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. 20, No.4 Straight and Narrow April 2011


“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.” (Ezekiel 7:5, 6)

 

The Soteriological-Eschatological Day
of Judgment

We are living in the the soteriological-eschatological day of judgment! Now what do we mean by those big words? The word soteriology comes from the Greek word soterioa, which means salvation. Soterioa’s root word is soter, which means saviour. Soteriology is simply the study of salvation. Eschatology comes from the Greek word eschatos, meaning last. Eschatology is the study of the last things or last events. In Christianity it refers to last-day events. This article is a merger of these two great disciplines of study—salvation and last-day events. It is like reading John 3:16 through the eyes of the book of Revelation, even though we will not be quoting John 3:16, as such, nor the book of Revelation extensively, though quote it we will.

Daniel and Revelation are considered eschatological/apocalyptic books, but I also want to include the 16th chapter of Leviticus with them in the category of eschatology, for in that chapter we find a great deal of information concerning not only salvation, but also the last days! Leviticus 16 teaches the final atonement, the blotting out of sin, and the final destruction of Satan and all sin.

The Last Days

The history of the earth begins in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Most students of the Bible agree that the earth is about six thousand years old. Bible chronology places the creation of the earth about 4004 BC. The next-to-last verse in the Bible speaks of a great event that is very soon to take place, the second coming of Jesus Christ: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). At the beginning of the Bible and at the end of the Bible, we find two great events that will form the end points of a time line for us to consider. This time line begins with the creation of the earth and ends with the second coming of Jesus. See below.

Let us notice something about the creation of the earth, and this will lead us to the next point to consider in our time line.

Hebrews 1:1 and 2 state: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” The Bible teaches that God the Father made all things through, or by, his Son, Jesus Christ. (See also John 1:1–3; Ephesians 3:9; and Colossians 1:16.) Through his Son, God speaks to humanity. Our God is not the god of the deist, who sits back with unconcern! No, no! God is vitally concerned with the affairs of humanity and so much so that he sent his only begotten Son to die for the sins of humanity.

Now notice the time element of this statement “these last days.” Paul wrote the book of Hebrews around AD 64, about nineteen and one half centuries ago, and he claimed to be living in the last days! Paul says that this time, “these last days,” includes the time in which God’s Son had spoken to them. This might include the times when Jesus was teaching in Galilee or in Jerusalem (AD 27–31), or it might mean the time when the New Testament was being written by men inspired by the “Spirit of Christ” (1 Peter 1:11). In the book of Acts, however, we can narrow this down. Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, noted:

 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:16–21)

Peter was quoting from Joel 2:28–32 and declared the fulfillment of this prophecy and stated that it was to be just “before that great and notable day of the Lord” (the second coming). Peter spoke this on the day of Pentecost, just fifty days from the Passover death of Jesus. The life of Jesus stands as a dividing line on the great time line of the Bible. It separates antiquity from the end of time, or the last days. See below.

We find this last-day concept in many other places in the New Testament. Writing to Timothy, Paul notes: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).

James also noted the last days in warnings to the rich: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:1–3). If this was true when James wrote, it is even more true today.

Peter also adds his weight to the written record:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. (2 Peter 3:3–5)

In verse 3 he speaks in the future tense, but he clarifies that he is speaking of the present times in verse 5, where he says “they willingly are ignorant” (present tense). In other words, Peter is saying it was understood that in the last days there would be scoffers, and we know we are in the last days now because of the scoffers.

Jude also notes that the apostles had taught that “there should be mockers in the last time” (Jude 18).

Concerning apostasy Paul could note in the second book written in the New Testament (AD 51) that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). John, writing perhaps the last book in the New Testament (AD 98), declared: “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” (1 John 2:18).

Near the end of his first intact epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote: “Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22), which means the Lord is coming.

Thus we see that Luke (who wrote Acts), Peter, Paul, John, James, and Jude (all the New Testament writers except Matthew and Mark) wrote that the last days had already begun in their day! This is not, however, the only time period in the Bible that deals with the end of time.

The High Priesthood of Christ

There is  a special prophecy in the Bible that deals with the end of time. It is, in fact, the longest time prophecy in the Bible and concerns the work of Jesus as our high priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. Before we look at that prophecy, let us review some things about the high priesthood of Jesus.

Hebrews 3:1 commands us: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”  We are to know and consider Jesus as our high priest. In Hebrews 8:1 and 2, we read: “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.” Paul says that the sum of what he has written in the first seven chapters of Hebrews is that Jesus is our high priest, ministering in the true tabernacle in heaven.

Jesus must be the high priest because “we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There is in our lives the need of a saviour, one who can appear before God for us and plead our case. In Hebrews 9:22, Paul writes: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood.” Nearly every sacrifice involved blood and the few that did not either prefigured death in some manner or were thank offerings of grain or other things. Paul goes on to say “and without shedding of blood is no remission.” There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood and that is because, as it says in Leviticus 17:11, “the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The life of the flesh is in the blood and this blood, or life, makes the atonement. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

When God works, he does nothing in a haphazard manner. He has a methodology to everything he does, and his way of salvation is found in the sanctuary. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God” (Psalm 77:13)? God’s way, his way of salvation, is found in his sanctuary.

God commanded the children of Israel to build a sanctuary and the reason was so that he might dwell among them. “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). God would dwell in a sanctuary, and it would be one of his design: “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:9). One clear and important lesson in this verse is that God is to be worshiped and served according to his rules and ways and not our own. God is particular and does not accept service that is based in disobedience from his revealed will. Salvation does not come our way, the way we decide that it should come. We have to understand what God’s requirements are and follow his word, not our own feeble thoughts or ideas.

This sanctuary was a pattern of the sanctuary in heaven. Paul clearly states this in Hebrews:

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 8:1–5)

God would dwell in a sanctuary that was of his design, and that design included two apartments—a holy place and a most holy place. The first apartment was the holy place, where the priest could enter every day of the year. In the holy place was found the golden altar for burning incense, the table of shewbread, and the seven-branched candlestick. The sanctuary also included a second apartment that was behind a “second veil” (Hebrews 9:3). This apartment was called the most holy place. Within these two apartments we find the plan of salvation illustrated and the focus of Christ’s high priestly ministry in heaven. In Hebrews 9:1–7, Paul declares that the sum of the sanctuary services were centered in the daily service (sin offering) in the holy place and the yearly service (the Day of Atonement—Yom Kipper) in the most holy place.

The Sin Offering

The fourth chapter of Leviticus discusses the offerings for sin. There were four categories of offerings. The sin offering was to be slain at the brazen altar. Sometimes the blood of the offering was taken directly into the holy place and sometimes it was not, the priest, instead, eating a portion of the flesh of the offering (Leviticus 6:26), thus symbolically transferring the sin from the sinner to the sanctuary, as he ministered in the holy place.

Whether it was a ruler or a common person, the procedure for the service was the same. The ruler was to bring a male “kid of the goats,” while the common person could bring a female kid or lamb.

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 Leviticus 4:35.)

This atonement made at the altar of burnt offering, representing the cross, resulted in forgiveness. This forgiveness secured at Calvary is 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 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, as found in Leviticus 16, can be outlined as follows:

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 [justification], and to cleanse us [sanctification] 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 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).

In these two great services we see forgiveness and cleansing, justification and sanctification. We want to be a forgiven people and we want to be a clean people, a sanctified people who are day by day growing in grace, overcoming sin, and understanding more of the exceedingly sinfulness of sin and overcoming by the blood of the Lamb.

The Day of Atonement service was centered in the most holy place  in the typical sanctuary. But remember that this sanctuary was a model of type of one in heaven.

The Temple in Heaven

That there is the true sanctuary in heaven cannot be doubted if you believe the Bible. John in the Revelation was shown the temple in heaven. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:19). John not only sees the temple, but he also sees the ark of the covenant. Earlier in Revelation John saw the holy place with its seven-branched candlestick (Revelation 4:1–5) and golden altar (Revelation 8:3).

Jesus is the minister of that sanctuary. “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” (Hebrews 9:24). So there is a true tabernacle in heaven, according to the type, and according to Paul in Hebrews that is where Christ is today ministering in our behalf, helping us to know the depths of our sin so that Christ can “purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

When Jesus returns the second time, it will be for a pure people. “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). This will not include the casual observer or the Laodicean. Before Jesus comes it will be said about his bride, or church: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). They have followed the type of Leviticus 16:29, “ye shall afflict your souls.” The great and final Day of Atonement is a time to afflict our souls. That means that we humble ourselves and search for all sin that might separate us from God. This process is called the cleansing of the sanctuary and the one sanctuary that must be cleansed is the soul temple. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16)? In fact the sanctuary in heaven cannot be cleansed until God’s people are cleansed and that is what God’s people will want, their lives to be clean and their names in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 3:5 gives a very important qualification for those who wish to be ready for the coming of Jesus. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).  Jesus says that there is a book of life and it contains the names of all who have ever professed to serve God. Jesus bade His disciples, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Speaking of his fellow faithful workers, Paul says their “names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3).

This promise of Revelation 3:5 is to the overcomer, the one with sin removed. These believers will not have their names removed from the book of life and they will be clothed with the white raiment representing the righteousness of Christ. They will have afflicted their souls and are overcomers. Overcomers of what? All sin and selfishness! As Christ does this work of judgment and cleansing, only the names of those who have professed Jesus will come up in the judgment and only those who have overcome will remain in the book of life. The timing of this work of Jesus in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary is given in what is the longest time prophecy in the Bible.

The Longest Time Prophecy in the Bible

In Daniel 8:14 we read, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” There is a specific time when this final atonement would take place. There is a span mentioned here of 2,300 days. Twenty-three hundred days is about six years and five months. That does not seem too long. We do not have a starting point yet or an ending point but before we go further we need to establish a principle of prophecy. That principle is that a day of symbolic prophecy in the Bible equals one year of literal time.

There is substantial proof of this principle, and it is important to understand this because some vocal detractors of the Advent message, such as Desmond Ford, have tried to say that the year/day principle is not supported by the Bible. So let us notice some Bible verses upon this matter.

Ezekiel was given a prophecy: “For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 4:5). Ezekiel is then told in the next verse, “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year” (Ezekiel 4:6). Notice that each day was to represent a year.

When the children of Israel were preparing to first enter the promised land twelve spies were sent and came back after forty days (Numbers 13:25). But due to their rebellion, God decreed that they would have to stay in the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 14:33). God then told them, “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know the altering of my purpose” (Numbers 14:34 margin). Here again we see a day representing a year of what would happen in the future.

In the book of Leviticus we find in the first eight verses two more cases to be made. Let us first notice verses 1–6:

And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee. (Leviticus 25:1–6)

The normal weekly cycle was six literal working days followed by the one day of rest called the Sabbath. In Leviticus 25 we read about the care of the land. The land could be worked for six years but was then to have a Sabbath rest. This Sabbath rest was not simply one day off but a whole year. Here the first six days of the week represented the first six years that the children of Israel would be in the promised land and the seventh-day Sabbath would represent the seventh year. This was a statement or prophecy of what Israel would do when they entered into the promised land.

This seven-year process would repeat itself for an additional six cycles until what was termed a Jubilee would occur beginning either on or just after the 49th year depending upon the way the years were counted. “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years” (Leviticus 25:8). Notice the expression “seven Sabbaths of years.” This marked a time of liberty and release from all debts (Leviticus 25:10–16). We will see why this is significant later, but the point we need to see for now is that these years were counted as days, each being one year long: the forty-nine years were represented by forty-nine days.

Based upon these texts we can see that the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 must represent 2,300 years! This is certainly a long time whose importance cannot be overlooked except with great loss. But to understand the 2,300 day/years we must first understand the overview of the prophecy of Daniel 8. So let us go to Daniel 8 and see the overview to verse 14. The prophecy is stated succinctly enough that we can quote it as easy as trying to paraphrase it.

 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land . And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Daniel 8:1–14)

After the vision Daniel says that he sought its meaning (verse 15) and then Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand the prophecy. Gabriel’s interpretation is simple and straightforward, nothing to doubt or guess at, for great details in plain language are given to Daniel. Gabriel tells Daniel that he will make him to “know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (v. 19).

Daniel first saw a ram with two horns. Gabriel tells him plainly, “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia” (v. 20). In the other lines of biblical prophecies that are recorded in Daniel 2, 7, and 11, the Medo-Persian kingdom is always noted. Here we find them again and as we continue in this prophecy we will clearly see that it is parallel with these other great prophecies.

Then Daniel saw a goat with a notable horn swiftly approaching the ram in fury and stamping upon it. This goat and its horn is clearly laid out for our understanding: “And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king” (v. 21). Historians count the beginning of the Grecian empire with the victory of Alexander the Great, at the battle of Arbela in 331 BC when he overran Darius Codomannus and his Persian army of nearly one million men.

Even though this great horn (Alexander) was strong, he was broken and four others came up and took his place. This is no doubt the four divisions of Alexander’s empire that arose after his death, led by his four great generals. These divisions were Macedonia in the west, ruled by Cassander; Thrace in the north, ruled by Lysimachus; Syria in the east, ruled by Seleucus; and Egypt in the south, ruled by Ptolemy.

Now another horn appears. Though it is called a little horn, it does not act little. The Medo-Persian empire was called “great” (v. 4). Grecia was called “very great” (v. 8), but now this little horn is called “exceeding great” (v. 9). This power would be “mighty” “destroy wonderfully,” and “also stand up against the Prince of princes” (vs. 24, 25). In Daniel 2, 7, and 11, the kingdom that comes after Grecia is Rome, and there is no reason to believe that it is anything else here. Historically, Rome exactly fits the requirements. Sometimes theologians speak of Rome as having two phases, pagan and papal, but the reality is that papal Rome is no less pagan than what is called pagan Rome today. In the prophecies of Daniel, there is no distinction made concerning this factor. The different events prophesied help us to know where Rome is in the prophetic time lines but do not mark a time that Rome ever became “Christian” and ceased to be pagan. For any who are under the delusion that papal Rome has ever been Christian, they should consider reading The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop.

Rome would “cast down the truth to the ground” (v. 12), and the angel asks, concerning this power, “How long shall the vision continue, even the removal of the sacrifice, and the bringing in of the sin of desolation; and how long shall the sanctuary and host be trampled” (LXX, English translation)? The answer is the 2,300 days/years. Notice that this prophecy is for “the end” (v. 17), at an “appointed time” (vs. 17, 19).

Let us now review this prophecy. Daniel sees the ram (Medo-Persia) and the goat (Grecia). Then the little horn appears, which is Rome. This power becomes a great threat to God’s people and even stands against Christ, crucifying him, the “Prince of princes.” This little horn casts down the truth and especially the truth concerning the sanctuary of God. The symbolism is well defined so far. Gabriel explains the animals and horns and their work, but there is one point that is not answered or explained by Gabriel—the part about the 2,300 days/years. Why?

When Gabriel came to the part of the 2,300 days, he told Daniel: “And the vision of the evening and morning that was mentioned is true: and do thou seal the vision; for it is for many days” (v. 26). Here the 2,300 days are called evening and morning. In fact, the literal rendering of that part of Daniel 8:14 is, “Till evening-morning two thousand and three hundred” (Young’s Literal Translation). However, this is standard terminology in the Bible for a day. For instance in Genesis, when the day was inaugurated, the Bible declares: “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). “And the evening and the morning were the second day” (Genesis 1:8). And the record continues for the rest of the days of creation. Gabriel says that this vision is true but it shall be “for many days!” At this point, Daniel grew sick and fainted, and Gabriel could not continue with his explanation.

Now there is a point that we have not covered that is important in this prophecy—the time element of when it was given. Daniel 8:1 says it was given “in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar.” Some scholars date this to the year 550 BC. Josephus states Belshazzar reigned seventeen years (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 10, chap. 11, para. 4). We know by the records that Medo-Persia overtook Babylon in the year 538 BC. This would compute the third year of Belshazzar’s reign being around 552 BC. Either way, 550 BC or 552 BC,  it was at least twelve years before the next vision was given to Daniel, as recorded in chapter 9, which, according to Daniel 9:1, happened in the first year of Darius’ reign (538 BC). Chapter 5 of Daniel tells of the city of Babylon being taken and that Darius reigned, being 62 years old (Daniel 5:31). Isaiah had prophesied that Cyrus the Persian would be the conqueror of Babylon (Isaiah 45:1) and this is true, but his uncle, Darius the Mede, reigned in the year 538 BC. Why is this important? If the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 began in the the third year of Belshazzar, then six years and five months (2,300 literal days) would have expired long before Daniel could have received any information about the 2,300 days. God, in his purpose, waited for at least twelve years, so nobody could attempt to connect a time reference in chapters 8 and 9 of Daniel to literal years.

Perhaps you have sought God for an answer to something and did not get an immediate response. In our instant world of right now, it is easy to become spiritually impatient, but even the saint, Daniel, had to wait twelve years for an answer about something God had shown him. Perhaps Satan tempted Daniel to think that God must have forsaken or forgotten him, but Daniel did not allow anything to change his allegiance to his Creator, and neither should we.

Chronologically chapter 8 of Daniel occurred before chapters 5 and 6, but it is placed where it is because it connects with chapter 9. Chapter 9 is dated to the first year of Darius, and, as we have noted, we know from reliable history this to be 538 BC. At this time Daniel had been studying the book of Jeremiah and understood that the seventy-year captivity of which Jeremiah prophesied was almost over (Jeremiah 29:10). Daniel prayed about the restoration of his people and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:1–3), and Gabriel was commissioned to go to Daniel to give him “skill and understanding” (Daniel 9:22). About what did Daniel need understanding? What had he missed twelve years before? The part about the evenings and mornings that was true. Daniel needed understanding about the 2,300 days! At the end of chapter 8 Daniel had noted, “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it” (v. 27).

 Gabriel told Daniel, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision” (Daniel 9:23). But what vision was he to understand? Here we find great help in noting that in the original languages there are two different words used in Daniel 8 for the word vision. In the beginning of the vision, verses 1–3, we see the Hebrew word chazown used. Chazown is a word for vision and here it represents the whole vision, or the vision as a whole. But there is yet another word that also means vision and it is mareh. We find this word used in Daniel 8:26:“And the vision (mareh) of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision (chazown [the vision as a whole]); for it shall be for many days.” The larger, whole vision is known as the chazown and the specific part about the 2,300 days is called the mareh. Now notice what Gabriel says as he approaches Daniel:

And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision (mareh). (Daniel 9:22, 23)

The only part of the vision from chapter 8 not explained is the mareh, or the 2,300 days/years. Remember Daniel “was astonished at the vision (mareh), but none understood it” (v. 27). So what Gabriel will now share will be something to help amplify and explain the 2,300 days/years of Daniel 8:14.

The Seventy Weeks

Gabriel gives enough information to Daniel in just four verses, but in these four verses, we find some tremendous answers! Let us see what Gabriel said:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24–27)

 Gabriel begins with a time period of seventy weeks. There are seven days in a week, and so there are 490 days in seventy weeks. But this is Bible prophecy, so we know it is speaking of 490 years. Furthermore, it is said to be determined or, as the margin reads, “cut off.” But from what has the 490 years been cut ? The 2,300 days/years are the only thing that the 490 years could be cut from. So we see that from the 2,300 day/years, we have 490 years cut off, or allotted.

Now when does this period begin? Daniel 9:25 states, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Here we have a date that we can understand. When the decree would go forth that would “restore and . . . build Jerusalem” we can begin to count, and in fact, we can count to the time of the Messiah!

Perhaps you knew that such a decree is given in your Bible! It is in Ezra 7. You can read the whole decree there. It is given in a verbatim form. Ezra 7:7 says that this happened in “the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.” Perhaps no Bible event has stronger historical evidence than this verse. Scholars, with almost total unanimity, agree that this decree was given in the fall of the year 457 BC. (See the blue section of the 2,300 years chart.)

Gabriel mentions sixty-nine weeks of years with the expression “seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” Sixty-nine weeks equals 483 literal days, but being symbolic Bible prophecy, we see that this is actually 483 years. Four hundred eighty-three years from 457 BC would bring us to the Messiah. The math is simple enough. This brings us to the fall of AD 27. At first glance it might seem that AD 26 should be the correct date, but in going from the time era BC to AD, there is no zero year. The time line moves from 1 BC to AD 1 without any year for zero in between; therefore, an extra year must be added to AD 26 to compensate for the missing place value.

The 483 years brings us to AD 27, the time when the Messiah should appear. Is this what the Bible teaches? “He [Andrew] first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ” (John 1:41). The word Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word we translate Messiah. It simply means anointed one. Peter says that Jesus was anointed by God, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38) According to Luke Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism: “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21, 22). (See orange section of the 2,300 years chart.)

According to Luke 3:1, this was in “the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” which we know was the year AD 27. Mark records, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15). What time was fulfilled? The sixty-nine weeks. Jesus knew of the time and announced his gospel as fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 9:25.

There is one more week to fulfill the total seventy weeks. Daniel 9:26 states that some time after the sixty-nine weeks the Messiah would be “cut off,” or killed, but this would not be for himself. Jesus died to save sinners. Daniel 9:27 says that the Messiah would “confirm the covenant with many for one week [the seventieth week]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

Jesus began his ministry in the fall of AD 27. Three and one half years later brings us to the spring of AD 31. This can be also shown by the Passovers listed during his life. John 1:32, 33 notes his baptism and this is followed by four Passovers, as noted in John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; and 13:1. This brings the time to the spring of AD 31.

When Jesus was crucified, the veil in the temple was torn in two. “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51). This tall curtain, well above the reach of any human, could only have been rent from top to bottom by a supernatural power. Ellen White describes it thus:

With a rending noise the inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand, throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. In this place the Shekinah had dwelt. Here God had manifested His glory above the mercy seat. No one but the high priest ever lifted the veil separating this apartment from the rest of the temple. He entered in once a year to make an atonement for the sins of the people. But lo, this veil is rent in twain. The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary is no longer sacred.

All is terror and confusion. The priest is about to slay the victim; but the knife drops from his nerveless hand, and the lamb escapes. Type has met antitype in the death of God’s Son. The great sacrifice has been made. The way into the holiest is laid open. A new and living way is prepared for all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. Henceforth the Saviour was to officiate as priest and advocate in the heaven of heavens. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshipers: There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings for sin. The Son of God is come according to His word, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.” “By His own blood” He entereth “in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 10:7; 9:12. (The Desire of Ages, p. 757)

Type has met antitype. The sinner now has full access to God through Jesus without any human priests. Sacrifices are no longer needful for the true Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world has come and died (John 1:34). (See black section of the 2,300 years chart.)

Since the seventieth week began in AD 27 and the middle of it brings us to AD 31, the other three and one half years extends to the fall of AD 34. This was the time allotted to the Jewish people as the chosen nation under God. The nation sealed its probation in the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) and the persecution of the church. This violence sent the church “every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:1–4). It was at this point that Paul, who was to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, was converted.

Before we complete the 2,300 years, let us return to the year-day principle once more. There are two more points we would like to use now to verify this principle. The first is the pragmatic test. Does it actually work out? The seventy weeks accurately show that it does, indeed, work out well. In fact, there really is no good way to interpret either the seventy weeks or the larger 2,300 days without it. The seventy weeks are the answer to the pragmatic test. They show in a matter-of-the-fact way that the principle must hold.

There is an interesting piece of evidence which reveals that the year-day principle was known to the people of biblical times. In other words, it is not a Johnny-come-lately idea. In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves at Khirbet Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea. In all, 930 documents have been found in eleven different caves. These documents have been dated from the 3rd century BC through AD 68. One manuscript is known as 11Q13. This means that it was the 13th document of cave number 11. It is also called the Melchizedek scroll.

The fragments which have been published stress the Jubilee “release” of all debts, making reference to Deuteronomy 15:2 and Leviticus 25:13 (regarding the Jubilee). The Essenes, the authors of the scrolls, viewed sacred Scripture as referring to their own days. Early Christians felt the same, and even today many Christians believe that the ancient prophets wrote more for our day than for theirs. This kind of commentary on Scripture, applying it to their own time, was called a pesher (interpretation). The following is a part of 11Q13. Missing parts have been interpolated within brackets:

for G[od». Its interpretation] for the last days refers to the captives, who [. . .] and whose teachers have been hidden and kept secret, and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, fo[r . . .] . . . and they are the inherita[nce of Melchize]dek, who will make them return. And liberty will be proclaimed for them, to free them from [the debt of] all their iniquities. And this [wil]l [happen] in the first week of the jubilee which follows the ni[ne] jubilees. And the d[ay of aton]ement is the e[nd of] the tenth [ju]bilee in which atonement shall be made for all the sons of [light]. (http://otstory.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/melchizedek-in-11q13-11qmelch/)

This “liberty” spoken of here (release from debts, slavery, captivity, etc.) takes on the form also of forgiveness and cleansing of sins, in the context of the Day of Atonement (on which the Jubilee is to take place—Leviticus 25:9). It will be on the tenth Jubilee, that is after forty-nine times ten years, or on the 490th year, as in Daniel 9. This is called the “year of grace,” as in Isaiah 61:2 (quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:17–21). The Qumran text later also directly refers to “the messen[ger who] announces peace, the mess[enger of good who announces salvati]on” (Ibid.). It then interprets this messenger as “the anointed of the spir[it] as Dan[iel] said [about him: Dan 9:25]” (Ibid.).

While this is a non-Biblical source, it certainly is clear evidence that the year/day principle has been understood for at least 2,000 years! 

Using the year/day principle as a key to unlock the longest time prophecy of the Bible, we now come to the last part of the prophecy.

October 22, 1844

Thus far we have accounted for 490 years of the 2,300 years. We have clearly established that the prophecy began in 457 BC and that the seventy weeks bring us to the fall of AD 34. Simple mathematics is all that is needed to understand that there are 1,810 years left to the prophecy, and when added to 34 they bring us to AD 1844. Being more precise, we can study the Jewish calendar for that year and find that the Day of Atonement occurred exactly on October 22, 1844. (See the red section of the 2,300 years chart.)

This world has been in the last days since the time of Jesus, but now we are living within a more precise time of the last days called the end when Jesus will complete his work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary, as he cleanses his people and prepares the final generation to stand through the last great trials of earth’s history.

Hebrews 9:26–28 says, “For then must he [Christ] often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 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.” Young’s Literal Translation says, “but now once, at the full end of the ages,” Jesus comes the second time without sin. Jesus came the first time to be our sacrifice and those who are looking for his second coming, who receive by faith his ministry of intercession as their great high priest, will be totally free from all sin. Full of meaning for us, then, is Hebrews 3:1, 2: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him.” May we be faithful, too.

The Judgment

The cleansing of the sanctuary was also considered a day of judgment by the Jews when all the cases of humanity would be settled for eternity. For example:

The great shofar is sounded; a gentle whisper is heard; the angels, quaking with fear, declare: “The day of judgment is here to bring the hosts of heaven to justice!” Indeed, even they are not guiltless in thy sight. All mankind passes before thee like a flock of sheep. As a shepherd seeks out his flock, making his sheep pass under his rod, so dost thou make all the living souls pass before thee; thou dost count and number thy creatures, fixing their lifetime and inscribing their destiny. . . . 

On Rosh Hashanah their destiny is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur [the Day of Atonement] it is sealed. (Philip Birnbaum, High Holyday Prayer Book: Yom Kippur, pp. 506, 508; quoted from Seventh-day Adventist Bible Student’s Source Book, p. 62)

The book of Daniel also reveals this aspect of the Day of Atonement, where we have a picture of the scene of the heavenly judgment before the Ancient of Days (the Father).

 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9, 10)

Then Jesus comes to God as the Son of Man to receive a kingdom and an everlasting dominion:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13, 14)

Daniel 7:22 states that judgment is given to or rendered in favor of the saints. But how shall we have a part of that kingdom with favor rendered to us? Revelation 14:12 states that the saints have two great qualities; they “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Beloved it takes both the faith of Jesus and obedience. According to Daniel 7, the books are opened in heaven. Remember Revelation 3:5? “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Those who overcome will not have their names blotted out from the book of life and they will not be hurt of the second death: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11), but those who are not obedient, those whose names are not in the book of life, are “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Overcoming is imperative to the believer, and the book of Revelation tells how the saints obtain the victory over the devil. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Three things are listed: the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and that they loved not their lives.

In our own strength we have no power—zero, none—to overcome. Humanity is totally helpless left to itself, but when we depend upon the righteousness of Jesus, we have unlimited power. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Those who come out of the great tribulation “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. “I counsel thee,” He says, “to buy of Me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” Revelation 3:18.

This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. “All our righteousness are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God “was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” Sin is defined to be “the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God's commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah. (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 311, 312)

A person’s testimony is a strength that should not be overlooked. Interestingly the word for testimony in the Greek is marturia. So closely was a Christian’s testimony associated with the Christian’s death that this Greek word is the basis for our English word martyr! The word of their testimony proved that they loved not their lives unto the death.

In the momentous prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9, we have portrayed before us the two-fold work of Jesus. In the first section of the prophecy, we have revealed the time when Jesus would come to offer himself as the Lamb of God. In the second part, we find the work of Jesus as our high priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary; to begin his final work, “the final atonement,” to cleanse his people from all their sin and to pronounce judgment upon those whose names are not in the book of life. We are living in the final hours of that intercession when a final judgment hour message is being broadcast.

 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6, 7)

 Jesus will soon return without sin unto salvation. How will we stand in that great day? We can stand alone in our filthy rags of sin, or we may have the white robe of Christ’s perfect righteousness. The choice is ours. Allen Stump


Prayer Requests

Just before going to press, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan, and much of the Pacific was jolted by the tsunami that followed. The final death toll is expected to be extremely high. We know that thousands are now homeless, without  food and clean water. Nuclear power plants have been damaged, with leakage of radiation and fears of meltdowns. We sincerely ask you to pray for the people affected.

This disaster is but a foretaste of what will happen more frequently in many places simultaneously. Under such conditions support and rescue will become the exception rather than the rule, and the violation of Sunday sacredness will be given as an explanation for what will be considered “the wrath of God upon the world.” We are surely near the end, and while there is still time to labor, we need to share the truth quickly.


Youth’s Corner — When God Rebuked the Devourer

On Mussau Island, which is only 140 kilometers south of the equator, the islanders are all Adventists. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have many interesting experiences, and I’m sure the story I am about to relate to you will warm your heart.

As we were both a mission station and a boarding school, we had to produce our own food. In order to do this, we had to have gardens which entailed lots of hard work, much prayer, and a great deal of faith. Our school consisted of about 150 students, and we had about a dozen staff members, plus their wives and families. That meant, of course, that we needed a fairly sizeable garden which had to produce food for at least nine months of the year—the time we spent in school. To have a big garden in Australia, you can plough and dig and plant with a tractor, but on Mussau, at that time, we dug the ground and planted the sweet potato (or kau kau, as we called it) by hand.

Each afternoon we started with prayer, asking the Lord to bless us and our efforts, to protect us from all harm and danger, and to bless the harvest so that it would multiply and we would have plenty of food for the coming year. As the sweet potato takes about six months to mature, it meant that we were planting six months ahead all the time. We had about ten acres under sweet potatoes.

I remember one morning as I was in school teaching, some of the village people ran up and cried out excitedly, “Master, Master. Quick, quick. Run quick!”

“Why, what’s wrong?” I asked. “Has something happened? Is somebody sick? Is somebody hurt?”

“No, Master, no Master; no, that’s not the trouble. The trouble is you have caterpillars inside your sweet potato gardens, and all the leaves have been eaten away.”

I said to my class, “Excuse me, go on quietly with your work, and I’ll go and see what’s happened.”

What a sight! The whole of that garden, well, not all of it, but most of it, was minus its leaves! It was brown-looking, and I thought, Oh, no. There goes our sweet potatoes for the coming year, our garden that we are depending on! But then I said to myself, Hey, McFarlane! What are you talking about? The Lord is stronger than the caterpillars. He can overrule in all things.

So we went back to the school and finished the classes. I then called the faculty members together and said, “All right, what are we going to do?”

We decided that the first thing we had to do was to have prayer that the Lord would protect our garden, regardless of what the devil was trying to do to us. Then we said, “All right, the Lord says we have to do our part of the work, and if we do our part, He will do His part.”

So we got all the students together and gave them each a container. We stopped all other work for the afternoon and went out and gathered caterpillars. There were brown caterpillars, yellow ones, green ones, black ones—all colours. Some were as big as your thumb, some were just little fellows. We must have picked millions of them. We picked caterpillars for three days. We had drums and drums of the things. We didn’t know what to do with them. We couldn’t kill them, and we couldn’t leave them on the land, so we threw them into the river and into the swamps, and they floated out into the salt water. You could see this great black mass of caterpillars being washed out to sea. The fish thought all their breakfasts had come at once!

Well, of course, the elders came in from the village, and they commiserated, “Oh, Master, me sorry too much about this garden of yours. This garden is going to be no good now. Look how the caterpillars have eaten all the leaves off the sweet potato. The sweet potato will not grow. We are very sorry, but it looks like our children are going to go hungry.”

“Where is your faith?” I demanded. “Don’t you understand that the Lord says, ‘Bring your tithes and offerings into the storehouse, and I will give you a blessing?’”

“Oh, but Master, you know that when you take the leaves off the sweet potato, the sweet potato will not grow.” So I left them and went back to my house, and again we had prayer. We didn’t dig up the garden. We just left it and we went on making new gardens, and we kept on weeding the old ones.

Several months later I said to one of my senior girls in Grade 6, “Lydia, I want you to take three or four other girls, with your baskets, and start digging the sweet potatoes.”

She looked at me and said. “Mr. McFarlane, which sweet potatoes? We haven’t got any sweet potatoes.”

“Oh yes we have. Lydia.” I replied. “We’ve got ten whole acres of them down there!”

“Oh, but Mr. McFarlane,” she protested, “don’t you know sweet potatoes can’t grow without leaves, and for several months they’ve had no leaves?” She gave me a look as if to say, “Oh, this man is long long” (which means he is mental). But away they went. They weren’t grumbling, but they thought I was funny.

An hour later I was in my office working when I heard a terrific rumpus and noise outside, shouting and carrying on. I looked outside the window, and Lydia and the rest of the girls were coming back from the garden full of smiles and joy on their faces. They called out, “Master, Master, quick! Come and see what we’ve got in our baskets!”

Then I ran outside, and do you know what I saw? I saw some of the biggest sweet potatoes I’ve ever seen in my life. Each would fill a dinner plate by itself, they were so big. I looked at Lydia, and Lydia looked at me, and I said, “Lydia, you know what this means, don’t you?”

“Yes, Mr. McFarlane,” she replied, “the Lord has worked a miracle right here in this school, right here at Mussau.”

So you see the Lord does bless. Here in Australia my wife and I still tithe on our garden produce, plus our first fruit. Have you ever thought of that? Your first fruit—the first tomatoes that you pick, your first potatoes, first peas or beans, or whatever—are the Lord’s. That is the first fruit. Then you pay your tithe on the rest of it. That’s exactly what the village people do. They bring in their first fruit and then pay tithe on the rest of their gardens.

Because they return an honest tithe, the Lord has wonderfully blessed these people.

Brother McFarlane, who lived in Cooranbong, NSW, at the time this article was published, spent many years teaching in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands.

Milton T. McFarlane 

Article reprinted from the Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, May 4, 1985.


New Bible Study
Lessons Based on the Book God’s Love on Trial

In February we announced that Brother Lynnford Beachy has recently completed a series of Bible studies, covering the theme of the personality of God and based upon his book God’s Love on Trial. The response to these lessons has been very positive. We are reprinting this announcement for those who may have missed the first announcement. There are twelve studies in this series. The titles are: 

The suggested donation for a set is $2.00, plus postage.


WV Camp Meeting

We are pleased to announce that the West Virginia camp meeting will be June 14–18 this year. The theme of the camp meeting is the landmarks and pillars of our faith. Some of the speakers will be Lynnford Beachy, Dennis Robertson, David Sims, and Allen Stump. We certainly encourage you to come and share the blessing with us. Camping is free to all, but each camper will be responsible for his or her own meals, except on Sabbath when a fellowship meal will be provided. We will have full details next month, but please check your calendars now and block off the time.


The Effect of Dietary Fat on Health

In the last two issues of Old Paths, we published the transcript of an interview conducted in 2010 with Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. by Radio New Zealand. We invite you to review those articles, for this month we will look at portions of his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, as well as information found in Rip Esselstyn’s book The Engine 2 Diet and thoughts from The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M Campbell, II.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease opens with the experience of Dr. Joe Crowe, a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic where Dr. Esselstyn practiced medicine for many years. Dr. Crowe had spent the whole day operating and was saying good-bye to his last patient when he suddenly experienced a severe headache, which was followed by chest pain that radiated up his arm and shoulder into his jaw. He was having a heart attack, but he was only forty-four years old. He had no family history of heart disease. He did not have high blood pressure or poor cholesterol levels. He was not overweight or diabetic. He did not use tobacco, and he exercised, yet tests showed that the lower third of the left anterior descending coronary artery was so diseased that surgery could not be safely undertaken. Surgery was out of the question, and there seemed nothing left in his lifestyle he could modify to improve his health, but he knew Dr. Esselstyn, and it wasn’t long before he learned about the wonderful benefits of a plant-based diet. Two and a half years later, a follow-up angiogram was performed, and this time it was normal. The disease in the coronary artery was gone!

Dr. Esselstyn advocates a completely plant-based diet and because he does not want his “patients to pour a single thimbleful of gasoline on the fire” (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, p. 5) of their disease, he has established a food plan for them that eliminates, among other things, the use of fat. Since cardiac disease remains a silent killer in our bodies for many years until it finally erupts in a heart attack, in a stroke, or in other signs and symptoms, it behooves us to seriously consider the following principles of Dr. Esselstyn’s dietary plan:

Foods to Avoid:

The Foods to Eat Are:

As Seventh-day Adventists, we may not object to these dietary guidelines, except perhaps to the restriction on oil and nuts, thinking that a moderate use of them should be acceptable. Dr. Esselstyn explains why a moderate use of fat is not healthy for his patients:

Every segment of our bodies is comprised of cells, and every individual cell is protected by an outer coat. This cell membrane is almost unimaginably delicate—just one hundred-thousandth of a millimeter thick. Yet it is absolutely essential to the integrity and healthy functioning of the cell. And it is extremely vulnerable to injury.

Every mouthful of oils and animal products, including dairy foods, initiates an assault on these membranes and, therefore, on the cells they protect. These foods produce a cascade of free radicals in our bodies—especially harmful chemical substances that induce metabolic injuries from which there is only partial recovery. Year after year, the effects accumulate. And eventually, the cumulative cell injury is great enough to become obvious, to express itself as what physicians define as disease. Plants and grains do not induce the deadly cascade of free radicals. Even better, in fact, they carry an antidote. Unlike oils and animal products, they contain antioxidants, which help to neutralize the free radicals and also, recent research suggests, may provide considerable protection against cancers.

Among the body parts we injure every time we eat a typical American meal is the endothelium itself—the lining of the blood vessels and the heart—and the remarkable role it plays in maintaining healthy blood flow. The endothelial cells make nitric oxide, which is critical to preserving the tone and health of the blood vessel. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator: that is, it causes the vessels to dilate, or enlarge. When there is abundant nitric oxide in the blood stream, it keeps blood flowing as if the vessels’ surfaces were coated with the most slippery Teflon, eliminating the stickiness of vessels and blood cells that is caused by high lipid levels and that, in turn, leads to plaque formation. . . .

Dr. Robert Vogel, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, has conducted some astonishing studies that demonstrate, among other things, what a toxic effect a single meal can have on the endothelium. Dr. Vogel used ultrasound to measure the diameters of the brachial arteries of a group of students. Then he inflated blood pressure cuffs on the students’ arms, stopping blood flow to their forearms for five minutes. After deflating the cuffs, he used the ultrasound to see how fast the arteries sprang back to their normal condition.

One group of students then ate a fast-food breakfast that contained 900 calories and 50 grams of fat. A second group ate 900 calorie breakfasts containing no fat at all. After they ate, Dr. Vogel again constricted their brachial arteries for five minutes and watched to see the results. It was dramatic. Among those who consumed no fat, there was simply no problem: their arteries bounced back to normal just as they had in the prebreakfast test. But the arteries of those who had eaten the fat-laden fast food took far longer to respond.

Why? The answer lies in the effect of fat on the endothelium’s ability to produce nitric oxide. Dr. Vogel closely monitored endothelial function of subjects and found that two hours after eating a fatty meal there was a significant drop. It took nearly six hours, in fact, for endothelial function to get back to normal. (Ibid., pp. 38, 39)

Dr. Esselstyn explains that the manufacture of nitric oxide, which the endothelium does, “is absolutely essential to vascular health” (Ibid., p. 41) and then further explains what nitric oxide does for us:

It relaxes blood vessels, selectively boosting blood flow to the organs that need it.

It prevents white blood cells and platelets from becoming sticky, and thus starting the buildup of vascular plaque.

It keeps the smooth muscle cells of arteries from growing into plaques.

It may even help to diminish vascular plaques once they are in place” (Ibid. pp. 41, 42).

In case you are concerned you will not have adequate intake of fat if you eliminate dairy, oils, and nuts from your diet, Rip Esselstyn offers these facts: “Strawberries are 5 percent fat; bell peppers, 6 percent; broccoli, 8 percent; spinach, 11 percent; and soybeans 41 percent. Several high-fat plant foods contain in excess of 80 percent fat, including certain nuts, seeds, as well as avocados, olives, and coconuts” (The Engine 2 Diet, p. 36).

Alzheimer’s Disease Related to Fat Intake and to an Animal-Based Diet

Dr. Esselstyn advises his patients to avoid fat because of its effect on endothelial cells. His son, Rip Esselstyn, provides information on how fat affects our cognitive abilities. He states that Alzheimer’s disease “seems to result from plaque formation. However, instead of sticking to the artery walls leading to your heart, brain, pelvis, or legs, these plaques develop in the pockets between your brain cells. Such plaques are composed of a rogue protein called beta-amyloid. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between the amount of cholesterol and fat in the diet and the amount of beta-amyloid protein buildup in the body” (Ibid., p. 63). In addition:

. . . researchers at the Ninth International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders reported in 2004 that obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure significantly heighten the risk of Alzheimer’s. The researchers followed a group of 1,500 older subjects for twenty-one years and found a combination of all three factors increased that risk sixfold.

The same study, released in the 2005 issue of The Lancet Neurology, reported that older people who exercised at least twice a week had a roughly 60 percent lower risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia than their couch potato peers. The theory is that exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s by boosting blood flow to the brain and protecting its blood vessels.

Meanwhile, a four-year study of 815 Chicago seniors (reported in the February 2003 issue of the Archives of Neurology) found that a diet high in saturated fat doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Myriad other studies have linked Alzheimer’s with high levels of a substance called homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. It is created by the liver when we consume another essential amino acid called methionine. The quantity of methionine found in animal protein is two to three times greater than in plant protein, so it follows that eating meat and dairy can easily raise your homocysteine levels to a dangerous degree.

Another study from the July 2000 World Alzheimer’s Congress had more promising news. Researchers examined 5,395 individuals aged fifty-five and older who were free from dementia in 1993, and again in 1999. The results: “On average, people who remained free from any form of dementia had consumed higher amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and vegetables than the people in the study who developed Alzheimer’s disease.”

The researchers also noted that two risk factors for Alzheimer’s, family history and a genetic marker, did not alter their findings. High consumption of vegetables appeared to offset the other known risk factors for Alzheimer’s. (Ibid., pp. 64, 65)

He concludes with saying there is “a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s . . . associated with an animal-based diet, while reduced risk is associated with a plant-based diet” (Ibid., p. 65).

In The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, give us the rest of the story of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.:

Dr. Esselstyn retired from active surgery in June of 2000 and assumed the position of preventive cardiology consultant in the department of general surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He has continued to do research and to visit with patients. He holds three-hour counseling sessions in his home with new heart disease patients, gives them research evidence and provides a delicious ‘heart-safe’ meal. In addition, he gives talks around the country and abroad.

In March of 2002, Ess and his wife Ann, whose grandfather founded the Cleveland Clinic, drafted a letter to the head of the cardiology department and the head of the hospital at the Cleveland Clinic. The letter started off by saying how proud they were of the reputation and excellence of the Clinic and the innovation of the surgical procedures, but that everyone recognized that surgery was never going to be the answer to this epidemic of heart disease. Ess formally proposed the idea that he could help set up an arrest and reversal dietary program in the department of preventive cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. The program would mirror his own and could be administered by nurse clinicians and physician assistants. Ideally, a young physician with passion for the idea would head the program. Ultimately, every patient with heart disease at the Clinic would be offered the option of arrest and reversal therapy using dietary means, which costs very little, harbors no risks and puts the control back into the patients’ hands.

. . . neither the head of the hospital nor the department head had the respect to even acknowledge that Ess had written to them. They didn’t call. They didn’t write. They completely ignored him. (The China Study, p. 339)

After seven weeks, Dr. Esselstyn called them, and after several tries, finally learned that neither men were interested in his offer, one man even being “abrasive and rude” (Ibid.) to him. It should be noted, however, that “many of the Clinic ‘bigwigs’ with heart disease have themselves gone to Esselstyn for treatment and lifestyle counseling. They know it works, and they seek out the program on their own. . . . For the time being, Ess, with his wife’s help, will continue to run counseling sessions out of his own home. . . . ” (Ibid., p. 340)

By following such guidelines as: “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood” (Leviticus 3:17) and “supply its place [meat] with the best fruits and vegetables, prepared in their most natural state, free from grease and spices” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 486), we will be observing much of what Dr. Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and Mr. Thomas M. Campbell II advocate for good health.

Dr. Esselstyn’s experience of rejection from the Cleveland Clinic for using a natural, diet-based therapy has not been unique. It is with sadness that we consider the decision of the Seventh-day Adventist hospital, St. Helena Hospital, in Napa Valley, California. In the 1980s they invited Dr. John McDougall to head their health center, where he used nutrition with “fantastic success” (The China Study, p. 335) to treat sick patients. Later he was offered the opportunity to merge a well-known multiple sclerosis program, which used nutrition in treatment, with his own program at the St. Helena Hospital health center. It would have cost the hospital nothing, would have doubled their patient census, and would have helped people who desperately needed help, but St. Helena refused to permit the merger. Dr. McDougall has since established his own lifestyle treatment center.

Both Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s and Rip Esselstyn’s books contain many recipes, and we are including two from Rip Esselstyn’s book later in this issue (page 24). Dr. Esselstyn’s book also includes lists of what he calls “safe” commercial foods that can be purchased, resources (including helpful websites, some of which contain more recipes), cookbooks, manufacturers, etc. Sources of adaptable recipes you may already have in your library include A Good Cook . . . Ten Talents by Frank and Rosalie Hurd and Eat for Strength Oil-Free by Agatha Thrash.

God has given us eight laws of health. While they are all important, our diet forms the foundation of our bodies, and to a great degree our health depends upon what we eat. We have been told: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31); therefore, brothers and sisters, let us “eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness” (Ecclesiastes 10:17)!  Onycha Holt


Hiram of Port Gibson

A Parable of a Cabin Built for Two

In a mountain village nestled among forest and stream, Sisken grew up. Her village was one of peace and love, for long ago her elders had learned of the one true God who cared for them as his children and who was greater than all the gods they had long worshiped. This God had his eye on her, she was certain, because one day on the beaten trail curving up the mountain from her village, she met Øyre and his father returning to their home in the next village. They were carrying loads of peat, and she and her sister were gathering wood for the family hearth. Eventually a sweet friendship grew between their two families and between Sisken and Øyre in particular. Sitting under the shade of a large pine they often spoke of their future while their siblings played in the sunny grass and while their mothers prepared hillside lunches. Their fathers approved of their courtship and pooled their resources to construct a little cabin for their future home.

Everyone in the two villages soon knew about the love they shared. It was a pure, simple affair, not hot-headed or pushy, a love that grew under the blessing and smile of God. Not only were they thoughtful and considerate of each other, but of their families as well. No one was too old or too young to be unworthy of their attention and help. Grandmothers smiled at their words of courage and comfort and rejoiced in their little deeds of love. Children loved to tag-along and help Sisken with her chores, and Øyre was the first one they called upon for help with their duties and with school work.

So, when the wedding was announced, both villages rejoiced and immediately started planning. It was summer, and the hillsides were full of fragrant flowers, just the thing to use in abundance on tables and windowsills. Wild berries were in rich supply, and gardens were beginning to yield their delicious treats after a winter’s barrenness. Festive clothes, embroidered with colorful designs, were shaken out of storage and hung in the sunshine to freshen. Expectancy and happiness permeated the air and even the oldest members of both villages seemed to walk with a lighter, more buoyant step. And all were astir with the great fun of secretly planning the furnishings of a new little cabin built for two.

Sisken and Øyre were always chaste and innocent when together. Physical closeness would wait until the time it was blessed of God, and in the meantime, the plans they made! A home in the country was what they wanted, with brilliant skies at night and refreshing breezes by day. Fresh food from a garden, clear water from the mountain stream, and birds by day and night were the joys to which they looked forward. But all of this paled in comparison to the joy they both knew in their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He truly was the center of their lives, not each other, and because of this, each could give to the other and to both of their families with the deepest pleasure and sweetest unselfishness.

The day of the wedding dawned still and clear, with Sisken listening through open windows to the breaking of the day. Birds stirred and sang their sweet melodies, mountain streams gurgled along their rocky paths, and in the wet lands frogs greeted the new day. Soon all was astir. Dry leaves rustled as chipmunks scampered about, squirrels chattered noisily as they jumped from branch to branch, and over and through it all a gentle breeze blew, as if an earnest of the great blessing of God’s Spirit on this most precious of days.

At last the longed-for time arrived. Both villages had gathered to witness and then to celebrate this wonderful event. Simple food, surprises, and decorations were all in place. Sisken was dressed in her finest, ready to meet her beloved, but where was he? He was late. No matter; he was worth waiting for. Probably he had been all thumbs in getting ready and just needed extra time.

Two hour passed. His family was clueless. The guests were starting to murmur more loudly. Something definitely was wrong. A few of Øyre’s friends offered to go in search of him. Perhaps he had had an accident on the mountain path, but they returned empty-handed. Now everyone was worried. Lanterns were lite as a real search party left the little village chapel. Loud calls were made for Øyre, but the dark woods brought no response, only a deepening silence.

Øyre was nowhere to be found. The guests began to disparage him, saying he was a scoundrel and certainly not what he had appeared to be. He had put Sisken and her family to shame. She was foolish to have listened to him and was better off without him.

But Sisken refused to be convinced. Her ears still rang with his recent words: “I will always love you. Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, I will always place your interests and welfare above mine. I will leave father and mother and cleave to you and always stay close to you, for there will be less danger from temptation when we are together than when we are apart. I will provide a home for you that will be like heaven on earth. The songs of Zion will echo off its walls, and it will be a cheerful place where angels love to dwell.” And then those last, tender words, “The glow God has given your face, I will never dampen, and the sparkle he has put in your eyes, I will never dim.”

Sisken knew Øyre loved her, but still she cried all night. Where was he? Why had he not come?

Hiram Edson

Hiram also cried through a long night, though far removed from Sisken. He also had heard disparaging remarks when his beloved had not arrived, but he, too, was convinced that his beloved still loved him, for still ringing in his ears were the words impressed on his mind with such certainty—“unto 2,300 days” and “from the going forth of the commandment.” It was as if his beloved had fervently, but sweetly, spoken them just to him, and he trusted those words. Hadn’t his heart fairly burst with joy when he first understood what they meant? It had not been just a simple communication of one man to another, explaining words hard to understand. Man’s words in his ears, yes, but the light of heaven had flooded his eyes as he turned the old pages of his Bible reverently, first here and then there. The joy of discovery seemed to sweep beyond his happy heart to the very portals of heaven where he was sure even the angels sang in joy with him! No, he could never doubt his beloved, but something had happened. What was it? His sorrow was profound.

Many others shared his keen disappointment. The same sweet words had been whispered in their ears, and the same happiness had filled their hearts.

“Father and mother, while doing the necessary things in the home, spent the day in devotion and singing and waiting. No work in the field was undertaken,” recalled one lady several years later. “At last the day was ending—and the Saviour had not come.” Her father was sitting in a chair by the door, and she was playing on the lawn. “Just as the sun was sinking, its last rays lighted up a little cloud on the distant horizon. The cloud shone like silver and burnished gold. Father rose to his feet with face lighted with joy. ‘O praise the Lord,’ he cried, clapping his hands, ‘our Saviour is coming.’” Painful disappointment pervaded that home that night. (Event recounted by W. A. Spicer in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 14, 1939).

Another person was so disappointed that he fled from his friends into the forest and lived there, alone, for several years (Spicer, The Australian Record, August 19, 1940), unable to make sense of what had happened.

It seemed as if cold, hard facts had collided with the warm sweetness experienced in learning this truth. The dates connected to Daniel 8 and 9 were indisputable—facts that could not be nullified—but something had to give. No one knew what, at first, and eventually many, denying both the truth and the experience, turned their backs and left the Advent movement.

On the passing of the time in 1843, we were much disappointed, but still we did not feel discouraged, or like giving up. Nearly every evening we met to comfort and cheer each other on. Until one evening, a brother very unexpectedly came with the cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.” Words can never express the feelings of joy that it brought to my heart. I obeyed the call, and about the tenth day of the seventh month, gave up my business, and tried to do what I could in warning others of the approaching judgment. O, what an effect it had upon the world! How the church and world combined, raged and scoffed at the proclamation of the coming of the Lord. Was there ever a time like that? Now, brethren, you who once rejoiced in this mighty move, and have given it up as all delusion, I ask, what did it all mean? Can you forget all those scenes?—Was it of God, or of man? O, I fully believe that it was of God.

Well, after the tenth of the seventh month passed and the Lord did not come, we were much more disappointed than before. All was darkness around me, and I hardly knew where I was. I heard so many different views presented that I knew not which to believe as truth. (David Seely, The Review and Herald, November 25, 1852)

Ellen White was only seventeen years old at the time and later wrote this of her experience:

“Those who sincerely love Jesus can appreciate the feelings of those who watched with the most intense interest for the coming of their Saviour. The point of expectation was nearing. The time when we hoped to meet him was close at hand. We approached this hour with a calm solemnity. The true believers rested in a sweet communion with God, an earnest of the peace that was to be theirs in the bright hereafter. Those who experienced this hope and trust can never forget those precious hours of waiting.

“Worldly business was for the most part laid aside for a few weeks. We carefully scrutinized every thought and emotion of our hearts as if upon our death-beds and in a few hours to close our eyes forever upon earthly scenes. There was no making ‘ascension robes’ for the great event; we felt the need of internal evidence that we were prepared to meet Christ, and our white robes were purity of soul, character cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of our Saviour.

“But the time of expectation passed. This was the first close test brought to bear upon those who believed and hoped that Jesus would come in the clouds of heaven. The disappointment of God's waiting people was great. The scoffers were triumphant and won the weak and cowardly to their ranks. Some who had appeared to possess true faith seemed to have been influenced only by fear, and now their courage returned with the passing of the time, and they boldly united with the scoffers declaring they had never been duped to really believe the doctrine of Miller, who was a mad fanatic. Others, naturally yielding or vacillating, quietly deserted the cause. I thought if Christ had surely come, what would have become of those weak and changing ones? Where would have been their robes of righteousness? They professed to love and long for the coming of Jesus, but when he failed to appear they seemed greatly relieved and went back to a state of carelessness and disregard of true religion.

“We were perplexed and disappointed, yet did not renounce our faith. Many still clung to the hope that Jesus would not long delay his coming; the word of the Lord was sure, it could not fail. We felt that we had done our duty, we had lived up to our precious faith, we were disappointed but not discouraged; the signs of the times denoted that the end of all things was near at hand, we must watch and hold ourselves in readiness for the coming of the Master at any time. We must wait with hope and trust, not neglecting the assembling of ourselves together for instruction, encouragement and comfort, that our light might shine forth into the darkness of the world. (Ellen White, Life Sketches of James and Ellen G. White, pp. 184, 185; 1888 edition)

And James White wrote these words:

I will here give, as the closing testimony relative to the character of the seventh-month movement, one from the “Advent Shield,” published January, 1845. And let it be borne in mind that the “Shield” was a standard work, of 440 pages, for all Adventists at that time, and that the following testimony from it was not published till about three months after the seventh-month movement, when Adventists had taken time to review the past, and settle, as was supposed, upon a firm, united position. (James White, Life Sketches of James and Ellen G. White, p. 178)

The disappointment at the passing of the time was a bitter one. True believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared his presence as never before. They had, as they supposed, given their last warning to the world, and had separated themselves, more or less, from the unbelieving, scoffing multitude. And with the divine blessing upon them, they felt more like associating with their soon-expected Master and the holy angels, than with those from whom they had separated themselves. The love of Jesus filled every soul, and beamed from every face, and with inexpressible desires they prayed, “Come Lord Jesus, and come quickly.” But he did not come. And now to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of the jeers and revilings of unbelievers who now scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Portland, Me., a few days after the passing of the time, and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.

But God did not forsake his people. His Spirit upon them still abode, with all who did not rashly deny and denounce the good work in the Advent movement up to that time. And with especial force and comfort did such passages as the following, to the Hebrews, come home to the minds and hearts of the tried, waiting ones: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Chap. 10, 35–39. (Ibid., pp. 182–183)

At Hiram’s place on that fateful night:

 . . . some of the company slipped away in the darkness to their homes; others, unable to marshal their wills, stayed on. At last the dawn of a new day came, and its grayness seemed the grayness of their lives. Was there, then, to be no second coming of Christ? Were the promises of God but nothing? Was the Bible all false? Should they never see that golden city of the redeemed, nor walk in that country whose inhabitants would say, “I am no more sick”? Could it be there was no God at all?

“Not so, brethren,” said Hiram Edson to the few who remained; “let us remember how many times the Lord has sent us help and light when we needed it. There is a God, and He will hear us. Let us go and seek Him for light upon this matter.”

In the gray dawn they left the house and went to the barn. Opening the door to the unfilled granary, they went in and knelt upon the floor. Their hearts, numbed by the disappointment, were wakened to life in prayer. One after the other poured out his soul to God in earnest pleading for light and comfort. They were importunate; they would not be denied. They continued in agonized prayer until the answer came. No voice spoke to them, no supernal vision was vouchsafed; yet they knew that God had answered. They felt the assurance that their prayers were accepted, that light would be given, that the disappointment would be explained and the way would be made clear. . . .

After breakfast that morning of October 23, Edson said to one of his friends who was still with him, “Let us go over to see some of the brethren who have left us, and comfort them.” So they started across lots, these two, going through a cornfield, where the corn had been cut and stood in shocks. Concerned each with his own thoughts, they walked silent and absorbed.

In the middle of the field Hiram Edson was suddenly stopped. He lost sight of his surroundings. As he looked up heaven was opened to his view. He saw the sanctuary in heaven; he saw Jesus, the great high priest, come out of the first apartment and enter the most holy, where was the throne of God. And by the panorama he understood clearly that the sanctuary to be cleansed is in heaven; that Jesus, in fulfilling the prophecy, was not to come to earth as a king, but still in His capacity as our high priest, He was to enter upon the cleansing of the sanctuary from the sins of God’s people. Some words of Scripture, dimly heard before, came to his mind with new meaning: The Bridegroom was come to the marriage; the Son of man was come before the Ancient of days; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. In amazement the humble agent received the revelation of the Lord.

His companion had gone on to the boundary fence. Now, noticing that Edson was stopped in the midst of the field, he called, “Brother Edson, what are you stopping for?” And Edson replied, “The Lord is answering our prayer. He is giving light in regard to our disappointment.” Rejoining his friend, he told him what he had seen. They went on to visit the rest of the families, and related to them what had been revealed. Some believed, but to others “their words seemed as idle tales.” (Arthur W. Spalding, The Youth’s Instructor, July 11, 1944)

After studying for about a year with two brothers, the results of their study was published, showing that Jesus had entered the most holy place on October 22, 1844, to cleanse it from sin. This publication was sent to all the believers for whom they had addresses, including James White and Joseph Bates. It brought a great blessing to the faithful ones who had been so keenly disappointed. For example, Horace and Olive Patten of Rochester, New York, wrote these words to James White:

O! that we could tell you with what joy and gratitude we received the true light on the cleansing of the Sanctuary. No one could be clearer, than we were that the days ended 1844. In our darkness we have secretly longed for something that would more fully explain the past mighty move, and the fulfillment of this scripture, “then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed.” Then think of our joy, after waiting near seven long years in ignorance, to learn, that our Great High Priest, did exactly fulfill the types on the tenth day of the seventh month, and entered the Most Holy Place, in the True Sanctuary above which the Lord pitched and not man, . . . (Review and Herald, March 2, 1852; reprinted in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 14, 1939).

And from Wisconsin came these words of a preacher:

I feel like a new man. From 1844 until now I have felt destitute of a message. And though I have occasionally made an effort to preach, yet it has been “like beating the air.” I now long to be in the field, as I was before the tenth-day movement. I see the sanctuary is being cleansed, and the last message is being given. O who will prepare himself for battle!” (Review and Herald, May 6, 1852)

The prophet Daniel was honored with the announcement of the great prophecy recorded in Daniel 8:14: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then all the sanctuary be cleansed,” and Brother Hiram Edson of Port Gibson, New York, was honored with the explanation of its application at “the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17). Praise God for his wonderful works for man: “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward” (Psalm 40:5). The beloved of Hiram Edson and of the faithful tenth-day, seventh-month people did not desert them. He was ever by their side, though unseen, providing comfort and understanding through their bitterest of trials.

Another Parable

The home of Victor Børge was bound together with love for one another and with love for music. For thirty-five years his father, for example, had been a violinist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but it was his mother’s love for the piano that Victor embraced. In his twenties he began to use his musical talents professionally, and during the 1930s, he began to use his humor to denounce the Nazis. As a result, he was placed on their most-wanted list and began to receive threatening letters and phone calls. So it was that by 1940, he left Denmark for work in Sweden.

After he left, however, his mother grew gravely ill, and then on April 9 the Germans swept into Denmark. His mother was taken to a private hospital and admitted under an assumed name to save her from being held hostage in retaliation for Victor’s disappearance.

Even though he was known by most Danes, Victor managed to slip back into Denmark undetected to see his mother. He later wrote of the experience:

His mother, pale and weak, held out her arms to greet him:

“You see,” she whispered, “I’m getting better and soon . . . ” Her strength had gone. (Changed Lives: Celebrities Reveal Their Personal Stories of Divine Intervention, p. 75)

At that moment, desperate to find a way to cheer her, he told her of his work and that as soon as she was well enough, they would go together to America. He had no desire to go to America; he only wanted to see his mother smile again. And she did. Then she whispered, barely audibly, “Don’t let it go to your head.”

Børge continues:

We talked a little until it was time to leave. I leaned down and kissed her, “Good-by, Mother,” and as the sound of the last word echoed in my ears, I knew that I should never see her again.

That evening I returned across the Sound to Sweden. . . . A week later the cablegram came: Mother had died in her sleep. At 10 o’clock on Friday morning there would be a service for her.

I wanted desperately to get back, but it was impossible. The dangers were now too hazardous to overcome, and no longer could I offer comfort to my mother. In my hotel room in Stockholm I read the cable again—“Service at 10 o’clock,” it said. What sort of service would there be? As a student, I’d earned extra money playing the organ at many funeral services. The ritual I knew by heart.

On the day of the funeral, at 9:30 in the morning, I climbed the steps leading to a cemetery in a Stockholm suburb. I knocked on the door of the caretaker’s office. Yes, he understood what I wanted to do and led me to a small stone chapel, opened the door, walked away, and left me alone.

For a moment I stood in the aisle of the little church. A soft light filtered down from the stained-glass windows. Then I went to the organ and sat down. I looked at my watch. It was almost 10 o’clock.

Five hundred miles south in Copenhagen, the people who knew and loved my mother were filing into the sanctuary where her body rested. I began by playing a simple lullaby that Mother had sung to me. My hands dropped to my lap. After a few moments had passed, I could almost hear the voice of someone in the distant chapel speaking about my mother’s dedication to her family and friends, and her devotion to decency and to dignity. I played again, improvising upon some music we had shared. . . . There I was, far from home in another country . . . (Ibid., pp. 74-76)

Brothers and sisters, we, too, are far from home and in another country, but heaven can be as close and dear to us now as the music we hear and as the smiles we share. Even though we have not lived through a terrible disappointment such as experienced by Hiram Edson and other Adventist pioneers, we are living in a time of great expectation. Soon Jesus will appear and call his children home. God’s people at that time will not have gone through a disappointment but “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1). The same love that sustained the Adventist pioneers and that sustained Sisken in our parable will sustain the remnant of God. The refreshing of the latter rain and the final atonement of Jesus in the most holy place will prepare us for that time of trouble. God has promised deliverance for his people, and his promises are sure. May we all remain faithful, and may we soon see the dark clouds break and hear the Son of God himself welcome us home. Onycha Holt


Tasty Recipes

Adapted from Rip Esselstyn’s New York Times Veggie Burgers, found in The Engine 2 Diet on page 186. (Use cans of equal size.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then whiz in blender or food processor:

Place whizzed mixture in large bowl and stir in 2 cups quick oats. Let stand 15 minutes. If too moist, add whole wheat breading material. Form into patties, place on a sprayed baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil 2 minutes, until tops are nicely browned. Serve on toasted whole grain buns with your favorite veggie toppings and healthy condiments.

Omelet Since eggs are 67% fat and each one has over 212 mg of cholesterol, Rip Esselstyn offers this (adapted) omelet recipe as a substitute, which he serves topped with salsa.

Omelet Filling: 

For Omelet, whiz in blender until smooth:

Spray skillet and pour half of the omelet batter into center of pan. Use a spoon to spread it thinly over the bottom of the skillet. Turn heat to medium, cover, and cook for 8 minutes. Then place half of the cooked onions, cooked peppers, and baby spinach in a line down the center of the omelet. Use a spatula to flip both sides over the veggies. Place lid on the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gently shake the skillet from side to side a couple of times to loosen the omelet. Carefully slide the omelet onto a plate. Repeat with the second half of the batter. Serve immediately with salsa and fresh fruit. Variations for the filling include sliced avocados, diced tomatoes, pineapple chunks, and sliced olives.


The Cleaver of Truth

The company of believers may be few in number, but they have been taken by the Cleaver of truth as rough stones from the quarry of the world, and have been brought into God’s workshop to be hewed and squared by ax and chisel, to be fitted up by test and trial for a place in God’s heavenly temple . . . When the earth–born children know it not, they have the angels of light as their companion . . .  A silent witness guards every soul that lives, seeking to win and draw him to Christ. The angels never leave the tempted ones a prey to the enemy, who would destroy the souls of men if permitted to do so. As long as there is hope, until they resist the Holy Spirit to their eternal ruin, men are guarded by heavenly intelligences. (Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times, June 6, 1895)


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

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

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!

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