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.4 Straight and Narrow April 2009
“And the work of righteousness shall
be peace; and the effect of
righteousness quietness and assurance for ever (Isaiah 32:17).”
The Mystery of God
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but humans are also very curious. We have a craving to know what is unknown. People are intrigued by mysteries. How large is the universe? What is the origin and purpose of Stonehenge? How were the great pyramids constructed? What causes crop circles? These are mysteries to us.
Mankind has long been intrigued by mysteries and secret things. There are secret groups like the Masons, the Illuminati (the enlightened ones), The Skull and Bones Society, etc., and God has a secret society, a group of enlightened ones, if you please. He has a secret.
Hast thou heard the secret of God (Job 15:8)? Psalm 25:14 says, The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” God does have a secret. It is connected to his covenant, and to those who reverence him will he reveal his secret.
God’s secret is not like the secrets of mankind that are only for a few to know. His secrets are the treasures of his wisdom that he wishes us to know, but he couches them in such a manner that only the sincere may know them. His glorious truths will not be trampled under unholy feet as dust. God has given his people the opportunity to know the mysteries of his kingdom. Jesus said:
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world (Matthew 13:9-14, 35).
Jesus says that there were some things that had been kept secret from the foundation of the world that were now being revealed – mysteries about his kingdom, his covenant, and his covenant relationship with his people.
These mysteries that we read about are really parts to a bigger mystery! While there are mysteries (plural), there is also the mystery [singular] of God. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (Revelation 10:7).”
The Mystery of God Revealed
The word mystery is not used as such in the Old Testament, but it is used in the New Testament over thirty times, always being translated from the Greek word musterion (musthvrion). Musterion means the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly (Thayers Greek Lexicon). Musterion is a deep secret which God wills to be revealed to his people. When we talk about mysteries in the Bible, therefore, we are not talking about something that needs secret codes or keys to access but something that needs the enlightenment of the “Spirit of truth (John 14:17).” Paul states that this mystery, which was kept secret, is now revealed.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith (Romans 16:25, 26).
True faith brings obedience. In fact, Galatians 5:6 states that faith works by love, and Ellen White notes:
But there is a great misapprehension in regard to what is genuine faith. It is not a mere intellectual assent to truth, or a nominal acceptance of the fact that Christ has died for the salvation of men. Genuine faith works by love, and purifies the soul. There are some who declare that all we have to do is to believe in Jesus, and they think it makes no difference if we trample upon the divine precepts. These statements show that this class do not understand the fundamental principles of the plan of salvation. Genuine faith in Christ will not lead a man to transgress the law; for Christ is not a minister of sin (The Review and Herald,July 5, 1892).
As we saw earlier in Matthew 13:11, Jesus told his disciples it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. In Romans 11:25, Paul wrote: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Paul is speaking about the children of Israel and how they were removed from their sacred position due to unbelief and how the Gentiles were to be grafted into the church of God. Paul does not wish for his readers to be ignorant of this mystery.
Sometimes when we speak of verses that we may not understand well, two texts may come to our minds. The first text is Deuteronomy 29:29, which begins by saying, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God.” Of course, we know almost nothing of God’s knowledge and of his universe, and there are many secret things that belong only to him. These secrets we must not covet; however, Deuteronomy 29:29 goes on to say, “but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” So, there are things that God has revealed and the purpose of this revelation is that we might become obedient children.
The second text is found in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God does not wish his children to sit in darkness. He sent his only begotten Son to show us the truth about himself.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, the Apostle Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the foolishness of this world. These diametrically opposed ideologies are set forth by Paul so that his readers may gain a new paradigm of thought away from the standard thinking of the world.Paul says that the world does not see the wisdom in the cross but he is going to preach it anyway! The cross is what lifts up man and nothing else can do this. Then Paul states:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:5-9).
When we think of this last verse we often think of the glories of heaven but the context of the verse is the mystery of God and the wisdom of God found in the preaching of the gospel. Now, it is true that eyes had not seen and ears had not heard the glories of heaven and the mystery of God, but he says in verse 10 that “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” The truths about the mystery of God that deals with our salvation and the plan of redemption are truths that God wants plainly revealed to us by his Spirit.
The mystery of God is the gospel. Ellen White wrote in The Signs of the Times, November 18, 1889, that “the mystery of God [is] – the plan of salvation.” In the first chapter of Colossians, Paul speaks about redemption through the blood of Christ, that we have been delivered out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God, that all things were created by Christ who is the head of the church, and that “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell (Colossians 1:19).” He then says:
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister (Colossians 1:20-23).
Paul is going to explain further about the mystery of God but he states that we must continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” This is not the time to move away from the landmarks and pillars of our faith and accept strange new teachings. When just a pin of our experience is moved, our whole experience can become unstable. Ellen White warned:
I was shown three steps the first, second, and third angels messages. Said my accompanying angel, Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received (Early Writings, pp. 258, 259).”
We must continue in the faith in which we have been grounded. When a pin moves, then a pillar moves, and finally there is total failure. Today, every wind of doctrine that one can imagine is floating around waiting like a leech to pray upon the life of another. Concerning the omega of deadly heresies, Ellen White wrote:
Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 205; 1904)?
Writing in 1904 against false views of God, Ellen White noted that our truth did not admit to any compromise. Time on this earth is almost over. The last great scenes are soon to be fulfilled. If we expect God to continue to show us his mysteries, we must be grounded and settled in the faith we already have and not exchange it for an evangelical mess of pottage.
Continuing in Colossians, Paul says:
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his bodys sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is [the essence of the goal of the gospel] Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:24-27).
Of course, the prophets wrote of the gospel, but notice the way Paul explains this in Hebrews 1:1, 2: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Jesus is the greatest revelation of God that can be given. The prophets could give a revelation about God, but Jesus gave the revelation of God!
Paul continues in Colossians by noting the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2, 3).”
Interestingly, closely associated with God’s secret (his mystery) is wisdom. As you read the verses in the Bible about God’s secret or his mystery, many times near or in connection with them is the concept of wisdom.
The Mystery Among the Gentiles
In Romans 11, Paul discusses how this mystery is specially applicable to the Gentiles. Paul uses the symbol of an olive tree with branches. Israel was a branch that was cut off and the Gentiles were a wild branch that was grafted into the stock and this bringing in of the Gentiles was the very mystery that Paul spoke of in verse 25. Paul warns the Gentiles, however, that if God pruned away the natural branches, he can prune them off too if they also lack faith. This should be a stern warning for all independent Adventists who realize that the church is in apostasy today and therefore think that they are better than the corporate church because they have a better understanding of the truth. The reality may be, however, that they are in a worse spiritual state than the corporate church. It is only as we live up to the light we have and fulfill the conditions upon which the promises are based that we may claim the promises as ours. We must continue in the faith in which we were grounded and rooted.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (Romans 11:25).” The mystery that Paul speaks of is the Gentiles being grafted into the stock and receiving righteousness by faith.
Gods Desire to Make the Mystery Known
God desires to make this mystery known, and he has labored through the prophets and through Jesus Christ and his apostles to make it known. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:9 that God has made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” How did Paul learn the gospel? It was by direct revelation from Christ (Galatians 1:11, 12). Paul’s understanding of the gospel was in agreement with James and the other Bible writers. He did not teach cheap grace nor James legalism. Writing in Ephesians chapter 3, Paul continued:
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit (Ephesians 3:1-5).
Paul is plainly declaring that the depths of understanding that he was experiencing and teaching had not been revealed in prior times but with the advent of Christ and the outpouring of his Spirit the depths of the mystery of God have been made open to man. He then continues:
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable [secret] riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:6-9).
God has given this mystery to his church but he has not given it to them to keep but, rather, to share with the world to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (Revelation 14:6). Paul says, And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).”
Paul spoke personally of receiving and sharing the gospel and having a personal relationship with Jesus. Theory is good and has its place, but there must be more than just knowledge. There must be a personal experience with Jesus in our lives. Jesus did not tell us that eternal life was knowing about God but, rather, knowing him and his Son personally. When I hear of people, even former preachers, giving up first the Advent message and even giving up God himself, claiming that there is no God, I realize that they have never truly known God personally. Once you know somebody you cannot deny they exist. You may not wish to associate with them, but you would not deny their existence! If we really know God, how can we become atheistic? I cannot understand that. I can see how someone might fall into sin and backslide from God. I can see how someone might acknowledge that their relationship is not what it should be and that they need to get back to God, but to deny him altogether? It cannot be honestly done if someone has personally known God.
Paul said that he was given the truth that he might open his mouthboldly.” After Paul was converted, there was never a question about who Jesus Christ was or about his personal existence. He was never tormented with doubts about the genuine existence of Jesus Christ, for he knew personally that Jesus was a bona fide person. Our confidence should be no less.
As we have a personal, living, vibrant relationship with Jesus, we can be “epistles … known and read of all men (2 Corinthians 3:2).” As we near the second coming of Jesus, inspiration informs us that there will be confusion on the mystery of God.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Before the last developments of the work of apostasy there will be a confusion of faith. There will not be clear and definite ideas concerning the mystery of God. One truth after another will be corrupted (The Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894).
We look at Catholicism, apostate Protestantism, and even the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we see evidences that there is a great “confusion of faith” which does not have “clear and definite ideas concerning the mystery of God.” We can see that one truth after another has been corrupted, and even within the independent movement there is a type of corruption from which we are not safe apart from Jesus. Those who understand the mystery of God have a responsibility to boldly and clearly present the message so “that he may run that readeth it (Habakkuk 2:2).”
Paul declares that we are stewards of the mysteries of God and that we are to be found faithful stewards. “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2).”
Sometimes verse 2 is used as a basis to promote faithful stewardship in the giving offerings, but the context concerns being faithful in handling the truth. We must not “hold [back] the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18),” for this will bring the sure wrath of God. The truth of the gospel is the greatest thing of which God has made us stewards, and we must be faithful to this trust above anything else!
The Truth is the Gospel
This gospel comes from the God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and centers around his Son who is “the truth (John 14:6).” Jesus is the very embodiment of all truth. All the gospel truth is really about God and about his character, identity, and person. Everything in the Bible is designed to help us better understand the character of God and his love. God’s very nature is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and only that love can truly change us and keep us. As we behold the character of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we are changed into the same image (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Love must be the principle of action. Love is the underlying principle of God’s government in heaven and earth, and it must be the foundation of the Christian’s character. This alone can make and keep him steadfast. This alone can enable him to withstand trial and temptation.
And love will be revealed in sacrifice. The plan of redemption was laid in sacrifice a sacrifice so broad and deep and high that it is immeasurable. Christ gave all for us, and those who receive Christ will be ready to sacrifice all for the sake of their Redeemer. The thought of His honor and glory will come before anything else (Christs Object Lessons, p. 49).
If we see in our doctrines a God of love, we will become loving. When we see a God who loves us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son, it changes us, but if we see a God of anger and selfishness, this is the way we will become. The good news is that, from cover to cover, the Bible is a revelation of God’s love, and we are changed and sanctified by this revelation of love. This is why it is so important to know the truth, for without it we miss the mystery of God and Christ.
Understanding this truth has an effect upon us. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).” The truth of God’s love will sanctify the believer as that truth is lived and obeyed in the life. It cannot help us if we do not obey it. The one who honestly loves God will also love his way and obey his commandments. Jesus noted, “If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).” The Greek verb translated “keep” is imperative, stressing the necessity of the action. John writes that the believer’s attitude will be one of joyful obedience, for he writes: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).”
Sometimes people will try to downplay the Ten Commandment law of God, calling it the “Jewish law” or “that old law,” but God calls it his “royal law (James 2:8).” God’s law is a holy law and obedience by the power of Christ brings holy results.
Jesus gave us an example: I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love (John 15:10). The example of Jesus is that he kept his Fathers commandments, and in so doing he was abiding in his love. Jesus also said, And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29).” Do you know what pleases God? Obedience!
What pleases God? It is the loving obedience of every individual soul. The obedience of heavenly beings pleases God, and the sinner who unreservedly surrenders himself to do Gods way pleases God. We must listen as God says of Jesus, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him. (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 994).
When Saul was told to utterly destroy Amalek (1 Samuel 15), he did not do the will of God. Samuel was sent to meet him, and, as he approached the king, Saul proclaimed to Samuel: Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD (1 Samuel 15:13).” To this, Samuel boldly declared: “What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear (v. 14)?” Saul said that he had brought the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to Yahweh. Samuel proceeded to tell Saul that he did not do well and instead had done “evil in the sight of the LORD (v. 19).” After Saul tried to excuse his behavior, Samuel said:
Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (vs 22, 23).
Do not ever think for a minute that obedience is not important. The great controversy from Adams day down to our time has been on the point of obedience or opposition to Gods law; and every soul will be found on the side of the obedient or the rebellious (The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1886).”
Just knowing the truth is not enough. We might even have faith, but unless it has worked loving obedience in our lives we are nothing. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).” We must do more than know the truth, even “all mysteries.” If we do not have love and the fruit of obedience, then we are pronounced by God as being “nothing!” We might have a knowledge of the Bible and can debate any Sunday-keeper on the Sabbath issue, but that does not mean we know the God of the Bible. Furthermore, there are theologians at universities such as Andrews, Cambridge, Oxford, and others that know much about the Bible. They can recite many passages from memory and know much of the history of biblical times, but they are full of Babylonian ideas because they do not know the God of the Bible!
As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angels message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side (The Great Controversy, p. 608).
Notice that they are “prepared” to yield to Satan. They have been prepared, step-by-step, to choose the “easy popular side.”
The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 81).
When the law of God is made void the church will be sifted by fiery trials, and a larger proportion than we now anticipate, will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 368; 1891).
What would a larger proportion than anticipated mean? Two years after 1891, Ellen White wrote: It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner (General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 4, 1893). While it is true that strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14),” take courage in the fact that the gate and pathway are wide enough for any who wish to travel the way that God has laid down.
With all of these warnings, why will so many give heed to falsehood? Because of worldly conformity, but also because those who join the ranks of Satan did not receive a love of the truth! Writing in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, Paul speaks of the mystery of iniquity that was already working in his day. He then says:
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
When we do not develop a love for the truth, the reality is that we do not love the God of truth. God will allow those who do not love him or his truth to finally believe a lie. The hypocrites will all be weeded out in that day.
Now let’s consider the three angels’ messages.
The first angels message: The first angel has the “everlasting gospel” or “the mystery of God.” What are some of the components of the “everlasting gospel?”
We are told to fear or reverence God. Can this be done if we misunderstand the identity of God? We are further told to worship this God, but if we do not know him or anything about him, how could we even attempt to worship him? We must know who he is to worship him. Furthermore, we are told to worship God as the Creator, as John quotes from the Sabbath commandment. This is a call to worship God as Creator on the Sabbath and for the Sabbath to be a sign that he is our Creator and Redeemer!
We are told to give glory to God. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Sinning brings a person short of Gods glory. The opposite of sinning, obedience, brings glory to God. Children are to be taught that their capabilities were given them for the honor and glory of God. To this end they must learn the lesson of obedience (The Review and Herald, October 5, 1911). And when men teach the people to disregard Gods commandments, they are preventing them from bearing fruit to His glory (Christs Object Lessons, p. 305).
When a child in a public area is mannerly and obedient, it brings honor and glory to the parent, but if he is disobedient, it brings shame to the parent.
The first angels message also includes the judgment hour message that We are living in the great antitypical day of atonement. Jesus is now in the heavenly sanctuary, making reconciliation for the sins of his people (The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1884).”
Now, let us examine these elements of the first angel’s message for popularity.
I think most of us know that none of the above teachings are popular with any mainline group today, but the message of the everlasting gospel is to specifically include the truth about God, obedience to all his commandments including the Sabbath, and the investigative judgment.
The second angels message: The second angel declares that Babylon is fallen.
Does anyone enjoy or appreciate being called a fallen church, a church out of God’s favor and blessing? Of course not. This is not a popular message!
The third angels message: The message of the third angel warns about the beast and receiving its mark and also warns that those who worship the beast (empowered by Satan) or his image will be eternally lost. Our regular readers know well that the papacy is the power represented by the beast. The papacy’s mark of authority is the acceptance of Sunday worship, and the whole world will follow in her apostasy.
These are testing truths because they test us on obedience and whether we will walk in the light or not. They are not popular with the sin-loving. One must count the cost in following such teachings. In an evangelistic meeting I held on the mark of the beast there was a man attending whose family was a gospel singing group. They had a traveling bus and would go to the different churches to sing and would be given offerings for their songs. As this man sat under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he was moved to acknowledge that the seal of God was the Sabbath and that Sunday was indeed the mark of the beast. After the meeting, he was excited and told me, “I have never heard any preaching like this in all my life. You should be in every church around here preaching this message!” I told the brother that he was right, but that the cost was too high for most and that he would have to count the cost himself to see if he was willing to follow an unpopular message. Sadly, the cost was too high for him and he did not return. I went to visit and encourage him but he could hardly look at me. He knew that if he accepted this message he could not go into the churches of Babylon and sing.
Revelation 22:7 pronounces a blessing on the one who “keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” There are commands in Revelation that we are blessed to keep. We know that there are counsels in the letters to the seven churches, but there are also the commands against worshiping the beast and receiving the mark of the beast. Furthermore, we are commanded in Revelation 18:4 to come out of Babylon. There will be the blessing of eternal life to those who obey the words of Revelation, but those who worship the beast or take away from the prophecy will have their names removed from the book of life!
The three angels’ messages have the everlasting gospel: The truth about God, obedience to the law of God including the Sabbath, the judgment-hour message, the fall of Babylon, and the seal of God and mark of the beast. These are mysteries to the world. The world does not believe them and thinks, instead, that these truths are foolishness!
The message of the third angelis to be given “with a loud voice (Revelation 14:9).” Concerning this “loud voice,” Ellen White says:
The word of God in his law is binding upon every intelligent mind. The truth for this time, the third angels message, is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, meaning with increasing power, as we approach the great final test (Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1710).
This message has increasing power because it has increasing light (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 507, 508) in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. While our pioneers were great men in their day, our light must be in advance to their light. While the pioneers were all non-trinitarian, they did not couple their view of God with their eschatology. Today God has also given his people a better understanding of the identity and role of the Holy Spirit. Of course, new light will not counter old light, just add to it and complement the old light. So, the meaning of the message going with a loud voice is that the truth becomes clearer and is given with increasing power.
Beloved, we have a sacred trust in the three angels messages. We have this truth and we are to guard or keep it. We are to be faithful stewards of this mystery of the gospel. Revelation 14:12 says, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. According to the grammatical structure of the verse, the saints are to keep both the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Interestingly, the Greek word for keep is tereo (threw) and it can mean “to guard.” We are to guard the truth, the trust that we have as a people.
Why do we see this guard let down today? Why does the mainline church have dialogues with the papacy on the basis of mutual respect? How can we write a book entitled So Much in Common, which spells out the aspects of the Seventh-day Adventist Church held in common with the World Council of Churches? We can do these things and much more because we have accepted the central doctrine of Babylon and rejected the trust that God gave to us as a people. The whole Questions on Doctrine fiasco would have never happened if the church had remained non-trinitarian.
Since mainline Adventism now worships the god of Babylon they must guard not the truth but what they say and teach. The pioneers of Adventism wrote into their fundamental principles a plain statement on the papacy:
XIII. That as the man of sin, the papacy, has thought to change times and laws (the laws of God), Dan. 7:25, and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ. Isa. 56:1, 2, 1 Pet. 1:5, Rev. 14:12, &c. (A Declaration Of The Fundamental Principles Taught And Practiced By The Seventh-Day Adventists).
This statement was part of a set of fundamental principles first published in 1872 and was then published by James White in the first edition of The Signs of the Times in 1874. It was also published in every Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook during the years 1889, 1905, and 1907-1914. No such statement is present in Adventism today! We have failed to keep that which has been entrusted to us. Paul wrote to Timothy: Keep that which is committed to thy trust (1 Timothy 6:20). The word translated trust is parakatatheke (parakataqhvkh), which means that which has been laid down beside thee. As a people after the passing of 1844, did we have truths laid down beside us? According to Ellen White, God gave us a platform of eternal truth (Gospel Workers, p. 308). How will we answer for what we have done? In the book The Desire of Ages, we find the following warning:
The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history. But it was for a purpose that his character was laid open to the world. It was to be a warning to all who, like him, should betray sacred trusts (The Desire of Ages, p. 716).
Ellen White tells us the doctrine of God, the law of God and the Sabbath, the judgment-hour message, the fall of Babylon, the seal of God, and the mark of the beast are all sacred trusts that have been given to us:
In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and Gods people are to be true to the trust committed to them (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 19).
As we review our list of the three angels’ messages, we see that no church, no group, no movement ever had it all together as God gave it to the Adventist people. Sadly, however, mainline Adventism has accepted the god of Babylon, has changed the sanctuary doctrine, has Sunday sunrise services in many of the churches, and do not even have an official position on the beast of Revelation 13 anymore!
We may believe that the corporate church has failed, that it has betrayed its trust and sold its spiritual heritage for an evangelical mess of pottage, and if we do, we have a duty to share the gospel and to make known the mystery of God and Christ. What shall we do? Shall we sit in our rocking chairs and pray “Lord save the perishing” or shall we be faithful stewards of the gospel and the deep things of God? Are we faithful to the message and are we sharing it with all of our power? We may have physical limitations, but let us do all in our God-given power to share the three angels’ messages, the mystery of God, in every way we can.
We are living in a time when a great storm is approaching and apostasy is everywhere,but we can be among those who are noted in Revelation 17:14 as “called, and chosen, and faithful.” God has given unto us to know and be stewards of his mystery. We are not to compromise this truth for anything. We are to preach it boldly with increasing power, not apologizing to anyone for what the Bible teaches. May God help his people to be faithful. Allen Stump
Next month we will have camp meeting at Smyrna Valley, the Lord willing, and there is still much to do. Will you please remember this gathering in your prayers and ask for Gods Spirit to be poured in a mighty measure?Also, please keep God’s workers around the world in prayer. We are eager for the work to quickly finish so that we can all go home. Let us pray for one another to have a love for the truth that is so strong and so deep that nothing can remove it from our hearts!
As we send out the Sabbath School Quarterly Comments Booklets this month, please pray with us that they will help and encourage all who use them, for some very important issues are covered this time.
A Fearful Day
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen (Revelation 1:7).”
Revelation 1:7 teaches us that those who mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies will be raised to witness the coming of the one they so hated.
At Christs trial, Caiaphas raised his right hand toward heaven and asked Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63). Imagine the scene! Every ear was bent to listen, and every eye was fixed on Christs face as he answered, I am (Mark 14:62). A heavenly light illuminated his pale countenance as he added, and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Caiaphas recoiled before the penetrating eyes of the Saviour. It was as if he were standing before the eternal Judge, whose eye, which sees all things, was reading his soul, bringing to light mysteries supposed to be hidden with the dead (The Desire of Ages, p. 708).”
Caiaphas stifled his convictions and rent his robe declaring, “What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? (Mark 14:63, 64).” The Bible says “And they all condemned him to be guilty of death (v. 64).”
The Jewish leaders made their choice. Their decision was registered in the book which John saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, the book which no man could open. In all its vindictiveness this decision will appear before them in the day when this book is unsealed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Christs Object Lessons, p. 294).
Jesus is coming soon and those who rejected him and crucified him will be raised to see that event which to the righteous will be great and wonderful, but to the wicked, terrible and dreadful. But will Caiaphas and those who pierced Jesus be the only wicked raised?
Graves are opened, and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth. . . awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angels message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear Gods covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. They also which pierced Him (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christs dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient (The Great Controversy, p. 637).
The test before Caiaphas was whether he would let self-importance die and bow before Jesus as the Son of God. The evidence was plain, the testimony of Jesus unambiguous, yet he would not relinquish his pride and position. Today, leaders among those who profess to be God’s people have the same plain evidence before them that Jesus is not the second person of the trinity but is the only-begotten Son of God. The testimony of Jesus is still unambiguous, but, sadly, most of these leaders will also not relinquish their pride or position. Some of the these “ancient men” will be found wanting in the judgment described in Ezekiel 9, and some will be raised to see the coming of Jesus. What a terrible warning this should be to us!
John was inspired to end Revelation 1:7 with nai amen (naiv ajmhvn). The word nai is a strong affirmation in the Greek and amen is of Hebrew origin. John is affirming as strongly as he can, spanning the breadth of two languages, the truth of the words he has just written. Beloved, our reaction and relation to the truth will determine our eternal destiny. Those who reject the Father and the Son have the doctrine of antichrist (1 John 2:22).
Judas betrayed Christ, but even now Christ is being betrayed in the person of his saints (The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900).” May we be determined to let self die and Jesus live.
God desires his people to prepare for the soon-coming crisis. Prepared or unprepared, they must all meet it, and those only who have brought their lives into conformity to the divine standard, will stand firm at that time of test and trial. When secular rulers unite with ministers of religion to dictate in matters of conscience, then it will be seen who really fear and serve God. When the darkness is deepest, the light of a godlike character will shine the brightest. When every other trust fails, then it will be seen who have an abiding trust in Jehovah. And while the enemies of truth are on every side, watching the Lords servants for evil, God will watch over them for good. He will be to them as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land (The Review and Herald, November 9, 1911). Allen Stump
Youths’ Corner — Camsá
If you go up and down and around, and then up and down again and again in the Andes Mountains you can reach a little community in the country of Ecuador, and this group of people speaks a language called Camsá. Camsá is spoken by only 4,000 people in the whole world, and these people live in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador.
We have had mission stories in the past in Old Paths about missionary doctors, missionary colporteurs, and missionary teachers, for example, but maybe you have wondered if you can still be a missionary even if you are not a doctor or teacher. Maybe you are someone that likes languages, for example, can God still use you?
Our story this month is about Bob Van Zyl. Bob loves languages and he also wanted to be a missionary. So, he worked with an agency that said, “Well, there is this group of 4,000 people who do not know anything about the Bible because it is not translated or printed into their language. They can’t read the Bible and they can’t preach from it because it is not available in their language. Nobody talks about the Bible there, but if you would like to go there, you could translate the Bible for them and it would be a great blessing to them!” And Bob said, “I’ll go!” And he did. The only problem was he could not speak Camsá! He did not know anything about the language. It took him four years to learn the language. And when he got there, the people who lived in this valley in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador did not care if he translated the Bible into their language or not because the Bible did not mean anything to them, so they did not help him. It did not matter to them if he even learned their language, so they were not very eager to help him.
He had trouble in the same sense that a lot of the missionaries we have talked about in the past have had trouble. People would come to his house and steal from him! He tried to be very friendly to them, however, and when he and his wife were invited to eat at a neighbor’s home, for example, he tried to tell the neighbors that their food was delicious, but do you know what he learned? There are twenty words in the Camsá language that are used for the word “delicious”! Each word has to be used in a specific way based on the shape of the food being talked about, and Missionary Bob had to learn all twenty words. Then he had trouble with the word “basket.” The Camsá people use many baskets in their culture, and there are different words for every kind and shape of basket. Missionary Bob had to learn each one of these words. He also struggled with other problems of the language. For example, it took great effort for him to decide how to use the words of the Camsá language to describe the concept of a prophet, for the Camsá people knew nothing about what a prophet is or what he or she does.
Missionary Bob faced many difficulties while learning to speak Camsá such as the people not really caring if he learned their language in the first place and not really caring if they ever had the Bible translated into Camsá. He also faced problems with how the Camsá people treated him and each other. The Camsá people stole from the missionary family all the time and they feuded among each other. One time Missionary Bob and his wife invited two families to their house for dinner. One family came and was very happy to be there, but when the other family walked in the door, do you know what they did? They picked up their benches, turned them around, and then sat down with their backs to the people because they were feuding with each other. They really did need God’s Word in this little community.
Finally, the day came in 1991 when Missionary Bob had the New Testament translated into the Camsá language. Missionary Bob invited the leaders of all the little villages in this area to come to the school house and hear the Word of God in their own language, but it was a rainy, cold, and dreary day in the Andes. Missionary Bob was afraid the leaders would not leave their little two room houses where there were fires going that kept everyone warm. Eventually, however, the leaders came and they all settled down in the school house room.
Juan was the translator, and he read a portion of the Scriptures to the gathered people. The portion chosen was Luke 5:1-11, which is the story of Jesus teaching the people from Simon Peter’s ship and then telling Peter to let his nets down to catch fish. Peter told Jesus that he had toiled all night and had not caught a single fish, but at his word he would try again. Peter was astonished that his nets became so full that they broke! While Juan read, Missionary Bob watched the faces of the people as they listened, and he wondered: “Will these words make any difference to the people?”
If Juan had instead read passages from Little House on the Prairie, for example, do you think Gods Spirit would impress the hearts of the people that what was being read was saving truth? No, but Gods word was being read to the Camsá people, and Missionary Bob eagerly watched the faces of the people to see if God’s Spirit was making it alive to them!
When Juan finished reading the story in Luke 5, there was a long silence. Nothing happened, but then Maruja stood up. She was an older lady, and she said: These words that you have read in my language helped me. I could see God, dressed in the white shirt, black pants and white sash of the men of our tribe and with their beads and bowl-shaped cut hair, coming down to me when you read those words to me. Something happened! Gods Spirit was there! And she sat down.
Then Carlos rose to speak and said, “I have faithfully attended mass on Sunday since a little child, but everything was in Spanish and I was not concerned if I understood what was read from the Bible, for it was in another language and for another culture than my own. But now, today, I understand very clearly. It has reached down to my very heart, and now I must listen to these words and decide whether or not to obey them.”
Missionary Bob knew that just hearing words read does not do this. It is Gods Spirit only that makes his word alive to the people then and to us, as well, today. We can be very thankful that reading the Bible is not like reading Little House on the Prairie, but it is different! God’s Spirit makes his word alive in our hearts. That is why we do not put other books on top of the Bible. That is why we treat the Bible carefully and respectfully, and that is why we honor it. We do not toss it around but hold it carefully, and we turn its pages carefully because it is God’s word that is made alive in our hearts and minds by his Spirit. This is what happened to the people who speak Camsá. Even though they are still waiting for the Old Testament to be translated into their language, they are very thankful to be able to read and hear the words of the New Testament, for it is changing their lives in a wonderful way.
So, even if you are not a doctor, preacher, teacher, or nurse, you can still be used by God to bless others just as Missionary Bob was used by God to be a blessing to the Camsá people. Onycha Holt
West Virginia Camp Meeting
We will be hosting our annual camp meeting this year June 16-20 at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel in West Virginia. As always, we keenly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship, and we are very eager to see all of you once again. We are also very desirous to meet new friends and families. Our theme this year will be “The Three Angels’ Messages.” We are planning for this theme to be expanded in areas such as righteousness by faith, prophecy, and health reform, among others. We also are having a seminar on how to use Bible and Spirit of Prophecy computer software.
As always, there is no charge for attending or for camping, but this is a camp meeting. There is plenty of room for tents and RVs, but no hook-ups. Sabbath afternoon lunch will be provided, but everyone is responsible for their remaining meals. There are local motels and stores within ten miles.
Some tentative speakers and teachers this year include Lynnford Beachy, Ed Cyrus, David Sims, Dr. Glenn Waite, Dr. William Van Grit, Dee Dee Herrman, Bob Diener via video presentations, and Allen Stump.
For those with navigation systems, plot N 37.52033°, W 81.60286°. If you have any questions, you may call us at 304-732-9204 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to seeing you soon. May God bless you to be able to attend.
Tasty Recipe: Borscht
Ask someone from Ukraine what their favorite food is, and they may well say borscht. Borscht is like a vegetable soup.Most of the vegetables people from Ukraine eat every day go into making Borscht – potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets, and onions. Follow this recipe and enjoy a soup eaten by your brothers and sisters in Ukraine! It is really good!
Vegetarian beef-like seasoning of your choice
7 cups of water, approximately
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
2 medium beets, thinly sliced
1 small can of tomato sauce
1. Combine seasoning, water, potatoes, beets,
and carrots in a large pot.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add cabbage and tomato sauce.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes longer.
6. Serve with Russian black bread or rye bread.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness
2. I Paul . . ._____ you by the . . .gentleness of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1).
4. The fruit of the _____ is in all goodness (Ephesians 5:9).
6. _____ the LORD for his goodness (Psalm 107:15).
7. With longsuffering, _____ one another (Ephesians 4:2).
10. Surely goodness . . .shall follow _____ (Psalm 23:6).
11. _____ the LORD and his goodness (Hosea 3:5).
14. The longsuffering of our LORD is _____ (2 Peter 3:15).
16. My goodness extendeth not to _____ (Psalm 16:2).
19. What goodness the LORD shall do unto _____ (Numbers 10:32).
20. _____ the goodness of the LORD (Psalm 27:13).
21. And _____ gentleness hath made me great (Psalm 18:35).
23. Prefix meaning not
24. Abbreviation for Maryland
25. The longsuffering of God _____ (1 Peter 3:20).
27. _____ together to the goodness of the LORD (Jeremiah 31:12).
28. Most men will proclaim every one his _____ goodness (Proverbs 20:6).
29. The _____ is full of the goodness of the LORD (Psalm 33:5).
30. People shall be _____ with my goodness (Jeremiah 31:14).
32. Oh that _____ would praise the LORD for his goodness (Psalm 107:8).
35. I will make all my goodness _____ before thee (Exodus 33:19).
37. Glad and merry in _____ for the goodness (2 Chronicles 7:10).
38. The goodness of God _____ thee to repentance (Romans 2:4).
39. And _____ in goodness (Exodus 34:6).
40 They shall . . .utter the _____ of thy great goodness (Psalm 145:7).
1. Praise the LORD for _____goodness (Psalm 107:15).
2. To exist
3. _____ might shew forth all longsuffering (1 Timothy 1:16).
4. Let thy _____ rejoice in goodness (2 Chronicles 6:41).
5. They shall fear and _____ for all the goodness (Jeremiah 33:9).
6. All the good _____ of his goodness (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
8. _____ with all longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2).
9. Thy gentleness hath made me _____ (2 Samuel 22:36).
12. Take me not _____ in thy longsuffering (Jeremiah 15:15).
13. Strengthened . . .unto . . .longsuffering with _____ (Colossians 1:11).
15. Endured with much longsuffering the _____ (Romans 9:22).
17. Thou preventest _____ with the blessings of goodness (Psalm 21:3).
18. The goodness of God _____ continually (Psalm 52:1).
19. But is longsuffering to _____ (2 Peter 3:9).
22. Your goodness is as a morning _____ (Hosea 6:4).
26. Ye _____ are full of goodness (Romans 15:14).
31. Thou, O LORD, _____ a God full of . . .longsuffering (Psalm 86:15).
33. According to the goodness of his _____ (Hosea 10:1).
34. Thou crownest the _____ with thy goodness (Psalm 65:11).
36. Glad of heart for _____ the goodness (1 Kings 8:66).”
A Letter of Appeal
(Those who read in the last issue of Old Paths about our visit to South America may remember reading about Sister Graças and the good work she is doing at the wellness center she operates in Brazil. She has asked us to share this letter with our readers.Editor)
Revisam Institute February 15, 2009.
Beloved Pastor Allen and Readers of Old Paths:
God be praised for your courage. My name is Irmã Graças, and I have been an Adventist since 1969. I was quite young when the Lord called me. I always believed in the Advent Message, but my biggest question always was about the Holy Spirit preached by the church. It scared me. Since I am a simple person, I had to know who was this being greater than our God, since all sin committed against Christ and God would be forgiven if confessed, but sin against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven.
God, in His infinite love, granted me, through my teachers Robert and Ardis Habinecht who were the pioneers of the educational work for the youth here, the opportunity to study and know the Lord as my Savior. I was so thankful to learn the real truth about the Holy Spirit and know that God is not a trinity! I dedicated my life to do mission work. First, I was a preceptor in our schools, and today I work in the medical field, operating a health and wellness center (Revisam Institute) to care and love people who need to recuperate their physical, mental, social, and, above all, spiritual health. The very first step of our program is to motivate the patients to change their habits and lifestyle. We do many different natural treatments for those in need, believing that God has the best methods for healing and helping.
But what I am going to relate briefly now has been a subject of much prayer, asking God to motivate people to sustain the wellness center (Revisam Institute) to his honor and glory for what he does.
Sometimes, brothers and sisters, I feel tired and often discouraged, but soon after the Lord will send fervent brothers or sisters to encourage us. At first, I am scared, but later on I pull myself together and say: “Lord if you abide with me, I know that you will enable me for this work.”
Currently, our needs are very great. I would like to appeal to the brethren that we have need of help to give continuance to the project of the wellness center. We need to finish paying the terrain and the constructions and prepare materials to construct two more therapy buildings. We lack $35,000 to pay the debt of the terrain and constructions, and for the construction of two more buildings we need an additional $50,000. I want you to pray for us, and if God would direct you to help with the costs, we would be grateful. Certainly any help will be of great value to us. I know that God has a blessing for us, and we are waiting patiently and perseveringly.
Lovingly, we were thankful to Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto for their visit, and we pray that the work of God will go speedily forward and may his people have much courage! Graças Irmã
(Those who would like to help with the wellness center are encouraged to contact us here at Smyrna for details on how you may be of a help to Sister Graças and the work in Brazil. Editor)
Quiz on Genesis 49-50
1. What did Jacob tell sons he was going to show them?
2. What three things were in the birthright blessing that Reuben forfeited by his actions?
3. What finally happened to the Reubenites?
4. What hope does Revelation 7:5 give?
5. All but which two tribes are mentioned in Revelation 7?
6. What was prophesied of Simeon and Levi?
7. What portion of the eldest son’s blessing did Judah receive?
8. What was said about where Zebulen would dwell?
9. By what symbol was Issachar represented?
10. By what symbol was Dan represented?
11. What would Gad finally do?
12. What would Asher yield?
13. What did Naphtali have to give?
14. What portion of the birthright did Joseph receive?
15. How was Benjamin described?
16. Where did Jacob wish to be buried?
17. What was done by the physicians with Jacob’s body?
18. Who only, of his family, did not go to Jacob’s burial?
Answers to Quiz on Genesis 45-48
1. When Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers. he said, “Come near to me, I pray you (Genesis 45:4).”
2. Joseph credited God with sending him to Egypt so that he might save the lives of his family (Genesis 45:7).
3. Changes of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave 300 pieces of silver and five changes of clothes.
4. God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes (Genesis 46:3, 4).”
6. Jacob, Joseph and his two sons are also counted in the number of Genesis 46:27.
7. Genesis 47:7 should be referenced with Hebrews 7:7.
8. The citizens of Egypt became slaves when they ran out of money, cattle, and lands with which to buy food. They sold themselves into slavery for food (Genesis 47).
9. Jacob was 130 years old when he went to Egypt and lived another seventeen years, for a total of 147 years.
10. When Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, he crossed his hands so that his right hand was upon Ephraim, the youngest and his left hand was upon Manasseh, the eldest.
Bonus: Israel asked Jacob to swear an oath that he would not bury his bones in Egypt but, rather, in Canaan.
A Sign of the Times — Food Pollution
“Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them (Jeremiah 29:5).”
In the huge doldrums of the great Pacific Ocean is a large swirling mass of mostly plastic debris. It is contained in a slow clockwise movement of ocean currents and gentle breezes called the North Pacific Gyre. Some say this ocean “garbage patch” is twice the size of the state of Texas, others say twice the size of the United States, but whatever its size, it is only one of five such major gyres in the world, five swirling masses of umbrella handles, cigarette lighters, ropes, toothbrushes, plastic beverage bottles, bottle caps, plastic utensils, etc. Once the “disposable” plastic makes its way into the gyre, it becomes stuck in the gyre’s circuitous route, and, to our knowledge, plastic never biodegrades in seawater. It simply breaks down, over time, into smaller and smaller pieces of whole plastic, pieces small enough for fish, birds, and other sea life to eat, mistaking it for the food they usually ingest.
Last month we highlighted world pollution as a sign of the time to be found just prior to Christ’s return, and the contamination of the ocean is certainly a major part of the world’s pollution, but this month we would like to focus, in a limited way, on the effect this and other pollution has on part of the world’s food supply.
One researcher has reported that he is starting to find more plastic than natural food in some of the fish he examines. This can affect humans due to the fact that plastic can leech toxic compounds with which it is made into substances with which it comes into contact, i.e., the fish. Plastic not only leeches, however, but also absorbs hydrophobic chemicals like dioxin, P.C.B.s, and D.D.T. These substances are highly controlled in the United States but are less so elsewhere, and they are surprisingly abundant on the oceans surface. So, plastic, in effect, becomes a poison pill when it absorbs these chemicals like a sponge and is then eaten by sea life. This could, in turn, affect us if we eat the fish, the oyster, the shrimp, etc., for these toxins bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues as they move up the food chain.
Ocean fish are not the only fish to experience contamination, however. Native Americans (who eat up to eleven times more fish than other Americans) near the Columbia River in the state of Washington, for example, face dramatically higher risks of disease by eating the fish out of this river because of heavy metal pollution of the river water and because of plumes of highly radioactive substances in the groundwater.
The presence of contaminates in ocean and fresh water is just one area of concern when we contemplate our food supply. The presence of pesticides and other chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics, as well as diseases in the animals themselves, are also concerns when we consider including animal meat and animal by-products in our diets. What is one to do? We can dare to be like Daniel! “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank (Daniel 1:8).”
One hundred seven years ago, in 1902, Ellen G. White told us that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 135; emphasis supplied).” Why not move into the country (if you are not already there), “plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them (Jeremiah 29:5)” instead? Onycha Holt
Vitamin D is really not a vitamin at all but a very important prohormone that is needed by every cell in the body, and the alarming consequences of a deficiency of this prohormone should cause all of us “inside” people to stand in the sunshine and take note! Vitamin D is needed to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and thus aids in forming and maintaining strong bones. Insufficient vitamin D can cause nonspecific muscle and bone aches, chronic fatigue, rickets in children, osteoporosis, and weakness in the lower extremities and is related to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, more severe asthma in children, and inflammatory bowel disease. And this is what research is telling us so far!
There are several different forms of vitamin D, but two forms important to humans are vitamin D2, which is synthesized by plants, and vitamin D3, which is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B rays.
Vitamin D is fat soluble and is naturally produced by the human body when the body is exposed to direct sunlight, but season, geographic latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and the use of sunscreen all affect our ultraviolet exposure and the ensuing vitamin D synthesis in the body. It is, therefore, important for individuals with limited sun exposure to include good sources of vitamin D in their diets or lifestyles. Extra vitamin D or extra exposure to the sun is also recommended for people of dark skin because their skin has increased amounts of melanin, which filter ultraviolet light, and for older adults (age 50 and above) because their skin no longer produces vitamin D as efficiently as in earlier years. Food sources of vitamin D are fish, eggs, fortified milk and breakfast cereals, and cod liver oil. Very little amounts of vitamin D, if any, are found in plant foods, so it is important for vegetarians to expose themselves to sufficient ultraviolet B rays or to take a supplement, but too much supplemental vitamin D can have a detrimental effect on the body, so please obtain advice from your health care provider.
Ultraviolet rays are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun and is made up of three parts – ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B, and ultraviolet C rays. Ultraviolet B rays penetrate the skin to a depth that allows the body to start the process of producing vitamin D.
Production of vitamin D in nature always appears to require the presence of ultraviolet light. Fish, for example, contain vitamin D only because part of their diet is algae, which synthesize vitamin D in shallow waters from the action of solar ultraviolet rays. Fur and feathers will block UV rays from reaching the skin, but creatures with such coverings, interestingly, generally maintain their vitamin D levels because vitamin D is generated from the oily secretions of the skin which are deposited onto the fur or feathers and are then ingested during daily grooming.
The sun’s rays above 42 degrees north latitude (a line approximately between the northern border of California and Boston) are insufficient for vitamin D synthesis in North America from November through February. In far northern latitudes, this reduced intensity of ultraviolet energy lasts for up to six months, and there is almost never enough sunlight in the arctic circles to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D in the body. Latitudes below 34 degrees north (a line between Los Angeles and Columbia, South Carolina) allow for production of vitamin D throughout the year.
Complete cloud cover reduces ultraviolet energy by 50%, and shade (including that produced by severe pollution) reduces it by 60%. Ultraviolet B radiation does not penetrate glass, so exposure to sunshine indoors through a closed window does not produce vitamin D. Sunscreens with a sun protection factor of 8 or more appear to block vitamin D-producing ultraviolet rays, although, in practice, people generally do not apply sunscreen correctly or in sufficient amounts so that some synthesis of vitamin D usually occurs.
It has been suggested by some researchers that approximately 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen and at appropriate latitudes usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis in light-skinned people and that the moderate use of commercial tanning beds that emit 2-6% UVB radiation is also effective. Please use discretion and obtain advice from your health care worker again, as too much UVB (and UVA) may be related to skin cancer.
To summarize, vitamin D plays an important role in the maintenance of systems:
It should be noted that in the absence of vitamin K or with drugs (particularly blood thinners) that interfere with vitamin K metabolism, vitamin D can promote soft tissue calcification.
Sunlight is one of God’s great gifts and one of the eight natural remedies we can employ to facilitate excellent health. You may wish to visit some of these references in your study of the powerful benefits of vitamin D:
Ukraine Trip Report
By Allen Stump
In September 2008, I received word from a brother in the Ukraine that he had translated my book, The Foundation of our Faith, into the Russian language. A young, but zealous Andriy Shcherba was working in Ukraine among several different Adventist groups, and he had accepted the message on the truth about God and was sharing it everywhere he went. Making copies one at a time on a laser printer, he was also distributing my book. We exchanged a few letters, but then the correspondence dropped off for a while.
Soon after returning from South America in March 2009, I wrote Andriy to see how he was doing and how the work was progressing. He wrote back that a conference was scheduled in the city of Yevpatoriia, Ukraine for the purpose of non-trinitarian Adventists meeting and networking with each other. He asked if I would be interested in attending. Of course, I was greatly interested in attending. As we prayed about the visit, the doors seemed to open, and we believed we should walk through them.
My schedule at this time only allowed me to be away from the office a maximum of two weeks (counting travel time). The trip was planned so that I would arrive in the Ukraine in time to attend the weekend conference and then spend the following week, including Sabbath, holding meetings with fellow believers in the Ukraine before returning home via the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, I planned to meet with brothers and sisters for one evening before returning to the United States the next morning.
Upon arriving in Kiev, Ukraine, I was warmly greeted by Brother Andriy. We then quickly went to greet brothers and sisters at Sister Valentina’s home in Kiev and have a bowl of borscht before catching a train for the journey to Yevpatoriia. Another brother, Alexander, joined us as we left Kiev. Yevpatoriia is located in the south of Ukraine in the Crimea region on the north side of the Black Sea. We traveled through the night and in the morning were greeted by Brother Egar, who continued with us on the next train.
Arriving in Yevpatoriia, we were greeted by Pastor Alexander Menovshchikov and several brothers and sisters who wished to welcome us and make us feel at home. All along the way, I was treated very well by these dear brothers and sisters and was made to feel right at home.
We were then taken to the home of one of the local church elders where we were housed during the conference with the greatest of hospitality!
Pastor Alexander and the fellowship he pastors are former members of the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement. They were part of a group that never accepted the trinity doctrine, and as the Reform Movement began pressuring groups in the last few years to conform to the trinity doctrine, the church in Yevpatoriia was pressured also. This group and others would not compromise the truth for the sake of unity, and they were put out of the Reform Movement. I was told that there are more than a score of churches that are faithful to the first commandment.
The conference began Friday evening with Pastor Alexander sharing a powerful message on God’s desire for his people and on giving praise to God for all his goodness. This meeting, as all the Sabbath meetings, was interlaced with much singing and special selections of music.
On Sabbath morning, the head elder shared a message about the necessity of keeping all the commandments, including the first, and he warned against false worship. There was more singing and many of the Russian songs I could recognize by the tunes. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the choir sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
I was asked to present the main Sabbath worship message. Andriy knows much English and his translating skills are still being honed, but God blessed him to be able to get all the points across to the people as I spoke on God’s church, his love for it, and the work it has in giving the three angels’ messages.
I was told about thirty-fivepeople were expected to attend the conference from different parts of the Ukraine and from Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. It was a great joy to meet these people. Including myself, there were at least five different countries represented. Furthermore, the local church has over fifty souls who regularly attend Sabbath services, so, combined with the many brothers and sisters visiting from other areas, there was an attendance of about 125 souls on Sabbath!
After my presentation, there was a fellowship luncheon and then many went a short distance to the coast of the Black Sea for a few minutes of fresh air.
In the evening, Brother Uri had a PowerPoint presentation on order in gospel work. It was well received and very well laid out.
On Sunday, there was a meeting during which general points of the work were discussed and many questions that people had were answered. Some of the topics included the nature of Jesus, the relationship of the Holy Spirit to God and Christ, tithes and their proper use, questions on Bible texts such as Matthew 28:19 and 1 John 5:7, and questions on some details concerning the beliefs of our pioneers.
The meeting was held in a most excellent spirit and in much love. I pray that much good will come from this meeting and that the fire that was lit will not go out.
After our meetings at Yevpatoriia, we prepared our belongings for travel to Feodosiia, a city also located in the Crimea. We traveled by bus most of the afternoon and early evening before we arrived in Feodosiia,the home city of Eager. The next day we met at a sister’s apartment with twelve believers who were eager to hear about the work of God in other parts of the world. After discussing the work in other parts of the world and especially my recent trip to South America, we studied the love of God in giving his Son for us and the sacrifice of the Father, illustrated in the Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac, as recorded in Genesis chapter 22.
After our meeting, we enjoyed very good food and then went to the bus station for an all-night trip to Nikolayev, a ship-building town on the Black Sea. After a mini-bus ride for one-half an hour and a walk of about an hour, we arrived at Sister Helena’s apartment. We were provided a delicious breakfast, following which meetings were held. We met with a small group and discussed the work in different parts of the world and then studied some points on church organization.
After more visiting, we had a nice meal and were off to the train station again for an all-night ride to central Ukraine where we were to meet with more brothers and sisters.
In Zaporizhzhia, we met about a dozen believers at Sister Zena’s home for studies and communion service. This was a very precious time together. We studied faith in Christ and his acceptance of us, and I also shared more of what is happening in the world field. The time seemed to go by very quickly, and by near evening we still had not had the communion service. Three sisters had traveled about 150 miles by train to attend this meeting and were afraid that they could not stay longer and still connect with their train ride home. I had just told a story about George Muller and his faith in making an appointment despite fog that threatened to stop his travel. Someone said that maybe God would provide a way for these sisters to attend communion as he had provided for Muller in the fog. I suggested that we pray in faith as Muller had in our story, so we prayed earnestly in faith that God would open a way for the sisters to stay. Brother Alexander checked the train schedules and found that there was a train that they could take at ten that night, and they were more than happy to stay and take the late train!
Most of the believers at this meeting had been disfellowshiped from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For some of them, this was their first communion service outside of the mainline denomination, and they were very thankful for it. I spoke on the assurance that we can have in Jesus and that we need not be afraid of the judgment if our lives are hid in Christ. One sister began to cry and said that she was afraid. I gently read to her the assurances of God’s Word and emphasized that by faith we can claim every promise of God as our very own as long as we meet the conditions upon which they are based.
It was with sadness that we had to leave that night for our next train trip, this time to Lubny. Eager had left earlier to accompany the three sisters to the train station where Andriy and I were to meet him later. When Andriy and I left Zena’s home, we thought that we had plenty of time to reach the train station by walking, but, after literally running with our luggage, we realized that we could not get there in time. We found a taxi to take us the last couple of miles and arrived with only a couple of minutes to spare! Gladly, we found out that we were on the same train as our sisters, so there were a few more hours, though late, given to visiting.
Arriving in the morning at Pomodan, we took another train to Lubny where Brother Nicholi was waiting to meet us. He and his wife, Oksana, hosted us for the next twenty-four hours. We were provided with very good food and fellowship. Here I also met Brother Sergej, who has been working very hard to share the truth about God with many people. These believers had rented a classroom in Lubny for our meeting, and many were invited to hear a presentation on the truth about God. There were various people at this meeting. One young man named Alexander had been a member of the Russian Orthodox Church but had come to the conviction that the trinity doctrine could not be correct. He was honestly searching for truth. He sported a long black beard which he would often stroke with his hand as I made point after point from the Bible. Also, the pastor from the local Seventh-day Adventist Church was present. After the presentation, he had some questions, which we answered, but he said that he still believed in the trinity. I invited him to come to Nicholi’s home for further discussions, but he made it clear he did not wish to discuss it any further.
On Friday, we traveled to the capital city of Kiev to hold meetings on Sabbath. Most of these believers still attend a mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church in the morning and then have a study meeting in the afternoon, so we attended the corporate church meeting with them in the morning. The main church in Kiev is very large. The attendance was at least 500 on this Sabbath. We met in a Sabbath School room with some younger people (twenty to thirty years old), and Andriy and Eager were able to share many points. The lesson was on faith, and I shared a few points at the end concerning “the faith (Jude 3)” as a system of beliefs and that we were to hold fast to the faith that we had been given by God after 1844. By this time, however, the teacher was not so willing to discuss this issue further and told me briskly that the pioneers also “ate pig, drank wine, and smoked.” (I would hear this again later.) I told him that was not all true, and God, concerning the eating of pork, corrected the brethren through the prophet. I then stated that the pioneers were never rebuked by Ellen White for their position on God and asked if eating pork was worse than false ideas about God, but the teacher simply turned around, noting that the time for the class was over.
We stayed for the worship service in the hopes of being able to talk to the pastor afterwards. The service was devoted to ordaining two men to be local elders in the church. To the pastor’s credit, he gave them a good charge to follow the Bible and not traditions. Immediately after the service, the pastor had a fifteen minute meeting with the Sabbath School Department of the church and then we were able to approach him. Seeing that he was very busy, I introduced myself to him and noted that I would be in Kiev until Monday afternoon and wanted to know if there was any free time in his schedule to be able to meet with him. He greeted us in a friendly manner and noted that he would have some free time on Monday morning at ten. We were thankful for the chance we were given and said that we would see him in his office then.
That afternoon we met with the believers and discussed what has proven to be the most interesting topic to the people of Ukraine-how the message on the truth about God is being received in the rest of the world. In the evening, after food, we studied the issue of God’s true church and Babylon and what our proper relationship is to each. This was a most interesting discussion and one that I believe is very important for people to correctly understand today.
On Sunday, I was taken by Andriy, Eager, and Sister Valentina, who was hosting our meetings in Kiev, on a tour of the city. Kiev is a very large city with over three million people and is one of the oldest cities of eastern Europe. Throughout history, its people have had many difficult times, especially during the reign of Stalin when many people died of famine.
Kiev has many Russian Orthodox churches that are magnificent to behold. There are gilded domes and much gilded work on the outside and the inside of the buildings. Some of these church buildings are almost 1,000 years old, yet they have no function in the sense of true worship. They hold no services where the people can come to hear the Word of God preached. I did not see any “pews” or similar seating for a congregation in any of the church buildings I visited. There are many icons and pictures in the churches to which people pray, and there are places to light candles. The Sunday we were in Kiev was considered by the Russian Orthodox Church to be Palm Sunday. Almost all the women of town had bought, from thousands of vendors, sprays of greenery to commemorate the “holy day,” and many had lined up in front of the church buildings, waiting for a priest to come outside and bless them and their sprays.
I was greatly appalled by this idolatry that was everywhere present. Equally sad was the number of beggars near the churches most of whom were old or disabled people who could not work but were members of the Russian Orthodox Church, as are almost all the people in this area. My mind went to the papacy and how there are treasures untold at the Vatican and yet many of their members are of the poorest lot in life. I then wondered how the priests and leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church could live so comfortably in their lifestyles and could have domes of gold on their buildings while there were destitute people right at their doors. This is not right. God is taking an account of this and will one day require from those who gained from filthy lucre.
On Sunday evening, we had another study with some of the believers in Kiev, this time on the unity of the character of the Father and the Son. It was hard to say the final good-byes to these people who have been so sweet.
On Monday morning, I went to see the pastor at his office. Andriy came along as my translator, and Eager accompanied us as well but was silent during my conversation with the pastor. The pastor greeted us nicely and allowed us an hour of his time. Upon greeting him, I learned that he is a fourth generation Adventist. Learning this, I mentioned that for the last twenty years I had studied our history and had learned some very startling facts. I told him that his first generation Adventist ancestors would find the church different today and that, in fact, our early pioneers could not join the church today because they did not believe in the trinity doctrine.
We reviewed the history of the Adventist beliefs and how Ellen White encouraged the pioneers in their work and teachings yet was quick to rebuke error when it came into the church such as she did with Dr. Kellogg. We then noted that Sister White never rebuked the pioneers for their non-trinitarian views. We gave the pastor a Russian copy of the book The Foundation of our Faith, explaining that it gave the history of the teaching about God in the Advent Movement, and, noting that our doctrines should be determined by the Bible and not by history, the book also integrated the theology of the doctrine of God with the history. I encouraged the pastor to share the truth with his congregation, but if he found anything that would not stand the test of Scripture to contact me and show me the error, for I only wanted to know and present the truth.
The pastor explained that he believed in the trinity and that truth was progressive. He stated that the issue of the Godhead was one area in which the pioneers were in error but about which they were later corrected. He also noted that the pioneers had eaten pig, had drunk wine, and had smoked tobacco but that God had corrected them. We agreed that God had corrected them on the issue of pork, but I asked if eating pork was worse than worshiping a false god. His logic was that eating pork was worse than worshiping a false deity since God had corrected the pioneers early on the issue of diet but had waited for more than fifty years to correct them about himself. Furthermore, the broad issue of health reform had been established earlier and the later correction of using pork as an article of food was a detail of that larger picture.
We then noted that, while Proverbs 4:18 does indeed state that the light of truth is progressive, new truth will complement and not be in opposition to the old truth. Clearly, trinitarianism was not a development of the doctrine that the pioneers taught from the Bible. We noted that the trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Church, that it is the foundation of all the other teachings of Catholism, and that the papacy openly states that this doctrine is based in the traditions of the church instead of in the Bible.
The pastor told us he also believed in the trinity because the term is used in the writings of Ellen White. We explained that she never used this term and that some who had translated certain Ellen White books had taken it upon themselves to not accurately translate everything properly. For example, in the Russian edition of the book Evangelism the term “heavenly trio” is translated as “Trinity.”
All of these points seemed to have little, if any, effect upon the pastor. After about an hour, he indicated that he had other appointments. We took a picture together and left with the hope that he will, at least, think some on the truth we discussed and read the book that we left him. After a quick lunch, we were on our way to the airport and my return home.
From Kiev, I flew to Amsterdam as part of my return flight. One usually does not like an overnight layover, but this flight was a blessing, for it gave me the chance to leave the airport for the evening and visit with about a dozen waiting brothers and sisters. Sister Jenny Alberto, sister of Elvis Alberto, hosted a meeting where I was able to share some experiences of my visit to the Ukraine as well as to study some of the finer points of the issue of the church of God and Babylon. Some of those at the meeting had read the article we recently published on the church of God and wanted to discuss it further.
It was certainly a great blessing to visit with these brothers and sisters and to hear of the gospel work they had been doing.
The next morning, I resumed my travel back to the United States. In retrospect, I can see again how blessed the people in the United States and other English-speaking countries are, for they have the opportunity to read a good translation of the Bible in the King James Version and also to read Ellen White’s writings in the original language. Furthermore, many people in countries such as the Ukraine have a limited amount of the Spirit of Prophecy writings available to them in their native languages. God, however, has a plan to make the truth clear and plain to each person who really wants to know the truth, regardless of the handicaps they face.
God has a work going on in the old USSR and I know that there are many more good things going on in areas that we have not heard of yet. Please pray that the blessings of this last trip will continue and that Jesus will come soon!?
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
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013