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.
The secret of the LORD is with them
that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 25, No.7 Straight and Narrow
And he said
unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days;
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
In this issue:
The Antitypical Day of Atonement
The Trespass Offering
2016 WC Camp Meeting Report
Pope Francis on Forgiveness to
Supreme Court News
The Antitypical Day of
Coming to Grips with Terms and Its Early Historical Development in Adventism
No doctrine dominates the Adventist horizon like the doctrine of the sanctuary. While the sabbath and the second coming of Christ are certainly vital doctrines, it is the sanctuary doctrine alone that fully and truly sets the Seventh-day Adventist people apart from all others. Within the sanctuary doctrine in both the typical and the antitypical, nothing stands as paramount as the Day of Atonement. Within the Day of Atonement, we find the cleansing of the sanctuary and a biblical teaching that we call
the investigative judgment.
Sometimes the Day of Atonement is called the
final atonement. Within
this broad sphere of the final atonement is the cleansing of the
sanctuary, and within that sphere is the investigative judgment,
sometimes called the pre-advent judgment. To demonstrate it
graphically, it might look like the figure below.
The doctrines of the investigative judgment and of the cleansing of the sanctuary were never taught, understood, or explained for the first eighteen and one half centuries of Christianity. To some this is a strong argument against these teachings, for if they were truth, then would not the apostles and early church fathers have taught them? What must be factored into the equation is the concept of present truth. While the Bible discusses the concepts of judgment in the Old Testament and while the typical Day of Atonement was revealed in the Old Testament, they did not become present truth for the people of God until the era of 1844. It is true that history fails to find a people preaching the message of Revelation 14:7, “the hour of his judgment is come,” before the 1844 era, but it is for the very reason that the hour of his judgment had not yet come and, therefore, could not have been preached or presented correctly as such before that time.
In 1831 William Miller, a former infidel-turned-Baptist minister, began his public presentations upon the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ. Basing his predictions upon Daniel 8:14, he predicted that Christ was soon to come in 1843. Ellen White records hearing William Miller preach:
In March, 1840, William Miller visited Portland, Maine, and gave his first course of lectures on the second coming of Christ. These lectures produced a great sensation, and the Christian church on Casco Street, occupied by Mr. Miller, was crowded day and night. No wild excitement attended these meetings, but a deep solemnity pervaded the minds of those who heard his discourses. Not only was there manifested a great interest in the city, but the country people flocked in day after day, bringing their lunch baskets, and remaining from morning until the close of the evening meeting.
In company with my friends I attended these meetings and listened to the startling announcement that Christ was coming in 1843, only a few short years in the future. Mr. Miller traced down the prophecies with an exactness that struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. He dwelt upon the prophetic periods, and brought many proofs to strengthen his position. Then his solemn and powerful appeals and admonitions to those who were unprepared, held the crowds as if spellbound. (Ellen G. White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 14)
Miller and others advocating the advent doctrine later revised the time to the spring of 1844 and finally to October 22, 1844. Ellen White again supplies the history:
In explaining Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” Miller, as has been stated, adopted the generally received view that the earth is the sanctuary, and he believed that the cleansing of the sanctuary represented the purification of the earth by fire at the coming of the Lord. When, therefore, he found that the close of the 2300 days was definitely foretold, he concluded that this revealed the time of the second advent. His error resulted from accepting the popular view as to what constitutes the sanctuary. (Ellen G. White,
The Great Controversy, p. 352)
After October 22, 1844, Miller never progressed on his view of the sanctuary. On October 23, 1844, however, Hiram Edson was inspired to consider that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth or any man-made temple but, rather, the temple in heaven, of which Moses had built a pattern.
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (Hebrews 8:1–5)
Edson’s view, later picked up by Owen Russell Loomis (ORL) Crosier and others, ran then and still runs today counter to
orthodox Christian thought. While some Christian leaders understand Daniel 8:14 to be the cleansing of a sanctuary, they believe it to have been Zerubbabel’s temple built after the time of Daniel.
James E. Smith, in his book
The Major Prophets,
Old Testament Survey Series, gives the following table diagram.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, page 1449, gives a similar view
as seen below.
All of these views deny the year-day principle, and, despite heroic attempts to find two important historical dates 2,300 days apart, nothing correctly fits, and only approximate dates can be used at best. This pales in contrast to the understanding God gave his people of the year-day principle and of beginning the prophecy in the fall of 457
BC, with the 2,300 years coming down to October 22, 1844.
The cleansing of the sanctuary, an Adventist concept, expanded to include, but was not restricted to, the concept of the investigative judgment.
The concept of the investigative judgment
In December 17, 1856, Elon Everts wrote a letter to the
Review. About this time he was traveling with Josiah Hart and James and Ellen White, as he and Hart were taking Elder and Sister White, by sleigh, from Round Grove, Illinois, to Waukon, Iowa.
As they traveled together it seems highly probable that they discussed ideas and a special point of interest on which Everts dwelt in his letter, which was written for publication in the
Review. That point was noted in his letter, which began:
I am passing through a solemn train of thought. The question with me is “Where are we?” I answer, “More than twelve years past the proclamation, ‘The hour of his judgment is come’” (Revelation 14:6, 7). We have been the same length of time in the cleansing of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:14). (Elon Everts,
The Review and Herald, January 1, 1857)
I inquire, “What was the cleansing of the sanctuary under the first covenant?” It was the day of judgment. What did it typify? The work in the antitypical sanctuary, which has been going on since A.D. 1844. (Ibid.)
Building on this, Everts stated the logical conclusion:
Therefore, my dear brethren, believing that Christ will soon come, I inquire again, Where are we? I answer. In the judgment of the saints; for Peter says that judgment first begins at the house of God. Chap.iv,17. It appears that the order is, that the righteous dead have been under
investigative judgment since 1844. (Ibid.; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)
My dear brethren, from the scriptures referred to I solemnly believe that the judgment has been going on in the heavenly sanctuary since 1844, and that upon the righteous dead. (Ibid.)
Arriving back in Battle Creek early in January 1857, James White wrote an editorial of four and a half columns, which he entitled “The Judgment” (published January 29). Using copious biblical verses, Elder White dealt broadly with the subject and wrote:
It appears that the saints are judged while some are living, and others are dead. To place the investigative judgment of the saints after the resurrection of the just, supposes the possibility of a mistake in the resurrection, hence the necessity of an investigation to see if all who were raised were really worthy of the first resurrection. But the fact that all who have part in that resurrection are “blessed and holy,” shows that decision is passed on all the saints before the second coming of Christ. (James White,
The Review and Herald, January 29, 1857)
Elder White saw a distinction between the forgiveness of sins and the blotting out of sins.
When are sins blotted out? Is it at the time when they are forgiven? We think not. We must look to the great day of atonement as the time when Jesus offers his blood for the blotting out of sins. It is at the time of the cleansing of the Sanctuary. (Ibid.)
Tying the investigative judgment with the message to the Laodicean church, Elder White argued:
It is most reasonable to conclude that there is a special call to the remnant, and a special work to be performed by them, and for them, preparatory to the decisions of the judgment in regard to them, and that their salvation depends upon fully obeying the calls and counsel to them. And we most solemnly believe that this preparatory call and work is brought to view in the testimony to the Laodiceans, and parallel portions of the Word of God. (Ibid.)
Thus the readers of the
Review, for the first time, were introduced to the concept of the investigative judgment in January of 1857.
Ellen White soon began to teach on this concept. In a recently released manuscript dated June 1857, Ellen White noted:
I saw we are in
the investigative judgment.
Soon judgment will be pronounced on our works and our actions which are passing in review before God.
A solemn, awful period! Who realize this great work?
that those who do not now appreciate, study, and dearly prize the Word of God, spoken by His servants, will have cause to mourn bitterly hereafter.
I saw that the Lord in judgment will, at the close of time, walk through the earth; the fearful plagues will begin to fall. Then those who have despised God’s Word,
those who have lightly esteemed it, shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord and shall not find it. A famine is in the land for hearing the Word. The ministers of God will have done their last work, offered their last prayers, shed their last bitter tear for a rebellious church and an ungodly people. Their last solemn warning has been given.
I saw that the church now must now afflict their souls. (Ellen G. White,
The Ellen G. White
Letters and Manuscripts with Annotations, vol. 1, p. 519)
In her book
The Great Controversy, Ellen White connected the investigative judgment with more than a judgment in heaven, where the record of sins of the penitent was to be removed from the record books, but also with the removal of sin from the soul temple:
While the investigative Judgment is going forward in Heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. (Ellen G. White,
The Great Controversy, p. 425; 1888 edition)
This judgment removes the sins of the penitent believers and, as Peter notes, judgment begins with the house of God.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
Ellen White expands upon this:
In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin-offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the day of atonement.
So in the great day of final atonement and investigative Judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. (White,
The Great Controversy, p. 480; 1888 edition)
But there is another grouping besides the professed righteous and the non-professing that must be considered. The grouping of the living and the dead into different groups has to be considered, for that would vitally affect every living person upon earth. We are told of the order of the judgment on this wise:
As the books of record are opened in the Judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. (Ibid.)
Clearly, the dead are to be judged before the living, but can we know when the righteous living will be judged, or has this judgment already begun? Very early Ellen White had written, as we noted earlier:
I saw we are in the investigative judgment.
Soon judgment will be pronounced on our works and our actions which are passing in review before God. (Ellen G. White, Ms1–1857.3)
Here she speaks of
our works and
our actions in the present tense. She is not speaking to dead people but to the living, and every indication is that she believed that the judgment of the living would be, at least relatively, soon.
Ellen White would not make another major pronouncement upon the judgment of the living for twenty-seven years:
Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests therein involved. The Judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. Forty years has this work been in progress.
Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour’s admonition, “Watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is.” “Watch ye therefore, ... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” [Mark 13:33, 35, 36.] (Ellen G. White,
The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 314, 315; 1884)
In 1884 Ellen White knew that the judgment might pass to the living soon, but she gives no indication if she knew exactly when or if she knew what signs might indicate it had happened or when it would happen. In fact, writing in 1886, she freely admitted she knew neither the time nor a sign by which she or the church might know. Writing to Elder George Butler, she noted:
Humble your souls before God. Jesus is in the sanctuary.
We are in the great day of atonement, and if the investigative judgment has not already commenced for the living, it will soon begin and to how many are the words of the true witness applicable: “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I shall come upon thee” (Revelation 3:1–3). (Ellen G. White, Letter 51, 1886, p. 11; to G. I. Butler, September 6, 1886, Basel, Switzerland;
Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 267)
On September 6, 1886, Ellen White did not know if the judgment of the living was occurring at that very moment or not! Her next statement came in 1889. This statement concerned her letter to Butler of 1886. This statement was similar to what she had noted in
The Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4 in 1884.
Several times during the past winter [1888–1889] I have met the report that, during the Conference at Minneapolis, “Sister White was shown that the judgment, which since 1844 had been passing upon the righteous dead, had now begun upon the living.” This report is not true. A similar rumor, which has been afloat for about two years, originated in this wise: In a letter written from Basel, Switzerland, to a minister in California I made a remark substantially as follows: “The judgment has been over forty years in progress on the cases of the dead, and we know not how soon it will pass to the cases of the living.” The letter was read to different persons, and careless hearers reported what they thought they heard. Thus the matter started. The report from Minneapolis arose from someone’s misunderstanding of a statement to the same effect as the one quoted from the letter. There is no other foundation for either report than this. (Ellen G. White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 692; 1889)
But then, sometime within a year, she received revelation and wrote to a brother J. M. Garmin and his wife, who claimed their daughter, Annie, was having visions and dreams. In her letter of correction, she noted:
You say that Annie’s visions place the forming of the image of the beast after probation closes. This is not so. You claim to believe the testimonies; let them set you right on this point.
The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. (Ellen G. White, Letter 11, August 1890; published in
Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 81)
Clearly, while on the threshold of such events, we are not there yet. We have been told:
We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.
The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world,
and the final movements will be rapid ones. (Ellen G. White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 11)
Time is almost over, the judgment of the living is soon to begin, and probation will close soon, but are we ready? May the words, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20) not be our reality! God has told his people that his way is in the sanctuary. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God” (Psalm 77:13). We must come to both an intellectual and an experiential understanding of God’s working in the sanctuary.
The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days. (White,
The Great Controversy, p. 488)
It is now time to be a student as never before. This is not an option, beloved, for we are told above that if we do not understand the sanctuary “it will be impossible for . . . [us]to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs . . . [us] to fill.” If we do not, we will find ourselves as part of those who:
. . . have despised God’s Word,
those who have lightly esteemed it, shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord and shall not find it. A famine is in the land for hearing the Word [Amos 8:11, 12]. (Ellen G. White, Ms1–1857;
The Ellen G. White
Letters and Manuscripts with Annotations, vol. 1, p. 519)
In a Nutshell
In 2005 Dr. Bennet Omalu published finding the disease of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brain of professional football player Mike Webster. Since then a great debate has taken place over whether repeated head trauma in sports can cause permanent brain disease in its players. These reports are often sharply criticized and are only rarely acknowledged by the owners and coaches of teams, by the leaders of national sport consortiums, and by participants themselves, for professional football, professional boxing, and professional wrestling, for example, are big businesses and produce tremendous profits.
We should not have the same reluctant attitude accepting truths given us by God, for truth impacts upon our eternal destiny. Consider the light this quotation sheds on the trespass offering:
Let us shun every mean action, all dishonesty, all overreaching; and if any one is guilty of wrong in this respect, let him
make restitution to the one he has wronged, and
in addition bring a trespass offering to God, that when the times of refreshing shall come, his
sins may be blotted out, and his
name retained in the book of life. (Ellen White,
The Review & Herald, April 29, 1884, Art. A, par. 8)
God’s commandment concerning trespasses against a neighbor is clear and very simple:
1) Trespasses against a neighbor always affect two beings—the victim and God (Leviticus 6:2).
2) Trespass offerings in such cases always include two things—restitution to the victim (v. 5) and an offering to God (v. 6).
3) Both restitution to the victim (with one exception) and a trespass offering to the Lord are required today (White,
Ibid.; Ellen White,
Gospel Workers 1892 edition, page 432).
4) When we cannot make restitution to the victim (or to the kinsmen) because he or she has died or because he or she cannot be located,
restitution is either exempt (Ellen White,
Testimonies for the Church, volume 5, page 339) or is returned to God (Numbers 5:8), but in either case
a trespass offering is to be brought to the Lord (White,
This is the trespass offering in simple terms. The trespass offering always included restitution to the victim, where possible, and an offering to God.
As Adventists, we hold in our hands brilliant truths given us by God—clear understandings that were beyond the comprehension of God’s people in times past. They had bits and pieces of truth, some large, some small, but today all these pieces have coalesced into a significant wholeness. These truths have grown into great pillars, strategically placed by God, which stand fixed and immovable. Nothing man can do can change them, though enemies lie in wait to attack and destroy, and the sanctuary is one of these outstanding pillars. In fact, its theology unifies all the principles of our faith. It is a magnificent pillar of truth, second only to the Father and the Son themselves, for the sanctuary and its services are a reflection of their characters and of the total plan of redemption. Like sunlight, light streams from this pillar to the surrounding pillars of truths, where each, tall or short, gives witness to the greatness of God. Light from this pillar can also illuminate, with renewed splendor, old, but important, truth.
And it is our hope that the beauty of an old truth will shine forth in this article with renewed splendor.
Trespasses against Walter McMillian
Walter McMillian was on death row for a crime he insisted he did not commit.
“I know it may not matter to you,” he said to his new attorney, “but it’s important to me that you know that I’m innocent and didn’t do what they said I did, not no kinda way. I’m sure I’m not the first person on death row to tell you that they’re innocent, but I really need you to believe me. This lie they put on me is more that I can bear, and if I don’t get help from someone who believes me—” and his voice trailed off, and his lip began to quiver.
Before incarceration Walter McMillian lived in Monroe County, Alabama, owned a pulpwood business, and was pleasant, respectful, and well-liked by customers and community alike, until the time the only child of a respected local family was found dead at the dry-cleaning shop where she worked. Shot. Three times in the back, and Walter McMillian became the chief suspect, for the young lady was white and he was black, and he had recently been known to have been in a close relationship with a white woman. In those days in Alabama, race was a big issue. This was 1986, and lynchings were still a threat. Then a disreputable man, with a long history of lying to the police, claimed that Walter had murdered the young lady and that he had been there to see it happen. It soon became apparent that Walter and this man had never met and that the police had no evidence connecting Walter to the crime, other than the fact that he was black and had, in some people’s eyes, been foolish enough to have been involved with a white woman. This was considered evidence enough that he was reckless and dangerous and possibly even capable of committing murder. Public pressure was intense for the police to solve the crime, and Walter was eventually arrested on a fraudulent assault charge, created to hold him in jail. His arrest was accompanied by racial slurs, insults, and threats of lynching by the police force. Then another unreliable witness came forward and said that he had seen Walter’s truck race away from the cleaners at the time of the murder.
But family members and at least a dozen church members all stated that Walter had been with them on the day of the murder. They had gathered at Walter’s house because he lived on a main road and because they had planned a roadside stand to sell food they were planning to prepare at his house. During this time Walter and a friend replaced the transmission of his truck. His truck could not have gone anywhere most of that day, let alone at the time of the murder. A police officer even stopped by the stand and had purchased a sandwich, noting in his log that he had been there and that he had seen Walter and a crowd of church folks at the house.
Still Walter was indicted, and then placed on death row
before his trial and remained there for over a year until his trial. His cell was windowless; in fact, the whole housing unit was windowless and notoriously hot and uncomfortable. Temperatures in August reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for days, and sometimes weeks, at a time. When his trial finally took place, it lasted only a day and a half and was presented before an all-white jury, save one. Within a week, he was taken back to prison in chains and in handcuffs deliberately tightened to be uncomfortable.
Years later Mr. Stevenson became Walter’s lawyer. Two weeks after accepting his case, he received a call from Judge Key, who had presided over Mr. McMillian’s trial and who said, in effect:
Why on earth do you want to represent someone like Walter McMillian? Don’t you know he’s one of the biggest drug dealers in all of South Alabama? You don’t want anything to do with this case. He’s probably even part of the Dixie Mafia and no telling what else. Judge Key went on to say how he was going to obstruct one part or another of Stevenson’s planning for a new hearing and then abruptly hung up the phone.
But Mr. Stevenson persisted, and he obtained a postconviction evidentiary hearing, in which he presented to the judge and jury the multiple ways Walter’s rights had been violated.
The Israelites had to deal with crimes against mankind, just as we do, crimes such as manslaughter and premeditated murder, but our issues are much more complex:
1) We have to deal with wrongful convictions discovered after lengthy sentences have been served or partially served and sometimes after years have been spent on death row.
2) We have to deal with an appeal process that can be drawn-out and seemingly indifferent to the innocent waiting in jail.
3) We have to deal with the biases of those in authority for unreliable or inaccurate information, if it strengthens a predetermined opinion of guilt.
4) And we have to deal with the tolerance, just the tolerance, most of the world has for unfair prosecutions and convictions, as long as it gets the case closed.
After all, most people are not called before the bar of justice and are not hurting. They can drive, work, and shop without feeling the cruel consequences of false criminal accusations. Many people are guilty of the crimes for which they are sentenced, but some are not, and the innocent can spend years fighting for the return of their former lives and while they wait, within the darkness of a prison complex, they face more injustice and inhumanity, from inmates and guards alike. We live in a terrible world. Nonetheless, within the hearts of the innocent fighting for justice linger
bits of hope, for hope has been shattered, and within their hearts remain remnants of personal humanity and dignity, known only in a full sense in their past when love and family were freely shared. Not all who live behind locked doors have become hardened to the core. Humanity does persist, as those engaged in prison ministry know. How important it is to following the commendation of Jesus and visit those imprisoned, when we have the means and opportunity.
Let us consider the trespasses done to Mr. McMillian. Obvious are the acceptance of unreliable witnesses and the rejection of credible testimonies, the fabricated charge of assault in order to arrest him, his placement on death row before he was convicted and even before trial, the racial slurs and the threats of lynching by law enforcement, and the coercion of a judge in an attempt to prevent a postconviction hearing but in God’s sight, trespasses are much broader and more encompassing than these.
Trespasses by the Israelites
Prior to the institution of the sanctuary services, trespasses and their restitutions and/or consequences were outlined by God in various laws and ordinances given to the Israelites, through Moses, at Mt. Sinai, such as what happens when a man smites another and causes his death, or when someone steals something, or when someone causes the loss of a person’s harvest? Usury was forbidden, as well as taking advantage of widows and children, and the maltreatment of servants was also forbidden. Trespasses always involved restitution or the loss of the offender’s life. We read all of this in Exodus 21 onward, but when the tabernacle was established,
offerings for trespasses were also established. These offerings always included restitution. The process is delineated in Leviticus 5 onward. Trespasses in Leviticus included deliberate sin and carelessness or neglect about laws of cleanliness and about what a person had sworn he would do. Trespasses occurred against the holy things of the LORD (v. 15) and occurred when one knowingly offended his neighbors, such as stealing from them or engaging in false swearing, violence, or deception concerning them. The Bible explains how the offerings were to be carried out and how restitution was to be determined. In Leviticus 5:15, we read:
If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering.
Three times the word
trespass is used. The English phrase
trespass is translated from two Hebrew words:
verb) and מַעַל (maal,
noun). Both are transliterated the same way in English but have different subscripts in Hebrew to distinguish them, and they can be used together as a phrase or used separately, but one is a verb, and the other is a noun. It is like saying
transgress a transgression
or trespass a trespassing. It sounds awkward, but we do the same thing in English. We say,
I dreamed a dream. The phrase is used several times in the Old Testament and in all its translations, the verb means
to act unfaithfully or
to cover up something by falsehood or with stealth, and this unfaithfulness included worship of a false god (Joshua 22:16), marriage to a foreign woman (Ezra 10:10), false judgments (Proverbs 16:10), adultery (Numbers 5:27), and the violation of an obligation to the LORD or the violation of his word (1 Chronicles 10:13; Daniel 9:7).
The procedures for trespass offerings are summarized in parts of Leviticus 5, 6, and 7 and in a section of Numbers 5; and it is important to note that the trespass offering was “most holy” (Leviticus 7:1). Types of trespasses in Leviticus include credible witnesses not speaking up; carelessness, indifference, or neglect with ceremonial cleanliness or with fulfilling oaths; and transgressions against the holy things of the LORD, as we stated earlier.
Examples of trespasses are also delineated in Exodus 21 onward, such as causing the death or the injury of another. Kidnapping is listed. Being responsible for the loss of someone’s harvest and being responsible for harm to livestock left in your care were also trespasses. If you borrowed something and it became damaged while in your care, this was a trespass, and restitution was to be made. If you were a male and enticed a maid, you became responsible for the young lady.
These are examples of trespasses, but what is a trespass by definition? The Hebrew word translated
trespass in Genesis and in Exodus 22:9 is
pesha, and it means
transgression, but in Leviticus a new word is introduced for trespass—asham, and
asham, as a noun, can mean an offering for a transgression in which a restitution can be calculated and given as a compensation to the victim.
Asham with different subscripts is a verb (meaning
to commit a crime, etc.) or is an adjective (meaning
guilty) In Leviticus 5:15 both
maal maal and
asham are used.
Trespass offering for the holy things of the LORD
The trespasser against the holy things of the LORD was to bring a ram without blemish (Leviticus 5:15) as a trespass offering. He was also to bring a restitution in shekels, calculated by Moses, with an extra fifth part added, and he was to give the total amount to the priest (vs. 15, 16). We are not told who sacrificed the ram (in the sin offering, the sinner did), but we are told the priest made an atonement for the transgressor and that the sin was forgiven him. In other words, the priest acted as intercessor between the trespasser and God and facilitated peace between them.
We also are not told what a trespass against the holy things of the LORD was. Perhaps it was something a priest did or failed to do, as he ministered in the sanctuary. It might also have been when an Israelite delayed doing what God required of him, such as offering his first fruits or redeeming his firstborn son:
Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me. (Exodus 22:29, 30)
Trespasses against a neighbor
Trespasses against a neighbor followed a similar course. When one harmed his neighbor, it was, first of all, considered a trespass against the LORD (Leviticus 6:2). This explains the two parts of the trespass offering—restitution to the neighbor and an offering to God—for against both did the trespass occur. The trespasser was to bring a ram unto the LORD as a trespass offering, and he was to restore to the victim that which he had taken or lost or the calculation made for that which he had falsely sworn, with a fifth part added. Again, the priest made an atonement for the trespasser, and peace with God was restored.
Sin offerings vs. trespass offerings
Sin offerings allowed for a graduated scale of sacrifices, according to the position and the financial resources of the sinner, ranging from a bullock, to turtledoves and pigeons, to a little flour. Trespass offerings, however, were not scaled. They always required a ram as an offering, no matter how poor the trespasser was, as well as restitution for the loss that had occurred, with a fifth part of the calculated value added to the restitution. The priests ingested portions of both the sin offering of the common person and the trespass offering, and blood was not taken from either of these offerings into the holy place. This is what the Bible means when it says there was one law for both of these offerings (Leviticus 7:7).
A vital part of the plan of redemption, as far as man is concerned, is that of restitution. Conviction of sin is not enough. Sorrow for sin is not enough. Confession of sin is not enough. Though all these are good, and are steps toward the kingdom, they are not enough. They must be accompanied by a repentance so deep and thorough that the soul will not rest until every step has been taken and every effort made to rectify past mistakes. . . . .paying back that which we have stolen, and making every effort to right wrongs. Trespasses include questionable business transactions, fraudulent representation of values, giving wrong impressions for selfish motives, downright crookedness. It includes sharp deals to the disadvantage of the poor, and the grinding down of the needy for profit. It includes exorbitant charges of all kinds, excessive interest on money loans, dishonest work for the wages received. It includes taking advantage of the misfortunes of others, and demanding more than is just for services rendered merely because the other person is in a position where he cannot help himself. (M. L. Andreasen,
The Sanctuary Service, pp. 167, 168; 2006 edition)
Restitution, however, is only one part of the trespass offering. The other part is just as important; it is the offering to God. In November 1883, Ellen White addressed the ministers assembled at the General Conference session in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her presentation is recorded in
The Review & Herald, April 29, 1884. In it she asked:
. . . are you estranged from your brother, because you suppose he has injured you? Are there no heartburnings among you? Is there no bitterness in your hearts, no envying, no jealousy, no evil surmising, no misjudging of your brethren? Is there no emulation, no desire for special favor and honors, no wish to have the supremacy? . . .
Let us shun every mean action, all dishonesty, all overreaching; and if any one is guilty of wrong in this respect, let him
make restitution to the one he has wronged, and
in addition bring a trespass offering to God, that when the times of refreshing shall come,
his sins may be blotted out, and his name retained in the book of life. (White,
The Review & Herald, April 29, 1884, Art. A, paragraphs 3, 8)
We are to make restitution
and bring a trespass offering to God that when the times of refreshing come our sins may be blotted out and our names retained in the Lamb’s book of life. Isn’t that what we all want?
Will you bring to the Lord an honest tithe and
the offerings He claims from you? Bring to God
a trespass offering and
a thank offering because He has not allowed the enemy of souls to do with you as he has done with some who have had light and truth, but did not walk therein. He did not, after a time, “rebuke the devourer,” but let him do his will with those who have thus placed themselves on his ground, and they were cut off by disease or instant death, without any time for repentance. (Ellen White,
Sometimes we cannot make restitution because the people we have injured have gone to their graves. When we cannot, we must still fulfill the remaining part of the trespass offering procedure—the offering to God. This offering is not simply a transfer of restitution, moving the restitution from the victim to God. It is an
offering that is distinct and separate from
restitution and until we complete this portion of the trespass offering, the account of the injury we have done to another, even if the person is deceased, remains registered against us in heaven:
You cannot make every case right, for some whom you have injured have gone into their graves, and
the account stands registered against you.
In these cases the best you can do is to bring a trespass offering to the altar of the Lord, and He will accept and pardon you. But where you can, you should make reparation to the wronged ones. (White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 339)
This counsel may, however, seem confusing. On one hand, Ellen White says that when restitution cannot be made because of the death of the person to whom restitution is due, the best that can be done is to bring a trespass offering to the Lord; but, on the other hand, Numbers 5:7, 8 tells us that if one was not able to make recompense to the one to whom it was due, the recompense was to be given to the LORD. Regardless of which set of instructions you follow—restitution being waived or recompense being given to God—neither application voids the requirement for an
offering to the LORD because Numbers 5:8 says recompense to the LORD was in
addition to or “beside the ram of atonement.” Both restitution, whether given to the individual or to God (unless considered waived), and an offering were commanded by God in Numbers 5.
Modern trespass offerings
What exactly is a trespass offering today? Is it a prayerful confession to God that we have done an injustice to another and asking God to forgive us? Or is it an acknowledgement to the victim, along with restitution? Is it confession both to God and to the individual, accompanied with restitution? It is not any of these options. A trespass offering is confession to the individual, accompanied by restitution,
and confession to God, accompanied by an offering. You do not have one without the other. We realize that the vital components of repentance and forgiveness must also be present and that the surrender and dedication of one’s life and talents to God’s service, is also involved.
Have they used the talent of speech, given them to offer praise and thanksgiving to God, in hurting and discouraging any of God’s children? Have they used the precious gift of God, the voice, to bruise the soul of saint or sinner? If they have done this, let them put all things right by removing the poisonous sting. Then let them bring their trespass offering to God.
Let them bring their soul, their tongue, their words, to the altar of God, to be used to glorify Him; and He will accept the offering. (Ellen White,
But there is more:
The temple, acquiring costly offerings and sacrifices, with its priests, is passed away. But
the occasion for giving still exists while there are sinners to be saved and the poor to cry unto us, “give.” We are called upon to acknowledge the continual blessings and gifts of God’s benevolent hand in the tithing system as well as in sin offering,
trespass offerings, and freewill offerings. (Ellen White,
If all the rivulets from children and youth and from members of the church were to flow in the proper channel, as the Lord designed they should, there would be a
supply in the treasury, the real needy would be blessed, and the hungry fed, and the naked clothed. The Lord’s own entrusted gifts would flow back to their original Source in thank offerings, in sin offerings, in
trespass offerings, and in gratitude offering for the great immeasurable gift of the Son of God to our world. (Ellen White,
Today, trespass offerings to God include not only the surrender of our lives to God
but also financial offerings. In the immediate quotations above, clearly Ellen White is describing the trespass offering as a monetary offering, just as freewill offerings are and thank offerings can be, and the offerings are to be deposited in his treasury, but—may we be perfectly clear—the calculation of your offering and where you deposit it are strictly between you and God. Smyrna has no interest in your decision. We present the need to make this offering
only because it impacts upon your eternal life:
Let us shun every mean action, all dishonesty, all overreaching; and if any one is guilty of wrong in this respect, let him
to the one he has wronged, and
in addition bring a trespass offering to God, that when the times of refreshing shall come, his
sins may be blotted out, and his
name retained in the book of life. (White,
The Review & Herald, April 29, 1884, Art. A, par. 8)
It behooves us to understand what trespasses are, for a faithful record of them is kept in heaven. In the quotation above, every mean action, all dishonesty, and all overreaching are mentioned, but more is involved. Our words, for example, can trespass against another:
Have they used
the talent of speech, given them to offer praise and thanksgiving to God, in hurting and discouraging any of God’s children? Have they used the precious gift of God,
the voice, to bruise the soul of saint or sinner? If they have done this, let them put all things right by removing the poisonous sting. Then let them bring their trespass offering to God. (White,
It would be well to have a trespass-offering box in sight, and have all the household agree that whosoever speaks unkindly of another or utters angry words, shall drop into the trespass-offering box a certain sum of money. (Ellen White,
The Review & Herald, March 12, 1895)
Other than our thoughts, our words are one of the most numerous things about us over which we have control. In our lifetime we have said more words that we can possibly remember, though not as many as the base pairs in the human genome (3 billion), unless you are an incredibly fast talker, and definitely not as many as the cells in our body (37.2 trillion) or its atoms (7 billion billion billion), a figure which is so large it is beyond our comprehension. Suffice it to say that the number of words we have spoken is incalculable by us but not by God. He has a faithful record of all of our words, many of which have caused pain and gloom. How can we possibly repent of the harm that we have said and spread? We can only do so in a general sense, unless we are aware of specific instances in which we have harmed another with our words. The best we can do in the general sense is to confess to God our history of speaking critically, judgmentally, impatiently, etc., and to ask his forgiveness and his cleansing. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also counselled to bring a trespass offering to him, but this is not because we are buying, in any way, our forgiveness from him. Forgiveness is a free gift based upon heartfelt repentance and confession, but the Roman Catholic Church twisted the beautiful concepts of forgiveness and of the trespass offering by the sale of indulgences.
Trespass offerings and indulgences
The seriousness of sin and trespasses in the Jewish economy was symbolized in the sacrifice of an innocent animal, and today the seriousness of sin and trespasses is partially acknowledged by the financial offerings we bring to God, but we do this not because we are purchasing our forgiveness any more than the Israelites of old were purchasing their forgiveness by bringing a choice animal to the altar. The Roman Catholic Church introduced to the Christian world the concept of purchasing forgiveness when they sold indulgences, but originally it was not so for the Israelites.
The offering of the best of the flock was a sign of the Israelite’s understanding of the terrible cost of forgiveness of sin and of his faith in the future death of the Lamb of God. We look back on the death of Christ, but we continue to trespass and sin in the present, and the best we can do to acknowledge the cost of sin—not to obtain forgiveness, but to acknowledge our appreciation of the cost—is through a surrendered life of gratitude and through our monetary offerings—freewill, trespass, thank, gratitude, and sin offerings, all of which we are instructed, by God, through Ellen White, to offer. We do not return our tithe because we are trying to buy a blessing from God but because it is what God requires of us. The same is true for the trespass offering.
We bring offerings to God in
thankfulness both for the forgiveness of, and for the redemption from, sin, but no financial offering can atone for sin. Only Jesus can do that; and freewill, thank, gratitude, and sin offerings are meant to be an expression of our heartfelt appreciation for the gift of salvation and for Christ’s perfect life on our behalf. Trespass offerings, however, acknowledge something different, i.e., they acknowledge that when we have harmed another human being, we have, first and foremost, harmed God. He requires an outward expression of our inward sorrow, as seen in recompense to the victim and in an offering to himself. This is his way of handling trespasses, not man’s. Man’s way might be confession and forgiveness alone, or it might be to make a financial offering in exchange for forgiveness, or absolution, from sin, which is far easier than the changed life true repentance enjoins.
The purchase of indulgences or the exchange of financial resources, through offerings, for the forgiveness of sin is an evil that corrupts deeply. It inures man to sin and devalues the death of the Son of God, for no repentance for sin is needed and no sorrow for sin is necessary. It is simply a business transaction that requires no change of heart and allows for the perpetration of sin ad infinitum. To repeat a phrase of Paul,
Jesus paid the price for our salvation. Nothing we do can earn it, but we can show our appreciation for it by our obedience to his commands (John 14:15).
We each have a faithful history recorded in heaven of our words, actions, thoughts, intents, and influences:
All that we do, and all that we say is transferred to the books of heaven. (Ellen White,
The Review & Herald, August 7, 1888)
Every thought, every word, is recorded in the books of heaven. (Ellen White,
The Signs of the Times, February 18, 1903)
. . . the great Heavenly Artist is taking cognizance of every act, every word; and that even the thoughts and intents of the heart are faithfully recorded. (Ellen White,
The Review & Herald, March 11, 1880)
Every self-denial, every sacrifice, is faithfully recorded, and will bring its reward. (Ellen White,
Christian Experiences and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 134)
And just the influence which you exert is written in the book of records in heaven. (Ellen White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 363)
We can’t escape our record, and we have a court date pending. Mr. McMillian was brought before the bar of human justice and suffered a grievous travesty, which was finally reversed, due to the persistence of Mr. Stevenson. We, on the other hand, have a legitimate dark history of grievous offenses, which are scheduled for imminent review at the heavenly bar of justice. These offenses, however, can go beforehand to judgment and can be pardoned now, so that when judgment does occur, they can be eternally blotted out and our names forever retained in the book of life. May this be true for each of us. May we now confess our trespasses, make restitution, and “bring a trespass offering to God, that when the times of refreshing shall come” our “sins may be blotted out,” and our names “retained in the book of life” (White,
The Review & Herald, April 29, 1884, Art. A, par. 8).
It is that important.
O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! (Ellen White,
The Review & Herald, November 24, 1904)
West Virginia 2016
Camp Meeting Report
The 2016 West Virginia camp meeting was held June 14–18 in Smyrna Valley. This marked our seventeenth consecutive camp meeting, and some felt it was our best yet. The theme,
The Final Atonement, was certainly timely and needful for our people. While there were many good messages, as one person said, “The theme was so big; we hardly began.”
Brother Andy Whitehurst opened our meeting with a study reviewing the 2,300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14. Before his presentation, Brother Whitehurst took a poll of those who felt ready at the moment to explain this prophecy. The number of hands going up were not exceeded by those which remained down. Another poll was taken after the study, and, while a few extra hands went up, the majority were still down. This should be a wake-up call to us as a people that we need to understand this great prophecy better. We have been told:
The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days. (Ellen G. White,
The Great Controversy, p. 488)
Brother Whitehurst also gave a study Sabbath morning (Before a Holy God) on overcoming sin and on perfection of character that was laid out step-by-step, so that all should have been able to grasp this great biblical theme.
The morning devotions were given by Dennis Robertson (A More Sure Word of Prophecy), Michael Woodward (Moving through the Sanctuary), Michael Brown (What Do We Believe and Why Do We Believe It?), and Ed Cyrus (Time of the Jubilee). These presentations helped to set the theme for each day.
Brother Demario Carter from Counsels of Prophecy Ministry gave a presentation entitled
The Atonement of Suffering.
Raquel Akens, Elaine Nailing, and Christy Whitehurst teamed up in the afternoons to give us presentations on health, including demonstrations preparing healthy food.
Brother Allen Uhl, who, at one time believed the lunar Sabbath error, gave a two-part presentation entitled, From Creation to Jericho, God’s Four Great Cycles of His Time Keepers; explaining the repeated cycle of time in the lunar and in the weekly time periods.
Sister Onycha Holt gave two presentations that were especially meaningful. The first presentation was
The Trespass Offering. It was amazing to learn how important an understanding of the trespass offering is for the people of God in the final atonement. Her second presentation was entitled
The Shofar Sounds, which dealt with the scapegoat.
Pastor Allen Stump gave three messages, the first entitled
The Day of Atonement, Coming to Grips with Terms and its Historical Development in Adventism. This message traced the development of the investigative judgment doctrine in early Adventism and proposed that the investigative judgment is not equal to the cleansing of the sanctuary but, rather, is a subset of that teaching. In a similar manner the cleansing of the sanctuary is not equal to the Day of Atonement but, rather, is a subset of it. Pastor Stump’s second talk was entitled The Day of Atonement, Our Trust, and his third talk was
The Final Atonement in You, making application of the Day of Atonement in our lives.
Pastor Elvis Alberto gave a beautiful communion talk about following Jesus through the sanctuary, and our featured speaker, Elder S. T. Lewis, from Ohio, gave us two powerful messages. The first was entitled
Can You See? and the second
Following the Voice of the Spirit.
There were also excellent testimonies from our brothers and sisters. Jason Hovey, during two testimony sessions, shared about his work for the Muslim people. Others shared their conversion experience or the special working of God’s hand in their lives, and some shared testimonies in song.
Though we experienced thundershowers earlier in the week, Sabbath afternoon was sunny and beautiful for our experienced literature evangelists, who took out all who were willing to distribute literature to some of the surrounding communities.
While we had a nice group attend the camp meeting in person, we were blessed to have many attend via the broadcast media. In one meeting we were blessed with believers from Norway, Moldova, Italy, France, as well as many from the United States. One sister from Europe wrote:
Thank you for the camp meeting. I received such a big blessings. May Lord bless you always!
A family from Florida wrote:
Dear Church Family,
Greetings from hot, sweltering Florida! We want to tell you what a HUGE blessing camp meeting was for us. We praise God that He has made it available–through all of you–to the world, at this critical time in world history, for those of us who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. We love and thank the LORD for all of you and all that He empowers you to do at Smyrna. Wish we could be present with you.
We were able to record most of the presentations and will be making them available in DVD format and on our YouTube channel as soon as possible. If you would like to receive DVDs, please use the names and titles listed in the following chart.
We hope this will be the last camp meeting we ever have, but we know not the times and seasons, except that the time is almost far spent. If time should last, please begin now to plan for camp meeting next year. While we know the broadcasts are a blessing to those who cannot attend physically, for one reason or another, there is a special blessing in being here in person, not only for the meetings, but also for the fellowship between the meetings. Maranatha.
R. Akens/C. Whitehurst........Healthy
Elvis Alberto..........Walking through the Sanctuary
.......... What Do We Believe and Why?
..........The Atonement of Suffering
..........Time of the Jubilee
......... The Trespass Offering
......... The Shofar Sounds
S. T. Lewis
......... Can You See?
S. T. Lewis
......... Following the Voice of the Spirit
......... Medical Missionary Work
......... A More Sure Word of Prophecy
D. of A., Historical Developments
......... The Day of Atonement, Our Trust
......... The Final Atonement in You
Before a Holy God
......... Moving Through the Sanctuary
......... From Creation to Jericho
— Looking Toward Europe
(This installment is chapter 11 of
Escape from Siberian Exile by John Godfrey Jacques, published by Pacific Press in 1921.)
We waited two months in vain expectation of an order for our transfer to Ufa. Then, concluding that the matter had been pigeonholed, we decided to send a telegram to Kerensky, the leader of the socialistic faction of the Duma, begging that the imperial decree be carried out.
Of course, there was no telegraph line to our little island, nor was there even a post office nearer than Narym. But by a man who was going to that place by canoe, we sent a letter to the editor in exile there; and he forwarded our message to Kerensky.
One morning in early autumn, we heard the whistle of a river steamer, and hurried to the landing to learn if there was any news for us. A deputy sheriff of the district came ashore, and informed us that we were to go to Narym to attend to our affairs.
We surely were overjoyed. The steamer was to leave in a few minutes, and we could not go so soon; but we made preparations to start at the first opportunity. We disposed of such of our few belongings as we did not wish to take with us, giving to a sick exile one of the very comfortable beds we had made.
Our host expressed the wish that we might return, when free again, and continue to teach Christianity to his family and others. Some of these people, I believed, would have been susceptible to the influence of the gospel, but for their addiction to the use of vodka.
Unwilling to wait for the next steamer, which might not come for several weeks, and not having sufficient means to hire a canoe to take us to Narym, we arranged to go to Tymsk, a station about twenty miles below ours, with an islander who was planning to go there in a small boat. Steamers called at that point oftener than at our island.
The time of starting was late afternoon. I was amazed at the beauty of the sunset on the Ob that evening. I have no remembrance of having ever beheld a view more wondrously lovely. A light breeze stirred the surface of the water; and as the sun sank below the dark green rim of the forest, sky and river vied with each other in brilliance.
With darkness came cold creeping upon us from the shore. The breeze died away, and our sails—made of grain sacks—flapped idly. A pair of oars was brought into use, but erelong one of them broke. Still it was made to do service, and we kept slowly on.
As we passed close along the bank, we saw a big grouse almost within arm’s reach. None of our boat’s company having brought a gun, the great fowl was in no danger.
At a fisherman’s hut farther on, our oarsmen—two exiled thieves—wished to stop and rest. There fifteen or twenty men, rough looking but seemingly well disposed, and unmistakably jolly, invited us to have supper with them. We had brought food with us, but we were not averse to a warm place in which to eat, although the tobacco smoke was so thick as to be almost solid.
The little village of Tymsk, being built in the edge of the forest, cannot be seen from the river, even in daylight. Yet we were in no doubt as to its location, though we approached it at about midnight; for a watch fire was burning on the bank. The watchman proved to be a Tartar exile from my native Caucasus. We enjoyed the warmth of the fire, for the night was cold.
The young Austrian prisoner of war who was our only associate for some time after we went to Kolguyak, had been transferred later to Tymsk; and he had urged that if we should ever come to that station, we stay with him. This invitation we now accepted.
His boarding place was the home of the village lay assistant to the drunken priest we had sometimes seen at Kolguyak. This assistant evinced real interest in our religion, and remarked that there was too much commercialism in the state church.
The next morning, we met a man who had been banished on the ground that he spoke German to employees in his mill, though he declared that he did not speak German, but the Dutch dialect generally used by the Mennonites, they having come originally from the Netherlands.
Late in the evening of that day, a stampede of every person in the settlement in the direction of the landing, heralded the coming of a steamer. As I realized that this boat was to take me from the scene of my banishment, my feelings were such as I shall not try to put into words.
The little steamer was northbound, and would go as far as Kolguyak, but would not call at Tymsk on the return voyage. Thus we were obliged to go back to the island. But we stayed there only an hour, then started for Narym.
This boat brought us mail that had been sent months before. Among it was my Bible. My joy at receipt of the precious volume was unbounded.
There were two Chinese silk traders on the steamer, one of whom entertained us with Chinese singing. I had never before seen chopsticks used, and I did not imagine that soon I should make use of such myself.
When we reached Narym, the exiled editor was the first to greet us. He had been influential in having the deputy sheriff send for us; for he was on fraternal footing with the sheriff, although one was an officer of the law, and the other an offender against it.
We again saw the imperial councilor, with whom our association had been so congenial, notwithstanding the difference between us in nationality, station, and age. One of his keenest trials here was lack of agreeable associates.
At police headquarters, we learned that as a result of the sending of our telegram to Kerensky, word had come that we should be permitted to go immediately to Ufa, without convoy.
Navigation would close soon. A boat was to leave for the south that night; and a man was sent by canoe to notify the Baptist ministers still at Alatayevo, that they were at liberty to start by that boat for European Russia. They arrived at Narym in time, and proceeded south; but Gorelic and I, for some incomprehensible reason, went to sleep, and did not wake up till the boat had gone. Another boat came the next day, though, and that we did not fail to board.
Before leaving Narym, we met the Polish exile whom we had known at Alatayevo. At his request, I had ordered a Polish Bible for him, which he had since received; and he read it with great satisfaction.
When our steamer stopped at Kalpasheva, we caught sight of one of our ministers, A. Osol, in the crowd on shore, and had a few minutes’ visit with him. He had been arrested at Tiflis, capital of Transcaucasia, and banished to this station. His jail ordeal had been worse than ours.
This minister, when a young man attending missionary training school, had been instructed in the care of the sick; and now his knowledge in that line was put to excellent use. Hundreds of the people applied to him for aid, and he worked hard to help them. About a year later, this good man died of typhus fever, caused, undoubtedly, by conditions he had encountered in prison.
Our little steamer made better time than the one our friends were on, and we reached Tomsk before they did. The next morning, we made application for our safe conducts to Ufa, at the office of the lieutenant governor of Narym, who lived at Tomsk.
There we met the rest of our company. Among them was the Baptist minister who, after we had left the last jail on our way into exile, about seven months before, was sent back to Odessa for trial on an additional charge brought against him by members of “the Black Society.” Had that charge been proved, the penalty would have been two years in one of the horrible Russian jails—if death did not occur before that time had elapsed. He was cleared of the charge, but then he was returned to Siberia on the former sentence, and arrived at our first place of exile after we had been removed to the island station.
Before the hour appointed for us to start for Ufa, Gorelic and I sought out our minister at Tomsk. We were surprised to see, over the chapel door, a sign announcing the services. All our meeting places in Russia had been closed soon after the war began; but in Siberia, the land of exile, there was more freedom for those not exiles, than there was in Russia.
In a very happy mood we made the journey of three or four days to Ufa. We were coming closer to the world from which we had been so far separated. Instead of being transported by
etape we traveled by regular passenger train, with no guards to watch us. When we reported to the governor, he commanded that we leave the city at once. The German Baptist was to go in one direction, another of the Baptists and I to the little city of Birsk, about a hundred miles distant, and Gorelic and the rest to a third place. The governor would not listen to any plea for a reconsideration of his decision.
At Birsk, I was encouraged at the prospect of a not uncongenial abode. I secured a pleasant room in the home of a family whose son was a prisoner of war in Germany. They said that I resembled him; and from their bearing toward me, one might have judged that I was really he.
As was customary, I must call at the police station each morning. In ten days, there came to the police a communication from the governor, directing that I be transferred to a village on the Tartar steppes. Evidently the governor had set his face to make our lot harder than it had been in Siberia.
From Tomsk, I had written to our mission treasurer; and the day before I was to leave Birsk, a reply carne, and with it some money. The amount was much more than an exile ordinarily was allowed to have; but after some delay, it was delivered to me. With it I purchased such articles as I most needed.
The hour for me to start for my destination had come. My companion in exile had already gone to his station. I had my “wolf’s passport”—a passport that does not give the bearer a right to go anywhere except to the point named, nor to tarry by the way, save to eat and to sleep.
I was to travel without a “black angel”—that is, a guard—and had one week in which to make the journey and appear before the police at its end. My baggage was packed, and the man I had engaged to take me by wagon was already overdue. As I waited impatiently for him, a strange thought surprised me—one which I had meager time to act upon or even to develop.
I had been told that the last steamer of the season would go to Ufa that night. Why should I not board it, and endeavor to escape exile? The thought of spending an indefinite period on the cold, wild steppes of the Kazan Tartars, naturally was not attractive to me. With a rush of thought, my course was out lined. It was a hazardous one; and in case of recapture, my punishment would be such as I dared not think of.
There was no time to deliberate; but I uttered a brief prayer that I might be kept from starting upon the project unless I could carry it through.
The chief of police himself had left the door of escape ajar for me. When the Baptist who had been with me here went to the police station to say that he was ready to start for the place to which he had been assigned, the officer inquired when I intended to leave; and being told that I was preparing to go the same day, he said that I need not come to notify him, as my comrade’s statement would suffice.
Had I myself told the police that I was about to start for the Tartar territory, I would not have violated my word; but as the extraordinary lenity of the chief left me uncommitted, I did not feel that to evade the authorities would be dishonorable. The question was as to my being able to do so.
During the week that I was supposed to be on the road, I would be comparatively free from police surveillance. Even for several days more, my nonarrival might be attributed to some mishap. Thus I should have time to go a long distance before my escape was suspected, if I could but get away from Birsk, where I was known to the police.
I said to my host, that as the man I had hired to take me had not come, I should go by boat. I did not tell him that the place to which I now designed to go was not a place of banishment, but my parents’ home in far southern Russia; and he apparently was not aware that no boat was scheduled to leave Birsk at that time, that would take me to the Tartar country.
My first danger lay in the fact that the steamer agent to whom I must apply for a ticket, was, like all men in similar position in Russia in war time, a sort of government detective. If I should elude his vigilance, I must pass between two lines of policemen in crossing the gangplank to board the steamer. I took my baggage to the steamer station, which was only a few blocks away, then went back to my room, where I stayed till near the time for the steamer to go.
How, I wondered, could I pass that double row of policemen? One plan occurred to my mind; but it might seem like an imposition on the fatherly spirit my host had manifested toward me. It was this: The two daughters of the family, being students in the gymnasium, wore the dress peculiar to such; and any one seeing them on the street with a young man, would take for granted that he was a brother or other relative, or at least a fellow student. So I suggested to the parents that the daughters accompany me to the steamer; and ready assent was given to this proposition.
At the ticket window, a crowd of people awaited their turn. The agent noticed me as I entered the waiting room; and motioning the others to stand aside, he inquired what I wanted. This seemed to me like a challenge, but I simply replied that I wished a ticket to Ufa. He handed me a ticket, then asked whether I would like a private stateroom. As a safeguard against observation, a private stateroom certainly would be desirable; and I answered that I would take one. Receiving the key, I left the room, the first menace to my dangerous undertaking safely passed.
Why I was treated as if I were a dignitary, I do not know. True, my clothing was of good quality; and my eyeglasses, with black ribbon attached, were such as were not commonly worn in that part of Russia except by scholarly people. Yet I must believe that more than natural influences were exercised in my behalf.