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. 21, No.11 Straight and Narrow November 2012


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How is it that many are satisfied to drink at the turbid streams that flow in the murky valley, when they might refresh their souls at the living streams of the mountains? (The Review and Herald, November 10, 1891)

 The Call of God Part 1

Calls in the Old Testament and Their Typology
as a Pattern for the End-time Saints

By Allen Stump

(The following is the first of a four-part study that was presented at the California camp meeting. Editor)

This first study will note various calls of God in the Old Testament and how these types all come together in God’s remnant people.

Most likely we have all heard the expression the call of God, but what do we mean by it? The verb call means to “cry out to (someone) in order to summon them or attract their attention” (Oxford American Dictionary).

To obtain the attention of people in today’s fast-paced society is not an easy thing, but God is determined that no one will be lost without a supreme effort being put forth to save him or her. He wants our attention, and when he gets it, he summons us for his service!

Perhaps the most famous calling we have all heard about is the call to preach, but God has been calling people since the fall of man, and he has been calling them to many different things. A call is actually a summons to come to God, either for his pleasure or for his service. Besides the call to preach, perhaps you have heard of calls

These are just a few examples; we could list many more.

 The Call of Enoch

One of the first calls we find in the Bible is the call of Enoch to walk with God and to represent him. It may not seem as such at first, but let us see what the Bible has to say about Enoch. Genesis 5:21–24 states:

 Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Besides the early Genesis account, Enoch is directly mentioned only three times in the Bible—once in the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:37), another as a person of great faith (Hebrews 11:5), and the last as a prophet of God (Jude 1:14). God called Enoch to have faith and to be a prophet, but the central point about Enoch in Genesis is that Enoch walked with God. Thankfully, due to the testimony of Jesus, we have some additional information about Enoch. We are told that “Enoch was one of God’s representatives” (Signs of the Times, January 13, 1898). This might seem like a pretty simple and straightforward statement at first, but consider the word representative. You become a representative by being elected or chosen by others, not by choosing yourself.

God chose or called Enoch to be a special representative of heaven. Enoch was not self-called to his position. Enoch did not call himself to walk with God; God himself called him to that walk. Today, many claim that God has called them to a work or position, and if he has, God will enable that person to fulfill that call. Sadly, however, many claim to have special callings from God who are disillusioned. They are self-called preachers and ministers, but they are not representatives of the King in those capacities. The King did not call them to such positions or work.

Concerning the experience of Enoch, we have been told in the Spirit of Prophecy:

The experience of Enoch and of John the Baptist represents what ours should be. Far more than we do, we need to study the lives of these men–he who was translated to heaven without seeing death, and he who, before Christ’s first advent, was called to prepare the way of the Lord, to make His paths straight. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 329)

Our experience should be like that of Enoch and John. Enoch was called to walk with God and to tell others about the advent of Christ. He represented the people of God who will not see death before Jesus comes but, instead, will be translated. We will discuss John in greater detail in another segment of this study, but he, too, was preaching to prepare a people for the coming of the Messiah. Likewise, Adventism has been called to prepare a people for the coming of the Messiah and to help them walk with him in such a manner that they may be translated without seeing death.

Enoch walked with God. Our Christian walk is to be by faith—“we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), and faith comes by “hearing…the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So, our walk today is to be based upon the word of God. I have heard (and maybe you have, too) many different people say, “God told me to do this” or “God said this to me.” I always wondered, how did God speak to these people? Beloved, God can speak to us in many ways, but it is usually through his written word. Even if it is outside the written word, however,it will be in harmony with that written word.

Noah Was Called To Preserve a Race

The Bible records the call of Noah: “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood” (Genesis 6:12–14). After giving Noah detailed instructions concerning the building of the ark, God said:“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee” (Genesis 6:17–18).

Peter called Noah a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). While Noah was building, he was also preaching about the coming flood and the salvation to be found within the ark. While only his family entered the ark, Noah faithfully performed his work, standing, as it were, alone. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Genesis 6:22). Noah was called to stand alone:

In every age, God has called his servants to lift up their voices against the prevailing errors and sins of the multitude. Noah was called to stand alone to warn the antediluvian world. Moses and Aaron were alone against king and princes, magicians and wise men, and the multitudes of Egypt. Elijah was alone when he testified against an apostate king and a backsliding people. Daniel and his fellows stood alone against the decrees of mighty monarchs. The majority are usually to be found on the side of error and falsehood. The fact that doctors of divinity have the world on their side does not prove them to be on the side of truth and of God. The wide gate and the broad road attract the multitudes, while the strait gate and the narrow way are sought only by the few. (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 214)

Adventism was not called to stand shoulder to shoulder with Babylon in the giving of the message of salvation from the soon-coming destruction of the world. We were to come out and be a separate people. Only as we did this were we truly able to give the message in its strength. Like Noah, we will all have to stand alone some day.

God is our strength. We must look to Him for wisdom and guidance, and keeping in view His glory, the good of the church, and the salvation of our own souls, we must overcome our besetting sins. We should individually seek to obtain new victory every day. We must learn to stand alone and depend wholly upon God. The sooner we learn this the better. Let each one find out where he fails, and then faithfully watch that his sins do not overcome him, but that he gets the victory over them. Then can we have confidence toward God, and great trouble will be saved the church. (Early Writings, p. 105)

The Call of Abraham

Abraham was called to come out of Ur of the Chaldeans:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1–4)

Paul notes that “by faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).

Ur was near Babylon. “The city was an important seat of the moon-god Sin (Sumerian, Nannar), and a center of culture, learning, and trade” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, p. 1143). No doubt Ur had its own university and centrally-located shopping mall, with a near by Sam’s Club and Cosco.But despite its seemingly great advantages, God told Abraham to leave for another place. This was a dual call. A call to come out and a call to go!

Abraham was called to go forth from his home, a light-bearer to the heathen. And without questioning, he obeyed. “He went out, not knowing whither he went.” [Hebrews 11:8.] So today God’s servants are to go where He calls, trusting Him to guide them and to give them success in their work. (Gospel Workers, p. 26)

Perhaps you would like to be among the faithful like Abraham. You can be, if you will follow God’s direction and leading. But you say, God has not spoken to me like he did to Abraham. But friend, God has given you something more sure than an audible voice; we have the word of God (2 Peter 1:19). God is giving a call to come out today:

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:1–4)

Notice in this call that God does not directly say to come out of the Catholic Church, but we all know that is part of the command. God does not directly say to come out of any of the various apostate Protestant churches, though we know that is involved. God does not call us to stay in any apostate church, no matter what name or title it bears. The issue is not one of churches, but of sin and righteousness.

 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:15–18)

The Call of Moses

Exodus 3 outlines the call of Moses to go back to Egypt and be God’s instrument in the deliverance of Israel. Forty years before, Moses felt called and able to deliver Israel, yet he was sadly mistaken. Now humbled and meek, he was in a position for God to be able to use him in a mighty way. We are told that God gave him a “high commission” and ordinated him to his work.

Before Moses went forth, he received his high commission, his ordination to his great work, in a way that filled him with awe, and gave him a deep sense of his own weakness and unworthiness. While engaged in his round of duties he saw a bush, branches, foliage, and trunk, all burning, yet not consumed. He drew near to view the wonderful sight, when a voice addressed him from out of the flame. It was the voice of God. It was He who, as the angel of the covenant, had revealed himself to the fathers in ages past. The frame of Moses quivered, he was thrilled with terror, as the Lord called him by name. With trembling lips he answered, “Here am I.” He was warned not to approach his Creator with undue familiarity: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” “And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Finite man may learn a lesson that should never be forgotten,—to approach God with reverence. We may come boldly into his presence, presenting the name of Jesus, our righteousness and substitute, but never with the boldness of presumption, as though he were on a level with ourselves. We have heard some address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would not address an equal, or even an inferior. We have seen some behave themselves in the presence of God as they would not dare to do in the presence of an earthly friend. These show that they have not a proper view of God’s character and the greatness of his power. They should remember that God’s eye is upon them; he reads the thoughts of their hearts concerning him. He will not be mocked. God is greatly to be reverenced; wherever his presence is clearly realized, sinful man will bow in the most humble attitude, and from the depths of the soul cry out, “How dreadful is this place!” (Signs of the Times, February 26, 1880)

The call of God to his last day saints is one to fear or reverence him and acknowledge his power and majesty. We are told to give the message “fear God, and give glory to him” (Revelation 14:7).

The Call of Isaiah

The call of Isaiah was a call to serve God:

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:1–8)

Isaiah was called during the reign of Uzziah as it was drawing to a close. Uzziah’s son, Jotham, was, at this time, already bearing many of the burdens of state. Isaiah was of the royal seed and received his call to office while yet a young man. It was a challenging time for Judah and Isaiah. We are told:

The times in which Isaiah was to labor were fraught with peculiar peril to the people of God. The prophet was to witness the invasion of Judah by the combined armies of northern Israel and of Syria; he was to behold the Assyrian hosts encamped before the chief cities of the kingdom. During his lifetime, Samaria was to fall, and the ten tribes of Israel were to be scattered among the nations. Judah was again and again to be invaded by the Assyrian armies, and Jerusalem was to suffer a siege that would have resulted in her downfall had not God miraculously interposed. Already grave perils were threatening the peace of the southern kingdom. The divine protection was being removed, and the Assyrian forces were about to overspread the land of Judah. (Prophets and Kings, p. 305)

The above description accurately reflects the condition of Judah, but this was not the worst of the situation:

But the dangers from without, overwhelming though they seemed, were not so serious as the dangers from within. It was the perversity of his people that brought to the Lord’s servant the greatest perplexity and the deepest depression. By their apostasy and rebellion those who should have been standing as light bearers among the nations were inviting the judgments of God. Many of the evils which were hastening the swift destruction of the northern kingdom, and which had recently been denounced in unmistakable terms by Hosea and Amos, were fast corrupting the kingdom of Judah. (Ibid.)

Isaiah was called to a work of protest and of declaring the sins of Judah. He was told, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). The cry to protest sin is part of the work of the remnant of God. The prophecy of Ezekiel 9 tells us that only those who sigh and cry for the abominations in Israel will receive the seal of God:

 He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezekiel 9:1–4)

Ezekiel, chapter 8, describes four abominations that have become a part of the worship of God’s professed people in the last days, and only those who sigh and cry over these abominations will be saved. (How important then to understand these abominations! Please see the February–June 2010 issues of Old Paths for details on these abominations.) We know Ezekiel 9 is not making reference alone to ancient Israel, for the Spirit of Prophecy has given us the time setting to the events in Ezekiel 9. For example, we are told:

The prophet, looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 208)

Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet's illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ibid., vol. 3, p. 266)

But like Isaiah, God calls his people to service in speaking for him; he touches their lips with a live coal:

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:4–8)

All of God’s “biddings are enablings” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333). If God sends us to go speak in his behalf, he will touch our lips with purified, heaven-sent words and empower us to proclaim his message.

The Call of Jeremiah

 God called Jeremiah when he was a youth:

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. (Jeremiah 1:4–9)

Though but a youth, God promised to be with Jeremiah and that while he always showed respect to his elders,he not need fear them or be intimidated by them.

Among those who had hoped for a permanent spiritual revival as the result of the reformation under Josiah was Jeremiah, called of God to the prophetic office while still a youth, in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign. A member of the Levitical priesthood, Jeremiah had been trained from childhood for holy service. In those happy years of preparation he little realized that he had been ordained from birth to be “a prophet unto the nations;” and when the divine call came, he was overwhelmed with a sense of his unworthiness. “Ah, Lord God!” he exclaimed, “behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” Jeremiah 1:5, 6.

 In the youthful Jeremiah, God saw one who would be true to his trust and who would stand for the right against great opposition. In childhood he had proved faithful; and now he was to endure hardness, as a good soldier of the cross. “Say not, I am a child,” the Lord bade His chosen messenger; “for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee. (Prophets and Kings, pp. 407, 408)

Furthermore, God promised Jeremiah: “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee” (Jeremiah 1:17–19).

Though both Isaiah and Jeremiah were called in their youth, God was with them and will be with all youth, as he calls them to various tasks for him.

Paul told Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” ( 2 Timothy 1:7)

The prophet Samuel received his call when he was just twelve years old: “When but twelve years old, the son of Hannah received his special commission from the Most High” (The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1881). When God called Samuel, Samuel replied: “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10). Remember that to hear in the Bible involves more than simply receiving an audible sound—it means that one is to obey what he hears. When God calls, we do not choose. He chooses, and we are to listen to what he has to say and then do as he says.

All are given an opportunity to develop character. All may fill their appointed places in God’s great plan. The Lord accepted Samuel from his very childhood, because his heart was pure. He was given to God, a consecrated offering, and the Lord made him a channel of light. If the youth of today will consecrate themselves as did Samuel, the Lord will accept them and use them in His work. Of their life they may be able to say with the psalmist, “O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works.” Psalm 71:17.(Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 537)

The Call of Deborah

One last call we wish to examine in this study is the call of Deborah to the office of prophetess and to the position of judge among the people of God.

And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. (Judges 4:4, 5)

Deborah was “raised up as [a] deliverer of . . .[her] people.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 545). She had “courage and piety” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 301). Deborah did not choose herself to be a leader; she did not push herself upon Israel. Deborah was chosen by God, and the people recognized her calling and came to her for judgment and counsel. We are told that Barak “accepted the message from Deborah as the word of God.” (Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881). Beloved, when God calls a prophet or prophetess and gives a message, we are to accept that message as not being from the servant, but from God. If we do less we should not expect success in our endeavors. Concerning the testimonies, beloved, we read: “You cannot neglect God’s messages of warning, you cannot reject them or treat them lightly, but at the peril of infinite loss” (Life Sketches, p. 324).

The Prophet Isaiah noted that “there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt” (Isaiah 11:16). Today God has a remnant people whom he is leading out of spiritual Egypt. He will lead them out, as he did literal Israel from literal Egypt. How did he do that? We are told: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved” (Hosea 12:13). The Lord will once again use the gift of prophecy and though it be a woman like Deborah, God’s people will be delivered, if they will listen to the voice of the prophetess as the voice of God.

Conclusion

God is calling his people today to walk with him, to follow him, for he has chosen us to be his representatives, even if like Noah, we must stand singularly.

Like Abraham we are called out of and away from wickedness to a better land. We are called to a holy place and to reverence for God!

We may be called when we are young like Samuel or when young men like Isaiah or Jeremiah, and we need not be afraid for God is our strength and help. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1). “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

 Beloved, we are coming to the edge of the history of this world, when everything that can be shaken, will be shaken. Only those who know their God can be strong and do great things. God has revealed much of himself in the way he has called the various faithful ones of the Old Testament. We have only been able to look briefly at a few, but one common thread that runs through the fabric of the lives of these Old Testament worthies is their great faith and trust in God. We can, and must, learn to trust in Jesus.

One of my favorite hymns is “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Perhaps you did not know that the author of the words, Louisa Stead, wrote this great hymn in response to the drowning of her husband. As Louisa, her husband, and their little daughter were “enjoying an ocean side picnic one day, a drowning boy cried for help. Mr. Stead rushed to save him but was pulled under by the terrified boy. Both drowned as Louisa and her daughter watched helplessly. During the sorrowful days that followed, the words of this hymn came from the grief stricken wife’s heart” (K. W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, p. 220).

Through a deep human tragedy early in her life, Louisa Stead learned to trust Jesus. She later became a missionary to South Africa, where she labored for more than thirty-five years to the praise and glory of the eternal God in whom she trusted. Her hymn still blesses those who sing and apply the truth of its words to their lives.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word; Just to rest upon his promise, Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

O how sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to trust his cleansing blood; Just in simple faith to plunge me ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease; Just from Jesus simply taking Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; And I know that thou art with me, Wilt be with me till the end.

Chorus: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him; How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust him more!

Will you trust in Jesus today so that you can belong in the yet unwritten honor roll of faith for God’s remnant people, a people who are listening for the call of God, ready to answer here and I, send me when God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”


Youth’s Corner — Moving West

By Onycha Holt

Ed, Alice, and Charles Brown lived in Nebraska during the early 1900s, but when Ed and Alice were in their fifties and Charles, their son, was a grown man, they decided to move west because the United States government was offering free land on the frontier of South Dakota. So, they packed their belongings into a covered wagon and traveled to South Dakota to stake a claim to 160 acres of land. All they had to do to keep their claim was to improve the land over the next few years and then it would always be theirs. In 1903, they settled on a piece of land that had a watering hole for the animals in the lower portion, and in upper section of land they built their one room sod house. Then the one room was divided by a paper wall into a bedroom and a kitchen, and this is how the Browns lived their life of sacrifice and hardship on the dry, flat, and windy land.

Not only did Alice, Ed, and Charles become homesteaders, many people left their old lives with the hope of obtaining land and of making a better life for themselves and their families. This seemed to be their one opportunity to gain something they could call their own, but most people did not realize how tough it would be to make a living on the harsh Dakota lands, how hard, dry, lonely, and windy it was on the frontier. In the summer the wind stirred up the gritty dust and in winter lashed the snow into blizzards. Theirs was a harsh land. The Browns worked hard, obtained cattle, cut the short, stubby grass for hay, and struggled hard to grow vegetables to provide a meager supply of food. They dug a 30-foot well close to their home after a few years, but that 30-foot well sometimes only yielded five buckets of water a day.

Just a little before this, Grace had moved west from Wisconsin to South Dakota. She was young, only 18, and freshly certified as a teacher. She had come to South Dakota to teach, as teachers were in short supply and the pay was, therefore, better than in Wisconsin. While in South Dakota, she met Shiloh Fairchild, an older man with a grown family, and before long Shiloh and Grace married. Soon they read about free land west of the Missouri River, and just like every other homesteader, they wanted a home they could call their own, so they prepared to make the move. First Mr. Fairchild traveled west to build a home for Grace and the children. Then on April 6, 1902, Grace and the children boarded the Northwestern Railroad for Fort Pierre, South Dakota, the end of the line. Shiloh was to meet them there and take them to their new home ninety miles west, but when she arrived in Fort Pierre the next day, with 6-month-old Leah and 2-year-old Emma, Shiloh was not there, but there was a cold winter wind blowing through town, and not just wind, but sleet and snow also! Grace had written to her husband, telling him when she and the children would arrive, but he was nowhere to be found. So, Grace tucked her little children inside her coat and walked to the train depot. Shiloh was not there, either, and the hours dragged by. Finally the station manager told her he had to close and that she needed to find a place for the night. It was still snowing and sleeting, and she had only forty cents in her pocket with no place to go. The station manager told her of a hotel a good distance from the train station, to which she hiked through the inclement weather, and she and her children spent a restless night. In the morning, with no Shiloh Fairchild in sight, Grace learned of a bank in town and that her husband most likely had an account at the bank, so she walked to the bank and, sure enough, he did. The teller gave her $5.00 and explained to her that she needed to board the ferry that crossed the Missouri River and on the other side would be a hotel she could stay in until her husband arrived. So down to the wide Missouri she went. It took two trips to get her luggage and the children down to the ferry. It was still cold and blustery, and she and the children had a long wait on the ferry, but finally they made it across the river.

It was eight days before Mr. Fairchild arrived because mail on the frontier sometimes arrived very slowly.He then had to prepare a wagon to carry them and supplies back home, for he needed lumber to continue building. He also needed groceries and feed for his animals. In the end, the wagon was loaded heavily for the return trip. Mrs. Fairchild and the two little ones sat in the middle of the wagon, with supplies and twelve-foot pieces of lumber stacked around them, but off they went on their adventure, with two black mares leading the way through the snow, for it had been snowing day and night for two days. Through the gusty snow, in a covered wagon, the Fairchild family made their way to their new home on the Dakota plains.

One thing the pioneers faced in the spring (because of melting snow) was black, sticky, gooey mud! It was everywhere, and even though it was snowing when the Fairchilds left town, underneath the snow was a black glue. When the two mares reached the first dip in the road, five miles outside of Fort Pierre, the wagon became stuck in the mud at the bottom of the dip and did not have the strength to pull the heavily-loaded wagon up and out. The only choice was to leave the wagon where it was and return to Fort Pierre. In the morning the family returned, and with help, Shiloh pulled the wagon out of the dip. The Fairchilds continued on their journey, covering about ten to twelve miles a day and staying with homesteaders along the way. It was sometimes uneasy to spend the night with strangers, such as one night when when the homesteader was wanted for the murder of several of his hired hands.

Living on the homesteads in South Dakota was hard on the people and the cattle. Harsh winters caused the death of many animals, and in the summer, grasshoppers stripped the crops in the fields and in the gardens. Snakes were everywhere in the summer, so much so that you didn’t leave home without a club to protect yourself from rattlers. Of the millions of people who moved west to claim a parcel of land, most returned to their old homes because life was too difficult on the frontier. One neighbor ate a simple breakfast and then put on his coat and started walking. He did not stop until he reached his old home in Wisconsin.

In Hebrews 11 we read about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sara, and we read that “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country” (verses 13, 14). And then we read: “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned” (verse 15).

When the settlers came to claim a piece of land on the frontier, when they came to find something they could leave to their children, they had to keep their mind focused on improving the land, on building a shed, for example, on finding water, on growing food to be used in the winter, instead of on how hard the life was. The times were tough and hard, yes, but they had to be determined to stay and overcome the difficulties. Most of them, however, were not able to do that. Their minds went back to what they used to have. They were mindful of what they had left behind and finally went back to it, as verse 15 explains, but Abraham, Abel, Sara, and the rest, focused their minds on a better country, a country in heaven, and they did not abandon their hope. But most of the people who tried to make a living on the dry prairie near the Badlands, lands that were brown and dusty in the summer, grew tired of their hard life. They began to think of their old lives and eventually went back to them.

But we want to be different. We do not want to turn back from our Christian walk because it is hard and is not like what the world offers or because other people make life hard for us. We desire the same country that Abraham desired, a heavenly home that God has prepared for us.

We may be isolated and lonely, we may be poor and hungry, and we might even be stuck in black, sticky mud, but if we persevere and not give up, we will be delivered and taken to a city prepared for us, a city “whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). We want to be ready for that day. Let us keep our minds focused on our heavenly Father and his goodness and not look back to our old, familiar ways, as Lot’s wife did.


Report on the California Camp Meeting
“The Calling of God”

Lassen Volcanic National Park in California was the location during July 24–29 for the California youth/family camp meeting, co-hosted by Pacific Virtual Fellowship and Smyrna Gospel Ministries. This was the first time we have had a camp meeting in the setting of a national park, but we all hope it will not be the last!

Because we camped in the group camping area of Butte Lake Camp Ground, our group was able to stay close to each other and also be within easy access of large areas for open-air meetings. Butte Lake Camp Ground is one of the most isolated camp grounds in the park, and the atmosphere away from the normal things of the world proved to be a sweet blessing.

Thomas Akens, Fred Skucy, and Allen Stump were the main speakers for camp meeting and addressed the meeting’s theme, “The Calling of God.” Other speakers included Raquel Akens, Michael Brown, Ashleigh Holt, Onycha Holt, Rocky IsBell, David Sims, Elyssa Sims, and Michael Woodward.

Mount Lassen was an active volcano when it was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 as a national monument. The need to protect and preserve the area was quickly understood, and it became a national park in 1916. There is still evidence of thermal action below the ground.

The remarkable hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground. Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the hydrothermal system. Once deep underground, the water is heated by a body of hot or molten rock beneath Lassen Peak. Rising hot water boils to form boiling pools and mud pots. Super-heated steam reaches the surface through fractures in the earth to form fumaroles such as those found at Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. These features are related to active volcanism and are indications of the ongoing potential for further eruptions from the Lassen “volcanic center.” (http://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/exploring-the-hydrothermal-areas.htm)

So, in the beautiful setting of Mount Lassen, we camped near Butte Lake and studied, ate, sang, hiked, and lived in this pristine area for nearly five days. Each day began with morning worship around a fire, for the nights were cool to cold, depending upon one’s internal thermometer. In fact, in the evenings, rocks were put on the fire grate to heat before being wrapped in old cloths and then quickly put in sleeping bags to keep campers warm at night. Others resorted to heating water, pouring the steaming water into a metal water bottle, and stuffing the bottle into a thick sock to work as a makeshift hot water bottle. Thankfully, it never got below the low 40s at night, and we all survived.

The morning devotions were always near the fire ring and were very interesting. Most campers were usually dressed in coats or in many layers, but as the word of God was presented, the Sun of righteousness arose with healing in his wings for our souls, while solar sunbeams began to break through the tall Ponderosa pines and shine upon the people of God.

Each day Sisters Elyssa Sims and Raquel Akens, along with many helpers, offered a wonderful breakfast for all the campers. Many pounds of freshly-made granola, waffles, pancakes, scones, and fruit were served. It was a true physical feast to follow the spiritual feast in the morning.

Usually after breakfast there was a hike or an activity in which God’s second book could be studied, and as we would traveled along, we stopped to rest and to reflect upon God’s word. One nice devotional while hiking was given by the youngest speaker, Ashleigh Holt. Being only twelve years of age, she was a little nervous before she shared her thoughts on speech and how God would have us use this gift, but God blessed her to have some sweet thoughts for us on the day we traveled to the cinder cone. You may read her devotional on page ___. A video of this talk is posted at: GiveURL

Cinder Cone is a part of the park that was first designated a national monument. It was later incorporated into the national park in 1916. Cinder Cone is a cinder cone volcano that is located about ten miles northeast of Mount Lassen. It stands about 750 feet above the surrounding area, and it spread ash over an area of thirty square miles. The trail to the top was steep and composed of fine, loose cinders, making the ascent of this mini-mountain challenging. At the top is a crater with a double rim. Many of our group who hiked up to the outside rim were glad they did not then have to hike down the inside to the bottom of the crater, several hundred feet below, but as usual, there were a few brave young men and women who made the trip to the bottom of the crater in order to get the view looking up.

After our hikes we usually tried to have a meeting around 11:00 a.m. with Brother Fred Skucy. Fred is a missionary based in South Korea, who also travels often to China and India. His sermons on sharing the three angels’ messages came from deep conviction and were a blessing as he spoke lovingly and strongly of the blessed hope and of helping others to be ready for the second coming of Jesus.

After morning study and participating in hiking/activities, lunch was a very well-received part of the schedule. Those helping with the food preparation certainly were appreciated, as the food was always healthy and delicious!

The afternoons included more outdoor activities. Brother Thomas Akens, our camp director, shared messages that were insightful and encouraging, as he would include in each message a short Greek lesson on a selected word or two, to bring in a deeper meaning to the text.

Pastor Allen Stump shared a four-part series on the call of God. He spoke first on the specific calls from the Old Testament and their typology as a pattern for the end-time saints (see page 2). He then spoke on lessons from the calls of the disciples, as found in the New Testament (see page 8). Pastor Stump’s third sermon was on the message God has called us to share in these last days, and his last sermon considered the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the positions of responsibility (apostle, prophet, etc.) enumerated in the New Testament.

Sister Onycha Holt shared a Sabbath School lesson and a Sunday morning study on the high calling woman in the church of Christ have and how that calling is not to be leaders in the same sense as men are called. The timing of her Sunday morning talk on July 29 was providential, as the very time she was presenting her study in California, the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on the east coast was convening a special constituency meeting for the sole purpose of voting to approve the ordination of women for the work of pastors in the gospel ministry. Since then (on August 19), the Pacific Union Conference voted a similar resolution for ordination without regard to gender.

Sister Holt’s study will be published next month, as well as a report on the current movement to ordain women to the pastoral ministry.

Though we were in the wilderness, away from chapels and without pianos or electricity, we were not without some sweet music to lift our spirits and, at times, to accompany our singing, led by Brother Leon Holt. Pastor David Sims played a guitar for some accompaniment, his daughter, Elyssa, the violin, and occasionally recorder music from Brother Michael Brown wafted over our singing. Eve Sims and Zachary Corklin also played a beautiful duet with harmonicas.

Baptisms are always a highlight of camp meetings, and this service conducted in the snow-fed waters of Butte Lake, though cold, was certainly meaningful to all of us as a testimony to the miracle-working power of Jesus to transform sinners into saints.

Taking down our tents Sunday morning brought sad hearts, as we thought of leaving our mountain-top experience. Lassen is bear county, and some were disappointed that we had not seen a bear during the week. Perhaps our diligence to always put the food and other bear-drawing items into the steel bear boxes each night helped to keep bears from coming into our camp, but Psalm 34:7 also says that “the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” While black bears and grizzly bears can be frightful to people, they are no match for God’s angels, and they will not cross where the angels draw the stopping line.

We certainly hope that this camp meeting report was a sweet reminder of the wonderful experiences we had at camp, if you were one of the blessed who attended. If you were not at camp, we hope that this report will encourage you to attend the camp meeting next year. We are not sure if it will be in Lassen again or somewhere else, like Sequoia National Park, but we can be sure it will be a blessing you will not wish to miss, so begin to help us plan now for where and when you think this camp meeting should be. Send any thoughts and comments to us here at Smyrna or to Pastor Sims at the Waldensian Center. Allen Stump


The Call of God Part 2

Lessons from the Call of the Disciples

By Allen Stump

(This is the second part of a four-part study on the calling of God presented at the California camp meeting. . . . . . .Editor)

THERE is a dividing line in the history of the earth. It is so marked, that we even use it to divide our reckoning of time. That dividing line is the birth of Jesus Christ. As we continue our study on the call of God, we will see that though there is clearly an expanding view of the call of God in the times of the New Testament, it is not really a new call at all, but the same call, with an expanded emphasis!

The Call of John the Baptist

John, like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5), was called and chosen before he was born or even conceived! As John’s father, Zacharias, ministered at the altar of incense, an angel appeared at the right side of the altar. Though this position indicated favor, Zacharias was afraid. The angel declared:

 Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:13–17)

Thus John was a chosen vessel to proclaim the coming of the Lord, designated or “elected” before being conceived. John would become a type of Elijah for the last days (Malachi 4:5, 6). Jesus noted, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come” (Matthew 11:13, 14). John himself noted:

As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Luke 3:4–9)

This Elijah message was not a popular message—calling the people snakes and sons of snakes and telling the people that their great symbols are to be cut down and removed! No wonder his message was not well-received, yet as we saw in Part 1 of this study:

The experience of Enoch and of John the Baptist represents what ours should be. Far more than we do, we need to study the lives of these men–he who was translated to heaven without seeing death, and he who, before Christ’s first advent, was called to prepare the way of the Lord, to make His paths straight. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 329)

Let us note a few points about John’s character and experience. John lived a frugal life, eating and dressing simply (Matthew 3:4). John was a humble man, acknowledging that he must decrease while his cousin must increase (John 3:30). John was imprisoned because he refused to hold back the truth (Mark 6:17, 18). We are told:

He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. (The Desire of Ages, p. 103)

God’s people throughout all time, but especially at the end, have stood and will have to stand before kings, rulers, and magistrates to defend their faith. Jesus said, “But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them” (Mark 13:9). If God’s people have bowed low before the King of kings, they will be able to stand erect and fearless before worldly rulers and the rulers of the modern-day synagogues.

God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist—men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences; men who will speak the truth bravely, though it call for the sacrifice of all they have. (Prophets and Kings, p. 42)

Whatever may be their profession, it is only those who are world servers at heart that act from policy rather than principle in religious things. We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God. To men of principle, faith, and daring, the world is indebted for its great reforms. By such men the work of reform for this time must be carried forward. (The Great Controversy, p. 460)

There are times when we may face situations that seemingly have no politically correct solutions, but what we must choose is what is morally right!

We are living at a time when the Elijah message is to go forward to prepare a people for the second coming of Jesus. Like John we are called to live a humble life, eating and dressing simply. We are called to exalt Christ and his righteousness ,and not self. We are called to share the whole truth of the three angels’ messages. Paul declares that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18 NKJV). If there was ever a time God’s people were required to speak the truth in love, it is today, beloved. People are going down to Christless graves due to our silence. How can we, with conscience, allow that to continue? John did not!

The Call of the Twelve Apostles

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18–19). In the calling of Peter and Andrew, we see two distinctive parts. First, Jesus invited them to “follow him.” As we discuss the concept of being called of God or the calling of God, we may think first of being called to some position of service. Before one is called by Jesus into service, however, he is called to follow Jesus. After one has learned to follow Jesus, he can be taught to become a fisher of men.

Peter and Andrew were quick to accept this call. “And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matthew 4:20).

Andrew and Simon were fishers by trade. They had already become disciples of Jesus (John 1:35–42), but now they are called upon to leave their business and to follow Jesus in his travels and work. These two brothers promptly (eujqewV [eutheôs]) accepted the call and challenge of Jesus. (Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, Matthew 4:19)

Jesus next called John and James (Matthew 4:21), and they, likewise, quickly left their nets to follow Jesus (v. 22).

While Jesus calls his disciples into service, he first calls them into fellowship. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Matthew records his call to follow Jesus: “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). Again the call of Jesus begins with a simple invitation to follow him.

The call of Philip, as recorded in John 1:43, follows the pattern of the other disciples: “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.”

A day came when Jesus called from among his disciples eleven whom would also be called apostles. Of course, there was a twelfth, but we will discuss him later.

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. (Luke 6:12–16)

Commenting upon the choosing of the apostles, Ellen White makes the following insightful comments:

After choosing His disciples, Christ appointed them as His representatives, and gave them their ordination charge, their commission. They were to go forth as His witnesses, to declare what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, and was second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of the world.

He who called the first disciples is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Him, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God. (Pacific Union Recorder, December 4, 1902; emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

The apostles, except Judas, were chosen by Jesus and made his representatives. As we noted in Part 1 of this series, one cannot be a self-appointed representative. That is an oxymoron. This calling that Jesus gave the eleven was “the most important to which human beings had ever been called, and was second only to that of Christ Himself.” Yet, we are also told that Jesus is still calling disciples to his service today. The level of importance of one’s call to service will never hinder the true servant of Jesus from accepting whatever call he or she receives, and they will endeavor to fulfill that calling with all their might “without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14), “heartily, as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). Not all are called to be apostles, but all are called to be faithful, and those who are “faithful in that which is least” will be found “faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10).

The Call of Judas

In the book of Matthew, we read of a scribe who came to Jesus with a professed desire to follow him: “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (Matthew 8:19). The response of Jesus may have seemed cool or, even, cold: “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Have you wondered why Jesus reacted in this way or possibly who this scribe could have been. The Desire of Ages lifts the veil of uncertainty and provides the missing details:

While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward, soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. With great earnestness and apparent sincerity he declared, “Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” Jesus neither repulsed nor welcomed him, but uttered only the mournful words: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:19, 20. Judas believed Jesus to be the Messiah; and by joining the apostles, he hoped to secure a high position in the new kingdom. This hope Jesus designed to cut off by the statement of His poverty.

The disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number. He was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability, and they commended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. They were surprised that Jesus received him so coolly. (The Desire of Ages, p. 294)

Judas displayed “great earnestness and apparent sincerity,” yet that did not make him called to be within the inner circle of Jesus. He “was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability,” but that did not qualify him to be within Christ’s inner circle.

Jesus did not choose Judas to be an apostle because he knew that Judas had not surrendered to God and was controlled by Satan. “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:70, 71). Judas was a self-called apostle who was full of self, controlled by a devil, and was interested in what he could obtain for himself rather than what he could do to advance the kingdom of Christ.

The love to “secure a high position in the new kingdom” is still around. Today there are many self-called to offices that Jesus has never placed. While there are many true servants of Christ, we must be cautious in whom we accept as being called and ordained of the Lord for the gospel work.

The Call of Paul

If you have ever studied the history of World War II, you know the name Heinrich Himmler. He was the head of the Nazi Secret State Police (Gestapo) and was commissioned by Hitler to build and oversee the concentration and death camps that produced the Holocaust as “the final solution to the Jewish question.” Second only to Hitler in responsibility for the death of 5 to 6 million Jews, Himmler was a devil. But what if you had been a Jew living in Germany, Poland, Hungary, or Czechoslovakia and heard that Himmler suddenly had changed and was now fighting to protect the Jews and working against Hitler and the Nazi party? Such news might be nearly impossible to believe. Perhaps this helps you to understand how and why the early Christians had suspicions towards the Apostle Paul.

Paul plainly says he was called to be an apostle. “Paul, a servant of Jesus” (Romans 1:1). Furthermore, he states that he was “a chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15).

Paul was called by Jesus, and this calling was given to Paul while on a trip to preform his evil work with which he had been engaged. But Jesus knew that in heart, Paul wanted to serve God and simply needed to know for a surety that Jesus was the Son of God. His call and conversion, as recorded in Acts 9, is swift in narrative and decisive in decision.

Interestingly, like Jeremiah and John the Baptist, Paul was actually called from his birth. Paul later noted writing to the Galatians:

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen. (Galatians 1:11–16)

The ESV for verse 16 states “but when he who had set me apart before I was born.” What a testimony to the patience and long suffering of God that he must allow Paul to live much of his life before he finally calls him directly to himself and to his service!

Our Call Today

As we saw earlier, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Many times we find Jesus extending the invitation to those who would become apostles and to others who would follow him.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21)

If any man serve me, let him follow me. (John 12:26)

The call to follow Jesus and be a disciple is one from which we do not turn back. Jesus warned his followers of this great danger, when he emphatically stated: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Jesus tells us to “remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 11:32), for she was one who turned to go back.

No man who after a time resolves to go back to the beggarly elements of the world, is worthy to be called a disciple of Christ. If he does not intend always to be on the side of truth and righteousness; if he does not mean to be a brave, whole-hearted soldier, to endure opposition from a determined foe, and to press close to the bleeding side of Jesus, not faltering or turning back, “he can not,” says Christ, “be My disciple.” (The Signs of the Times, July 28, 1898)

Clearly the call to follow Jesus will require courage, strength, and character of purpose. Paul said, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), but before he wrote that, he also said that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The Philips translation says, “For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.”

Like the apostles who all, save John, died in the service of their Master, Christ calls us to follow him and to give service to him. He does not promise an easy road, but he has promised to be with us if we will go forth for him. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

God is calling for his people to be principled and, like John the Baptist, as true to duty as the needle is to the pole.

Now is the time for God’s people to show themselves true to principle. When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 136)

Beloved, God has not left his church defenseless or without weapons. He has given us the “whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11–17), and we are told that our work as Christians is not purely defensive, but that we have weapons, as well.

 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5)

Paul is saying that we are called to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (ESV).

As Christians we have been called unto the grace of Jesus Christ. Writing to the Galatians, Paul noted: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Galatians 1:6).

Christians have been called to liberty and freedom: “Ye have been called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13).

Christians have been called “out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Christians have also been called to suffer for Christ’s sake, yet we are told that we shall be glorified with him: “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (Philippians 1:29)

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. (1 Thessalonians 3:4)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer. (2 Thessalonians 1:5)

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

In fact, we have been told these encouraging words:

Of all the gifts that heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. [Philippians 1:29 quoted]. (The Ministry of Healing, p. 478)

Conclusion

God is calling us each into fellowship and purpose with him.

We are to know and love him, and as we do, we shall enter into his purposes, and he will make us fishers of men. Though we serve through hardship, toil, and even suffering, we have the promise that he will not leave or forsake us.

We are not all called to be apostles or prophets, but God has chosen for us to live at the end of this world, to have fellowship with him, and to vindicate his character to the universe in a way that has not been done before! That is a high calling, indeed. The 144,00 will vindicate God, so “let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven” (The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905).

Let us each “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).


The Words We Speak

(A devotional talk shared by Ashleigh Holt at the California camp meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Editor)

Let us first read Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” We should be pure because we want to be like God, and we want to have pure words to speak to those around us and give an example of what Christ is like.

Let us consider now this counsel from Ellen White: “The Saviour’s voice was a music to the ears of those who had been accustomed to the monotonous, spiritless preaching of the scribes and Pharisees. He spoke slowly and impressively, emphasizing those words to which He wished His hearers to give special heed. Old and young, ignorant and learned, could catch the full meaning of His words. This would have been impossible had He spoken in a hurried way and rushed sentence upon sentence without a pause. The people were very attentive to Him, and it was said of Him that He spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees, for His word was as of one who had authority” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 240).

I like that because it tells us we should speak like the Saviour, and we want to be like him.

Next let us read again in our Bibles, this time Proverbs 25, verse 11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Every word that we speak should be fitly spoken, then they will be as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Ellen White tells us that when we speak, we are to “let every word be full and well rounded, every sentence clear and distinct, to the very last word. Many as they approach the end of a sentence lower the tone of the voice, speaking so indistinctly that the force of the thought is destroyed. Words that are worth speaking at all are worth speaking in a clear, distinct voice, with emphasis and expression. But never search for words that will give the impression that you are learned. The greater your simplicity, the better will your words be understood” (Gospel Workers, p. 88). Words that are worth speaking should be spoken clearly and with expression. We should speak well, so that the people who are watching us will understand what we say. We want to share the truth the way Jesus did.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 14, verses 8 and 9, we read: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” We should make certain, not uncertain, sounds. That way the people will be ready for the coming of Christ and will be prepared for battle.

God wants us to use clear words that are easy to understand. They will be like refreshing water, when he uses us to help others, as we read about in this poem:

 The Watered Lilies

The Master stood in his garden,|
Among the lilies fair,
Which his own right hand had planted,
And trained with tend’rest care.

He looked at their snowy blossoms,
And marked with observant eye
That the flowers were sadly drooping,
For their leaves were parched and dry.

“My lilies need to be watered,”
The heavenly Master said;
“Wherein shall I draw it for them,
And raise each drooping head?”

Close to his feet on the pathway,
Empty, and frail, and small,
An earthen vessel was lying,
Which seemed no use at all;

But the Master saw, and raised it
From the dust in which it lay,
And smiled, as he gently whispered,
“This shall do my work today.”

“It is but an ‘earthen’ vessel,
But it lay so close to me;
It is small, but it is empty—
That is all it needs to be.”

So to the fountain he took it,
And filled it full to the brim;
How glad was the earthen vessel
To be of some use to him!

He poured forth the living water
Over his lilies fair,
Until the vessel was empty,
And again he filled it there.

He watered the drooping lilies
Until they revived again;
And the Master saw with pleasure
That his labor had not been in vain.

His own hand had drawn the water
Which refreshed the thirsty flowers;
But he used the earthen vessel
To convey the living showers.

And to itself it whispered,
As he laid it aside once more,
“Still will I lie in his pathway,
Just where I did before.

“Close would I keep to the Master,
Empty would I remain,
And perhaps some day he may use me
To water his flowers again.”


Present Truth Ministries
Being Established in Oklahoma

In Acts 8 we have the story of Philip preaching in Samaria and how the Lord used him in a mighty and abundant way, but then God called him to go out toward the desert road toward Gaza, and we might wonder why God did this, for Philip had such a good revival in Samaria. Clearly the Holy Spirit was using him in Samaria, but the Lord had further and greater plans for Philip, part of which was meeting the Ethiopian eunuch and sharing Christ with him. God was endeavoring to branch the work out and to move it forward, and what a blessing that was to the New Testament church and to God’s people still today. We believe that the work of the apostles and disciples of Christ is still being recorded in heaven and God, through his spirit, is till directing his church today.

For the last fifteen years Brother Lynnford Beachy has worked in a closely-connected way with Smyrna Gospel Ministries, since coming to live in West Virginia in 1997. In the last six years, as his family has been traveling, holding meetings, and visiting with people, the Lord has impressed him to settle in Oklahoma and to become established so that the work can branch out further. We are very happy to let you know that Brother Lynnford is endeavoring to establish Present Trust Ministries in Kansas, Oklahoma, where they can have a center to work for non-Seventh-day Adventist people. They plan to have camp meetings and agricultural classes, and this will also become the new center for publishing the Present Truth paper. We want to encourage you to lift up Lynnford, Kendra, and those working in close connection with them, as they cast out the gospel net from this center. For those who wish to help support Lynnford and/or the Present Truth magazine, the address you may use for contact is PO Box 315, Kansas, Oklahoma 74347, and his phone is 304-633-5411. Lynnford’s email address is: berean@presenttruth.info and the website is still: http://presenttruth.info. We here at Smynra will join you in your prayers, love, and encouragement for the Beachys and those in Oklahoma.


From the File Cabinet

Insights into Adventist History

Located in our office are files cabinets that are filled with copies of old letters and documents relating to Adventist history. We would like to publish these documents on the Internet, but the time to scan and codify the documents has prevented us from accomplishing this task to date. However, we want to begin making some of these documents available to you, beginning with this first installment of “From the File Cabinet.”

LeRoy Froom was the driving architect for the apostate book Questions on Doctrine. Despite the changes brought by this book, Froom believed that more needed to be done to change Adventism. Being a student of history and an apologist, he well understood the role history plays. If the history of the church could be rewritten to be more evangelical in nature, it would help rush in a newer, more acceptable Adventism. Therefore, sometime in the early 1960s Froom began a manuscript that would finally be published in 1971 under the title of Movement of Destiny. We know of this dating because in a letter to D. E. Rebok, dated Nov. 3, 1966, Froom stated: “I am steadily progressing in the preparation of the manuscript tracing the lifestream of this Movement from the beginning…”

In the book Movement of Destiny, Froom attempted to rewrite Adventist history in such a manner as to show that Adventists have always, in one form or another, accepted what he called the “eternal verities.”

Two of the areas that Froom felt needed to be addressed (altered) were the views of E. J. Waggoner on the incarnation and on the eternal nature of the deity of Jesus Christ. In his writings Waggoner clearly presented his view that Jesus accepted the fallen nature of man in the incarnation and that Jesus was begotten of the Father some time in the ages past. For example, note the following statements from his book Christ and His Righteousness, published in 1890:

A little thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself the likeness of man in order that He might redeem man, it must have been sinful man that He was made like, for it is sinful man that He came to redeem. Death could have no power over a sinless man, as Adam was in Eden, and it could not have had any power over Christ, if the Lord had not laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of a sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (pp. 26, 27)

The Scriptures declare that Christ is “the only begotten son of God.” He is begotten, not created. As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning. (Ibid., pp. 21, 22)

When Movement of Destiny was published, however, Froom quoted and paraphrased Waggoner so as to give the impression that Waggoner believed that Jesus took the sinless nature of Adam before the fall and that Jesus was a part of a triune God. Froom also presented Waggoner in contrast to Arian views (page 196) and claimed that Waggoner used wording that harked “back to the very terminology of the original fourth-century Nicean controversy over Arianism—and possesses ‘all the attributes of God’” (Movement of Destiny, p. 198).

In Movement of Destiny Froom very selectively quoted from Waggoner’s book Christ and His Righteousness, leaving out the above quotation on the incarnation, when writing about Waggoner’s view of the incarnation (page 197) and also omitting the above statement on the literal Sonship of Jesus Christ when writing on the deity of Jesus Christ (pages 192–196).

Why did Froom do this? He had the book Christ and His Righteousness available to him, for he quotes from the book. It was not because he was unaware of these points of Waggoner’s theology, for he had been warned. In fact, our document from the file cabinet this month is a letter from R. L. Odom to Froom. Odom, who worked at the White Estates, specifically pointed out Waggoner’s views on the incarnation and on the Sonship of Christ to Froom. (See pages 23–24.)

Did Froom use this knowledge in the preparation of his manuscript? Certainly not, for he clearly avoided it in an effort to falsely rewrite our history so as to make it seem that Questions on Doctrine did not rewrite our history and that the great majority of the movement had always been evangelical/trinitarian in nature!

Writing to D. E. Rebok in the letter of November 3, 1966, Froom stated, concerning his manuscript:

I have completed my work on the 1888 Conference, I think the first time in which complete evidence has been assembled—the precise presentations by Waggoner, …

The section of 1888 is the part of Movement of Destiny that deals with Waggoner and his beliefs. So by the end of 1966, Froom had the sections on Waggoner finished. Yet the letter of Odom drawing Froom’s attention to Waggoner’s views was written over a year later (November 1, 1967). This was still at least three years before Movement of Destiny was published! If Froom had honestly wanted to present a factual and correct view of Waggoner’s position, he was informed of what he could write, but he failed to do so.

It is clear that Froom felt Waggoner’s positions were not correct, so he took the unwarranted liberty to insidiously manipulate the writings of Waggoner in such a manner that was not ethical nor honest. Froom was practicing deception! In fact, in his letter to Rebok he comments on the outline for Movement of Destiny and speaks of a chapter that “deals with the 1931 statement of Faith, [when] for the first time a united statement [was] accepted without controversy. For the first time a statement was, because of its comprehensiveness, accepted without controversy.” Froom is writing about the 1931 statement on pages 409 to 415 of Movement of Destiny.

Froom states that this was a unified statement and implies in Movement of Destiny, as he plainly wrote to Rebok, that this was the first statement that was universally accepted by the church, but this, too, is a bald-faced lie. Beginning in 1872 the Seventh-day Adventist Church did have a published statement of fundamental principles, and it was prefaced with the following statement:

In presenting to the public this synopsis of our faith, we wish to have it distinctly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible. We do not put forth this as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them. (Emphasis supplied.)

The corporate church has labeled this statement “distinctly non-Trinitarian” (Issues, p. 39) and rightfully so. The 1872 statement, with its preface, was published two years later by Elder James White in the very first edition of The Signs of the Times. He certainly would not have presented this statement as representative of Adventism unless it clearly carried the unified agreement of the body of Christ. This statement was also published in the S.D.A. Yearbook during the years 1889, 1905, and 1907–1914. Interestingly, this statement stopped appearing after the death of Ellen White. Furthermore, when the Kellogg crisis arose over the personality and nature of God and differences of thought began to arise, it was left out until that crisis was mostly past.

Froom, in Movement of Destiny, leads the reader to believe that 1931 was “the beginning of a new epoch, a drawing together in a united front” (p. 409), despite the fact that there was still opposition to the trinitarian positions in the statements on God. This opposition is directly proven by Froom in a letter to Roy Allan Anderson, dated January 18, 1966, where Froom mentions that the book Evangelism, published in 1946, was used to bring men in the Columbia Union into line with the teaching of the trinity. This was at least fifteen years after the 1931 statement had been issued.

While Froom may have believed that the publishing of Questions on Doctrine, Movement of Destiny, Evangelism, and other books, such as The Coming of the Comforter, needed to be done to bring the church into line with what he considered a correct view of the “eternal verities,” he used deception and practiced intrigue. “Absolutely nothing which does not bear the test of truth will be triumphant in the Judgment.” (Robert Wieland and Donald Short, 1888 Re-Examined, p. 2, 1950 edition)

Cab 1 Cab 2

 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 site. The url is: http://www.smyrna.org. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: