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.1 Straight and Narrow January 2010
fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
Does God Gamble?
By Allen Stump
Albert Einstein, in referring to the concept of quantum mechanics said, that God does not place dice with the universe. Does God gamble? You might suggest this question to be sacrilegious, and if you do, you might also consider the answer to also be sacrilegious. The word gamble is defined, in its most basic sense, as taking a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage. We see this done with the state lotteries, casinos, and other types of gambling such as race tracks for horses and dogs. The outcome of professional sporting events are wagered upon. These are just some of the forms of gambling. People hoping to receive something for nothing or very little.
As Christians, we normally condemn gambling. After all, the Bible says that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10) and we read in Genesis 3:19 that it is Gods plan for man to have to work for his livelihood.
But does God gamble? Has he ever taken a risk in order to gain something better? Most Christians say no. We must say an emphatic yes! In Isaiah we have a prophecy about Jesus Christ:
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:1-6)
It is universally accepted that this is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ. What does this strange phrase the government shall be upon his shoulder mean? We are told that Jesus would break the yoke of burden, that he would break the staff upon the shoulder and the rod of his oppressor. Jesus did say my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). From burdened yokes to broken yokes and then to easy yokes, Jesus comes to the aid of his people. From rods that beat the shoulders, to his bruised shoulders that bore the government of God, upon which the very stability of the universe depends, humanity finds everything that it needs and must have in Jesus Christ. Isaiah begins this chapter with a prophecy about the land of Galilee where Christ would grow up, live, and do much of his ministry. It had been a place of great darkness, but with Jesus it would have great light.
The Galileans lived in a land of shadows, but light was to shine on them. God gave them joy and made them happy. They rejoiced in what God had done, as people rejoice when they harvest grain or divide wealth. Why? Because God had broken the yoke that burdened them and the rod that beat their shoulders. The Jewish leaders had placed heavy burdens upon the people. Jesus had described some of this in his condemnation of the Jewish leaders:
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on mens shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matthew 23:4)
But as we noticed, Jesus said his yoke was easy. Instead of the rod being forever placed upon the people of God, God will use a rod of iron to destroy those who refuse to cease from their rebellion. The prophecy of Psalm 2:9 states: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potters vessel. This iron denoted severity (Revelation 2:27), but for Gods people, we read: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4). To the wicked, Gods rod would be severe but to Gods people an instrument of comfort.
The Government Upon His Shoulders
We might ask, what are the issues at stake in Isaiah 9:6 where it declares that the government would be upon the shoulders of Christ?
It should at first be clear that no earthly government could be understood to fulfill this prophecy. This is no city, state, national, or worldly government. This is a government higher than the United Nations or any governing body. This is the very government of God that would be upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ, and the stability of billions of galaxies and their inhabitants depended upon Jesus Christ. When he became incarnate and walked as a man, if he had sinned the full consequences would have been unthinkable. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Is this true across the board? Is this an eternal principle? Yes, it is, and if Christ sinned, what would have happened? If he is coequal and coeternal as a member of the trinity, who would have or could have executed the sentence upon him? And if the trinity is true, would the whole trinity die? But how can that which is immortal be subject to death? This would have resulted in a sinner of the worst type, an immortal sinner.
Satan was expelled from heaven and is condemned to destruction in the second death. When Adam sinned, God took action to prevent him from becoming an immortal sinner.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24)
But you say: Wait, Jesus could not have sinned? Did Jesus have a will with free choice or was he merely an automation? Paul, in Hebrews 2:17, explains the necessity of Jesus becoming like us so he could be tempted. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren (Hebrews 2:17). Paul states that Christ was made like humanity. The Greek word translated behoved is opheilo and it means to owe, be in debt for, to be under obligation, bound by duty or necessity (Thayers Greek Lexicon). For Christ to save man, he must come to where man is to save him from the bottom up.
But the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and one cannot be forced to die for another (Deuteronomy 24:16). Unless a voluntary substitute could be found, one equal to the law that had been violated, a person would have to die for his own sin. But since we do not have power to raise ourselves from the dead, nor would God have the right to raise us, we would be dead eternally if we died for our own sins. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to die for us. A substitute was found. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). Paul writes that Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Let us pause a moment to examine the phrase obedient unto death. What does this mean? Some other translations state to the point of death (NKJV, Phillips). The obedience of Jesus led to his death, but the prospects of a cold grave that would have no resurrection did not stop Jesus from doing Gods will.
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. (Hebrews 5:7-9)
Christ suffered as a man and as the Son of God. God was able to save him from death. Jesus was not saved from dying but was saved in dying.
It was possible for Christ to sin. There was a risk involved, but he did no sin. He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). If it were not possible for Jesus to sin, then his temptations in the wilderness were a mockery to you and me. It should be obvious that Satan believed that Christ could sin, or he would not have put forth so much effort to get him to sin and fail. He [Jesus] could have sinned; He could have fallen (The Faith I Live By, p. 49).
Earlier we mentioned that the the trinity doctrine leads to problems concerning if Jesus could sin or not. Now, how does all of this figure into the picture?
The third Council of Constantinople (the sixth ecumenical council) declared that because Jesus had two natures, that he had two wills, the human and divine, and:
His human will [always] followed the divine will, and is not resisting or reluctant, but rather subject to his divine and omnipotent will. For it was proper that the will of the flesh should be moved, but be subject to the divine will, according to the wise Athanaius. (Schaff-Herzog, Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 3, p. 54)
The conclusion of this is that the divine omnipotent will of the second person of the trinity is dominant over the human will and that Christ overcame through his own divinity and this is why he could live a sinless life and also why, according to the new theology, you and I cannot. If he overcame in his own divinity by his always divine dominant will, it cannot be accepted that he could have sinned nor that he truly came to this world as a man in the flesh. This is the very error of antichrist!
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:2, 3)
The teaching that Jesus had nothing to lose or risk is the teaching of antichrist, which gains nothing but eternal damnation for those who accept it.
The Example of Jesus
If an eagle could talk and flew beside you and invited you to soar in the clouds with him, you might say to him, after getting over the shock of a talking eagle, that you would love to do it but couldnt. The eagle might reply that he was sure you could do it because it was easy! But you know it is easy because the eagle has wings and you do not. Is it in this way that Jesus tells us to overcome as he overcame? No, no, no! The way Christ overcame is an example to us:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. (1 Peter 2:21)
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Jesus had told his disciples, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). What would be the difference to you and me in the struggle against sin if Jesus overcame through his divine omnipotent will? How would that cheer you up? What would it prove to man, to Satan, or to the universe about what man can do? It would only prove to the universe how powerful Jesus was, but not what man could do. However, as a man, depending upon on the Father in the same way you and I have to depend upon the Father, the victory of Jesus overcoming Satan and all sin would mean something! It would mean that we can overcome too.
The November 21, 2009, issue of Science News carried an article entitled Uncloaked. This article spoke of the science of making normally visible objects invisible to optical waves as well as electromagnetic waves. While the material of science fiction (Star Trek) only a few years ago, the theory is now in place to make matter invisible. While there are different concepts to how something is cloaked, or made invisible, the most basic concept is to have a material either on or around the object you wish to cloak that can bend the light around the object and restore it to its original path. Instead of the light striking the object and being reflected back, the light simply goes around and resumes it path.
Science News reports that Xiang Zhang of UC Berkeley and colleagues have designed a cloak made of nanostructured silicon that can hide objects from view in the infrared. Light hitting an object normally scatters, giving away the objects presence. But with the new carpet cloak, the light reflects as if it were bouncing off a flat surface. The cloak hid an area that measured 3.8 micrometers by 400 nanometers (Science News, November 21, 2009). While this is a very small area, it shows that, not only in theory but in practice, this can be done.
Some people believe that the righteousness of Christ is like a cloaking device for sin. It makes us look like we are clean without sin, but it only makes the sin invisible even though it is still there. Ephesians 2:8, 9 says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. But what are we saved from? Are we simply saved only from the penalty of sin? No! The Bible teaches that we are to be saved from the power of sin. For sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6:14). We are saved from the penalty of sin. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Finally, we will be saved from the presence of all sin. 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 21:4).
We read about Joshua the high priest in the prophecy of Zechariah 3 and how he was clothed in filthy garments (Zechariah 3:3). These represented his sin (Isaiah 64:6). But he was to receive a new change of garments (verse 4). This represented the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment (Revelation 19:8). But before Joshua could receive the new change, the old garment was first to be removed (Zechariah 3:4). No more does Christ clothe our sinful self with his righteousness than we would put a fine coat over a wet muddy shirt.
The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 555, 556)
People will read Ephesians 2:8 and declare that you cannot earn your salvation, and that is true. But then they add to the text and proclaim that while you cannot earn your salvation and neither can you lose your salvation by your actions. This is plainly wrong. Paul, the author of Ephesians, wrote about the works of the flesh, saying:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
All the blessing that are pronounced to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are for those who overcome sin! (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21) James tells us that faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17), and according to Revelation 20:12, 13 we are judged by our works.
So while we are to overcome sin as Jesus did, we must remember that he overcame by faith and dependence upon divine help. We can do this, too. Of course, we can do nothing apart from Christ. Jesus says: without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). But with the spirit of Christ, we can say as Paul, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). Gods people will, by his grace, keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). Revelation 14:12 says that those who refuse the mark of the beast will keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Issues with the Trinity
The trinity doctrine wipes away all the truth about God by declaring Jesus to be immortal and equal with the Father and that he overcame by his divine power. But if he is immortal and not subject to death, then he is really not our substitute and did not really die for us. Furthermore, all the examples he left for us, baptism, communion with foot washing, prayer, complete trust in God, and total victory over sin would all be a farce.
The message of the cross is made of non-effect by the trinity. Paul had been a Pharisee who believed in the resurrection. However the Pharisees did not understand the truth of the gospel concerning the power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Paul wrote:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)
There is power to overcome sin as we experience Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. This is the main thrust of Pauls argument in Romans 6:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. (Romans 6:3-8)
Our experience is always in Christ and Christ in us, but if Jesus was not really given, if he did not really die, than I cannot die in Christ, and if I do not die with him, I do not live either. If his living and dying was an experience that is beyond me, then victory over sin is also beyond me. But the good news is that we can experience the death and life of Jesus.
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)
The power of Gods love draws the sinner as he sees Christs great sacrifice and that Jesus overcame as he must overcome. God declares that the measure of his love is in the depth of the sacrifice for our sins.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [not a second person of the trinity], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9, 10)
Jesus once said, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Both Jesus and the Father knew by experience what this meant. They committed everything to redeem mankind and would not turn back. The story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 shows that it was a struggle for the God of heaven to give up his Son.
Said the angel, Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them. (Early Writings, p. 127)
Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Gods purpose was to heal their backsliding (Hosea 14:4). He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)? Because of God and Christs work, we may have access to a God of love and his Son, equally full of love, and nothing can separate us from their love.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God and nothing that can separate us from our love for God once we understand the risk, the depths of the sacrifice, and the greatness of Gods love.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
Receiving the Right Spirit
According to Paul, there are two spirits that can be received:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-12)
What does Paul mean by the spirit of the world (v. 12)? Of course, he does not mean some goddess or thinking spirit. He is referring to the mind set, or the thinking, of the world. What is the spirit of the world concerning Jesus overcoming? The trinity, part of the thinking of the world, declares that Jesus overcome in a way we cannot. But we are not to receive of that spirit. We are to receive of the Spirit of God which says that Jesus overcame as we are to overcome.
The nature of the Godhead is a spiritual matter that only comes through the discernment of the Spirit and not in the wisdom of the world. Christ came to reveal the Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (John 1:18) Amble provision has been made for humanity to know the truth about God and Christ. Jesus says that the basis of eternal life is in knowing God and his Son (John 17:3). Paul declared, concerning the gospel:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (Romans 1:16-19)
While verses 16-18 are well-known, we do not hear as much about verse 19. But here Paul is saying, It is not that they do not know the truth about God; indeed he has made it quite plain to them (Phillips). Because the knowledge of God may be seen in them, God having made it clear to them (Bible in Basic English). Paul declares that there is a truth held in unrighteousness (v. 18). This truth is the truth of the gospel and the knowledge of God. Today many hide the truth about God and present a false doctrine of pagan orgin in its place. Paul could boldly write:
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 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. Are we true witnesses of God. (1 Corinthians 15:13-15)
Are we faithful witnesses or not? Do we really believe that God had a Son and raised him from the dead and that we may die and then live in him?
There was certainly much to risk in the plan of salvation, but if Jesus is the second person of a trinity which could not risk anything for us, then there was nothing to gain either. The trinity doctrine is not a trivial matter for it attempts to destroy the very heart of the gospel of Gods love. It further covers up the power and wisdom of God to save us. And that is the central plan of Satan to cover up Gods love, wisdom, and power to save us. He well knows that if we see the true love of God we will be drawn to that love, and he will be powerless to deceive us. But without a true understanding of God, his Son, and the gospel, we will only be, at best, partially converted. We will continue to sin and repent, sin and repent, our half-hearted will preventing us from seeking a complete surrender, and thus a complete victory, in Christ. Satan knows this and that is why he has covered up Gods identity, but God has prophesied that he would reveal himself.
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD. (Jeremiah 16:19-21)
You can be a part of those who fulfill this prophecy. You can proclaim the name, the character of God, far and near. This is important because we have been told:
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).
Now, does God have a licence to gamble that we do not have? Our earthly gambles are selfish. We risk for ourselves and for temporal matters, but Gods risk was unselfish it was for others and for eternity. Will you allow that sacrifice of great risk be for nothing, or will you accept Christ today and walk as he walked in obedience to the commandments of God?
As we begin a new year, let us pray for Gods kingdom to come soon and for the reign of sin to finally end.
Our beloved Sister Ann Ford fell on her house deck last month, hurting her back, and we ask for prayer that she might have swift healing.
Please keep the witnessing plans for the General Conference Session in mind (p. 13) and if God can use you to be one of his workers there.
We ask that you pray for the work in the different continents, as the message pushes into areas of Africa and Asia, among other places. Please note the reports from Canada and South Korea in this issue and pray for these brethren as well.
In the office, we have begun to pray for a few states each week. We have prayed for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and Arkansas thus far. If you have any prayer requests for these states and for the upcoming alphabetical states, please let us know so that we can include your prayer requests in our prayers.
Finally, our beloved Brother Aland Ashton is still in need of much prayer. His progress is slow at this time.
Quiz on Job 22-24
1. Who is speaking in Job 22?
2. How would you describe the thought of verses 2-4?
3. To what degree is Job accused in Job 22:5?
4. List five specific sins Job is accused of in Job 22.
5. What was the speaker implying about Job in Job 22:13?
6. Job 22:21 is one of the most sublime statements in the Bible, and while such a truth seems out of place amid such error, it begins a new section in chapter 22, continuing until the end of the chapter. What is the theme of this section?
7. What is the result of acquainting oneself with God?
8. Why would this not work for Satan? Surely nobody on earth has known more about God than Satan.
NOTE: When the mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite, the effect on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate. In such communion is found the highest education. It is God's own method of development. "Acquaint now thyself with Him" (Job 22:21), is His message to mankind (Acts of the Apostles, p. 126).
9. What verse might be a contrast reference for Job 22:30?
10. What is Jobs basic complaint in Job 23:2-7?
11. What does Job wish for God to do once and for all in Job 23:7?
12. What is the Hebrew word for forward in Job 23:8? Bonus: What does this help to explain about the oriental orientation of maps?
13. What was more valuable to Job than his necessary food (Hebrew: prescribed portion)?
14. What does the word soft mean in Job 23:16?
15. Job 24 1-16 describes the wickedness that is often seemingly unpunished, but what other theme is expressed in this section?
16. What does this prove concerning the philosophy of his supposed friends?
17. Explain Job 24:11. Who is this speaking of and what are the circumstances?
18. Some consider verses 18-20 and even the rest of the chapter to be words of Zophar or one of the other two friends either directly or quoted by Job. Would you agree and why or why not?
19. Explain Job 24:21. Why is the barren one so helpless?
20. What does Job challenge his friends to do in Job 24:25?
Answers to Quiz on Job 20, 21
1. Zophar is the speaker in Job 20.
2. The internal state of Job 20:2 is one of being on fire to answer to speak. He is in haste or impetuous.
3. In Job 20:3, Zophar could be making reference to Job 19:22, 28, 29.
4. In Job 20:4, Zophar appeals to their ancestors, the saints of old, as mentioned in Job 5:1, and history in general, as a source of authority.
5. The basic argument in Job 20 is that the wicked may prosper for a short while (v. 5), but sure and complete destruction will come as Zophar could now accuse Job, thus proving that Job is, without doubt, wicked.
6. In Job 20:19 Zophar accuses Job of forsaking the poor, but Job denies this charge in Job 29:12, 16.
7. Job 20:24, 25 paraphrased could say: The wicked may flee from the sword, but the brass arrow will pierce him through and when he pulls it out from his gall, terror will be upon him; perhaps a reference to Job 6:4.
8. Job 20:27 is a statement in opposition to the statement of Jobs found in Job 16:19.
9. Like Bildad, Zophar all but directly calls Job wicked, (Job 20:29). From this we can learn the lesson that we are not to judge another because we can only go by appearances but God reads the heart. See Matthew 7:1 and 1 Samuel 16:7
10. In Jobs response, he tells his friends that he is going to say something so revolutionary to them, that they will be astonished (Job 21:5). He tells them that the wicked can live a very long, satisfying, powerful, and prosperous life; one dieth in ease and full strength, another in bitterness, but they all die and are reserved for judgment.
11. Jobs contrasting points to the statements in Job 15:20; 18:19; and 20:24. are 15.2021.23; 18.1921.8; and 20.2421.9.
12. Job 21:15 remind one of that has read the history of the children of Israel of Pharaoh (Exodus. 5:2).
13. Job argues that children are not punished for the sins of their fathers in Job 21:19.
14. A summary of the point that Job is making in Job 21:23-25 is that death comes to all, to the rich, poor, happy, and sad. There is no one formula that fits all.
15. While the wicked may prosper upon this earth, Job says concerning their final end that they are reserved for the day of destruction. See also 2 Peter 2:9.
16. In Job 21:34, Job declares his friends speak lies and are not comfort to him.
Above All Else
By Daisy Albertson
I am so thankful that God is the Judge, God is the Judge, God is the Judge.
I am so thankful that God is the Judge and its not left up to me.
If God should judge me or beloved family and friends not worthy of his kingdom, I could be satisfied, knowing that he is the righteous Judge who sees the end from the beginningand if it were for the good of heaven that I not be there, I would know that God has judged fairly and righteously. I love God and am thankful for his righteousness which has been shown us in the death and resurrection of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the righteous one.
For my every sinful deed, word, and thought
Redemption for me my Saviour bought
With his own blood on Calvarys tree
He bought eternal life for this sinner I call me.
Commitment to? News from Canada
Recently a brother from Canada who has accepted the truth about God received a letter explaining requirements of what the local churchs pastor considered necessary to be a member in good and regular standing. We are printing part of the letter below, with the response. Spellings and grammar have been edited to reflect American English. Editor
Letter from the pastor:
I am writing to you concerning the situation that has been developing during the year 2009, related to your rejection of the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaching on the Trinity and your decision not to attend the Seventh-day Adventist Church anymore.
I am putting before you a few criteria that a member in good standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is supposed to live by:
1. To believe, accept and uphold all the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
2. To support the Seventh-day Adventist Church through tithe and offerings.
3. To support, by being physically present and being involved in the regular programs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church: prayer meeting; Sabbath school, and divine hour.
4. To support the evangelistic program of the church, health program, seminar etc.
5 To support the bylaws and policies of the church as stated in the church manual and the General conference policy book, and the O______ Conference policies and bylaws.
6. To support the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church at all its level.
I am e-mailing you a document entitled My Commitment. I shall appreciate if you would kindly fill it as you see fit and return it to me at the following address: __________
I can be reached at __________. I am more than willing to meet with you. Please be assured of my love. Yours truly
Reply to the pastor:
My Commitment is to Christ and God alone. My criteria are not to a church (like the Roman Catholics), but to what the Bible calls the body of Christ. Followers that claim [they belong to] Christ are part of the body. Christ is the head of that body (the church) and God is the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3). As a pastor, the following criteria are what you should be most concerned with, above all other things, regarding every single soul.
1. To believe, accept and uphold all the teachings of Christ.
2. To support the true body of Christ through tithes and offerings
3. To support, by being physically present and being involved in the regular programs of the true body of Christ: prayer meetings, Sabbath school, and the divine hour (of course all 24 hours of [the] Sabbath are divine).
4. To support the evangelistic programs of the true body of Christ: health programs, seminars, etc...
5. Keep the Ten Commandments... if we love Christ... this is what we will do... there will be no need of extra by-laws and policies.
6. To support the leadership of the true body of Christ at all of its levels.
But, of course, I am going to assume that you believe that what I just wrote is identical to what you just sent me. The sad truth is that what I wrote and what you wrote are diametrically opposites! The trinity denies the Father and the Son, and if you continue to be ignorant of the truth that our pioneers received from Christ himself, then you are the one blaspheming the Spirit of God (his Spirit). Im so sorry for you, brother, but Im going to stand on Christ and his word before I stay on the Titanic! The ship will go through, but it wont be the one that the majority thinks, similar to what the Pharisees believed in the time of Christ. They thought they were the guardians of truth, but, in reality, they rejected truth (Christ). History is repeating itself.
You need to understand that the most important truth in any religious organization is their view and understanding about God. Upon this view and upon that truth are all the doctrines of the church going to be built and based on. The truth about God and his Son is what the early pioneers built the church on. It was a solid foundation. Ellen White was warned that not one pillar or one member should be removed from the platform of truth that Christ himself established. Why do you think there is so much confusion and rejection today regarding our special doctrines like the investigative judgment, the sanctuary message, the atonement, Christs dual but inseparable nature, the events on the cross (did Christ fully die or only his body?), and even Ellen White being a true or false prophet? All the confusion regarding these issues are all caused because of the acceptance of the trinity doctrine. The trinity has made a mess of these important and once clearly held doctrines that make us who we are Seventh-day Adventists!
I am, and always will be, a Seventh-day Adventist, just not part of the organized group of believers that are part of and have no problem accepting the fact that they are Laodicea. I dont want to be part of Laodicea. God spews them out of his mouth. I want to be part of Philadelphia, the church triumphant! Dont you Pastor? It is our only duty as mankind to know God and his Son!
Sincerely from a true follower of Christ,
How to Maintain a
Healthy Body Composition
By Adrianna Turturean
What is a Body Composition?
Body composition is a measure of the lean tissue and the fatty tissue that make-up our body weight. Our body is comprised of, among other things, fat, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and lots of water.
A healthy body composition is determined by the percentage of fat vs. lean muscles mass. Ideally, it is best to keep fat lower and lean muscle mass higher. An altered body composition arises when the percentage of body fat is high.
Being overweight is sometimes used synonymously with altered body composition; however, excess body weight is not a definitive assessment for altered body composition, just as thin is not synonymous with fit and healthy. Extreme athletes and body builders, or weight lifters, can have a body weight outside a healthy reference range of what we consider normal, but their body composition may be optimal due to their high amount of lean muscle tissue. Muscle actually weighs more than fat!
The proper weight and percentage of body fat can vary considerably for men and women and by age, but the minimum percent of body fat considered safe for good health is 5 percent for males and 12% for females. The average adult body fat is closer to 15 to 18% for men and 22 to 25% for women (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/fitnessevalandassessment/a/Body_Fat_Comp.htm).
How to Improve and Maintain a Healthy Body Composition
A weight loss program can actually be harmful, and, in some cases, it may result in excessive loss of muscle mass, along with fat. Some of our reserves are in our muscles. Studies have found that the most successful way to slow the aging process is to maintain a healthy muscle mass through exercise, along with eating a nutritious diet. As we age, we naturally have a tendency to lose muscle mass unless we work to maintain it. A loss in muscle mass is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
Slim and Trim Tips to Maintain Muscle Mass
Remember, it is not your weight but your body composition that is most important in assessing your health. It is whats on the inside that counts!
When darkness gathers round thy way
As falls the shades of even;
No star, with its mild cheering ray,
To chase the gloom-thy fears allay,
How sweet the light of heaven!
When toiling in the narrow way,
By persecution driven,
Beset with treachrous snares that lay
To lead thy youthful feet astray,
How sweet the smiles of heaven!
When by earths care and grief and woe
Thy anguished heart is riven;
And bitter tears of sorrow flow,
No soothing balm found here below,
How sweet the joy of heaven!
And when our pilgrimage is oer,
The blessed promise given;
When, borne on angels wings, we soar
To meet the Saviour, we adore,
How sweet the home in heaven!
(Annie Smith, Home Here, and Home in Heaven;
With Other Poems, p. 52)
Youth’s Corner — William Cameron Townsend
William Cameron Townsend
How many of you have ever heard of Cameron Townsend? He has been named as one of the most outstanding missionaries of the last two hundred years, along with Hudson Taylor and William Carey. Someone else has called him the greatest missionary of our time. Who, then, is William Cameron Townsend?
Cameron Townsend was born into a large family in 1896 in a one-room farmhouse in Los Angeles, California, into a large family. His father was a poor tenant farmer, and his father and mother struggled to raise seven children. As the children grew, they went to work to help their parents financially. When Cameron graduated from high school in 1914, he was at the top of his class, and he decided to attend college to become a minister. During his third year of college, he learned that the Bible House in Los Angeles was looking for a Bible salesman to work in Central America. Cameron decided he could take time off from school and volunteer to go but because this was 1917 and the world was embroiled in a major war, Cameron was concerned that he might, instead, be drafted into the Army. However, after Stella Zimmerman, a missionary from Guatemala, told him: You should not go off to war. We need you to share Gods word. There are many people to go to war, but not many are ready to go to work for God, he decided to seek release from his unit of the National Guard and it was granted! Now he was free to go to Central America.
Cameron and a friend sailed to Central America and were met by a missionary family with whom they lived for several weeks. Cameron used this time to learn about Guatemala and to improve his Spanish, and finally he was given a territory in which to sell Spanish Bibles. For several days Cameron and the missionary walked through the countryside in order to reach the two villages where Cameron would work. As they topped the last hill, Cameron looked down into a wide valley surrounded by three volcanoes. In the valley was a beautiful blue lake and two villages on different sides of the lake. This was the area in which Cameron would seek to spread Gods word, and this was also the area where the Cakchiquel Indians lived. These Indians could not read or speak the Spanish language, and when Cameron tried to sell them his Spanish Bibles, no one appeared interested. The few Bibles he was able to sell were bought by people who had learned a little bit of Spanish by working for one of the large landowners in the area. For the most part, the Cakchiquel Indians were looked down upon by the landowners and were considered to be lacking in intelligence and unworthy of any attention or benefit. Needless to say, these Indians could neither read nor write, and they knew nothing about the Bible or of the God in heaven.
When Cameron arrived, he tried to talk to the people about the Bible and about our heavenly Father, and one of the Cakchiquel Indians asked Cameron, Doesnt God know the Cakchiquel language? If he is God, why doesnt he know our language? And Cameron Townsend realized that even though God knew their language, he didnt, and since no one else had ever written it down, he decided he would devote time to learning this language and then translate the Bible into it. And thats just what he did! He spent thirteen years completing the project. He had to create a method to convert all the sounds of the language into writing (and the Cakchiquel language has many more sounds than the English language). Cameron did not return to his college in California but stayed right there with the Cakchiquel Indians and finally translated the New Testament into their own language.
Later Cameron went to other tribes who spoke different languages and created written languages for them, but before he did, he first struggled with the Cakchiquel language. It was very baffling to him because in the English language words for verbs can be built upon one main word. For example, paying and repay are built upon the word pay, but in the Cakchiquel language, each verb form is very long and very different from the other, even though they are all related. The word walk, for example, can have thousands of different beginnings and endings. Sounds are added to the word, for example, to tell the listener who was walking, where they were walking, in what direction they were walking, how many were walking, how fast they were walking, at what time they were walking, etc. So, it took Cameron a very long time to decipher the language.
Also, the way the Cakchiquel Indians counted was at first hard for Cameron to understand. There are words for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine, but the next word in sequence is the word that means one man. Then the Indians count one man one, one man two, one man three, all the way up to one man nine and then say two man. The counting continues in this way, changing to three man, then four man, etc., but it did not make sense to Cameron until he realized that the Cakchiquel say one man because one man has ten fingers and two man because two men have twenty fingers and so forth!
Another way Cameron had difficulty in writing down the language is the way one word can have many different meanings based on a subtle sound change. For example, the Cakchiquel words for red, stingy, black, and flea all sound the same except for the way the k sound at the end of the word is pronounced. In one word, the k is pronounced the same as we pronounce it in English, in the next word the k is pronounced with a cough, in the third word it is pronounced with a puffing sound, and in the fourth word the k sound is pronounced deep in the throat with a choking sound. At first, Cameron did not know how to write these different sounds down so that it could be consistently understood by others. He persevered, however, through such problems and thirteen years later finally finished developing the written language of the Cakchiquel Indians and translating the New Testament for them.
His work reminds me of Isaiah 11:9: The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. His work also makes me very thankful, as a Seventh-day Adventist, to understand the English language as well as I do, not because the language is superior in any way but because the King James version of the Bible is written in it and all of Ellen Whites writings were penned in English. I have access to these writings without any language barrier, and so do many of you, so lets be thankful for this wonderful privilege and spend our time reading and studying the Bible and the writings of Ellen White. It is a treasure many people do not have.
Cameron Townsend founded the Wycliffe Bible Translation Society which has been responsible for translating the Bible into 740 isolated languages representing more than 82 million people. There are 6,909 languages spoken in the world today, according to the Wycliffe Bible Translators website, of which 2,393 are without the Bible, and there are currently 1,998 translation programs in process. This is why people have said that, along with William Carey and Hudson Taylor, William Cameron Townsend should be considered as one of our greatest missionaries. Even though he had no training in linguistics and knew nothing about languages when he first began his missionary work, he applied himself when he saw the need and under the direction of the Holy Spirit and with much perseverance, he was able to give many people the Bible in their own language! When he moved on to new villages, he left behind one of the greatest treasure of allGods Word. Onycha Holt
Creeping Things Bible Puzzle
Unscramble the answers to the following questions:
1. Who survived the bite of a snake? (Acts 28:3-6) UAPL ______
2. What substance affects a man like a snake bite? (Proverbs 23:31, 32) NWIE ______
3. Who lifted up a brazen serpent in the wilderness? (Numbers 21:8, 9) OSSME ______
4. What sort of men suck the poison of snakes? (Job 20:5-16) ECKIWD ______
5. What kind of creeping things bit the children of Israel? (Numbers 21:6) PRESTNES ______
6. What did Hezekiah call the brazen serpent that he brake in pieces? (2 Kings 18:4) HUSHTENNA ______
7. How are the creeping things God promised to punish Israel with described in Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 8:17) SSPENRET HWCIH ILWL TON EB MARCHDE ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______
8. What tribe of Israel was described as being like a snake? (Genesis 49:17) ADN ______
9. What animal came out of the Nile River to plague Egypt? (Exodus 8:1-4) GOSRF ______
10. This bloodsucker is mentioned in Proverbs. (Proverbs 30:15) HHCEEAROSL ______
11. What is one creature Joel saw in vision? (Joel 1:1-4) COLSUT ______
12. A father would not give this to a child who asked him for an egg. (Luke 11:12) PINOORCS ______
13. This persons rod turned into a serpent? (Exodus 4:3) ESSOM ______
14. According to the Bible, what hopping insects are edible? (Leviticus 11:22) TUCSOL HAPPORESSGR ______ and ______
15. King Rehoboam said he would use this to discipline the people. (1 Kings 12:1, 14) CRISOOPSN ______
16. In Revelation, what sort of creatures had tails like snakes? (Revelation 9:17-19) ROSESH ______
17. Whom did Jesus call a brood of vipers? (Matthew 23:29-33) CRIBSSE RIPHASESE ______ and ______
18. What is the only animal that ever lied? (Genesis 3:1-13) TENPRES ______
19. What was the name of the great serpent of Revelation? (Revelation 12:9) LIVED ______
20. This is the food of the serpent. (Isaiah 65:25) TUSD ______
21. What did the locusts appear to wear on their heads? (Revelation 9:7) WRONCS ______
22. Amos said this would happen to a man who rested his hand on the wall. (Amos 5:19) A PRENEST DOWUL TIBE MIH ______ ______ ______ ______ ______
Used by permission of Rod and Staff Publishers
A Report of Events in South Korea
Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2)
So those who are the partakers of the grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift. They will do all they can to make the world better for their stay in it. This spirit is the sure outgrowth of a soul truly converted. No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good we shall have something to tell. Like Philip when he found the Saviour, we shall invite others into His presence. We shall seek to present to them the attractions of Christ and the unseen realities of the world to come. There will be an intensity of desire to follow in the path that Jesus trod. There will be an earnest longing that those around us may behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29. (Steps to Christ, pp. 78, 79)
Earlier this year, we sent emails to all the Seventh-day Adventist pastors and leaders here in South Korea. In the email were many Bible and Spirit of Prophecy references to the truth about our God, his only begotten Son, and their Holy Spirit. Also, we published a book and have been spreading it here and there in South Korea.
We were going to a small country Seventh-day Adventist Church and during Sabbath School, divine worship, and prayer meeting, my wife and I and our two daughters were diligently sharing the truth about God. This church was a church of only about twenty members. The news spread around to the local conference pastors that there was some new teaching coming from that church. So, they sent the local conference ministerial secretary pastor, who told us that we could not speak from the pulpit anymore. In one of his talks, he told us that God the Father has no form. Also, when we asked him, he said that he has no spirit! So from that point, we began having a home church. Most of the church members joined us in our home church, where we are now happily worshiping our Father and his Son each Sabbath.
As we have been sharing this message, many people have become interested, to the extent that the Korean Union Conference sent two professors from the Sahmyook (Seventh-day Adventist) University in Seoul, along with the Korean Union ministerial secretary pastor to Kwangju, a city near us to have meetings. They advertised the meetings to be held about three weeks later and sent out bulletins to all the local churches inviting church members to come to the meetings. They also wrote an eighty-page book to counter our book. We asked for time to be able to speak at the meeting, but they refused to grant us any time to speak. Then we considered going to the meetings anyway and when we heard error being preached, interrupt the sermon and speak the truth. We felt, however, that that would not be the best way, based upon the counsel from Early Writings.
God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.
I saw that we have no time to throw away in listening to fables. Our minds should not be thus diverted, but should be occupied with the present truth, and seeking wisdom that we may obtain a more thorough knowledge of our position, that with meekness we may be able to give a reason of our hope from the Scriptures. While false doctrines and dangerous errors are pressed upon the mind, it cannot be dwelling upon the truth which is to fit and prepare the house of Israel to stand in the day of the Lord. (Early Writings, pp. 124, 125)
With this counsel in mind, we decided to fast and pray during the time that they were having their meetings. We were told that about three hundred people came to the meetings. In the book that they wrote, they twisted the truth in order to confuse and mesmerize Gods people. Their book is a mixture of truth and Babylonian wine.
In Patriarchs and Prophets, page 34, it says: Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father one in nature, in character, in purpose the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. But, instead of quoting it as written above, their book said that Ellen White wrote in Patriarchs and Prophets on page 34 that the triune God is one in nature, in character, in purpose. They also contradicted themselves in their speaking. The majority of the attendees, who blindly follow their leaders no matter what, accepted everything hook, line, and sinker. But the thinking people amongst the crowd realized that Babylonian wine was served on that Sabbath afternoon, and it caused them to study on their own to find out what is truth. What is the chaff to the wheat (Jeremiah 23:28)? The purpose of their meeting was to convince people that the cunningly-devised fable of the trinity is true. But, on the contrary, God overruled, and we believe many people who attended the meetings are seeking to know the truth about God. At the end of their meetings, they had question and answer session. Someone asked the question: When we get to heaven how many Gods will we see? The answer they gave was that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are invisible, so we will just see Jesus.
To all who read the Old Paths, we ask that you would pray for Gods work here in South Korea. Here in Korea there are those who are contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3). We are pressing on toward Mt. Zion and are of good courage, but, brethren, we need to pray for each other because we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:37). Maranatha! We are on the narrow way toward Mt. Zion.
From your brothers and sisters in South Korea,
Tasty Recipe: Easy Pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats blended into flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar, honey, or other sweetener
4 cups water or soy milk
4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vanilla may be added, if desired
Mix all ingredients and place 1/3 cup portions onto a hot oiled skillet. If batter becomes thick, add more water. They will be ready to flip when the underside is golden brown and bubbles appear in the center. Bon appétit! ?
Adapted by Elyssa Sims from Weimar Academy Cooking Class: Quick Crepes/Pancakes by Vicki B. Griffin and Gina M. Griffin
for the General Conference
The 59th session of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference will take place June 23 July 3, 2010 at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia. At Smyrna, we are currently making plans for being at the session to pass out literature on the truth about God (EGW DVDs, pioneer books, tracts, etc.). We have a small army of workers who have committed to be there, but there is a need for several more workers. Will you be one who will answer the call? We welcome all believers who would like to help who can be supportive of the literature being distributed and not come with an agenda counter to our mission.
We have scheduled our annual camp meeting to end the week before the General Conference begins, so those traveling long distances to the camp meeting can stay in the eastern part of the United States for the General Conference.
If you are able and willing to come, we will, as able, provide food and housing during the conference for those who go with the Smyrna group. We have not yet been able to arrange for adequate housing where we can all stay together as we did in St. Louis during the 2005 General Conference. If you have, or know of someone who has, a facility (large house, church building, etc.) in the Atlanta area that could be used, please contact us as soon as possible. We are willing to pay for the use of the facility within reason.
We also still need people who can translate the Ellen G. White and the Truth About God DVD into German or Portuguese. If you can help with this project we would be very thankful. However, we need to hear back soon, so if you know one of these languages, please let me know as soon as possible
Jesus said, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10:2). If you would like to participate in this missionary endeavor in any way possible, please call us at 304-732-9204. Allen Stump
The Two Boxes
By Allen Stump
One day Lord Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, received call. It was from a colleague who had failed a student on an examination, but the student himself claimed a perfect score on the test. The colleague and the student agreed to ask Rutherford to arbitrate the matter.
The examination question required the student to show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. The students answer was: Attach a long rope to it, lower it to the street, and then pull it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building. This answer, of course, works, but it wasnt the expected and conventional answer.
So, the student was offered by Rutherford another attempt to offer the correct solution. He was given six minutes to provide an answer that demonstrated some knowledge of physics. After five minutes, the students paper was still blank. Asked if he wished to give up, he said, No, Ive got several answers. Im just thinking of the best one.
In the next minute he gave this answer: Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula for the rate of the fall of a body, calculate the height of the building. The student was given almost full credit.
As he was leaving the room, the examiners called him back. They were curious about his other answers to the problem.
Well, the student said, there are many ways to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. For example, on a sunny day, take the barometer outside with you and measure the length of the buildings shadow and measure the height of the barometer itself and the length of its shadow. By using simple proportion, you can calculate the height of the building.
Continuing, he said: But there is a more direct method. Take the barometer and walk up the stairs of the building. As you climb the stairs, mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of the building in barometer-units.
You could also take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it like a pendulum. You then calculate the height of the building by the period of the swing.
There are still other ways of solving the problem, the student continued, but probably the best way is to take the barometer to the basement of the building and knock on the superintendents door. When he answers, say, My dear Mr. Superintendent, I have here an excellent barometer. If you will tell me the height of your building, I will give you the barometer as a gift.
Well, the examiners were amazed. When they recovered their composure, they asked the student if he knew the standard answer to the question. Of course, he replied. But I am fed up with high school and university teachers trying to tell me how to think.
And the name of the student? Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to quantum theory. (Adapted from http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2009/10/outside-box.html)
The story of Niels Bhor, though interesting, points to the need each person has to be an individual and to be able and willing to think for himself. Ellen White wrote:
Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creatorindividuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other mens thought. (Education, p. 17; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)
Niels Bhor knew the answer to the problem he was given, but he was tired of others thinking for him. He knew the answer his professor wanted, but he wished to show that he could think for himself.
In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one, for in education, as in redemption, other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (Ibid., p. 30)
In the late 1960s, the expression think outside the box was coined. This phrase means to think creatively or to be original. There is a great deal of merit in the idea of thinking outside the box in the sense of thinking individually and for ourselves. For Christians today, the concept of thinking outside the box has became a way to introduce new ideas, practices, and even doctrines. This concept has entered Christianity and Adventism, but there is a huge flaw in it. The flaw is simply that there is only one box the box of what you have been taught before, the box of the teachings of the past. There is more than one box, however, and more than one direction of thinking.
The first box that we wish to consider is the box of tradition and/or misinterpretation of Scripture. If this is the box we have been accustomed to think within, we surely must think outside this box. The second box is the box of the proper understanding of the word of God. This is a box that we must not think outside of but stay within its safety and security. The Bible is to be over all the tradition and false interpretations of men. The second chapter of Mark is the gospels comprehensive lesson on the two boxes. Here we find a box of tradition and misinterpretation and a box of rightly-divided Scripture. As we go through this chapter, we will see that the gems of truth that had been given were lost sight of and that Jesus came to put them into new, beautiful settings. To the Jews, the teachings of Jesus seemed new and revolutionary. He was thinking totally outside of their box, but he was actually inside the box that held the truth.
The Lesson of Forgiveness of Sins
In Mark 2:1-12, we find the story of a lame man seeking Jesus:
And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. (Mark 2:1-12)
The forgiveness of sins was considered the right of deity alone, and, in this, the Jewish leaders were correct. When a person sins, he sins against God, for it is the great law of the Father that is transgressed. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Man is to have repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Our faith is towards Jesus because, as the divine Son of God, his life is equal to the law that man has transgressed.
God wanted the children of Israel to realize that provision had been made in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Jesus was the angel of the LORD that guided Israel:
Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. (Exodus 23:20, 21)
No normal angel could forgive or pardon transgressions, only Jesus could do this. Furthermore, the name of the Father is in Christ. No angel can make this boast. If it seems confusing that Jesus could be referred to as an angel, remember that the word angel in both Hebrew and Greek simply means messenger. Jesus is not angelic in nature; however, in the Old Testament, he was, as a messenger, angelic in function. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). The Bible says that Jesus can completely forgive our sins. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The Jews did not understand that Jesus was this angel and could forgive sins. The Jews needed to think beyond their traditions and outside of the box that they were spiritually in, a box that had a certain amount of Scripture for a basis. That should be a warning to us. We cannot afford to be surface readers of the word of God.
In this story from Mark, Jesus had compassion upon the man with the palsy. The good news is that he is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). The same compassion Jesus showed to this man almost 2,000 years ago, he still has today.
The scribes were thinking inside a box of tradition that was partly based in Scripture. They, indeed, needed to think outside that box. Jesus was safely away from their traditions and inside the box of his word.
The Lesson of Acceptance
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:13-17)
The record is that Jesus ate with sinners who wanted his righteousness because Jesus wanted their souls. As Levi Matthew sat at the customs table collecting taxes, Jesus said to him follow me because he longed for his soul, and Levi followed him because he was looking for something better. To be in the company of publicans did not settle well with the Jews, for they considered the publicans to be sinners and contagious as if they had leprosy. Now just Levi was bad enough alone, but he called all of his contagious friends together for a dinner and Jesus was there also. This was not a good idea to the Jews. They were inside a box of misunderstanding and could not think outside that box. Yet, they quoted Scripture to prove their position!
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. (Numbers 23:9)
Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. (Isaiah 52:11)
Publicans and sinners were the same to the Jewish mind-set, and you did not get out of your box to eat with them, for you might become contaminated. Did they have some basis for thinking this? Of course, they did. Even today we recognize that associating with sinners for the sake of recreation and simply for fellowship carries heavy possibilities of danger. Paul, Christs greatest apostle, even wrote:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Today, we have the writings of Ellen White that also give similar instruction:
It was by associating with idolaters and joining in their festivities that the Hebrews were led to transgress Gods law and bring His judgments upon the nation. So now it is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in their amusements that Satan is most successful in alluring them into sin. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean. 2 Corinthians 6:17. God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently. If they faithfully follow the teachings of His word, this distinction will exist; it cannot be otherwise. The warnings given to the Hebrews against assimilating with the heathen were not more direct or explicit than are those forbidding Christians to conform to the spirit and customs of the ungodly. Christ speaks to us, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15. The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4. The followers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing their society only when there is opportunity to do them good. We cannot be too decided in shunning the company of those who exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, Lead us not into temptation, we are to shun temptation, so far as possible. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 458)
It seems that nothing the scribes or Pharisees could have said could have been much stronger than this. Neither this statement nor the above verses are designed to teach that there is to be no contact between the Christian and the world, but what we do learn is that our association is for the purpose of winning their souls to Jesus. This goal is doubtful if we partake of their worldly spirit. We are to have a witness, but that witness is to ever do only that which will gain access to their soul.
Jesus understood this, but the leaders of Christs day could not grasp that their attitude of superiority would not advance them one step towards the kingdom. The scribes and Pharisees attitude was: Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou (Isaiah 65:5). Their attitude was to be holier than the rest and they thought that they had Scripture to prove it. They failed to understand all the Scripture and to realize the distastefulness of their attitude, for God describes it as a smoke in his nose, a fire that burneth all the day (Ibid.).
The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees could rightly be described as the filthy rags of Isaiah 64:6. In reality, they were no better off in Gods eyes than the publicans and other sinners they despised.
While human comparisons always fall short, consider two infant children. One is born mentally challenged and has a poor chance of progressing very far intelligently. The other child is a born genius. He has great potential to go far when he is an adult. But as one-day-old infants, they seem very much alike. To any normal adult, they both register virtually a zero on the intelligence scale at that moment of their lives. The one born a genius shows no promise and the one born challenged at first shows no defect. If we ask either of them the simplest of problems, such as the answer to 1 + 1, neither even knows a question has been asked and even a simple adult is like a god to them. The worst of sinners and the best of saints parallel our children. Of ourselves, we are all filthy rags and nothing more. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy (Steps to Christ, p. 59).
We must all have a power outside and above ourselves. This Jesus well understood. He knew of the chance of pollution from association with sinners, but he also knew that it was Israels mission to arise and shine (Isaiah 60:1) and to reveal the character of God to the world. This could not be done inside their secure box of tradition. Jesus, on the other hand, was outside their box of misconceptions and inside the box of Gods word.
Christs love for the sinner constrained him (2 Corinthians 5:14) into action. Jesus said, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). Where did Jesus obtain this concept? Inside the box of Gods word, which says:
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2:23)
This was a prophecy that the Jewish people had and could have known, but they failed to comprehend its meaning. The prophecy goes on to say, For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Jeremiah also wrote of Gods mercies that saved all from destruction.
It is of the LORDS mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22)
Without the mercies of God, we would all be consumed. David said, Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity (Psalm 39:5). Even at our best, we are altogether nothing.
Yet God does not forget us, even in our nothingness. God proclaimed in the Old Testament that he is the God of Jacob (Psalm 20:1). Remember that Jacob was a cheater. His name means supplanter or one who takes by fraud. Why did God not pick someone with a better history behind them, someone with a more stable character than a cheater? Why does God say, I am the God of him that takes by fraud? God could have said I am the God of Gabriel or the God of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son of divine purity. But no, God associates his holy name with the name of a cheater so that we will know he is not like the Pharisees. He is willing to keep company with bad people like us, but, beloved, he will not keep company with our bad ways forever. They have to go. Jesus associated with wine bibbers and harlots but not while they were drunk or practicing their professions!
Speaking of the worlds oldest profession, it is interesting to note that there was one of these persons in the linage of David, which is the linage of Jesus Christ. Not only was Rachab in the line of Christ, but Thamar was not of such a great character, and, while we are noting, Ruth was a heathen Moabite! Yet, just like the woman at the well, Jesus is willing to associate with these dear souls to save them from their sin and ruin and even accepted them into his family tree! Now before we go on, we should note something here. We mention Rachab and her profession and sometimes the men folk look down upon them, just as Judah did when he had relations with his daughter-in-law, unbeknown to him, but it must not be forgotten that this ancient profession works off the economic law of supply and demand. If there was no demand from the men, there would be no supply!
The Lessons of Fasting and Doctrines
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles. (Mark 2:18-22)
The thinking of the Jews was to stay inside their box of tradition and misunderstandings. Though fasting was spoken of throughout the Old Testament, they missed the real purpose and understanding of fasting because of their traditions. They condemned Jesus for not fasting and condemned John the Baptist, who did fast. Jesus taught the people something higher and greater than fasting:
He did not try to correct their erroneous conception of fasting, but only to set them right in regard to His own mission. And He did this by employing the same figure that the Baptist himself had used in his testimony to Jesus. John had said, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. John 3:29. The disciples of John could not fail to recall these words of their teacher, as, taking up the illustration, Jesus said, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
The Prince of heaven was among His people. The greatest gift of God had been given to the world. Joy to the poor; for Christ had come to make them heirs of His kingdom. Joy to the rich; for He would teach them how to secure eternal riches. Joy to the ignorant; He would make them wise unto salvation. Joy to the learned; He would open to them deeper mysteries than they had ever fathomed; truths that had been hidden from the foundation of the world would be opened to men by the Saviour's mission. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 276, 277)
The real type of fast Jesus wanted them to know is found inside the box of rightly-divided Scripture:
Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? . . . And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. (Isaiah 58:4-6, 10)
Isaiah says that they had totally missed out on the purpose of fasting and afflicting their souls. They had allowed their traditions and misunderstandings rule their lives from the inside out, and Jesus was condemning this. Jesus was telling them that they could not mix tradition and truth. The same is true today. The world and the church are full of traditions and misinterpretations. Remember that it is the teachings of Catholicism that combines both tradition and the Bible. The antichrist, the harlot of Revelation 17 and the beast of Revelation, bases its teachings on tradition and Scriptures (usually misunderstood). If there is a discrepancy between tradition and the Bible, tradition is accepted.
Today most Protestants follow this same pattern with their Sunday sacredness and trinity doctrine, neither of which can be anchored in the Bible.
Tradition ruled the way in the time of John the Baptist and Jesus. Both attempted to help get people outside of their boxes of tradition and into the box of the Scriptures.
The message of John the Baptist was not to be interwoven with tradition and superstition. An attempt to blend the pretense of the Pharisees with the devotion of John would only make more evident the breach between them. (The Desire of Ages, p. 278)
John came to preach truth, and the Jewish leaders were there to hold onto tradition. This is why there was a meeting of the minds between John and the leaders and also between the leaders and Jesus.
Nor could the principles of Christs teaching be united with the forms of Pharisaism. Christ was not to close up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John. (Ibid.)
John came to bring a separation between the box of tradition and false teachings and the box of truth. Jesus could not allow that breach to be joined. In fact, he came to widen that breach! Today, those who preach the three angels messages have an obligation to keep this breach open and to extend it until only truth is proclaimed by the people of God, keeping truth and tradition from becoming mingled.
Jesus said in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9). Vain means fruitless or to no avail. When we worship outside the box of scripture, we have made a big mistake. Jesus was outside the box of the Jewish leaders minds and traditions. They thought that Jesus was teaching new doctrines, when he was actually only teaching the truths that had been given from the beginning.
The teaching of Christ, though it was represented by the new wine, was not a new doctrine, but the revelation of that which had been taught from the beginning. But to the Pharisees the truth of God had lost its original significance and beauty. To them Christ's teaching was new in almost every respect, and it was unrecognized and unacknowledged. (The Desire of Ages, p. 279)
The Jews had a box of tradition; Jesus had the box of the rightly-divided Scripture. The box that Jesus had was available to the Jews all along, but somehow they came to believe that they had to think outside that box. They began to look for something original and new and thereby created new teachings that, over time, became old traditions! To think for oneself is vital and important, but one must think within the proper box!
If we were to take this statement from The Desire of Ages and apply the lesson today, we might find it saying: Today, the teachings of the Adventist pioneers, though represented as new wine and strange doctrines, are not new but the revelation of that which had been taught from the beginning. But to the General Conference president and his cardinals, it has lost its original significance and beauty. To them, the teachings of the pioneers are new in almost every respect, and it is unrecognized and unacknowledged.
Priests and scribes and rulers were fixed in a rut of ceremonies and traditions. Their hearts had become contracted, like the dried-up wine skins to which He had compared them (Ibid., pp. 278, 279). Can we be like this today?
Ellen White wrote, The old truths, given us at the beginning, are to be heralded far and near (The Review and Herald, August 20, 1903). Who had these truths given to them? Whom is she speaking about? The pioneers of the movement! She says that the truths given at the beginning of the movement are to be proclaimed far and near! Continuing, she says: The lapse of time has not lessened their value. It is the constant effort of the enemy to remove these truths from their setting, and to put in their place spurious theories. But the Lord will raise up men of keen perception, who with clear vision will discern the intrigues of Satan, and will give these truths their proper place in the plan of God (Ibid.).
There are some cautions we will be wise to consider at this time. We need to be sure that we do not cast off truth because it has no new ring to it. While we are to be thinkers and not mere reflectors of other mens thoughts and ideas. Finding something original, for the sake of it being original, is not wise. Concerning the early apostolic church, we read:
But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth. One by one the old standard-bearers fell at their post. Some of the younger workers, who might have shared the burdens of these pioneers, and thus have been prepared for wise leadership, had become weary of oft-repeated truths. In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, but not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the gospel. In their self-confidence and spiritual blindness they failed to discern that these sophistries would cause many to question the experiences of the past, and would thus lead to confusion and unbelief. (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 580)
The people were looking for something novel, something new and startling, and there is certainly nothing new under the sun. People still want new, novel, and startling things, and there are plenty of preachers with smooth words to supply the demand. Some believe that the young people need exciting things to learn and dynamic methods of instruction or the old time gospel cannot reach them. But, beloved, that is not true. The youth today may be guided by the example of Timothy:
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. (Youths Instructor, May 5, 1898)
The Lesson of the Sabbath
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. (Mark 2:23-28)
Verse 24 speaks of the Jews box of tradition: Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful. There is a real danger when our tradition seems to have strong scriptural arguments to back it up! For example, the Jews could think of the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11, which, in part, says: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates (vs. 9, 10). They could quote about the man who was stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-35). The Jews knew that the Sabbath set them apart as a people and that it was a sign to them (Ezekiel 20:20). They guarded it zealously. To do otherwise would be tantamount to giving up their position as his chosen people!
But here, again, we see two different boxes at work the box of tradition and misunderstandings the Jews lived in and the box of solid Scripture that Jesus lived within. These boxes cannot coexist. In response to the Jews, Jesus asked: Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him (Mark 2:25, 26)?
Jesus was asking why they did not understand what David did on the Sabbath and was clearly implying that they did not properly understand the Scriptures.
If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in Gods service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day (The Desire of Ages, p. 285).
As the creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16, 17), Jesus is Lord of all, and he knows how to honor the Sabbath better than any man because he is the Lord of the Sabbath. Being our Creator, he is also our Redeemer, for redemption is a creation process:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In refusing to recognize Christs authority to interpret the Sabbath commandment, the Jews were refusing to acknowledge him as the one by whom all things are created and redeemed. Jesus taught that, while the Sabbath is sacred, acts of mercy may be done on this day without guilt. To the Jews, the Sabbath was a long set of regulations by which one earned salvation, but Jesus showed that the Sabbath is a personal issue between man and God and a day in which the relationship of creature and creator can be fully realized.
In Mark chapter 2, we see two groups and two different modes of thought. Both groups are thinking within their own boxes, and both want the other out of their box! The Jews have gotten out of the box of Scripture and into the box of tradition. Jesus has always been in the safe box of the Scripture and desires his followers to leave their traditions and enter into the box of Scripture with him.
Williams Blake, the poet, wrote: A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. As Christians, we do not see the same world that a non-Christian sees. We see truth in the place of tradition. We see boxes that we must not only think outside of, but totally disregard, and the Christian also sees a box with six sides of security that to remain within provides safety from all assaults of Satan.
Have you noticed that children love to play within boxes? There is something safe and secure to them about being in a box. We all need to be in the safe and secure box of the Bible. Let us learn to be thinkers of the things of God and not reflectors of mens thoughts, for salvation is based upon the ability to believe:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [have faith] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth [has faith] unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)
There is no salvation without faith, and faith is based upon the word of God: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The moment you leave the box of Gods word for the box of tradition and allow others to think and believe for you, you have lost your salvation! You may think all things are fine and that you have all you need, but the faithful and true witness knows your works and he makes the most promising offer of the Scripture for you:
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:17-20)
COME TO JESUS
Suffer little children to come unto me. (Luke 18:16)
Come! The Saviours call obey,
To him humbly kneel and pray;
Though he reigns above the sky,
Yet he looks with pitying eye,
Hears thy simple, fervent prayer,
Watches oer thee everywhere.
Come, and learn his teachings mild,
Jesus loves a little child.
Come! His blessing to receive,
Paths of sin and folly leave;
He will grace and strength impart
To thy young and tender heart,
Guide thy feet in wisdoms ways.
Fill thee with thy Makers praise.
Come, and learn his teachings mild,
Jesus loves a little child.
Come! No longer doubt or fear,
Strive to love and serve him here.
O, be gentle, kind and true,
Meekly in his steps pursue.
Such his glory soon will share
In his kingdom, gathered there.
Come, and learn his teachings mild,
Jesus loves a little child.
Written by A.R.S. and published in the Youths Instructor,
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.
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013