Old Paths Masthead

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. 23, No. 2 Straight and Narrow February 2014


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The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. (Psalm 19:1)
 

The Northern Lights are . . . the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora. (http://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.htm)


In This Issue

Partaking of the Divine Nature, Part 2

Give Me Immortality

Tasty Recipe

The Big Lie

Creation and the Lunar Sabbath

From the File Cabinet of History

Youth's Corner

Near to My Heart

YouTube Update

New Address


The Incarnation
Partaking of the Divine Nature, Part 2

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:1–4)

Before we continue with Part 2 of the important study “Partaking of the Divine Nature,” we want to review and expand upon a few vital points from the last study.

Review

In our last issue we discussed the importance of partaking of the divine nature and how Jesus, who was in very nature God, took upon himself the slave nature of man. Divinity united with humanity so humanity could unite with divinity. Without Jesus becoming human, we could never partake of the divine nature.

Christ became one [in flesh] with humanity, that humanity might become one in spirit and life with Him. By virtue of this union in obedience to the Word of God, His life becomes their life. He says to the penitent, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25).(Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 302; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

For God to finally trust someone with eternal life, it must be demonstrated that the believer has yielded his life totally to the leading of the Holy Spirit and has received the divine nature. A change of character is essential and must precede a change of being.

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

The only way we can be an overcomer is to be a partaker of the divine nature. This is not an optional idea, but an emphatic one.

Now we beg to ask the question, What makes God, God? What sets him apart from all others? Is it his omnipotence, his omniscience, or his omnipresence? These are certainly attributes of God, but are they the most essential attributes of his being?

When Jesus was upon the earth, if he was going to save us, he could not have access to omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence.

Yet inspiration is very clear that upon this earth he was still God. Jesus was divine and no less God than before the incarnation. Jesus was divine in the essential quality of character.

So which was more important in the life of Jesus—to have power or to have character? We are told:

He veiled the demonstrations of Deity . . .He was God, but the glories of the form of God he for a while relinquished. (White, The Review and Herald, June 5, 1887)

Regardless of how we may view the deity of Christ, “the demonstrations of Deity,” the power and the form of deity, “he for a while relinquished.” Therefore, we must conclude that it was the character of God that set Jesus apart, a pure character of love by which only deity is defined. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Furthermore, we are told that God’s law is love (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 33).

Lucifer did not call the power of God into question. This he had no doubt about and, in fact, clearly coveted and desired to have that power. What Lucifer called into question was the character of God. He did not want the character of God. The controversy thus became about the transcript of God’s character—his law. The law is not a transcript of the power of God or of the “form of God,” but of the character of God. Understanding this difference is essential.

Opposition to the law of God had its beginning in the courts of heaven, with Lucifer, the covering cherub. (White, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972)

The controversy begun in heaven over the law of God, has been kept up upon the earth ever since Satan’s expulsion from heaven. (White, Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 316)

Satan declared that the law of God was selfish and that angels needed no such guide, for they were inherently good. Fallen man, Satan declared, could not obey the law of God and must die.

Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 242)

He [Satan] claimed that angels needed no law; but should be left free to follow their own will, which would ever guide them right; that law was a restriction of their liberty, and that to abolish law was one great object of his standing as he did. (White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 23)

Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God’s favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 761)

The revelation of God’s character is as much a revelation of deity as is his form. The character of God and Christ is the essence of truth and righteousness. The power of God could only be used for the welfare of his creation, if the quality of his character was as high as the quantity of his power.

In our last study we concluded with the following statement:

He brought into his human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive. (White, The Review and Herald, June 5, 1887)

With these “life-giving energies,” Jesus proved that fallen human nature had no excuse for sinning and that God’s law can be kept. What are these “life-giving energies” that are so essential to salvation? Jesus took these “life-giving energies” and proved that fallen human beings, who partake of the divine nature, have no excuse for sinning and that God’s law could be kept.

Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 671)

The Spirit takes the things of Christ—“the life-giving energies”—and imbues them into the life of the believer. So what are these life-giving energies?

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 1:14)

Here, we are told, Jesus was full of two things—grace and truth. Let us now examine them.

Truth

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The truth sets one free. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). God wants us to be free from sin, but Lucifer, who abode not in the truth, wants us to be in slavery (John 8:44). We need truth to be set free. What is the nature and value of truth?

Truth is sacred, divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. In it [truth] there is fulness of joy. When it [truth] is cherished in the heart, the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. This is the love of God in the soul. Thus pure, unadulterated truth occupies the citadel of the being. (White, The Review and Herald, February 14, 1899)

Truth is of divine, not human, origin! Therefore, when man partakes of truth, he is partaking of the divine nature.

All truth is to be received as the life of Jesus. Truth cleanses us from all impurity, and prepares the soul for Christ’s presence. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. (White, Our High Calling, p. 208)

Truth is the basis for righteousness by faith. David wrote, “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172). God’s commandments are righteousness and in Psalm 119:142, David connects God’s commandments with the truth: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” Righteousness, commandments, and truth all work cohesively together. When we have the truth of God’s law in us, we have righteousness.

In 1888 at the General Conference Session in Minneapolis, Minnesota, quite a discussion about righteousness by faith took place. That discussion has certainly not ended, but is still continuing. Almost any idea or version you wish to hear about righteousness by faith is calling for attention; however, there is one essential point that is often overlooked. Why was the 1888 message not received, and why is it still not received? Because . . .

They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, . . . (White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 65)

But the quotation does not end here. The Spirit of Prophecy not only tells us the heart of the problem, but also defines the righteousness for which we are to exchange our self-righteousness. Ellen White says that the righteousness of Christ is “pure, unadulterated truth” (Ibid.).

Until we receive the Holy Spirit and have the truth imparted to us, we cannot have the righteousness of Christ.

Think about the disciples. They heard the lessons of Jesus but until they received the Holy Spirit, the disciples failed to understand much of the truth Christ taught and thus failed to partake of his nature.

The apostles were, at times, doubting, weak, and perplexed, for sure; but a change was to come:

Christ was the revealer of truth to the world. By Him the incorruptible seed—the word of God—was sown in the hearts of men. But many of the most precious lessons of the Great Teacher were spoken to those who did not then understand them. When, after His ascension, the Holy Spirit brought His teachings to the remembrance of the disciples, their slumbering senses awoke. The meaning of these truths flashed upon their minds as a new revelation, and truth, pure and unadulterated, made a place for itself. Then the wonderful experience of His life became theirs. (White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520)

Did you notice the words “truth, pure and unadulterated” in this quotation? Ellen White used the same words in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers to describe the righteousness of Christ.

When the disciples made room for truth in their lives, a wonderful thing happened—Christ’s life became their life. That is what we need, too. Not all who claim to have the life of Jesus have his life, if truth is left out!

For the last eight years, there has been a special agitation concerning the doctrine of righteousness by faith among the people who claim to believe the truth about God. Some have felt that Old Paths should have stayed out of the issue and should have left well enough alone. However, righteousness by faith is too vital an issue to be quiet or neutral about. When a nation faces a crisis, the leaders must take action. When God’s people face a crisis over vital matters of salvation matters, the trumpet must be sounded.

Jesus said that “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The promise of Jesus to us is for us to be guided, not into part of the truth, but into all truth. Would you drink a cup of sulfuric acid if it were offered to you? Of course not, but what if I gave you a half of a cup? Would you drink it then? What if it were a teaspoon? Would you put it to your lips? It would burn your lips. We have been told that “error is never harmless” (White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 292).

Sometimes when we shop for items, like a car, we want to negotiate the price. We want a discount, an amount we do not have to pay. Do we want a discount with God? Do we want to see how much error he will allow us to have and we can still be walking faithfully with him?

Jesus said that he is “the truth” (John 14:6) and in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, we read: “Truth has found its way into the heart, and is planted there by the Holy Spirit, who is the truth” (p. 122). Furthermore, we read:

The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 805; see also The Review and Herald, May 19, 1904)

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Now let us proceed to the issue of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as it relates to the life of Jesus. In Luke 3:16, we read: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Jesus will baptize his followers with the Holy Spirit and fire. What does this mean?

We live in an age of specialization. If we have a skin problem, we see a dermatologist. If we have a bone problem, we see an orthopedic doctor. If we have tax problems, we see an tax accountant. So in the spiritual world, should we do the same? In other words, should we go to the Pentecostals to learn about the Holy Spirit, since this seems to be their speciality? Should we look to the charismatics to learn about this baptism by fire? That is what LeRoy Froom did when he wrote his book The Coming of the Comforter. He says that he searched for information on the Holy Spirit among the writings of our pioneers but found few things to help him. Why? He was looking for help to support the trinitarian concept of the Holy Spirit, and this was not part of the original platform of truth that God gave his people.

We do not need to go to the Pentecostals to learn of the Holy Spirit. We have the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, and they teach us what we need to know. Zechariah notes:

And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. (Zechariah 4:1–3)

Notice the imagery here. The olive trees are feeding the lamps. An explanation is later given:

Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:11–14)

The book of Revelation speaks of the two witnesses and calls them “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:4). “The two witnesses represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament” (White, The Great Controversy, p. 267).

These empty themselves into the golden bowls, which represent the hearts of the living messengers of God, who bear the word of the Lord to the people in warnings and entreaties. The word itself must be as represented, the golden oil, emptied from the two olive trees that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. This is the baptism by the Holy Spirit with fire. (White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 297)

When we receive the word of God, we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with fire! Again we see this expressed:

The word of God—the truth—is the channel through which the Lord manifests His Spirit and power. Obedience to the word produces fruit of the required quality—“unfeigned love of the brethren.” This love is heaven-born and leads to high motives and unselfish actions. (White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520)

If I have the truth and live that truth, it becomes the channel for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is not simply enough to know this truth; we must live this truth and be in obedience to it.

At Pentecost the disciples received the Spirit, represented as cloven tongues of fire (Acts 2:1–4, 37). They not only were recipients of the Spirit, but they were also able to impart the words of Jesus to others.

Remember the prophet Jeremiah? At first he was backward and timid about sharing God’s message. Jeremiah complained to God, “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (Jeremiah 1:6). Later he was reproached by the people for preaching about God:

For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. (Jeremiah 20:8, 9a)

Jeremiah’s initial reaction was to be quiet, but notice what he said:

But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (Jeremiah 20:9b)

Jeremiah says that God’s word was like a fire in his bones and that he could not be quiet. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is having God’s word in our bones so strongly, so powerfully, that we cannot be quiet. Beloved, what kind of fire can you have except a burning fire? Show me someone who will forebear to give God’s word, and I will show you someone who does not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The language of verse 9 is interesting. He does not say that God’s word was a fire, but a burning fire, within his heart. How many kinds of fire are there? Is not fire, fire? We could speak of a smoldering fire, maybe a quenched fire, but here it is a burning fire, one that is alive and at full blaze.

This is the baptism by fire so needed today and can only become real when men and women open their hearts to the life-giving energy of truth which Christ wants to impart in unlimited power through the Holy Spirit. Remember that it is the truth of God’s word that shall set us free (John 8:32).

In the Bible the will of God is revealed. The truths of the Word of God are the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin has clouded the understanding, is removed. The words, “A new heart also will I give you,” mean, “A new mind will I give you.” A change of heart is always attended by a clear conviction of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher plane of intelligence. (White, The Review and Herald, December 18, 1913)

This is what the word of God, the truth, does for a person. The truth elevates and ennobles the person. Should we not wish to become obedient to that truth? If we just say we love the truth, we have not done enough. Talk is cheap. Maybe you have seen bumper stickers that say “Wave If You Love Jesus” or “Honk If You Love Jesus.” These are vain and shallow representations of love. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we really love the truth, it will be lived out in the life and obeyed.

Grace

Now let us proceed to the second of these life-giving energies: grace. Like truth, grace is not passive, but active and alive.

Think about energy for a minute. The Greek word for work is ergon, from which we get our word energy. In physics, we measure energy by the amount of work it performs. So if grace is one of these life-giving energies, how do we measure it? By the work it does! Paul writes about this grace to Titus:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11–13)

This is real grace, God’s grace. Does it give us an excuse to sin? Of course not. God’s grace does not bypass men’s transgression, but enables them to keep the commandments of God. True grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul which creates in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whoever is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, whoever resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, displays the operation of a principle wholly from above. (White, The Great Controversy, p. 506)

The principle from above that allows us to resist and conquer is grace. This grace puts an enmity between us and Satan. That is something that we need and must have.

Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:9). Doesn’t a God of love, love everyone and everything? No. God hates iniquity, and his Son hates iniquity. There is a divine hatred of sin, and the grace of God enables the believer to have a hatred of sin. If this were not so, there would only be peace between our hearts and sin. The hatred of sin that Jesus possessed is emphatically noted as “perfect”:

Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, causing them to revolt, and all his powers were enlisted against Satan. (White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 39)

Nobody ever hated sin like Jesus Christ! Suppose someone came into your home and raped, tortured, and killed your children, would you hate such an act? Image how Christ, who knew the angels for time that we cannot understand, must have felt when Satan drew their affections away and led them to a path of destruction. Notice the language carefully, though. Christ had a perfect hatred of sin, not the sinner. God and Jesus love the sinner but hate the sin, and heavenly grace was a means of intervention for us. In the first gospel promise, we read of God proclaiming to Satan, “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). Enmity means hatred. Without divine grace there would be no enmity, or hatred, between humanity and Satan.

In the statement, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,” God pledged Himself to introduce into the hearts of human beings a new principle,—a hatred of sin, of deception, of pretense, of everything that bears the marks of Satan’s guile. (White, Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, p. 6)

That is grace for us, and it implies that there is going to be warfare. The war that began in heaven has moved to this earth, but man could be an overcomer now because of grace.

When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden, they were innocent and sinless, in perfect harmony with God. Enmity had no natural existence in their hearts. But when they transgressed, their nature was no longer sinless. They became evil; for they had placed themselves on the side of the fallen foe, doing the very things that God specified they should not do. Had there been no interference on the part of God, man would have formed a firm alliance with Satan against heaven. (Ibid.)

After Adam and Eve sinned and God came to the garden to see them, they had not fully cast off all their allegiance to God because Jesus had already stepped in to become their mediator and helper. “As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour” (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 210). If God had not intervened, Adam and Eve would have fully joined forces with Satan.

The evil tendencies of mankind are hard to overcome. The battles are tedious. Every soul in the strife knows how severe, how bitter, are these contests. (White, The Review and Herald, December 16, 1884)

When you have this grace-given enmity we are discussing, there is going to be war and strife. There will be battles, and they will be bitter and difficult at times. Do not think that the Christian life is always one of ease and without strife. Continuing, we read:

Everything about growth in grace is difficult, because the standard and maxims of the world are constantly interposed between the soul and God’s holy standard. (Ibid.)

It should not have to be so hard, except that we have been educated in the standards and maxims of the world which are constantly, without ceasing, interposed between the soul and the law of God. This is why we do not need, and especially why our children do not need, the education of the world! Continuing:

The Lord would have us elevated, ennobled, purified, by carrying out the principles underlying his great moral standard, which will test every character in the great day of final reckoning. But God does not require us to impose upon ourselves taxing exactions which torture the bodies he has made for a wise use. We are to glorify him in the use of our every capacity. (Ibid.)

Remember Martin Luther? When he was a monk, he was involved in self-flagellation, believing that this would purify him. He would whip himself till bleeding and welted. He would sleep in the snow without blankets, trying to make himself holy. But that is the exact opposite of what our reference says. God does not require “taxing exactions which torture the bodies he has made for a wise use,” but there is struggle and there is a fight. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal or fleshly (2 Corinthians 10:4). The battle is for the mind. We are to have the mind of Christ. This means our warfare is spiritual; however, we must remember that the mind and body sympathize with each other, and Satan will try to use the body to control the mind.

Love

The embodiment of God is love. God, who is love, imparts love through the truth of saving grace to his children. As we noted earlier, truth brings love to the soul.

In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 20)

In Christ we find this new love, this self-renouncing love, which has its origin only in heaven. This new life of love is given by the Holy Spirit. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).

This genuine love is not a silly, sentimental love which indulges the sinner. It is not the infatuation we see so often in the youth who think that they are in love. It is a principled love that is self-renouncing; it does not do what is best for self, it does what is best for others. It works in a disinterested way for others.

True love seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain-speaking. When souls are in peril, they will not consider self, but will speak the word given them to speak, refusing to excuse or palliate evil. (White, The Review and Herald, September 11, 1913)

Love speaks the truth, no matter how difficult or unpleasant. If someone speaks against sin or false doctrine, that person might be accused of not loving the brethren and of being critical, but genuine love speaks the truth, perhaps with tears in the eyes, as they were so often in the eyes of Jesus. Love is not quiet when truth must be told.

His heart overflowed with love for the whole human race, but He was never indulgent to their sins. He was too much their friend to remain silent while they were pursuing a course that would ruin their souls,—the souls He had purchased with His own blood. He labored that man should be true to himself, true to his higher and eternal interest. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 356)

To be baptized by the Holy Spirit with fire, which is the truth as it is in Jesus, is to be filled with a supernatural enmity against sin. This enmity is implanted by the grace of God and is saturated with the self-renouncing love which leads one to first seek the kingdom of God and his honor and then the salvation of souls. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be possessed with a power that neither earth nor death can destroy. Divinity and humanity are thus combined as we partake of the divine nature.

To truly accept Jesus we must accept his truth, grace, and love into our lives. We must walk in truth. We must accept the grace of God that teaches us to deny worldly lusts, and we must receive the love of God that is reaching out to us with an infinite heart today. Allen Stump


Give Me Immortality

 Alexander, being impressed with the answers of the philosopher Diogenes, bade him ask what he would, and he should have it. The philosopher demanded the least proportion of immortality. “That is not in my gift,” says Alexander. “No?” quoth Diogenes; “then why does Alexander take such pains to conquer the world, when he cannot assure himself of one moment to enjoy it?” (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times [Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996].)


Oat CrackerTasty Recipe Simple Oat Crackers

Sadly, in the past, we have offered cracker recipes that contained unneeded oil. This month’s simple crackers were introduced to us by Sister Barb Spencer, and they are very tasty and can be adjusted according to anyone’s individual tastes. All you need are oats and water!

Start by blending equal amounts of oats and water until well liquified. (A cup of each is about right for one medium cookie sheet of crackers.) Pour the mixture onto a no-stick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet sprayed with no-stick spray, tilting to evenly cover the pan. Top with seasonings of your choice, such as sesame or pumpkin seeds, salt, onion and garlic powders, or herbs. Bake this mixture at 350 degrees F for about four minutes, then score the mixture with a knife or pizza cutter for the size cracker desired. Continue baking another 10–15 minutes until the desired crispness is attained. Just be careful; they can be addictive!?

 

The Big Lie

(Dr. Michael Pedrin has graciously granted us permission to publish his book The Big Lie. This is the last installment. We plan to publish the entire study in book format soon. Brother Pedrin may be contacted through his website, clearbibleanswers.org.Editor)

CHAPTER 7

AD 31 AND THE FRIDAY CRUCIFIXION

Most lunar Sabbatarians and non-lunar Sabbatarians believe that Jesus died on the sixth day of the week in the year AD 31.

The Bible is very clear in the gospel accounts that the day of the crucifixion was the day of preparation—the sixth day of the week, the day before the Sabbath.

And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. . . . And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, (Mark 15:37, 42)

We have this confirmation of the sixth-day-of-the-week crucifixion from the Pen of Inspiration, as well:

Trouble seemed crowding upon trouble. On the sixth day of the week they had seen their Master die. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 794)

How can we say that the year of crucifixion was AD 31? Based on the 70-weeks prophecy of Daniel 9, we know that AD 31 is accurate. The seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy was from AD 27 to AD 34, and Christ died in the middle of the final prophetic week which was the spring of AD 31.

There are three further New Testament proofs to show that AD 27 was the year of baptism of Jesus which makes AD 31 (after three and a half years of ministry) the death of our Lord.

Proof 1: The death of Herod

Herod died, according to historical records, in 4 BC (Paul S. Karleen, The Handbook to Bible Study, page 332 and Sharon Rusten with E. Michael, The Complete Book of When & Where in the Bible and Throughout History, page 67), and Jesus was born just before the death of Herod, according to the Gospels (Matthew 2:19, 20). Jesus was baptized when He was about thirty years old, according to Luke (Luke 3:23), so that puts Jesus’ baptism at AD 27, thirty years from 4 BC.

Proof 2: The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar

Luke records the baptism of Jesus to be in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1, 21). According to historical records, the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar was AD 27 (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 5, page 714)

Proof 3: The building of the Temple

When Jesus visited the Jerusalem temple for the first time after His baptism in the month of Abib, the first Jewish month, He had a discussion with the leaders of the Jews. He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), to which they replied that the temple had been in construction for forty-six years, so how could He re-build it in three days?

From historical records we know that Herod started to rebuild the temple in 20/19 BC (David S. Dockery et al., Holman Bible Handbook, page 522). Forty-six years later puts the baptism of Jesus in AD 27.

The year AD 31 is also confirmed in the Spirit of Prophecy:

In the spring of A. D. 31, Christ the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 233)

Lunar Sabbatarians also believe that in AD 31, on the sixth day of the week, Jesus died.

Passover falls on the 6th day of the week . . . (Author not given, www.worldslastchance.com; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/ecourses/lessons/12-criteria-of-true-crucifixion-date-ecourse/22/criteria-7-12.html)

The prophecies of Daniel pinpoint A.D. 31 as the year Yahushua was crucified . . . (Author not given, www.worldslastchance.com; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/ecourses/lessons/12-criteria-of-true-crucifixion-date-ecourse/22/tradition-or-truth.html)

Not only does Ellen White call it the sixth day of the week, but she also calls it Friday which is the sixth day of the week in the Gregorian calendar:

From eyewitnesses some of the disciples had obtained quite a full account of the events of Friday. Others beheld the scenes of the crucifixion with their own eyes. (White, Christ Triumphant, p. 295)

The lunar Sabbatarians believe you cannot get a Friday crucifixion in AD 31 if the Gregorian calendar is used. It is only possible with a luni-solar calendar, they say:

The problem that when you superimpose a luni-solar calendar on top of the Julian calendar for AD 31, you do not and you can not have a Friday crucifixion. (Author not given, www.worldslastchance.com; accessed on 12–30–13 and 1–8–14 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/the-grace-amadon-research-of-1938/i-was-told-that-in-the-grace-amadon-collection-proves-that-the-sda-church-leaders.html. Using this url will take you to a page at World’s Last Chance that says this particular page of information is no longer available, but if you search in Google for “when you superimpose a luni-solar calendar,” the second hit takes you to the page at the World’s Last Chance website which you can read, and it uses the referenced url!)

The problem arises from the fact that when the new moon for Nisan is found (which is easily done because the moon is so predictable) and you count up 14 days to the Passover/crucifixion you do not have Friday. (Ibid.)

They are saying, according to the astronomical data available on the phases of the new moon and full moon in the year AD 31, the full moon (Passover is always during full moon) in April was on Wednesday in the Gregorian calendar. They also say there is no way you can get a Friday crucifixion in AD 31, and they say in AD 33 you can get a Friday crucifixion in the month of April.

Though many Protestants and the Catholic Church believe that Christ was crucified on a Friday in AD 33, Seventh-day Adventists believe, and have always believed, it occurred in AD 31 because of Daniel’s time prophecy that started in 457 BC and ended in AD 1844.

The important time tucked in between is AD 31. If the crucifixion did not occur in AD 31, then the 2300 year prophecy did not end in 1844! So it is a serious challenge to one of our most important beliefs.

Look at what the lunar Sabbatarians are saying about this:

As people who believe in the 2300 day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 beginning in 457 BC, there is no other possible year [AD 31] for the crucifixion, unless you are willing to give up 457 BC, October 22, 1844, (the ending date of the prophecy) and thus, Ellen White as well. (Ibid.)

We have seen from Daniel’s time prophecy that the crucifixion year was indeed AD 31, and we have seen that the day of the week was indeed the sixth day of the week. We have also seen that the Pen of Inspiration agrees to it and calls the sixth day of the week Friday—the Friday of the Gregorian calendar.

The Astronomical Facts

Yes, since the phases of the moon can be predicted pretty accurately, we can, with modern technology and computation, go backward or forward to find out the phases of the moon at any given month of any year.

So going back to the year AD 31, we get from reliable sources that the astronomical new moon in April occurred on the 10th of April at 11:32 a.m. The lunar Sabbatarians agree to this. Here is what they say:

The year was A.D. 31 and the first month of that year was April. Since N.A.S.A identifies the Gregorian 10th day to be the conjunction, all we must do is add a day to arrive at the first visible crescent as viewed in the night sky following sunset on the 11th of April. The following day April 12 is then New Moon day, which is also the first day of the lunisolar month of Abib/Nissan. Since we know from Scripture that Christ Yahushua died on the 14th of the lunisolar month of Abib/Nissan, then we simply count to 14 and, therefore, arrive at Wednesday April 25, A.D. 31, as the day of Christ Yahushua’s crucifixion.” (Kerrie L. French, The New Moon, When is it?; accessed on 12–30–13 at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/New_Moon_When_OLD/New_Moon_When/02_New_Moon_When.html)

Yes, the new moon in the first Jewish month was April 10th, but that is the new moon in conjunction. The biblical new moon, as they also say, is the crescent new moon. The lunar Sabbatarians have just added one day extra to arrive at the first visible crescent to be viewed in the night sky of April 11th.

Only the astronomical new moon can be found through calculations, not the crescent new moon. Does the crescent moon always appear in one day’s time? No!

Read what The United States Naval Observatory has to say about the crescent moon:

Although the date and time of each New Moon can be computed exactly (see, for example, Phases of the Moon in Data Services), the visibility of the lunar crescent as a function of the Moon’s “age” - the time counted from New Moon - depends upon many factors and cannot be predicted with certainty. In the first two days after New Moon, the young crescent Moon appears very low in the western sky after sunset, and must be viewed through bright twilight. It sets shortly after sunset.” (The United States Naval Observatory, Crescent Moon Visibility; accessed 12–30–13 at http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/crescent.php)

Again, The United States Naval Observatory says:

The sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of New Moon is usually difficult. The crescent at this time is quite thin, has a low surface brightness, and can easily be lost in the twilight. Generally, the lunar crescent will become visible to suitably-located, experienced observers with good sky conditions about one day after New Moon. However, the time that the crescent actually becomes visible varies quite a bit from one month to another. (Ibid.)

The United States Naval Observatory says that “the sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of New Moon is usually difficult,” yet the lunar Sabbatarians have added only one day from the astronomical new moon to the crescent new moon!

The lunar Sabbatarians also believe that it is not always possible to have a crescent new moon on a fixed day:

If the crescent is observed for just a minute or less before full dark and then disappears, it is considered too young to be a new moon. When this occasionally occurs, sighting is delayed until the following night. (Author not given, Crescent Moon Sighting Instructions, www.worldslastchance.com; page accessed for original publication, but no longer available at this website)

The Karaite Jews say this about the sighting of the crescent moon:

. . . the ancient Israelites would have been well aware of the Crescent New Moon. In ancient societies people worked from dawn to dusk and they would have noticed the Old Moon getting smaller and smaller in the morning sky. When the morning moon had disappeared the ancient Israelites would have anxiously awaited its reappearance 1.5-3.5 days later in the evening sky. Having disappeared for several days and then appearing anew in the early evening sky they would have called it the “New Moon” or “Hodesh” (from Hadash meaning “New”). (The Karaite Korner, The New Moon in the Hebrew Bible; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.karaite-korner.org/new_moon.shtml).

We are told by this group of Jews that it takes up to three and half days from the astronomical moon to the crescent moon! Why does it take between one and half to three and a half days between the astronomical new moon and the crescent new moon? The speed of the moon varies because of the shape of its orbit.

The United States Naval Observatory says:

The Moon’s orbit is elliptical, and its speed is greatest when it is near perigee, least near apogee. If perigee occurs near New Moon, the Moon will appear to be moving away from the Sun in the sky at a greater than average rate. (The United States Naval Observatory, Ibid.)

We are not disputing the fact that the astronomical new moon in April AD 31 occurred on April 10th. We are questioning the credibility of adding just one day to the astronomical new moon as the lunar Sabbatarians have stated above should be done.

We are told by The United States Naval Observatory that sometimes even two days are too few to see the crescent new moon. The number of days depends on several factors.

The Karaite Jews tell us that it could take up to three and a half days. There are no scientific records at all for the crescent moon appearances. There is no single parameter for its calculation.

However, the time that the crescent actually becomes visible varies quite a bit from one month to another. (Ibid.)

How can the lunar Sabbatarians conclude, as if it were a scientific fact, that the crescent new moon in April AD 31 was on the twelfth? They have only added around one and a half days to the astronomical moon, but we are told it can take any time between one and a half days to three and a half days.

We are equally justified to add three and a half days to the astronomical new moon and arrive at the fourteenth of April as the crescent new moon.

The Jewish month starts from the crescent new moon. The 14th day is the Passover.

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S Passover.” (Leviticus 23:5)

The fourteenth day from April 14 is April 27, and it is Friday in the Gregorian calendar!

The lunar Sabbatarians may say that when Jesus died, it was the full moon because fourteen days after the crescent new moon comes the full moon, and The United States Naval Observatory records that April 25 in AD 31 was the full moon, not April 27, but let us not forget that the ancient Israelites did not have the advance of scientific knowledge that we have today. They were not going by astronomical new moons and astronomical full moons. They were going by the new moon and full moon visible to the naked eye, and the lunar Sabbatarians agree to this.

Ellen White also wrote that it was a full moon the day Jesus died:

In company with His disciples, the Saviour slowly made His way to the garden of Gethsemane. The Passover moon, broad and full, shone from a cloudless sky. The city of pilgrims’ tents was hushed into silence. (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 685)

Since it was not an astronomical new moon, it also was not an astronomical full moon. Is it possible to see the moon as broad and full for more than a single night? Try it out. You can never know the difference the day before the astronomical full moon, the day of the astronomical full moon, and the day after the astronomical full moon.

Here is a quote from the best of places:

Although Full Moon occurs each month at a specific date and time, the Moon’s disk may appear to be full for several nights in a row if it is clear. This is because the percentage of the Moon’s disk that appears illuminated changes very slowly around the time of Full Moon . . . The Moon may appear 100% illuminated only on the night closest to the time of exact Full Moon, but on the night before and night after will appear 97–99% illuminated; most people would not notice the difference. Even two days from Full Moon the Moon’s disk is 93–97% illuminated. (The United States Naval Observatory, The Royal Gazetteonline, Moon Phases; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.royalgazette.com/static/pdf/moon%20phases.pdf)

The prophet of the Lord was right calling it a sixth-day-of-the-week Friday crucifixion in AD 31.

So we have proved that it is possible to have an AD 31 crucifixion that falls on a Friday even in the Gregorian calendar!

CHAPTER 8

THE THREE MONTHS IN A ROW

The lunar Sabbatarians are saying that in the Bible there are three months in a row that prove their calendar to be biblical and that prove the Gregorian calendar that we use today to be a fraud.

The calendar details of the three months in a row of the Exodus, the manna, and the mountain reveal divine lessons of the most vital and solemn importance. As often as these colorful stories are told and retold, their application of some details of time are often overlooked. In the first month (Abib), just prior to the Exodus, the heavenly Father, Yahuah, re-introduced His calendar. In the second month, He confirmed His calendar’s layout, and true seventh-day Sabbaths, in a most unmistakable way when He sent the manna from heaven. In the third month Yahuah, Elohiym, fully restored in the minds of all present, including the mixed multitude, His unique time-keeping system, with the date of Israel’s arrival at the famous desert Mountain of Sinai. (French, The Exodus, the Manna, the Mountain, and Forty Years Later, p. 1; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/three_months/1_01_The_Exodus.html)

The modern Roman Gregorian calendar is not one and the same as that of Scripture, because it is an utter impossibility for it to have three consecutive months in a row that are identical. Specifically this means that because the weeks float throughout the months it is not possible to have the days of the week match the days of the month for three consecutive months. Exodus 12, 16, and 19 (Ibid., p. 7; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/Articles/three_months/3_02_The_Mountain.html)

Most of them also say that the Sabbaths are always fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth of each and every month.

The seventh-day Sabbath thus fell on every 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of the lunar month. (eLaine Vornholt and Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones, Time by Design, p. 9; accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.4angelspublications.com/articles/Time_by_Design.pdf)

Let us examine the scripture carefully to see if this is true.

If the weekly Sabbaths are fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth of each and every month, then God should have told it clearly in scripture. Out of the over 31,000 verses in the King James version of the Bible, not a single verse talks about the seventh-day Sabbath being fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, or the twenty-ninth.

God clearly specifies many important days that are fixed to the dates of the month: the New moon fixed on the first of every month, the Passover fixed on the fourteenth of the first month, the Feast of Trumpets fixed on the first day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement fixed on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread in the first month with two Sabbaths fixed (the fifteenth and twenty-first), and the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month with two Sabbaths fixed (the fifteenth and twenty-second).

If the weekly Sabbath is fixed on particular dates of the lunar month, why isn’t it specifically mentioned anywhere in scripture? Did God forget to mention the most important day?

The lunar Sabbatarians try to say to us that if Sabbath is fixed on Saturday, then where is it given in Scripture that the Sabbath is fixed on Saturdays? But how could the name Saturday appear in scripture, for the names of the days of the week were given by the Romans after the time period of the scriptures?! The lunar Sabbatarians cannot say this because ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are used as a method of identifying days in the Bible, from the beginning to the end, and not even in a single instance has God declared the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, or the twenty-ninth to be a fixed Sabbath!

In the Bible the word Sabbath or seventh (when in reference to a day) is mentioned close to one hundred seventy times, and out of these one hundred seventy references, the Scriptures do not identify the Sabbath with any date of the month, except in one or two instances. For someone to take these few instances and build a doctrine, giving no information about the bulk of the other 98–99% of the passages on the same subject, is unsound as a method of biblical interpretation.

For example, the time prophecies are amazing in their fulfillment. Consider this prophecy:

And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:41)

This prophecy was fulfilled not only to the very year of prediction, but also to the very day! Do we, therefore, conclude that all time prophecies should be fulfilled in like manner?

We need to understand that an example may illustrate something, but it never defines anything. An instance of the Sabbath being kept on the eighth day of the month does not prove it was always kept on the eighth day of every month. Because there are a couple of instances where one can find a Sabbath on either the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, or the twenty-ninth day of the month does not prove that all Sabbaths of scripture must be on those dates.

Three Months in a Row

The lunar Sabbatarians boldly declare, as we have seen, that there are three months in a row that clearly indicate that the Sabbaths are fixed on the dates of the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth. If a Sabbath can be shown to be falling on any one of the given dates, it proves that the other three dates are Sabbaths, as well, in that given month.

Let us investigate the three successive months to see if we can get a Sabbath on any one of those given dates. If we can, then definitely the Sabbaths are all fixed on the same dates of the month, as they say.

The First Month: The Exodus

And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (Numbers 33:3)

The exodus from Egypt started on the fifteenth, the day after the Passover (which is fourteenth). The fifteenth cannot be a Sabbath, as the massive exodus took place that day!

Jesus, the Lord who led them in the Exodus, in the pillar of cloud and fire, told His people about Sabbath travel in the Gospel of Matthew:

But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day. (Matthew 24:20)

Obviously God would never have led an entire nation to have a major travel event on the Sabbath! To escape this they say it was not on the daylight part of the fifteenth (for them, only the twelve hours of the day are the Sabbath), but on the night part of fifteenth.

Yes, there is a scripture that talks about the night of the fifteenth:

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deuteronomy 16:1)

It was night, according to the passage of Deuteronomy, and it was fifteenth, according to the passage of Numbers. So it was fifteenth night that the Lord delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt.

For us the fifteenth night starts before the fifteenth daylight because a day is reckoned from sunset to sunset. For them the fifteenth night starts after fifteenth daylight because a day, for them, is from sunrise to sunrise.

They quickly try to escape by saying that since Sabbath is only twelve hours and ends at sunset, the fifteenth night is after the Sabbath hours.

We shall now discover that the fifteenth night (when the exodus commenced) was the same night they ate the Passover meal and not the next night.

Now what happened the on the night they ate the Passover meal? God said that He would send judgment on the Egyptians and kill all the first born of man and of beast that night.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Exodus 12:12)

God told them that at night He was going to strike Egypt. But God did not tell them what part of the night He would do it. So they were instructed not to venture out of their houses until the morning, because anytime of the night the Lord could strike. Getting out of their houses at night is no problem otherwise. But when God’s judgments came, if they were found outside their houses, they were to be destroyed as well:

And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:22, 22)

God smote the Egyptians at midnight:

And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (Exodus 12:29)

Moses and Aaron came out of their houses at night, after the judgment of God had passed over:

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. (Exodus 12:31–33)

Did Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh that same night that God stuck? Yes, but there is no evidence that this was the Sabbath, even though they did meet Pharaoh at night during the dark part of the fifteenth.

The lunar Sabbatarians, however, say that Moses and Aaron did not meet Pharaoh that night.

Pharaoh called for Moses & Aaron by night. Exodus 12:31 (They did not go until the next morning, carefully obeying the command of Yahuwah.) (Author not given, Three months in a Row, www.worldslastchance.com; article no longer available at this website, but accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.malagamarkets.info/blog/?p=1704)

According to the lunar Sabbatarians, Moses and Aaron met with Pharaoh on the light part of the fifteenth which would have been the Sabbath. The exodus would then have occurred after sunset, when the Sabbath, according to them, was over (According to the lunar Sabbatarians, the exodus occurred on the dark part of the fifteenth which, according to them, was after the Sabbath was over. This is how they can believe that both the Sabbath and the exodus occurred on the fifteenth day of the month.), but the flow of the text is clear:

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people. (Exodus 12:31)

At night he called them, and at night he bid them leave. There is no indication whatsoever that they did not go when Pharaoh called them.

Not only did Moses and Aaron go out that night, the entire army of people, the 600,000 families, departed out of their houses for the Exodus journey that night itself.

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deuteronomy 16:1)

And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (Numbers 33:3)

Comparing the above two texts, we know they left Egypt on the fifteenth night.

If the fifteenth night came around twenty-four hours after the Passover night, it doesn’t make sense at all unless they left that very night, because God told them to eat the Passover in haste.

Why did God instruct them to be in a physical position to leave at any moment with “loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand,” if they had to leave after twenty-four hours?

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. (Exodus 12:37–39)

The above verses again portray a hurried leaving that night and not the following night.

The fifteenth night was the Passover night—the night they ate the Passover Lamb, the night that God passed over the land of Egypt with His judgments, the night that Pharaoh issued the decree for them to leave—and it was on that night that they began their exodus.

Here is a confirmation from the Pen of Inspiration, as well, that they left the Passover night before daybreak:

With their loins girt, with sandaled feet, and staff in hand, the people of Israel had stood, hushed, awed, yet expectant, awaiting the royal mandate that should bid them go forth. Before the morning broke, they were on their way. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 281)

There are two things proved here: 1) the night of fifteenth began before the day of fifteenth which means a day is reckoned from sunset to sunset and not from sunrise to sunrise, as the lunar Sabbatarians claim; 2) they began their journey on the fifteenth while it was still night before daybreak. Their first stop was at Succoth. They traveled about twenty-five miles to reach this place. They traveled throughout the day of the fifteenth to make their first stop. If the fifteenth is a fixed Sabbath, then they broke the very first Sabbath under God’s instruction!

Based upon Exodus 16:29 and the general commands of God to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10; 31:14, 15; Deuteronomy 5:14), all agree God would not let his people do extensive travel on His holy day. Obviously the fifteenth is not a fixed Sabbath!

The very first month of their three months in a row claim actually proves the opposite—that the fifteenth (and, therefore, the eighth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth, as well), are not fixed Sabbaths at all!

The Second Month: The Manna

And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 16:1)

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:2)

The text simply says they came to the wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month. Exodus 16 later says that for six days God gave manna and on the seventh day which was the Sabbath, no manna was given.

Now when did God begin to give the manna? The lunar Sabbatarians say from the next day after the fifteenth. If that is so, then the twenty-second was a Sabbath, which makes the eighth, the fifteenth and the twenty-ninth Sabbaths, as well.

Two activities are mentioned in the first two verses of Exodus chapter 16—the arrival at the wilderness of Sin and the murmuring of the children of Israel.

Let us look at the two verses again:

And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 16:1)

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:2)

It doesn’t say they murmured on the fifteenth. It says they murmured in the wilderness. But the lunar Sabbatarians say they arrived before the fifteenth and the murmurings started on the fifteenth. They do this because they want to have the twenty-second as the Sabbath, when the manna wasn’t given.

The Israelites had arrived at the Wilderness of Sin on the 14th, then murmured and complained of hunger on the 15th. (Author not given, Crescent Moon Sighting Instructions, www.worldslastchance.com; page accessed for original publication, but no longer available at this website)

All the English translations that I have examined put a period (.) at the end of verse 1, and that indicates that the children Israel arrived on the fifteenth. But the Septuagint, which they prefer to quote for Exodus 16:1, 2, puts a comma (,) at the end of verse 1 and a semicolon (;) in verse 1 after the word Sina, thus separating one thought from the other. This indicates the arrival probably took place earlier, and the murmuring took place on the fifteenth.

So we are saying they arrived on the fifteenth, for the plain reading of the texts from the majority of translations suggests that. The fifteenth, therefore, cannot be the Sabbath, for they all traveled that day. The murmuring started later, while they were still in the same wilderness of Sin, and the Sabbath came seven days after their murmurings. So since we don’t know the date of the month when they started murmuring, we can never know when the Sabbath was in that month. So there is no evidence that the Sabbath for that month was on the twenty-second.

As far as I know, the Septuagint is the only translation that puts the punctuation marks a little differently than the rest of the translations in the Exodus 16:1, 2 passages. (The punctuation of the translations of the Bible is not inspired. The Hebrew text has no formal punctuation and Greek text has only a few marks of formal punctuation, so almost all of the punctuation we see in the Bible has been supplied.) Now if we go by the majority of versions, then that text clearly indicates that God led an entire nation in travel on the fifteenth, thus proving that the fifteenth could not have been a Sabbath, nor could the eighth, the twenty-second and the twenty-ninth of that month.

Let us now consider the other view that the Septuagint supports—that they arrived at the wilderness of Sin earlier and started murmuring on the fifteenth. Let us first read that passage from the Septuagint:

And they departed from Ælim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Ælim and Sina; and on the fifteenth day, in the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. (Exodus 16:1, 2)

Both groups, we and the lunar Sabbatarians, agree that the traveling and the murmuring did not take place on the same day. The reason is seven days after the murmuring was the first Sabbath after the giving of the manna for six days. This means the day of murmuring took place on the previous Sabbath day!

Both we and the lunar Sabbatarians believe that God would not have led His people in travel during the Sabbath. That means the day they arrived at the wilderness of Sin was not the Sabbath day.

They are saying the Israelites arrived on the fourteenth. The fifteenth was the day of murmuring, they say, and seven days after that, on the twenty-second, came the Sabbath. So the eighth, the fifteenth, and the twenty-ninth of that month should be Sabbaths as well.

So, using this passage to prove that the Sabbaths are fixed is possible only with the Septuagint version and not with the other versions. Just one version translating it that way does not make their proof 100% solid, but it’s a faint proof. Nevertheless, we shall investigate this claim of theirs that the fifteenth of that month was a Sabbath.

Manna Fell at Night

A point needs to be noted regarding the timing of the giving of the manna. The lunar Sabbatarians believe God commenced the giving of the manna on the sixteenth day of the month.

Once we established that the first day the manna fell was on the 16th day of the month . . . (Author not given, Three Months in a Row, www.worldslastchance.com; article no longer available at this website, but accessed 12–30–13 at http://www.malagamarkets.info/blog/?p=1704)

For them a day starts at sunrise and not at sunset. The Bible is clear that God sent down manna not after sunrise, but before sunrise, while it was still night:

And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. (Numbers 11:9)

So if they say that God first sent manna on the sixteenth, then they are agreeing that a new day begins at sunset and not at sunrise, for manna was sent down before sunrise of the sixteenth!

When Exactly Did the Quails Come?

We have seen earlier that the lunar Sabbatarians believe that the Sabbath holy hours are only twelve hours—sunrise to sunset—and not the twenty-four hours of sunset to sunset.

Before God gave them the first manna, as they say, on the morning of the sixteenth, the Bible states clearly that God sent them quails on the evening before the first manna arrived:

At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. (Exodus 16:12)

Since the lunar Sabbatarians have interpreted “evening and morning” of Genesis chapter 1 as two halves of the daylight period, they are stuck here. Did God send the quails on the daylight of fifteenth? If He did, then the fifteenth is certainly not a Sabbath! If God did not send manna because it was Sabbath, would He then send quails on the Sabbath? It doesn’t make any sense.

Therefore, they prefer to use another translation here (They do not state from which version they are quoting, but it could be the ESV or the NASB.), but they are still stuck! They do not use the Septuagint as they preferred to do for verses 1 and 2 because the placement of the punctuation marks got them out of trouble for those verses because the translation of the Septuagint of Exodus 16:12 gets them further stuck. So they use another version:

“At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread.” Exodus 16:12 Twilight means sunset according to Deuteronomy 16:6, 7, “there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun . . . ” (Three Months in a Row, Ibid.)

They are saying that the twilight period is defined as the time of the “going down of the sun,” but twilight is not sunset because the Passover lamb was sacrificed at twilight on the fourteenth day before sunset.

Even if they desire to say that twilight is the time of the sunset (so that they can put the quails somehow minutes after sunset), they are still in a problem. The Bible says “at twilight you shall eat meat.”

God would not just be sending the quails at twilight, but they would be eating the flesh food at twilight. For them to eat at sunset, God would have to have sent it at least two hours before sunset so that they have time to cook it. Or did they eat it raw at sunset, just as God sent it down?

And if God sent quails during the daylight part of the fifteenth, then for certain the lunar Sabbatarians would have to agree that the fifteenth cannot be the Sabbath!

They cannot get out of this tangle, unless they redefine what evening is. If they redefine evening as the dark part of the night, they can come out of this trouble here, but another trouble is awaiting them. They then need to redefine “the evening and the morning” of Genesis 1. If they redefine the “evening” of Genesis 1 as after sunset, it means they are agreeing that a day starts at sunset and not sunrise.

Which one of your new doctrines, dear brethren, you would like to surrender to the quails? That the Sabbaths are fixed or that the day begins at sunrise?

So you see, the second month in a row doesn’t prove at all that the Sabbaths are fixed, but in reality it is a second month in a row that proves that Sabbaths are not fixed on the dates of the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth!

The Third Month: At Mount Sinai

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1)

Here the month is given as the third month. The day, however, is not given; the text only says “the same day.” Another translation says, “On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai” (NIV). The expression the same day is more literally translated on this very day (see The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, page 593). Does the expression the same day mean the first day of the month (Jewish tradition holds to this view)? Or does it mean the same day as the month—the third month, third day—or is it the same day that they left Egypt—the fifteenth day of the month?

Most biblical commentators give the meaning to the “same day” as the first day of the third month. (Though most commentators believe the same day is the first, we shall not dismiss the fifteenth day inference.)

The same day. Literally, “on that day”—which can only mean “on the day that the month began”—on the 1st of Sivan. (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Exodus, The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 2, p. 104)

The same day.—According to the Jewish tradition this means on the first day of the third month, . . .( John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Charles M. Mead, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Exodus, vol. 2, p. 69; emphasis in original)

The giving of the law that happened at Mt Sinai is one of the greatest events in the Bible, where God came down to declare it with His own mouth in the audience of an entire nation and to write it with His own finger!

In the third month—according to Jewish usage, the first day of that month—“same day.”—It is added, to mark the time more explicitly, that is, forty-five days after Egypt—one day spent on the mount (Ex 19:3), one returning the people’s answer (Ex 19:7, 8), three days of preparation, making the whole time fifty days from the first passover to the promulgation of the law. Hence the feast of pentecost, that is, the fiftieth day, was the inauguration of the Old Testament church, and the divine wisdom is apparent in the selection of the same reason for the institution of the New Testament church (Jn 1:17; Ac 2:1). ( Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Ex 19:1; emphasis in original)

As God came down on Mt Sinai on the day of Pentecost, God again came down one thousand five hundred years later through His Spirit! There God wrote His law on stones. Here God wrote this same law in the hearts and minds of His people through the Holy Spirit.

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them: (Hebrews 10:15, 16)

God started the Old Testament Church with the twelve tribes at Mount Sinai, giving His law to them and then the various instructions.

God started the New Testament Church with the one hundred twenty people in the upper room, infilling them with the Holy Spirit, who wrote the law in their hearts and minds.

So taking this view that the day of arrival at Mount Sinai was the third day of the third month, we see that even the third month in a row proves nothing about their fixed Sabbaths being on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth!

Did They Arrive on the Sixteenth?

Now let us investigate their interpretation of this text:

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1)

For them “the same day” is the day they left Egypt which is the fifteenth day. Notice what the lunar Sabbatarians say:

Exodus 19:1 also proves that the children of Israel arrived at Sinai on the 16th day of the third month. Please read the context. Moses indicates that the children of Israel rested at Rephidim the 15th of the third month. The root word for Rephidim means “rest” and this passage says that they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai the “same day” of this month that they left Egypt (two months earlier). If you’ll remember, Israel got as far as Succoth the 15th, and actually left Egypt the [sic] on the 16th. (Author not given, Objections to the Calendar of Creation #26; accessed 12–31–13 at http://www.creationcalendar.com/AnsweringObjections/Objection26.html; emphasis in original)

First of all the root word for Rephidim does not mean rest. The Hebrew word translated Rephidim is Rephidim, and it means “to spread:—make(1), refresh(1), spreads(1)” ( Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated Edition). The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon does give the meaning of Rephidim as rest, but it is the only lexicon that could be found to do so.

Israel did not leave Egypt on the sixteenth, but on the fifteenth, as we have seen. The Bible always talks about the fifteenth as being the starting point, the fifteenth being the date they left Egypt, never the sixteenth, as stated by them.

It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. (Exodus 12:42)

The night of the fifteenth was to be observed because God delivered His people “out from the land of Egypt” that night.

They are flawed in their interpretation of this passage. To make three months in a row fit in a row, they are going to any length to lie and to twist the plain word of God.

Another lunar Sabbath promoter has a different interpretation:

It is likely that the Israelites both traveled and arrived at Mt. Sinai on the night of the 15th of the Third Month. In this way Yahuah protected His Sabbath, and Moses and the Israelites were able to keep it holy unto their heavenly Father. (French, Ibid.)

French agrees it was the fifteenth, but he is trying to put onto the night of the fifteenth the travel and the arrival to Mt Sinai. Why? The fifteenth is a fixed Sabbath for the lunar Sabbatarians, and they are in a fix here! If it were during the daylight hours of the fifteenth, it would be Sabbath hours. Let us look at the text again:

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1)

Notice the text says the same day. Let’s go by their own definition—“The word day means light only” (Elesha YisraEl, quoted by Troy Miller in When Does Scripture Say a Day Begins?, p. 14; accessed 12–31–13 at http://www.4angelspublications.com/pdf/WhenDoesScriptureSayDayBegins.pdf; emphasis in original). The implication then, by their definition, is that they had to arrive during the light part of the day and so if they are consistent with what they are teaching, they can’t place the travel and arrival in the night part of fifteenth, but if they say that they arrived during the daylight part of fifteenth, they are breaking the Sabbath.

That means the fifteenth was not a Sabbath!

Washing Clothes on Sabbath!

Do you need further proof to show that the fifteenth of that month was certainly not a Sabbath?

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:10, 11)

Most biblical scholars believe that the same day of the third month that they entered in Sinai was not the fifteenth, but the third of the month, but even if we assume it was the fifteenth like the lunar Sabbatarians say, there is still a problem with the text. “To day” means the fifteenth day; “to morrow” means the sixteenth day; “the third day” means the seventeenth day.

God gave the children of Israel two days to prepare. According to the lunar Sabbatarians, that was the fifteenth and the sixteenth. God told them to sanctify themselves and wash their clothes. He gave them two days to do this, and he did not specify that they must wait until the sixteenth to wash their clothes. When we read Exodus 19:14, 15, though not explicitly stated, the flow of the language certainly implies that they began the process as soon as Moses came down from the mountain.

And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day. (Exodus 19:14, 15)

If at all there is one day from the three (fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth) that you can pick which cannot be a Sabbath here, it is the fifteenth, for all washed their clothes at the command of God on the fifteenth!

And if at all there is a day which we could infer to be a Sabbath among the three days, it is the seventeenth, when God met with His people and gave His law! But we don’t make doctrines on assumptions, unless it is clearly specified!

So we have seen their boasted claim has gone up in a flame! The first three months of the Exodus are not three months in a row of proof for the lunar Sabbath, but three months which disprove the lunar Sabbath.

CHAPTER 9

ARE THE 8TH, 15TH, 22ND AND 29TH FIXED SABBATHS?

The lunar Sabbath issue is basically this: For all months, without exception, the Sabbaths are fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth days of the month, as seen in this quotation:

In His calendar, the weekly Sabbath always falls on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th of each month. (Author not given, The WLC Sabbath Challenge; accessed 12–31–13 at http://www.worldslastchance.com/wlc-challenge.html)

World’s Last Chance also states that no one has been able to convincingly “demonstrate from the Scriptures that the true seventh-day Sabbath has ever been recorded in the Bible to have fallen on any other dates than those listed above [the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth]” (Ibid.).

We have proved in the previous chapter—“Three Months in a Row”—that the Sabbaths in all those three months never fell on any of those given dates. Now let us see the other passages of Scripture that they point to as being Sabbaths fixed on the above-given dates.

The Healing of the Blind Man in John 9

The lunar Sabbatarians pick up on the story of the healing of the blind man of John 9 which took place on the Sabbath, according to the gospel account, and claim it happened on the twenty-second of the seventh month. Thus it is another proof for them that the twenty-second is a fixed Sabbath (as well as the eighth, the fifteenth, and the twenty-ninth).

How did they find out that the Sabbath healing of the blind man was on the twenty-second day of the seventh month? If it was on the twenty-second, then it is one of the fixed Sabbaths of the month (the eighth, fifteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-ninth). Here is what they say:

The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles always falls on the 21st day of the seventh month: (See Leviticus 23:34, 36, 39–41; Numbers 29:12; Deuteronomy 16:13–15; Nehemiah 8:13–18; Ezekiel 45:21–25.)

Christ attended the Feast of Tabernacles. (John 7:10.)

On the last day of the Feast, the 21st of the seventh month, Christ stood and spoke. (John 7:37.)

Christ spent that night on the Mount of Olives. (John 8:1.)

The next morning, the 22nd of the seventh month, Christ returned to the temple. (John 8:2.)

At the temple, Christ healed a blind man. (John 9:6.)

The healing of the blind man caused great anger for it was the seventh-day Sabbath. (John 9:14.)

This places the weekly seventh-day Sabbaths on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th of the month yet again. (Ibid.)

First of all, linking the events that span three chapters (John 7–9) and saying they all happened in two days (the twenty-first and twenty-second of the month) is stretching it too far. Let us check those details carefully to see if they are true.

They are mistaken. The last and great day of the feast is not the twenty-first, but the twenty-second. Though it is called a seven-day feast, it was celebrated for eight days.

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

Just like there were special offerings for the first seven days of the feast of tabernacles, there was a special offering on the eighth day, as well.

Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:36)

Did the feast end on the seventh day or the eighth day? Here is a clue right from the Gospel of John:

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37)

The last day is called “that great day of the feast.” Was the seventh day of the feast the great day, or was the eighth day of the feast the great day?

Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:36)

Here is further proof that the last great day was not the seventh day of the feast, but the eighth day.

The word for “great” in John 7:37 is megale from the root word megas. John uses this word megale again to talk about the great day of another feast:

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high [megale] day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

The word for high is megale, and John calls the Sabbath as megale—high or great.

Which day was the Sabbath day in the days of the feast of tabernacles—the seventh or the eighth day?

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

There are two Sabbaths in this feast—the first and eighth days. The “last day, that great day of the feast” (John 7:37) is, therefore, the eighth day of the feast.

We see Jesus (and the people) left the temple after the last great day of the feast and according to the lunar Sabbatarians that was the twenty-first.

The people never left the temple on the twenty-first because the twenty-second was the climax of that feast. Look at the same feast celebration during Solomon’s time, when the temple was dedicated:

And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away . . . (2 Chronicles 7:9, 10)

This is not a private interpretation. This view is also held by several prominent biblical commentators:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible:

In the last day, that great day of the feast This was the eighth day, and was called the great day, . . . (Reference for John 7:37; emphasis in original)

Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament:

In the last day. The eighth day of the festival. (Reference for John 7:37)

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible:

The last day, that great day of the feast—the eighth (Le 23:39). (Reference for John 7:37)

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible:

On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, that great day. The eighth day, which concluded that solemnity, was to be a holy convocation Lev. 23:26. (Reference for John 7:37; emphasis in original)

Having proved that the last and great day of the feast was the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles which is on the twenty-second of the seventh month, we shall now see when the weekly Sabbath arrived.

As stated earlier, according to lunar Sabbatarians the weekly Sabbath when the blind man was healed was the next day after the last and great day of the feast.

So the weekly Sabbath was on the twenty-third of the seventh month when our Lord healed the blind man!

What more proof do they need to show that the Sabbath comes on any other day than the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth of any month?

The Sabbath in Acts 20

Let us read the Bible passage first:

And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:6, 7)

From the above text of Acts 20:6, 7, we come to know that the journey of Paul from Philippi started “after the days of unleavened bread.” They traveled for five days and stayed in Troas for seven days. The seventh day of their stay was the first day of the week.

Now let’s see a lunar Sabbatarian’s interpretation of the passage:

In Luke’s account of their journey, Paul’s company sailed from Philippi after the feast of unleavened bread [which] ended on the 21st of Abib, sailed for five days and arrived at Troas where they stayed seven days. (See Acts 20:5–7.)

The seventh day of their stay at Troas was the second day of the month which Paul refers to as the first day of the week. This again places the Sabbaths on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th days of the month. (WLC Sabbath Challenge, Ibid.)

According to page 329 of The Acts of the Apostles, they left right after the feast, and so we would agree with the lunar Sabbatarians that they left on the twenty-second, but the twenty-second is a fixed Sabbath for the lunar Sabbatarians! Why would the apostle begin a journey which is only five days long on the Sabbath? This again proves that the twenty-second wasn’t a fixed Sabbath at all!

But let us assume that the lunar Sabbatarians do not accept the statement of Ellen White or that he started a day later because the twenty-second is a fixed Sabbath for them. Let us put Paul’s journey starting one day later, for that way Paul’s travel of five days starts and ends during the days of the week and not on the Sabbath.

So let’s say they started on the twenty-third and traveled for five days. The dates of travel would have been the twenty-third, the twenty-fourth, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-sixth, and the twenty-seventh.

They would have arrived at Troas on the twenty-seventh of the first month. For seven days they stayed there, and the seventh day of their stay at Troas was the first day of the week, according to the biblical record.

Let us count the seven days’ stay at Troas—the twenty-seventh, the twenty-eighth, the twenty-ninth, the thirtieth, the first, the second, and the third.

If the third of the second month was the “first day of the week,” then you don’t get a Sabbath on the eighth! (The eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth days are fixed Sabbaths for them.)

They can hold onto only one of two positions—a) If Paul began his five days’ journey on the twenty-second, then the twenty-second was not a Sabbath because Paul regarded the twenty-second as a common day for long-distance travel. b) If Paul began his journey on the twenty-third, a day after the Sabbath, then the lunar Sabbatarians can’t arrive at having the eighth as a fixed Sabbath, but it should be the 9th.

You see again you don’t have a fixed Sabbath appearing on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth for both the months in succession!

The Sabbath in Esther 9

The lunar Sabbatarians say that in Esther 9 the Sabbath is confirmed again to be on the fifteenth of the twelfth month:

The 15th of the 12th month was a rest day, making the 8th, 22nd and 29th rest days as well. (Esther 9.) (Ibid.)

The word Sabbath is not mentioned in Esther chapter 9. Only the word rested appears three times in that chapter.

Even though Sabbath is a day of rest, it does not mean that wherever the word rest appears it is a reference to the weekly Sabbath rest. Consider this text:

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)

The word rested is the same Hebrew root word used in Esther chapter 9, and the word is nuwach. The word commonly used to designate the Sabbath rest, however, is shabath.

The ark rested on the seventeenth day of the month. So is the seventeenth, therefore, the Sabbath? They would have said so, if the ark had rested on the fifteenth!

What does the passage of Esther say? It had nothing to do about the day of worship, but was a victory celebration. Their enemies had been destroyed.

On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. (Esther 9:17, 18)

How can the lunar Sabbatarians say that only the fifteenth was a day of rest? It says the thirteenth, the fourteenth, and fifteenth were all rest days. So do we conclude that there are three Sabbaths occurring on three consecutive days?

Even here we see they are flawed in their basic interpretation of scripture.

The Sabbath at the Time of Solomon

The lunar Sabbatarians quote the passage of the dedication of the Solomon’s temple to prove that the Sabbath was fixed on the twenty-second of that month.

Solomon kept the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days. On the 8th day (22nd of the month) they made a solemn assembly. Solomon sent the people away on the 23rd, being careful not to send them away on the 22nd, the Sabbath. (See 2 Chronicles 7:8–10). This places the Sabbath for the seventh month on 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. (WLC Sabbath Challenge, Ibid.)

They admit that it was the Feast of Tabernacles. The twenty-second was always a yearly Sabbath in the Feast of Tabernacles. They were to make offerings for seven days, and the eighth day was a sacred high day, a special day—it was part of the feast and not outside the feast celebration.

Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:36)

It is interesting to note that when God forbade work on the weekly Sabbath, He said “but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work” (Exodus 20:10), but when God forbade work on the yearly Sabbaths (except the Day of Atonement), He used an additional word—“servile work” (Leviticus 23:36).

It shows that the twenty-second was not a fixed weekly Sabbath, but a fixed yearly Sabbath where “servile work” was forbidden.

Let’s look at the passage in consideration.

Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people. (2 Chronicles 7:8–10)

The lunar Sabbatarians say “Solomon sent the people away on the 23rd, being careful not to send them away on the 22nd, the Sabbath. (See 2 Chronicles 7:8–10)” (WLC Sabbath Challenge, Ibid.). Was it because the twenty-second was a fixed weekly Sabbath that he didn’t send them away on that day? No. The twenty-second was a fixed yearly Sabbath!

So you see that the lunar Sabbatarians’ interpretation of this text is deceptive.

The Sabbath during the Dedication of Priesthood

This is what the lunar Sabbatarians say about the dedication of Aaron to the office of the priesthood:

Dedication of Priesthood:

Aaron and his sons were sanctified for seven days beginning on New Moon Day (See Exodus 40: 2, 17). On the eighth day (which was also the 8th of the month), there was an assembly of the congregation. During the preceding seven days, they [Aaron and his sons, not the congregation] were not to leave the tabernacle. (See Leviticus 8:1–13; 33–35; 9:1–5). From Exodus 40:17 we learn that it was the first month (Abib) of the second year after their departure from Egypt, in which Passover was to be kept; this is a double confirmation that the Sabbaths for this month fell on 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. (WLC Sabbath Challenge, Ibid.; emphasis in original)

Let us see what the Bible says about these events: The tabernacle was to be erected and dedicated (Exodus 40:2, 9; Leviticus 8:10, 11), the priests were to be anointed (Exodus 40:13, 15; Leviticus 8:12), the congregation was to be gathered (Leviticus 8:3); and, yes, the Bible says Aaron and his sons were sanctified for seven days (Exodus 29:35; Leviticus 8:33, 35), but let us notice what the Bible says about these events.

If you read Exodus 40, you find a flow of events without a stopping point or a place where there is a shift in the time sequence of events. “On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation” (Exodus 40:2). All the events that are listed from verse 3 until at least verse 33 happened without any noticeable break in time. This includes the erection of the tabernacle, the anointing of the tabernacle, and the washing and anointing of the priests. In Leviticus 8 we find the additional information that the congregation was to be gathered, but this was before the consecration began. This consecration appears to have begun on the same day the tabernacle was erected. Even if it were the next day, the gathering would have been on the second day of the month and not on the eighth day. For seven days, offerings of dedication were made for the altar (Exodus 29:37), and for seven days the priests were to abide at the tabernacle.

The lunar Sabbatarians are trying to establish the eighth day as a public gathering to prove that it was a Sabbath. This is their assignment of dates and not the Bible’s. Even if Aaron were dedicated on the eighth that would not prove it was the Sabbath! That is reading something into the text.

Again you see these teachings are misleading in their interpretation of scriptures. There are no Sabbaths fixed at the time of the anointing of the priesthood.

The Sabbath during Hezekiah’s Reform

The lunar Sabbatarians use the passage of 2 Chronicles 29 to prove that the Sabbaths are fixed as they claim they are:

Hezekiah’s Reform:

The people began to sanctify on New Moon day of the first month and on the 8th of the month they went to the temple. On the 16th of the month, they “made an end” which was the first day of the work week. (2 Chronicles 29:17.) (WLC Sabbath Challenge, Ibid.; emphasis in original)

What is the background of King Hezekiah’s reform?

For a long time the temple had been shut, and there had been no service:

Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. (2 Chronicles 29:7)

The house of God was damaged, and Hezekiah ordered it repaired:

He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. (2 Chronicles 29:3)

It was all so messy, and it required a real cleaning:

And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. (2 Chronicles 29:5)

It took sixteen days to physically repair, clean, wash, and set the temple in order.

Please remember when Moses was building the temple that God clearly instructed the people not to do any physical work in building His house on the Sabbath. God told them to do it only on the six working days of the week:

Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. (Exodus 35:2)

King Hezekiah was a godly man. He strictly followed the word of God. “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:2).

Notice that on the eighth day they were working:

Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. (2 Chronicles 29:17)

Based upon this text, we cannot determine that the eighth day was a Sabbath. The Bible says that the sanctification of the temple took eight days. During this time there would have been dirt and dust to clean. There may have even been idols to remove from the temple, although we are not distinctly told of this. We are not told if there was a break for any Sabbath during this time, but there must have been; however, the Bible does not say on which day. It does not say the eighth day neither does it give the eighth day preeminence above any other day, except that the Bible lists this day as the ending point of this process. It is even less likely this was the Sabbath because it was the ending point of the sanctifying process and, therefore, was probably a day of work to finish the project. Since there is no proof that the eighth was a Sabbath, we cannot speculate or assume that the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth days of the month were also Sabbaths.

The Ceasing of the Manna

God miraculously provided manna for His people for forty years. After they entered the land of promise, God stopped the giving of manna. Let us see when God stopped it:

And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:10–12)

The Passover is the fourteenth day of the first month. The next day (the fifteenth) they ate unleavened cakes and parched (roasted) corn. And the manna ceased on the sixteenth, the day after they ate the corn of the land.

So we have three days mentioned in the passage of scripture—the fourteenth, the fifteenth and the sixteenth.

The days of the week are not mentioned in the passage. Only the dates of the month are known from the passage of scripture.

And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land . . . (Joshua 5:12)

It doesn’t say the manna ceased from the sixteenth, but the manna ceased on the sixteenth. It means it did not come on the sixteenth.

The Septuagint version says:

In this day the manna failed, after they had eaten of the corn of the land. ( Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation, Jos 5:12)

If the manna stopped coming on the sixteenth, it means the last day of its coming was the fifteenth!

Now the fifteenth is a Sabbath for the lunar Sabbatarians, so they won’t like to agree that it came on the fifteenth. So if it came on the fifteenth, it means the fifteenth was not a Sabbath that month because God never gave manna on the Sabbath.

Now on which day did God always stop sending manna week after week for forty years? The Sabbath day!

There is linguistic evidence to support the concept that the final time that God stopped sending the manna was also on the Sabbath day, and that day was the sixteenth, not the fifteenth.

And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:12)

The word ceased is shabath in the Hebrew text, the root word from which Sabbath is derived. The manna Sabbath-ed on the sixteenth because that was the day of the Sabbath. On the Sabbath it always ceased, week after week, and according to the language, there is evidence that the final time it ceased was on the same day of the week that it had ceased for forty years.

So this text is clear beyond any doubt that the manna fell on the fifteenth, a day on which it would never have fallen if it had been the Sabbath, and the language of the text indicates that the day that the manna ceased was the Sabbath.

The luni-solar calendar stands flawed again!

Apostle Paul Settles the Challenge

We are the spiritual Laodicean Church of the last days (Revelation 3:14–21). The conflict of whether the weekly Sabbaths are to be counted by the phases of the moon seems to be shaking the foundation of many precious souls.

Was the new moon to be observed at all in the post-Calvary period?

Just as some of the spiritual Laodiceans of the last days are confronted with this, the literal Laodiceans of the early days faced this issue, as well.

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea . . . (Colossians 2:1)

In the clearest language the apostle settles the challenge:

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross . . . 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 2:14, 16, 17)

“The new moon” religious observance is called a “shadow” of the cross. All the shadows of the cross have been nailed to the cross.

The word judge in verse 16 is the word krineto, from the root word krino, meaning to condemn. A version of this same root word is used in John 3:18: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already.”

There was a group of people within the church who were condemning others for not observing the new moon and festivals based on the new moon.

The apostle makes it clear that they stood in no condemnation indeed because it was all nailed to the cross!

The only day that God has asked us to remember is the seventh-day Sabbath which is a part of the eternal law of God and which is not a shadow of anything. If the weekly Sabbath is to be reckoned by the phases of the moon, then the apostle is breaking the very foundation and yardstick of the Sabbath observance!

No! The weekly Sabbath is independent of the new moon; therefore, the new moon observation is nailed to the cross while the Sabbath still remains in the Christian era.

As some early Christians rejected the word of God from the apostle to them, this is being repeated again.

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (Galatians 4:10, 11)

The lunar Sabbath observers know that the word month comes from the word moon, yet they “observe” the moon still, in spite of the counsel from the Lord!

In Conclusion

As the pagans say without the sun there can be no life, the lunar Sabbatarians say without the moon there can be no time measured. But our God is not dependent upon them; everything depends upon Him!

The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of God’s creatorship, that He made all things from nothing, but the lunar Sabbatarians have made the Sabbath as a memorial to the moon, by placing the moon ahead of God’s first day of creation!

This is the precise reason why God generated life and began time calculation before creating the sun and the moon!

Finally, when the Creator of all things, including the sun and the moon, judges the world, those who gave emphasis to things created rather than to the Creator, will be damned.

And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. (Jeremiah 8:2)

Yes, before the Sunday Sabbath law (of the spurious Sabbath) scorches and tries God’s remnant people, this Moonday Sabbath (the fictitious Sabbath) is making rounds.

Our prayers and deepest concerns are for the ones who are being deceived. May they see the light again and return to worshiping the true God on the true seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday)!?


Creation and the Lunar Sabbath

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)


At the beginning of our human history, God not only created (Hebrew bara) the heaven and the earth, but he also fashioned them, for this is what the Hebrew word asah, translated made in verse 7, means: “And God made the firmament” (see Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, volume 1, page 127). Moses uses both Hebrew words in the creation account, and in an understated simplicity (you might think such a magnificent event should be pronounced in more ringing tones), he is either summarizing what God has already masterfully accomplished, or he is heralding the future but in either case, he is setting the stage (for what has either transpired or is about to transpire) and if a summary, how else could Moses have described creation? What words could he have used that would have adequately revealed the depth, the richness, the complexity, and the beauty of the way the earth and the heaven were fashioned and polished into the beautiful spectacles they became?

God began his new and never-before-seen acts of the creation of our world with an empty wasteland—that is what without form and void in verse 2 means—and not only that, but deep waters were also present, and over the deep waters a darkness hung.

God transformed these three things (formless earth, deep waters, and darkness) so magnificently that we ever continue to be speechless and humbled before such a creative mind and such power and beauty.

Throughout the creation account, Moses uses both bara and asah in his depiction:

The significant interchange between the words bara “create” and asa [asah] is of great interest. The word bara carries the thought of the initiation of the object involved. It always connotes what only God can do and frequently emphasizes the absolute newness of the object created. The word asa is much broader in scope, connoting primarily the fashioning of the object with little concern for special nuances. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament., vol. 2, p. 701)

In Genesis 1 and 2, both asah and bara are acts of God, and both occurred during creation week—bara and asah exist side-by-side in the creation account—culminating in Genesis 2:3, 4:

 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created (bara) and made (asah). These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created (bara), in the day that the LORD God made (asah) the earth and the heavens.

Not only did God create the heavens and the earth, but he also made them.

The Divisions of Creation

One of the first things God did was to speak light into existence and then to divide, or separate, that light from the darkness shrouding the waters. Now a new entity was present over the face of the deep—light.

God then turned his attention to the deep waters, which he divided by the firmament, that broad expanse over our heads in which the birds fly and to which our eyes are drawn, night after night, in appreciation of its beauty. First the darkness was divided, and then the waters were.

Another division occurred with the “separation of the ‘dry land’ from the waters” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1, p. 361, under the heading yabbasha) under the firmament. You can almost see the water being swept together to one area and the dry land emerging. Interestingly, this dry land also divided for the plants and trees to spring forth in innumerable places!

Next, God divided the firmament, and lights shone forth! The waters under the firmament also divided (and re-divided) as creatures of all sizes and shapes joyfully swam up, down, and through them! The firmament closest to the earth filled with the sights and sounds of beautiful birds, dividing and re-dividing the air as they winged their way over the landscape, and last of all, the dry land divided again as creeping things made their homes in it, and beast, cattle, and man strode upon it.

Sometimes the act of division in the creation account is clearly marked, as we see in days one and two, and sometimes the process is less noticeable, but it is present nonetheless. From the first day to the seventh, you will find something being divided (or separated) as something new is added. On the first day the darkness was divided from the light. On the second day the waters were divided when the firmament was introduced. On the third day the dry land divided to allow plants and trees to appear. On the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were made, and they divided the outer reaches of the firmament. On the fifth day the sea was divided by the fish and other water creatures God created. The firmament closest to us was also divided by the presence of birds claiming the gentle breezes as their own. On the sixth day the land again divided, this time as beast, cattle, and creeping things made their home in and on it and then by the creation of man from its very dust. And following God’s rest on the seventh day, the day itself was separated from its sister days and blessed and sanctified. The intertwining of creation with division, like an mighty double helix, is seen in each day, and understanding this is important, if you are contemplating the validity of the lunar Sabbath. In every day of that first week, God created and/or fashioned some aspect of the earth, the water, the air, the darkness, or time.

Creation and Lunar Sabbatarians

Many lunar Sabbatarians believe the events that occurred on day four proceeded differently than those which occurred on the other days of creation, but this is not supported by the structural outline of create and divide that Moses uses in the account of creation. Since lunar Sabbatarians adamantly believe that the weekly Sabbaths are fixed on the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, and the twenty-ninth of each month, they could never agree that the day on which God rested and the day which he blessed and sanctified was the seventh day of the month, so they re-construct the creation process (think of the boldness!) in order to give validity to their conjecture, and they do so by stating that the sun, moon, and other luminaries were created ahead of time (before the first day of creation, although one lunar Sabbatarian states that the sun was created on day one—see reference in footnote 2) and held in abeyance until they were needed on the fourth day of creation, at which time they were simply placed in the distant regions of the firmament; in other words, these heavenly objects were not made on the fourth day, as verses 16 and 19 state, but were only hung in the sky on the fourth day. ( See Troy Miller, The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath As proved by the Creation account found in Genesis 1).

The use of bara in the opening statement of the account of creation seems to carry the implication that the physical phenomena came into existence at that time and had no previous existence in the form in which they were created by divine fiat. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Ibid.; emphasis supplied)

Satan, ever desiring the ability to create, has attempted to divide the true fourth day of creation out from the other days of creation and has tried to insert his own version of God’s thrilling actions on the fourth day! We should not be surprised to see his dirty footprints in the very first chapter of the Bible, but we are surprised and amazed to see truth-loving people stop and consider such heaven-daring blasphemy.

The rise and fall of the doctrine of the lunar Sabbath rests on the blatant iniquity that the sun, moon, and stars were not made on the fourth day. The lunar Sabbath doctrine is not dependent on the dating of the crucifixion or on the timing of Paul’s journey to Troas; it is not dependent on when the manna fell or when the exodus occurred; and it is not dependent on the calculation of the days of Pentecost or on the determination of when the crescent moon actually occurs. The foundation that it rests upon is the lunar Sabbatarians’ restructuring of Genesis 1 and 2. All other issues germane to the lunar Sabbatarian thinking are minor compared to this attempt by Satan to redesign the events of the fourth day of creation. Without this false account of creation, the lunar Sabbatarian theory disintegrates because then the first day of rest, the day God sanctified and blessed (Genesis 2:2, 3), is not based on the lunar cycle, but on the weekly cycle.

As Seventh-day Adventists we have been mentally and spiritually prepared for the terrible endeavor of Satan to change times and laws:

By substituting human law for God’s law, Satan will seek to control the world. This work is foretold in prophecy. Of the great apostate power which is the representative of Satan, it is declared, “He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand.” Daniel 7:25. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 763)

But we haven’t been as well-prepared for the dethroning of the Creator in the attempt to alter the creation acts of day four, and this ill-preparedness is catching many of us unaware:

From the beginning Satan has worked continually to dethrone the Creator . . . (White, The Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894)

Let me reiterate—if the lunar Sabbatarians cannot establish that God actually rested on the eighth day of the lunar month, even though they do acknowledge it to be the seventh day of the creation week, then their whole case is lost. That is one of the great reasons the account of creation is so important, and that is why they have no other recourse than to attempt to restructure the creation record so that, according to them, the day of rest of Genesis 2:2, 3 falls on the eighth day of the lunar cycle. They do this by stating the moon was created a day before day one of creation, thus allowing the seventh day of creation to also be the eighth day in the life of the moon, making the first day of rest the eighth day of the lunar cycle.

Because of the approach Moses uses (under inspiration) in describing each day of creation within a framework of create and divide, it is not fair to Moses (and thus to God), nor is it consistent with reason, to pull out day four and re-frame it, without re-framing the remaining six days. If lunar Sabbatarians wish to change how the events transpired on day four, it is only plausible to expect them to be consistent and apply the same restructuring principles to the other six days, which would mean every creeping thing, the dry land, all the fish and birds, etc., were created before day one and each was only put into its proper place on the respective day of creation. On every day, however, except the seventh day when he rested, God said to let there be something, and it happened—this was how creation took place, day after day. To say, without solid basis in Scripture, that God meant something different on the fourth day, when he said “let there be lights in the firmament,” than he meant on the other five days when he used the same or similarintroductory words is unreasonable and misleading, especially when the claim is made (by at least Miller) that the Hebrew word asah (Strong 6213) in Genesis 1:16means to advance or to appoint instead of made. Asah is translated in the King James version of the Old Testament only two times in any form of the verb appoint (Job 14:5 and Psalm 104:19) and only once in any form of the verb advance (1 Samuel 12:6), out of approximately 2,600 times asah is used in the Old Testament. Three out of 2,600 is approximately one tenth of one percent!

A principle in biblical hermeneutics that helps us when we wonder how to understand a particular Hebrew or Greek word that has a range of possible meanings is to go to its first usage in the Bible for guidance. The first usage in the Bible for asah occurs in Genesis 1:7, where God made the firmament. Anyone would be hard-pressed to believe that the firmament was created ahead of time and only placed into position on day two, but this is what some lunar Sabbatarians want you to believe happened on day four, when God made the heavenly luminaries. Some biblical commentators propose that the generalized light created on the first day was focused on the fourth day into bodies to hold them. Regardless of your understanding of the relationship between day one and day four of creation, there is no evidence whatsoever in Scripture to believe that the bodies of these luminaries were created before creation week, that they were filled with light (or werereflectors of light) on day one, and that they were then hung in space on day four, as Mr. Miller (see footnote 2) would have us believe. This is simply adding to the word of God.

Mr. Miller states, on page 6 of the same article referenced in the footnote, that the light created on day one was the sun (and remember the moon was supposedly created before day one). If you are inclined to agree with him, please consider the fact that the Hebrew word for light in Genesis 1:3 is owr, the word for lights in Genesis 1:16 is maowr, and the predominate Hebrew word for sun, used for the first time in Genesis 15:12, is shemesh. “Light [owr] is of course associated with light-bearing bodies [maowr], but it is distinct from them, as seen in its creation apart from the luminaries (Gen 1:3)” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1, p. 25). In other words, light was created on day one, but the light-bearing bodies were not made until day four. Even though the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:16 is a derivative of the word used in Genesis 1:3, neither are related to the Hebrew word used for sun, shemesh, and remember, all of these texts were written by the same person. If we will just remember the words of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:11) which state that God took six days, not seven or more, to create the heaven, the earth, and all that in them is, it will be clear to us that no stage or development of our moon could possibly have been made before day one of the creation week.

Brothers and sisters, Satan is attacking the law of God and has the Catholic and Protestant worlds under his control with his attempted restructuring of the fourth commandment. He is also attempting to reconstruct the fourth day of creation, and we should be wary, very wary, of anything that seeks to add to or to take away from God’s word. The words that do so “speak great words against the Most High” (Daniel 7:25). Onycha Holt


From the File Cabinet of History

Pages 1 and 2 of a 10 page letter. More next month.

White to Carr 1 2


Youth’s Corner — Pioneers of Missions

(This month we continue a series based upon the book Youthful Witnesses by W. A. Spicer, published in 1921. This month’s story is the first part of Chapter 15.)

The lives of the pioneers of modern missions bear witness how generally the decisions of youth are the shaping influences for the life-work, though, thank God, His voice does not cease to call to [those of] age that has earlier refused to hear.

Often in childhood the interest and the conviction have come that led to missionary service in later years. One who went into the matter to get a survey of determining influences in the lives of missionaries, wrote:

Decisions in childhood are very numerous. In the biographies examined, about one third of the missionaries distinctly attribute their first interest in missions to impressions received as children. In about half these cases the impressions seem to amount to a distinct call. The roll of missionaries impressed or called in childhood includes Zinzendorf, founder of Moravian missions, Paton, of the New Hebrides, Coleridge Patteson, Bishop Steere, Gutzlaff, Gundert and Krapf and Pfander, Mackay of Formosa, Mackay of Uganda, Cyrus Hamlin of Turkey, Verbeck of Japan, Chalmers of New Guinea, and Eugene Casalis, among many others.

A child’s missionary purpose is sometimes the result of a passing fancy: its motive is often trifling or fantastic, a desire for travel, or “to see wild beasts and bright birds.” In many instances, however, the call is from the beginning a serious one, which is never doubted or set aside. In other cases a forgotten early impression, suddenly revived with strength, has been the final means of call.

Robert Moffat was converted at the age of twenty, while working as a gardener in Cheshire. One day, not long after, while walking into Warrington, he was meditating on a future position of honor and trust. Suddenly he caught sight of a placard announcing a missionary meeting. Immediately stories of Moravian missionaries in Greenland and Labrador, read to him by his mother, came back vividly, though forgotten for many years. He was thrown into a tumult of mind. The power of earthly prospects at once vanished; from that time his thoughts were entirely occupied with how to serve the missionary cause.

Many and various are the means by which the missionary call comes home to children. Comber of the Congo, Chalmers of New Guinea and others responded to a direct appeal made by a Sunday school teacher to his class; Isenberg, Pfander and many another German boy to the reading of the Basel Missions Magazine, Robert Noble of Masulipatam and Roberts of Tientsin, while boys at school, to personal appeals from their sisters. Missionary stories, missionary pictures and games, and missionary boxes have all played their part. But investigation of missionary calls in childhood brings out more than anything else the supreme influence of father and mother. Instance after instance occurs of parents who have dedicated their children to the mission field, but have never revealed the fact till God gave the call.

Hudson Taylor’s father, James Taylor, was for many years an earnest evangelist. Through reading an account of the travels of Captain Basil Hall in China, he was much impressed with the spiritual destitution of China. As he could not go himself, he prayed that his son might be called to devote his life to China’s millions. This was two years before Hudson Taylor was born. All hope of his being a missionary was given up on account of his extreme delicacy. Yet, when a boy of sixteen, he received a distinct call to China, and was strengthened in body, mind and spirit for the wonderful work of founding the China Inland Mission, with its more than one thousand missionaries. (Ruth Rouse, “A Study of Missionary Vocation,” pp. 244–246, International Review of Missions, April 1917)

Many others might be added. A teacher in a New York City public school told a class of girls about the heathen. Little Eliza Agnew, aged eight, resolved to be a missionary. The purpose was always with her. But home needs held her until she was thirty. Then the call to Ceylon came, and she went out to engage in the girls’ school work that won her the name of “Mother of a thousand daughters.”

So God has called from earth’s Macedonias, and young hearts have heard, and merest youth has gone overseas and into the unknown to carry the message. Someone has listed the age at which some of the pioneers were called to mission work:

Adoniram Judson was but twenty-two when he resolved to devote himself to foreign mission work, and he started for India at twenty-four.

Robert Morrison was but twenty-two when he was accepted by the London Missionary Society and commissioned to open Christian work in China.

David Livingstone was twenty-one, Jacob Chamberlain nineteen, and Bishop Thoburn only seventeen when called to foreign mission work.

These ages are not exceptional, but illustrate the rule: “Wherever in history we mark a great movement of humanity, we commonly detect a young man at its head or at its heart.”

The lives of men who blazed the trail into missionary wilds show that if riper years wrought the great tasks, the blessed achievements were the result of the decisions and consecrations of earlier years.

It is a gratifying thing to see young people, with every influence about them to draw them into the world, steadfastly resisting the plea of associates and the temptations of the enemy and giving life and service to the truth and cause of God. We are seeing this again and again in all lands.

Strange, and sad, too, it is, that while such youth are taking their stand for God against all surrounding influences, some young people who have grown up within the influence of God’s truth, and with parents and friends pleading with them to hold to it, are found now and then throwing away their hope of eternal life for the positions or the pleasures of the world. It is a poor exchange.

COUNT ZINZENDORF

The story of Count Zinzendorf’s early life shows how the grace of Christ made him victor over efforts to draw a rich and talented young nobleman into the service of the world. He was noble by grace and character as well as by birth.

The Countess of Huntingdon thanked God for the letter m in the text, “Not many noble are called.” Without that letter it would read, “Not any noble.” Of noble birth, of the highest society in England, she counted it the highest earthly honor to join with the humble seekers after God in the early and unpopular days of Methodism. Despised though that people were by society and the popular church, she wrote her heart’s experience in her hymn:

I love to meet among them now,
Before Thy gracious throne to bow,
Though weakest of them all;
Nor can I bear the piercing thought,
To have my worthless name left out,
When Thou for them shalt call.

While never have the many mighty or many noble responded to God’s call, the door of service has ever been open to those of noble birth and exalted station. Count Zinzendorf found his own people and his life’s work among the persecuted peasants from Moravia, to whom he became a leader and organizer in the great pioneer movement of modern missions.

He was born in Dresden, in 1700, and was left fatherless in infancy. From earliest boyhood his heart seemed responsive to noble impulses. “In all matters that depended upon me,” he wrote of his childhood days, “my first thought always was, What will best please my mother?”

His training and earliest education were under his grandmother. Like young Timothy’s grandmother Lois, of ancient Lystra, the Baroness Gersdorf, of Hennersdorf, devoted herself to planting the principles of righteousness in her grandson’s heart. Regarding his first experience in the Lord, Count Zinzendorf said: “It was at Hennersdorf, when I was a child, that I learned to love Him.” As a little boy he made a written covenant with the Lord, “Be Thou mine, dear Saviour, and I will be Thine.” And true he was to his boyhood’s covenant.

To fit him to fill high positions in state, as his fathers before him, his guardians sent him to Halle. There he gathered about him some serious-minded youth, and formed a young people’s society, called the “Order of the Mustard Seed.” The pledge of the society declared the aim to be “to follow Christ in walk and conversation, to love your neighbor, and strive for the conversion of Jews and heathen.” Even here was the mustard seed of missionary endeavor that in later years was to grow into the great Moravian missionary movement.

Zinzendorf was no dawdler with his books. He was an earnest student as well as an earnest Christian. After Halle came Wittenberg, where his uncle hoped he would lose some of that religious devotion which seemed to stand in the way of the ambitious plans his friends had for him. Then an educational tour of Europe, with plenty of money to spend, including life in the social whirl of Paris, was looked to as something to draw young Zinzendorf more into the current of the world of society and politics. All was as emptiness to the count, however, and nothing would he allow to come between him and his Saviour. The early covenant held, “Be Thou mine, dear Saviour, and I will be Thine.”

He was for a time judge and member of the council of Saxony, but ever his heart was toward the work of the Lord. He found his work when a band of exiled Christians from Moravia sought refuge on his estates. They were men after his own heart. Joyfully he permitted them to settle on his lands, and the little village of Herrnhut was begun, Herrnhut meaning, “Watched of the Lord.”

These were the people to be organized and sent forth as missionaries to the dark places of the earth. To this work the count devoted the rest of his days. His wife, the Countess Dorothea, was a noble helper in all his labors. On their wedding day they entered into a marriage contract “that they should both be ready, at a moment’s warning from the Lord, to enter upon the mission, take up the pilgrim’s staff, and ever be prepared to endure the scoffs of mankind.”

This is to be no outline of Zinzendorf’s life, but a mere glimpse at a youth whose every attitude, as we look, shows a mind bent on the glory of God and the advancement of His cause in the earth. He had wealth, high station, everything that could lure a man to a life of ease and honor among men. He was of brilliant mind and of fine presence.

But he was one of God’s noblemen. The Moravian missionaries, ready to give their lives in sacrifice, whether in the arctic regions of Greenland or in the heart of the tropics, found in his an organizer and leader after their own kind. He was here and there, in Europe, in America, in the West Indies, always on the move, and always at work.

While still of youthful age, he had his attention drawn to the study of the Sabbath question, and saw that the change of the Sabbath from the Lord’s day of rest, the seventh day, to the first day of the week, was not of divine appointment or by authority of Scripture.

While in America, in 1741, he explained to the Moravian church at Bethlehem, Pa., that for a long time he had been keeping the seventh day as the Sabbath of rest, and after full discussion of the reasons for and the objections against it, there was said to be a unanimous agreement in that company to observe the day. His biographers tell us that Sabbath observance was his habitual practice.

On one occasion, in colonial Pennsylvania, he was arrested for working at hymn writing on Sunday, and fined under the old Sunday laws. While he evidently did not fully understand the importance of the Sabbath truth, it is interesting to know that this pioneer of missions was a Sabbath keeper.

He was the first white man to set foot in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, whither he went, with his daughter and a few companions, to open mission work among the Shawanese. The Indians were suspicious and covetous. They begged all the count’s buttons, until he had to tie his clothing on with strings. The party suffered from lack of food, but they held on, trying to win the hearts of the Indians. Zinzendorf meanwhile worked at his writing or composed hymns in the solitude of the forest. Possibly that hymn of his in “Hymns and Tunes” was written under some such conditions:

Eternal depth of love divine,
In Jesus, God with us, displayed,
How bright thy beaming glories shine!
How wide thy healing streams are spread!

Differing versions have been given of Zinzendorf’s deliverance from poisonous snakes, and from the tomahawk of an assassin, while at the Shawanese camp. Charles Miner, in his History of Wyoming, gives it as follows:

Zinzendorf was alone in his tent, seated upon a bundle of dry weeds which composed his bed, and engaged in writing, when the assassins approached to execute their bloody commission. It was night, and the cool air of September had rendered a small fire necessary to his comfort and convenience. A curtain, formed of a blanket and hung upon pins, was the only guard to the entrance of his tent.

The heat of his fire had aroused a large rattlesnake, which lay in the weeds not far from it, and the reptile, to enjoy it more effectually, crawled slowly into the tent, and passed over one of his legs undiscovered. Without, all was still and quiet, except the gentle murmur of the river at the rapids about a mile below. At this moment the Indians softly approached the door of his tent, and slightly removing the curtain, contemplated the venerable man, too deeply engaged in the subject of his thoughts to notice either their approach or the snake which lay extended before him.

At a sight like this, even the heart of the savages shrunk from the idea of committing so horrid an act, and quitting the spot, they hastily returned to the town and informed their companions that the Great Spirit protected the white man; for they had found him with no door but a blanket, and had seen a large rattlesnake crawl over his legs without attempting to injure him. This circumstance, together with the arrival soon afterward of Conrad Weiser, procured the friendship and confidence of the Indians.

This Conrad Weiser, as we have seen, was a Sabbath keeper also, and a man who acted a large part in the Indian affairs of colonial days.

This was in the year 1742. The next year Zinzendorf returned to Europe, continuing his labors as general leader of the Moravian missionary expansion until his death in 1760.

WILLIAM CAREY

“Young man, sit down!” was the first answer that William Carey got to his pressing inquiry, in a ministers’ meeting, if the time had not come for the Christian church to give attention to the needs of the heathen.

And that was fairly expressive of the attitude of Christendom generally, notwithstanding the pioneer work the Moravians and some individuals were doing.

But “the time of the end” was at hand, the time of which the angel had spoken in the word to Daniel:

Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Dan. 12:4)

This meant the opening not only of an era of travel and general enlightenment, but of world-wide missions as well; for the knowledge of God is the chiefest thing of all.

Mark, it was a young man who was asked to sit down at that ministerial meeting in 1786. Youth had been called to pioneer service again.

Carey’s boyhood and youth had been a toilsome way. He began apprenticeship with a shoemaker at sixteen. His education was meager, but he had the student mind. He read and studied as he worked. Speaking of the books of his boyhood days, he once said:

I chose to read books of science, history, voyages, etc., more than any others. Novels and plays always disgusted me, and I avoided them as much as I did books of religion.

At eighteen, however, he found Christ, and soon was preaching to others. Now he added religious books to his store. As he worked at his cobbler’s bench, he read and thought. He studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, getting help where he could, but mostly finding his own way through. Language study was a gift in his case, though developed only by toil. He picked up somewhere a Dutch book, and from it secured a reading knowledge of that tongue. He got a French book, and French was added to his list. The linguistic gift was his, surely; but as Dr. George Smith says, this alone would not have carried him through.

This gift would have been buried in the grave of his penury and his circumstances had his trade been almost any other, and had he not been impelled by the most powerful of all motives. He never sat on his stall without his books before him, nor did he painfully toil with his wallet of new-made shoes to the neighboring towns or return with leather without conning over his lately acquired knowledge and making it forever, in orderly array, his own.

The Lord was watching for agencies through whom the great missionary awakening of the prophecy was to come as the time of the end should arrive. Many agencies had long been set in motion to prepare the way. The world was opening up. Captain Cook’s voyages had revealed the new island world of the Pacific. Early in his studies Carey had been impressed with the sad state of these peoples in Africa and Asia and the islands, without the light of the gospel and with no concerted effort in Christendom to carry the light to them.

He had a map of the world hung up in his shop, and day by day he gathered and classified on it the facts as to the conditions and needs of the heathen world. It was with this knowledge that he had risen in the ministers’ meeting at Northampton, in 1786, to propose a discussion of the responsibility of the church to carry the gospel to the world.

“Sit down, young man!” he was told. He was but twenty- five years old. To the presiding officer of the meeting it seemed impertinent of the youth to suggest such a proposition.

“You are a miserable enthusiast for asking such a question,” he was told. “Certainly nothing can be done before another Pentecost and the gift of tongues.”

But the burden upon Carey’s heart was not to be shifted off by such unwise rebuke. He set to work writing an appeal for missions, an “Enquiry” into the duty of Christians to give the gospel to the world. It was methodical in its plan, and full of the facts of the case. One paragraph must suffice to show the style of this historic document:

As to their distance from us, whatever objections might have been made on that account before the invention of the mariner’s compass, nothing can be alleged for it with any color of plausibility in the present age. Men can now sail with as much certainty through the great South Sea as they can through the Mediterranean or any lesser sea. Yes, and Providence seems, in a manner, to invite us to the trial, as there are to our knowledge trading companies whose commerce lies in many of the places where these barbarians dwell. At one time or other ships are sent to visit places of more recent discovery, and to explore parts of the most unknown ; and every fresh account of their ignorance or cruelty should call forth our pity, and excite us to concur with Providence in seeking their eternal good. Scripture likewise seems to point out this method, “Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring My sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God.” Isa. 60:9. This seems to imply that in the time of the glorious increase of the church, in the latter days (of which the whole chapter is undoubtedly a prophecy), commerce shall subserve the spread of the gospel. The ships of Tarshish were trading vessels, which made voyages for traffic to various parts; thus much therefore must be meant by it, that navigation, especially that which is commercial, shall be one great means of carrying on the work of God.

The sure word of prophecy inspired Carey’s faith in missions as a latter-day enterprise. Of this historic document, Dr. Smith, Carey’s biographer, says:

This “Enquiry” has a literary interest of its own, as a contribution to the statistics and geography of the world, written in a cultured and almost finished style, such as few, if any, university men of that day could have produced, for none were impelled by such a motive as Carey had. In an obscure village, toiling, save when he slept, and finding rest on Sunday only by a change of toil, far from libraries and the society of men with more advantages than his own, this shoemaker, still under thirty, surveys the whole world, continent by continent, island by island, race by race, faith by faith, kingdom by kingdom, tabulating his results with an accuracy and following them up with a logical power of generalization which would extort the admiration of the learned even of the present day.

The “Enquiry” had been leavening the ideas of men. Carey had been called to a larger work, the ministry of a Baptist church in Leicester, though still cobbling shoes to help out expenses. Then came the meeting of 1792, again at Nottingham, when not in an inquiry, but in a sermon, Carey, now thirty-one years old, poured out his heart’s appeal for missions. The sermon was based on the second and third verses of Isaiah 54. “Expect great things from God,” and “Attempt great things for God,” were the main divisions. These two great sentences are now painted on the wall back of Carey’s old pulpit at Leicester.

Still there was hesitancy, though men’s hearts were stirred. Carey’s nearest friend and sympathizer, Dr. Fuller, had said to him, “If the Lord should make windows in heaven, then might this thing be.” As the ministers’ meeting was separating, Carey seized Fuller and said, “Are we going away without doing anything?” Then out of Carey’s persistence came the appointment of the committee meeting that year in Kettering, where the first of the modern missionary societies was formed, the Baptist Society, to be followed rapidly by other churches. Carey’s appeals had won, and the great missionary era of “the time of the end” was opened. Later, speaking of these days when young Carey studied, and agitated, and wrote, refusing to be silenced, Dr. Ryland, who had opposed him, said:

I believe God himself infused into the mind of Carey that solicitude for the salvation of the heathen which cannot be fairly traced to any other source.

Of course that was it. The time had come for the work to be done, and the burden was laid upon the heart of a young man, devoted, studious, and with his life before him for the service.

The next year Carey was off for India. The work there belongs to his middle age and ripest years. But it was as a young man of thirty-three that William Carey at last set foot in Bengal, in 1793.

All the honors that came to him in later life never led him to think less of the experiences in the toilsome days of youth, when God was fitting him for the task. Once at a government dinner, when he was a famous professor of Oriental languages, he sat next to a noble peer of the realm.

“Let me see,” said the lordly nobleman, “I believe you were once a manufacturer of shoes?”

“O no,” replied Carey, “only a cobbler of shoes.”

In his earlier years in India, the idea of missions to the heathen was still an amusing one in parts of the home field. When the Rev. Sydney Smith described the Bengal mission staff — Carey, Marshman, and Ward — as a “nest of consecrated cobblers,” Southey, the poet, replied that Carey was a more learned Orientalist than ever any European had been before him. He added:

These low-born and low-bred mechanics have translated the whole Bible into Bengali, and have by this time printed it. They are printing the New Testament in the Sanskrit, the Orissa, Marathi, Hindustani, and Gujarati, and translating it into Persic, Telinga, Karnata, Chinese, the language of the Siekhs and of the Burmans, and in four of these languages they are going on with the Bible.

Extraordinary as this is, it will appear more so when it is remembered that of these men one was originally a shoemaker; another, a printer at Hull; and a third, the master of a charity school at Bristol. Only fourteen years have elapsed since Thomas and Carey set foot in India, and in that time have these missionaries acquired this gift of tongues; in fourteen years, these low-born, low-bred mechanics have done more toward spreading the knowledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has been accomplished or even attempted, by all the princes and potentates of the world, and all the universities and establishments into the bargain.

On Carey’s death, in 1834, at the ripe age of seventy-three, John Wilson, of Bombay, wrote thus of the “Father of Modern Missions”:

Perhaps no man ever exerted a greater influence for good on a great cause. Who that saw him, poor and in seats of learning uneducated, embark on such an enterprise, could ever dream that in a little more than forty years Christendom would be animated with the same spirit, thousands forsake all to follow his example, and that the word of life should be translated into almost every language and preached in almost every corner of the earth?

This was the fruitage of the loyal devotion to the missionary cause of the young man Carey, upon whom God laid the burden of beginning the new era of missions.


Near to the Heart

by Grace Cox

(Written October 1, 2011)

I have a new cat. A kitten, actually, approximately sixteen weeks old, so says the paperwork that came with her from the Humane Society. It was her face that drew me to her among several cats, all of which were hopefully awaiting a forever home, in the cat adoption section at PetSmart. Hers was a very sweet face, with alert, intelligent, wide green eyes. I tickled her ears through the wire cage, and she responded enthusiastically, rubbing her face against my fingers, softly touching them with her paw.

I left her momentarily to look at and interact with the dozen or so other cats who exhibited varying degrees of interest in their visitor. Which one would be my choice? I wouldn’t take either one right this moment. I had not brought a pet taxi with me, and besides, I needed to talk to my husband about it. I turned away, and Sweet Face stood on tiptoe, reached through the wires, and meowed plaintively. Tears stung my eyes as I turned back to her. “I’ll be back,” I assured her and forced myself to walk away.

Katie the CatI did return a few hours later, with Sam’s approval and a pet taxi, and Sweet Face, whose official name (chosen by Sam) would soon be Katie, came home with me. A rather ordinary cat she is (if there really is such a thing)—dark gray and brown-striped, with lots of white markings, and a cute little brownish-orange mustache under her nose. She has a charming personality that matches her sweet face. She is playful, as kittens are. Her favorite toy is a plastic ring off a milk jug, and she is the only cat I have ever known to play fetch. I toss the plastic ring, and she dashes and picks it up in her teeth and brings it back for me to throw it again. We play that game every day. Sometimes, though, she prefers cuddling in my lap to playing fetch.

My lap doesn’t always quite satisfy her. She stretches herself up and touches my face with her paw, searching my eyes for permission, then creeps up until she is high on my chest, under my chin. There she curls and takes her little kitten nap. Why is my chest her favorite spot? Is it the beat of my heart that comforts her little kitten heart? Is it my chest rising and falling with my breathing that soothes her to sleep?

I ponder that while she naps, and I’m reminded of a song. “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God,” it says. As a child of His, I love to crawl into His lap, figuratively speaking, and through faith, reach and touch His face and look into His eyes. Sometimes, though, that isn’t quite enough. I want my heart to be right next to His, to beat in rhythm with His great heart of love. I want to feel the gentle rise and fall of His breath–His Spirit, so to speak–which comforts and soothes my restless soul. So He invites me to draw closer to Him than just His “lap,” to commune heart to heart, to be one with Him in the moment.

I cannot sit endlessly with Katie on my chest; I have to be up and about my duties. And she lets me, but it is obvious that I am never far from her thoughts as she will come and seek me out, wanting to be near me, whatever I am doing. I never turn her away, but welcome her nearness and reward her with gentle words and a soft stroke or two. Likewise, I need to retain the sense and reality of God’s very Presence throughout my day, seeking Him continually, knowing that He will never turn me away either. He will reward me with reminders of His love for me and the joy that I, His child, give Him when I seek Him and take refuge in that place of quiet rest, near to His heart.

December 1, 2013, Update: Katie is now two and a half years old. She has been a wonderful house buddy, and I have been thankful for her good company and comfort since my husband died. She grew too large long ago to nap high on my chest under my chin, but my lap remains her favorite spot. Thankfully, we humans never grow too big to rest next to God’s heart. I have often taken refuge there during this year of adjustment to my loss of Sam, and God has never turned me away. Actually, He invites me to remain snuggled heart-to-heart with Him every moment, and the comfort He provides is beyond compare.


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Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, 750 Smyrna Road, 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.