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.4 Straight and Narrow April 2010
“Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” (Psalm 85:11)
The Seal of God and the Abominations of Ezekiel 8 (Part 3)
The book of Ezekiel is deeply instructive (The Review and Herald, February 25, 1896).
This study is the third of a multi-part series on the seal of God and the abominations of Ezekiel 8. The first two parts of this study dealt with the first two abominations of Ezekiel 8. If you have not read the first two articles, I highly recommend you obtain these studies, and for those who have not read the first two parts, we will provide a short review of the theme.
Adventism was raised up by God to prepare a people for the last work of warning the world against the mark of the beast and to vindicate the character of God and his law to the universe.
Both the book of Revelation and the book of Ezekiel speak about those who will receive the seal of God. These books clearly denote that those who receive the seal of God are set in contradistinction to those who receive the mark of the beast. In each book, the Sabbath is a testing truth, and in Ezekiel we find that Gods people will be noted by their lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 210) because of the abominations of Ezekiel 8.
Ezekiel chapter 1 begins with visions of God (1:1) and climaxes in the vision of the four abominations of chapter 8 and the seal of God for the righteous and the slaughter of the wicked in chapter 9.
He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writers inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writers inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. (Ezekiel 9:1-6)
Clearly a work of judgment is occurring here, and two classes are presented. Those who receive the mark of the beast are represented by those who are cut down in the slaughter, while those who receive the pure mark of truth will receive the seal of God. Those who receive the seal of God are those who sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst of Jerusalem.
In Ezekiel 8, God revealed to Ezekiel abominations that were occurring in Jerusalem. Chapters 8 and 9 of Ezekiel are part of an enacted prophecy. God showed Ezekiel literal events occurring at that time in Jerusalem among Gods people which were prophetic of literal events that would happen among Gods people at the end of time.
The end-time setting is clearly laid out for the believer:
Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary ... The prophet, looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 207, 208)
Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of Gods professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophets illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writers inkhorn by his side. (Ibid., vol. 3, p. 266)
In the last days, the only people who will be sealed will be those who sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst of Jerusalem. Here Jerusalem represents the church:
Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church. (Ibid., p. 267; all emphasis in this article supplied unless otherwise noted.)
Ezekiel 8 lists four abominations. The first abomination listed in verses 3 and 5 is what is called the image of Jealousy. In part 1 of this study, we saw that this represented sun pillars (obeliskssteeples). The next abomination Ezekiel is shown (verses 10-12) consists of the idols of Israel, creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about (Ezekiel 8:10). In connection with this, Ezekiel is shown the leaders of Israel with censers and a thick cloud of smoke (v. 11). Last month we saw that this worship of God portrayed upon the walls was the usage of visible representations of God, Christ, angels, and heavenly things. This is true if they are two dimensional or three dimensional images. The third abomination is women weeping for Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14), and the last abomination is twenty-five men with their backs to the temple, facing east towards the sun, and worshiping the sun (Ezekiel 8:16)!
God calls all of these things abominations. The Hebrew word translated abomination is towebah, and it means something disgusting or loathe. Some examples of things that God says are an abomination or towebah, are homosexuality and other terrible perversions (Leviticus 18:22-26), idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:25), human sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:31), and occult activities (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Solomon gives a list of seven abominations in Proverbs 6:16-19. By the context of the usages of towebah, we see that what is described by this word is not something that pleases God, but, rather, something that is very abhorring, foul, repulsive, nauseating, and disgusting to God. By calling the four things in Ezekiel 8 abominations (towebah), God is making his attitude well-known concerning them.
The list of abominations that are given progresses from bad to worse. After each of the first three abominations, the prophet is told that he will now see greater abominations (Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15).
Concerning the first abomination, Ezekiel was told: Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary (Ezekiel 8:6)? These abominations are so revolting to God that he is driven far away from his sanctuary because of them.
He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORDS house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. (Ezekiel 8:13, 14)
The first thing that Ezekiel saw in chapter 8, the image of jealousy, was called an abomination. The next thing that Ezekiel saw, the images upon the wall, were called wicked [or evil] abominations (v. 9). But now what Ezekiel will see is an even greater abomination (v. 13). What is the significance of the expression the LORDs house?
[The expression] the Lords house no doubt is meant the temple, which the Targum here calls the house of the sanctuary of the Lord; that gate of the temple (for the temple had several gates) which was to the north was the gate called Teri or Tedi, and was very little used. In this part of the temple were the sacrifices offered; and therefore it was the greater abomination to commit idolatry where the Lord was more solemnly worshipped. (John Gill Commentary)
What does Ezekiel see in the LORDs house? Women weeping for Tammuz! Research reveals several different stories from paganism about Tammuz. Ezekiel 8:14 is the only direct reference to Tammuz in the Bible, so we have to depend upon history to learn of him. Yet, here much of what is known is handed-down history, even folklore. However, there are enough similar accounts and authentic records that we know some basic facts about Tammuz. Before we look at some of the history, let us notice some texts:
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (Genesis 10:8-10)
Nimrod was the first person recorded to take the title of king and establish a kingdom. In the earliest days, the knowledge of God was so strong and clear that men were not so bold as to take the title of king. All acknowledged that God was king. The leaders assumed the title of viceroy, the one who stands in the place of the king. A. T. Jones gives some of the history:
And all this testifies of a time further back, when the people knew and recognized God as the only King and rightful Ruler of men. They show also that this knowledge of God was so recent, and still so strong upon the minds of the people, that men who stood in places of authority had not the boldness to assume the title of king, even though they held the power.
The records of Egypt and Assyria testify precisely to the same things. And so far there was as yet no State. There was society.
There came a time, however, when even this lingering knowledge of God as King and only rightful Ruler, was cast off; and the man assumed the full title and prerogatives of king, himself.
The first man to do this was Nimrod. Nimrod was the first man in the world who had the boldness to take to himself the title and prerogative of king, in the face of the yet lingering idea of God as king. And the name which he bears, itself testifies to the fact that his action in this was considered by men and also by the Lord, as precisely the bold thing which is here indicated. The name Nimrod signifies rebellion, supercilious contempt, and is equivalent to the extremely impious rebel.
The Bible record of Nimrod is that he began to be a mighty one in the earth; or, as another translation gives it, He was the first mighty one in the earth.
That is, Nimrod was the first one to establish the might, the power, the authority, of human government, in the form of an organized State. He was the first man to assert the power and prerogatives, and assume the title, of king over men. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (The American Sentinel, May 20, 1897)
According to the Bible, the title Babel means confusion. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth (Genesis 11:9). But this is not what it meant to Nimrod and his friends. To them, Babel was the gate of God (E. J. Waggoner, The Signs of the Times, November 25, 1897) which, in practical terms, to them would make it the gate of heaven (Ibid.). God called it confusion, and those of Babel called it the gate of God. It is no different today. That which the true God of heaven calls confusion is self-proclaimed as the gate of God and the way to heaven!
Nimrod defied the God of heaven and attempted to set up his own empire. Prior to Nimrod, there were loosely knit societies but no states.
In this first peopling of the earth, the government was that of the individual. The associations were those of the family, or the enlarged family tribes; and the government was of the individual self-government. There a Society, but no State. The earth was free to all: there were no territorial lines. But apostasy grew and prevailed. And as apostasy grew, despotism in man inevitably grew and asserted dominion over others. This culminated in Nimrods ambition the ambition not only for kingship, but for empire; not only the establishment of a kingdom of single government, but also the expansion of single government into widespread dominion. Thus arose the State: territorialism, and imperialism. Men were made subject to power merely because they happened to be in the territory claimed by the would-be monarch. This meant conquest and oppression; because God had created mankind free, and to be free: and even in his apostasy the love of freedom is in him. But in the presence of monarchism and imperialism, this freedom of man never could be recognized or have any place: it must be ruthlessly crushed out in order that monarchy and empire, the one-man power of the world, might prevail and be duly honored. This is how it is that Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord: not merely a hunter of wild beasts, but more a pursuer and crusher of men; and, therefore, a more exact translation of the original expression reads, He was an over-bearing tyrant in Jehovahs sight. (A. T. Jones, The Empires of the Bible, p. xvii)
It is said that birds of a feather flock together, and Nimrod found his feathered friend in a woman named Semiramis. Before Nimrod and Semiramis had children, he was killed. Dennis Crews gives us some of the history in his book Baptized Paganism.
Though historical accounts of Nimrods actual death are vague, it is certain that he left Semiramis with a large dominion and an equally large dilemma. How was she to maintain her hold on the empire he had built? There was but one solution, and she pursued it with diabolical zeal. Nimrods spirit had ascended into the sun itself, she claimed. With breathtaking eloquence she described to the people his new and elevated role as their benefactor and protector. Each morning he would rise, bringing light and life to the land as he traveled across the sky. In the evening he would plunge below the edge of the earth to battle the subterranean evil spirits and demons that would otherwise crawl over and annihilate mankind. At times the battle would be bloody, and the red-streaked sky bore witness to the fray. Each morning the people were to lay their offerings before the rising sun and worship it as their departed leader and victorious protector. The plan was only too successful. In their self-imposed isolation from the worship of the living God, Nimrods followers had also forfeited the only living link with the knowledge of their ancestors. Left with nothing but their physical senses to inform them, they readily accepted the preposterous fabrications of Semiramis. Unbeknownst to them, they had become pawns in the sinister plan of Satan, the archdeceiver, as he laid the common foundation for every heresy of paganism. (Baptized Paganism, internet edition, http://www.amazingfacts.org/FreeStuff/OnlineLibrary/tabid/106/ctl/ViewMedia/mid/447/IID/59/LNG/en/7/Baptized-Paganism/SC/R/Default.aspx)
Being the sun god, fire was Nimrods symbol, and his worship involved fire, poles, sun pillars, and horned bulls.
Nimrod was also worshiped as Kronos or Saturn. The name Kronos means The Horned One. The origins of kings wearing crowns is that they were bands with horns attached. Most all of the early evidence concerning these crowns is that they had three horns, and Hislop says that the three horns [were] evidently pointing at the power of the trinity (The Two Babylons, p. 36). Instead of the three horns, three horn shaped leaves came to be substituted and thus the horned band gradually passed into the modern coronet or crown with the three leaves of the fleur-de-lis, or other familiar three leaved adornings (Ibid., p. 37). In Assyria, Nimrod was worshiped as Baal. Semiramis and Tammuz were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris in Egypt (Ibid., p. 20).
After Nimrods death, Semiramis became pregnant by an unknown lover and gave birth to a son who was named Tammuz.
Semiramis called the scribes of Babylon together and declared that Nimrod, through the rays of the sun, had impregnated her. Since her child would be the son of the sun god, the child would be divine and she, by proxy, would henceforth be the mother of god.
Such blasphemy seems transparent in our day, but to a nation that had departed from the living God the absurd became commonplace. The superstition of the masses was fertile ground for Satans deceptive schemes and like noxious weeds, they flourished. (Baptized Paganism)
Tammuz was born on December 25! Naturally, his birth was celebrated as a great miracle. The winter solstice had just occurred a few days before, and the astronomers were at this time just able to calculate that the days were beginning to lengthen. This was taken as a sign that the sun which had been seen to die in the winter was now reborn and was greeted with great joy. From this time forward, December 25 was observed as the birthday of the son of the sun-god, and became a yearly feast day throughout the kingdom.
Like his supposed father Nimrod, Tammuz was reputed to have been a great hunter. Perhaps his greatest conquest of all, however, was his mythical union with Ishtar, the mother goddess who embodied all the reproductive energies of nature. Also variously regarded as the moon goddess and the queen of heaven, Ishtar was the principal female deity of the Assyrians. This same goddess, with certain variations, can be identified in other cultures as Ashtoreth (Phoenecian), Astarte (Greek and Roman), Eostre (Teutonic), and Eastre (Saxon). Her counterpart in Egypt was Isis, wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus. Rabbits and eggs were both symbols of life and fecundity that early came to be identified with Ishtar. The yearly celebration honoring her took place around the first full moon after the spring equinox, when all of nature seemed to be bursting with reproductive vitality.
Unfortunately, the youthful Tammuz (also known as Adonis, meaning lord, in classical mythology) met an untimely death at the tusk of a wild boar. Here legend overtakes history altogether. Some accounts say that after three days Tammuz miraculously resurrected himself; others say that the grief-stricken Ishtar journeyed far into the netherworld to find him. After many days she succeeded, but during her absence the passion of love ceased to operate and all of life on earth languished in mourning. By all accounts, when the lamenting was over, Tammuz was firmly ensconced as the new god of the sun, and his renown eventually exceeded even Nimrods. (Ibid.)
Clearly it can be seen that there are many similarities between Christ and Tammuz. Tammuz was the first false Christ that Satan invented.
Every year after Tammuzs death and supposed ascension to the sun, a festival was held. For forty days preceding Ishtars festival, there was to be fasting and self-affliction to commemorate the suffering and death of Tammuz. Our text from Ezekiel 8:14 with women weeping for Tammuz that God called an abomination, describes this self-affliction.
After this mourning was over, the people would awake early on the first day of the week, travel to the highest point near their homes, and would present offerings of wine, meat, and incense while prostrating themselves before the rising sun. Can you guess what they would say? Our lord is risen!
After this, the people would engage in the festivities of Ishtar who was the queen of heaven and goddess of fertility. Some of the most perverted things would take place at this time. In preparation for this licentious celebration, the women would make small cakes, inscribing them with T or a cross. The cross was a pagan fertility symbol and symbol for Tammuz. These cakes would be baked and eaten as part of their ritual. The day would often include human sacrifices.
Perhaps you can see that this forty-day period that preceded their Easter sunrise service has been carried into the Catholic faith as the forty days of Lent.
As so often has been, Israels desire to keep up with the Babylonians allowed this wicked worship to infect the nation of Israel.
Gods desire for Israel was that the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations (Numbers 23:9). But their desire for this new theology, which was really an old lie, enticed them, and their pure worship of the true God was corrupted with paganism to the point that there was hardly a man who would stand against the wicked paganism.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30)
God describes how the rebellion affected the whole family:
Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? (Jeremiah 7:17-19)
As we noted earlier, it was claimed that Nimord impregnated Semiramis with his rays, and she became pregnant with Tammuz. Yet this so-called holy child was also considered to be a reincarnation of Nimrod. The son was the father; the father was the son. A God becoming flesh! Semiramis and Tammuz were worshiped in virtually every culture of the earth only under different names. In Rome, Tammuz was worshiped under the name Bacchus; that is, The Lamented One. In fact, golden calves were one of the symbols for Tammuz. This puts Exodus 32 into sharper focus, doesnt it?
Here again we see the truth of what Paul wrote in the beginning of his epistle to the Romans:
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. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. (Romans 1:18-28)
When one leaves the worship of the true God, there is nothing else to worship but the creature.
The sign of Tammuz was a wooden cross. Notice what had been prophesied:
And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23)
Criminals who committed sins worthy of death were to be hung upon a tree, but their bodies were to be taken down at night so that the land would not be defiled. Do you remember what Peter said about Jesus? The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree (Acts 5:30).
Did the body of Jesus remain upon the cross (tree) the whole night or day? No! Satan wanted to convince the people that Jesus was a criminal who deserved to die. Remember that a criminal was not to be left upon a tree overnight. The rabbis could point to the prophecy and say, Jesus is a fraud, he died upon a tree and was taken down. Jesus was not a sinner who should have been condemned, but he did die in our place upon the tree that we should have been on.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. (Galatians 3:13)
Here Paul quotes from Deuteronomy and reverses the argument, showing that it was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross because he was taking our place. We were the sinners (the criminals who sinned and were worthy to die), and Jesus, hanging upon the cross, took our place. This instrument of torture became the one thing in which Paul could glory. Paul noted:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)
Of course, Paul did not glory in a literal cross itself but in the event that happened upon the cross. Ellen White and the Bible writers are careful not to confuse the act done on the cross with the image itself. Sadly, many see a cross as something magical with special powers or something that is to be exalted while Christ is forgotten. Interestingly, the more the cross is displayed, the less the meaning of the true message of the cross is understood and appreciated.
Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars, and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. (The Great Controversy, p. 568)
Tammuz and his cross presented a false Christ, a false god who became incarnate, who is still worshiped today in many professed Christian churches as the second person of the trinity!
Jesus, foreseeing the future of his disciples, prophetically declared an important truth to them shortly before his death. He said:
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:2, 3)
Today, the professed church of God should not be teaching the trinity with its false concept of Jesus not being the Son of God. In modern Christianity where the trinity is taught, Jesus is not the literal only-begotten Son of God!
The trinity presents a god who did not really have a son, but rather one who assumed the role of a son. The trinitarian view allows for three distinct persons within the Godhead and denigrates the sacrifice of Calvary to that of role-playing. Trinitarianism states that the terms Father and Son, as revealed in Scripture, do not really mean father and son, but rather express roles they accepted in carrying out of the plan of salvation. For example:
In the New Testament, Jesus used Father to bring us into a close and personal relationship with God. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... p. 20; 1981 edition)
It may be inferred from the Scriptures that when the Godhead laid out the plan of salvation at some point in eternity past, They took certain positions or roles to carry out the provisions of the plan. (Signs of the Times, July 1985)
But the Scriptures do not even hint that the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ is a role-playing event. Nobody should know more about this relationship than God and Christ. What do they say?
Let us first notice the Fathers testimony concerning Jesus Christ. At the baptism of Jesus, God spoke: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). Here God calls Jesus his beloved Son. The exact same phrase is used in Matthew 17:5, where the Father acknowledged at the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus to be his Son.
In talking to Nicodemus, Jesus stated: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16-18). Here Jesus claims to be Gods Son and states that God indeed did have a Son to send. When standing before Caiaphas, Jesus acknowledged under oath that he was the Son of God:
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? (Mark 14:60, 61)
Matthew includes Caiaphas words, I adjure thee by the living God (Matthew 26:63). Until this point, Christ had been silent, but now he replies plainly, I am (Mark 14:62). Ellen G. White adds this insightful comment:
To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. Matt. 10:32. Now by His own example He repeated the lesson. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 706, 707)
The apostles declared Jesus to be the Son of God.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)
While Peters confession is known by many, it was actually Nathanael who first acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. In John 1:49, we read: Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
The first truth that the Apostle Paul preached after his conversion was that Jesus is the Son of God: And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God (Acts 9:19, 20).
The Bible teaches that there is one Godthe Father: But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Father is called God and Jesus is our Lord. We also read, For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Paul is clear that the one God is the Father, and Jesus is the mediator between the Father and man. Jesus cannot be the mediator between himself and man.
The issue of knowing God and Jesus properly and understanding their relationship to each other is vitally important. To deny this or to have a misunderstanding of it is the very spirit of antichrist!
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. (1 John 2:22, 23)
Notice that the antichrist is one who denies that God is the Father and Jesus is the Son. The Father/Son relationship is taught in many places in the Bible. Here is a list of more texts that provide a great wealth of evidence for this teaching:
Proverbs 8:22-26; 30:4; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 3:25; Matthew 8:29; 14:33; 26:53, 63, 64; 27:43, 54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 5:7; 14:36, 61, 62; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 8:28; 22:70; John 1:14, 18, 34; 5:19-26; 12:27; 14:2, 10, 23, 28; 19:7; 20:17, 31; Acts 3:13, 26; 8:37; Romans 1:3, 4, 7, 9; 5:10; 8:29; 15:6; 1 Corinthians 1:3, 9; Galatians 1:16; 2:20; 4:4-6; Colossians 1:2, 3; Hebrews 1:2; 4:14; 6:6; 10:29; 1 John 1:3, 7; 3:23; 4:10; 5:9-13, 20; and Revelation 2:18.
The trinitarian doctrine denies that Jesus is the literal, only-begotten Son of God and in his place offers a modern-day Tammuz that evokes feelings of emotion but cannot change the heart and character. God says this weeping for Tammuz is a wicked, evil abomination.
The importance of this issue is seen in the 8th and 9th chapters of Ezekiel. In chapter 8, God calls this weeping an abomination. Beloved, if God calls the trinity, the worship of a false christ, an abomination, then it certainly is, and if we are in harmony and in tune with God, we will hate such abominations. Also, we learned, as noted earlier, that only those who sigh and cry about these wicked things will receive the pure mark of truth, the seal of the living God. We are talking about what is essential if we are going to be a part of the 144,000, those who are sealed just before probation closes. Those who have a zeal for the honor and glory of God will not wish to be involved in anything that is disgusting to God. If you wish to be a part of the 144,000, you will have to put the honor of God first. You may not be worshiping the trinity, but do you sit in silence when Tammuz is presented? You will not receive the seal of God. That is clear and plain. You may be considered a troubler of Israel, but so was Elijah. You may not receive the approval of the General Conference, but you may have the approbation of God. I realize that this message will not be palatable to some. But the Bible declares that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18 NKJV). I cannot and will not suppress the truth because it is unpopular. Now, what will you do? Allen Stump
We continue to ask for your intercessory prayers for God to lead out in the upcoming West Virginia Camp Meeting, June 15-19, 2010, and at the General Conference Session to follow in Atlanta, Georgia. There is much extra printing to be done, as well as a special multi-language DVD to be prepared.
During the month of April, we will be including in our prayers the states of Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, and Massachusettstwo states, in order, for each week of April. We ask for your combined prayers, entreating God to work in a mighty way in behalf of each family that receives Old Paths, as well as to speak to the hearts of each resident of these states, as only God can, and draw them to himself. If you have concerns you would like to be included in this prayer request column, please submit them to us, and we will gladly include them.
Tasty Recipe Fruit Drops
Sister Vera Antisdel of Wisconsin offers this tasty idea:
In a blender whiz 1 cup cashews into a meal, add 1 ½ cup orange juice and 1 cup dates and whiz well. Pour into a large bowl and add 3 cups coarsely grated apple or 2 cups applesauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 2-4 tablespoons grated orange rind (optional), 1 cup fine whole wheat flour, 3 cups quick oats, 6 cups finely chopped dried mixed fruit, and 1 cup chopped nuts.
Form small cookies and bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.
Quiz on Job 28
1. Who is the speaker in Job 28?
2. Give a summary of verses 1-11.
3. What is the meaning of Job 28:7, 8?
4. Give a summary of Job 28:12-28.
5. What two things cannot buy wisdom?
6. Carefully read Job 28:15-19. How many times is the word gold found?
7. What scientific statement is made in Job 25:28 that was quite ahead of its time?
8. How is wisdom described in Job 28?
Neither by searching the recesses of the earth nor in vain endeavors to penetrate the mysteries of Gods being, is wisdom found. It is found, rather, in humbly receiving the revelation that He has been pleased to give, and in conforming the life to His will (The Ministry of Healing, p. 431).
Answers to Quiz on Job 25-27
1. The speaker in Job chapter 25 is Bildad.
2. The main thrust of the speakers position in Job 25 is that God is so great and beyond numbering that man is but a worm in comparison and cannot hope to be justified or pure before him.
3. One of the great questions of the gospel is asked in Job 25:4. Two different New Testament verses that give an answer to the first question are Romans 5:1 and Galatians 3:11, 13.
4. Man is compared to a worm in Job 25.
5. The speaker in Job chapter 26 is Job.
6. A paraphrase of the question in Job 26:4 might be: To whom are your uttering these words? (to me, who knows as much or more than you do?) and whose spirit is inspiring them? A spirit that does not inspire you to help him that is without power and him that has no strength (v. 2).
7.God binds up the waters in his thick clouds.
8. Job 26:9 teaches that God conceals himself from mans physical senses. God sees fit to maintain his communion with man on a spiritual, rather than a physical, level. If he did not, we would be instantly destroyed by his glory.
9. Revelation 21:1 and Revelation 22.3-5 seem to have reference to Job 26:10.
10. Gods power and understanding (wisdom) are mentioned in Job 26:12.
11. The word garnished in Job 26:13 means brightened, made clear or beautiful.
12. In Job 27:2, we find the expression, As God liveth. In effect, Job is using Gods name as an oath that he will not speak wickedness or deceit.
13. Job says the spirit of God was within his nostrils.
14. Job 27:5, 6 declares that Job will not change his position on his integrity.
15. According to Job 27:9, 10, the wicked pray and call upon God when they are in trouble.
16. Job 26:13-23 appears as a reversal of some of his prior positions, perhaps to call curses upon his friends, using their own medicine against them.
17. Job 21: 8, 9, 11 seem to be opposite of Job 27:14.
18. The significance of using the symbol of a moth in Job 27:18 is that it shows how fragile or temporary the house of the wicked is because the moth can be shaken easily out of the garment in which it has made a home. Wherever the moth chooses to make a cocoon, in a garment or in a bush, it is not long lasting and is soon cast aside.
19. Job 27:20 is to be understood in the context of the rich man dying, so the terrors that take hold of him are the terrors of death and what follows after death.
Liberty in the Balances
There is a small church that is getting a great deal of attention but not because they have paid for a large media campaign. No, not at all. So what is giving the small handful of believers of the Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guys, Tennessee, such notoriety?
While the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church is widely known, in a general way, for the Sabbath and certain issues of health reform, they are not understood well outside of these issues. One issue that the Seventh-day Adventist Church had historically stood for was the separation of church and state and full religious liberty for all, regardless of beliefs, as long as the rights of others were not infringed upon. Some of Seventh-day Adventisms most fabled history revolves around their support of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Americans have long cherished the right of freedom in worship, and they do not accept a violation of this principle easily. But Satan is on hand, using groups like the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, to prepare the way for a change of thought.
(The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, operates a website: godhatesfags.com. This group declares that because of the sin of homosexuality in the United States God is punishing the nation by allowing our troops to be killed in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also declare that God blew up the space shuttle and was behind the 9-11 attacks! They have arranged protests at many soldiers funerals, declaring that the soldiers are in hell because they fought for a wicked nation. These insensitive protests have wounded the hearts of many parents. Almost all agree that Jesus would never operate in this manner and desire them to stop. Satan could use this to cause a backlash against the rights of the First Amendment.)
Historically, the American public has not welcomed those who would attempt to take their freedom of conscience away. This is now being done, however, by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, using a trademark law to protect itself from its so-called critics.
We assume that most of our readers are well aware of, at least, the reputation the Seventh-day Adventist denomination has had for religious liberty. But the news that may not be so well-known is that in 1981 the General Conference Corporation, that is the leading and managing body of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, received a trademark on the name Seventh-day Adventist from the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office.
In 1980, the church hired a Catholic lawyer to assist them in this process. There was to be a five-year waiting period, during which time the trademark could be challenged. During this time, the church was silent concerning its receiving the trademark.
Yet, since 1981 the Seventh-day Adventist Church has maintained a religious liberty department, including publishing a magazine called Liberty whose objective is to promote religious liberty. They are especially vocal concerning the rights of Sabbath-keepers. Yet, since 1986, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been involved in several lawsuits against people who have used the name Seventh-day Adventist but who were not members of the mainline church.
In almost all the cases during the last two-plus decades, the defendants have maintained a consistent position. Each one has claimed that using the name Seventh-day Adventist was a matter of religious faith, based upon statements from Ellen G. White such as:
The name, Seventh-day Adventist, carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind. Like an arrow from the Lords quiver, it will wound the transgressors of Gods law, and will lead to repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, p. 55)
No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession and expresses our faith and marks us a peculiar people. The name Seventh-day Adventist is a standing rebuke to the Protestant world. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 223)
Those who have separated from the mainline church and have continued to use the name Seventh-day Adventist have declared that the name stands for who they are and what they believe and cannot be simply the name of a product or business that would have normal copyright or trademark protection.
The most recent case that had above-normal notoriety was when the General Conference sued the Eternal Gospel Seventh-day Adventist Church led by Pastor Raphael Perez. Though they had men such as Colin Standish of Heartland Institute testify in their behalf, the court ruled against them, and they changed their name to Eternal Gospel Church. Sometimes it is noted with the name that The Eternal Gospel Church was founded in 1992 by Seventh-day Adventist Believers.
The church lost a notable trademark case against Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International which was formed in 1976, five years before the church obtained their so-called trademark. Kinship claims to be a volunteer support organization that champions human rights for all people (http://www.sdakinship.org). Specifically, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International provides a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists (Ibid.). This case was lost by the mainline church due to the fact that Kinship had been using the name and was established before the trademark. The legal basis for this is called laches.
Another large group that the mainline church has not attempted to sue is the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (SDARM) which has its roots going back to WWI. Again, laches would prevent them from obtaining a restraint upon the SDARM.
The Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church (CSDA) believes most of the doctrines of the mainline church, with a few notable exceptions. Instead of accepting the trinity doctrine, they continue in the noble footsteps of the pioneers of Adventism. They accept that the individual Jesus called Father is the God of the Bible, that Jesus is his literal only-begotten Son, and that the Holy Spirit is not a separate person apart from the Father and the Son but is rather the Spirit of God that we receive through the Son. They also keep new moon days and have camp meetings during the Feast of Tabernacles and Passover.
The paramount issue is not whether one agrees with Creation Seventh-day Adventists over their doctrines, distinctive or otherwise. The issue is if the Constitution grants them the right to practice their beliefs free from the regulation of the government, so long as such practice does not cause damage to others property or livelihood.
The foundational issue at stake is: Does the government, through the judicial branch, have a right to decide who the true Seventh-day Adventists are?
What would be the results if the courts should attempt to decide true Protestants, true Catholics, or even true Christians, Jews, and Muslims?
Such a declaration would not constitute the establishing of an official state-church, but it would be a declaration of the only possible bona fide church of that type. In the case of Seventh-day Adventism, this would result in there being no genuine Seventh-day Adventists outside of the denominations control and decree.
The different independent groups that have called themselves Seventh-day Adventists have done so because they believed it to be their religious duty. For the most part, they have claimed this to be a conviction as opposed to a preference. A preference is something for which one has a strong desire, but the desire is limited and will stop at some point, perhaps at the threat of imprisonment or even death. For a Christian, a conviction is an unshakable belief that cannot be changed no matter what threat is imposed, whether it be prison or even death. Even though many have declared in sworn statements in court that they were convicted that they had to use the name Seventh-day Adventist, so far all that have lost their cases have finally submitted to the courts and changed their names.
Of all people, Christians should understand the basic principles of faith and the living out of ones faith. If a Christian is held at gunpoint and asked if he or she is a Christian, what should be the answer even though they know they will be shot? When Eric Harris of Columbine High School asked Cassie Bernall if she believed in God, she had to answer yes. It was the last word she ever spoke and the only answer a true Christian could give. As Christians, we know that eternal life is dependant upon our profession and acknowledgment of Jesus Christ. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33).
To deny our beliefs is to deny Christ and God. Today, we look upon some people, such as John Huss, who was consigned to the stake and flames and Cassie Bernall, who was shot at point-blank range, as courageous and valiant martyrs. But let us go back and change being held at gunpoint to being threatened with a lawsuit, and, suddenly, the tables change and we think we are on a different standard. Do you really think that heaven looks upon it in a different way?
As we noted earlier, the Seventh-day Adventist Church used to have a firm command of the issue of religious liberty. Elder A. T. Jones was one of the foremost proponents of this truth. He was the editor of The American Sentinel and spoke frequently upon the issues of churchstate separation and religious liberty. Notice the position that he stated, a position that had no objections from his peers:
God intended to teach them [Israel] and all people forever that his plainly-declared will is that there shall be a complete separation between his church and every State or kingdom on the earth: that there shall never be any connection between his religion and any State or kingdom in the world.
And, further: As that people were then the church, and as the Lord said they rejected Him when they formed that State and kingdom, it is perfectly plain by the word of the Lord that whenever the church forms any connection with any State or kingdom on the earth, in the very doing of it she rejects God. (The American Sentinel, June 10, 1897)
Jones connected the principle of the image of the beast to the same principles that justified the Bible calling the papacy the beastthe church using the power of the state to enforce her decrees:
I need not undertake to give a definition in detail of what the image of the beast is; we all know well that it is the church power using the government, the civil power, for church purposes. That is definite enough to recall to the minds of all, the general subject. The case to be presented this evening will be simply the outline of what the professed Protestants of the country are doing; and the evidence that they are doing it in such a way that all may see the situation as it now stands before the country; and not only stands temporarily, but stands before the country in such a way that it is intended by those who are conducting the measures to be permanent. (General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 4, 1895, p. 11)
Concerning the starting of any procedure with civil government, Jones later noted: And of all Christians, Seventh-day Adventists cannot do it (General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 11, 1895, p. 99). Jones went on to explain his rational:
The very keeping of the Sabbath forbids it. For to submit a case to a court, he submits it to the procedure of the court. Now every court in the land can go strictly according to law and to all the rules of the courts and hold court and try the case on the Sabbath. The Sabbath-keeper cannot attend court on the Sabbath. But he has started the case himself, and in starting the case he submits the case to the procedure of the court. Yet if the court in regular proceeding even without any design calls the case on the Sabbath, he will be required to attend on the Sabbath. He cannot do this though and keep the Sabbath. But to refuse, while starting the case himself, is only to trifle with the court. This the court cannot allow, and therefore may levy a fine for nonattendance. But if the fine is paid, it is paid for keeping the Sabbath. If it is not paid and he goes to prison instead, he cannot justly count it persecution, because without any fault on the part of the court it is only the straight consequence of his own action in starting the case. Therefore the very words, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," forbids the starting of any case in court, because that commandment forbids us to start on a course that may prevent the keeping of the Sabbath holy. (Ibid.)
Ellen White noted in The Great Controversy:
Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured. (p. 581)
W. W. Prescott, a long time worker in the denomination and close associate of Ellen White, stated in The Protestant magazine of November 1915: When a church in alliance with the state employs the secular power to enforce its doctrines by punishing heretics, it repudiates the essential idea of Christianity.
It should be noted that the office of Liberty magazine was contacted to see if they would be covering the events concerning their own churchs lawsuit against the Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church. They informed us that they have no plans to cover it or discuss it. The office of the Adventist Review was also contacted, and, though the person we talked to was cordial, they did not even have an awareness of the situation and, henceforth, did not currently have any plans to address the issue to the readers of the Adventist Review.Allen Stump
David v. Goliath
All of Israel quaked at Goliath. Saul was afraid of Goliath. Davids brothers all feared Goliath. He seemed too big to hit. Then along came little David who would fight Goliath. David knew Goliath was too big to miss, and, most importantly, he knew his cause was righteous!
The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Goliath) filed a lawsuit against the Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church (David) in 2006, with Walter McGill as the defendant due to the CSDA Church not being incorporated. The jury trial was first scheduled for January 2008 but was later moved to June and then even further delayed.
In the interim, on June 11, the Tennessee district court judge issued a partial summary judgment on behalf of the plaintiff that the name Seventh-day Adventist could not be used in the promotion of the CSDA Churchs materials or services at any locality in the United States, despite the judges conclusion that the church took the name as a result of divine revelation with no intent to confuse or deceive the public.
Howard M. Friedman, Professor of Law Emeritus University of Toledo, wrote a summary of the judgment:
General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists v. McGill, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45526 (WD TN, June 11, 2008) is a trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit brought by the Seventh-day Adventist Church against a break away pastor of a 3-member church he currently calls A Creation Seventh-day & Adventist Church. The court held that the trademark Seventh-day Adventist is not generic and thus is protectable and that defendant illegally used the mark without permission. The court found however that that there is a material issue of fact as to whether the registered mark Adventist is generic and that plaintiffs had not proven that SDA is a valid trademark.
As of May 27, 2009, a recommendation for permanent injunction was adopted by the Court against Pastor McGill and the church, enjoining them from using the names Seventh-day Adventist, Seventh-day, Adventist, or the acronym SDA, either alone or in conjunction with modifying terms, with an order to submit a sworn notice of compliance to the Court by June 17, 2009.
Whether one agrees with all of the positions of the Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church or not, they have two points that are distinct from the other cases thus far presented. Firstly, they do not claim to fully agree with the current twenty-eight fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The main difference is their rejection of the trinity doctrine. Yet, in doing this, they present a faith on God and Jesus Christ that is in harmony with what the original Seventh-day Adventists believed. Secondly, as will be shown, they do not plan to back down and change their position, regardless of the court rulings. Therefore, there was no compliance report filed in response to the May 27, 2009, recommendation for permanent injunction because they felt that they could not back down. In August of 2009, an appellant brief was filed by the CSDA Church in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The oral arguments were heard on March 16.
On November 21, 2009, the attorneys for the General Conference submitted a Proposed Order of Contempt and Sanctions to the Court, seeking, among other things, the arrest of Pastor McGill, pending his compliance with the courts, the dispatch of U.S. Marshals to the CSDA Church property to destroy signs and materials containing the terms banned under the injunction, the cost of legal fees ($35,567.00), the authority to conduct an inquiry into others aside from Pastor McGill involved in managing the churchs websites, and the removal of all such websites. On December 14, Magistrate Judge Bryant issued a report and recommendation to the Court, adopting much of the plaintiffs wording but advising against the use of U.S. Marshals for the destruction of the churchs signs and materials, in favor of having it done by the plaintiffs themselves or their agents. The injunction did not call for the arrest of McGill. Judge Breen adopted the order in full on January 6, 2010, further authorizing the confiscation of several websites and domains registered either by the Church or suspected associates, including several clearly not in violation of the injunction.
On February 16, 2010, the order was enforced at the Guys property by a sign crew and constable, accompanied by Joel Galanter, the lead attorney for the General Conference. There was a peaceful protest from members and supporters.
According to Chuck Holliday, Pastor McGills attorney, the mainline church was not able to get the U.S. Marshals that Mr. Galanter had requested without a court order, so the General Conference hired the constable to maintain the peace, despite Mr. Hollidays assurance that the protests would be peaceable and without violence.
After arriving, Mr. Galanter handed Assistant Pastor Lucan Chartier a subpoena requiring his presence on the 18th of March for a deposition in Jackson, Tennessee. An ABC news crew from Jackson, Tennessee, was also there and produced a report that can be seen at http://www.wbbjtv.com/Church%20Signs%20Come%20Down.html.
Between the ABC news crew and the home videotaping by two of the protesters, it appeared Mr. Galanter was being very careful in just how far he went in confiscating religious materials. In addition to having the church sign removed, the only other thing confiscated of note was a small collection of Finally out of Darkness books. Although the General Conference originally requested that all the materials containing the name Seventh-day Adventist were to be turned over or destroyed, books written by Ellen White were not taken.
As the sign was removed, the bold declaration of Ellen White came to their minds: We are Seventh-day Adventists, and of this name we are never to be ashamed (Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 384).
Brother Chartier commented on some of the proceedings:
I expressed my disappointment to the constable, who was present, for his being involved in the matter; that I understood he was simply in a position to do a job upholding a law, and my regret that he was being put into the position of enforcing this particular law. While his position refrained him from offering any particular commentary or response, I read from his expressions that he appreciated it, and was not particularly pleased with the situation himself.
A small number of people stopped and chatted with us as we protested, including two women who seemed very excited, saying they had been hearing about this on the news for two days but had no idea it was happening right near where they lived. All of the people who stopped were sympathetic to what we explained about the situation.
On March 8, 2010, The Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church painted their name upon their parking awning where the original sign letters that had been removed once stood. This may inflame the court more, and, according to the rule of law, it will find those involved in further contempt of the court. The case had been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio. The oral arguments were heard before the bench of Justices Kennedy, Moore, and Sutton on March 11. As of this writing, we are still waiting on the recording of the hearing. We will provide a follow-up report next month. Watch out Goliath; we can hear the sound of stones whizzing through the air. Allen Stump
CREATION OR EVOLUTION, WHICH?
Sermon by A. T. Jones
(The following sermon of A. T. Jones was published in three segments in The Review and Herald on February, 21, 28, and March 7, 1899. It was also published as a compilation in Lessons on Faith. Editor)
I am going to speak this afternoon on the subject of evolution. I want you to pay close attention and find out for yourselves whether or not you are evolutionists. First of all, I will read to you what evolution is; then as we follow along, you can see whether or not you are an evolutionist. These statements are all copied from a treatise on evolution, written by one of the chief evolutionists; therefore, they are all correct, so far as they go, as definitions:
Evolution is the theory that represents the course of the world as a gradual transition from the indeterminate to the determinate, from the uniform to the varied, and which assumes the cause of these processes to be immanent in the world itself that is to be thus transformed.
Evolution is thus almost synonymous with progress. It is a transition from the lower to the higher, from the worse to the better. Thus progress points to an increased value in existence, as judged by our feelings.
Now notice the particular points in these three sentences: evolution represents the course of the world as a gradual transition from the lower to the higher, from the worse to the better; and assumes that this process is immanent in the world itself thus to be transformed. That is to say, the thing gets better of itself; and that which causes it to get better is itself. And this progress marks an increased value in existence, as judged by our feelings. That is to say, you know you are better, because you feel better. You know there has been progress, because you feel it. Your feelings regulate your standing. Your knowledge of your feelings regulates your progress from worse to better.
Now in this matter of progress from worse to better, have your feelings anything to do with it? If they have, what are you? Everyone here this afternoon who measures his progress, the value of his experience, by his feelings, is an evolutionist: I care not if he has been a Seventh-day Adventist for forty years, he is an evolutionist just the same. And all his Christianity, all his religion, is a mere profession without the fact, simply a form without the power.
Now I read what evolution is, in another way; so that you can see that it is infidelity. Then, if you find yourself an evolutionist, you know at once that you are an infidel: The hypothesis of evolution aims at answering a number of questions respecting the beginning, or genesis, of things. It helps to restore the ancient sentiment toward nature as our parent and the source of our life.
One of the branches of this sort of science that has come most toward the establishment of the doctrine of evolution, is the new science of geology, which has instituted the conception of vast and unimaginable periods of time in the past history of our globe. These vast and unimaginable periods, as another one of the chief writers on this subjectthe author of it indeedsays, is the indispensable basis for understanding mans origin in the process of evolution. So that the progress that has been made has been through countless ages. Yet this progress has not been steady and straight forward from its inception until its present condition. It has been through many ups and downs. There have been many times of great beauty and symmetry; then there would come a cataclysm or an eruption and all would go to pieces, as it were. Again the process would start from that condition of things and build up again. Many, many times this process has been gone through, and that is the process of evolutionthe transition from the lower to a higher, from the worse to the better.
Now what has been the process of your progress from the worse to the better? Has it been through many ups and downs? Has your acquiring of the power to do the goodthe good works which are of Godbeen through a long process of ups and downs from the time of your first profession of Christianity until now? Has it appeared sometimes that you had apparently made great progress, that you were doing well, and that everything was nice and pleasant; and then, without a moments warning there would come a cataclysm, or an eruption, and all be spoiled? Nevertheless, in spite of all the ups and downs, you start in for another effort: and so through this process, long-continued, you have come to where you are today, and in looking back over it all, you can mark some progress, you think, as judged by your feelingsis that your experience? Is that the way you have made progress?
In other words, are you an evolutionist? Dont dodge; confess the honest truth, for I want to get you out of evolutionism this afternoon. There is a way to get out of it, and everyone who came into this house an evolutionist can go out a Christian. So if, when I am describing an evolutionist, so plainly that you see yourself, just say so, admit that it is yourself, and then follow along the steps that God will give you, and that will bring you out of it all. But I say plainly to you that, if that which I have described has been your experience, if that has been the kind of progress that you have made in your Christian life, then you are an evolutionist, whether you admit it or not. The best way, however, is to admit it, then quit it, and be a Christian.
Another phase of it: Evolution, so far as it goes, looks upon matter as eternal. And by assuming this, the notion of creation is eliminated from those regions of existence to which it is applied. Now if you look to yourself for the principle which would assure that progress that must be made in you as certainly as ever you reach the kingdom of God; if you suppose that that is immanent in yourself and that if you could get it rightly to work, and superintend it properly when it had been thus got to work, it would come out all right. if thus you have been expecting, watching, and marking your progress, you are an evolutionist. For I read further what evolution is: It is clear that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of creation. . . . The idea of evolution, as applied to the formation of the world as a whole, is opposed to that of a direct creative volition.
That is, evolution, as defined by those who made itthat the world came, and all there is of it, of itself, and that the principle that has brought it to the condition in which it is, is immanent in itself, and is adequate to produce all that is. This being so, in the nature of things evolution is directly antagonistic to creation.
Now as to the world and all there is of it. You do not believe that it all came of itself. You know that you are not an evolutionist as to that, because you believe that God created all things. Every one of you here this afternoon would say that you believe that God created all thingsthe world and all there is in it. Evolution does not admit that; it has no place for creation.
There is, however, another phase of evolution that professedly is not absolutely antagonistic to creation. Those who made this evolution that I have read to you did not pretend to be anything but infidelsmen without faithfor an infidel simply is a man without faith. Even though a person pretends to have faith and does not actually have it, he is an infidel. Of course the word infidel is more narrowly confined than that nowadays. The men who made this evolution that I have read to you were that kind of men, but when they spread that kind of doctrine abroad, there were a great number of people who professed to be Christians, who professed to be men of faith, who professed to believe the word of God, which teaches creation. These men, not knowing the word of God for themselves, not knowing it to be the word of God, but their faith being a mere form of faith without the powerthese men, I say, being charmed with this new thing that had sprung up and wanting to be popular along with the new science and really not wanting to forsake altogether the word of God and the ways of faith, were not ready to say that they could get along without God, without creation somewhere, so they formed a sort of evolution with the Creator in it. That phase of it is called theistic evolution; that is, God started the thing, whenever that was, but since that it has been going on of itself. He started it and after that it was able of itself to accomplish all that has been done. This, however, is but a makeshift, a contrivance to save appearances, and is plainly declared by the true evolutionists to be but a phase of transition from the creational to the evolutional hypothesis. It is evolution only, because there is no halfway ground between creation and evolution.
Whether you are one of this kind or not, there are many of them, even among Seventh-day Adventistsnot so many as there used to be, thank the Lord!who believe that we must have God forgive our sins and so start us on the way all right, but after that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Accordingly, they do fear, and they do tremble, all the time, but they do not work out any salvation, because they do not have God constantly working in them, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil. 2:12, 13.
Now in Heb. 11:3 it is recorded that it is through faith that we understand that the worlds were framedput together, arranged, built "by the word of God: so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. The earth which we have was not made of rocks; men were not made of monkeys, apes, and the missing link, and apes and monkeys and the missing link were not made of tadpoles, and tadpoles were not made of protoplasm originally away back at the beginning. No! The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Now why is it that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear? Simply because the things of which these are made did not appear. And the reason those things did not appear is because they were not at all. They did not exist. The worlds were framed by the word of God, and the word of God is of that quality, it has that property about it, which, when the word is spoken, not only causes the thing to be, but causes to exist the material out of which the thing is made and of which the thing consists.
You know also the other scripture, that by the word of the lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth . . . for he spake and it was. Ps. 33:6-9. Upon this I will ask you a question: How long after He spoke, before the things were? How much time passed after He spoke, before the thing was? [Voice: No time.] Not a week? No. Not six long periods of time? No. Evolution even that which recognizes a Creator, holds that indefinite countless ages or six long, indefinite periods of time, passed in the formation of the things which are seen, after he spoke. But that is evolution, not creation. Evolution is by long processes. Creation is by the word spoken.
When God, by speaking the word, had created the worlds, for this one He said, Let there be light. Now how much time passed between the words, Let there be light, and the time when the light came? I want you to understand this matter aright so that you can find out whether you are an evolutionist or a creationist. Let me ask this again. Were there not six long periods of time between the time when the word was spoken and the accomplishment of the fact? You say No. Was it not a week? No. Not a day? No. Not an hour? No. Not a minute? No. Nor even a second? No, indeed. There was not a second between the time when God said, Let there be light, and the existence of the light. [Voice: Just as soon as the word was spoken, the light was.] Yes, that is the way it was. I go over it thus minutely, so as to get it firmly fixed in your mind, for fear you will let it go presently when I ask you something further. Now is it settled that when God said, Let there be light, there was not a second of time between that and the shining of the light? [Voice: Yes.] All right. Then the man who allows that any time at all passed between Gods speaking and the appearing of the thing, is an evolutionist. If he makes it countless ages upon countless ages, he is simply more of an evolutionist than the one who thinks it took a day; he is the same thing, but more of it.
Next, God said, Let there be a firmament. And what then? It was so. Then from the time that God spoke, Let there be a firmament . . . and let it divide the waters from the waters, how long before a firmament was there? Was that done instantly? Yes. Then the man who holds that there was an indefinite, a very long, period of time between the speaking of the word and the existence of the factwhat is he? An evolutionist. If he allows that there was a day or an hour or a minute between the speaking of the word and the existence of the thing itself, that man does not recognize creation.
When the Lord said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear, also when he said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit . . . it was so. Then God set two great lights in the heavens and made the stars also, and when He spoke the word, it was so. He said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, the fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament, and it was so. When God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, the beast of the earth after his kind, it was so. When he spoke, it was always so. That is creation.
You see, then, that it is perfectly logical and reasonable enough too for the evolutionist to set aside the word of God and have no faith in it, for evolution itself is antagonistic to creation. When evolution is antagonistic to creation and creation is by the word of God, then evolution is antagonistic to the word of God. Of course the genuine or original, sound evolutionist did not have any place for that word, nor for the half-and-half evolutioniststhose who bring in creation and the word of God to start things. It takes so long a time, such indefinite and indeterminate ages for evolution to accomplish anything that it does away with creation.
The genuine evolutionist recognizes that creation must be immediate, but he does not believe in immediate action, and therefore does not believe in creation. Do not forget that creation is immediate or else it is not creation, if not immediate, it is evolution. So touching again the creation at the beginning, when God speaks, there is in His word the creative energy to produce the thing which that word pronounces. That is creation, and that word of God is the same yesterday and today and forever; it lives and abides forever; it has everlasting life in it. The word of God is a living thing. The life that is in it is the life of Godeternal life. Therefore it is the word of eternal life, as the Lord Jesus said, and in the nature of things it abides and remains forever. Forever it is the word of God; forever it has creative energy in it.
So when Jesus was here, He said, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. The words that Jesus spoke are the words of God. They are imbued with the life of God. They are eternal life, they abide forever, and in them is the creative energy to produce the thing spoken.
This is illustrated by many incidents in the life of Christ, as narrated in the New Testament. I do not need to cite them all, but I will refer to one or two, so you can get hold of this principle. You remember that after the sermon on the mount, Jesus came down, and there met him a centurion, saying, My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion said, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Jesus turned to those standing about and said, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.
Israel had the Bible; they knew the word of God. They boasted of being the people of the Book, the people of God. They read it; they preached in their synagogues, My word . . . shall accomplish that which I please. They said, when they read that word, That is all right, the thing ought to be done. We see the necessity of it and will do it. We will accomplish what it says. Then they did their best to accomplish it. It took them a long while, so long indeed, that they never did it. Their real doing of the word was so far away that the greatest of them were led to exclaim, If but one person could only for one day keep the whole law and not offend in one pointnay, if but one person could but keep that one point of the law which affected the due observance of the Sabbaththen the troubles of Israel would be ended, and the Messiah at last would come. So, though they started in to do what the word said, it took them so long that they never got to it. What were they?
There was the word of God, which said, It shall accomplish that which I please. It was spoken thus of the creative power. And though they professed to recognize the creative energy of the word of God, yet in their own lives they left that all out, and said, We will do it. They looked to themselves for the process which would bring themselves to the point where that word and themselves would agree. What were they? Are you afraid to say, for fear you have been there yourself? Do not be afraid to say that they were evolutionists, for that is what they were, and that is what a good many of you are. Their course was antagonistic to creation; there was no creation about it. They were not made new creatures; no new life was formed within them; the thing was not accomplished by the power of God; it was all of themselves; and so far were they from believing in creation that they rejected the Creator and crucified Him out of the world. That is what evolution always does, for do not forget that evolution is directly antagonistic to creation.
Now these were the people upon whom Jesus looked when He made this statement about faith in Israel. Here was a man who was a Roman, who had grown up among the people who were Jews, and who set at naught the teachings of Jesus. That centurion had been around where Jesus was, and seen him talking, had heard His words and had seen the effect of them, until he himself said, Whatever that man speaks is so; when He says a thing, it is done. Now I am going to have the advantage of it. So he went to Jesus and said what is written. Jesus knew perfectly well that the man had his mind upon the power of His word to do that thing, and He replied, Very well, I will come and heal your servant. O no, my Lord, you do not need to come. You see this man was testing the matter to see whether or not there was any power in the word. Therefore he said, Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Jesus replied, As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed. When that word went forth, so be it done unto thee, how long before their man was healed? Twenty years? No. Didnt he have to go through many ups and downs before he was certainly healed? Honest, now? No, no! When the word was spoken, the word did the thing that was spoken, and it did it at once.
Another day Jesus was walking along and a leper some distance from Him saw and recognized Him. He, too, had got hold of the blessed truth of the creative energy of the word of God. He said to Jesus, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Jesus stopped and said, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. Mark 1:41, 42. We are not allowed to put a moment of time between speaking of the word and the accomplished fact: Immediately the leper was cleansed.
Now you see that the word of God at the beginning of creation had in it the creative energy to produce that thing which the word pronounced. you see that when Jesus came into the world to show men the way of life, to save them from their sins, He demonstrated, over and over again, here and there and everywhere, to all people and for all time, that that same word of God has that same creative energy in it yet; so that when that word is spoken, the creative energy is there to produce the thing.
Now are you an evolutionist or are you a creationist? That word speaks to you. You have read it; you profess to believe it. You believe in creation, as against the other evolutionists; now will you believe in creation as against yourself? Will you put yourself upon that platform today where you will allow nothing to come between you and the creative energy of that wordno period of time whatever?
Jesus said to a certain person, Thy sins are forgiven. How long before it was so? There was no length of time whatever between the word forgiven and the thing. That same word, Thy sins are forgiven, is spoken to you today. Why do you let any time pass between this word, which is spoken to you and the accomplishment of the thing? You said a while ago that anybody who let a minute, or even a second, pass between the speaking of the word of God and the production of the thing is an evolutionist. Very good; that is so. Stick to it. Now I ask you, Why is it that when He speaks forgiveness to you, you let whole days pass before forgiveness gets to you, before it is true in you? You said the other man is an evolutionist. What are you, I want to know? Are you going to stop being evolutionists and become creationists?
This day will be one of special importance to many here, because it is a time when many will decide this question one way or the other. If you go out of this house an evolutionist, you are in danger. It is to you a matter of life or death just now. You said that evolution is infidelity and that is so; therefore, if you go out of this house an evolutionist, where do you stand? What is your choice? And if you go out of this house without the forgiveness of sins, you are an evolutionist, because you allow time to pass between the speaking of the word and the accomplishment of the fact.
From what I have read, you see that whoever lets any time pass between the word spoken and the thing done, is an evolutionist. The word of God to you is, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. Woman, thy sins are forgiven thee. [Elder Corliss: Didnt it say, Thy sins shall be forgiven?] No, sir. Thy sins are forgiven theepresent tense, with an emphasis. Thy sins are forgiven. I thank God this is so, because the creative energy is in that word forgiven to take away all sin and create the man a new creature. I believe in creation. Do you? Do you believe in the creative energy that is in the word forgiven spoken to you? Or are you an evolutionist and do you say, I cannot see how that can be, because I am so bad? I have been trying to do right, but I have made many failures. I have had many ups and downs and have been down a good many more times than up. If that is what you say, you are an evolutionist, for that is evolution.
Many people have been longing and longing for a clean heart. They say, I believe in the forgiveness of sin and all that and I would take it all, if I was sure that I could hold out, but there is so much evil in my heart and so many things to overcome that I do not have any confidence. But there stands the word, Create in me a clean heart. A clean heart comes by creation and by no other means; and that creation is wrought by the word of God. For He says, A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you. Are you a creationist now or are you an evolutionist? Will you go out of this house with an evil heart or with a new heart created by the word of God, which has in it creative energy to produce a new heart? It speaks to you a new heart. To every one it speaks just that way, and if you allow a moment to pass between the speaking of the word and the new heart, you are an evolutionist. When you allow any time to pass between the word spoken and the fulfillment of that thing in your experience, then you are an evolutionist.
There are those in this house who have said, Yes, I want it. I am going to have it. I believe the word will accomplish it, but they have lengthened out the time until the next meeting and on and on, passing over years, and so they are just this much evolutionists. While so many are hovering about the mystery of faith and godliness, they could have solved the matter by proclaiming [speaking abroad, telling it out], I know that Jesus Christ is my portion forever. The power to produce this is in the word of God, and when this is accepted, the creative energy is there producing the thing that is spoken. So you can settle the whole matter of the mystery of faith and godliness by proclaiming that you know that Christ is your portion forever.
There is a mystery in how God can be manifest in such sinful flesh as yours. But, mind you, the question is not now about the mystery; the question is, Is there such a thing as creation? Is there such a thing as a Creator, who can create in you a clean heart? Or is the whole thing simply evolution? Just now and among Seventh-day Adventists, the question from this day until the end of the world must be, Do you believe in the Creator? And when you believe in the Creator, how is it that He creates? Of course you say, it is by the word of God. Very good. Now does He create things for you by His word? Are you a creationist for the other evolutionists and then an evolutionist for the other creationists? How is it?
Another thing. The word says, Be ye clean. He said, back yonder, Let there be light, and there was light. He said to the leper, Be thou clean, and immediately he was clean. He says now to you, Be ye clean, and what now? Every one of youwhat do you say? [Voice: It is so.] Then for your souls sake put yourself upon that creative word. Recognize the creative energy in the word of God which comes to you in the Bible, for this word of God in the Bible is the same here to you today that it was when it spoke into space the worlds on high and brought light out of darkness and cleansing to the leper. That word spoken to you today, if received, creates you new in Christ Jesus. That word, spoken in the dark waste and voice space of your heart, if received, produces there the light of God; that word spoken today to you afflicted with the leprosy of sin, if received, immediately cleanses you. Let it. Let it.
How shall I be clean? By the creative energy of that word, Be ye clean. Therefore it is written, Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. John 15:3. Are you? Will you from this moment be a creationist? Or will you go on being an evolutionist?
See what a blessed thing this is. When you read the word, receive the word, and think upon the word, what is it to you all the time? O, it is creation! The creative energy is in you producing the things which the word speaks, and you are living in the very presence of the power of creation. Creation is going on in your life. God is creating in you righteousness, holiness, truth, faithfulnessevery good and gracious thing.
And when this is so, your Sabbath-keeping will amount to something, because the Sabbath is a memorial of creationthe sign that He who observes it knows the Creator and is acquainted with the process of creation. But as certainly as you are an evolutionist, your Sabbath-keeping is a fraud.
Unless you recognize the word of God day by day as a creative energy in your life, your Sabbath-keeping is a fraud, because the Sabbath is a memorial of creation. It is a sign between me and you, that [by which] ye may know that I am the Lord your God, the Creator of all things.
In the second chapter of Ephesians, eighth to tenth verses, we read, 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
You need not expect to get any good works out of yourself. You have been trying. The evolutionist tries and is always trying without accomplishing it. Why go about trying to do good works, when you know you fail? Listen. There will never be any good thing in you of any kind whatever from now till the worlds end, except it is created there by the Creator Himself, by His word, which has in it the creative energy. Do not forget that. Do you want to walk in good works when you go out of this house? It can be done only by being created in Jesus Christ unto those good works. Stop trying. Look to the Creator and receive His creative word. Let the word of God dwell in you richly, then those good works will appear; you will be a Christian. Then, because you live with the Creator and are in the presence of the creative energy, you will have that pleasant, quiet peace and genuine strength and building up that belong to a Christian.
When He tells you that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them, then recognize the Creator, recognize only the good works that are created in you, paying no attention whatever to any work that is not crated there, because there is nothing good but what is created by the Lord.
Now you are created new in Christ Jesus. He says so. Thank Him that it is so. What! Will you be an evolutionist on that verse? That is the present tense, We are his workmanship. We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Are you? The word is spoken. It is the creative word. How much time are you going to allow between that word of God and your being created new? Of the creation in the beginning, you said that any man who allows even a minute to pass between the word and the thing is an evolutionist. What are you now as to this word of God, which creates men in Christ Jesus unto good works? Are you an evolutionist here? Come, let us all be creationists.
Do you not see that in this way it will not require a long, tedious wearing process to be made ready to meet the Lord in glory? So many people are looking at themselves. They know that, in the nature of things it must take them an exceedingly long time to get fully ready to meet Him. If it is done by evolution, it will never be done. But when it is done by creation, it will be both surely and quickly done. That word I have before referred to is the word everyone here may take to himself. While so many are hovering about the mystery of faith and godliness, they could solve the matter by proclaiming abroad [by telling it out], Jesus Christ is my portion forever.
Do you see how much we have been evolutionists? shall we quit? Come now, let us be creationists and be done with it. Let us be Sabbath-keepers truly. Let us believe the Lord. He speaks forgiveness. He speaks a clean heart. He speaks holiness; He creates it. Let Him create it in you. Stop being an evolutionist and let that creative word work for you, let that creative energy work in you, that which the word pronounces, and before you leave this house, God can get you ready to meet Him. Indeed, in that very thing you do meet Him. And when you have thus met Him and do thus meet Him every day, are you not then ready to meet Him? Do you believe that? You believe He made the worlds when He spoke, that light came by His word when He spoke, and that the leper was immediately cleansed when he spoke, but with yourself you think considerable time must elapse between the time when the word is spoken and the fact is accomplished. O, why will you be an evolutionist? Creation, creationthat is the thing.
You and I are to call people to the supper; we are to say to all people, Come, for all things are now ready. How can I call to a man that all things are now ready, when I myself am not ready? It is a falsehood to start with. My words will not reach him. They are but an empty sound. But O, when there is in that call the creative energy of the word that has made us ready, that has cleansed us from sin, that has created us unto good works, that holds us as the sun is held in the course which God has marked outthen when we go forth and say to the world lying in wickedness, Come, for all things are now ready, they will hear. They will hear in the call the tones of the voice of the Good Shepherd, and will be cheered to come to Him for creative energy for themselves, to make them new creatures and prepare them for the supper to which they have been called.
This is where we are in this worlds history. Gods mark is being set upon the people. But remember, He will never set His mark upon one who is not cleansed from every defilement. God will not set His seal to something that is not true, that is not good. Would you ask Him to set His seal to righteousness that is altogether unrighteousness? You would not have the face to do that. You know that He is too righteous to do such a thing. Then He must cleanse you so that He can put His seal to His own work. He cannot put His seal to your work. His seal belongs only to a document which He Himself has approved. Let Him write His character upon your heart and then He can set His seal there. He can write His seal of approval upon your heart, only when His creative word has accomplished its purpose in your heart.
You can see in what a Presence we are; you can see in a measure how long it would take half to exhaust such a subject as this. But, brethren, when we do stop, let us stop in the presence of creation. Let us be no more evolutionists. Let not a moment pass between the word of God spoken to you and the accomplishment of the thing in you. Thus, living in the presence of creation, walking with the Creator, upheld by creative power, inspired by the creative energywhy, with a people such as that, God can move the world in a little while.
If at the beginning you thought this was a queer subject for such an occasion as today [it was the closing service of the week of prayer] you can now see that it is a strictly present truth. There are only the two ways. There is no halfway ground. Every man and woman in the world is either a creationist or an evolutionist. Evolution is infidelity; it is death. Creation is Christianity; it is life. Choose Creation, Christianity, and Life, that you may live. Let us be creationists only and creationists forever. And let all the people say, Amen.
WV Camp Meeting
We have a few new and exciting projects for the upcoming camp meeting. One is a nature center for the young and young at heart alike that will be a memorial to our beloved PaPa Glen.
To kick off the nature program, we extended an invitation to the Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC). TRAC is a shelter for injured and endangered raptors. They will bring on-site several birds of prey and discuss such things as habitat, the role of raptors, and their daily hazards.
Since the nature center is a work in progress, if anyone has any ideas or any items to donate, please contact Sister Ford.
We are also planning an outreach gospel concert and Health Expo in Welch, WV. Todd and Rhonda Brown have graciously agreed to spearhead the Health Expo. Sabbath afternoon we are planning a nursing home visit, as well.
As usual, there will be a communion service and programs for the youth. Some new speakers who are planning to share at camp meeting this year are Maurizio Esposito of Italy, Marc Fury from France, and Nader Mansour of Australia. Some of the other speakers will be Elvis Alberto, Lynnford Beachy, Jim Raymond, David Sims, Dr. William Van Grit, Dr. Glenn Waite, and Allen Stump For travel directions, please call us or visit our website. Many blessings. Anna Ford and Elaine Nailing
Youths Corner Hsi and His New Heart
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)
Something unusual was happening in the little Chinese village of Western Chang in Shan-si at the foot of the mountains deep in the heart of China. The villagers knew little of the affairs of the nations around them or of the wider world. The things they were concerned about were the events of the district, the sayings and doings of the local leaders, and the varying fortunes of their neighbors and friends. These were the themes that absorbed their interest. From their memory, they could recall days of wealth and prosperity before the foreign smoke was known in Shan-si. They could tell of disastrous wars waged against their country by the outside barbarians and of the fatal growth of the opium habit. They could reminisce on the terrible drought that had led to the famine in which millions of people had perished, but nothing like this had ever been known before in Shan-si, and over their pipes the village elders discussed the situation.
It was only too true that the scholar Hsi had become a Christian and had been bewitched by foreign devils. Two years ago, when the preachers of this new religion had appeared in their district, thoughtful men had foreseen that some among the foolish people would fall a prey to their spells, but who could have imagined that the first to be entrapped would be the scholar Hsi, a man of position and influence, a cultured Confucianist, the leader of their group? They were surprised and bitter and made loud lamentations.
Hsi had always been noted for his intense dislike of foreigners, but now he had actually consented to being a teacher to the foreigners, even living in the city with them for a time.
His long-venerated idols were discarded and rumor was that they had been burned.
His sacred ancestral tablets were no longer worshiped.
The very fragrance of incense had departed from his home.
And, strangely enough, his opium craving was gone! This was, indeed, mysterious, for he had been a slave to the habit, and everyone knew in such cases deliverance was well-nigh impossible. Yet with surprising suddenness and nothing to account for the change, Hsis opium pipe was laid aside and even the need seemed to have left him. The time he used to spend in preparing and smoking opium was now devoted to the peculiar rites of his new religion.
Day and night he was seen pouring over the books the foreign teachers brought.
Sometimes he sang aloud in the strangest way.
Sometimes he read quietly by the hour together with his teachers.
Sometimes he knelt on the ground, with his eyes shut, and talked to the foreigners God who could neither be seen nor heard and who had no shrine to represent him.
The remarkable thing was that Hsi seemed to be continually happy, overflowing with satisfaction.
Forgetting the dignity of a scholar, he now engaged in menial pursuits. He said he was learning farming to better care for his estate, but whoever heard of a literary man hoeing in the fields, or herding cattle, or winnowing grain, or gathering fuel with his own hands?
Hsi, in becoming a Christian, had enraged the feelings of the community. As soon as the fact was known, the gentry ceased to recognize him as one of their number. He was blotted out socially, but this treatment did not help him, as they had hoped, for soon it was learned that he had submitted to the Christians washing ceremony!
The villagers knew in some way or another vengeance would fall on him. He or his family would suffer because of the terrible nature of his offense, but Hsi went quietly on his waya new man in a new world. For him a great light had arisen. All the perplexities of former yearshis doubts, the burden of his sins, and his dread of death and the unknownhad passed away. The chains of his opium habit had also fallen from him. Renewed in spirit like a little child, his heart overflowed with love and joy.
His wife saw a new gentleness take the place of his quick temper and outbursts of passion. He became thoughtful and affectionate. She began to be curious about the secret of his new life. Waking at night, she would find him pouring over the Book or kneeling absorbed in prayer to an invisible God. Though mistaken, her husband was evidently sincere. And what accounted for his persistence in assembling the household daily for worship? Why couldnt he keep his religion to himself and be dignified about it? Just be respectably bewitched and not let everyone know about it? No wonder the whole village made fun of him.
Hsi (center) and students
Satan was an ever-present foe to Hsi, but the power of Christ was real to him. Prayer was a necessity. To triumph over sin and every difficulty in the power of Gods Spirit was the passion of his life, as well as to make this wonderful salvation known. It was impossible for him to be silent about his Saviour.
One of his first concerns was his step-mother, whom he had driven from his home years before and who was now living in poverty and neglect.
Return to us, Mother, he urged, and see how changed my heart has become. All that is possible, now, I will do to atone for the past. You shall have the best our home affords.
At first the old lady was frightened and thought he must have lost his senses. But, by degrees, it dawned upon her that he really meant what he said. And then with joy and wonder, she went with him and was reinstated in the old home.
And then there were his brothers, clever, unscrupulous men, with hot tempers like his own. Though all of them Confucian scholars, well-drilled in the five relationships, they had found it impossible to live together, and long ago the family had been broken up. Time only added bitterness to the quarrel, until everybody knew that the brothers were at daggers drawn.
But Hsi read in the teachings of his new Master, first be reconciled to thy brother, and this he felt must mean just what it said.
It was a difficult undertaking, but he prayed much about it, and frankly confessed where he himself had been wrong. To publicly seek for peace in his village, for nothing of that sort can be private in China, meant great humiliation, and at first he was only laughed at for his pains. But again, by degrees, he conquered the difficulty, and friendly intercourse was resumed. Little by little, the village began to see a change in Hsi.
His step-mother and his wife were very surprised that he was so eager for them to understand his new religion. In the old days, he never thought of teaching them anything. They could not read or write, much less understand his Confucian studies, but this new religion could be understood by them, and he sought to teach them.
Then a new trouble arose. Mrs. Hsi became ill, very ill, and the pendulum began to swing away from Hsis new religion. Now the expected great disaster loomed on the horizon. The villagers knew all along it would happen. The evil spirits were not happy with the foreign devils religion. Lets see what the Conqueror of Demon can do now, they cried. Hsi prayed and prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. Then he called for a fast in his household and continued prayer, and his God answered! Mrs. Hsi was healed and never again came down with this sickness! The villagers were astonished! Who can this Jesus be? they asked each other.
A few years after this great change, time drew near for the election of a new village elder. This was a matter of great importance, for the village elder was responsible for the gathering of taxes, the maintenance of law and order, the defense of local rights, and the care of public buildings. The more the villagers considered the question, the more it was evidentbut surely it was preposterousthat there was no one more suited for the position than the scholar Hsi. They could see that the man was brighter and better than he had been for years, his family relationships were happy, and his property well-cared for. And more than this, there was a strange power about him, an indefinable sort of influence, in his gentle and quiet ways.
Thus the hostile Confucian scholar who had become the Conqueror of Demons was now the wise and gentle elder of Western Chang in Shan-si!
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Story adapted from Pastor Hsi of North China by Mrs. Howard Taylor.Onycha Holt
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013