Old Paths Masthead

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14

Vol. 26, No.5 Straight and Narrow May 2017

The Earth hath he given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)

In this issue:

The Sabbath in Babylonia

The Right Arm of the Message

Camp Meeting

Tasty Recipes

The Entering Wedge

Duty to Know Ourselves

Youth’s Corner

House of God Dedicated in Kansas


The Sabbath in Babylonia

Four thousand years ago, in what is now the desert area of southern Iraq, the great cosmopolitan city of Ur, with its 60,000 inhabitants, buzzed with activity on the Euphrates River. It was the center of trade for the Babylonian empire, and it drew traders from as far away as the Mediterranean Sea, 750 miles (1207 km) to the west, and from what is now India, 1500 miles (2414 km) to the east. In addition, camel caravans from the north brought merchandise to its harbors. More than 35,000 artifacts have been unearthed from this amazing city, including gold helmets, crowns, jewelry, clay tablets of cuneiform writing, and ebony. A royal cemetery and a massive ziggurat overlooking the city have also been uncovered.

Today, Ur is located on a flat, dry plain, but when it bustled with activity, it was a thriving port that was laced with canals and filled with merchant ships, warehouses, and weaving factories. The stepped pyramid, which looked down upon the city, was dedicated to Nanna (also known as Sin), the imaginary god of the moon, and Ur was one of two chief seats for this moon god. The other was in north Mesopotamia, at Haran, where Abram and his family settled after leaving Ur.

Dr. Siegfried Horn, former professor of archeology and history of antiquity at Andrews University, visited Ur in 1953. He wrote:

It is a thrill to walk through the streets of the residential section of ancient Ur, to go in and out of houses that stood in the time of Abraham and peep into the rooms in which his contemporaries lived. I had this very exciting experience early in October, 1953, when a visit to many historical sites of ancient Mesopotamia took me to the place from which Abraham came.

The country surrounding Ur is a thirsty land. The Euphrates has changed its course and the ruins of Ur are now at a considerable distance from the life-giving river on whose banks it once lay. After having traveled for hours . . . one sees suddenly rising on the horizon one of the most impressive ruins of ancient Mesopotamia, the temple tower of Ur.

This ziggurat, the old name for a temple tower, still stands to a height of approximately seventy feet, and is therefore a monument of great distinction in this flat land. . . .

Ur was one of the famous cities in the early history of Mesopotamia. Some of its kings ruled over the whole country of the two rivers. The city was known far and wide for its achievements, for literary fame, and as a cultural center.

. . . we approached the great temple tower of ancient Mesopotamia . . . No other temple tower is as well preserved as this one. Having been built in the third millennium B.C. and repaired several times, down to the time of the last kings of the Babylonian Empire, it still stands, although in a ruined form, as a very impressive monument. Its size is 210 by 145 feet at the base. Originally it had consisted of four stages. The two uppermost ones have completely vanished, but the lowest stage is quite well preserved, as well as parts of the second one.

Three wide processional stairways lead up to a porch on the first platform. These stairways are still preserved, and one can walk up the same steps the ancient priests and worshipers climbed in order to meet their god at the top of this temple tower. I climbed the central stairway to the summit of the present tower, and marveled at the industriousness of these ancient people who heaped up millions of large-sized bricks to build this symbol of worship. . . .

. . . Let me say simply that Ur was once the religious and cultural center of a great part of Lower Mesopotamia, and that houses of worship for many deities in the course of its long history were built in Ur. Worshipers flocked to this metropolis from many parts of the country during the festival seasons, and the riches of the land poured into the various temple treasuries. . . .

The residential section, of which great parts were uncovered during the excavations, are more fascinating than anything else in the ruins of Ur. One can wander through the streets of the ancient city in which Abraham lived, and go in and out of the houses which he as a child or young man may have frequented. The ruins of these houses are standing to eighteen feet, and are remarkably well preserved, in many cases up to the second floor of the dwellings. . . .

The excavators also found that the population of Ur was highly interested in education. The remains of several schools provided eloquent evidence of the existence of a thirst for learning in that ancient city. Many cuneiform tablets were found in the schools, which served as textbooks or students’ exercises, and showed that the youth of Ur received a well-rounded education in reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography.

All this sheds much light on the patriarchal period. When higher critics boasted of their great triumphs some fifty or more years ago, they described the patriarchs as ignorant desert sheiks who wandered through the countries of the Near East with their flocks and pitched their tents wherever they could find water or shade trees.

Today we know that it is entirely wrong to compare Abraham with the uneducated and superstitious Bedouin as has been done so many times by scholars in the past. On the contrary, we must consider him a man of refined tastes, the product of a sophisticated, civilized society. We know now that he came from a highly civilized city, which possessed a culture that compares well with our own. It has also become clear that he as the son of a wealthy man must have received a good education. All this has greatly changed the picture we have of the patriarchs. (Siegfried H. Horn, “A Visit to Ur of the Chaldees,” The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 25, 1954)

The temple tower was built to honor Nanna, the moon god, who was also called the Frisky calf of An.[1] (An means heaven.) Nanna’s earthly representative was a bull, in part because the shape of the bull’s horns was like the horizontal crescent of the waxing moon.[2] Nanna was the chief deity during the time Abram lived in Ur, but other gods had been worshiped in Ur over the years, as Dr. Horn stated above. The calf or the ox, known as Apis, was also worshiped in Egypt,[3] and the Israelites, along with the mixed multitude, were familiar with the worship of Apis. Apis was, first and foremost, a sacred live bull, though many idols were made to represent him, and he stood for a god-king that was strong to lead, but he also represented the moon. The bull was chosen to be this god because of the shape of its horns, as mentioned, and sometimes a disc representing the full moon was placed between the horns on the idol. It is also noteworthy that one of the characteristics the living Apis had to have was a white crescent moon on his right flank. If there was no crescent moon, the bull could not be Apis. It is not surprising, then (though utterly appalling), that when Aaron fashioned a golden idol for the Israelites, it was a calf. This was to be their god-king because their leader, Moses, had not returned from the mount. It is also not surprising that the God of heaven, their true leader, was angered at their blatant apostasy. He had recently met them in overwhelming majesty at Mount Sinai, and he had also led them out of slavery and had protected them from recapture by the Egyptians, yet they trampled the goodness and the greatness of God under their feet as they unashamedly danced around their new leader—an idol that knew nothing and that represented the god of the moon. They had willingly chosen a false god to worship. God had called the Israelites out of Egypt, where the moon, among other false gods, was worshiped, and God had called Abram out of Ur, where worship of the moon was preeminent and where a massive ziggurat had been erected in honor of this false god, but today some of God’s people have returned to an honoring of the moon in their worship on the lunar sabbath. Partial support for this conclusion is Ezekiel 20:13, 16:

But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness . . . my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. . . . Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart[4] went after their idols.

The only time in the wilderness that Israel worshiped an idol was at Mt. Sinai, and God was ready to utterly consume them and to make a nation of Moses and his descendants. God also said, through Ezekiel, that the Israelites had polluted his sabbaths, when they worshiped the golden idol. It is true that, in general, Israel had dishonored the sabbath across the span of the wilderness experience, both before and after Mt. Sinai, and this is how The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary interprets Ezekiel 20:13, but this interpretation is not consistent with the text in Ezekiel, for God said the pollution occurred when their heart went after idols, and this occurred at Mt. Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 32. It was at Mt. Sinai that an idol was made, not during the wilderness experience at any other time, and this experience God says polluted his sabbaths. The word for in Ezekiel 20:16 can also be translated because, thus rendering the verse: but polluted my sabbaths: because their heart went after idols. And what were the idols their heart went after at Mt. Sinai? Representatives of the moon gods, Apis and Nanna, both signified by a bull and/or a calf.

We do not know what day of the week they danced around the golden calf, but since the sabbath is not mentioned at all in Exodus 32, it could easily have been a weekday. Because Ezekiel 20 connects an affront to the sabbath with Exodus 32, it is very possible that it was a day on which the moon was honored, a day of worship, so to speak, determined by the phases of the moon, and that by substituting this day of worship in place of the LORD’s sabbath, the LORD’s sabbath was polluted.

In case someone may think the polluting of the sabbath had nothing to do with the day itself but, instead, had to do with the false worship that was taking place, we say this could be included in what God condemned, but please consider that God said it was his sabbaths that were polluted, not the worship of him. We realize the sabbath and worship on the sabbath are closely connected, but it is easily possible God was so abhorrent that his weekly sabbath was replaced by a sabbath connected to the moon (for we know this is true today) that he wanted to destroy the Israelites and start over with Moses. As stated, we cannot be certain the day of the week on which the feast occurred, but we do know that God’s sabbath was polluted by it, and we also know that the calf was a representative of the moon.[5]

The Hebrew word for the feast that Aaron proclaimed is not mo‘ed, by the way, but hag, which means a religious festival that often involves a processional or a pilgrimage. The feasts (hag) of unleavened bread, of harvest, and of ingathering all involved a journey to appear before the Lord. Moses asked Pharaoh (Exodus 10:9) to let the Israelites go into the wilderness so they could hold a feast (hag) unto the LORD. Mo‘ed is the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:14 that is translated seasons and which lunar sabbatarians say means holy gatherings or sabbaths, and the use of this word, they say, gives proof that these gatherings or sabbaths were always based on the lunar cycle. We agree that mo‘ed is used for the time or the place of the assembly of God’s people, but it is also used for the set time of the birth of a child (Gen. 17:21), of the coming of a plague (Ex. 9:5), of a bird’s migration (Jer. 8.7), of the time of the end (Dan. 8:19), as well as used for the heavenly bodies to determine the seasons. But there is more to consider.

A lunar sabattarian, who calls himself Brother Arnold, states that the Babylonians of Abram’s time kept a sabbath day, based on the lunar cycle:

Babylon kept a Sabbath day and they found it by counting from the new moon. (Brother Arnold, “Daniel Proves Lunar S.,” http://lunarsabbath.info/id17.html)

And we agree with this, but this sabbath was not the weekly seventh-day sabbath or even the weekly seventh day within a lunar month. It was a lunar festival on the fifteenth of the month, and the fifteenth only, and was always during a full moon:

Now the Babylonian month was a lunar month of approximately 30 days and the 15th day, or the middle of the month, would be the day of the full moon. We would infer, then, that the sabattu was identical with the day of the full moon and with it alone. (Theophile James Meek, “The Sabbath in the Old Testament: Its Origin and Development,” Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 33 (1914), p. 202)

And so, the questions come to mind: Did the Babylonians worship on a regular, weekly seventh-day sabbath? Or did they worship regularly every seven days but only within the lunar month? Or perhaps they did neither.

A few cuneiform documents have been found that contain the terms sabattu or sabattum, which are similar in form with the Hebrew word sabbathon, and some people have been quick to equate the three, but they are not equivalent.

Dr. Meek continues, speaking of secular documents: “The name, Sabbath, first appears in Babylonia and as an institution may, in fact, be traced back to the early pre-Semitic inhabitants of that land, the Sumerians” (Ibid.). Dr. Meek is speaking of a sabbath based on the lunar calendar. This sabbath occurred on the day of the full moon, the fifteenth day of the thirty-day lunar month of the Babylonians. He states that “the sabattu was identical with the day of the full moon and with it alone” and that this “Sabbath was to the Babylonians ‘the day par excellence,’ one of the great festival days of the month” (Ibid., emphasis supplied). It also “was not a day of rest, on which work was prohibited, for many contract tablets are dated on that day” (Ibid.).

What Brother Arnold is stating is that the seventh-day sabbaths that he claims were kept in ancient Babylon were the weekly sabbaths of the lunar moon, thus providing evidence that God’s sabbath is based on the moon and not on the weekly cycle of days, regardless of months or years, starting at creation, and also providing evidence that Abram kept the lunar sabbath. Arnold states Abram received his information straight from one of Noah’s sons, who received it from his father, who, in turn, received it from Adam; and thus the lunar sabbath in Babylon, he says, can be traced all the way back to Eden.

. . . when we trace the creation Sabbath and how it was kept to Babylon and other parts of the land, we see that the seventh day Sabbaths were by the phases of the moon and the descendents [sic] of Adam in Babylon is a prime example” (Brother Arnold, Ibid.).

Being determined by the “phases of the moon” means a day or two has to be ignored at the close of one month before the next lunar month begins, and these ignored days are not counted in the weekly cycle of days. Once the new month began, however, then a sabbath could be counted every seven days from the first of the month. Arnold is trying to say that the way he says the sabbath was kept in Babylon proves that the sabbaths were weekly seven day sabbaths within the lunar month, and with this we cannot agree. The way the Babylonians used the term sabattum was not in harmony with a day of worship. Sabattum is a day when the leaders had to be careful not to arouse the anger of some of the gods. The term has been found only five or six times in Babylonian inscriptions (out of thousands) and in none of them is it connected with the seventh day of the week. It is, instead, connected to so-called unlucky days, in which the king, priests, and physicians needed to be careful not to stir up the anger of the false gods. On those days, for example, the king was not to eat food prepared by fire, was not to put on his royal dress, and was not to ride in his chariot.[6] Connecting these unfavorable days with the sabbath (lunar or not) is not appropriate because the sabbath was set apart for the benefit of man.

Lunar sabbatarians may get their information about the keeping of the sabbath in ancient Babylon from Friedrich Delitzsch, an Assyrian scholar, who, in 1903, wrote:

The Babylonians also had their Sabbath day (shabattu), and a calendar of feasts and sacrifices has been unearthed according to which the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month were set apart as days on which no work should be done, on which the king should not change his robes, nor mount his chariot, nor offer sacrifices, nor render legal decisions, nor eat of boiled or roasted meats, on which not even a physician should lay hands on the sick. (Friedrich Delitzsch, Babel and Bible, p. 37; quoted by Siegfried H. Horn, “Did the Sabbath Originate in Babylonia?” The Review & Herald, July 6, 1961)

But Dr. Horn states:

Professor Delitzsch here refers to the Assyrian hemerologies [calendars] and their prohibitions, already discussed [about what the king, priests, and physicians were not to do on the unlucky days]. However, his interpretation of the documents in question is clearly a distortion of the facts. It is true that the word shabattu (also spelled shapattu) appears in the Akkadian hemerologies, already mentioned and discussed, but only as the name of the fifteenth day of the month, or full moon, which was a day for cleansing the temple, and for expiation. The word is never applied to any other day of the month or to any other feast day of the Babylonian calendar. Shapattum appears also to have had the meaning of “intercalary day” in certain business documents, but this is irrelevant to our study here. . . .

. . . The Hebrew word shabbath means clearly “[day of] rest,” since it is related to the verb shabath, “to cease,” “to rest,” as every Hebrew dictionary clearly indicates. The etymology of the Babylonian shabattu is unknown, but the word is never used in the same way as the Hebrew noun shabbath or the verb shabath. Hence there remains but one point of similarity —both names, the Hebrew shabbath and the Babylonian shabattu, are names for certain days. But here the similarity ends, because the Hebrew shabbath designates the seventh day of the week, or similar rest days, while the Babylonian shabattu designates only the fifteenth day of the month, the day of full moon. The similarity of the two names may therefore be only accidental, and cannot be used as proof that the Babylonian shabattu formed the basis of the Biblical Sabbath.(Horn, Ibid.; emphasis added; brackets in last paragraph in original)

Dr. Meek agrees and also explains the seventh, the fourteenth, the nineteenth, the twenty-first, and the twenty-eighth days of the lunar week:

The Sabbath used to be, and by many scholars still is, identified with the Babylonian “favorable, unfavorable days,” which for the intercalary month of Elul fell on the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21th, and 28th days, (IV R. 32f.), but there is absolutely no evidence that these have any connection whatsoever with sabattu. Indeed, as we have noted, there is as yet no evidence anywhere that sabattu was applied to any day other than the 15th, and to assign this term to other days, as Jastrow and many scholars do, is the purest assumption and is based upon a preconceived idea as to what the Sabbath was. . . .

With the Babylonians the Sabbath was manifestly a full moon festival . . . (Meek, Ibid., p. 203)

Concluding our consideration on whether the Babylonians kept the seventh-day weekly sabbath or not, the following statements by Dr. Horn are helpful:

. . . no ancient nation except the Hebrews observed a weekly day of rest . . . Except for the Hebrews, the peoples of antiquity were all idolaters and polytheists, and could hardly have been Sabbath observers at the same time in view of the fact that the Sabbath was a memorial to the true God. (Siegfried H. Horn, “Archeology and the Sabbath–1: Was the Sabbath Known in Ancient Babylonia?” The Review & Herald, May 4, 1961)

. . . available archeological evidence provides no basis whatever for the claim that the pagan nations of antiquity knew of the seven-day week and observed a weekly Sabbath. The Bible is our only source of such information. We have to turn to the story of Creation and to the fourth commandment to learn about the origin of the week and the Sabbath, and to the historical and prophetic books of the Bible for source material on the later history of the Sabbath. From the Bible, we also learn that the Jews of Christ’s day still kept the Sabbath, that Jesus observed it as His weekly day of rest and worship, and that His apostles continued to do so after His death and resurrection. (Horn, The Review & Herald, July 6, 1961)

Brother Arnold also brings up a significant issue about the interpretation of Daniel 7:25:

Wherever the little horn is today, she recognizes the modern-day sabbaths and the calendar that was changed from the one Daniel kept in Babylon. If someone says Daniel kept Saturday Sabbath when he prophesied of the change by the little horn, then the change should have went from Saturday sabbaths to lunar Sabbaths but if Daniel was keeping lunar Sabbath and prophesied of a change, then it should have went from lunar Sabbaths to the Sabbath they are keeping today. When Daniel prophesied of the future, how that the little horn would think to change times and laws, it ALSO tells us that in this time that Daniel is speaking, times and laws had not been changed yet. i.e. the calendar Daniel and Adam’s descendents was keeping in Babylon was the creation calendar because the Sabbath had not been changed yet and all the historical evidence show that it was a solar lunar calendar. (Brother Arnold, Ibid.)

To summarize and, hopefully, to make more clear, Arnold is saying the changing of times and laws was not about the aim to change God’s law, specifically the fourth commandment, and the push to change Saturday sacredness to Sunday sacredness, but was about the change in the calender from what he calls the creation calendar (solar/lunar) to our current solar calendar. Brothers and sisters, the weekly cycle has not changed since creation, and Daniel 7:25 is not about the change in calendars but is about the attempt to change God’s law. This is why the day on which we worship is so important, for our destiny is determined by to whom we yield our obedience. It is a matter of obeying the law of God or the words of men, even of apparently godly men, and of accepting error in the place of truth.

That the law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward. It is the last great deception that he will bring upon the world. He needs not to assail the whole law; if he can lead men to disregard one precept, his purpose is gained. . . . By consenting to break one precept, men are brought under Satan’s power. By substituting human law for God’s law, Satan will seek to control the world. This work is foretold in prophecy. Of the great apostate power which is the representative of Satan, it is declared, “He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand.” Daniel 7:25.

Men will surely set up their laws to counterwork the laws of God. They will seek to compel the consciences of others, and in their zeal to enforce these laws they will oppress their fellow men.

The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 763; emphasis supplied)

It cannot be more clearly stated than this:

In the very time in which we live, the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin who has made the Sunday law a distinctive power, who has thought to change times and laws, and to oppress the people of God who stand firmly to honor Him by keeping the only true Sabbath, the Sabbath of creation, as holy unto the Lord. (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 117)

Brothers and sisters, worshiping God according to the lunar calendar pollutes God’s sabbaths and results in rejecting the inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy, as seen in this testimony of a lunar sabbatarian:

For myself, as well as many other folks who have come out of the Adventist Church and out of keeping a Roman Saturday as our Sabbath, I had also believed that Ellen White’s writings were inspired. This I no longer believe. . . . No matter how beautifully written her hired writers have made her published materials, it cannot be taken as divine inspiration or revelation. (Unnamed author, “Announcing an Official Paradigm Shift,” http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/announcing-official-paradigm-shift/)

Let us be faithful to our God, to his law, and to his inspired writings. We will never fail, if we do this.

Onycha Holt

[1]. Dr. Mark Hall, “A Study of the Sumerian Moon-God, Nanna/Suen,” as quoted by http://journalofheresies.blogspot.com/2006/10/epiteths-of-nannasuen.html

[2]. http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/nannasuen/

[3]. See Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 315.

[4]. The word heart is singular in both the English and the Hebrew. Instead of God saying their hearts, plural, (referring to all of the individuals hearts), the singular term heart is used to signify that God is speaking about the corporate body of Israel and is holding the people as a body accountable for the sins of individuals. (See Testimonies for the Church, volume 3, pages 517, 518.)

[5]5. Consider in addition 1 Kings 12:28–33. The Hebrew word translated feast is the same word used in Exodus 32:5, and the feast in 1 Kings was on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. This would have been a full moon.

[6]. See the entry “Sabbath,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, editor, p. 2630.

The Right Arm of the Message

The Spirit of Prophecy says that the medical missionary work is the right arm of the message. Right? Actually, yes and no. To my surprise, after using this phrase for years and accounting it to be from Ellen White, I found that her writings reveal that she never used that exact phrase, but she certainly taught it. A detailed scan through the database of her writings reveals that she did say that “the medical missionary work is as the right arm of the third angel’s message which must be proclaimed to a fallen world” (Ellen White, Counsels on Health, p. 331).

While the great view of health reform was given to Ellen White at the house of Brother A. Hilliard at Otsego, Michigan, in June 6, 1863, it was not until 1887 that we know that Ellen White compared the health work to the three angels’ messages as the right arm to the body. The first such usage was given at the ninth annual meeting of the Health and Temperance Association, November 15, 1887, at Oakland, California. This meeting was reported on by J H. Kellogg in the February 14, 1888, issue of The Review and Herald. In this issue, he records Sister White as having said:

Brethren and sisters, we want you to see the importance of this temperance question, and we want our workers to interest themselves in it, and to know that it is just as much connected with the third angel’s message as the right arm is with the body. We ought to make advancement in this work.

It would be a decade before Ellen White refined the language further in an appeal written to the brethren in Battle Creek in 1898 from Cooranbong, N. S. W. but not published publicly for the church until 1904:

The medical missionary work is to be to the work of the church as the right arm to the body. The third angel goes forth proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The medical missionary work is the gospel in practice. All lines of work are to be harmoniously blended in giving the invitation: “Come; for all things are now ready.” (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 77)

Early the following year, in a letter written to J. N. Loughborough, Ellen White wrote:

In every place where camp meetings have been held, this subject [medical missionary work] has created intense interest. It is allied to the third angel’s message as surely as the right arm is joined to the body. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 74; February 19, 1899, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, to J. N. Loughborough)

Several times from 1899 to 1901 Ellen White used similar language. The first published usage that year was very shortly after the Loughborough letter, and, due to the distance and time between Australia and Battle Creek, was mostly certainly penned before the Loughborough letter was written:

As the right arm is to the body, so is the medical missionary work to the third angel’s message. But the right arm is not to become the whole body. The work of seeking the outcasts is important, but it is not to become the great burden of our mission. (Ellen White, General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1899, Art. B)

The Review and Herald was next to trumpet this important analogy:

As the right arm is connected with the body, so the health reform and medical missionary work is connected with the third angel’s message, and is to work efficiently as the right arm, for the defense of the body of truth. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, June 20, 1899, Art. A)

Here Ellen White connects the principle of health reform with medical missionary work and makes the parallel to the human arm and the body. In volume 6 of the Testimonies, she would publish in 1901:

This is an element that gives character to the work for this time. The medical missionary work is as the right arm to the third angel’s message which must be proclaimed to a fallen world; and physicians, managers, and workers in any line, in acting faithfully their part, are doing the work of the message. Thus the sound of the truth will go forth to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. In this work the heavenly angels bear a part. They awaken spiritual joy and melody in the hearts of those who have been freed from suffering, and thanksgiving to God arises from the lips of many who have received the precious truth. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 229)

Again and again I have been instructed that the medical missionary work is to bear the same relation to the work of the third angel’s message that the arm and hand bear to the body. Under the direction of the divine Head they are to work unitedly in preparing the way for the coming of Christ. The right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work, and God will strengthen it. But it is not to be made the body. At the same time the body is not to say to the arm: “I have no need of thee.” The body has need of the arm in order to do active, aggressive work. Both have their appointed work, and each will suffer great loss if worked independently of the other. (Ibid.)

In these statements we see the importance of the health work to our message. All should realize the importance of their right arm. If you have any questions, just have your right arm tied to your side for a day and see how well you fare! Now it is true that a person can, and at times does, function without a right arm. It is also true that a right arm must have a body to function, or it becomes useless. Ellen White noted that “the right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work,” and she also noted that “the right arm is not to become the whole body.” Working together in proper balance, the body with the right arm can do the most profitable work.

Many of the principles of health given to Ellen White during the Otsego 1863 vision were first published in Spiritual Gifts, volume 4, pages 120–151. The message was supported by Dr. Horatio S. Lay, who was the leading physician in the movement at the time. He pressed Ellen White “to tell him what she had been shown” (Arthur White, The Progressive Years, p. 21). In 1866, Dr. Lay was to head the then newly established Western Health Reform Institute, which later became the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

At the 1866 General Conference Session, health reform was predominately discussed. Prior to this, The Review and Herald “had carried a number of articles on the subject, some substantial members had reported favorably as a result of adopting its principles, and Ellen White had addressed the conference on the subject” (Ibid., p. 136). The record notes the following resolutions:

Whereas, The subject of health is now attracting much attention among us as a people, and we are now learning the great truth that the proper way to avoid disease, or to recover from it, is to adopt correct habits of life, therefore

Resolved, That this conference request our brother Dr. H. S. Lay, whom we deem fully competent so to do, to furnish through the Review a series of articles on the health reform.

Resolved, That we acknowledge the health reform as set forth in the testimony of Sr. White, as part of the work of God incumbent on us at this time; and that we pledge ourselves to live in accordance with these principles, and that we will use our best endeavors to impress their importance upon others. (The Review and Herald, May 22, 1866)

Shortly after the conference, plans were quickly laid to begin the publication of a monthly health journal, with Dr. Lay as the editor. The Review and Herald of June 5, 1866, carried this notice under the title of “Prospectus of the Health Reformer”:

The first number of a monthly periodical, with the above title, 16 pp., magazine form, with cover, will be issued at The Western Health Reform Institute, Battle Creek, Mich., August 1, 1866.

The nature of this Journal is sufficiently indicated by its name. It is designed to aid in the great work of reforming, as far as possible, the false habits of life so prevalent at the present day.

It will aim to teach faithfully and energetically those Rules of Health, by obedience to which, people, may secure the largest immunity from sickness and premature death.

It will advocate the cure of diseases by the use of Nature’s own remedies, Air, Light, Heat, Exercise, Food, Sleep, Recreation, &c.

It will conscientiously hold up the light on the best methods, so far as ascertained, of managing healthfully our physical frames, that we may be enabled to heed the apostolic injunction, to glorify God in our bodies as well as our spirits, both of which are equally his, and should be regulated according to his will.

It will not be denominational in its character, but will be adapted to the wants of all classes of people everywhere, who are interested in the great question of maintaining health by obedience to Nature’s laws; and where such interest does not exist, it will endeavor to create it. We wish, therefore, to give it a wide and indiscriminate circulation.

It will be free from everything light, vain, and trashy, and from all matter which does not have some bearing, either, immediate or remote, on the great questions in hand.

And to make it more especially practical, and adapt it to the immediate wants of the people, a certain amount of space will be devoted in each number, to the answering of questions from correspondents.

In short, we aim to publish a first class Health Journal, interesting in its variety, valuable in its instructions, and second to none in either literary or mechanical execution. The year’s numbers when bound, will furnish a volume of nearly 200 pages convenient in size, and filled with the choicest reading matter. We solicit subscriptions from all the friends of the Health movement, and ask them to lend their aid in extending the circulation of this Journal.

Price $1.00 in advance per volume of twelve numbers. Address Dr. H. S. Lay, Battle Creek, Mich.

The first issue of The Health Reformer, as well as those that followed, certainly showed that Dr. Lay accurately laid out the aims and goals of the paper. In his first editorial, Dr. Lay restated the goals of The Health Reformer for the readers and assured them that “its contributors will be persons of experience, and of high mental and moral attainments. Its selections will be of the choicest kind” (Vol. 1, No. 1, August 1866). A list of the items addressed in the first issue, with their authors, shows that Dr. Lay was serious:

Indulgence of the Appetite

Mastication of Food


It should be clear that the first issue of sixteen pages was packed full of excellent health counsel written by physicians and experienced church leaders. Not only did Ellen White have a predominate article, but both the Bourdeau brothers contributed, as well as J. N. Loughborough, J. N. Andrews, and J. H. Waggoner.[1]

It would be hard to say that anything has done more to help the advancement of the message than the health reform work. We have been told:

Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. In the ministry of the word and in the medical missionary work the gospel is to be preached and practiced. (Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 144)

God calls upon all of this people to understand how the body and mind work together and what can be done to help prevent disease and also to be able to give simple natural treatments to help others. Often such help will be as an entering wedge that will allow the gospel workers to gain access to the hearts of the people for whom they work.

We encourage you, reader, to accept our invitation to attend the West Virginia camp meeting (June 13–17) this year, where our theme is “The Message and Its Right Arm.” We hope to have meetings to better equip you to understand and to do the work of God, so that precious souls may be won and Jesus can return soon. Allen Stump

[1]. We are reprinting Ellen White’s article in this issue of Old Paths.

Camp Meeting

This year at camp meeting, Smyrna Gospel Ministries will be hosting two health expos. Leading out in these events are the Browns, Akens, Whitehursts, and Demario Carter. The Browns also will be training the youth in how to conduct and set up health expos.

The first event will be on June 13, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the River Front Park in Welch, WV. The second event will be on Friday, June 16th on the grounds of the chapel. Of course, these workers are asking for additional help, particularly for the Tuesday event. If you are planning to come to camp meeting and can come earlier (June 11 or June 12), we could use your help to prepare for the Tuesday event. We especially encourage our youth to come! ?

Tasty Recipes

by Vera Antisdel

Barley Casserole

Put items in casserole dish, cover, and bake 11⁄2 to 13⁄4 hours @ 350 degrees F. Top with vegetarian cheese or sliced almonds and bake 15 min. longer.

Cashew Cheese

Blend until smooth. Freezes well.

The Entering Wedge

As believers, “Christ . . . is our life” (Colossians 3:4). Every aspect of our life is to be under the control and direction of Jesus Christ. Paul writes:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our Christian life, like a multi-faceted gem, has many sides and angles, but all are to reflect Christ. Widely acclaimed author Booton Herndon wrote a book about Seventh-day Adventists, entitled, The 7th Day: The Story of the Seventh-Day Adventists. In his book Herndon wrote about some of the remarkable accomplishments of the Adventist church and about some of its illustrious members. He wrote of Desmond Doss and of his war heroics that many know so well.

Herndon also wrote of lesser-known people and of their experiences, such as colporteur and later minister, Herbert Morgan, who had been trying to canvass in Texas during a terrible drought. Nobody would buy books from him for fear that there would be no harvest due to the lack of rain, but Brother Morgan prayed for rain at one farm and before he left, it rained. But only on that one farm! Book sold! He went to the next farm and prayed again, and it rained at that farm, resulting in another sale. Books began to sell very quickly, as word of this praying book salesman spread like wildfire.

“Are you the man praying for rain?” he would be asked before he could introduce himself.

“Yes, I am,” he would reply.

Brother Morgan would then hear, “I am buying. Will you pray for rain here?”

If you have never read this classic, you should. Herndon makes the point well that he is not writing about merely seventh-day people but seven-day people—people who put their faith in practice each and every day. It is truly not possible for a real Seventh-day Adventist to not live out his or her faith in all that he or she does.

But part of our great mission is to help those who do not believe and who currently have no interest in God or in faith. How can we interest such people, when all of our lives are about God and faith? What common ground can we use to help these people? That’s right, the health reform work! Virtually all people, religious or not, are concerned about their health. As we do medical missionary work for others, a door is opened to many hearts which formerly was closed to the good news. We have been told:

When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 327)

The Bible is not ambiguous about God’s desire that his people be healthy and well. John says:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 2)

That sets the bar of priorities very high for health. Of course, John is also talking about the soul prospering, as well as the body, but as we shall see, we have been made in the image of God, and he expects us to take care of that image.

God made a tremendous promise to Israel: “And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee” (Exodus 23:25). At that time all they had was bread and water, but remember the bread was manna, “the bread of angels” (Psalm 78:25). Their water was that supplied by a miracle from out of the rock, and it was so abundant that it flowed like a river (Psalm 105:41). Yet even these items were blessed by God. God added something special to them so that the children of Israel need not be sick. How humbled we should feel when we partake of our food, several degrees degraded from the heaven-sent manna. Even our best organic, non-gmo food is pale compared to the manna. If the heaven-sent manna and water needed God’s blessing, how much more our food today! Yet, the promise of God is also for us. If we will eat the appointed foods from heaven for today, we can expect a blessing from the God of heaven.

God had also told his people, after coming out of Egypt:

If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26)

While we may not be fully positive as to what all the diseases of the Egyptians were, medical scans of some ancient mummy reveals evidence of arteriosclerosis and cancer. These are today recognized as diseases that, for the most part, are lifestyle-caused diseases. That does not mean that every person who has a heart attack or cancer has lived wrongly. We know that many people have what Ellen White calls “hereditary tendencies to wrong.”

Natural propensities are to be controlled. Selfish inclinations are to be denied. Again and again something hostile to grace and reform will start into life. Again and again we shall be called into the conflict to fight against hereditary tendencies to wrong. (Ellen White, General Conference Bulletin, January 1, 1900, Art. A)

Through Ellen White we know that we are born with “hereditary tendencies to wrong.” That does not mean we must do wrong but that one may be more prone to sinfulness in some areas than others. She also noted, in discussing the second commandment:

It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents. By inheritance and example the sons become partakers of the father’s sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth generation. This fearful truth should have a solemn power to restrain men from following a course of sin. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 306; emphasis supplied)

When Ellen White wrote these words, nobody knew about genetics. Perhaps many sneered at such a statement, asking how could parents transmit degeneracy to their children? But today we know that the tendencies to some diseases and even tendencies to wrong habits, such as the use of alcohol, are transmitted through the parents’ genes. These genes do not force a person to wrong habits, but they provide a further likelihood of disease or of temptation that would not have been there otherwise. We now know, thankfully, that there are structures to the genetic code, epigenetic mechanisms, that act like switches to turn the genes on or off. What science knows today is that positive lifestyle changes can turn some of the bad genes off, while negative lifestyles can turn some of the bad genes on. The DNA sequence is not changed, but, instead, how cells read the genes can be changed. So lifestyle is very important, even to people who have bad genes.

One statement from Ellen White’s pen that you may have heard, and even been bothered by, declares that it is a sin to be sick. This statement seems to be saying that any sickness, from a common cold to cancer, is caused because of our personal sin. While this statement has been used as a get-your-health-act-together weapon by some people, there are a couple of things we should know about this statement. Firstly, Ellen White only wrote it once. Secondly, it cannot be properly understood out of its context. The statement in context is:

It is a sin to be sick; for all sickness is the result of transgression. Many are suffering in consequence of the transgression of their parents. They cannot be censured for their parents’ sin; but it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain wherein their parents violated the laws of their being, which has entailed upon their offspring so miserable an inheritance; and wherein their parents’ habits were wrong, they should change their course, and place themselves by correct habits in a better relation to health. (White, The Health Reformer, August 1866, p. 2)

This famous phrase, taken out of context, has caused many to be disturbed and discouraged. But as one carefully reads the statement, in its context, it is clear Ellen White is not teaching that anyone who is currently sick is so necessarily because of their own sin (though they may be). The sinful lives of parents, grandparents, etc., can affect the health of the children. The essence of her statement is that all sickness that is in the world today had its origin in sin at some time or place and without sin there would never have been sickness. We should remember the story of John 9, where a man was born blind, and the disciples asked, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:2, 3).

The fact is that God wants us to be healthy, but he is also compassionate in forgiving our sins and in healing diseases. “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:3).

A large part of Christ’s ministry was healing the sick:

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

While God has the power to instantly heal any disease, he usually, in these last days, uses simple, natural methods to bring healing to a person.

The way in which Christ worked was to preach the Word and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way; for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God’s servants today could not work by means of miracles; because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought.

For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing, combined with the teaching of the world. Sanitariums are to be established, and with these institutions are to be connected workers who will carry forward genuine medical missionary work. Thus a guarding influence is thrown around those who come to the sanitariums for treatment. (Ellen White, Medical Ministry, p. 14, letter to W. W. Prescott, January 26, 1904)[1]

Since our bodies are the temple of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20), God certainly expects us to take care of them. The prophet Daniel set a worthy example, when he took a stand and “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). Daniel continued, “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink” (v. 12). The Hebrew expression for pulse means seed-bearing foods. Daniel asked for a vegan diet and knew that within ten days a marked difference would be shown, and he was correct. In requesting the original diet given to humanity (Genesis 1:29; 3:18), Daniel was simply drawing upon the wisdom of the Creator, realizing that the one who made him knew best how to feed and care for him.

The importance of mental health

The body and mind sympathize one with another. We are told:

The relation which exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system. If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of right-doing and a sense of satisfaction in causing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood, and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefiting others will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life. (Ellen White, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 13)

A diseased body affects the mind. (Ellen White, The Health Reformer, March 1, 1874)

It is with the mind that we serve God, but that mind cannot function at its optimum when the body is sick. A mind that is not at peace with God and not resting in his care cannot provide the best physical health to a person, so it is important to be of a good spirit!

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

So, while a merry heart—a heart at peace and one with God—is needed for good health, a broken spirit has a damaging effect upon one’s health. Paul writes:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1, 2)

Here we see Paul’s total approach. The body is to be presented to God as a living sacrifice, but it is with the mind that we are renewed and transformed. Writing to the Corinthians, he said:

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

The total person, body and spirit, is to be cleansed. No wonder Paul also wrote: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As we live these principles, we can then teach these principles, and they will certainly be an entering wedge for the full gospel message because a great part of the gospel has already been presented in the health message!

While all of our readers should be knowledgeable with the eight natural remedies (we will not examine each one), there is one that we believe is greatly neglected and should be considered here. That is the principle of temperance. The Greek word translated temperance is ἐγκράτεια (egkrateia), and it means mastery or self-control. It is from two words that mean inside and strength or inner strength.

True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 562)

Beloved, God wants to use the mind to control the body, and Satan’s program is the reverse. He wants to use the lusts of the body to control the mind! But true temperance has its place as a part of the gospel. In Paul’s famous sermon to Felix, the record says that “he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:25). In commenting upon this sermon, Ellen White noted that Paul

. . . presented before his hearers the character of God—his righteousness, justice, and equity—and the nature and obligation of his law. He clearly showed man’s duty to live a life of sobriety and temperance, keeping the passions under the control of reason, in conformity to God’s law, and preserving the physical and mental powers in a healthful condition. (Ellen White, Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 241)

Temperance is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:23) and a part of Peter’s ladder of sanctification (2 Peter 1:5–7). If we are going to have mastery of this life, temperance is vital.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:25–27)

Beloved, as we live and then teach (living comes before teaching and should never be apart from it) health reform, the wonders it will do for the people will be such a blessing that their hearts will be open to receive the truth for these last days!

Allen Stump

[1]. This letter was written several years after the 1863 health vision that Ellen White received. During much of the early Advent movement there were times that God miraculously healed people, especially James and Ellen White, and even during the time of this letter God was still working, as he does today at times, in a miraculous way. So we need to understand that Ellen White is not saying that God will never work miraculously today, but this is not the way he usually works.

Duty to Know Ourselves

by Ellen G. White

(Reprinted from the August 1866 The Health Reformer, pp. 2, 3)

Many have inquired of me, “What course shall I take to best preserve my health?” My answer is, Cease to transgress the laws of your being; cease to gratify a depraved appetite; eat simple food; dress healthfully, which will require modest simplicity; work healthfully; and you will not be sick.

It is a sin to be sick;[1] for all sickness is the result of transgression. Many are suffering in consequence of the transgression of their parents. They cannot be censured for their parents’ sin; but it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain wherein their parents violated the laws of their being, which has entailed upon their offspring so miserable an inheritance; and wherein their parents’ habits were wrong, they should change their course, and place themselves by correct habits in a better relation to health.

Men and women should inform themselves in regard to the philosophy of health. The minds of rational beings seem shrouded in darkness in regard to their own physical structure, and how to preserve it in a healthy condition. The present generation have trusted their bodies with the doctors, and their souls with the ministers. Do they not pay the minister well for studying the Bible for them, that they need not be to the trouble? and is it not his business to tell them what they must believe, and to settle all doubtful questions of theology without special investigation on their part? If they are sick, they send for the doctor—believe whatever he may tell, and swallow anything he may prescribe; for do they not pay him a liberal fee, and is it not his business to understand their physical ailments, and what to prescribe to make them well, without their being troubled with the matter?

Children are sent to school to be taught the sciences; but the science of human life is wholly neglected. That which is of the most vital importance, a true knowledge of themselves, without which all other science can be of but little advantage, is not brought to their notice. A cruel and wicked ignorance is tolerated in regard to this important question. So closely is health related to our happiness, that we cannot have the latter without the former. A practical knowledge of the science of human life, is necessary in order to glorify God in our bodies. It is therefore of the highest importance, that among the studies selected for childhood, Physiology should occupy the first place. How few know anything about the structure and functions of their own bodies, and of Nature’s laws. Many are drifting about without knowledge, like a ship at sea without compass or anchor; and what is more, they are not interested to learn how to keep their bodies in a healthy condition, and prevent disease.

The indulgence of animal appetites has degraded and enslaved many. Self-denial, and a restraint upon the animal appetites, is necessary to elevate and establish an improved condition of health and morals, and purify corrupted society. Every violation of principle in eating and drinking, blunts the perceptive faculties, making it impossible for them to appreciate or place the right value upon eternal things. It is of the greatest importance that mankind should not be ignorant in regard to the consequences of excess. Temperance in all things is necessary to health, and the development and growth of a good Christian character.

Those who transgress the laws of God in their physical organism, will not be less slow to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai. Those who will not, after the light has come to them, eat and drink from principle, instead of being controlled by appetite, will not be tenacious in regard to being governed by principle in other things. The agitation of the subject of reform in eating and drinking, will develop character, and will unerringly bring to light those who make a “god of their bellies.”

Parents should arouse, and in the fear of God inquire, what is truth? A tremendous responsibility rests upon them. They should be practical physiologists, that they may know what are and what are not, correct physical habits, and be enabled thereby to instruct their children. The great mass are as ignorant and indifferent in regard to the physical and moral education of their children as the animal creation. And yet they dare assume the responsibilities of parents. Every mother should acquaint herself with the laws that govern physical life. She should teach her children that the indulgence of animal appetites, produces a morbid action in the system, and weakens their moral sensibilities. Parents should seek for light and truth, as for hid treasures. To parents is committed the sacred charge of forming the characters of their children in childhood. They should be to their children, both teacher and physician. They should understand nature’s wants and nature’s laws. A careful conformity to the laws God has implanted in our being, will insure health, and there will not be a breaking down of the constitution, which will tempt the afflicted to call for a physician to patch them up again.

Many seem to think they have a right to treat their own bodies as they please; but they forget that their bodies are not their own. Their Creator who formed them, has claims upon them that they cannot rightly throw off. Every needless transgression of the laws which God has established in our being, is virtually a violation of the law of God, and is as great a sin in the sight of Heaven as to break the ten commandments. Ignorance upon this important subject, is sin; the light is now beaming upon us, and we are without excuse if we do not cherish the light, and become intelligent in regard to these things, which it is our highest earthly interest to understand. ?

[1]. This famous phrase of Ellen White, taken out of context, has caused many to be disturbed and discouraged. But as one reads carefully the statement in its context, it is clear she is not teaching that everyone who is sick is so because of his or her own sin. The essence of her statement is that all the sickness that is in the world today has its origin in sin at some time or place, and without sin there would never have been sickness. Editor

Youth’s Corner—A Prisoner of War

(This installment contains the last paragraph of Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 of Escape from Siberian Exile by John Godfrey Jacques, published by Pacific Press in 1921.)

The officers of the mission provided me with funds, trusting to a satisfactory adjustment later—which was duly effected; and thus equipped, I took train on the Chinese railway for Shanghai, four days distant.


A NEW sense of freedom came to me, as I was no longer in momentary expectation of a call for my passport. The journey was not unpleasant, the trains being fairly clean. About one third of the passengers were Europeans and Americans.

As we went farther south, the contrast with Manchuria was marked. The population is much more dense, and the Chinese people are puny in comparison with the Manchurians.

On reaching Shanghai, I engaged one of the rickshas that beset me, the coolie who drew it pretending to know the address I gave him; but he wandered about for hours before he found our mission headquarters.

News of my coming had preceded me from Mukden. Afterwards I learned that an experience with an impostor some time before, had made our missionaries here skeptical about the truthfulness of my representations; but their bearing toward me gave no intimation of their suspicions.

As I was sinking to sleep that night in a room at the mission, there came to my ears the words of the following hymn, sung by one of the residents of the mission compound:

“Be not dismayed, whatever betide;

God will take care of you.

Beneath His wings of love abide;

God will take care of you.

Through days of toil, when heart doth fail,

God will take care of you.

When dangers fierce your path assail,

God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,

God will take care of you.

Lean, weary one, upon His breast;

God will take care of you.”

There was but one more name on the list of cities by which my route had been outlined ere I fled from my home in the Caucasus. That name was San Francisco.

Most of the steamers plying between San Francisco and Shanghai carried the flag of one of the allies of imperial Russia; and on board such craft, I should be almost certain to be rearrested. That would imply return to exile—or death, which would be a less grievous calamity.

In six weeks, however, a United States steamer, the China, was scheduled to sail; and I was assured that whatever might be the alliances of the United States, she would not deliver up to a despotic power any person whose only offense was that he worshiped God “after the way which they call a sect.” Acts 24:14, A.R.V.

I waited the six weeks for the American steamer. In the meantime, the activities of the missionaries, and the marvelous results seen, deeply interested me. Some of our missionaries urged that I remain in China and join them in their work. Others comprehended that I would not have there the government protection that I would have in America.

Aside from the matter of personal safety, there was another consideration that deterred me from accepting the proposition to remain in the Orient. That was the conviction that I ought to complete the course indicated by our venerable minister in the Caucasus, which I had been enabled to follow thus far notwithstanding seemingly impassable obstacles.

Yet mission effort in China appealed very strongly to me. Surely there is nothing to which the energy and ability of a young person can better be directed. Just one thought restrains me from returning to that country now, to devote my life to proclaiming the gospel that has wrought so remarkable a change in the lives of a few individuals among China’s millions. That one restraining thought is—nearly two hundred million souls in my own native Russia who are in the darkness of Greek Catholicism, to whom I hope soon to go with the message of salvation.

As the time drew near for me to leave China, warning came from the American consul, that I must take special precautions to avoid observation when I should start for the steamer, as the Russian consular agents would be watching for deserters—with whom I might be classed.

Accordingly, it was agreed that, instead of going to the steamer station, whence a launch took passengers to the vessel, several miles out in the bay, I should go by railway to a suburb, Woosung, and from that point by motor boat to the vessel.

Some of our missionaries went with me to the station where I was to take a train for Woosung; and while waiting there, we all noticed that a man was watching us. To determine whether he was spying upon me, we left the station; and soon after, we saw him on the street. We did not return to the station until we had barely time to board the train; and thus we eluded the pseudo sleuth. It was well for me that he was not an adept at his business.

From Woosung, we hastened to the protection of the Stars and Stripes floating over the steamer. Most of our missionaries at headquarters came off to spend the evening with me on board, as a warm friendship had developed between us; and the occasion was the happiest I had known for what seemed to me like a long time.

When I awoke next morning, Shanghai was no longer in sight, and the China was making good headway toward the land of liberty.

At about eleven o’clock, a vessel was sighted in the distance, approaching us; and when it came near, a shot was fired from one of its guns. As we did not stop, a shell followed. Our captain, though he knew that no craft had a right to intercept a United States vessel thus, could only exercise the discretion that is declared to be the greater part of valor; for our pursuer was a man-of-war, flying the Australian colors. A launch came alongside, bringing soldiers from the man-of-war; and these were stationed at various places aboard the China.

The lieutenant in command of the launch demanded our vessel’s passenger list. The captain demurred, but was compelled to yield. All the men booked as Germans or Austrians were put aboard the launch. Of all others, proof of nationality was required.

I stated that I was a Russian; but as I could produce no passport, I was lowered into the launch, a prisoner of war, and taken aboard the man-of-war.

I knew that the next move on the part of my captors, so far as I was concerned, would be to hand me over to Russia’s representatives at some port near; and that involved all I had sought to escape by my flight.

Resolved to make all possible effort to save myself from such a fate, I asked for an interview with the commander of the warship. This was granted; and I repeated my claim to exemption from seizure, on the ground that I was a Russian. The officer replied that he would find out whether I was a Russian; and he sent for one of his engineers, who was of that nationality.

My pronunciation, together with my familiarity with Russian geography and customs, quickly convinced the man that I had spoken truthfully, and he so reported to the commander. Thereupon the latter, jocosely referring to my lack of a passport, ordered that I be taken back to the China, where the lieutenant still remained, and that my baggage be searched, by way of further establishing my status.

I remembered that there was at least one article in my baggage which would help to confirm my contention—the volume of Russian poems I had purchased at a bookstand when crossing Siberia as a wounded soldier.

Again on board the American steamer, I was delivered over to my captor, who commissioned some of his men to watch me till my baggage should be examined. As a vent for my agitation, I went to the piano in the social hall, where a matronly woman was sitting whom I had previously met; and with her playing an accompaniment, I sang.

Glancing toward the doorway, my eyes met those of the colonial lieutenant; but he turned away, descended to his launch, and returned to his ship. Again I was semi-free.

This irregular procedure on the part of the commander of the Australian man-of-war, called forth fitting protest from the United States military authorities, and the colonial government made suitable amends, American newspapers at the time—March and April 1916—commented spiritedly on the occurrence.

A quiet passage to Honolulu, where I spent the day of waiting with missionaries to whom 1 had letters of introduction, then five more days at sea, and we passed through the Golden Gate—the gateway to freedom!

To be continued

New House of God Dedicated in Kansas

The Counsel of Prophecy Chapel

The first Sabbath of last month found nearly fifty souls gathered for the dedication of the Counsel of Prophecy chapel in Wichita, Kansas.

Brother Demario Carter and his family have been working in the Wichita area to raise up not just a chapel, but a church of living believers. Working with people of all backgrounds, but especially with young people from Wichita State University, the Carters have been seeking lost sheep for Christ.

While most of those in attendance for the dedication were visitors from the community or family members, all could see the work of God was being established.

The services for the day included the dedication for the chapel and the ordination of Brother Carter as an elder among the people of God. Following the dedication and ordination, Brother Carter brought a soul-stirring message about what it means to come to Christ and to be a true Christian of faith and obedience. Many responded to the call to accept Christ or to draw closer to him.

Many of the contacts at the meeting were the results of medical missionary work. Sister Elaine Nailing has been a special help in this field to the work in the Wichita area. I got to meet one brother who thoughtfully called Sister Nailing his angel because of the way God has used her to help him make lifestyle changes, which have resulted in losing weight, in controlling his blood sugar levels, and in regaining much of his lost health.

The Carters had been holding services in a room at Wichita State University, but this had many drawbacks, and they knew that having their own house of worship would be more advantageous to the work of God. They considered two options: obtain land and build or buy something already constructed. The first option would be very expensive and would need a lot of logistical help with the construction that was beyond the abilities of the young group. However, there was a small, but nice, chapel in the Wichita area for sale, which would meet the needs of the beginning group. The Carters made the need for help to purchase the facility known on their website (thecounselofprophecy.com) and within a short time, almost all the funds had been raised. Then, at a crucial time, the building owners decided to lower the price significantly and the deal was done!

The Dedication Service

Though solid in its basic construction, some upgrades and repairs needed to be made to the building. One drawback was that the front entrance opened directly into the sanctuary. A new wall forming a small hallway separating the entrance from the sanctuary was very nicely erected by a new believer, whose life less than a year ago had been full of drugs and worldliness.

More believers, both locally and from far distances came to help with the renovations and cleaning. An image of jealousy that had formally adorned the roof of the building, was taken off and the roof repaired. Many of the symbols of Babylon that had decorated the pulpit area were also removed and replaced with decor that could please the Creator.

The building has a spacious mother’s room, an extra classroom, a pastor’s study, and a small fellowship hall and kitchen. The chapel’s location is very easy to access, and there is ample parking, with a large second lot adjacent that could be used for more parking or other activities. The chapel is within minutes of two major highways, yet in a quiet neighborhood.

The Carters are working hard to see not simply a full chapel, but people ready in their hearts to meet Jesus at his soon second coming. Please keep them uplifted in prayer that they can continue to do a work to bring honor and glory to God. ?

Old 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—editor@smyrna.org
Associate Editor Onycha Holt—onycha@smyrna.org