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.5 Straight and Narrow May 2011


 “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

 

Jesus Christ the Son of God

Do you believe in Jesus? It is amazing that almost every religious person in the world, at least religious in the conventional sense, says that he or she believes in Jesus. But what do they mean? Is believing in Jesus enough? You see, people of many different religious faiths acknowledge Jesus as a real person; however, many people have conflicting views about him.

Islam believes in Jesus. Maybe you did not realize that. In fact in Islam, Jesus is considered to be a prophet and one of the great prophets; however, to them he is not the Son of God. In Islam, Jesus is not divine. In fact, the Qur’an states:

The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; he created him from dust then said to him: “Be”: And he was. (Su 3:59)

Jesus is called “the son of Mary” seventeen times in the Qur’an, but never the Son of God. The Qur’an states, “For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son” (Su 4:171). Is this the Jesus in which you believe?

The Mormons claim to believe in Jesus. However, maybe you did not know that the god of Mormonism is only one of countless gods. Did you know that this god used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of the god on that world? As Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president and prophet of Mormonism, stated, “As man is God once was, as God is man may be.” This god, with his wife, produced spirit children, many of whom inhabited human bodies. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus Christ. The second spirit child, his brother, was Satan, and then we all followed. Do you believe in this Jesus?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in a Jesus who was the first creation of God—created, not begotten—and who, when he died, was not bodily resurrected. Only his spirit was resurrected. Do you believe in this Jesus?

The papacy, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” believes in a Jesus who is the second member of the trinity, a part of God and yet also someone who has been begotten of the Father in the past, is being begotten of the Father right now, and will always in the future be begotten of the Father through a process called “eternal generation.” Do you believe in this Jesus?

Our understanding of words is based upon how we define those words. Gay means something very differently today than it did 185 years ago, when it was defined as “merry; airy; jovial; sportive; frolicksome. It denotes more life and animation than cheerful” (Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition).

When we talk about Jesus and speak of him being the Son of God, we need to have a good understanding of who Jesus is and what we mean when we say he is the only begotten Son of God.

Under inspiration, Zechariah wrote “the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:13). The Hebrew word for both is shenayim (Mynv). It is the plural for two. God had an associate that could enter into council with him. This being the Bible describes as his “only begotten Son.” A father-son relationship is simple enough for a child to understand, yet the trinitarian model of God does not accept the word of God for what it means. God’s word, instead, must be given spiritual meanings upon this subject.

We do not need to go to Islam, Mormonism, Catholicism, or apostate Protestantism to learn the truth about Jesus Christ. Let us notice the plain testimony of the Scriptures, as well as of the Spirit of Prophecy, upon the importance of this subject.

The Importance of Jesus Being the Son of God

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13–18)

Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Son of the living God, and Jesus declared that this truth would be the foundation of his church. The name Peter, as well as the word translated rock, are both from words that mean rock or stone, but each is a different word. Petros represents a smaller stone while petra represents a large mass of rock or stone.

Peter could not be the rock upon which Christ would build his church, for the gates of hell surely did prevail against him. The night before Jesus was crucified, Peter denied Christ three times (Mark 14:63–72). Even after his conversion, Peter was overcome with prejudice and favoritism (Galatians 2:11, 12).

Christ, not Peter, is declared to be the rock of God’s people. It was Jesus that followed Israel in the wilderness. “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1Corinthians 10:4). It is the words of Jesus and the truth that he is the Son of God upon which we are to build our experience. Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25). The testimony of Jesus declares:

Peter had expressed the truth which is the foundation of the church’s faith. (The Desire of Ages, p.413)

The truth which Peter had confessed is the foundation of the believer’s faith. (Ibid., p. 412)

So according to the Bible and the testimony of Jesus, the truth that he is the Son of God is important. It is the very foundation of both the believer’s faith and Christ’s church.

Let us now examine the inspired testimony to see if Jesus is really the Son of God.

The Father’s Testimony

The New Testament records God the Father speaking in an audible voice three times. Two of these times he gives testimony that Jesus is his Son:

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17)

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17:5)

Surely when God openly speaks to humanity, the words he declares must be extremely important, and the truth that Jesus is the Son of God is extremely important.

Christ’s Testimony

The best-known and most-loved verse in all of Scripture gives Jesus’ own testimony as to his identity: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Here Jesus claims to be God’s Son and states that God, indeed, did have a Son to send. When standing before Caiaphas, Jesus acknowledged under oath that he was the Son of God:

And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? (Mark 14:60, 61)

Matthew includes Caiaphas’ words, “I adjure thee by the living God” (Matthew 26:63). Until this point Christ had been silent, but now he replies plainly, “I am” (Mark 14:62). Ellen G. White adds this insightful comment:

To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 10:32. Now by His own example He repeated the lesson. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 706, 707)

The Apostle’s Testimony

The apostles declared Jesus to be the Son of God. Earlier we had noted Peter’s confession as recorded in Matthew 16, however, it was actually Nathanael, not Peter, who first acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. In John 1:49 we read: “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”

The first truth that the apostle Paul preached after his conversion was that Jesus is the Son of God: “And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:19, 20).

Stephen, when testifying of Christ, baptized the Ethiopian eunuch upon the testimony “that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).

Not a Spiritual Son

God has declared Jesus to be his Son. Jesus, under oath, said that he was the Son of God. The apostles proclaimed him to be the Son of God. If the plan of salvation is supposed to be simple enough for a young child to understand, can we honestly accept the testimony of God, Christ, and the apostles, or must we put some deep interpretation upon these words to make them mean something that they do not say? The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that Jesus is not really the Son of God, but rather he is a co-equal with God, who plays the role of a son. God plays the role of a father, and the Holy Spirit plays the role of actualizer. According to the Trinitarian doctrine, when the Bible says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,” it really means that God shared his fellow, or pal, with man.

According to this teaching, Jesus did not call God his Father because he was his Father, but rather “to bring us into a close and personal relationship with God” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . , p. 26). According to the doctrine of the Trinity, “The Father seems to act as source, the Son as mediator, and the Spirit as actualizer or applier” (Ibid., p.30).

The false theory that the relationship of God and Christ is not literal but role-played is arrived at through the use of a spiritual application to the terms Father and Son. For example, the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry notes:

The term “son of God” is used in two main ways in the Old Testament. Neither way denotes any physical relation to God. Rather, the references deal with those who are under divine obedience to the call of God. (http://carm.org/religious-movements/islam/jesus-cannot-be-gods-son)

LeRoy Froom, historian and apologist for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wrote his book Movement of Destiny with the purpose, among other purposes, of promoting the Trinitarian doctrine. Froom uses a spiritual interpretation to state that when the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God, he is not really the Son of God. Note Froom’s reasoning:

The term “son” is widely used in both the Old and the New Testaments wholly apart from the idea of generation or priority. Thus Paul makes a typical reference to “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2; 5:6, R.S.V.). In fact, the term “son” was one of the most common Biblical ways of identifying the characteristics of a personality.

In Biblical terminology son, or sons, was constantly used to indicate the distinguishing character—such as sons of Zion, sons of Belial, sons of God, sons of men, sons of light, sons of the prophets, sons of the stranger, sons of the alien, sons of thunder, sons of the covenant. Christ said to a certain perfidious group, “Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). The term son was therefore used to denote the characteristic trait, the distinctive attribute. It signified the predominant character or intrinsic nature of a person. (Movement of Destiny, p. 30; emphasis in original)

Froom places a “spiritual” application on the term “son.” There are indeed symbols and figures used in the Bible. The seventh chapter of Daniel portrays four different beasts coming out of the sea. (Daniel 7:3) These beasts are noted to be symbolic of “kings” or “kingdoms.” (Daniel 7:17, 23) However, the Bible student must be careful not to put a spiritual meaning where it is not intended. For example, Jesus claimed to be the “light of the world.” (John 8:12) If we couple this with Genesis 1:3 where we read that on the first day God spoke and said, “Let there be light,” we might be led to believe, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, that Christ was the first and highest of all created beings. This would be a very poor conclusion based on improper interpretation. The question now comes, Is there a safe rule of interpretation that may be used? The reformers and Advent pioneers used a very safe rule of interpretation. As Ellen White noted:

The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. (Great Controversy, p. 599)

This rule does not deny the use of symbols, but it simply says that if the language is plain and simple, accept it for what it says. If there is reason to believe that the terms are symbolic, then, of course, the Bible will supply the key for the symbols, such as it does in the book of Daniel where we read in chapter 7:3–7 about certain beasts but then are told that the beasts represent kings and kingdoms (Daniel 7:17, 23).

The Literal Son of God

Now we must ask ourselves, Is Christ the real Son of God, or is He only spoken of this way because of a spiritual relationship? The safe rule of Bible interpretation would tell us that if the vital points of salvation are simple enough for a child to understand, then Christ must be the literal Son of God. However, God does not leave us here on this important subject without further evidence. In Hebrews 1:4 we read that Jesus has “by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they [the angels].” He has His name by inheritance! He is the real Son of God! Paul continues by quoting the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 32:43 applying the phrase, “let all the angels of God worship him” to Christ. Worship is a very serious matter. To worship a creature would be blasphemy. But Paul has noted at the very beginning of his epistle that God created the worlds through Christ. God appointed His Son to be the active agent in the creation process. As the true literal Son of the living God, Jesus rightly receives the name “God” because He is the same substance and matter of his Father. In fact, Paul calls Jesus the “express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3).

To further show the position of the Son of God, Paul quotes from Psalm 45:6, 7 in Hebrews 1:8, 9:

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

According to Paul, the Father is here speaking to his Son and he calls Jesus “God”! If the Father is pleased and content to call Jesus “God,” then should we consider his Son as anything less than divine?

Only Begotten—Not Unique

A great deal of confusion over Jesus being the Son of God is due to two different sets of manuscripts that are used to translate the New Testament. One set of manuscripts is called the Textus Receptus. Textus Receptus is Latin for received text. It is also called the Majority Text because it was the text received by the great majority of the reformers. There are many copies of the Textus Receptus with extremely close agreement between the different copies that have been found in many different parts of the world. The other set of manuscripts includes just two main manuscripts: the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

“The Vaticanus was placed in the Vatican Library at Rome by Pope Nicolas V in 1448, its previous history being unknown (Article entitled “Vaticanus Codex,” reference no. 26766 in Easton’s Bible Dictionary, softcopy of Online Bible).” It is claimed that the Vaticanus manuscript was written in the fourth century, but it has no known history until 1448 when it appeared in the Vatican Library at Rome! The Sinaiticus manuscript has a similar history, being found by Dr. Tischendorf in the convent of St. Catherine in 1859. Its previous history also remains unknown.

The Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts differ in thousands of places from the Textus Receptus. One notable place they differ is found in John 1:18. The texts are basically the same except for one word. John 1:18 in the Textus Receptus includes the phrase monogenes huios; whereas, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts read momogenes theos.

Huios is the Greek word for son. Theos is the Greek word for God. Thus, the Textus Receptus reads only begotten son while the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts read only begotten god. Trinitarians using the corrupted Catholic manuscripts do not believe that there can be a “begotten God”; therefore, they declare that the word monogenes must, instead, mean unique or only one. The New International Version translates John 1:18 as: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Is such a translation, however, consistent with the rest of Scripture?

Let us look at how the term monogenes is used in the Bible. Does it really mean only born or only begotten? This term is used in reference to Jesus five times in the Bible, always by John (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; 1 John 4:9). The only other references are three passages in the book of Luke and a passage in Hebrews which we shall examine shortly. An honest reading of John’s and Luke’s writings, without a preconceived notion, would lead the reader to accept them at face value. The context does not give evidence to the concept of translating monogenes as one and only. Since we are looking for a usage to enlighten us on the passages from John, let us first examine the three usages from Luke. The first is concerning the widow of Nain’s son:

Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only (monogenes) [“only-begotten,” Rotherham translation] son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. (Luke 7:12)

Contextually it is compelling to define mongenes as the only begotten son of the widow. If he was a unique son, she might have other sons or daughters to fall back upon in her distress. The fact that her pathos and sorrow is so great is even a stronger reason to define monogenes as its structure dictates. There is no indication that monogenes means anything other than only born child in Luke 7:12.

The second reference in Luke to monogenes is Luke 8:42 and concerns Jarius’s daughter: “For he had one only (monogenes) [“only begotten”—Rotherham translation] daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.” There is no indication here that monogenes means anything other than an only born child.

The third usage is Luke 9:38 where we have the record of a man’s son who was possessed with an evil spirit: “And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child (monogenes).” Here Ángel Manuel Rodriguez, director of the Biblical Research Committee, admits: “ . . . one could not totally rule out the idea of generation” (Reflections, January 2007). There is no indication that monogenes means anything other than an only born child here. In each of these three cases in Luke, monogenes makes reference to an only born child.

Finally, let us examine Hebrews 11:17, upon which Trinitarians depend heavily and believe wins the case for them: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten (monogenes).” Trinitarians note that Isaac was not Abraham’s only begotten son; he was not even Abraham’s first son. Ishmael was Abraham’s first son, and Abraham also had sons by Keturah. Does this invalidate the meaning of monogenes? If we read the next verse, we see a more complete picture because Paul’s thought does not end with verse 17. Reading verses 17 and 18 together in one unit as they were intended to be read, the text says:

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called. (Hebrews 11:17, 18)

Isaac was Abraham’s only born child to whom the promise of the seed was made! Monogenes is qualified in these verses to be limited to the son of promise. It is interesting that the very theologians who decry the proof text method in the place of “higher criticism” conveniently neglect context in this vital verse!

Clearly, the Greek word monogenes means only born. Christ is the literal offspring of the Father and this certainly agrees with Proverbs 8 where, speaking under the symbol of wisdom, Christ declares:

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth [Hebrew: born]; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth [Hebrew: born]. (Proverbs 8:22–25)

An English translation from the Septuagint for verse 25 says, “Before the mountains were settled, and before all hills, he begets (genna:) me.” Some have said that this verse cannot be referring to Jesus Christ, but in The Signs of the Times, we read:

Through Solomon Christ declared: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.” (The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900)

There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” A complete offering has been made; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”—not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (The Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)

Beloved, there should be no confusion over this foundational doctrine of our faith. Despite the mudding of the waters by the teachings of men, God’s truth is clear for all who are willing to know and follow his truth (John 7:17). The Bible declares that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and this is the faith of the Bible. It is the faith of the Spirit of Prophecy, and history conclusively proves it was the faith of the apostles and the faith of the Adventist pioneers, neither of whom knew anything of a trinity. For documentation on the beliefs of the Adventist pioneers on the identity of Jesus Christ, write for the book What Did the Pioneers Believe?.

Today, so-called Christian orthodoxy is based in the doctrine of the trinity. If one does not believe in the trinity, one cannot be considered a Christian. If a denomination or movement does not believe in the trinity, that group cannot be considered a Christian church by mainline evangelicals; instead, they will be considered a cult or sect. Like Paul, however, we may say, “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets” (Acts 24:14). Allen Stump


Prayer Requests

Paul begins his epistle to the Hebrews by speaking of “these last days” (1:2). As we review the recent events of the disaster in Japan, the violence in many countries, such as Libya and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis that is engulfing the world, we certainly can see that the end must be near. It is the movement of the apostate churches towards Rome, however, that most clearly presents to us the nearness of the great time of trouble. Let us not be as some were in the time of Peter who said that all these things have been since of old.

When we consider these times we need to earnestly pray for one another that we might have a fitness of character to stand in the last days, as well as for workers to give the last warning message.

We are saddened to inform you that Rachel, a young lady we had been praying for died, but we believe that she loved Jesus and will awake at the sound of the trumpet of God. We do ask that you pray for the family’s comfort.

We also would like for you to pray for the upcoming West Virginia camp meeting, that all will be able to attend who desire to do so and that God will freely pour out his Spirit.

Please also keep Kevin Dubbs, Granny Ann Ford’s son, in your prayers, as he is in need of open heart surgery to replace a valve that has been defective since birth.


A Time of Trouble Such as Never Was

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)

When the Axis powers conquered and divided Yugoslavia in the spring of 1941, Sarajevo, crushed by the invading German Army and the Croatian Fascist Ustashe, was absorbed into Croatia. Hitler’s ally, Ante Pavelic, who had headed the Ustashe through the nineteen-thirties, proclaimed that his new state would be cleansed of Jews and Serbs. “Not a stone upon a stone will remain of what once belonged to them,” said he, and when the German Army entered Sarajevo in April, it sacked the city’s eight synagogues and sent the Sarajevo pinkas, a complete record of the Jewish community from its earliest days, to Prague, never to be recovered.

The rumor was that Hitler was planning a “Museum of an Extinct Race” and a new branch of scholarship to be called Jewish Studies without Jews, so when Dervis Korkut learned that the Nazi commander General Johann Fortner was on his way to the Bosnian National Museum in Sarajevo, he was concerned. Korkut was the museum’s chief librarian, and he feared for the library’s greatest treasure, a masterpiece of medieval Judaism known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, kept securely in a safe in the basement of the museum.

Korkut, a Muslim, convinced the director that the masterpiece would be forever lost if turned over to Fortner. Hadn’t they already seen the German invaders destroy ancient Torah scrolls in the streets of their city? Quickly the men went to the basement, opened the safe, and Korkut slipped the small codex, about 6 x 9 inches, into the waistband of his trousers, smoothed out his jacket, and then both men went upstairs to greet their visitor.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

It is now the duty of God’s commandment-keeping people to watch and pray, to search the Scriptures diligently, to hide the word of God in the heart. (The Review and Herald, May 17, 1887)

The word of the eternal God is our guide. Through this word we have been made wise unto salvation. This word is ever to be in our hearts and on our lips. “It is written” is to be our anchor. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 160)

After a few minutes of friendly talk, Fortner demanded the Haggadah. The director looked dismayed and explained that someone had already come and gotten the treasure. Fortner was explosive. “What officer came? Name the man!” The director deftly answered that he had not thought it was his place to require a name. Fortner left angry, but Korkut was able to take the Haggadah home, to find a safe hiding place for it, and after the war, to return it to the museum.

Deportations of undesirables continued to increase in Sarajevo. Jews, Gypsies, and Serbian resisters turned frantically to sympathetic Muslim or Croat neighbors to hide them. Fear of denunciation spread throughout the city.

Those who apostatize in time of trial will bear false witness and betray their brethren, to secure their own safety. They will tell where their brethren are concealed, putting the wolves on their track. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the cruel, unnatural course pursued by friends and relatives. (The Review and Herald, December 20, 1898)

Dervis Korkut was born in Bosnia in 1888, and he followed his family’s tradition of religious scholarship. He studied theology at the University of Istanbul and near eastern languages at the Sorbonne. He became an Islamic scholar, spoke ten languages, and wrote several papers on history and architecture and against alcohol abuse and (with the arrival of Pavelic) the purge of the Jews. He was a gentle soul who wished to live peaceably with all men, but within his gentle soul was an inner strength. When pressured to join a fascist-leaning group of Muslims, he refused, and when Pavelic ordered him to take charge of an Ustashe-controlled library, he rebuffed his demand.

In vision John beheld the trials which God’s people would endure for the truth’s sake. He saw their unyielding firmness in obeying the commandments of God, in the face of the oppressive powers that sought to force them into disobedience, and he saw their final triumph over the beast and his image. (The Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899)

Satan offers to men the kingdoms of the world if they will yield to him the supremacy. Many do this and sacrifice heaven. It is better to die than to sin; better to want than to defraud; better to hunger than to lie. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 495)

One day Korkut arrived home early from the museum, this time with Mira, a young Jewish girl who had nowhere to go. Her anti-Fascist unit in the Sarajevo mountains had been dissolved, and members of her group had split into small groups of three or four for their return to Sarajevo, in order to increase their chances of eluding German patrols. For days and nights, the young Jews moved through the forest unarmed, hunted constantly by Germans and their dogs.

Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised against them break and fall powerless as a straw. Others are defended by angels in the form of men of war. (The Great Controversy, p. 631)

With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. (Ibid., p. 636)

The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the crisis which his people are to meet, when earthly powers shall be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest his mighty power and turn their captivity. (Ibid., p. 634)

Of the thirty people in her group, only a handful made it back to Sarajevo alive, and Mira was one of them. By this time, Mira’s father, mother, and two aunts had been arrested, deported, and killed. Early in the morning and before the city awakened, Mira slipped into Sarajevo. Aimlessly moving through the streets and not knowing where to go, she came to the Finance Ministry building. Her father used to work there, and now a gentleman was leaving. It was an old family friend! He took her by the hand and led her to the cloakroom of the Ministry where she poured out her story of flight and survival. He said not a word while he listened. Then he led her, again by the hand, to the porter’s room of the nearby National Museum, and quietly left her there. After a long time he returned with a distinguished-looking gentleman, Dervis Korkut by name, who led her out the back door to his car and drove her to his home where she remained in hiding until she could safely leave the city a few months later.

If you are in daily communion with God you will learn to place His estimate upon men, and the obligations resting upon you to bless suffering humanity will meet with a willing response. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p.568).

Because of Korkut’s history of unwillingness to bow to Fascist as well as to Communist pressures, he was arrested when Tito came into power and was unjustly convicted of Fascist associations. By this time Mira had obtained work in Tito’s government in recognition of her resistance work in the Sarajevo mountains. Servet Korkut, Dervis’s wife, remembered Mira and entreated her to testify at her husband’s trial, hoping the judge would be favorably influenced by the fact that her husband had saved the life of Mira, a respected government worker.

As Christ was hated without cause, so will his people be hated because they are obedient to the commandments of God. If he who was pure, holy, and undefiled, who did good, and only good, in our world, was treated as a base criminal, and condemned to death, his disciples must expect but similar treatment, however faultless may be their life and blameless their character. Human enactments, laws manufactured by satanic agencies under a plea of goodness and restriction of evil, will be exalted, while God’s holy commandments are despised and trampled underfoot. And all who prove their loyalty by obedience to the law of Jehovah must be prepared to be arrested, to be brought before councils that have not for their standard the high and holy law of God. (The Review and Herald, December 26, 1899)

Korkut served six years of an eight-year sentence, mostly in solitary confinement, but Mira, who had not been able to testify, assumed he had been executed.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

God and Christ and the heavenly host were John’s companions on the Isle of Patmos. (Christ Triumphant, p. 312)

Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction for the church for all future time. . . . Among the cliffs and rocks of Patmos, John held communion with his Maker. He reviewed his past life, and at thought of the blessings he had received, peace filled his heart. . . . (Conflict and Courage, p. 362)

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. (Ibid., p. 369)

Many of all nations and of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, black and white, will be cast into the most unjust and cruel bondage. The beloved of God pass weary days, bound in chains, shut in by prison bars, sentenced to be slain, some apparently left to die of starvation in dark and loathsome dungeons. . . . No human hand is ready to lend them help.

Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? . . . Did He forget Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison house? Did He forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions? . . .

Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. (Ibid., p. 369)

“They kept him alone because they considered him dangerous,” Servet, his wife, said. His ideas could too easily infect and inspire other prisoners. He endured his imprisonment with uncommon fortitude: he never complained nor asked his jailers for mercy, and eventually the prison guards came to regard him with awe.

Because Servet was now the wife of a convicted enemy of the state, her apartment was confiscated and her food ration rescinded. With a five-year-old son and a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, she was forced into the streets. Her husband’s large and prosperous family proved unwilling to risk the disgrace of association with her.

Friends will prove treacherous, and will betray us. Relatives, deceived by the enemy, will think they do God service in opposing us and putting forth the utmost efforts to bring us into hard places, hoping we will deny our faith. But we may trust our hand in the hand of Christ amid darkness and peril. (Maranatha, p. 197)

Servet finally went to stay with one of her relatives, a shoemaker, who lived in the province of Kosovo. Servet arrived with her children in the middle of a meningitis outbreak. Her two-year-old daughter became infected and fifteen days later died.

The Lord has often instructed me that many little ones are to be laid away before the time of trouble. We shall see our children again. We shall meet them and know them in the heavenly courts. (Child Guidance, p. 566)

Many will be laid away to sleep in Jesus before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon our world. This is another reason why we should say after our earnest petition, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, O Lord, be done.” Such a petition will never be registered in heaven as a faithless prayer. (Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 6).

After Korkut’s release from prison, another daughter was born in 1955 to him and Servet—Lamija. Years later, during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, Lamija and her husband tried to obtain visas to leave the country because of the widespread atrocities against Muslims, but the visas were refused. After much persistence, however, visas for their two children were granted, and they left, but Lamija and her husband had to remain behind in Bosnia.

After the children left, electrical power to Lamija’s apartment was cut off. Then her phone lines went down. Through the apartment wall, Lamija could hear the phone next door ringing. The neighbors were Serbs, and she was disturbed to realize that the lines were being cut on the basis of ethnicity. A few days later, Lamija heard Serbian militiamen banging on the door of a downstairs neighbor, ordering them to leave, and Lamija and her husband also had to leave. Carrying what they could, they joined thousands of refugees surging toward the train station and were packed into overcrowded car of the train—“twenty-seven people in a carriage made for six,” Lamija recalled. They had no idea what their destination would be, and at dusk they arrived at the border of Macedonia.

They were herded into an open field occupied by thousands of refugees. Lamija looked around her at the strangely silent, huddled people, whose boots had churned the soft ground of the meadow into mud. Sanitary conditions were already dangerous: there were no proper latrines, and a bad smell hung over the camp. Lamija stated, “There was a hundred liters of water for thousands of people. People were fighting for water. There was no food, no blankets, no shelter. People were sick. Some were already dying.” There were rumors, too, of meningitis in the camp—the disease that had killed her sister after the war. As night fell, the temperature dropped sharply. When a few food packs were given out, the distribution turned into a riot. “People were grabbing from each other,” Lamija said.

The Lord has shown me repeatedly that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. (Early Writings, p. 56)

Lamija managed to get two packs of food, but a frail old woman’s plaintive crying moved her to give one away. That night, Lamija and her husband decided that staying in the camp was too dangerous. At three in the morning, taking advantage of the camp’s disorganization, they crept out of the muddy field, walked in the dark toward the Macedonian border, and miraculously crossed into Macedonia.

During the night a very impressive scene passed before me. There seemed to be great confusion and the conflict of armies. A messenger from the Lord stood before me, and said, “Call your household. I will lead you; follow me.” He led me down a dark passage, through a forest, then through the clefts of mountains, and said, “Here you are safe.” There were others who had been led to this retreat. The heavenly messenger said. “The time of trouble has come as a thief in the night, as the Lord warned you it would come.”

In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly angels. (Maranatha, p. 270)

About this time, Mira, who had settled in Israel as a refugee, read an article about Korkut. She learned that he had not been executed but had lived a long life. She decided to write a letter to a commission in Israel, detailing how Korkut had saved her from certain death and how he had been a great friend to the Jews of Bosnia. As a result of her letter, both Dervis and Servet Korkut were added to the Israeli list of Righteous Among Nations, which gave Servet the right to Israeli citizenship.

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:5)

Even though Lamija and her husband had safely passed into Macedonia, they were not able to find a country willing to accept them as refugees, that is, until they asked the local Jewish community. The Macedonian Jews seized the opportunity to repay a debt from the Second World War, and four days later the Muslim refugees arrived in Tel Aviv amidst the flurry of reporters. The story of how Dervis, a Muslim, had saved Mira and how Mira, a Jew, had saved Dervis’s child, Lamija, through a letter she had written telling of Dervis’s help to Mira during WW II, proved irresistible to the Israeli media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was at the airport to greet Lamija and her husband. Then, in the midst of all the chaos, someone addressed Lamija in Serbo-Croatian. But who could be addressing her so warmly in the language of her birth? A slender, wiry man pushed his way through the crowd, and opening his arms, he introduced himself, and Lamija, the daughter of Dervis Korkut, met for the first time Davor Bakovic, the son of Mira Papo, with much joy and tears.

As the ransomed ones are welcomed to the City of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race—the being whom He created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour’s form. As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at His feet, crying: “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up and bids him look once more upon the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled. (The Great Controversy, p. 647)

Onycha Holt

(Story information adapted from “The Book of the Exodus” by Geraldine Brooks.)


Youth’s Corner

An Ancient and Infallible Recipe

By Carlyle B. Haynes

I have seen it [God’s blessing on tithe-paying] in my own life, and over a long period of years. It has been my practice for nearly a third of a century not only to tithe my income, but to tithe all gifts as well, and anything from which I receive any temporal benefit whatever. It is my firm belief that I should eat no food, wear no clothes, use no furniture, enjoy no home, benefit from no property, real or personal, on which I have not acknowledged God’s blessing in it or its use to me, and acknowledged this in the way prescribed by God when he says, “Bring ye all the tithes.” And this has meant great and abundant and constant blessing to me.

Confirmation of God’s Pledges

But it is not myself I would speak of this morning. During these years there have come under my observation most assuring confirmations of God’s pledges in this matter. I direct your attention to two such experiences:

More than a quarter of a century ago Mrs. Haynes and I pitched our tent in a farming and manufacturing community. And before our eyes we had this demonstration worked out during that summer.

Two families established themselves on several acres of land where there were two houses. One house faced one road, the other another road, and the land ran between these two roads. It was the same kind of land throughout, with not even a fence separating the two plots. One family farmed half of it, the other family the other half.

The two men worked at the factory, and farmed their land after working hours. Neither man professed any religion, but their wives were Adventists. Both men learned from their wives and the Bible that they should pay tithe. As a result one paid tithe, the other did not.

They purchased their seed from the same place, the factory store. They planted the same things. They cultivated the same amount of soil. They used the same amount of fertilizer. They put the same amount of labor on their crops. It was as fair and equal a demonstration as I have ever seen or heard of during all the years of my life. And I was there and watched it all that summer.

One man’s farm prospered. The other man’s farm failed. The sun shone on them both. The same rain fell on both. They had the same attention. But the tomato worms, and potato bugs, and corn borers, and cutworms seemed almost to know that one man was a tithe payer and the other was not. And they seemed to have discovered which was which. At any rate, these devourers were all in the growing things of the non-tither, and the tithe payer was not troubled greatly with them. The result was astonishing. The non-tither complained incessantly that the land wouldn’t grow anything. The tither exhibited his products all about as the prize products of the region.

And there before my eyes for an entire summer I saw worked out in a way I can never forget what it means to have God working in behalf of man. No one can ever convince me that it does not pay, even in temporal ways, to serve the living God faithfully, and make His service first in everything. Yes, lives of devoted faithfulness do have some connection with material safety and temporal welfare.

Experience of “Sister Clancy”

One more confirmation of this fact, and I am done. Thirteen years ago I held a tent effort in New York City. Among those who attended was an elderly spinster who later came to be affectionately known among us as “Sister Clancy,” for she joined the church. I need not add that she was Irish.

She followed the studies at the tent with the deepest interest. It was plain she already knew God. She was a Presbyterian Covenanter, and at that time seventy years of age. She gladly accepted every truth she heard. The nature of man did not bother her. It was Bible, and the Bible to her was the end of all controversy. She joyfully accepted the truth of the Lord’s return. And when the Sabbath truth was presented, she embraced it gratefully.

And then she learned about tithing. It did not take a keen eye to see she was troubled. She waited until I had shaken hands with all the others after the meeting, and then approached me. In her delightful brogue she said:

“I want a few words with you.”

“Yes, sister.”

“You said that all God’s children should pay one tenth of their income to Him.”

“Yes; that is, I read it from the Bible.”

“That’s what I mean. Now, I want to know if you think I should pay tithe.”

“Why, surely—”

“Wait a minute. You don’t know about me yet. Wait until I tell you. And then say whether God expects me to pay Him one tenth of my income.”

“I am listening.”

“Very well, then. I am alone in the world. I have no relatives but one niece. She lives in Boston, and is married. I have no income, no pension from any source. I am beyond the age when I can work. And my sole support is furnished by this nephew by marriage. He sends me $6 a week. He doesn’t need to send it, but, bless God, he does. That is all I have in the world.

“Well—”

“Wait a bit longer until you hear more, and you will be better able to tell me what I ought to do. The cheapest room I can get costs me $4.50 a week, and it remains that low because I have lived there a long time, and a good-hearted landlord has never raised the rent. And so I have $1.50 a week to live on, and that’s all I have. Now, if I pay tithe on my income of $6, or 60 cents a week, I will have, after paying my room rent, just 90 cents a week to live on.

So now you know all about me. Do you think God expects me to pay tithe?”

I confess there never was a time when I wanted so much to say, “No, you poor soul, God can get along without your 90 cents a week. You keep it and feed yourself with it.”

But who was I to change the eternal requirements of God? What authority do I, or does any other preacher, have to modify or abolish His commandments?

Looking down into those serious, earnest eyes of the dear old Irish lady, I told her that it was my understanding that she should obey God and pay tithe, and that while God did not need her money, she needed God’s abundant blessing that faithfulness in tithe paying would bring. And she replied, quite contentedly:

“Very well, Pastor. If God’s blessed word says so, I’ll pay tithe. He has never failed me yet, and I’ve walked with Him many the year. He will not fail me now.”

The next week she brought me her 60 cents. How I did want to return it to her, and tell her that God’s cause would somehow manage to struggle along without her 60 cents. But I did not dare to interfere with God’s arrangements. So I turned her tithe over to the church treasurer, who wrote out a receipt for it and gave it to Sister Clancy.

Week by week she faithfully and gladly brought her 60 cents. And it became a habit with me to stoop down and whisperingly inquire, “Is everything going all right, Sister Clancy?” Invariably her reply was, “It is, thank God.”

Once when I so inquired, she added, “It is amazing how kind the neighbors are since I began to pay tithe. They bring me in things, so many things. And they never used to do it. And do you know, Pastor, that somehow my 90 cents seems to go farther and buy more than ever my dollar and a half did? Ah, Pastor, the good Lord can be relied on to fulfill His blessed word.”

Months later she came into my study, where it was always a pleasure to have her, squared her shoulders, gave her head a bit of a shake, and said:

“I’ve had my wages raised.”

“Tell me about it.”

“That nephew by marriage of mine, blessings on him, wrote me a letter. Here ’tis. And he tells me in it that his income has increased, and as he thought of how to use the extra money, it was borne in on him that I might not raise any protest if from now on he sent me $10 a week instead of $6. And here is the first $10 payment. And now, praise be, my tithe goes up to $1 instead of 60 cents. And instead of having 90 cents a week to live on, I now have $4.50. I dunno, I dunno whatever I’m to do with all my money. Ah, Pastor dear, how faithful the good Lord is to do all He promises!”

Yes, dear friends, God’s promises mean something. They are worth something. And God’s blessing upon our lives amounts to something. You may learn for yourselves that nine tenths of your income, with the blessing of God upon it, will go much farther and do much more than ten tenths of your income with the curse of God upon it.

To the individual, tithe paying simply means placing himself under God’s care, in the place of blessing, being sheltered, shielded, guided, every need supplied, and having the comforting, strengthening assurance that “all things work together for good.” And not to pay tithe is just saying to God, “I do not need your care, your guidance, your loving supply for all needs. I can look after myself.”

Tithe paying is going with God; non-tithe paying is going alone.

(Taken from a sermon by Carlyle B. Haynes, printed in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 14, 1932.)


French Conference President Attacks
Theology of the Final Generation

This year’s first issue of the French edition of the Adventist Review (Revue Advente) carried an article by Daniel Jennah, the President of the North French Conference of Seventh-day Adventists entitled “À l´Imparfait du Subjectif” (“The Imperfect Subjective”). This article begins by stating that “Christian perfection is a topic that has created in the history of Adventism some theological tensions.” Jennah especially points to the system known as “The Theology of the Final Generation.” In his article Jennah strongly attacks final generation theology (which is the theology of the Bible and of the Spirit of Prophecy), as well as some who have promoted last generation theology.

This article is like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It states some things accurately and grossly misstates other points. The main issue of the article is whether or not obedience, specifically total obedience, is possible for the born-again Christian.

Jennah attempts to explain the basis of last generation theology, as taught by Elder M. L. Andreasen, and why it is wrong. He explains this theology in this way:

Since over one century, in the midst of Adventism or not far of, many Christians have understood that they were requested to live a life without sin, perfect, irreproachable, in order to stay faithful, more especially as the time will ineluctably come when Christ’s work of mediation will be finished. In other terms, everything must be done to please God and not lose salvation in the absence of an intercessor before God. This is the basis of the final generation theology. (All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.)

This may be overstating the case somewhat, but neither Elder Andreasen nor those who teach last generation theology would deny the necessity of living a holy life of total victory without an intercessor. The fact is that both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teach that God’s final generation will have this total victory in Christ and will live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. Concerning God’s people, the Bible says:

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)

According to the type, the blowing of the trumpets came on the first day of the seventh month. This was to announce that the judgment was nearing, and on the tenth day, the day of atonement (Yom Kippur) took place. As Adventists we believe that we are living in that final time of atonement, but Inspiration never teaches that time will instantly pass from the end of the Day of Atonement to the coming of Jesus. In fact, when Christ, denoted as Michael in Daniel 12:1, stands up, representing the close of probation, “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” During this time Jesus will not be an intercessor for anyone, the reason being that the wicked are forever set in wickedness and shall never change their position. The righteous, on the other hand, are sealed and molded in such a manner that they, too, will never change their position of loyalty. They will never throughout all of eternity sin again. The Spirit of Prophecy also states:

Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. (The Great Controversy, p. 425)

Elder Jennah continues with his attack upon truth, by stating:

This [last generation] theory has been elaborated byM. L. Andreasen, ancient professor of Adventist theology, specialist of the sanctuary. Andreasenhas founded his theology on declarations of pioneers asE. J. Waggoner, A. T. Jones,or others saying that by God’s grace, sin must entirely by erased from our lives, as one effaces a blackboard in a classroom. These men have advanced the idea (unbiblical) that we will ultimately have to live without a mediator, without an intercessor.

It first should be noted that while Elder Andreasen met both Jones and Waggoner and even had lengthy discussions with Elder Jones, he was not dependant upon them for his theology. Andreasen was a Bible student of high order and, perhaps, the greatest theologian the church has ever produced.

Elder Jennah speaks of our sins being erased as one effaces a blackboard. The truth is that the Bible does speak about a time when the sins of the righteous will be finally and fully blotted out:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22)

The prophet Ezekiel speaks of our sins that have been confessed but not blotted out being placed to our account again.

But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. (Ezekiel 18:24)

Elder Jennah also notes:

These concepts are once more used today by diverse perfectionist currents in our ranks and contribute to weaken and to divide the Church. Furthermore, they interrogate any Bible student about the fundamental principles needed for a healthy dogmatic.

Here Jennah tries to discredit by using labels those who teach truth. Interestingly he never once quotes from the Scripture or from the Spirit of Prophecy to sustain his position of theology.

The Charge against God’s Law

Jennah goes on to state that last generation theology stands on five major points. Let us briefly examine each one. Jennah says:

Satan has pretended that God’s law cannot be observed. The contrary must then be proven.

You may doubt that Satan has made this charge, but I do not for one minute doubt it, and the Spirit of Prophecy supports it in the following statements:

In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, . . . (The Desire of Ages, p. 761)

Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the Lawgiver. Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men can not keep the law of God. Jesus humbled himself, clothing his divinity with humanity, in order that he might stand as the head and representative of the human family, and by both precept and example condemn sin in the flesh, and give the lie to Satan's charges. (The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896)

At this point we might ask the question, What is the alternative to believing that God’s law can, by his power and grace, be kept? The alternative is to believe that it cannot be kept and thus echo the claims of Satan; however, if it cannot be kept, how much cannot be kept?

It reminds me of the last time I bought a new car many years ago. I decided what I wanted to buy and then went to every dealer within a wide radius and simply asked their bottom-line price for the type of car I wanted to buy. I knew what the sticker price of the car should be. I simply wanted to know how much of a discount I could obtain.

In the spiritual realm there are those who want to know what discount they can have when it comes to sin. Perhaps, based upon their own experience, they have concluded that all will sin some each day. When I was about ten I went to Sunday School sometimes. I honestly do not remember one single Bible lesson from that time, but I do remember being taught that we would all sin some each day. That seemed pretty comforting to a big sinner like I was at the time. But is there really a discount? And if so, why? Does God not provide ample power to overcome all sin? Of course, he does. The Bible is full of great promises, such as:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Corinthians 10:13)

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. (Jude 24)

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Does the Bible speak anywhere of problems resulting from just a single sin? We need look no further than the beginning of the Bible and our first parents. In Genesis chapter 3 we have the story of what a single sin can do. Eve’s first sin led to Adam’s sin and to the fall of the entire race and, with it, the whole planet.

By their one sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Some may regard that transgression as a very little thing; but we see that its consequences were anything but small. The angels in heaven have a wider and more elevated sphere of action than we; but right with them and right with us are one and the same thing. (Counsels on Health, p. 409)

Do you know how many times the Bible records a sin against Moses when he was leading the children of Israel in the wilderness? Though he was tempted greatly several times to lose his cool, he remained above his surroundings every time, but one! In Numbers 20 we have the story of Moses and Aaron becoming impatient, and instead of speaking to the rock as commanded by God, Moses smote the rock twice and took the glory that belonged to God (Numbers 20:1–11). We are told:

Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 478)

Not only Moses, but Aaron also lost a wonderful opportunity at the desert of Zin:

For one sin, Aaron was denied the privilege of officiating as God’s high priest in Canaan in offering the first sacrifice in the goodly land, and thus consecrating the inheritance of Israel. . . . Here the children of Israel saw that God was no respecter of persons; that the sins of men in exalted stations will no more be permitted to pass unpunished, than if committed by men in lowly positions. (The Signs of the Times, October 14, 1880)

The child of God must search out the sin which he has petted and indulged himself in, and permit God to cut it out of his heart. He must overcome that one sin; for it is not a trifling matter in the sight of God. (The Review and Herald, August 1, 1893)

Have you ever heard of a little boy named Uzzah? I doubt it. Nobody names a child that today. Why? Because Uzzah was destroyed for one sin. David was attempting to move the sacred ark. The ark was to be carried by the Levites, but instead of the divine manner of transportation being used, a new cart was provided. As they moved along, the cart and oxen shook. Uzzah wanted to steady the ark, but when, in direct violation of the divine law (Numbers 4:15), he touched it, it was the touch of death to Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:1–7). For one sin Uzzah was killed.

Jesus knew the importance of one sin and he set his face as a flint to resist the devil. He could say “the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). Jesus could ask the leaders of the Jews “which of you convinceth me of sin” (John 8:46)?

Could one sin have been found in Christ, had He in one particular yielded to Satan to escape the terrible torture, the enemy of God and man would have triumphed. Christ bowed His head and died, but He held fast His faith and His submission to God. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:10. (The Desire of Ages, p. 761)

Hebrews 9:28 says: “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.” The Phillips translation says: “He will appear a second time, not this time to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who eagerly await him.” The Twentieth Century New Testament says: “The second time he will appear—but without any burden of sin—to those who are waiting for him, to bring Salvation.” Jesus does not come to deal with sin or have a burden of sin because his people have been fully and finally cleansed in the final atonement.

One sin unrepented of is enough to close the gates of heaven against you. It was because man could not be saved with one stain of sin upon him, that Jesus came to die on Calvary's cross. Your only hope is to look to Christ and live. He came to save to the uttermost all who came unto him; and he is fully able to do all that he has undertaken to do for you. He will lift us up from the degradation into which we have fallen because of sin. (The Signs of the Times, March 17, 1890)

The Nature of Christ

The second point that Jennah states about last generation theology concerns the nature of Jesus:

Jesus has come in a human nature 100 percent similar to ours to prove that God’s law wasn’t unjust and that it was possible to observe it.

It would appear that in the first part of this statement, Jennah is attempting to say that last generation theology believes that Jesus “took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted” (Medical Ministry, p. 181). If this is what Jennah means, then he is correct. According to the Bible, Jesus accepted the fallen nature of man. Paul writes:

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)

Jesus is called the seed of David (Romans 1:3) and “the root and the offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16).

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:14–16).

Concerning the charge that Jesus came to prove that the law could be kept and that it is possible for humanity to keep God’s law, may we ask: Does God expect humanity to do what he has commanded? When Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), did he mean it? When John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1John 5:3), was he joking with the brethren? Jesus came and demonstrated what a man filled with God’s Spirit can do.

He [Christ] demonstrated the fact that when humanity depends wholly upon God, men may keep God's commandments and live, and his law be as the apple of the eye. (Special Testimonies, series A, no. 3, p. 59)

Christ overcame the temptations of Satan as a man. Every man may overcome as Christ overcame. (Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 136)

He [Christ] had only the advantages in the battle which are the privilege of fallen man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, but he met Satan with the weapon of God's word, saying, “It is written.” (The Youth’s Instructor, October 10, 1895)

The secret of Christ’s victory was combining divine power with humanity:

Christ took humanity to stand here in our world, to show that Satan had lied. He took humanity upon Himself to demonstrate that with divinity and humanity combined, man could keep the law of Jehovah. Separate humanity from divinity, and you can try to work out your own righteousness from now till Christ comes, and it will be nothing but a failure. (Faith and Works, p. 71)

Christ always attributed his life to the power of God. See John 5:20, 36; 10:32; and 14:10. It is the privilege of all Christians to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and to receive the Holy Spirit to obey all the commandments of God. We have been told:

When He came to the world the first time, divinity and humanity were blended. This is our only hope. (The Signs of the Times, March 8, 1899)

In Christ divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an overcomer is through becoming a partaker of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ. (The Youth’s Instructor, June 30, 1892)

As a person partakes of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, he or she becomes a partaker of the divine nature, and humanity is again blended with divinity. Overcoming sin is not only possible, but will be the normal experience, for Christ’s Spirit is well able to subdue all sin and unrighteousness.

The Atonement Not Completed at the Cross

The third point that Jennah states about last generation theology concerns the nature of the atonement:

At the cross, Christ’s atonement wasn’t entirely accomplished. Since 1844, Christ continues a cleansing work in the heavenly sanctuary which must accomplish a life without sin in the members of the Remnant Church.

This statement of Elder Jennah’s is very accurate. Though he does not agree with it, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy both attest to its accuracy.

In the type, as revealed in the sanctuary, there was an atonement made when the blood was applied from the sin offering. Leviticus 4:35 states: “ . . . the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” The cross provides an atonement of forgiveness, but this was not the only atonement. Leviticus 16 explains the day of atonement services where there was an atonement of cleansing. “ . . . shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (v. 30). Ellen White called this the “final atonement” (The Great Controversy, p. 480). The early Adventist pioneers did not believe that the atonement was completed upon the cross and even wrote this belief into their first statement of fundamental principles. Statement #2 about Jesus says that he:

. . . ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in Heaven, where, with his own blood he makes atonement for our sins; which atonement so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of his work as priest according to the example of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in Heaven. See Lev. 16; Heb. 8:4, 5; 9:6, 7; &c” (A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists, 1872)

Remembering that theology is not a set of encapsulated ideas that stand alone or apart from each other, we can see that if one argues the impossibility of keeping God’s law, even by his empowering grace, then sanctification and full cleansing are not possible. Salvation and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ becomes only substitution instead of substitution and example. The atonement of forgiveness provided at the cross is necessary, but the atonement of cleansing in the most holy place is necessary, too.

We might wonder why evangelical Protestants, including those who style themselves evangelical Adventists, have an aversion to the atonement in heaven. Remember that according to the type (Leviticus 4), the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross provides forgiveness. The ministry of Jesus in the most holy place, according to the type (Leviticus 16), provides cleansing. So if we accept the idea that we cannot offer full obedience to God, then we need continual forgiveness, and cleansing is not an option. On the other hand, if we claim that the atonement was completed on the cross and that atonement is forgiveness, then there is no room for cleansing either.

When certain leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met with leading evangelicals in 1955 and 1956, this concept was accepted and put into the book Questions on Doctrine. LeRoy Froom, the principle writer, wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is actually the current position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as it has been careful woven into the statement of fundamentals. Notice the first part of belief number 24:

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.

This is the language of Questions on Doctrine. The benefit that is made available is forgiveness, not cleansing. The Book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe repeats this concept.

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

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

This is the very language of Questions on Doctrine. In Chapter 9 of Seventh-day Adventists Believe, entitled “The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ,” we read:

There, as High Priest, He [Christ] applies the benefits of His complete and perfect atoning sacrifice to achieve the reconciliation of humans to God. (Ibid., p. 125)

While fundamental number 24 speaks of the investigative judgment and Christ being in the sanctuary in heaven, it teaches that this is simply to reveal who will be saved. Words and expressions such as “reveals,” and “makes manifest” are used, but there are no verbs indicating that Jesus is now doing anything that helps the Christian to overcome sin and to be ready for the second coming of Jesus. True Adventism teaches that Jesus is today preparing a people to stand before God and to be ready for the second coming of Jesus and that the final generation, after the close of probation, will stand before a holy God without an intercessor.

The Perfection of the Saints

The fourth point that Jennah states about last generation theology concerns perfection:

At the measure of one generation, the last one, Christ’s character must be reproduced in the life of those who wait his second coming. When theRemnantChurchwill finally accept this message and will reach absolute perfection, Christ will come back to claim it as his.

Last generation theology certainly does teach that Jesus will come back. “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69). Notice that it is the character that is perfectly reproduced in God’s people. The term “absolute perfection” is not defined by Jennah. The flesh will certainly not be perfected before Jesus comes back, so we would never claim that kind of perfection, but Paul speaks of the church for which Jesus will come back: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Peter says, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2Peter 3:14). The Apostle John wrote:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1John 3:9, 10)

Beloved, Inspiration describes those living in the last days: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2Timothy 3:5). The power they deny is the power to live above sin (2Timothy 3:2–4). Paul continues, by saying: “From such turn away” (v. 5). Beloved, we cannot afford to read material from those who deny the power, nor can we afford to attend church services where the obedience of the saints is lightly treated.

In bold text printed beside by a photograph of a young girl with a turned-up nose and chin (whose picture was also used on the cover of the Revue Advente), the article states: “The perfects [saints] of the Bible are not without sin, but rather are engaged men of integrity who are fully committed.” Men of integrity who are fully committed are men who would rather die than sin. Ellen White noted:

Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. . . . Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are the only ones who will be found faithful. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 53)

The Vindication of God’s Character

The fifth main point Jennah states opposition to is the concept that the saints have a part in the vindication of God’s character:

By the capacity to observe all of God’s law, the last generation will “justify God” in the frame of this grand cosmic conflict which opposes Christ and Satan.

One of the most common truths is that a man cannot justify himself with his own words. I can say that I am honest, but if you already doubt my honesty, how can further words make any difference? No, some kind of demonstration of honesty must be made or testified to from another source to vindicate me. Paul understood that God was on trial before the universe and therefore wrote in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” He said that God was to be justified when he was judged. The whole context of Romans 3 is justification of the saints, and this process will bring about a justification of God’s character. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Just as God used Job to answer Satan’s charges in antiquity (Job 1, 2), he will use his last-day remnant to answer Satan’s charges in the last days. Just as God’s character was revealed to the then world by Job, so his character will be revealed at the end of time. Let us hear from Andreasen, who writes:

While it is true that many from time to time have dedicated their lives to God and lived without sin for periods of time, Satan claims that these are special cases, as was Job’s case, and do not come under the ordinary rules. He demands a clear-cut case where there can be no doubt, and where God has not interfered. Can such an instance be produced? (The Sanctuary Service, pp. 113, 114)

Ellen White says that God is waiting for just such a demonstration:

All heaven is waiting for man to vindicate God’s law. (The Review and Herald, April 16, 1901)

God’s law is a transcript of his character. To vindicate God’s law is tantamount to vindicating God and his character.

The honor of the law of God is to be vindicated before the unfallen worlds, before the heavenly universe, and before the fallen world. The bitterest persecution will come, but when Zion arises, and puts on her beautiful garments, she will shine forth in the beauty of holiness. God designs us to have more life and more power, because the glory of God has risen upon the church. (Ye Shall Receive Power, p.338)

It becomes every child of God to vindicate His [God’s] character. You can magnify the Lord; you can show the power of sustaining grace. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 317)

There is a concept that has become known as prevenient grace. This is grace that God bestows upon the believer before conversation so that he might be able believe and understand the love of God and thus be drawn to God and accept Jesus. Christians freely believe in forgiving grace to cover sins committed in the past, but in this last reference Ellen White speaks of “sustaining grace.” This is grace that sustains the believer and keeps him from sin. This is grace that enables the believer to live clean before man and God.

Andreasen, writing in his book The Sanctuary Service, continues:

God is ready for the challenge. He has bided His time. The supreme exhibition has been reserved until the final contest. Out of the last generation God will select His chosen ones. Not the strong or the mighty, not the honored or the rich, not the wise or the learned, but common, ordinary people will God take, and through and by them make His demonstration. Satan has claimed that those who in the past have served God have done so from mercenary motives, that God has pampered them, and that he, Satan, has not had free access to them. If he were given full permission to press his case, they also would be won over. But he charges that God is afraid to let him do this. “Give me a fair chance,” Satan says, “and I will win out.”

And so, to silence forever Satan’s charges; to make it evident that His people are serving Him from motives of loyalty and right without reference to reward; to clear His own name and character of the charges of injustice and arbitrariness. And to show to angels and men that His law can be kept by the weakest of men under the most discouraging and most untoward circumstances, God permits Satan in the last generation to try His people to the utmost. They will be threatened, tortured, persecuted. They will stand face to face with death in the issuance of the decree to worship the beast and his image. (Revelation 13:15) But they will not yield. They are willing to die rather than to sin.

God removes His Spirit from the earth. Satan will have a greater measure of control than he has ever had before. True, he may not kill God’s people, but that seems to be the only limitation. And he uses every permission he has. He knows what is at stake. It is now or never.

God, to make the demonstration complete, does one more thing. He hides Himself. The sanctuary in heaven is closed. The saints cry to God day and night for deliverance, but He appears not to hear. God’s chosen ones are passing through Gethsemane. They are having a little taste of Christ's experience those three hours on the cross. Seemingly they must fight their battles alone. They must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.

But though Christ has finished His intercession, the saints are still the object of God’s love and care. Holy angels watch over them. God provides them shelter from their enemies; He provides them with food, shields them from destruction, and supplies grace and power for holy living. (See Psalms 91) Yet they are still in the world, still tempted, afflicted, tormented.

Will they stand the test? To human eyes it seems impossible. If only God would come to their rescue, all would be well. They are determined to resist the evil one. If need be they will die, but they will not sin. Satan has no power—and never has had—to make any man sin. He can tempt, he can seduce, he can threaten; but he cannot compel. And now God demonstrates through the weakest of the weak that there is no excuse, and never has been any, for sinning. If men in the last generation can successfully repel Satan’s attack; if they can do this with all the odds against them and the sanctuary closed, what excuse is there for men’s ever sinning?

In the last generation God gives the final demonstration that men can keep the law of God and that they can live without sinning. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. The only limitation put upon Satan is that he may not kill the saints of God. He may tempt them, he may harass and threaten them; and he does his best. But he fails. He cannot make them sin. They stand the test, and God puts His seal upon them.

Through the last generation of saints God stands finally vindicated. Through them He defeats Satan and wins His case. They form a vital part of the plan of God. They go through terrific struggles; they battle with unseen powers in high places. But they have put their trust in the Most High, and they will not be ashamed. They have suffered hunger and thirst, but now “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16, 17. ( pp. 114, 115)

Beloved, “we have not followed cunningly devised fables” (2Peter 1:16). The truth of the Advent movement and the final generation stands solidly upon inspiration. How dare we allow those to enter our pulpits to preach and to write in our periodicals who are under the control of Satan and who teach the devil’s lies?

The Apostle Paul, writing about such, says, “Having “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2Timothy 3:5). He then gives divinely-inspired counsel which to disobey is at great expense to our souls: “From such turn away.” This is echoed by John in the Revelation: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). In closing I am reminded of what it says on page 45 and the top of page 46 in The Great Controversy:

But there is no union between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness, and there can be no union between their followers. When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism, they entered upon a path which led further and further from the truth. Satan exulted that he had succeeded in deceiving so large a number of the followers of Christ. He then brought his power to bear more fully upon these, and inspired them to persecute those who remained true to God. None understood so well how to oppose the true Christian faith as did those who had once been its defenders; and these apostate Christians, uniting with their half-pagan companions, directed their warfare against the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ.

It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed

After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children's children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war.

Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.

Allen Stump


The Sacred Name

For a few years now there has been a teaching among some Seventh-day Adventists which has become known as The Sacred Name. This teaching declares that the Hebrew personal names of the Father and his Son are to be used when speaking and writing of the divine persons. Some take the case further, stating that terms like God, amen, and even Jesus have pagan origins and should not be used. What is the truth on this matter?

Let us first note that God the Father does have a personal name. In Hebrew we find it given as YHWH sometimes known as the Tetragrammaton (a word with four letters). Biblical Hebrew was written only with consonants; there were no written vowels. The reader was assumed to know the language and how to sound the words. When the Hebrews were in captivity in Babylon, they did not use their language and a certain understanding of the vowels became lost. Today there is no one who has a sure understanding of all the proper vowels to use in Hebrew. There are some who make educated guesses at the vowels, but this cannot always be done with certainty. Thus the name YHWH was translated in the King James Bible as Jehovah but is more commonly understood to be Yahweh today. Some have advocated pronouncing it YAHVAH, YAHVEH, or YAHUWAH; however, honesty demands that we acknowledge the vowels, and perhaps even the consonants, are not fully understood. Thus, outside of a direct revelation, it would be impossible to correctly pronounce the divine name, no matter how hard one may try.

The Jews considered the name of God sacred. In fact, they considered it so sacred that they would not pronounce it and quit using it in all common conversation, as well as writing, with few exceptions.

The Septuagint (LXX) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament and in the place of YHWH the translators used the Greek word kurios (Lord) for YHWH.

The name of the Son of God is usually considered Yashua by those who promote the sacred name teaching. This is a version of Joshua. Joshua is the Hebrew equivalent of the name the King James Bible calls Jesus, from the Greek Iesous. The scope of this article will not deal with the etymology of the name Jesus, but it is certainly not from the name Zeus, though it might sound and look something like it. Jesus is simply the best translation we have of the Hebrew Joshua, into the Greek Iesous, into the English Jesus.

The Old Testament has three other spellings and pronunciations for the name Joshua: Jehoshua, Jeshua, and Hoshea.

Interestingly in the New Testament, the divine name of the Father is never used by any of the speakers or writers. Even the recorded words of his Son do not have one usage of YHWH. Almost all the quotations in the New Testament come from the LXX and there is not a single usage of the name YHWH in any of the New Testaments quotations from the LXX.

At times I have seen people adamant about the need to use a special pronunciation of the divine names, while refraining from using the names and titles as given in the King James English version. Speakers, at times, may use various terms not found in the Greek, Hebrew, or English Bibles. When they come to words referring to God, Lord, or Jesus they refuse to read what is written. Sometimes these people will insert a Hebrew or Greek word into the passage, but sometimes they will say “Most High” or “Father” instead of God, or something else other than what was written in the Scripture. This is actually promoting the idea that we have to learn to speak a certain degree of Hebrew to be saved, for all of the Christian terms used for God and his name are considered satanic. These people take words such as amen, Lord, alleluia, Christ, God, and Jesus; and in every place they appear in the Bible or in the Spirit of Prophecy they insert another word as a substitute. If we do this, we have to rewrite the word of God.

In John 20:17 Jesus told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)”. Here we have inspiration stating that Jesus used the term God. Also in Hebrews 1:8 and 9, God the Father uses the term “God” three times; once for himself and twice for Jesus. Shall we say that God is wrong? Our word amen is derived from the Hebrew word amen, meaning truly, or so be it. It is based upon the word aman which is translated believe, assurance, sure, etc. Two words may sound and even look alike, but that does not mean that they are from the same origin or have similar meanings. The English words car and bar have similar sounds and are spelled almost the same but they have very different meanings and origins.

Let us look at a few quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy beginning with Sister White’s testimony as to the origin of what she wrote under the claim of inspiration: “Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation” (The Review and Herald, October 8, 1867, see also Selected Messages, book 1, p. 38, book 3, p. 278). Let us consider what the angel told her:

In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said, “Time is almost finished. Do you reflect the lovely image of Jesus as you should?” (Early Writings, p. 64)

The angel himself said “Jesus.” Another example:

“Educate, educate, educate,” said the angel. “Give the people the truth. Lift up Jesus before them.” (Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 87)

This is a quotation from the angel. The angel was not speaking in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, or any other language. The angel was speaking in English to Ellen White and said “Jesus.” Here is another quotation:

Said the angel, “Jesus has nearly finished His work in the sanctuary.” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 219)

These are just some of many quotations. What about the word God? Did any heavenly messengers use that expression?

Said the angel, “The little remnant who love God and keep His commandments and are faithful to the end will enjoy this glory and ever be in the presence of Jesus and sing with the holy angels.” (Early Writings, p. 66)

The angel spoke English and said “God,” as well as “Jesus.”

The angel said, “Can such enter heaven?” Another angel answered, “No, never, never, never. Those who are not interested in the cause of God on earth can never sing the song of redeeming love above.” (Early Writings, p. 50)

What about the word Lord?

And the angel said, “These are they that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and are obeying the words of Christ.” (Gospel Workers, p. 378; 1892 edition)

The angel speaks English and says “Lord,” “Jesus,” and “Christ,” all three. Over and over again, the angels speak of the Lord, the day of the Lord, anger of the Lord, etc., and all are in quotation marks.

What about the words amen and alleluia? Again we go to the book Early Writings:

They would bear the tidings upward, and all the angels in the city would weep, and then with a loud voice say, “Amen.” But if the saints fixed their eyes upon the prize before them and glorified God by praising Him, then the angels would bear the glad tidings to the city, and the angels in the city would touch their golden harps and sing with a loud voice, “Alleluia!” and the heavenly arches would ring with their lovely songs. (Early Writings, p. 39)

Ellen White also used the term Jehovah literally hundreds of time.

That time will soon come, and we shall have to keep hold of the strong arm of Jehovah. (Early Writings, p. 60)

At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father’s glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. (The Desire of Ages, p. 116)

If the teachers of the sacred name are correct, Ellen White and the angels must not know how to refer to the Father, to his Son, and to spiritual things correctly. But no, despite what we might think, we are not smarter than the prophet or heaven.

Here is why we see the resistance to the use of the name of Jesus today:

The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian and will assuredly prevail against Satan. This is why he insinuates that we have no need of prayer. The name of Jesus, our Advocate, he detests; and when we earnestly come to Him for help, Satan’s host is alarmed. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 296)

Inspiration tells us that Satan detests the name of Jesus, our Advocate, and that is why there is such adamant opposition to the name of Jesus!

Former General Conference President, A. G. Daniells, recounted the experience of Nathaniel Davis, an Australian minister who had been possessed by evil spirits. Ellen White encouraged Daniells to help Davis break free of the evil spirits that possessed him. She wrote a letter to Davis that she asked Elder Daniells to read to David. Here is Daniells’ recollection of the experience:

When I began reading it to him, he became very much excited. After a little, I heard some sort of disturbance, and looking up, saw him with an open knife in his raised hand. I asked, “What is the matter?” He grated his teeth and glared at me like a madman.

His wife and I appealed to him to put the knife down, but he was menacing us so wildly that I did not dare to go on reading. I did not know whether he would thrust it into me or his wife or himself. I said, “Let us kneel down and pray to God. There is a God in Israel who can help us, and we must have His help.”

We knelt down, and I may tell you that I was never in a more perplexing place. I knew that demons were in the room and I knew that we must have the power of that same Christ who subdued demons and cast our devils while among men.

The first thing I said was “O Lord, we come to Thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus.” At the mention of the name Jesus, that man hurled his knife across the room with terrible violence. At the mention of the all-powerful name of Jesus he broke into sobs and the violence disappeared. After his wife and I had prayed, he prayed most earnestly to God to deliver him from those tormenting devils. (Herbert Douglass, They Were There, p. 74)

By God’s grace, Nathaniel Davis was delivered through the mighty name of Jesus. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Beloved, we are not so presumptive to say that English or any language will be the language of heaven, but we can see that God is more than willing to communicate with his children on a level that they understand. “All His biddings are enablings” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333). If God bids his children to use a special name then he will certainly enable them to do so. However, without being able to accurately know how to say the divine name exactly, we can be sure that God has not commanded this.

Allen Stump

I would like to acknowledge a great indebtedness to Pastor David Sims’s research for several of the quotations from Ellen White used in this article.


West Virginia Camp Meeting, June 14–18

Smyrna Gospel Ministries would like to invite all who are interested in preparing for the return of our Lord Jesus to attend camp meeting June 14–18 at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel in West Virginia. As always, we eagerly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship, and we are very anxious to see all of you once again. We are also very desirous to meet new friends and families. Please do not let anything prevent your attendance this June because time is short and more than ever we need to draw closer to one another and closer to our Redeemer. Our theme this year will be “The Pillars and Landmarks of Our Faith!”

Tentative speakers this year include Elvis Alberto returning from the island of Curacao; Lynnford Beachy; Ed Cyrus; David Sims; Reuben Gomez, Stephen Lewis, Dennis Robertson, and Dr. Glenn Waite. Brother Ron Toel, a marine biologist will be having some special presentations on sea life at the nature center for the young and young at heart.

There will be programs for the different ages of youth over four years. These groups will also plan their programs to emphasize the main pillars of our faith.

We are also planning on four different optional items that we believe will be a blessing to many. The first will be a tent supplied with recipes cards for delicious and nutritious vegan dishes along with samplers for our campers to try. The second tent will be for simple health care demonstrations and massage. The third will be our story-hour tent. The fourth item will be a seminar on using computers.

Camping is free to all, but each camper will be responsible for his or her own meals, except on Sabbath when a meal will be served at midday. Kitchen facilities will not be available, but camp stoves can be used in the camping area, but no outdoor fires will be allowed. Ice can be obtained one mile away.

We have four shower units with hot and cold water. Do not forget items such as bedding, flashlights, food, toiletries, and insect repellent. Let our dress and deportment be such as becomes Christians.

While there is room for RV’s, we do not have hook-ups. RV’s will need to be self-contained. For those who wish, there are motels in the area. The nearest motels are: The Pocahontas Motel (304) 436–2250, The Cow Shed (304) 732–7000, and Twin Falls State Park Resort (304) 294–4000. If you need a room, please call early, as the better motels fill up quickly due to a large influx of tourists at this time of year.

Detailed directions are on our website. The GPS co-ordinates are N 37° 31' 13", W 81 36' 09".

Youth Camps Planned

Without doubt our youth are one of our most important resources and yet perhaps one of our most neglected resources. For the training and encouragement of our youth we are planning a youth camp for this summer to be held in scenic West Virginia. We are currently in the planning stage for this camp beginning shortly after the end of the West Virginia camp meeting.

This camp would include a three-night camp out in a national forest and visiting close-by parks or scenic areas which would include Seneca Rocks, Blackwater Falls, and Dolly Sods. We also plan on visiting a commercial cave during the return trip to Smyrna. Morning and evening campfire talks will be spiritually based encouraging the youth to understand more of God’s love through his created works.

If you are interested or have youth 10 years or above that are reasonably able to care for their personal needs and would be interested in attending, please contact us as soon as possible by calling us at 304-732-9204 or email me at: allen@smyrna.org. We need young adults to help with this camp and all are welcome and encouraged to join our youth in this wilderness adventure. While directed towards the youth, this could evolve into a family-type camp!

We are also planning on a youth camp next year at either Yellowstone National Park or Yosemite National Park. If you have never seen either of these treasurers you will want to start saving now and preparing for a wonderful experience.?


A House-Raising Lunch

Recently some brethren and I were privileged to help dear friends with the framing of their new house. The Lord certainly blessed us with a beautiful spring day and with great fellowship. We were also blessed with a simple, but nutritious and delicious, meal. Being so well-fueled certainly made going back to work much easier.

Our sister has graciously supplied her recipes for this luncheon so that our readers can be blessed with the same House-Raising meal we appreciated so much!

A tossed salad was served with this

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

Blend all of the above ingredients, except the last three, on high until creamy and smooth. Then slowly add the oil and blend at slow speed. After the dressings is well-blended, add the dill (or parsley) and basil, pulsing the blender a few times until they are mixed well into the dressing.

Potato Soup

This wonderful soup can also be made with broccoli or with a combination of potatoes and broccoli.

Boil the potatoes and onion until barely done. Water from potatoes can be used in making the cashew milk (about 1 cup of cashews needed, blended in the water). Blend the other ingredients and cook on low heat until mixture thickens (around 10 minutes).

Whole-Wheat Rolls

Mix the first five ingredients together and then mix in the flour. Add just enough until the flour quits clinging to the sides of the mixing bowl. Allow to rise. Punch down, knead again, and shape into loaves or rolls. Let rise and then bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.?


The Power That Controls the Waves

Nothing can happen in any part of the universe without the knowledge of Him who is omnipresent. Not a single event of human life is unknown to our Maker. While Satan is constantly devising evil, the Lord our God overrules all, so that it will not harm his obedient, trusting children. The same power that controls the boisterous waves of the ocean can hold in check all the power of rebellion and of crime. God says to one as to the other, “Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.” (The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881)


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