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. 22, No. 8 Straight and Narrow August 2013
As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
This month’s articles:
The Incarnation: In the Old Testament Prophecies, Types, and Shadows
The Master Spin Artist
West Virginia Camp Meeting Report
The Incarnation: In the Old Testament
Prophecies, Types, and Shadows
We all know what shadows looks like. A shadow is defined as a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface (Oxford English Dictionary). A shadow has no reality. It appears as an area or outline with few details, but has no substance. You can see a shadow, but you cannot hold, weigh, or package one. Shadows, like photographs, only show a picture or outline of something real and tangible. The shadow is caused by the blocking of light by something. You cannot feel a shadow. You might feel the effects of what caused the shadow, such as a blockage of light and heat or wind, but the shadow has no effect upon you.
The Old Testament is a book of symbols and types. Paul, writing to the Colossians, noted:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16, 17)
Paul speaks of an holyday, new moon or sabbath days. The sabbath days spoken of here are clearly not the seventh-day Sabbath, as will be seen in a moment, but Paul calls these things shadows. The Greek word that is translated shadow is skia. The word skia is here generally understood to mean not a literal shadow, but a foreshadowing. It follows that things to come means things that lay in the future when the observances were first ordained; thus, the things to come have already come with Christ.
The Greek word for body in verse 17 is soma.
The Greek term soma (literally, body) comes into play here contextually meaning the thing itself, the reality. As Ernest Scott indicated, In Christ we have the reality of which the sacred observances were the prefigurement. (Ron du Preez, Judging the Sabbath, p. 86)
The word soma is used in Bible texts, such as And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body (soma) (Matthew 26:26). But he spake of the temple of his body (soma) (John 2:21). Here Jesus is speaking of his literal body. The word soma means the reality or substance.
In Colossians he says that there are shadows, but the body, or reality, is in Christ.
Paul also speaks of shadows in the book of Hebrews. Who serve unto the example and shadow (skia) of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount (Hebrews 8:5). The services of the priests served as shadows of heavenly realities. If I have never seen a cat, but see the shadow of a cat, I can understand the general shape of the cat, maybe can watch how fast it can move and jump, but I do not have the cat. The shadow cannot meow, the shadow cannot purr, nor can the shadow scratch me. I do not have the reality. But once I have the cat, I have the reality. Paul is saying that the shadows help us to understand the plan of salvation, but they were not the reality. The reality is found in Christ and in Christ alone.
In Hebrews 10:1, Paul says: For the law having a shadow (skian) of good things to come . . . Here, when Paul speaks of the law, he is not speaking specifically of the Ten Commandments, but the Torah, or even the Old Testament, the whole system of truth that spoke of shadows. There was nothing shadowy or of a type in the Ten Commandments. The ten commandments, . . . was not a shadow, but a reality as enduring as the throne of Jehovah (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, May 6, 1875). Speaking of the seventh-day Sabbath, the servant of the Lord has noted: There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48).
These types and shadows were about something good to come concerning the plan of salvation. The Old Testament is full of the gospel. From cover to cover, the Bible is about the gospel. The Old Testament is not a dispensation of law and the New Testament a dispensation of grace, but the Old Testament is a testament of types, shadows, and symbols, and in the New Testament it is the gospel of realities.
Since the Old Testament teaches the gospel, it is reasonable to conclude that we should find each major point in the plan of salvation revealed in a type, symbol, or shadow in the Old Testament. Since the incarnation is one of the most important aspects to the gospel, it is reasonable to conclude that it is taught in the types and shadows of the Old Testament.
From times eternal a compact of peace had been devised between the Father and the Son should sin enter the universe:
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; And he shall grow up out of his place, And he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; And he shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule upon his throne; And he shall be a priest upon his throne: And the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12, 13)
The Hebrew word for both is shenayim, and it means two. Between the Father and the Son, there was an agreement and when sins curse was felt on earth, this compact was activated. Jesus then made an announcement to the angelic hosts that:
He would leave all His glory in heaven, appear upon earth as a man, humble Himself as a man, become acquainted by His own experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted. (Early Writings, p. 150)
This experience would include the fact that:
He would take mans fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs [the holy angels] . . . (Ibid.).
The first promise of the gospel is about the seed of the woman. In Genesis 3:15, God spoke to Satan in the medium of the serpent, and said: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15).
The Hebrew word for enmity is ebah, and it means hatred, or a state of deep-seated ill-will (Logos Bible Software). Sin and Satan are so bad that we may have a hatred or ill will towards them. There is a seed of the woman who is the incarnated Christ, and there is a seed of the serpentthe incarnated man of sin. This seed of the woman would finally come to destroy the offspring of the serpentSatan and his followers.
Jesus Christ would come to this earth and live under the laws of humanity and obey Gods law perfectly and become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This seed would not come as Eve had stood in innocence in Eden, but after four thousand years of sin had taken its effect upon humanity.
The contrast in human inheritance is seen in the fifth chapter of Genesis. This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him (Genesis 5:1). So man was made in the likeness of God, and Genesis 1:26 says that man was to be made in Gods image. Now notice what it says in Genesis 5:3: And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. Seth was not made in the likeness of God, but in Adams fallen image. It was the only likeness in which Seth could be made. The only humanity that could be formed in Eve was the fallen, degraded nature that was hers as a result of sin. So,
While Adam was created sinless, in the likeness of God, Seth, like Cain, inherited the fallen nature of his parents. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 80)
Every son and daughter of Adam has been born with a fallen nature. The first gospel promise indicated that the Seed of the woman would come meeting the law of equivalence we discussed in the introduction to this series, meeting sin on its own battle ground, accepting the responsibilities we have, meeting sin just as we meet it and where we meet it. Notice Ellen G. White on this point:
What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adams steps. He would take mans fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing He would open the way for the redemption of those who would believe on Him from the disgrace of Adams failure and fall. (The Review & Herald, February 24, 1874)
A Revelation to Jacob
Now we want to begin to look at some of these types that are in the Old Testament, and the first one is the story of Jacob. After Jacob deceived his brother, he fled for his life. When he came to Bethel, he stopped to sleep, using rocks for his pillows. While sleeping he had a dream:
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)
This ladder was symbolic. Angels do not need a literal ladder to go from earth to heaven, but there is a bridge needed that allows them to work on a sinful, fallen planet among sinful creatures and still be able to touch the throne of God. There must be a bridge that connects the chasm between righteousness and sin, between good and evil, and between heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ is that ladder. He claimed to be this ladder. Speaking to Nathanael, Jesus said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man (John 1:51).
Jesus claimed to be that ladder, the Son of man, that the angels of God ascended and descended upon. Continuing in Genesis 28, we read:
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. (Genesis 28:1417)
Christ is that ladder. Becoming a part of humanity, meeting the law of equivalence, Christ became the gate of heaven, the house of God. His life, as the ladder that Jacob saw, would bridge heaven and earth.
The communication broken by sin would again be restored to man, for in and through Christ, God would again commune with fallen mankind. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Only through Christ can we have communication with heaven; only through Christ can we find our way to God. Jesus is represented as a ladder, and any attempt to move or change the ladder is an attempt to remove Christ, and that results only in a false gospel. The Apostle Paul warned the believers in Galatia about this, when he wrote:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:69)
That is a strong warning to anyone who would want to change or remove the ladder. Can you imagine working on the top of a high ladder and someone comes along and starts to move or shake the ladder, maybe try to kick it out from under you? What would you think? To have a physical ladder kicked out from underneath you would be physically dangerous, but to have the spiritual ladder kicked out supersedes that danger, for it results in eternal loss.
The man of sin, the seed of the serpent, claims to control, to open and shut the gate of heaven for whomsoever she pleases. Instead of connecting people to Christ, she removes him far away and offers a Tamuz in his place.
Just after the flood a group of people gathered on a plain in the land of Shinar and began to build a tower that they believed would soar into the heavens (Genesis 11:19). That tower was called the tower of Babel. Concerning the word babel, we read:
The word Babel is a transliteration of an Akkadian word that the Scripture writer linked by a play on words with the Hebrew verb that means to confuse. The Babylonians, however, understood it to mean something more acceptable to themthe gate of God. (Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & Customs of the Bible, p. 20)
We believe that Babel means confusion, and it does, but to Nimrod and his conspirators, it meant the gate of God! They thought that they were preparing a way to heaven. So we have two concepts in stark contrast to each other.
The view of Babel, Babylon, is found in Daniel 2. King Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed a dream and wanted to find an interpretation for the dream. Then the Chaldeans answered before the king, and said . . . it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh (Daniel 2:10, 11). The view of Babylon is that God does not dwell in the flesh. Therefore, man must build a base upon earth to reach to heaven. Babylon would build a tower beginning with a base upon the earth that would reach to heaven. This tower results in confusion in literal and spiritual Babylon.
The other view is the mystic ladder, the base of which is firmly planted on the earth, while the topmost round reaches the throne of the Infinite (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 153). This ladder starts at heaven and reaches earth with God dwelling in the flesh.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)
These two ladders are contrasted in the following chart:
Tower of Babel
God does not dwell in flesh Daniel 2:11
The Word was made flesh. John 1:14
Man must build a base upon earth to reach to heaven.
God reaches down to man
Results in confusion
Results in salvation
The message of the Old Testament was that God would dwell with man. He would become the seed of Jacob, and he would set up the gate to heaven on the earth (Genesis 28:12). The clear message to Jacob in that night of loneliness is progressively revealed in the continued revelation of God in Old Testament.
In the Times of Moses
Deuteronomy 5 repeats the Ten Commandments. There we read, concerning the fourth commandment: And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day (Deuteronomy 5:15).
Exodus 20 gives creation as the reason for keeping the Sabbath and now in Deuteronomy, Moses speaks of deliverance as the reason for keeping the Sabbath. Many biblical students have understood that the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage is symbolic of the Christian being delivered from the bondage of sin. The Sabbath commandment teaches spiritual rest, as well as physical, and is also a sign of our freedom from the chains of sin; therefore, Deuteronomy 5 perfectly dovetails with Exodus 20.
When the time came for God to bring the deliverance from Egypt, he appeared to Moses in a burning bush in the region of Horeb on the backside of the desert.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exodus 3:15)
Moses was attracted by the unusual sight of a desert shrub burning with fire, yet not consumed. As he turned aside to see this phenomenon, he saw a fit shadow or symbol of Christ incarnated. The shrub well represented humanity, yet filled with the divine glory of God, it was not consumed. Hebrews 12:29 states that our God is a consuming fire, yet neither the bush nor Moses were consumed.
In Jesus, divinity and humanity each held their place, neither to be assimilated by the other:
In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity by being united to divinity withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 408)
Elsewhere, Ellen White also notes:
Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No, the two natures were mysteriously blended in one personthe Man Christ Jesus. (The Upward Look, p. 260)
Some theologians have tried to dissect and fully explain these statements, but some aspects of the mystery of God are not understood, but are accepted by faith because God says so.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8). The purpose of the sanctuary was so that God might dwell among his people. While the inside was beautifully adorned, the outer covering was badgers skins (Exodus 26:14). The NASB calls it porpoise skins, and the ASV calls it sealskins. It would have been a type of leather that would have had good waterproofing ability, but it would also have been an unattractive covering.
God has a reason for everything that he does. He does nothing without a purpose. All of his actions are with detail and purpose.
The exterior of the tabernacle would be dull compared to the tabernacles interior, with its shimmering golden furniture and with its beautiful embroidered curtains of rich blue and scarlet color and threads of gold, but the use of an unclean animals skin on the outside represented Christ accepting the sinful nature of humanity.
In Isaiah 53, we have the prophecy about the sufferings of Jesus and it begins: Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, And as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:1, 2). There was to be nothing in Christs outward appearance to attract humanity to him. People were not to be attracted to Jesus because he was a handsome, dashing, or attractive individual, but his noble character was to be his beauty.
Going back now to Exodus 26:29, we read more about the tabernacle: And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold (a symbol of divinity).
The interior of the tabernacle was gloriousgolden furniture and golden-plated wall boards, curtains with angelic symbolism woven in gold and in the Most Holy Place, the ark of the covenant with its mercy seat of pure gold and with its golden cherubim between which appeared the Shekinah glory. All was to reveal Gods purpose for the human soul.
Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbolthat glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshiping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul. It was the same purpose long afterward set forth by the apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit:
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17. (Education, p. 36)
Divinity dwelling in humanity was exemplified in the pattern-man, Jesus Christ. John summarized this concept, when he said: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The Greek word translated dwelt is eskenosen, from the root word skenoo, meaning to have ones tent, dwell (New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries). Youngs Literal Translation states it thusly:
And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 YLT)
This is what Christ wants to do todaytabernacle among us. In these prefigurements of the incarnation, we see how Jesus was willing to come down from heaven and live among men as a man.
If a mathematics teacher gives his algebra students some very difficult problems, they may say no way. And despite the teacher claiming that they are easy to do and even showing them how easily he can solve them, the students themselves will not be convinced until one of their own can do the problems. Jesus has come as one of us to show us how we may be victorious in all of our battles against sin.
We might think of an eagle telling a wolf to fly. The eagle even soars through the air to show the wolf how easy it is to fly. But of course, the eagle has wings and the wolf does not. That is the way some people think about JesusYes, flying is good, but I do not have wings. Jesus had wings, but I do not. Friends, away with such ideas! Jesus took no advantage that is not freely offered to humanity. Jesus Christ came to our level and showed that if we combine divinity and humanity by being a partaker of the divine nature, we, too, can be overcomers in all things. We can become the Christian men and women that God wants us to become. If you have tried living for God and you find you are too weak, do not give up. Be thankful you now realize that of yourself you can do nothing (John 15:5), but that through Christ you may do all things (Philippians 4:13). The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and he wants to dwell among us today, if we will simply turn our lives over to him.
The Voice of God
The most intimate, yet fearful confrontation of the children of Israel with God occurred at Sinai:
Here Israel was to receive the most wonderful revelation ever made by God to men. Here the Lord had gathered His people that He might impress upon them the sacredness of His requirements by declaring with His own voice His holy law. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 302)
What was the reaction of the people to the voice of God? And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die (Exodus 20:19). The mountain was on fire, and there was lightening, and the people were afraid and did not want to see or talk to God.
Referring to this incident, Moses, in his rehearsal before the children of Israel of Gods dealings with them in the wilderness, prophetically described the nature of the coming Voice of God:
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken [obey]; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (Deuteronomy 18:1518)
The Messiah would be from among them, one like unto Moses. God wanted them to hearken, or obey, the words of this prophet. God would teach them by one who would meet the demands of the law on the same ground that they treaded. If then they did not hearken (obey), he could in justice mete out sentence. This is plainly stated: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him (v. 19).
The Fiery Serpents
A very unique and strange shadow of the incarnation was the fiery serpents that threatened Israel:
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. (Numbers 21:4)
What would discourage them along the way? Maybe there was not enough salt or sugar in their diet? Maybe they didnt get enough white grains? Maybe the beds were not soft enough? Maybe they had to get up too early to get the manna? The way was not so palatable, and they became discouraged.
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. (Numbers 21:5)
What was the light bread they had? It was manna. They were not satisfied with what God set before them, and they murmured and complained. We are told that all their experiences were recorded for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (1 Corinthians 10:11), and we are further instructed that we are to do all things without murmurings and disputings (Philippians 2:14). So Israel murmured and complained, and God did something to attempt a cure.
And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (Numbers 21:6)
That land was a place already full of serpents, and God had miraculously protected Israel from them. These deadly creatures had been around them all along, and they had not realized it or the protection of God.
It was Gods power alone that had preserved them in that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 428)
Because they had been shielded by divine power they had not realized the countless dangers by which they were continually surrounded. In their ingratitude and unbelief they had anticipated death, and now the Lord permitted death to come upon them. The poisonous serpents that infested the wilderness were called fiery serpents, on account of the terrible effects produced by their sting, it causing violent inflammation and speedy death. As the protecting hand of God was removed from Israel, great numbers of the people were attacked by these venomous creatures. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 429)
But when Israel complained, God withdrew that special protection and let Israel see how well they could make it without him.
When in repentance, they recognized their sin the Bible says:
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:79)
The Bible says that they simply had to look, and believe, and live. Of course, you had to believe to look. If you did not believe, you would not look. Jesus says look unto me and be ye saved (Isaiah 45:22). We are to look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). There was nothing in the brass serpent that had healing virtue. But by looking to it, they were exercising faith in the command of God,and their faith connected them to heaven and the power of heaven.
Today when we are sick with sin, filled with sin, if we will look to Jesus, we may be healed by faith. He is able to heal us from any spiritual malady.
More than any other shadow or type, the brazen serpent revealed the depths to which Christ would go to meet the requirements of the law on the level of man:
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. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
This was not simply to meet the demands of the law, but Jesus would clothe his divine person with the fallen human nature of man that he might meet in that nature the forces which tempt man to sin. It is well-stated:
As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made in the likeness of sinful flesh was to be their Redeemer. (The Desire of Ages, p. 175)
What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpents which stung them. This symbol was lifted on a pole, and they were to look to it and be healed. So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came as the sin-bearer. (The 1888 Materials, p. 1,451)
In the Time of the Judges
Moving down now to the time near the end of the judges, we come to the book of Ruth.
Elimelech and his sons had gone to the land of Moab during famine. There his sons had married Orpah and Ruth, two Moabite women. All the men in the family died in Moab and Elimelechs wife, Naomi was going back to Israel. While Orpah stayed in Moab, Ruth went to Israel with Naomi, where she married Boaz and became a progenitor of Christ. Her marriage to Boaz symbolizes the close relationship Christ would sustain to humanity in the incarnation. The Mosaic Law required sold property or indebtedness to be redeemed by one who was nigh of kin.
And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. (Leviticus 25:24, 25).
Property is dealt with very differently today than in ancient Israel. No property was every truly permanently sold, for on the Jubilee the property would revert to the original owner or their heirs. So if you had to sell your land, you did not part with it forever, it would revert back to you on the Jubilee, or you could redeem it yourself at any time, or your nearest of kin could redeem it.
After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncles son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. (Leviticus 25:48, 49)
The inheritance of Elimelech had been lost during the sojourn in the land of Moab. Boaz was not the nearest of kin, so he had to allow that person who had the first option to redeem the inheritance of Elimelech. But to do that would be to accept Ruth and the obligation to marry Ruth. This the nearest of kin did not want, so he passed on the opportunity to the next of kin, who was Boaz, and he arranged to redeem that which had been lost, and by marriage to Ruth re-established the title to the inheritance.
Man through sin had lost not only his inheritance, but was himself in a bondage he could not break. Because of this:
The work of redeeming us and our inheritance, lost through sin, fell upon Him who is near of kin unto us. It was to redeem us that He became our kinsman. Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover, is the Lord our Saviour. (The Desire of Ages, p. 327)
It is of importance that in the genealogy of Christ, he has at least two ancestors not of Israel. Ruth was a Moabite, and the other was the Caananite harlot, Rahab (Matthew 1:5)! Christ was not only to be the Saviour of a chosen people, but he was verily to be the Saviour of the world, the Son of man. Jesus is willing to keep bad company and because he does, there is hope for me and hope for you! He looks at you and says, I am not ashamed to call you brother or sister, for I have a heathen prostitute in my family tree. I have an idolatrous Moabite in my family tree. He says come unto me, whoever you are, and I will give you rest.
In the Book of Isaiah
Isaiah is called the gospel prophet, and his book carries a most interesting prefigurement of the incarnation.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, And shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, That he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (Isaiah 7:14, 15)
Isaiah says that the Lord will give a sign. Matthew states, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
Matthew interprets this according to the reality of the situation. Mary was a virgin. The Hebrew word translated virgin in Isaiah 7:14 is almah, and it means a young woman of marriageable age. Strong defines it as damsel, maid, virgin. This word is used nine times in the Old Testament. It is translated virgin four times (Genesis 24:43; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8; Isaiah 7:14). It is translated once as damsel, twice as maid, and twice as alamoth (hiding place).
But there is another Hebrew word in Isaiah that is translated virgin that more properly means virgin, and that word is bethulah. It is used fifty times in the Old Testament and is translated virgin thirty-eight times. It is also translated maid seven times and maiden(s) five times. It is used in Isaiah five times (Isaiah 23:4, 12; 37:22; 47:1; 62:5). This word clearly has a stronger connection to the concept of virginity than almah.
Why is this important? Of course, Jesus was born of a virgin birth; that is not denied. The emphasis that Isaiah 7:14 is placing, however, is upon his birth being of a woman! A woman would bring forth a son, and that Son would be God with us. It is this concept which Paul grasped, when he wrote: God sent for his Son, made of a woman (Galatians 4:4). Matthew, in his quotes, interpreted it in the light of the eventthe woman was a virginbut he does not seek to lessen Isaiahs emphasis, for Matthew explains the meaning of ImmanuelGod with us (Matthew 1:23). This God-man has come, born of a woman.
Today in evangelical circles, the belief in the virgin birth is one of the great tests of orthodoxy. And there is nothing wrong with the belief in the virgin birth, for that is a truth. However, the over-emphasis that is placed upon this birth detracts from the truth that Jesus was born of a woman, a woman with the only nature that mankind has, a sinful nature.
God, through Isaiah 7:15, teaches us that Jesus would meet the same problems of life that we all face, and he would need to choose the good and to refuse evil. Jesus would be God with us, at our level, setting an example in a way that we could understand and follow.
Jesus Christ would not be kept back or insulated from the powers that seek the corruption of man, but he would be a free moral agent to choose and to decide for himself in his human environment.
He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man. (The Youths Instructor, July 20, 1899)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (Isaiah 9:6). He is given to us, to humanity and comes into humanity as a child. He would grow out of the roots of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). Jesus would receive in the incarnation an ancestral inheritance like all of the sons of men receive. As it is stated:
Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. (The Desire of Ages, p. 48)
What is the purpose of an example in such a case? To give a pattern to be copied or repeated. Jesus has given us an example of a sinless life because he wants us to copy that example.
We noted Isaiah 53:2 earlier: For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, And as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Before Isaiah introduces the suffering of the Messiah, he first notes a point about the incarnation. This great chapter that deals so pointedly with the death of Jesus begins with a point about the incarnation.
Just as a tender plant grows from one stage to another until it reaches maturity, Jesus would develop from childhood to manhood in harmony with all the laws of human growth. Yet there would be no outward attractiveness in Jesus. Commenting on these verses, the servant of the Lord has written:
Think of Christs humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. (The Youths Instructor, December 20, 1900)
Conclusion: In prophecy, in symbolism, and in type or shadow, it was foretold that the one who was to come would accept mans fallen nature, meeting the demands of the law and accepting the challenge to disprove all of Satans accusations.
Jesus would be and is:
Jesus would be lifted up so that those who would see him in his true character might have life. He would set up on the earth a ladder which would reach to heaven. Through his incarnation, a door of access would be opened for the sons of men to the throne of the Eternal. Through Jesus, the seed of the woman, the serpent, Satan, would finally be crushed and destroyed forever. We are told:
When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaventhe incarnation of the Son of God. (That I May Know Him, p. 25)
This is a deep problem or subject. We will never understand it to its fullest depths due to the infinity of its nature, but we can study and learn greatly from it. This study will pay rich dividends.
The study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth. (The Youths Instructor, October 13, 1898)
The incarnation is a vital part of the plan of salvation and without it the whole plan fails. Think of an intricate machine like a Swiss watch with many gears, springs, and levers. If you take just one gear out, the watch will fail to work. All the parts must be in place for the watch to function properly. In the plan of salvation, all the parts must be in the proper place for man to have salvation.
If the incarnation fails, the plan of salvation fails. If Jesus sins, then the plan fails. If he does not die for our sins, the plan of salvation fails. Jesus must be resurrected, ascend to heaven, and serve as our high priest or the plan of salvation fails. But foundational to this, he must accept humanity to truly be our mediator. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). The pope cannot be your intercessor. No priest, prelate, nor preacher can be your intercessor. You must go personally to Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father (John 14:6).
Jesus was prefigured in the Old Testament through types and shadows and the reality we have with us today. What a blessing that he is our elder brother who is not ashamed of us (Hebrews 2:11). How precious that is to me. I can review my life and see many things that he has had good reason to be ashamed of, but he still loves me and though my actions have been terrible, he is not ashamed of me, and he is not ashamed of you.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
God, through Isaiah, continues and says: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land (v. 19). While we are children of God by faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:26) and we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), we are saved to be obedient, and those who are obedient shall eat the good of the land. Allen Stump
Youths Corner Pioneer Witnesses of the Book Work
(This month we continue a series based upon the book Youthful Witnesses by W. A. Spicer, published in 1921. This months story is Chapter 9.)
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! (Isaiah 52:7)
Once the work of reform was started, a host of young students from the educational centers went out scattering the printed page. The names of most of them are written only in the book of life. Perhaps it was in France, which had not let in the Reformation as Germany did, that these pioneer colporteurs carried on their work amid the greatest peril.
The old building in Geneva, Switzerland, where Calvin conducted a training school for French-speaking youth, is still standing, and is still used as a school. It was no light thing in those times to take a book pack and cross the French border into towns where the Catholic crowds were singing their answer to the Protestants,
To the stake! to the stake! the fire is their home;
As God hath commanded, let justice be done.
Young men went out by scores into the field, nevertheless. In those days young Peter Chapot came to the Geneva school from Southern France. The year 1546 found him back again in France, selling Bibles and tracts all the long way to Paris. There he was arrested, and at his request brought before three of the leading theological professors of the college of the Sorbonne, to be convinced of his error. He surprised these men by the manner in which he refuted the Catholic positions from the word of God. They became angry at being so humiliated by a youth, and ended the interview with violent denunciation. Turning to his judges, Chapot said:
You have yourselves heard, my lords, that these people, who are the support, according to your opinion, of the whole system of religion, can bring forth no other grounds than threatenings and scoldings. Therefore, you will readily acknowledge the justice of my cause.
No little difference arose in the parliamentary council as to what to do with a man who had only sold Bibles and Scripture tracts, and who was able to defend himself so dexterously with the Holy Scriptures. He was condemned at last, and led to the Place Maubert for execution. One of the professors whom he had discomfited promised he should be strangled before the flames reached him if he would but say one Ave Maria." But young Chapots last words were, Forgive me, my Lord, my sins: Thou alone canst forgive me!
After this the Protestant colporteurs became even more active in France, where public preaching could scarcely be undertaken. At twenty-two, Jean Jorey had gone to Geneva to study, and then returned, with a still more youthful helper, to the province of Languedoc, where hundreds of years before the Albigenses had so troubled the church. The two bookmen were brought to trial in Toulouse, and condemned to the stake. First the lad was fastened to the post, with the gaping crowd about. Jorey was detained on the way, by a group of disputatious monks. The young lad, left alone, was weeping. Life was sweet to boys in those days, as well as now. Jorey tore himself away from the crowd, the record says, and ran to console his companion.
Why weepest thou, my dear brother? he said. Dost thou not know that we come nearer to our merciful Father the more we suffer?
I wept," said the boy, because you were not near me.
Then Jorey was bound to the stake, and they sang one of those psalms that so often cheered the martyrs in their pains. With the older disciple re,peatedly encouraging the younger, the flames took their lives.
The death of the five students from Lausanne, Switzerland, left a deep impression in France. They were book evangelists, seeking to win souls. There was safety on the Swiss side of the border; but the need was on the side of their native France. In Lyons they were arrested and held long in prison. Calvin wrote them from Geneva: Your chains have become illustrious. On May 16, 1553, they were taken to the place of execution; there they mounted the funeral pile, to be bound to the stake, the youngest first, the eldest last. Dr. Hurst, in his Martyrs to the Tract Cause, thus describes the closing scene:
When Martial Albas turn came, he kneeled some time upon the fagots in prayer. When seized by the executioner, he said to Lieutenant Tignac, Grant me one more favor.
What is it? asked Tignac.
Let me, O! let me kiss my brethren once more before I die, was his earnest reply.
Well, do so, said Tignac, with emotion.
Then Martial Alba fell upon the neck of each of his friends, kissed them, and said to them, Adieu, my brethren! The four embraced him, and exclaimed, Adieu, my brother! adieu, my brother!
Finally Alba put his arms around the neck of the executioner, and said, My friend, do not forget the words which I have said to you! He was then bound to the stake, and the fagots were kindled about him.
A hangman had received orders to make sure of their death, so he put a rope around the neck of each of the condemned young men, having attached it to a machine which would serve as a gallows. But the fire severed the rope before the machine could be put in motion. The flames streamed up in the air. The gazing crowd looked on. But many in that immense throng never forgot the last words which one of the five students of Lausanne said to his companions in death as in life, Take courage, brothers! take courage!
And from the band of youthful bookmen who laid down their lives in the pioneer days of the Reformation, comes the word to the youth in the closing message of reform, Take courage, brothers! take courage!
TIMED BY PROVIDENCE
No one can fail to see the hand of Providence in the coming of the printers art just before the days of the Reformation, to put the books in the hands of the colporteurs. The new invention was on hand when needed to give wings to Reformation truth. In the quaint language of his time, John Foxe tells how blessedly this gift of the printing press was timed:
To what end and purpose the Lord hath given this gift of printing to the earth, and to what great utility and necessity it serveth, it is not hard to judge, whoso wisely perpendeth both the time of the sending, and the sequel which thereof ensueth.
And first, touching the time of this faculty given to the use of man, this is to be marked, that when the bishop of Rome, with all the whole and full consent of the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, lawyers, doctors, provosts, deans, archdeacons, assembled together in the council of Constance, had condemned poor John Huss and Jerome of Prague to death for heresy, notwithstanding they were no heretics; and after they had subdued the Bohemians and all the whole world under the supreme authority of the Romish see, and had made all Christian people obedientiaries and vassals unto the same, having (as one would say) all the world at their will, so that the matter now was past, not only the power of all men, but the hope also of any man to be recovered: in this very time1 so dangerous and desperate, where mans power could do no more, there the blessed wisdom and omnipotent power of the Lord began to work for His church, not with sword and target to subdue His exalted adversary, but with printing, writing, and reading: to convince darkness by light, error by truth, ignorance by learning. . . .
By this printing, as by the gift of tongues, and as by the singular organ of the Holy Ghost, the doctrine of the gospel soundeth to all nations and countries under heaven; and what God revealeth to one man, is dispersed to many, and what is known in one nation, is opened to all. . . . .
First, when Erasmus wrote, and Frobenius printed, what a blow thereby was given to all friars and monks in the world! And who seeth not that the pen of Luther, following after Erasmus, and set forward by writing [printing], hath set the triple crown so awry on the Popes head that it is like never to be set straight again?
STORY OF THE FIRST PRINTED BIBLES
Gutenberg, a young man, was set to studying on the problem of movable types for printing by the attempts of a master for whom he worked in Holland, Laurence Coster by name, who made wooden type. Back to his home in Germany Gutenberg came, and there invented metal types for printing. Faust, a man with means, joined him. Together, and secretly, they set up shop in Strassburg, the young inventor and his older partner, with the son-in-law of Faust as type founder. After eight years of toil they printed the first Bibles, in Latin. In the little book, The Printing Press and the Gospel by E. R. Palmer, a story of the marketing of these first printed Bibles is told as follows:
When the first Bibles were printed, these enterprising pioneers in the art were confronted with another difficulty. How were the books to be sold? There were no colporteurs upon whom they could rely. During the many years of experiment and labor, much money had been invested in this work. They must get their money hack. The books might be sold at a high price if the method of printing could be kept secret.
Faust, who alone had invested in the undertaking, resolved to sell the Bibles himself. He could not trust the work to others. A quantity of these wonderful, newly printed books was sent to far-away Paris, and there he began his work.
With the keen instinct of the modern colporteur, he decided to head his list, if possible, with influential names.
He called first on Charles VII, king of France. Having secured an audience, he showed his beautiful Bible to the king in his royal palace. It was printed on vellum, and contained six hundred and seven leaves. The king was delighted, and believing that he was purchasing the most magnificent copy of the Scriptures in existence, he paid eight hundred and twenty-five dollars for it. . . .
Pleased, doubtless, with the success of his visit, and that he had the name of the king at the head of his list, Faust next called it the palace of the archbishop, and introduced his Bible. The archbishop subscribed at the same price paid by the king, and Faust went on his way looking for other customers.
A most interesting incident now took place, which gave a new turn to Fausts Bible-selling experience. This is related by Charles Coffin2 in The Story of Liberty, pages 7577:
The archbishop calls upon the king.
I have something to show you the most magnificent book in the world, says the king.
Indeed! The archbishop is thinking of his own book.
Yes; a copy of the Bible. It is a marvel. The letters are so even that you cannot discover a shade of difference.
I have a splendid copy, and if yours is any more perfect than mine, I should like to see it.
Here is mine. Just look at it, and the king shows his copy.
The archbishop turns the leaves. This is remarkable. I dont see but that it is exactly like mine. The pages are the same, the letters are the same. Can one man have written both? Impossible! yet they are alike. There is not a particle of difference between them. How long have you had this? the archbishop asks.
I bought it the other day of a man who came to the palace.
Singular! I bought mine of a man who came to my palace.
Neither the king nor the archbishop knows what to think of it. They place the two Bibles side by side, and find them precisely alike. There are the same number of pages; each page begins with the same word; there is not a shade of variation. Wonderful! But the archbishop, in a few days, is still more perplexed. He discovers that some of the rich citizens of Paris have copies of Bibles exactly like the kings and his own. More: he discovers that copies are for sale here and there.
Where did you get them?
We bought them of a man who came along.
Who was he?
We dont know.
This is the work of the devil.
The archbishop can arrive at no other conclusion. The Bible is a dangerous book. None but the priests should be permitted to read it. But here is the evil one selling it everywhere; or, if not himself in person, some man has sold himself to Satan for that purpose. He soon discovers that it is Dr. John Faust, of Strassburg.
You have sold yourself to the evil one, and must be burned to death.
Till this moment the great invention has been a secret; but Dr. Faust must divulge it or be burned. He shows the archbishop how the Bibles are printed; and John Gutenberg has printed so many of them that the price has been reduced one half. The archbishop, the king, and everybody else is astonished. So Faust saves his life, but the idea of selling himself to the devil has gone into story and song. . . .
This simple story of the invention of movable type by Laurence Coster, the printing of the first Bible by Gutenberg, and the sale of the first printed book by John Faust, covers the first important steps in the development of modern printing, and in the world-wide distribution of literature. Well may the citizens of Strassburg point with pride to the little island which is believed to be the site of the Gutenberg shop, and say, That is the spot from which the light shone forth upon all the world.
THE MODERN COLPORTEUR ARMY
In the spirit of that youthful bookman of France who cried at the stake, Take courage, brothers! take courage! an army of Christian colporteurs are carrying the printed pages of truth through all lands today.
The colporteurs of the Bible societies many of them youth, though many grown veteran in service are carrying the Scriptures to the peoples and nations in more than a hundred tongues. Millions of Bibles and Scripture portions are spread every year among people in highways and byways, in Christendom, in pagandom, and in the Moslem lands, least worked of all. Somehow Mohammedans must get the message of the Book that even they are taught to respect. A young Persian worker was attacked one night by Moslem robbers. The Bible Society Record tells the story of the witness borne in the robber stronghold:
When these men found that the captive taken in the dark was poor, they were inclined to kill him. One of the robbers bawled out, He is a Gueber; lets kill him anyhow. In a moment fifty men had drawn their swords to purge the earth of such a wretch.
The frightened Christian had no weapons. But he had a Bible which he had been taught to regard as a sword for spiritual warfare. Drawing his Bible from his bosom, he cried out:
Men, you make a great mistake! Do you not see that I am a man of the Book? This is the Book that your prophet repeatedly declared to be true.
The flash of the light on the gilt edges of the Bible caught the gaze of the men; light seemed to blaze from the book. The swords dropped, and several of the robbers came closer to examine the volume curiously, without daring to touch it. At last they dragged the preacher to their village, that the mullah might tell them whether to spare the man for the sake of the Book.
It is indeed the Book, said the mullah, after making sure that it contained the law, the psalms, and the New Testament, as the Koran says it does; it is the Book; and whoever unjustly kills one of the people of the Book, him will God smite.
So it came to pass that the poor preacher, so nearly murdered in the robbers pass, finished his evening an honored guest in the village, reading to his wild hosts psalm after psalm by the flickering light of the oil wick. And as each of the beautiful psalms came to an end, the robbers, with one accord, said, Amen!
And colporteurs with religious books that open and explain the Bible, calling attention to the special message of Gods Holy Word for our day and generation, are also abroad in all parts of the earth. Inside the arctic circle they sell thousands of volumes. One young man, descending the Lapland mountains, kneels down at the edge of a dangerous declivity to pray God to send an angel with him to keep him safely as he sets his feet on the perilous steep in order to carry the printed page to cottagers in the valley. He makes his way safely down, and at the first cottage the people want to know where his companion is; for they had clearly seen two men coming side by side down the place of danger.
Young men have carried the books over Patagonian plains and into Tierra del Fuego, the last inhabited land toward the Antarctic Circle. They entered Russia in the old days, pockets and coat linings stuffed with tracts, printed on tissue paper, so as to get as many of the precious pages as possible past the unholy censorship of the old regime. They placed the books in the palaces of kings and princes in the Old World, and took the signatures of president on their order books in New World republics. The Chinese men of the speaking page have gone in and out of the lines of contesting revolutionary armies, dared the robbers of the White Wolfs bands in Honan, and carried the volumes to the far West, by the borders of Burma and Tibet.
When the chief magistrate of a Peruvian town armed his police and ordered them to keep the colporteur away, our man of the books passed the guards, sold the magistrates lady a book, and won the chiefs friendship and approval for his work.
Tears of joy have been shed by people listening to the story of Christ and His love and of His soon return, as told by the colporteur in describing his volume. A Korean colporteur sells a book to a man partially drunk, with the result that the purchaser, when sober, reads the book, and a revival starts in the region round about.
From door to door in the homelands they have gone with the books and papers, leaving many a householder to feel that not a mere salesman but a man of God had called with a message from heaven.
I am doing this because I love Jesus, said a timid girl rebuffed by a busy woman of wealth who had not time to look at a book. The phrase, I love Jesus, kept ringing in the womans soul until she sent out to find the young colporteur and to secure the book.
So in many lands and among many peoples and tongues the colporteurs largely recruited from the ranks of our youth, though numbering veterans in the service are sowing the gospel seed and hastening the worlds harvest home. Their noble work is sung in these verses written by a young man who once carried the truth-filled volumes from door to door in far Australia, newest land of earth:
Among the workers in Gods vineyard wide,
That tell the tidings that the gospel saith,
Not least important, though less known than most,
The colporteur goes forth in simple faith.
Mid mighty cities busy, bustling din,
He hurries on to wage his war with sin;
And in the humble hamlets of the West,
To many a home he bears the message blest.
Now, where the wintry sun doth disappear
For full three months of every passing year,
In ice-bound lands he joyful wends his way,
To sell his books that tell of endless day.
In far Australia, newest land of earth,
He goes to tell them of another birth
This world shall know when God shall cause to cease
The curse of sin, and rule in sinless peace.
In Eastern lands, where pagan temples rise,
And shrill muezzins startle morning skies,
He bears, to those who sit in errors night,
Truths beacon pointing to the Source of light.
By ancient castles on the far-famed Rhine,
Along the vales of Alps and Apennine,
Een where the beast is throned by Tibers flow,
I see him tread, and angels with him go.
Where the proud Briton in his castle dwells,
In town and village joyfully he tells
Of that great day when earthly kingdoms fall,
And Christ shall rule eternal over all.
Where Western genius marks its wondrous power,
And cities rise as moments in the hour,
And through the Spanish main that Southern ire
Has cursed with revolutions, sword, and fire,
On goes the colporteur, nor slacks his zeal,
Through hard times or prosperity, through woe or weal,
Placing, in countless homes, books full of grace,
That point earths weary to a resting place.
Speed on thy holy work. Let no despair
Press down thy spirit; God for thee doth care.
By every water sow thy seed, and He
Who increase gives, shall bless thee mightily.
The Master Spin Artist
Introduction: Many theories have been presented as truth, and when we are exposed to them, we need to use logic and not emotion in determining their validity. The following article examines several theories and concludes with guidelines to use when we are in the valley of decision.
The year was 1610, and Galileo had just finished his newest version of the telescope, one that magnified one thousand times and that revealed sights never before seen by man. Oh, the beauties that he saw! The phases of Venus were traced, four of Jupiters moons were discovered (it has at least sixty-three), and the rings of Saturn were seen for the first time, discoveries that were a great boon to astronomy but a terrible blow to the Church, for they proved indisputably that planets revolve around the sun (and not around the earth) and that a satellite of any planet revolves around the host planet instead of around the earth. Galileo was met with stubborn disbelief and scorn and eventually faced a papal inquisition. He was found gravely suspect of heresy and in April 1633, he pleaded guilty in order to receive a lighter sentence and was ordered to remain under house arrest for the rest of his lifesix more years. Several years earlier, however, during the height of his career, Galileo wrote his friend and supporter, Kepler (a fellow astronomer), expressing astonishment at Galileos opponents who refused to even look through his telescope:
I think, my Kepler, we will laugh at the extraordinary stupidity of the multitude. What do you say of the leading philosophers here to whom I have offered a thousand times of my own accord to show my studies, but who, with the lazy obstinacy of a serpent who has eaten his fill, have never consented to look at the planets, or moon, or telescope? Verily, just as serpents close their ears, so do men close their eyes to the light of truth. . . . How you would laugh if you heard what things the first philosopher of the faculty at Pisa brought against me in the presence of the Grand Duke. He tried hard with logical arguments, as if with magical incantations, to tear down and argue the new planets out of heaven! (Galileo, quoted by John Joseph Fahie, Galileo, His Life and Work, p. 102)
And what kind of logical arguments did this first, or principal, philosopher use?
There are seven windows given to animals in the domicile of the head, through which the air is admitted to the tabernacle of the body, to enlighten, to warm, and to nourish it. What are these parts of the microcosmos? Two nostrils, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth. So in the heavens, as in a macrocosmos, there are two favourable stars, two unpropitious, two luminaries, and Mercury undecided and indifferent. From this and many other similarities in nature, such as the seven metals, etc., which it were tedious to enumerate, we gather that the number of planets is necessarily seven. Moreover, these satellites of Jupiter are invisible to the naked eye, and therefore can exercise no influence on the earth, and therefore would be useless, and therefore do not exist. Besides, the Jews and other ancient nations, as well as modern Europeans, have adopted the division of the week into seven days, and have named them after the seven planets. Now, if we increase the number of the planets, this whole and beautiful system falls to the ground. (Francesco Sizzi, a Florentine astronomer, quoted by Fahie, p. 103; emphasis in original)
Unbelievable! But why did they go to such lengths to resist Galileo? It was because his discoveries pulled the rug out from under the church-held belief of an Earth-centered heaven and proved the heaven close above to be a sun-centered system.
Tracing her [Venus] through the visible portion of her orbit, Galileo had the satisfaction of seeing the illuminated part assume successively the forms appropriate to his hypothesis. . . . Venus demonstrated that she, and, therefore, probably all the other planets, were of themselves not luminous, but only reflected the sunlight which fell upon them. And thence he concluded that they must all revolve around the sun . . . (Fahie, pp. 123, 124)
Years earlier, Copernicus believed this, but he could not prove it because the telescope had not yet been invented, but once Galileo got hold of a telescope and looked up into the starry sky, he found amazing things, and he had the strength of character (for a time) to stand against any and all opposition in defense of the truths that we now take for granted concerning our solar system. He knew the truths of what he had seen, and of what could be seen by anyone who cared to look, but they were rejected by the authorities of his day because it contradicted what had always been known as truth, and so began a long, cantankerous affair with astronomers and other scientists and with religious leaders, ending in a papal inquisition and in Galileo denying what he knew was truth. The rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, and the spots on the sun were obvious to Galileo and would have been obvious to anyone who cared to peer through his telescope, but when brought before the papal inquisition near the end of his life, Galileo agreed with the church authorities that the Sun was mobile and the Earth was stable (not the other way around), in order to save his temporal life.
Eppur Si Muove
The Italian words eppur si muove, meaning and yet it moves, supposedly were said by Galileo at his last hearing, or sometime thereafter, in which he denied the movement of the earth; however, most likely these words are apocryphal. The only semi-evidence we have for Galileo having spoken them is from a painting of the time and from two of his contemporaries who were known to be disgruntled with the role of the church in scientific affairs. We have no way of knowing if the painter was expressing his own belief or quoting Galileo, and we do not know if the discontent men were expressing their own thoughts or Galileos words; however, in 1978, Stillman Drake (an historian), attributed the words to Galileo because it would have been in character for Galileo to have spoken them:
Nothing would have been more in character for Galileo, at the moment of leaving the hospitality of his good friend and host Ascanio Piccolomini, thanjust before his entering the waiting carriageto stomp a foot on the ground, perhaps wink, and utter the famous words [eppur si muove]. (Stillman Drake, Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography, p. 357)
Drakes public espousal of an unreliable event gave it continued life, and caused others to do the same, Stephen Hawking, for one:
But the following year, when Rome got word of the preferential treatment Galileo was receiving from Piccolomini, it had him removed to another home, in the hills above Florence. Some historians believe that it was upon his transfer that Galileo actually said Eppur si muove, rather than at his public abjuration following the trial. (Stephen W. Hawking, On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy, pp. 396, 397)
The issue for Hawking was not if Galileo had spoken the dubious words, but when he had spoken them. In other words, he had no question that the sentence had been stated by Galileo, but only that some historians thought they were spoken at his transfer to a new home rather than at his abjuration.
People too readily assume that because Hawking is a famous scientist he speaks the truth. Such an assumption, however, depends on an argument from authority. In this particular case, however smart and accomplished Hawking is, he is not a historian. . . as Hawkings quotation above indicates, reasonable readers dont consider eppur si muove as apocryphalHawkings own formulation implies that the question is not if Galileo said eppur si muove but when Galileo said it. I think many reasonable people understand the story as having considerable truth in it. Examples of it being repeated by reasonable and educated people are easy to find. (Darin Hayton, who teaches early modern science at Haverford College, quoted from; http://dhayton.haverford.edu/2012/06/03/toward-a-history-of-eppur-si-muove/; emphasis in original)
Galileo was uncompromisinguntil his life was threatened.
Hawking accepted and promoted disputable reasoning.
Arriving in New York City in 1939 with a medical degree from the University of Moscow, Velikovsky immersed himself, not in the practice of medicine, but in the study of ancient history and in the coordination of unnatural physical events on Earth, such as the ten plagues of Egypt and the sun standing still, with supposedly wild solar system activity. He sought to build, among other things, a scientific explanation for the origin of the earth and for the causes of its unusual events. For example, he claimed a comet erupted from Jupiter which caused the formation of Venus, and as this comet passed Earth, great upheavals occurred that are recorded in the Bible as the ten plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the falling of manna, the physical manifestations at Mount Sinai, etc. The comet later returned, causing the sun to appear to stand still, but actually, according to Velikovsky, the earth stopped rotating precisely at the moment Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still (Martin Gardner, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, p. 4). Sound fanciful? It is, yet Velikovsky was convinced he was right, and his unorthodox beliefs in cosmology and ancient history linger on.
Velikovsky did not offer truth to his peers and followers. He had a piece of history here and a piece of history there, undocumented stories of comets, implausible (or at best improbable) science, a denial of this historical record and a denial of that, a crunching of dates to make things fit, and moreall pulled together and presented as truthand people were up and running after his tricky rabbits, including Seventh-day Adventists. For example, John Ashton and David Dow, authors of Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline, rely partially on Velikovskys Egyptian chronology:
According to the Bible, the Philistines were a major source of conflict during the reign of Saul and David. . . . According to the revised chronology of Rohl [another rearranged chronology], the Philistines would come onto the scene about 800 B.C. during the redated reign of Ramses III, but Ashton and Down here insert Velikovskys date placing the Philistines all the way down to the Medo-Persian empire in the time of Esther. Either way [Rohls or Velikovskys], Saul and David would have [had] absolutely no one to fight, including Goliath, because they [Saul and David] lived literally hundreds of years before the Philistines came into existence. (Michael Hasel, Book Notes, ReflectionsA BRI Newsletter, October 2007, pp. 8, 9)
We know that David reigned around 1000 BC, and the Philistines and Goliath had to have lived in the same time period, not five hundred years later during the time of Medo-Persia!
Velikovsky was an uncompromising fringe activist.
Charles Sylvester DeFord
To me truth is precious. I love it. I embrace it at every opportunity. I do not stop to inquire, Is it popular? ere I embrace it. I inquire only, Is it truth? If my judgment is convinced my conscience approves and my will enforces my acceptance. I want truth for truths sake, and not for the applaud [sic] or approval of men. I would not reject truth because it is unpopular, not accept error because it is popular. I should rather be right and stand alone than to run with the multitude and be wrong.
The holding of the views herein set forth has already won for me the scorn and contempt and ridicule of some of my fellowmen. I am looked upon as being odd, strange, peculiar; as being a little weakminded; as having a broken wheel or a slipping cog in my mental machinery. But truth is truth and though all the world reject it and turn against me, I will cling to truth still. . . .
Yours for Enduring Truth,
CSD (Charles Sylvester DeFord, writing in the preface to A Reparation: Universal Gravitation a Universal Fake and quoted by Martin Gardner in Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery, pp. 415, 416; brackets in original)
Who is Charles Sylvester DeFord, and what is A Reparation: Universal Gravitation a Universal Fake, written in 1931? DeFord was a Christian gone awry who was willing to gallantly sacrifice friends and reputation for the unpopular truth his booklet presentedthe earth is flat!
DeFord was an uncompromising lunatic.
Jonathan David Brown
During the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, Brown was involved in the Christian music scene. He engineered many of the Maranatha! Music albums, helped produce a number of Petra and other Christian rock albums, and produced albums for Twila Paris, Glen Campbell and others. He was called a genius in his field, but in 1992 he was sentenced to twenty-seven months in a federal prison. After his release, he wrote, performed, and produced his own album, entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. One of the songs on the album is entitled Take the Law into Your Own Hands which is just what Brown has done. He has taken the sacred Sabbath of the fourth commandment and has perverted it into a lunar Sabbath. In his book Keeping Yahwehs Appointments, published in 1998, Brown states his prophetic revelation (p. 6) is:
. . . Yahwehs people are destined to return to all of His Natural Laws which were not added to merely atone for sin. (Ibid.; emphasis in original)
What he means by natural law is really the lunar Sabbath, and he came to his understanding of the lunar Sabbath under the direction of what he considers the voice of God:
. . . I heard the still small voice say, the weekly sabbath is in the quarters of the moon where all the other feast days are. I followed the voice. (Ibid., p. 49)
Like eppur si muove of old, the current lunar Sabbath teaching has been moving along since 1998, directed by the supposed voice of God!
Brown is a false prophet.
Stephen Greenspan is intelligent and well-educated, has had good jobs, and had saved a substantial amount he wished to invest for his retirement. But where should he invest his money? He moved in affluent circles, and he listened to and watched those around him. Many people seemed to be making a large profit with a particular fund and spoke highly of it. It seemed a safe investment, so he placed one third of his life savings in the Rye Prime Bond Fund. As always, he knew a risk was involved, but Rye was part of the respected Tremont family of funds which was managed by very reputable financial firms and which was also a subsidiary of Mass Mutual Life, so Greenspan considered the degree of risk to be minimal. He later learned the Rye fund actually fed into a Madoff-managed fund, but even if he had known that at the time, it would not have mattered, for people in the know were then flocking to Bernard Madoff, for Madoff promised only steady, modest gains, not the quick, spectacular rewards that would have raised a red flag Wealthy retirees even joined Madoffs country club just to have an opportunity to meet him, and to top it off, he was a Jewish philanthropistJewish people were supposed to know money, and philanthropists were supposed to be good people! But it wasnt until a family connection was made that Greenspan decided to invest:
I made the decision to invest in the Rye fund when I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Boca Raton, Fla., and met a close friend of theirs who is a financial adviser and was authorized to sign people up to participate in the Rye (Madoff-managed) fund. I genuinely liked and trusted this man, and was persuaded by the fact that he had put all of his own (very substantial) assets in the fund, and had even refinanced his house and placed all of the proceeds in the fund. I later met many friends of my sister who were participating in the fund. The very successful experience they had over a period of several years convinced me that I would be foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity. My belief in the wisdom of this course of action was so strong that when a skeptical (and financially savvy) friend back in Colorado warned me against the investment, I chalked the warning up to his sometime tendency towards knee-jerk cynicism. (Stephen Greenspan, Why We Keep Falling for Financial Scams, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2009; emphasis in original)
Greenspan was gullible.
Proponents of pseudo-truth come in all shapes and sizessome ignorant and illiterate, others intelligent and well-educated. They often work on the slippery edges of knowledge. They sometimes consider themselves to be geniuses and/or persecuted and their peers to be out of step with the truth. They may develop incredibly complex theories which they can defend with persuasive rhetoric. It is easy to ignore the absurd, but it takes a developed degree of discrimination and critical thinking to spot an intelligent, perhaps suave, imposter, and when it comes to matters of faith, we especially need the gift of spiritual eyesight and discernment.
Unfortunately, it is in matters of faith that we get fooled the most. Cyrus Reed Teed sought an understanding of the cosmos that he felt was implied in Scripture, and one day he claimed to have had a vision. Supposedly a beautiful woman spoke to him and revealed the key to the cosmoswe are living on the inside of the earth! For the next thirty-eight years, he preached a detailed description of how the sun, moon, and stars, how the geologic strata, how the comets, everything, fit into this hollow earth. This is religious lunacy, and we wouldnt for a moment fall for it, but all of us have been duped at one time or another in somethingready to believe what is to our liking but what does not pass critical inspection. Unscrupulous people feed on this gullibilityauthors write what sells, not what is accurate; scam artists rely on a persons greed, promising a huge return on an investment; lonely hearts listen to the promises of predators; charismatic speakers move unsuspecting crowds with deceptive wordsthink of Joe McCarthy and Adolph Hitler; and innocent people even confess to crimes under the power of suggestion.
Gullibility is not generally seen as an affliction yet it can do us terrible harm: losing our life savings to a swindler, falling in love with a sweet-talking scoundrel, or putting our health in the hands of a Dr. Feelgood. . . .
In 1959, as the New Delhi bureau chief for Time and Life magazines, I was one of a raucous bunch of competing correspondents waiting on Indias northwestern border for the Dalai Lama to emerge from the mists of Tibet. Each of us wanted to be the first to greet the young god-king as he escaped the Chinese troops at his heels. Yet the Indian army forbade us from crossing the border by vehicle, elephant, rented aircraft or any other means.
That didnt stop Londons multimillion circulation Daily Mail from splashing across its front page an utterly fictitious story by intrepid byliner, Noel Barber, who claimed to have flown over the Dalai Lamas procession deep in Tibet. He told how he looked down on the saffron robes and burning incense of the brave Buddhists trudging toward the free world. Banging away at his typewriter in our tea plantation lodge, Barber knew that his editors knew that it was all make believe. But, as he told me without apology, our readers must be served. (Donald S. Connery, Foreword to Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It by Stephen Greenspan, pp. xiii, xv)
Because we are Christians, we will not deceive others as did this reporter; but on the other hand, our faith does not necessarily protect us from being gullible. Adventist Christians, in particular, can be easily deceived because in their love for truth, they often are willing to listen to anything and everything, hoping it is new light. Emotion also clouds their reason. This is what gives every new wind of doctrine lifenew ideas are given attention and emotional connections are made, or vice versa. Perhaps the listening Adventists know someone who has accepted a new idea or maybe they like something about the person presenting itsomething as small as a smile or the grip of the handshakeand they linger in contemplation. The new concepts may promise a temporal or an eternal gain, and accepting them may give rise to a feeling of pride or satisfaction, for they now know something others do not know or are now willing to endure the cross that accompanies a strange truth, and they become hooked. If logic is used, it will be faulty logic (for no false doctrine can properly be sustained by the word of God), and emotion will always cast the swing vote. Think of Eve in the gardenshe was overwhelmed by what she saw, heard, felt, and tasted, and critical thinking about what was happening seemed impossible.
You might wonder where the emotion is, however, in the calculated action of a cold-hearted assassin. Such an apparently heartless sin, nevertheless, thrives because of emotionperhaps a desire for riches or fame or perhaps a perverted thrill from the pull of the trigger, we cannot know, but assuredly some emotion gives birth to it, and then logical planning takes over. It was the same way with Lucifer.
Mr. Greenspan was gullible, in part, because he was swayed by the people he met. His ultimate decision to invest was clinched in the swirl of family and friends, but the one particular emotion referred to in 1 Timothy 6:10 lay under the whole process. To my knowledge, every sin recorded in the Bible either resulted from or was clinched by emotion and was never a result of true logic alone. That is not to say that emotion is to be avoided, but it is to say that logic must rule, and true logic is an intelligent, reasoned faith in Gods word. This is not an oxymoron. The true Christian need not be gullible, as any atheist or agnostic would have us believe, and their faith reaches far beyond using religion to simply manage the difficulties of life. Godly men and women know in whom they have believed, and they know that Gods word is always true and never fails, for they have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord.
Eric B. Hare
They had just arrived at the mission station, tender missionaries on their first assignment, and were taking a stroll together around the mission compound, inspecting the dispensary and the other small, mat buildings, when an old lady stopped them. Holding up a quieting finger, she told them in hushed tones of the pythons guarding the ruined pagoda they were approaching, of the history of fighting in the nearby abandoned villages, of the curse on the pagoda and the evil spirits attending it, and of the men who died trying to find its treasure. Then she sat back, chewing her betel nut, and solemnly watched the effect her words had on their faces. Smiling broadly and standing taller, Missionary Hare added volume to his typically musical voice and assured her that he and his wife were not afraid of any spirits, curses, or pythons, and right up to the pagoda they confidently strode!
The Hares knew in whom they believed.
The Fourth Commandment
The United States has been greatly blessed by God, but God keeps a record of our nations forgetfulness of him, and the one sin in particular that will fill up the measure of her iniquity is the crime of making void the law of God:
The greatest and most favored nation upon the earth is the United States. A gracious Providence has shielded this country, and poured upon her the choicest of Heavens blessings. Here the persecuted and oppressed have found refuge. Here the Christian faith in its purity has been taught. This people have been the recipients of great light and unrivaled mercies. But these gifts have been repaid by ingratitude and forgetfulness of God. The Infinite One keeps a reckoning with the nations, and their guilt is proportioned to the light rejected. A fearful record now stands in the register of heaven against our land; but the crime which shall fill up the measure of her iniquity is that of making void the law of God. (Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, July 4, 1899; all emphasis in this article supplied unless otherwise stated)
And in the law of God, one commandment is honored above all others:
. . . I beheld the tables of stone on which the ten commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel, It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein. When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was also laid the foundation of the Sabbath. (Ellen White, Life Sketches of James and Ellen G. White, 1880 edition, p. 236)
But a breach occurred in the law concerning the Sabbath:
While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring standard to which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be brought. Says the prophet, If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. [Isaiah 8:20.]
Again, the command is given, Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. It is not the wicked world, but those whom the Lord designates as my people, that are to be reproved for their transgressions. He declares further, Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God. [Isaiah 58:1, 2.] Here is brought to view a class who think themselves righteous, and appear to manifest great interest in the service of God; but the stern and solemn rebuke of the Searcher of hearts proves them to be trampling upon the divine precepts.
The prophet thus points out the ordinance which has been forsaken: Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord. [Isaiah 58:12, 13.] This prophecy also applies in our time. The breach was made in the law of God when the Sabbath was changed by the Romish power. But the time has come for that divine institution to be restored. The breach is to be repaired, and the foundation of many generations to be raised up. (Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 284, 285; brackets in original; published in 1884)
The Sabbath was kept in Eden and has been kept continuously to our day:
With peculiar fitness may the Sabbath be called the foundation of many generations. Hallowed by the Creators rest and blessing, it was kept by Adam in his innocence in holy Eden; by Adam, fallen yet repentant, when he was driven from his happy estate. It was kept by all the patriarchs, from Abel to righteous Noah, to Abraham, to Jacob. When the chosen people were in bondage in Egypt, many, in the midst of prevailing idolatry, lost their knowledge of Gods law; but when the Lord delivered Israel, he proclaimed his law in awful grandeur to the assembled multitude, that they might know his will, and fear and obey him forever.
From that day to the present, the knowledge of Gods law has been preserved in the earth, and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment has been kept. Though the man of sin succeeded in trampling the Sabbath under foot, yet even in the period of his supremacy there were, hidden in secret places, faithful souls who honored the Creators rest-day.
Since the Reformation, there have been in every generation witnesses for God to uphold the standard of the ancient Sabbath. Though often in the midst of reproach and persecution, a constant testimony has been borne to this truth. Since 1844, in fulfillment of the prophecy of the third angels message, the attention of the world has been called to the true Sabbath, and a constantly increasing number are returning to the observance of Gods holy day. (Ibid., p. 286)
The true Sabbath brought to the attention of the world since 1844 is not the lunar Sabbath! A new breach is occurring in the law of God, and new repairers are needed. A widespread alert about the seventh-day Sabbath has been sounding for over a hundred years, the three angels messages have been proclaimed around the globe for over a century, and a people are pressing together in eager anticipation of the soon coming of Jesus, but in this little flock, an enemy is stealthily unleashing an attack on Gods law that is more deadly than any he has unleashed before, for it is targeted at the very ones who are keeping Gods law. Until now, Satan has sought to overthrow Gods law with a counterfeit day of worship (Sunday), but Sunday observance could never tempt studious, Bible-loving Seventh-day Adventists. Instead, Satan is seeking to cause Adventists to believe that the continuous, successive seventh-day Sabbath is the wrong Sabbath and that it has never been the true Sabbath, and in its place he offers a spurious sabbath. Satan knows this new sabbath (the lunar Sabbath) will have to be sustained by a new understanding of Scripture in order to gain a foothold with the remnant and that it should be presented as a requirement or a test for the final generation in order to meet their desire to be part of the 144,000, but the lunar Sabbath is not, and never was, the memorial of Gods creative power:
In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years? (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, May 25, 1905)
Fifty years takes us back to 1855. Our safety today is to be found in the truths established between 1855 and 1905, not one pin of which is to be removed, and these truths include the seventh-day Sabbath as kept by Ellen White and the early Advent believers.
Satan has been persevering and untiring in his efforts to prosecute the work he began in heaven, to change the law of God. He has succeeded in making the world believe the theory he presented in heaven before his fall, that the law of God was faulty, and needed revising. A large part of the professed Christian church, by their attitude, if not by their words, show that they have accepted the same error. But if in one jot or tittle the law of God has been changed, Satan has gained on earth that which he could not gain in heaven. (Ellen White, Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 107; published 1896)
Lunar Sabbatarians would say they are not changing Gods law, but are only revealing it more fully, but they are denying the continuously successive seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord our God which Ellen White affirmed to be the true Sabbath. Satan is seeking to gain on earth what he could not gain in heaven.
Continuing in the quotation, we read:
He [Satan] has prepared his delusive snare, hoping to take captive the church and the world. But not all will be taken in the snare. A line of distinction is being drawn between the children of obedience and the children of disobedience, the loyal and true and the disloyal and untrue. Two great parties are developed, the worshipers of the beast and his image, and the worshipers of the true and living God. (Ibid.)
If men would but study the word of God with earnest prayers that they might understand its teachings they would not be left in darkness to receive false doctrines. But as they reject the truth, they fall a prey to these deceptions. (White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 347)
Lunar Sabbatarians may study the word of God earnestly, and with much prayer, but they have rejected the weekly, successive seventh-day Sabbath of creation, and they will fall prey to the deceptions of Satan, but no one has to fall. We can honor God with a faith that is logical, strong, and durable because it is founded on God and his word alone and with a faith that will not swayed by emotion into accepting falsehood.
The Lunar Sabbath
The lunar Sabbath teaching is a duplicity from the master spin artist himself. This theory has many marks of a spiritual swindle. For example:
1) It builds its case on the egregious assumption that when God created the moon on the fourth day, he was also creating a calendar; however, the only specific time frames mentioned in Genesis l:1419 are days and years; no months and no lunar cycles are mentionedLet there be lights in the firmament of heaven . . . for days, and years (Genesis 1:14). The days are to be determined by the lights in the firmament, and the years, also, are to be determined by the lights in the firmament. No concept of a month is introduced. You might think: It was not necessary to specifically state months because the phases of the moon are obvious, but they are no more obvious than the occurrence of a day, which God did specify. (In fact, the new moon is often less obvious to observe than the start of a new day.) The moon is to rule the night (vs. 16, 18), not a calendar.
Signs: In verse 14, God tells us that all the lights in the firmament are to divide the day from the night (so far, this is understandable) and that all are to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. Taking out the punctuation, which is not in the original, we read: for signs and for seasons and for days and years. Days and years, which we have already mentioned, are one unit, signs are another, and seasons a third. The root Hebrew word for signs is otot and is translated mostly sign(s) or token(s). When we read sign in it is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed (Exodus 31:17), we are reading otot. Moses wrote both Genesis and Exodus under inspiration and chose otot to use in both Genesis 1:14 and in Exodus 31:17the seventh-day Sabbath is a sign determined by the lights in the firmament. The understanding of otot covers the entire range of our English word sign. It includes conceptsthe rainbow is a sign, and all the plagues of Egypt were otot or signsand it includes the physical bodies of the heavens and/or the interpretation of their movements as a sign(s)Jeremiah speaks of the heathen being dismayed at the signs (otot) of the heavens (Jeremiah 10:2).
Seasons: The Hebrew word for seasons is mowed and is most often translated congregation which mowed does represent indirectly AFTER sin, but mowed actually means a set, or appointed, place or time. When the Israelite congregation met at a set, or appointed, place or time, the word congregation was often used in translating mowed. This meeting sometimes happened on a new-moon day (Leviticus 23:24), it sometimes happened on a seventh-day Sabbath (Leviticus 23:13), and it sometimes happened on a non-Sabbath and a non-new-moon day (2 Chronicles 2:4). The Bible does not limit mowed to the new moon, nor should we.
The only non-astronomical measurement of time established by God before sin is the seven-day week, and this may be more significant than we have thought. Allen Friedman, head of the Tax Planning Group in 2008 at J. P. Morgan, wrote of this importance:
. . . Until the clock was invented, nearly all time measurements used by human beings had one thing in common: almost every time unit was defined as the interval between when something happens in the sky and the next time that natural event occurs. A day is the time between one sunset and the next, or between one sunrise and the next; a monthor moonthwas defined as the time between one new moon and the next; a year is the time it takes for the sun to return to a given place in the sky. . . .
Our [Jewish] ancestors made one exception to the definition of a given time unit as the interval between when something happens in the sky and the next time that event takes place. That exception is known as the week. Rather than being a single interval between recurrences of an astronomical event, a week is a seven-fold multiple of such an eventa day. . . . the length of a week seems deliberately chosen so as not to fit neatly into the two longer common time units. Months and years are never (with the exception of February) equal to a multiple of a whole number of weeks. . .
. . . the scholarly consensus today is that the Sabbatical weeka constantly repeating cycle of marking time completely disassociated from the lunar cycle and culminating in a Sabbathis an independent and uniquely Jewish creation [by God]. . . .
In summary, we might say that Jews proclaim their belief in a God who is above nature by marking time in a way that is disassociated from nature.
Thus, while the Sabbath is certainly a commemoration of the seventh day of creation, limiting the idea of Shabbat to this conceptualization misses a profound point: that the week that culminates in the Sabbath is the demarcation of time using a deliberately artificial and unnatural constructa construct that proclaims, through its very being, the existence and supremacy of the God-Who-Is-Not-Nature. . . . (Allen Friedman, Unnatural Time: Its History and Theological Significance, The Torah u-Madda Journal [15/2008-09], pp. 9598; emphasis in original)
Eviatar Zerubaval, a professor at Rutgers University, agrees:
One of the most distinctive features of the week is the fact that it is entirely dissociated from the lunar cycle. It is essentially defined as a precise multiple of the day, quite independently of the lunar month. . . .
A continuous seven-day cycle that runs throughout history paying no attention whatsoever to the moon and its phases is a distinctively Jewish invention [we realize the seven-day cycle was not invented]. (Eviatar Zerubavel, The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, pp. 9, 11)
The use of mowed after sin is most often associated with a meeting of the congregation. Before sin, however, there was no need for the feasts that were later instituted after sin, so the use of mowed in Genesis 1:14 could not be referring to the meeting of the congregation on feast days, as the lunar Sabbatarians claim in using Psalm 104:19. The belief that the meaning given mowed after sin is applicable to the meaning of mowed before sin is faulty. What congregational meetings took place before sin?
2) It does not stand further tests of biblical soundness. (We will begin a series next month on this point.)
3) Its use of a source out of context in order to say or imply something the source did not intend. An example involves Robert L. Odom, a Seventh-day Adventist who wrote his Sunday in Roman Paganism to give a clear answer to the question, Was Sunday the day esteemed by the Sun worshipers of Roman paganism as sacred to the Sun? (Odom, Forward; Kindle version, loc. 35; book originally published in 1944).
The question here raised is one that has been debated much in modern times. Seventh-day Adventists and many others have affirmed that in the Roman Empire Sunday was the day which the heathen regarded as sacred to the Sun-god. For example, Mrs. E. G. White, a writer of authority among Seventh-day Adventists, speaks of Sunday as the pagan festival and declares that it is a day handed down by the heathen and papists. She also says that it was the festival observed by the heathen as the venerable day of the Sun. And in explaining how Constantine (306337 A.D.) came to issue his famous Sunday law of 321 A.D., she says: The day of the Sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects.”
Are such statements about Sunday true? The main objective of this book is to give a clear answer to this question. (Ibid.)
In his answer to this question, Odom discusses the concept of the week and makes a difference between the planetary week and the week God established at creation:
The week that was so popular in ancient paganism was an astrological institution, which we shall designate as the planetary week, because its days were named after a hebdomad of heavenly bodies called planets, which were worshiped as gods by the heathen. (Ibid.)
This planetary week, Odom also calls a counterfeit week (Ibid., loc. 3715) with a counterfeit sabbath (Sunday), and this is the crux of his bookthe contrasting of the planetary week with Gods true week established at creation. Odom never implies, however, that the true week established at creation was based on lunar cycles. Although we do not agree with some points in the following quotation, we have no problem with the freedom the authors have in stating it:
Counterfeit worship requires a counterfeit calendar and the Council of Nicaea provided it. Biblical calendation was supplanted by pagan solar calendation, and the planetary week replaced the Biblical week which depended upon the moon. (eLaine Vornholt and Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones, History of a Lie, Chapter 3, p. 10; accessed at http://www.4angelspublications.com/Books/HoL/Chapter_3_-_HoL.pdf)
We do have a problem, however, with what occurs next. Vornholt and Vornholt-Jones immediately use the following quotation from Odom, implying that Odom lends support to their belief that the week is dependent on the moon, which Odom does not support, as well as implying that their use of the terms biblical calendation and solar calendation equate with Odoms use of the terms planetary week and Biblical week, which they do not. A week is a week, but calendation is the mapping of a year.
This planetary week was paganisms [sic] counterfeit of the true, Biblical week instituted by the Creator in the beginning of earths history. In the counterfeit week employed in ancient paganism the venerable day of the Sun was esteemed by the heathen above the other six days because it was regarded as sacred to the Sun, the chief of the planetary deities . . . Just as the true Sabbath is inseparably linked with the Biblical week, so the false Sabbath of pagan origin needed a weekly cycle. Thus we have found that the planetary week of paganism is Sundays twin sister, and that the two counterfeit institutions were linked together . . . (Ibid., quoting Robert Odom, Sunday in Roman Paganism; Kindle version, loc. 3715 and 3725)
Odom himself states that Sunday in Roman Paganism was written as a history of the seven-day week as used throughout the Roman Empire in the first centuries of the Christian era (The Lords Day in Early Christianity, vol. 1, manuscript section 2, p. 652), and this seven-day week was not a week based on lunar cycles; it was based, rather, on solar cycles.
4) It inflates side issuesthe calendar change, planetary names for days, etc.for support. The push for a world calendar has significance, but not as a support for the lunar Sabbath, and the history of calendar changes over past millennia is of interest, but not as a support for the lunar Sabbath. No lunar calendar was established at creation. A calendar, by definition, is a concrete, means of keeping track of the yearits beginning, its length, and its subdivisionsand the object in the sky that allows for this is the sun, not the moonone revolution of the earth about the sun is a year. One complete revolution overhead of the constellations (which is harder to track) also takes a year, but the phases of the moon do not track a year, unless it is a lunar year, and a lunar year is not being referred to in Genesis 1:14 because the Hebrew word transliterated shaneh and translated year is most frequently employed in ways paralleling modern usage (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 2, p. 941, R. Laird Harris, ed.). There are a few times the word is used with a different significance, such as the year of release; the year of remission which occurred every seven years; and the turning of the year and the returning of the year which refer to the fall and the spring seasons, but as a specific measurement of time, shaneh corresponds to what we normally call a year, and the only way to track this year is by the sun, not by the moon.
Brothers and sisters, the heavenly bodies were created to divide the day from the night and for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years (Genesis 1:14). We can understand how they divide the day from the night and how the days and the years are determined by the sun, but sometimes we are not sure how they are used for signs (otot) and seasons (mowed). Simply stated, if we remember that the seventh-day Sabbath is a sign (otot) (Exodus 31:17) determined by the lights in the firmament (because that is how days are determined) and that mowed is a set time or place that is used in the Bible sometimes for Sabbaths, sometimes for new moons, and sometimes for other days, we will not stumble over and accept the teaching that the lunar Sabbath replaces the weekly, successive seventh-day Sabbath.
5) It denies the inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy. For example, no Seventh-day Adventist lunar Sabbatarian would state that in 1888 the lunar Sabbath had been preached more widely in the United States than had the successive seventh-day Sabbath; therefore, they would not accept the following statement as true because the true Sabbath Ellen White is referring to is the weekly, successive seventh-day Sabbath: This claim [concerning the enforcement of Sunday observance] is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, 1888 edition, p. 587). Later in the same paragraph, Ellen White states that it is one of Satans devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility, and we see the twisted combination of truth and error in the lunar Sabbath teaching.
6) Most likely it is birthed and moved along by emotion(s). We have seen this happen before, but since emotion is an internal experience, only the individual can be judge, but be aware of this probability.
7) In many instances there is a physical (gut) feeling, a voice, or another sense activated that draws or has drawn the one investigating the lunar Sabbath teaching. Again, only the individual can judge this, but it has happened. Please remember that true logic is Gods word, and it must rule.
Velikovsky thought he had found, in an ancient papyrus manuscript by Ipuwer, the link that would provide Egyptian validation for the Hebrew record of the ten plagues of Egypt, but the language style and some historical references in the papyrus indicated that the accepted dating for these events was off by five hundred years. So, Velikovsky revised the dating, making Ipuwers account correspond with the biblical account. By so doing, he also solved the problem of the date for the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. Sounds good and based on this, one might be likely to side with him. His revised dating also solved other problems in the chronology of the pharaohs; things are beginning to make even more sense. One might become a taker, if this was as far as he went, but this was only the beginning. Velikovsky postulated that the plagues happened because of a flyby of a comet from Jupiter, and he proposed that Venus and Mars were formed, as well as the Earths mountain uplifts, abrupt climate changes, pole shifts, etc., because of cosmic activity. The hand of God was not involved. This should put an end to our dalliance with Velikovsky, just as any dalliance with the lunar Sabbath should end the moment it clearly contradicts Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy. We should not have to investigate further. If we are not grounded in these gifts from God, we will find ourselves drifting in spiritual outer space, without a chart or compass.
In matters of the spirit, there are crosses that each must carry alone and cups that must be drunk alone. No one can bear or drink them for youthe experience is between you and God. The desire for baptism, for example, is not a desire that can be transferred to someone else. We can teach what the Bible says about baptism and what it symbolizes, but no one can make this decision for another. And the same is true about what is accepted as spiritual truth. We can teach what the Bible says about a particular topic, we can refer to what the Spirit of Prophecy reveals, we can present the faulty research, the misleading quotations, the incomplete logic, and/or the twisted interpretations concerning it, but no one can transfer belief, for or against something, to another. Forming beliefs is an individual affair. Certain logical guidelines, however, will provide an anchor when we are in the valley of spiritual decision:
1. Be logical. This means have implicit trust in Gods word, for this is what true logic is. It is completely logical to trust someone who loves you, who never lies, who is all powerful, all knowing, etc. The word logic comes from the Greek word logos, the Greek word used to describe Jesus Christ in John 1. In its purest sense, logic is that which agrees with the word of God.
2. Be logical. This means assess intelligently. Check for correctness in references; check for straight answers with no sidestepping or smoke screens; check for clear, concise expressions with words that do not allow for double meanings; check if there is circuitous reasoning or a theory built on assumption rather than on fact; etc.
3. Be logical. This means enjoy godly emotions and feelings after the decision is made. Any decision made under the rush of human emotion, or even under controlled human feeling, is almost sure to be wrong and is vulnerable to changeableness. Human feelings and emotions are not stable under duress. Both Adam and Eve made their dreadful decisions because of emotion and feeling and not because of logical faith in Gods word.
4. Be logical. This means be aware of your own shortcomings and vulnerabilities, for they predispose you to gullibility. Satan knows each of you individually and knows to what spiritual deception you are most gullible. You must depend upon Gods word and on his protection of you and not dally with anything that contradicts God, for if you do, you will be meeting Satan under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Once a logical decision is made that does not contradict Gods word or the counsel given in the Spirit of Prophecy, be joyful. Be at peace and delight yourself in the Lord. The good work God has started in you, he is sure to finish.
All of the examples in this article, save one, demonstrate problems in finding truth or in holding onto it:
1) Galileo was uncompromising about truth at first, but was later willing to deny it to save his life.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (Luke 9:24)
2) Hawking did not do his historical research and promoted as fact something disputable. Instead of someone who does his work partway, God needs men and women who will give their all in his service:
God calls upon the young men and young women to make the most of their entrusted ability. He would have you cultivate habits of industry, habits of study, that you may improve the talents He has given you. God will accept your service, and the improvement of your talents, but He cannot look with approval upon half-hearted, halfway work. (Ellen White, Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 30)
3) Velikovsky did a lot of research, but used the knowledge he gained to deny the Creator of the universe and to build implausible theories of the cosmos.
Human knowledge of both material and spiritual things is partial and imperfect; therefore many are unable to harmonize their views of science with Scripture statements. Many accept mere theories and speculations as scientific facts, and they think that Gods word is to be tested by the teachings of science falsely so called. 1 Timothy 6:20. The Creator and His works are beyond their comprehension; and because they cannot explain these by natural laws, Bible history is regarded as unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments too often go a step further and doubt the existence of God and attribute infinite power to nature. Having let go their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. (Ellen White, Darkness Before Dawn, p. 8)
4) DeFord expressed a noble loyalty to a ridiculous belief. We all desire to be loyal to God and to not be hoodwinked by strange beliefs, as was DeFord, but this can only be accomplished if we remain faithful to the pillars of our faith, and by doing so, we will be supplying the greatest want of the world:
The greatest want of the world is the want of menmen who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. (Ellen White, Education, p. 57)
But to supply this want, we must know what the right is:
Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 273)
The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, January 11, 1887)
5) Brown heard a still small voice that contradicted Scripture, but he promotes his experience to this day and believes it to be true. New spiritual truth, however, never contradicts the truth already given by God, for God cannot lie.
Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 295)
6) Greenspan lost part of his savings because he was both gullible and moved by emotion, and we can lose our salvation, if we are spiritually gullible or controlled by emotion:
There is danger now of our losing sight of the important truths applicable for this period of time, and seeking for those things that are new and strange and entrancing. (Ellen White, Christ Triumphant, p. 361)
The fallacies of Satan are now being multiplied, and those who swerve from the path of truth will lose their bearings. Having nothing to which to anchor, they will drift from one delusion to another, blown about by the winds of strange doctrines. Satan has come down with great power. (Ellen White, The Review & Herald, August 31, 1905)
Brothers and sisters, hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown (Revelation 3:11). Messages of every description and kind are going forth in these last days, and we need to be careful that we are not deceived in our great desire for truth. Let us not be blinded with gullibility or by emotion, but let us carefully search out proposed new light as if our lives depended on it because our eternal lives do. Onycha Holt
West Virginia 2013 Camp Meeting Report
It is hard to believe that camp meeting has already come and gone, but we are blessed to have some really wonderful memories, and for that we are thankful. We received not only memories of good fellowship, but of a fortified spiritual experience from the studies and experiences of the camp.
This was our fourteenth camp meeting, and we have been blessed to have a few folks, including our own Granny Anne, who have been able to attend each one. Granny Anne said that this may have been the best one yet, at least to her!
Our theme this year was the Sabbath, and we had a blessed experience studying the Sabbath from many different angles. Brother Lynnford Beachy had a four-part series on the lunar Sabbath that received great interest. We were able to make recordings of the main meetings, with the exception of four meetings where, sadly, technical difficulties overcame our efforts. However, we currently have the rest of the recordings posted online. You may click the links below to hear the recordings. For those without access to the Internet, we are making a single mp3 disc available which has all the recordings on it for a suggested donation of $5.00. If you need individual audio CDs, they will be available for a suggested donation of $5.00 for each message. Please use the code on the left of each message when requesting.
WV_CM_01 Thomas Akens A Peculiar People
WV_CM_02 Thomas Akens Lord of the Sabbath
WV_CM_03 Michael Woodward The Standard of Liberty
WV_CM_04 Lynn Beachy The Lunar Sabbath 1
WV_CM_05 Lynn Beachy The Lunar Sabbath 2
WV_CM_06 Lynn Beachy The Lunar Sabbath 3
WV_CM_07 Elvis Alberto Experiences in South America
WV_CM_08 Elvis Alberto The Medical Missionary Work
WV_CM_09 Demario Carter Going into the Wedding
WV_CM_10 David Sims The Sabbath of Sabbaths
WV_CM_11 David Sims The Burnt Offering (Communion)
WV_CM_12 Allen Stump Pleasing God and the Sabbath
WV_CM_13 Allen Stump The Certainty of the Sabbath 1
WV_CM_14 Allen Stump The Certainty of the Sabbath 2
WV_CM_15 Allen Stump The Sabbath and the Seal of God
WV_CM_16 Wally Woodward Deceptions before Christs return
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.