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.8 Straight and Narrow August 2009
“The moral fall of the Protestant churches in general brings us to the point where we are able to say, in the language of the Second Angel’s Message, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen’ (J. N. Andrews -- The Three Messages of Revelation 14:6-12).”
The Second Angel’s Message
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (Revelation 14:8).”
The second angel’s message is the shortest of the three angels’ messages. There is no command in the message, just simply a statement of fact that Babylon is fallen and that she has made all nations drink of her wine. In the first angel’s message we were told to fear God, give glory to him, and worship him as Creator. While there is no command in the second angel’s message, there is a response that we must give to the message.
God never brings destruction without first giving a warning. Before he brought the great flood, he commissioned Noah, “a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5),” to preach a warning message for 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Before God destroyed Sodom, he sent two angels to warn any who would listen (Genesis 19).
Before the destruction of this world, God sends a message of warning to the world. In Ezekiel 22:29, 30, God said: “The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” God was wanting someone to stand in the gap to make up the hedge. He needs men and women today, but few will stand in the gap. Few even know what the hedge is that has been broken, but God is going to have a people who will be faithful and give all three angels’ messages. You have to understand them, however, before you can share them.
Who is Babylon? Who is this Babylon mentioned in Revelation 14:8, and what has caused her to fall? What will be her judgment, and how can we come out of Babylon?
Before the second angel’s message is given, the message of the first angel must be given and received. If we do not understand, comprehend, or appreciate and believe the first angel’s message, the second angel’s message cannot be understood nor appreciated. According to the first angel’s message, we are living in the anti-typical day of atonement. The day of atonement was the atonement of all atonements (Leviticus 23:27, 28). It was the only feast day that had a prohibition against work equal to that of the 4th commandment. The children of Israel were to do no work on that day (Leviticus 16:29). This was to represent to them the righteousness which comes from faith alone in Christ. All the works of Babylon are the works of man and not God and run counter to God and his plans.
To better understand modern mystical Babylon, let us look back at ancient Babylon. Babylon’s beginnings are told in Genesis 10:8-10:
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Nimrod was the first person who accepted the title of king and by this very act displayed rebellion and defiance to God, who was to be the King. Other rulers simply claimed to be a viceroy, the one who stands in the place of the king. God was acknowledged as king, and it was too close to the time of the flood to deny God. Instead, Nimrod claimed to be king.
Babylon was founded for two reasons. Firstly, “The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God’s covenant that he would not again bring a flood upon the earth (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 119).” So, unbelief or lack of faith was the first reason for Babylon. Secondly, Babylon was founded because of rebellion against God and his command to disperse.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:2-4).
God also had told Noah’s descendants to replenish the “earth” (Genesis 9:1).” They were not to live in just one area. God’s direction was to disperse, but instead: “They built them a city, and then conceived the idea of building a large tower to reach unto the clouds, that they might dwell together in the city and tower, and be no more scattered (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 91).” So, the two principles behind Babylon were unbelief and rebellion, the very same two issues that are part of modern-day Babylon. Babel was a project begun in defiance to God, and all that it stood for was in defiance to God.
In the Bible, the name Babel means confusion. “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth (Genesis 11:9).” If you had asked one of the workers from the plain of Shinar, however, what the name meant, you would have gotten a different definition. To the builders of Babel, the name signified “Gate of God.” The inhabitants of Babel said that their city was the gate or way to God. The route to heaven was through Babel. Even today, the leaders of Babylon claim that Babylon is the gate to God, but Babylon is no more the gate or way to God today than it was in ancient times.
Even after God destroyed the Tower of Babel and confounded the languages of the people, causing many to scatter, the attractions of Babylon were still strong to the carnal mind, to those who did not have the glory and honor of God first. When Israel went to fight against Ai, they were repulsed. The reason was given in Joshua 7:1: “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” What was one of the accursed things? “A goodly Babylonish garment (verse 21)!” But what was good about it? It appealed to the carnal mind and cost the lives of thirty-six men!
Babylon was later the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. It was square foot for square foot the most glorious-to-the-eye city ever built, but one night the Medes and Persians came knocking, and that was the beginning of the end. The city was step-by-step destroyed and has been uninhabited until this day.
Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. … Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation (Jeremiah 50:13, 39).
Men through the ages have considered re-establishing Babylon, but it cannot happen. Saddam Hussein began a rebuilding program in defiance of the God of heaven. The project was started but later began to crumble and the city was not inhabited. So the Babylon of Revelation 14:8 cannot be the literal city but a mystical city. In fact, there are two cites in the book of Revelation that are set in contradistinction one to the other. One is mystic Babylon, and the other is the New Jerusalem. The first is mystic and operative in the minds of people. It is also symbolic “in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion (The Great Controversy, p. 381).” In its most broad sense, Babylon is used to represent every false religious system. We will also find that it can have a restricted meaning.
The First Angel’s Message
To be able to properly understand and appreciate the second angel’s message and its need to be given, we must have a comprehension of the first angel’s message. In that message we see the proclamation of the everlasting gospel, the command to fear and reverence God, to give glory to him, and to worship him as Creator upon his Sabbath day. We are also to acknowledge the beginning of the investigative judgment. This message of the first angel and the giving of the judgment hour message began with William Miller and others such as Charles Fitch and Josiah Litch in the United States and with men from different parts of the world like Joseph Wolff. They were proclaiming from 1831 until 1844 that Jesus was coming back in judgment upon the earth.
History of the Second Angel’s Message
The second angel’s message is God’s reaction to the people’s response to the first angel’s message. How thankful we should be as a people to have the inspired account of the history of the giving of the first and second angels’ messages.
The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that “Babylon is fallen,... because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all nations do this (The Great Controversy, p. 389).
Interestingly, here we see that although the churches did not fall as low as they could fall, they fell far enough to be out of favor with God. Some may think that a church has to fall in every respect to be rejected of God, but that is not true.
Those who rejected and opposed the light of the first angel’s message, lost the light of the second, and could not be benefited by the power and glory which attended the message, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.” Jesus turned from them with a frown; for they had slighted and rejected Him (Early Writings, p. 249).
We usually picture Jesus as sweet, loving, and kind, and he is, but notice that he can frown and disapprove when we reject the message sent by him.
In the summer of 1844, the parable of the ten virgins containing the midnight cry was considered present truth: “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him (Matthew 25:6).” The churches that had rejected the first angel’s message were considered to be fallen. In fact, Ellen White declares that Jesus turned his face from these churches that despised his coming.
Very many raised their voices to cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” and left their brethren who did not love the appearing of Jesus, and who would not suffer them to dwell upon His second coming. I saw Jesus turn His face from those who rejected and despised His coming, and then He bade angels lead His people out from among the unclean, lest they should be defiled. Those who were obedient to the message stood out free and united. A holy light shone upon them. They renounced the world, sacrificed their earthly interests, gave up their earthly treasures, and directed their anxious gaze to heaven (Ibid., pp. 249, 250).
Jesus sent angels to those who accepted the first angel’s message as they withdrew from those churches that did not accept the message. These believers then proclaimed the second angel’s message. The message that your church has fallen might not seem like the kind of heart-warming message that would attract people, but interestingly, this is exactly what happened.
In every part of the land, light was given upon the second angel’s message, and the cry melted the hearts of thousands. It went from city to city, and from village to village, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. In many churches the message was not permitted to be given, and a large company who had the living testimony left these fallen churches. A mighty work was accomplished by the midnight cry. The message was heart-searching, leading the believers to seek a living experience for themselves. They knew that they could not lean upon one another (Ibid., p. 238).
We might wonder how such a message could have this kind of effect upon the hearts of the people. As the second angel’s message was proclaimed, it was given with the first angel’s message, and the gospel warmed and melted hearts. When believers really desire truth, it will be precious even if it means the church that they once loved is fallen. Knowing that you now have the approval of Jesus in a way you did not have before is wonderful.
The message of the second angel is to be repeated. In Revelation 18, we hear another angel proclaiming:
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies (Revelation 18:2, 3).
Thus the substance of the second angel’s message is again given to the world by that other angel who lightens the earth with his glory. These messages all blend in one, to come before the people in the closing days of this earth’s history. All the world will be tested, and all that have been in the darkness of error in regard to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will understand the last message of mercy that is to be given to men (Manuscript Releases, no. 17, p. 23).
When Jesus began his public ministry, he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Among the last acts of his ministry was the second cleansing of the temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel’s message is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” And in the loud cry of the third angel’s message a voice is heard from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities (The Review and Herald, December 6, 1892).
The purpose of the first angel’s message was to separate the Christian from the world, and yet many chose the world over Jesus.
It was to separate the church of Christ from the corrupting influence of the world that the first angel’s message was given. But with the multitude, even of professed Christians, the ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom, and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 231).
Beloved, when we say that Babylon is not fallen, we are rejecting the second angel’s message and declaring that we know more about the matter than God.
More on Ancient Babylon
Concerning ancient Babylon, God used Babylon and specifically King Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of chastisement, but there came a time when God said that Babylon had exceeded her authority, and judgment was set against her. God instructed Isaiah to set a watchman:
Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed: And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground (Isaiah 21:5-9).
The two horsemen represented Media-Persia. Babylon is said to be fallen, and all its images are broken to the ground. Of course, mystic Babylon has idols too. Coming out of Babylon includes getting rid of all of our idols. Last year I was in the Vatican. One can see idols everywhere there, but you do not have to go to Rome or even to Silver Spring, Maryland, where there is an idol called “the church” to find idols to worship. God tells us that he is going to break all these idols and cast them to the ground. Jeremiah notes:
Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies (Jeremiah 51:7-9).
Babylon the Great and her Daughters
God would have healed Babylon if she had submitted to him, and he would have used the Protestants at 1844 and thereafter if he could have, but they would not submit to his ways. Their lack of faith and rebellion disqualified them to do God’s work. In Revelation 17:1-6, we find why God’s judgment falls upon mystical Babylon:
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
This Babylon is not alone. She has daughters. Babylon is mentioned in Revelation 14, 16, 17, and 18. In the specific context of Revelation 14:8, the second angel’s message, we find this application given by the Spirit of Prophecy:
The term Babylon, derived from Babel, and signifying confusion, is applied in Scripture to the various forms of false or apostate religion. But the message announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to some religious body that was once pure, and has become corrupt. It cannot be the Romish Church which is here meant; for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. But how appropriate the figure as applied to the Protestant churches, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 232, 233).
In Revelation 17, however, we now have a different application to Babylon, for here she is called the mother of harlots.
In Revelation 17, Babylon is represented as a woman, a figure which is used in the Scriptures as the symbol of a church. A virtuous woman represents a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church. Babylon is said to be a harlot; and the prophet beheld her drunken with the blood of saints and martyrs. The Babylon thus described represents Rome, that apostate church which has so cruelly persecuted the followers of Christ. But Babylon the harlot is the mother of daughters who follow her example of corruption. Thus are represented those churches that cling to the doctrines and traditions of Rome and follow her worldly practices, and whose fall is announced in the second angel's message (Ibid., p. 233).
Babylon is said to be “the mother of harlots.” By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world (The Great Controversy, pp. 382, 383).
Remember that when a harlot has a child it takes the name of the mother, for there is no father present. What name can the daughters of Babylon have? Babylon!
What were the churches tested upon in the summer of 1844? Remember, “The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message (The Great Controversy, p. 389).”
The Sabbath message had not been given. They were not tested on the Sabbath, although the Sabbath is to be a great testing truth in the end of time. Neither was the truth about God preached as many of the Advent preachers such as William Miller were trinitarians. The sanctuary doctrine of Jesus in the most holy place was not understood. In fact, one of the key components of the message, the identity of the sanctuary, was wrong. Were these churches tested on spiritualism in the form of the immortal soul? No. While George Storrs began to preach the mortality of the soul in 1841 and convinced Charles Fitch early in 1844 of this truth, there was still great opposition to the teaching by William Miller, Josiah Litch, and others.
So, we see that many of the doctrines that we consider to be foundational and that make up pillars of our faith today were not testing truths at that time. The churches, however, rejected the message about the second coming of Jesus and the midnight cry, and in that rejection of light God held them accountable! Even though they did not fall to the lowest state, they were rejected based upon the light that they had received. Notice the principle. They rejected advancing light because they did not have a love for the truth, and, therefore, they were rejected.
So when men now despise the warnings which God in mercy sends them, his Spirit after a time ceases to arouse conviction in their hearts. God gives light to be cherished and obeyed, not to be despised and rejected. The light which he sends becomes darkness to those who disregard it. When the Spirit of God ceases to impress the truth upon the hearts of men, all hearing is vain, and all preaching also is vain.
When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the Advent message, the Lord rejected them. (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 233).
Again, were they tested on the Sabbath or the sanctuary? No, and we have so much more light today. Can we be held less accountable? Of course not. A proper attitude to the truth is imperative if we wish to maintain the favor of God.
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 2:9-12).
The issue to us should not be if we will obey the truth but simply what is the truth that we are to obey. God is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). If we love the truth we will be safe, for he will guide us into all truth, but if we do not love the truth and react properly to it, we will be lost. A good thermometer to gauge our spiritual temperature with God is our attitude towards the truth. If we love God, we will love the truth, and if we realize that we do not love truth, it is because we do not truly love God.
The First Call to Come Out of Babylon
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran (Genesis 12:1-4).
This is the first call in the Bible to come out of Babylon. Abraham did not have a map of the promised land nor a GPS receiver to guide him. He had no reports of a good land ahead, but, by faith based in the word of God, he departed. He left Ur of the Chaldees in the land of Shinar. Did Abraham say, “I think I will wait until the Sunday law comes, or wait until the church starts keeping Sunday full-time before I leave”? No, he left on the command of God.
In this call, there were three distinct parts. Abraham was to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house. While we may not leave our country, we are not to be a part of the political sphere of our country. It is time for God’s people to dissolve the 501-c3 corporations and quit asking for and accepting favors from the government. We are to even leave our church families (brothers and sisters — kindred) behind if they refuse to advance in truth. Finally, Abraham had to leave his father’s house or his immediate family. It was not until Abraham had made this separation that God showed him the promised land. Abraham left Ur, then Terah his father died, and then because of the strife between the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham, Lot left for the Jordan Valley. After that we read:
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever (Genesis 13:14, 15).
Beloved, Abraham could not receive the promise until he was all the way out, and neither will we receive the promise unless we are willing to come all the way out of all of Babylon. We are not given the option of just coming out part of the way; we are to come fully out of Babylon. “Those who are truly sanctified will reverence and obey the Word of God as fast as it is opened to them, and they will express a strong desire to know what is truth on every point of doctrine (Faith and Works, p. 121).”
Why Does God Call his People Out?
God is a holy God, and if we are to be in his presence forever, we must be a holy people. He wants us to be holy like he is: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16).” God is holy, and he desires those made in his image (Genesis 1:26) to be holy. Beloved, we cannot be in the pigpen and stay clean.
God’s desire for his people is stated in Numbers 23:9: “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and he still wants a holy, separate people unto himself.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
God wants to dwell with a holy and clean people. If they do not come away from Babylon, they will become like Babylon because that is what they are beholding (2 Corinthians 3:18). Sadly, the professed state of the church today is one of wickedness. Paul states:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
While this might sound like a list of the sins of the inhabitants of New York, San Francisco, or Las Vegas, Paul is not speaking about the world but, as we see in verse 5, of the professed people of God. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (verse 5).” They are the professed people of God, and, as in the counsel to the Corinthians, the command is to turn away from them and to disassociate from the world.
Let us be careful in this to not leave our witness behind. We are to let our light shine in the world that the world might receive the gospel. We are not to treat the world nor a worldly church as something that has a contaminating plague that can never be touched without defilement. We are in the world but are not to be of the world. We must balance witness and association. We do not worship in Catholic churches so we can witness to the people; instead, we find other ways to share our faith with them on the streets, in their homes, etc. Neither do we go to strip joints and houses of prostitution to save the hookers. There are better ways that God accepts. There are times that God sends men to places for a special witness such as when Paul visited the synogogues, yet this is not the normal pattern. We have this counsel to help us: “God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us (Early Writings, pp. 124, 125).”
All are Responsible for Themselves
God has a gospel order. He works through leaders and that is right, but historically the leaders of God’s people have been the ones who have led the people into sin.
For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).
My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray (Jeremiah 50:6).
While the leaders may be behind the apostasy, the individual person will still have to stand on his or her own and accept responsibility. God is sounding a warning in the second and fourth angels’ messages, and if we fail to listen, we cannot blame pastors or leaders for our downfall. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness (Ezekiel 14:20).”
Limited Knowledge is not Enough
As the worker studies the life of Christ, and the character of His mission is dwelt upon, each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last; and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years, he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness!” (1 Timothy 3:16.)
We talk about the first angel’s message and the second angel’s message, and we think we have some understanding of the third angel’s message. But as long as we are content with a limited knowledge, we shall be disqualified to obtain clearer views of truth (Gospel Workers, p. 251).
While knowledge will not of itself save us, we will not be saved without some knowledge. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).” It is through a knowledge of God and the promises of his word that we become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:2, 3). As one carefully studies the three angels’ messages, it becomes apparent that they are really about God and his character.
All of these messages are still important today. In fact, we have been told there is no third angel’s message without the first and second.
The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the third angel’s message. There cannot be a third without the first and second (Selected Messages, bk. 2, pp. 104, 105).
The proclamation of these messages is the most solemn work ever given to mortals: “The most solemn, sacred work ever given to mortals is the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages to our world (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 76).”
How Do We Relate to the SDA Church and the Second Angel’s Message?
Today there is much confusion about how the Seventh-day Adventist Church fits into the picture of Babylon. Is it still God’s church? Is it apostate? Is it in apostasy? Let us begin by noting a lesson from the Bible.
Jeremiah had given a prophecy that was considered of great value to the Jews. He wrote:
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
This seemed to the Jews pretty foolproof! As long as the sun was rising and setting, the moon was going through its phases, and the tides were coming in and out, Israel would be a nation forever before God. Every day the sun rose and the tides ascended and fell, the proud Jew could boast in his heart that he was the favorite of heaven.
The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven [do Adventists think this way also], and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 294).
When Jesus left the temple for the last time and said, “Behold, your house [not my Father’s house anymore] is left unto you desolate (Matthew 23:38),” you can be sure that the rabbis and priests were there to quote Jeremiah 31 and declare that Jesus was an imposter and a fraud, for he had broken God’s word. But there were two things that the Jews missed. One was within the prophecy of Jeremiah 31. The promise of verses 35-37 was to a people in whose heart his law was written (verse 33). If God’s law had been written in their hearts, they would never have lost favor with God, and they would never have killed the Son of God because they would have had the commandment in their hearts that said “Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13).” The Jews also failed to remember the words of another prophecy, found in Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.” While it may have appeared on the surface that the Jews were promised the kingdom no matter what transpired, the truth is they were accountable to truth. There is a lesson in all this for Adventism.
Christ would have averted the doom of the Jewish nation if the people had received Him. But envy and jealousy made them implacable. They determined that they would not receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. They rejected the Light of the world, and thenceforth their lives were surrounded with darkness as the darkness of midnight. The doom foretold came upon the Jewish nation. Their own fierce passions, uncontrolled, wrought their ruin. In their blind rage they destroyed one another. Their rebellious, stubborn pride brought upon them the wrath of their Roman conquerors. Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple laid in ruins, and its site plowed like a field. The children of Judah perished by the most horrible forms of death. Millions were sold, to serve as bondmen in heathen lands.
As a people the Jews had failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, and the vineyard was taken from them. The privileges they had abused, the work they had slighted, was entrusted to others.
The parable of the vineyard applies not alone to the Jewish nation. It has a lesson for us. The church in this generation has been endowed by God with great privileges and blessings, and He expects corresponding returns (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 295, 296).
Concerning our study of the testimonies, we have been given this simple but effective rule of interpretation: “Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 57).” So, to properly understand the testimonies we may have to know when it was written and the conditions around its writing. With this in mind, let us notice some statements that condemn calling the Seventh-day Adventist Church Babylon or a part of Babylon.
To claim that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, is to make the same claim as does Satan, who is an accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before God night and day. By this misusing of the Testimonies, souls are placed in perplexity, because they cannot understand the relation of the Testimonies to such a position as is taken by those in error; for God intended that the Testimonies should always have a setting in the framework of truth (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 42, 43; first published in The Review and Herald, August 29, 1893).
My brother, if you are teaching that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, you are wrong, God has not given you any such message to bear. Satan will use every mind to which he can attain access, inspiring men to originate false theories or go off on some wrong tangent, that he may create a false excitement, and thus divert souls from the true issue for this time (Ibid., p. 59, written from New Zealand and first published in The Review and Herald, September 12, 1893).
At the time of this testimony, there were some brethren in Australia who were declaring that the church was Babylon. Did they have a basis for saying such a thing at that time? No! In fact, not many months earlier Ellen White had written:
Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy. The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to his disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men. Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of him (The Review and Herald, November 22, 1892).
At the time some were proclaiming the church to be Babylon, the Spirit of Prophecy said that God was pouring out his Spirit upon the church and that the loud cry was beginning to sound. There is no way that such a church could be Babylon, but that was almost 117 years ago. Nobody believes it will take 117 years for the loud cry to do its work. Something happened to shut the loud cry off.
The questions that we must deal with are how does God look upon the “church” today and have time and place changed?
Fundamental to the issue is an understanding of the church. First Timothy 3:15 declares that “the church of the living God, [is] the pillar and ground of the truth.” If fundamental truth is lacking, no organization can truly be the church of the living God.
God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church (The Upward Look, p. 315).
From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 11).
Will the church who love God and keep his commandments accept the central doctrine of Catholic faith (the trinity)? Will faithful souls throw away the sanctuary doctrine and the final atonement for an evangelical mess of no-sanctification-pottage? Will the pillar and ground of truth deny the one who is the way and the truth and the life? Hardly! The true remnant keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). They will be a people within whose heart God’s law is enshrined. The promises of Jeremiah were and are true for a people wherein whose heart God’s law dwells. They will never be disposed from being his people. This would have been true for Judaism and is true for Adventism today, but there has been a highjacking of the movement.
If I go to a town and see a bar with the name “Paradise” above it, does that make the alcoholic establishment a paradise? If I see a Catholic church with the sign “True Church of God,” does that make it so? If I go to an Adventist church and see the title “Remnant” over it, does that make it so? Of course not. The name or profession means nothing without the life.
Now, let us go back to a basic point. The churches that fell from the favor of God in 1844 did not fall as far as they could have nor did they even have the Sabbath test given to them.
In Ezekiel chapter 8, there are four abominations listed that God saw among his people. This is clearly a vision for the last days and the last of the four abominations that Ezekiel records is the leaders of God’s people with their backs to the temple and their faces to the east, worshiping the sun. There are two wicked things here. The worship of the sun is bad, indeed, but they have their backs to the temple, to the sanctuary message, sanctification, and the final atonement.
Who will have the most required of them? Of course, the one who has been entrusted with the most. The greater the knowledge given, the more that will be expected. If God, in 1844, could take the nominal churches that had never had the light of the Sabbath nor of the sanctuary and reject them, what will he do with a people who have had the light that we have had?
Today there are Sunday sunrise services in Adventism, celebration services, ecumenical services with other churches, a disregard for the sanctuary message, low to no standards in dress and health reform, and a host of other issues that space forbids speaking of now. The statement on the sanctuary in our current fundamental principles has been written almost verbatim to match the language of the theology in Questions on Doctrine. We have denied the only true God and his Son. We have lightly regarded his Sabbath. Neurolinguistic programming and spiritualism have entered into the church. How much more must happen before God apologizes to the fallen churches of 1844 for his rejection of them while accepting Adventism which has had so much greater light? Beloved, let us not be deluded or hypnotized.
Before we can teach others to come out of Babylon we must come out of Babylon in all her forms. The teaching that Babylon is fallen and to come out has never been, nor ever will be, a popular message. If we, by God’s grace, have seen the brilliant light of the first angel’s message, we will not hold our peace to any who are in danger of perishing with Babylon.
Let us continue to remember those who were baptized during camp meeting–Alice, Andriana, Lois, Glenn, and Sarah–in prayer, asking God to bless and protect each one as they walk in newness of life. Let us also not forget the precious souls baptized during past camp meetings and overseas travels that they will continue to walk in God’s paths and remain faithful to him.
Also please see the notice on page 18 concerning the next GC Session and keep that in prayer.
Sister Kathie Shaffer has asked for prayer concerning a project. Please join us in prayer for her, and, finally, we remember each one of you that you, along with us, will hear that precious pronouncement, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).” Editors
REMEMBER THIS . . .
If you with someone’s
needs would share,
Remember first, his shoes to wear.
For our thoughts,
preconceived and blind,
Though meant so well, can be unkind.
The proofs we hold as
facts so plain,
May be opinions that we claim.
Look through his
eyes—feel with his soul.
Then go—and make his spirit whole!
Edith S. Witmer
Update from Venezuela
My family sends you many greetings and our brotherly love. We report that, slowly but surely, people with great conviction and faith have been added to the group “El manzano” in Barquisimeto. Attending regularly are ten to twelve people, including my family. The missionary work has also increased. About seven Adventists in two houses have asked us to study these issues with them. We also support three brothers in a village called “la Trinidad,” and we are also invited to the city of Guarenas. Brother Richard coordinates the brothers in the cities of Caracas, Guarenas, and Los Teques. I think the Lord is preparing us for something wonderful. Since your meetings in February at Hotel Bonyfran, there has been a lot of opposition, but it has also served as publicity to this message.
I am praying that the Lord continues to bless you and us all to victory. Your brother,
Youths’ Corner — Lewis Johnson
Do you think it would be fun to be a missionary? Our story this month is about two missionaries, and maybe the story will help you decide if it is fun to be a missionary.
The first person in our story is Lewis Johnson. He was born in 1851 on a little island in the country of Denmark, and when he was 19 years old he and his wife immigrated to the United States. They spoke Danish and very little English, and they settled on a small farm in West Dayton, Iowa, among eight other Danish families. They lived there for five years before they met their first Seventh-day Adventist, Elder J. F. Hanson, the second person in our story.
Lewis Johnson and his wife were Methodists, and he was the superintendent of the Sunday School at the church he and his wife attended. Lewis invited J. F. Hanson to come to his church and give a small talk at their Sunday School, which he did, and when the services were over, Lewis said to Elder Hanson, “We have heard you keep Saturday for Sunday, and we would like to know the reasons for such an odd custom, even though we think it is foolish.” Do you know what Elder Hanson said?! “I will be happy to do this! I will come next Tuesday and explain it to you.” He came the next Tuesday, and can you guess what he talked about? He spoke on Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, which says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Pastor Hanson emphasized the need to always walk in the fear of the Lord, but he also preached against the doctrine of the immortality of man, stating that although the words “spirit” and “soul” occur 1,700 times in the Bible, not once are they spoken of as immortal. His short sermon caused quite a stir in the neighborhood; everyone was talking about it.
Another meeting was scheduled for the next Tuesday evening, and between these two Tuesdays, Elder Hanson visited the Johnson home and stressed to Lewis and his family that they should not follow the customs of the world nor the commandments of man but should depend only upon God and his word. As Lewis listened, he found himself thinking, “This man is right.”
We do not know upon what topic Elder Hanson preached the second Tuesday evening, but before the third Tuesday night meeting, the Methodist minister began telling his people, “Elder Hanson has no right to be telling you these things. Don’t listen to him. Send him away.” When Elder Hanson arrived for the third meeting, Lewis Johnson could see that he looked tired and discouraged. Many people had told Elder Hanson that since everyone in the town was already a Christian, he should not preach in their neighborhood. He should, instead, go overseas and preach to people who did not know about Christ. Nevertheless, Elder Hanson came to the third meeting, unrolled a chart that he hung on the wall, and, after prayer, began to preach. Do you know what he spoke upon this night? Not the Sabbath at first, but he preached on the seal of God and the mark of the beast. Do you know where in the Bible the mark of the beast is mentioned? Revelation 14! It is in the third angel’s message! Elder Hanson was teaching the people about the third angel’s message! Something inside Lewis again impressed him that this man was right! At the end of his sermon, Elder Hanson explained to the people that the law of God was perfect and unchangeable and that the children of God should keep the seventh day holy. Then he asked if anyone was willing to obey God? Can you guess what happened next? To his Lewis’ own surprise, he stood up and said he wanted to keep the Sabbath holy, and his brother joined him! Now Elder Hanson was all smiles. He was no longer discouraged. He had thought no one was listening to him and that no one understood what he was saying or even cared, but Lewis Johnson and his brother were listening. Later on, both of their wives joined them in making the same decision. This happened around 1875 in the early years of the spread of Adventism across the United States.
Lewis Johnson, and others, asked Elder Hanson to baptize them, but Lewis was a little unsure because one of the rumors about Adventists that was circulating in his hometown concerned how Adventists baptized people. It was said they put all the baptismal candidates into a large lumber wagon, backed it into the river, and threw everyone from the wagon into the river at the same time, and the one who crawled to shore first was the best Adventist. This is what people were saying about Adventists, but Elder Hanson said, “No, no, Brother Lewis, that is not how we baptize.” Then he explained to Lewis what he could expect. Lewis realized this was just another way Satan was trying to stop the work of God in West Dayton, Iowa, and he would not let Satan prevent him from being baptized.
Now Lewis was on fire for the Lord, just like Elder Hanson was. Lewis went from town to town all around his home area and talked to the people about God. He went to his first camp meeting and met Elder James White, Sister Ellen White, Elder George Butler, and others and listened to them preach. He attended his first conference workers’ meeting and heard Elders D. M. Canright and E. W. Farnsworth preach, and when he was asked to be a minister, and he said, “Yes!”
Do you remember at the beginning of this story we asked if you thought being a missionary minister would be fun? Let me tell you some of the things that happened to Elder Lewis Johnson as he preached across the United States in the early years as the Advent Movement began to spread westward. Elder Johnson preached in towns where there was not a single Seventh-day Adventist. He was the only one who believed in the three angels’ messages, the seventh-day Sabbath, and the ministration of Jesus in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, and he began to get discouraged, just like Elder Hanson had been! One time he wrote home to his wife and said, “I think I will buy a big mirror and I will put this mirror up in my meetings so at least I can see one person who believes in the three angels’ messages.” Do you know who that one person would have been? It would have been himself, looking in the mirror, to help give him courage. Of course, I do not think he did that, but that is how he felt. God went with him, however, and as he went little groups of believers were established. Of course, when little groups were started, the new believers would want to be baptized, and if it was winter, there would be ice on the rivers. Sometimes the ice was twelve inches deep and sometimes it was two feet deep and took hours to cut through, but the people still wanted to be baptized. Now, do you think it would be fun to go into the river through a hole cut in the ice and stay in the river to baptize not just one person, but maybe two, three, or even more people? Well, this is part of the “fun” Elder Johnson experienced as he went on missionary journeys to spread God’s word.
He attended other camp meetings, and at one camp meeting he was scheduled to speak when some strangers came into the camp. They said to Elder Johnson, “We know why you know so much about the Bible. It is because this is your second life here on this earth, and maybe even your third!” Elder Johnson said, “I am afraid you are mistaken. This is my only life. I am 29 years old, and I have never had another life on this earth. I only have one birth certificate!” It turned out that he was talking with some Latter Day Saints (Mormons).
On another occasion, he was invited by the Lutheran Church to a debate, and he did not really want to go, but he thought if he did not go and present the truth of the Bible to the people, there was no one else who would or could go, so he decided to go. Now, these Lutheran ministers thought, “There are three of us against him. He will get so scared that he will leave town.” And Elder Johnson was a little scared, and he prayed, “Father, I really need your help. I won’t know what to say to them when I get there.” Well, he listened to these three Lutheran ministers speak about the Godhead, the immortality of the soul, and the law of God, and what they had to say was so weak and not grounded in the word of God, that Elder Johnson began to feel a little stronger and began to have a little more courage, and when they were finished speaking, he spoke up and explained what the Bible really did say about those things. The people who were listening to the debate realized Elder Johnson had much more to say about what the Bible says on these three topics than their pastors did, and many people started to attend Elder Johnson’s meetings and were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Another little group was started! Everywhere he went, he shared God’s word. Eventually the Adventist Church sent him back to Denmark to preach and to be a missionary.
When he was older, he returned to America from Denmark, and our story will close with one more experience in the life of Elder Johnson. He was staying with a family that had teenage boys. Elder Johnson shared God’s word with the family and some of the boys, among other members of the family, were baptized. One day Elder Johnson wanted to visit another family three miles away, and the father of the home said to one of the teenage boys, “I want you to go with Elder Johnson to make sure he knows the way. Stay with him and bring him back safely.” Well, that was six miles round trip, and this teenage boy thought, “I don’t want to walk along with him for six whole miles. Pastors are boring. They preach too long and think boys shouldn’t have any fun.” His father had asked him to go, however, and he did. As they started walking, Elder Johnson said, “I noticed that you have a cute dog. He is all white with a little black spot on his nose,” and they started talking about his dog. Then Elder Johnson said, “Your horse has such a pretty golden mane,” and they started talking about his horse, and this teenage boy realized that Elder Johnson was kind of interesting. So interesting that soon the boy was telling him about gophers and kingbird nests, wild strawberries, and funny corn snipe tricks! They talked all the way over and all the way back, and when they arrived home, the boy walked in the front door and announced to his family, “I’m going to be a preacher, and I don’t want any of you to laugh about it!” And that is just what he did. A generation or two after Elder Johnson began his ministry, this man became a minister and worked for the Lord in the footsteps of Elder Johnson, both in the United States and in Scandinavia.
This story explains a little about how the Advent Movement spread in its formative years. God blessed it! Dedicated men and women said they wanted to work for God, and they spent their lives sharing God’s word. That’s how we started as an Adventist group, and we need good workers to finish the work of God! Good workers have carried on up to this point, but we need dedicated workers to help bring it all to a close so we can go home to heaven. I think of Isaiah 6 where God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us (v. 8)?” Do you know how Isaiah answered? “Here am I; send me (v. 8).” Let’s follow in the footsteps of Isaiah and say the same thing! We will have a journey with God that will be both rewarding and joyous! It does not matter if you are young or old; God has a work for you to do. It does not matter if you have just dedicated your life to God or if you have been following him for a long time; God has a plan for you! God will use you if you will just surrender your life to him! Onycha Holt
An Experience from France
Recently at church we had an open discussion concerning the Godhead, and God worked a miracle because the minister manifested a desire to preserve the individual freedom of the members. He gave me over half an hour to introduce the discussion, which I used by quoting a selection of Bible texts concerning God, the Son of God, and the Spirit of God. At the end of this, only one person seemed to have any objection since it was the Word of God that had spoken. The exception was a minister who objected, stating that Proverbs 8 speaks about wisdom and not about Christ, but this was easy to answer. In fact, this gave me another fifteen minutes to present the truth more precisely. God had inspired me to prepare another paper with the fundamental principles published from 1872 to 1925, compared to the beliefs published since 1980. I also read some quotes from the pioneers, showing that they rejected the trinity doctrine. This opened the discussion, and God worked mightily because at least half of those in attendance knew the truth about God, having either read The Foundation of our Faith or having seen the DVDs. For most of the time, I just had to let the Spirit of God work through those present. The minister recognized that there are only the Father and the Son on the throne in heaven and that the Holy Spirit could not be considered as a person in the same light as the Father and Son. He also recognized that the expressions “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit” are not biblical. Concerning my wife and me, he publicly said that before God he doesn’t feel invested with authority to use our understanding of God against us nor to put forth his own understanding as a standard. He considered the fundamentals of the church as subordinate to the Bible and having no authority for discipline.
Quiz on Job 8-10
1. Who is the speaker in Job chapter 8?
2. Job’s words are compared to a “wind” in Job 8:2. Where could the speaker have found such an expression?
3. What is the meaning of “betimes” in Job 8:5?
4. What was the basis of the appeal made in chapter 8? Hint see verse 8.
5. Explain the question of Job 8:11.
6. What would be another translation for the word “hypocrite” in Job 8:13?
7. When would Job 8:20 be true and when might it not be true?
8. Who is speaking in Job 9 and 10?
9. How would you describe the speaker’s mood in this chapter?
10. What bodies of stars are mentioned as God being the Maker?
11. What is the Hebrew word translated “prospered” in Job 9:4? This word is the root word for what commonly-known Hebrew word? What does that word mean?
12. What Hebrew word is translated “breaketh” in Job 9:17? Where is the first usage of it outside of the book of Job?
13. What New Testament text would reference well to Job 9:20?
14. What does the word “post” mean in Job 9:25?
15. Is the statement of Job in 9:33 true? Can you give a text to back up your answer? (Also see DA, p. 25.)
16. What is Job asking in Job 10:2b?
17. What could the expression “poured me out” in Job 10:10 mean?
18. To the hunting of what fierce beast did Job make a comparison?
19. What again is Job asking for in Job 10:18?
20. What is Job asking for in Job 10:20?
Answers to Job 5-7
1. The speaker in Job 5 is Eliphaz.
2. Job would have understood his own children to have been spoken of in Job 5:4.
3. The children in Job 5:4 are said to be crushed in the gate. This is equivalent to being deprived of one’s rights. See Proverbs 22:22. Besides a means of entering and exiting a city, the gates were where court was convened.
4. Job 4:8 is a good reference for Job 5:6.
5. In Job 5:9-16 Eliphaz speaks of the hand of God in the affairs of mankind and that he will save the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.
6. A central theme of Eliphaz’s words in Job 5:20-26 is that God takes care of the righteous and bad things do not befall them.
7. Eliphaz , in effect, told Job in 5:27 that they had researched what they were saying and knew they were right.
8. The speaker in Job chapters 6 and 7 is Job.
9. In a balance scale, Job said his grief and calamity would weigh heavier than the sand of the sea.
10. In Job 6:1-5 Job is trying to justify his complaints.
11. In Job 6:8, 9 he asks for his request that God would destroy him.
12. In Job 6:12 Job is saying that only a body of stone or brass could endure what he was going through.
13. In the first part of 6:14, Job speaks of his friends and that they should have had pity upon him (the afflicted), yet he seems to say in the second part of the verse that he forsook the fear of God. This understood is better understood in the RSV, which says: “ "He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”
14. In 6:15-20 Job compares his friends to a stream. In verse 17 he says they are like hot water that vanishes as vapor.
15. Tema was an oasis in northwest Arabia.
16. The English translation of the Septuagint translates Job 6:21a as “But ye also have come to me without pity.”
17. Job 6:27 is a harsh indictment of his friends, literally saying they fall upon the orphans.
18. In 6:30 Job begins to tread on dangerous ground by justification of self. References in Job that should be considered here are Job 42:3 and 9:20.
19. The tense of the verb in Job 7:3 is perfect or a completed action.
20. Job 7 describes Job as having worm-eaten flesh, broken and loathsome skin.
21. In Job 7:6 he says he expected death soon.
22. Job 7:9 seems to teach that the dead will not be resurrected. This is reconciled with John 5:25 by noting the restricted sense that Job 7:10 applies to the situation.
23. A paraphrase of Job 7:12 might say, “Am I like a stormy sea or a wild beast you must watch?
24. When Job hoped to find relief in sleep, he experienced only nightmares.
Roan Mountain Camp Meeting
Brother Malcolm McCrillis has asked us to announce that the church at Roan Mountain will be sponsoring a camp meeting September 29 - October 4. The camp meeting will be held in Roan Mountain State Park, Tennessee.
Accommodations: There are cabins available, and a group tent site has been reserved. There are 16 spaces in the tent site and the cost will only be $3.75 per site/night if it can be filled. For cabin reservations, you may call: , or 0191. There are two motels, twenty miles away, in Elizabethton (Americourt, 423-543-6060 and Travelers Inn, 423-543-3344).
For more information you may call Malcolm at 423-772-3161.
1. “Or who can stay the _______of heaven (38:37).”
6. “And ______ came also among them” (1:6).
10. “Have ______ upon me” (19:21).
11. “And ______ that feared God, and eschewed evil” (1:1).
12. The first of the three friends who came to comfort Job (2:11).
13. “Sing us one of the songs of _____” (Psalm 137:3).
14. Road (abbr.).
15. “Let him take his _____ away from me” (9:34).
16. ______e, a kind of liquid butter used in the East Indies.
18. “Withdraw thine hand _____ from me” (13:21).
19. “Seven thousand _____” (1:3).
20. “Render therefore to all their _____” (Romans 13:7).
21. The altar _____ (Joshua 22:34).
22. “If I be wicked, _____ unto me (10:15).”
23. Duplex house (abbr.)
24. “For he hath founded it upon the _____” (Psalm 24:2).
25. “And the _____ of man, which is a worm?” (25:6).
26. “That I might come even to his _____!” (23:3).
28. Pennsylvania (abbr.)
29. “_____ he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (13:15).
32. Cause me to understand wherein I have _____” (6:24).
34. Eastern Red Lake (abbr.).
35. “Hast thou an _____ like God?” (40:9).
36. “It hath consumed _____ of Moab” (Numbers 21:28).
37. “Hast thou considered _____ servant Job?” (1:8).
38. “I would _____ myself in sorrow” (6:10).
39. “And they shall not _____” (11:20).
42. “Why make ye this _____, and weep?” (Mark 5:39).
43, “Who is this that _____ counsel” (38:2).
46. “Every day they _____ my words” (Psalm 56:5).
48. Rhode Island (abbr.)
49. “And my sinews take no _____” (30:17).
50. “I have _____ the words of his mouth” (23:12).
1. The second of the three friends (2:11).
2. Old Testament Instructors (abbr.)
3. To write with a typewriter.
4. “I _____ it’’ (7:16).
5. “_____ the Lord blessed the latter end of Job” (42:12).
6. Past tense of slide.
7. “Is there iniquity in my _____?” (6:30).
8. “For they had made _____ appointment” (2:11).
9. “More than my _____ food” (23:12).
10. “A _____ and an upright man” (1:8).
13. The third of the three friends (2:11).
15. “For I know that my _____ liveth” (19:25).
17. “I could _____ up words against you” (16:4).
19. “And now am I their _____” (30:9).
20. Doctor of Science (abbr.)
22. “My desire is, that the Almighty_______ answer me” (31:35).
25. “I am afraid of all my _____” (9:28).
27. A very small amount.
30. “Rent his mantle, and shaved his _____” (1:20).
31. “He that hath clean _____ shall be stronger” (17:9).
33. Of _____, the family of the Eranites” (Numbers 26:36).
37. British spelling of meter.
38. “The _____ of my flesh stood up” (4:15).
40. A short piece of writing.
41. Presiding Elder (abbr.)
44. “I _____ no pleasant bread” (Daniel 10:3).
45. “Thou shalt be _____ from the scourge of the tongue” (5:21).
47. Right (abbr.)
48. The note between Do and Mi.
At Thy Word
Bible students who have carefully examined the life of Jesus have divided the events mentioned in the gospel accounts into 179 occurrences. These have been called a “Harmony of the Gospels.” The first seventeen events deal with the circumstances that surround the birth and infancy of Jesus to his manhood. The 18th entry is about the ministry of John the Baptist. The 19th–23rd occurrences are about Christ’s early ministry from the autumn of AD 27 to the spring of AD 28. The 24th–31st occurrences are about his ministry in Judea from the Spring Passover AD 28 to the Second Passover AD 29. The 32nd occurrence concerns the opening of the Galilean ministry. The 33rd occurrence is the first rejection at Nazareth. The 34th occurrence is Jesus’ removal to Capernaum, and the 35th is the call of some of the disciples by the sea.
During this first year and a half of Jesus’ ministry, we have actually few details. During this time, he attended the wedding at Cana of Galilee, he cleansed the temple the first time, he spoke to Nicodemus and to the Samaritan woman, and he healed the nobleman’s son. Also during this time, John was imprisoned, Jesus was rejected by the Sanhedrin, and Jesus’ home church tried to kill him. Let us now focus on Jesus at Capernaum beside what other Bible writers call the Sea of Galilee but what Luke, having traveled on the Mediterranean Sea, calls a “lake.”
The Command by the Sea
Let us read the calling by the sea, as recorded by Luke:
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret [Also called the sea of Galilee or Tiberias], And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net (Luke 5:1-5).
Jesus went out early to have time alone, but the crowd pressed early upon him to hear the wonderful words of God he brought. Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Zebedee, with at least two servants, had been fishing all night. Jesus entered into Simon’s boat to have a strategic position, and he sat down to teach.
After Jesus had finished his discourse, he gave a very simple command to Simon Peter: “Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught (v. 4).” This command may not seem unreasonable to us, but to Peter, a master fisherman, it was at the least naive and at the most insane. Surely this carpenter did not know fishing, for the Sea of Galilee was a clear lake and the fish would easily see the nets in the day. Good fishing was only done at night. The command did not seem logical, reasonable, or sane.
Remember that this is one and a half years into the ministry of Jesus. Peter had previously heard Jesus speak, and perhaps his thoughts that night were upon the imprisonment and seeming failure of John the Baptist or upon the poor reception of Jesus in Judea (not all that even Jesus did had success stamped upon it by men, but God approved). Perhaps he was thinking of their own unfruitful fishing in a fruitful lake. They had not caught a single fish! As Peter watched the nets, all seemed dark and discouraging, but remember that it is darkest just before the dawn! Peter’s response to Jesus echoed such thoughts when he said:
Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net (Luke 5:5).
Peter said that they had worked all night but had nothing to show for it! In the Christian life, efforts put forth in our own strength also prove completely fruitless. Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).” True results can be secured only through cooperation with a higher power, but at times, as would seem to have been the case here, God may interfere with our plans and efforts in order to make more apparent and meaningful the need of cooperating with him. Even though Peter did not see how casting his nets at this time could yield a harvest, he said: “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
Because Peter loved Jesus, the request was all that was needed. Jesus said that if we love him we will obey him (John 14:15). Peter addressed Jesus as “Master,” and he is to be Lord and Master of our lives, as well. We must learn to love and trust Jesus with all.
Notice the results of Peter’s obedience to Jesus: “And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake (Luke 5:6).” They even needed help to bring the fish into the boat. “And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink (Luke 5:7).”
When Peter saw the great draught of fishes, he was humbled and was willing to give up full-time fishing forever.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him (Luke 5:8-11).
Commenting on Peter’s acknowledgment of his sinfulness, Ellen White amplifies the scene for us:
But Peter was unmindful now of boats or lading. This miracle, above any other he had ever witnessed, was to him a manifestation of divine power. In Jesus he saw One who held all nature under His control. The presence of divinity revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him. While his companions were securing the contents of the net, Peter fell at the Saviour’s feet, exclaiming, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
... he clung to the feet of Jesus, feeling that he could not be parted from Him (The Desire of Ages, p. 246).
With the biggest catch of their career, these disciples forsook all to follow Jesus. We may be called to do likewise and will do so, if we have love for the Master.
Great Commands and Great Responses
Now let us look at some great commands elsewhere in the Bible and notice the responses. Let us begin with Noah. The Bible first mentions grace in connection with Noah. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8).” This grace was found not by “election” but by character. The next verse says that “Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).” Just as did Enoch, his great grandfather, Noah walked with God. Noah did not know Enoch, for Enoch had been translated before the birth of Noah. Character is not transferrable, however, and Noah could not let Enoch nor anyone else walk with God for him, and neither can we.
God gave instruction that to Noah must have seemed very strange:
The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them (Genesis 6:13-21).
God gave Noah instruction and the rational behind the instruction, but from where would such a flood come? It had never rained before in the history of the earth; furthermore, who would believe such a story? Most people would have thought: Surely, this project will be in vain! God did not, however, entrust this project to someone faithless but to Noah, a man who walked in grace. Noah’s response is simply stated: “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he (Genesis 6:22).”
Though the command did not seem any more rational than Jesus’ command to Peter, the thought upon the heart of Noah was: Nevertheless at thy word I will build an ark.
Let us move further into the Bible to the story of Abraham. Abraham was given a call to leave Ur:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).
I am not sure we can imagine the difficulties that lay ahead for Abraham. All was unknown; there were no maps, no GPS, and no directions. Abraham had no knowledge of what was even on the other side of the mountains. Abraham did not know what was ahead. God may as well have asked him to go to the other side of the world or even the universe, but when he gave Abraham the command to leave, Abraham obeyed. “So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him (Genesis 12:4).”
God was with Abraham, and he blessed him greatly. When Isaac was about twenty years old, the command came:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of (Genesis 22:1-2).
Abraham’s response was quick and sure: “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him (Genesis 22:3).”
Abraham had been promised that the Messiah would be born through his seed. Isaac was the son of the promise. To fulfill the command of God, Abraham would not only be killing his son, but cutting off himself and the world from salvation, but Abraham, though praying to be relieved of the duty, said in his heart: Nevertheless, at thy will.
Now, let us move forward to Moses. When God called Moses, God told him that as a sign to the children of Israel he was to cast his rod down and it would become a snake. He was then to pick it up by the tail (Exodus 4:1-4). Notice Moses’ response: “And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.” Anyone who has worked with or handled reptiles knows that you almost never pick up a snake by the tail, but Moses’ actions said: Nevertheless, at thy will.
The Bible also says about Moses: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24, 25).”
Moses knew the glories of Egypt and he might have rationalized, as some of us do today: “I will have more influence if I stay in Egypt (or the church) to help the people.” Moses could have rationalized his position, but he chose affliction instead of pleasure! He said in his heart: Nevertheless, at thy will.
Moving down the Bible stream of time, we come to God’s command to Joshua to march around Jericho and use the blast of a trumpet and the shouting of voices to bring down masonry walls! Joshua did not submit this plan to any committee to vote for or against it; he did not ask for counsel from men. God had spoken, and that was enough.
And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD. And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets (Joshua 6:6-9).
Joshua did not conduct negotiations. There was no board meeting and no taking of an opinion poll to determine if it was the popular and political thing to do. Even though it may have seemed like an unreasonable plan to him, his actions said what was in his heart: At thy will, I will do it.
The greatest example of being willing to do the word of God is found in the life of Jesus Christ, “The Lamb of God.” He said, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Psalm 40:8).” In the garden, he prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).” Three times he pressed his petition to the Father. Then on the cross, the darkness that began in the Garden becomes complete. He can no longer know that God is near and he cries out in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me (Matthew 27:46)?” The Majesty of glory is dying shamefully upon a cruel instrument of death. Of course, it is not fair, but it is the only way that man may be saved. Even if Jesus must be separated from God forever, he submitted to the will and word of God, and upon the cross, he said: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).”
Sad Responses to God’s Commands
Sadly, not all the responses found in the Bible to God’s commands are positive. God had told Adam and Eve: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).” In sad unbelief, however, Eve ate of the fruit, and the history of this earth is a one of sin and woe because of it.
God told Saul to destroy Amalek. The command was clear: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Samuel 15:3).” It was not important to Saul, however, to follow the exact word of the Lord. The record states: “But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly (1 Samuel 15:9).” The consequences of this deviation from God’s word was not misunderstood:
And 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 (1 Samuel 15:22, 23).
Lot and his family were commanded to leave Sodom. As they were leaving, the command went forth: “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed (Genesis 19:17),” but Lot’s wife “looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
What if Adam and Eve had said at thy word? What if Saul had said at thy word? What if Lot’s wife had said at thy word? Many things would have been different. We are not, however, in Eve’s, Saul’s, or Lot’s wife’s place, but I assure you that we each are accountable to the word of God, and the issue for us is whether or not will we say at thy word.
We may not always have the direct voice of God or the command of a prophet as some of the men and women of the Bible had, but the Bible is God’s word speaking to us, and we are to heed it. Our response to the call of God should be like Isaiah’s: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me (Isaiah 6:8).”
God does not always ask us to follow when all is plain, logical, or provable. If he did, there would never be a chance for faith to grow, and if faith is never exercised, it could not be proven that we trust God fully.
The book of Revelation speaks of a special group of people who stand faultless before the throne of God and who have no guile found in their mouths:
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God (Revelation 14:1-5).
We have been commanded by God, through his servant: “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand (Maranatha, p. 241).” The 144,000 follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes in heaven because they have learned to do it upon this earth. They have said, “AT THY WORD LORD.” Have you? Allen Stump
Fifty-ninth General Conference
The 59th General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be held June 23 - July 3, 2010, in the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. This may be the last General Conference ever, for we know that Jesus is coming soon. Delegates from all over the world will attend, and we believe that this is an important opportunity to witness and share the message in a way that can enable it to travel to many parts of the world that it has not yet reached.
Approximately thirty brave souls went to St. Louis, Missouri, in 2005 for the most recent General Conference Session. At that time, we distributed about 1000 DVDs and many thousands of pieces of literature in the form of tracts, booklets, and books.
Smyrna still has the school bus that we purchased in 2005 for the last General Conference. It is capable of taking literature and some people, but it would most likely not be able to take everyone who might wish to go if a large group was going from Smyrna as went five years ago. We have scheduled our camp meeting for the dates of June 15-19 so that those traveling in for the camp meeting who would like to go with us to Atlanta can do so more easily. Even though this event is a year away, there is much work to do, and we must begin very soon.
Some people who have been watching the economy and world events are predicting that the United States economy is going to have a major crash around the time of the General Conference Session and that cities might even be sealed off due to difficulties. Jesus told us to pray that our flight be neither in the winter nor on the Sabbath day, so we must pray that if God sees fit to allow us to witness for him at the General Conference Session, he will prepare a way for his people to go and to return according to his will.
As soon as applications were accepted for booths at the 59th session, we applied for a basic space. Even though our check was cashed, our application for a booth was rejected, with no reason given, and our money refunded. We wish to have input from you concerning the upcoming General Conference Session. Specifically, what would be the best way(s) to share the message? Are you willing to go and help distribute literature or help hold meetings? Are you willing to translate materials into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, or another language? One idea is to have a DVD with multiple language tracts to distribute. Also of importance, are you willing to help support such an undertaking beyond your normal giving? Such a project is very expensive, but we believe that such opportunities to meet leaders from all over the world should not be missed.
If you have input or questions, please contact us soon by phone, email, or regular mail. Contact information is on the bottom right side of this page. Above all, please keep this often in prayer that God’s will, and God’s will only, be done. Allen Stump
Knowing Our ABCs—Vitamin E
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).”
We are certainly fearfully and wonderfully made. Did you know, for example, that when vitamin E functions as an antioxidant it is changed into a radical by the surrender of an electron? But it is changed into a harmless radical and happily stays that way for about twelve seconds, just long enough for it to grab an electron from a nearby vitamin C molecule. This commandeered electron allows the vitamin E molecule to revert to its antioxidant state thus becoming capable of neutralizing another free radical oxygen molecule. (Amazingly, a free radical oxygen molecule will react 1000 times faster with vitamin E than it will react in a damaging way with a polyunsaturated fatty acid!) The now radical vitamin C (radical because it has lost an electron), in turn, grabs an electron from another substance, allowing the vitamin C to revert to its antioxidant form. That other substance is reverted to its original status by another substance, and so forth. This is part of the basic metabolism our bodies do for us each and every day! What a wonder! But what exactly is vitamin E? And what is a radical?
There are not one but eight different types of vitamin E—alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. The type that is most often utilized in our bodies is alpha tocopherol and is the one most people refer to when they speak of vitamin E. All eight forms of vitamin E occur naturally in foods but in varying amounts, and a general consensus is that a balanced diet, providing a goodly amount of many different antioxidants, is desirable for optimal health and, possibly, provides for increased longevity with increased maintenance of good functionality.
Vitamin E was first isolated from wheat germ oil in 1936 and was called vitamin E because its discovery closely followed the discovery of vitamin D, but here is nothing “e-ish” about this vitamin upon which to base its name. It is used by the body in many functions. According to Dr. Maret Traber, professor at the University of California at Berkeley, vitamin E is at the core of how every cell works, and in lung tissue it is one of the first lines of defense against the free radicals generated by cigarette smoke. (Of note: Even though a smoker’s diet may be normal, he or she has increased usage of vitamin E due to the increase in free radicals and is at risk of losing vitamin E’s protective effects because of the depleted supply.) In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E also helps regulate the biosynthesis of DNA. Antioxidants are like scavengers searching for damaging free radicals in the body. A free radical in the body is usually an oxygen molecule that has lost an electron and seeks to stabilize itself by stealing an electron from a nearby molecule. As we noted earlier, free radicals of oxygen molecules will attach to vitamin E molecules 1000 times faster than to fatty acid molecules, which is of benefit to our bodies, for oxygen free radicals are high-energy particles that ricochet wildly and damage cells. Free radicals are formed primarily during normal metabolism and also upon exposure to environmental factors such as cigarette smoke or pollutants and with strenuous exercise.
Fats, which are an integral part of all cell membranes, are vulnerable to destruction through oxidation by free radicals. Vitamin E, in the form of alpha tocopherol, is suited to intercept a broad range of oxygen free radicals and thus prevent a chain reaction of lipid (fat) destruction. Aside from maintaining the integrity of cell membranes throughout the body, vitamin E also protects the fats in low density lipoproteins (LDLs) from oxidation. Lipoproteins transport fats through the bloodstream, and LDLs specifically transport cholesterol from the liver to the tissues of the body.
There seems to be a relationship between the damage caused by free radicals at the cellular level and the onset and/or control of many chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease and cancer. Oxidized LDLs, for example, have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases, but scientific evidence documenting a clear-cut relationship between free radicals and chronic disease is inconclusive at this point, and it is also mixed about the benefit one can gain in supplementing the diet with vitamin E in order to neutralize the body’s free radicals. We can expect intense investigation of these topics for decades to come because if antioxidants are truly beneficial in preventing and/or controlling chronic disease, all of us will be helped with such valuable information.
|These Nuts are high in Vitamin E|
Vitamin E in all its forms is fat-soluble. (Its counterpart, vitamin C, is water-soluble.) That means that no matter what food vitamin E is found in, it must be a food that also contains some fat. You will find, therefore, no vitamin E in radishes or grape juice, but it is richly found in almonds, sunflower seeds, sunflower and safflower oils, and even such cooked greens as spinach, turnip greens and collards. It is surprising how much fat is naturally found in food. If you only eat a piece of whole grain bread and drink skim milk, for example, you will have enough fat to aid the absorption of vitamin E. (For an exhaustive list of foods containing the alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E, go to http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR20/nutrlist/sr20w323.pdf.)According to Dr. Traber, canning, freezing and cooking (especially frying and roasting) can destroy vitamin E. Roasting almonds, for example, causes a loss of 80% of vitamin E. Vitamin E is also lost simply by storage of the food over time. When stored at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, wheat germ will lose 10% of its vitamin E after six months, and ground corn will lose 35% of its vitamin E after six months when stored at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be noted that the United States Department of Agriculture lists significant vitamin E content for roasted nuts and canned vegetables. Regardless of the source of information, a principle to guide us in our choice of foods is the fact that consuming the product as soon as possible after harvest and/or processing minimizes nutrient loss.
Vitamin E, in all its forms, is readily available in the plant world, but remember that if you decrease your fat intake (such as with a low fat diet) you are also decreasing your intake of vitamin E, and should you choose to use supplemental vitamin E, remember that you must take supplemental vitamin E with food. Vitamin E cannot be absorbed by the body without some fat in the digestive system at the same time. You should also know that most vitamin supplements and fortified foods contain synthetic forms of vitamin E, and you need to know that there is an upper limit for the amount of vitamin E that can be safely taken in a day. And finally, remember that, for protection, vitamin E must be present before free radical damage occurs. It cannot be ingested later and be expected to repair all the damage, so let us eat for health now and maintain our supplies of vitamin E at adequate levels.
“Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness (Ecclesiastes 10:17)!” Onycha Holt
Tasty Recipe: Muesli
This simple breakfast cereal offered by Raquel Arevalo does not need cooking and is full of many healthful ingredients.
3 cups rolled oats
fruit juice (such as pineapple or apple-berry) or
milk (soy or almond)
1 cup cut strawberries
½ cup blueberries
1 cup chopped apples
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1½ cups raisins
Soak the oats in the fruit juice or milk overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, drain away any excess liquid and add the remaining ingredients to the oats. You may also include additional types of fruit and nuts and shredded coconut!
“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet (The Ministry of Healing, p. 296).”
If you have a favorite healthy vegan recipe you would like to share, please send it to us for consideration.
Update on Pastor Bob Habenicht
In our April issue of Old Paths, we reported on a visit with Pastor Bob Habenicht while in Brazil. Several weeks before our visit, Bob had fallen and received a very bad wound to his head that had become severely infected. We recently talked with Pastor Bob on the phone and wanted to share an update with you on his condition.
After our visit with Pastor Bob in Brazil, he became worse, and it was decided that he needed to return to the United States for more advanced and aggressive treatment. This was a very hard decision for Pastor Bob to make because he has worked for many years in Brazil to establish a school and has seen much fruit from his labors. The thoughts of leaving and maybe never being able to return were difficult for him.
After returning to Florida, Pastor Bob was treated in a clinic specifically for wound patients, and he began to make rapid progress. He is home now, trying to catch up on things around the house and getting his grow boxes (raised beds) going with produce. The infection is all gone, and, at the time of this writing, the need for dressing and bandaging the wound is finally over! Praise the Lord for his goodness!
Pastor Bob’s strength and vitality is much better now, but he says: “I feel lazy now and then and want to take a nap.” Of course, anyone who knows Pastor Bob realizes that there is not a lazy bone nor muscle in his body, but, rather, his body is simply asking for the rest it needs to finish healing.
Pastor Bob told me that he feels “we are heading towards the shaking time of the church” and that most of the church members can’t come to grips with the fact that the omega of apostasy is here among us in the form of the trinity doctrine and they cannot identify this apostasy. Pastor Bob is of good courage, however, and wants us to tell the readers of Old Paths a big “thank you” for their prayers, and, though he was not able to attend camp meeting this year, he hopes to see all of you very soon. Allen Stump
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Assistant Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013