In this issue:
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. 25, No.9 Straight and Narrow September 2016
In this issue:
The Sacred Trust Betrayed
Last month, in the first part of this study, we saw that the Advent people were given a sacred trust in the sanctuary message of salvation and atonement. This trust is composed of two main atonements: the atonement of forgiveness from the cross and the atonement of cleansing from the heavenly sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. This can be called a dual atonement. Adventism has had at its heart this dual atonement concept, and this sacred trust was betrayed by LeRoy Froom, Roy Allan Anderson, and the other Adventist leaders who wrote and promoted the book, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (QOD).
For anyone not familiar with this book, QOD was the result of meetings between leading evangelicals in the United States with leading Adventists during 1955 and 1956. During these meetings the evangelicals presented questions to the Adventists to determine if they could be considered Christians and a part of the body of Christ. The Adventists responded with answers which denied important prior positions. These new positions were pleasing and acceptable to the evangelicals, and the door was opened for Adventism to enter the ecumenical movement. Brother Glen Ford, who was living in Charleston, South Carolina, at the time, told me the reaction it brought in his church.
We were in church one Sabbath, and a brother announced that there had been some meetings with Protestant evangelicals and Adventists and that, as a result of these meetings, we were now accepted as a Christian Church and that this was a wonderful thing and would greatly open the work for Adventists. (Testimony of Glen Ford to Allen Stump)
Yet this seemingly great event was to become a deadly turning point for Adventists, for by making friends with the world they made enemies with God. As we shall see, the teachings of QOD have never been repudiated.
Let us now see some of the teachings of this apostate book, QOD. Concerning the teaching of a dual atonement, QOD says:
Adventists do not hold to any theory of a dual atonement. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 390; emphasis in original)
During meetings with evangelicals Walter Martin and Donald Barnhouse, Adventists Froom and Anderson told them that there was a certain “lunatic fringe” among those who believed in a final atonement in heaven. Barnhouse said:
It [the sanctuary teaching] is to my mind, therefore, nothing more than a human face-saving idea! … It should also be realized that some uninformed Seventh-day Adventists took this idea and carried it to fantastic, literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they have said in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus’ atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. This idea is also totally repudiated. They believe that since His ascension Christ has been ministering the benefits of the atonement which was completed on Calvary. (Donald Barnhouse, Eternity, September 1956).
But what does it mean to minister the benefits of the atonement, and do we not read still in Adventist publications that Christ is making atonement now? How shall we view these statements? QOD was prepared to deal with these very questions. There we read:
When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature – even in the writings of Ellen G. White – that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests. (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 354, 355; emphasis in the original)
But what does the phrase, “making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement he made on the cross” mean? Again from QOD:
How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the “holy places,” and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. (Ibid., p. 381; emphasis in the original)
Christ, therefore, obtains nothing for us in heaven today. QOD was published in 1957; do we still hold that position today? Is QOD still our norm for doctrinal positions? Yes; the fact is the Seventh-day Adventist Church is still supporting the views held in QOD. That view is that Jesus obtains nothing for us in heaven because it had all been secured on the cross. No final atonement! QOD was republished in 2007, its fiftieth year anniversary of publication, and at a conference at Andrews University honoring the anniversary, the then dean of the seminary, Denis Fortin, stated that he and the university stood behind the teachings in QOD.
The most current publication that claims to be representative of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine is the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. This book was first published in 1988 and revised and updated in 2005. The title of this book states it is:
An exposition of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (2005 edition; all quotations from this book are from this edition, unless otherwise noted)
Seventh-day Adventists Believe was prepared in a manner similar to Questions on Doctrine; in other words, a single writer prepared the initial draft and then a large group of ministers and scholars gave input. Originally, the initial draft for Seventh-day Adventists Believe was prepared by Norman Gulley. This draft was too far to the liberal left for the then ministerial leader, Bob Spangler. Spangler requested P. G. Damsteegt to rewrite the initial draft of each chapter. On page v of the 1988 edition of the book, we learn more of the input process:
The church’s ten world divisions selected a committee of 194 persons who went over each chapter, suggesting corrections, additions, and deletions. A smaller committee of 27 church leaders, theologians, and pastors met regularly with Damsteegt to give additional supervision to the preparation of this work. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . , p. v; 1988 edition)
Among those who are credited as “sharing their counsel, checking sources, researching materials, rewriting, and editing” are Roy Adams, Duncan Eva, Samuele Bacchiocchi, B. B. Beach, Norman Gulley, William Johnsson, and a host of other “new theology” proponents. While Damsteegt himself may be “historic” in his understanding of the atonement, the above-named rewriters and editors are not. Anyone familiar with the publishing process knows that on many occasions the finished product is very different from what is submitted. While some sincere brethren have seen Seventh-day Adventists Believe as “a courageous realignment with the historic faith of our pioneers and our church” (Ralph Larson, Tell of His Power, p. 295), the truth is that it teaches the same doctrine of the atonement as does Questions on Doctrine. The Evangelicals clearly understand Seventh-day Adventists Believe as setting forth the teachings of Questions on Doctrine. Notice how closely the language of Seventh-day Adventists Believe follows that of Questions on Doctrine:
The once-for-all sacrifice has been offered (Heb. 9:28); now He makes available to all the benefits of this atoning sacrifice. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 348)
Similarly, Christ, in the heavenly sanctuary, has been ministering the benefits of His completed atonement to His people; at His return He will redeem them and give them eternal life. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 406)
This is the very language of Questions on Doctrine. In Chapter 9 of Seventh-day Adventists Believe, entitled “The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ,” we read:
There, as High Priest, He [Christ] applies the benefits of His complete and perfect atoning sacrifice to achieve the reconciliation of humans to God. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 125)
Both Questions on Doctrine and Seventh-day Adventists Believe carry statements which claim that they are representative but not authoritative. We read in Questions on Doctrine:
But because of the very nature of the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization no statement of Seventh-day Adventist belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General Conference in quadrennial session, when accredited delegates from the whole world field are present. The answers in this volume are an expansion of our doctrinal positions contained in the official statement of Fundamental Beliefs already referred to. Hence this volume can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 9)
Seventh-day Adventists Believe holds to the same position that Questions on Doctrine does. It claims to be a representative statement of beliefs and not an official statement of beliefs because it was not voted on by a General Conference in session:
Although this volume is not an officially voted statement (only the summary statements have been officially voted by the General Conference in session), it may be viewed as representative of “the truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. vi.)
Therefore, in both Questions on Doctrine and Seventh-day Adventists Believe, we find what is claimed to be a true and representative, but not an official, statement.
To be an official statement in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the statement must be voted on by the General Conference in session. Such a statement of apostasy does exist! When the church met in 1980 at Dallas for the General Conference Session, a statement of beliefs was voted. That statement can be found in any church manual printed after 1980 or in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. Belief #24 stated at that time:
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. (Seventh-day Adventist Church Manuel, p. 18; 2005 edition)
With the revision of the fundamentals at the 2015 San Antonio session, we have the same statement with a slight cosmetic change:
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. (Current belief, https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/restoration/christs-ministry-in-the-heavenly-sanctuary)
From 1872, when the first statement of beliefs was published, until 1980, no statement like this was presented. Where did this language come from? It came from Questions on Doctrine, page 355. There we read:
Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 355)
What does this language mean?
. . . it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. (Questions on Doctrine, p. 381; emphasis in original)
God’s Reaction to the Betrayal
Before we notice God’s reaction to such treason, let us first review the purpose of the Advent movement. We have been told:
In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import--the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 19)
The most solemn message ever given was to be that of the sanctuary judgment hour message. As Elder Stephen Haskell, a pioneer who personally knew Ellen White, wrote:
The judgment is spoken of by every Bible writer. It is mentioned over a thousand times in the Sacred Writings. It is more solemn than death; for death separates friends only until the resurrection, but the judgment separates them forever. (The Cross and Its Shadow, p. 230)
This is the message of the first angel and, to a great degree, the second and third angels, as well. God had clearly entrusted the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a special message. Some believe that no matter how unfaithful she is to that trust, she will still sail into the heavenly Canaan. This is a deadly error. Notice clearly the words God’s servant wrote, which destroy this cherished idea, as well as note God’s reaction to the betrayal of sacred trusts:
In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 247)
Notice the language employed. The “church is to be weighed. She [the corporate body] will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had.” No people has ever had the light that God has been pleased to give this people. Yet we are told that “if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, ‘Found wanting.’” Concerning such treason, we have also been told:
The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history. But it was for a purpose that his character was laid open to the world. It was to be a warning to all who, like him, should betray sacred trusts. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 716)
What we have seen is a betrayal of sacred trusts by leaders in whom the brethren had confidence.
The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 211).
Ellen White also wrote:
In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p, 247)
There can be no doubt that this judgment has already taken place, and the corporate church has been found wanting, for this sacred trust given to the Advent people has been betrayed by the leadership, and the laity has given its stamp of approval at the General Conference sessions of both 1980 and 2015. Remember that Ellen White said:
At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 261, 262)
Either this new sanctuary doctrine is correct and the laity should bow to its teachings or the General Conference is no longer the voice of God. The former cannot be accepted, so the latter must be true.
Is it any wonder that brethren of understanding and discernment have arisen, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the message, though they are not recognized by the conferences? May God help those of understanding to be faithful and to give the three angels’ messages in a clear, distinct manner. How sad will be the judgment for the “dumb dogs” (Isaiah 56:10) that could not bark, those who knew the weightiness of the hour but refused to give the judgment hour message. Well did Ezekiel write about our day!
Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come. An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come. The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains. (Ezekiel 7:5–7)
Writing to Timothy, Paul noted, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust . . .” (1 Timothy 6:20). The Greek word for trust, παρακαταθήκην (parakathēkēn), literally means something laid down or placed beside you. Paul placed the truth of the gospel into Timothy’s hands, and Paul encouraged Timothy to keep, or guard, this truth.
In his second epistle to Timothy, the last epistle he would write, Paul reiterates his command:
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (2 Timothy 3:14)
Ellen White, with insight, wrote the following, which parallels, in concept, the statements of Paul to Timothy:
We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)
There are two points that we must not forget: the Lord’s leading and his teachings in our past history. If we remember and cherish these, we need not fear anything, but the implication is that if we do not remember these things, we will have much to fear. Beloved, the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church has officially and unofficially left the true sanctuary doctrine for evangelical pottage. We have turned our backs to the sanctuary (Ezekiel 8:16), and when this happens the only thing that can be next is to turn to the sun and sun worship. This is only reasonable, since Sunday is the day dedicated to the trinity. Is it any wonder that there were numerous “sonrise” and Sunday services in Seventh-day Adventists? Of course, church officials and pastors do not claim they are worshipping the sun or the sun-god. They claim that they are worshipping the Son, not the sun, but the evangelical churches make the exact same claim.
The truth of the final atonement has been betrayed, and this brings every Seventh-day Adventist to the test of truth. We either follow our High Priest, by faith, into the final atonement or we deny our trust and follow man and man’s teachings. This sounds simple, but the reality for many is difficult. But should it be? Should it be harder to follow God than man? Should sin be stronger in our lives than grace? Is Satan and his power greater than Christ and his power? NO! We have “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). These promises include:
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Romans 5:20)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)
The time is coming soon when the mark of the beast will be urged upon every soul. The issue will be the commandments of God or the commandments of men. The Sabbath test will be at the heart of the issue, but this is really a test not simply about the day we worship but whom and what we worship. Will we give homage to a false god invented by Satan and forced upon us by men, or will we worship the true God and his day? We have been told:
The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness. (White, Testimonies for the Church, vol, 5, p. 81)
If we have step by step made concessions in our work and life and have accepted the worship of a false god, we will certainly, in that great time of test, accept the day (Sunday) that is dedicated to the worship of that god, for the test and pressure brought at that time will be the greatest that humanity has ever faced:
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
Only if our names are in the Lamb’s book of life will we be saved in that day. Only those who truly know their God will stand in that day, and a false view of God will not be sufficient in that day. Concerning the last days Daniel wrote: “And . . . the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
There will be one ingredient on that day that will sustain and feed our souls. It will be the love of God. Only the love of God will be enough to keep us from sin, and the one great truth in the Bible that teaches and instills God’s love is the truth about the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins. John declares:
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:8–10, 19)
The love of God in giving his only begotten Son is the driving force in God’s people, and it will enable them to stand for him, and him only, in that great day.
. In other words, the atonement was not finished at the cross. Let the reader never doubt the sufficiency of the cross. It was a complete and perfect sacrifice, but it was not the final atonement. Some may wonder how the sacrifice on the cross did not end the plan of salvation, but a simple reading of Paul, writing to the Corinthians, helps us see the fallacy of such thinking. Paul notes, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15: 14–17). Despite the cross being a perfect sacrifice, if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, we would still be in our sins! Thus the atonement could not and was not completed upon the cross.
Before a Holy God
(This study is an edited version of a Sabbath morning presentation at the 2016 West Virginia camp meeting. Editor)
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is known as the faith chapter of the Bible and talks about mighty men of old, men like Enoch, Abraham, and Moses. After talking about these mighty men of valor and faith, we read:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:33–38)
Does that sound familiar to final prophetic events we are and will be soon facing? Paul then says:
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (v. 39)
They received not the promise. These men of old, these men of faith, did all these mighty works, but they did not receive the promise.
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (v. 40)
Paul wrote this because there is a difference between the time that Abraham lived and the time in which we live. We are living in the time of the final atonement! Was Abraham living in the time of the final atonement? No, but we are, and we are called to a higher standard. Abraham was called to the standard, and God is going to provide us the ability to get there.
Revelation 22:11 is a very important verse in the understanding of the advent and in our understanding the final atonement.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:11, 12)
So, I have a question. In the chronological timeline of events, does verse 11 come before or after verse 12? Before. So, we have the statement of being holy. A time is coming where we will have to stand before God without an intercessor, but a lot of people look at that theology and try to tear it up and throw it out because they proclaim Jesus said he will never leave us nor forsake us, and they are right. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus is doing his job, and he will empower a people that will be able to stand before his Father without that intercessor. So, let us look at it from this perspective—by our obedience, we will put Jesus out of a job. Think about that, please. We no longer need an intercessor. We are able to stand before God without the intercessor, with no guile in our mouths. That is the point of the 144,000. Was Abraham a part of the 144,000? No, but we can be.
The beginning of Revelation 21 paints a picture of heaven:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, . . . (Revelation 21:1–3)
I want you to remember that phrase—“he will dwell with them.” He will dwell with us.
. . . and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 21:3–6)
Do you want to drink of that fountain of water of life freely? We have just seen a written picture, a painting, of heaven, and it is not something we can truly grasp, but it is there, and it is real. So the question is, Who will be within the gates? The answer is in verse 7:
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
So, who is within the gates? Those that overcome, and the next verse tells us who will be outside those gates:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars [not just white liars, not just big liars, but all liars], shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
We have seen two groups—the group that is within the gates and the group that is without the gates. Let us look in more detail now on that group that is within the gates. John records:
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
So, those that are inside the gates are those that do God’s commandments. Does that make sense? Do you see that clearly? That means that those who are without the gates have not kept God’s commandments; they have broken his holy law.
Let us look at and analyze ourselves. Are we going to be outside those gates? The picture for those outside the gates is not a pretty one. Those that are outside the gates are obviously commandment breakers. A commandment breaker is a law breaker. What is a commandment breaker or a law breaker? John tells us:
. . . sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)
The expression transgression of the law literally means lawlessness or that which is against the law. Sin is the breaking of the law, and the converse is true that the breaking of the law is sin. So, those who are outside the gates are those who have broken the law; those who are outside the gates are sinners. Can you see that clearly, beloved?
By the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
So the law gives us an understanding of what sin is; in other words, the law gives us a definition of sin.
Where no law is, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15)
There is no breaking of the law, if there is no law. So, those who are outside the gates are those who have broken the law. Paul clarifies that it is the breaking of the Ten Commandment law which results in sin.
I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)
Now, I realize that for most of us this is a basic understanding, that this is a basic Bible study. Most of us probably know these verses right off the top of our heads, but I hope and pray when this is all said and done that you will have a new light with which to look at sin. So, clearly, those who are outside the gates are sinners. Have you seen that so far?
Because I do not want to be outside the gates, the next question is, Am I a sinner? The Bible tells me:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
All have sinned. That includes me and you; it is an all-inclusive statement. The picture is getting pretty bleak, isn’t it? I don’t want to be outside the city. I want to be inside those gates, but so far, from what we have seen, I am going to be outside those gates. What is the result of sin? Death. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Are you sure it is not eternal torment? The wages of sin is death, to cease to exist, to die. And just so that we have this crystal clear, let us read Exodus 32, verse 33:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Exodus 32:33)
What book is this? The book of life. So the verses we just read are not talking about an earthly life. This verse in Exodus is talking about an eternal death. A death from which there is no resurrection. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Why can’t I go to heaven being a sinner? So far we have seen that we all want to be in those gates, but everything else is telling us clearly that we are outside of those gates. The picture that we have seen so far is pretty bleak. We can’t go to heaven being a sinner, but there is hope! “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). We need to take this verse and cling to it tenaciously because the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, and his ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. He does hear our pleas, and he can save. So, we need to take this verse, and we need to cling to it tenaciously, with every ounce of faith we have. But the next verse seems to dash our hopes:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
What has separated us from God? Our iniquities. They have separated us.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies (v. 3)
Even teensy, weeny white lies. Even one is enough to separate us.
Your tongue hath muttered perverseness. (v. 3)
There is a lot in this last statement on muttering perverseness. I could spend a whole hour just talking about that alone. It is so easy, without thinking about it, to mutter something perverted, and that alone separates us from God. But, why? Why does sin separate us from God? Did you know that it is for our benefit that God separates from us when we sin? It is because he is a gracious God. That is why he is separated from us—because of our sin.
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)
He is a consuming fire to sin. We will all be on fire, one way or another. We will all be on fire—either for God or before him. We are either going to be on fire for God now, or we are going to be standing outside the gates on fire because God is a consuming fire. If we are going to come into his presence and survive it, we must have all sin removed prior to coming into his physical presence. We must be on fire in our hearts with love for him, when we come into his presence.
You see, God has said that he will make an end to sin, and in his grace he has warned us that sin will be destroyed, and it is our job, brothers and sisters, to warn everyone else that sin will be destroyed. If we clutch, or hang on to, sin, God has warned us that we will be destroyed with our sin. We need to let go of that sin and open our hands and say, Lord Jesus, take it. I don’t want it. My carnal heart wants it, but I don’t want it. It is kind of like a firecracker. Take a nice-sized firecracker and clutch it in your hand, and the tighter you squeeze, when the fuse is lit, the more damage it will do. So, as you squeeze tighter, tighter, and tighter, the more damage it will do when it goes off. Even a small firecracker can take fingers off when you clutch it tightly enough. But if you take that same firecracker and hold your hand out, when it goes off, it is going to hurt, but it is not going to take your fingers with it. We need to do the same thing with sin. The tighter we clutch sin, the more damage it is going to do, and we will be destroyed with it; instead, we need to take that sin and we hold it out for Christ to have. Beloved, we are in the final atonement, and time is running short. We need to quickly open our hand and release our sin. When it goes off, it is going to hurt, but we will be saved. You many think that letting go of sin doesn’t hurt, but usually it does. Letting go is not the easiest thing to do. Sometimes some people are blessed when they release sin in that there is no pain involved, but that is only by God’s grace because the natural result is going to be pain, even when you release the sin.
But, you know, I’m generally a good person someone may think. Have you ever heard that? Have you ever thought that? Absolutely. I had a walk of justification. Lord, I’m generally a good person—that was my justification. When I was in steel construction, I would look about at the guys around me, as a foreman and COO, and I would think, You know, I don’t do as many drugs as they do. I don’t drink as much as they do. I would only have one or two drinks. These guys would go home and drink a twenty-four pack a night. I could not even stand the next day if I did that. I would think, You know, I am not as bad as they are. I don’t swear quite as much as they do. I’m generally a good person. God knows my heart. He does know our hearts, doesn’t he? Jeremiah 17 says so:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Brothers and sisters, if we are not careful, we will allow our hearts to deceive us into thinking that we are good, when we are not. Our hearts are deceitful above all things and are desperately wicked. Would you say Moses was generally a pretty good person? I read through Exodus and its examples, and I turn red in the face and just want to strangle those stiff-necked people. I don’t know how Moses took it. That man was not just a generally good person, he was a saint in my eyes. I could never have dealt with the things he dealt with. But I see the same thing in the Advent movement. We are a stiff-necked people. We are Laodicea. I read these examples of Moses. People would come to him and say, You’ve done this! You’ve done that. You’ve brought us into this wilderness to die! Really? He was following the cloud. How could they blame him? They justified it, right? It’s pretty hard to blame God, but it was pretty easy to blame Moses. It is easy to justify. The heart is deceitful, and it is desperately wicked. I read those examples of Moses and think, Wow, this was a man of patience, a man of meekness. Moses only struck that rock instead of speaking to it. After putting up with stiff-necked people constantly coming to him and pointing their fingers at him, Moses never got angry. I would have gotten angry right off the bat. Are you blaming me? I’m just following the cloud. You can’t blame me.
But Moses made a mistake. When you stop and think about it, it was a simple, little mistake. He simply struck the rock instead of speaking to it, but that kept him out of Canaan. That one little thing was a sin against a direct command of God.
I want you to think about something else. We look around us today, and we see sorrow. We see suffering, we see pain, and we see death. Many of us have lost loved ones or friends to car accidents or to cancer. Many of us have struggled with cancer. Do you know what started all of this? Think about it. Adam only ate a fruit! Adam didn’t eat a pig. Adam didn’t eat a cow. Adam didn’t even eat a sugar-covered doughnut! Adam ate a fruit—a raw, vegan, in-its-natural-state fruit. And what did that start? Sin. What do we have about us? Sin, death, and sorrow, and it all started with eating a vegan, raw, organic fruit.
Suppose you are in a room with several people and someone comes through the door carrying a burlap sack and in it is obviously something moving and alive. This person enters the room and right in the middle of the room, he grabs the bottom of that sack and tips it up, releasing the end of it and out comes an eight foot timber rattlesnake. What would you or I most likely do if we were in this room? Run! There would be mass chaos. In fact, I would venture to guess that more people would be hurt in the panic for the door than would be hurt by the snake. If you think about that—we would flee from that snake like our life depended upon it, wouldn’t we? Yet, sin is more dangerous. One little sin is infinitely more dangerous than that poisonous serpent because that poisonous serpent can bite, and we might die from it. We will definitely suffer, and we might die, but it would only be an earthly death. However, the injection of venomous sin will kill us eternally. It will destroy us. We will have no return. We think about that timber rattlesnake with horror, but we think about sin and we want to go up to it and pet it, love it, and handle it, and say to others, Oh, don’t you want my friend? You can pet him. I promise he won’t hurt. He won’t bite, and if he does, he won’t kill you, so it’s okay. You want to pet him? That’s what we do. That’s how we treat sin. We run from the timber rattlesnake, but we want to play with sin. We are in the final atonement, friends, and there is no time to play with sin, not the least bit. Sin cost the life of the Son of God. Nothing could be more serious.
He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)
Let us think of a father and his young son, perhaps two years old. The child, in his innocence, plays with his toys and walks around smiling at everyone. The father is very proud of his son, and it is the father’s job to protect him. If someone were to try to hurt him, they would have to go through the father. Now let’s say that because of someone’s sin, let’s say my sin—a tiny, little white lie of a sin—the child was taken and whipped with a cat-o’-nine-tails, a crown of thorns was thrust upon his head, and then he was nailed to a cross. At this age, in his innocence, could the father come to me and say, You know, brother, that’s okay; just keep on sinning. Could anyone say that? No. There is not a word in any language that would be able to express a father’s hatred and abhorrence of the sin that hurt his son, is there?
I want each and every one of you to think about that. What would you think about sin, if it did that to your son in his innocence? If my sin, just a tiny, little sin—maybe I ate a raw, vegan fruit that I was told not to eat—and that simple, little sin took your child in his innocence and whipped him with a cat-o’-nine-tails, thrust a crown of thorns upon his head, and put him upon a cross, you would have a whole, new understanding of sin, wouldn’t you? You would hate sin. You would abhor sin. There is not a word in any language that could begin to describe how much you hated it. Brothers and sisters, those people who say, It’s okay. You just keep on sinning, have not seen sin in the light of the cross. If you see the cross, if you truly experience that cross, you will never, ever be able to say that. Never. We will never see sin aright until we see it in the light of the cross.
Wait a minute, though, are you presenting perfection? If you define perfection as living without sin, absolutely! Will I ever be perfect on this earth? Consider a big hill, perhaps a mountain. Let’s pretend that God told you to go outside and put your shoulder to that mountain, to give it a push, and move it. Can you do it? You can’t do it, but who can? God. So, if he told me to do it, is it possible? Yes. It is possible. But we want to say, God, I can’t do it. There’s no way. Or we want to say, I can’t do it. I saw Abraham try, and he couldn’t do it, and he was a man of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. He couldn’t do it. I know I can’t do it. That’s what we tend to think, isn’t it? Or we will walk up to that mountain and try and then say, Sorry, it’s not going to happen. Isn’t that what we do?
This is what I say to people who ask if they can be perfect on earth. I say, It’s not for you to decide. Now if God told me to walk up to that mountain, to put my shoulder into it, and to push it and that it would be thrown into the sea, and I walk over there, put my shoulder to it and push with all I’ve got, and it is picked up and is cast into the sea, could I come back here and say to you, Wow, look at me! Look at what I did! Of course not. That would be total ignorance. There is no one who would ever say, I did that. They would attribute it to whom? God. We have to do the same thing with sin. He has told us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We have been told to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). Does that mean that I have to go to Jerusalem and find a footprint here and a footprint there to walk in? Is that what that means? Does that mean I have to figure out what kind of gait Jesus had? Maybe he was slightly pigeon-toed, so I need to walk that way? Does that mean he may have had a particular saunter, and I have to walk that way? No. That is not what that means at all. We are told to walk as he walked in living out the character of God, and that means that we are obedient to his Father’s law.
But maybe you say, Oh, but he was divine; I’m not. But Jesus has promised to give us his overcoming life. So, if I walk out to that mountain and if I give it a shove with all I’ve got and it moves, I cannot claim that victory as mine because it would be impossible for me to have done that on my own. Just like sin. It is impossible for me to overcome that sin. So, can I be perfect on this earth? The answer is not without Jesus, but God told me to do it with Jesus. So when I put my shoulder into the mountain and I push with all my might, it moves, it happens, and God did it. It is not for me to worry whether I can be perfect or not because I cannot do it anyway. It is not for me to worry about. It is for me to put my shoulder into that mountains of sin and push and not question. Just do it.
In Exodus 24, we read:
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. (Exodus 24:15–17)
Moses went to the first level on Mount Sinai with the seventy elders, and then he went higher with Joshua. What did he do there at that second level for six days? He prepared, and I suggest to you that the only way we are going to come into the presence of God is to follow this example. Before we can come into his presence physically, we must come into his presence spiritually. We must contemplate his glory, purity, and mercy until we can approach nearer to him. This is the answer to the sin problem that I have in my life. The closer I come to him, the hotter that fire gets. As I come closer and closer, more and more of the sin is burned off. He is a devouring fire, and I must come into his presence and have that sin burned off. When sin came into this world, we became separated so that we were not destroyed instantly, but we need to enter back into his presence, a step at a time, burning off the dross of sin. Nahum 1:9 tells us: “He will make an utter end: Affliction shall not rise up the second time.” The only way sin can be forever removed from the universe is if we come into his presence, a step at a time, and become on fire now. Before we are on fire outside those gates, we must become on fire.
Some years ago I went to the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism and prior to that time I had a tobacco problem. The room where we met held about thirty-two people, and on this particular day we had just been dismissed. I was on one side of the room, in the back corner. Everybody had stood up and you know how it is when a bunch of people stand up and you have just been dismissed. There is a lot of talking, a lot of loud noise, and when there is a lot of background noise, I cannot hear anything. If you see me when there is a bunch of noise around, you will notice I am looking at your lips to understand you because I cannot distinguish what you are saying out of the crowd. And this was happening there. Everyone had been dismissed, and everyone had stood up and was talking. All of a sudden I had an urge for tobacco like I have never had in my life. This urge was so strong that if there were a can of it on the table, I wouldn’t have cared what anyone would have thought if had I grabbed it and put some in my mouth. That’s how strong the urge was, and I knew instantly this was a supernatural temptation. I silently prayed, “Lord, you’ve got to help me,” and before I could even finish that prayer, through the crowd on the opposite side of the room I heard someone singing under his voice, “I Surrender All.” Very low-toned in a crowded room. I heard it clear as day, and I immediately looked, and I could see a person singing across the room. I knew it wasn’t my imagination. I could see him through the crowd singing, and I could hear it as though we were in a silent room and he was standing beside me. I took that song and I started singing it. Instantly that craving was gone. Just like that. If we come to that mountain of sin and if we put our shoulder into it and if by faith we push, it will be picked up and cast into the sea.
I have a question now for you. Will you, by faith, put your shoulder into the mountain of sin and push? Will you put your shoulder into that mountain of sin and push and leave the results to God? Don’t worry about whether it is going to go somewhere. You can’t make it go anywhere. God can. Don’t worry about results; you just push.
(Brother Whitehurst closed with the following prayer, and it is a model prayer for the sinner wanting to overcome sin.)
Heavenly Father, we come before you now, humbly on your great Sabbath day, praying, Father, that you will take this sin from us. Father, each and everyone of us has something that we are thinking about even right now that we know is something in our life that we need to get rid of. Father, we have learned that we can’t get rid of it on our own, but you have told us to get rid of it, and so, Father, we, by faith, have committed to put our shoulders into that sin and to push, and we expect—we don’t ask—we expect that you will make that mountain of sin move because you have said you will, and we know you delight to honor thy word. So, Father, by faith we push, and by faith we know that you will remove it and that we will be the victor because all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. We come before you now with this commitment. Father, I ask that you will send angels that excel in strength to watch over each and every one of us because the devil does not like this commitment. He doesn’t want us to overcome, and he is going to double his attempts on each and every one of us. So, Father, send your angels to push him back and to strengthen us and give us that overcoming life of Christ. This I ask in Jesus name. Amen.
. The Greek word is νομία (anomia). It is from νομος (anomos), which is made from the Greek word νόμος (nomos) and the letter a before it. Nomos means law and the Greek letter alpha (a), when inserted before the word, changes the word to its opposite meaning.
. See also Hebrews 12:29.
. Do not try this at home!
. This is not just hypothetical, for in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and of southwest West Virginia are churches that handle live vipers, citing Mark 16:16 as the reason.
. “All His biddings are enablings” (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 333).
. “Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory” (White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 404).
. “Joshua had received the promise that God would surely overthrow these enemies of Israel, yet he put forth as earnest effort as though success depended upon the armies of Israel alone. He did all that human energy could do, and then he cried in faith for divine aid. The secret of success is the union of divine power with human effort. Those who achieve the greatest results are those who rely most implicitly upon the Almighty Arm” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 509).
Signs of the Times
In vision the prophet Daniel saw a lion with eagle’s wings, a four-headed leopard with four wings, and a terrible beast that defied complete description. Over one half a millennium later, the prophet John saw a composite beast, with a leopard’s body, a lion’s mouth, and the feet of a bear. As biblical students we may think that creatures such as these are unique to the Bible, but this certainly is not the case. In Babylon there were many depictions of hybrid creatures, such as winged bulls and lions with human heads. The Neo-Hittites had hybrids and the Greek culture also, dating prior to Homer, had what they called chimeras. A chimera is a fire-breathing female monster, with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Sometimes a goat’s head was also present.
Today, science is considering the creation of chimeras, organisms containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes, such as fusion of early embryos.
Specifically, this would be the creation of animals with human stem cells added to the embryos of normal animals. The rationale for this would be to create animals with organs that worked and reacted more like human organs and, therefore, could be used to test drugs and procedures before using them with or on humans.
Furthermore, if human organs, such as hearts, kidneys, and livers, could be grown in animals, the organs could be harvested for patients who need organ transplants. Every day thousands die because of a lack of organs for transplants.
Now, while this might sound reasonable to some, it is not the whole story. Human stem cells can grow into any type of cell of the body, including brain cells, and there is a great concern that some of these stem cells would grow into an amalgamated type of human/animal brain cells and perhaps influence the brain of the animal in such a way that it would have a type of human consciousness. If there were not a moral or ethical dilemma before, there certainly must be one now, even for the most hardened evolutionist. Do you kill such a creature for its organs? How do you care for it? How is it to be treated? What if they are creatures with a type of consciousness and we do not recognize it? The stakes, however, are even higher. What if a creature is developed that has a fully functional human brain? What then?
Extraordinarily, one of the goals considered by some researchers is to create human brain cells in the animals in order to study neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. It is said that such experiments would undergo intensive scrutiny.
Another [concern] is that they could develop into animals with human sperm and eggs and breed, producing human embryos or fetuses inside animals or hybrid creatures. (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/04/488387729/nih-plans-to-lift-ban-on-research-funds-for-part-human-part-animal-embryos)
As with brain cells, there are those who want to “create animals with human sperm and human eggs for studying human development and infertility” (Ibid.).
The National Institutes of Health announced on August 4 that it soon expects to lift a moratorium on funding for chimera “experiments that add human stem cells to animal embryos, creating an organism that is part animal, part human” (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/nih-moves-lift-moratorium-animal-human-chimera-research).
As of August 4, there is a thirty-day period for public comment and for further consideration. Since this period will still be open at the time of the printing this newsletter, we cannot report on a decision, but all signs seem to indicate that the ban on research funds will be lifted in most cases.
Regardless of the safeguards that might be put in place, these genetic experiments are something that God condemns. We are told:
But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. (Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 69)
There has been a lot of discussion during the last century as to exactly what Ellen White meant when she said “amalgamation of man and beast.” Did she mean man with man and beast with beast, or did she mean that men and beasts crossbred somehow? Even if she only meant men with men and beasts with beasts, she declared that God condemned it so much so that he destroyed the antediluvians for it. Therefore, we can clearly see that no matter how we interpret her statement today, mankind is again pushing the envelope of destruction.
We serve a God who does not change (Malachi 3:6). He cannot treat this world differently than he treated the antediluvians. Surely we are living in the last days, and these days demand that we afflict our souls during the antitypical Day of Atonement.
Now is the time for us to bring into the daily life the virtues of Christ’s life. We have no time to lose. Should we fail in our character-building, we shall lose eternal life. We must build on the true foundation. If we bring to the foundation material represented by hay, wood, and stubble, our building will not stand the test of the judgment. We must do the work of Christ, and be constantly watching and praying. Then we shall be ready for His appearing, prepared to receive eternal life. (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, pp. 106, 107)
Report on Our Visit to Brazil
Where we visited: Pastor Allen Stump and I recently traveled to Brazil to visit some believers in that great country. While the Olympic games were going on in Rio de Janeiro, we were about our Father’s business. Instead of going to Rio, we visited São Paulo and believers in that great metropolitan area of around eighteen million people. The city is spread out over a very large geographical area and even then, there are thousands of tall apartment buildings over twenty-five stories high. We also visited with brethren in Itapecerica da Serra, where we spent our first Sabbath. Our second Sabbath was spent in Contenda, about six hours southwest of Itapecerica, and then our last Sabbath was spent in the small community of Anchieta, about eight hours west southwest of Contenda.
The travel to these areas was long, as they have few roads that are like an autobahn or an American interstate. Many of the roads were very mountainous and had large trucks traveling on them, making fast trips almost impossible.
Some of my first impressions of the trip: Talking with the people and knowing their condition is vital to our understanding. Brazil has a great need for the gospel to be preached in all of its fullness, with all three angels’ messages, and we see especially that the right arm of the message has been neglected and not been taught as it should be. This is clearly one of the great needs of the movement in South America. In talking to Brother Jaime Ferreira of Uruguay, we hear of many members in Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, and in many other places calling out for workers and help. There is a great need of workers who are prepared to teach those coming out of the main church and those coming out from Babylon, to help them. The brethren here are praying for help, and God is opening the doors for the message here in South America right now. Jesus is calling for Peters to care for the flocks. We have to go and do the work now and not tomorrow.
I see Brazil as the hub point, from which all the other countries can be best helped. The Four Angels’ Ministry is here in Brazil, and if they are well-organized in an administrative way, I believe a good work can be done in Brazil and in the rest of South America.
Who or what is the Four Angels’ Ministry? They are a group of believers located in various parts of Brazil and of South America who are calling people to true worship. Their goal is to give the message of the three angels of Revelation 14 and of the other angel of Revelation 18. A very important part of this is for the people to know who Jesus is. When they know Jesus, he can teach them about his Father.
My favorite part of the trip: It was especially our first visit in the São Paulo area, where we met many people from different parts of the area and especially our experience visiting with Dr.
Reinaldo Reichenbach and his wife and learning of his testimony and seeing his book, O Deus de nossos Pais, that he has produced to help the people here.
The difference between Brazil and Curaçao: Brazil is a beautiful country, beside the weather being a lot cooler (even cold) and the abundance of rain now, for we are in a four-year drought in the Caribbean now. The culture also has a big difference. We have a Dutch, European education, but in Brazil they have a Catholic-orientated background, with a deep closeness of family. Many seem to operate on more of an emotional basis, too.
The way they receive you into their homes is not found today in many places of the world. They open their doors wide for you and give you the best food they have and try to make you so welcome you feel just like family. I know Pastor Stump and I are both very thankful for Rogerio and Elisangela Elias opening there home to us for most of our time when we were not traveling. Sister Elias tried to make very healthy food, and she and Rogerio loved us like old family. Even the family dog, Prince, accepted us with open paws!
Some of the topics we especially shared on this trip: There were a lot of questions on the Godhead that we had to deal with in each place, especially on the divinity of Jesus, and also on the concept of what the church is and what makes up the body of Christ. We also dwelt upon the right arm of the message greatly. We talked about the eight laws of health and also how health affects the frontal lobe of the brain and other areas, too, so that the people could see how the physical and the mental faculties are so closely related. The people are pleading for help. They want missionaries to come and help with the work.
If you are interested in doing a very good work and know Spanish or Portuguese or are willing to learn, there are many chances, especially if you have a knowledge of the medical missionary work. I am awaiting your call!
. Spanish for all of South America, except Brazil, and Portuguese for Brazil
Many thanks to Elisabeth Fury for sharing this recipe!
Grind the lentils into flour by using a grain mill, a coffee grinder, or a Thermomix.
Finely chop the onion and the garlic.
Place the water, onion, garlic, salt, soy sauce, and herbs in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Add lentil flour, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps.
Cook and thicken for 3 to 4 minutes, continuing to stir with a whisk.
If the mixture forms lumps, use an electric mixer to smooth out the lumps.
Pour into a pan that has been sprayed with oil and let cool at least one night.
Remove from pan and slice.
This recipe is great for sandwiches! Slices are very firm and very fragrant.
Can You See?
(The following is an edited version of a message given on Friday evening at the 2016 West Virginia camp meeting. Editors)
For fifty years I have been an ordained minister, and I have had churches generally everywhere in the Midwest, but I couldn’t see. But I am not talking about seeing out of my eyes. But first I am going to give you my testimony, and I am going to blend it into this message.
There are four people who have had a profound effect upon me to be able to see. Two of them, Brother and Sister C, were the first ones that put something in my head. You see, the Lord has a way of working with you, and sometimes it takes longer to get things through your skulls than others. So, Brother and Sister C were the first ones. In 1976 they wanted to join the Allegheny West Conference, so the conference president asked me to go with him down to meet with them. Now Elder Cleveland was one who didn’t want any members in the conference who were offshoots, dissident people, or disruptive. They didn’t want anybody to bring noise in and fuss and all that. So he wanted me to go with him and to check these folks out. So that particular day we visited with Brother and Sister C. We talked about the Holy Spirit. So, of course, they told us about the Holy Spirit and the truth about God, and about all this idea with the trinity. So when we left, the conference president said, “Okay.”
So I put this way back in my head. The Lord wouldn’t let me forget that. So, years went by. Years went by, and that was in 1976. So in 1984, they sent me to the Glenville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the first baptism I had was for Willlis Smith. You all knew Willis Smith. Then I left Cleveland. Willis Smith left Cleveland, and we didn’t hear from each other for a long time. Soon Willis Smith started writing the conference and said, All you conference folks need to understand about God and this trinity thing. He wrote the conference president, and the president said, Oh, we don’t want to hear anything about him. So he wrote me a letter, and I wrote Willis a letter that I found a while back, where I told him, Okay, brother, why don’t you go to the seminary and learn like I did? You got a GI bill, and all that. That was back in about ’88 or ’89. So, it was back in my head, but I am not seeing.
So then I was the conference secretary, and I came down, and I visited all the churches in the conference, and one of them I especially visited and really fell in love with, and guess where it was? In Kimball, West Virginia, near Welch, West Virginia. Never seen it, never heard of it, and didn’t know anything about Kimball. So, I walked in the church. Nobody was in there but Henry Robinson. So Robinson says, Oh, you know. (Now, we’re in the church looking for this and for that.) He says, You know, there are some Adventists up the road, but there was some fuss up there about something, and the church up there left and divided off. And so I put it back in my head, but I am still not seeing. So then I left the conference office in 1997. So, between that time the world church was celebrating the 150th year of 1844 and wrote a whole lot of books about the church and how it was founded and what it was founded on and some of the foundations of the church. So I read every book from George Knight, and I read M. L. Andreasen, and I read all about C. Mervyn Maxwell, and I said, Well, you know, this is a strange thing. All these men back there understood the purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I hadn’t been doing that. I hadn’t been teaching about that. I didn’t see.
So in walks the third person into my church in Columbus, Ohio. Bob Diener. You all know him. Now, I didn’t know Diener from anybody. He comes into my church, and we were studying on Steps to Christ. So he takes out his book and plops it on my desk, and says, “Have you seen this?”
“No,” I said. “Your book is like mine.”
He said, “No, it’s not.” He said, “This book was printed by some publishers in Chicago.”
Now, I thought the Review & Herald published it. He said, “No,” and he gave me the history behind it. Still didn’t dawn on me. So Brother Diener came to my church every Wednesday night, and every Wednesday night he came, he brought a book. And about the third time, he brought The Foundation of Our Faith. He just brought it to my desk and just plopped it down.
I said, “Where did you get this?”
He said, “Well, you just check it out.”
So, I leafed it through, leafed it through, and leafed it through; turned the page, and I saw Allen Stump, Welch, West Virginia. I said, “Wait a minute, now. Welch is down there by Kimball. That’s the same man that Henry Robinson told me about. How in the world did he write a book?”
Now, Brother Diener was giving me all these things that he had gotten from his study at the General Conference archives. So he said, “One day Brother Stump came up to my house with a copy machine, and he copied all the material. And he went back and wrote this book.” I still didn’t catch it.
So, I didn’t say anything. I just kind of was dumbfounded. But what it did, it alerted me to the fact that for all these years I hadn’t seen. I had eyes in my head, but I didn’t see. So I said, “I’m going to meet Brother Stump.” So, I came back to Kimball and met Allen Stump.
So, I called the archives at the General Conference, and I said, “Who can look at these archives?”
He said, “Well, anybody can look at the archives. All you got to do is just come on up, and we’ll let you in.” But he said, “But not Allen Stump.”
I thought, Wait a minute. Now, why not Allen Stump? I wanted to ask him, but I didn’t want him to bar me from coming, so I didn’t say anything.
So, whatever impression was made, Brother Allen Stump put an impression on that man’s mind. The truths that he was presenting, they didn’t want it out.
Now, I say all that to say that whatever is factual for the kingdom, if you are sincere in heart, the Lord won’t let you forget it, and he gives people information to help you understand the principles of the kingdom.
Now look at the this picture. As you look at the picture I’m going to show you that the Lord knows our minds. He alone knows our minds, and he knows, as human beings, we look through our eyes, but even though we are looking, we don’t see. And we are hearing, and we don’t hear. Do you see what is in the picture?
Now lets go to the main part of this study:
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. (Matthew 13:1, 2)
Okay, get the idea now. The disciples were with Jesus, but then a whole lot of other people came and sat on the shore, while Jesus went out into the boat.
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow. (v. 3)
Now everybody back there knew what a sower was. Do you know what a sower is? A sower is somebody who goes and plants seeds in the ground. Okay, now I am going skip down. Some seed fell by the wayside (v. 4), then some fell by the stoney places (v. 5), and then some seeds fell among thorns (v. 7).
And the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. (vs. 7, 8)
And here is the story Jesus was giving them—illustrations. Parables are illustrations that Jesus was giving, apparently because the people were looking but they couldn’t see.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (v. 9)
Now, you mean to tell me they were listening to Jesus and weren’t hearing him? See, this was me. I’m listening, and I’m looking, but I’m not seeing, and I’m not hearing. This could be me, but it could be you. We are looking and not seeing and listening and not hearing. Now, all this that I was shown, I didn’t see. Do you see? But the Lord in his mercy showed me. “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Now, why would Jesus say that? Somebody’s not listening. Somebody’s not hearing.
Then verse 10 says:
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matthew 13:10, 11)
In other words, Jesus spoke in parables, or illustrations, to show the multitude hidden treasures of his kingdom. Pretty good, isn’t it? I thought, being a preacher, that I knew all about the kingdom. I’ve been a preacher, I’ve been to Andrews University, went through Oakwood College, so I’m seeing, but I didn’t see. Jesus comes along, and he illustrates something to me here.
Just like you. You read the Bible, you read this, you read that, but are you seeing? Are you hearing? Listen to what he says, now. What I’ve learned is—I’m learning to take more heed of what I find Jesus saying. See, Jesus is giving me keys to his kingdom, and that is where I am interested in going, so I want to read every word he gives me very carefully, to make sure I am getting what he is pointing out to me.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matthew 13:12)
Now let me read verse 11 in another translation that is a little smoother because I want you to really get this.
He replied, You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. (Matthew 13:11; New Living Translation)
Now, Seventh-day Adventists have been given the secrets of the kingdom. Seventh-day Adventist have been given hidden truths. Now, don’t forget that. Seventh-day Adventists have been given the plan of salvation clearly to be understood, but notice what he says, though:
To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. (Matthew 13:12; New Living Translation)
Now, the disciples had been given this abundance of knowledge, but the other people had not. So, he was giving them an illustration of the hidden principles of the kingdom. Just like Seventh-day Adventists. And he says, now, to them who got this knowledge now, he’s going to add on. Let me read on:
But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. (Ibid.)
Now, we got this understanding, and we got this wisdom, and the Lord says, Now, if you don’t use it, I’m going to take it away. Now, sad to say, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has forgotten the secrets that God had given them for the kingdom. Forgotten them. That is the reason why in all the meetings that I was sent to they never told me, or pointed out, or had an interest in, that the kingdom of God had to do with the sanctuary. The sanctuary? Seventh-day Adventist don’t even believe that now. You don’t hear it. We had one president who said, Oh, we don’t believe in the sanctuary any more. We don’t believe in the atonement any more.
Now, listen. Verse 13 says:
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:13)
See, Jesus is telling us, in so many words, You read the Bible, you say your prayers, you go to church, but you are not seeing the hidden things of my kingdom. Of the hidden things of the kingdom, one of the most important is the sanctuary that brings the whole complete plan of salvation, so you can see it. But we don’t see it. We don’t hear it. And we don’t understand it. We read; we see, but we don’t understand.
Jesus was telling them a problem that his people already had and still have today! We read, we study, but we don’t see, and we don’t hear. So Jesus goes and he quotes Isaiah 6:9. He said, Now look, Isaiah, you go and tell them that they hear all these things about me, they see all these things about me, but their minds are dull. That was me. Dull-minded. Couldn’t hear; couldn’t see; didn’t know. That’s the condition that we have today.
Now go to verse 16: “But blessed are your eyes.” Now why are you worried about somebody’s eyes? “For they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:16).
Now what did you see in the picture, if you saw anything? See, the truths about the Scriptures are in the Bible, and you say you’ve been reading the Bible. It’s like you’ve been looking at that picture, but you don’t see what is on there. Now when you know what you see, you will see it. You’ll say, Oh, I didn’t know that. I didn’t see that. And every time you look at it from now on, you will see what is there. So, Jesus gives us an illustration that he is talking about hidden things of the kingdom and unless somebody illustrates it to you, you won’t see it. And Smyrna’s magazine, Old Paths, has illustrated to us this whole thing of the atonement, that if you don’t read it, you won’t see it.
Now, look at the picture and rotate it 90 degrees clockwise. Now, I am showing you the illustration. Once you see it, you will say, Oh, now I see it. This is what Jesus was doing. It will hit you like a big Mack truck. What Jesus was saying here is, I’m giving you an illustration to show you the hidden things of the kingdom because your mind won’t let you see it. That’s Jesus talking to me. All these years I’m reading the Bible. All these years I’ve been praying. All these years I’ve been preaching. Then materials like The Foundation of Our Faith and Old Paths come along and illustrate what the Bible has been talking about for years. The point being, folks, Jesus gave parables, or illustrations, of hidden things of the kingdom that we ordinarily don’t see.
Now the whole thing of the atonement is an illustration of how God takes care of sin and how he saves us. But we don’t see it, and the sad thing about it is the people that we look to to help us understand have turned our minds from it. Have turned our minds from it. Turned our mind to the trinity. You say, Oh, you know, everybody sees the trinity. But when you study your Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, you don’t see any trinity. Oh, yes, I see the truth now. Clear as day. When you read Old Paths, you see the sanctuary in all of its phases. Clear as day. You see, the folks at Smyrna, for example, are people who help you see the hidden treasures of salvation.
Now, sad to say, all of us are part and parcel of Satan deceiving the whole world. The whole world has been deceived, and I used to think I wasn’t part of that, but I have been part of it. It’s in all of us—we stand up telling when we came out of this church or that church. Satan has led us to believe that our salvation is wrapped up in where we go to church. Now, the Bible plainly tells me that we should not have any other gods before God, but Satan has been so successful in placing the corporate church as God. Am I telling you the truth? So, instead of going to Jesus for your salvation, you go and ask the preacher or ask the conference or ask the General Conference, instead of taking the word, digging the word out. Through the word, the Lord will show you, he will reveal to you, the plan of salvation. But we run to other places, and Jesus has made it clear that if you are going out of this world, you have to only go out by him (John 14:6).
So, remember to read things carefully, and the most important thing I’ve discovered is that Jesus gives you the answer to every question.
Now, the last thought.
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. (Matthew 13:18)
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and understandeth it not, you see, that is where the catch comes. You hear the word about the kingdom, but you don’t understand it. Don’t understand it. Oh, yes, I read my Bible. Oh, I hear what the parable says. Oh, I go to church every week. Oh, I do all this stuff. But if you don’t understand the hidden principles of the kingdom, he says you are just like the man who put the seeds out there, and it didn’t bring forth any fruit. Here Jesus states again in verse 23:
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23)
So, in other words, the principle that Jesus was trying to lay down was you have to understand his word. You have to see it and understand it. Now, you read the Bible, and you read what it says about the sanctuary. Do you understand it? I heard what it said, but I don’t get it, and you just go right on. He says that is just like reading and not understanding it. He says in verse 19:
Then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matthew 13:19)
You see, if you don’t understand what the Spirit has put in your heart about the kingdom, Jesus says the devil will come and take it away. Now, that is sad. You read the Bible, say your prayers every day, but you don’t understand what you are talking about, don’t understand what you are doing. The devil will sit there and take it away. So my advice and encouragement is read what Jesus said more carefully. Read what he says more carefully, and pray that he gives you understanding about what he is talking about, so you can see with your spiritual eyes what he is doing. Like that cow in the picture. Once you see it, you will always see it, but you won’t see it until somebody shows you what the illustration is. And I am glad to say, and I appreciate it again, the work of all those who publish Old Paths to show us the hidden principles and treasures of the Spirit of Prophecy and of the word of God. ?
Pastor Stump’s statements after Elder Lewis’s message
I would like for us to read John 14:26:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
According to Matthew 28:19, 20, it is part of God’s plan to use people to spread the gospel, but ultimately it is the Spirit of God that will teach us, and the Spirit of God wrote the Bible. If you want to learn the Bible, I’m going to tell you how you can do it in a really simple plan. I did this plan for four years when I was a young Christian, and it helped to lay a foundation that I have never repented of having. I was a colporteur, selling the books The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, Prophets and Kings, Patriarchs and Prophets, and The Acts of the Apostles. At that time we had a little booklet that we gave with the books when we sold them, and it was a reading plan on how you could read through the Bible and all of these books in four years. It was a four-year plan, so it didn’t take a lot of your time every day, but I thought there was no reason why I couldn’t do it in a year. So during those four years that I canvassed, I read the Bible through and I read all those books through every year, and it laid a foundation for me that I have never, ever been sorry to have, and I have been trying to build on it ever since. Those five books, with, of course, books like Steps to Christ, Education, and Christ’s Object Lessons, and others, give you a breadth of knowledge that will far surpass 99.9% of all Christians you meet.
I did not go to Oakwood College, and I did not go to Andrews University. Because I canvassed, however, I was able to enter into the gospel ministry work, and before I became part of what Brother Henry Robinson said was a disgruntled group, I was looking at issues and trying to find deeper truth, but I was getting into trouble with the conference. So, my conference president came to visit, and we had this talk one Sunday morning in the pastor’s study at the old Indian Creek Church, and he said, “You know, if you would just go to Andrews University, there are people there who have the same concerns that you have, and you could talk with other people and discuss these things. There are teachers there that could teach you and help you and get you straightened out. If you could just go and study with these people, they would help you.”
My conference president had been to the seminary. He had his Master’s of Divinity degree, so, I thought, he could study with me so I said, “Elder B, why don’t you and me study the Bible together?”
He said, “Oh, I couldn’t study with you. I’m no theologian.”
And I thought, I can study with you; I know the Bible, but he said that we wouldn’t do that.” And I thought, Well, why not? Why not?
Ellen White never went to seminary, but she understood the Bible really well, and God has been pleased to give us, as a people, the Spirit of Prophecy, which is a light. It may be a lesser light that leads us to the greater light, but it is something that helps us to see the truths in the Bible.
Like Paul, we are pressing toward the mark, and he that hath begun a good work in us will finish it. He will finish that work in each and every one of us, if we will have eyes to see and ears to hear! ?
. The first printing of Steps to Christ was by the Fleming H. Revell Company in 1892 and did not include what is today the first chapter, “God’s Love for Man.”
. I’m not giving anybody any praise, or honor, or any glory. All praise goes to God, but I have to tell you that God used Allen Stump. I’m telling you that Allen Stump has shown me something, and if you read what he writes, he’ll show you something, too. Old Paths, with all its information and its illustrations, exposes truths. So, I’m encouraging you to get on his list and when he sends you something, read it.
. I’m going to tell you why in another study later.
. Answers from the congregation: It’s a goose; it’s a mother bird feeding her babies; it’s Jesus sitting in a boat; it’s mountains.
File Cabinet Going Online
The famous orator Cicero once said, “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” Certainly history is important to know, and sacred history is vital for the Christian to know and understand. The importance of knowing our history as Adventist people was stated by Ellen White, when she said:
We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)
One of the most popular features in Old Paths the last few years has been the documents from our “File Cabinet of History.” We are pleased to let our readers know that we are working on putting these documents of history online in PDF (portable document format), which can be read across all computer platforms.
This summer Sister Ashleigh Holt scanned thousands of pages of material from the cabinets in which we keep this history, and we are currently in the process of sorting and preparing these materials for the web.
To give you some idea of the amount of material, there are over seven hundred fifty pages of letters from just LeRoy Froom’s file. So please be patient with us, as it cannot all be published in an instant, but we hope to have it online by the end of the year.
We are very thankful to be able to release these materials to the public and have wanted to do it for some time, but the task of digitizing the material was too much for us to do with just our regular staff.
These materials have come into our possession in three main ways. Firstly, Robert (Bob) Diener did a great deal of research in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church archives and in the White Estate several years ago. Several years ago Bob allowed me to copy all of his material. Secondly, Fred Allaback gave me all of his research material from when he was a part of the truth about God movement. We are very sad that Fred is no longer connected with the movement today and ask for your prayers for him. Thirdly, these materials are partly from my personal research in the SDA archives and in the White Estate. There are also materials that have come to us from various other sources.
The thoughts that come of heavenly mould—
Alas! how short their stay;
How slow to leave us, those that steal
Our very joys away.
How carefully then should we shun
The evil in their birth,
And cherish only those we know
Will prove of heavenly worth.
Our life might be as peaceful as
The calm, sweet breath of even,
If we had Heaven in all our thoughts,
And all our thoughts in Heaven.
Annie R. Smith
Youth’s Corner — Escape from Siberian Exile
(This installment concludes chapter 12 and presents chapter 13 of Escape from Siberian Exile by John Godfrey Jacques, published by Pacific Press in 1921.)
Conclusion of Chapter XII: A “Wolf’s Passport”
With an air of conviction, the venerable man told me to make a note of the following names: Irkutsk, Harbin, Mukden, Shanghai, San Francisco. Those five cities, he affirmed, should mark my route.
Our interview was not long. It closed with earnest prayer. The expression of confidence on the good minister’s face, and the prayer he uttered, seemed to raise my mind above all misgivings, and I unhesitatingly accepted his counsel, though it might appear impossible of execution.
I must see my father and mother before starting on this long and venturesome journey. First I went to the home of a friend a few miles from their home; and thence, in the evening, he walked with me over the fields and the hills to the town where my parents lived. At a little bridge near their home, I lingered behind, in order that he might announce my coming; for I feared that to see me unexpectedly would be too great a shock to my delicate mother.
My parents were more startled than rejoiced at my coming. Father could speak but a few words, and mother seemed unable to fathom the mystery of my presence.
There were wearisome days and nights behind me, and I looked forward to similar ones to come. Therefore I begged that we sleep as much as we could that night, specially as the subjects we should be most likely to talk upon were painful ones to us all. Accordingly, with the benediction of my father’s prayer, we went to our rest.
Chapter XIII: THE BEGINNING OF A PERILOUS JOURNEY
BEFORE the first sign of dawn, we were all astir; for I must leave ere the day should betray me. My mother’s heart evidently was crushed with grief. If my family could have had any assurance that I should accomplish even so much as a tenth of the proposed journey, they would have had hope in reference to the remainder; but I might not even be permitted to leave the first station, and to be detected would imply a fate far worse than death.
My success in evading capture hitherto, was no proof that I should not be seized by the next gendarme I met—except as it denoted the protection of One against whom all the minions of the czar could not prevail. The farewell was agonizing. My father led the way through the garden, and to a footpath along the bank of the Kuma. Then, with the friend who had come with me, I passed out into the darkness. Equally dark my future loomed. Yet I faced it with hopefulness and even enthusiasm.
Though we kept as far as practicable from public roads and human habitations, we necessarily went near a little village; and the dogs bayed at us with a noisiness that was no aid to secrecy.
The morning had barely conquered the night, when we arrived at the friend’s home. I spent the day in hiding there, intending to take an evening train back in the direction from which I had fled.
I did not dare examine the contents of my purse, for my short stay with my family had not given them opportunity to get more for me than they had on hand; but I knew that I had enough to buy a ticket to Irkutsk, about four thousand miles away. To ask for one to take me farther would be to arouse suspicion; for Irkutsk is not a great distance from the frontier, and any man between eighteen and forty-five years of age was forbidden to leave the country in time of war.
When I called for a ticket, the agent’s face seemed to ask, “How is this, young man?” But he raised no objection. As the train bore me away, I was glad to see the lights of the station vanish behind me. Each danger passed was a cause of rejoicing, although new dangers awaited me just ahead. I had not been long on the train when it stopped—for what reason, I did not know. Soon a gendarme, lantern in hand, and accompanied by a subordinate, came into the compartment I occupied. He looked about, then came to me, and ordered his subordinate to search my baggage. This being done, he raised his lantern to my face, held it there for several minutes—so it seemed to me—turned and left the car, and the train moved on.
I cannot explain this incident, except as I explain to my own heart many incidents of that journey—on the supposition that divine power interposed to ward off harm.
My route lay through Ufa, the first town at which I had stopped on my flight. That locality might reasonably be regarded as particularly unsafe for me, and I kept very unobtrusively to my corner. After crossing the Ural Mountains into Siberia, I felt less apprehensive.
Although, in temperate climates, this was the season of reddening leaves and harvest ingathering, winter had already begun in Siberia. The country was covered with snow, and glistening with frost.
After eight days of continuous travel, I was nearing Irkutsk. The question as to how I should be able to go on from there, was still unanswered. Even had I had enough money, I could not have bought a ticket to cross the border. Moreover, where nearly every young man was in military uniform, my civilian garb must attract undesired attention. Then, too, I had no passport; and even before the war, hundreds of times had I been required to show my passport.
A wounded military engineer tried repeatedly to engage me in conversation, and I could not well repulse him altogether. He may have guessed my dilemma; for though no allusion was made to it, after a while, he offered to sell me his uniform and his railway pass. He, being wounded, and having his discharge, could travel in citizen’s attire without difficulty; and he could renew his pass in any large city. The one he wished to sell me was for Vladivostok; and to reach that place, the railway crosses Manchuria. Thus the pass would take me over the boundary line.
Was this young soldier actuated by pity for me? Or was his purpose only mercenary—to get the few rubles he asked of me? Or would he lead me into a trap, and then deliver me up to arrest? I did not fear to trust him, and assented to his proposition.
The safest place to conclude our arrangements, I thought, would be the home of our minister in Irkutsk. I had his address; and when we arrived at that city, we took a sleigh—there were many such for hire at the station—and the small Siberian horse that drew it, galloped wildly away.
Facts about Family Worship
If your children are in your home for eighteen years, you will have 13,140 occasions for family worship. If you learn a new hymn each month, they will be exposed to two hundred sixteen new hymns in those eighteen years. If you read a chapter out of the Bible at each worship, you will complete the Bible nine times. There are three hundred twenty chapters in the Conflict of the Ages series (Patriarchs and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, The Desire of Ages, The Acts of the Apostles, and The Great Controversy). If you read just a little more than one chapter a week from these books you will read the series through three times with your children.
Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, 750 Smyrna Road, Welch, WV 24801–9606 U. S. A. 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 website. The url is: http://www.smyrna.org. Phone: (304) 732–9204. Fax: (304) 732–7322.
Editor Allen Stump—firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Editor Onycha Holt—email@example.com