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. 3 Straight and Narrow March 2014


lighthouse

“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:16)


In this issue:

The Certainty of the Sabbath in the Spirit of Prophecy

The File Cabinet of History

Recreation

The Alarming Condition of the World

The Sabbath of Sabbaths

Youth's Corner

YouTube Channel

Tasty Recipe

Publisher Information


The Certainty of the Sabbath in the Spirit of Prophecy

God led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the land of Canaan through a special channel. Hosea12:13 tells us:

And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, And by a prophet was he preserved.

This prophet was specifically Moses. God used Moses in a very significant manner. There is a connection, a parallel, to this among the remnant people of Israel today. Isaiah 11:16 says:

And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

In the Old Testament there was a remnant people, but we today believe that we are the remnant people of God. If you are not a part of the remnant people, you certainly need to become a part of the remnant people. May I say humbly that we need to know what we are as a people. We are not just anybody. God has called us to be a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).

We have been especially called to be a people who will keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12). Notice that in the text from Isaiah God will provide a highway for his remnant people such as he gave to Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt. How did Israel come out of the land of Egypt? Hosea says it was by a prophet. God gave the gift of prophecy to help direct the children of Israel out of Egypt, and he says through Isaiah that God will lead his remnant the same way. The book of Revelation speaks of spiritual Egypt and Babylon. The children of Israel were under a physical bondage, but the remnant in the last days have been held in bondage in spiritual Egypt. God will have a people come out of all spiritual confusion in the last days, and the gift of prophecy is a major tool he will use.

The remnant will not simply profess to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, but they will be a faithful, believing people, and Isaiah tells us that God is especially going to use the gift of prophecy in their perfection. This harmonizes with Revelation 12:17 which states that “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We couple this with Revelation 19:10 which tells us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The book of Revelation features the gift of prophecy more than any of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament. In Ephesians 4:11, we read: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Notice that some are apostles; not all people are given that gift. The same is true concerning evangelists and concerning pastors and teachers. Not all are called to be pastors and teachers, but some are called. Finally, some receive the gift of prophecy, but not all.

God has set these very specific gifts in his church for a reason. It is “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12, 13). A knowledge of the Son of God, combined with these gifts, brings perfection to God’s people. In verse 14 we read that we are to “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” God has put gifts in his church so that his people will not be carried away with every wind of doctrine.

If there is a last-day application book today, it must be the book of Revelation. Please understand I am not a futurist in interpreting Revelation, but we need to know Revelation, and knowing it will help God’s people in the last days. It is of interest that when one examines the book of Revelation, he or she fails to find pastors and teachers mentioned! That does not mean that God does not use pastors and teachers today; he does, but they are not emphasized in the Revelation. Do you know how often the gift of being an evangelist is mentioned in Revelation? It is not mentioned at all. Apostles are mentioned, barely. But the gift of prophecy is mentioned throughout the book of Revelation, and it is a part of the focus of Revelation. This article will use the prophetic gift that God has given his people to discuss the certainty of the seventh-day Sabbath.

I believe that in a marked way God, through Ellen G. White, has set a pathway, a highway, for his remnant.

Before we continue with that thought, though, let us remember what the Bible says about itself:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15–17)

The word of God is complete and perfect. Everything that we need is in the word. I have to confess to you, though, that I am one of the weakest of the weak and that I need all the help I can get. God has told us through his word that it is part of his plan to use spiritual gifts for the perfecting of his saints. It is part of God’s plan to use apostles, evangelists, pastors, and prophets to bring perfection to his saints. These gifts help in the understanding and the application of his word.

Some people do not want pastors today, but, dear believer, pastors are a part of God’s plan. If you have a problem with pastors, you need to talk to God about it. Furthermore, if you do not like the gift of prophecy, then do not blame me, for it is part of God’s plan. When people tell you that a prophet has failed them, they are telling you, or at least are beginning to tell you, that they have rejected the gift of prophecy. In the case of Seventh-day Adventism, this is a rejection of the ministry of Ellen G. White and with that rejection, there must finally come a rejection of the Advent movement.

We are living in a time when humanity is at its weakest point of existence, and those who will stand the terrible last days need all the help that they can get. It is true that Ellen White said that her writings are not to be set on the same plane as the Bible. She said her writings were a “lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light [the Bible]” (The Review and Herald, January 20, 1903).

Any person deep within a cave, without a flashlight, cannot see. The light of the sun is wonderful, but without a light, one cannot see to find the way to the entrance of the cave to see the sun. Give that person a light, however, even a small flashlight, and he or she can begin to find the way out. A person might say I don’t want that little, or lesser, light; I only want the greater light. That is fine but without the lesser light, that person will not find the greater light. To the person who realizes how dark the darkness is, however, he or she will be thankful for the small light, and all who claim to believe the three angels’ messages should be thankful for the lesser light that God has sent to his people.

In many ways the history of Adventism, especially the early history of Adventism, is bound up with and tied inseparably with the life of Ellen G. White. Especially in the crisis points of our history do we see Ellen White playing a critical and vital role. She noted:

In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)

Do you know when this statement was written? It was first published in 1893 in a General Conference Bulletin about fifty years from the time the movement began. The prophet is talking about fifty years of time, not about a small sliver of time, but about the continual way God had led and worked with his people.

Maybe you recognize the picture below as being taken at the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference session.

GC_1888-sm1

There was quite an aftermath from that conference, and it is one of the most discussed events in the history of Seventh-day Adventism. There were issues from that conference that resulted in discussion and division, and Ellen White helped to clarify the issues and give perspective to that conference so that we need not be deceived nor discouraged.

Perhaps you have heard of the Holy Flesh Movement that occurred in the Indiana Conference from 1899 to 1901. This movement involved the doctrines of the incarnation, the nature of Christ, and sanctification. The movement also involved a type of Pentecostal worship. Here again, Ellen White played a very large role in helping to quench the controversy. After receiving word from Elder Haskell, who had seen this worship first hand, Ellen White wrote:

The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working. (Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 36)

Ellen White’s sound counsel on this issue and her testimonies on true sanctification saved many from ruin.

Have you ever heard of a man named Albion Fox Ballenger? He was a very well-known and admired Seventh-day Adventist minister, as well as a very good biblical student. He was very charismatic and widely recognized as a good speaker. He was especially well-known for his large crowds at public evangelistic meetings. He began an in-depth study of the sanctuary and came to some very different conclusions from the main body of believers, such as Christ entering the most holy place of the sanctuary at his accession instead of in 1844. This caused a great controversy within the church. Ballenger had text upon text upon text to attempt to prove his points. There seemed to be few, if any, who could refute his arguments using just the Bible. Ellen White acknowledged that Ballenger used many biblical texts, but she could boldly declare:

 There is not truth in the explanations of Scripture that Elder Ballenger and those associated with him are presenting. The words are right but misapplied to vindicate error. We must not give countenance to his reasoning. He is not led of God. Our work is to bind up the Testimonies God has given and seal the law among His disciples. (Manuscript Release, no. 760, p. 4)

Ellen White knew that if Ballenger’s message was accepted, it would undermine our whole faith. She was given a clear distinct message:

In clear, plain language I am to say to those in attendance at this conference [the General Conference of 1905] that Brother Ballenger has been allowing his mind to receive and believe specious error. . . . God has not indited the message that he is bearing. This message, if accepted, would undermine the pillars of our faith.—Ms 62, 1905, pp. 1, 2. (“A Warning Against False Theories,” Talk, May 24, 1905.) (Ibid., p. 8)

Another case in point concerning the help the Spirit of Prophecy supplied in keeping the people of God on track is seen in the case of John Harvey Kellogg and his book The Living Temple.

The Living Temple was an excellent book on health and hygiene. There were teachings in it that we would all say amen to today, but the book also contained elements of spiritualistic pantheism. Kellogg made a mistake of trying to weave his theology into his physiology. It is not wrong to put theology and health together. In fact, we call the health work the right arm of the message, and it is, if it is the true health work that heaven approves but while Kellogg’s health message was good, his theology was sour. The roots to his problem stemmed from his acceptance of the doctrine of the trinity which so perverted his mind that he could not think properly. Ellen White did not sit back as an idle spectator and allow the church to be swept away into spiritualism. It is hard for us living over one hundred years later to realize how powerful Dr. Kellogg was and the influence he had in the church. The Battle Creek Sanitarium employed more workers than the whole General Conference worldwide! He was a very loved and appreciated man, and not a few were sympathetic towards him. But Ellen White declared that the issue was likened to an iceberg dead ahead that must be hit straight on. Due to her counsel the church was saved.

In these and other cases, Ellen White played a leading role in dealing with winds of doctrine, in dealing with people who were teaching something different from the history of the first fifty years. God gave this movement a chart and compass to enable it to go to the heavenly harbor. Today, however, there are proponents of winds of doctrines, and one of the winds of doctrine we have looked at recently is the lunar Sabbath. There should be clarity in our minds on these issues, and the spirit of prophecy manifested through Ellen White was given to help avoid pitfalls in these areas. We do not need to fear, as long as we remember the way the Lord has led us in our past history and remember his teachings in our past history. The truth of 2 Chronicles 20:20 still rings true: “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

I believe his prophet; she has not let me down, but has only encouraged and helped me and has given me a chart and a compass. If we have, as a people, been misled on such an important issue as the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath, then we are in a dangerous position. But does the evidence support the view that the commandment dealing specifically with the seal of God has been so tampered with or so misunderstood by us as a people that somehow we have been in error all of these years? Has God seen fit to correct us about eating pork and other issues but has failed to correct us on this most important point until now? No, no, a thousand times no! I do not believe that there is any spin doctor who can honestly say otherwise. We are told that the special blessing of God upon the Sabbath goes back to the Garden of Eden.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1–3)

In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48)

Did God say that after the seventh day there would be an eighth day or a ninth day in the week? There is an eighth and ninth day of the month, but never of the week. No, in fact we are told:

The Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ. (The Desire of Ages, p. 281)

The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 117)

Notice that she speaks of the seventh-day Sabbath and that it is the memorial of creation.

There was a man among the pioneers named John Nevins Andrews. (Adventists have named their university and seminary at Berrien Springs, Michigan, after him. Sadly, he would not be allowed to join the SDA Church today because he did not believe in the trinitarian doctrine. {See Ministry October 1993, page 10, at this link: http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/MIN/MIN19931001-V66-10__B.pdf#view=fit})He was such a good biblical scholar that the brethren asked him to study out the issue of when to keep the Sabbath. He later wrote a well-known book entitled The History of the Sabbath. In his book Andrews stated:

The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God. For the worship of God is based upon the fact that he is the Creator and that all other beings were created by him. The Sabbath therefore lies at the very foundation of divine worship, for it teaches this great truth in the most impressive manner, and no other institution does this. The true ground of divine worship, not of that on the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and his creatures. This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten. (The History of the Sabbath, p. 510)

Ellen White considered this statement so vital and so correct that she included it in her book The Great Controversy (see pages 437, 438).

Ellen White herself noted:

Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111; written in 1890)

Did Ellen White write in 1890 that the Sabbath and the week both originated at creation and that the Sabbath had been lost to biblical history? No! She said that, like the Sabbath, the week had been preserved. That means both the week and the Sabbath were preserved and that the Sabbath was kept and not lost. Lunar Sabbatarians claim that virtually the whole world lost sight of the Sabbath, including the supposed remnant people of God, but this is not according to the testimony of Jesus which says that, according to biblical history, the Sabbath has been preserved. It does not matter what secular historians might say otherwise; inspiration trumps everything!

In other words, if you read a statement that claims to be an historical statement and it attempts to say that the Sabbath was lost or changed, do not believe it, for it is wrong. What we need is truth, pure and unadulterated, and not fables, false history, and false science that disagree with the Bible. In fact, we have been told that “the righteousness of Christ . . . is pure, unadulterated truth” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 65; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted). Continuing in Patriarchs and Prophets, we have the following statement to offer to all who have accepted the lunar Sabbath or who are giving it consideration. If you do not trust the quotation in Old Paths, that is fine. Please open your own Patriarchs and Prophets and see for yourself, but please be honest with the statement, if you believe in the testimony of Jesus. Read the whole chapter, read the whole book, and you will find nothing out of context below:

God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man.

In the law given from Sinai, God recognized the week, and the facts upon which it is based. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111)

One thing that I like about the message we call the truth about God is that it is clear and straightforward. It does not depend upon hints and suppositions. We do not have to say, it appears to be so or it is implied. The one we are to worship does not leave us in doubt about his identity or that of his Son. If this is true about his identity, it must surely also be true of how he has commanded us to worship him. In the truth about the seventh-day Sabbath, we have a clear, unambiguous statement that would be understood by a tyro. Beloved, if God wants us to worship him on the seventh day of the week, he does not have to hint, and we do not have to twist the Scriptures to come to an understanding. God is straightforward for all to understand who will accept his plain statements.

Over and over the Spirit of Prophecy substantiates the truth that as a people we have had the truth on the Sabbath and not a lie. We have not made a mistake on the Sabbath!

When you look at the law as given at Mt. Sinai, what are the facts upon which the Sabbath is given? It is the fact that God created everything in six days. Nothing is specifically said about the moon or about the eighth, the fifteenth, the twenty-second, or the twenty-ninth days of the month. (The days of the lunar month most lunar Sabbatarians observe as Sabbath.) The days of the lunar month most lunar Sabbatarians observe as Sabbat)h God could have surely made that clear, beloved, especially if he is going to use it as the last great test for all of humanity! He could have said, You will worship me, basing the time upon the eighth day of the month, as calculated by the new moon. Then worship me every fifteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-ninth days of the month. Simple! But this is not what God said because it is not God’s plan.

After giving the command, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and specifying what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh, He states the reason for thus observing the week, by pointing back to His own example: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8–11. (Ibid.)

Let us now couple this with Ezekiel 20:12: “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” In the commandment God speaks of creation, and in Ezekiel he speaks of sanctification. These are not two different works, but actually one work. Our sanctification, the redemptive process, is a creative process. How did God create everything in the beginning?

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; And all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6, 9)

Notice how Paul also understands this connection:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:24–26).

To declare is to speak and when God speaks, creation happens. God speaks righteousness, and we have righteousness. God speaks forgiveness, and we are forgiven, and the Sabbath is a memorial of creation and of sanctification within the believer.

One very strange thing about the lunar Sabbatarian thinking is that it forbids one to believe that the papacy changed the Sabbath day! That’s right! We can no longer point a finger at the Vatican for changing the true Sabbath. We would be led to believe that we need not worry about the Vatican anymore, for it is not our enemy, and that the papacy has done nothing to change the Sabbath or to take it away from anyone.

This is because the lunar Sabbatarian teaching is that Saturday is not the Sabbath any more than Sunday is the Sabbath. I have been told by lunar Sabbatarians that I have the mark of the beast as much as Sunday-keepers, for both of us are worshiping on false days. If that is true, then we are no more correct than the papacy, but that is not what the Spirit of Prophecy tells us.

There are different views on the inspiration and the authority of Ellen White. Some people will only accept statements that speak of direct inspiration, statements that say something like I saw, I was shown, or in vision the Lord showed me. Even if that is all one accepts as inspired, there is plenty of evidence from the testimony of Jesus that the papacy did attempt to change the true Sabbath, not some false Sabbath. We will now look at some of those statements:

The Lord gave me the following view in 1847, while the brethren were assembled on the Sabbath, at Topsham, Maine. . . .

In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. … I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God’s holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious—a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws. (Early Writings, pp. 32, 33)

Ellen White is claiming divine revelation in this quotation several times. This is not an impression or something that she garnered from the study of the Bible. She says that the Lord gave her this revelation. She says I saw four times in the second paragraph. If she is a prophet, this is true; and if it is not true, then she cannot be a prophet. She says that the pope did make a change and that it was from the seventh to the first day of the week. She did not say that the pope changed a false Sabbath to another false Sabbath. Her statement is clear; it is not ambiguous. Either she is correct or the lunar Sabbatarians may be correct, but they both cannot be correct on the issue of the pope changing the Sabbath. Now it is true that the way the lunar Sabbatarians calculate the Sabbath, on average the lunar Sabbath once every seventh month will be on what we call Saturday, and once every seventh month the lunar Sabbath will be on Sunday. Ellen White says that the pope did make a change, not from a lunar Sabbath, however, but from the same seventh-day Sabbath that Adventism has always worshiped on, the day most English-speaking people call Saturday. You can discount this, beloved, but if you do, you do so at the peril of your eternal life because God has either given us a prophet or he has not. According to Revelation 12:17 and 19:10, God has put the gift of prophecy within his church and if it was not manifested by Ellen White, then I do not know who qualifies.

Have you heard of a strawman argument? It means that a false view is stated that can easily be cut down and then it is implied that the truth is destroyed with the false view. Lunar Sabbatarians do the same when they state that Saturday cannot be the Sabbath because the name Saturday comes from the pagan god Saturn and we are not to worship false gods or even take their names upon our lips (Exodus 20:3; 23:13). That sounds important; it sounds like something concerning which we should be zealous. We want to distance ourselves from paganism as much as possible, right? But what relevance to the argument does it have?

Actually it has no relevance to the argument. It is a false idea based upon false understandings. My name is Allen; people might call me Bill or Robert, but it does not change me or the person I am. People can call the day we know in English as Saturday anything they want, but it does not make it a different day. The fact is that the day English-speaking people call Saturday is called Sabbath by the people of over one hundred languages. A name does not make a day holy or unholy. To say that we can give a day of the week an unholy name and thus change its moral nature is to claim to have more power and authority than God, and that is blasphemy. This is saying that God can make, bless, and sanctify a day, but someone can take the blessing off that day simply by giving it a pagan name. It is like using that pagan name as a magical word to change it, but the Bible says “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

You can see how being jealous for God’s law, if misapplied, can be a curse. In Early Writings we read:

Satan . . . told his angels that some would be so jealous of God’s law that they could not be caught in this snare [the snare that there is no law anymore]; the ten commandments were so plain that many would believe that they were still binding, and therefore he must seek to corrupt only one of the commandments. He then led on his representatives to attempt to change the fourth, or Sabbath, commandment, thus altering the only one of the ten which brings to view the true God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth. (Early Writings, pp. 215, 216)

Does it say here that Satan tried to bring a change in the Sabbath during the Babylon captivity? No. Satan did not, and the rest of the statement proves this to be true.

Satan presented before them the glorious resurrection of Jesus, and told them that by His rising on the first day of the week, He changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. (Ibid., p. 216)

So this change came through Satan’s representatives, and The Great Controversy tells us that the pope is specifically “the representative of Satan” (p. 50).

Some people think the current pope is kind, good, and congenial; but inspiration calls him “the representative of Satan.” You can believe what you hear or even what you see, or you can believe inspiration but if you depend upon your eyes, your senses, or secular sources, you will be deceived.

Secular historical sources try to inform us the apostles began to keep Sunday as the day of worship, but do not believe them, for it is in marked contrast with inspiration and with sacred history.

Even the papacy admits to attempting to change the Sabbath, and they speak nothing of changing the Sabbath from a lunar Sabbath to any Lord’s day or other day.

We need to understand the importance of the Sabbath and that it is a pillar of our faith. We are treading upon sacred ground when we believe that God gave Ellen White messages and that she told us the truth. If you discount Ellen White as a prophet, you may discount much of what is being written here. That is up to you. The statements you read will mean nothing to you. If you believe that Ellen White was a prophetess of the Lord, then I beg you to carefully consider the material we shall now examine.

The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 30)

The sanctuary is the one doctrine that makes us unique as a people. There are other people who believe in the Sabbath and in the second coming of Jesus, but the sanctuary gives us a basis for the judgment, for the law, and for the Sabbath at the heart of that law. In this statement Ellen White claims to have seen the sanctuary in heaven. She also noted:

The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God’s law. (Ibid.)

Earlier we read about Ellen White seeing the Ten Commandments in heaven. She said that “the four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all . . . The holy Sabbath looked glorious—a halo of glory was all around it” (Early Writings, pp. 32, 33). The Sabbath is very important within the law of God. Ellen White counts it as one of the foundation landmarks of Adventism, one of the pillars of our faith. There are other pillars that she speaks about elsewhere. For example:

The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God’s people in these perilous times. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 300)

Anchors hold boats in place and prevent them from drifting. I remember one time I was boating with my stepfather, and he told me to cast over the anchor. I promptly cast the anchor overboard and began to watch the rope to which it was attached go over the edge of the boat with great speed. To my astonishment the rope soon was speeding toward the bottom of the lake with the anchor. For some reason the rope was not attached to the boat! Now the boat could not be held in place, but would drift. Anchors are important, and we need spiritual anchors to keep us from being blown about by winds of doctrine. The true seventh-day Sabbath is one such anchor. The testimony of Jesus is another anchor and if we will listen to it, then we will be held firmly by it when the winds of doctrine blow.

It is true that everything needed for man’s perfection is found in the Bible but as I said, I am one of the weakest of the weak, and I need all the help I can get. While the Bible is all that is needed for the perfection of the saints, it is not all that God will use, according to Ephesians 4, for he tells us that he has gifts to help us with the Bible and that the gift of prophecy is one of those gifts. Dear friend, if God is pleased to give his people spiritual gifts to help with the Bible, then I am all for them, and you should be also.

As I get older and as my astigmatism gets worse, I find that it is harder to read in dim light. I need more light to see well. In fact, the more light I have the easier it is to read. We all are living in a time when this earth is spiritually dark. We need all the light that we can get, and we should thank God for extra light and help.

God has given us help, and may I say clearly that God has not made a mistake? He did not lead a people into error. He did not teach them how to keep the Sabbath from sundown to sundown, but tell them to keep it on the wrong day or fail to teach them which day to keep. He has not told his people to abstain from eating pork, but has failed to tell them about his seal. He has not told us who he is, but has failed to tell us how to worship him. No, friends, he has given to his people a complete package called the three angels’ messages, a solid immoveable platform of truth. Today there are winds of doctrine—the lunar Sabbath, the necessity of keeping the feasts, God does not destroy, and others—but none of these winds of doctrine is a part of the original platform of truth.

Proverbs 4:18 states: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” I want more truth, and I am sure you do, too, but new truth will never contradict, or go against, established truth, and the seventh-day Sabbath is a firm, established truth.

The main fundamental points of our faith were established early in the history of our people, and anything that runs counter to those points cannot be truth. We do not need to be deceived. If you examine those fundamental beliefs published in 1872, you will find number XVI states:

That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4; that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that, in specifying the various channels of its operation, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time, to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin, and to work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position. (A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught And Practiced By The Seventh-Day Adventists, Steam Press, Battle Creek, MI)

The principle states that if you deny to the Spirit its place and operation, that if you reject the gift of prophecy, for example, then you plainly deny that part of the Bible which speaks of prophecy.

Sometimes we read texts of Scripture that we find difficult to either understand or to harmonize with other texts. For example, exactly what did Paul mean when he wrote: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23)? Was Paul teaching that the righteous go straight to heaven when they die? No wonder Peter stated that Paul wrote “some things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16). Furthermore, how do we understand Isaiah 66:24 (“their worm shall not die”), when compared to Malachi 4:1 (“it shall leave them neither root nor branch”)? Of course, there are statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that are hard to understand but on the other hand, there are statements that are very clear, that are not ambiguous or controversial, and that are easy to understand for 99% of readers. The statements that we wish to look at, as we continue this study, will be in this latter group.

There are the main pillars of our faith, subjects which are of vital interest, the Sabbath, the keeping of the commandments of God. (Counsel to Writers and Editors, p. 77)

I have done building work, and I understand that pillars are very important in construction, for they hold up the structure. When I built my house, part of the foundation was placed over an area that was not stable. As a result the house began to sink in one corner. A lot of work had to be done to correct it. When you do not have a pillar in place, the whole structure will suffer. Something may give way which could lead to the downfall of the whole structure.

When Adventists began to keep the Sabbath, some felt it should be observed from 6:00 pm Friday night until 6:00 pm Saturday night. Others felt that it should be kept from sunset Friday evening until sunset Saturday night. In 1855 Elder James White asked J. N. Andrews to prepare a study on when to keep the Sabbath. On November 17, Andrews presented his study to those assembled for a conference in Battle Creek. He demonstrated from the Bible that from sundown to sundown was the proper time. On November 20, 1855, Ellen White had a vision showing God’s approval of this understanding. (See Testimonies for the Church, volume 1, pages 116 and 713 and The Early Years, pages 322–325.) Are we, then, to believe that God was pleased to correct his people on the time of the day to keep the Sabbath, but not on the proper day? I do not think so, beloved. In other words, did God tell our pioneers the right time of the day for the Sabbath hours, but not the right day itself for the Sabbath? It would be like giving the instructions on how to hang curtains before giving the instructions on how to install the windows. It takes a very large imagination to think otherwise.

Beloved, without any doubt, we were given a correct foundation. If a mason lays a proper foundation, a carpenter can build upon it, adding to the foundation, but after you build, if someone comes in and tears away at the foundation, then you have problems!

The writings of Ellen G. White are an inspired view of the history of our movement, and this history declares that God gave his people the truth, of which the Sabbath is a part, which would take them into the kingdom of God.

The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 201)

The Sabbath is clearly part of the principles of truth that made up that foundation. It was not founded upon error.

This foundation was built by the Master Worker, and will stand storm and tempest. (Ibid., p. 204)

Notice that this foundation was built by the Master Worker, capital M and capital W, signifying that this worker is divine. Ellen White is saying that we did not come up with these ideas on our own; they are from heaven.

We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth? (Ibid., p. 205)

We have a truth, not an error, that admits of no compromise, and we should repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth. Repudiate is a strong word, meaning to renounce or disavow something. Continuing, Ellen White notes:

The principles for which we fought in the early days . . . were brought out in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ibid., p. 206)

We can only looked at some selected statements here, but I encourage you to look at all of chapter 25 in book 1 of Selected Messages.

Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority. (Ibid., p. 208)

The waymarks of our movement are to be preserved and not changed because these principles are based upon unquestionable authority. The Bible says: “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar . . .” (Romans 3:4). You claim to be an authority on something that can be questioned, but God alone has unquestionable authority, for only in him is absolute truth and absolute power to administer that truth. That authority should never be questioned by feeble, mortal man.

The truths given us after the passing of the time in 1844 are just as certain and unchangeable as when the Lord gave them to us in answer to our urgent prayers. The visions that the Lord has given me are so remarkable that we know that what we have accepted is the truth. This was demonstrated by the Holy Spirit. Light, precious light from God, established the main points of our faith as we hold them today. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 53; Letter 50, 1906)

From 1906 going back to the time after 1844 Ellen White claimed that there was a continuos line of truth and those points of faith were certain, unchangeable, and demonstrated by the Holy Spirit.

What was the name the movement took as an official name in 1863? Seventh-day Adventist! The Sabbath was one of those fundamental points that she calls truth, and to try to twist or alter that point of faith is to deny the above testimony.

The fact is you can exhaustively search Ellen White’s writings and those of the Adventist pioneers, and you will not find any reference to a lunar Sabbath or to anything that hints at such a teaching. It was clearly not a fundamental point of our faith nor a Sabbath that they knew anything about. Ellen White, in repeated testimonies, stated that the movement in her day had precious truth from heaven and not error.

We can confidently say, The truth that has come to us through the Holy Spirit’s working is not a lie. The evidences given for the last half century bear the evidence of the Spirit’s power. (The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, p. 257; 1905)

From that same time period, the prophetess could write:

Ever we are to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present time. (The Upward Look, p. 352; December 4, 1905)

As we saw earlier from Proverbs 4:18, more light will come, perhaps revelations about God, his character, and the plan of salvation:

As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise. (The Great Controversy, p. 678)

Please mark this vital point again—new light will never contradict old, established truth. Now notice what the Pen of Inspiration wrote, not in 1905 or in 1906, but in 1881:

It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie. While the great adversary will try his utmost to make of none effect the word of God, truth must go forth as a lamp that burneth. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 595; 1881)

How could a stronger, more emphatic assurance be written than to say it is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives? Are you certain that God lives? If so, then it is as sure that we have the truth, including the truth about the Sabbath. There should be no room for debate on this issue.

It is true that Ellen White did not say they had all the truth, but what they had was truth, and no new light will contradict that old truth.

As pointed as this last quotation is, the following statement may even be more pointed. It was written by Ellen White to a sister who believed that the International Date Line caused a problem in knowing when the true Sabbath occurred. This was known as the day line theory. To this confusion Sister Ellen White wrote:

We have the positive word of God in regard to the Sabbath [Ex. 31:12–18 quoted].

Is it possible that so much importance can be clustered about those who observe the Sabbath, and yet no one can tell when the Sabbath comes? (Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 318; 1900)

To state this in positive terms, Ellen White is saying yes, we can tell when the Sabbath comes. She continues:

Then where is the people who bear the badge or sign of God? What is the sign? The seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord blessed and sanctified, and pronounced holy, with great penalties for its violation. (Ibid.)

Ellen White is discussing the seventh-day Sabbath that the church was observing in 1900. While she is not addressing the lunar Sabbath here, the principle she states may be applied to any false Sabbath that might be advocated. She believed in 1900 that the church was keeping the correct Sabbath. Anything else, then, is false.

Sometimes people will try to twist Ellen White’s writings to make them say things that she did not mean. If we really want to know what she believed, we need to study her published writings.

Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works. Are there any points of interest concerning which she has not written, do not eagerly catch up and report rumors as to what she has said. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 696)

People may tell you that Sister White taught that we should keep the feasts or that women should wear a head covering, but the only way to truly know what she believed and taught is to examine what she wrote, and that is what we are doing in this study. She also noted to the sister she wrote to about the day line theory:

The seventh-day Sabbath is in no uncertainty. It is God’s memorial of His work of creation. It is set up as a heaven-given memorial, to be observed as a sign of obedience. God wrote the whole law with His finger on two tables of stone. . . .

Now, my sister, . . . I write . . . to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. (Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 318)

If Sister White was alive today and questioned about the lunar Sabbath, she would say, I write . . . to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the lunar Sabbath. She also wrote concerning the day line idea:

It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy. But we know where we stand.

The fallacy of the day line is a trap of Satan to discourage. I know what I am speaking about. …

… I can write no more now, but I say, Give no ear to heresy. (Ibid., pp. 318, 319)

In principle the same could be said about the lunar Sabbath. Anything other than the truth that Ellen White and the pioneers believed is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. If the lunar Sabbath were true, then our history of Sabbath-keeping would be a fallacy but like Ellen White, we know where we stand! In 1900 Ellen White said that our Sabbath-keeping had not been a fallacy. To accept the lunar Sabbath would be to admit that we have been no more correct than the papacy, that our early experience was a fallacy, and that Ellen White was a false prophet! But friends, we have not followed cunningly-devised fables. Truth is truth and does not change, for the God of truth does not change.

When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 161; 1905)

No after suppositions are to be accepted, if they run contrary to the light God has been pleased to give. Ellen White declared that we had landmarks and pillars, and we dare not remove them. Anciently the people of God were told: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). Why was this done? It was to be symbolic of their holding on to the landmarks of truth.

As a people we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith [like the Sabbath]. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time had not lessened their value. (Ibid., p. 201; 1904)

The time from 1844 to 1904 did not lessen the value or the truthfulness of truth and neither does the last one hundred ten years make a change. We have been told, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21),but how many times do we need to keep proving something after we have once proved it false? What is the chaff to the wheat?

We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. (Ibid., p. 161)

So, friends, when people come to me and want to share something that I have heard many times over, I am very slow to listen. If it has been proven false one hundred times before, it will still be false now. I have been a mathematics teacher, and I can prove the Pythagorean theorem in several different ways, but I only have to prove it once to know it is true.

One important issue some have considered is the possibility that the lunar Sabbath might be the fulfillment of Ellen White’s prophecy of preaching the Sabbath more fully. Could this apply in any way to the lunar Sabbath? Before we see what Ellen White has said, let us consider what the idea of anything more fully means. The word more implies something in addition to what is already in existence. I cannot give you more water, if you have not had water before. I cannot teach you algebra more fully, if I have not already taught you some algebra. For Ellen White to say that we would preach the Sabbath more fully, we had to have bee preaching the Sabbath before the time we preached it more fully. Some might say, we were preaching the concept, or idea, of the Sabbath before, but a more accurate version now. But, beloved, would we say that teaching Sunday is a form of Sabbath-keeping? Of course not! Then if the lunar Sabbath were true, we were no more teaching or proclaiming the Sabbath any more than the papal church and the apostate Protestants were.

Now let us see what Ellen White has said about this matter.

And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth, and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. (Broadside 3; April 7, 1847)

We are not in the time of trouble yet. The reference seems to imply, but does not limit, proclaiming the Sabbath more fully to just the time of trouble. We need not try to interpret this statement, however, for Ellen White already has given an understanding.This statement was reprinted twice while Ellen White was alive, with an explanation for what she meant. Notice the following explanation:

This view was given in 1847, when there were but very few of the Advent brethren observing the Sabbath, and of these, but few supposed that its observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers. Now, the fulfillment of that view is beginning to be seen. (Experiences and Views, p. 54; 1854)

In 1854 Ellen White said that because there were many more brethren the Sabbath could be proclaimed more fully, and that was NOT a lunar Sabbath.

Speaking out so plainly against the lunar Sabbath has caused some controversy for us at Smyrna, and we do not enjoy controversy nor wish for it any more than anyone else, but I want to share why this is so important that it is worth causing controversy. There is a fearful warning from heaven, not a warning from me or from the 911 center but from heaven, against anyone who moves even a pin of our foundation. According to the Bible and according to the testimonies, the day commonly called Saturday in English is the seventh-day Sabbath.The weekly cycle has never been broken, and the Sabbath has been kept in a perfect line of succession from creation until today by God’s true people. Now as we examine the following statement, I want you to carefully notice the expressions that declare this message was inspired.

I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps,—the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. (Early Writings, pp. 258, 259; 1858)

In 1858 Ellen White declared that there was an established faith and that the believers of this established faith had the approbation, or approval, of God.

Notice that the words of the angel were placed within quotations marks. That means that this is a direct quotation. The words that follow are not Ellen White’s, but heaven’s. Heaven pronounces a woe to those who alter the foundation in the least manner. God has placed his people upon a solid, immovable platform of truth that is not to be moved.

Remember what Paul said in Galatians about preaching a false gospel? “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). The Greek word for accursed is anathema, meaning to have the curse of God upon one. This word can also mean an offering, or something devoted, to evil. The statement from Early Writings is just as strong, and it is reasonable to be just as strong, for both deal with protecting the same gospel, and both are pronouncing, from inspiration, the same woe against any who would tamper with the gospel truth. When one tries to change the fundamental principles of this message, it is woe, woe, woe unto that person. An angel from heaven says that when we try to change even one pin of the message, we are under the condemnation of heaven. This is terribly serious, beloved. This is no minor matter, and we must decide if we stand within the ranks of heaven or not. There is no room for middle ground.

To teach something in the place of this platform of truth is to enter into a new organization, and that is apostasy from the truth.

The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth. (Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 390; MS 129; 1905)

The pillars of our faith are to be strengthened, not weakened. To leave the foundation God has built would mean apostasy from the truth, for that foundation is truth. If this was applicable in 1905, it is no less applicable today.

The next warning we will read is a letter of Ellen White to the workers at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. This statement is from a section dated May 26, 1906:

The Creator has with His own authority given you His Sabbath to observe; and yet human agencies will attempt to set aside the seventh-day Sabbath, which commemorates God’s holy work of creating the world in six working days, and resting on the seventh day. How can men dare assume the authority of Jehovah, and represent themselves as God, to change times and laws?

I call the attention of thinking men to these things. Dare you continue to take a human enactment that bears not the stamp of divine approval, and place it before the people as something to respect and honor? Will you substitute a counterfeit in place of the true and genuine? Will you thus meet God over His broken law, and stand with threats of persecution and severe punishment against the people whom you regard as criminals because they choose to obey the law of Jehovah in place of a spurious sabbath that man has created? (Manuscript Releases, vol. 21,pp. 88, 89)

Let us not assume the work that prophecy proclaimed the papacy would attempt. Let us not dare to set ourselves up as God to change the law of God.

In this reference Ellen White is speaking of Sunday, but the principle holds with any false Sabbath, including the lunar Sabbath. When Ellen White asked, “Will you substitute a counterfeit in place of the true and genuine?” she was speaking of Sunday as being the counterfeit, but she also was boldly speaking about the Sabbath that she and the church in her time kept as the true and genuine Sabbath.

Let us now consider that there are four views of the Sabbath. There is the papal/apostate Protestant Sunday, the Muslim Friday, the lunar rotating-day Sabbath, and the seventh-day Sabbath. There is no room for compromise in this issue, and we have been told how we should view compromise:

We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth? (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, p. 55)

We are to repudiate any compromise that endangers the truth that God has given us as a people. If the lunar Sabbath is true, then our pioneers, including Ellen White, compromised and denied truth. But this is not so!

I saw that Jesus had shut the door in the Holy Place, and no man can open it; and that he had opened the door in the Most Holy, and no man can shut it (See Revelation 3:7, 8.): and that since Jesus has opened the door in the Most Holy Place, which contains the Ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question. (The Review and Herald, August 1, 1849; also Early Writings, p. 42)

Since 1849, at least, the people of God have been tested on the Sabbath question. If the lunar Sabbath teaching is true, then the people of God have flunked the test. The quotation above does not say that error was covering the people like the pall of death. No. Light is shining out to God’s people, light on the law of God, especially on the Sabbath!

Dear brother or sister, if you have been involved with the lunar Sabbath or if you have been studying it and have been tempted to accept it, please flee from this great error. Please do not attempt to move a pin from the foundation that God has laid. You are not accountable to me or to a church; you are accountable to God, and you may be sure that he is keeping a record and will demand an accounting of the deeds done in the flesh. Repent today, while the door of mercy is open. The loving arms of Jesus await to encircle you with love and forgiveness. Perhaps you do not see every argument today or perhaps there are a few texts that may seem cloudy to you, but remember that:

He [God] requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 258)

None of us have perfect knowledge, but we have a large, strong, and powerful weight of evidence on the issue of the Sabbath that need not be denied and must not be cast away.

God has given to his people anchors and if we will keep hold of these anchors, we will not drift out into the sea of infidelity. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20). If we reject the leading and guiding of God, heaven says there is a woe against us, but if we will heed the guidance of heaven, we shall prosper. Let us act today. To put off the truth today is to finally reject the truth.

Those who will not act when the Lord calls upon them, but who wait for more certain evidence and more favorable opportunities, will walk in darkness, for the light will be withdrawn. The evidence given one day, if rejected, may never be repeated. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 258)

You may never hear the evidence on the Sabbath so clearly again. Please follow the truth while you have the truth. “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth” (John 12:35).

 The New Testament has not changed the law of God. The sacredness of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is as firmly established as the throne of Jehovah. (Sanctified Life, p. 68)

Allen Stump


The File Cabinet of History

Letter of M. L. Andreasen to J. L. McElhany, December 25, 1942. Pages 3–6. The final four pages (7–10), will be published next month.
 

 

White to Carr 1 2 Andreasen to McElhany 5-6


True Recreation


The Alarming Condition of the World

(In the Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath of June 24, 1875, Elder J. N. Andrews’s report on the progress of his work in Europe was published. He wrote of the publishing work, of the work of temperance, and of the beauties of Geneva; and he also wrote of the “most alarming” condition of the religious world. That portion of his article is reproduced below. Editors)

The condition of the religious world is most alarming. Faith without works is the substance of what is called evangelical doctrine. The goodness of God, the love of Christ, the freeness of grace, and the like are the themes of the hymns and sermons. Now this would be most excellent were it not that it is simply one-half the gospel message. The living child is divided in twain. Faith that does not produce good works is a dead faith. The goodness of God in pardoning men on condition that they repent is not inconsistent with his severity toward those found at last in their sins. The love of Christ is not inconsistent with the wrath of the Lamb toward those who continue in rebellion. And the grace of God benefits no man who does not regard what it teaches, which is self denial, obedience, zeal in good works, and godliness. Titus 2:11–14.

I have not one word to say in behalf of those who would purchase Heaven by the merit of their own good works. There are multitudes of such people in the world, but at present I do not see many of them. It is the opposite error which here leads captive the multitude. “Our salvation,” they say, “is all of grace. Christ finished the work for us when he died upon the cross. Our works have nothing to do with our salvation.” And so when the duty of obedience to God is brought home upon them, they say, “We do not trust in our good works, we expect to be saved by Christ.” And when their hearts are laid open before them so that they can see the various corruptions therein, as covetousness, pride, envy, malice, dishonesty, and other wicked principles, they have no idea that in order to be Christians they must have the grace of God remove all these from their nature. It is the righteousness of Christ that is to save them by covering up all this heart-wickedness, as snow covers up a dunghill. They thank God that they do not trust in their own righteousness, but in the finished salvation of Christ. And so their preparation for Heaven consists in faith which does not produce good works, but makes them unnecessary, and in grace which does not take away the corruptions of the heart, but covers them up so remarkably that though they are still quite manifest to the eye of their fellowmen, God can no longer see them. The sermons, the religious publications, and the hymns are full of this doctrine. Some men holding this doctrine have been good men, not because of the doctrine, but in spite of it. But the multitude who hold it will show in their lives the natural result of the doctrine. Their religious experience will exactly conform to this evil mold in which it is cast.

When this peculiar form of error has taken possession of the mind, it is almost impossible to dislodge it. It is a kind of religion that makes the way to Heaven very easy. Christ practiced self-denial not to exemplify our duty, but to excuse us from the like! Christ rendered obedience that we might be saved in neglect of what God has commanded! O most pernicious error! As though the name of Christian did not in itself imply that we were through grace imitators of the life of Christ; and as though salvation by grace did not imply the renovation of the heart by the entrance of that grace; and a life of obedience as the result of grace reigning within the heart.

Who shall effectually stand up for God against such fatal errors! How can men be taught that grace upon the lips is no substitute for grace in the heart? How can they be shown that the very design of God’s grace is to create within us the very character of Christ, and that we can never enter Heaven till we possess a nature that has no taint of indwelling sin? and that the white raiment which covers the saints does not hide beneath it a mass of festering corruption, but is emblematical of the purity that reigns within?

In the day of Judgment our cases will be decided according to our works. All the Scriptures which speak of that great day set forth this fact. Obedience to God through the grace given us by Christ is the test in the Judgment. And now that the Judgment is at hand and men are thus deceived by dangerous error, how shall they be awakened from this sleep of death? They think themselves trees of divine grace when they are in truth only barren fig trees cumbering the Master’s garden. They make the fatal mistake of thinking that Christ is the author of eternal salvation, not to those only who obey him, but to all who say, “Lord, Lord,” whatever may be their lives. If any thing can awaken men from this deadly sleep it is the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

J. N. Andrews

La Coudre, Neuchatel
June 2, 1875


The Sabbath of Sabbaths

by David Sims

What is the Sabbath of Sabbaths? We want to find out and as we do, we are going to see the relationship and the similarities between some of the Sabbaths that are mentioned in Leviticus 23 and the seventh-day Sabbath. Leviticus 16 is focused on the Day of Atonement, and notice what verse 33 says:

And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. (Leviticus 16:33)

Let us also look at verse 31 to see what God calls this day:

It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.

Shabot sabaton in Hebrew, or Sabbath of Sabbaths. It was a special yearly Sabbath, a ceremonial Sabbath. It was called many different things. It was a Sabbath based upon a particular date each year, rather than a day of the week. It was celebrated as a Sabbath. Leviticus 23 describes the different feasts and their dates. Verses 27 through 32 deal with the Day of Atonement:

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. (Leviticus 23:27–32)

Three times the people are commanded to do no work on this day. In verse 28 it says, “and ye shall do no work”; in verse 30, “whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy”; in verse 31, “ye shall do no manner of work”; and then a command to rest is given in verse 32, “it shall be a sabbath of rest,” ceasing from your work. So four times God has reiterated this concept of no work. It doesn’t say no servile work, as was brought out in some other feasts. It wasn’t like the other feast days. There was to be no work, period. The instruction for the observance of this day was just like a regular weekly Sabbath, except it was also a day that the people fasted. The affliction of soul spoken of in verses 29 and 32 was understood to include fasting (see Isaiah 58:3; Psalm 35:13), so no work was to be done to even place food out that had been prepared ahead of time.

As we examine the purpose of the Day of Atonement, we are going to see many similarities between the purpose of the Day of Atonement and of the Sabbath.

When asked about the reason, or purpose, of the Sabbath, various answers will be given. Some will say that the purposes of the Sabbath include fellowship, rest from labor, sanctification, a directing our thoughts to God, a special time with the Creator, the study of nature, and a rest from error into the truth. These are all good, but let’s think a little deeper.

Genesis 2 provides the introduction for the creation of the Sabbath. There we find God resting from his labor. The rest that God takes is not a rest from physical exhaustion because he is tired or rundown. What is the kind of rest that God had in the Garden? Could we say it was a rest of appreciation? When you finish a job, you stop, stand back, and look at it. It is good. Everything that God made was good, and he sanctified the seventh day and set it apart as a memorial. There was more than that, though, in God’s rest. What had God just created? Man. It was a day that God rested from his everyday activities to spend with mankind.

In some respects we might conclude that every day was like a Sabbath in the Garden of Eden. Did not God come and communicate with Adam every day? Did Adam and Eve really need a Sabbath in their perfect state? They did need it, or God would not have given it to them. There is another reason, though, why I believe God gave it to them, and this reason parallels why God gave us an immune system. Did mankind need it in the Garden of Eden? No, but God foresaw the need, and God foresaw the special need of the Sabbath to recreate mankind. He saw that his image would be lost in mankind. He saw that sin would deface his image and there would be the need for an agency of restoring, of sanctifying, mankind.

If we turn to Exodus 31:13, we read:

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

The Sabbath was a day that God would use to sanctify us. What is there about Sabbath observance that has anything to do with our sanctification? God could have chosen any kind of observance. He could have chosen thou shalt not steal, or honor thy father and mother, or to not take the name of the Lord in vain, etc. He could have chosen the other commandments or something else as a sign of sanctification and when a certain point is reached, you are sanctified, but that is not what God meant. This is not his intention. The Sabbath was a sign because it is an agency of sanctification, and the reason for this is because by beholding we are changed (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is by communion with God that he is able to transform us.

Speaking to the people who looked for him after the feeding of the five thousand, wanting a sign, Jesus brought home the illustration of him being the bread of life:

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (John 6:54, 56)

Jesus says that eating his flesh and drinking his blood is partaking of him or is having him dwell in us. In this way we dwell in him. Then he continues:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)

It is through his word that communication gives us life. It is that communication that enables us to partake of the divine nature, as we read in the Apostle Peter’s second epistle:

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 1:3, 4)

So, it is through the promises, through his word, that we partake of the divine nature, and how do we do that without taking time to read it, taking time to hear his word speaking to our hearts, and taking time to commune back with him? This is why a time period was chosen as the sign, the means, and the agency of sanctification, a time period to spend with God, and this is why God created the Sabbath—for us to spend that time in communion with him. Nature affords us the opportunity to commune with God. Nature is not the end, but the means to an end. It is through nature that we can behold God and see God. Nature is an avenue by which we can know and hear the voice of our Creator.

What does atonement mean? The word breaks down to at-one-ment. We might think of atonement as closeness with God, but reconciliation is the term I like because the Bible uses that term. It says “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This is what atonement is all about—reconciling us to God, open and free communication once again being restored with mankind. The Scripture tells us in Isaiah 59:1 that our sins did separate us from God, but the atonement is the description of our redemption. It’s a description of restoring mankind back into the image of God and bringing us back into that fellowship with God. So, the Sabbath is an agency for communion with God, a sign of that restored fellowship in communion with God, and the fruit (sanctification) of it. That is what atonement is all about. So, when we talk about the Day of Atonement, we are talking about the work and the process of restoring us, of reconciling us, to God. The Sabbath and atonement are one and the same thing. This is why the Day of Atonement was to be a Sabbath and why it was to be celebrated as a Sabbath. This ought to bring special significance to us because we are living in the antitypical Day of Atonement.

The Sabbath is a mini-heaven; it is a practice for heaven. It is a time that we are to devote ourselves solely to God and to heavenly purposes. By observing the Sabbath, we get used to and we get practice in living in the presence of God. What is going to be happening shortly in this Day of Atonement when Jesus steps out from between the Father and mankind? Probation closes, and then we will be in whose presence? We will be in God’s presence directly, without a mediator between us. So, this antitypical Day of Atonement is like a long Sabbath. It is a time that we now have to prepare to practice living in the presence of God, for very shortly we are going to be doing just that—living in the sight of a holy God without a mediator.

Ellen White described her experience before she really understood the atonement. She said:

My feelings were very sensitive. I dreaded giving pain to any living creature. When I saw animals ill-treated, my heart ached for them. Perhaps my sympathies were more easily excited by suffering because I myself had been the victim of thoughtless cruelty, resulting in the injury that had darkened my childhood. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 25)

When I was about four years old, I walked around the corner of the hallway in our house. My big brother had put a little loop of string on the floor, and I stepped in it as I came around the corner. He jerked it and caused me to fall. I hit my head on the corner of the wall and split it open. I had to go the doctor for stitches. It did something in my neck which they did not realize at the time and years later when I went to a chiropractor, he felt a big lump of scar tissue in my neck. It has caused a multitude of headaches, posture problems, and different things that I have had and will have for a lifetime—all because of a thoughtless cruelty. Pulling that cord may have seemed like a little thing at the time. My brother wasn’t meaning to be cruel; he dearly loves me now, and I am sure he did then, as well.

Ellen White suffered from thoughtless cruelty—someone threw a stone which caused her a lifelong battle with many things. She described it:

Total darkness settled upon me, and there seemed no way out of the shadows. Could the truth have been presented to me as I now understand it, much perplexity and sorrow would have been spared me. If the love of God had been dwelt upon more, and His stern justice less, the beauty and glory of His character would have inspired me with a deep and earnest love for my Creator. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 25)

My sufferings of mind were intense. Sometimes for a whole night I would not dare to close my eyes, but would wait until my twin sister was fast asleep, then quietly leave my bed and kneel upon the floor, praying silently with a dumb agony that cannot be described. The horrors of an eternally burning hell were ever before me. I knew that it was impossible for me to live long in this state, and I dared not die and meet the terrible fate of the sinner. With what envy did I regard those who realized their acceptance with God! How precious did the Christian’s hope seem to my agonized soul!

I frequently remained bowed in prayer nearly all night, groaning and trembling with inexpressible anguish and a hopelessness that passes all description. Lord, have mercy! was my plea, and, like the poor publican, I dared not lift my eyes to heaven, but bowed my face upon the floor. I became very much reduced in flesh and strength, yet kept my suffering and despair to myself. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 26)

She dreamed of being in heaven, and this dream closed with her being given a little green cord. She was told to take this out often and to stretch it and make sure it didn’t get tangled. The green cord was symbolic of faith and how she needed to exercise faith. Sometime after this dream, she confided her sorrows, perplexities, and agony of mind with her mother. Her mother counseled her to talk with Elder Stockman, and she did. Elder Stockman said:

“Yours is a most singular experience for one of your tender age. Jesus must be preparing you for some special work.”

He then told me that even if I were a person of mature years and thus harassed by doubt and despair, he should tell me that he knew there was hope for me through the love of Jesus. The very agony of mind I had suffered was positive evidence that the Spirit of the Lord was striving with me. He said that when the sinner becomes hardened in guilt, he does not realize the enormity of his transgression, but flatters himself that he is about right and in no particular danger. The Spirit of the Lord leaves him, and he becomes careless and indifferent or recklessly defiant. This good man told me of the love of God for His erring children, that instead of rejoicing in their destruction, He longed to draw them to Himself in simple faith and trust. He dwelt upon the great love of Christ and the plan of redemption.

He spoke of my early misfortune and said it was indeed a grievous affliction, but he bade me believe that the hand of a loving Father had not been withdrawn from me; that in the future life, when the mist that then darkened my mind had vanished, I would discern the wisdom of the providence which had seemed so cruel and mysterious. Jesus said to His disciples: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” In the great future we should no longer see as through a glass darkly, but come face to face with the mysteries of divine love. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 29, 30)

Perhaps you have had experiences like Ellen White did when she was injured. Perhaps you have been tempted to be discouraged, despondent, doubting, or even bitter. I’ve had experiences like that in which I have been tempted to be all of the above, tempted to become bitter and think why does this have to happen or why is this happening, or to murmur and complain about my lot in life, without even questioning consciously.

I recently saw a video that was by Nick Vujicic in which he was speaking to young people. What makes Nick unique is that he has no arms or legs, but he still functions normally and has a tremendous outlook on life. In this video he tells of being married and of being the father of a little baby. When we see someone like that, it really makes us appreciate what we have and as Elder Stockman explained to Ellen White, the things which we don’t understand now, in the future we will discern the wisdom of the providence of God.

“Go free, Ellen,” said he; “return to your home trusting in Jesus, for He will not withhold His love from any true seeker.” He then prayed earnestly for me, and it seemed that God would certainly regard the prayer of His saint, even if my humble petitions were unheard. I left his presence comforted and encouraged.

During the few minutes in which I received instruction from Elder Stockman, I had obtained more knowledge on the subject of God’s love and pitying tenderness than from all the sermons and exhortations to which I had ever listened. I returned home and again went before the Lord, promising to do and suffer anything He might require of me, if only the smiles of Jesus might cheer my heart. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 30)

She described her experience shortly after this:

The Spirit of God rested upon me with such power that I was unable to go home that night. When I did return, on the following day, a great change had taken place in my mind. It seemed to me that I could hardly be the same person that left my father’s house the previous evening. This passage was continually in my thoughts: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” My heart was full of happiness as I softly repeated these words.

My views of the Father were changed. I now looked upon Him as a kind and tender parent, rather than a stern tyrant compelling men to a blind obedience. My heart went out toward Him in a deep and fervent love. Obedience to His will seemed a joy; it was a pleasure to be in His service. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 31)

My peace and happiness was in such marked contrast with my former gloom and anguish that it seemed to me as if I had been rescued from hell and transported to heaven. I could even praise God for the misfortune that had been the trial of my life, for it had been the means of fixing my thoughts upon eternity. Naturally proud and ambitious, I might not have been inclined to give my heart to Jesus had it not been for the sore affliction that had cut me off, in a manner, from the triumphs and vanities of the world.

For six months not a shadow clouded my mind, nor did I neglect one known duty. My whole endeavor was to do the will of God and keep Jesus and heaven continually in mind. I was surprised and enraptured with the clear views now presented to me of the atonement and the work of Christ. I will not attempt to further explain the exercises of my mind; suffice it to say that old things had passed away, all things had become new. There was not a cloud to mar my perfect bliss. I longed to tell the story of Jesus’ love, but felt no disposition to engage in common conversation with anyone. My heart was so filled with love to God and the peace that passeth understanding that I loved to meditate and to pray. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 31, 32)

Such a transformation can happen when we realize what the atonement means, when we contemplate what Christ did and is doing for us, and when we consider where we would be without him. Consider the value of the atonement:

Some have sneered at this work of reform and have said it was all unnecessary, that it was an excitement to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were being carried to extremes. Such do not know what they are talking about. While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental, and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth and comprehend the requirements of God? If their moral and intellectual faculties are beclouded, they cannot appreciate the value of the atonement or the exalted character of the work of God, nor delight in the study of His word. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 487)

We can’t appreciate the value of the atonement if we are not temperate, if we are not practicing health reform. We are in the great Day of Atonement:

We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 520)

What should be our constant study?—“. . . the sacred work of Christ for the people of God” going on in the heavenly sanctuary. This should be our constant study.

We should teach our children what the typical Day of Atonement signified and that it was a special season of great humiliation and confession of sins before God. The antitypical day of atonement is to be of the same character. (Ibid.)

But the atonement for a lost world was to be full, abundant, and complete. (The Desire of Ages, p. 565)

Remember Mary’s gift to Jesus just before his crucifixion? The perfume pervaded everywhere. In the same way, the gift of Christ reaches everywhere and there is plenty to save the whole world. It was “full, abundant, and complete.”

Christ’s offering was exceedingly abundant to reach every soul that God had created. (Ibid.)

Human science is too limited to comprehend the atonement. The plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it. It will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reasoning cannot fathom. (Ibid., p. 494)

When I recently contemplated the atonement and all that it accomplished and accomplishes, I gathered texts for about twenty-seven different things the atonement does but when I considered this twenty years ago, I made a list of about one hundred different things the atonement accomplished. In this study, however, I want to share just a few of the precious blessings of the atonement.

1. It prepares a people to abide the day of his coming. (See Testimonies for the Church, volume 1, page 58.)

2. “God’s appointments and grants in our behalf are without limit. The throne of grace is itself the highest attraction because occupied by One who permits us to call Him Father. . . . By His appointment He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed with our nature. As our Intercessor, His office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 363; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted).

Several things are mentioned in this paragraph—access to the throne of grace, an intercessor, the privilege of being children of God. Volume 6 of the Testimonies tells us Christ takes up our case. When you are involved in a court case and have to go to court without a lawyer, it can be very disconcerting. You don’t know the rules of court. Even when you have all your documents together, your opponents stand against you and present accusations and when you present your case, they say no, that is not allowed or I object and then find some technicality why they can object. To have a lawyer, an advocate, is a great privilege and a blessing, especially when that advocate is the son of the judge. (See Testimonies for the Church, volume 6, page 364.)

3. Christ’s Object Lessons says: “He will look upon no trembling suppliant without raising him up. He . . . through His own atonement provided for man an infinite fund of moral power . . . ” (p. 157). He provides an infinite fund of moral power.

I want to share something that really caught my attention in Christ’s Object Lessons on page 385. This is in the context of the completeness of Christian character attained when the impulse to love and to bless others springs constantly from within:

Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit.

Now follow the next sentences in that context:

In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage . . .

What does this tell us? There is a work of atonement going on for everybody, not just for the converted person and not just for the church member. There is a fund, an infinite fund, of moral power. The grace of Christ, the Holy Spirit, is planted in the heart of the savage, someone who has not accepted Christ. This is why Job could offer burnt offerings for his children and make atonement for his children. This is why Abraham said God himself will provide a sacrifice. There was a daily burnt offering offered at the sanctuary by the priests for everybody, for the whole congregation, in the morning and evening sacrifices. There was an atonement that resulted in a life of probation, in giving us a conscience, in restoring communion between heaven and earth, and in restoring moral power and victory. All of this is granted to the world. Continuing in Christ’s Object Lessons, we read:

The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The “Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. (p. 385)

Contrary to his nature! He is a savage and is not converted, but he has been given moral power to choose against his nature.

Our Lord has said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. . . . For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” John 6:53–55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. (The Desire of Ages, p. 660)

Brothers and sisters, we would not have been borne if it was not for the atonement, and our eternal destiny is being decided by the choices we make, not by the choices our ancestors made.

The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament. (Ibid.)

Brothers and sisters, when we value and appreciate the atonement like we ought to in this antitypical Day of Atonement, we will be living every day as if it is a Sabbath, and that does not mean that we will not be doing special things on the seventh-day, on the weekly, Sabbath. We need to stop and realize that the time that we are living in this world’s history demands of us a faith and an experience that was not demanded of God’s people two hundred years ago. They could reach God through the ministration of Christ in the Holy Place. They could reach God in a place or location that we can’t reach him now. We must go further, into the Most Holy Place, where a higher standard is expected. We are living closer to that day. We are living with the combined experience and knowledge gained in the last six thousand years. We have the blessing of having a messenger of God in the writings of Ellen White. We have science that backs up and archeology and history that back up the Bible, the health message, creation, etc. There is no excuse for us today.

It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration are not benefited thereby. (The Great Controversy, p. 430)

There is a work that we need to do in order to receive the benefits of Christ’s mediation right now and that is, by faith, to follow Jesus in this great work of atonement, and a duty that was enjoined upon the congregation to afflict their souls, to bring a burnt offering, to do no work, and to observe the day as a Sabbath. Brothers and sisters, this day in 2014 demands of us these requirements, if we are going to be found ready for the day of the Lord. May the Lord bless the reading of his word and strengthen each one of us for the work that devolves upon us in this day.

(Pastor David Sims is currently sharing God’s word in Southeast Asis. Please join us in keeping him uplifted in prayer that God will richly bless all of his efforts and ministry.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editors)


Youth’s Corner — The Judsons of Burma

(Part 2 of Chapter 16, Youthful Witnesses, by W. A. Spicer)

News of the beginnings of modern missions in Old England quickly reached the New England over the sea. First to catch the meaning of the new era were a few consecrated youth, students in Williams College, Massachusetts. They heard in their hearts the modern Macedonian call from over the seas.

There were no missionary societies in America to send missionaries into the fields and to stand by such a work. But where there was no way, faith found a way. The young men in whose hearts burned a zeal to kindle the light of salvation in dark lands, met under the shelter of a haystack, and in a prayer season dedicated their lives to the work of agitating and promoting the missionary idea among the American churches. They rose from that prayer meeting — celebrated as the “Haystack Meeting” — with the motto, “We can do it if we will.” The leaven was set working. Providence was preparing the agencies that were to lead the missionary awakening in the New World, and consecrated youth was again called to pioneer the way.

Just here it is interesting to note that Providence was also preparing material agencies for hastening the gospel message to the nations beyond the sea. It was in 1806 that the Haystack Meeting was held by a few young men; and in the same year another young man, against ridicule and conservatism, was developing one of the means by which God has made “a path in the mighty waters” to every shore. Dr. Edward Lawrence, in his “Introduction to Foreign Missions,” well draws the lesson of this timely providence:

There was one other force which was needed to fully equip the church for its universal activity, and to draw the nations of the world together into a net, as the peoples of old had been drawn into the Greco-Roman Empire. That was the power of steam, which was to bind the lands together with bands of steel, turn the oceans into a Mediterranean, make the locomotive an emissary of God’s kingdom; and the steamer a morning star to herald the day. That invention was not ready to begin its task of annihilating space until the dawn of the nineteenth century. But it was ready in time, for not until then was the purified church itself roused to a fidelity grand enough to undertake the work for which God had been preparing this equipment. It was in 1807, while the young men at Williamstown [Massachusetts] were praying and studying about missions, that Robert Fulton was making the first trip of the Clermont from New York to Albany. — Page 20.

How we thank God today in the missionary movement for the hundreds of steamships furrowing the seas and uniting all lands! It is indeed an agency of God’s providence.

“He hath made the deep as dry;
He hath smote for us a pathway to the
ends of all the earth.”

On the second trip of the Clermont a youth named Adoniram Judson was a passenger. Fresh from college, a young agnostic, he was traveling over the frontiers of New England. Next year, however, he had recovered from the unbelieving spirit of his college days—a spirit that had swept in like a pestilence with the rationalistic teachings of the French Revolutionary period. Judson gave his heart to God and entered Andover Theological Seminary. There came to this school, in 1810, several of the young men from Williamstown with the idea of foreign missions. Judson joined them heart and soul.

Judson and several others addressed to the Congregational body an appeal for missions to the heathen and offered themselves as volunteers to go. This led to the formation of the first American society, in 1810. Thus, again, where there was no way, faith found a way.

In 1812 Adoniram Judson and his young wife, Ann Hasseltine Judson, with two others, sailed for India, the first missionaries to go out from America. Judson was but twenty-three, Mrs. Judson but a girl in the eyes of her friends.

Public opinion was mixed regarding the propriety of such young people going into the unknown lands to work for the salvation of the heathen. Many religiously minded thought it quite improper for a woman so young to go.

“I hear that Miss Hasseltine is going to India,” said one lady to another, shortly before the marriage of the missionary volunteers. “Why does she go?”

“Why, she thinks it is her duty. Wouldn’t you go if you thought it your duty? ”

“But,” said the first, “I would not think it my duty.”

Some thought Miss Hasseltine not serious enough for a missionary’s wife, just because she was happy and bright and joyful in planning for the life of service in needy fields. Well did her brief life of service in Burma vindicate her conviction that there was no reason why high spirits and a happy disposition should not be consecrated to Christ’s service with hopeful courage.

The loyalty of the young missionaries to the truth of God was put to a severe test on the long voyage out and on their first arrival in India. They had left Massachusetts as Congregationalists, but they landed in Calcutta with their minds agitated over the question of baptism.

Judson knew that he would meet Carey and his associates in the Serampore Baptist Mission, just outside Calcutta. So he went at the study, to be prepared to maintain his own position. But as he studied during the four months’ voyage and the few weeks after landing, he was fully convinced that the Baptists were right, and to know this was to follow the new light.

So he gave notice to his society that he had changed his views, and while cheered by the friendship of Carey and his associates, the young people lived in uncertainty as to whether the Baptists of New England would own them and rally to carry on mission work.

It came out all right. But those were days of slow communication. It was more than two years before they heard from home. In the meantime they were expelled from India and ordered to England by the anti-missionary East India Company, which had opposed Carey and compelled him to go to the Danish settlement of Serampore. It was a stirring time. Judson tried to get off to the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, as a base nearer by; and he achieved it. Any one who has been up and down the river between Calcutta and the sea in these days of steamers must wonder how little Mrs. Judson could have maneuvered as she did from ship to shore with baggage, dealing with native boatmen, in the treacherous river currents, while Judson went back and forth by land, making efforts to get the authorities to relent and not force him away to Europe. He succeeded, and she succeeded. Then came the return from Mauritius to Madras, the order of expulsion again, and the flight by ship to the next place—Rangoon, Burma, the most threatening field of all in those times.

That was pioneering, of a truth, and the pioneers were but youth, under twenty-five years, blazing the trail into the unknown, their only hope and trust the God of heaven, whose they were and to whose service they had devoted their whole souls. As they settled upon the flight to Burma, Ann Judson put down in her journal that day:

June 20. We have at last concluded, in our distress, to go to Rangoon. . . . O our heavenly Father, direct us aright! . . . I have been accustomed to view this field of labor with dread and terror, but I now feel perfectly willing to make it my home the rest of my life.

And she did. Thirteen years she toiled there and then lay down to rest under the hopia tree at Amherst, on the banks of the Irawadi. What years those were! The fruitage was beginning to appear when the war between the Burmese and the British came, and Judson, at Ava, the Burmese capital, was put in prison with English and foreign residents. Then for twenty-one months Mrs. Judson stood between the prisoners and death.

The story of her tireless ministry seems incredible. In sickness, in loneliness, in want, and in constant peril, she ranged between the prison pens and the palace and official houses, securing this and that mitigation of the intolerable lot of the fettered prisoners and keeping them in food at times, when without her supplies, life would have been insupportable in the filthy death pen, under the tropical sun. Mrs. Judson once wrote to her brother:

O how many, many times . . . have I returned from that dreary prison at nine o’clock at night, solitary, and worn out with fatigue and anxiety, and thrown myself down in that same rocking-chair which you and Deacon L. provided for me in Boston, and endeavored to invent some new scheme for the release of the prisoners. Sometimes, for a moment or two, my thoughts would glance toward America and my beloved friends there; but for nearly a year and a half, so entirely engrossed was every thought with present scenes and sufferings, that I seldom reflected on a single occurrence of my former life or recollected that I had a friend in existence out of Ava.

That is isolation. And the only thing that supported a frail woman through such times was a childlike trust in a loving Father above.

The reference to the rocking-chair from old Boston — a really New England invention — gives a homely touch to the depiction of the scenes of suffering at Ava. One other such stroke of New England color appears in the account of the wife’s efforts to provide for Judson in the prison. The story is:

His food was such as Mrs. Judson could provide. Sometimes it came regularly, and sometimes they went very hungry. Sometimes, for weeks together, they had no food but rice, savored with ngapi—a certain preparation of fish, not always palatable to foreigners. But once, when a term of unusual quiet gave her time for the softer and more homely class of loving thoughts, Mrs. Judson made a great effort to surprise her husband with something that should remind him of home. She planned and labored, until by the aid of buffalo beef and plantains, she actually concocted a mince pie. Unfortunately, as she thought, she could not go in person to the prison that day; and the dinner was brought by smiling Moung Ing, who seemed aware that some mystery must be wrapped up in that peculiar preparation of meat and fruit, though he had never seen the well-spread boards of Plymouth and Bradford. But the pretty little artifice only added another pang to a heart whose susceptibilities were as quick and deep as, in the sight of the world, they were silent.

When his wife had visited him in prison, and borne taunts and insults with and for him, they could be brave together; when she had stood up like an enchantress, winning the hearts of high and low, making savage jailers, and scarcely less savage nobles, weep; or moved, protected by her own dignity and sublimity of purpose, like a queen along the streets, his heart had throbbed with proud admiration; and he was almost able to thank God for the trials which had made a character so intrinsically noble shine forth with such peculiar brightness. But in this simple, homelike act, this little unpretending effusion of a loving heart, there was something so touching, so unlike the part she had just been acting, and yet so illustrative of what she really was, that he bowed his head upon his knees, and the tears flowed down to the chains about his ankles.

What a happy man he might have been had this heavy woe been spared them! And what was coming next? Finally the scene changed, and there came over him a vision of the past. He saw again the home of his boyhood. His stern, strangely revered father, his gentle mother, his rosy, curly-haired sister, and pale young brother were gathered for the noonday meal, and he was once more among them. And so his fancy reveled there. Finally he lifted his head. Oh, the misery that surrounded him! He moved his feet, and the rattling of the heavy chains was as a death knell. He thrust the carefully prepared dinner into the hand of his associate, and as fast as his fetters would permit, hurried to his own little shed. — Wayland’s Memoir of Dr. Judson

Mrs. Judson saved the precious manuscripts of the Burmese Bible translations by making them into a pillow, so hard and ill-looking a cushion that no one stole it, even though Judson long had it with him in the prison pen.

God gave Mrs. Judson friends. The old governor doubtless saved the lives of the prisoners more than once by delaying and misinterpreting orders. Once when Mrs. Judson had been shut away from the prison gate and it looked as if the prisoners must die, she made her way to this governor and reproached him for reversing long-continued kindness and now apparently allowing Mr. Judson and the prisoners to die. The story goes:

At her words the old man broke down and cried like a child. “I pity you, Tsa-yah-ga-dau,” the name by which he always called Mrs. Judson, “I knew you would make me feel; I therefore forbade your application. But you must believe me when I say I do not wish to increase the sufferings of the prisoners. When I am ordered to execute them, the least that I can do is to put them out of sight. I will now tell you what I have never told you before, that three times I have received intimations from the queen’s brother to assassinate all the white prisoners privately, but I would not do it. And I now repeat it, Though I execute all the others, I will never execute your husband. But I cannot release him from his present confinement, and you must not ask it.”

Never before had Mrs. Judson seen the governor display so much feeling nor such firmness in denying her a favor. His words and manner aroused her worst forebodings for the future.

At last the torments were over. Judson and others were released as the British army drew nearer and nearer, and the cruel king needed interpreters and advocates to intercede for terms. Only the providentially timed release saved the life of Ann Judson, for her husband, making his way home, found her at death’s door and helpless to care for herself or for her little babe. But through the longest drawn-out period of sorest trial that ever came to modern missionaries, God’s grace sustained these pioneers of Burma.

A few weeks later, with strength returning rapidly under the changed conditions and proper food, Mrs. Judson sat at a banquet table with British officers, who were entertaining in semistate the peace representatives of the Burmese king. One Burmese official was noticed to be nervous and perspiring with apparent terror. The host, Gen. Sir Archibald Campbell, commander of the British force, asked Mrs. Judson what the trouble was with the man. She told what the trouble was. She had met this man in the days of trial.

One day Mrs. Judson had walked several miles to his house, to beseech a favor for her husband, who was bound with five pairs of fetters in the inner prison, and suffering from fever. It was early morning when she had left home, but so long was she kept waiting for an audience, that it was high noon when she presented her petition, only to receive a gruff refusal. As she turned to go, he caught sight of the silk umbrella she carried, and since it pleased his fancy, he must needs possess it for his own. In vain she pleaded the danger of walking the long distance with no protection from the scorching midday sun. If he must have her parasol, would he not furnish her with a paper one to shield her from the heat? Whereupon he laughed a sneering laugh, and replied that only stout people were in danger of sunstroke, the sun could not find such as she, thus mocking the very suffering which had wasted her to a shadow.

Mrs. Judson could almost smile now in recollection of the incident, especially at sight of the poor man’s dismay, which pity bade her relieve. In her clear Burmese she spoke a few encouraging words to him, assuring him he had nothing whatsoever to fear. The British officers who had sensed the situation, joined her in efforts to set him at ease, but with small success. Throughout the feast he was possessed by a fear he could not conceal. So much for the difference between Christian and heathen standards of conduct! — Ann of Ava, by Ethel D. Hubbard, pp. 227, 228

With anxious hearts the Judsons hastened back to their station to gather together the little band of first believers. The work was resumed under better conditions. Burma was now open to the gospel. But Ann Judson’s strength had been too far hazarded in the days-when she stood between her husband and all the white prisoners and death. She could not rally, and soon her work was done, while still but a young woman. She had, however, the answer to her prayer as she went to Burma:

“God grant that we may live and die among the Burmans, though we never should do anything else than smooth the way for others.”

She had helped to begin the building on the sure foundation. She loved the Burmese women, and love wins its way. It is said that the women used lovingly to touch her shadow as she passed along the street.

Judson lived on to see a great work in Burma, and his translated Bible is his memorial, together with a great and growing community of Burmese believers.

The two young people who sailed out from Salem in 1812, to lead the way from the New World into the heathen lands, were guided into a blessed field of service.

The Call of the Fields

As youth has pioneered the way into the great mission fields, so the call of the fields is still a call to youth.

Young people are needed, who are active, devoted, practical, and with student minds, to learn languages, to endure hardness as good soldiers, and to devote the high spirits and enthusiasm of consecrated youth to the winning of souls to Christ in dark lands where still the millions wait.

No higher calling can command the devotion of young men and women. Adoniram Judson, at twenty-one, was offered the post of assistant pastor in the largest church in Boston and all New England. Suppose he had chosen that and missed Burma!

Spangenberg, the missionary bishop of the Moravian movement, was offered the professorship of divinity and philosophy in the University of Jena. “But I utterly refused it,” he says, “and begged of God with my whole heart that I might not be famous, but very little and unknown.” His labors made him well known, for that matter, in the history of missions. Just who took his place in the professorship at Jena would require some searching to find out.

Young Morrison, beginning the Protestant era in China, had laid foundations in language study and translations that were of greatest value as the doors of China swung open in 1844, with the imperial recognition in that year of freedom to propagate and follow the religion of Christ.

Young Livingstone, preparing for China, found the Opium War hindering immediate entry. Just then he heard Moffat of Africa tell of having seen “in the morning sun the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary had ever been.” “I will go,” said Livingstone. And he was there when, in 1845, the overmastering conviction and burden came upon him, “Who will penetrate Africa?” And he set his face northward to devote youth and middle age to the work which God used to open the Dark Continent.

So over land and sea the messengers of Christ’s saving power have been pressing on through this century of missions. Our own youth have gone forth; some are already growing old in service. They are in all the countries of South America, in the border lands and the interior of Africa, in most of the countries of Asia, and in the island groups of all the seas. The great missionary army of all lands and of all societies presses onward with ringing call to the youth of every home base to come on in the spirit of the apostolic missionaries who fared forth to carry the gospel to every nation in the generation that followed the resurrection and ascension of our Lord.


And still o’er all the earth they fare,
where’er a soul has need;
My heart leaps up and calls to them:
O brothers mine! Godspeed!
What time within the jungle deep
ye watch the daylight die,
Or on some lonely Indian steep
see dawn flush all the sky.

Far is the cry from here to there,
yet hearken when we say:
Ye are the brethren of the Book;
in Khartum or Cathay.
’Tis ye who make the record good;
’tis ye, O royal souls,|
Who justify the chronicles,
writ in the ancient scrolls.

O missionaries of the blood!
Ambassadors of God!
Our souls flame in us when we see
where ye have fearless trod.
At break of day your dauntless faith
our slackened valor shames,
And every eve our joyful prayers
are jeweled with your names.

McIntyre


YouTube Channel: We are pleased to announce that we have posted the second part of “A Total Saviour” and also“God’s Special Gift to a Special People.” The latter video describes the biblical basis for the spiritual gift of prophecy in the last-day remnant people. Crisis events within the history of Seventh-day Adventism are examined, showing that the ministry of the testimony of Jesus was vital to God’s people in being able to successfully deal with the crisis. The url for this study is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO2OmLSlJbY&feature=share&list=UUvsrGJG5fm2ux0AEwVuoVAw.

 To see more videos, including character-building science demonstrations, we invite you to visit our Youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/swiftkayak?feature=results_main.


Tasty Recipe — Leon’s Tofu

Tofu SpecialThis is an extremely colorful, flavorful, and nutritious mealtime treat. For those who have difficulty enjoying tofu, this recipe will make a difference. It made Leon a believer!

Ingredients:

In a large skillet, tenderize the onion and sweet pepper in water. Add the tofu and seasonings, and stir over medium heat until the tofu is uniformly golden yellow and water is mostly evaporated. Now arrange the broccoli pieces over the tofu, add water if needed in order to steam the broccoli, cover with a lid, and steam for 5 to 6 minutes.

While broccoli is steaming, make the sweet-sour sauce. Stir cornstarch into the tomato sauce. Add the apricot spread and lemon juice, and heat mixture until cornstarch is clear, stirring with a whisk. Serve the tofu and broccoli with sauce, garnish with parsley, and enjoy!


Please note our new address:
750 Smyrna Road,
Welch, WV 24801


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.