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. 5 Straight and Narrow May 2014



22423889-majestic-sunset-in-the-mountains-landscape-carpathian

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD . . . To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1, 2)


In This Issue

The Two Covenants

West Virginia Camp Meeting

The Price of Timidity

From the File Cabinet of History

Suppose

Tasty Recipe

YouTube Channel Update


The Two Covenants

by Allen Stump

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Today we live in a time of conflict, where peace is a rare commodity. At the time of this writing, the Russian Federation has moved fifteen thousand troops into Ukraine, and world tensions are mounting. This world needs peacemakers.

It is impossible to overestimate the value of a peacemaker. When William Penn began his duties as chief magistrate, a great conference was appointed with the native Indian chiefs. Penn, accompanied by a few unarmed Friends and clothed in the humble dress of a Quaker, came to the appointed spot under the shade of an elm tree, near what is now the town of Kensington. The chieftains, also unarmed, sat in a semicircle on the ground.

Standing before them and speaking by an interpreter, William Penn said:

My friends, we have met on the broad pathway of good faith. We are all one flesh and blood. Being brethren, no advantage shall be taken on either side. When disputes arise, we will settle them in council. Between us there shall be nothing but openness and love.

The chiefs replied:

While the rivers run and the sun shines, we will live in peace with the children of William Penn.

No record was made of this treaty, for none was needed. Its provisions were not written on fading parchment, but on the living hearts of men. For more than seventy years, during which time the area remained under the control of the Quakers (Friends), not a single war cry was heard within the borders of Pennsylvania. The Quaker hat and coat proved to be all the passport needed to safely pass through the land. Even Voltaire called it “ . . . the only treaty never sworn to and never broken.”

The Bible says that we have a great peacemaker in the person of Jesus Christ: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20). Through the blood of Jesus, we have peace.

A civil treaty is like a religious covenant. Both are basically agreements between two individuals or groups.

A covenant is an agreement by which parties bind themselves and each other to the fulfillment of certain conditions. (Ellen White, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 158)

The Bible speaks of various covenants, and the two which are discussed the most are called the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Sometimes in the Bible the New Covenant is called the everlasting covenant (fifteen times). The everlasting covenant is a compact made between the Father and the Son in eternity past, when Jesus offered to give his life for man. If humanity chose to sin, Christ would become the Lamb of God. We read of this covenant referred to as a council of peace in the book of Zechariah:

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; And he shall grow up out of his place, And he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; And he shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule upon his throne; And he shall be a priest upon his throne: And the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12, 13)

In the Bible Jesus is called “the lamb of God” (John 1:29), for he was sacrificed for our sins. The terms of the everlasting covenant have never changed. Jesus, indeed, died for man, and man may flee to Jesus in repentance and sorrow, confessing his sin and finding pardon and cleansing. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It is under the great umbrella of this covenant that all others covenants may exist.

The Old Covenant

A point of confusion that many people have is thinking that the Ten Commandments are the Old Covenant; however, we will clearly show that this is not true. By comparing text with text, we will clearly see what the Bible says about the Old and New Covenants and what has passed away and what remains today. Paul gives a brief outline of the two covenants in Hebrews 8:6–13. Please carefully read these verses:

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

The Old Covenant was inadequate, had faults (verse 7), and was abolished (verse 13), and the New Covenant took its place verse 13). The Old Covenant could not be the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments did not decay, wax old, or vanish and disappear (verse 13)! The Old Covenant was based upon poor promises (verse 6), but there are no poor or faulty promises in the Ten Commandments. In fact, how many direct promises are in the Ten Commandments? We might justifiably say that there are ten, for God’s biddings are enablings. When God says “thou shalt not kill [murder],” there is a promise of power to keep the believer from being a murderer. But aside from the concept of enabling promises, there is only one direct promise in the Ten Commandments. It is in the fifth commandment: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). Paul mentions this promise in Ephesians:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1–3)

Can you find anything weak or faulty in these promises? Of course not; they are wonderful promises that God has made to his children.

The Old Covenant had faults or flaws and, therefore, could not be perfect. What does the Bible say about the law of God? Psalm 19:7 boldly declares: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” In case we may believe that the Psalmist did not mean the Ten Commandments, we also have Paul’s testimony from Romans 7:12: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” James calls the Ten Commandments the “royal law” (James 2:8) and “the law of liberty” (v. 12). There is no flaw nor anything which is not perfect about the law that God wrote with his own finger!

The Ten Commandments did not vanish away. Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). Paul, who wrote Hebrews, stated in Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” The law is established in the New Covenant, yet Paul in Hebrews stated that the Old Covenant vanished away. If we try to insist that the Ten Commandments were the Old Covenant, we should be able to substitute Old Covenant for the word law in Romans 3:31 but if we do that, we would find the text stating, Do we then make void the Old Covenant through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Old Covenant. Certainly nobody believes that the New Covenant establishes the Old Covenant.

Now that we have clearly proved that the Old Covenant was not the Ten Commandments, let us see what the Old Covenant was and when it was established:

And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:3–6)

God wanted his people to be a peculiar treasure to himself. In the New Testament we are told that God’s people are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). God asked the people to serve him and to obey his law. What was the response of the people?

And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. (Exodus 19:7, 8)

This sounds good, at first. The people will do what God has said. They are in agreement with the program, but please notice that these promises were given by unconverted people who failed to ask for the help of God. They did not say if the Lord gives us strength, we will obey him or we will walk in his ways, as he empowers us. No, the children of Israel promised they would obey God in their own strength, and you can begin to see why there needed to be a New Covenant with “better promises.”

The Old Covenant was ratified with the blood of oxen:

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. (Exodus 24:3–7).

It is clear that though the covenant was based upon obedience to the Ten Commandments, the Ten Commandments were not the covenant, but rather the basis of the covenant. Within days Israel broke the promise and made a golden calf.

Israel broke their promise, and this is why a New Covenant was needed. “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Hebrews 8:8). There was nothing faulty with the law; the fault was with the people who made weak promises, not with God.

The New Covenant

The New Covenant is established upon better promises. Go back to Hebrews 8, and notice the promises. In Hebrews 8:9–12, God says:

Everyone of these beautiful promises is given by God, and not a single promise is made by the people. It should be easy to see the contrast between the two covenants. The Old Covenant was based upon the weak promises of the people. They tried to keep the law in their own strength, without help from God, and that was simply impossible. In the Old Covenant the law was written on stone.

The New Covenant was based, not on the weakness of the flesh, but upon the almighty power of God, with wonderful promises. The people would now have God’s law written in their hearts, with the power of God to obey. Instead of being impossible, this was clearly possible and, in fact, God’s sovereign will.

We read that the Old Covenant was ratified with blood and so was the New Covenant, but instead of the blood of oxen, the New Covenant was ratified by the precious blood of Jesus:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20, 21)

The everlasting covenant is sealed with the blood of his crucifixion. Through his sacrifice on Calvary he makes peace for us. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, May 4, 1905)

Beloved, it is not by your works but by Jesus working in you through his precious blood that you are made perfect in every good work! What a tremendous promise! We can be perfect in every good work! Let that sink into your heart; believe the promise of God and receive it into your life. Jesus said “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 26:19).

At this point we should note that the words covenant and testament, as used in the Bible, are interchangeable. The word testament is never used in the Old Testament, but it is used in the New Testament, where we find it fourteen times in thirteen verses, one time of which as a supplied word. The root word translated testament is the Greek word diathçkç. The word covenant is used twenty times in eighteen verses. Three times it is used as a supplied word and the seventeen other times, it also comes from the Greek word diathçkç.

Instead of abolishing the Ten Commandment law of God, the New Covenant establishes it. But let us be clear that the Ten Commandments, nor any other law, is our saviour. The law cannot save us; only Jesus can save us. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Yet we are not saved in our sins, but from our sins (Matthew 1:21). We have been saved “for obedience to the faith among all nations” (Romans 1:5).

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:3, 4)

Please notice the language carefully in verse 4. The text does not say that the law is fulfilled by us. No, no; we can do nothing of ourselves. The text says that the law is fulfilled in us. Jesus Christ offers to come into each person’s life and live out his perfect life in us. That perfect life includes keeping the commandments of God because we love God and love Jesus. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). God’s desire is for us to love him so much that we will want to find every reason we can to obey his commandments, instead of breaking them or trying to do away with them. He says:

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)

Three Bible verses seal away forever the idea that the commandments of God, especially the Sabbath commandment, were changed in the New Covenant. Hebrews 9:16, 17 states:

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Remember that the words testament and covenant are interchangeable. The text could read, For where a covenant is, there must also of necessity be the death of the one making the covenant. For a covenant is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the one making the covenant liveth. Before the covenant can be of force or go into effect, the one making the covenant or testament must first die. It has no strength while the one making the covenant is alive. We can understand this in the light of a person’s last will and testament. A person may make a will and donate all of his or her assets to someone, but nothing is received until the person dies. In fact, the testator may make any changes he or she wishes while alive, for nothing is sealed until the testator dies. Once the testator has died, something else happens. Paul says, “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto” (Galatians 3:15). Once the covenant is confirmed, nobody can do away with it, add to it, or change it. This is the greatest proof that Sunday-keeping could not be a part of the New Covenant, not even an option! Even if the disciples began Sunday-keeping that first Sunday, it was three days too late! For Sunday to be a part of the New Covenant experience, Jesus would have had to have instituted it before his death. This he did not do. The disciples met on the first day of the week after the resurrection, but not for worship. Some of them did not even believe he had risen yet. They were behind locked doors for the fear of the Jews. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).

The very fact that the covenant could not be changed after the death of the testator is the reason Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on Thursday night. At that time Jesus said:

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:27, 28)

His blood was not yet shed but to be a part of the New Covenant, the Lord’s Supper had to be installed before Jesus died, so that this beautiful memorial service would come under the provisions of the New Covenant.

The Two Covenants Illustrated

Paul, in the book of Galatians, contrasts the two covenants. Read carefully these verses from Galatians:

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Galatians 4:22–31)

Here we have a series of twos. There are two covenants, two women, two sons, two places, and two states of existence—free and bond. Representing the Old Covenant we have Hagar and her son, Ishmael. We also have Mt. Sinai which answers to the Jerusalem in the Middle East. This covenant leads to bondage. Representing the New Covenant, we have Sarah and her son, Isaac. We also have the New Jerusalem from above and freedom (John 8:32–36), resulting in those who are under this covenant as being the children of promises. Now how do these two groups represent the two covenants?

God made some promises to Abraham concerning his seed and its prosperity (Genesis 15:1–4). Abraham would know his wife, Sarah, and she would conceive and through that child, Abraham would be the father of many nations.

There was a problem, though. At first Sarah did not believe the word of God and tried to use weak flesh to accomplish the word of God (Genesis 16:1–4). When this promise was made, Sarah was past the time of women, and she was too old to have children. Paul speaks of her womb as being dead (Romans 4:19). She even at laughed at the idea of having a child (Genesis 18:11, 12). So Sarah decided that she would give her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham. Abraham would go to her, and she would conceive and bring forth a child. Hagar was an Egyptian whom Abraham obtained when he went to Egypt earlier during a famine. Yet God had not instructed him to go to Egypt at that time. Because of a lack of faith, Abraham wavered and decided that he had to take matters into his own hands. Instead of sitting in Canaan and waiting upon the Lord, he went to Egypt. If his faith had been strong, he need not have gone to Egypt and there would have been no Hagar. Abraham was depending upon the flesh. The union of Abraham and Hagar resulted in Ishmael, but God never acknowledged Ishmael as the son of promise.

Later God came back to the patriarchal couple, and Sarah finally believed and Abraham believed, and together they had a son which was born from a womb that was dead. Isaac was born by a miracle. A new creature was created from nothing, just like in the new birth experience where one who is dead in trespasses and sins finds new life in Jesus Christ.

Now let us review the basis of these two covenants. The basis of the Old Covenant involved:

God never accepted this agreement and its results.

The basis of the New Covenant involves:

God’s promises to write his law in our hearts, to live in us, to make it possible to live without sin.

The REAL DIFFERENCE

The real difference between the Old and the New Covenant is the new birth experience. The convicted sinner realizes that apart from Christ he or she can do nothing. The regenerating power of the Holy Spirit must come into the life. When the sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, great changes happen. The law that was written upon stone is now written in the heart, and the sinner becomes a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), even a saint. This work is so magnificently great that inspiration declares:

The conversion of the human soul is of no little consequence. It is the greatest miracle performed by divine power. (Evangelism, pp. 289, 290)

This is why Isaac represents the New Covenant because it took a miracle, a creative act of God, to bring Isaac into existence, just like it takes a miracle of creative power to change a sinner into a saint.

Some people teach that under the New Covenant we are free to break the Sabbath commandment, but this is not true. The truth of the matter is that Sabbath-keeping is a part of the New Covenant experience. Remember that the Old Covenant was illustrated with Abraham and Hagar. But that arrangement was not under God’s plan and in fact, it was in disobedience to God’s plan that Abraham and Sarah were to have the promised child. Therefore, one of the hallmarks of the Old Covenant was that it was filled with disobedience. But the New Covenant was illustrated with Abraham and Sarah, who by this time believed and obeyed the promises and commands of God. Obedience and faith are the hallmarks of the New Covenant.

The Abrahamic covenant is the covenant of grace. “By grace are ye saved” (Ephesians 2:8). Disobedient children? No, obedient to all His commandments. (God’s Amazing Grace, p. 133)

The Sign of Righteousness by Faith (Circumcision)

Circumcision is a bloody procedure that in ancient times, without pain-numbing medicines, inflicted pain upon the child or person. Why was this very personal procedure given as a sign of faith and righteousness?

To the descendants of Abraham this sign became a mark of their identity as a people. To the Jew it was like a mark of salvation; it showed that they were in the proper or correct family. This was not its purpose, but what it came to symbolize to most of the Jews. Similarly, today some think the same about church membership. They believe that membership in a certain church shows that they are in the correct spiritual family and, like the Jews, accept that as a mark of salvation. We have all heard statements like poor Jim; he has left the church, as if the church is the ark of safety in which salvation is found. These same people do not say poor Jim; he has left Jesus. Perhaps in their mind they associate Jesus and the church so closely that to them the one is the same as the other, but this is not so, and pity us when we confuse the two.

God gave circumcision as a sign to Abraham to remind him he had trusted in the flesh instead of in God. The cutting away of the flesh represents the death of self and a dependence upon God instead of upon the flesh.

Paul noted that circumcision was a sign of righteousness by faith. “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also” (Romans 4:11).

The true Jew today is not one who is circumcised or who has lineage back to Abraham but is one who believes in Jesus Christ.

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Romans 2:28, 29)

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. (Colossians 2:11)

Today, God does not call for us to cut off the flesh, but he calls us to cut away of the works of the flesh. We are to have no confidence in the flesh or its works (or in a church), for this is not the true circumcision. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). When you are born again, you do not trust in the flesh. You don’t say we can do this or the church can save me.

It is the faith that works by love and purifies the soul that makes us God’s children today, not our works or church membership. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Like in times of old, Satan has reversed the program. Circumcision was to teach the people to NOT trust in the flesh, but the children of Israel took it exactly opposite, and it came to be a sign that, of itself, the people trusted in for salvation. Instead of being a distrusting in the flesh, it became a trusting in the flesh. If you got it, you were in, no matter what. Just like today with church membership, if you have it, you are in, no matter how you live. In either case, though, there is a trusting in the flesh!

God’s plan is that instead of trusting in ourselves, we have Christ living out his life within us. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). We, with Paul, are to “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). The truth is that of ourselves, we can not keep any of the commandments without the new birth. Jesus is emphatic that we must be born again, if we are to receive salvation (John 3:3, 7).

Paul teaches that while it is by grace we are saved through faith, we are also “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8, 10). We have been saved to obedience. “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5).

{NOTE: God calls his people to have the faith of Jesus and to keep the commandments of God (Revelation 14:12). That means all of the commandments. We need to stand up for all of the commandments, including the sixth commandment against murder. It may not be politically correct to speak against abortion, but we must speak against this form of murder. It is said by some that we cannot trample upon the rights of the woman, but this is the wrong argument. It is the rights of a defenseless child upon which we are not to trample. The seventh commandment forbids homosexual behavior, yet in the last decade the sin made famous in Sodom has come almost fully out of the closet, and it is not politically correct to speak against this abomination, even in our so-called Christian country. While we are to love the sinner, we are to hate the sin, and homosexual activity is sin! The issue has been compared to the civil rights movement of the ’60s and that the right to have legal homosexual relationships is a freedom to be won. This issue, though, is not simply a civil issue, but a moral issue. The Bible says that we are all of one blood; one God made us all (Acts 17:26; Malachi 2:10). There is no sin in being white, black, yellow, red, or any other skin color. Being born a certain way is not what makes us sinners, but it is what we do with the flesh and mind that we are born with that determines if we are sinners or not. Being of a certain color or nationality means nothing spiritually. A homosexual relationship, on the other hand, is a choice that is made, and if we accept the Bible as the standard for our moral code, we recognize the choice of a homosexual lifestyle as a sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).}

The law written in our hearts also includes the seventh-day Sabbath and all the commandments for according to Romans 3:31, the law becomes established in the heart of the one who experiences the New Covenant.

Are the Covenants Locked into a Specific Timetable?

Is it possible that those who lived during the time of the Old Covenant or of the Old Testament could have had the New Testament experience? Yes, they certainly could have had, as they looked forward in faith. Notice God’s desire for his people:

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. (Deuteronomy 10:16)

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (Jeremiah 4:4)

Before Jesus died, believers could, by faith, enter into the New Covenant experience, for Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). From the time of the council of peace, all the sons and daughters of Adam who would circumcise their heart could be a child of God by faith and enter into the New Covenant experience.

Could those now living in what we call the times of the New Testament live under the Old Covenant experience? Of course, by trusting in their own works and by believing they can obey in their own strength. By depending upon themselves or upon someone or something else (church) for salvation, we live under that Old Covenant experience. There is no question that salvation comes only through the New Covenant. All who are ever saved will have been born again and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ (John 3:3; 14:6). When we try to obey God’s law in our own strength, we are putting ourselves under the Old Covenant

The New Covenant and the Feasts

Is keeping the feasts, such as Passover or Tabernacles, a part of the New Covenant experience? When Jesus died the Bible says that the veil in the temple separating the holy and the most holy place was ripped from the top to the bottom. Matthew invited the reader to behold. He writes:

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. (Matthew 27:51)

Matthew is saying beholdturn aside and see this great sight—and be astonished at it, for it symbolized the end of the types and shadows.

But the earth trembles and quakes; for the Lord Himself draws near. With a rending noise the inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand, throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. (The Desire of Ages, pp. 756, 757)

Paul says in Colossians 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Something was nailed to the cross, and it was not the seventh-day Sabbath but, rather, the ceremonial Sabbaths, like Passover and Pentecost. Today some believe that only the sacrifices have been done away with and that we will receive a blessing from the keeping of these feasts, but without the shedding of blood. However, we have been told:

To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, June 14, 1898)

Why? Because it shows a lack of understand the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ to heal and pardon.

Any plan of disobedience is a part of the Old Covenant experience, friends, no matter how much we talk about grace. Have you received Christ and entered into his New Covenant experience? It is the only way to heaven!


You may see a video presentation of this message at our YouTube channel on the Internet at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiJnmdo30vs&feature=share&list=UUvsrGJG5fm2ux0AEwVuoVAw&index=2


West Virginia Camp Meeting

The 2014 camp meeting will soon be upon us, and we hope you are seriously considering attending this special time of spiritual enrichment. We are prayerfully seeking God’s direction as we organize the schedule, and we anticipate a rich blessing for all. The theme of our camp meeting will be “Character Perfection.” “Let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1). Brother Fred Skucy from South Korea has agreed to bless us with his presence, as well as has Sister Ira Raylean from Moldova (provided her application for a visa is approved) and Brother Elvis Alberto from Curacao. Brother David Sims will also be here to share his recent missionary experiences in the South Pacific, and Brother Ron Toel will present another series on the wonders of nature. Brother Allen Stump will present a series of meetings in the evenings, and we also plan a mini-series on family issues and another on the sanctuary. Interspersed among all of this will be meetings for our young people, early morning and other meetings, special music, health nuggets, good food, stories, seasons of prayer, and more! You won’t want to miss this opportunity to grow in grace and to fellowship with one another.

If you need camping accessories to make this trip possible, please contact us, and we will try to meet your needs. We want you to be here. If you cannot afford food expenses while here, let us know, and we will put an extra pot of soup on for you! We do not want you to stay away. Do all you can to be here, and we will do all we can to make your stay pleasant and blessed. Please come prepared “for the visitation of God’s Holy Spirit” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 162), knowing that “at home is the place to find Jesus; then [you can] take Him with you to the meeting, and how precious will be the hours you spend there. But how can you expect to feel the presence of the Lord and see His power displayed when the individual work of preparation for that time is neglected” (Ibid., p. 164)?

While preparing for the [camp] meeting each individual should closely and critically examine his own heart before God. If there have been unpleasant feelings, discord, or strife in families, it should be one of the first acts of preparation to confess these faults one to another and pray with and for one another. Humble yourselves before God, and make an earnest effort to empty the soul temple of all rubbish—all envyings, all jealousies, all suspicions, all faultfindings. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

The Lord speaks; enter into your closet, and in silence commune with your own heart; listen to the voice of truth and conscience. Nothing will give such clear views of self as secret prayer. He who seeth in secret and knoweth all things will enlighten your understanding and answer your petitions. Plain, simple duties that must not be neglected will open before you. Make a covenant with God to yield yourselves and all your powers to His service. Do not carry this undone work to the camp meeting. If it is not done at home, your own soul will suffer, and others will be greatly injured by your coldness, your stupor, your spiritual lethargy. . . .

Here is a work for families to engage in before coming up to our holy convocations. Let the preparation for eating and dressing be a secondary matter, but let deep heart searching commence at home. Pray three times a day, and, like Jacob, be importunate. At home is the place to find Jesus; then take Him with you to the meeting, and how precious will be the hours you spend there. But how can you expect to feel the presence of the Lord and see His power displayed when the individual work of preparation for that time is neglected?

For your soul’s sake, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of others, work at home. Pray as you are not accustomed to pray. Let the heart break before God. Set your house in order. Prepare your children for the occasion. Teach them that it is not of so much consequence that they appear with fine clothes as that they appear before God with clean hands and pure hearts. Remove every obstacle that may have been in their way,—all differences that may have existed among themselves or between you and them. By so doing you will invite the Lord’s presence into your homes, and holy angels will attend you as you go up to the meeting, and their light and presence will press back the darkness of evil angels” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 163–165).


 The Price of Timidity

by Allen Stump

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). “A proud look” is one of the seven deadly sins that God calls an abomination (Proverbs 6:16, 17). Throughout the Scriptures, readers are warned against pride and feelings of confidence in self. The Bible calls for meekness and humility in Christ’s followers. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Moses is noted as being the meekest man upon the earth: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). While meekness and humility are a part of Christian character, the life of Moses proves that timidity is not to be equaled with meekness nor humility. Moses was no Caspar Milquetoast!

The Bible makes a clear contrast between timidity and bravery in the example of the lives of the sons of Amram during the golden calf apostasy. You remember the story, I am sure. Moses had been called up to meet God and received the tables of the Ten Commandments engraved by God’s finger. During their relatively short time since leaving Egypt, the Israelites had come to depend upon Moses, and they feared that their leader had forsaken them or perhaps had been killed by God.

In the presence of Moses, Israel had managed to maintain the higher life of the Spirit but when he was removed from them, they could not walk by faith. They walked by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). When Moses was gone, the flesh triumphed over the spirit. Though Israel could still see the thick cloud of darkness into which Moses entered when he ascended the mountain with Joshua, it seemed to them that Moses had either deserted them or had been destroyed by God. The spiritually immature mindset of Israel was ripe for rebellion, and a grievous exhibition of idolatry soon followed.

The story of Exodus 32 and 33 illustrates the stark contrast between the timid Aaron and the meek Moses. Moses was in the mountain receiving the tables of the law and instruction regarding the worship of the only true God. At the base of the mountain, Aaron, the one chosen and honored to the high and holy office of the high priest, was timidly meeting the demands of an unregenerate people directly disobeying the law that they had so recently promised to obey. What a paradox that the man chosen to lead Israel in true worship leads them into idolatry!

“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Exodus 32:1). Unlike Moses, who was strong in character, Aaron was weak in faith and character. This is a sad chapter in the history of Israel that need not have occurred. As we will see later, this could have been avoided. Aaron’s weak character and spirit of compromise rendered his spiritual leadership ineffective but worse, it placed him in the position as the chief leader in rebellion. Those to whom much is entrusted will much be required. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).

While Israel had been in Egypt, they had become accustomed to seeing images. Some have suggested that it was difficult for them to trust the invisible God. The Hebrew text says that they asked Aaron to make them “Elohim,” the plural form of the word for God, yet Aaron only made one calf. Even if the people were speaking of Jehovah using a plural, as Jehovah did concerning himself, they were certainly still wrong in asking for an image to be made. Later Aaron declared, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD (YHWH)” (Exodus 32:5).

The people were weary of Moses being gone. Resigned that he would not be coming back, they felt they needed something to guide them or “go before” them. The people wanted to proceed to the Promised Land and waiting on Moses was no longer rational to them. Being anxious to continue their journey, the people demanded a visible god at their head, believing that this sight would inspire them with confidence and courage. But it was true then and is true today that we cannot walk by sight, but rather we must walk by faith in God’s word (2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 10:17).

The time Israel had waiting on Moses would have been well-used in waiting in prayer and meditating upon the recently-given law. “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). This would have helped them to have prepared their hearts to receive further revelations from God. Such time spent would have served as a guard against temptation.

During this period of waiting, there was time for them to meditate upon the law of God which they had heard, and to prepare their hearts to receive the further revelations that He might make to them. They had none too much time for this work; and had they been thus seeking a clearer understanding of God’s requirements, and humbling their hearts before Him, they would have been shielded from temptation. But they did not do this, and they soon became careless, inattentive, and lawless. Especially was this the case with the mixed multitude. They were impatient to be on their way to the Land of Promise—the land flowing with milk and honey. It was only on condition of obedience that the goodly land was promised them, but they had lost sight of this. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 315)

The “mixed multitude” had been the first to indulge murmuring and impatience, and they were the leaders in the apostasy that followed. (Ibid., p. 316)

“And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron” (Exodus 32:2, 3). Afraid of the now evolving mob, Aaron gives into the demands of the people instead of nobly and righteously upholding the honor of Jehovah. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment” (Exodus 23:2).

Aaron hoped that the women would refuse to give up their cherished jewelry, when he ordered a collection of the “golden earrings.” The women quickly complied, “disappointing Aaron, who had counted on the refusal of the women to part with their finery, and the reluctance of the men to compel them” (The Pulpit Commentary, Exodus, vol. 2, p. 321). Having begun to compromise, Aaron was in a difficult position to stand for the right though the heavens fall.

Aaron feared for his own safety; and instead of nobly standing up for the honor of God, he yielded to the demands of the multitude. His first act was to direct that the golden earrings be collected from all the people and brought to him, hoping that pride would lead them to refuse such a sacrifice. But they willingly yielded up their ornaments; and from these he made a molten calf, in imitation of the gods of Egypt. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 317)

“And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4). In Egypt Israel would have seen the worship of Apis the bull. To have used this golden calf for the worship of Apis would have been bad enough, for Apis was a bull deity that was worshiped in the Memphis region. Apis served as an intermediary between humans and an all-powerful god. The worship of Apis was accompanied with the grossest licentiousness, and the scriptural record indicates that the calf worship by the Israelites was attended with all the license usually found in heathen worship. However, the golden calf was presumably a material representation of the true God, not of some heathen deity, for Aaron called a feast to Yahweh (Jehovah) (verse 5), but the worship of Jehovah with paganism illustrates the terrible results of compromise. The people had “corrupted themselves” (Exodus 32:7). The word rendered “corrupted” in verse 7 is the same word that is used in Genesis 6:11, 12: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” The antediluvians were so corrupt that God had to destroy them, and Israel was on the edge of judgment.

“And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD” (Exodus 32:5). After producing the image, Aaron added to his sin by seeking to turn this idol worship into a compromised worship of Jehovah. This spirit of compromise would continue to plague Israel throughout its future.

The people proclaimed, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” And Aaron basely permitted this insult to Jehovah. He did more. Seeing with what satisfaction the golden god was received, he built an altar before it, and made proclamation, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 317)

“And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6). These people arose early; they were eager to begin. We might say that they had enthusiasm for the program. How sad that their efforts could not have been advanced in a better endeavor. How easy it is to sleep in on Sabbath morning and miss Sabbath School, but how easy it is to arise early to begin a vacation to the beach or some other prized destination!

The Hebrew word tsachaq, rendered to play, signifies playing with leaping, singing, and dancing. This dancing, especially among the Egyptians, was sensual and indecent. This was a sensual exercise. This feast, like the heathen sacrificial feasts, terminated in the most profligate orgies:

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. (1 Corinthians 10:7, 8).

This story well-illustrates the spiritual warfare constantly going on within each person between the flesh and the spirit. Though Israel had lived in the midst of idolatry in Egypt, when they left under the leadership of Moses, their lives had received a spiritual enlightenment not known before their departure; however, when out of Moses’ sight, they lost their moral compass, and evil prevailed. As Paul notes, the eating and drinking and playing led to fornication, and sensual pleasure was masked under the cloak of religion. We have been told:

A religion that permits men, while observing the rites of worship, to devote themselves to selfish or sensual gratification, is as pleasing to the multitudes now as in the days of Israel. And there are still pliant Aarons, who, while holding positions of authority in the church, will yield to the desires of the unconsecrated, and thus encourage them in sin. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 317)

Make no mistake, beloved, Israel was in a terrible crisis, and there was no time for anything less than firm adherence to faithfulness.

Such a crisis demanded a man of firmness, decision, and unflinching courage; one who held the honor of God above popular favor, personal safety, or life itself. But the present leader of Israel was not of this character. Aaron feebly remonstrated with the people, but his wavering and timidity at the critical moment only rendered them the more determined. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 316)

While Aaron was pacifying the people there were some who objected and even denounced the image but they “were set upon and roughly treated, and in the confusion and excitement they finally lost their lives” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 317).

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. (Exodus 32:7–14)

Upon being informed by God of the grievous apostasy, Moses interceded for Israel. Moses could not excuse the sin of his people, but he could intercede for their forgiveness.

As God converses with Moses, he attempts to disown Israel. Instead of calling them his people, he calls them the people that Moses brought out of Egypt. They were now going to have to the face the results of sin as revealed in Isaiah 59:2: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” However, Moses interceded for Israel, stating that they were God’s people, and God heard Moses, for while he hates the sin, God loves the sinner.

And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount (Exodus 32:15–19).

The younger Joshua did not discern the difference between the cries of war and the cries of reveling, as Moses did.

As Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, the former bearing the “tables of the testimony,” they heard the shouts and outcries of the excited multitude, evidently in a state of wild uproar. To Joshua the soldier, the first thought was of an attack from their enemies. “There is a noise of war in the camp,” he said. But Moses judged more truly the nature of the commotion. The sound was not that of combat, but of revelry. “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome; but the noise of them that sing do I hear.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 319)

Music is not amoral! Music is not a neutral medium. Music has the ability to speak to our hearts and to our lower natures, as well. It is almost a rule that where debauchery is, vile music is there in accompaniment.

Please do not try to image the scene Moses came down to; it is too sinful.

As they drew near the encampment, they beheld the people shouting and dancing around their idol. It was a scene of heathen riot, an imitation of the idolatrous feasts of Egypt; but how unlike the solemn and reverent worship of God! Moses was overwhelmed. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 320)

In his righteous anger Moses broke the tables of stone indicating that they had broken their covenant with God.

“And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it” (Exodus 32:20). Moses did not delay nor negotiate. He did not send out a survey to get the opinions of the leaders of Israel. He destroyed the calf, scattered the gold dust upon the waters, and made the people drink. He showed the worthlessness of the idol. It could not save itself; it surely could not save them!

“And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them” (Exodus 32:21)? Moses sternly called for his older brother, Aaron. No favoritism can be shown! His question was not really a question of inquiry, but a rebuke, designed to show Aaron the enormity of his sin.

If Aaron had had courage to stand for the right, irrespective of consequences, he could have prevented that apostasy. If he had unswervingly maintained his own allegiance to God, if he had cited the people to the perils of Sinai, and had reminded them of their solemn covenant with God to obey His law, the evil would have been checked. But his compliance with the desires of the people and the calm assurance with which he proceeded to carry out their plans, emboldened them to go to greater lengths in sin than had before entered their minds. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 323)

“And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Exodus 32:22, 23). The Hebrew word for “mischief,” ra, means evil or bad. Instead of humbly accepting the responsibility for his sin and the sin of the people, Aaron attempted to justify himself by placing the blame upon the people. It was the “woman whom thou gavest me” type of excuse. The nature of sin is to excuse itself and to cast the blame on others. (See Genesis 3:12, 13.) This stands in stark contrast to the spirit of his brother, who put Israel’s welfare above his own.

Aaron endeavored to shield himself by relating the clamors of the people; that if he had not complied with their wishes, he would have been put to death. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 320)

“And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf” (Exodus 32:24). Aaron is not done with excuses. He now indirectly blames God by implying that it was by divine power that the gold was converted into “this calf.” The servant of the Lord speaks of “the bewitching power of sin” (The Signs of the Times, May 7, 1894). Sin is hypnotic and will cause a man or woman who is otherwise of sound judgment to rationalize wicked deeds. Aaron was worthy of death and without the intercession of Moses, he would have met temporal and eternal loss at that time. “And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time” (Deuteronomy 9:20). Aaron’s position as leader made his sin the more reprehensible. To whom God grants much, of that person is much expected (Luke 12:48). When the judgment depicted in Ezekiel 9 is ordered to begin, the destroying angel is told to begin with the “ancient men” (Ezekiel 9:6).

The fact that Aaron had been blessed and honored so far above the people was what made his sin so heinous. It was Aaron “the saint of the Lord” (Psalm 106:16), that had made the idol and announced the feast. It was he who had been appointed as spokesman for Moses, and concerning whom God Himself had testified, “I know that he can speak well” (Exodus 4:14), that had failed to check the idolaters in their heaven-daring purpose. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 320)

“And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)” (Exodus 32:25). The Hebrew word translated naked is phârua, and it means to lose, to let go, to be naked, or to lose all restraint. Moses saw that most of the people were still without their garments. They had laid them aside when they began to dance. Of course, the Israelites each took off their own clothes, but the divine record says that Aaron had made them naked. Aaron is credited for that which his actions encouraged and promoted. Aaron made the calf and proclaimed a festival. The “nakedness” was sure to follow. It is fearful when we lead others into sin.

Furthermore, the divine record says that this shame was unto their shame among their enemies. We may be sure that the children of Amalek were still observing the camp from the surrounding mountains. The saw the nakedness of Israel, the orgy, and the indecent and shameful exposure. All we do reflects a perception of our God to those who see us. Paul says that we are “the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3). The God of Israel would be shamed and blasphemed in the eyes of Amalek! This could not be tolerated!

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him” (Exodus 32:26). Moses may have been meek, but he was not timid! Sides had to be taken; righteousness and sin can never be allies in the warfare. In the battle between good and evil, there is no such thing as neutrality. We are either on the Lord’s side or on Satan’s. There is no middle ground. In the days of Elijah, he asked Israel:

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 281)

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

The ultimate test of being on the Lord’s side is to remain faithful when those around us are apostatizing. The Levites who had not participated in the idolatrous worship stood true to the challenge. We need men and women of principle today, regardless of the severity of the test.

It has ever been true that those of weak character will side with the multitude. “Determined piety reveals itself in being able to resist the disease of numbers” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 667). It takes courage to dare to be a Daniel.

“And he [Moses] said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men” (Exodus 32:27, 28). No ties of family or friend could interfere with duty. God must be first in their hearts, if he is to be there at all. The commission reminds us of Ezekiel 9:6, when a similar command will be given.

After understanding how the timidity of Aaron directly or indirectly led to the deaths of thousands in Israel and spiritual apostasy of the multitude, you would think that the people would now abhor Aaron and love Moses for saving them all from judgment and destruction. But how did the people see Moses compared to Aaron?

When Moses, on returning to the camp, confronted the rebels, his severe rebukes and the indignation he displayed in breaking the sacred tables of the law were contrasted by the people with his brother’s pleasant speech and dignified demeanor, and their sympathies were with Aaron. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 323)

Aaron’s calm assurance in a wrong course gave him greater influence with the people than Moses could have had in leading them in a right course and in subduing their rebellion. What terrible spiritual blindness had come upon Aaron that he should put light for darkness and darkness for light! What presumption in him to proclaim a feast to the Lord over their idolatrous worship of a golden image! Here is seen the power that Satan has over minds that are not fully controlled by the Spirit of God. Satan had set up his banner in the midst of Israel, and it was exalted as the banner of God.

“These,” said Aaron without hesitation or shame, “be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Aaron influenced the children of Israel to go to greater lengths in idolatry than had entered their minds. They were no longer troubled lest the burning glory like flaming fire upon the mount had consumed their leader. They thought they had a general who just suited them, and they were ready to do anything that he suggested. They sacrificed to their golden god; they offered peace offerings, and gave themselves up to pleasure, rioting, and drunkenness. They were then decided in their own minds that it was not because they were wrong that they had so much trouble in the wilderness; but the difficulty, after all, was with their leader. He was not the right kind of man. He was too unyielding and kept their sins continually before them, warning, reproving, and threatening them with God’s displeasure. A new order of things had come, and they were pleased with Aaron and pleased with themselves. They thought: If Moses had only been as amiable and mild as Aaron, what peace and harmony would have prevailed in the camp of Israel! They cared not now whether Moses ever came down from the mount or not. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 300)

Determined action was necessary to stop the rebellion. Jesus plainly stated that no earthly ties are to be allowed to stand between us and our duty to him:

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Matthew 8:21, 22)

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)

Two insightful commentaries note:

Thus it was that the place of feasting became the place of death. This summary execution of those who led out in idolatry among the people was necessary to prove to the surrounding nations the definite displeasure of God against heathen worship. As to His own people, the Lord had to convince them that iniquity such as this would not be tolerated. Had God permitted this offense to pass without severe punishment, in the future the Jews would have the more readily yielded to the temptations of idolatry. As the loving protector of Israel, God removed from them those determined to go their own rebellious way, lest they lead others to ruin. These are times when God in His mercy permits the few to perish in order to save the many. Furthermore, if sin had persisted God could no longer have protected them and they would have fallen, defenseless, before their enemies. (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 667).

Men talk and think very slightingly in these days of sins against God’s majesty. They profess scepticism, agnosticism, atheism, “with a light heart.” The idea does not occur to them that their conduct is likely to bring upon them any punishment. But “God’s thoughts are not as man’s thoughts”—God visits such sins with death. Three thousand are slain with the sword on one day because of a few hours of idol-worship. Such is God’s award. And the record of it has been “written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” It is intended to teach us that God will visit for these things; and, if not in this world, then assuredly in the next. (The Pulpit Commentary, Exodus, vol. 2, p. 341)

It might appear cruel that judgment had to be meted out, but for the sake of the people and for the honor of God’s name in Israel and among the heathen, those who would not give up their wickedness had to be destroyed.

Love no less than justice demanded that for this sin judgment should be inflicted. God is the guardian as well as the sovereign of His people. He cuts off those who are determined upon rebellion, that they may not lead others to ruin. In sparing the life of Cain, God had demonstrated to the universe what would be the result of permitting sin to go unpunished. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 325)

“And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made” (Exodus 32:35). Beloved, we live within a world with a church full of Aarons. When a Moses comes along, we want to crucify him. We should pray for more men and even women like Moses but even more than that, we should pray that WE, you and me, beloved, will be men and women like Moses and men and women like Daniel, who will dare to stand alone, and we can by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.

But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man. (Education, p. 57)

Even though I was not a Christian as a youth, the Lord was trying to touch my heart. I knew that there had to be moral absolutes and that there had to be good men who had no price. I loved my father, and I greatly looked up to him in many things, but he was not a Christian. One day he made the statement, “Every man has his price; every man can be bought.” I did not wish to believe that because, firstly, I did not wish to believe he could be bought, that he had a price he would take for wrong doing. Secondly, I wanted to believe that I could be a person someday who could not be bought. Lastly, I wanted to believe that there was a God who could make sinful men good.

At the end of the American Civil War, the beloved General Robert Lee was penniless, as were many of his countrymen. Money was scarce. About that time a state lottery offered him ten thousand dollars a year for the use of his name. That was a great amount of money for that time. Lee replied with his usual dignity: “Gentlemen, my name is all I have left, and that is not for sale.” Beloved, it has been said that your character is what you have left when everything that can be taken away from you has been taken away. Robert Lee had his name representing his character. It was who he was. It was not for sale! The name Christian should never be for sale. Let us abandon all pride and also the timidity that would cause us to fear and to compromise in fearful times, and let us accept the brave meekness of Moses and of Christ and hold on to the faith once delivered to the saints.



From the File Cabinet of History

Footnote: While Elder Froom noted that James White and Joseph Bates were the only two ministers to come out of The Christian Connection and that the majority came from other churches, such as Baptist and Methodist, what we need to realize is that all of those early men left the trinitarian position and believed in the plain biblical statements about God and his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This position was so overwhelming that when the 1872 non-trinitarian statement of fundamental principles was printed, it could be said: “In presenting to the public this synopsis of our faith, we wish to have it distinctly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible. We do not put forth this as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them.” (A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists; Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, Battle Creek, Mich.: 1872)

Froom to Gane 1 1 Froom to Gane 2 Froom to Gane 3


Youth’s Corner — Under the Iron Regulations of Militarism

(This month we continue a series taken from the book Youthful Witnesses by W. A. Spicer, published in 1921. This month’s story is the first part of Chapter 18.)  

THROUGH the years, in various lands, young men called to military service have faced trying conditions in standing loyally for God’s law, while seeking to do their duty as loyal subjects of the country and the powers that be. As among men in every association of life, such youth have found in army camps officers in command who regarded and respected religion and were quick to see that regulations could often be interpreted to favor individual convictions. Over again and again, however, under the traditions of unbending militarism, and sometimes in the power of men who feared not God and who exceeded regulations in the effort to break down religious convictions, young men have borne witness to the truth that Christ’s grace is sufficient in every crisis of the soul’s experience.

SPECIAL GRACE AMID TRIAL

While in Europe, before the war, the writer [Spicer] sat one day with Secretary R., of one of the union conferences, taking notes as he told the story of his experiences under military discipline for loyalty to the Sabbath of the Lord. With notes abbreviated here and there, the story is transcribed as follows:

I was several times in prison, but through it all I was granted the blessing of the Lord in an unmistakable manner. And the more severe the punishment, the greater the blessing of the Lord.

When tasks were set on the Sabbath which I was unable to fulfil, I had opportunity to explain the obligations of the fourth commandment. Upon failure to do the work, my case was taken in hand. First I was placed under disciplinary punishment, which is set by the captain immediately in charge. This punishment is of two kinds: First, three days of “middle arrest,” in a cell having only a board bed as furniture, and with only bread and water to eat. When the next occasion brought fresh punishment, the second form was that of seven days in the dark cell. That means three days in complete darkness, so dark that one cannot see his hand before him or see the bread and water that is passed in at mealtime; then for a day one is allowed to be in a light cell, and good food furnished, and then comes another three days of the total darkness.

However, the Lord was with me in the darkness as well as in the light, and I always insisted on keeping the Sabbath as commanded by the Lord. This brought me up for the formal judgment of a military court. The special charge on which I came before the court was brought about in this wise: I was with my regiment on the drill ground. It was Friday evening, just at the beginning of the Sabbath. The first lieutenant came to watch the orders, because it was well known that I would refuse to continue work into the Sabbath hour. I had been standing at one side.

Just at the Sabbath hour I went to the lieutenant in command and begged him to let me go, as the Sabbath was at hand, the day commanded of God to be kept holy. However, he did not grant my request, and the command was given me to bring a cannon ball. I was compelled to refuse. This first lieutenant had never shown a bitter spirit toward me before; but now it seemed as if an evil influence possessed him, and he cried out in a loud voice, berating me. The Lord kept me very quiet. Others of the men appeared very much excited by the unusual incident and the tension of the situation.

After telling me to take myself away, the officer called me back again, and said, “What are you? What are you, then? Are you a heathen?”

“No, I am a Christian,” I said.

“What!” he replied, “you are a heathen. Take yourself away.” And with further harsh words he denounced me.

It was a defeat for him, and victory for me. I felt it, for the Lord kept me very quiet and calm. The men and inferior officers knew that I had been upright and conscientious in my work and life, and their sympathies were with me.

A few minutes later the leader of the cannon to which I was appointed again said, “You must fetch the ball.”

I said, “I cannot.” He gave a new order, and again I said, “I cannot, on account of my conscience.”

Then the officer in command again denounced me severely, commanding me to take myself away to the Turks and to the heathen.

“Lieutenant,” I said, “it is not I who am erring in this matter; for the Bible commands distinctly that we should keep the seventh day holy unto the Lord; and it is the Lord himself who commands.”

He roughly told me to cease speaking of the Bible, and declared he would send me to prison instantly. “Sergeant,” he said, “take this man at once to prison.”

So to prison I went, and fourteen days later I was tried before the formal military court. This same first lieutenant came and bore a very good testimony for me. He spoke in the kindest manner concerning my faithfulness in everything except the question of work upon the Sabbath. Inasmuch as officers are not allowed to speak abusively to the men under them, he evidently wished to make amends for his former course. Eight to ten officers constituted the court, and in the end I was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.

I was ushered into the prison cell on the evening before Christmas, “holy evening,” as it is called. Before taking me into the cell, the prison officer said to me: “Well, you are not the first of these to come. We have had experience before with those who suffered in a holy cause. Now I will tell you at once that I do not believe in anything. I believe all that is required of any one is to be honest, and that is enough.”

I spoke a few words to him regarding my religious experience, and entered the cell. It was cold, and I felt my teeth chattering. It was still light enough to see in the cell, and I sat down on the bed, which was old and very dirty; and my eyes caught sight of a Bible on a shelf over the door. I took down the Bible and opened it to read from the psalms. As I sat reading those psalms that evening, the blessing of the Lord came into my heart as I never had experienced it before. Tears of love and thankfulness flowed down my cheeks. It was a wonderful experience. The moment I found myself shut into the prison, the blessing came in overflowing measure.

My work in the prison was the sewing of bags, and I was supposed to do so many hours’ work each day. On Friday evenings, however, I laid aside the work. The sergeant, noticing this, gave orders for me to go on with the work. I had quietly to tell him that I could not. For this he gave notice to the chief of the prison, and an investigation was ordered. However, this investigation was deferred in some providential way, so that it did not come before my two months of imprisonment were up, and I was again free from the prison.

All through those days the blessing of the Lord was with me. Often as I worked, tears of thankfulness and love dropped down upon the bags, and often I was impelled by the Spirit of God to kneel down and thank the Lord for His love and grace. By His grace I was resolved to endure to the uttermost. All the hardness of the experience was as nothing compared with the overflowing love of Christ that visited me.

As the prison term was expiring, I sought the Lord earnestly to deliver me, so that I might not come a second time into this prison; for during these two months I was shut away from all others, so that I had no opportunity whatever to speak to any concerning religion. Other prisoners were together at times, but I was kept alone. I felt that it could not be the Lord’s will that I should be such a long time shut away from any opportunity of being a help to others.

The last day of my imprisonment I prayed: “Lord, if it is Thy will, do not let me come back into the prison; but Thy will be done.” Almost as clearly as if I could see it, though really I could not, there came to me mentally a view of the cross lifted up on Golgotha, overspread by beams of light; and with the thought came very clearly the conviction that I must endure yet another time of punishment.

As I stepped out of the cell on my release, I could not help turning and saying, “Now farewell, beloved cell” because I had experienced there so much of the blessing of the Lord.

The sergeant said to me, “What are you saying? No one has ever said such a thing as that before.”

“I say it,” I replied, “because I have experienced the blessing of the Lord here.”

That night I was allowed to return to my room in the town near the barracks, where I had been living in the home of one of our sisters in the truth. Next day I was to report again at the barracks. I had again to prepare my clothing for the return to service, and as I expected it would be a return to punishment, I felt as if preparing the instruments for my own suffering. I thought of Isaac carrying the wood for the offering.

Next morning I reported at the barracks. I was not looking very well, as I had not slept much the previous night; also I had been considerably burdened owing to the grief that my family felt over my conduct and experience. None of my own family believing as I did, it was naturally a great hardship to my parents and brothers and sisters to see me taking a course which they could not understand, although they knew I was conscientious.

The officer to whom I reported suggested that I announce myself sick, so I would be excused for a time. I said, “No, I cannot do that.” However, when the doctor came to examine me, he found that I was somewhat feverish, and sent me to the hospital.

I was left in the hospital until a petition which I had sent from prison to the war office had been replied to. In the petition, I had requested to be allowed to serve in the sanitary corps, where, in the care of the sick, I should be able to regulate Sabbath duties in such a way as not to infringe upon the requirements of the regular military regime. However, the minister of war denied the application.

Again as the Sabbath came, I was upon the drill ground, and had to refuse to serve. The officer in command laid his hand upon my shoulder and said, “You are arrested.”

This time the officers were very angry. In due time I came before the court. It is the rule that the officer who makes the complaint make also the request for punishment. Now the officer demanded a punishment of four months and fourteen days. The military court went still farther, and the sentence was six months’ imprisonment.

As I walked from the courtroom, I felt a measure of gratitude to see that the newspaper reporters were present, and I thought that possibly by their presence the testimony given before the court would make known the Sabbath truth to many people. And sure enough, the report truly went out generally to the press.

However, when I reached the prison, the cold sweat stood on my forehead, as I thought of my parents and the experiences that might be before me. I knelt down and prayed the Lord that through the newspapers and by other means He would make known His Sabbath truth, and turn all things to His glory. This brought comfort to me.

I spent some days in prison while the sentence was being confirmed. During these days I did not experience the blessing of the Lord in the measure that I had felt before in the prison cell. This brought grief to my heart. “What does this mean?” I asked myself. “Is it that I have done something of which the Lord does not approve? Why does the Lord not help?” One moment only Satan came with his doubts, but I prayed to the Lord: “Lord, it is Thy cause, and not mine; and because it is Thy truth, it cannot be defeated.” As I prayed, the blessing of the Lord came, though not so fully as before.

Soon the sentence was confirmed, and I was taken to the military fortress at _____ and ushered into a cell. The moment I found myself again shut in alone, that instant there came flooding into my heart the grace and the love of God, and I was filled with joy and with courage as in the former experience. 1 can never cease to praise the Lord that His grace came, so all-sufficient in the time of trial.

This time the circumstances were yet more unfavorable. The chief of the prison could offer no mitigation of the sentence. I felt indeed that the only hope was in the Lord.

The Sabbath came. That morning I had prayed very earnestly, and felt at peace. I felt that there was some experience coming in which I would need help. In a short time I heard the doors of the prison opening and shutting. As the sergeant came to my door, each time I had to call out, “Cell number eight! Occupied by Prisoner R. He has six months’ imprisonment.”

This time, although I was not working, the officer gave me no order.

Shortly afterward came the lieutenant, and said, “Where is your work?”

I replied, “This is the Sabbath of the Lord, and the Lord forbids me to work upon it.”

“You must show your work,” he said.

I told him it was there, pointing to the floor, and he passed it, entering his signature on the record, as if I were doing the work.

Again and again during these months of imprisonment, officers threatened to report, and assured me of still more severe punishment; but somehow the Lord prevented any orders being given, so that I escaped further difficulties that might have come on account of keeping the Sabbath while in the prison.

After four months I was one day ordered to dress in other than prison garments, for removal to the hospital.

“Why is this?” I said; “I am not ill.”

“I do not know,” said the officer; “you will probably have your head taken off and another head put on.”

“No,” I said, “only another heart.”

He said, “Your heart is good enough; what you need is another head.”

So I was taken away, accompanied by two men with guns, and put into a hospital, where I learned I was to be held under observation to ascertain whether I was mentally sound or not. Asked if I had any special wishes, I requested only that I might be allowed to have a Bible.

“Yes,” said the sergeant, “give this man a Bible. He shall have a Bible; but no one shall try to speak or converse with him about religion.” If I endeavored to talk with any one about religion, I was to be isolated.

A yet higher medical officer often spoke with me, and as he was a man greatly interested in literature, we became very friendly together. In college I had studied literature, and was well acquainted with works of which the medical officer was fond.

After six weeks in the hospital, under observation as to my mental soundness, a report was made in my case, and I was returned again to prison, where I remained for some days, working as before. Eighteen days later a medical officer came asking me various questions, which I answered, maintaining simply my duty to obey God and to keep the fourth commandment of His law.

“Now,” he said, “if you like to be here your whole life, you may remain here if you will.”

I told him that it was not my wish to remain there, but that I was only telling him what the Bible plainly commanded men to do.

“This is logical nonsense,” he said.

I felt that hope for release was gone, and that I was to be left indefinitely.

Four days later the sergeant came to me with orders to put on my better dress, and report to the captain. On reporting to him, I was told that they were resolved to investigate thoroughly my mental responsibility, and for this purpose I was to be sent to another city, to undergo observation in a clinical hospital.

Before leaving, a superior officer said, “Now, R., when you get free from military service, I suppose you will say that God looked upon your martyrdom and helped you.”

I said, “Yes; I certainly believe that God does help.” And so I left for the clinic at _____.

The day after my arrival at the clinic, the physician in charge, a well-known professor, came with his staff and spoke with me.

“You are an intelligent man,’ he said. “You must remember also your obligations, and relate yourself to circumstances. We will help you. We do not want your young mind crumpled up and shattered.”

A few days afterward he talked with me in his office, urging that I drop these notions which had brought me into trouble. I explained to him that I could not do otherwise and be true to the plain word of God, which all Christians profess to believe.

“Then you must bear the consequences,” he said. “The responsibility is your own.”

I was given to understand that my behavior was on test, and I prayed the Lord that He would give me grace before this man and before others.

For a fortnight I went in and out, doing the duties which had been assigned me in the fields, along with others under observation for various physical ills or mental weaknesses.

One day an assistant in the physical laboratory came into the ward where I was. He had in his hand a parcel, that by the wrapping seemed to me a little mathematical device with which I was familiar, used by mechanical engineers and others in working out the finest measurements of spaces and capacities.

I said, “Have you not there a device for reckoning logarithms?”

“Yes,” he replied, and wanted to know if I understood the use of it, saying that the chief professor was looking for someone to show him how to use it.

I told him that I understood its use, so he asked me if I would come that afternoon to the laboratory. 1 told him that I had been ordered to work in the fields, and moreover my misfit working clothing was hardly appropriate for the laboratory.

“Well,” he said, “I will tell the professor.”

He reported to the professor, and brought back orders that I was to be released from field work, and was to come to the laboratory to assist this young man in certain investigations and mathematical estimates on which he was engaged.

As I had had training as a mechanical engineer, I was familiar with these things. The head professor came also, and as we worked on the investigations and experiments, I came into very friendly contact with him.

Six weeks passed in this way, and I had been invited to visit the professor at his home. One afternoon, as I had refused the offer of a cigar, he said, “You do not smoke?”

“No,” I replied, “Seventh-day Adventists do not smoke, believing it to be a harmful practice, and that we should conserve all our powers for the active service of God.”

He said he did not smoke very much, but now and then he used tobacco because he had found his friends testifying that it was a help to drive away sad thoughts.

I, however, was glad to suggest that in all difficulties and trials I found solace and comfort in the Lord.

At last he asked me if I would like to have my liberty. I said, “Certainly; there are only two things, freedom and the prison, and the choice is not difficult.”

“Well,” he said, “we will find a way. I will direct this thing so that you shall be free.”

I went from the interview with my heart singing for joy. My friend, the mechanic whom I had been helping, let me know that the professor was trying to secure my release from the army, and to arrange so that I would not have to go back to the prison for the remaining time of my sentence. He said the professor had asked the authorities if I could not remain four weeks longer helping him, until I should be released.

The reply from the authorities, however, denied the professor’s request, so it was settled that I must return to the hospital where I had first been under observation, until all my papers were ready. It was apparent that some report had been made on which it was expected that I would be released altogether from army service.

Before I left the clinic, the professor called me and said: “We are sorry you must go. We have telephoned twice to _____ to get permission for you to remain here for a few weeks, but did not get a favorable answer. Now as you go, keep the clinic always in remembrance, and also bear us in mind when you no longer wear the king’s uniform.’

As I returned to the hospital, he sent with me a letter instructing the authorities that I should not be treated as an evil person. Four weeks after that I was free.

Of course, I never was shown the report that had been made by the professor on my case. By the assurances of his friendly determination that I should not be compelled to suffer punishment for conscientious convictions, and by the fact that I had been assigned to the clinic to have my mental responsibility investigated, it is evident what the report must have been. Owing to the fact that I was compelled to maintain unwavering loyalty to the Lord in the matter of keeping His holy day, a thing looked upon as quite unnecessary and abnormal, the professor could readily set forth the case as one indicating a peculiar mental bias.

But I was not yet quite free, being subject to call to military service at some later time. When I had returned to my home, however, I became ill from the effects of the experiences passed through, and was compelled to undergo a serious operation. Now by the medical reports in this case I am quite free for all time from the call to enter the army.

In some ways this sickness was a greater trial even than the imprisonment; but through it all the blessing of the Lord has been mine. Looking back to the prison experiences, and the special help that came in time of trial, when one could never tell what the next step might be, I must testify that the Lord’s grace was every day sufficient. “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” Even the weakest could have endured all by the love of Christ which was shed abroad in my heart so abundantly through His grace.

To be continued next month.


Suppose

by Allen Stump

Suppose you had been living in the year 680 BC during the time of the reign of King Manasseh. The systematic destruction of the worship of Jehovah would, in fact, have been almost finished. The worship of idols—the worship of Baal, Molech, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and other pagan deities—would have been in full swing. Second Kings 21 informs us:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel. (2 Kings 21:1–9)

Friends, I don’t know how we could write a worse scenario of apostasy than this. Manasseh sustained idolatrous priests, and we can be sure that he was politically correct concerning the sodomites in his kingdom. There were no attempts to stop wizards or necromancers, either. We know this because the Bible says so in the quotation above and because of information we have in chapter 23. Manasseh had a grandson, Josiah, and in the eighteenth year of his reign, he began to make some serious reforms:

And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem . . . And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. . . . Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. (2 Kings 23:3–5, 12, 24)

{NOTE: Josiah began reigning when he was eight years old, so he was twenty-six years old at the time of reform.}

Josiah did all these things. In verse 7, we read that he broke down the houses of the sodomites that were by the house of the LORD.

Based upon what we read in chapter 23, let us stop and form a picture of what Josiah tried to reform. We read in chapter 21 of things that needed to be reformed. Within the nation of those who were to be the people of God inside the city of God, inside the very courts of the temple of God, we find in the temple that had been dedicated to the service of Jehovah pagan altars. We also find instruments for pagan service. We even find a pagan grove inside the court of the Lord and friends, you do not grow a grove overnight.

If we go back a little in 2 Kings to chapter 16, we read of Ahaz going to Damascus and becoming infatuated with an altar that was used in worship. He went back to Jerusalem and told the priests to build an altar like the one in Damascus. He had taken the blueprint back, and he had the new altar placed in the house of the Lord. They actually moved the Lord’s brazen altar to the side so it would not obscure the view of the worshiper at the false altar. This was the kind of sin that was going on around 680 BC.

Suppose you had decided to remain true to Jehovah, would you have gone to that temple in 680 BC to worship Jehovah?

Let us remember the Jews clearly were the chosen people of God, for God said so:

Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10)

God said he was going to give them something:

Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. (Deuteronomy 12:13, 14)

God said they were his people and that he was going to give them a special place to do their offerings, and we know that this place was in Jerusalem:

For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (Deuteronomy 32:9)

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. (Psalm 48:2)

What city was the city of the great King? It was Jerusalem. And the temple was the place in Jerusalem where they were to worship.

In 1 Kings 8 Solomon’s dedicatory prayer of the temple is recorded and in verses 33 through 36, we read:

When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, [Did this actually happen? Just seven chapter later.] because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. (1 Kings 8:33–35)

There can be question that God had ordained this group of people, this city, and this temple, but it was not the temple, nor the city, nor the nation that they were to worship. While it is true that the place at one time had been blessed, that blessing was dependent upon God’s presence being there. The place was of no significance of itself if God was not there, of no significance if God’s priests were not there, and of no significance if his services were not there. Perhaps you have heard it said, Well, I go to church there [at a certain place] because I’m a member there. But why are you a member there? Well, because I’ve always been a member. And that is what a lot of people probably said in the days of Manasseh—I know that they worship Baal there; I know that the preacher believes in Baal there, but this is Jehovah’s church, and this is where we are to go worship. I am just doing what God said to do.

We tend to think that the worship of Baal and the worship of Jehovah were very distinct and different, but here, friends, we make a great mistake. {NOTE: Some of the pagan gods, like Molech, to whom they passed their children through fire, obviously was very different from the worship of Jehovah.} The worship of this thunder god, this rain god, called Baal was, in fact, very similar to the worship of Jehovah. Some scholars declare that there was actually very little difference between the Jews’ religion and that of the Babylonian pagans. These similarities became a stumbling block to Israel, who was continually being deceived into various forms of apostate worship. Notice what one scholar said concerning this:

In spite of all the changing ideas through the years, ancient Babylon in the days of the Old Testament prophets still presents to the student a marvelous counterfeit of the revealed religion of God . . .

In general plan, for instance, the temples of Babylonia, Egypt and Assyria have much in common with the temple of Solomon. So much so that Dr. Sayce said, “The temple of Solomon, in fact, was little more than a reproduction of a Babylonian sanctuary” . . .

Not only where the Babylonian temples similar to that of Solomon, but striking similarities are found in their priesthood and ritual. Every great Babylonian sanctuary had its priests with a High Priest at their head. The priest was the mediator between the worshipper and his god . . . Animals without blemish were offered as sacrifices, and there were also meal offerings. The morning and evening sacrifice was conducted daily . . . A tithe of all the land produced belong to the priests as well as certain portions of the sacrifices . . .

Old Babylon had her sacred books . . . and the penitential psalms. The latter resemble somewhat the Psalms of the Old Testament . . . In studying these, together with their myths and epics, which were largely on the subject of religion, one finds many concepts and ideas that in a remarkable way parallel the true. (Paul C. Heubach, The Prophetic Significance of God’s Judgment Upon Babylon, Thesis, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, pp. 6–14; as quoted by R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short in 1888 RE-EXAMINED, p. 152; all ellipses are in 1888 RE-EXAMINED)

Notice with Ellen White says:

What astonishing deception and fearful blindness had, like a dark cloud, covered Israel! This blindness and apostasy had not closed about them suddenly; it had come upon them gradually . . . (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 280, 281; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

When you have something that is very distinct and different, you can see the difference. It is easy to recognize. A counterfeit has to look something like the original to fool people. If you want radical change to take place, it has to be brought in subtly and gradually. When change is accomplished a little at a time, people become accustomed to the change and as one generation passes to the next, the change continues. Friends, we are talking about a period of about one hundred years or more for Israel to have reached this level of apostasy. For example, during the time of the apostasy when Elijah was alive, Ellen White noted:

. . . it had come upon them gradually as they had not heeded the word of reproof and warning which the Lord had sent to them because of their pride and their sins. And now, in this fearful crisis, in the presence of the idolatrous priests and the apostate king, they remained neutral. If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. (Ibid.)

Now the context of this statement is the time of Elijah, but I tell you that in the time of Manasseh in Judah, there was very little difference from what was happening in the northern kingdom of Israel at the time of Elijah. If anything, it was worse. To be neutral, to say, Look, I am going to worship in the house of the Lord, even though I know they are worshiping Baal there, and I’m not going to say anything about it. I am just going to be a little, quiet church mouse and witness by my life is a crime against your God.

Sometimes things appear to be business as usual and that there to be no reason to worry because our ministers have General Conference credentials which, we think, tell us that the ministers are reliable and that we can trust them, but I think of Frank Abagnale. When he was but a teenager, he posed as a Pan Am pilot and obtained free rides on over two hundred fifty flights to twenty-six countries. He wrote over two and a half million dollars in bad checks. He posed as a doctor, a lawyer, a broker, and even a university professor, all before the age of twenty-one. He forged checks, documents, and identification papers. He looked genuine. He looked real enough to fool thousands and thousands of people, but he was none of that which he portrayed. Today there are ministers of Baal who claim to be ministers of Jehovah and who masquerade as such, and there are churches which claim to be churches of Jehovah and that masquerade as such, but are really churches of Baal, and the people do not recognize the difference.

Suppose you had been living in 680 BC during the time of Manasseh, when a grove was in the temple, when the worship of Baal was in the temple, and when an altar for Baal was in the temple, along with all the instruments of worshiping Baal. Would you have gone to that temple and worshiped? I tell you, it was subtle then. Many thought that the temple was still the place where Jehovah was being worship and that the grove and instruments of Baal were the instruments of worshiping Jehovah; and people go to church today in the midst of crosses, crucifixes, and steeples and think they are worshiping Jehovah. Drums and electric guitars upon the sacred platform are used for contemporary music. Ministers wear jeans and contemporary clothing. Common language, and even slang language, is used. Instead of the only true God and his Son being worshiped, “a strange god” whom our fathers did not know (Daniel 11:38, 39) is being worshiped as the trinity. If you know what you are looking for, you will know that this is not the place where Jehovah is worshiped. But many people do not know the difference.

To Frank Abagnale’s credit, after his release from prison, he began working for the FBI and continues to do so as a specialist on fraud control. He can tell you better than anyone else that fraud looks very much like the real thing. We have been told:

The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error. (The Review and Herald, October 22, 1903)

It is very interesting to note that the name Baal in patriarchal times meant husband or the one who was the master, the baal, of the wife. Early in the Bible, the word husband is simply translated from the Hebrew word ish, which meant man. The wife could say about her husband, he’s my man. When a woman in those early times said he’s my husband, she was literally saying he’s my man. But another word came into the vernacular for the idea of husband. This word was used even in reputable places, and that was the word baal. Baal meant husband or lord. For example notice:

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband [baal]. (Proverbs 12:4)

A virtuous woman is a crown to her baal. It is the same word in the Hebrew that is translated in 1 Kings 17 and 18 for Baal worship. It meant husband or her lord. Another text says:

The heart of her husband [baal]doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (Proverbs 31:11)

The Hebrew says the heart of her baal. In verse 23, we read:

Her husband [baal] is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. (Proverbs 31:23)

The text says her baal is known in the gates.

Now for a very interesting, almost shocking, usage of the Hebrew baal, notice the following verse from Isaiah:

For thy Maker is thine husband [baal]; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (Isaiah 54:5)

In the King James version, the word Maker is capitalized. Why? Because it shows that the translators are denoting deity, and the expression “For thy Maker is thine husband” complements “the LORD of hosts is his name.” I ask you a question: The Hebrew word translated husband here is baal. Clearly it is not speaking about the same Baal that is the Phoenician god of thunder and weather. The King James version is simply using the term baal as expressed in the common vernacular of the day.

{NOTE: I once shared this text with a person who, we would say, was very into the idea of the sacred name. Exodus 23:13 says, “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” This person, therefore would not even say the name Baal. I said to this person that Jehovah is called baal in the Bible in one place. That can’t be; that can’t be was the response. I showed the person the text and this person said that the text was wrong and was a bad translation because it just could not be.}

The point we want to make clear is that this distinction between what was called Baal worship and what was called the worship of Jehovah was not as clear-cut to the surface-reading person as we might think. There was great confusion among some. So, when the prophets of Baal prayed on Mount Carmel and said O Baal hear us, they were simply saying, in the common vernacular of the day, O Lord hear us; Lord hear us. A lot of the people did not even know Baal was another god. It was difficult for Israel to sense that they were really worshiping a false god, when the name was the same as commonly used for the true God, but Elijah knew there was a difference in the conception of God.

Likewise today, the name of Christ is used with other Christian terminology, and yet, friends, it means nothing for help in identifying the true Christ, for it is even used for antichrist! Doctrines and ideas possessing a verbal similarity to the truth may deceive many, when the basic concepts are entirely different from the truth. It is not the names of the gods or the names of the doctrines that determine whether they are true or false, but the moral characteristics of the unseen god and the unseen christ.

John 8 reveals what Jesus said about the Jews in his day:

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him. (John 8:54, 55)

Jesus told them that they thought that they knew God, but they did not. Despite their declaration that Jehovah was their father, Jesus revealed otherwise:

Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:41–44)

The devil was their father. The one they thought of as Father, the one they claimed as Jehovah, was not him at all.

So, we can have the right terminology, and we can even use all the right words, but we can have wrong ideas. Wrong ideas are the vehicle for the introduction of a false christ. It is of utmost importance that believers test all their ideas of their christ by the teachings of the word of God because to reject the words of Christ is more than simply rejecting the words, it is rejecting Christ himself. Jesus said in John 6:63, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” When we receive the words of Jesus Christ, we receive his Spirit into our lives, but when we reject his words, we reject his Spirit; we reject him. This means, and don’t miss this point, that the expressed religious beliefs (by expressed beliefs I mean those that are verbal and also those that we live out in our lives) we hold and the opinions of our persons are the ultimate true meter of the state of our heart. If those beliefs and opinions are knowingly on the side of error, then regardless of our outward appearance of holiness, our hearts are at enmity with him who is the truth.

I hear things like: But oh, Brother Allen, even though our pastor teaches the trinitarian doctrine, he has such good messages on health reform. Or I hear: Oh, Brother Allen, I know she rejects the message of Revelation 18:4, but she helps the poor and needy so much and is so good at the Dorcas Society. This might be true, friends, but if we knowingly are outside of the word of Jesus Christ, especially on his identity and his character, then all the rest is worthless, and we are at enmity with Christ, no matter what our profession. Every false presentation of Christ is a presentation of a false christ. Did you get that? Every false presentation of Christ is a presentation of a false christ, and today we have modern priests of Baal who may even profess to be converted Seventh-day Adventists and who may profess to be straight on righteousness by faith, but who are infatuated with a false god.

Suppose you lived in Israel in the time of Manasseh, would you have worshiped at the temple, if those services were to praise Baal or Molech? Think about this before you answer. Would you? What if they didn’t use the name Molech? Maybe they even used the name of Jehovah, but they were worshiping Molech, nevertheless. Or maybe they have gone so far as to write the name of Baal, or even the name of Molech or Ashtoreth, into their fundamental statements of belief. How would you relate to that? Would you worship there? Would you offer your sacrifices there? Would you entrust your sacrifices to those priests to offer for you? The person who came to the temple did not offer the sacrifice himself, but brought his offering in for the priest to offer. Would you take your offering to the priest of Baal to offer for you? Are you going to bring your sacred tithe to the priest of Baal, so that the priest of Baal can be supported while the worship of Jehovah languishes? Are you going to do that? Would you have done that in the year 680 BC? Friends, if you would not do it today, you would not have done it then, but if you go into the liberal apostate churches today where they are preaching and teaching the trinity, playiing rock and roll music with Christian lyrics, or experience a false outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I fear for you. I fear for you that you would have gone into the temple of the Lord at the time when Baal worship had taken over and that you would have worshiped Baal. Friends, God has always made a call to his people to be a separate people and to serve him and him alone.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua said “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” What are you going to do? Will you gather your house and serve the LORD? In 1 Kings 18:25, Elijah, asked the people how long they would halt between God and Baal. Were they going to serve Baal or Jehovah?

We have not done as well as ancient Israel, for we read in Joshua 24:31 that “Israel served the LORD [Jehovah] all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.”

Ellen White died in the year 1915. Now, I would suppose if we would think of a generation that overlived her, maybe people who knew her when they were young, we could at least go to the year 1950 or 1960 and have people who still knew Ellen White, who had heard her speak, and who knew of the wonders that God had wrought among Israel during her lifetime. So, if we were to at least repeat the history of Judah and Israel, we should get at least to the year 1940 before starting off into apostasy, but may I remind you again that every false presentation of Christ is clearly a false christ and very early after Ellen White died in 1915, false presentations of Christ came in among the people.

In the year 1919 a Bible Conference was held, and that Bible Conference dealt largely with the issue of the doctrine of Christ, who he was, and a big push during that conference was made to accept Jesus Christ as the second person of the trinity and not as the only begotten Son of God.

In 1928 we have the publishing of the book The Coming of the Comforter by LeRoy Froom, a fully trinitarian book with information gathered from Pentecostal people. In 1931 we had a new statement of beliefs that actually puts the name of Baal (trinity) into it. In 1955 and 1956, the Seventh-day Adventist evangelical conferences occurred, and out of that we have books of a new order. The omega is in full swing. A denial of the final atonement in heaven, first published in Questions on Doctrine and then written into our statements of belief, has insulted the God of heaven and has done despite to the Son of God. In 1967 representatives were sent to begin attending the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, and in 1980 we had a new fundamental statements of belief, the first fundamental statements of belief that has ever been voted by the laity in full General Conference session and fully approved. In this statements of belief, we have the doctrine of the trinity and the denial of the final atonement as mentioned above.

{NOTE: For a study on this denial, please see The Foundation of Our Faith, chapter 7, available from Smyrna Gospel Ministries.}

No, friends, we have not even done as well as the generation that overlived Joshua. A new generation that has not known Joseph has arisen, but now let us go back to ancient Israel for another lesson. Didn’t good King Josiah bring reform? We read about some of that earlier. He surely tried, but, friends, the deep-seated love of Baal could only be superficially removed. All of his sons, including the one grandson who reigned after him, were wicked men. They all served Baal. They were all cads, and God makes a statement in 2 Kings 23:26 that we need to see: “Notwithstanding [notwithstanding the great reforms that Josiah brought] the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.”

May I remind you, even though Manasseh was one of the wickedest of all kings, he will be in heaven because he repented in his later years and sought the Lord God earnestly. The Bible says that God heard his prayer, he heard his entreaty, and he blessed him, but, friends, he couldn’t undo all that had been done by Manasseh’s earlier years. When we lead people into sin, it is a grievous thing because we may never be able to undo it. We would not want to be the person who goes out and gets his neighbors on dope, but, friends, when we are teaching false, abominable doctrines and are leading people to hell, we are doing far worse than the drug pusher who gets people addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine!

No, friends, we have not equaled ancient Israel, for at least there was a King Josiah who said I have had enough. Israel has strayed into false worship. He did not simply say Israel needed revival and reformation, he did not simply say they could continue living as they were, and he did not please the people who desired smooth teachings. No, not at all! Josiah stood up and said, Enough is enough. We’ve been wrong! We have left the worship of Jehovah, we have started to worship Baal, and we are going to do something about it. {NOTE: Even in the Northern Kingdom there was the working of God for revival. Jehu had all the priests of Baal come together for a big meeting, and he killed each one—all the ones who were left or who had arisen since the time of Elijah.} Josiah was this kind of a man. He said that he had had enough, that this was it, and that he was going to come out and take a position against it. Friends, for a General Conference president to be a Josiah today, he would need to do more than simply be against the ordination of women priestesses for Baal.

For a General Conference president today to be a Josiah, he would need to stand up and say we have been wrong about this trinity business, and it is time to clean house. I want to tell you there may have been some good men since the days of Ellen White, but you can count from Daniells to Branson to Pierson to Wilson, and not one has made such a call for true revival. Beloved, we have not equaled the history of Israel, and I think that if we could see our text in 2 Kings in a modern light today, it might say something like this: Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was kindled against Silver Springs because of all the provocations that Froom, Anderson, and the seminary had provoked him withal.

Suppose you had lived in Israel in the year 680 BC. What would you have done? I can tell you what you would have done. You would have done exactly what you are doing in the year 2014. If you are still clinging to false hopes and a false system, you are still worshiping Baal. Even among those who have followed the second and the fourth angels’ messages, we have influences that are trying to enter in by false teachings—teachings on feast days and false views on righteousness by faith and the declaring that the old tried and true ideas are outdated, or that the law is outdated, or that the prophetess that God, in his wisdom and goodness, has sent his people has let us down and, therefore, should be discarded. These elements come in, and then the cry for unity goes up, and we rush to find unity under the lowest common denominator. Some people will tell you that just as long as we believe in the Father and the Son, we should all get along and put other doctrinal issues to the side, but this is superficial. It should be evident that though we all claim to worship the same Father and Son, this is not so because if we did, we would have the same other doctrines, too. All these truths systematically affect the way we see things. Beloved, God is calling us to higher ground, but will we follow him? Will we be Elijahs? We have been told that we are to carry an Elijah message, but the only way you can give an Elijah message is if you are an Elijah today.

God is calling for purity of character among his people, but, beloved, we will become like that which we behold. The Bible is explicit on this. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are told that by beholding we become changed, and if we are beholding Baal worship, all the time claiming to be worshipers of Jehovah, it will have its effect upon us. Don’t think, friends, that you can sin with impunity against God. The Bible says whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, and if you keep sowing involvement in false worship, if you behold Baal long enough, you will become Baal. {NOTE: You don’t have to go to places with a logo of three wavy lines to participate in false worship. You can bring false worship into your house, you can stream it through the Internet, and you can read it in books and magazines.} To be like Jesus, to be like the true Jesus, we have to behold the true Jesus, and he is found in his word. You need to study God’s word as if your life depended upon it because it does. It does!

Reach out, and the outstretched hand of Jesus will receive you and help you find the salvation you need. We can’t save ourselves, beloved. Think back to Mount Carmel. It was the false prophets of Baal who were screaming, contorting themselves, and cutting their flesh, somehow trying to bring about a reaction and appeasement from their god.

Suppose you had been on Mount Carmel, where would you have stood? Would you have stood with the majority of the multitude, or would you have stood with the majority of one? On Mount Carmel it was the priests of Baal against one man, but when the fire finally fell, the people said the Lord, he is God. Remember that? The Lord, he is God. They didn’t say it exactly like that, however. Notice what they did say:

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. (1 Kings 18:39)

They were saying Jehovah is the God. He is not just a god, he is the God. There had not been a distinction made. Now they knew that there were two different gods and that Jehovah was the true God.

Aachen is a city in Germany. It is the home of the father of Alfred the Great and the home of Edith Frank, the mother of Anne Frank. It is nestled near the border of France and during World War II, it was surrounded by American forces. Adolf Hitler sent orders to his Nazi commander and troops in Aachen to stand and die to the last man in the city’s defense, but the American commander in charge, Lt. General Courtney H. Hodges, wanted to give the city an opportunity to surrender before destroying it. So, he sent an ultimatum to the Nazi commander and to the mayor of the city of one hundred sixty-five thousand people, asking them to surrender and spare themselves, as the city was surrounded. The Americans dropped thousands of leaflets to the citizens, telling them to surrender and prevent needless bloodshed. The leaflet stated:

Aachen is encircled. American troops surround the city. The German command cannot relieve you.

People of Aachen! The time has come for honorable surrender. We Americans do not wage war on innocent civilians. But if the leaders insist on further sacrifice, we have no course but to destroy your city.

There is no time to lose. On our airfields, bombers are waiting for final orders to take off. Our artillery surrounding the city is ready to fire. People of Aachen, act quickly. Tomorrow may be too late. There is only one choice—immediate surrender or complete destruction.

Suppose you had been one of the people in the city of Aachen, what would you have done?

The Germans did not surrender, and great destruction ensued.

Friends, God is trying to warn you today. He is trying to warn each one of us. Destruction is coming, and the only, the solitary, hope we have is surrender. It is surrender of self, surrender of the soul, to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do not surrender, destruction will come. The choice is yours. Choose you this day whom ye will serve. Choose whether you are going to serve Jehovah or Baal. Friends, if you are going to serve Jehovah, you must serve him fully. You can’t serve him in part. You cannot have agreement with a temple of idols.

Let us now consider the inspired counsel of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15)

We cannot serve the God of the universe in temples of idols, and let us be sure we do not bring the temples of idols into our own houses and worship in that way.

Today the door of mercy is still open. Today the invitation is still open. Some of the people for whom we have been praying, some of the people for whom we have been working—our neighbors, our family members, our associates—we may somehow still reach with the three angels’ messages. The door is open, but let us first be sure that we are worshiping the God of the three angels’ messages. Let’s be sure that we ourselves are uniting upon true, biblical principles and not with the temple of idols. A new, updated version of Bible Studies To Do at Home by David Sims is now available at Smyrna Gospel Ministries. We encourage you to obtain a copy and complete the lessons Brother Sims has written on “This Is Life Eternal,” The Personality of God, “That They Might Know Thee,” The Father & The Son, “The Only True God,” “And Jesus Christ,” The Holy Spirit, A Day With God, and God’s Love on Trial. Please contact the Smyrna office at 304–732–9204, if you are interested in obtaining a copy or copies to share.


Tasty Recipe: Granny Ann’s Cabbage Stew—A Favorite!

Ingredients:

Tenderize the onion and green pepper and place in a soup kettle. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until cabbage is tender.


YouTube Channel: We are pleased to announce that we have posted some very important new videos on our YouTube channel this month.

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

“The Axis of Evil” has been posted at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1ijQl296OE&feature=share&list=UUvsrGJG5fm2ux0AEwVuoVAw&index=1. As noted on page 8, the article on the two covenants is also in sermon format posted on YouTube, as is also a very important sermon entitled, “God’s Goal of Unity.” All of these videos are also available on DVD upon request.


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.