Old Paths

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

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

Vol. 19, No.5 Straight and Narrow May 2010

“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

The Seal of God and the Abominations of Ezekiel 8 (Part 4)

“The book of Ezekiel is deeply instructive” (The Review and Herald, February 25, 1896).

This study is the fourth in a multi-part series on the seal of God and the abominations of Ezekiel 8. The first three parts of this study dealt with the first three abominations of Ezekiel 8. (Please see the February 2010 issue of Old Paths for a complete introduction.)

Ezekiel 8 lists four abominations. The first abomination listed in verses 3 and 5 is what is called “the image of jealousy.” Three months ago we saw that this represented sun pillars (obelisks – steeples). 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). Two months ago (March) we saw that the worship of God portrayed upon the walls was the usage of visible representations of God, Christ, angels, and heavenly things. This is true whether the images are two or three dimensional. The third abomination is “women weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14), whom we saw last month is a false christ, even the so-called second person of the trinity. 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). By calling the four things in Ezekiel 8 abominations (towebah), God is making his attitude well-known concerning them. These abominations are so revolting to God that he is driven far away from his sanctuary because of them.

Backs to the Sanctuary

 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezekiel 8:15-18)

There are two main points of apostasy spoken of in these verses. Firstly, the professed leaders of God’s people have their backs to the temple, and secondly they are facing the east, worshipping the sun towards the east. This study will discuss the first point of this abomination. Next month, we shall examine the second point

Within every denomination or Christian sect, there are written or unwritten fundamentals of belief that set that group apart from other groups. While Seventh-day Adventists hold to the seventh-day Sabbath and a belief of the soon return of Jesus, these are not doctrines which, of themselves, set Seventh-day Adventists apart from other religious organizations. There are other groups of believers that observe the seventh-day Sabbath, such as Seventh-day Baptists. Today most of evangelical Christianity claims to believe in the soon coming of Jesus, howbeit many of them expect a secret rapture. The doctrine that is totally unique to Seventh-day Adventism is the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary and Christ’s work there to make final atonement for his people. This is the one key teaching that stands as the great divide between evangelical Christianity and Seventh-day Adventism. In arguably her most important book, The Great Controversy, Ellen White declares:

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

The teaching of the sanctuary doctrine finds its roots in the Millerite movement when William Miller, a Baptist minister, preached the return of Jesus on October 22, 1844. Miller based his conclusion upon an understanding of Daniel 8:14 and believed that the earth was the sanctuary mentioned in this verse and that the coming of Jesus would purify or cleanse the earth by fire. Thousands believed the message of Miller and prepared for what they believed to be the return of Jesus Christ. When Jesus did not return, those who had accepted Miller’s message were greatly disappointed. Many concluded that the whole message was in error. A few, however, believed that the prophetic calculations were correct and that the fulfillment must be something yet to be understood.

The next day, October 23, Hiram Edson and O. L. R. Crosier were going to comfort some of the brethren. As they were passing through Edson’s corn field with its corn still in the shocks, Edison was given an understanding of what had happened. J. N. Loughborough recorded the testimony of Edson in The Review and Herald:

After breakfast I said to one of my brethren, “Let us go to see and encourage some of our brethren.” We started, and while passing through a large field, I was stopped about midway in the field. Heaven seemed open to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He, for the first time, entered on that day into the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that he had a work to perform in the most holy place before coming to the earth; that He came to the marriage, or in other words, to the Ancient of days, to receive a kingdom, dominion, and glory; and that we must wait for His return from the wedding. (The Review and Herald, June 23, 1921)

Further Bible study confirmed that the sanctuary spoken of by Daniel the prophet was the sanctuary in heaven. The believers clearly connected the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 with the antitypical Day of Atonement, meeting the fulfillment of the types of the typical Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). From this concept, the doctrine which became known in Adventism as the investigative judgment was begun.

This phase of judgment is, among other things, to determine before the universe the condemnation or justification of every person who has ever lived upon this earth. Though the expression investigative judgment, like the terms incarnation and millennium, is not found in the Bible, Adventists believe that it, nevertheless, describes a biblical doctrine. Ellen White repeatedly used the term investigative judgment in her book The Great Controversy and in other places in her writings. It is a term that was widely used and understood by her contemporaries in the Advent movement. Ellen White wrote of this doctrine:

The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. (The Great Controversy, p. 488; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

The term investigative judgment and the concept that God would have an open investigation of all the records of the books in heaven has never settled well with most evangelicals, and, in an attempt to “make friends and influence people,” many Adventist teachers and ministers use the term pre-advent judgment instead. All Adventists believe that this judgment is before the coming of Jesus, so using the term pre-advent judgment instead of investigative judgment seems like a kinder and gentler doctrine. What is there about this doctrine that would make it not pleasing to nominal Christianity?

Connected with the concept of the investigative judgment is the idea of a final atonement and the vindication of the character of God. This is the uniqueness of Adventism. For 1,800-plus years before there was a Seventh-day Adventist, the message of the forgiveness of sins was preached, and the atonement was taught to be finished at the cross. It was not until Adventism was raised up by the Spirit of God in response to Bible prophecy, however, that the concept of a final atonement was understood by a group of believers. A Google Internet search, as well as a Yahoo search on the Internet, reveals little research on the topic of the final atonement outside of Adventism. Except for references to computer games and some references to Adventists both pro and con, the Internet is almost bare on this topic. No evangelical church teaches or accepts the doctrine of the investigative judgment today. To get a background to the issues, we need to understand that the earthly sanctuary was a type of the heavenly sanctuary. Moses was to construct the earthly sanctuary according to the pattern shown to him in the mount.

God commanded Moses, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. … And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exodus 25:8, 40). Paul brings a summation to the first part of the book of Hebrews in chapter 8:

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (Hebrews 8:5)

 Paul speaks of the reality of the heavenly in Hebrews 9:23 and 24, when he writes:

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.

While the earthly sanctuary was to be cleansed with the blood of bulls and goats, the heavenly sanctuary was to be cleansed with the precious blood of Jesus. Each day of the year, the record of sin was taken to the earthly sanctuary where it polluted the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement, when all the confessed sins of the people were to be removed and cleansed forever. Sadly, the reality never came in the earthly sanctuary and, in fact, could never come, for as Paul notes: “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Yet these services pointed to the one reality that could take away all sin completely and finally.

The various services of the sanctuary could all be summed up in two great offerings. Paul writes this summary:

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always (margin: daily) into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. (Hebrews 9:1-9)

Paul writes about a daily and a yearly service. The efficacy of these two ministrations had but one common source in reality. In the type, there were sacrifices for each service. In the antitype, one sacrifice is sufficient for both ministrations. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Notice the emphasis Paul places on the perfect sacrifice of Christ, as he continues writing in Hebrews:

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained [“thus securing” RSV] eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:11-14)

The blood of Christ provided the means for the ministration in the sanctuary which would purge the conscience or the mind. Let us ever remember that the battle is for the mind. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Now let us go back to the two main offerings that Paul summarized in the first part of Hebrews chapter 9. The first service he mentions was offered “always” or daily and was brought into the first part of the sanctuary. The services of the first apartment of the sanctuary focused on the daily morning and evening burnt offering of dedication, the tending of the lamps, and burning the incense on the golden altar, but by far the most central work of the first apartment that resulted in atonement was that of the sin offering.

The Sin Offering

The fourth chapter of Leviticus catalogues four different sin offerings. These offerings were for “the priest that is anointed [the high priest],” “the whole congregation of Israel,” “a ruler,” and “the common people.” These four offerings were administered through two different procedures.

The first procedure was for the high priest or for the assembly of Israel for corporate sin. The sacrifice for this service was a young bullock for the offering (Leviticus 4:3, 14). The procedure for this offering is found in Leviticus 4:1-21.

The last two sin offerings were offered for all the individuals of Israel except for the high priest. Even the common priests were included. The Hebrew word for “ruler” in Leviticus 4:22 is nasi which means prince, king, or leader. While nasi is used to describe the head of each of the twelve tribes as a “captain” (Numbers 2:3-29), it is also used to describe Eleazar who was to be “chief (nasi) over the chief (nasi) of the Levities” (Numbers 3:32).

Whether it was a ruler or a common person, the procedure for the service was the same. The main difference was that the ruler was to bring a male “kid of the goats,” while the common person could bring a female kid or lamb. Perhaps the most striking feature of this sacrifice is that the blood was never taken inside the holy place, and it was ministered by the common priests. The procedure is described in Leviticus 4:22-35.

The result of these services was clearly spelled out. For the ruler it is stated: “The priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 4:26). The services for the common person brought about the same result: “The priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 4:31; see also v. 35.)

This atonement made at the altar of burnt offering, representing the cross, resulted in forgiveness. This forgiveness secured at Calvary was so sufficient that man can be at-one with God. The New Testament gives a beautiful illustration in Luke 23:39-43. The repentant thief hanging on a cross beside Jesus asked the Master to remember him in his kingdom. The thief received assurance of full forgiveness! This is an atonement that we dare not deny!

The Atonement of Atonements

Besides the sin offerings of Leviticus chapter 4, we find another offering that was referred to as a sin offering. This service was performed once each year on the tenth day of the seventh month. This day, now known as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonements), is the most holy day of the Jewish year. It was understood to represent judgment and final cleansing of sin. The Day of Atonement services are described in Leviticus 16.

The result of this service was one of cleansing. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30). The blood of Jesus provided the means for both the atonement of the cross and the ministry in heaven. This gives new meaning to 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The Hebrew word for atonement, kaphar, literally means to cover. While our sins are covered by the blood, they must also be removed from not only the record books of heaven, but from our lives as well! The atonement of forgiveness made at the cross, as important as it is, is not the full and final atonement that must be made for the total restoration of man so that he can be in the presence of a holy God. A simple illustration will make this clear. A mother tells her daughter she may go to play but must not get muddy. After a few minutes the daughter appears at the door, crying. A fall has resulted in her white dress becoming brown. The mother looks on with pity. Quick to notice the repentant attitude of the child, she assures her of her love and forgiveness for getting muddy. However, even though she is forgiven, she is still dirty and must be cleansed! The atonement at Calvary provides forgiveness, but we must yet receive cleansing by the blood of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14)?

The book of Leviticus records several different types of offerings which resulted in an “atonement” being made. (See Leviticus 1:4; 4:26; 5:6; 12:7.) However, the atonement made on the tenth day of the seventh month stood out above all the rest. Chapter 23 of Leviticus reviews the major ceremonial Sabbaths and there inspiration, referring to the Day of Atonement, employs the majestic use of the Hebrew plural to show the superior nature of this atonement over any other provided. We read: “The LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonements: [kippur, plural in the Hebrew] it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonements, [plural in the Hebrew] to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:26-28).

God has promised to “make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir” (Isaiah 13:12). Through the final atonement in heaven, God will prepare 144,000 to give a special revelation of his character to the universe.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:4, 5)

The Psalmist stated, “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:2). No wonder we have been counseled to “strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand” (The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905).

Now, how do these two atonements fit into the picture today in the light of Adventist history and the prophecy of Ezekiel 8 and 9?

In both cases of the daily sin offering, as well as Yom Kippur, there was an atonement made for the sinner, but notice again that there is a different result in each atonement. The atonement for the sin offering provided forgiveness and the other provided cleansing. There is an enlightening quotation from Ellen White that says, “The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven” (The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895).

Here Ellen White speaks of both a title (forgiveness – justification) and a fitness (cleansing – sanctification) for heaven. Both are necessary, and Christ has the power and the ability to provide both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner.

The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357)

An imperative point that must be made is that the work of Calvary was totally complete in what it was designed to do. At the cross, provision was made for full and free pardon for sin and the removal of guilt. The justice of God’s law was fully met, and the sacrifice was complete. This was not, however, the finishing of the work of Jesus or the finishing of the plan of salvation. A very simple, but important, point will prove and illustrate this. Paul notes that “if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

Paul plainly states that without the resurrection of Jesus, even with the death of Jesus upon the cross, we are still in our sins, and there is no salvation. Of course, we could not be saved as such and, therefore, to say that the atonement was complete at the cross is neither true nor possible. The word atonement can be broken down to at-one-ment. At the cross, God made an at-one-ment, a reconciling, with the sinner, providing him forgiveness of sin, freedom from guilt, and a full pardon. The record of sin, however, is still in the sanctuary, and the root of the sin is still in the sinner. The sinner may be forgiven his past and be free from the penalty of sin, but there is still a power that sin has over him that must be overcome, and that is the very work of Jesus in the final atonement in heaven.

By virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services of the Day of Atonement—the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted. (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 357, 358)

While at the cross provision was made for the forgiveness of all sin, in the final atonement all the record of sin will be forever blotted out of the heavenly sanctuary, and that will be possible because all sin will have been blotted out of God’s people. God’s forgiving grace has pardoned the transgressors, saving them from the penalty of sin, and his enabling grace will empower them to be free from the draw of sin.

The Jews considered The Day of Atonement to be the final great event in history and was considered the judgment day of all the people. We are living in the great antitypical Day of Atonement, the time of the final end of all sin in the lives of God’s people before Jesus comes. This should be a strong inducement to live a holy and pure life, for by so doing we are bringing honor and glory to God, vindicating his character which is our great purpose of life!

This message of the final atonement, the perfection or sanctification of God’s people, and the vindication of God’s character is the message of Adventism. According to the prophecy of Ezekiel, there will be a turning of the back to the temple, the sanctuary. Has this been done?

Some History

When Ellen White died in 1915, the door became open for change. By 1931, we had a new statement of beliefs that included, for the first time, the doctrine of the trinity, but this statement still upheld the sanctuary doctrine. One step leads to another, however, and in 1955 and 1956 the leaders of the of the ministerial department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met with some leaders in the Protestant evangelical community to discuss what Adventists really believed. The main leaders of Adventism were Roy A. Anderson, LeRoy Froom, T. E. Unruh, and W. E. Read. The leading Evangelicals among the conferees were Walter Martin, George E. Cannon, and Donald Barnhouse, who also published a magazine entitled Eternity.

Before these meetings took place and for them to take place, there was a confirmation that Adventists believed in the trinity. Roy A. Anderson later wrote about his experience of first coming in contact with the Evangelicals and how Walter Martin needed to be assured that Seventh-day Adventists believed in the trinity, for if they did not, the conferences could not occur. Anderson assured Martin that the church was trinitarian, and thus the conferences could proceed (see Adventist Review, September 8, 1983, p. 4).

The protocol of the meetings essentially was that Martin would submit questions concerning Adventism and the Christian faith to the Adventists, who would respond with statements they claimed were “truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church” (Questions on Doctrine, p. 9). The results of these discussion were published in a book entitled Questions on Doctrine. While the statements published as Questions on Doctrine claimed that it was “not to be a new statement of faith (Ibid., p. 8),” it took a 180 degree turn from key positions of the pioneers.  One of the questions that Walter Martin submitted was: “Since Adventists hold that complete sacrificial atonement was made on the cross, what do you teach concerning the ministry of our Lord as High Priest in heaven” (Questions on Doctrine, p. 369)? To this question, Froom, the principal writer, answered in part:

Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. (Ibid., p. 390; emphasis in the original)

Froom had stated to the Evangelicals that the church believed the atonement was completed and final on the cross and that the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary was not, of itself, a work of atonement. In fact, he wrote:

When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature – even in the writings of Ellen G. White – that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests. (Ibid., pp. 354, 355; emphasis in the original)

(Before the final draft was finished, an earlier draft was submitted to church leaders for their consideration. In answer to question 50, which dealt with Ellen G. White and the atonement, the author of Questions of Doctrine wrote: “Neither Mrs. White, nor do Adventists generally, teach either an incomplete atonement on the cross, or a dual atonement—one on earth and the other in heaven. In fact, such is the precise opposite of our belief.”)

This was a clear denial of our position we had held for over one hundred years. Barnhouse knew this and wrote concerning our sanctuary doctrine: 

It is to my mind, therefore, nothing more than a human face-saving idea! … It should also be realized that some uninformed Seventh-day Adventists took this idea and carried it to fantastic literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they have said in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus’ atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which was completed on Calvary. (Eternity, September 1956)

Questions on Doctrine stated that Jesus is “making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross.” What does this mean? Let Questions on Doctrine give the answer:

How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the “holy places,” and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 381; emphasis in the original)

That which he obtained upon the cross was the atonement of forgiveness. Today, the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that Jesus simply applies forgiveness, or justification to our accounts, that we have obtained a title to heaven. This is not, however, the sanctification, the cleansing, the fitness for heaven that inspiration tells us is necessary to be ready for the coming of Jesus!

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s  Present Position

Questions on Doctrine was published over fifty years ago. Upon what basis can we say that the views it contains are still valid and representative? Walter Martin documented the position the church leadership held in 1983. He wrote:

Since I have always stressed the importance of doctrinal integrity in my evaluations of religious movements, the doctrinal upheaval in Adventism is of special concern. Consequently, on February 16, 1983, I wrote the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, D.C.), calling for the Conference’s public and official statement reaffirming or denying the authority of the Adventist book, Questions on Doctrine, which was the representative Adventist publication on which I based my earlier evaluation and book. On April 29, 1983, W. Richard Lesher, vice-president of the General Conference, responded in a personal letter. His reply read, in part:

“You ask first if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers given then, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine.”

On the basis of the above letter, dialog with several Adventist leaders, and the continuing state of flux within Adventism itself, I must for the time being, stand behind my original evaluation of Seventh-day Adventism as presented comprehensively in my first book on the subject and later in this volume. (The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410)

In 1983, the church was still supporting the views held in Questions on Doctrine. That view was that Jesus obtains nothing for us in heaven, for it had all been secured on the cross. No final atonement! The most current publication that claims to be representative of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine is the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. This book was first published in 1988 and then revised and updated in 2005. This book claims to be “An exposition of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church” (cover, 2005 edition; all quotations  from the 2005 edition unless otherwise noted). Seventh-day Adventists Believe was prepared in a manner similar to Questions on Doctrine; in other words, a single writer prepared the initial draft and then a large group of ministers and scholars gave input. Originally, the initial draft for Seventh-day Adventists Believe was prepared by Norman Gulley. This draft was too far to the left for the then ministerial leader, Bob Spangler. Spangler requested P. G. Damsteegt to rewrite the initial draft of each chapter. On page v of the 1988 edition of the book, we learn more of the input process:

The church’s ten world divisions selected a committee of 194 persons who went over each chapter, suggesting corrections, additions, and deletions. A smaller committee of 27 church leaders, theologians, and pastors met regularly with Damsteegt to give additional supervision to the preparation of this work. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe   … p. v, 1988 edition)

Among those who are credited as “sharing their counsel, checking sources, researching materials, rewriting, and editing” are Roy Adams, Duncan Eva, Samuele Bacchiocchi, B. B. Beach, Norman Gulley, William Johnsson, and a host of other “new theology” proponents. While Damsteegt himself may be “historic” in his understanding of the atonement, the above-named rewriters and editors are not. Anyone familiar with the publishing process knows that on many occasions the finished product is very different from what is submitted. While some sincere brethren have seen Seventh-day Adventists Believe as “a courageous realignment with the historic faith of our pioneers and our church,” the truth is that it teaches the same doctrine of the atonement as does Questions on Doctrine. The Evangelicals clearly understand Seventh-day Adventists Believe as setting forth the teachings of Questions on Doctrine. Notice how closely the language of Seventh-day Adventists Believe follows that of Questions on Doctrine:

The once-for-all sacrifice has been offered (Heb. 9:28); now He makes available to all the benefits of this atoning sacrifice. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 348)

Similarly, Christ, in the heavenly sanctuary, has been ministering the benefits of His completed atonement to His people; at His return He will redeem them and give them eternal life. (Ibid., p. 406)

This is the very language of Questions on Doctrine. In Chapter 9 of Seventh-day Adventists Believe, entitled “The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ,” we read: “There, as High Priest, He [Christ] applies the benefits of His complete and perfect atoning sacrifice to achieve the reconciliation of humans to God” (Ibid., p. 125).

Both Questions on Doctrine and Seventh-day Adventists Believe carry statements which claim that they are representative but not authoritative. We read in Questions on Doctrine:

But because of the very nature of the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization no statement of Seventh-day Adventist belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General Conference in quadrennial session, when accredited delegates from the whole world field are present. The answers in this volume are an expansion of our doctrinal positions contained in the official statement of Fundamental Beliefs already referred to. Hence this volume can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 9)

Seventh-day Adventists Believe holds to the same position that Questions on Doctrine does. It claims to be a representative Statement of Beliefs and not an official Statement of Beliefs because it was not voted on by a General Conference in session:

Although this volume is not an officially voted statement (only the summary statements have been officially voted by the General Conference in session), it may be viewed as representative of “the truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. vi.)

Therefore, in both Questions on Doctrine and Seventh-day Adventists Believe we find what is claimed to be a true and representative, but not official, statement. Interestingly, during the 50th anniversary conference of the publication of Questions on Doctrine, Denis Fortin, Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University emphatically stated during his presentation that the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary supported and taught the theology of Questions on Doctrine.

To be an official statement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a statement must be voted on by the General Conference in session. Such a statement of apostasy does exist! When the church met in 1980 at Dallas for the General Conference Session, a Statement of Beliefs was voted on. That statement can be found in any church manual printed after 1980 or in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. Belief #24 states, in part: 

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. (Seventh-day Adventist Church Manuel, p. 18, 2005 edition)

From 1872, when the first Statement of Beliefs was published, until 1980, no statement like this was presented. Where did this language come from? It came from Questions on Doctrine, page 355. There we read that “Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross.” What does this language mean? “ . . it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross” (Ibid., p. 381; emphasis in original). This is an official denial of the final atonement!

God’s Reaction to the Betrayal

Before we notice God’s reaction to such treason, let us first review the purpose of the Advent movement. We have been told:

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.

The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 19)

The most solemn message ever given was to be that of the sanctuary judgment hour message. As Elder Stephen Haskell wrote, “The judgment is spoken of by every Bible writer. It is mentioned over a thousand times in the Sacred Writings. It is more solemn than death; for death separates friends only until the resurrection, but the judgment separates them forever” (The Cross and Its Shadow, p. 230). This is the message of the first angel and, to a great degree, the second and third angels, as well. God had clearly entrusted the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a special message. Some believe that no matter how unfaithful she is to that trust, she will still sail into the heavenly Canaan. This is a deadly error. Notice clearly the words God’s servant wrote which destroy this cherished idea, as well as noting God’s reaction to the betrayal of sacred trusts:

In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 247)

Notice the language employed. The “church is to be weighed. She [the corporate body] will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had.” No people have ever had the light that God has been pleased to give this people. Yet we are told that “if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, ‘Found wanting.’” Concerning such treason, we have also been told:

The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history. But it was for a purpose that his character was laid open to the world. It was to be a warning to all who, like him, should betray sacred trusts. (The Desire of Ages, p. 716)

What we have seen is a betrayal of sacred trusts by leaders in whom the brethren had confidence. “The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 211). Is it any wonder that brethren of understanding and discernment have arisen, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the message though they are not recognized by the conference? May God help those of understanding to be faithful and to give the three angels’ messages in a clear, distinct manner. How sad the judgment will be for the “dumb dogs” (Isaiah 56:10) that could not bark, those who knew the weight of the hour but refused to give the judgment hour message.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come. An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come. The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains. (Ezekiel 7:5-7)

Paul, writing to Timothy, noted: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20). He also told him: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14). Ellen White insightfully wrote the following which parallels, in concept, the statements of Paul to Timothy:

We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)

There are two points that we must not forget: the Lord’s leading and his teachings in our past history. If we remember and cherish these, we need not fear anything, but the implication is that if we do not remember these things, we will have much to fear. Beloved, the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church has officially and unofficially left the true sanctuary doctrine for evangelical pottage. We have turned our backs to the sanctuary, and when this happens the only thing that can be next is to turn to the sun and then to sun worship. This is only reasonable, since Sunday is the day dedicated to the trinity. Is it any wonder that there were numerous “sonrise” services in Seventh-day Adventists churches last month during Easter? Of course, church officials and pastors do not claim they are worshipping the sun. They claim that they are worshipping the Son, not the sun, but the evangelical churches make the exact same claim. “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Allen Stump

Prayer Requests

This month we draw ever closer to the West Virginia camp meeting and the General Conference Session. We do ask for prayer as we approach these important events.

Sister Ann Ford has requested prayer for her great-granddaughter, Rene. She is very ill, and we ask for you to pray for her and her family.

We also remember the families of the twenty-nine coal miners who were killed last month in a mine explosion in West Virginia.

Brother Aland Ashton of Peru  had surgery again last month and we ask that you will pray for his strength.

Please also continue to pray that we may find housing for the G C Session and have the materials prepared that are needed at that time. Editor

Tasty Recipe: Corn Waffles 

1/3 cup washed cashews
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup fine cornmeal
3 cups water
3 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate

Grind nuts in blender on high until fine. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Let stand while waffle iron is heating. Pour batter onto hot iron and time for 8-10 minutes. Do not check before 8 minutes. Allow more time, if necessary, to brown. Serve with maple syrup, fruit sauce, or fresh applesauce. Leftovers can be frozen to be later warmed up in the toaster. With thanks from from the kitchens of the 7th Day Home Church Fellowship!

Youth’s Corner
Little Christopher: A Story of Unselfishness

As you read this story, I have an assignment for you. See if you can determine what talents, if any, the young man in the story has. We know God has given the church specific gifts, as listed in First Corinthians and in other places, but there are also talents that we all share alike, such as the talent of time, so as you read, think carefully about this young man with a very long name.

Little Christopher was born many years ago. His mother had been a slave all of her life, but she had recently been declared free by the government of the United States and when Little Christopher was born, he was free also. Even though everyone called him “Little Christopher,” his real name was Madison Grant Lincoln Christopher Columbus. Because his mother had been a slave, she had never learned to read or write; however, she was a very good woman and wanted only the best for her son. So she asked the girls at the school where she worked for a good name for her little boy. Some of the girls suggested Madison, others suggested Grant and Lincoln, and still others suggested Christopher Columbus, so Little Christopher’s mother put them all together and named her little boy Madison Grant Lincoln Christopher Columbus! And then she asked the girls, “What should my little boy grow up to be? What would be a good job for my son to do when he is grown up?” And the girls all decided the best jobs for him would be to be a stenographer, a musician, and a lawyer. These were the jobs the girls chose for Little Christopher!

When he was six years old, Little Christopher was helping his mother with the laundry that she did for other people, and just as she often carried the laundry on her head from one home to another, so Little Christopher tried to carry a large bundle of clothes on his head when it caused him to lose his balance and fall down the stairs. He hit the hard steps over and over as he went down, and the fall made poor little Christopher very sick. At first, they thought he had died. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, and he wasn’t able to eat. He could breathe, but for a long time he did not wake up. Finally he opened his eyes and began to speak again, but he was a little bit different.

Because Little Christopher’s mother could not read or write, she had asked Miss Lucy to teach Little Christopher to read before his accident, and Miss Lucy did this, but she also taught him to memorize many Bible verses and to memorize the words of many hymns to sing (Remember, he needed to learn to be a musician!). So, in his mind Little Christopher had stored many Bible verses, and one of them was Mark 10:14 which says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Jesus wants the little children to come to him. Miss Lucy helped him learn this verse and many others and also taught him to sing many songs. Even though his family could not afford to buy any musical instruments, Little Christopher could still use his voice in a musical way to sing praises to God. After he had fallen down the stairs, however, Miss Lucy realized Little Christopher could not learn new things as easily as he had learned them before his fall, but she was glad to know that he still remembered the old things he had learned! All the Bible verses and all the hymns he had stored in his mind he could still say and sing.

Little Christopher grew taller and bigger, just like most children do, and he became a tall, young man, but by this time his mother had become very ill. She realized that she may not get better, so she told Little Christopher, “If I should die, I want you to go over to Miss Weston’s school, and Miss Weston will help you learn, to the best of your ability, to be a stenographer and a musician and a lawyer, just like I want you to be!”

I am sorry to say that Little Christopher’s mother did not get well and she did die, but I am glad to say that Little Christopher remembered what his mother had told him to do, and so he made his way over to Miss Weston’s school. Miss Weston was a kind, loving lady and was sitting at her desk when he walked into her office. “What can I do for you, young man?” she asked, and Little Christopher told Miss Weston his story–  how Miss Lucy had taught him to read and memorize many Bible verses and songs but that he had fallen down a set of stairs and now it was very hard for him to memorize and that it was hard for him to learn other things, too, but his mother had told him that if he only went to Miss Weston’s school, Miss Weston would help him learn to be a stenographer, a musician, and a lawyer to the best of his ability! So here he was!

Miss Weston realized that it was a big task to teach someone to be able to do all three of these jobs, so she kindly explained to Little Christopher that she was not sure she could do it all and that it would take a long time, but she was willing to try! Isn’t that wonderful? And do you know what else she said? “You can stay here with us!” Miss Weston’s brother was also a teacher at the school, and she said, “We really need someone to help keep our classrooms clean and neat, and when you are not doing that, you can sit in Mr. Weston’s class for the boys and see what you can learn!”

Little Christopher was so happy! He was going to school! And the next morning he was the first person to arrive at Mr. Weston’s classroom. He sat down in the back corner and waited for school to start. Mr. Weston told him that a janitor needs a special set of clothes, so they got him new clothes to wear, and Little Christopher worked very hard.

I am sorry to say that the other students at the school sometimes made fun of Little Christopher because every time he was asked to recite in Mr. Weston’s class, he was not able to recite the things the rest of the students were learning. He couldn’t remember those things, but he could surely recite things like Mark 10:14 and the hymns that he had learned. So, every time he came to the front of the class, he recited something that he had learned when he was a little boy. But as the children spent time with Little Christopher, they grew to love him, especially the little children. Remember, Little Christopher was tall and big, but the little children in first, second, and third grade loved to play with him because he was so kind and gentle. His mother had told Little Christopher that she could not teach him how to read and write, but she could teach him how to be a kind person and how to use his voice to speak clearly and in a nice way. And she did this. And the lessons Little Christopher learned  from his mother he never forgot, and when he arrived at Miss Weston’s school, he was a kind, tall, young man with whom the little children loved to play.

Little Christopher had been at Miss Weston’s school for about five years when all the children were having a special service one Sunday afternoon in the schoolroom. Something was happening but no one seemed to notice. All the students were present and were lining up to sing the closing hymn, when little puffs of smoke started quietly creeping up through the floor boards and through the walls—just little bits at a time. The schoolhouse was made of wood, and as they were singing, flames burst out in four or five different areas of the schoolroom. The children became very frightened and started to scream, and they ran together to the center of the room. There were now flames all around! The school house was burning! Mr. Weston was there as the teacher, and Little Christopher was there too. Little Christopher had learned from his mother how to use his voice, and he spoke calmly and reassuringly and said to Mr. Weston, “We can push out the windows, and if you tell the lady teachers to climb out, we can lift the little ones out to them.” Mr. Weston said, “Good idea,” and he pushed out the windows. The lady teachers went out, and then with Little Christopher at one window and Mr. Weston at the other, they lifted the young children out. The flames were getting higher, but they got all of the children out, and Mr. Weston said, “Okay, now we are done. All the children are out, so I am going out this window. Little Christopher, you go out that window and I’ll meet you outside!” And out the window Mr. Weston went, and just as Little Christopher was getting ready to jump out his window, he heard someone crying. He looked across the room through the fire and smoke, and in the far corner was a little five-year-old girl that knew Chrissy (she called Little Christopher “Chrissy”), and she said, “I am so scared, Chrissy, please come and get me!” Little Christopher knew the flames were getting worse, but do you know what he did? He took a gulp of air from the open window and then ran across the room and picked up the little girl. He came running back through the flames and smoke, and quickly, but gently, tossed her out the window for someone to catch below, but that was about all he could do because the smoke was so bad and he collapsed by the window. Soon the Fire Department arrived, and they were able to rescue Little Christopher by breaking down the wall and pulling him out. Little Christopher was laid under a big tree in the school yard, but he was having a hard time breathing. Those leaning over Little Christopher could hear him say our verse at the beginning of the story. Remember, even though Little Christopher was no longer able to learn many things, what he had learned, he remembered and kept in his mind. That day, as Little Christopher lay under the tree, the people around him heard him say, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” and that is just what Little Christopher had been doing. He had gone after the little children that Jesus loves. I am sorry to say that all the smoke he had breathed in the burning school building was too much for him, and Little Christopher is now sleeping in the ground, waiting for Jesus to come and take all his little children home to heaven with him. We can be ready to go home with Jesus too, and maybe meet Little Christopher! That would be really nice.

Now I have a question for you. What kind of talents do you think Little Christopher had? He had the talent of speech, like most of us have. He also had the talent of kindness that we all can have too. God gives us these talents to help others. Little Christopher played kindly with the young children, and he was willing to think of others before his own needs. All of these things we can do, too. Regardless of how well we can memorize or whether we can sing or play an instrument, we can be kind and think of others first. We can learn to be like Jesus now, and then in heaven we will love to be near him, for remember, he loves to have the little children close to him! Onycha Holt

Walking with the Yellow Emperor?

“O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:5).

Many of man’s earliest records of human life have been found in China. The earliest archeological record of man’s use of fire, for example, has been traced to China, and pottery pieces discovered in a cave in Luizhou, China, have been dated to thousands of years before Christ. The evidence for millet agriculture in China dates back to the earliest years of antiquity, and the very early Chinese cliff carvings have been documented which feature over 8000 individual characters, such as the characters for the sun, moon, and gods, and for hunting and grazing. Added to this is China’s long history of emperors and court life and of great accomplishments that continue even to our time. In this article, we want to focus our attention on something that began thousands of years ago in the country of China and is currently becoming a part of western culture.

If you are concerned about natural health, you have probably been introduced to the concept of “bringing your body into balance.” A holistic approach is advocated to accomplish this—nutrition, rest, exercise, herbs, etc. The goal of a healthful balance dates back millennia to a philosophy flowing out of ancient China, and this philosophy molded and affected, over time, everything the Chinese did and believed, including their medicine. Even today, we have practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, a medicine whose earliest beginnings were around 3000 BC.

What is this philosophy that has molded so much of Chinese thought and action and has even reached, often unknowingly, into Western thought? According to this philosophy, there are two great forces which sustain the universe and every single life form within it (including you and me). The origin of all things is traced to a combination of these two great forces, the yin and the yang. The philosophy of the yin and the yang opens to its adherents the mystery of the universe:

At the beginning there was nothing, all was empty and void. Then, whether spontaneously or by a Creator is not clear, matter came into existence as a formless ether. This chaotic ether is known as the T’ai Chi, that is the Grand Ultimate or Primal Matter. Gyrating through a long period, it divided into two parts, one of which, being gross and heavy, precipitated to form the earth; the other, being finer and lighter, remained in suspension to form the heavens. That part which precipitated is called the Yin, the other the Yang (William Edward Soothill, The Three Religions of China: Lectures Delivered at Oxford, pp. 185, 186).

In the Yellow Emperor’s Classic Medicine, a medical guide believed to have been written during the third millennium before Christ, the Yellow Emperor explained it this way: “The principle of Yin and Yang is the foundation of the entire universe. It underlies everything in creation. It brings about the development of parenthood [reproduction!]; it is the root and source of life and death. . . . Heaven was created by the concentration of Yang, the force of light; earth was created by the concentration of Yin, the forces of darkness.” This medical book goes on to explain the seasons, the elements, long life, the seven injuries, and the eight advantages, among other things, AND the bringing into harmony of yin and yang, a harmony which is considered to be a perfect balance and results in perfect health! This is mysticism and spiritualism, pure and simple, and it is an astounding denial of the God of the universe and his Son, Jesus Christ. The next time someone advocates something to you that will bring your body into balance, ask yourself (and maybe them) “what is being balanced?” The concept of balance means there are at least two opposing ideas or actions that need to be nullified or harmonized so that the scale is not tipped in one direction or the other but remains straight or “balanced.” By accepting the concept that bringing your body into balance will provide good (and maybe even perfect) health, you are buying into the belief that good health must, of necessity, include a negative aspect(s) in order for it to be good health; otherwise, there would be nothing to balance.

We realize the concept of balance is also used today in other ways, such as when we speak of a balanced diet, but remember, the concept of a balanced diet does not signify there is anything negative that needs to be incorporated in our dietary regimes to balance out the positives. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and the vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, etc., that they contain or aid are all considered to be necessary and “good” parts of a healthy, balanced diet, so the “balance” that is meant in a good diet is really the variety necessary in the proper proportions in order to obtain required nutrients. A “sound” mind is advocated by Scripture, and this can be equated to a well-balanced mind, but, again, it is a mind that is composed of only good qualities and contains no negative aspect necessary to provide a “balance” to the good. Both of these examples of balance are really misnomers of the concept of balance because they include no opposing elements. The kind of balance we find in traditional Chinese medicine, however, involves yin and yang, two opposites, and present-day alternative approaches to medicine often have at its foundation the same understanding of a balance between contrary things.

It is also important to understand how traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) says balance is attained. TCM holds that the body’s vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels called meridians and that these meridians have branches that connect to bodily organs and functions. Illness is attributed to an imbalance or an interruption in the flow of chi through the meridians. Before we go further, we must stop for a minute and examine chi.

Chi is considered to be the vital energy which runs through all things. It has also been described as the activating energy of the universe which causes the motion of the stars and planets as well as our thoughts and emotions. Supposedly, when chi is in a proper state of balance (Again, what does this mean?), it moves smoothly through the space which it inhabits, whereas an imbalance of chi can lead to illness. So the traditional Chinese medical practitioner seeks to balance chi by means of acupuncture, acupressure, internal and external Qigong, moxibustion, and other methods. This is all spiritualism! Why do I say this? External Qigong masters, for example, claim to cure a wide variety of diseases with energy released from their fingertips. Also, TCM practitioners need no other data to diagnose than what is received by asking questions about lifestyle and medical history; by observing the skin, tongue, and color; by listening to the breathing sounds; and by taking the pulse in six aspects on each wrist in order to determine which meridians are deficient (most people today recognize only one pulse in each wrist).

Let us also consider Tai Chi. Perhaps you have heard of or have even seen this slow motion exercise that older Chinese people often participate in for what I had thought was enhancement of their physical balance and flexibility, but I was wrong. Tai Chi Chuan is translated “Supreme Ultimate Force,” and this “supreme ultimate” is associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang. One of the avowed aims of Tai Chi is to foster the circulation of chi within the body. Many of the movements in Tai Chi are originally derived from martial arts, and the emphasis in Tai Chi in the kick or the punch, for example, is to channel potentially destructive energy (not a human being, as happens in other forms of martial arts) away from one’s self.

Let us now return to the meridians. Remember chi is said to circulate in the body through channels called meridians. TCM recognizes twelve main acupuncture meridians (there are many other secondary meridians) in the body and along these meridians are many points that supposedly allow chi to enter the body and flow to deeper structures. Please understand that the whole philosophy of yin and yang is spiritualistic, and the concept of meridians and acupuncture points is equally mystical and spiritualistic, and we feel a need to address this issue because of the modern-day use of this spiritualistic philosophy.

Dr. Reinhold Voll (1909-1989) was a German medical doctor who believed he had developed an electric testing device that would find acupuncture points electrically and then measure the resistance to the electrical current at these points. He felt that if he could identify and correspond the electrical changes in the acupuncture points with certain diseases, he could use his device to diagnose disease. Then by introducing different products into the circuitry and measuring how closely they affected the resistance, he postulated that treatments could be developed uniquely adapted to the needs of each patient. This all started in the 1950s, and today we have many variations of the electric device Dr. Voll created. It has been marketed under different names, such as Computron, Dermatron, Orion System, BioImpedence, and we find the term biomeridians being used instead of meridians. The acupressure points in just the hands and feet are tested by the electric device which is connected to a computer for a read-out. A scale for interpreting the results has been developed, and software has been produced that will even suggest treatment with specific natural products for the deficiencies found. Techniques have supposedly been improved, and neither acupuncture needles nor anything else invasive is needed. This is, however, just a modern approach to traditional Chinese medicine. A machine instead of an acupuncturist supposedly measures the resistance of the flow of chi, and herbs are used to bring the body back into balance instead of the use of needles or pressure, making the whole procedure a little more sophisticated and more acceptable to those patients who may harbor distrust of acupuncture and acupressure. Brothers and sisters, let us not be fooled, for God is not. This modern-day approach harkens back millennia to the Yellow Emperor and his ancient principles of yin and yang. Cloaking a mystical approach to medicine that uses a machine and a computer to measure biomeridians with the pseudo-garb of science does not change the fact that it is, in reality, only a redesigned theory of acupuncture or acupressure, for it is based on the same principles. You should be aware that lawsuits have been filed because of misdiagnosis involving machines of this type, and the Food and Drug Administration, faulty though it may be, has issued warnings in the past about the claims made for these machines (see http://www.quackwatch.org/02ConsumerProtection/eav.html).

Modern-day eastern religious philosophies, such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, embrace the concept of balance of opposites. Tao can be roughly translated into English as path or the way. Tao is basically indefinable but refers to a power which envelops, surrounds, and flows through all things, living and non-living. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the Universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites. It is interesting that George Owen, a missionary to China in the late 1800s, reported that of all religious systems based upon the idea that men are to be judged according to their merits or demerits, Taoism is (or was) the most exact in its details. At least in his time, it presented a scale on which all deeds, good or bad, were to be attributed so many points. He gave the following illustrations: “On the credit side: Giving a coffin to the poor counts 30; exhorting a mother not to commit infanticide, 30; saving a child from being destroyed, 50; refraining from beef and dog flesh one year, 5; destroying plates of obscene books 300; preserving lifelong chastity, 1,000.” On the other side, demerits score as follows: “Loving a wife more than father or mother scores 100 [demerits]; drowning an infant, 100; cooking beef or dog flesh, 100; misusing written paper, 50; for publishing immoral books the demerit is measureless. All Taoists admit that even for the best of men the score is on the wrong side. And it is said of one of their good men who lived forty-seven years that his score stood 4,973 merits, and 298,000 demerits. Taoism offers no help to any one thus burdened with sin” (Missionary Herald, vol. 85, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, p. 522).

As Christians, however, we have a much better way and a more sure word of prophecy to guide us:

Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith. …

While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. (The Great Controversy, p. 589)

But how do we respond to those who say that these methods of traditional Chinese medicine and their modern-day applications work and benefits are received from them? We have been told:

The time will come, Christ tells us of, when many deceivers will go forth, declaring themselves to be Christ. The Saviour says, “Go ye not after them”. We need not be deceived. Wonderful scenes, with which Satan will be closely connected, will soon take place. God’s Word declares that Satan will work miracles. He will make people sick, and then will suddenly remove from them his Satanic power. They will then be regarded as healed. These works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test. Many who have had great light will fail to walk in the light, because they have not become one with Christ (Battle Creek Letters, pp. 6, 7).

Our method of healing and the source of our healing affect our spirituality, brothers and sisters, and just because something appears to produce results does not mean that the results are of God or that he approves of them.

Some will be tempted to receive these wonders as from God. The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial which awaits us when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited? Will not many be ensnared and taken? By departing from the plain precepts and commandments of God and giving heed to fables, the minds of many are preparing to receive these lying wonders. We must all now seek to arm ourselves for the contest in which we must soon engage. Faith in God’s word, prayerfully studied and practically applied, will be our shield from Satan’s power and will bring us off conquerors through the blood of Christ. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 302 (1862)

What are these plain precepts and commandments of God?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), not yin and yang.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27, 28). Parenthood is not a gift of yin and yang.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The breath of life came from God and is not a mysterious chi that is supposedly found throughout the universe.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). There is no harmony or balance between light and darkness or good and evil.

The balance between yin and yang is not the source of life and death in the universe, as the Yellow Emperor stated. God in Christ is the source of life: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), and following Satan results in sin and death: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?... thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people (Isaiah 14:12-17, 20).

We are also have been told that if we will “diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26). God does not say there will be no sickness among his people, but he has promised that the diseases brought on by the wicked life styles of the Egyptians will not be experienced by his people. If a person does become ill or have an accident, he can “call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:13). We also have the natural remedies God has blessed us with and the medical knowledge God has given us that will aid in the repair of health, but health will not found in meridians that are balanced to allow a mysterious chi to flow unimpeded through the bodies.

Satan throws his bewitching power over all who venture on his ground: “Wherever an influence is exerted to cause men to forget God, there Satan is exercising his bewitching power. When men yield to his influence, ere they are aware the mind is bewildered and the soul polluted. The apostle’s admonition to the Ephesian church should be heeded by the people of God today: ‘Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.’ Ephesians 5:11” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 291).

In closing, let us consider the words of Paul:

Do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Corinthians 1:17-20)

Paul’s word to the Corinthians was not yes AND no (opposites) but only yes! Let us be children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and walk in the light (Isaiah 2:5), shunning the “unfruitful works of darkness.” Onycha Holt 

The Dark Day

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood” (Revelation 6:12). The sixth seal described in the book of Revelation prophetically details certain events that take place leading up to, and including, the coming of Jesus. The second and third of these great events, the darkening of the sun and the moon becoming as blood, are described in Revelation 6:12. These events happened on May 19, 1780, just as the 1,260 years of papal supremacy was coming to an end, and the judgment was soon to follow. This event is noted by inspiration in the book The Great Controversy:

The revelator thus describes the first of the signs to precede the second advent: “There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” Revelation 6:12.

These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. …

May 19, 1780, stands in history as “The Dark Day.” Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31. (The Great Controversy, pp. 304, 308)

Jesus spoke of this event in Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shake.” Commenting upon this verse, Ellen White notes:

At the close of the great papal persecution [1260 years], Christ declared, the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light. (The Desire of Ages, p. 632)

In an effort to keep the memory of this event alive and its significance before us, we present the following historical information of the “Dark Day.”

On February 27, 1980, the Dark Day’s two hundredth anniversary was commemorated in Hartford, Connecticut, in the chamber of the House of Representatives. The curtains were ordered drawn before the session began, and House Speaker Ernest N. Abate of Stamford proceeded to read Whittier’s famous poem of the Dark Day, followed by a brief biography of Abraham Davenport, the main person in the poem. The chamber’s lights were gradually dimmed during the service until the concluding remarks were made in almost total darkness. May 19, 2010 will mark the two hundred thirtieth anniversary of that dark day and moonless night long ago in New England.

“The date of Friday, May 19, 1780, is written in the annals of New England as that of the ‘Dark Day,’ when the light of the sun seemed to be almost taken away from the earth, and a strange darkness filled the hours that should have been brightest, bringing fear, anxiety and awe into the minds of the people, who generally believed that it was the darkening of the sun and moon preparatory to the day of the consummation of all things, some perhaps expecting the appearance in the clouds of the Son of Man” (Sidney Perley, Storms of New England, p. 105). It was an “unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England—which brought intense alarm and distress to multitudes of minds, as well as dismay to the brute creation, the fowls fleeing, bewildered, to their roosts, and the birds to their nests, and the cattle returning to their stalls. Indeed, thousands of the good people of that day became fully convinced that the end of all things terrestrial had come; many gave up, for the time, their secular pursuits, and betook themselves to religious devotions” (R.M. Devens, Our First Century: Being A Popular Descriptive Portraiture of the One Hundred Great and Memorable Events of Perpetual Interest in the History of Our Country, p. 89).

The Connecticut legislature was in session in Hartford at the time, and so great was the darkness that the members of the House of Representatives became terrified, thinking the day of judgment had come, and they consequently agreed to adjourn. In the Senate, a proposal to adjourn was also under consideration, but first the opinion of Mr. Abraham Davenport was sought:

The Hon. Abraham Davenport, for a long period one of the Councillors of the colony, and afterwards of the State of Connecticut, was a resident of this town [Stamford]. He was the son of the Rev. John Davenport, the second minister of Stamford, and a grandson of the Rev. John Davenport, the father of the New Haven colony. He was distinguished for a vigorous understanding, uncommon firmness of mind, and Christian integrity of character. (John Warner Barber, Connecticut Historical Collections, p. 407; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted).

Mr. Davenport arose from his seat in the Senate and said: “Mr. Speaker, it is either the day of judgment, or it is not. If it is not, there is no need of adjourning. If it is, I desire to be found doing my duty. I move that candles be brought, and that we proceed to business” (Our First Century, p. 90). And candles were brought!

John Greenleaf Whittier tells Abraham Davenport’s story with these words:

In the old days (a custom laid aside
With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
Their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianus,
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

‘Twas on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
The crater’s sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as He looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.

Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
“It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,”
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. “This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.”And they brought them in.

Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend, an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries, Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd dry humor natural to the man:
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.

Continuing on in Our First Century, we read:

“The time of the commencement of this extraordinary darkness was between the hours of ten and eleven in the forenoon of Friday, of the date already named; and it continued until the middle of the following night, but with different appearances at different places. As to the manner of its approach, it seemed to appear first of all in the south-west. The wind came from that quarter, and the darkness appeared to come on with the clouds that came in that direction. The degree to which the darkness arose varied in different localities. In most parts, it became so dense, that people were unable to read common print distinctly, or accurately determine the time of day by their clocks or watches, or dine, or manage their domestic affairs conveniently, without the light of candles. In some places, the degree of darkness was just about equal to preventing persons seeing to read ordinary print in the open air, for several hours together. The extent of this darkness was also very remarkable. It was observed at the most easterly regions of New England; westward, to the furtherest parts of Connecticut, and at Albany; to the southward, it was observed all along the sea coasts; and to the north, as far as the American settlements extended. It probably far exceeded these boundaries, but the exact limits were never positively known. With regard to its duration, it continued in the neighborhood of Boston for at least fourteen or fifteen hours; but it was doubtless longer or shorter in some other places. The appearance and effects were such as tended to make the prospect extremely dull, gloomy, and unnatural. Candles were lighted up in the houses; the birds, in the midst of their blithesome forenoon enjoyments, stopped suddenly, and, singing their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; the fowls retired to their roosts; the cocks were crowing in their accustomed manner at the break of day; objects could not be distinguished at a comparatively slight distance; and everything bore the aspect and gloom of night, to say nothing of the effect upon the minds of the people, which, indeed, was quite indescribable” (Ibid.).

At many a dinner table no food was eaten, and the family sat pale and silent. The carpenter left his tools at his work bench, the blacksmith left his work at the forge, and children were dismissed from schools. Sheep huddled by the fences or in the open fields in circles. Frogs peeped as they were accustomed to do at the setting of the sun, whippoorwills appeared and sang their songs, and, as night progressed, horses could not be persuaded to leave their stables. (From Historic Storms of New England.)

In Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the sky was cloudy in the morning. “Between nine and ten o’clock, the clouds were observed to thicken, and to receive continual accessions from the low lands. Before ten, the darkness had sensibly increased, till it became difficult to read an almanac in a room having two windows; at eleven o’clock, candles were lighted, and at half-past eleven the darkness was so great in the meeting-house, where a court was then sitting, that it was difficult to distinguish countenances at the smallest distance, notwithstanding the large number of windows usual in such buildings. At twelve, the darkness was greatest, and a little rain fell; in the street, the aspect was like that at the beginning of evening, as lights were seen burning in all the houses. … At one, the clouds became uniformly spread, and the darkness was not greater than is usually on a cloudy day. … The same weather continued through the whole afternoon, except that the sun was seen for a few minutes, in some places, about three o’clock. At eight in the evening the darkness was so impenetrably thick, as to render traveling positively impracticable; and, although the moon rose nearly full about nine o’clock, yet it did not give light enough to enable a person to distinguish between the heavens and the earth.

“…If every luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades, or struck out of existence, it was thought the darkness could not have been more complete. A sheet of white paper held within a few inches of the eyes was equally invisible with the blackest velvet. And, considering the small quantity of light that was transmitted by the clouds, during the day, it is not surprising that, at night, a sufficient quantity of rays should not be able to penetrate the same strata…the denseness of this evening darkness was a fact universally observed and recorded” (Our First Century, pp. 93, 94).

“The great question that has constantly arisen since that famous day has been, What was the cause of the extraordinary darkness? Some still hold the opinion that it was preternatural, but the great majority conclude that it was the effect of the conjunction of several natural causes. Without entering upon a scientific discussion of its solution, the general reader will be satisfied with a popular statement. The smoke that had come over the country and remained in this region for several weeks ascended under a dense stratum of cloud, and another thick stratum of vapor had been driven by a lower current blowing in an opposite direction under the stratum of smoke, beneath which smoke had arisen in such quantities that another stratum was formed, the whole being held there by the heavy fog that came in from the sea. All these strata made a curtain that was nearly impervious to the light of the sun, and counter currents held the clouds in place during the hours that the darkness continued. What seems to confirm this view is the fact that where the darkness was grossest more ashes of burnt leaves, and soot and cinders were precipitated than in other sections” (Historic Storms of New England, pp. 113, 114).

Over the years Abraham Davenport’s example of calmness and fortitude during a period of uncertainty and darkness has inspired many on local, state, and national levels of public life. Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, for example, referred to Abraham Davenport and the Dark Day in several of his speeches when on the presidential campaign trail in 1960, stating words such as “I hope in a dark and uncertain period in our own country that we, too, may bring candles to help light our country’s way.” More importantly, may we be found steadfast and faithful, doing our duty, no matter how deep the darkness around us. Soon Jesus will break through the clouds with his everlasting light, ending forever the darkness of sin. Onycha Holt

Quiz on Job 29

1. Give a summary of the theme of Job 29.

2. Give two cross references for Job 29:3.

3. What does the Hebrew word translated “youth” in Job 29:4 mean? With this concept, explain the meaning of the verse.

4. What symbolism does butter and oil have in Job 29:6?

5. Job declares that youth and princes showed dignity to him. Upon what basis was this shown?

6. List at least four type of social programs Job personally performed.

7. To what verse in Job 29 would you reference Isaiah 61:10 and Psalm 109:18, 19?

8. Explain the simile “multiply my days as the sand.”

9. What does Job mean when he says his root was spread out by the waters?

10.How was Job’s counsel considered in prior times?

11. What expression does Job use to denote the eagerness with which his counsel was received?

Answers to Quiz on Job 28 

1. Job is the speaker in the 28th chapter.

2. A summary of Job 1-11 states: Men dig in the earth for gold, silver, copper, iron, sapphires, dust of gold. He cuts away at the mountains, and things deep in the earth he brings forth. He works hard to do all of this.

3. The meaning of Job 28:7, 8 is that there is a place of which neither fowl, vulture, lion, nor man knows. The fowl nor the brave lion venture where foolish man goes for simply wealth.

4. A summary of Job 28:12-28 might say: Men dig for precious metals in the earth, but they do not dig for wisdom which is far above the worth of gold, silver, rubies coral, pearls, topaz, onyx.

5. Two things that cannot buy wisdom are gold and silver.

6. The word gold is found five times in Job 28:15-19.

7. The scientific statement made in Job 25:28 that was quite ahead of its time concerns the water cycle.

8.Wisdom is described in Job 28 as the fear of the Lord and a departing from evil.

An Answer to “Letting Roman Catholics off the Hook.”

Adventist Today is a magazine not published by or authorized by the General Conference, whose mission statement declares:

Adventist Today reports on contemporary issues of importance to Adventist church members. Following basic principles of ethics and canons of journalism, this publication strives for fairness, candor, and good taste. (http://www.atoday.com/about-adventist-today)

Adventist Today’s mission statement says nothing about being opposed to the corporate church, nor do they have any desire to work in opposition to the corporate church, but they do, according to their staff, present controversial material with which many in the corporate management of the church agree and would like to see shared but cannot do so for political reasons.

This may help to explain an article that Adventist Today published in the Winter 2010 edition written by Loren Seibold, pastor of the Worthington, Ohio, Seventh-day Adventist Church entitled “Letting Roman Catholics off the Hook.” In this article, Seibold makes a seven-point argument about why it may be time to question the role of the papacy in apocalyptic prophecy. The purpose of the article you are now reading is to examine these arguments and to share inspiration’s perspective upon the matter.

Seibold has written for the Adventist Review and has published several articles in The Signs of the Times; therefore, one would think that he is at least somewhat representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its views.

We begin our review by noting that the title of the article is misleading. It is not “Roman Catholics” as individuals that the Bible speaks against or Adventism has ever challenged to be evil. Some, perhaps many, Catholics are people of God. Christ calls them “my people” (Revelation 18:4), but he calls them to come out of their corrupt system of faith and religion. Now let us briefly examine Seibold’s seven points.

Point 1: “More than a hundred years have passed since our prophet approved these prophetic applications.” Seibold notes that the apostles and Ellen White all believed that Jesus would come in their lifetimes, but it did not happen. Time has passed on, and we are informed by Seibold that we are “not sure why that [the second coming] hasn’t happened.” His main point, though, is that many prophecies about Israel were not fulfilled due to their conditional nature, and the same is implied concerning Seventh-day Adventism.

Answer: It is true that Ellen White, at first, thought that Jesus would come in her lifetime, but later she realized that “We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action” (Letter to P. T. Magan, December 7, 1941, Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, p. 313). Several times in the later years of her life, Ellen White expressed the need for provisions to be made concerning the continuation of her writings after her death (The Later Elmshaven Years, p. 361), yet though she knew she would die before Jesus returned, she never changed her view on Roman Catholicism nor encouraged the church to change its position. Two years before she died, we find these words of Ellen White published in Bible Training School, February 1, 1913:

Wherever the papal Sabbath is honored in preference to the Sabbath of the Lord, there is the man of sin exalted above the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

As to the main charge of “conditional prophecy,” it is true that some prophecies about Israel were never fulfilled in their time. The temple of Ezekiel is an example; however, the prophecies of Daniel and especially Revelation are not conditional prophecies. The very beginning of Revelation states that it is prophecy “which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted). Jesus recognized at least one prophecy of Daniel as being guaranteed to happen (Matthew 24:15), and there is no reason to think that Jesus felt any differently about the other prophecies in Daniel.

Point 2: “Principles might be more diagnostic than players.” Seibold correctly states that it would be wrong to “legislate matters that should be left to an individual’s conscience.” He suggests that understanding the principles is more important than knowing the specific players of the biblical prophecies because if “someone other than the Roman Catholic Church begins to act like the beast of Revelation 13, we will be more ready to respond if we are watching for a violation of the principle than if waiting for one specific group to offend” (emphasis in original).

Answer: While knowing the principles is good, principles should be held in connection with, and not as a substitute for, knowing the agents that fulfill the prophecies. Interestingly, knowing the principle has not worked in reality for the mainline church, who has herself begun to act like a beast by using the arm of the government to fulfill her wishes concerning those who would try to use the name Seventh-day Adventist without her permission.

Point 3: “Ellen White fingered Catholicism in a very different world.” Seibold claims that part of our “anti-Catholicism” grew as a reaction to the times of the 19th century. He asks, “Why can’t we preach the gospel without identifying Roman Catholicism as Satan’s exclusive tool?”

Answer: While the world is indeed rapidly changing, inspiration declares: “Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, June 1, 1886).

The real issue is not who Ellen White “fingered” or the times she lived in, but what does the word of God state? Room does not allow a detailed explanation of the biblical teaching on the man of sin, but before Ellen White wrote the book The Great Controversy, the Bible pointed to the papacy as the man of sin! Only the papacy can match the requirements of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. No other power so perfectly fulfills these prophecies to the letter! Interestingly, Ellen White tells us that the papacy is a “masterpiece” of Satan’s power to deceive (The Great Controversy, p. 50). She also said that “Satan’s masterpiece of deception is popery” (The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894). Satan has certainly done his work well.

Point 4: “The Roman Catholic Church of today is a much different institution than it was during Ellen White’s time.” The Vatican II Council is given as evidence to this change.

Answer: Inspiration says, “The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent” (The Great Controversy, p. 571).

Point 5: “By focusing on Roman Catholicism, we may miss more dangerous anti-Christian opponents.” Pastor Seibold noted that “far more Christians have been killed, persecuted, or denied their religious liberty by Communism, military Fascism, and Islamist extremism in the past century than by Roman Catholics.” He further notes that “religious liberty still has more dangerous enemies than Catholicism–in the United States, perhaps even some of our fellow conservative Protestants.”

Answer: Actually, history tells us of many powers and nations that persecuted God’s people. Before the papacy was formed, the nation of Rome killed many Christians. This is not to be denied. In fact, Rome is prophesied of in Revelation 12, and communism is mentioned in Daniel 11. While neither we nor the Bible disregard these powers, they are not the biblical focus of those who brought a 1260-year attack or who will bring an end-time attack against God’s people. Concerning both Protestantism and Catholicism, we have been told:

Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts. (The Great Controversy, p. 616)

We agree that Protestants will play the major role in the New World. This is described in Revelation 13:11-18, but we do not need to look beyond our own borders to see all this in action as the Seventh-day Adventist Corporation, the legal arm of the sixteen million member church, is right now using the United States government to obtain her will over a very small church in Guys, Tennessee, that refuses to concede their conscience for civil freedom.

Point 6: “God has given us time to become a world church, and that changes the cast of characters in our eschatology.” Here the author speaks of “antichrists” from non-conventional sources. Instead of the papacy, he points to “radical imams or cruel dictators.” He says that “an eschatology that expects only Roman Catholics to initiate religious oppression, only in the United States, and only around the Sabbath question, may fail to speak prophetically should apocalyptic markers appear elsewhere.”

Answer: No good student of Bible prophecy says that Catholicism is the only religious power to bring oppression. Adventists have for years seen a much broader picture than that, but who is antichrist according to the Bible? Here we have an interesting point to consider. If Seibold is saying that the papacy is not the only antichrist, then we certainly agree with him, but the only true definition for antichrist is the one found in the Bible. The term antichrist only occurs in the epistles of First and Second John. Let us notice the first statement in the Bible where antichrist is mentioned:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. … 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 2:18, 22, 23).

In this text and in the other two references to antichrist (1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7), we do not find a mention of the seventh-day Sabbath. What we do find is a clear statement that antichrist is one who denies the Father and Son. John did not say God and Christ but choose to state the titles that express the relationship between Yahweh and Jesus, that of Father and Son. With the Bible definition, we see that anyone who denies that God is really the Father of Jesus and that Jesus is his Son, is antichrist. Clearly Islam, who accepts Jesus as a prophet but denies that he is the Son of God is antichrist. All non-Christian religions deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Communism, of course, as well as all eastern religions, deny this. Within professed Christianity the doctrine of the trinity is taught which actually denies that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is said to be a co-equal, co-eternal person of the Godhead, one equal to the Father who only plays the role of a son. This is certainly antichrist, for Jesus testified in many places that he was the only begotten Son of God. For example, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus he called himself the “only begotten son” of God” (John 3:16). When Jesus was on trial for his life, the high priest asked him under oath if he was the Son of the Highest, to which Jesus replied, “I am” (Mark 14:62).

Point 7: “Religious liberty has arguably improved in countries where Catholicism has influence.” Seibold speaks of Pope John Paul II’s work to help open the Iron Curtain. He notes: “Consider the irony that our evangelists are employing anti-Catholic teachings for soul winning in countries where the papacy helped win them that freedom!”

Answer: The author overlooks that this work for freedom was not designed by John Paul II to give freedom to all for anything but, rather, to give the Catholic Church the freedom, where it had been restricted before, to fulfill its will.

To proclaim the loud cry of Revelation 18 and to give the three angels’ messages demand that the papacy be exposed for exactly what the Bible declares her to be — “the man of sin.”

Seibold speaks of Christians currently being persecuted in Nigeria. I have been to Nigeria and know firsthand that there are issues there, as well as in China and many other places. While this is certainly true and not to be denied, what the Bible says is coming concerning the papacy and the image of the beast is still present truth.

The whole issue boils down to whether or not we will believe Bible prophecy or believe certain appearances before our eyes. The Christian is to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus indicated that before he returns, there will be little real faith in the world (Luke 18:8). I think what Jesus said is becoming clearer all the time!

We are sure that many who consider themselves to be conservative or historic Adventists have bristled at Seibold’s article. To think of giving up our view of Rome seems impossible to many. What they do not realize is that Seibold has not given up any official view or accepted any view in his article that is contrary to any of the twenty-eight fundamentals which define the official position of the church. There was a time, however, when the Seventh-day Adventist Church did take a public position against the papacy in their Fundamental Principles. The first statement of Fundamental Principles published by Seventh-day Adventists was in 1872. Statement number thirteen said:

That as the man of sin, the papacy, has thought to change times and laws (the laws of God), Dan. 7:25, and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ.  Isa. 56:1, 2, 1 Pet. 1:5, Rev. 14:12, c.

This statement was published in the first edition of The Signs of the Times in 1874 and then in the  1889, the 1905, and the 1907-1914 Yearbooks.

The next statement of Fundamental Principles did not appear until 1931, and this statement has no mention of the papacy or the papal power anywhere. The 1872 statement also carried a section on the place of the study of prophecy:

That the world’s history from specified dates in the past, the rise and fall of empires, and chronological succession of events down to the setting up of God’s everlasting kingdom, are outlined in numerous great chains of prophecy; and that these prophecies are now all fulfilled except the closing scenes. (Statement VII)

This statement was also deleted from the 1931 statement of beliefs. Neither of these statements appear in the current statement first approved in 1980 at the General Conference Session held in Dallas, Texas.

It is interesting, however, that the 1931 statement was the first set of Fundamental Principles that included a statement on the trinity which was later expanded in 1980. While we might not approve of either the included statement on the trinity or the lack of the statements on prophecy and the papacy, the authors of the 1931 and 1980 statements were at least consistent with reason and logic. With the acceptance of the central doctrine of Catholic faith, it would now be out of place to officially speak against the papacy.

Those who decry Pastor Seibold for “leaving the faith” without protesting the change in our statement of Fundamental Principles either do not know our history or are promoting a double standard!

Surely, what we are seeing in such articles as “Letting Roman Catholics off the Hook” and such practices as the many Easter sonrise services that happened this spring are simply the hens coming home to roost. This is the natural result of accepting the doctrine of the  trinity. Notice what an official Catholic source says:

The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church. (Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p. 16)

Furthermore, Sunday is the day dedicated to the trinity!

It is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honour of the most holy Trinity, and in memory that Christ our Lord arose from the dead upon Sunday, sent down the holy Ghost on a Sunday, &c. and therefore is called the Lord’ s Day. It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred. (The Douay Catechism of 1649, p. 143)

Beloved, there is no way we can give the loud cry if we do not believe we have something to cry about. Of course, each is free to choose what they wish to believe concerning the future final events, but I choose to stand on the solid platform of truth that our pioneers built, based upon the word of God and approved by the Spirit of Prophecy.

As we have noted in the lead articles we have been recently publishing in Old Paths, the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 8-11 includes a prophecy of the church weeping for Tammuz and then the leaders turning their backs to sanctuary and facing east to worship the sun. Beloved, we are not talking about something that is minor, for only those who “sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” (Ezekiel 9:4) will receive the seal of God! Only those who cry aloud, spare not, and lift up their voices like a trumpet, and show God’s people their transgression (Isaiah 58:1) will receive his approval. Will you? May God have pity upon Israel. Allen Stump

Let There Be Light!”

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

The words written by Moses in Genesis 1 are dated to approximately 3400 years ago, but predating this by approximately 600 years is a Chinese pagan philosophy that teaches yin and yang are the foundation of the entire universe, not God. Heaven was supposedly created by the concentration of yang, the force of light, and earth by the concentration of yin, the force of darkness. (For further details, see the article “Walking with the Yellow Emperor?” on page 12.) The Babylonians also believed in a creation story. The Enuma Elish was written approximately 3100 years ago and carries some similarities to the biblical account but also contains much dissimilarity, such as the introduction of various gods into the process of creation and the use of the forces of chaos, disorder, revenge and even fear in creation. Another ancient civilization is Sumer, and their account of creation includes a male sky god, an air god, a female earth, a water god, in addition to other gods, and portrays a complicated and sometimes evil process in the creation of the earth and the life on it. In addition, Native Americans have had various creation stories passed down through different tribes, such as the Cherokee, Hopi, Seneca, and Wichita. Many people, academia and others alike, believe all of these accounts to be simply myths told around the proverbial campfire and are not stories that describe actual happenings, and we would agree with them about each account except that of Moses. Unfortunately, many Christians downgrade the Genesis account of creation to a myth status also, and because of this we plan to re-examine the biblical creation account during the next few months with the hope of strengthening our faith in and broadening our knowledge of the word of God.

The very first verse in the Bible is stated simply enough for even a child to understand yet is written with a profound elegance that adults can appreciate. In only a few words, Moses (under inspiration) teaches us some very crucial lessons. First of all is that there is a beginning to all things pertaining to mankind’s existence on earth but before this beginning there was God. He is the author of time. He sits sovereign over it and predates it. He has no beginning and no ending, as the Bible later verifies (Isaiah 57:15).

The next important concept we learn from Genesis 1:1 is that God created. Our earth is not the result of chaotic, opposing forces (or gods) working against or for each other, nor has it evolved from chance. The Hebrew word translated created, in verse 1 is the Qal form of bara, and this form is used only when describing an activity of God. Bara also emphasizes the initiation of something new. Man may be able to fashion and shape things, but the initiation of something new belongs to God alone. He is the great Creator and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17; Isaiah 26:12). 

Also in this verse, we are introduced to the concepts of heaven and of earth. The word translated heaven in Genesis 1:1 is shamayim, and shamayim is the dual of the singular Hebrew word shameh. Knowing this helps us to understand why some versions of the Bible read “heavens and earth” instead of “heaven and earth,” as the King James version reads. Shamayim, however, is plural only in the sense of two. What two heavens could be referred to in Genesis? We cannot be sure. We do know verses 5 through 8 speak of a firmament that God created in order to divide the waters, and in verse 8 this  firmament is called heaven (shamayim), but we are not told what and if there is another heaven that is referred to in verse 1. Some people have thought it could be the universe or the starry expanse, but we cannot know for sure because only a certain amount of information has been revealed to us. Whatever it may be, however, we know that God created it. As we study through Genesis 1, let us remember that “the secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

So far in Genesis 1:1, we have learned three crucial teachings. One is that there was a beginning for the heaven and earth but before that beginning God existed. Another is that God is the one who created the heaven and earth, not a group of gods or an ill-defined force. We then explored the concept of heaven. Now let us turn our attention to the concept of earth. The Hebrew word translated earth is erets and means to be firm. It is generally rendered ground, land, or earth. Erets occurs more than 2500 times in the Old Testament and its meaning varies to include the planet earth, the earth surface, and land. Depending on the context, it can refer to the whole planet or to the dry surface or to the land of the living, but it can also refer to a territory or a region on the planet, such as “the land of the north” (Jeremiah 3:18) or “the land of the plain” (Genesis 19:28). Outside of the context, we do not have a clear definition for this term. 

Dr. Niels-Erik Andreasen states in an article entitled “The Word ‘Earth’ in Genesis 1:1” that the Hebrew word erets in Genesis 1:1 refers to the dry land “on which plants, animals and man can live,” but that this does not limit the creation account from also implying “that this earth is part of a larger system, including sun, moon, and stars, and hence has a larger meaning than mere dry ground upon which to stand.” So, Dr. Andreasen allows erets a double meaning in the creation account. He may do this because he admits there are geological problems and problems in our understanding of “the condition of the very first earth [the first earth?].” To his credit, though, he does state that the biblical account does not allow us to conclude that a two-stage creation occurred with an intervening gap between the two. A belief in a two-stage creation provides the flexibility of  a creation an older geological earth which remained as such for an unspecified period of time (the gap), following which God next created life on our earth. This allows for the coexistence of a much older geological earth with a very young life on the earth. The best we can conclude, according to Dr. Andreasen, is that the heaven and earth that God created in verse 1 is “everything that follows in Genesis 1:2 - 2:4,” with the chief attention “given to the earth, the fruitful surface that can sustain and maintain life.”Anything added to this conclusion is done “on our own initiative, without the help of the Bible” (all Andreasen quotations taken from Origins 1981, vol. 8, no. 1). So, just as there seems to be ambiguity about what is meant by the expression “the heaven” that is used in verse 1, so there also appears to be ambiguity about what is meant by the term “earth.”

God has revealed only so much to us about his creation of this earth, but part of what he has revealed is that the earth was “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” and that the “Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (verse 2), so let us now consider the condition of the earth as described in verse 2. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary explains that “without form, and void” signifies a “state of wasteness and emptiness” (vol. 1, p. 209). The Hebrew word for without form is tohuw and “is frequently employed as synonymous with nonexistence, or nothingness” (Ibid.). “Job 26:7 demonstrates the correct meaning of this word. The second half of this passage states that God ‘hangeth the earth upon nothing’ and the first half has the parallel ‘he stretcheth out the north over tohuw [the emptiness].’ This text in Job shows clearly the meaning of tohuw in Genesis 1:2, in which this and the synonymous word bohuw [void] indicate that the earth was shapeless and lifeless. Its elements were all mingled together, completely unorganized and inanimate” (Ibid.). So this phrase “without form, and void” has the connotation of nothingness and emptiness. “Absolutely nothing whatever,” states the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (vol. 2, p. 965), and that “the record of the first three days refers to the heaven and earth receiving their ‘form’” (Ibid.).

Next  to contemplate are the phrases “the face of the deep” and “the face of the waters.” The word deep (tehom,) comes from the root word that means to roar and “is frequently applied to the raging waters, the roaring waves, or the flood, and hence the depths of the sea” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 209), so we can see that the “face of the deep” and the “face of the waters” are in reality describing the same place. Now, let’s move on to a more difficult passage.

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). What can we understand about this light? Well, the SDA Bible Commentary does not help us; neither does the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament give an explanation. In his book God’s Creation, Dr. Randall Younker explains that there are basically two ways most theologians have understood the light that is referred to in this verse. The first understanding is that God himself was the light, and it was not until later that solar light was created, and the second basic interpretation is that on the first day solar light was created. We find it a little unusual for one to believe that God predates creation but then on the first day of creation he created the light which he is and always has been. The second possibility does not reconcile the first day of creation with the fourth day, so it also leaves us unsettled. Without further biblical information, we cannot know for sure how to understand the light that was created on the first day, but the Bible does tell us what God called that light—he called it “Day.” The Hebrew word used here for day is yowm and is used again at the end of verse 5. Yowm is used 2,287 times in the Old Testament and has many meanings attached to it. Yowm Kippur or Day of Atonements is one, as well as the reference to Daniel praying by his window three times a day, and when speaking of the Ancient of Days in Daniel. Yowm is even translated years, as in “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years (yohm)” (Joshua 13:1). Because of this variability, some biblical scholars have chosen to view the use of yohm in the creation account of Genesis as signifying vague, undetermined periods of time. This is said to allow the possibility for creation to have taken place over long stretches of time and, therefore, mesh better with the scientific community, but we need to remember that the Bible consistently defines a day in Genesis 1 as an evening and a morning, which, when presented together with each other, can only be understood as a 24-hour period of time. 

As we conclude, let us consider the Hebrew word for evening, ereb. It is not the same Hebrew word that is used for night in Genesis 1:5, which is layil. Ereb carries the connotation of sunset, just as morning infers the breaking of the day or dawn; whereas, layil means night and is sometimes even translated midnight. Whether it is a day and a night or an evening and a morning spoken of in Genesis 1, the Bible is presenting an all-inclusive picture of a 24 hour period of time.

We hope this brief study on Genesis 1:1-5 has been a help to you. Scholars and theologians have debated the issues inherent in these verses for centuries, and we do not have all the answers for you except to say that what God has revealed to us is truth and is dependable, but what he has not revealed we must wait for that day when we shall know as we are known. Onycha Holt

WV Camp Meeting

The West Virginia camp meeting will begin Tuesday evening, June 15, and continue through Saturday night, June 19. All are welcome, and, as always, there is no charge for camping, though all are responsible for their own meals except Sabbath afternoon when a fellowship meal will be provided for all. As we noted last month, we have some new and exciting projects for the upcoming camp meeting, so you don’t want to miss it. We will share more details next month, as well as a schedule for the meetings.

Melatonin—An Important Hormone

Fatigue is a major problem worldwide. Studies from the United States and abroad suggest that in Western nations millions of people have significant problems with fatigue. In the United States, fatigue is one of the ten most common reasons for visiting a physician. Making things worse, a significant portion of those troubled by fatigue cannot fall asleep when they do go to bed. For a variety of reasons, literally millions of people throughout the world are legitimately crying out: “Why am I so tired? What can I do about it?”

Onto the stage of fatigue has stepped the nutritional supplement melatonin. In 1993, newspapers throughout the United States carried word that scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had demonstrated small amounts of melatonin act as a natural sleep aid. Not only does melatonin enhance sleep, it also helps one cope with jet lag and is a free radical scavenger.

Do you remember what free radicals are? All matter is made up of molecules. A free radical is an unusual molecule — it is “unbalanced.” Every molecule consists of a nucleus of protons and neutrons which is surrounded by electrons. These electrons travel in orbit around the nucleus — something like the earth traveling around the sun. In living organisms, such electrons are usually found in pairs; however, some molecules have electrons that are not in pairs and these unpaired molecules are called “free radicals.”

The unpaired electrons in free radicals have great significance. They have a powerful drive to acquire a partner. Often within a fraction of a second, a free radical will “steal” an electron from a neighboring compound. That neighbor who lost an electron is said to have been “oxidized.” Furthermore, the oxidized compound itself typically becomes a free radical. Since it now is missing an electron, it has a strong desire to steal one from one of its neighbors — and it usually does so in short order. The result is a chain reaction, where oxidation and damage can spread from one molecule to the next until something stops the process. Molecules that can stop this chain reaction are called antioxidants, and melatonin is an effective antioxidant with certain radicals.

Free radicals are not all bad. In fact, given the proper time and place, they are essential to health. For example, one of the ways the body destroys poisons is through a system which uses oxidation reactions and free radicals. Free radicals are also essential for the effective destruction of germs by the body’s white blood cells.

On the other hand, free radicals can be extremely dangerous when present outside of the body’s appropriate destructive processes. They have been found to have a role in at least fifty diseases. Of particular relevance, they have been observed to damage DNA and are experimentally linked to cancer. Probable benefits of melatonin, in addition to its protection against free radical damage, include enhancement of the immune system, elevation of mood, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and lower risk of heart rhythm problems and osteoporosis.

Melatonin is not a foreign substance to the body but a natural hormone produced in the body and found in certain foods, and we are learning that we can boost melatonin production in our own bodies in natural ways, without having to resort to costly supplements. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the center of the brain. This gland is only about the size of a kernel of corn but produces at least four important secretions, one of which is melatonin. The process of producing melatonin is largely controlled by the light-dark cycle. Optimal melatonin production only occurs at night and is dependent on a dark environment. Nighttime levels of melatonin generally peak around 2 am to 3 am, during which time melatonin levels are five to ten times higher than during the day. Light-dark signals are fed through the optical nerves to a control center in the brain where our “body clock” is located. This clock, in turn, tells the pineal gland not to produce melatonin when the daylight signal is transmitted from the eyes. When the dark signal from the eyes is received by the control center, it triggers the gland to produce melatonin, which is fed into the bloodstream.

Melatonin is not stored in the pineal gland, so we need a liberal supply of melatonin each evening. How can we boost melatonin naturally? The first thing is to get exposure to bright light early in the day, especially as we age, for the older we get the less melatonin output we have. On a bright, sunny day, outdoor light can reach 3000 lux, while a bright indoor environment may provide only 400 lux. A study in Finland found that rats exposed to natural daylight had significantly higher evening melatonin levels than a group of rats with an equal amount of exposure to artificial light. (Another bonus: Sunlight may also increase serotonin production in the daytime which can, in turn, prevent depression and fatigue.)

The next thing to do to increase melatonin levels is to avoid exposure to light at night. Light should be maximized during the daytime hours, but at night it should be limited. In Western nations, the habit of staying up late at night is generally associated with significant amounts of light. Low intensity light (50 lux) is not considered to be a problem, but levels of 500 lux and above at night significantly suppress melatonin release. Considering this, one should minimize exposure of light at night, and when light is necessary in the dark hours, such as getting up to use the bathroom, use as dim a light as possible.

Lifestyles can improve melatonin levels, too, but they can also restrict its production. Physical exercise boosts melatonin levels. One hour on a stationary bicycle, for example, can double or triple it. Restricting food intake (fasting) also boosts melatonin levels (try it in the evening) and seems to help preserve pineal function because a fasting state provides special intestinal cells with easier access to tryptophan from which they can make melatonin, thus relieving the pineal gland of some of its work.

Melatonin is present in many foods, so our diets can also increase melatonin levels. Oats, corn, and rice have high levels of melatonin; and tomatoes, bananas, and barley also contain significant amounts. In addition, the pineal gland needs tryptophan in order to make melatonin, so a diet rich in tryptophan enhances our body’s ability to produce melatonin. Tryptophan-rich foods include tofu, roasted pumpkin seeds, gluten flour, sesame seeds, and almonds.

Stress negatively affects melatonin production, so seek positive ways to diminish the stress in your life. Caffeine should be avoided because it stimulates the body’s stress hormone system and tends to weaken melatonin production. Caffeine can cut melatonin production in half for six hours, and insomnia or disturbed sleep is usually the result. Alcohol consumption also depresses melatonin levels, as well as certain prescription and non-prescription drugs.

It may sound simplistic, but your grandmother’s advice to eat healthfully, get regular exercise and sunshine, go to bed at the same time each night, and avoid late night activities has melatonin merit!

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

Religious Liberty Update: Last month we reported about the Seventh-day Adventist Corporation suing Pastor Walter (Chick) McGill of the Creation Seventh-day Adventist Church of Guys, Tennessee, for using the name “Seventh-day Adventist” in his church’s name. We noted that the case had been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio. Counsel Charles Holiday, defending Pastor McGill, began his opening statement:

This court should find that the district court erred in holding that subject matter jurisdiction existed because a court cannot apply neutral principles of law without resolving an underlying dispute over religious doctrine. In the alternative, this court should bar plaintiffs from the relief they seek under the doctrine of judicial estoppel and because the defendant failed to state a claim.

The basis of Mr. Holiday’s argument was founded on the point that the courts had earlier ruled in matters that they did not have jurisdiction to rule over, matters that were not points of law. He further asked that the Seventh-day Adventist Corporation should not be able to receive the “relief” they sought because the doctrine of judicial estoppel would prevent them, due to the courts’ prior rulings on church/state issues. Mr. Holiday stated, concerning the Seventh-day Adventist Corporation’s complaint:

Paragraph thirty-two of the plaintiffs complaint, they argue the point that the plaintiffs cannot control the quality or the content of the defendant’s religious observances.

Perhaps here is the real issue, one of control. Because the mainline church cannot control and rule the smaller church, they will attempt to ruin the little church! How true these words penned over 114 years ago apply today:

Men have taken unfair advantage of those whom they supposed to be under their jurisdiction. They were determined to bring the individuals to their terms; they would rule or ruin. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 360)

Mr. Holiday was clearly well-prepared for his presentation and had good answers to the thoughtful questions of the judges. He stood as a Jashobeam the Hachmonite in the courtroom. By contrast, Joel Galanter, counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Corporation, did not seem well-prepared to give a good argument for his case. While space precludes more details, we have posted an audio recording of the case. It can be heard by going to http://www.smyrna.org/op/2010/sixth_circuit_appeal.mp3. Allen Stump

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

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

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