them Jesus had a beginning and came out from God in the ages of eternity past. I immediately considered this teaching as a strange idea which was attacking the divinity of Christ and did not read the documents.
But praise God! The sister sent the documents a second time, and that time I was ready to accept the light from heaven because I had come to realize that a serious problem was hindering my prayer life and, thus, my whole walk with God. I still remember that evening. As we went to bed, I asked my wife, Elizabeth, to read Construire sur le Rocher. This document just turned on the light! But this was just the beginning of much study. I read document after document proposed by Restitution Ministries from Australia and Smyrna Gospel Ministries in the States. The first most convincing document I read was The Living Voice of the Lords Witnesses, a compilation of articles and quotes from our pioneers concerning God and the trinity. Pretty fast, however, a struggle started in my soul: YOU CANT KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF! After several weeks of study and prayers, I finally undertook my first translation project concerning the truth about God, and just a few months later I started to print La Voix Vivante des Témoins du Seigneur, a French translation of The Living Voice of the Lords Witnesses. In the meantime, I had come to know and appreciate a very comprehensive document on the last 160 years of Adventist Christology entitled The Foundation of our Faith. I found this book particularly interesting. At that time, I did not even dream of translating such a big document, but with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). With Gods help, two years later the whole book was in French. Praise God that he uses anyone who is willing to be as clay in his hands, and, while I was a simple worker in a joinery, he called me to share this precious truth.Today, I am glad to tell you that over one hundred copies of Le Fondement de Notre Foi (The Foundation of our Faith) have been distributed in less than one year. It may not seem that much for one living in the United States, but let me tell you that I am getting feedback from all across France! People read the book and pass it along to others, who either order a copy for themselves or print the book from our website where it can either be read online or downloaded in PDF format. Some have ordered five copies, some ten, and others fifteen. We recently had a request for twenty copies from a brother in Paris. A retired minister told us that he is so thankful to know this truth, even though he encounters much opposition. He said that if he had known this truth before he would have been an entirely different minister, being carefully watching for the Holy Breath of God in his life.
We have had precious opportunities to share the message with people in influential positions, especially in the independent ministries from the United States who have come to Europe. God has been good! There is a little group of believers two hours from our home who love the truth. I have been blessed to be able to share the message with them. Also God has allowed me to share with them different articles and to preach about faith in action. While traveling, my wife and I are asked to translate speakers like David Gates, Alden Ho, and others, which gives us opportunities to share the truth about God. Recently, three other families have manifested the desire to meet us personally, and we plan other trips for 2009.
Please pray for our ministry that it might be a light for all those who either read our magazine Etoile du Matin (The Morning Star) or our printed materials. Currently we are distributing 245 copies each month sent free to all our subscribers. For the first time, Elizabeth and I organized meetings with the help of God when Brother Allen Stump came to France earlier this year to visit us. These meetings have been recorded, and we plan to purchase a DVD burner to prepare the DVDs ourselves. Thank you very much for taking this ministry at heart, and may God richly bless you in his work.
The Blessing of the Spirit of Prophecy in the Remnant Church
By Allen Stump
I have a file cabinet with a couple of drawers reserved for items whose purpose is to refute Seventh-day Adventism. Inside one of those drawers is a video that claims to be a most fascinating exploration into the cultic aspects of the teachings of Ellen White. I was sent this video several years ago by a concerned brother who had not been exposed to some of the material presented in the video. It left him in great doubt and perplexity, seemingly converted to a new line of thinking. He sent the video to me to obtain my thoughts upon it. After viewing the video, I told this dear brother that I saw nothing new in the presentation that I had not read or seen elsewhere and that there were indeed good answers to the issues that it raised.
Videos such as this one and books by Walter Rea and others trying to destroy the credibility of Ellen White have been around for years and will continue to be around till Jesus comes. These attacks should not be surprising to Gods people, for we are told that Satan is especially mad at Gods remnant people. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). Notice two points that the remnant people have, and it is in connection with these two points that Satan is especially making war upon the remnant.
The first point mentioned is the keeping of Gods commandments. As Seventh-day Adventists, we have known for over 160 years that the Sabbath is to be a special point of controversy at the end of time because the Sabbath contains the seal of God and shows Gods authority. The fourth commandment of the Decalogue, however, is not the only commandment that has been especially trampled upon by the dragon and his vicegerent, the Papacy. With its trinitarian doctrine, the Papacy has attempted to make a breach in the first commandment. The Advent Movement was raised up to restore this breach made in Gods law and to proclaim to the world the truth about God and his love in giving his only begotten Son for the sins of humanity.
The second point that Satan especially attacks the remnant people upon is the testimony of Jesus. The testimony of Jesus is defined in Revelation 19:10 where the angel Gabriel forbids John to worship him: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Here we see that the testimony of Jesus is described as the spirit of prophecy. Gabriel also noted that he was among the brethren of John. In Revelation 22:9 we find John about ready to worship Gabriel again: Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. Here Johns specific brethren were called the prophets. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy which, according to these texts, is being a prophet.
Satan knows that God communicates to his people through the gift of prophecy, and he will do anything he can to stop that line of communication. In the case of the remnant people who have for over 160 years believed that the testimony of Jesus was manifested in the life of Ellen White, we might wonder how Satan can do this since the death of Ellen G. White over ninety years ago. While alive and serving God, Ellen White was attacked directly and indirectly several times, as well as her husband, James White was attacked. For example, shortly after receiving the great controversy vision at Lovetts Grove, Ohio, while talking with a Sister Palmer, Ellen White said:
My tongue refused to utter what I wished to say, and seemed large and numb. A strange, cold sensation struck my heart, passed over my head, and down my right side. For a time I was insensible, but was aroused by the voice of earnest prayer. I tried to use my left limbs, but they were perfectly useless. For a short time I did not expect to live. It was my third shock of paralysis; and although within fifty miles of home, I did not expect to see my children again. I called to mind the triumphant season I had enjoyed at Lovetts Grove, and thought it was my last testimony, and felt reconciled to die (Life Sketches, p. 162).
For several weeks Ellen White was very sick and her life hung upon a thread. She was later shown: Satan intended to take my life, in order to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to my rescue (Ibid., p. 163).
Satan well knows that the counsel and teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy will prove as an anchor to hold Gods people in these perilous times (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 300). Satan, therefore, tried everything within his power to stop that work while Ellen White was alive and continues to try to keep it from the people today.
I was recently watching one of Dr. Kent Hovinds (Creation Science Evangelism) presentations on creation. He has many good points that help to establish the Bible account of creation instead of evolution, but with the good points come many ideas that we, as Seventh-day Adventists, know far better than to believe. For example, Hovind does not believe that the angels were created until this earth was made and that Satan may have lived one hundred years after the creation of man before Satan sinned. He also says that the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be upon this earth. We know the truth about Satan and the millennium because of what the Bible says, but we also know because the Spirit of Prophecy has laid out some of these truths with a clarity and a sureness that we cannot deny.
As a people, we have insight into the themes of the Bible and the true doctrines and we have counsel on healthful living, evangelism, preaching, education, and in many other areas that put us light years ahead of others. Because of this, Satan is always ready to do whatever he can to stop Gods people from having access to the Spirit of Prophecy. Of course, Ellen White is dead today, but her writings still live, and Satan wishes to keep us from these writings in any way he can. We have been warned:
Satan is so constantly pressing in the spuriousto lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of Gods remnant people in the true testimony (Letter 12, 1890, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 78).
The last deception may not be an outright attack such as Walter Rea and some others have made, but it will be done ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of Gods remnant people in the true testimony. Sometimes people will not set Ellen White aside. Sometimes they will quote her at length out of context and using ellipses such as was done by LeRoy Froom in Questions on Doctrine and Movement of Destiny, but this does not directly unsettle peoples confidence. It does cause confusion. Now, let us think about this: If the Spirit of Prophecy says something very plainly upon a subject but then someone comes along and, while not speaking directly against the Spirit of Prophecy, says something that is different from the Spirit of Prophecy, has this person done something that will undermine and unsettle the confidence of Gods remnant people in the true testimony? Of course he or she has. For example, the Bible defines sin in 1 John 3:4. Commenting upon this, Ellen White says:
The only definition given in the word of God as to what is sin, is found in 1 John 3:4: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law (Signs of the Times, January 8, 1894).
Now, we want to understand what sin isthat it is the transgression of Gods law. This is the only definition given in the Scriptures (The Review and Herald, April 3, 1888).
Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is the transgression of the law (The Great Controversy, p. 492).
Sin is the transgression of the law. This is the only definition of sin (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 951).
The only definition of sin given in Gods Word, is transgression of the law (General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1897).
Here are five statements, all from different sources, saying the same thing. Someone may not disagree with sin being the transgression of the law and may even state that he or she believes it to be so, but will also define it to be something in addition to the transgression of the law. Are such people truly in agreement with Ellen White if they add to what she has said when the statements she has made are limiting in their nature?
Of course, there are other statements in the Bible that seem to give a different definition of sin, but remember that the Bible is a complete harmony of truth and just because we cannot see it all at first does not mean that we are smarter than the prophet or have more inspiration than one with the spirit of prophecy. For an example, we notice Romans 14:23, which states whatsoever is not of faith is sin. This sounds like a different definition of sin; however, when we examine this statement below the surface we see it is in complete harmony with 1 John 3:4. The Phillips translation says, when we act apart from our faith we sin. Since obedience to the law of God can only be achieved through faith, any act outside of faith is an act of disobedience to the law of God. Also, looking at the context of Romans 14, we see Paul is speaking about someone committing an act outside of the direction of the word of God and their conscience due to pressure from someone. This kind of life is one of a subtle rebellion against God and a worship of the one doing the pressuring. When we do something to please someone other than God, we have set that person in the place of God and that is idolatry. No wonder the law of God is declared to be broad.
The law of God, as presented in the Scriptures, is broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just, and good (The Review and Herald, April 5, 1898).
Sometimes in the name of declaring the great Protestant principle that the Bible and the Bible only is the rule of faith and practice (The Great Controversy, p. 243) we lay aside the Spirit of Prophecy and ignore it. Now, friends, Ellen White endorsed this principle, but she did not discount the light God gave her.
I well remember something that occurred over twenty-five years ago. I was a young man in the ministry and another young minister (Brother M) full of earnest zeal began to teach that the Adventist Church was in apostasy and would, in fact, become a persecuting power. As soon as these teachings came to the light of the conference officials, Brother M was given fifteen minutes to retract or be fired. Since Brother M had confidence in Ellen Whites writings and ministry, he, as Martin Luther many years before at Worms, took his stand asking for the help of God. Of course, he was dismissed from the conference ministry. Later, while I was still in the Adventist Church ministry, I studied with Brother M, and I could see the logic and truth in what he was saying. I set up a meeting between this minister and a well-known pastor in our conference, as well as with a well-known evangelist who was working in our area. After listening to the study, the evangelist asked, Where is this truth to be found in the Bible? The brother replied that he had not found it in the Bible yet but had seen it in the writings of Ellen White. This evangelist then told Brother M that was not good enough that for we take our position from the Bible only and that if it was truth it would be in the Bible.
And after further study, I do believe that the Bible shows Brother M to have had the truth, but why would the evangelist not be willing to accept what the Spirit of Prophecy says until he found the evidence in the Bible? It reminds me of men seeking oak trees, and, while they have not seen the trees yet, one searcher finds some acorns. He knows that while he has not seen the trees yet, they must be near. His companions, however, stubbornly declare that until they can see the trees themselves, they will not believe that oak trees are in the area.
Beloved, we have been so blessed to have the spirit of prophecy among us as a people. The Baptists do not have it nor do the Methodists. In fact, some groups claim that no church following the close of the canon of Scripture can have it. They declare, in direct opposition to Ephesians 4:11-14, that God has decreed there are to be no prophets after the close of the canon. When one looks upon the sad state of the religious affairs of most of the churches, however, one should be thankful, grateful, and appreciative of the gift God has given to his remnant people, but this gift will not benefit the people of God if it is not used and cherished. Many now realize that Adventism is heading in the same confusing direction toward Babylon as the other churches, to a great degree, I believe, because they have made of none effect the Spirit of Prophecy.
Brothers and sisters, we believe in the Bible and believe it should be kept at the forefront, but how thankful we should be for the testimony of Jesus that will serve as an anchor for us in these last days. I do not know about you, beloved, but I need all the help I can get. Beloved, you would be correct in reminding me that Ellen White said the Lord has given a lesser light [her writings] to lead men and women to the greater light [the Bible] (The Review and Herald, January 20, 1903). However, beloved, if you were in a dark cave with only a small flashlight, that light might not be worth much to you in some ways, but if it helps you to find your way to the outside where the sunlight is shining brightly, you will be eternally thankful for a small, dim flashlight.
Beloved, we are at the end of all things. If we ever needed the testimony of Jesus among us as a people, it is now, but this gift will only be valuable for us if we believe and follow it. May the words of Jehoshaphat resonate in our ears: Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20).
Florida Camp Meeting Announcement
Jim and Jerri Raymond have asked to announce that the Florida brothers and sisters will be hosting a camp meeting Thursday, February 19, through Tuesday, February 24, 2008 at a group campsite called Doe Lake that is maintained by the US Forestry Dept. and is in the Ocala National Forest. Check-in time is 3:00pm on the 19th.
Doe Lake is a beautiful camp on with a multi-purpose meeting building that has a huge kitchen, open to our use, that is equipped with refrigerators but has no stove or oven, and no utensils or pots and pans. Everyone will be responsible for their own meals, with the exception of the noon meal on Sabbath, which will be provided for all.
The location is said to be a little difficult to find so we suggest that you call Jerri Raymond (407) 291-9565 for directions or other helpful information.
Ministers of God
By A. T. Jones
From the list that the Lord has drawn in 2 Cor. 6:1-10, it is plain that there is nothing that can ever come into the life of the believer in Christ but that the grace of God will take it and turn it to the good of the believer and make it serve only to his advancement toward perfection in Christ Jesus. This the grace of God will do always and nothing but this if only the believer will allow the Lord to have His own way in his life; if only he will allow grace to reign. Thus it is that all things are for your sakes and this is how all things work together for good to them that love God. This is grand. It is indeed glorious. It is salvation itself. This is how the believer is enabled always to triumph in Christ.
This however is but half the story. The Lord proposes not only to save him who now believes, but he will use him in ministering to all others the knowledge of God, that they also may believe. We are not to think that the Lords grace and gifts to us are only for us. They are for us first, that is true. But they are for us first in order that not only we ourselves shall be saved but that we may be enabled to benefit all others in communicating to them the knowledge of God. We ourselves must be partakers of salvation before we can lead others to it. Therefore it is written, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
Thus every man who receives the grace of God at the same time receives with it the ministry of that grace to all others. Every one who finds himself reconciled to God receives with that reconciliation the ministry of reconciliation to all others. Here also the exhortation applies, We . . . beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. Are you a partaker of grace? Then minister the same to others; do not receive it in vain. Are you reconciled to God? Then know that He has given to you also the ministry of reconciliation. Have you received this ministry in vain?
If we do not receive the grace of God in vain, if only we will allow grace to reign, the Lord will cause it to be that in all things we shall approve ourselves as the ministers of God. This is the truth. The Lord says it, and it is so. In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God. That is, in all things we shall be conveying to others the knowledge of God. And thus the Lord proposes not only to cause us always to triumph in Christ on our own part, but also to make manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. That is, he proposes to make known to others by us and in every place the knowledge of himself. We cannot do this of ourselves. He is to do it by us. We are to cooperate with Him. We are to be workers together with Him. And when we do thus cooperate with Him, then as certainly as we do so, so certainly will He cause us always to triumph in Christ and will also make manifest the knowledge of Himself by us in every place. He can do it; thank the Lord. Do not say, do not even think, that He cannot do this by you. He can do it by you. He will, too, if only you will not receive His grace in vain. If you will only let grace reign; if you will be a worker together with Him.
It is true that there is a mystery about how this can be. It is a mystery how God can make manifest the knowledge of Himself by such persons as you and I are, in any place, much less in every place. Yet mystery though it be, it is the very truth. But do we not believe the mystery of God? Assuredly we do believe it. Then never forget that the mystery of God is God manifest in the flesh. And you and I are flesh. Then the mystery of God is God manifest in you and me who believe. Believe it.
Do not forget, either, that the mystery of God is not God manifest in sinless flesh, but God manifest in sinful flesh. There could never be any mystery about Gods manifesting Himself in sinless fleshin one who had no connection whatever with sin. That would be plain enough. But that He can manifest Himself in flesh laden with sin and with all the tendencies to sin, such as ours isthat is a mystery. Yea, it is the mystery of God. And it is a glorious fact, thank the Lord! Believe it. And before all the world, and for the joy of every person in the world, in Jesus Christ He has demonstrated that this great mystery is indeed a fact in human experience. For as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren. And therefore God made him to be sin for us. He hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Thus, in our flesh, having our nature laden with iniquity and Himself made to be sin, Christ Jesus lived in this world, tempted in all points like as we are and yet God always caused Him to triumph in Him and made manifest the savor of His knowledge by Him in every place. Thus God was manifest in the fleshin our flesh, in human flesh laden with sinand made to be sin in itself, weak and tempted as ours is. And thus the mystery of God was made known to all nations for the obedience of the faith. O, believe it.!
And this is the mystery of God today and foreverGod manifest in the flesh, in human flesh, in flesh, laden with sin, tempted and tried. In this flesh God will make manifest the knowledge of Himself in every place where the believer is found. Believe it and praise His holy name!
This is the mystery which today in the third angels message is again to be made known to all nations for the obedience of the faith. This is the mystery of God, which in this time is to be finished,not only finished in the sense of being ended to the world, but finished in the sense of being brought to completion in its grand work in the believer. This is the time when the mystery of God is to be finished in the sense that God is to be manifest in the flesh in every true believer, in every place where that believer shall be found. This is, in deed and in truth, the keeping of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world, I have revealed God in the flesh. Our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. Therefore, and now, Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. (Reprinted from the Review and Herald, September 26, 1896)
Thoughts on the Current Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide Part 1
By Allen Stump & Onycha Holt
This month we will not be sending out a booklet to cover issues in the Seventh-day Adventist Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. Even though there are a number of issues worthy of contemplation in the first five lessons, we will consider them in this short article, for it is hard to justify repeatedly addressing the same issues month after month. We will address them in this article in a lesser sense and hopefully with additional insights that will be a blessing to you.
The reason we say the same issues is that while the subject of this quarterly is different than that of last quarter (prophetic gift versus atonement), the quarterlies are all based upon a misunderstanding of the doctrine of God, the most fundamental teaching of the Bible. When this concept is wrong, you can expect to see all else wrong that is built upon it.
The January through March 2009 study guide is entitled The Prophetic Gift. In this article we will look briefly at some of the high points of the lessons. This article is not exhaustive, and we strongly encourage each Sabbath School member to follow the counsel of 2 Timothy 2:15 and study to shew thyself approved unto God.
Lesson 1 Heavens Means of Communication: This lesson was designed to present an overview of the main channels of communication through which God has spoken to mankind. The channels of revelation mentioned are Christ in the Old Testament (the Angel of the Lord), nature, prophets, the Word, and Christ in the flesh. Some of the statements about Jesus may be confusing because they are written within a Trinitarian framework. I would encourage each student who reads the lesson guide to do so slowly and carefully.
In Wednesdays lesson on revelation through the Word there is a glaring omission that needs to be noted. The Bible, the Word of God, is declared to have three important characteristics that should hold our attention. They are: (1) Its unity . . . . (2) The history it portrays . . . (3) Its survival. Now all of these issues are good and valuable. Clearly, the Bible is a work of unity that has history and has survived better than any other document in this earths history; however, there are other books and documents, some of which have been around for centuries, that have unity, teach history, and have survived down to this time. The vital element of the Bible that must never be forgotten, however, is that its source is divine. The word Inspiration in the New Testament literally means, God breathed. God is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and his words sent through his Son Jesus Christ are truth (John 6:63). The most important characteristic of the Bible is that it is truth.
An area of communication that was not included in this lesson is the channel of our conscience or mind. God can speak to our hearts, as it were, if we will let him. The Lord speaks; enter into your closet, and in silence commune with your own heart; listen to the voice of truth and conscience (Testimonies of the Church, vol. 5, p. 163). But we can fail to listen, and our conscience [can be] seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). We do wish to note and guard the reader that God will not lead the conscience outside of his revealed will. The Bible says that the Spirit of God is the author of the word (2 Peter 1:19-21) and that spirit of truth will not prompt a Christians conscience outside of the word.
Lesson 2 The Prophetic Gift: This lesson notes that prophets were usually towering figures of personage who were close to God. Abraham is mentioned as the prime example. While this is the norm for the Bible, there were exceptions such as Jonah and the man of God and the old prophet in Bethel (1 Kings 13).
On Tuesdays lesson the author quotes Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV and then states, The context indicates that this prophecy has an immediate application to the prophetic leadership of Israel in the years following the death of Moses. Inspiration does not give such a fulfillment. Peter declared this prophecy to be fulfilled in Christ (Acts 3:22, 23). Stephen applied it to Christ (Acts 7:37). Ellen White, in speaking of this verse, applies Deuteronomy 18:15 only to Jesus Christ: Moses pointed the people forward to Christ (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 343). (See also The Desire of Ages, page 190 and Patriarchs and Prophets, page 480.)
We would like to mention two points in the teachers edition that may come up in class. In discussion of the sins of prophets it is noted: Because of his sins, Moses did not get to the Promised Land (p. 27 Teachers Edition, Step 3 of the Learning Cycle.). It was not sins (plural) but his one sin at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin (Deuteronomy 32:51) that excluded Moses from Canaan.
Under Step 1 of the Learning Cycle there is a discussion that declares the prophets were sinners and flawed, yet served as mediators between God and His people. The writer of the helps goes on to state: We, too, may serve God no matter how flawed we are. This is followed by an illustration of a pearl forming as a result of an imperfection. While God does wish to use each person as they grow in grace, the lesson implies that one need not grow out of their spiritual deficiencies. The Lord is clear, however, that Christian growth is essential to our spiritual life: For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Lesson 3 Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy: This lesson deals primarily with the purpose and manifestation of spiritual gifts, including the gift of prophecy and the gift of tongues, as well as their counterfeits.
All Christians have been given talents to use for Christ. Some people are gifted, as it were, in certain areas of life, and these talents may or may not be used for the glory of God. There are also spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1; 14:1, 12), as the Bible calls them. These are special endowments that God uses through the person to perform Gods will. A prophet may have the gift of prophecy but it is not his gift to use when and as he pleases. He or she does not have the ability to turn it on or off. This gift is Gods gift to use when it pleases his divine will and when and how God chooses. We do not make the choice of the gift we have or when and how to use it. The Christian is to be submissive to the will and movement of Gods spirit and as the Holy Spirit of God moves the Christian, he or she responds accordingly.
Lesson 4 The Gift of Prophecy and Gods Remnant Church: This lesson discusses the symbols in Revelation 12, their fulfillment in history, and the terms the testimony of Jesus and the spirit of prophecy. In the introduction to the lesson we find this confusing statement:
Gods faithful remnant was not always a visible remnant; that is, from the early days up to the last days, God has His faithful ones in different faiths, which is why the call is made: Come out of her [Babylon], [sic] my people.
This statement defies the definition of remnant. A remnant is that which remains or the last part of something. The author seems confused here with the concept of church. We could say that Gods faithful church was not always a visible church. Furthermore, confusion is also in Thursdays lesson where it is stated, As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that we are members of Gods remnant church. Let it be clear that Seventh-day Adventist were not to be simply members on a role list of a church, but rather they compose the remnant church.
Under Step 2 of the Learning Cycle, across from Wednesdays lesson, there is a quote from F. M. Wilcox:
There is still need that she [the church of Christ] be saved from false winds of doctrine, from the sleight of [men and women] [sic] and their cunning craftiness. Therefore the gifts of the Spirit of God are as greatly needed in the church today as never before in her history.
We could not agree more. Sadly, it was Wilcox who accepted the responsibility in 1931 to alter, in a behind-the-scenes manner, the churchs Statement of Beliefs and bring in winds of doctrine among us. Due to an urging of the General Conference Statistical Secretary, Edson Rogers, along with certain requests for a clarified statement from the field, a committee of four was appointed to oversee the preparation of a new Statement of Beliefs. The four chosen were Milton E. Kern, Francis M. Wilcox, Edwin R. Palmer, and Charles H. Watson. Wilcox was chosen by the other three to prepare the main draft. With the full knowledge and approval of the others, Wilcox gave his statement to Rogers, who placed it in the 1931 Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. It appeared in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual in 1933. This statement was not voted on by the General Conference.
The new statement, known as the 1931 statement, was the first statement of Seventh-day Adventists that proclaimed the trinity doctrine. No wind of doctrine could do more to damage the remnant church, for this doctrine laid the groundwork for the 1955, 1956 Seventh-day AdventistEvangelical conferences which, in turn, resulted in the book Questions on Doctrine and a ton of other such problems since.
For consideration of the terms the testimony of Jesus and the spirit of prophecy, see our article on page 18, The Blessing of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Lesson 5 The Inspiration of the Prophets: This lesson discusses the difference between inspiration and revelation and the difference between verbal and thought inspiration, as well as literary assistants to the prophets.
Inspiration is the vehicle or means of revelation. The Bible is a revelation of God and Christ. This revelation comes to us by the means of prophets being inspired by the word of the Lord, a phrase that occurs no less than 250 times in the Scripture.
Verbal inspiration declares that God inspired every word of the Bible as someone might dictate a letter to a secretary. Thought inspiration states that the prophets were normally inspired by God with thoughts and ideas but not the exact words in the usual cases.
Time after time in the Bible, God is quoted directly by the prophets, but mostly, the prophets were penmen who were given the ability to write in their own style and manner. Even in this case, it should be clear that they were not to write their own words. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they were to give to the people just what God wished to be given. Jesus said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Let the student of Scripture carefully ponder every word in the first chapter of Revelation, for every sentence and every word is of weight and consequence (Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, p. 78; emphasis supplied). So, let us never think that there is anything deficient in the Bible due to its method of inspiration.
Concerning literary assistants, we should note that, as the lesson demonstrates from the Bible, certain inspired writers had helpers. Ellen White had many helpers at different times during her life. Early in her life, James White served in this function. Later, many others, including professionally trained helpers, assisted her. It might be argued that no Bible writer had the kind of staff that Ellen White used, but it is also true that no Bible writer had as their chief work writing. Ellen White wrote more than 50,000 pages of manuscripts in her lifetime. It is also true that no Bible writer ever traveled to as many places and as far away on duties as Ellen White did. She also had a large number of other responsibilities. It is acknowledged in Wednesdays lesson of the study guide that most of her books were not written as books but were put together from previously written materials. Though not mentioned, this includes books such as The Desire of Ages, Steps to Christ, and Prophets and Kings. While much of her writings have been polished by assistants, there is clearly a ring of truth in these writings that can be found no place else except the Bible.
Who Will God?
by Elyssa Sims
Robert Moffat was a missionary to South Africa for over fifty years. Once when speaking in England to a congregation of interested listeners he stated, I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been. There was a young doctor listening that night who had been seeking direction for his life and guidance from God. The burden of Gods Holy Spirit was upon his heart and he, with single purpose rarely found, decided to give his life to go where those thousand villages were and then to find another thousand. That young Scottish doctor was David Livingstone, whose name has become synonymous with mission work and sacrifice.
As Livingstone, every young person at one point or another will have to ask themselves the question: What do I want to accomplish with my life? There is nothing greater than being in the will of God and knowing that you are doing just what God desires for you. There is no great job or grand position of this world that compares with being a doorkeeper in the house of my God (Psalm 84:10). In other words, there is nothing that compares with doing the humblest thing if that is what God wants. God has a work for each one of us to do, whether it is being a minister, a teacher, a foreign missionary or whether perhaps a carpenter, a dutiful son, a virtuous daughter, a cheerful homemaker, etc., God needs young people and we as Christian youth have a high and holy calling. God has been pleased to tell us:
Our great God has infinite love. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me (Isaiah 49:15-16). Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3):
To think that God, the creator of the universe would love you and me so much that he gave (allowed) his only begotten Son to come to this sinful world, to take upon him our human nature, to be tempted and to suffer for us. We who are so insignificant, so small and yet so special in His eyes that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
The infinite greatness of Gods love is a good enough reason to serve him and seek to do His will! Doesn't it make you feel special, honored and awed that the King, the Majesty of the worlds, who gave his Son, would ask you to do something for him?
In order that the work may go forward in all its branches, God calls for youthful vigor, zeal, and courage. He has chosen the youth to aid in the advancement of His cause. To plan with clear mind and execute with courageous hand demands fresh, uncrippled energies. Young men and women are invited to give God the strength of their youth, that through the exercise of their powers, through keen thought and vigorous action, they may bring glory to Him and salvation to their fellow-men.
In view of their high calling, the youth among us should not seek for amusement or live for selfish gratification. The salvation of souls is to be the motive that inspires them to action. In their God-given strength they are to rise above every enslaving, debasing habit. They are to ponder well the paths of their feet, remembering that where they lead the way, others will follow (Gospel Workers, p. 67; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted).
How many of our young men will enter the service of God, not to be served, but to serve (Ibid., p. 65).
Let not our young men be deterred from entering the ministry. There is danger that through glowing representations some will be drawn away from the path where God bids them walk. The Lord calls for more ministers to labor in His vineyard. The words were spoken, "Strengthen the outposts; have faithful sentinels in every part of the world." God calls for you, young men. He calls for whole armies of young men who are large-hearted and large-minded, and who have a deep love for Christ and the truth.
It is not great and learned men that the ministry needs; it is not eloquent sermonizers. God calls for men who will give themselves to Him to be imbued with His Spirit. The cause of Christ and humanity demands sanctified, self-sacrificing men, those who can go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach. Let them be strong, valiant men, fit for worthy enterprises, and let them make a covenant with God by sacrifice (Ibid., pp. 63, 64).
The Master calls for gospel workers. Who will respond? Not all who enter the army are to be generals, captains, sergeants, or even corporals. Not all have the care and responsibility of leaders. There is hard work of other kinds to be done. Some must dig trenches and build fortifications; some are to stand as sentinels, some to carry messages. While there are but few officers, it requires many soldiers to form the rank and file of the army; yet its success depends upon the fidelity of every soldier. One man's cowardice or treachery may bring disaster upon the entire army (Ibid., pp. 84, 85).
God needs youth with good character. When we come to him with humility, a teachable spirit, and a willing heart, God can use us.
We must build our character brick by brick with diligent effort and by improving every opportunity. Every day we have opportunities to stand up for principle. Every day we have opportunities to refine and ennoble our characters for God and to overcome every temptation. In the morning before the hustle and bustle of the day when we re-consecrate ourselves to God, when we give him our all and ask him for strength to overcome, he will answer.
God can make humble men mighty in His service. Those who obediently respond to the call of duty, improving their abilities to the very utmost, may be sure of receiving divine assistance. Angels will come as messengers of light to the help of those who will do all that they can on their part, and then trust in God to co-operate with their efforts (Ibid., p. 79).
The greatest want of the world is the want of men men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.
But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.
The youth need to be impressed with the truth that their endowments are not their own (Education, p. 57).
Your first work in choosing an occupation is to surrender yourself to God. Give your all to the Lord remembering that you are not your own but are bought with a price, the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:19). Ask God what he would have you do. Seek his will and purpose for your life, and he will reveal it to you. There is much to do for God and as he calls you, do not hesitate.
Strength, time, intellect, are but lent treasures. They belong to God, and it should be the resolve of every youth to put them to the highest use. He is a branch, from which God expects fruit; a steward, whose capital must yield increase; a light, to illuminate the world's darkness.
Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity (Ibid., pp. 57, 58).
Today, Jesus says to us: The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:37). Millions of precious souls that Jesus shed his blood for are perishing not having known him. Multitudes are hungering and thirsting for the bread of life and would gladly accept the truth if it was only brought to them. There is much to do dear fellow young people; Will we let the harvest go to waste? Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee (Isaiah 60:1). God needs pastors, teachers, evangelists, godly youth, and faithful, godly husbands and wives. He needs men and women, missionaries who will carry the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; who will vigorously speak and preach of pardon and salvation through Christ with clarity and simplicity.
Every act of loyalty and faith will be crowned with special tokens of God's favor and approbation. To every worker is given the promise: He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 395).
With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world (The Faith I Live By, p. 332).
Just imagine what God could do with young people who have totally given themselves to be used by him! There is a work that we younger disciples who have our health and strength can do that our elders cannot. When our faithful ministers, workers, and missionaries are no longer able to do the work who will take their place? I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us (Isaiah 6:8)? To my fellow youth whom God has given capabilities, will you have zeal and decide to join Gods army? Will you give your heart and live unreservedly to God and his service? Our great and mighty Father needs you, young man, and you, young lady, to fulfill the special purpose and place he has for you. We have a high and holy calling as Christians. God is calling, Whom can I send? Who is willing to work for me? Are you, and am I, willing to say, Here I am, Lord, send me?" Brothers and sisters, today there is the smoke of a thousand towns and villages where the three angels messages have never been heard. Some of those towns and villages are in Africa, but some may be near you. Will you respond to your call as Livingstone did to his? Lets be on fire for the Lord. Lets not waste our mental and physical strength and health on ourselves but give it to God and let him work through us and use us that we may be worthy of the crown of life. ?
(Elyssa Sims is a youth living in California seeking Gods direction for her life. She desires to enter the mission field some day, perhaps in Africa or even Korea. We hope that this encouraging appeal, along with the puzzle on the next page which was designed for younger folks, will encourage our youth in spiritual things. We urge the parents of the youth to help with the puzzle, as well as to read the Youths Corner story to their children. These last pages of Old Paths, with their emphasis upon mission work and character building, will be a sure blessing to all. (Editor)
The Fruit of the Spirit is Love
For the young and the young at heart!
1. A ________ loveth at all times (Proverbs 17:17).
3. I have loved the _______ of thy house (Psalm 26:8).
7. Being _______ together in love (Colossians 2:2).
9. Love the _______ (Amos 5:15).
11.Which . . . will love him _______ (Luke 7:42).
13. His _______over me is love (Song of Solomon 2:4).
15. How _______ will ye love vanity (Psalm 4:2)?
16. _______ will . . . love the other (Matthew 6:24).
18. Esteem them very highly in love for their _______ sake (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
20. I have loved thee with an _______ love (Jeremiah 31:3).
23. Love _______ all sins (Proverbs 10:12).
24. Love is _______ God (1 John 4:7).
26. Walk _______ love (Ephesians 5:2).
27. _______ of love (Hosea 11:4).
28. I love the _______ (John 14:31).
29. Love not _______ (Proverbs 20:13).
30. Thou shalt love thy _______ (Leviticus 19:18).
32. My people love to have it _______ (Jeremiah 5:31).
36. I love my _______ (Exodus 21:5).
37. I will love _______ (Psalm 18:1).
38. Love casteth out _______ (1 John 4:18).
40. The love of _______ is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
42. They shall _______ that love thee (Psalm 122:6).
43. As _______ as I love, I rebuke and chasten (Revelation 3:19).
44. He will _______ in his love (Zephaniah 3:17).
45. Let us not love in _______, . . .but in deed (1 John 3:18).
46. A _______ to love (Ecclesiastes 3:8).
47. Love is strong as _______ (Song of Solomon 8:6).
2. Let us _______ love in word, . . .but in deed (1 John 3:18).
4. Love the _______ (1Peter 2:17).
5. I the Lord love _______ (Isaiah 61:8).
6. Love the _______ (Deuteronomy 6:5).8. Love worketh no _______ (Romans 13:10).
10. Love your _______ (Luke 6:27).
11. Personal pronoun
12. I will love _______ no more (Hosea 9:15).
14. Thy _______ do I love (Psalm 119:163).
17. The love of many shall _______ cold (Matthew 24:12).
19. Love ye therefore the _______ (Deuteronomy 10:19).
21. _______ love hath no man (John 15:13).
22. Many _______ cannot quench love (Song of Solomon 8:7).
23. Love of _______ (Ephesians 3:19).
25. Let _______ love continue (Hebrews 13:1).
31. Love no false _______ (Zechariah 8:17).
33. Love _______ another (1 Peter 1:22).
34. Love _______ (Micah 6:8).
35. Remembering . . .your . . ._______ of love (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
39. Thou hast _______ thy first love (Revelation 2:4).
40. I will love them no _______ (Hosea 9:15).
41. Ye _______ not the love of God (John 5:42).
Youths CornerPastor Christian and the Samer
Where do you think the most beautiful place in all the earth is? Some people think the Rocky Mountains are beautiful, and they are! Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas have a loveliness that draws people. Springtime in England is wonderful, Ethiopia has a grandeur all its own, as do Switzerland and, really, every other country. Many people enjoy the setting sun on the Sahara Desert or the ocean coast in the tropics, but the story I have to tell you this month is about a different area on earth, an area that Pastor Christian thought was the most beautiful to be found anywhere. It is a land in the northern parts of Finland and Norway, an area that includes parts of the Arctic Circle. There is snow and frozen land everywhere above the Arctic Circle. Trees and bushes do not grow very well here, but Elder Christian thought it was beautiful because over the frozen tundra and flat land the starry sky seems very close. It is a land known as the Land of the Midnight Sun because there are times every year when the sun does not set, and if you happened to be out on the snowy expanses then you might see glowing lights with rich hues quivering, shimmering, and moving across the sky. We call them the northern lights, and Pastor Christian thought that nowhere else on the earth was the handiwork of God seen in such radiant splendor as here. In addition to the glory of the heavens, though, there were towering mountains with quaint little villages in the valleys below the Arctic Circle and fascinating fiords, which are fingers of water reaching up into the land.
Not only did the people have weeks where the sun did not set, they also had weeks, almost two months worth, when the sun did not rise! It was dark and they had to have lights burning all the time. The area was also very isolated. Villages might be ten miles apart, even homes could be ten miles apart! Travel in the 1940s in this area was difficult. Not many people had vehicles and when it is dark all the time it can get rather discouraging. People were not able to visit each other very much. It was too cold and dark to go outside, but God had colporteurs in the area who went from village to village, and home to home, even though these places might be three to ten miles apart and they went on foot! The colporteurs visited the homes and villages in the winter because in the summer the swarms of mosquitoes were so bad that nobody wanted to be outside, so they went door to door in the winter even though it was very cold. The temperatures were almost always below zero Fahrenheit and 30 degrees below zero was common.
Pastor Christian thought about his people spread out, lonely, and perhaps getting discouraged, and he thought, I must visit my people up in the northern areas during this time of no light because I know they do not have anyone to meet with. They live so far apart and they may be getting unhappy, so I will go and visit them! So he and another brother decided to make a trip up into the Arctic Circle to visit their church members in northern Finland and Norway, and they had to go by reindeer. There were no cars to drive although there were occasional trucks, but to go this far north they had to go by reindeer sleds, which is something like dog sled travel in Alaska.
Before they left for this trip, however, Pastor Christian went to Helsinki and purchased the warmest clothes he could find because he was going to be out in the open for much of his trip, making a circle up through the villages and little isolated places above the Arctic Circle and then circling back home. The first thing he looked for were boots. He found warm, felt boots that came all the way up to his hips. He could hardly walk! Over these boots he put two pairs of warm woolen socks, and over these socks he put his regular overshoes. This took care of his legs and feet. He also wore long johns and a whole suit of warm clothing. Over this he had a fur coat. He also had a fur hat and two pairs of fur mittens. He could barely walk, but he did!
Now, there were ten reindeer and ten sledsone man per sled, and Pastor Christian was one of the men. Now, he had never driven a reindeer sled before. He was new at this. There were some experienced people on this trip, it is true, but he was responsible for his own sled and his own reindeer. He soon found out that the reindeer loped along at about four miles an hour, but Pastor Christian wanted to go faster. It was cold, and he wanted to get to the next village so he tried to get his reindeer to go faster. Do you know what happened? The reindeer turned around and with his strong forefeet began to stamp at Pastor Christian. The only thing he could do was quickly turn his sled over and hide under it until the reindeer stopped hitting the ground and sled. Then in Pastor Christians imagination the reindeer seemed to take a deep breath, and turning back to his task of pulling the sled was ready to move alongfour miles an hour again! Pastor Christian was not happy with this and again urged his reindeer to run faster. The reindeer stopped, turned around, and under the sled Pastor Christian went! Of course, the seasoned reindeer drivers were laughing at this point. Pastor Christian had to wait until the reindeer stopped stamping on him. In one hour, this happened eighteen times, until Pastor Christian finally realized that he could not force the reindeer to go any faster than the reindeer wanted to go. So it was at four miles an hour that they sledded along to the next village.
When they got to the border of what has been called Lapland, but where the native people call themselves the Sámi or Samer which means peaceful or those who whisper, one of the keepers of the hotel said, We cannot let you cross into the Arctic Circle in those clothes. Do you want to die? We have a mandate from the government that says we must dress anyone going into the Arctic Circle! No European clothes are allowed. So, go on up to your room and my husband will come up with the clothes that you must wear. And soon he did go up, carrying clothes and a bundle of hay. Pastor Christian had to take off all of what he thought had been warm clothes and wear what the innkeeper gave him, which were warm reindeer skins, supposedly the warmest skins you can possibly find. From head to toe he wore warm, light reindeer skins, including two pairs of reindeer boots. Now this was in the late 1930s or early 1940s and the warm insulated clothing we are used to today they did not have. The first pair of boots Pastor Christian wore was filled with dry hay. He placed his feet into them and then the second pair of boots was pulled over that. Later he was very thankful he was wrapped in reindeer skins because they became lost in a blizzard for hours and he said his clothing saved his life.
After he had made the rounds in visiting the people in the far north and he was on his way back, he parted with his other pastor friend. His friend went home one way, and Pastor Christian returned home another way. Pastor Christian had to turn his reindeer clothes in at the next hotel because he was only using them and someone else might need them, but he obtained other warm clothing to wear.
Part of his journey home included riding to the next village in the back of a truck that could only go twelve miles an hour through the deep snow. It was sixty degrees Fahrenheit below zero. He and four men were in the back of the truck. They were spread out a little and seated in the back of the truck, but it was slow going to the next village and the cold seeped in through their thick clothing. Remember the driver could only go twelve miles an hour through the snow. Along the way there were stones on the road that marked off the kilometers. Every stone had a number on it that measured the distance traveled. Finally, it was getting so cold in the truck that the four men huddled together to keep warm. Pastor Christian thought, I have to do something to help me get through this and take my mind off the cold, so he decided to make up a little poem for every kilometer passed and he repeated that poem over and over until he came to the next kilometer marker. For example, at kilometer 124, he started to sing, Count one hundred and twenty-four, I can stand all of this and more. Then later at kilometer 139, he sang, Count one hundred and thirty-nine, Though its cold, Im feeling fine. Singing these rhymes seemed to give him courage. An hour later he was singing, Count one hundred and fifty-five, Numb and freezing but still alive! And finally, Count one hundred and sixty-one, God be praised that the thing is done! And do you know what? They had to carry him off the truck. He could not walk he was so cold. They carried him up to his room and looked after him. He warmed up and slept until the next morning. One of the innkeepers said, You must be on very important business to risk such a dangerous journey! And Pastor Christian thought, Yes! I am on the most important business there is! I am out sharing Gods word and encouraging Gods people even up in the far north where the sun doesnt shine for many weeks; where life is harsh, even under the best of circumstances; and where the weather is cold, rough, and raw. I am out encouraging Gods people to stay true and faithful to him!
At one stop on this journey, Pastor Christian met an innkeeper who said he had the largest library in the whole area. Pastor Christian said, Well, I would like to see your library, but the man said, No, I will bring it to you. And do you know what he brought? Five books! One book was the Bible, another book was on mathematics, another was a book on how to care for reindeer, another was a reading book, and the last was a book on Bible prophecy that he had purchased from visiting colporteurs. This was the biggest library in his region. These people had little to keep them going and very few to teach them about God, and so a pastor visiting them is doing the very best work because many of the people did not have a Bible to read for themselves and they were in need of someone to tell them about the good tidings of salvation. This reminds me of the verse in Isaiah which says: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth (Isaiah 52:7)!
The innkeeper with the five books did not know at first who Pastor Christian was, and after he showed Pastor Christian his book on prophecy he told him he should get a copy for himself! Pastor Christian then introduced himself and spent the next few hours with him studying the prophecies of the Bible. Even though the innkeeper had never seen an Adventist other than the two girls who had sold him the book, he rejoiced in the advent hope!
We can share the good news of salvation with those around us too. We may not live in the land of the Midnight Sun where it can also be dark for several weeks a year, but we do live in a land of spiritual darkness, and Jesus wants us to let our lights shine for him. 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 -
Assistant Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013