Old Paths

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14


Vol. 19, No.12  Straight and Narrow  December 2010


The One Hundred Forty and Four Thousand

By James & Ellen White

(The first section of this article is a reprint of an article by Elder James White from the Advent Review, vol.1, September 1850. The second part is from Ellen G. White’s book, The Great Controversy.     Editor)

And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth, and the sea, saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Revelation 7:1–4)

To what state of the church do these scriptures apply? Evidently to the present. But as some doubt this position, we wish briefly to give some reasons for believing that the 144,000 are those who are alive and are changed at the second advent.

I. The 144,000 are introduced in Prophecy among the preparatory scenes of the second advent. Reader, please take your Bible, and mark carefully the connection between the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Revelation. The thirteenth chapter and the first five verses of the fourteenth are a connected chain showing the sad history of the church during 1260 years of Papal rule, which reached to within fifty years of this present time; also her last struggle with the image beast and the saints’ final and glorious deliverance. They stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb. The division of chapters should be between the fifth and sixth verses of the fourteenth chapter. This any one may see, for the sixth verse introduces another chain of events which is not at all connected with the preceding chain. How very natural to suppose that John, after viewing the saints persecuted by the beast and his image, would follow them but a step farther to Mount Zion with the Lamb.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (Revelation 15:2)

Revelation 7:1–3, has been, and is still, held by Adventists, with very few exceptions, to apply to the preparatory scenes of the second advent. In fact it seems impossible to apply it any where else.

Mark this: John was shown not things that were in the past, no, but “THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS.” It is true that some allusions were made to the past, but it was only to explain the “things which must shortly come to pass,” as in the case of the “woman,” the “dragon,” and the “man child” of Chapter 12. This fact seems quite destructive of the view that the 144,000 were raised at the time of the first advent. If the prophecy relative to the 144,000 was fulfilled at the time of the first advent, then the faithful Witness, instead of doing what he said he would do, viz: “shew unto his servant things which must shortly come to pass,” showed John things that were all past, at least sixty years before he had his revelation in the Isle of Patmos. The twelve tribes, of which the 144,000 are sealed, are the same that the Apostle James addressed, A D 60.

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad, greeting” (James 1:1). This epistle is evidently addressed to the present state of the church; to that state when the people of God are waiting for the Lord, and in their disappointed, waiting, trying state need much patience. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7). “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh,” (verse 8). From these scattered “tribes”’ who are exhorted to wait patiently for the Lord, the 144,000 are to be sealed.

II. The history and description of the 144,000 apply to those who are to be changed at the coming of the Lord and to no other class.

First. “Having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Said the true Witness to the Philadelphia church, “Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out and I will WRITE UPON HIM THE NAME OF MY GOD.” Where? “In their FOREHEADS,” just where John saw the “Father’s name.” Now just as sure as the Philadelphia church is the true church of the last days, just so sure the 144,000 are sealed just before the coming of the Lord.

Second. They sing “as it were a new song” that none in all wide heaven but the 144,000 could learn. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:2).

The song of Moses was the history and deliverance of Israel. The new song of the 144,000 will also be of their experience and their deliverance. The reason why none but the 144,000 can learn or sing this song will be because the history and deliverance of no other class will be like those who pass through the time of trouble and are changed ‘at the twinkling of an eye’ at the coming of the Lord.

Third. “These are they which were not defiled with women.” A woman is used as a symbol of the church. See Revelation 12:1-6; 17:1-6. The woman arrayed in purple and scarlet-color, on whose “forehead was a name written MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS,” is the Catholic Church. Her harlot daughters must, therefore, be the Protestant sects. They are the women with whom the 144,000 are “not defiled.” Why not defiled with them? Because they obey the voice from heaven, saying “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not PARTAKERS OF HER SINS, [be defiled,] and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Fourth. “These were redeemed from among men.” Not out of their graves; no, no, – “FROM AMONG MEN.” They must, therefore, be the living saints who are changed to immortality at the coming of the Lord. The sleeping saints are not “among men.” Those who came out of their graves at the time of the first Advent were not among men. No, they were in the silent grave. Some say that the 144,000 were the infants slain by Herod. Those infants had been slain more than thirty years, and, of course, had returned to dust again. What folly to say that they were redeemed “FROM AMONG MEN”!!! There is no consistency in such a view. The simple truth on this point is this: The 144,000 are on the earth, “among men,” [the wicked] at the coming of Christ, and at the “voice of the arch-angel” they are changed in a moment and are “caught up” FROM AMONG MEN to “meet the Lord.”

Fifth. “Being the first fruits unto God and the Lamb.” The first fruits in this text do not refer to the type, the “sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest” which the priest waved before the Lord “on the morrow after the Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:10–12). That was fulfilled in Christ: “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). Paul does not say Christ and 144,000, the first fruits, no, no. The 144,000 are a part of the great harvest in the end of the world, of which the risen Saviour was a sample or first fruit. If Paul had said Christ and 144,000, the first fruits, and there was no other testimony in the way, then we might with safety believe that they were raised at the first Advent, but as it reads “Christ the firstfruits,” we think it safest and best to believe it as it reads.

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a KIND OF FIRSTFRUITS of his creatures” (James 1:18). It will yet be more clearly seen that the living saints will be delivered by the voice of God and have power over the nations before the second Advent. Their captivity will be turned and the yoke broken from off their neck, and “destroyed, BECAUSE OF THE ANOINTING” (Isaiah 10:27). The latter rain – the outpouring of the Spirit – prior to the Advent will ripen the 144,000 for the harvest, while the other saints will be still sleeping in the grave. In this sense, they will be “the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Then they will be “without fault before the throne.” They will confess all their faults while Jesus is in the Sanctuary ready to blot them out, and they will be borne away by the scapegoat, just before our High Priest comes out to bless his waiting people.

THE SEAL. God has ever had a test truth with which to seal his people. See Ephesians 2:13; Revelation 9:4. “And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having A SEAL of the living God” (Revelation 7:2, Whiting’s translation). But the last sealing truth is the immutable law of Jehovah, of which the Sabbath is the crowning testimony. See Isaiah 8:16; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14.

But do you believe there is salvation in the Sabbath? Answer: We do not believe there is salvation in the Sabbath any more than in the other nine commandments. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me, reader, ask you a question. Do you believe that we can have salvation through Jesus while violating all or either of the other nine commandments? You answer, no. Neither can you have salvation through Jesus if you reject the clear light of the Holy Sabbath. The Sabbath is the seal, and the Holy Spirit is the sealer. “After ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 2:13). “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).?

Ellen White on the 144,000, from
The Great Controversy

Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,–so resplendent is it with the glory of God,–are gathered the company that have “gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, “having the harps of God,” they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, “the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” And they sing “a new song” before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb--a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience–an experience such as no other company have ever had. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1-5. “These are they which came out of great tribulation;” they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault” before God. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great heat, and they themselves have endured suffering, hunger, and thirst. But “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:14-17. (The Great Controversy, pp. 648, 649) ?


Christ Triumphant, Part 4
(From the Resurrection through Eternity)

(For the last three months, we have written on the theme of Christ triumphant. This is the fourth and final study in this series.)

Seventh-day Adventist theology is light years in advance of any other Christian theology due to an understanding of the great controversy theme, as we call it. Adventists are indebted to God for the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy to help them understand this concept in a way that no one outside of Adventism has ever understood and can ever understand.

The great controversy theme is really the theme of Christ triumphant. The first three parts of this series covered the highlights of Christ’s triumph from the beginning of sin until his death on the cross. This last study will focus on the triumphant resurrection and high-priestly ministry of Jesus and on his triumph being complete in the persons and lives of his saints!

Triumphant in the Resurrection 

Jesus prophesied that after his death he would rise again in three days. Early in his ministry he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Later he said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Then after Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus said very directly: “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). After the experience upon the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus said, “The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again” (Matthew 17:22, 23).

Twice before his death unbelievers alluded to these statements. During his trial it was said, “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands” (Mark 14:58). When Jesus was upon the cross “they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days” (Mark 15:29).

After Christ’s death the resurrection on the third day was mentioned: “The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first” (Matthew 27:62-64). After the resurrection an angel told Jesus’ followers, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:5-7). Finally on the road to Emmaus, two downhearted disciples knew of the “third day” (Luke 24:21). Jesus then reminded them of his teaching that “it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46).

Satan knew well that the triumph of Christ depended upon his resurrection, so he attempted to hold Jesus captive in the grave.

When Jesus was laid in the grave, Satan triumphed. He dared to hope that the Saviour would not take up His life again. He claimed the Lord’s body, and set his guard about the tomb, seeking to hold Christ a prisoner.

The priests, in putting Christ to death, had made themselves the tools of Satan. (The Desire of Ages, p. 782)

Today many Christians, via the trinitarian doctrine, teach that Jesus did not truly die. This false doctrine also takes away from the people the resurrection of Jesus, for if he did not die, as the trinitarian doctrine teaches, then he could not have been resurrected.

Though he truly died, death could not hold him. “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24).

The Bible tells us of Jesus’ triumph from the tomb: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (Matthew 28:1-3).

Clothed with the panoply of God, this angel left the heavenly courts. The bright beams of God’s glory went before him, and illuminated his pathway. “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.”

Now, priests and rulers, where is the power of your guard? Brave soldiers that have never been afraid of human power are now as captives taken without sword or spear. The face they look upon is not the face of mortal warrior; it is the face of the mightiest of the Lord’s host. This messenger is he who fills the position from which Satan fell. It is he who on the hills of Bethlehem proclaimed Christ’s birth. The earth trembles at his approach, the hosts of darkness flee, and as he rolls away the stone, heaven seems to come down to the earth. The soldiers see him removing the stone as he would a pebble, and hear him cry, Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee. They see Jesus come forth from the grave, and hear Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” As He comes forth in majesty and glory, the angel host bow low in adoration before the Redeemer, and welcome Him with songs of praise. (The Desire of Ages, p. 779)

The Father Raised Jesus from the Dead 

The New Testament speaks repeatedly of God the Father raising Jesus from the dead. During Pentecost, Peter spoke of the resurrection of Jesus saying:

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:30-32)

In fact Paul states that the working of God’s mighty power was demonstrated in his raising up Jesus from the dead:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:17-20)

While some may not see the importance of this issue, Paul informs us that this is an issue of salvation:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

What are we to believe according to these verses? That God raised Jesus from the dead! This is what Paul says is essential for us to confess with our mouths! Earlier in Romans Paul noted:

 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:10, 11)

God’s Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, causes us to triumph and have life.

Though Jesus was crucified at least some of his disciples understood that he was to rise from the dead on the third day. The resurrection was their last hope. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples noted:

But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)

The Necessity of the Resurrection 

While many teach that the work of atonement was completed at the cross, there could be no salvation without the resurrection of Jesus. Paul writes, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).

Speaking in Thessalonica Paul noted “that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead” (Acts 17:3). When Jesus said “it is finished” (John 19:30), he was not talking about the whole plan of salvation but rather about his dying as the sacrifice for our sins. Questions on Doctrine, the apostate, evangelical, “new theology” sellout of 1957, was wrong about the atonement being completed on the cross! Questions on Doctrine states:

But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 381; emphasis in original)

Triumphant in the Ascension 

Not only was Jesus triumphant in the resurrection but also in his ascension to heaven. The 22nd psalm is the Crucifixion Psalm; the 23rd psalm is, of course, the Shepherd’s Psalm; and the 24th psalm is the Ascension Psalm, telling of the grand reunion between Christ and heaven.

All heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As He ascended, He led the way, and the multitude of captives set free at His resurrection followed. The heavenly host, with shouts and acclamations of praise and celestial song, attended the joyous train.

As they drew near to the city of God, the challenge is given by the escorting angels,–

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;

And the King of glory shall come in.”

Joyfully the waiting sentinels respond,–

“Who is this King of glory?”

This they say, not because they know not who He is, but because they would hear the answer of exalted praise,–

“The Lord strong and mighty, 

The Lord mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;

And the King of glory shall come in.” [v.8, 9]

 Again is heard the challenge, “Who is this King of glory?” for the angels never weary of hearing His name exalted. The escorting angels make reply,–

“The Lord of hosts;

He is the King of glory.”

Then the portals of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music.

There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,--all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King.

But He waves them back. Not yet; He cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; He lifts His hands, bearing the print of nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; He presents to God the wave sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming. He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, “It is finished,” He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” John 19:30; 17:24. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 833, 834)

Christ Triumphant in His High-Priestly Ministry 

Jesus is our high priest and is now ministering in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1, 2).

At his resurrection and ascension, Jesus entered within the veil into the holy place (Hebrews 6:19, 20) to minister for us. In 1844 he passed into the most holy place within the second veil (Hebrews 9:3) to begin his work of final atonement for us.

Paul notes the imperfection of the earthly priesthood when he writes, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. … But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1, 3, 4).

While the typical priesthood could not save from sin, the death of Christ and his true priesthood saves from sin:

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:9-14)

Reformation theology does not bring us to perfection. Calvin’s theology, for example, had serious faults: “His course as a public leader was not faultless, nor were his doctrines free from error” (The Great Controversy, p. 236). Calvin taught election of the believers or predestination. He also burnt Michael Servetis at the stake for his denial of the trinity doctrine. Luther, though a man for his time, did not have a theology that could bring perfection. Luther drank beer almost every day, advocated persecution of the Jews and Christian Sabbath-keepers, continued to believe in transubstantiation, and once told a man to “tell a good, strong lie.” Zwingli, who had united with Luther and who “fell on the bloody field of Cappel” (Ibid., p. 212), taught the doctrine of the trinity, in addition to the doctrines of eternal hell and Sunday sacredness.

True Adventism, however, brings perfection. The reformation will not go on forever but will finish because God’s truth and way is to be finally understood, lived, and proclaimed. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God” (Psalm 77:13)? The understanding of the sanctuary service in the great plan of salvation was revealed to the Adventist pioneers:

The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. (The Great Controversy, p. 409)

There is coming a climax to the conflict that began in heaven, for sides are polarizing. This polarization is depicted in Revelation 14:6-12.

The Advent movement was raised up, in part, to restore pure doctrines to God’s church. The 144,000 are:

 ...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 14:4, 5)

In the Bible a virgin is compared to a pure church. Paul noted:

...I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)

God wants his people to be free from doctrinal error for “error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. It is always dangerous” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 292). Only the truth can set us free (John 8:32). James White wrote:

The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors. (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 7, 1856)

The pure truth that God’s people will teach is the righteousness of Christ, for we are told that the righteousness of Christ “is pure, unadulterated truth” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 65.

Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Truth is fundamentally important, for it forms the framework of our Christian experience. A system based in error and not in truth cannot bring perfection but only eternal failure.

The papacy is called a harlot for her false teachings, but she is also called a beast because she unites with the civil powers to enforce her will. The whole papal system is corrupt and when Protestants organize their churches and schools after the pattern of Rome, they are as sure to fall as Rome fell.

Even before what we today call the Protestant Reformation, there were calls for reform within the Catholic Church. Bishops and Cardinals denounced wicked men in the church and even denounced popes. The system, it was said, was good but was controlled by wicked men. When the pope died, the church leaders would search Europe for one good man and make him pope with the hope that things would change. Sadly, however, instead of the pope making the system better, the system, evil and corrupt to the core, made the good man evil.

Adventism is the restoration of the full Bible truths that will bring God’s last-day saints to perfection so that God will have a church that is without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).

The victory of Jesus will be perfectly reproduced in his people because he perfectly lives in them, yet Satan does not concede easily. He especially wages war against the last-day saints through a confederacy of apostate Protestantism and the papacy.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb. (Revelation 17:12-14)

But the word of God declares that “the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). God’s people are victorious and faithful. They accept such promises of God as “now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). These people have Christ in them (Colossians 1:27), therefore, they have “all the fulness of the Godhead” in them and they “are complete in him” (Colossians 2:9, 10). When God gives us a new heart or spirit, we may overcome as Jesus overcame.

God says that under the new covenant experience we have a power that is outside of and above ourselves to give us power over all sin:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27)

Elder A. T. Jones explained the relationship in conversion between the spirit and the flesh in this way:

Conversion, then, you see, does not put new flesh upon the old spirit; but a new Spirit within the old flesh. It does not propose to bring new flesh to the old mind; but a new mind to the old flesh. Deliverance and victory are not gained by having the human nature taken away; but by receiving the divine nature to subdue and have dominion over the human,—not by the taking away of the sinful flesh, but by the sending in of the sinless Spirit to conquer and condemn sin in the flesh.

The Scripture does not say, Let this flesh be upon you, which was also upon Christ; but it does say, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:5.

The Scripture does not say, Be ye transformed by the renewing of your flesh; but it does say, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rom. 12:2. We shall be translated by the renewing of our flesh; but we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The Lord Jesus took the same flesh and blood, the same human nature, that we have,—flesh just like our sinful flesh,—and because of sin, and by the power of the Spirit of God through the divine mind that was in him, “condemned sin in the flesh.” Rom. 8:3. And therein is our deliverance (Rom. 7:25), therein is our victory. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “A new heart will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you.” (Review and Herald, April 18, 1899)

The Triumphant Second Coming to Eternity 

D. L. Moody claimed to have found three hundred references in the Bible to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most majestic and triumphant description of Christ’s second coming is given in Revelation 19:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

Paul describes the second coming as “glorious” (Titus 2:13), and the people of God will have a right to the tree of life because they have kept the commandments of God. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).

After the coming of Jesus, there are the judicial and, finally, the executive phases of the judgment, as related in Revelation 20. Sin and sinners will be no more and finally the earth will beat with one harmonious pulse. God will then make a new heaven and a new earth:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1-4)

In her masterpiece The Great Controversy, Ellen White provides the following insights into the new earth:

In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called “a country.” Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home. (p. 675)

“I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Revelation 21:22. The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with the Father and the Son. “Now we see through a glass, darkly.” 1 Corinthians 13:12. We behold the image of God reflected, as in a mirror, in the works of nature and in His dealings with men; but then we shall see Him face to face, without a dimming veil between. We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance.

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13.

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love. (Ibid., p. 676-678)

The first book in the Conflict of the Ages series, Patriarchs and Prophets, begins with the phrase “God is love” and The Great Controversy, the last book in the series, ends with the words “God is love.”

Allen Stump 


Youth’s Corner – Timothy

A noble, all-round manhood does not come by chance. It is the result of character-building in the early years of youth, a practise of the law of God in the home. The word of God must be studied, and this requires thought and prayerful research. While some passages are too plain to be misunderstood, others demand careful and patient study. Like the precious metal concealed in the hills and mountains, its gems of truth are to be searched out and stored in the mind. Only by a continual improvement of the intellectual as well as the moral powers, can we hope to answer the purpose of our Creator.

We may learn precious lessons in this respect from the life and character of Timothy. From a child, Timothy had known the Scriptures. Religion was the atmosphere of his home. The piety of his home life was not of a cheap order, but pure, sensible, and uncorrupted by false sentiments. Its moral influence was substantial, not fitful, not impulsive, not changeable. The word of God was the rule which guided Timothy. He received his instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little [Isaiah 28:10]. And the spiritual power of these lessons kept him pure in speech, and free from all corrupting sentiments. His home instructors co-operated with God in educating this young man to bear the burdens that were to come upon him at an early age.

Timothy was a mere youth when he was chosen by God as a teacher. But his principles had been so established by a correct education that he was fitted to be placed as a religious teacher, in connection with Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles. And though young, he bore his great responsibilities with Christian meekness. He was faithful, steadfast, and true; and Paul made him his companion in labor and travel, that he might have the benefit of the apostle’s experience in preaching the gospel and establishing churches.

Paul loved Timothy because Timothy loved God. The great apostle often drew him out, and questioned him in regard to Scripture history. He taught him the necessity of shunning every evil way, and told him that blessing would surely attend all who were faithful and true, giving them a noble manhood.

The lessons of the Bible have a moral and a religious influence upon the character as they are wrought into the practical life. Timothy learned and practised these lessons. He had no specially wonderful talents; but his work was valuable because he used his God-given abilities as consecrated gifts in the service of God. His intelligent knowledge of the truth and of experimental piety gave him distinction and influence. The Holy Spirit found in Timothy a mind that could be molded and fashioned to become a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because he submitted to be molded.

The words of the apostle Paul just prior to his death, were: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” [2 Timothy 3:14, 15] “These things command and teach.” [1 Timothy 4:11] And lest the churches should despise his youth, he wrote, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” [1 Timothy 4:12]

Paul could safely write this; for Timothy did not go forward in a self-sufficient spirit. He worked in connection with Paul, seeking his advice and instruction. He did not move from impulse. He exercised consideration and calm thought, inquiring at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?”

“Till I come,” Paul continued, “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1 Timothy 4:13-16]

The charge given to Timothy should be heeded in every household, and become an educating power in every family and in every school. He was enjoined, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” [2 Timothy 2:1-3] “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. . . . Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:7, 15]

In order that the youth may do this, there must be schools similar to the schools of the prophets to educate in the word of God, to “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” [2 Timothy 2:16] This scripture is directly to the point. Those books which may contain some truth, but are intermingled with “vain babblings,” should not be placed in the student’s hands; for they are as seed sown in the human heart which, in time of temptation, will spring into life, and draw the minds of students into paths that lead away from God, away from truth.

“Their word,” said Paul, “will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” [2 Timothy 2:17-26]

This is the instruction and education which young men who enter schools should seek to obtain. These words come to every young man who purposes to enter the ministry, to all youth who shall engage in any part of the work. They need to listen to the word of God through the apostle Paul. That word is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16] And what should this furnishing comprehend?—a knowledge of the Scriptures,—a book that our own experience teaches us should be the Book of all books for our schools.

The highest aim of our youth should not be to strain after something novel. There was none of this in the mind and work of Timothy. They should bear in mind that, in the hands of the enemy of all good, knowledge alone may be a power to destroy them. It was a very intellectual being, one who occupied a high position among the angelic throng, that finally became a rebel; and many a mind of superior intellectual attainments is now being led captive by his power. The youth should place themselves under the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and weave them into their daily thoughts and practical life. Then they will possess the attributes classed as highest in the heavenly courts. They will hide themselves in God, and their lives will tell to his glory. (Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, May 5, 1898) ?


Quiz on Job 36, 37

1. Who is continuing to speak in Job 36 and 37?

2. How does the speaker’s argument in Job 36:6 compare with the arguments of Job’s friends?

3. Find a cross reference to Job 36:7.

4. What does the word “unclean” in Job 36:14 mean?

5. Explain Job 36:16.

6. What does the expression “Desire not the night” in Job 36:19 mean? Can you have any references to this in Job?

7. What does this speaker say concerning the number of God’s years?

8. What two contrasting things does the speaker say rain does in Job 36:31?

9. What symbol does the speaker use to describe the voice of God?

10. What season is described in Job 37:7-10?

11. What is purpose of this for man according to Job 37:7?

12. What event is described by Job 37:8? (One word)

13. What is being expressed in the last phrase of Job 37:10?

14. In Job 37:13, what two functions does the rain perform?

15. Job 37:23 says we cannot find the Almighty? Is this true or false and why?

16. What would the expression “wise of heart” mean in Job 37:24?

Answers to Quiz on Job 34, 35

1. The main speaker in Job 34 is Elihu.

2. The words of the first fifteen verses of Job 34 are primarily directed toward men of understanding (v. 15) and wise men and those that have knowledge (v. 2).

3. In Job 34:5 we have the beginning of Elihu’s charges against Job because Job was claiming God was afflicting him even though he was righteous.

4. The Hebrew work for “wound” in Job 34:6 is usually translated “arrow.”

5. Elihu unjustly charged Job of charging God with injustice.

6. Job 17:9; 21:9; 28:28 all show that Elihu’s charges in Job 34:9 were not true.

7. God is declared to be just in Job 34:10-30, based on his almighty power.

8. Second Corinthians 5:10 agrees with Job 34:11.

9. Job 34:15 has a reference to the formula for the life and death of man.

10. Elihu is directly appealing to Job in Job 34:16-37.

11. The Hebrew word for “wicked” in Job 34:18 is Belial.

12. Midnight in Job 34:20 is symbolic of the time of death.

13. The cry of the afflicted is heard by God, but while he may hear, he does not always cause the affliction to leave.

14. Job 34:32 teaches that we should want to know all of God’s will and when we learn we are involved in sin we will stop.

15. In Job 34:37 when it says that Job clappeth his hands, this is an expression of mocking.

16. The speaker did not correctly quote Job in spirit or text in Job 35. For example, see Job 7:17.

17. Our actions caused the death of the Son of God: John 3.16.

18. In Job 35:9-12 the speaker is saying that many cry in their afflictions but are not heard because of the pride of evil men.

19. According to Job 35:13, God will not hear vanity.

20. Perhaps one might feel that the speaker did not know what he was talking about and that he was the one opening his mouth in vain. See Romans 2:1.


Important Clarification

It has come to our attention that we did not sufficiently clarify the following statement printed in the Prayer Request section of the August 2010 issue of Old Paths: “As the first article states, Satan is especially angry and attempting to deceive God’s people in any way he can. Let us pray for the outcast remnant that they will not be deceived by the many miracles that are really the work of Satanic forces.” This statement was written as a warning concerning the recently-held General Conference Session in Atlanta and the president’s address on Sabbath at the conference. As the statement notes, it refers back to the first article of the issue which states that the Seventh-day Adventist Church seems to be on the edge or verge of a great revival, and the remainder of the article was written as a warning that biblically a false revival has been prophesied and to not be deceived. The “outcast remnant” refers to God’s people who have been disfellowshiped or ostracized from the mainline church.

The appearance of a great revival, along with daily reports from the world divisions of miracles, signs, and wonders, was presented at the General Conference Session. The president’s address and other presentations were so persuasive that it even caused some of our helpers at the session to respond positively to what they were seeing and hearing. The entire first article and the statement in the prayer request were written solely in response to the General Conference Session held the month before and were not directed toward any ministry or person.

We sincerely hope this clarifies the matter.Editors


Report on Trip to Europe

“Please, just two hours of sleep,” I pleaded with Brother Aneoine Thomas and Brother Marc Fury. After traveling all night I had arrived in Paris Friday morning in preparation for meetings that night and all day Sabbath and Sunday. Little did I know how valuable any sleep I could garner would be over the next five weeks.

This trip to Europe really began two years ago when I had been in France with Brother Marc Fury holding meetings, and we began to plan meetings in Paris. Also last year in a conference of non-Trinitarian Adventists in Eupatoria, Ukraine, I had been invited to visit Moldova. After many months of waiting and planning, the time had arrived.

This five-week trip would involve holding meetings in France, Italy, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, and The Netherlands.

France 

Brother Aneoine Thomas and his wife Lillian had enthusiastically accepted the message about God and his Son and had desired to have meetings in the Paris area. But after several attempts to arrange meetings in 2009, we had to wait until this year to hold meetings.

The meetings in Paris would include meetings Friday night through Sunday evening. The first meeting was Friday night October 22. Due to the date, the subject of study was the final atonement in heaven with an emphasis on the need for both justification and sanctification in the life of the believer. All day Sabbath and Sunday the meetings were on the truth about God. Over one hundred twenty-five people attended these meetings. Advertisements had been distributed to Adventists in the Paris area. These flyers caught the attention of many, including Daniel Jennah, president of the Northern France Conference. Elder Jennah wrote the following letter to the pastors in the conference, expressing his disapproval of the meetings:

By this letter, we want to inform you that this event will take place without the approval of the Federation. It is a private initiative, coming from individuals who have no link of work with us. Concerning the guest, his coming didn’t pass through the official channel according to the customs.

The participation of church members to this meeting will show a lack of solidarity with the Church. Thus, we do not approve this action.

Elder Jennah was even in Paris on the Sabbath of the meetings, instructing the members not to attend the meetings! However, God overruled Elder Jennah’s counsel. Though he was in Paris speaking against our meetings the same Sabbath we were there, some who had been in his church that morning came to the afternoon meetings just to see what was happening. The verity of God’s word, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8), was certainly proven true.

The message was eagerly received by many people. The meetings included some very interesting question and answer sessions. There were questions on the divinity of Jesus and the identity of the Holy Spirit and also questions on important issues such as Babylon and the identity of the true church of God.

One of the attendees was a former Adventist pastor who had become disillusioned with what was happening in the mainline church. He was very interested in the message and even brought a violin and helped with music during the song services.

After the meetings several people shared their testimonies about the joy they had in receiving the truth.

From Paris we traveled to southern France to the home of Brother Marc Fury where we had a meeting for the people of that area. These meetings were a blessing to all who attended.

Italy 

From France Brother Marc Fury traveled with me to Italy, and we were accompanied by Brother Elijah Stragatede, who was born in Italy and wanted to do missionary work in that country for a month. Our first stop was to meet Brother Maurizio Esposito in Milan for a weekend of meetings.

These meeting had a moderate attendance, including a couple from Poland and a young Seventh-day Adventist pastor who sought to know truth. These meetings began Friday night and while the preaching that evening was acceptable, it was surely not all that God wanted for the people. After much prayer that night and the next morning, God gave his assurance that the people would be blessed on Sabbath, and he certainly was faithful as we talked about knowing God and his Son.

Sabbath morning the interest was very good. The messages were pointed and began with a direct attack against the man of sin and his foundational doctrine. The trinity doctrine was explained to be the foundation of the papacy and that it is taught in the creeds of the Catholic Church, in many Protestant churches, and appears in the Seventh-day Adventist statements of belief. It is also the basis of the constitution of the World Council of Churches and upon this doctrine all the Protestant churches will unite and worship on Sunday, the day dedicated to the worship of the trinity.

The next topic was the biblical teaching about God, his identity and his character. The appeal was made to choose the Bible instead of the teachings of men.

In the early afternoon the subject was the Son of God. Again the subject began in a direct manner, attacking the man of sin and showing how the trinity doctrine is the foundation of the papacy. The study then proved that Jesus was the Son of God and that this teaching was the foundation of the true church of God. The subject then passed to the issue of antichrist, progressed through Ezekiel 8 and 9, and especially focused on the last two abominations mentioned in chapter 8. I explained that Tammuz was a false christ, and then the discussion moved to the seal of God. Before our meeting on the Son of God had finished, a well-dressed man came to the meeting who sat down and began listening. He quickly became agitated and wanted to make a statement. I told him we could have questions after the next meeting.

The last meeting in Milan was on the Holy Spirit. As our time was limited, the study was direct and to the point. The teaching of the Bible on the identity of the Holy Spirit was clearly shown. We also looked at the importance of knowing that humanity has a Comforter who can truly understand the temptations of human flesh.

By now our well-dressed visitor was ready to explode. I offered to take his questions and let him speak some, but he did his cause no justice. After a while he stated that the Spirit of Prophecy said we should have unity and that we should all be working together. I replied that we must unify on truth. He tried to quote Ellen White, but when I asked for the reference, he offered nothing. He then tried to control the meeting with continual talking. I reminded him that as he had listened to the meeting, he had never once opened his Bible to see if what I said was true and stated that if he had a Bible verse to offer I wanted to know what it was, but if he had none I had to answer the questions of those who had attended the meetings all day and who had waited for this question and answer period. We then proceeded to more questions, and right after sunset we had to close the meeting and clear out the room.

After the meetings the Seventh-day Adventist pastor was asked what he thought, and he said, “We have heard the truth today, and I have nothing to add to it!”

Before we left I made a special effort to be in harmony with our well-dressed brother, and we left on good terms. He did not know that I had been disfellowshiped and that I would love to work within the church but was not allowed to do so. I later learned that this brother’s wife had accepted the truth about God and that her rejection of the trinity had caused him much grief.

The next day Brothers Marc, Maurizio, Elijah, and I, along with Brother Morgan Polska who was visiting Maurizio from the United States, went to Maurizio’s home area of Naples to hold meetings that evening with a small home church. The next day we had a home study with two families and then prepared to visit the Vatican at Rome. The Vatican was quite an eye-opener for those who had never been there. To see the pomp and riches that they had only read about was quite an education.

Moldova 

At the Rome airport Marc and I separated from our brethren and flew to Chisinau, Moldova. There we were greeted with a banner and many warm smiles from a small group that had come to welcome us and escort us to Congraz, reported to be the largest village in Europe!

Sister Irina Railean was to be my translator for the Russian language, and Brother Vasiliy Bessarab was to travel with Marc, Irina, and me on our visits to Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine during the next two and a half weeks. Our first stop was the home of Brother Vasiliy in Congraz. Marc and I were graciously hosted, and here we had meetings that were full of many questions and much spirit. In Eastern Europe, many of the people are much more interested in question and answer sessions than in hearing preaching or even having a simple text-by-text Bible study. Perhaps this is because they have had so many questions for so long with no one to answer them, but I was sure that this would be a part of every meeting, if at all possible!

We were also able to hold meetings in a nearby village, and we somehow managed to fit about twenty-five people into a small room as we discussed the need to personally know God better.

With few exceptions, the people of Eastern Europe are so friendly and warm. Whatever they have is yours, and you are made to feel completely welcomed and a part of their family.

Congraz is an interesting village. There are some stores and areas to buy supplies, but it is mostly composed of small homes with nice-sized yards and garden spaces. The streets are mostly dirt, and you can still see horses pulling wagons containing wood, hay, and other various loads. The homes are mostly simple, with some lacking indoor plumbing but with most having electricity. The homes use wood for fuel and some homes have furnaces built into the inner thick stone walls of the houses. The food in the east is hardy, and one usually finds cabbage, eggplant, beets, or all three upon the table at any given time. Tomatoes are also a favorite, and potatoes, when available, are relished.

Belarus 

From Moldova we traveled by slow train to the village of Toolovo near Vitebsk, Belarus. This thirty-two hour trip was made on a cramped train. However, we were very warmly received by Sister Svetlana Vorobiewova and her family. At this home we had meetings that were very interesting and heartfelt. There we learned of a man, Alexander Mashey, who was wrongly imprisoned but who had accepted the gospel and Adventism. We were asked to pray for him, and already we have learned that the courts are starting a new investigation into his case. Please remember him and his family in prayer.

After staying in Vitebsk we traveled to a town called Gomel where we met with non-trinitarians who had mostly accepted a teaching called the lunar Sabbath. Our meetings here were very interesting. The lunar Sabbath teaches that the Sabbath is determined by the new moon of each month and the Sabbath actually changes its position in the week. For example, some months the lunar Sabbath may be on Mondays, the next month on Tuesdays, the next on Thursdays, etc. On Sabbath we spent over five hours in study on this issue. We began by looking at what the Bible says about the Sabbath. Next we looked at many problems that would lead to biblical contradictions with the lunar Sabbath. Finally we looked at the testimony of Jesus from the writings of Ellen White about the Sabbath and how we had been assured as a people that we had not been deceived concerning the true Sabbath, that “it is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 595). It was made clear that the acceptance of such a doctrine would be the dismantling of Adventism, for to reject the Sabbath that our pioneers kept would require a denial of Ellen White’s prophetic gift and of the whole system of truth we believe. Some of the people saw the error of their way and returned to the true Bible Sabbath. Some said they would continue to study the issue, and some did not seem swayed.

Another issue that we studied in Gomel was the nature of Christ. A teaching has been proposed by a pseudo-archaeologist that the blood of Jesus was not fully human and contained only twenty-four chromosomes instead of the usual forty-six. While this is not possible to known science, it is also not known to the Bible. After reading Hebrews 2:14-17, I asked if this chromosome theory could be correct. I was told that it had been presented in a book and on a DVD, too, and that even angels had appeared to support this view. I made reference back to the Bible again to Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Then holding the Bible up in one hand the question was presented, “Do we believe the Word of God or DVDs?” This seemed to make a strong impact upon those present.

Ukraine 

Sunday found us beginning our travels again, this time to the largest country of Europe, Ukraine. Our first stop would be in the Crimea area, an area that is an autonomous republic much as Northern Ireland or Scotland is to the United Kingdom. The city of our stop would be Eupatoria where I had first meet Pastor Sasha Alexander, whose church had hosted a conference of non-trinitarian Adventists early last year.

Our long train ride there was highlighted with some “street preaching” in our train car. As we were traveling I asked Marc if he would like to play some music on his flute for the folks in our car. It was still early in the evening and nobody was resting, yet some people nearby were playing wicked music through their phones or other devices. If they could do this with Satan’s music, why could we not play God’s music? Marc, instead, suggested that I should start to preach and see what would happen. I accepted this call and began talking to the nearest person about the gospel, through Sister Irina. Soon others were listening and before long half of the car was surrounding us in deep interest. I had my Bible closed and started to open it, but one lady stopped me and said that if I was a real man of God, I would know the Bible and not need to open it. So by God’s grace, I proceeded to use many verses from memory to show God’s love in giving his Son and how he will freely pardon the sinner through Jesus Christ. We were asked why we did not pray to icons. In the east, the Orthodox Church heavily dominates the population and praying to icons is accepted as something that all Christians do. We replied that the second commandment of the Bible forbids this practice. When asked why the church did this, we said that it was because the church follows tradition rather than the Bible. We were asked why we did not confess to priests, and, again, we directed the people to the Bible and away from tradition. This study continued for over an hour, and one woman was especially touched. She told us that she had never owned a Bible but when she arrived at home she would get a Bible and begin to read it. Another woman was visibly affected by what she heard, and we pray that these dear souls will not let the words of truth be lost but will rather let them find lodging in their hearts.

Upon arriving at Eupatoria we were hosted in the church and had a wonderful visit with these dear saints. Pastor Alexander shared some of his story of being drafted into the Soviet army. There he refused to bear arms and work on the Sabbath. His punishment included being imprisoned for eighteen months and then being exiled to Siberia for eighteen months. Despite the pressure the Soviets tried to use against him, God always provided a way of escape for him. Needless to say, he does not have any sympathy for the lunar Sabbath issue.

From Eupatoria we traveled to Osyoenko and met with another lunar Sabbath group. This group was composed of three men and many women. One brother, who was the leader of the group, was very strong-willed and wanted me to answers questions about the recent General Conference Session and other topics but forbade me to talk about the lunar Sabbath. I stated that if we have truth we should not be fearful of investigation. In the question session, however, questions were raised concerning the lunar Sabbath, so I was able to address some of the issue concerning it and its problems. It was sad to see the faces of most of the sisters in this meeting. Many looked very sad and discouraged and I could quickly see why. At every opportunity I spoke of freedom in Jesus and how we are to look to no man but only to the man Christ Jesus. Though I cannot speak Russian, Irina was able to help me communicate after the meeting with some of these dear sisters, and Irina recorded many of their names and addresses so she can write encouragement to them and send them materials.

Our next stop was like an oasis compared to Osyoenko. We traveled to Pavlograd to meet with sister believers to the church in Eupatoria. Brother Uri was our contact, and he transported us in his nearly 40-year-old Russian Lada car, as well as arranged for our meetings. In Pavlograd we discussed the nearness of the second coming of Jesus, focusing on the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24. This meeting was broadcast over the Internet to four or five home church groups in Russia, including St. Petersburg. When planning this trip we wanted to include Russia on the schedule, but we could not find the time for the extra visit nor did we have time to secure the visa I needed to enter Russia, but God opened the way for his word to go to Russia even when we could not.

From Pavlograd we traveled to Synelnykove with Brother Uri for a meeting with another sister group. This group was certainly a sweet and wonderful church of believers who were willing to give the best they had so that we might be comfortable. This meeting was also broadcast into Russia. Here we learned that some of the brethren in Russia had been studying the material of Desmond Ford and had honest questions; therefore, we decided that we needed to study the final atonement and the sanctuary. This meeting was a special matter of prayer for us. Sister Irina was new to being a translator and though she had done an excellent work to this point, she felt the need for a special anointing of God’s Spirit. I did too. Thankfully we were free the afternoon before the meeting so we could devote time to going over the study for that evening to be sure that all the needed words and phrases were in her vocabulary.

Prior to this time I learned that most other languages do not have a word that is truly equivalent to the English word atonement. The Hebrew word English Bibles translate atonement is usually translated in other languages expiation which falls short of conveying the concept of at-one-ment. We decided to explain the Hebrew word Kaphar (kippur plural) that is used in the Old Testament for atonement as something that brings harmony or oneness between the sinner and God. This worked quite well and God certainly blessed in the presentation.

By this time we were just about ready to go to Kiev for our last Sabbath of meetings in the east. However, before we could purchase our train tickets we received a call from our contact in Kiev, Sister Valentina, stating that there was another group northeast of Kiev that would like us to visit. We were asked if maybe we could visit with them before Sabbath on Friday. We heartily agreed to do this if arrangements could be made; however, we could not fit this plan into any of the train schedules. We called Sister Valentina and suggested that the folks could come to Kiev and if there were some who wanted to come but could not afford to travel, we would be willing to help with some of the expenses. For some reason we had expected that only four or five were in this group. So on Thursday night, after our meeting in Synelnykove, we took a train through the night to Kiev.

Upon arriving in Kiev we were greeted by Sister Valentina and three brothers from a church in Hlukhiv, Ukraine. We were asked to go with them and work out something, so we began an hour-long trip to Nedra where we could have some food and visit. We found out that our group consisted of a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor, his son who is a current pastor, and another concerned brother. (Due to the nature of the following situation, I will not use their real names.) What we found out was that these men were from a church in Hlukhiv, over 200 miles northeast of Nedra, which had recently pulled away from membership in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination due to high-handed political issues. It had been related to these brethren by Sister Valentina that I had been an Adventist pastor who had been put out of the church. Believing that my presence and sharing my experience would be a blessing to the church in Hlukhiv, they begged me to come and preach to their flock.

Realizing that going would make it impossible to return before Sabbath, we called Sister Valentina, explained the matter to her, and asked if the group in Kiev would be willing to wait for me until Sabbath afternoon or evening if I went to Hlukhiv. Permission was graciously granted, and we began the trip to Hlukhiv. We arrived shortly before Sabbath and prepared to attend an evening meeting.

We learned on the way to Hlukhiv that a current disagreement was running between the local church and the Ukraine Conference of Seventh-day Adventists over the ownership of the local church building. The local people had located an older building, had purchased it, were funding all the cost of restoring the building, and held the papers (deed) to the church. The conference, however, was declaring that since the building had been a Seventh-day Adventist Church, it belonged to them.

As we entered into the chapel for sundown vespers, we were informed that the conference secretary was in attendance. Before we could begin there were some heated exchanges. The Holy Spirit made it clear that this was not a time for a sermon on the Father and Son but rather on the issues of salvation that the Reformation proclaimed. The message that was shared declared that God through Christ, not through a church, saved men and women. The people responded very well to the message. The exception was the conference secretary.

I was told by the pastor that I would be given both the Sabbath school time and the normal worship time to preach. That night I prayed earnestly to know what to present the next morning. I wanted to present the message of the Father and Son but was not sure I would have enough time before we would have to leave to travel to Kiev for the meetings there. I struggled for an understanding of what to do. Finally God gave me the assurance that he would show me what to do in the morning. I could not understand why I had to wait, but, of course, God knows best. I could not have known that night what I would face the next day.

Sabbath morning came bright and clear, and as we entered into the chapel, I was told that the conference secretary was back and with him were the conference president, several pastors, and a man with a video camera recording all who were attending and what was being said.

The president wanted to address the church and the pastor graciously allowed him to speak a few words, but the people were so upset with his words that there was quite a stir. Finally after much heated discussion, I was allowed to speak. By this time I realized that there would only be time for one message, and I realized that my key text would be John 16:1-3:

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3)

I used this as the key text to speak of the importance of knowing the biblical picture of God and his character and that of his Son. This was done in the context of the Reformation, as the papacy, not knowing God or his character, persecuted the reformers when they arose up to denounce the sins of “the church” and even finally realized that the institution which claimed to be the true church was not the true church at all but rather Babylon and that the pope himself was antichrist. I closed by encouraging the people to continue the reformation today! This powerful message quieted the conference people and greatly blessed the local people.

After a quick lunch we began our travel to Kiev. On the way we learned that earlier in the morning, the retired pastor, whose membership had been held in the main church in Kiev, was disfellowshiped. He was thankful that he could suffer, even in this small way, for Jesus.

When we arrived in Kiev there were about fifteen people waiting on us in a very small room, but our party of seven found room to fit inside with them. The meeting went well, with some of the time being used to share the events of the day and the issues behind the strife between the church in Hlukhiv and the Ukraine Conference. The subject of the lunar Sabbath was again discussed, in addition to whether the corporate church would repent or be finally lost.

Awaking at 2:30 the next morning to travel to the Kiev airport seemed hard, even though it meant that Marc and I were starting the journey home. It was difficult to say goodbye to our new brothers and sisters who had been so helpful and faithful. Before our return to France, we had one last stop in The Netherlands.

The Netherlands 

Sister Jenny Alberto greeted us upon our arrival in Amsterdam. She hosted our meeting in her home that evening. This was a special part of our trip for here we would conduct a communion service. The next morning found Marc and me on a train to Paris where we would have to part. Marc would take another train to his waiting family in southern France while I would be flying back to the United States.

The blessings of God were continually with us on this trip, especially in leading us to many places we had not originally expected to visit. I want to personally thank the readers of Old Paths for their prayers and their support which made this trip possible. Allen Stump


Selected Thoughts

He who beholds Christ in His self-denial, His lowliness of heart, will be constrained to say, as did Daniel, when he beheld One like the sons of men, “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption.” Daniel 10:8. The independence and self-supremacy in which we glory are seen in their true vileness as tokens of servitude to Satan. Human nature is ever struggling for expression, ready for contest; but he who learns of Christ is emptied of self, of pride, of love of supremacy, and there is silence in the soul. Self is yielded to the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Then we are not anxious to have the highest place. We have no ambition to crowd and elbow ourselves into notice; but we feel that our highest place is at the feet of our Saviour. We look to Jesus, waiting for His hand to lead, listening for His voice to guide. The apostle Paul had this experience, and he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.  (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 15) 


The Sabbath

Revealing the original poetic language of Moses, the Hebrew text for Genesis 2:2, 3 is translated into English by J. P. Green’s edition of The Interlinear Bible as:

And finished God 

On day the seventh 

His work which he had made. 

 

And he rested 

On day the seventh 

From all his work which he had made. 

 

And blessed God 

Day the seventh 

And sanctified it. 

 

Because on it 

He rested 

From all his work which had created God to make. 

Here we read that on the seventh day of creation week God ceased (or finished) his creative work on earth and that it was only after God had rested (tbv, shabath) did he set the day apart as a day of rest for man: “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:3; see also Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 47). Not only did God set apart, or sanctify, the seventh day, he also blessed it:

God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator. God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” Psalm 19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48)

The seventh day has been blessed and sanctified by God and, following the example of God, is to be a day of rest. For all of God creatures, the Sabbath is meant to be of all days the best. From the horse in the stall to the maiden in the kitchen, all is to be at rest, and in addition to this rest from physical labor, rest for the weary soul is also found. Jesus, who has promised to be our Comforter, hallows this day with his presence.

In the home where his word is opened at the approach of the Sabbath, he presides. In all gatherings where hymns ascend in thankfulness as the sun descends in sleep, he attends and humbly accepts the offered praise. He, who made all that is within the reach of eye, visits each home where the Sabbath is cherished and brings light and freedom from care.

The Lord has promised that where two or three are met together in His name, there will He be in the midst. (In Heavenly Places, chapter 85)

He is also present in the enveloping darkness of damp and dirty prison cells, and Sabbath peace surrounds the lonely ones. Their hearts are made full though their bodies are waning, and dry lips move in labored praise to God for his marvelous grace.

Though enemies may thrust them [God’s people] into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there, and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light as when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian dungeon. (The Great Controversy, p. 627)

In simple huts bent men hang their hoes, wash their weathered faces and gnarled hands in their only basins, and gratefully sink off their tired feet. Sabbath, sweet repository of God, has arrived, and with grateful hearts they bend their heads in prayer.

As God ceased his labor of creating, and rested upon that day and blessed it, so man was to leave the occupation of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. (Ellen G. White, Redemption: Or the Miracles of Christ, the Mighty One, p. 28)

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and to each one made in his image he promises to give rest. His simple words in Matthew should ever be remembered:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Wonderful words that apply to every day, but the rest God promises on the Sabbath day includes more:

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 58:13, 14)

And these sweet Sabbath blessings will continue forever

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 66:23)

The Sabbath was instituted in Eden before the fall, and was observed by Adam and Eve, and all the heavenly host. God rested on the seventh day, and blessed and hallowed it. I saw that the Sabbath never will be done away; but that the redeemed saints, and all the angelic host, will observe it in honor of the great Creator to all eternity. (Early Writings, p. 217)

for God’s chosen ones.

In all ages the Saviour’s chosen have been educated and disciplined in the school of trial. They walked in narrow paths on earth; they were purified in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus’ sake they endured opposition, hatred, calumny. They followed Him through conflicts sore; they endured self-denial and experienced bitter disappointments. By their own painful experience they learned the evil of sin, its power, its guilt, its woe; and they look upon it with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice made for its cure humbles them in their own sight and fills their hearts with gratitude and praise which those who have never fallen cannot appreciate. They love much because they have been forgiven much. Having been partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are fitted to be partakers with Him of His glory.

The heirs of God have come from garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains, from deserts, from the caves of the earth, from the caverns of the sea. On earth they were “destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Millions went down to the grave loaded with infamy because they steadfastly refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By human tribunals they were adjudged the vilest of criminals. But now “God is judge Himself.” Psalm 50:6. Now the decisions of earth are reversed. “The rebuke of His people shall He take away.” Isaiah 25:8. “They shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord.” He hath appointed “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 62:12; 61:3. They are no longer feeble, afflicted, scattered, and oppressed. Henceforth they are to be ever with the Lord. They stand before the throne clad in richer robes than the most honored of the earth have ever worn. They are crowned with diadems more glorious than were ever placed upon the brow of earthly monarchs. The days of pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped the tears from all faces; every cause of grief has been removed. Amid the waving of palm branches they pour forth a song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious; every voice takes up the strain, until the anthem swells through the vaults of heaven: “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” And all the inhabitants of heaven respond in the ascription: “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.” Revelation 7:10, 12. (The Great Controversy, pp. 649-651)

What a wonder celestial worship will be! Onycha Holt


Tasty Recipes

Pasta e Faggioli 

Ingredients: 400 grams (14 ounces) of white beans, 500 grams (18 ounces) of whole wheat pasta, 4 tomatoes, celery, 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt

Wash the beans and put them to boil in water in an earthenware pot over low heat. When they are half cooked, add two cloves of garlic, celery as desired, and crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the beans are cooked, making sure there is enough water in the beans. Add the chopped pasta and simmer until cooked. Serve in the pot with a little olive oil on top.

Pasta with Pumpkin 

Ingredients: 500 grams (18 ounces) of pumpkin, a clove of garlic, chopped parsley, two ripe tomatoes, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 400 grams (14 ounces) of whole wheat spaghetti

Cut the pumpkin into cubes. Put the garlic into the pan with olive oil and add the pumpkin in the pan. Let cook with garlic and olive oil for a minute, and then add water until it covers three fingers above the pumpkin. Add the parsley and crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the pumpkin is cooked, then pass through a food mill, letting it boil on the stove. Add salt and spaghetti broken in small pieces. Serve after spaghetti is cooked.

Thanks to Brother Maurizio Esposito in Italy for sharing these recipes.?


Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a disease that flourishes in the United States, is prevalent worldwide, and usually remains silent in the body until it is well-established. Symptoms usually do not occur until blood flow in major arteries becomes restricted or blocked and by the time symptoms are apparent, fat, cholesterol, and other substances have already slowly built up in the walls of arteries, forming hard structures known as plaques. Over time these plaques narrow the artery and make it less flexible so that blood flow is restricted. If this restriction occurs in coronary arteries, blood flow to the heart can slow and even stop, which can cause chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms.  

When symptoms of atherosclerosis do appear, they may be vague or atypical or they may be classic angina pectoris. Angina pectoris refers to chest pain occurring during exertion or during severe emotional stress. A large meal or cold weather can also precipitate this pain, which is usually described as heaviness, pressure, or tightness centered in the middle or left side of the chest. This pain is caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle and can travel up the neck or jaw, down either arm, and occasionally to the back or stomach area.

Currently millions of people in the United States suffer from angina, but many experience no symptoms until their first heart attack. Even under situations of significant exertion, a heart artery must have at least fifty to sixty percent of its diameter blocked before the heart muscle suffers from lack of blood supply which is the cause of the pain. Many individuals with narrowing even in the seventy percent or greater range have no recognizable symptoms, and because of the lack of symptoms, heart disease is often not detected in its earlier stages. It is, therefore, unwise to put off heart evaluations until symptoms develop. A person may feel fine and work full time yet be on the verge of a major heart attack and even sudden death. Approximately sixty percent of heart attack deaths occur suddenly, and over half of the sudden deaths occur in individuals who were not previously diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

One test available to diagnose heart disease before a fatal event is an electrocardiogram (EKG). An EKG stress test can sometimes detect a fifty percent blockage of an artery, but stress tests can miss a considerable number of blockages.

The most conclusive test to identify blockages that are likely to cause a problem is a dye study of the heart and its blood vessels. Such dye studies are sometimes referred to as “cardiac catheterizations” or “coronary angiograms,” and they usually identify blood vessels that have been narrowed by forty to fifty percent or more.

Heart attacks are not the only manifestation of atherosclerosis. Complete blockage of a brain artery results in the death of any brain tissue that depended on the blood flow in that artery, and this death of brain tissue is called a stroke. Most people know that strokes commonly paralyze half of the body, but they can also cause other serious difficulties, such as blindness, inability to speak or hear, and severe personality or memory problems. The actual problems that occur depend on what part of the brain is damaged.

Atherosclerosis tends to affect all of the large and medium sized-blood vessels throughout the body. Some of the more common sites where atherosclerosis tends to occur are depicted below. Most of these afflictions can cause death. The body’s largest artery, the aorta, for example, is commonly affected by atherosclerosis. Attached directly to the heart, this huge vessel carries blood from the heart and is especially prone to aneurysms. Aortic aneurysms typically result when the lining of the aorta is weakened by atherosclerosis. Because of the high pressures in this great artery, the weakened wall can balloon out like a bad spot on a tire. If this ballooned area gets large enough, the tissues will be too thin to contain the high pressure, and the artery will burst. A ruptured aortic aneurysm is usually a death sentence. Massive internal bleeding occurs literally within a matter of seconds or minutes.

Two arteries in the abdomen branch off the aorta and are also prone to atherosclerotic narrowing. These are the renal arteries, the blood vessels that supply the kidneys. If one of these arteries becomes significantly narrowed, a person can develop high blood pressure or, even worse, lose the function of that kidney entirely.

We can corner this hidden enemy, however. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease over which we have no control include our age and sex, but there are a number of factors over which we do have control, and one of these is our cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a white, waxy fat manufactured in our bodies that is used to build cell walls and to make certain hormones, but too much cholesterol in the blood stream can contribute to atherosclerosis. The higher the cholesterol level, the greater the death rate.

Heart disease and atherosclerosis begin early in life in Western nations. Individuals thirty years of age and younger have been found to have deposits of atherosclerotic fatty streaks on the inner walls of their arteries, and the size of the wall area that is covered is greater in individuals with high blood cholesterol levels. It is important to note those with a cholesterol level of 230 have over fifty percent of their blood vessels’ surface area covered with early atherosclerotic fatty streaks. This amounts to roughly five times the amount of fatty buildup in a person with a more ideal cholesterol level of 110. The evidence is clear: high blood cholesterol does damage to the arteries even in people under the age of thirty. It is recommended, therefore, that all Americans over the age of twenty know their total blood cholesterol and HDL levels, since some people mistakenly assume that heart disease is reserved for the elderly.

What is the ideal serum cholesterol level? For years some experts have asserted that an ideal serum cholesterol is 100 plus your age. The National Cholesterol Education Program initially reported a recommended cholesterol value to be less than 200 mg/dl and if every American would reduce his or her cholesterol level to this value, countless lives would be saved, but if you want to have the lowest risk of heart disease, you would be much wiser to adopt as a personal goal a serum cholesterol level of 100 plus your age.

How can we improve our cholesterol levels? To appreciate the answer to this important question, we must make sure we understand how we obtain cholesterol. Our livers manufacture more than enough cholesterol for all our body’s functions. For this reason we do not need to eat any cholesterol whatsoever; it is totally unnecessary in the human diet. Many of us, however, get significant amounts of cholesterol from our food. In fact, the average American eats about 300 mg of cholesterol every day. From where does all this cholesterol come? This figure gives us the answer in simple terms:

All the cholesterol we eat comes from animal products. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts contain no cholesterol. On the other hand, animal products almost always contain cholesterol, egg whites being a rare example of when this is not true. Even though genetics can negatively impact our serum cholesterol level, we can dramatically lower our levels by removing all animal products from our diets. Eating animal products, however, is not the only part of our diets that affects serum cholesterol levels.

Blood cholesterol levels are also influenced by the fat contained in our diet, specifically saturated fat. Many people do not understand the difference between polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Imagine you are sitting in front of two ten gallon glass fish tanks and each tank is filled with fat, one with saturated fat and the other with polyunsaturated fat. In this way it is easy to tell the difference between the two. The saturated fat is solid at room temperature and the polyunsaturated fat is liquid. Generally speaking, the more solid the fat, the more saturated it is. Most fats from animal products are predominately saturated, while most plant products are high in polyunsaturated fats, and both saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. When the P/S (polyunsaturated/ saturated fat ratio) of certain foods is greater than 2.0, the fat in the food will tend to lower one’s blood cholesterol level.

A study on nut consumption was conducted at Loma Linda University and has received international attention. The initial study focused on the amount of nuts eaten by the participants in the Adventist Health Study. They found that those consuming nuts less than once per week had the highest risk of heart attack. Those who consumed nuts one to four times per week lowered their risk about twenty-five percent. Those who consumed nuts more than five times a week cut their risk in half. The study was controlled for other lifestyle variables so that the researchers could be more certain that the nuts were the only factor involved. Many health professionals were surprised by the findings of this study. Previously health professionals commonly encouraged patients to avoid nuts because of their high fat content. Now we know that nuts in small to moderate amounts are part of a healthful diet because they supply nutrients that are beneficial for preventing heart disease.

The fat in peanuts, however, has a specific chemistry and triglyceride structure that makes them surprisingly harder on arteries than other vegetable fats. A person, therefore, who wants to protect his arteries would be wise to choose nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans in place of peanuts. Almonds have another advantage. They are unique among the nut food group in that they contain far more vitamin E than other nuts and exceed just about all other foods in this regard.

We can prepare delicious meals, using plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a moderate amount of nuts, and not use ingredients that damage our health. If we use foods that come exclusively from fruits, nuts, vegetables, and grains, we can make dramatic changes that lower both cholesterol levels and heart disease rates.

Dr. Nedley states in Proof Positive that he and his “family personally follow a total vegetarian diet and make no sacrifices in the department of taste” (p. 85), and he further states: “Let me illustrate my point with two examples. One favorite in our house is a nondairy (no cholesterol) “ice cream.” We make it by putting frozen bananas and other selected frozen fruits through a Champion juicer. It comes out smooth and cold and creamy, and sweet to the taste. However, it is low in fat, high in fiber, and has no animal protein and no cholesterol. Another example is provided by tofu (soy bean curd), an incredibly versatile food. By using a variety of seasonings, it makes a tasty substitute in our home for some dairy products, eggs, and even some meat dishes” (Ibid.).

A healthful lifestyle is the primary defense against heart disease, and this lifestyle includes a plant-based diet. Our diet forms a foundation for the body to be benefitted by other principles of health as exercise, sunlight, and fresh air. Even though some individuals may have a genetic tendency toward low blood cholesterol levels, if they follow a poor lifestyle they can still have a heart attack. Other individuals may have genes that predispose them to high cholesterol levels, but if their overall lifestyle is good they can definitely postpone—if not completely avoid—a heart attack.

Let us start today to kick the silent stalker out of our lives and replace him with good cardiovascular health! Onycha Holt

Adapted with permission from Proof Positive by Neil Nedley, M.D.


Prayer Requests

We are thankful for Pastor Allen’s safe return from Europe and ask that you remember in prayer all those he met on this trip. Let us especially remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in these areas who are remaining faithful to God despite being ostracized by the mainline Adventist Church and to pray for God’s workers around the globe.

A dear sister in Virginia is experiencing the terminal stages of brain cancer, and we ask that you remember her and her family in prayer.

We are sorry to report that Brother Everitte Freeman recently died, and we ask that you remember his family in prayer for God to graciously comfort them in their sorrow.

Let us also remember in prayer the ministry of the Waldensian Center.  Editor


Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Associate Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!

This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013