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.11 Straight and Narrow November 2017


 

Martin Luther burning the papal bull of his excommunication by Karl Aspelin

“Because you, godless book, have grieved or shamed the holiness of the Father,
be saddened and consumed by the eternal flames of Hell” (Martin Luther).

 

In this issue:

The Three Angels’ Messages in Type and Antitype

Selected Thoughts from Martin Luther

Challenges for the Work

The Argument of St. Paul’s Epistle
to the Galatians—1535

Youth's Corner

 

 

The Three Angels’ Messages in Type and Antitype

By S. T. Lewis

(This article is an edited version of a presentation given at the 2017 West Virginia camp meeting. Editors)

Let me begin by sharing something I have discovered. For fifty years I have preached evangelism, and I have taught the word of God in many places. Then I found this:

Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 59)

It seems to me that the right hand has been cut off and that this has been necessary to the advancement of the cause. (Remember, when I present a message, I am presenting the message to myself, as well.) I have attended an Adventist academy and college and have attended Andrews University, but they did not tell me anything about this right hand!

As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known. Every city is to be entered by workers trained to do medical missionary work. As the right hand of the third angel’s message, God’s methods of treating disease will open doors for the entrance of present truth. (Ibid.)

Now the right hand has been cut off, and the door has been shut! All the many days of my ministry, I was never taught this to teach to the people. That is something, isn’t it? Have you ever been taught about medical ministry work? You very seldom hear it. It is hardly ever told. God in his love and mercy has given us a clear path and a guarantee of salvation, and the guarantee is if the Lord is invited into your life, heart, and actions and becomes a part of you, he will lead you straight into his kingdom.

Now, in his mercy, he asks us as true Seventh-day Adventists to proclaim the three angels’ messages.

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6, 7)

Everlasting means that it never ends. It is the good news that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth and that he saves us from our sins and then helps us to perpetuate this gospel by living in us.

Listen, beloved, Christ is coming! He died for your sins and left in his place his holy Spirit. We have been given a commission to teach and preach!

When the text says “worship him,” it implies that there is somebody else around who wants to be worshipped. There is the god of Islam, and there is Buddha and the gods of Hinduism. Satan wants you to worship one of these other gods, but the God we are told to worship is the one who “made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” That is clear! He is the only one to be worshipped and respected, and he tells you, Now look, the judgment, or the decision I am making about which ones I am going to take back to my kingdom, is right now. The time is present. Obey me. I want to be in you. My Son has gone back to heaven to prepare places for you and, most importantly, to prepare you!

Have you ever seen an illustration like the one above? I find it amazing that so many Adventists have not seen it before. The Lord in his love and mercy has shown us this typology and illustrated it. In this chart we have the Jewish feasts in type and antitype. The Lord asked the people in the early 1840’s to tell the world the gospel is here. Jesus gave us this illustration in the Old Testament with the feasts and festivals. Everything the people of God needed was in the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible, and that is where you learn about the feasts. These feasts illustrated everything that Jesus would do to help you to be saved in his kingdom, and all of this has been forgotten, it seems. The devil has tried to take it away and to blind people to it so that they could not see it. Thank God that the early pioneer, William Miller, dug this truth out of the Bible after careful, prayerful, biblical study so that the people in this time and age would understand what Jesus is finally doing. Christ puts his Spirit in you and shows you how to walk with him.

Almost two thousand three hundred years after the decree in Daniel’s prophecy, William Miller and others thought, at first, that something was going to happen in 1843. The earth was going to be cleansed and Jesus was going to come, but Miller added it wrong. He was wrong, and after 1843 many who had been led to see this dropped out of the movement. Only a handful said, Something is happening in heaven. We have to study, pray, and read, and find it out. They did this for the whole year, from 1843 to 1844. Samuel S. Snow, O. R. L. Crosier, F. B. Hahn studied it down to a “T” and found out that God was trying to show his people something through these feasts and festivals.

The first thing that they found out was that the real Lamb of God, whose blood was shed on the cross, died on the very selfsame date as when the children of Israel left Egypt and went into freedom. That was the Passover. God had instructed them that if they were going to leave Egypt, the only way was to take the blood of the lamb that they would sacrifice and dip hyssop in the blood and sprinkle it upon the doorposts and the lintel. This would allow the death angel to pass over them, and they would be saved and could leave Egypt. The only saving grace that they had was the blood of that lamb upon the doorposts. Now the real Passover Lamb that died was Jesus. John the Baptist, looking at Jesus, declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Those nineteenth century biblical students also found out that during the feast of unleavened bread, on the selfsame date, Christ was in the tomb. They learned the first fruits represented the resurrection and the feast of weeks, or Pentecost, represented the giving of the Holy Spirit.

The early founders of Adventism saw this and discovered that when Christ came the first time, he fulfilled it. Christ took the written word and fulfilled it to where you could perceive, or understand, it. The founders of Christianity saw the fulfillment of the first four feasts. Then the early Adventists went a little further, and they found out that on Tishri 1 was the blowing of the trumpets, or the announcing of the coming of the judgment, or the Day of Atonement. You read in the Old Testament that before the Day of Atonement the shofar was sounded (Leviticus 23:24), and the people were to prepare for the great Day of Atonement.

During the feast of trumpets, when the horns were sounded, something special happened. The people shut the normal things of life down. They stopped their work and focused on getting their hearts right, for the Day of Atonement was very special because that was the day decisions were made concerning who would die and who would be pardoned and forgiven and, therefore, live. Tishri 10 was the Day of Atonement. This is where the judgment comes in. The judgment to us is the same thing that atonement was to the Israelites, and the Jews still observe the Blowing of the Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), even if they observe nothing else.

To have atonement is to be at one with God. The Israelites stopped normal work on Tishri 1 and prepared to be sure that there was no sin upon them, for if there were sin upon them on Tishri 10, they would die. They made their wrongs right. They confessed their sins against one another. If someone had wronged another, maybe stolen something, they put it back, got on their knees, and prayed and agonized because, nine days after the trumpet, the high priest would go into the most holy place on the Day of Atonement and appear before God. The Adventist students found out that Tishri 10, two thousand three hundred years after the decree of Artaxerxes, was on October 22, 1844. Exactly. That is the fact.

Much of this has been hidden from Seventh-day Adventists. It was hidden from me. I just happened to go to the Michigan Conference office and dig around there and found the chart referred to earlier. How was this up here and I did not see it? Nobody told me about this. October 22, 1844, was when Jesus, our High Priest, went in before his Father to talk about us. It is our court day in heaven made visible, and he asked Seventh-day Adventists, Would you please go forth and tell the world what I am doing for you? Since October 22, 1844, Jesus has been talking to the Father about you and me. What is he saying about us?

This three angels’ messages and this gospel of the kingdom that Adventists have declared in the past seemingly does not exist today. Sadly, many do not know anything about the judgment. Jesus tells us what he wants to do to save us, and we have an enemy that does not want you to hear it, understand it, or receive it. Satan is in opposition to us, and he does everything in the world to keep us from knowing that.

Jesus is in heaven now. He left this earth, put his Spirit in you, and said, I am going to prepare a place for you and when I am ready (when you are ready), I am going to come back and get you. That is good news to me because I want to get out of this world of sin. What about you? Are you tired of this world? We need to be so sick of this world that we want out! But, shamefully, we do not tell our people about this. That would be out of the norm.

The Lord Jesus showed Ellen White that the way to introduce the gospel was through the medical missionary work. We are to show folks how to eat and live properly. If the people are sick, we are to show them how to get well. By doing this, we can introduce them to the gospel. The medical missionary work is our right arm, our right hand, and it has been cut off!

What did I do? I took the instructions of this system. The system of Adventism is similar to the system of Judaism. The system of Judaism was to proclaim Jesus Christ coming the first time, but the system of Judaism clogged it up, changed it around, and when Christ did come, they missed him. They missed him the first time. Here was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they missed him. The elders and priests talked against him, so they and the people missed him.

The same thing has happened to Seventh-day Adventists. The system teaches you about Christ, but it throws you off from him and if you are not careful, you will miss him again. Sister White understood the typology of our chart. She understood that Jesus fulfilled the first four of the feasts in the type, while he was alive upon the earth. She learned that the last three will be fulfilled in the end of time, where we live. That is very clear to me; I can understand that. Can you? Jesus is, today, in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, standing up for me. I believe that, based upon the word of God. You have to have faith, but that faith is based upon the Scriptures (Romans 10:17).

The lives of all who have believed on Jesus pass in solemn review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate examines the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. (Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 309)

Did you know that Jesus will investigate you? If we know that, why do we act like we do sometime? I am serious! The Lord tells us stuff, and it goes right over our heads. He isn’t talking about me, we want to think. But, beloved, the Lord is telling you today that you, too, will stand in judgment. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). God cannot let you get by with one sin, for he did not let Satan get by with sin.

. . . but Christ now asks that this plan be carried into effect as if man had never fallen. (Ibid.)

This plan is in the most holy place. Jesus tells the Father that he is the one who died for sinful humanity. Those who accept Jesus as their personal saviour the Father can view as if they have never sinned. That is the goodness of the gospel, the goodness of Christ. Jesus is everything you need to be saved. Salvation is a gift free of charge to you, if you will believe and exercise the power of choice in your life. Paul says:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

You cannot work for this salvation. You cannot buy it, pass out tracts for it, or preach for it. It is free to you. But remember while it is free to you, it cost him and his Father!

. . . Christ now asks that this plan be carried into effect as if man had never fallen. He asks for his people not only pardon and justification, full and complete, but a share in his glory and a seat upon his throne. (White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 309)

Jesus says, Listen, I want you here and I want you so badly that if you accept me and my blood by faith, I will invite you up here and declare you just and righteous and sit you down on my throne. Beloved, how can that NOT excite somebody?

On the other hand, the devil does not like that plan. The plan was made from the foundation of the world that Jesus would shed his blood for sinners, to forgive, sanctify, and cleanse them. And the blood is being applied now in the judgment for every man, woman, and child who accepts him by faith, and he asks us to please tell people this. Please warn the people that the judgment is going on and I am coming soon. I have left you my Spirit so you could understand where I am and what I am doing, so please share the message. I am up here with my Father, trying to redeem somebody from the earth.

The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate from his love, and to break his law. (Ibid.)

Some say, I’ve been looking for the Lord to come all these years, and he hasn’t come yet. Skeptics! I am going to do what I want to do and believe what I want to believe and go where I want to go. They are skeptics because Satan has put it in their heads that the Lord has forgotten them.

Now he points to their defective characters, to their unlikeness to Christ which has dishonored their Redeemer, to all the sins which he has tempted them to commit, and because of these he claims them as his subjects. (Ibid.)

The skeptic says, Oh, the Lord is not coming. I want to drink me some beer, so I will go get it now. I am going to go and steal something and get what I want. You see the devil points to your defects and instead of you remembering what Jesus told you, you listen to what the devil tells you about your defects.

Jesus told you that if you will confess your defects, he will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. But the devil comes along and says, Oh, no. I am not going to let you go. I am going to remind you of what you did and of what you said and that you do not deserve to go to heaven. And we believe that! The Lord have mercy upon us.

Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, he lifts his wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying, “I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of my hands. (Ibid., p. 310)

Jesus says, Look at the scars upon my hands. I know him, and he is mine! He knows me. I have kept him and engraved him upon the palms of my hands.

Christ will place his own signet upon his faithful ones, that he may present them to his Father “a glorious church . . .” (Ibid.)

When you read the word church, do not think of a denomination. We are told that:

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. (Ellen White, The Upward Look, p. 315)

This is what makes up a church. People look all about and think that a denomination is the church, but Jesus is looking around him at people from different corners of the earth, and he says that these people are going to be his from “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” These are people who have not

. . . spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Their names stand enrolled in the book of life, and concerning them it is written, “They shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” (White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 310)

Walk in white. White represents cleanliness and perfection. Jesus said we will walk with him, and the devil doesn’t like that. He wants you to be mired in the sins you have committed and to never forget them. But Jesus said that if we just believe what he has told us, we can be saved. But we cannot see it with our eyes and because of a lack faith, we doubt. We must believe in Jesus. He tells us in his word and when you believe it, it is a reality, it is true in you. Jesus says to us, Would you please tell the other folk that?

Great and small, high and low, rich and poor, are to be judged “out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Ibid., p. 311)

Do you believe this? If you believed this, you would not be trying to cheat anybody. You would not deliberately tell lies because you know somebody is writing it down in the books of remembrance.

Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of Heaven. Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. Angels of God have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. (Ibid.)

Maybe you cannot recall all you have done, but the record will recall it all. The only way you can get it off the record is to accept Jesus by faith. So, the records are being reviewed in heaven. I was thinking about the computer. Most of us have one, and our names, addresses, and work are all in the computer. It has a faithful record of us. Now, according to the Bible, the devil appears to accuse us, but, if we have given our hearts to the Lord, confessing and repenting of our sins, with the Holy Spirit controlling what we do, then Jesus forgives us for our sins and pushes, as it were, the delete key to our file of sins. And, poof, it is in the trash can! While we are forgiven at that time, there is still a record that must be blotted out and when the final atonement is complete, the Lord will empty that trash can forever, with our names being retained in the book of life. But if we have not accepted Jesus and if the Spirit does not live in us, we will be cut off. Remember, in the earthly sanctuary if you were not in line with the high priest on the Day of Atonement, you were cut off from the camp. If you were deliberately doing wrong on that day, you were killed. That was for one day in the type, but, in the antitype, we have been in the great Day of Atonement since 1844, and God is giving us time NOW to be ready. You did not act the fool on the Day of Atonement and live. But here we are in the antitypical Day of Atonement, and the Lord, in his mercy and longsuffering, gives us a chance to be forgiven. Jesus wants us back; he wants us forgiven and redeemed. Jesus wants us cleansed, and he wants us to walk in the light and to be like him on this earth, and the only way to do that is to let his Spirit live in us.

Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. (Ibid., p. 312)

The devil has planned a scheme to keep your mind off of Jesus and to keep you worried and upset because he does not want you to get what the Bible teaches. God has been pleased to give us this truth for many years, but we have not seen it. We have been busy, though—busy going here, busy going there, busy working for the church, and busy following the pastor.

The arch-deceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful Mediator. He knows that with him everything now depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and his truth. (Ibid., p. 312)

Satan knows if you ever get Jesus in your heart, he will never have a chance getting you. That is why he keeps you busy. Now listen to this, for Sister White is talking to us, just like the prophets of old talked to the people of their time:

The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative Judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. (Ibid., p. 313)

Do you clearly understand it? If you do not, you are missing the point. Yet, many have not ever heard it! The following is earthshaking to me, and it was earthshaking to me when I found it out:

The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was his death upon the cross. (Ibid., p. 313)

The death of Jesus was important, how he suffered and bled and died! He died for all the wrongs I have done, and yet Ellen White says that to understand the intercession of Christ is just as important as the cross. Jesus did all of that for you. He died upon the cross, went back to heaven and talked to his Father about you, and you do not know anything about it. That makes me scared, and it ought to make you scared.

We must by faith enter within the vail, “whither the forerunner is for us entered.” There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. (Ibid.)

Jesus Christ is in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, trying his best to intercede for us.

All who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin, and true repentance. (Ibid., p. 314)

We are to be afflicting our souls:

There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by the majority of professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. (Ibid.)

Are you searching your heart? Friend, you are in a battle, and most of the time you do not even know it. You are enjoying yourself, going here and going there, buying this and buying that, enjoying all the pleasures of the world. The devil says, Help yourself; enjoy yourself. Go on; keep at it. But Jesus is in heaven, and he wants you to pay attention to what he is doing now. He is trying to fight for you. He wants you to have his holy Spirit in you, so you can live above this world. Jesus is up in heaven, fighting for you, and you are down on this earth, fooling around, making all kinds of mistakes and errors and enjoying making them, but Jesus is telling to you to afflict your soul, to get yourself ready.

How perilous is the condition of those, who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. (Ibid., p. 315)

Seventh-day Adventists have forgotten this important message and have turned to the things of the world. The reason you do not hear this is because the leaders have turned your heads away from it. The Seventh-day Adventist leadership rebelled in 1888, just like the Jews when they rebelled and turned from Jesus. Then in 1955[1] they rebelled again and said that you do not have to believe or teach the ministry of Christ in the most holy place anymore. That is the reason why you do not have it.

We are to afflict our souls and let the Spirit live in us. This is our work because, when Jesus stands up and when all of this is over, the Bible tells me that God is going to marry his people to Jesus up there in heaven. His church will be without spot or wrinkle. I was taught that Jesus was going to marry his church down here (in their sins). They told you the same thing. He is coming back, and we will welcome him with outstretched arms, just as we are. That is what is taught, but the Bible tells me, because I have read it in the Bible, that he is going to first marry his church up there and then come down here to receive his people. All of those who have cleared the judgment, the atonement, are his people and will be at one with him. They will be at one in harmony and peace to live with the Father forever. The whole plan of salvation that was laid before the foundation of the world will be completed, with Jesus doing it all. He gives you the faith, he teaches you and guides you, he brings things back to your remembrance, he convicts you of sin, and then he stands up in front of the Father and declares you righteous and just and honorable and declares you are all right to live with his Father in heaven. What else can you do but accept such a wonderful gift by faith? It sounds too easy to be true, and that is why so many do not believe it. But I want to be ready when Jesus comes, by following his plan. Don’t you?

Prayer

Father, we thank thee for the plan you have given to us and told us about step-by-step. You have shown us how we can go right into your kingdom, if we will just follow you and let your Spirit lead and guide us. We are sorry for being misled and misguided. But Lord you have put us back on the track, and a few of us love you, understand you, and we are trying to obey you. Help us all Lord to practice what you have told us and be ready when you come. We ask this all in Jesus’ worthy and wonderful name. Amen ?

[1]. In 1955 Adventist leaders met with leading evangelicals, resulting in the book Questions on Doctrine.


Selected Thoughts from Martin Luther

(As we continue to mark the 500th anniversary of Luther’s ninety-five theses, nailed to the Wittenberg Castle Church door, we want to share a few of his thoughts on various issues of theology. Editors)

Justified by faith, not by works

It is not from works that we are set free by the faith of Christ, but from the belief in works, that is from foolishly presuming to seek justification through works. Faith redeems our consciences, makes them upright, and preserves them, since by it we recognize the truth that justification does not depend on our works, although good works neither can nor ought to be absent, just as we cannot exist without food and drink and all the functions of this mortal body.[1]

Lying

A liar is far worse than a murderer and does more harm, because he deceives, while the murderer is unable to deceive. Judas, however, was both a liar and a murderer, like his father the devil.

It is a marvel that when Judas was eating at table with Christ and the disciples he should not have blushed with shame, when Christ said: ‘One of you shall betray me.’ The other disciples had not the slightest suspicion that Judas was about to betray Christ; each one feared indeed that he himself would be the traitor rather than Judas, to whom Christ had entrusted the purse and the whole business management, on account of which he was held in the highest esteem among the apostles.[2]

The Papacy

The world is unwilling to accept God as the true God, and the devil as the real devil, therefore it is compelled to endure their representative, namely the pope, who is the false vicar of God and the true vicar of the devil.

The papacy is a government by which the wicked and those who despise God deserve to be ruled, for it is fitting that those who are unwilling to obey God of their own accord should be forced to obey a scoundrel.

The pope is truly a devil, next to the real devil himself. This is easily proved in this Clement, for he is bad because he is an Italian, worse for being a Florentine, and worst because he is a bastard. If you can think of anything worse, add it.[3]

Offense or defense?

When Luther was asked whether it was better to fight against the enemy or to exhort, teach and raise up the infirm, he replied: “Both are good and necessary. To comfort the weak is certainly somewhat greater, although those who fight are improved by battling with adversaries. Either one is a gift of God. “He that teacheth, let him wait on teaching, or he that exhorteth, on exhortation.”[4]

At Worms

I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen.[5]

The Bible

There are two things in the world which Christians ought to attend to: the word of God and the work of God.

That the Bible is the word of God and not of man, that it is God’s book and not man’s, is proved by the fact that all things in the world, what they are and how they are conditioned, are described in the book of Genesis by Moses, and everything remains exactly as God created it. Moreover, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Alexander, the kingdoms of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans have passed away, and though they all wished to blot out and destroy this book, and eagerly sought to do so, yet they did not succeed; the book remained unharmed in spite of them all. Who sustains it, or who could have preserved it against so great might and power? Homer and Vergil are old books, but not as compared with the Bible. Likewise baptism, the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, and the ministry, that is, the whole worship enjoined by the First Commandment, have remained in spite of so many tyrants and heretics. Our Lord God has sustained them with peculiar and wonderful power, because preaching, baptism and the communion are so necessary that no one is able to oppose them.

Wyclif and Huss

Wyclif and Huss fought merely against the pope’s manner of life, therefore they did not succeed, since they themselves were sinners like the papists. But I attacked his doctrine; thereby have I beaten him, since the most important thing is not how we live, but what we believe and teach.[6]

Antichrist

Antichrist is the pope and the Turk together; a beast full of life must have a body and soul; the spirit or soul of antichrist, is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk. The latter wastes and assails and persecutes God’s church corporally; the former spiritually and corporally too, with hanging, burning, murdering, &c. But, as in the apostle’s time, the church had the victory over the Jews and Romans, so now will she keep the field firm and solid against the hypocrisy and idolatry of the pope, and the tyranny and devastations of the Turk and her other enemies.[7]

Antichrist is the pope and the Turk together; a beast full of life must have a body and soul; the spirit or soul of antichrist, is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk. The latter wastes and assails and persecutes God’s church corporally; the former spiritually and corporally too, with hanging, burning, murdering, &c. But, as in the apostle’s time, the church had the victory over the Jews and Romans, so now will she keep the field firm and solid against the hypocrisy and idolatry of the pope, and the tyranny and devastations of the Turk and her other enemies.[8]

If the pope were the head of the Christian church, then the church were a monster with two heads, seeing that St. Paul says that Christ is her head. The pope may well be, and is, the head of the false church.[9]

Luther’s dying 13-year-old daughter

My daughter Magdalena is nearing her end and will soon go to her true Father in heaven unless He sees fit to spare her. She longs so much to see her brother, for they were very close, so I am sending a carriage for him, in the hope that a sight of him will revive her. I am doing all I can lest afterwards the thought of having neglected anything should torment me. Please ask him to come at once, without telling him why. I shall send him back as soon as she has either fallen asleep in the Lord or been restored to health. Farewell in the Lord.[10]

 

[1]. Elliot Ritzema, Ed., 300 Quotations for Preachers, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), electronic edition

[2]. Martin Luther, Conversations with Luther: Selections from Recently Published Sources of the Table Talk, eds. Preserved Smith and Herbert Percival Gallinger, (Boston; New York; Chicago: The Pilgrim Press, 1915), p. 209

[3]. Ibid., p. 138

[4]. Ibid., p. 213

[5]. D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, book 7, chap. 8, as quoted in The Great Controversy on page 160

[6]. Ibid., p. 197

[7]. Martin Luther and Alexander Chalmers, The Table Talk of Martin Luther: New Edition, to Which Is Added, The Life of Martin Luther, with Additions from Michelet and Audin, ed. William Hazlitt, New Edition., (London: H. G. Bohn, 1857), p. 193.

[8]. Ibid.

[9]. Ibid., p. 206

[10]. http://reformedanglicans.blogspot.com/2015/09/20-september-1542-ad-dr-martin-luther.html


Challenges for the Work

When we have traveled overseas, we have often written a report of the events that transpired, giving positive reports of new believers and of the unity of the faith. There are times, however, when we have to recognize that even Paul and Barnabas had to shake the dust off their feet (Acts 13:51) because of a rejection of the truth.

During the latter part of August and into late September, I was in France, Belarus, and Serbia to share the message. During that time excellent meetings were held, but we also met difficult challenges that continue to require a lot of prayer and submission in the hearts of professed believers, in order to overcome.

My trip began by flying into Paris and meeting with Brother Jean-Christophe Bolotte, who had just picked up Sister Ira Raylean, who had flown in from Moldova. Before leaving for southern France to attend a camp meeting, we had a chance to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, as well as the catacombs under Paris. While France has become mostly a secular nation, there are still pockets of Catholicism that are strongly supportive of that apostate system. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was begun in the year AD 1163 and was in construction for over two hundred years. During the Reign of Terror in France, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason and then later to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered.

The catacombs of Paris, unlike those of Rome, were never used by the early Christians as hiding and meeting areas. Originally the catacombs were the results of quarrying for limestone. Later the space was used as an ossuary to hold the bones of about eight million people.

The camp meeting in France was organized by Brother Jean-Christophe. This was the smallest camp meeting I had ever attended, but it was rich in blessings. About a week prior to this camp meeting, another ministry had held a camp meeting with a large attendance. A firsthand report informed us that many smooth things were preached at this camp meeting. The leading speaker said that there was no need to preach against the papacy or against Pope Francis. The only message needed was the love of God, and all of these other details would work themselves out. It reminded me of Isaiah 30:10:

Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.

Regardless of the pathway of the multitudes, the truth must be presented, straight and true.

At our camp meeting the theme was “The Three Angels’ Messages.” The morning messages were directed to the theology of these messages, and the early evening meetings were on health.

The visiting speakers from outside of France were Pastor David Sims from the Philippines, Sister Ira Raylean from Moldova, and myself. The meetings went very well and were recorded. They are now on Jean-Christophe’s YouTube website.[1] Though many of the meetings were in French, several were in English, with French translations.

One of those attending the camp was Brother Ishmael from Paris. Brother Ishmael is in his 80’s and has prostate cancer. On Wednesday afternoon he became very ill. He could not urinate and was in great pain. Sister Elodie Bolotte, a registered nurse, suspected he might be having a heart attack. While waiting on medics, who were called for emergency help, we gave him some special herb tea, put an ice pack over his heart, and placed a hot water bottle under his kidneys. This helped to greatly reduce his pain and discomfort, and his pulse rate dropped from its dangerously high level to near normal. At the hospital the doctors were able to empty his bladder, and they verified by blood enzymes and electrocardiogram that Brother Ishmael had, indeed, suffered a heart attack. How thankful we were for some simple natural treatments to help reduce his pain and possibly save his life from the heart attack. Brother Ishmael recovered quickly and was able to return to the camp meeting by Friday afternoon.

Sister Raylean was a bright light during the first two portions of my trip. She was able to use her knowledge of massage to help several of the sisters, and her knowledge of herbal remedies was a blessing. Perhaps the most valuable thing she brought to the meetings was a genuine spirit of agape love that expressed itself in service to others in whatever ways she could.

The work in France has been retarded by theological issues, as well as personal ones. Some who believe the truth about God have also begun to keep feast days and to believe that God does not destroy. This has caused a great divide among many who otherwise would be able to work and worship together. In addition to the theological issues, there are issues of personal interaction which have caused some to not be able to work with others. These issues have caused me great personal agony, as all those involved have many good, positive traits of character. The work in France is certainly in a shaking time and in need of every worker possible. Please pray much for the people and the work there.

From France, I was scheduled to go to Belarus. It was hoped that Pastor Sims could go with me, but we could not work out a flight schedule that would fit. Therefore, I took an early morning flight out of Paris. Sister Raylean flew out later, and we met with her family and believers in Belarus.

At Belarus we had the chance to meet with a conference pastor who has accepted the truth about God. He had many questions, not so much on doctrine, but on the best way to explain the message and to have it clearly cemented in his mind. He said, “To have clear words you have to have a clear mind.”

We also had personal studies with people and question and answer sessions afterwards. There were some believers who had accepted the lunar sabbath teaching, and we labored, unsuccessfully, to convince them about the true Sabbath. However, unlike some others who have accepted this doctrine, they maintained a sweet and loving spirit to all who had retained their belief in the true biblical Sabbath.

Returning to Paris I was blessed to team up with Pastor Sims for a trip to Serbia. There we were greatly blessed, meeting with brethren and performing a baptism.

The spiritual climate in Serbia was very warm among the believers with whom we had a chance to meet. There was a plan a year before to have some brethren from Serbia visit the France camp meeting; however, they had been influenced against me and some points I hold on the incarnation, and they withdrew their plans to come. Later I learned that some of these believers were told I did not believe in the divinity of Christ. Then, to make matters worse, some came to declare that Jesus is not now divine.

We made an earnest effort to contact some of these brethren. Only one of this group agreed to meet with us, and we believe that this person has an open mind and is willing to reexamine some of the vital doctrines that have caused division. In addition, we were greatly welcomed by Brother Sasa Galetic and his wife, Valerie, who had had misgivings the previous year but had come to realize that I was a brother to be welcomed. They gave us the very best of their home and, more importantly, the best of their love.

We also had a chance to make some personal visits that were very well-received, including a visit with a brother who had been associated with a ministry that teaches that the pioneer view of God is spiritualism and with another brother who had been a Bible worker in the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement.

Baptism in Serbia

There was a sister in Serbia who had been studying the truths of the three angels’ messages. She, with her finance, studied with Pastor David Sims about baptism. On Sabbath afternoon we went to a nearby lake, and this sister was lowered into the watery grave to come up a child of God. As we had in the other countries, we closed our time in Serbia on Sabbath afternoon with communion service.

Brother Sasa told me that he and many of the Serbian people grew up spoiled. He said it was the way of the Serbian people to want to give the best they could to their children. He explained that the culture was to expect much and to give and to sacrifice little; therefore, to find those who are willing to step out and follow the truth, as well as to support and promote the truth, is difficult. It seems that Satan has been successful in Serbia in promoting his ideas and in getting disciples to teach his falsehoods. Surely the gospel of Christ is more attractive than even the selfish, worldly prizes that Satan offers, and the Spirit of Christ is more persuasive than the spirit of Satan.

Please pray for our brethren in Europe. There are many sweet followers who dearly want to grow in grace and to see the work advance, but there are issues in theology and personal problems that only the Spirit of Christ can fix. May God touch each heart and help each one to be saved at last in his kingdom.

Allen Stump

[1]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHo4Bl6lfMQ&list=PLBRHXxGdrWENsqvX6UibQUBzKqDWN3h9K.


The Argument of St. Paul’s Epistle
to the Galatians—1535

By Martin Luther

(We are presenting the following sermon on Galatians by Martin Luther so the reader can have a better idea how it might have been to have heard Luther preach. The tenor of the sermon we can fully commend, but there are places where Luther must be carefully read. One example is his mention of the Sabbath. Editors)

First of all, we must speak of the argument, that is, of the issue with which Paul deals in this epistle. The argument is this: Paul wants to establish the doctrine of faith, grace, the forgiveness of sins or Christian righteousness, so that we may have a perfect knowledge and know the difference between Christian righteousness and all other kinds of righteousness. For righteousness is of many kinds. There is a political righteousness, which the emperor, the princes of the world, philosophers, and lawyers consider. There is also a ceremonial righteousness, which human traditions teach, as, for example, the traditions of the pope and other traditions. Parents and teachers may teach this righteousness without danger, because they do not attribute to it any power to make satisfaction for sin, to placate God, and to earn grace; but they teach that these ceremonies are necessary only for moral discipline and for certain observances. There is another kind of righteousness in addition to these, the righteousness of the law or of the Decalogue, which Moses teaches. We, too, teach this, but after the doctrine of faith.

Over and above all these there is the righteousness of faith or Christian righteousness. This is to be distinguished most carefully from all the others. For they are all contrary to this righteousness—both because they proceed from the laws of emperors, the traditions of the pope, and the commandments of God, and also because they consist in our works and can be achieved by us with “purely natural endowments,” as the scholastics teach, or from a gift of God. For these kinds of the righteousness of works, too, are gifts of God, as are all the things we have. But this most excellent righteousness, the righteousness of faith, which God imputes to us through Christ without works, is neither political nor ceremonial nor legal nor work-righteousness but is quite the opposite; it is a merely passive righteousness, while all the others, listed above, are active. For here we work nothing, render nothing to God; we only receive and permit someone else to work in us, namely, God. Therefore it is appropriate to call the righteousness of faith or Christian righteousness “passive.” This is a righteousness hidden in a mystery, which the world does not understand. In fact, Christians themselves do not adequately understand it or grasp it in the midst of their temptations. Therefore it must always be taught and continually exercised. And anyone who does not grasp or take hold of it in afflictions and terrors of conscience cannot stand. There is no comfort of conscience as solid and certain as this passive righteousness.

But such is human weakness and misery that in the terrors of conscience and in the danger of death we look at nothing except our own works, our worthiness, and the law. When the law shows us our sin, our past life immediately comes to our mind. Then the sinner, in great anguish of mind, groans and says: “Oh, how damnably I have lived! If only I could live longer! Then I would amend my life.” Human reason cannot refrain from looking at active righteousness, that is, its own righteousness; nor can it shift its gaze to passive, that is, Christian righteousness, but it simply rests in the active righteousness. So deeply is this evil rooted in us, and so completely have we acquired this unhappy habit! Taking advantage of the weakness of our nature, Satan increases and aggravates these thoughts in us. Then it is impossible for the conscience to avoid being more seriously troubled, confounded, and frightened. For it is impossible for the human mind to conceive any comfort of its self, or to look only at grace amid its consciousness and terror of sin, or consistently to reject all discussion of works. To do this is beyond human power and thought. Indeed, it is even beyond the law of God. Although the law is the best of all things in the world, it still cannot bring peace to a terrified conscience but makes it even sadder and drives it to despair. For by the law sin becomes exceedingly sinful (Rom. 7:13).

Therefore the afflicted conscience has no remedy against despair and eternal death except to take hold of the promise of grace offered in Christ, that is, this righteousness of faith, this passive or Christian righteousness, which says with confidence: “I do not seek active righteousness. I ought to have and perform it; but I declare that even if I did have it and perform it, I cannot trust in it or stand up before the judgment of God on the basis of it. Thus I put myself beyond all active righteousness, all righteousness of my own or of the divine law, and I embrace only that passive righteousness which is the righteousness of grace, mercy, and the forgiveness of sins.” In other words, this is the righteousness of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, which we do not perform but receive. We do not have it but accept it, when God the Father grants it to us through Jesus Christ.

As the earth itself does not produce rain and is unable to acquire it by its own strength, worship, and power but receives it only by a heavenly gift from above, so this heavenly righteousness is given to us by God without our work or merit. As much as the dry earth of itself is able to accomplish in obtaining the right and blessed rain, that much can we men accomplish by our own strength and works to obtain that divine, heavenly, and eternal righteousness. Thus we can obtain it only through the free imputation and indescribable gift of God. Therefore the highest art and wisdom of Christians is not to know the law, to ignore works and all active righteousness, just as outside the people of God the highest wisdom is to know and study the law, works, and active righteousness.

It is a marvelous thing and unknown to the world to teach Christians to ignore the law and to live before God as though there were no law whatever. For if you do not ignore the law and thus direct your thoughts to grace as though there were no law but as though there were nothing but grace, you cannot be saved. “Through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). On the other hand, works and the performance of the law must be demanded in the world as though there were no promise or grace. This is because of the stubborn, proud, and hardhearted, before whose eyes nothing must be set except the law, in order that they may be terrified and humbled. For the law was given to terrify and kill the stubborn and to exercise the old person. Both words must be correctly divided, according to the apostle (2 Tim. 2:25ff.).

This calls for a wise and faithful father who can moderate the law in such a way that it stays within its limits. For if I were to teach men the law in such a way that they suppose themselves to be justified by it before God, I would be going beyond the limit of the law, confusing these two kinds of righteousness, the active and the passive, and would be a bad dialectician who does not properly distinguish. But when I go beyond the old person, I also go beyond the law. For the flesh or the old person, the law and works, are all joined together. In the same way the spirit or the new person is joined to the promise and to grace. Therefore when I see that believers are sufficiently contrite, oppressed by the law, terrified by sin, and thirsting for comfort, then it is time for me to take the law and active righteousness from their sight and to set forth before them, through the Gospel, the passive righteousness which excludes Moses and the law and shows the promise of Christ, who came for the afflicted and for sinners. Here a person is raised up again and gains hope. Nor is such a one any longer under the law, but under grace—as the apostle says (Rom. 6:14): “You are not under law but under grace.” How not under law? According to the new person, to whom the law does not apply. For the law had its limits until Christ, as Paul says below (Gal. 3:24): “The law, until Christ.” When He came, Moses and the law stopped. So did circumcision, Sacrifices, and the Sabbath.[1] So did all the prophets.

This is our theology, by which we teach a precise distinction between these two kinds of righteousness, the active and the passive, so that morality and faith, works and grace, secular society and religion may not be confused. Both are necessary, but both must be kept within their limits. Christian righteousness applies to the new person, and the righteousness of the law applies to the old person, who is born of flesh and blood. Upon this latter, as upon an ass, a burden must be put that will oppress the old. This person must not enjoy the freedom of the spirit or of grace unless the old has first put on the new by faith in Christ, but this does not happen fully in this life. Then we may enjoy the kingdom and the ineffable gift of grace. I am saying this in order that no one may suppose that we reject or prohibit good works, as the papists falsely accuse us because they do not understand what they themselves are saying or what we are teaching. They know nothing except the righteousness of the law; and yet they claim the right to judge a doctrine that is far above and beyond the law, a doctrine on which the carnal person is unable to pass judgment. Therefore it is inevitable that they be offended, for they cannot see any higher than the law. Therefore whatever is above the law is the greatest possible offense to them.

Monastery in Erfurt, where Luther lived after taking his vows

We set forth two worlds, as it were, one of them heavenly and the other earthly. Into these we place these two kinds of righteousness, which are distinct and separated from each other. The righteousness of the law is earthly and deals with earthly things; by it we perform good works. But as the earth does not bring forth fruit unless it has first been watered and made fruitful from above—for the earth cannot judge, renew, and rule the heavens, but the heavens judge, renew, rule, and nourish the earth, so that it may do what the Lord has commanded—so also by the righteousness of the law we do nothing even when we do much; we do not fulfill the law even when we fulfill it. Without any merit or work of our own, we must first be justified by Christian righteousness, which has nothing to do with the righteousness of the law or with earthly and active righteousness. But this righteousness is heavenly and passive. We do not have it of ourselves; we receive it from heaven. We do not perform it; we accept it by faith, through which we ascend beyond all laws and works. “As, therefore, we have borne the image of the earthly Adam,” as Paul says, “let us bear the image of the heavenly one” (1 Cor. 15:49), who is a new man in a new world, where there is no law, no sin, no conscience, no death, but perfect joy, righteousness, grace, peace, life, salvation, and glory.

Then do we do nothing and work nothing in order to obtain this righteousness? I reply: Nothing at all. For this righteousness means to do nothing, to hear nothing, and to know nothing about the law or about works but to know and believe only this: that Christ has gone to the Father and is now invisible; that He sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father, not as a Judge but as one who has been made for us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption from God (1 Cor. 1:30); in short, that He is our High Priest, interceding for us and reigning over us and in us through grace. Here one notices no sin and feels no terror or remorse of conscience. Sin cannot happen in this Christian righteousness; for where there is no law, there cannot be any transgression (Rom. 4:15). If, therefore, sin does not have a place here, there is no conscience, no terror, no sadness. Therefore John says: “No one born of God commits sin” (1 John 3:9). But if there is any conscience or fear present, this is a sign that this righteousness has been withdrawn, that grace has been lost sight of, and that Christ is hidden and out of sight. But where Christ is truly seen, there must be full and perfect joy in the Lord and peace of heart, where the heart declares: “Although I am a sinner according to the law, judged by the righteousness of the law, nevertheless I do not despair. I do not die, because Christ lives who is my righteousness and my eternal and heavenly life. In that righteousness and life I have no sin, conscience, and death. I am indeed a sinner according to the present life and its righteousness, as a child of Adam where the law accuses me, death reigns and devours me. But above this life I have an alien righteousness, another life, which is Christ, the Son of God, who does not know sin and death but is righteousness and eternal life. For His sake, this body of mine will be raised from the dead and delivered from the slavery of the law and sin, and will be sanctified together with the spirit.”

Thus as long as we live here, both remain. The flesh is accused, exercised, saddened, and crushed by the active righteousness of the law. But the spirit rules, rejoices, and is saved by passive righteousness, because it knows that it has a Lord sitting in heaven at the right hand of the Father, who has abolished the law, sin, and death, and has trodden all evils underfoot, has led them captive and triumphed over them in Himself (Col. 2:15). In this epistle, therefore, Paul is concerned to instruct, comfort, and sustain us diligently in a perfect knowledge of this most excellent and Christian righteousness. If the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost. And those in the world who do not teach it are either Jews or Turks or papists or sectarians. For between these two kinds of righteousness, the active righteousness of the law and the passive righteousness of Christ, there is no middle ground. Therefore those who have strayed away from this Christian righteousness will necessarily relapse into active righteousness; that is, when they have lost Christ, they must fall into a trust in their own works.

We see this today in the fanatical spirits and sectarians, who neither teach nor can teach anything correctly about this righteousness of grace. They have taken the words out of our mouth and out of our writings, and these only they speak and write. But the substance itself they cannot discuss, deal with, and urge, because they neither understand it nor can understand it. They cling only to the righteousness of the law. Therefore they are and remain disciplinarians of works; nor can they rise beyond the active righteousness. Thus they remain exactly what they were under the pope. To be sure, they invent new names and new works; but the content remains the same. So it is that the Turks perform different works from the papists, and the papists perform different works from the Jews, and so forth. But although some do works that are more splendid, great, and difficult than others, the content remains the same. Only the quality is different. That is, the works vary only in appearance and in name. They are still works. And those who do them are not Christians; they are hirelings, whether they are called Jews, Mohammedans, papists, or sectarians.

Therefore we always repeat, urge, and inculcate this doctrine of faith or Christian righteousness, so that it may be observed by continuous use and may be precisely distinguished from the active righteousness of the law. (For by this doctrine alone and through it alone is the church built, and in this it consists.) Otherwise we shall not be able to observe true theology but shall immediately become lawyers, ceremonialists, legalists, and papists. Christ will be so darkened that no one in the church will be correctly taught or comforted. Therefore if we want to be preachers and teachers of others, we must take great care in these issues and hold to this distinction between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of Christ. This distinction is easy to speak of; but in experience and practice it is the most difficult of all, even if you exercise and practice it diligently. For in the hour of death or in other conflicts of conscience these two kinds of righteousness come together more closely than you would wish or ask.

Therefore I admonish you, especially those of you who are to become instructors of consciences, as well as each of you individually, that you exercise yourselves by study, by reading, by meditation, and by prayer. Then, in temptation you will be able to instruct consciences, both your own and others, console them, and take them from the law to grace, from active righteousness to passive righteousness, in short, from Moses to Christ. In affliction and in the conflict of conscience it is the devil’s habit to frighten us with the law and to set against us the consciousness of sin, our wicked past, the wrath and judgment of God, hell and eternal death, so that thus the devil may drive us into despair, subject us to evil itself, and pluck us from Christ. It is also the devil’s habit to set against us those passages in the Gospel in which Christ himself requires works from us and with plain words threatens damnation to those who do not perform them. If here we cannot distinguish between these two kinds of righteousness; if here by faith we do not take hold of Christ, who is sitting at the right hand of God, who is our life and our righteousness, and who makes intercession for us miserable sinners before the Father (Heb. 7:25), then we are under the law and not under grace, and Christ is no longer a Savior. Then He is a lawgiver. Then there can be no salvation left, but sure despair and eternal death will follow.

Therefore let us learn diligently this art of distinguishing between these two kinds of righteousness, in order that we may know how far we should obey the law. We have said above that in a Christian the law must not exceed its limits but should have its dominion only over the flesh, which is subjected to it and remains under it. When this is the case, the law remains within its limits. But if it wants to ascend into the conscience and exert its rule there, see to it that you are a good dialectician and that you make the correct distinction. Give no more to the law than it has coming, and say to it: “Law, you want to ascend into the realm of conscience and rule there. You want to denounce its sin and take away the joy of my heart, which I have through faith in Christ. You want to plunge me into despair, in order that I may perish. You are exceeding your jurisdiction. Stay within your limits, and exercise your dominion over the flesh. You shall not touch my conscience. For I am baptized; and through the Gospel I have been called to a fellowship of righteousness and eternal life, to the kingdom of Christ, in which my conscience is at peace, where there is no law but only the forgiveness of sins, peace, quiet, happiness, salvation, and eternal life. Do not disturb me in these matters. In my conscience, the law, that hard tyrant and cruel disciplinarian, will not reign. But Christ, the Son of God, the King of peace and righteousness, the sweet Savior and Mediator, will reign. He will preserve my conscience happy and peaceful in the sound and pure doctrine of the Gospel and in the knowledge of this passive righteousness.”

When I have this righteousness within me, I descend from heaven like the rain that makes the earth fertile. That is, I come forth into another kingdom, and I perform good works whenever the opportunity arises. If I am a minister of the Word, I preach, I comfort the sad, I administer the sacraments. If I am a father, I rule my household and family, I train my children in piety and honesty. If I am a magistrate, I perform the office which I have received by divine command. If I am a servant, I faithfully tend to my master’s affairs. In short, those who know for sure that Christ is their righteousness not only cheerfully and gladly work in their calling. They also submit themselves for the sake of love to magistrates—even to wicked laws and to everything else in this present life. If need be, even to burden and danger. For they know that God wants this and is pleased by this service.

This is the argument of the epistle, which Paul sets forth because of the false teachers who had obscured this righteousness of faith among the Galatians. Against them he asserts his authority and office. ?

[1]. Editor’s note: Here Luther errs by grouping the seventh-day Sabbath with the ceremonial law.


Youth’s Corner — A Reformed Mutineer

(Chapter 3 of Cannibals and Head-Hunters of the South Seas, by Charles H. Watson, published in 1926 by the Review & Herald Publishing Association Editors)

Years before the first missionaries reached the South Pacific, a small sloop of war, the Bounty, was sent by the English government to procure plants of the breadfruit tree from Tahiti. These were to be conveyed to the West Indies, where, it was hoped, they could be made to grow.

Lieutenant William Bligh was appointed to command the Bounty, and forty-five men were shipped as crew, the ship being provisioned for eighteen months. After a voyage of ten months the Bounty reached Tahiti, and then six months were spent in collecting and stowing away the plants. During this time the natives were very friendly indeed, and did much to assist Captain Bligh in his enterprise.

But the Bounty was not to be permitted to carry its cargo to other lands. Captain Bligh was an overbearing commander, and by his intolerant firmness had brought his crew to the verge of open mutiny. The mountains of Tahiti had not long sunk out of sight when mutiny broke out on the ship, and this resulted in the captain and eighteen of his crew being put into an open boat and cast adrift with only a very small store of provisions. The captain’s mate, one Christian Fletcher, was the leader of the mutineers, and under his direction the ship was put about for Tahiti.

Replica of the HMS Bounty — Photo courtesy of Dan Kasberger

 

After a time spent with the natives at that place, sails were set for Pitcairn Island, a lonely spot in the great ocean, where Fletcher and eight of his companions in wrong-doing hoped to spend their lives without discovery by the rest of the world. They carried with them six Tahitian men and twelve Tahitian women.

Three months passed before the cliffs of Pitcairn came into view, and then the anchor of the Bounty was plunged for the last time into the waters of the Pacific. They found their future home to be a very small place indeed. The shores were steep and rugged, the hills were densely wooded, and only after some time had been spent searching for a place to land, was a spot discovered where the ship could be brought through the rocks and fastened by means of a long rope to a tree upon the shore.

They soon found that the island had once been inhabited. Stone images, stone hatchets, and even human skulls were found in several places. But greatly to the relief of the mutineers, the place was deserted.

To remove from the sea all traces of their presence on the island, they stripped the Bounty of everything that could be of service to them, and then burned her as she rode at anchor off the shore. The little bay where the vessel was destroyed is now known as Bounty Bay.

For two years these fugitives from justice lived in peace, but then a time of dark deeds began, in which oppression, treachery, and bloodshed almost obliterated the little community. All but four of the Englishmen were killed by the Tahitians, and the remaining four joined together and put all the Tahitian men to death.

The four male survivors then yielded to a course of wickedness in which drunkenness and murder mingled. Every vice that could degrade their manhood was freely practiced, till, when treachery and murder had finished their dark deeds, only two were left.

These two, John Adams and Edward Young, then gave themselves up to serious thought, and as they saw the children growing up, they strove to undo the years of crime by teaching right principles to the youth about them. In course of time Edward Young died and John Adams was left, the sole survivor of fifteen men who had landed from the Bounty.

Alone and unaided, but with “deep, abiding repentance,” he led the women and children in the ways of peace. With Bible and prayer book (saved from the Bounty) he taught the young people to read, and under the blessing of God he had the satisfaction of seeing them enjoy the quietness, industry, happiness, and peace of a life of virtue and strict morality.

One of the beautiful features of John Adams’ later life was his fatherly devotion to the children of his dead comrades. His love for them all united them in the bonds of family affection, and thus they were eventually found by an American navigator, Captain Mayhew Folger, February 1808.

Other ships called at the island from time to time, till in 1825 the Blossom, a British man-of-war under the command of Captain Beechy, made a visit to Pitcairn.

When it was first ascertained that the Blossom was a man-of-war, great fears prevailed among the little community, lest the ship had come to convey Adams a prisoner to England. But they were soon reassured. The captain and his officers hastened to explain that their coming was for an altogether different purpose. When they realized that their fears were groundless, and there was no danger of the old man’s removal, the female portion of the community crowded around him and embraced him in the most affectionate manner. Especially touching was the joy of his daughter Hanna, who clung to her father and embraced him, weeping even, in the fullness of her joy.

Twenty-nine years rolled by after Edward Young died, and then John Adams, the last of the mutineers, passed quietly and peacefully away at the age of sixty-five years.

No one knows where the graves of the other men are. Time seems to have removed the last trace of their resting place, but the spot where John Adams lies is still carefully kept. A plain white stone on which the simple inscription, “In Hope,” has been engraved, records his name, age, and death. But more enduring is the memory of his earnest life, and his patient, loving care over the family so strangely given him.

Others came to the island, and gradually assumed the responsibilities that he had so long borne. These men won the confidence and affection of the islanders, but none ever exerted a stronger influence or so completely held the respect of the entire community as did John Adams, the reformed mutineer, who for thirty years had faithfully done his duty caring for them all. Thus had he sought by the deeds of a lifelong repentance to atone for the wrong he had done. To be continued


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